No. 1 Oklahoma Aims To Focus 'On The Details' At Metroplex Challenge

Nicole Lehrmann Oklahoma

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Nicole Lehrmann knows the importance of every single meet. As a senior at Oklahoma who has already been part of two national championship teams, the native of Austin, Texas, sees every outing as a chance to get better.

So when the No. 1-ranked Sooners travel to Texas Saturday for the Metroplex Challenge, Lehrmann is looking at more than just the outcome.

“Looking for us to just staying within ourselves, focusing on the details,” Lehrmann said. “Not getting caught up in using the podium, and all those other, like there's more noise, all that kind of big arena, all that stuff, so not getting caught up in the little things and just focusing on what we do.”

The Metroplex Challenge is set for Saturday at 7:15 p.m. CT at the Fort Worth Convention Center Arena, the same location as the upcoming 2019 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships.

Oklahoma heads into the meet with a 4-0 record with convincing wins over No. 12 Arkansas, No. 5 Georgia, North Carolina and Ball State.

The Sooners' average score this season is 197.625. The next closest is UCLA at 197.475 and Florida at 197.400.

“Probably what stood out the most was that a lot of our freshman girls are on the floor and they're competing and showing off their skills and counting in some good scores for our team,” said sophomore Anastasia Webb. “I would probably want to see more improvement in floor and performance and landings and stuff like that.”

Oklahoma will face a different crop of competition at the Metroplex Challenge. Along with Arkansas, which it has already faced, Missouri and Denver will be on hand. Tigers' coach Shannon Welker said his squad is looking forward to competing in the high-level tournament.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Welker said. “I’m excited to see how our team responds in that type of environment. It’s really kind of a postseason environment with the podium, the set of the meet and being in a neutral site. So we’re excited for that.”

For the four teams competing, this will be the first time this season they will make use of the podium set up they will see in the postseason. It’s one of the few times during the regular season they will get that type of practice.

“The differences are just small things like the floor can feel slightly different, the equipment can feel different,” Lehrmann said. “And then it's just like being up there can just sometimes just disorient a little bit, but just as long as you stay in the zone you'll be A-Okay.”

However, Welker says, the differences are subtle.

“I think we just kind of stress the landing positions, especially on the floor. I find that to the one event you can get a little bit bouncy if your chest is a little bit forward,” Welker said. “Other than that, it really doesn’t change a whole lot of what we’re doing. We’re excited to compete on the podium. Great opportunity for us to prepare for some postseason events.”

Missouri (3-2) heads into the Metroplex Challenge coming off back-to-back defeats to Florida and Auburn, while Arkansas (1-2) lost to Kentucky last week. Oklahoma and Denver are a combined 10-0.

All four of the teams have faced some strong competition early in the season. The Challenge will be another weekend of intense, high-quality gymnastics.

“I think having some really good teams there, which all four of these teams are, I think that can help boost the scoring,” Welker said. “It loosens up those judging panels sometimes. They are not afraid to throw those big scores out there. We look at it as an opportunity for them to help us out, quite honestly. And it’s an opportunity for our kids to rise to the occasion and make it competitive all the way around.”

However, for the second straight meet, the Sooners will be without the services of Maggie Nichols, who is rehabbing a lower leg injury.

Despite that, Lehrmann believes the Sooners can keep on churning out strong performances.

“We just need to step up a little bit and make sure we're good under pressure because I'm really happy with bars and beam, I thought those were great,” Lehrmann said. “We need to work on our floor a little bit, get that depth in a little more and get our freshmen a little more experienced, and I think it'll all come together. I think just floor and vault we need a little bit more experience, a few more meets under our belt and I'm excited.”

Missouri knows the odds of taking down the Sooners with or without Nichols are long. But Welker said his squad is looking forward to taking its shot.

“We know Oklahoma is a very, very good team and they would most likely have to make some mistakes for any of the teams to knock them off,” Welker said. “But our job is to keep it competitive.”


