Oklahoma's Chayse Capps has been named one of seven finalists for the prestigious AAI Award, recognizing the most outstanding senior female gymnast in the country. The honor is voted on by NCAA women's gymnastics head coaches and sponsored by American Athletic, Inc. (AAI).
The AAI Award is considered one of the highest honors given in the sport of NCAA women's gymnastics. Capps is Oklahoma's sixth consecutive finalist for the award, joining Megan Ferguson (2012), Brie Olson (2013), Taylor Spears (2014), Erica Brewer (2015) and Haley Scaman (2016).
Capps is joined by six additional finalists, including Nicole Artz (Michigan), Madeline Gardiner (Oregon State), Ashleigh Gnat (LSU), Kaytianna McMillan (Oregon State), Christine Peng-Peng Lee (UCLA) and Baely Rowe (Utah). The winner will be announced at a banquet held in conjunction with the NCAA Championships on April 14-15 in St. Louis, Mo.
“Chayse Capps is an extraordinary young woman," OU head coach K.J. Kindler said. "In gymnastics, hard work is her middle name. In the classroom, determination is her best friend. In church, compassion inspires her. She entered OU as a passionate, wide-eyed young girl on her first adventure away from home. She will graduate as one of the most mature, driven and accomplished gymnasts ever to come through our program. She leads our team by example and with integrity. Her athletic accomplishments speak for themselves and her character deserves a standing ovation.”
A member of OU’s teams that claimed their first two NCAA Championships in 2014 and 2016, Capps has been a vital part of OU’s success. During her OU career, the Sooners have secured a NCAA top-three finish each year, earned three consecutive NCAA Regional titles and four straight Big 12 Conference Championships.
Capps is 100 percent in participation, having competed in every single meet during her career. She boasts a hit percentage of 99, nailing 199 of her 201 routines performed thus far. As both a sophomore and junior, Capps hit 100 percent of her routines. A staple on vault, beam and floor her first three seasons, Capps broke into the bar lineup her junior year, adding the all-around to her resume for the first time in her career. Remarkably, she finished her 2016 campaign as the NCAA runner-up in the all-around.
The list of Capps’ individual honors is extensive. The 2016 South Central Region Gymnast of the Year and Co-Big 12 Gymnast of the Year, Capps also became just the second Sooner in program history to earn five All-America accolades in one season, joining Kelly Garrison (1988). In total, she has snagged eight NCAA All-America honors and has an additional five awards from the NACGC/W. Most recently, Capps was recognized as the 2017 Big 12 Gymnast of the Year. Currently as a senior, Capps is ranked in the top 20 on all four events and in the all-around, checking in tied for 19th on vault (9.895 RQS), tied for 18th on bars (9.900), tied for second on beam (9.955), ninth on floor (9.935) and third in the all-around (39.610).
The Plano, Texas, native has 53 event titles to her name. In her career, Capps has earned 15 Big 12 weekly awards, has been named All-Big 12 a total of 10 times and earned the league’s Newcomer of the Year award in 2014. Additionally, she has won five individual Big 12 titles and claimed four first-place finishes at NCAA Regionals.
Capps is an active volunteer at OU and in the Norman community. She is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes lead team, involved in children’s ministry at her church and is currently a teaching assistant for anatomy at OU. In addition to these activities, Capps has adopted four children through Compassion International, providing financial support and handwritten letters to them each month.
Capps excels in the classroom, holding a cumulative 3.58 GPA. She is set to graduate from OU in May of 2018 as a health and exercise science major. She is a three-time NACGC/W Scholastic All-American and a three-time Academic All-Big 12 selection.
The No. 1 overall seed Sooners will next compete at the NCAA Seattle Regional, where they will face No. 12 Kentucky, No. 13 Washington, No. 24 Utah State, Stanford and BYU on Saturday, April 1. The regional is set to begin at 6 p.m. CT inside Alaska Airlines Arena, and tickets are available for purchase online.