Live updates as Olympians Suni Lee, Jordan Chiles compete in second semifinal

Live updates as Olympians Suni Lee, Jordan Chiles compete in second semifinal thumbnail

Come for the four U.S. Olympians that you will remember from Tokyo, and stay for Trinity Thomas. As the NCAA gymnastics championships got underway, Jade Carey and Jordan Chiles, Suni Le, Grace McCallum and Suni Lee competed for individual glory and team glory. Eight highly-talented teams (Alabama and Auburn, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri. Oklahoma, and Utah) competed for the four spots in Saturday’s team finals.

After a ridiculously tight battle, the finals are set. The defending champion Wolverines were returned home, and a new individual all around champion was named: Florida’s Thomas.

Want to know everything you missed? We have you covered with recaps of all the action from both semifinal sessions:


Florida and Auburn advance

In the biggest upset of the semifinals, No. 6 Auburn won the second spot in the session, earning a spot in Saturday’s team finals. Michigan, ranked No. Michigan, ranked No. 3 in the country after its regular season, finished fourth at the semifinals after multiple falls on bars or beam.

Florida finished in the top spot overall, jumping ahead of Auburn in the last rotation after a gigantic 49. 7500 floor total — the highest event total of either semifinal. Trinity Thomas capped off the meet with the only perfect 10. 000, winning the bars, floor and all-around titles in the process. Suni Lee won beam, while Utah’s Jaedyn Russell won vault. — Amy Van Deusen

Final team scores of semifinal two:

  1. Florida 197. 9750

  2. Auburn 197. 8375

  3. Missouri 197. 2000

  4. Michigan 196. 2875


Jordan Chiles appreciation post

Chiles might not have had her best outing on Thursday, but we would be remiss if we didn’t call out her casual full twisting double layout on floor.

What, like it’s hard? 8282208588957, April 1514658243628482568 The UCLA star received a 9. 925 for seventh place in the event.


Auburn continues to surprise the field; Michigan falls to fourth

Auburn had a rock solid vault rotation, scoring a 49. 350, capped off by Drew Watson’s 9. 925 and Sara Hubbard’s 9.900. The Tigers remain in first place and are heading into bars.

Florida had a huge 49. 5125 on beam, led by Trinity Thomas’ 9. 9375 and six gorgeous routines.

But perhaps the biggest, and saddest, story of rotation three was Michigan, with two falls on bars and a 48. 675 — a score that likely ends all hope of the team advancing to the finals. — Amy Van Deusen

Team scores after Rotation 3:

  1. Auburn, 148. 4000

  2. Florida, 148. 2250

  3. Missouri, 147. 9500

  4. Michigan, 147. 5875


Auburn takes the lead — will it hold?

Auburn had another stellar rotation on floor, with Derrian Gobourne’s 9. 9625 (tied for top score of the day), Suni Lee’s 9. 950 and 9. 900s from Cassie Stevens and Sophia Groth. The Tigers are now in the top spot, just ahead Michigan.

Michigan had a little trouble sticking its Yurchenko one and a half vaults but still scored a very respectable 49. 425, led by Sierra Brooks’ 9.900. Florida was forced to endure a long, unexpected delay at bars before Trinity Thomas. However, she and Leanne Wong were unflappable scoring 9. 9750 and 9.9125. Thomas’ bar score is now at the top of the day. Megan Skaggs’ 9. 9125 earlier in the lineup, Florida tallied a 49. 4750 but is in third place to Michigan by two tenths of a point at the halfway mark.

Missouri had a fantastic rotation on beam, with Sienna Schreiber notching a 9. 950 and Helen Hu a 9.9375. Norah Flatley (UCLA) stuck her Yurchenko full cold for a 9.8875. The third rotation could be wild. Auburn will now move to the (usually lower-scoring) vault. Can it keep up the momentum? — Amy Van Deusen

Team scores after Rotation 2:

  1. Auburn, 99. 050

  2. Michigan, 98. 9125

  3. Florida, 98. 7125

  4. Missouri, 98. 5375


Suni watch

Suni Lee looked poised — and darn near perfect — on beam, earning a 9.9625. The score puts her in the top spot of the day on beam.

Lee did it again on floor, with an effortless double layout and choreography that captivated everyone in the arena. She was awarded a 9. 950 for her routine, cementing herself as a front-runner for the all-around title. The beam was next. Lee performed one of the most difficult vaults in the competition, earning a 9.850. In her final apparatus, Lee received a 9. 9125 on bars for her release-move-packed routine, with a dismount she was oh so close to sticking cold.


Michigan leads, but Auburn is just a hair behind

Michigan started Semifinal 2 in a big way, with a 49. 4875 and four scores above 9.9, from Natalie Wojcik, Gabby Wilson, Sierra Brooks and Abby Heiskell.

