Gymnastics: Kindler, Oklahoma repeat as NCAA champs

K.J. Kindler and the University of Oklahoma women's gymnastics team won their second straight NCAA championship — and third in four years — on Saturday.

Kindler, a 1988 Wilton High graduate, has been head coach of the Sooners since 2006, and over that time has taken the program to the very top of collegiate gymnastics.

This year’s team finished 33-0, the first undefeated season in program history, won an unprecedented sixth straight Big 12 championship, and captured an NCAA regional title for the eighth straight year.

The Sooners’ team score of 198.3875 set the NCAA record for a Super Six, which features the top six NCAA seeds. The meet was held at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis.

Before coming to Oklahoma, Kindler had been head coach at Iowa State from 2001 to 2005, and was named Big 12 Coach of the Year three times. In 2005, she was named National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women Coach of the Year.

She has now been named national Coach of the Year three times, having also won the honor at Oklahoma in 2010 and 2015.

At Wilton High School, Kindler helped the Warriors win Class M state titles in 1987 and 1988, and was the FCIAC all-around champion both years and the Class M all-around champ in 1988.

She went on to compete for Iowa State, where as a freshman she was the first Iowa State gymnast to ever qualify for regionals. She was a three-time MVP for the Cyclones and runner-up in the all-around at the 1992 Big Eight championship. She also was a three-time NCAA Regional qualifier.

After graduating from ISU in 1992, Kindler joined the Iowa State staff as an assistant coach, before becoming head coach in 2001.

Kindler is the first head coach in NCAA history to take two separate programs to the NCAA Super Six. In 2014, she led Oklahoma to its first-ever national championship.