2018 Big 12 Championship

Big 12 Championships Preview: Oklahoma Sooners Aiming To Defend Titles

Big 12 Championships Preview: Oklahoma Sooners Aiming To Defend Titles

The Big 12 Championships in Ames, Iowa, have it all: the defending national champion Sooners, a fresh challenger in Denver, and teams aiming for an upset.

Mar 14, 2018 by Justine Kelly
Big 12 Championships Preview: Oklahoma Sooners Aiming To Defend Titles

The Big 12 Gymnastics Championships will take place on Saturday, March 24, at the Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa, and FloGymnastics will be on-site and live-streaming the competition. The Iowa State Cyclones will host the championships this year and will be joined by the defending champions the Oklahoma Sooners, the Denver Pioneers, and the West Virginia Mountaineers. 

To get to know the teams competing in the Big 12 Championships, we’ve provided a preview of each team, including important statistics like current RQS (Regional Qualifying Score). At a certain point in the season, RQS scores take effect when determining rankings. It is calculated by looking at a team’s top six scores from the season (of which three must be from away meets), removing the highest score, and taking the average of the remaining five scores. This year, RQS came into play on February 26. 

Of the teams competing at Big 12s, Oklahoma has the highest RQS — and the highest in the country — at 197.995, followed by Denver at 196.525, Iowa State at 195.945, and West Virginia at 195.865. 

Check out the rest of the stats at this point in the season and things to watch for below:

The Perennial Favorite: Oklahoma

Oklahoma is the favorite to win the Big 12 Championships. Not only are they the No. 1-ranked team in the country at the moment, but they have also won the title for the past six consecutive years. Their incredible numbers from this season can do all the talking — check out their stats below.

Team Ranking: No. 1
Team RQS: 197.995
Team Average: 197.814
Season High: 198.375
Season Low: 196.425

Other than the 196.425 that the team scored against Nebraska in mid-February, the Sooners have scored above a 198 in every meet since the end of January. They achieved their highest score of the year of 198.375 in a meet against Michigan on March 3. It also happens to be the third-highest score in program history and the highest this season by any team.

In terms of events, the Sooners have gone 49.5+ on every event so far this season, with their high being a 49.775 on beam in a meet against UCLA in early February. That score included two 10.0s, one scored by sophomore Maggie Nichols, and the other by freshman Anastasia Webb. Check out the full stats for each event below:

Team Vault Ranking: No. 1
Highest Team Vault Score: 49.65

Team Bars Ranking: No. 2
Highest Team Bars Score: 49.625 

Team Beam Ranking: No. 2
Highest Team Beam Score: 49.775

Team Floor Ranking: No. 3
Highest Team Floor Score: 49.575 

In terms of all-arounders, the Sooners rely on Nichols, Webb, and most recently Nicole Lehrmann, who has started appearing in the floor lineup. Nichols takes the cake with the three highest all-around scores this season and has scored 39.900 twice, meaning she only got one tenth in deductions across all four events. 

On vault, Nichols and Brenna Dowell have both scored perfect 10.0s this season and tend to provide the highest scorers for the team on this event. Both gymnasts also put up big scores on bars, along with Webb, Lehrmann, and Stefani Catour. On beam, all-arounder stars Nichols and Webb have both scored perfect 10.0s. Sophomore Bre Showers is another key beamer, as is Catour. On floor, Nichols has achieved the highest score for the team with a 9.975 twice. Other key contributors as Webb, Dowell, and senior AJ Jackson. Check out the full stats below: 

Top AA Scores: 

  1. Maggie Nichols - 39.900
  2. Maggie Nichols - 39.900
  3. Maggie Nichols - 39.825

Top Vault Scores:

  1. 10.000 - Maggie Nichols, Brenna Dowell
  2. 9.975 - Brenna Dowell, Maggie Nichols (x2)
  3. 9.950 - Anastasia Webb, Brenna Dowell (x2), Maggie Nichols

Top Bars Scores:

  1. 9.95 - Maggie Nichols (x6), Nicole Lehrmann (x4), Anastasia Webb
  2. 9.925 - Maggie Nichols (x2), Brenna Dowell (x2), Anastasia Webb (x2), Stefani Catour (x2), Nicole Lehrmann
  3. 9.900 - Brenna Dowell (x4), Nicole Lehrmann (x4), Stefani Catour, AJ Jackson

