Recapping The Action: Oklahoma Sooners, UCLA Bruins Hit 198

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports Maggie Nichols OU Oklahoma

Sooners Hit 198 — Again

Oklahoma hit its fourth score of 198 or better after topping West Virginia 198.025 to 195.750. It was a much better performance for the Sooners on balance beam with a 49.600 — the best team total for OU during the meet. 

The Sooners didn’t count a score below a 9.875 with Brehanna Showers (9.875), Nicole Lehrman (9.900), Natalie Brown (9.900), Anastasia Webb (9.950), and Maggie Nichols (9.975).

Nichols had a stellar meet for the Sooners, scoring no less than a 9.950 on any event and finishing with a 39.825 total in the all-around. Anastasia Webb hit her best form on vault with a stuck Omelianchik and finished with a 39.575 in the all-around. Webb has been out of the vault lineup the past two weeks after a fall at UCLA, but the Sooners will want her 10.0 start value on vault to boost their event total.

Gators Pay Price In Win 

Florida had a strong first three events on Friday night against Arkansas and came out on top 197.725 to 196.875. The win came at a cost, though, as senior Kennedy Baker, who anchored floor exercise, went down on the final routine of the night. 

Baker confirmed shortly after the meet that she tore her Achilles tendon. The injury ends Baker’s collegiate career — it’s too late in the season to redshirt. She will have surgery this week.

The bigger question will come in who fills in those holes in the lineup. Baker brought in reliable scores on bars, was a solid 9.900 or better on floor, and was one of four 10.0 start values on vault. 

The Gators have put up Alyssa Baumann, Amelia Hundley, and Megan Skaggs on vault at different points this season and will likely look to one of those gymnasts. It seems unlikely that Florida will add a 10.0 vault to the lineup, though both Skaggs and Hundley were training Yurchenko one and a halfs.

Sun Devils Win Battle For Arizona

Arizona State, who we highlighted this weekend, continued its rise in the rankings this week after defeating in-state rival Arizona this weekend in Tempe 196.725 to 195.025. The Gym Devils got stellar performances from all-around gymnasts Cairo Leonard-Baker (39.475) and Anna Kuhm (39.450).

Kuhm led the way for Arizona State with a 9.900 on vault and a 9.925 on floor exercise. Leonard-Baker continued her run of stellar uneven bars performances and earned a team-best 9.875 in the second rotation and hit a career-high 9.950 on floor.

Justine Callis and Ashley Szafranski went one-two on balance beam, with Callis posting a career-high 9.900 and Szafranski just behind her with a 9.875.

With the RQS rankings starting this week, ASU jumped up four spots to No. 13 in the country.

Pioneers, Wolverines Elevate The Stage — To A Tie

Denver and Michigan topped the four-team field at the Elevate the Stage meet in Toledo, Ohio, with matching 196.575s. Vault was the weakest event for Michigan with only two scores over a 9.800 — a 9.825 from Emma McClean and a 9.900 for Paige Zaziski.

Zaziski had a great day for the Wolverines with a 9.875 or better on all four events, with the 9.925 on vault and a 9.900 on uneven bars. Brianna Brown posted 9.900s to lead Michigan on balance beam and floor exercise. Lexi Funk added a 9.900 of her own on floor and the Wolverines only put up five competitors on floor exercise.

Denver similarly struggled on vault with only two vaults cracking the 9.800 mark—Mia Sundstrom (9.825) and Diana Chesnok’s 9.875. Uneven bars and floor exercise were strong events for the Pioneers. Lynnzee Brown returned to the lineup just on bars and hit a 9.8875 as one of five scores over a 9.800. Maddie Karr and Emily Glynn were both stellar and tied Zaziski with a 9.900 to share the event title.

Upset At Berkeley 

Cal had its best meet of the season and posted a season high to edge Utah, 197.500 to 197.450. It was a huge score on uneven bars that gave the Bears the advantage with all six athletes scoring a 9.875 or better for a school record event total of 49.550. Alma Kuc, Nina Schank, and Toni-Ann Williams each posted a 9.925 while Kyana George hit a 9.900 and both Sofie Seilnacht and Yuleen Sternberg finished with 9.875s.

Williams clinched the meet for the Bears on the final floor routine of the day that opened with a huge double layout and scored a 9.975. She won the all-around with a 39.700. George had a great meet as well with a 9.925 on floor and a 9.875 on beam to finish with a 39.500 in the all-around.

After a big win at UCLA last weekend, the Utes came out a bit flat and struggled with landings throughout the first two rotations. They bounced back from a fall by Kari Lee on bars and posted five solid routines.

MyKayla Skinner was held out of the all-around for precautionary reasons with a sore ankle. She competed on bars (9.900) and beam (9.850). In her absence, freshman Alexia Burch was the leadoff on both vault and floor. She had a solid debut on both with a 9.775 on vault and a 9.850 on floor.

The Utes made up some ground on floor, though, where they posted a team total of 49.350 including 9.875s or better from Makenna Merrell-Giles (9.875), Missy Reinstadtler (9.900), Sydney Soloski (9.900), and Tiffani Lewis (9.925).

UCLA On Fire

The Bruins closed out the weekend with a bang, hitting the 198 mark for the first time this season with the top score of the weekend — a 198.075 to defeat Oregon State. The 198 seemed unlikely after the first rotation, when UCLA struggled with its landings and scored just a 49.125 on vault. The Bruins had a solid second rotation capped off with a 9.975 from Kyla Ross.

But it was balance beam and floor exercise where the Bruins were lights out. After an uncharacteristic fall from Brielle Nguyen in the leadoff spot, UCLA didn’t score below a 9.875 for the rest of the rotation with four gymnasts going 9.950 or better: Grace Glenn (9.950), Ross (9.950), Katelyn Ohashi (9.975), and Peng Peng Lee (9.975). Madison Kocian hit a 9.875 in the second spot in the lineup and UCLA finished with a huge 49.725.

Following a week in which UCLA gave the meet away on floor, there was none of that this week. All six Bruins hit at least a 9.900 with Kocian returning to the floor lineup and hitting a 9.900 in her first routine back. Gracie Kramer, who was one of three UCLA gymnasts to go out of bounds against Utah, kept her opening combination pass in bounds to score a season-best 9.950.

Nia Dennis, who has struggled with keeping her double arabian landing controlled, changed up her first pass to a piked full-in. It solved the out-of-bounds and landing struggles and Dennis earned a near-perfect 9.975 — the fourth of the meet for UCLA.

Ohashi closed out the meet with a perfect 10 for her Michael Jackson floor routine to push the Bruins over the 198 mark and to a 49.775 on floor.

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