Special to Gatorsports.com
ST. LOUIS, Mo. – NCAA gymnastics Super Six team final format concluded with bang Saturday in front of a sold-out Chaifetz Arena crowd of 6,800.
UCLA surged past two-time defending champion and top-seeded Oklahoma with a perfect score from its balance beam anchor to claim the Bruins’ seventh NCAA team title. UCLA’s winning margin of 0.0375 is the narrowest in the 37-year history of the NCAA Championships.
Florida also made a move on the final rotation, edging Southeastern Conference champion Louisiana State to take third for the second consecutive year.
“It was an amazing evening,” UF coach Jenny Rowland said. “The Gators did a fantastic job. We had six fantastic teams on the floor tonight. Just a shout out and congratulations to all who competed tonight, especially UCLA for taking home the national championship.”
UCLA won at 198.075, followed by Oklahoma (198.0375), Florida (197.85), LSU (197.8375), Utah (196.90) and Nebraska (196.80).
Florida’s 197.85 equals the program’s second highest among its 16 NCAA Super Six appearances.
“Really every team on the floor could have won the championship this evening and it was an honor and privilege to be here,” Rowland said. “It was an honor and privilege to represent Gator Nation. So incredibly proud of this team. They laid their heart out on the floor. They laid their gymnastics out on the floor and I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
The Gators were solid on each event. For the first time since 2014, Florida drew the Olympic rotation for the NCAA Super Six. Florida opened the meet with a 49.4125 on vault. Junior Alicia Boren led Florida with a 9.9375, which tied for fourth overall. Senior Rachel Slocum also earned a 9.9125.
Florida came off of bye to uneven bars where it turned in a 49.5375. Alex McMurtry led Florida with a near-perfect 9.975, which trailed only the 10.0 by UCLA’s Peng-Peng Lee. Florida also got a pair of 9.9s from freshman Megan Skaggs and sophomore Amelia Hundley.
On beam, the Gators turned in a 49.3375. Freshman Alyssa Baumann’s 9.9375 was good for sharing fourth overall. The 10.0 by UCLA’s Lee – her second of the evening – moved UCLA to the top of the team standings. Sophomore Rachel Gowey also posted a 9.9125 in Florida’s beam rotation.
Florida finished the meet on floor exercise uneven bars with a 49.5625 – the second-highest floor total for the meet. For the second consecutive evening, Baumann led UF on floor with a collegiate-best 9.95. She tied for second in the Super Six floor standings. A total of four Gators posted floor marks better that 9.9 Saturday – Boren (9.9375), Amelia Hundley (9.925) and McMurtry (9.9125).
Boren took third in the all-around at 39.5375. OU’s Maggie Nichols, who won the NCAA all-around title last night, also topped the standings Saturday at 39.775. LSU’s Myria Hambrick was second at 39.6625.
Notes: The Gators have finished in the top four in each of the last seven NCAA Super Six competitions (1st – 2013, 2014, 2015; 2nd – 2012; 3rd – 2017, 2018 & 4th – 2016)
* Florida is the only team to advance to each of the final seven NCAA Super Six team finals. The Gators appeared in 16 of the possible 26 Super Six team finals.
* Alex McMurtry is the only gymnast in the 26-year history of the NCAA Super Six to earn an uneven bars 10.0 (2017) and a 9.975 (2018).