NORMAN – In front of an incredible crowd at the Sam Viersen Gymnastics Center, the three-time national champion Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team showcased their 2019 routines at their annual intrasquad Friday night.
In a live meet setting with two judges per event, the Sooners previewed their new routines and skills on all four events. Senior Nicole Lehrmann, juniors Maggie Nichols and Bre Showers and sophomore Anastasia Webb all competed in the all-around, with at least seven Sooners competing on each apparatus.
“Little details are what we have been focusing on all summer long and the last six months,” head coach K.J. Kindler said. “I told them they have been working for this day, this intrasquad for six months. All those little details we have been working on will hopefully pay off.”
The Sooners started off strong on vault, showcasing six 10.0 start value vaults. Webb had the high score of the night on vault, debuting her Yurchenko 1.5 for a 9.925.
Nichols, Dowell and freshman Allie Stern all added 9.9s, while Lehrmann showed off her upgraded 1.5 for a 9.8.
“We started on vault with lots of 1.5s in there and super excited with how this team looks,” Kindler said. “We competed eight people and six of them had 10.0 start value and the other two had a nice strong full. We had someone else who couldn’t compete today and was just sidelined briefly and she also does a 1.5, so it’s looking really good for difficulty on vault; very excited about that.”
On bars, the Sooners impressed from top to bottom, with several new faces in senior Alex Marks, freshman Olivia Trautman and sophomore Karrie Thomas. Nichols, the two-time NCAA champion on the event, anchored with an incredible 9.950.
Dowell and Lehrmann added back-to-back 9.9’s, while Showers got things started off with a solid 9.850.
“Bars were great,” Kindler said. “Obviously, just little things here and there, but overall nailed every routine. Lots of new faces in that bar lineup. You saw Olivia Trautman, Alex Marks, and Karrie Thomas; all three are new to our lineup and I thought they did a great job. I’m really proud of them and how they did. Obviously, the veterans are doing what they do best; they are nailing it, very excited about that.”
The highest event score of the night came on beam as the Sooners posted a 49.600, counting five scores of 9.9 or better. Sophomore Carly Woodard was gorgeous on beam highlighting the middle of the order matching her career-high with a 9.950.
“Very excited about Carly getting a 9.95,” Kindler said. “Last year at this time she was in the intrasquad and had a really big mistake, she actually fell off beam on this same series. We kind of sidelined the series for the year and we came back to it this summer. She worked super hard on it and it was impeccable today, so I know that is a big victory for her and I am very excited about that.”
Nichols anchored with a 9.950 of her own, while Showers, Webb and Lehrmann all added scores of 9.9. Trautman led off with a 9.825 and in exhibition Dowell added a 9.875.
“Balance bean was phenomenal,” Kindler said. “Really proud of this team, very aggressive, really strong dance which was my one hint to them today. I feel like when they dance aggressively and when they are really punching those poses, they kind of lose themselves a little bit and don’t think so much and they shouldn’t be thinking at this point; this is muscle memory and they know what to do and they know how to do it.”
The night capped off with a series of incredible floor routines. Nichols and Showers paced the team with 9.9s as the anchor and lead off, respectively. Showers finished with a 39.500 all-around score and Nichols wrapped up her night with a 39.700 in the all-around.
Lehrmann, Dowell and Webb all tallied scores of 9.825 and Trautman anchored with a 9.875.
“Floor is always fun to watch them do their choreography for the first time,” Kindler said. “Also I know it is tiring, this is their first routine in front of people and when you are in front of people you put a little extra hot sauce on it, so they were a little bit gassed I thought at the end; really good performances. I love the floor routines, I hope other people enjoy them. They are very different, and I think a lot of them have a unique spin on what they did in previous seasons, so excited and of course that anchor, Olivia Trautman tumbling sky high, so really proud of her.”
The Sooners will open the 2019 season at 6:00 p.m. CT on Saturday, Jan. 5, in Fayetteville, Ark., as they face Arkansas in the first road contest of the season. The home slate opens on Jan. 11 at 6:45 p.m. CT against Georgia at Lloyd Noble Center. Fans can snag season tickets to catch every moment of OU’s exciting home slate, which also features contests against Florida (Feb. 1), UCLA (March 3) and Alabama (March 15). The 2019 Big 12 Championship will also be held in Norman on Saturday, March 23.
“I want them to work hard,” Kindler said. “That is what we do. We are Sooners and that is what we do. So, they are going to work hard, they are going to handle their holiday well, hopefully, and enjoy their families and come back with fire in their belly.”
Season tickets for the 2019 season are currently available for purchase. Tickets are available for $30 for general admission and $50 for reserved seating, which will reserve a seat location for the entire season. Youth (6-18) and senior (55+) season tickets will be $25. Discounted tickets are available for $5 for groups of 10 or more. Group tickets must be purchased at least 24 hours prior to the event. Fans can order online through SoonerSports.com or over the phone at (405) 325-2424 or toll-free at 800-456-GoOU.
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