In an impressive start to the 2019 NCAA Gymnastics season, pre-season number two Oklahoma defeated Arkansas, ranked number twelve, on their home turf in Fayetteville. As to be expected with early-season competitions, both teams had a few mistakes to fight through, but overall showed strong performances. Oklahoma ended with a staggering 198.050, beating Arkansas’ 195.575 by almost 2.5 points. The Sonners’ incredible score will almost certainly earn them the number one ranking after the first week of competition.

In the first rotation, Oklahoma started strong on the uneven bars, scoring no lower than a 9.825 on any routine. Nicole Lehrmann stuck a full-twisting double tuck dismount for a 9.950, the highest score of the meet on bars. The Sooners also saw strong performances from Maggie Nichols, Brenna Dowell, and Anastasia Webb.

The Razorbacks also turned in good performances on vault in the first rotation, although a lack of difficulty and some landing errors prevented them from scoring up to their full potential. Kennedy Hambrick vaulted a powerful Yurchenko full with just a small hop for a 9.825.

In the second rotation, Nichols scored the first Perfect 10.0 of the season with a beautifully-executed Yurchenko one-and-a-half. Four other gymnasts also competed this vault, with Jade DeGouveia nearly sticking it also well for the Sooners. With five vaults starting at a 10.0, Oklahoma should have a strong vault lineup this season.

Sophia Carter performs on the floor exercise for the Arkansas Razorbacks against the Oklahoma Sooners in Fayetteville, Arkansas/Arkansas Athletics

Unfortunately for the Razorbacks on bars, Michaela Burton had a fall on her Shaposh transition release. Arkansas came back with five well-executed routines however for a team total of 48.600. Aside from a few short handstands, their routines showed a high level of difficulty, with nice releases and nearly stuck dismounts from all athletes.

In the last two rotations, Oklahoma did not count a score lower than a 9.825, though Brehanna Showers had a fall on floor in rotation three. They still scored over a 49 on each event, setting them up well for a successful season. Freshman Olivia Trautman impressed with strong performances, winning floor with a 9.950 and competing a Yurchenko one-and-a-half for a 9.850. Nichols won the all-around with a 39.750, followed by Dowell with a 39.550.

Arkansas continued improving their performances, scoring a 48.975 on the balance beam despite a few wobbles. They scored a total of 49.175 on the floor exercise, where Sophia Carter earned a 9.950 to win the event. Jessica Yamzon and Sarah Shaffer tied for third in the all-around with a 39.150 to cap a successful start to the season for the Razorbacks as well.

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