Sooners the Favorites in NCAA Gymnastics Championships


This could be a giant weekend for OU athletics as both the men’s and women’s teams compete in the NCAA Gymnastics Championships.

The Oklahoma women are in Ft. Worth, Texas, competing for the NCAA Women’s Championship, while the Sooner men gymnasts are in Columbus, Ohio, with a chance to defend their national title of a year ago.

Both the Sooner men’s and women’s team are ranked No. 1 in the country heading into this year’s NCAA Championship and both are favorite to bring home the national title. For the men, it would be a 10th national championship in the sport of gymnastics, and the Sooner women are seeking their second national title and second in the last three years.

The Oklahoma women are making their 13th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championship, something that has been accomplished by only four other schools.

This is the fifth consecutive year that the Lady Sooner gymnasts, coached by K.J. Kindler, have finished within the top two places in the national rankings based on regional qualifying score (RQS). Oklahoma owns an NCAA-best RQS of 197.920, the best gymnastics score in program history.

OU has advanced to the NCAA Women’s Championships 16 times in school history, and have been every season since Kindler took over as head coach in 2006. Over that 10-year span, the Sooner women have advanced to the Super Six final day of the championship five times, including each of the past three years (2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015).

Oklahoma shared the national championship in 2014 with the Florida Gators, who won are the reigning national champions.

Along with the OU women, the other five teams competing in the Sooners’ side of the bracket in the NCAA Gymnastics Championship this weekend are Utah, Alabama, UCLA, California and former Big 12 team Nebraska. The other semifinal bracket on Friday features 2015 champion Florida, Auburn, Georgia and LSU, all from the Southeastern Conference, Minnesota and Stanford.

The Sooners have gone up against six teams in this season’s NCAA Championship field, including LSU twice, and won six of the seven competitions against those schools.

The Oklahoma men have been a national force for some time in gymnastics competition. The Sooners have won nine national championships in gymnastics, including last season, six of which have come as a member of the Big 12.

Winners of five consecutive Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships, the OU men own the distinction of being the only team in NCAA men’s gymnastics history to exceed a team score of 450 in competition. And the Sooners did it for unprecedented fifth time this season.

OU has been No. 1 in the national rankings all season and is the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Men’s Championship. The five teams that will compete with Oklahoma in one semifinal session on Friday are No. 5 California, No. 6 Minnesota, No. 8 Penn State, No. 8 Nebraska and No. 12 Navy. The other semifinal session features No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 6 Illinois, No. 8 Air Force and No. 11 Michigan.