2019 Preview – Oklahoma Sooners

Brenna Dowell
  • Competed VT, UB, FX every meet in 2018
  • Hit 45-for-45 routines
  • RQS of 9.945 on VT, 9.915 on FX, 9.910 on UB
  • Performed 1 exhibition on BB in 2018
Ashley Hiller
  • Did not compete in 2018 following transfer from Florida
  • Competed 4 FXs, 1 VT in first two years at UF
Nicole Lehrmann
  • Competed VT, UB, BB every meet in 2018
  • Ranked #5 nationally on UB
  • RQS of 9.955 on UB, 9.885 on BB, 9.870 on VT
  • Competed 4 FXs in 2018 for 9.806 avg
  • Training Y1.5
Alex Marks
  • Competed 7 VTs in 2018 for 9.835 RQS
  • Missed majority of 2018 season with injury
  • Returned on VT at nationals for 9.894 avg
  • Vaults 10.0-start Y1.5
  • Hit 1 of 2 FX routines in 2018
Maggie Nichols
  • Ranked #1 nationally in AA in 2018
  • Ranked #1 nationally on VT, #2 on BB, #3 on FX, and #7 on UB
  • No RQS lower than 9.950 in 2018 season
Brehanna Showers
  • Returned from injury in 2018 to make all four postseason lineups
  • RQS of 9.910 on BB, 9.875 on FX, 9.845 on VT
  • Average of 9.854 on UB
Jordan Draper
  • Competed 1 FX in 2018 for 9.775
Evy Schoepfer
  • Competed 10 FXs for 9.855 RQS in 2018
  • Performed 2 VTs for 9.813 avg
  • Trained Y1.5 on VT
Karrie Thomas
  • Transfer from Maryland
  • Competed weekly UB, BB, FX for Maryland in 2018
  • RQS of 9.850 FX, 9.820 UB, 9.795 BB
Anastasia Webb
  • Competed AA in 10 of 15 meets in 2018
  • Made final S6 lineups on UB, BB, FX
  • RQS of 9.915 FX, 9.910 BB, 9.900 UB, 9.890 VT
  • Can VT 10.0 start Omelianchik or Y1.5
Carly Woodard
  • Competed 5 BBs in 2018, hitting 4
  • Peak score of 9.950
Emma LaPinta
  • Kurt Thomas
  • 20th AA, 2018 JO Nationals
Allie Stern
  • Perfect Balance
  • 1st place VT, 2017 JO Nationals
Olivia Trautman
  • Twin City
  • 3rd AA, 1st FX – 2018 JO Nationals
  • Has Y1.5 on VT

2018 – 2nd
2017 – 1st
2016 – 1st
2015 – 3rd
2014 – 1st
2013 – 2nd
2012 – 7th
2011 – 3rd
2010 – 2nd
2009 – 10th

Oklahoma is really thrilled about finishing second last year. So much fun with second place. La la la. Everything’s great.

Obviously, they’ve been accidentally shattering wine glasses about it all offseason—after spending the entire 2018 season as the best team in the country, breaking the all-time RQS mark, and then recording the 6th-best score in Super Six history only to be defeated on the day by the smallest of margins. As such, it’s not really a postseason that Oklahoma will look back on in a “what went wrong” kind of way—other than the mistake not to hack the NCAA in the dead of night so that they could have ended on beam instead of UCLA.

The finish in 2018 also makes the story for Oklahoma’s 2019 season fairly straightforward. The Sooners did everything except win the title last season, so this year, rectifying that with a championship will be the only satisfying result, as well as a very attainable one. Anything less will feel like a letdown.

VAULT 2019
Lineup locks:  Maggie Nichols, Brenna Dowell
Lineup options: Olivia Trautman, Anastasia Webb, Nicole Lehrmann, Jade DeGouveia, Brehanna Showers, Allie Stern, Evy Schoepfer, Alex Marks

In 2019, Oklahoma will once again march toward that long-sought holy grail, a postseason vault lineup of entirely 10.0 starts. It hasn’t ever happened before but once again looks possible for Oklahoma this season.

I listed only Nichols and Dowell as locks for this lineup because there’s some serious competition among the remaining 1.5 options as to who can snatch the other four spots. But, Nichols and Dowell have the best vaults on the team and will lead the scoring again. The only question is lineup position. At times last season, Dowell was held to 9.900 in that third spot for a vault that would have received a 50.97million in the final spot, so we could see a little experimentation this year to find the most score-smart order.

Beyond the big two, there’s Olivia Trautman. Her most compelling contributions will come on the power events, and she looks likely to join the six with a 1.5 of her own to make up for the loss of Jackson’s vaulting.

In a twist, Anastasia Webb did not make the final vault lineup last season after struggling with her Omelianchik and has now switched to the Y1.5 for 2019. Also upgrading to the 1.5 this year is Nicole Lehrmann, and both vaults look compelling in preseason training in that they’re exactly identical to each other and to all the other brunette 1.5s with a casually messy bun and small landing adjustment.

There’s more. Allie Stern is delivering a 1.5 this year, and Jade Degouveia competed a 1.5 in the postseason lineup each of the last two seasons, which brings us to seven Y1.5s. That’s why a full lineup of 10.0s seems like…not a stretch for Oklahoma this year. Still, not to be completely overcome by 10.0-fever, Bre Showers vaults a strong full that made the lineup last season and is likely to remain a compelling option over any of the 1.5s that might have landing problems.

