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Big 12 Gymnastics Teams Head to Norman
March 22, 2012
The 2012 Big 12 Gymnastics Championship kicks off Saturday, March 24, at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla. The Sooners, who have claimed four Big 12 titles overall (2004, ‘08-10) will be looking to capture their fifth league crown. Iowa State has earned two titles (2000, ‘06) while Missouri will be competing for its first ever league championship win.

All three teams are nationally ranked heading into Saturday's competition. Oklahoma is No. 2 followed by No. 19 Missouri and No. 25 Iowa State.

Competition is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. CT with live scoring updates available on FSN will provide coverage of the event, which will be aired at a later date. Tickets are $10 for general public and $5 for students and youth.

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

Four-time Big 12 champion Oklahoma, guided by coach K.J. Kindler, features All-America tandem Megan Ferguson, Brie Olson and Sara Stone. Ferguson returns as defending co-champion on beam and has been named Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week five times in 2012. The senior is rated first nationally on floor, second on beam and third on bars, leading the league in all three events. Olson ranks second in the league on vault and bars, while Stone leads the conference and the nation on vault. As a team, the Sooners rank in the top five in all events, including a top nod on floor.

Missouri standout Rachel Updike has helped coach Rob Drass' Tigers to a top-25 ranking every week this year. The freshman leads conference competitors in weekly awards won this season, as she was tabbed Newcomer of the Week nine times. MU also returns 2011 Big 12 all-around champion Mary Burke, who stands at 12th nationally after capturing five individual titles. She was honored as Big 12 Gymnast of the Week on three occasions.

Coach Jay Ronayne's Iowa State squad is highlighted by all-arounder Michelle Browning, who pushed the Cyclones back into the top 25 national rankings. Browning, the reigning Big 12 Gymnast of the Year, recorded her career-best all-around score (39.425) in the Cyclones' closer against Nebraska. Teammate Celine Paulus tallied a 39.500 all-around, the highest score in the event by a Big 12 gymnast this season.

Following the Big 12 Championship, the conference's three squads will await their fate with NCAA Regional selections announced on Monday, March 26. The NCAA Championships will be held April 20-22 at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga.

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