NCAA Recap: Sooners, Bruins, Tigers, & Wolverines Among Conference Victors

NCAA Recap: Sooners, Bruins, Tigers, & Wolverines Among Conference Victors

UCLA, LSU, Oklahoma, Michigan, Boise State, NC State, and Central Michigan all picked up conference championships this weekend.

Mar 27, 2018 by Lauren Green
NCAA Recap: Sooners, Bruins, Tigers, & Wolverines Among Conference Victors

While conference championship weekend may have been light on the upsets, it gave us something we wanted just as much: amazing gymnastics. Some of the perennial powerhouses are looking sharper than ever as their athletes gear up for Regionals and the NCAA championships.

Pac-12 Champion: UCLA 

The Bruins didn’t have their best day—especially on uneven bars with errors from both Katelyn Ohashi and Peng Peng Lee—but they boasted strong performances on balance beam and floor exercise to edge rival Utah and earn the Pac-12 title with a 197.500 total. 

The Utes finished second with a 197.350 and California third with a 196.950.

Utah’s strongest performance of the day came in the final rotation on vault, with all three of their final vaulters—Kim Tessen, MaKenna Merrell-Giles, and Mykayla Skinner—going 9.900 or better to help the Utes earn a 49.475 event total. Tiffani Lewis had a pretty Yurchenko full to pick up another 9.900 in the third spot in the lineup.

Ohashi closed out the meet with another stellar routine on floor. She picked up a share of the floor exercise title with Skinner and Stanford’s Elizabeth Price, with all three earning 9.950s. Merrell-Giles won the vault title with a 9.950 while Price and Kyla Ross shared the uneven bars titles with 9.975s.

Lee had a memorable performance on balance beam and picked up her fourth 10.0 of the season on the event. Ross and Skinner tied for the all-around title with 39.675s while Elizabeth Price hit a 39.650 to finish third.

Big 12 Champion: Oklahoma 

The Sooners earned their seventh straight Big 12 title with a 197.775. Denver finished second with a 197.075, Iowa State took third with a 195.650, and West Virginia was just behind them in fourth with a 195.625. Oklahoma’s best performances of the day came on uneven bars where the Sooners earned a huge 49.725. The Sooners were paced by Nicole Lehrmann’s 9.975 and 9.950s from Maggie Nichols, Stefani Catour, and Brenna Dowell.

Nichols edged Denver’s Maddie Karr to earn the all-around title with a 39.675 to Karr’s 39.650. Karr shared the vault title with AJ Jackson with both earning 9.950s. Lehrmann earned the bars title while Denver’s Kaitlyn Schou picked up the title on balance beam with a 9.925.

There was a five-way tie for the floor exercise title between Karr, Dowell, Nichols, Anastasia Webb, and Iowa State’s Haylee Young all earning 9.900s. Denver freshman Lynnzee Brown was stellar for the Pioneers, scoring a 9.800 or better on the three events she competed. Emily Glynn was impressive on uneven bars where she picked up a team-best 9.950.

SEC Champion: LSU

The Tigers continued their successful season with a win at the SEC championships where LSU posted a 197.400. Alabama finished second with a 196.975 and Florida in third with a 196.825. The Gators looked to be in contention for the title after two great opening rotations but faltered on floor—Megan Skaggs and Alex McMurtry fell on their final pass in the second and third spots in the lineup. Amelia Hundley and Rachel Slocum had landing errors that prevented them from breaking into the 9.8 range.

LSU didn’t have the landings that they would have liked on vault and didn’t break the 9.900 range on floor, but they were solid on both uneven bars and balance beam. They were led by Sarah Finnegan, who won the all-around title with a 39.500.

McMurtry picked up event title wins on both vault (9.975) and uneven bars (9.950) while freshman Alyssa Baumann won the beam title with a 9.975. Alabama seniors Kiana Winston and Nickie Guerrero posted 9.950s to each earn a share of second place. Winston and Guerrero arguably could have both scored a tad higher as well after impressive sets at the end of the first rotation.

Alicia Boren, Arianna Guerra, and Sidney Dukes tied for the title on floor. Guerra had some kind words for injured Florida senior Kennedy Bakker.

