In front of thousands of fans for the first time in years, Oklahoma finished off one of the most exciting seasons in recent history by claiming its fifth championship in comeback fashion. The Sooners were able to fend off Florida, led by now three-time national champion Trinity Thomas, who came ever-close to the title thanks to a perfect routine from Thomas in the final rotation.
|Full Results||Oklahoma: 198.2000||Florida: 198.0875||Utah: 197.7500||Auburn: 197.3500|
The Big Storyline
Despite trailing to start the meet after counting an out of bounds on floor, Oklahoma stormed back with incredible vault and bars rotations to take the lead after three rotations and ultimately edge out Florida for the comeback win. The Gators never led but were within striking distance of the lead the entire meet, with the final results hinging on the final floor score from Payton Richards. Utah led through the first two rotations after starting on its strongest two events, but ultimately took itself out of contention with a subpar vault lineup while Auburn had a consistent but flat day to finish fourth.
To counter their floor mistakes, the Sooners posted some historic numbers on vault and bars to earn themselves the championship. The vault total of 49.6625 is good for Oklahoma’s best-ever vault total at the NCAA championships while the massive 49.7250 on bars, with a near-perfect 9.975 leadoff from Danielle Sievers, is Oklahoma’s highest total on any event in championship history.
The opening semifinal proved to be as competitive as advertised, with Oklahoma, Utah, and Alabama all within a few tenths and fighting for the two advancing spots heading into the final rotation. The Sooners sealed the deal on floor, while the Utes’ beam prowess proved powerful once again to earn the second spot in the final. Minnesota, after taking itself out of things early on beam, got stronger as the meet progressed and was able to edge the Crimson Tide for third in the session thanks to a big bars rotation to end their meet while Alabama couldn’t find its vault landings.
Despite opening with a lower-than-expected total to open up its day on vault followed by a leadoff fall on bars, Florida was able to hit from there on out to post the top total of the second semifinal and notch a spot in the final. The Gators were pushed throughout by Auburn, who also earned its place in the final by taking a lead halfway through after hitting beam and floor. Defending national champion Michigan led to start off the semifinal, but ultimately finished last counting falls on bars and beam while Missouri’s consistent outing was able to pass them for third in the session.
“It wasn’t about ‘oh no.’ It was more about ‘let’s go’.” – KJ Kindler on what she said to her team after a shaky floor rotation to start the meet.
“I didn’t even hear it, to be honest with you. I didn’t hear it. I was so locked in and just focused on myself that I didn’t hear a thing.” – Ragan Smith on the cheers for Trinity Thomas’ 10.0 right before her beam series
Auburn’s semifinal score to clinch a spot in the final was the highest away total in program history, with its fourth place finish also a program-best.
Oklahoma earned its fifth overall championship with all five coming in the last decade. The Sooners still claim the fifth most championships overall, moving further ahead of Florida’s three championships while inching closer to fourth overall, currently held by Alabama and its six titles.
- Trinity Thomas (Florida), 39.8125
- Sunisa Lee (Auburn), 39.6750
- Megan Skaggs (Florida), 39.6625
Starting with a nearly stuck vault and ending with a perfect floor routine, Trinity Thomas dispelled Florida’s postseason woes to earn the one honor missing from her list of accolades: national champion. She was able to outpace a strong day from Olympic all around champion Sunisa Lee and her own teammate Megan Skaggs, who both entered as two of the top contenders and also had outstanding days.
- Jaedyn Rucker (Utah), 9.9625
- Amari Celestine (Missouri), 9.9500
- Allie Stern (Oklahoma), 9.9375
The most unpredicted podium of nationals featured a trio of gymnasts who all entered the weekend ranked outside of the top 10 on vault. Jaedyn Rucker won the title outright after sticking her Yurchenko one and a half cold in the first semifinal, with Allie Stern nearly doing the same in the first routine of the championships to nab third. Freshman Amari Celestine earned runner-up honors after replicating Rucker’s stick in the second semifinal to wrap up her freshman season.
- Trinity Thomas (Florida), 9.9750
- Sierra Brooks (Michigan), Jade Carey (Oregon State), Audrey Davis (Oklahoma), Derrian Gobourne (Auburn), Lexy Ramler (Minnesota), 9.9500
Arguably the most impressive of Thomas’ trio of national titles came on bars, where a slight equipment malfunction discovered after the gymnast before her in the lineup caused a delay so long she was allowed another warmup. The faux “icing” didn’t work, as Thomas was able to top the crowded field where a quintet of gymnasts all finished as runners-up.
- Sunisa Lee (Auburn), 9.9625
- Adeline Kenlin (Iowa), Sienna Schreiber (Missouri), 9.9500
The Olympic champion became an NCAA champion for the first time, as Sunisa Lee was able to back-up her top ranking on beam heading into the meet by winning the event title. Sienna Schreiber’s runner-up finish equalled the Tiger’s top score and placement at the championships, while Adeline Kenlin matched the top placement of any gymnast competing as an individual.
- Trinity Thomas (Florida), 10.0000
- Jordan Bowers (Oklahoma), Derrian Gobourne (Auburn), 9.9625
Using the first perfect score at the NCAA Championships since 2018, Thomas nabbed her third title of the weekend to both secure the all around and the Gators’ place in the final. Her clutch routine was able to edge Jordan Bowers and Derrian Gobourne, who both showcased incredible tumbling and also helped earn their team’s spots in the championship.
Click and expand the events below to see results, recaps of top meets or particularly exciting matchups, and even links to watch archived broadcasts.
NCAA National Championships Semifinal One
NCAA National Championships Semifinal Two
NCAA National Championships Team Final
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Article by Emily Minehart and Brandis Heffner
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