Nichols, Kocian, Skinner, Hundley Shine In NCAA Gymnastics Debuts
Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma)
Nichols came to Oklahoma with much anticipation and excitement following her successful elite career. After suffering an injury prior to the Olympics, Nichols finished out her elite career at the Olympic Trials where she showed poise in a strong comeback. While missing out on an Olympic team berth, Nichols kept a positive outlook and was grateful to continue on to Oklahoma. Her positivity over the years has rallied many fans who are now very excited to see her succeed in the NCAA.
In her college debut on Friday, Nichols made a huge splash by winning the all-around with a huge 39.725 to lead top-ranked OU past No. 3 Alabama at home. She started with a beautiful Yurchenko 1.5 on vault and scored a 9.90 after a small step. Nichols was near perfect on bars and totaled a 9.975 in a jam-packed bar routine that featured a stuck double layout. Nichols then hit a 9.90 routine on beam. Finally, she closed out her meet with a stellar 9.95 on floor in the anchor spot. She impressed by winning bars, floor, and all-around in her first meet as an NCAA gymnast and earned her first Big 12 Newcomer of the Week award. Her performance helped Oklahoma post an impressive 197.75 to defeat Alabama. Watch Nichols near-perfect bar routine below.:
Madison Kocian (UCLA)
Kocian came to UCLA fresh off winning an Olympic gold medal (team) and silver (bars) at this summer's 2016 Olympic Games. Many eyes were on Kocian to see her transition into college following a whirlwind preseason. Kocian showed that she is more than a bar specialist with an outstanding performance in the all-around.
Kocian made history with teammate Kyla Ross as the first Olympic gold medalists to compete in NCAA gymnastics, and Kocian got off to an impressive start in Saturday's season opener against Arkansas by winning the all-around with a 39.425. To start UCLA's home meet, she hit a Yurchenko full on vault for a 9.85. She shined bright on her best event -- winning the bar title with a 9.875. Kocian hit a strong beam routine for a9.85 and finished out on floor by posting a 9.875.
Kyla Ross (UCLA)
Kyla Ross, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist, was another top freshman who shined in her college debut. She finished her elite career after training for a second Olympic Games in 2016. She took time off to train and get healthy for NCAA gymnastics in early 2016.
Ross' debut included another strong showing on vault, bars, and beam for the Bruins. Ross performed a Yurchenko full vault, nailing her landing for a 9.875, and tied Kocian for the bar title with a 9.875. On beam, Ross was dinged on her start valuing due to a missed leap connection, yet still scored a 9.70. She will likely see time in the all-around this season while continuing to perform on her best events -- beam and bars.
Watch highlights from UCLA freshmen Kocian and Ross below:
MyKayla Skinner (Utah)
Skinner came to Utah with big skills and sky-high action after being named an 2016 U.S. Olympic team alternate. She brought great difficulty to her debut against No. 7 Michigan at home on Saturday and proved she is a force in college gymnastics. Skinner won the all-around in her debut with a 39.55, posting three 9.9s on vault, bars, and floor. She performed a difficult Yurchenko double full, which earned her a 9.90 and the vault title. She also won the bar title with a 9.90 capped off with a stuck landing. Skinner finished the night with a bang by hitting a double-twisting double back on her floor routine for a score of 9.90 and bringing 14,000-plus fans to their feet. Watch highlights from Skinner's debut below.
Amelia Hundley (Florida)
Hundley came to Florida following an outstanding performance at the 2016 Olympic Trials. She had an impressive 39.375 all-around to help the Gators to a 197.10 to beat North Carolina State on the road on Sunday. Hundley shined on beam with a 9.875. She also had a 9.85 on floor and bars and a 9.80 on vault. Hundley will be a freshman to watch this season and a consistent performer on all four events.
Maddie Karr (Denver)
Karr was a very successful level 10 gymnast from Twin City Twisters, where she trained with Maggie Nichols. Karr shined for Denver in her debut by winning the all-around with an impressive 39.50. She also won three event titles -- vault (9.925), beam (9.925), and floor (9.90). Karr will be a bright spot this season for Denver as it continues its impressive rise in NCAA gymnastics.
Honorable Mentions:Rachel Gowey (Florida) -- Beam 9.875
Kennedi Edney (LSU) -- Vault 9.925
Recapping The Action: NCAA Gymnastics Week 1
Madison Kocian, Kyla Ross Make History in NCAA Debuts