Big 12 Gymnastics Teams Head to Ames for Championship
Courtesy: Big12Sports.com
          Release: 03/21/2013
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CHAMPIONSHIP CENTRAL

The 2013 Big 12 Gymnastics Championship kicks off Saturday, March 23, at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. The Cyclones, who have claimed two Big 12 titles overall (2000, ‘06) will be looking to capture their third league crown. Reigning champion Oklahoma has earned five titles (2004, ‘08-10, ‘12), while newcomer West Virginia will be competing for its first Big 12 championship.

The Sooners enter as the No. 2 team in the nation while the Mountaineers hold the No. 25 ranking.

Competition is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. CT. with live scoring updates available on Big12Sports.com. FSN will provide coverage of the event, which will be aired at a later date.

The top three finishers in each event are named to the All-Big 12 Championship Team, while Gymnast, Event Specialist, Newcomer, Scholar-Athlete and Coach of the Year awards will be presented at the conclusion of the meet.

OU head coach K.J. Kindler brings a squad that earned a Conference-best 13 All-Big 12 awards and nabbed the highest percentage of spots by any one team in league history. Senior Brie Olson and junior Taylor Spears led the way with three honors apiece. The Sooners finished the regular season with a national-best record of 19-1.

West Virginia standout Jaida Lawrence has helped the Mountaineers to a top 25 ranking this season. The freshman was the sole WVU representative on the all-conference team for her performance on vault this season. Lawrence currently ranks No. 3 in the Big 12 on vault with a 9.89 RQS; she ranks No. 34 nationally and No. 8 in the southeast region. This season, she has hit for a career-best 9.9 four times and has won the event six times.

Iowa State will look to junior Michelle Shealy. The 2011 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year has scored at least 9.850 on the apparatus in Iowa State’s past four meets. Shealy earned Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week on March 11 after winning the beam title at both Iowa and at a four-team meet that featured No. 3 Michigan, No. 6 UCLA and California. Shealy also set a new career high on bars (9.900) at the UCLA quad meet.

Following the Big 12 Championship, the Conference’s three squads will await their fate with NCAA Regional selections announced on Monday, March 25. The NCAA Championships will be held April 19-21 at Pauley Pavillion in Los Angeles.

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