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December 13, 2013

Loftier expectations for Sooners

NORMAN — Though a national championship has remained elusive, Oklahoma’s women’s gymnastics program continues to hit new benchmarks.

Another one arrived Thursday when the 2014 GymInfo Preseason Coaches Poll was released and the Sooners found themselves No. 3 to begin the season.

Further, OU received seven first-place votes. No. 1 Florida received 21, but nobody else received as many as the Sooners.

No. 2 Alabama received no first-place votes, No. 4 UCLA received one and No. 6 Utah received two.

Filling out the rest of the top 10 is LSU at No. 5 and Michigan, Georgia, Stanford and Nebraska at Nos. 7 through 10.

The No. 3 preseason spot is the highest in program history. Each of the last three seasons, the Sooners began at No. 4. 

Under coach K.J. Kindler the Sooners have began each of the last nine seasons in the top 10.

The Sooners will be bringing back 21 of 24 routines put on display at last season’s NCAA championships, in which the Sooners finished national runner-up.

The preseason poll also managed to highlight a difficult Sooner schedule, which includes a trio of top-five opponents — at No. 1 Florida (Jan. 31), No. 5 LSU (Feb. 9), No. 2 Alabama (at Perfect 10 Challenge, Feb. 21 in Oklahoma City) — six top 10 foes and 11 top 25 opponents.

The season begins at 6:45 p.m. Jan. 10 against No. 8 Georgia.

Clay Horning

Follow me @clayhorning

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