Sooners Ranked No. 1 In Preseason Coaches Poll
NORMAN, Oklahoma - For the second consecutive season, the Oklahoma women's gymnastics team has been picked No. 1 in the preseason coaches poll, the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women (NACGC/W) announced. The Sooners received 47 of 72 first-place votes in the ranking.
Defending NCAA Champion OU (2,519 points) sits 107 points ahead of No. 2 LSU (2,412 points) in the standings. No. 3 Alabama (2,336 points), No. 4 UCLA (2,328 points) and No. 5 Florida (2,291 points) round out the top five spots of the poll.
"It's an honor for our team to receive this vote of confidence," OU head coach K.J. Kindler said. "Yet, we all have a long season ahead and a lot of work and competition in front of us. We need to focus on our health and fitness as well as continue to be detail oriented in our routine training. We are so excited to get started!"
This season’s poll marks the seventh straight year that the Sooners have been ranked in the top five nationally to begin the season. OU was selected No. 1 in 2016, No. 2 in 2015, No. 3 in 2014 and No. 4 in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
OU has now opened 12 consecutive seasons ranked in the top 10 nationally and the last 17 years ranked in the top 25. The Sooners have been ranked in the preseason top 10 every season under Kindler.
Overall, 11 of OU’s regular-season opponents are ranked in the preseason poll, including seven squads listed in the top 10 nationally.
The Sooners will host five teams ranked within the top 14 at Lloyd Noble Center in 2017. OU will open the season at 6:45 p.m. CT on Friday, Jan. 6, against No. 3 Alabama in a matchup of two Super Six squads from a season ago.
Fans can snag season tickets to catch every moment of top-ranked OU's exciting home slate, which also features contests against No. 4 UCLA (Jan. 15), No. 12 Nebraska, No. 14 Denver and TWU (Feb. 3) and No. 9 Georgia (Feb. 24).
Additionally, single-meet tickets are available for purchase, including a $2 ticket promo for OU's season opener against Alabama. The promo is available online at SoonerSports.com/PromoCode with code FLIP2LNC or at the doors the night of the meet.
In road contests against ranked opponents, the Sooners travel to No. 29 West Virginia for a Big 12 meet (Jan. 21) and face No. 8 Auburn at the Perfect 10 Challenge in Oklahoma City (Feb. 10). The GYMQuarters Invitational, scheduled for Feb. 12 in St. Charles, Mo., features a stacked field with No. 2 LSU, No. 9 Georgia and No. 19 Missouri. OU also takes on No. 7 Michigan (March 4) and No. 10 California (March 12) in away matches.
From its 2016 national championship squad, OU returns six gymnasts who combined for 12 All-America honors in seniors Chayse Capps, Charity Jones and McKenzie Wofford, juniors Natalie Brown and AJ Jackson and sophomore Nicole Lehrmann. Also returning to the squad following a one-year deferment is 2015 World Championship Gold medalist, Brenna Dowell. As a freshman, Dowell earned two All-America honors at the 2015 NCAA Championships.
In addition to the returners, the Sooners also add newcomers Maggie Nichols, Jade Degouveia and Brehanna Showers. Along with Dowell, Nichols helped lead Team USA to a Gold medal at the 2015 World Championships. Degouveia and Showers, both members of the USA Junior Olympic National team, round out the freshman class.
2017 PRESEASON COACHES POLL
13 Oregon State
15 Boise State
23 Penn State
25 George Washington
26 Southern Utah
27 Ohio State
28 Michigan State
29 West Virginia
30 Utah State
31 Central Michigan
32 Kent State
33 North Carolina State
34 Eastern Michigan
35 New Hampshire