NORMAN — Going event-by-event to recap OU’s NCAA Regional Semifinal victory on Thursday night, Sooners coach KJ Kindler’s jump rotation recap was straightforward.
“Vault was out of this amazing world,” Kindler said. “Best Performances of the Year. Wow Wow Wow.”
Kindler had a feeling OU’s lineup of vaults was ready for a breakout night.
“They jumped so well in the gym,” Kindler said. “Lou (Ball) had a lot of fun with them and they’ve probably landed more jumps in the last two weeks than they’ve done all year.
“It’s all about awareness and consistency and I feel like their awareness is really good and if your awareness is good you can find that landing.”
Kindler’s sentiment about the group led by Ball, his longtime assistant who is the head jump coach, proved correct as the Sooners used the event to throw a score of 198.175 to win the semis. -Regional Finals Thursday at the Lloyd Noble Center.
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Arkansas finished second at 196.975 to join the top-ranked OU in Saturday’s 5 p.m. regional final. Minnesota and Cal advanced to the Regional Finals earlier Thursday.
The top two teams on Saturday will advance to the NCAA Championships April 14-16 in Fort Worth, Texas.
OU has won 11 consecutive regional titles.
The Sooners usually start on the vault at home, but in the playoffs an NCAA coin toss sets the order, so OU started on the floor exercise, posting a 49.525 before moving to the vault.
Senior Allie Stern started the event with a 9.900, followed by a 9.800 from Katherine LeVasseur, a 9.950 from Jordan Bowers, a 9.850 from Danielle Sievers, a 9.900 from Olivia Trautman and a 9.950 from Danae Fletcher to wrap up a performance of 49,550 in rotation.
The score tied the Sooners’ season high and was the program’s third-highest jump score in regional competition.
“It was really good,” Stern said. “All of our jumping team, we’ve had a good few weeks of training. We blocked more landings overall. We feed off each other, so when we started, I knew we were going to keep that momentum going.
Bowers, Sievers and Fletcher are all freshmen. The trio accounted for eight of the Sooners’ 24 roster spots on Thursday.
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OU finished the night with a 49.625 on the uneven bars and a 49.475 on the balance beam.
The Sooners’ 198.175 was the highest in the nation in Thursday’s regional semifinals. No. 2 Florida was the only other team to reach the 198 mark with a 198.125.
In a schedule change this season, teams will have a day off between regional rounds.
Kindler said the change had no effect on his approach to regionals, although OU were unlikely to finish in the top two to advance.
“We don’t take anything for granted,” Kindler said. “We put our best team there today.”
Arkansas was one of three unseeded teams to advance to the regional finals, as 16th-seeded Arizona State finished fourth in Thursday night’s session at 196.600.
Iowa and Stanford also advanced as unranked teams, knocking out No. 6 LSU and No. 13 Oregon State.
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: OU Sooners Jump in NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Regional Finals