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NCAA gymnastics championships: Oklahoma Sooners edge Florida Gators to claim fifth national title

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Ragan Smith's beam routine clinches OU's victory (2:17)

Ragan Smith earns a 9.9625 on beam as Oklahoma edges out Florida to become the NCAA gymnastics champion. (2:17)

FORT WORTH, Texas -- The Oklahoma Sooners are on top of the NCAA gymnastics world once again. After a ridiculously tight semifinals that saw the defending champion Michigan Wolverines sent home Thursday, it all came down to the Saturday meet. Individual all-around champion Trinity Thomas led the favored Florida Gators as they took on Olympic gold medalist Suni Lee's underdog Auburn Tigers and two perennial powerhouses in the Sooners and the Utah Utes.

It came down to the wire on the final rotation of the meet, but Oklahoma managed to edge Florida for the title -- even with Thomas' earning her second perfect 10 since Thursday (the only 10s of the championship) on floor.

We have you covered with everything you might have missed from NCAA gymnastics' biggest stage:


Real recognize real

Boomer. Sooner. After Oklahoma hoisted the national championship trophy for the fifth time in program history, Jade Carey and Nadia Comaneci -- two gymnasts who know a thing or two about winning -- took to Twitter to weigh in.


Oklahoma, national champs!

With nerves of steel, Oklahoma nailed one wobble-free routine after another, with Ragan Smith closing it out with a 9.9625. Florida had a party on floor, with Thomas bringing down the house with a 10.000, but it was not quite enough to beat the Sooners. It came down to the last routine, and Oklahoma edged out the win, the fourth national title for the squad in the last six championships. -- Amy Van Deusen

Final team scores:

  1. Oklahoma 198.2000

  2. Florida 198.0875

  3. Utah 197.7500

  4. Auburn 197.3500


Oklahoma surges to the lead, just ahead of Florida

On bars in rotation three, Oklahoma's Danielle Sievers scored a jaw-dropping 9.975 for her nearly perfect leadoff routine. Katherine LeVasseur followed it up with a 9.9375, Olivia Trautman a 9.900 and Jordan Bowers a 9.950. Audrey Davis capped it all off with a 9.9625 for her gorgeous, ultra-difficult routine -- and the crowd booed a score it thought should have received a 10.00.

On beam, Florida cruised to a 49.500 total, with Leah Clapper's 9.925, Alyssa Baumann's 9.9125 and Trinity Thomas and Megan Skaggs' matching 9.900s.

Recently crowned national vault champion Jaedyn Rucker rocked a 9.975 with an incredible vault for Utah, but with lower scores overall the Utes sit in third. On floor, Auburn's Suni Lee (9.950) and Derrian Gobourne (9.9375) earned the top two floor scores of the day so far. The squad is in fourth, less than two-tenths behind Utah.

Florida heads to floor and Oklahoma to beam -- this will be down to the wire. -- Amy Van Deusen


Oklahoma fights back, but Utah holds its lead

Utah kept the momentum going on floor, with 9.900s from Grace McCallum and Abby Paulson and a 9.9125 from Sydney Soloski that brought the already excited crowd to eardrum-bursting decibels.

On bars, Trinity Thomas and Savannah Schoenherr led the way with scores of 9.975 and 9.925, respectively, overcoming a fall earlier in the rotation to sit in second at the halfway point.

The Sooners came roaring back on vault with a massive 49.6250 total, and huge scores from Katherine LeVasseur (9.975), Olivia Trautman (9.625), Jordan Bowers (9.9375) and Allie Stern (9.900). They're now just the tiniest of margins (.025) behind the Gators in third.

Auburn sits in fourth but only three-and-a-half tenths back from the top spot with floor, a high-scoring event for the Tigers, up next. Suni Lee led their beam rotation with a 9.900. - Amy Van Deusen

Team scores after rotation two:

  1. Utah 98.9750

  2. Florida 98.8750

  3. Oklahoma 98.8500

  4. Auburn 98.6250


The drama begins -- and we're here for it

The first event was as wild as anticipated. Utah jumped to an early lead, with stellar beam routines from freshman Kara Eaker (9.95) and juniors Abby Paulson and Maile O'Keefe (both 9.900).

Auburn's Suni Lee (9.9125) and Derrian Gobourne (9.9375) both excelled on bars -- as expected. Florida improved on vault from semifinals, with Trinity Thomas earning the highest score so far with a 9.9875 for a stuck Yurchenko one-and-a-half vault. Oklahoma had two uncharacteristic out-of-bounds deductions on floor, but certainly shouldn't be counted out yet. -- Amy Van Deusen

Team scores after rotation one:

  1. Utah 49.5125

  2. Auburn 49.425

  3. Florida 49.3500

  4. Oklahoma 49.1875


Bring the noise

The energy brought by the Auburn, Florida, Oklahoma and Utah fans rivals anything seen on College GameDay. No sooner had the clock struck noon than the stadium began to fill up with boisterous fans touting their squads whilst wielding signs, popcorn and cups of beer.

The vibes? Immaculate. The noise? Deafening. Between the constant cheering and ear-splitting music it is hard to put together a coherent thought, let alone nail a beam routine.

For this reason, it seems worth doubling-down on the fact athletes are flying through the air performing incredibly dangerous skills in this environment.

Real gymnastics aficionados will undoubtedly laugh at the forthcoming observation, but I am blown away by the unparalleled concentration each and every gymnast is displaying. Can you imagine a golf or tennis match unfolding in such circumstances? Absurdity. -- Tory Barron


It's go time

To quote the immortal words of the rapper Yung Joc: "It's goin' down."


The fans don't play

College gymnastics fans are a dedicated bunch. Yes, we realize it is the NCAA championship we're talking about, but the passion is palpable. We were struck by the length of the line which had already formed outside of Dickies Arena when we arrived two hours before showtime. It was reminiscent of when the K-pop group BTS descended upon downtown Los Angeles. You don't muster that sort of turnout on a whim. -- Tory Barron


The stage is set

In the biggest upset of the semifinals, No. 6 Auburn took the second spot of the session, earning a berth in the team finals. Michigan, ranked No. 3 in the country after the regular season, finished fourth in the semifinal after multiple falls on bars and beam, and will not have a chance to defend its national title from last year.

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 the beam title, and Utah's Jaedyn Rucker 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