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OU women's gymnastics: Quick adjustments helps Sooners stay No. 1

Oklahoma's Anastasia Webb competes in the floor routine Monday against Arkansas at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]
Oklahoma's Anastasia Webb competes in the floor routine Monday against Arkansas at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]

NORMAN — Anastasia Webb’s performance on the balance beam against Arkansas on Monday didn’t make headlines the next day.

The Oklahoma junior’s score, 9.800, didn’t even wind up being used as one of the five scores to determine the Sooners’ team score on the event. Of the six competitors in each event, only the score of the top five goes into determining the team score.

But the job Webb did in that event on that day was illustrative of one of the things that’s made the Sooners so good in recent years and helped them to continue to hold onto the No. 1 ranking this season as they head into Saturday night’s Metroplex Challenge in Fort Worth.

Oklahoma will face off in a meet that includes two other top-10 teams, in the arena where the NCAA Championships will be held in April.

Early in her routine, Webb made a mistake on an aerial walkover — a maneuver in which the gymnast flips to move across the beam — leading to an automatic deduction in points.

After the mistake, though, Webb pulled herself together and made an adjustment to her routine to make up for what she lost by slightly shifting off-balance a bit during the flip.

Instead of doing one switch leap — a jump off the balance beam where the legs spread forward and backward — Webb did a second.

“We have a backup leap series that is worth more points,” Sooners coach K.J. Kindler said. “It has more bonus in it. She doesn’t have to do it if she makes the aerial to the jump because she doesn’t need it. But if she misses it (the walkover), she needs that extra bonus.”

Webb had to make the adjustment extremely quickly in her mind to make up as many fractions of a point as she could.

“I didn’t really have to think about it because it was so natural,” Webb said. “I trained my mind and my body in the gym and that’s really important.”

Webb’s teammate, Maggie Nichols, said it isn’t easy to quickly flip the switch mentally after a mistake.

“It’s very difficult,” Nichols said. “One thing that helps us in the gym is we practice both. That gives us a lot of confidence when we go out there.

“But when you do have a mess-up and have to go to do your backup routine, it kind of makes you switch your mindset a little bit. It shows how mentally strong you are when you’re able to do that.”

Nichols had to make an adjustment herself during Monday’s floor routine, though she didn’t do it on the fly.

Kindler decided to take out one tumbling pass in Nichols’ routine the night before, adding a move into her first pass to make up for the score difference.

***

Metroplex Challenge

Who: No. 1 Oklahoma (6-0) vs. No. 4 Denver (5-0), No. 5 Alabama (0-2), No. 18 Georgia (4-1)

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Fort Worth Convention Center, Fort Worth, Texas

Streaming: FloGymnastics.com

Related Photos
<strong>Maggie Nichols competes in the vault Monday during the Sooners' win against Arkansas in Norman. Nichols scored a perfect 10 on the vault. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]</strong>

Maggie Nichols competes in the vault Monday during the Sooners' win against Arkansas in Norman. Nichols scored a perfect 10 on the vault. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a4e6ecb9c0bb54faeb80aa0ef8475d12.jpg" alt="Photo - Maggie Nichols competes in the vault Monday during the Sooners' win against Arkansas in Norman. Nichols scored a perfect 10 on the vault. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Maggie Nichols competes in the vault Monday during the Sooners' win against Arkansas in Norman. Nichols scored a perfect 10 on the vault. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Maggie Nichols competes in the vault Monday during the Sooners' win against Arkansas in Norman. Nichols scored a perfect 10 on the vault. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-64eab04804db7e26ace711923cacb43d.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma's Anastasia Webb competes in the floor routine Monday against Arkansas at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Oklahoma's Anastasia Webb competes in the floor routine Monday against Arkansas at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Oklahoma's Anastasia Webb competes in the floor routine Monday against Arkansas at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Ryan Aber

Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The... Read more ›

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