BARS 2019
Lineup locks: Maggie Nichols, Nicole Lehrmann, Brenna Dowell
Lineup options: Anastasia Webb, Brehanna Showers, Olivia Trautman, Karrie Thomas, Jade Degouveia

Oklahoma is of course an excellent bars team. (I don’t need to do a lot of “this is a good event for Oklahoma,” right? We’re past that? We know they’re all good events? Cool.) This year’s roster, however, does not present too, too many bars routines. The five lineup returners are the only members of the team who’ve ever competed a bars routine and a number of gymnasts in the group of 15 don’t do bars at all. So, expect a 2019 lineup that is quite constant from meet to meet and quite reminiscent of what we saw last season.

The weekly 9.9s from Nichols, Lehrmann, and Dowell will be back, as will the occasional 9.9s from Showers and Webb, since all five earned a continuing presence in the lineup with their performances last season.

Right now it’s looking like it will be Olivia Trautman for the final spot in the lineup. Bars is not her main thing, but she’s certainly capable of producing a lineup-ready routine. It would also be very Oklahoma to come up with some new and unexpected person who’s like, “Oh, yawn, didn’t I tell you I’m bars now?” and in that regard, Jade Degouveia has been working bars this preseason.

BEAM 2019
Lineup locks: Maggie Nichols, Nicole Lehrmann, Brehanna Showers, Anastasia Webb
Lineup options: Olivia Trautman, Carly Woodard, Brenna Dowell, Karrie Thomas

On beam, Oklahoma returns four of the six members of last season’s lineup, all of whom are capable of 9.9+s and should make the final group again this season. Nichols remains the 9.950-10 in this lineup, and every lineup, but Lehrmann and Webb are inching ever closer to that level, as is Showers who has yet to reach the full scoring potential that her amplitude and originality could allow her to achieve.

So basically, Oklahoma is left with the task of finding two new routines that can maintain the 49.5 level we have come to expect of an Oklahoma beam lineup.

For someone who has literally never competed a counting beam routine in three seasons, Brenna Dowell sure does take up a lot of our time in discussing Oklahoma’s beam lineup. The reason being, Dowell is a prominent elite who’s very capable of a big beam score and of succeeding on this event—but hasn’t ever made the cut. We also have a grand tradition in NCAA of seniors finally figuring out beam and suddenly excelling in their final seasons, which is all triumphant and feelings or whatever, and Dowell seems like a prime nominee to carry that banner.

Yes, we may see Dowell on beam this year, the challenge being that she has some real competition for those final two spots from Olivia Trautman, who is very strong on beam, and from Carly Woodard, who showed several successful routines last season and whose style and extension are tremendous. If we’re going by routines shown in the intrasquad at the beginning of this month, Dowell would be my alternate for beam, but it will be a journey this season.

FLOOR 2019
Lineup locks: Maggie Nichols, Brenna Dowell, Anastasia Webb, Olivia Trautman
Lineup options: Brehanna Showers, Allie Stern, Evy Schoepfer, Nicole Lehrmann, Karrie Thomas, Jade Degouveia, Jordan Draper, Ashley Hiller

Oklahoma did have to work through some depth concerns on floor at the beginning of the 2018 season, engaging in quite a bit of experimentation to find out the best choices for those early spots. This season should not present quite the same conundrum.

The easiest solution would be to retain the returning five from last season’s final lineup (Nichols, Webb, Dowell, Showers, Schoepfer) and simply add Olivia Trautman to replace Jackson’s routine. Trautman is a big tumbler I’d bet on making her way into this lineup. But those early-lineup routines from 2018 shouldn’t be considered locks despite ultimately getting the job done. There may be stronger choices this time around. I would not be remotely surprised, for instance, to see Allie Stern fight her way into this lineup to boost the quotient of E passes with her full-in. Like vault, floor is an event where Oklahoma should enjoy a net gain of depth for 2019.

I’ve named seven likely choices so far, but the result of last season’s January experimentation is that Oklahoma’s roster presents several more realistic-seeming options than it might have otherwise appeared, options from the likes of Lehrmann and Degouveia, who could be considered for spots. Also keep transfer Karrie Thomas from Maryland in mind. If we see her, we’ll see her on floor, which is her strongest piece. The depth of options should be there this year.

9 thoughts on “2019 Preview – Oklahoma Sooners”

      1. That’s correct, they only have to sit out a season if they transfer from the same conference. In that regard, Hiller DID NOT sit out a season because Florida isn’t in the same conference as Oklahoma. She just didn’t make any lineups her first season with Oklahoma, which wasn’t surprising given their depth.

  1. OU & UF aren’t in the same conference – I think it depends on whether the school the athlete transfers from releases them to compete the next year.

  2. The 2018 Oklahoma media guide described Hiller as a potential contributor on FX – so I’m guessing she just didn’t crack the lineup at IT last year. Her high scores at UF were 9.7 on VT & 9.775 on FX, so it would have been tough on a team as strong as Oklahoma.

  3. I don’t believe Hiller was “forced” to sit out per transfer rules in 2017-18. I think Hiller just couldn’t crack the OU lineups. I suppose she could use last season as a redshirt year if she wanted and return to OU in 2019-20 – though I doubt OU would offer her a scholarship so she’d have to walk on.

  4. I realize this is the most unimportant addition ever, but Brenna Dowell did *at least two* beam exhibitions in 2018. She did an exhibition beam routine at the North Carolina meet, which is the one on youtube, and I was in the audience at the Alabama-OU meet, where she did another one. I just don’t think it was televised.

    Truly, this is the most important update of 2018.

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