Top Beam Scores:

  1. 10.000 - Maggie Nichols (x3), Anastasia Webb
  2. 9.975 - Maggie Nichols (x2), Bre Showers
  3. 9.950 - Stefani Catour (x2), Anastasia Webb, Maggie Nichols, Carly Woodard

Top Floor Scores: 

  1. 9.975 - Maggie Nichols (x2)
  2. 9.950 - Maggie Nichols (x3), Anastasia Webb, Brenna Dowell, AJ Jackson
  3. 9.925 - AJ Jackson (x2), Anastasia Webb (x2), Brenna Dowell, Nicole Lehrmann, Maggie Nichols

The New Team On The Block: Denver

Denver is somewhat new to the Big 12, having joined in 2016. The team is currently ranked No. 15 in the country and is capable of scoring into the 197 territory. If anyone can challenge Oklahoma for the title this year, it’s Denver.

Team Ranking: No. 15
Team RQS: 196.525
Team Average: 196.415
Season High: 197.300
Season Low: 195.050

The team’s high score this season of 197.300 was achieved on senior night this year, at their final home meet. The achievement actually tied the program’s third-highest score in history. Denver have impressive high scores on each event as a team as well, with their highest being on floor with a 49.475, which they achieved in a meet at home against Utah State early in the season.

Team Vault Ranking: No. 11
Highest Team Vault Score: 49.275

Team Bars Ranking: No. 11
Highest Team Bars Score: 49.400

Team Beam Ranking: No. 14
Highest Team Beam Score: 49.425

Team Floor Ranking: No. 14
Highest Team Floor Score: 49.475

Denver’s top all-around competitor is sophomore Maddie Karr, who claims the top-three all-around scores this season for the Pioneers. Karr has also scored some of the highest numbers on vault, along with freshman Lynnzee Brown and senior Nikole Addison. On bars, Karr has scored the highest for the team this season with a 9.950, and she has accomplished the same number on beam. Along with Brown, Emily Glynn and Mia Sundstrom are two other star freshmen who have put up big numbers on bars for the team. On beam, top contributors are Karr, Sundstrom, and junior Kaitlyn Schou, and the top floor scores are largely dominated by Karr and Addison.

Top AA Scores: 

  1. Maddie Karr - 39.750
  2. Maddie Karr - 39.725
  3. Maddie Karr - 39.625

Top Vault Scores:

  1. 9.975 - Maddie Karr
  2. 9.925 - Maddie Karr (x3), Lynnzee Brown
  3. 9.900 - Maddie Karr (x4), Nikole Addison (x2), Lynnzee Brown  

Top Bars Scores:

  1. 9.950 - Maddie Karr
  2. 9.925 - Diana Chesnok
  3. 9.900 - Maddie Karr (x6), Emily Glynn (x4), Mia Sundstrom (x2)

Top Beam Scores:

  1. 9.950 - Maddie Karr (x2), Kaitlyn Schou
  2. 9.925 - Kaitlyn Schou (x2), Mia Sundstrom, Maddie Karr
  3. 9.900 - Kaitlyn Schou (x2), Maddie Karr (x2) Mia Sundstrom

Top Floor Scores: 

  1. 9.950 - Lynnzee Brown, Mia Sundstrom
  2. 9.925 - Maddie Karr (x5), Nikole Addison (x4)
  3. 9.900 - Maddie Karr (x2), Nikole Addison (x2), Lynnzee Brown (x2)

On The Up-&-Up: Iowa State

Iowa State has improved continuously as the season has gone on. They started their season in the low 195 range but have improved to score their highest last weekend with a 196.700. The team finished last at Big 12s last year and will be looking to improve their standing this time around.

Team Ranking: No. 26
Team RQS: 195.945
Team Average: 195.730
Season High: 196.700
Season Low: 194.975

In their recent season-high meet, Iowa State upset Missouri to come up on top in a tri-competition with Iowa. Senior Haylee Young also won the vault and floor titles, while junior Meaghan Sievers won the all-around. They also put up their highest scores as a team on both bars and floor during this competition.

