NORMAN — In her eight years at Oklahoma, coach K.J. Kindler had never seen it. Despite the intense competition the women’s gymnastics team faces on a yearly basis, to her recollection, the team had never lost two meets in a row.
That anomaly ended this month when the Sooners fell in back-to-back weeks to No. 2 Florida and No. 3 LSU.
“I don’t know the history, but it has been a very long time since that’s happened, if ever,” Kindler said. “We talked to the team about having some pride. I think they kind of took that to heart.”
The Sooners responded last week by posting a 198.175, the highest score in the nation this year and the second-highest score in program history, to exact revenge against No. 3 LSU (197.875) and top Arizona (195.625) and Kentucky (194.850) in the Metroplex Challenge.
Oklahoma posted 11 scores of 9.9 or higher, including a perfect 10.0 on floor exercise for Haley Scaman. The sophomore’s performance on floor was the first perfect score for the Sooners since 2010. Her effort also marked only the second perfect 10 on floor in program history, joining Patricia Aoki’s 10.0 in 2003.
“I think it was great for her,” Kindler said of Scaman. “I think her teammates and her coaching staff, every time she goes out there, anticipates that tonight is the night she’ll get a 10. She’s that good. I don’t think she ever anticipated she’d ever get a 10. She is such a humble person, I think that was kind of a wake-up call for her.”
Freshman Chase Capps narrowly missed garnering a perfect 10 beam. But the Plano, Texas native settled for a 9.975.
“It’s been an honor to be on this team,” Capps said. “I’ve loved every minute of it. I wouldn’t change it for the world. The upperclassmen are very motivating and they push us to reach our fullest potential. Coming into a team with such high rankings already just pushed me to become a better gymnast.”
Almost on cue, the top-ranked Sooners will compete in the annual Perfect 10 Challenge in Oklahoma City today at the Cox Convention Center. They will face No. 5 Alabama, No. 8 Michigan and West Virginia on podium for the second straight week.
“I want to see something similar to what we just saw,” Kindler said. “This is to me is the toughest meet of the year because it’s on podium and there’s four teams. Alabama and Michigan are awesome teams. Alabama does this every year where they sort of slow start themselves then put their foot on the accelerator. And right now their foot is on the accelerator.”
Oklahoma enters the contest after vaulting back into the No. 1 ranking this week. Despite that, the gymnasts know they still have some fine tuning to do.
“I think that we are looking good,” senior Lara Albright said. “We do have things we can always improve on that we work on every day. I don’t think we’ve put together every single thing we can do all at once. It’s really great to gain momentum coming out of our last successful meet.”
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