The final day of competition at the NCAA Ann Arbor Regional brought the highly-anticipated super regional round at Michigan’s Crisler Center and had fierce competition, with second and third place separated by just five hundredths of a point. In the end, the number two and defending national champions UCLA Bruins won the meet with a 198.075, eight tenths higher than the host Michigan Wolverines, who placed second with a 197.275. The Alabama Crimson Tide just missed out on advancing to nationals, the end of an incredible streak of nationals appearances dating back to 10982, placing third with a 197.225. In fourth were the Nebraska Cornhuskers with a 196.650, failing to repeat their Super Six Team Final appearance from last season.

Starting on beam, UCLA came back quickly from a fall in the leadoff spot from Grace Glenn to score a total of 49.400, capped off with a 9.925 from Katelyn Ohashi and Kyla Ross‘ Perfect 10.0. The highest score of the first rotation came from Alabama on floor, where they scored a 49.425 with three 9.900s from Abby Armbrecht, Lexi Graber, and Ari Guerra. They were able to count all five scores over a 9.800, helping them get an early lead. Michigan showed improvements on bars over yesterday’s performance to score a 49.200 with all six scores being over a 9.800. Aside from a few hops on dismounts, the Wolverines looked tight and clean.

Kyla Ross performs on the balance beam for the UCLA Bruins at the NCAA Ann Arbor Regional super regional in Ann Arbor, Michigan/FloGymnastics

Michigan gained ground on beam, where freshman phenom Natalie Wojcik scored a 9.950 and Olivia Karas scored a 9.900 to help the team to a total of 49.425, just short of a season high. Every counting score was at least a 9.850 in what was a very solid beam rotation for the Wolverines. The Bruins also had a stellar rotation on floor, scoring a 49.625. Ohashi and Ross returned to the floor lineup, where they both scored a 9.950, closely followed by 9.900s from Nia Dennis and Felicia Hano. Gracie Kramer provided the team’s fifth counting score with a 9.925. On vault, Alabama’s total was a bit lower at 49.125. Shallon Olsen and Guerra posted 9.875s, the highest scores of the lineup, with a powerful Yurchenko double full and a stuck Yurchenko one-and-a-half, respectively.

The Tide couldn’t close the gap between them and Michigan on the uneven bars, where they scored a 49.250. Guerra had the third highest score of the day with a 9.900, and Emily Gaskins was close behind with a 9.875. Michigan pulled ahead, scoring a 49.425 on floor and counting three 9.900s from freshman Abby Brenner, Karas, and Emma McLean. They kept the momentum building throughout the competition, solidifying their place at nationals. UCLA also increased their lead with a 49.400 on vault, with Dennis, Ross, and Pauline Tratz  scoring 9.900s.

Olivia Karas performs on the floor exercise for the Michigan Wolverines at the NCAA Ann Arbor Regional super regional in Ann Arbor, Michigan/USA Today

Ending on bars, UCLA posted the highest rotation total of the day with a 49.650 and added another Perfect 10.0 from Ross to their total. Madison Kocian scored a 9.950, and the rest of the counting scores were 9.900s. On vault, Michigan ended with a 49.200 with hit vaults but no stuck landings, something they will want to improve on at nationals in two weeks. Alabama hit five great routines on beam, but came up short of catching Michigan by just half a tenth of a point. Lexi Graber scored a 9.950- needing a Perfect 10.0 for her team to advance-, the second highest score of the day, followed by a 9.925 from Gaskins and a 9.900 from Armbrecht. Despite missing out on nationals as a team, the Crimson Tide will have several individuals competing at the NCAA Championships.

Nebraska was able to avoid counting falls on three of their events and had a good performance, scoring a team total equal to their season NQS. They will be happy to end this season on a good note after struggling with consistency early in the season. The Cornhuskers could see Taylor Houchin compete on vault and Sienna Crouse on bars as individuals at nationals.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,