After an incredible competition and a nail-biting ending, UCLA won their seventh national title with a 198.075 at the 2018 NCAA Championships in St. Louis, Missouri. The Bruins are one of only six teams that have ever won an NCAA title and this was their first since 2010.
Heading into the final rotation, the top four teams were separated by less than three-tenths of a point. It came down to the very last routine and Peng Peng Lee scored a perfect 10 (her second of the night) on beam to win it for the Bruins. Oklahoma came in second by just 0.037 scoring a 198.0375 and Florida was third with a 197.85.
Following a bye in the first rotation, UCLA started their meet on floor, one of their best events. The Bruins thrilled the crowd with their choreography and impressive tumbling. Kyla Ross had a fall in her double pike pass, but the team was able to drop her score and posted a 49.625. Highlights include Felicia Hano’s 9.9 and Katelyn Ohashi’s 9.95.
On vault, the Bruins were consistent and strong, scoring a 49.225. Their highest score came from Anna Glenn who posted a 9.8875. Hano and Pua Hall closed out the rotation with big Yurchenko one and a halfs. While they weren't able to break a 9.9, they did what they needed to stay in the fight.
UCLA really turned it on for their third event and their bar rotation was simply magical. The Bruins posted an incredible 49.6375, counting three scores in the 9.9s and a perfect 10 from Peng Peng Lee. Lee showed her signature high-flying and extremely difficult skills with a stuck dismount. Kyla Ross anchored with a nearly flawless set, holding her final handstand and sticking her dismount. With this rotation, UCLA passed Florida heading into the final event but was still behind Oklahoma.
Grace Glenn lead off the Bruins on beam with a 9.9375. Madison Kocian was second up and had a shocking fall on her series, putting the pressure on the rest of the lineup. The final four gymnasts delivered flawlessly, topped off with another perfect 10 from Peng Peng Lee, pushing the Bruins past the Sooners.
The reigning NCAA champs started off the night with some drama on beam where they had a fall mid-rotation. In a scenario they likely practiced dozens of times in the gym, the final three competitors nailed their routines and they totaled a 49.425 to take the lead after the first rotation. Maggie Nichols and Anastasia Webb had the one-two punch to finish the beam rotation where they both scored 9.9125s.
After a bye, the Sooners came back out on fire on floor to score a 49.5875. Their lowest counting score was a still big 9.875 from Brehanna Showers. Brenna Dowell scored a big 9.9375 mid-rotation and Webb and Nichols closed it out with a 9.925 and 9.9625, respectively.
Continuing the momentum to vault, OU posted a 49.4875. Dowell and Nichols both posted 9.9375s and Jade Degouveia scored a 9.9, all three plus AJ Jackson vaulted Yurchenko one and a halfs.
The Sooners finished on bars, one of their best events, and posted a 49.5375. Nichols delivered a nearly perfect routine scoring a 9.9625. Finishing early in the rotation, the Sooners had to wait to see if their score held up. Ultimately, they were edged out and ended up the runner-up.
Florida started on vault where they had some outstanding air-time but couldn’t quite control the landings. They were still able to post a 49.4125, led by Rachel Slocum’s huge front pike half vault that scored a 9.9125.
On bars, the Gators were nearly flawless and totaled a 49.5375. Megan Skaggs and Amelia Hundley both posted 9.9s and Alex McMurtry anchored with a 9.975. With six amazing routines, they were able to drop a 9.85 and the team was ecstatic.
Moving to beam, Florida put up five fantastic routines, but McMurtry fell in the anchor spot. Fourth-up Rachel Gowey scored a 9.9125 followed by Alyssa Baumann with a 9.9375. The team was still able to score a strong 49.3375.
The Gators finished on floor with an outstanding 49.5625 and four scores above a 9.9, to put them in third.
After a bye in the first rotation, LSU came out strong on bars posting a 49.475. After a solid 9.775 for first-up Sami Durante, the Tigers continued to build momentum, absolutely nailing the following routines. Sarah Finnegan was set to anchor but had a minor mistake casting over on the high bar. She was able to cover it well and still finished with a 9.8125. An impressive five gymnasts out of their six in the lineup stuck their landings and got to wear the notorious stick crown.
The Tigers moved on to beam where they put up six strong routines for a 49.3875. They were able to drop Erin Macadaeg’s 9.7375 so the lowest score they had to count was a 9.8375. Sarah Finnegan anchored with her typical gorgeous beam work to score a 9.9375.
On floor, the Tigers were strong and aggressive, but not quite as precise and they needed. They totaled a 49.5125. Their final event consisted of some amazing stuck vaults as well as some a bit too powerful that ended up with large steps. They totaled a 197.8375 to finish fourth.
Utah started on floor where minor mistakes trouble on landings gave the team a 49.1875. MyKayla Skinner was fantastic in the anchor spot, scoring a 9.925. Utah moved on to vault but didn’t have the outing they were looking for here either. Skinner posted the high again of a 9.8625.
On bars, the Utes posted a 49.2875, once again led by Skinner who scored a 9.9125. MaKenna Merrell-Giles also had a lovely bar set for a 9.8625.
The Utes finished with a 196.9 for fifth place.
Nebraska had trouble from the start after a rocky bar rotation and where they posted a 48.825. On beam, they ran into more trouble with a fall but the rest of the lineup delivered and they were able to score a 49.275.
On floor, the Huskers looked more themselves and totaled a big 49.4, led by a 9.9 from Sienna Crouse and a 9.925 from Megan Schweihofer. They closed out their meet with a 49.3 on vault including two excellent, stuck vaults.
The Huskers finished with a 196.8 for sixth place.