Auburn was led by Suni Lee’s 9. 9625, is making the case for a berth into Saturday’s team finals with an incredible beam rotation. The squad is just one tenth of the point behind Michigan heading into the second rotation.

Florida started out strong, if not superb, in the first rotation, with a 49.2375. Megan Skaggs soared to her Yurchenko full for an initial score of 9. 900, a mark that was later matched by Trinity Thomas and Leanne Wong. Florida’s greatest events are yet to come.

Missouri’s top bar score came from Helen Hu, with a 9.8875. Olympian Jordan Chiles, competing as an individual for UCLA, fell on her first release move on bars, but regrouped to finish her routine strong for a 9.3375. Teammate Norah Flatley showed a gorgeous triple full on floor for a 9.8875. — Amy Van Deusen

Team scores after Rotation 1:

  1. Michigan, 49. 4875

  2. Auburn, 49. 4750

  3. Florida, 49. 2375

  4. Missouri, 49. 1125


Trinity takeover

Trinity Thomas used her team’s first rotation, on vault, to remind anyone who needed reminding that she is an absolute force — in every event.

The Florida star earned a score of 9.900.


Oklahoma and Utah advance to Saturday’s team finals

Utah held any nerves at bay on the final event, posting the highest beam total of the day with a 49. 600, to remain in the No. Alabama is currently at No. 2.

Amelie Morison started the team with an impressive 9. 900 leadoff score, and her teammates capitalized on that momentum, with Abby Paulson, Kara Eaker and Maile O’Keefe all scoring a 9. 9375, the highest marks of the day on beam.

Oklahoma continued to roll through the competition, ending on floor with a 9. 9625 from Jordan Bowers, the top score of the day on that event. The Sooners also posted 9. 9375s from Danielle Sievers, Danae Fletcher and Ragan Smith.

Alabama’s Luisa Blanco scored a heroic 9. 9125 on vault despite an injured ankle that had left her competitive status questionable, but it wasn’t enough for the team to make up the difference and jump ahead of Utah. Minnesota’s Lexy RAMLER tied for the top score on bars with a 9. 95, and Hannah Willmarth and Ona Loper both scored 9. 900s to round out a solid competition for the Golden Gophers. — Amy Van Deusen

Final team scores after Semifinal 1:

  1. Oklahoma, 198. 1125 (advances to finals)

  2. Utah, 197. 7125 (advances to finals)

  3. Minnesota, 197. 1125

  4. Alabama, 197. 1000


Jade Carey watch

Carey is off to a strong start. The Oregon State star crushed her Yurchenko double, with only one hop in the first rotation. Her 9. 8875 gives her the second-highest score on the event so far, behind only Oklahoma’s Allie Stern (9.9375).

On bars, Carey scored a massive 9. 950, which ties her with Oklahoma’s Audrey Davis for first so far and puts her in contention for a share of the bars title.

Another rotation, another impressive routine from the Olympic gold medalist. Carey was solid on beam and earned a 9. 900 and staying firmly in contention for the all-around title.

Carey took a small step on her incredibly difficult tucked double-double mount but was otherwise spot-on, scoring a 9. 9125 and giving her the all-around lead after semifinal Session 1.


Who will win the individual event titles?

As expected, the fight for the event titles is intense. After Semifinal 1, here is who leads on each event:

Vault

Bars

  • Audrey Davis, Oklahoma, 9. 950

  • Jade Carey, Oregon State, 9. 950

  • Lexy Ramler, Minnesota, 9. 950

Beam

  • Lexy Ramler, Minnesota, 9. 9375

  • Luisa Blanco, Alabama, 9. 9375

  • Abby Paulson, Utah, 9. 9375

  • Kara Eaker, Utah, 9. 9375

  • Maile O’Keefe, Utah, 9. 9375

Floor

All-around

Each individual event title will be awarded to the highest score after both semifinals are complete. Ties cannot be broken so there may be a five-way tie in the beam title. More likely: Semifinal 2 will have a score of 9. 9375 and take the lead.


Oklahoma holds the lead over Utah and Alabama

Oklahoma’s beam team put up another huge number, with a 49. 5125 to increase the lead over Utah at the end of the third rotation. Ragan Smith was the winner with a 9. 9250, while Olivia Trautman and Carly Woodard each earned a 9.9125.

Utah had a slight error on bars, with some uncharacteristic mistakes made by Grace McCallum or Cristal Isa. However, they will now move to beam where they are ranked first in the country. The main goal is to stay ahead of Alabama and keep the second-place ranking.

