NORMAN — Oklahoma doesn’t get too worried. It has seen everything possible that can occur at a gymnastics meet.
However, when it comes to competing in the NCAA regional championships, coach K.J. Kindler admits she and her team get a little anxious.
“This meet is probably the most stressful of the year,” she said. “Even as coaches we make a conscious effort to stay loose. I know they have to try and stay loose and not let themselves get all wrapped up in what it means because they want it so bad and it means so much to them.”
But when OU found itself trailing by 48 points heading into the final event of the regional championships Saturday at Lloyd Noble Center, the nation’s second ranked team wasn’t about to start getting skittish.
Led by Taylor Spears and Brie Olson, OU racked up a team score of 197.375 to win the regional title and earn a birth into the NCAA National Championships.
“It’s our fourth straight year of winning a regional,” Kindler said. “I don’t think it ever gets old. I think it’s awesome. I think it says a lot for how far our program has come and where we are going.”
Spears won the All-Around title. It was the eighth time this year she has claimed the top individual prize. The junior credits the fans for pushing her along.
“They were great,” Spears said of the fans. “They were right there with us the whole time, cheering for every routine. You look up and see them all cheering for you. It’s a great feeling. It’s truly important. They make us perform better.”
Along with Oklahoma, Stanford (196.800) also advanced to nationals for the sixth time in seven years. Both squads propelled themselves past Washington (195.925) and Penn State (195.875) on the final rotation of the evening.