NCAA gymnastics championship: Utah, Florida clinch final two spots


FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Utah and Florida clinched the remaining two spots at the NCAA women’s gymnastics championship on Thursday night, denying No. 1 overall seed Oklahoma a chance at a three-peat.

Utah took the lead on the first rotation after posting a season-high 49.6375 on the beam — with a 9.950 from Abby Paulson and Malie O’Keefe. Jaylene Gilstrap and O’Keefe also posted 9.950 on the floor to keep Utah in front.

The Utes finished with 197.9375 points, while the Gators had 197.8750 for the fifth-highest score in program history at the championships. Defending champion Oklahoma suffered from five falls to place third with 196.6625, followed by Alabama (196.4125).

Fifth-seeded Utah and No. 4 Florida join No. 2 LSU and No. 3 California in Saturday’s finals. The Gators are seeking their fourth title in program history, winning three consecutive from 2013-15.

Oklahoma was seeking to win its third straight, but had a disastrous start after posting its lowest vault score since Jan. 4, 2008. The Sooners had finished the tournament in the top three every year since 2013, with six national championships (2014, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2022 and 2023).

Earlier in the day, LSU posted the top score of 198.1125 to advance to the finals for the 10th time in school history. It was the second-highest score in program history at a national championship for LSU, which is seeking its first national title.

Cal reached the finals for the first time in program history with an overall score of 197.7125, ahead of Stanford (197.0750) and Arkansas (196.4750).

LSU senior Haleigh Bryant’s all-around score of 39.7125 from the afternoon session held up to become the champion. Bryant’s teammate, Aleah Finnegan, took the floor exercise after delivering a 9.9626 to match LSU’s best result on the event at the championship.

Oregon State's Jade Carey competes in the floor exercise during the NCAA women's gymnastics championships in Fort Worth, Texas, Thursday, April 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Oregon State’s Jade Carey competes in the floor exercise during the NCAA women’s gymnastics championships in Fort Worth, Texas, Thursday, April 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Oklahoma senior Audrey Davis shared a pair of titles, including the beam podium with teammate Faith Torrez. Davis also tied Florida junior Leanne Wong on the bars.

Stanford sophomore Anna Roberts earned the title on the vault after scoring a career-best 9.9500.

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