Photo: Courtesy of DenverPioneers.com
Get ready for what may be an epic gymnastics battle Sunday between #7 Denver vs. #1 Oklahoma at Magness Arena.
Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart’s squad has always made noise in gymnastic NCAA Regionals (19 consecutive invitations) and has had their share of individual stars (Maddie Karr, Lynnzee Brown, and Jessica Lopez) to name just a few. They advanced to nationals as recently as 2008 and 2017 – four times total in their history. However, this year’s squad may be ready to take the next step and advance to the NCAA National Team Finals April 19th and 20th in Ft. Worth, Texas. Competing against perennial national title contender #1 Oklahoma this weekend gives Denver a chance to prove that they should receive consideration as the top program in the nation – a first for DU.
To add to the drama, OU is the only team to defeat Denver this season. In late January at the Metroplex Challenge in Fort Worth, OU defeated Denver 197.975 to 196.350. Denver has a chance to return the favor to the Sooners on home soil.
Denver is led by junior Maddie Karr and sophomore Lynnzee Brown. Freshman newcomer Alexandria Ruiz has made an early impact as well by recently being named the Big 12 co-Newcomer of the Week.
Junior Maddie Karr won four titles on Saturday night, bringing her career total to 60!
— Denver Gymnastics (@DU_Gymnastics) February 4, 2019
Many times. reputation plays a role in gymnastics so a tight battle with #1 Oklahoma will signal to judges and fans that Denver is a high-level, elite team, worthy of a solid future seed – and, eventually, a serious contender for the NCAA Team Finals.
It's No. 7 DU vs. No. 1 Oklahoma on Sunday!
Help us pack Magness Arena and break the attendance record! #PioneerTogether
— Denver Gymnastics (@DU_Gymnastics) February 5, 2019
Add the fact that the Denver-Oklahoma meet will be held at Magness Arena means this event can accommodate a large crowd without the cramped quarters of their usual home at Hamilton Gym. This could easily be a sellout and the best-attended gymnastics event in DU history.