Coronavirus in Oklahoma: Oklahoma City to implement shelter-in-place orderLive updates: Latest information on coronavirus in OklahomaCOVID-19 in Oklahoma: 377 positive cases, 15 dead

NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

OU women's gymnastics: Maggie Nichols' two Perfect 10s lift Sooners to blowout victory

OU's Maggie Nichols, seen Jan. 20, scored two Perfect 10s Friday at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]
OU's Maggie Nichols, seen Jan. 20, scored two Perfect 10s Friday at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]

NORMAN — Maggie Nichols just keeps on making the spectacular look routine.

Nichols got Perfect 10s on each of her first two events Friday, helping OU to dominating wins over West Virginia and Texas Woman’s in front of 4,067 fans at Lloyd Noble Center on Friday.

The Sooners’ 198.400 was the third-highest score in program history.

Nichols moved into a tie with UCLA’s Kyla Ross for fourth place in NCAA history with 21 perfect scores. They’re both seven behind the all-time record.

Nichols was antsy to get back to competing in multiple events after just competing on the uneven bars Sunday at Texas Woman’s and after slipping on the balance beam in OU’s last home meet.

She started with a perfect score on the vault — her third in that event this season and then followed with another on the bars.

“Our crowd might not recognize that because they’re so used to it being a common, every day occurrence but it is not common and it is not every day,” Sooners coach K.J. Kindler said. “So to see back-to-back 10s is like, ‘What?’”

It was the second time in Nichols’ career she’d had two Perfect 10s, the other March 3, 2018, against Michigan.

But in that meet, Nichols didn’t have a chance at a third consecutive 10.

She did Friday, going to the beam with a shot at history.

But Nichols insisted the lead-up to the event was like any other.

“Nothing different after those two 10s,” Nichols said. “Nothing different.

“I have that moment of, ‘Wow, this is amazing,’ and then I move on to the next event.”

Nichols wasn’t far from perfect there, with a slight hop on her dismount playing a part in a 9.925 score.

That slightest of imperfections also saved Kindler a difficult decision.

Nichols hasn’t competed on the floor exercise since Jan. 20 and wasn’t in the lineup on the event Friday as Kindler works to keep Nichols as fresh as possible for the postseason.

But even before Nichols jumped up on the beam, Kindler anticipated that Nichols would ask to be added to the event.

Had she been perfect, Nichols confirmed that she would’ve asked.

And while Kindler would’ve said no without a 10, she said it would’ve been tough to decline had Nichols had a chance to become the second gymnast in NCAA history with four Perfect 10s in a meet.

It wasn’t just Nichols who was almost perfect Friday.

The Sooners’ 49.775 on the vault set a program record for the event.

“These days it’s very difficult to earn a school record with the great athletes that have walked through these doors and the great performances,” Kindler said. “So it means even more now knowing that you have to hit so high to get that school record.”

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 ›