REFOCUS How do you stay on top after winning it all?

In 2016, the Sooner women's gymnastics team, led by national coach of the year K.J. Kindler, won their second title in three years. Now, regional champions once again and headed back to the national competition, they are poised and ready to repeat.

After winning the championship a year ago, Kindler says that the battle this season has been as much mental as it was physical.

"It's tough coming off a championship," Kindler says. "It's the toughest thing I've done as a coach. Guiding a group of women who've just won it all, it's tough to refocus and then of course, wanting to do it again."

While Coach Kindler says it's been immensely challenging, the Sooners remain as dominant as ever, undefeated in 2017 with a large class of talented athletes from freshmen to seniors.

In 2017, the team kept some impressive streaks alive. They have 6 consecutive Big 12 titles, 8 consecutive regional championships and this will be their 14th straight national competition appearance. Coach Kindler was also awarded her fourth coach of the year honor.

Coach Kindler believes the key to the team's regular success is to be anything but constant. "You can't do the same thing twice," she says. "You have to go about it at a different angle."

The team has had some big wins, like in the Mardi Gras Invitational competition where they scored 198.35, their third-best score ever.

"They were out of their minds competing," Coach Kindler said. "They weren't concerned or worried. It was just happening. It [was] like watching a basketball team that just can't miss."

There have also been close calls. Against Michigan, Oklahoma won with a final score of 197.575-197.525; a victory of only 0.05. It came down to the final event.

"I love to see what can come out of them when adversity strikes, when [we're] up against the wall, and we were," Coach Kindler said of the meet. "It's so hard to compete and channel your energy when you're in a battle. The very last routine, with [senior] Chayse Capps on the beam pretty much had to be a ten or we wouldn't have won, and darn it, if she didn't get a ten."

The No. 1 seed Sooners will compete in the semi-finals at noon CT on April 14th in St. Louis, with the finals the next evening on Saturday, April 15th.

"If you've left the tank empty at the end of the day, you're going to be happy with those results, whatever the results may be," Coach Kindler says of closing the season. "We're just focused on emptying the tank."

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