In yesterday’s first semifinal, UCLA earned a spot in the Fierce Four with a score of 197.6750, edging out LSU, Michigan, and Utah. The Bruins and the LSU Tigers both advanced, along with the top two from the second session, to the first NCAA Gymnastics Championship under the new four-team format.
First Semifinal Session
With six judges on each event, the gymnasts were really going to have to impress a crowd to get high scores, let alone any perfect 10s. In the first semifinal, UCLA finished in first place, earning a spot in today’s finals. LSU was in second with a 197.5125, also earning the right to move on. Michigan came in third with a 197.2000, and Utah finished in fourth with a 196.7250. Michigan is probably the team most upset by the new format as they actually outscored Denver, the second-highest team in the second semifinal.
Second Semifinal Session
In the second session, Oklahoma finished first with a final team score of 197.85002. The Denver Pioneers finished second with 197.0375 while Oregon State was third with a 196.9000 and Georgia was fourth with a score of 196.4625.
Overall, UCLA came in second place among the eight teams competing yesterday. So, the Bruins will need to turn it up even more today if they want to send off Miss Val with a repeat title.
After session one, Kyla Ross had the highest score in two events as well as the all-around. Ultimately, Maggie Nichols of Oklahoma took the all-around title, earning a 39.7125 to Ross’ 39.6625. On the vault, Nichols, Ross, Derrian Gobourne of Auburn, and Kennedi Edney of LSU all tied with a 9.9500 to share the title. On bars, Sarah Finnegan of LSU won the title outright with a 9.9500 while Natalie Wojcik of Michigan won the beam title with a 9.9500. There was also a four-way tie for the floor title between Ross, Florida’s Alicia Boren, Lynnzee Brown of Denver, and Brenna Dowell of Oklahoma with each earning a 9.9500.
In today’s competition, in addition to LSU, UCLA will face Oklahoma and Denver University, the top two teams from the second semifinal. While UCLA brought home the day’s second highest score, they are going to have to kick it in high gear to win today’s meet. It looks like, for the fourth year in a row, it will come down to either UCLA or Oklahoma taking home the championship. At the very least, today will showcase some of the best gymnastics we’ve ever seen.
Back on Sunday, March 3, Oklahoma handed UCLA their only loss of the season, 197.775-197.575. Of course, last season, Oklahoma beat UCLA in the regular season, but the Bruins came from behind with Christine Peng-Peng Lee’s perfect 10 on beam to win the title and beat the Sooners. Hopefully, the Bruins can replicate the same pattern as last year, just maybe without needing the last-minute heroics.
Today, UCLA will begin on beam, proceed to floor then vault, and finish the meet on bars.
This is your NCAA Gymnastics Fierce Four open thread.
Go Bruins! Bring Home NC #117!