Michael Kinney is a freelance content provider who handles sports, news, entertainment, culture, and lifestyles. You can find him on TwitterInstagram, and on his blog.

What To Expect From The Friendship & Solidarity International Competition

Get The FloSports App

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

After months without international competitions, gymnastics fans can mark their calendars for a treat at the beginning of November! On November 8th, a competition named “Friendship and Solidarity” will take place in Japan. As the name suggests, this one-day competition will be fun and lighthearted, getting gymnasts back into competition mode.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Elise Ray-Statz Resigns From Washington Women's Gymnastics Program

Elise Ray-Statz, Washington gymnastics

SEATTLE – University of Washington Director of Athletics Jennifer Cohen announced Wednesday that head women's gymnastics coach Elise Ray-Statz has resigned from her position, as Ray-Statz and her family are moving from the Seattle area.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Leanne Wong Shoots For Big Goals In 2021 and Beyond

Leanne Wong

After a disappointing end to her most recent competition season, the 2020 Coronavirus meet cancellations were even more shocking for Leanne Wong, who was left with something to prove. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

USAG Sending Six Athletes To Nov. 8 Friendship & Solidarity Competition

USA Gymnastics, Friendship & Solidarity

INDIANAPOLIS, October 14, 2020 – Six U.S. athletes will join delegations from China, Japan and Russia for an international friendly competition Nov. 8 in Tokyo, Japan. The one-day Friendship and Solidarity Competition will feature two teams – Team Friendship and Team Solidarity – which will be comprised of a mixture of artistic gymnasts from the participating nations.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

William & Mary Reinstate Women's Gymnastics, Swimming, & Volleyball

William & Mary Gymnastics

On Sept. 3, 2020, William & Mary announced the decision to discontinue seven of its 23 NCAA Division I varsity sports — Men's and Women's Gymnastics, Men's and Women's Swimming, Men's Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field, and Women's Volleyball — effective with the end of the 2020-21 academic year. The plan prepared by the Department of Athletics implemented discontinuations to address structural budget deficits exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and to begin remedying long-standing gender equity imbalances inconsistent with the requirements of Title IX.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

12 Things Chellsie Memmel Does In A Day That Most Elite Gymnasts Don't

Get The FloSports App

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Chellsie Memmel is just like any other elite gymnast working for a spot on the 2021 Tokyo Olympic team...oh, except that she’s 32, married with two kids, coming back out of retirement after eight years off...and a few other differences. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

25 Favorite Practice Leos: VOTE For Your Top Picks!

SB-1.jpg

GK Elite, Alpha Factor, Snowflake Designs, TumbleWear… these are just a few well-known gymnastics leo brands across the US. Leotard designs have the power to express so many things! Whether it be a classic leo or a statement leo, if you look good on comp day, you feel good. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Air Force Women's Gymnastics Announces Freshmen Class

Get The FloSports App

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

USAF ACADEMY, Colo. – The Falcon women's gymnastics team has announced the addition of six freshmen to the roster for the 2021 campaign. The newcomers will join 15 returners from the previous season.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

William & Mary Are The Latest School To Cut Their Gymnastics Teams

Katie Waldman, bars

This year is a disappointing time for all sports fans, and gymnastics fans are no exception. After months of canceled meets, pushing back the Olympics, and training centers on lockdown, the latest 2020 gymnastics disappointment is multiple NCAA programs cutting their gymnastics teams. William & Mary cut both their men’s and women’s gymnastics teams in early September, just the latest of many announcements this year about cutting teams. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Rutgers Gymnastics Announces 12 Newcomers

Myra Daniels

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Head Coach Umme Salim-Beasley announced the addition of 12 newcomers to the Rutgers gymnastics program in 2020-21. The newest Scarlet Knights include Avery Balser, Myra Daniels, Kylie Haffner, Rees Hagler, Jordan Halcom, Emily Leese, Calah Newman, Jaidyn Raby, Kieran Ross, Christiana Thompson, Emily Wood, and Stephanie Zannella.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In