Team Vault Ranking: No. 24
Highest Team Vault Score: 49.150

Team Bars Ranking: No. 28
Highest Team Bars Score: 49.300

Team Beam Ranking: No. 26
Highest Team Beam Score: 49.225

Team Floor Ranking: No. 36
Highest Team Floor Score: 49.450

Iowa State has three solid all-around competitors in Young, Sievers and senior Kelsey Paz. Young and Sievers have put up the top scores, with Young scoring the highest for the season with a 39.550. Young also contributes some of the highest scores on vault, bars and floor, while Sievers’ highest numbers are on vault and bars. Other key competitors include senior Hilary Green, who has the top score of the season on bars, and senior Briana Ledesma, who has put up big numbers for the team on floor.

Top AA Scores: 

  1. Haylee Young - 39.550
  2. Haylee Young - 39.450
  3. Meaghan Sievers - 39.425

Top Vault Scores:

  1. 9.900 - Haylee Young (x2), Meaghan Sievers (x2)
  2. 9.875 - Meaghan Sievers (x3), Haylee Young
  3. 9.850 - Meaghan Sievers (x3), Haylee Young (x2), Sophie Steinmeyer (x2) 

Top Bars Scores:

  1. 9.925 - Hilary Green, Madeline Johnston
  2. 9.900 - Hilary Green, Meaghan Sievers
  3. 9.875 - Meaghan Sievers (x3), Hilary Green (x2), Kelsey Paz, Haylee Young

Top Beam Scores:

  1. 9.925 - Haylee Young
  2. 9.900 - Haylee Young (x2), Molly Russ
  3. 9.875 - Haylee Young, Kelsey Paz

Top Floor Scores: 

  1. 9.925 - Haylee Young
  2. 9.900 - Haylee Young, Briana Ledesma, Meaghan Sievers
  3. 9.875 - Kelsey Paz (x2) Briana Ledesma, Ariana Orrego, Molly Russ, Haylee Young

Making History: West Virginia

Several of the teams in the Big 12 have either tied or set school records this year, and West Virginia is no different. At their road meet on Sunday against George Washington and Pittsburgh, the team put up their highest score of the season with a 196.425 to finish second and beat Pittsburgh. In addition to it being their highest of the season, the team’s score is also their best road score since 2012.

Team Ranking: No. 29
Team RQS: 195.865
Team Average: 195.518
Season High: 196.425
Season Low: 194.425

Like Iowa State, the Mountaineers set season records on several events in their season-high meet, including on bars (49.150) and on beam (49.125).

Team Vault Ranking: No. 13
Highest Team Vault Score: 49.325

Team Bars Ranking: No. 39
Highest Team Bars Score: 49.150

Team Beam Ranking: No. 30
Highest Team Beam Score: 49.125

Team Floor Ranking: No. 28
Highest Team Floor Score: 49.325

The Mountaineers do not use any consistent all-around competitors, but senior Zaakira Muhammad has competed the most on all four and has notched the two highest all-around scores this season. Muhammad is also one of the team’s top performers on all four, but especially on beam this year. Abby Kaufman competed one meet in the all-around and achieved the third highest score for the team this year with a 38.950. One of the team’s top three-event specialists is Kirah Koshinski, who has gone 9.95 on both vault and floor this year. 

Top AA Scores: 

  1. Zaakira Muhammad - 39.400
  2. Zaakira Muhammad - 39.350
  3. Abby Kaufman - 38.950

Top Vault Scores:

  1. 9.950 - Kirah Koshinski
  2. 9.925 - Robyn Bernard (x2)
  3. 9.900 - Kirah Koshinski (x5), Zaakira Muhammad

Top Bars Scores:

  1. 9.925 - Chloe Cluchey
  2. 9.875 - Zaakira Muhammad, Jaquie Tun
  3. 9.850 - Jaquie Tun (x2)

Top Beam Scores:

  1. 9.875 - Carly Galpin (x2), Zaakira Muhammad, Jaquie Tun
  2. 9.850 - Carly Galpin (x2), Zaakira Muhammad (x2), Kirah Koshinski
  3. 9.825 - Abby Kaufman (x2), Kirah Koshinski, Jordan Gillette

Top Floor Scores: 

  1. 9.950 - Kirah Koshinski
  2. 9.925 - Kirah Koshinski
  3. 9.900 - Kirah Koshinski, Zaakira Muhammad

Don't forget to watch the Big 12 Championships LIVE on FloGymnastics!

**Note: All statistics via Road To Nationals