OU women's gymnastics: Sooners to host Utah in top-three showdown
For the first time in coach K.J. Kindler’s 15-year tenure as OU women's gymnastics coach, the Sooners will welcome Utah for a regular-season showdown in Norman.
Sunday's matchup (3:45 p.m., ESPN2) features two titans of college gymnastics, a top-10 clash of the second-ranked Sooners and third-ranked Utes. It will be the first meet of a four-year agreement between OU and Utah.
“This being my 15th year, I guess we’re just going to start it off with a bang,” Kindler said in a Friday morning Zoom conference.
The Sooners opened their season with a win over Arizona State last Sunday, taking down the Sun Devils 197.450-194.725.
Anastasia Webb impressed in the opener, taking three event titles and scoring a 39.650 that won the all-around and ranked second nationally.
The senior from Morton Grove, Illinois, will be looked at to anchor the squad now that Maggie Nichols has finished her eligibility.
“Honestly, she learned from the best,” Kindler said. “She just has a very unique athleticism about her with her power and her grace. She only wants to accept perfection, though we don’t always get it — I expect her senior year to be her best.”
Three Sooners made their debuts against Arizona State, with several more making event debuts.
Katherine LeVasseur was one freshman making her debut, earning a 9.925 on bars and taking home her first event title. Others included Audrey Davis and Audrey Lynn, both of whom impressed in their first meets in Lloyd Noble Center.
Kindler said the first meet was solid, but the team will be looking to iron a few things out against Utah, specifically in the team’s landings.
“I’ll be honest, the legs were very sore,” Kindler said laughing. “We worked on a lot of choreography this week, really sharpening our dance on floor and beam. So for this week really the small details — landings are definitely a focus for us, we landed superbly on balance beam but we can definitely do a better job on vault and bars.”
Kindler said the Sooners’ health is similar to the first meet, so lineups will look relatively close to the ones they threw at the Sun Devils.
Olivia Trautman, who was a key piece to the Sooners' 2019 national-title run, still is out due to injury. Kindler said that she could return in mid-February.
The Utes already have three wins under their belt, beating Utah State, Southern Utah and Brigham Young in the Rio Tinto Best of Utah meet.
“They’re an exceptional team,” Kindler said of the upcoming matchup. “I mean, honestly from top to bottom consistent across the board and very well coached. So we’re very excited for the challenge and it certainly will be a challenge.”