Big Ten Champion: Michigan

Michigan brought home their fifth straight Big Ten championship with a 197.200; Nebraska’s 196.950 held up from the afternoon session to earn second place. Illinois took third with a 196.625.

Brianna Brown and Paige Zaziski were the standouts for Michigan with Brown earning a share of the title on uneven bars and Zaziski grabbing second in the all-around with a 39.500. The Wolverines’ best performance of the day came on uneven bars, where they posted a 49.400. Brown paced the Wolverines with a 9.950 while both Zaziski and Sydney Townsend earned 9.900s.

Nebraska’s Taylor Houchin and Ohio State’s Jamie Stone picked up the vault title with matching 9.900s while Brown and Minnesota’s Ivy Lu earned shares of the uneven bars title. Bridget Hodan (Illinois), Lauren Marinez (Michigan), and Grace Williams (Nebraska) earned shares of the event title on balance beam with 9.900s.

Megan Schweihofer grabbed a share of the event title on floor exercise as well as the all-around title with a 39.525. Penn State’s Briannah Tsang also earned part of the floor title with a 9.950.

Mountain Rim Champion: Boise State 

The Broncos used a strong performance on vault to propel themselves to the Mountain Rim championship with a 196.875.

Ann Stockwell paced the Broncos with a 9.900 to win the vault title and Sandra Collantes grabbed a 9.875. Courtney McGregor and Shani Remme led the way on uneven bars with matching 9.900s. The two shared the uneven bars crown with BYU’s Shannon Hortman.

Hortman won the all-around title with a 39.400. McGregor finished second in the all-around with a 39.375 while Remme and Collantes tied Southern Utah’s Autumn Jorgensen for third with a 39.325.

Sara Means of Boise State and McKinley Pavcic of Utah State each picked up a 9.900 to tie for the title on balance beam. There was a six-way tie for the floor title with BYU’s Briana Pearson, Kyleigh Greenlief and Hortman, Collantes, Jorgensen, and Utah State’s Madison Ward all earning 9.900s.

EAGL Champion: NC State

The Wolfpack, who were already solidly in the Regionals picture, won the EAGL title with a 196.625, while New Hampshire finished second with a 196.300 and George Washington took third with a 195.875.

NC State had great performances across the board but saw a particularly good day on both vault and floor with a 49.225 and 49.275, respectively. Drew Grantham (9.900), Chelsea Knight (9.850), and Alexa Phillips (9.850) paced the Wolfpack on vault, where NC State didn’t score below a 9.800 on the event.

The Wolfpack didn’t score below a 9.800 on floor, either, as Phillips and Mackenzie Itcush led the way with a 9.900 and a 9.875.

Cami Drouin-Allaire, Madison Nettles, and Grantham shared the title on vault with 9.900s while New Hampshire’s Danielle Mulligan won the title on bars with a 9.950. Towson’s Mary Elle Arduino won on balance beam with a 9.950 and North Carolina’s Morgan Lane was a close second with a 9.925. The Tar Heels’ Khazia Hislop picked up a 9.950 to win the floor title.

Knight edged Lane to take the all-around title with a 39.425 to Lane’s 39.375.

MAC Champion: Central Michigan 

The Chippewas had a huge day with a 197.025, including stellar performances on both uneven bars and balance beam with a 49.400 and 49.475, respectively. Central Michigan didn’t count a score below 9.800 in either event. Gianna Plaksa earned 9.900s on both bars and beam. Katy Clements paced CMU on balance beam with a 9.950 and Denelle Pedrick earned a 9.900. Hayley Porter and Bryttany Kaplan each posted 9.900s on bars.

Northern Illinois and Bowling Green rounded out the top three in the team competition with a 195.875 and 195.850, respectively.

Jovannah East (Bowling Green), Sydney Williams (Central Michigan), Ashley Potts (Northern Illinois), and Amanda Bartemio (Northern Illinois) all tied for the title on vault with 9.850s. Western Michigan’s Stacie Harrison won the uneven bars title with a 9.925 while Clements earned the beam title. Kent State’s Abby Fletcher came away with the win on floor with a 9.925.        

Regionals Bubble

In: Kent State, Iowa, Central Michigan

Out: Utah State, Arizona, North Carolina