What. A. Week. Oklahoma posted the highest score of the season so far, an insane 198.375, while LSU also scored over 198, a 198.100, to win the SEC regular season title for the second consecutive year. Four perfect 10.0s were scored. Two by Oklahoma’s Maggie Nichols on vault and beam, and two on floor – FINALLY – by LSU’s Sarah Finnegan and Myia Hambrick.
Oklahoma posted the highest score of the season so far, a monstrous 198.375 to Michigan’s still impressive 197.175. On vault, Maggie Nichols posted a perfect 10.0, followed by Brenna Dowell’s 9.975, AJ Jackson’s and Anastasia Webb’s 9.900 and Nicole Lehrmann’s 9.875. On bars, Nichols and Lehrmann, the two NCAA co-champions on bars, scored two 9.950s, followed by Dowell’s 9.900 and by Stefani Catour’s 9.875. On beam, the Sooners were on fire. Maggie Nichols posted her second perfect 10.0 of the night, followed by Stefani Catour (9.950), Bre Showers and Nicole Lehrmann (9.925) and Anastasia Webb and Natalie Brown (9.900). On floor, Nichols posted another big 9.950, Lehrmann – a nice addition to the lineup – a 9.925, Webb a 9.900, and AJ Jackson and Showers two 9.875s. The Michigan Wolverines did incredibly well on vault and beam. On vault, Emma McLean posted a 9.950 and freshman Syd Townsend a 9.900. On beam, Lexi Funk scored a 9.925, and Lauren Marinez and Polina Shchennikova two 9.900s. Maggie Nichols won the all around with a huge 39.900.
What a meet it was for LSU to win their back-to-back SEC regular season title! The Tigers posted a big 198.100 to beat Auburn (195.625). This meet belonged to the three all arounders, Myia Hambrick, Sarah Finnegan and Kennedi Edney. Edney had the best meet of her career so far, scoring over 9.9 on all apparatuses: a 9.900 on vault, a 9.925 on beam and two 9.975s on bars and floor, for a career-high total of 39.775. Hambrick and Finnegan waited all night for the big moment to come, but it finally happened on floor – both gymnasts received that elusive perfect 10.0!!!! FINALLY!!!! Well deserved, congratulations!
Alabama had its best meet of the season so far, scoring a big 197.525 to beat North Carolina (194.975). The Crimson Tide excelled on bars, where Shea Mahoney scored a 9.925, Ariana Guerra and Lexi Graber two 9.900s and Angelina Giancroce and Kiana Winston two 9.875s. On beam, Nickie Guerrero won with a 9.925, followed by Graber’s 9.900 and by four other scores in the 9.8s. And on floor, Guerra and Guerrero posted two 9.925s, followed by three 9.850s. Freshman Lexi Graber competed in the all around, and posted an impressive 39.500.
At the Masters Classic, UCLA won with a 197.500, ahead of Nebraska (197.175), Iowa State (195.575) and Kent State (194.700). The Bruins struggled a little bit on vault, but recovered nicely on the other three apparatuses. On bars, Kyla Ross posted a 9.950 and Peng-Peng Lee a 9.925. On beam, Lee scored a 9.950, and Grace Glenn, Katelyn Ohashi and Ross three 9.900s. On floor, Felicia Hano and Ohashi scored two 9.950s, Pauline Tratz a 9.925 and Ross and Madison Kocian two 9.875s. Nebraska had an outstanding rotation on vault, where Taylor Houchin won with a 9.975, Abbie Epperson and Sienna Crouse scored two 9.900s and Grace Williams and Megan Schweihofer two 9.850s.
Arkansas had an outstanding meet, beating Arizona 197.275-196.125. Arkansas excelled on bars, where Braie Speed scored a 9.950, Hailey Garner and Sydney Laird two 9.925s and Amanda Wellick a 9.900. Freshman Sophia Carter was near perfect on beam with a 9.975, and Arkansas posted two 9.900s on floor with Carter and Jessica Yamzon and a 9.925 with the other incredible freshman, Sarah Shaffer.
Washington impressively found its rhythm these past few weeks, now beating Southern Utah on the road 197.075-196.075. Despite a weaker rotation on vault, Washington did amazing on the other three apparatuses. On bars, Monica Riley scored a 9.925, Madison Kopiak a 9.900 and all other gymnasts in the 9.8s. Similar scenarios happened on beam and floor. On beam, Evanni Roberson and Malory Rose posted two 9.900s, and on floor Maya Washington posted a 9.900. On both apparatuses the other counting scores were in the 9.8s.
We are now reaching the end of the regular season, and yet so many variables are still in place. Oklahoma and LSU seem set to compete against each other for a national title as last year. UCLA is stronger than it has been in years, and could contend as well. Alabama is growing at impressive speed too. Florida, on the contrary, had to deal with the loss of one of their most prominent gymnasts, senior Kennedy Baker, and had to compete this week also without another senior, Rachel Slocum, who was sick. The absences were very much felt, as the Gators were left a bit off balance by the losses. They will need to regroup both physically and mentally. It was a bad week also for Georgia, who, like last year, is showing some very good things but also some severe inconsistencies, especially on vault. Time only will tell how it is going to end. Individually, finally this week LSU’s Myia Hambrick and Sarah Finnegan received their well-deserved perfect 10.0s on floor. Sarah’s routine in particular was gorgeous.
Highest scores of the week
Team: Oklahoma – 198.375
All around: Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma) – 39.900
Vault: Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma) – perfect 10.0
Uneven bars: Kennedi Edney (LSU) – 9.975
Balance beam: Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma) – perfect 10.0
Floor exercise: Myia Hambrick (LSU), Sarah Finnegan (LSU) – perfect 10.0
Routines of the week
Vault: Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma) – She has been deserving this for so long, it is finally here!
Uneven bars: Braie Speed (Arkansas) – She tied the highest score in school history with this routine. Well deserved!
Balance beam: Erin Macadaeg (LSU) – Here is the strongest leadoff gymnast on beam in the nation at her best.
Floor exercise: Myia Hambrick (LSU) – I can finally (!!!) say it: it’s a TEN!!!!!
On Friday, Nebraska will compete at Florida, while Alabama and Auburn will compete at the Elevate the Stage meet. On Saturday, Michigan will host Utah and Georgia Boise State. On Sunday, UCLA will travel to Stanford for an all Californian meet.
Article by Talitha Ilacqua