2018 NCAA Season

Recapping The Action: LSU, Utah Shine In Season Openers

Recapping The Action: LSU, Utah Shine In Season Openers

LSU and Utah led the way in week one of NCAA gymnastics action. What else happened in the season openers?

Jan 10, 2018 by Lauren Green
Recapping The Action: LSU, Utah Shine In Season Openers

The NCAA gymnastics season kicked off on January 5 with a slew of action throughout the weekend. LSU and Utah paced the rest of the country as the only schools to open the season with a 197 or better, and a number of freshmen made their collegiate debuts. Catch up on the rest of the action.

LSU At The Top

For the second year in a row, LSU opened the season with the top mark in the country, hitting a 197.150 in the opening meet for the Tigers against Arkansas. 

LSU’s top score of the night came on uneven bars where the Tigers finished with a 49.600 total. The Tigers did not score below a 9.875 on the event with Sami Durante and Ruby Harrold picking up 9.875 scores, Lexie Priessman hitting a 9.900, Myia Hambrick with a 9.925, and both Kennedi Edney and Sarah Finnegan grabbing the top marks with 9.950s.

Sarah Finnegan posted the top all-around score in the country with a 39.650, including this 9.925 on balance beam.

The vault rotation didn’t have the same number of scores over 9.9 as in 2017 with the loss of Ashleigh Gnat to graduation and with both Harrold and Edney out of the lineup.

Red Rocks Surge To 197

Utah, coming off a fifth-place finish at the 2017 NCAA championships, notched the second-highest team total in the opening week and used a 197.000 to top BYU in its home opener. The Utes were paced by three all-around gymnasts in MyKayla Skinner, MaKenna Merrell-Giles, and Missy Reinstadtler.

The Utes were consistent on vault, bars, and floor, hitting a 49.325 on both vault and bars and a 49.375 on floor exercise. They struggled a little bit on beam though with a fall and a second low score.

Central Michigan Bursts Into The Top Three

The Chippewas finished with the third-best score of the opening weekend with a 196.375 against Illinois State. It set a new program record for the top score for the season opener. 

The result? Being ranked third in the country right now by Road To Nationals. Rankings are by average right now and will be until after week six, when it changes over to RQS. The Chippewas were led by a pair of 9.875s from Katy Clements on beam and floor and a meet-high 9.925 from Macey Hilliker on floor exercise.

UCLA’s E-pass Debuts

The Bruins struggled with consistency and endurance on floor last season, but looked like an entirely different floor squad in week one. Olympic champ Jordyn Wieber took over floor and conditioning heading into the season, and the result was the Bruins grabbing the top floor score in the country with a 49.425.

Gracie Kramer opened her routine in the leadoff spot with a front double full-front pike combination pass that she just kept in bounds. The Bruins got big double layouts from Katelyn Ohashi and Felicia Hano, a great double arabian from freshman Nia Dennis, and a stuck full-in from Pauline Tratz to close the rotation. 

Perhaps one of the highlights of that rotation was Kyla Ross hitting her floor routine without the endurance problems that she had in 2017. The Bruins had five scores of 9.875 or better.