The Oklahoma women's gymnastics team captured the program's seventh Big 12 championship and 12th conference title overall on Friday night, posting a conference-championship record 198.000 to defeat Iowa State and West Virginia. OU came out on fire and never relented as it topped ISU (196.650) and WVU (196.375) at the WVU Coliseum, earning the team's third effort of 198+ on the road this season.
Following the conclusion of the meet, Oklahoma sophomore Haley Scaman was named Big 12 Gymnast of the Year, and freshman Chayse Capps captured Newcomer of the Year accolades. Head Coach K.J. Kindler earned Big 12 Coach of the Year honors after leading her Sooners through another outstanding regular season. ISU senior Camille Santerre-Gervais was the conference's Event Specialist of the Year.
The Sooners earned individual conference titles on three events. Maile'ana Kanewa posted a 9.95 on vault to become the Big 12 vault champion for the second season in a row. Taylor Spears earned a 9.95 on beam to capture the Big 12 beam title, and Scaman picked up a 9.95 on floor to win the conference's floor title. Santerre-Gervais was bars champion with a 9.95, and West Virginia's Hope Sloanhoffer won the conference all-around title at 39.425.
The Sooners used the team's energy and adrenaline to their advantage in the first event of the afternoon, earning a 49.425 to begin the meet on a strong note. Momentum boosted Oklahoma's lineup: after three consecutive 9.825s to begin the lineup, the Sooners closed with a trio of successive routines that climbed up the scoring ranks. Lara Albright began the scoring uptick at the No. 4 position with a 9.9, her ninth effort of 9.9 or higher this season. Maile'ana Kanewa followed with a 9.925 in an infectiously energetic routine, and Scaman anchored with a 9.95 effort that captivated the WVU Coliseum crowd.
Oklahoma leapt out to a quick lead over ISU and WVU with its 49.425 effort. Iowa State was second after a 49.100 on bars, and WVU trailed in third with a 49.075 from vault.
OU's high energy carried to vault, where the Sooners posted of the team's finest outings of the season in a 49.575 effort that included five vaults of 9.9 or better. Four Oklahoma gymnasts stuck their landings in a dominant vaulting performance, led by Kanewa's stuck 9.95 in the No. 4 spot. Scaman anchored OU with a 9.925, while Madison Mooring, Kara Lovan and Chayse Capps each posted 9.9 vaults to aid Oklahoma's efforts.
The Sooners cracked the 99.000 mark with a 99.000 on the nose after two rotations to lead all teams. Iowa State was second with a 98.225 that included a 49.125 on beam, while WVU brought up third with a 98.125 after a 49.050 on bars.
The momentum just kept rolling for Oklahoma as it captured a 49.550 on bars, its second-highest mark of the season. OU hit six-for-six routines on the event and counted five scores of 9.9 or higher for the second event in a row. Senior Taylor Spears led the way with a 9.925 in the anchor position to go along with a 9.925 for Scaman in the No. 3 spot. Rebecca Clark led off with a 9.9, and Charity Jones followed with a 9.9 in the No. 2 spot to tie her career-best effort on the event. Keeley Kmieciak also earned a 9.9, adding to her list of strong performances on bars in the past three weeks.
Oklahoma extended its lead after three events with a 148.550 overall. Iowa State earned a 49.250 on floor in the third rotation for a 147.475 to sit in second, and West Virginia picked up a 49.200 on beam to come in third with a 147.325.
Determined to finish the meet in championship fashion on beam, Oklahoma more than delivered with a 49.450 in its final performance of the night. Spears led the way, delivering a near-flawless 9.95 routine in the No. 5 spot to lead the meet, while Capps earned a 9.9 from a lovely effort at the No. 4 position. Erica Brewer nailed her series on beam to pick up a 9.875, and Clark anchored the Sooners with a 9.875 to boost the team's efforts.
Iowa State finished the evening on vault with a 49.175, capturing second place at 196.650, their highest score this season. West Virginia capped their efforts on floor with a 49.050 to finish at 196.375.
Already a lock for NCAA Regional competition, the Sooners will receive their regional assignment on Monday. NCAA Regional competition is hosted at six pre-determined campus sites around the country. Regionals are set for Saturday, April 5, with start times determined at individual sites.