NORMAN — The Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team had a tough end to last year. It missed its third straight NCAA Super Six appearance by just .200 points.
Nonetheless, the Sooners will begin the 2013 season as the No. 4 team in the nation, according to the GymInfo Preseason Coaches Poll, which was released Monday. It marks the third consecutive season OU will have opened at No. 4.
The Sooners have been a top 10 program every seasons since K.J. Kindler took over the program in 2006.
This season, Kindler will look to seniors Brie Olson and Lauren Smith, sophomore Erica Brewer and freshman Maile’ana Kanewa to get the Sooners back to the NCAA meet.
OU has one of the toughest schedules in the nation.
The defending Big 12 champion will face four ranked teams at Lloyd Noble Center: No. 2 UCLA, No. 7 Stanford, No. 19 Arizona and No. 20 Denver. OU will also play host to an NCAA Regional on April 6.
OU will face 11 top 25 programs, beginning at No. 11 Georgia on Jan. 5, the Sooners’ season opener. OU will also travel to compete at No. 1 Alabama and No. 24 West Virginia.
The Sooners also meet No. 8 LSU, No. 9 Oregon State, Georgia and No. 17 Washington at the Metroplex Challenge Jan. 26 in Fort Worth. They’ll meet No. 15 Boise State Feb. 15 at the Perfect 10 Challenge in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma won their fourth conference championship in five seasons and claimed their third-straight NCAA regional crown last season.
Michael KinneyFollow me @firstname.lastname@example.org