By Elizabeth Grimsley
The Pioneers picked up their 10th national title in program history Saturday night at the USAG nationals team final, breaking their school record with a 196.125 total. It was a hard-fought battle until the very end with Bridgeport leading the way through three rotations before a rough bar rotation took the Purple Knights out of title contention. Lindenwood also competed in the final, seeking its third-straight national title. But the Lions ultimately fell short, finishing third due to an unfortunate vault rotation that featured two falls from its top individuals. But the team did well to come back from the setback in the second rotation. Cornell wrapped up the teams with a fourth-place finish and a program record of 194.950 to end its season. But in the end, it was all about TWU as there were no real weaknesses for the team across four events—hitting above 49.100 on beam and floor. The title was a collective effort, with highlights from Schyler Jones on beam (9.875) and floor (9.900) and Bria Northrop on floor as well (9.925).
Despite not clinching a third title for itself, Lindenwood had a lot to be proud of, hitting nine scores of 9.800 or above, including three 9.900s. Kierstin Sokolowski has one of the best individual performances in Lion history—one that any top team in the country would have been happen to have. The junior scored a 9.850 on vault, 9.900 on bars and a massive, near-perfect 9.950 on beam to bring her team back from the missed opportunity on vault.
Other top scores across the competition include Cornell’s Kaitlin Green’s 9.900 on bars, as well as Bridgeport’s five 9.9+ scores from Brianna Comport (9.9-beam, floor), Randi Cutolo (9.9-floor), Carol Chiles (9.9-beam) and Kimberly Stewart (9.925-vault).
Individual Event Finals
Sokolowski: 9.9375 | Moredock: 9.875 | Stewart: 9.8625
Lindenwood’s Kierstin Sokolowski wrapped up quite the nationals competition for herself Sunday, claiming the national vault title with a near-perfect 9.9375 for her Yurchenko full. TWU’s Mallory Moredock came in second with a 9.875 and Bridgeport’s Kimberly Stewart finished with a 9.8625.Bars
Green: 9.900 | Powell-Brown, Olson: 9.850
Cornell’s Kaitlin Green picked up one of two national titles on bars with a 9.900 for her stellar routine, which included a huge ray and nailed handstands throughout. Bridgeport’s Thomara Powell-Brown and Brown’s Anya Olson rounded out the podium, each with 9.850s to tie for the silver.
Green: 9.900 | White: 9.875 | Gage: 9.850
Green’s second national title came on beam for a beautiful and artistic routine that many of the top teams would fight over for their lineups. Moving like butter on the apparatus, Green scored another 9.900 to lead the event. Centenary’s Ashley White finished second with a 9.8750 and Cornell’s Joy Gage wrapped up the podium with a 9.850.
Comport, Burns: 9.900 | Stewart: 9.875
Two very different routines tied for the national title on floor to wrap up competition at USAG nationals Sunday. Bridgeport’s Brianna Comport showed her exquisite style during her classic routine. Her perfect form in the air and high-quality dance earned her a 9.900. Seattle-Pacific’s Darian Burns, just a freshman, also scored a 9.9 for her Beyonce-themed routine that featured a front through to a double pike as one of her two tumbling passes. Bridgeport’s Kimberly Stewart finished third with a 9.875 for a routine that featured a neat front through to front handspring rudi as well as a one-armed front handspring on the side.