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OU women's gymnastics: Ragan Smith playing bigger role, Audrey Lynn return possible late in year

OU's Ragan Smith competes in the floor routine during a meet against Arkansas last January. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]
OU's Ragan Smith competes in the floor routine during a meet against Arkansas last January. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]

After earning Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honors last season, Ragan Smith is playing a much bigger role for this year’s OU women’s gymnastics team.

Heading into Sunday’s matchup against West Virginia (6:45 p.m., ESPNU), Smith has competed in bars, beam and floor in every meet and competed in the vault against Utah.

“Her confidence has definitely grown,” Sooners coach K.J. Kindler said. “Her competitiveness has gotten a little more fiery.”

Smith added a new release move on the uneven bars, learning it in three months.

“She’s handling that I think really well,” Kindler said. “She had a little hiccup in the lasthome meet but but it’s more consistent in practice than her other one and it has more amplitude — it’s better executed. So it was definitely the right move.”

News positive on Lynn

In the immediate aftermath of the Sooners’ win over Utah on Jan. 17, it looked like they’d be without freshman Audrey Lynn for the rest of the season after Lynn suffered an injury in warmups.

But the news has been good for the freshman from Norman.

Initially it was thought Lynn had suffered a fracture but X-rays revealed no fracture, instead suffering from a high-ankle sprain.

She figures to return late in the season.

“We have to get the swelling out, A lot has to happen. She’s moving around well, she’s walking around well but we’re just starting to jog,” Kindler said. “It’s going to take a little bit of time but it’s very promising.”

Lynn shared the vault title in the season-opening win over Arizona State.

The Sooners remain without Olivia Trautman and Carly Woodard with injuries as well.

Depth continues to prove important

Kindler isn’t a stranger to juggling lineups due to injuries.

Early in the 2019 season, which the Sooners finished by winning the national championship, they fought through a rash of injuries as well.

Kindler said this year’s team was better equipped to handle the injuries.

“The adversity is similar but in a totally different scope because, add COVID on top of all of these injuries and you’re in a totally different scenario,” Kindler said. “Though we have those five out we also have the possibility of having many others out on testing days depending on how those come back. It’s kind of pins and needles right now with the injuries coupled with the COVID.

“I’d be perfectly happy if adversity would like to take a vacation from the women’s gymnastics team.”

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 ›