BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — After winning the program’s first national championship Saturday night, the Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team reeled in another national title Sunday afternoon. Senior Taylor Spears claimed the balance beam individual championship with a score of 9.925.
Spears was the final competitor on the apparatus and the last gymnast to perform a routine on the floor of the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex. After sticking her dismount, Spears knew she had a solid routine. But she still had not realized just how successful she and her teammates were over the weekend.
“Well, last night still hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Spears of the Sooners’ national championship. “But I was so proud of my team and to have them there the whole way through the season. It was amazing to see, and today was icing on the cake. It was an honor to make it to this final day. It was my first time to make it to finals and winning beam, it just makes it so much better.”
Spears also competed on uneven parallel bars, receiving a score of 9.825. She was joined by four teammates, who represented OU on all four apparatuses.
Sophomores Haley Scaman and Maile’ana Kanewa tied for second on floor exercise with scores of 9.95. Scaman scored a 9.9667 on vault, which was good enough for third place. Kanewa placed fourth Scaman with a 9.9417.
Senior Lara Albright competed on floor exercise, scoring a 9.9125 on the apparatus for the Sooners. Freshman Chayse Capps also saw action Sunday afternoon, competing on balance beam. She scored a 9.8625.
All of OU’s gymnasts had completed their individual routines as Spears mounted the balance beam. They watched with anticipation as she eloquently worked across the beam. Once she climbed down the stair to join the rest of the Sooners, Spears’ teammates held up both hands and demanded the judges give Spears a perfect 10. After seeing the 9.925, which catapulted Spears into the lead, they erupted.
“Event finals are about the best of the best,” Oklahoma coach K.J. Kindler said. “I know Taylor does that routine the same way five times a day. Being Taylor’s last performance and not over pressuring herself, I know it was very exciting to see for her.
“This was a very special weekend for our team. We’re going to miss Taylor, her leadership has been invaluable for our team.”