Oklahoma gymnastics: Sooner women open NCAA title defense

The women’s Oklahoma gymnastics squad didn’t get to finish what they had started a year ago.

The 2020 season, like all winter and spring college sport activities, was cut short by the COVID-19 outbreak, and that was particularly unfortunate for the Sooner gymnasts. Oklahoma was 16-0 a year ago and poised to defend both its Big 12 title as well as the national championship.

The Sooners have won eight consecutive conference championships and remain the reigning national champions as a result of winning the most recent NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships held in 2019.

The No. 2-ranked Sooners opened the 2021 season on Sunday with a home dual-meet victory over No. 21 Arizona State at Lloyd Noble Center. Oklahoma captured all four team events as well as the individual winners of each. Additionally, Sooner senior Anastasia Webb won the all-around title as a socially distanced crowd of around 1,800 looked on.

Oklahoma’s solid 197.450-194.725 victory over the Sun Devil squad increased the Sooners’ home winning streak to 33.

For the first time since 2016, four-time All-American and NCAA champion Maggie Nichols was not part of the OU lineup. She was physically present, however, now serving as a volunteer assistant coach.

On her way to the all-around championship, Webb finished first in two events, beam and floor exercise. Her 9.950 score on beam was the highest individual score in the entire competition.

Freshman Audrey Lynn, junior Allie Stern and senior Evy Schoepfer all posted winning scores of 9.875 in the in a three-way tie for Oklahoma in the vault. Another OU freshman, Katherine LeVasseur, took top honors on horizontal bars.

The Sooner women are next in action on Sunday when they host No. 4 Utah.