By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team has come a long way in many areas. But one of the most telling may be in the expectations they have for themselves.
With the regional tournaments coming up, the No. 2 Sooners were really worried if they would get a top seed or not. They just wanted to know where they could be competing. They found out Monday during the NCAA selection show.
Oklahoma earned the No. 1 seed in Minneapolis Regional and will face Minnesota, Illinois, California, Southern Utah and San Jose State on Saturday, April 5.
“It definitely what we hoped for,” senior Haley Ward said. “One of our goals is to be a No. 1 seed going into regionals. We want to prove that’s what we worked for, and that’s where our team is.” I think it’s going to help us.”
OU is 2-0 against NCAA Minneapolis Regional teams this season, holding wins over Illinois and Minnesota.
It’s the fifth consecutive year the Sooner have snagged the top-seed at regionals. They will aim for their fifth consecutive regional title and an 11th-straight NCAA Championship berth at regional competition.
“We work for that from the very first meet of the year,” OU coach K.J. Kindler said. “It’s one of our goals to be a top-seed. W e know the advantage it will give us down the road. We have moved from someone who probably a traditional two-seed to a on e seed. It makes all the difference. “
Other regional sites include Penn State, LSU, Washington, Arkansas and Georgia. The top-18 teams in NCAA competition are seeded nationally, based on RQS, and placed into the bracket (see related links-top right). Teams 19-36 are organized into three pods (19-24, 25-30 and 31-36) and placed geographically at one of the six sites, beginning with teams 19-24 followed by teams 25-30 and then finally teams 31-36. Seeding determined at the time of regional selections will be maintained throughout the championships.
The top two finishing teams from each NCAA regional will advance to the 2014 NCAA Championships in Birmingham, Ala. The meet will take place from April 18-20, with semifinal competition set for April 18 and the Super Six team finals slated for April 19.
“We had kind of mapped it out a little bit and thought that this is where we were going, but when the first team came up I thought maybe they made some changes,” Kindler said. “I was excited to see that we were going there and that was how it ended up. Of course that’s my hometown, so I’m excited to see my family and I know our fans will come out in droves.”
Oklahoma is coming off winning its seventh consecutive Big 12 conference title Saturday. Kindler thinks the team is looking strong as it heads into the next round of postseason play.
“Our team has talked about committing to three – three weeks left,” Kindler said. “Committing in every fashion that you can; heart and soul, inside and outside the gym – giving it your absolute all and continuing to push, push, push.”
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