|Super Six with No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 2 Florida, No. 3 UCLA, No. 4 LSU, No. 5 Utah and No. 6 Nebraska|
|Full Results||UCLA: 198.0750||OU: 198.0375||UF: 197.8500|
|LSU: 197.8375||Utah: 196.9000||Neb: 198.8000|
Emotions ran high as the final Super Six came down to the last routine of the meet, with Peng-Peng Lee’s perfect score on beam putting UCLA up just barely above Oklahoma to win its seventh national championship and first since 2010. Miss Val couldn’t say enough about the strength and integrity of her team. Speaking specifically about Katelyn Ohashi she said, “The reason she’s been so good gymnastically is because she’s found her voice.” Both she and the gymnasts alike discussed how though every team is different, there was something about this year’s Bruin squad that was clearly special. They proved that tonight, winning the crown with a 198, bolstered by its record-setting 49.750 on beam.
Pushed back to second by the smallest margin in Super Six history, Oklahoma had a stellar night as well, sporting a new “Good Vibes Only” motto that seemed to match head coach KJ Kindler’s hope for their rest and relaxation between semifinals and finals. “They push us all to be better,” Miss Val said about Oklahoma. She and Kindler shared a moment at the end of the competition, expressing their mutual respect and Val’s surprise and excitement about her win. Their consistent, even performance tonight was only marked by one mistake all night, which didn’t even count toward their team total. They, too, broke 198, earning 49.425 or higher on every event and counting no scores below 9.850.
Florida took third overall after a rollercoaster of a night, earning a 197.850 for its efforts, its best since 2015 when the Gators used the same score to win the title. Vault started slow before the Gators finally kicked it into gear on bars. A fall from Alex McMurtry on beam marred what was otherwise a mostly solid rotation, but it was floor where the Gators finally figured things out. The floor squad went six for six, including McMurtry, who got redemption for her difficulties this season by absolutely nailing the final routine of her career, and Rachel Gowey, who switched the order of her tumbling passes to better manage her stamina after falling in semifinals. Head coach Jenny Rowland was thrilled with the way the team performed and noted just how close the competition was throughout the night. “Every team on the floor could have won the championship—they laid their heart out on the floor, they laid their gymnastics out on the floor and I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
LSU experienced disappointment last season after falling short, but despite posting its highest Super Six score ever, it was only good enough for fourth. The Tigers were actually closer to the title this year than last year, despite finishing second then, losing to UCLA by a margin of only 0.2375. Odd mishaps marked LSU’s first two rotations, with normally steady competitors showing vulnerabilities on bars and beam. But the Tigers came back on floor ready to fight, posting an enormous 49.5125 including two 9.950s from Sarah Finnegan and Myia Hambrick. And the team had its second-best vault rotation of the season, featuring a stuck Yurchenko 1.5 from Sarah Edwards, earning her a career-high 9.950.
Utah began its night on floor, where it showed some small weaknesses right off the bat. Vault scores also held the Utes back, with most of their scores getting stuck in the 9.700s due to bouncier landings. But when it came back from the bye, it was like it was a whole new team. The Utes made beam their best rotation of the night. MaKenna Merrell-Giles impressed in particular, earning a 9.8875 after falling on night one. In the end, it was too little, too late, though they did win the battle against Nebraska for fifth.
Nebraska might have been out of it from the beginning after a mistake-ridden bar rotation, being forced to count a 9.5875. The rest of the competition was full of high energy, and it continued to fight and push for every tenth and landing. The Huskers almost lost it on beam, too, after a fall from last-minute substitute Abbie Epperson. But all four competitors that followed stepped up to the plate, earning 9.825 or better to put together a strong 49.275. The Huskers took that momentum into floor and hit six-for-six, posting their highest Super Six floor total ever and tying their second-best of the season. Closing out the night on vault as they did during semifinals, the Huskers knew it was go hard or go home if they wanted to pass Utah: They were only 0.050 behind after three events apiece. They went hard, and despite a few low scores, they posted a 49.300, highlighted by stuck vaults from Megan Schweihofer and Sienna Crouse, the latter posting the highest vault score of the entire weekend at 9.9625.
Article by Caroline Medley