Very few times is a number one tested at all during the regular season, let alone twice. After downing then number two Florida in a February blockbuster between the number one Sooners and the second-ranked Gators, Oklahoma did it again on Sunday in Norman in front of a record-shattering crowd inside the Lloyd Noble Center, upending the now number two and defending national champions UCLA Bruins in a true clash of the titans of collegiate gymnastics, winning 197.775-197.575.
After edging out the Bruins last year in a thrilling, high-drama dual meet in Westwood that featured a staggering six Perfect 10.0s inside Pauley Pavilion before being clipped by UCLA in the final rotation at the Super Six for a national title, the Sooners came out focused and energized to gain their revenge against UCLA and extend their undefeated season.
Beginning on vault in the first rotation, Oklahoma came out soaring and sticking with their incredible lineup of six 10.0 start value vaults, racing out to an early lead after the opening rotation courtesy of nearly-stuck Yurchenko one-and-a-halfs from Brenna Dowell and Jade Degouveia for scores of 9.900 and 9.950, respectively. Despite the strong start from the Sooners, UCLA was able to keep pace as they begun on the uneven bars thanks to another perfect 10.0 from Kyla Ross in the anchor spot for the Bruins.
Already leading by over a tenth, Oklahoma looked to capitalize and increase their lead and some incredible bars work did just that. Four scores of 9.925 allowed the Sooners to build a three-tenth lead on UCLA heading into the halfway point of the meet as Karrie Thomas, Dowell, Nicole Lehrman, and Maggie Nichols all hit that mark. Over on the vault, the Bruins struggled to find their landings and respond to the impressive performance of OU, however Ross kept up her perfect mark with another 10 on her Yurchenko one-and-a-half vault.
The third rotation saw a mad comeback from UCLA on the floor and the first real sign of nerves and pressure for the Sooners on beam as they had to fight through a fall there. After Carly Woodard fell for a low 9.275 and Dowell and Evy Schoepfer were forced to count 9.750s, the pressure was on the remainder of the OU beam lineup, with Nichols anchoring with a near-flawless routine for a 9.975.
The Sooners however were under pressure not just from themselves but also from an electric floor performance from UCLA that saw Gracie Kramer and Felicia Hano go 9.925, Ross near perfection again for a 9.975, and senior sensation Katelyn Ohashi earn yet another perfect 10.0 on her viral floor routine to set the Bruins level with Oklahoma and create a thrilling final rotation.
With the meet tied heading into the fourth and final rotation and the Sooners set to end on their most troublesome event this season, the floor exercise, KJ Kindler‘s squad responded perfectly, putting in their best floor rotation of the season to set a standard even the defending national champion Bruins couldn’t match and secure the meet. Every single member of the Oklahoma floor lineup went up and did their job almost perfectly, counting no score below 9.900 thanks to Anastasia Webb, Jordan Draper, and Degouveia all hitting the 9.900 mark, Dowell going 9.925, and freshman phenom Olivia Trautman anchoring with another near-perfect routine for a 9.950 to close the competition.
UCLA put up a heroic fight on the balance beam, showing grit and precision throughout their challenging, difficult routines, bookending their beam lineup with a 9.900 from Grace Glenn in the leadoff role and a huge 9.950 from Ohashi in the anchor spot for the Bruins.Tags: Anastasia Webb, Big 12, Brenna Dowell, Carly Woodard, Evy Schoepfer, Felicia Hano, Grace Glenn, Gracie Kramer, Jade DeGouveia, Jordan Draper, Karrie Thomas, Katelyn Ohashi, KJ Kindler, Kyla Ross, Maggie Nichols, NCAA Gymnastics, Nicole Lehrman, Oklahoma, Oklahoma Sooners, Olivia Trautman, Pac 12, UCLA, UCLA Bruins