Alabama has a 9. 925 from Lexi Graber and a 9. 9125 from Lily Hudson on floor, sits less than . 200 behind Utah. — Amy Van Deusen

Team scores after rotation three:

  1. Oklahoma, 148. 4375

  2. Utah, 148. 1125

  3. Alabama, 147. 9750

  4. Minnesota, 147. 7250


The Utah-Oklahoma battle continues

Oklahoma showed why it’s the No. 1 team in the country on bars, with an enormous 49. 575 total on that event to edge ahead of Utah at the halfway point. Every gymnast did every handstand and nearly every dismount. Audrey Davis’ 9. 950 ties Jade Carey for the top score of the meet so far, and makes her a contender for the bar title. Kat Levasseur (9. 9375), Danielle Sievers (9. 900) and Jordan Bowers (9. 900) all topped 9.9 as well.

Not to be outdone, Utah scored a 49. 425 on vault, led by Jaedyn Rucker’s 9. 9625 for a stuck Yurchenko one and a half — and the highest individual score of the day so far.

Alabama’s Luisa blanco won again for her team, scoring a 9. 9375 that ties her with Ramler for the top beam score so far. Mya Hooten was the top floor performer with a 9. 950 and made a case for an event title there. (More information on Hooten’s routine here!) — Amy Van Deusen

Team scores after rotation two:

  1. Oklahoma, 98. 925

  2. Utah, 98. 900

  3. Alabama, 98. 525

  4. Minnesota, 98. 475


Oh my, Mya Hooten

Too soon to say floor routine of the meet? We will still consider it. Mya Hooten, as usual, brought down the house with her stunning performance and powerful choreography. This was a result of her racial justice-inspired choreography that has generated a lot of buzz throughout the season. Hooten received a score 9. 950 and holds first place in the event through two rotations.


The team battle: Rotation 1

The first event of the fast and furious first semifinal saw Utah take an early lead with an impressive 49. 475 on floor. For a 9., Olympian Grace McCallum secured her full-in mount. 9375, while Sydney Soloski earned a 9. 9125 with her lofty double layout.

Oklahoma had a strong 49. 350 vault score, led by Allie Stern’s leadoff vault, a nearly stuck Yurchenko one and a half for 9.9375. Jordan Bowers and Olivia Trautman were just behind with matching 9.8750s. On bars, Alabama’s Luisa blanco scored a 9. 8750, while on beam, Minnesota star Lexy Ramler scored a 9. 9375 for her immaculate routine. — Amy Van Deusen

Team scores after Rotation 1:

  1. Utah, 49. 475

  2. Oklahoma, 49. 350

  3. Alabama, 49. 2000

  4. Minnesota, 48. 975


From Tokyo to Fort Worth

It’s a Team USA reunion. Familiar faces Jade Carey and Suni Lee have become foes. They are now competing against each other as their college teams go head-to-head today.

They’ll always have Tokyo.


It’s go time

At the risk of stating the obvious: It all comes down to this. The teams are officially in the building, ready to compete for the NCAA Gymnastics crown.


Here we go: Who to watch in Semifinal 1

No. 1-ranked Oklahoma, No. 4 Utah, No. 5 Alabama and No. 7 Minnesotans will compete in Semifinal 1 to achieve the same goal: to be first or second, and to advance to Saturday’s final (1. p.m. ET, ABC).

Also available on the start-list? Individual qualifiers, including one that was a major hit. Jade Carey, the Olympic gold medalist, finished the regular season ranked first on all-around, second on bars, and third on floor. This was despite her being nothing short of spectacular when competing for Oregon State. This sums up why we should all be in on the Carey hype:

She’ll have a chance to win the all-around and an individual event title Thursday — but it won’t be easy. There are a few other gymnasts who may also be eligible to win the all-around. This award is given to the highest finisher in each of the four events. More on the all-around battle here.

High on that list would be Carey’s Olympic teammate (and good friend), Grace McCallum, who’s ranked sixth in the all-around and second on bars. McCallum is competing with the storied Utah team, and has had herself some kind of season as well, including two perfect 10.0s on bars.

On the team front, Oklahoma and Utah are the favorites to advance, just as their rankings indicate. The roster of Utah also includes Olympic alternate Kara Eaker, and two-time NCAA event champion Maile O’Keefe. The pair clinched the team’s nationals bid in the most dramatic way two gymnasts can, by scoring consecutive 10.0s on beam at regionals. Because of course you’ll want to see that, here it is.

Oklahoma has its own stars in 2016 Olympic alternate Ragan Smith, as well as freshman Jordan Bowers and sophomore Audrey Davis. Each of these gymnasts could win an individual title. Oklahoma on bars is No. This event is ranked No. 1.

But, there is no guarantee Thursday. Alabama’s regional finals score was 198. 175, to Utah’s 198. 200 and Oklahoma’s 198.250. These margins are not as small as they appear. Minnesota should not be overlooked. The squad has also hit the 198 mark this season and could upset any of the other teams. This will be an epic battle and anything can happen. — Amy Van Deusen

Get more predictions, from Kathy Johnson Clarke, Bart Conner, Alicia Sacramone Quinn and many more, here.

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