The second-ranked Oklahoma Sooners garnered the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Champaign Regional which takes place at Huff Hall in Champaign, Ill. The Sooners are coming off their program-best postseason score of 197.475 that earned OU its fourth Big 12 Championship title in five seasons. Joining OU in Champaign is No. 11 Stanford, No. 14 Denver, No. 22 Illinois, No. 24 Kentucky and Illinois-Chicago. Oklahoma will be eyeing its third-straight regional title and ninth-consecutive NCAA Championship berth. The Sooners are the only Big 12 program to advance to NCAA Championships every year since 2004.
Under the direction of Big 12 Coach of the Year, K.J. Kindler, Oklahoma has defeated eight top-25 opponents this season, including an upset over No. 2 Arkansas. The Sooners handed No. 5 Alabama its first loss of the year and have posted seven team scores of 197.000 or better. The Sooners are led by the All-America tandem of Megan Ferguson, Brie Olson and Sara Stone. Ferguson, the Big 12 Event Specialist of the Year, garnered the Big 12 beam title for the second-straight year, as well as earned the Big 12 bars crown. Olson captured the Big 12 all-around title in her first all-around appearance, while Stone leads the nation and conference on vault.
Heading to Fayetteville, Ark., is 19th-ranked Missouri. The bid marks the Tigers' 11th-consecutive regional appearance, and the 24th in program history. MU is seeded fourth in the regional and will compete against No. 3 UCLA, No. 10 Arkansas, No. 15 Boise State, New Hampshire and Maryland. Pacing the Tigers is freshman standout Rachel Updike who was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. Updike took home second-place honors in the all-around at the Big 12 Championship. Teammate Mary Burke earned the Gymnast of the Year distinction, becoming just the second Mizzou gymnast to receive the honor.
The Cyclones were tabbed a fourth seed in the Salt Lake City Regional, where they will face host and No. 8 Utah. ISU will be amongst familiar company, having already competed against No. 5 Nebraska and No. 17 Minnesota this season. Iowa State went 1-1 against the Gophers and nearly upset NU in its regular-season finale. Senior Celine Paulus claimed the Big 12 vault title with her 9.950 mark. She is joined by 2011 Big 12 Gymnast of the Year Michelle Browning as they look to earn their first NCAA Championship berth since 2006.
The top two teams and top two all-around competitors (who are not on an advancing team) from each regional will receive an automatic berth to NCAA Championships held April 20-22 in Duluth, Ga. The event winners at each regional site will advance to the national championships (in that event only) if they are not part of a qualifying team or an all-around qualifier.
Semifinals commence at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. Friday, April 20, at the Gwinnett Center. Super Six Team Finals will take place on April 21 and Individual Event Finals will be held April 22.