'Maggie's chasing 10s every time': Maggie Nichols' big day lifts Sooners' women's gymnastics to win over Arkansas
NORMAN — For any other women’s collegiate gymnast, scoring a 39.900 in a meet is a career day.
Maggie Nichols is making a habit of it.
The Sooners’ senior posted the score Monday in OU’s 198.175-196.550 home-opening win against Arkansas.
The feat has been accomplished only 10 times in NCAA history. Monday was Nichols’ fourth time to reach the mark. No other gymnast has done it more than once.
“I just take every single practice and every single meet as its own,” Nichols said. “I try to do my best gymnastics and stay very in my zone.”
Nichols started her afternoon with a perfect 10 on vault, her second consecutive perfect score on the event after she also hit that mark Friday at Alabama.
“To see that 10 come up, it just means the absolute world and just the hard work paying off,” Nichols said.
It was Nichols’ 19th career 10, putting her one away from moving into fifth place in NCAA history. She’s just nine away from the all-time record.
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Nichols followed with a 9.950 on uneven bars, 9.975 on balance beam and a 9.975 on the floor exercise.
“Maggie’s chasing 10s every time she steps onto the floor,” Sooners coach K.J. Kindler said.
Jade Degouveia, the only other Sooners’ senior who competed Monday, had a standout day with a 9.900 on vault, 9.950 on bars and a 9.850 on the floor.
Degouveia’s bar score was her career-high in the event.
“I think it’s going to come her way before the season’s over,” Kindler said of Degouveia reaching her first career perfect 10. “I have no doubt that it’s coming soon. She’s in a position to get a 10 on all three events that she competes.”
Degouveia helped the Sooners to a season-high 49.675 on the bars. Oklahoma also put up a season-high 49.575 on the floor.
Attendance for the meet, which drew 4,347, was the largest for a home opener in Sooners history and the fourth-largest crowd in the last six seasons.
“It felt like more than that, which is a good thing for our athletes.” Kindler said. “It felt a little bit like UCLA. It felt like a really good energy. Really excited to see people come out on a Monday afternoon. I can’t imagine on a Friday what that crowd’s going to look like.”
Last season, the Sooners set a program attendance record with 10,177 for a meet against UCLA.
Kindler said the new meet layout — which featured fan in almost every area of the lower bowl as opposed to the former setup that only opened a little more than half of the lower part of the arena for spectators — helped the crowd seem bigger and helped them be engaged with the action.