The Norman Transcript
AMES, IA. — No. 2 Oklahoma racked up its second straight Big 12 women’s gymnastics championship Saturday with a convincing performance in Ames, Iowa.
Facing No. 25 West Virginia and Iowa State, the Sooners tallied 197.200 points to earn their fifth conference title in the past six years.
Junior Taylor Spears led the charge as she collected the Big 12 all-around title with a score of 39.600 and tied for the individual titles on both bars and beam. She was also named the Big 12 Gymnast of the Year.
“She shows no fear,” OU coach K.J. Kindler said of Spears. “She’s extremely competitive and aggressive on the floor and she believes in herself.”
Spears wasn’t the only Sooner who had a strong day. Oklahoma swept every individual event title and the all-around title outright, becoming the first school in Big 12 history to do so. Freshman Maile’ana Kanewa took the vault title, senior Brie Olson and Spears took bars, sophomore Rebecca Clark and Spears took beam and freshman Haley Scaman won the floor title.
Scaman was named the Newcomer of the Year while Lauren Alexander nabbed Specialist of the Year as the Sooners brought home all three conference awards. Kindler added to the haul with her seventh Coach of the Year honor.
The Sooners began the meet on bars, coming out on fire from start to finish to a 49.550 team score, tying for the second-best bars total in program history. Olson and Spears tied for the top mark of the meet with 9.95 scores, a career high for Spears. Erica Brewer and Rebecca Clark added 9.9s while Haley Scaman and Hayden Ward rounded out the lineup, each recording 9.85 scores.
“Bars was definitely the high point of the day,” Kindler said.
Kanewa continued her comeback story from wrist surgery by winning the event in just the sixth collegiate meet of her career. Olson finished right behind Kanewa with a 9.9.
The Sooners will now turn their attention to the NCAA championships. First stop is back home in Norman where they will host the regional championships April 6 at Lloyd Noble Arena. It’s one of six regional sites being held that day.
Oklahoma will find out who will be joining them at regionals during the NCAA Selection Show at 2 p.m. Monday on NCAA.com.
For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.