After two sessions of regional competition at the NCAA Ann Arbor Regional today, four teams were eliminated from postseason competition. The Michigan Wolverines, Alabama Crimson Tide, UCLA Bruins, and the Nebraska Cornhuskers are moving on to the super regional competition tomorrow, where the top two teams from that competition will move on to the NCAA Championships in two weeks time in Fort Worth, Texas.
The first session saw the first major upset of postseason competition, with Alabama winning the meet with a 197.225, .275 points higher than the higher-seeded Wolverines. Michigan scored a 196.950, good enough to advance, but they will need to step up their game to get to the NCAA Championships. Both teams started strong on their first events, with Michigan leading after the first rotation, scoring a 49.425 with fantastic vaults, including a 9.925 from Natalie Wojcik. Starting on beam, Alabama had six strong performances, with all counting scores at a 9.850 or above for a total of 49.225. Emily Gaskins posted the third highest score of the day with a 9.900.
Michigan lost some ground on bars and beam, two events which are normally very strong for them. The team hit under pressure after a fall on bars, trailing behind Alabama after the second rotation but staying well ahead of Penn State and Ohio State. The Crimson Tide had a fantastic floor rotation, with Shallon Olsen scoring a 9.925. They kept the momentum going on vault with Olsen’s Yurchenko double full scoring a 9.925 and Gaskins’ vault scoring a 9.900. Michigan had a great beam rotation, with Olivia Karas scoring a 9.900 and Wojcik scoring a 9.825, closing the gap between them and Alabama.
The competition was tight going into the last rotation, where Michigan delivered on their home floor. Wojcik won the event along with Olsen, with both scoring a 9.925. They counted two more scores of at least a 9.800 for a total of 49.125, but it wasn’t enough to catch the Crimson Tide. Alabama put up a fight on the uneven bars, with Gaskins scoring a 9.900, Olsen scoring a 9.825, and Wynter Childers scoring a 9.800 for a total of 49.350.
In the second session, UCLA scored a 197.675 to win the meet, and Nebraska placed second in the session and fourth out of the four teams qualifying to Saturday’s super regional with a 196.800. The Bruins had a fantastic start on vault, where Kyla Ross scored a Perfect 10.0 for a stuck Yurchenko one-and-a-half. Nia Dennis posted a near-perfect 9.900 for her Yurchenko full. Nebraska had a bit of a slower start, scoring a 49.100 on the balance beam. They managed to avoid counting a fall, as the team delivered and hit five great routines.
UCLA kept the momentum going in the next two rotations, scoring a 49.400 on bars and a 49.500 on beam. Ross scored two more near-perfect scores with a 9.975 on bars and a 9.950 on beam. Madison Kocian was beautiful as always on bars, scoring a 9.925. On beam, UCLA posted three scores of at least a 9.900, with Ross and Katelyn Ohashi scoring 9.950s and Brielle Nguyen scoring a 9.900. Nebraska put up four scores over a 9.850 on floor for a total of 49.200, putting them in second place after the second rotation. Sienna Crouse placed third on the event with a 9.900, following her floor performance with another 9.900 on vault. Taylor Houchin stuck her Yurchenko one-and-a-half for a huge 9.975, solidifying Nebraska’s second place ranking.
Ending on floor, UCLA scored a 49.350, with Gracie Kramer and Pauline Tratz scoring 9.900s. UCLA has shown great depth on floor this year, as a lineup without Ross and Ohashi scored well into the 49s. Nebraska ended the meet with a 49.200 on bars with six hit routines, including a 9.950 from Sienna Crouse to cap off her all-around performance, which scored a 39.600. Nebraska had a great performance today and will need to repeat that performance or improve upon it to advance to NCAA Championships. The super regional tomorrow will be an exciting one to watch, as all four teams are ranked inside the top 15 and could upset any of the other teams.Tags: 2019 NCAA Regionals, Alabama, Alabama Crimson Tide, Big 10, Big Ten, Brielle Nguyen, Emily Gaskins, Gracie Kramer, Katelyn Ohashi, Kyla Ross, Madison Kocian, Michigan, Michigan Wolverines, Natalie Wojcik, NCAA Gymnastics, NCAA Regionals, Nebraska, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nia Dennis, Ohio State, Ohio State Buckeyes, Olivia Karas, Pac 12, Pauline Tratz, Penn State, Penn State Nittany Lions, SEC, Shallon Olsen, Sienna Crouse, Taylor Houchin, UCLA, UCLA Bruins, Wynter Childers