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OU women's gymnastics notebook: Balance beam helps Sooners build momentum

FORT WORTH, Texas — While it was Oklahoma’s response in the aftermath of a fall on the floor exercise that righted the ship and sent the Sooners sailing toward their third national championship in four seasons, it was the balance beam that built the initial momentum toward the title.

“No doubt about it,” Sooners coach K.J. Kindler said. “They were on task. Yesterday they were a little nervy, a little wobbly. Tonight you didn’t see that.”

Kindler credited freshman Olivia Trautman with helping kick that off.

“She goes out there and nails her routine,” Kindler said. “It just builds the confidence as each person goes and obviously it was a huge difference maker.”

Each OU gymnast on beam bettered her score from the night before, as Oklahoma posted a 49.6125 in the event.

Nichols fights injuries to help Sooners take title

The night before, Kindler had raved about the way her star, Maggie Nichols, had performed after having only two weeks to redo her floor routine once it was determined she would perform on the floor.

Nichols won the all-around title Friday after not competing in the floor exercise since early January.

It turns out, it was even more impressive.

After the Sooners won the title, Kindler said Nichols hadn’t been able to do her full floor routine until Oklahoma arrived in Fort Worth, not landing her double pike on the floor until practicing Thursday.

“You don’t see people stick vaults like that, you don’t see people nail routine after routine,” Kindler said. “It’s just unbelievable how she can come up with it time after time.

“In my book, she’s No. 1.”

Kindler said Nichols would take some time to rest before beginning to prepare for her senior season.

Related Photos
<strong>Oklahoma's Anastasia Webb performs on the beam during the NCAA championships Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas. [AP Photo/Cooper Neill]</strong>

Oklahoma's Anastasia Webb performs on the beam during the NCAA championships Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas. [AP Photo/Cooper Neill]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-5f10a19091f4f4139c035ce8de59c2f4.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma's Anastasia Webb performs on the beam during the NCAA championships Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas. [AP Photo/Cooper Neill] " title=" Oklahoma's Anastasia Webb performs on the beam during the NCAA championships Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas. [AP Photo/Cooper Neill] "><figcaption> Oklahoma's Anastasia Webb performs on the beam during the NCAA championships Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas. [AP Photo/Cooper Neill] </figcaption></figure>
Ryan Aber

Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The... Read more ›

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