With some shake-ups in the lineup, UCLA easily won the Ann Arbor Regional Semifinals last night with a final score of 197.675, advancing to today’s Regional Finals. Nebraska came in second with a score of 196.800 and will also advance.
Following the Olympic order, UCLA began on the vault. Nia Dennis started the Bruins off right with a 9.900. Sekai Wright was second and earned a 9.800. Pauline Tratz followed with a 9.850. Felicia Hano was fourth for UCLA and scored a 9.800. Kyla Ross earned a perfect 10, extending her streak of perfect 10s to nine consecutive meets. Gracie Kramer wrapped up the rotation with a 9.850 and UCLA was out in front early with a score of 49.400. Meanwhile, Illinois scored a 49.075 on the bars, Nebraska earned a 49.100 on the beam and West Virginia received a 49.175 on the floor.
UCLA then moved on to the uneven bars, and even with a dropped score due to a fall by Anna Glenn, the Bruins matched their season high total of 49.400. Margzetta Frazier began the rotation with a solid 9.875. Glenn followed and only earned a 9.175 due to her fall. Felicia Hano delivered a 9.800 and Norah Flatley had a 9.825. Madison Kocian and Ross wrapped up the event with strong scores. Kocian added a 9.925 and Ross nearly added another perfect score with a 9.975, earning 10’s from two of the four judges. UCLA totaled a 49.400 for the rotation and had a team score of 98.800. That gave the Bruins a half point lead over Nebraska’s 98.300 while Illinois’ total was 98.100 and West Virginia trailed with a 97.650.
On the beam, Katelyn Ohashi made her first regional appearance and also her first showing in the lead-off spot with a 9.950. Brielle Nguyen followed in her usual spot in the rotation and brought home a 9.900. Kocian was up next earning a 9.825 and Norah Flatley followed with a 9.850. Ross earned yet another high score on the day and hit a 9.950. Dennis was swapped in the line-up at the last minute for Grace Glenn and earned a 9.850. With a 49.500, this would be their highest event score for the day and bring the Bruins to a 148.300. Nebraska earned a 49.300 on the vault to bring their team total to 147,600 after three rotations. Illinois picked up a 49.175 on the floor, bringing their team score to 147.275 while West Virginia, with a 48.875 on the bars, was now at 146.525.
UCLA’s floor rotation had a lot of changes compared to the regular season. It began with Macy Toronjo leading off for the first time in two seasons. She and Frazier both earned a solid 9.850 while both Pauline Tratz and Gracie Kramer notched a 9.900, good enough to win the event for the day. Nia Dennis earned only a 9.375 and had her score dropped. Felicia Hano rounded out the rotation with a 9.875 and the Bruins would total a 49.375 on the event and a 197.675 overall. Nebraska’s final rotation was on the bars where the Huskers earned a 49.200, giving them a final score of 196.800. Meanwhile, Illinois wrapped up on the vault, earning a 48.900 and a final team score of 196.175, and West Virginia’s 48.900 on the beam gave them a team total of 195.425.
Today’s Regional Finals
In today’s meet, UCLA will compete against #7 Michigan, #10 Alabama, and #15 Nebraska. Here is an updated bracket of the national regional competitions:
Every single seeded team advanced yesterday. So, now, the top 16 teams will compete in the four regional finals today.
In the first session of yesterdy’s Ann Arbor Regional Semifinals, Michigan totaled a 197.320, Alabama notched a 197.225. and Nebraska’s final score was a 196.800. While UCLA is still the favorite, it should be noted that Michigan narrowly beat UCLA’s 49.400 on vault yesterday with a 49.425, and Alabama topped UCLA’s 49.375 on floor with a 49.425. While it is obvious that Miss Val made changes in the UCLA lineup to rest starters and be prepared for today’s finals, the competition should not be taken lightly. Today will be a good indicator of how UCLA will perform in the Championships in two weeks and it will be interesting to see what the Bruin lineup looks like today.
The top two finishers from today’s meet will move on to the NCAA Championships in Fort Worth, Texas on April 19 and 20.
This is your NCAA Gymnastics Regional Finals open thread.