Today’s the day!
It’s time for the Gators to defeat the next obstacle on their path to the title – they face Michigan, Auburn, and Missouri in tonight‘s second semifinal, where only the top two teams will advance to the national championship final on Saturday. If you didn’t catch it yesterday, take a second to read our preview of Florida’s chances of qualifying to the final, as well as a quick breakdown of all its potential opponents there.
Earlier today, Utah and Oklahoma advanced from the first semifinal, leaving Minnesota and Alabama on the outside looking in. Though Utah looked dominant to begin with, it was Oklahoma that took the lead in the third rotation and won the session with a dominant 198.1125. Utah’s 197.7125 was still well clear of Minnesota in third place at 197.1125. Alabama fell to last after a disappointing vault rotation, coming in just below Minnesota at 197.1.
Scoring was much tighter in the first semifinal than Florida has seen at any meet all season, so expect some scores to be lower than we are used to. That being said, the possibility for a 198+ is still there, as Oklahoma proved – Florida will just need to go lights out. We’ll see if the judges continue to be a little conservative, or if they get a little excited as the evening ramps up. There is a general trend in two-session meets for the evening session to score higher on average, so individual title contenders in tonight‘s meet, including our Gators, could benefit from that.
Though several Gators are top individual contenders, this team is focused on the end goal: qualifying to Saturday and, ultimately, winning the national championship. Individual titles would be great, but the attitude in interviews and videos with the athletes has generally been that they are most focused on the team. Watch for this to be reflected tonight whenever ESPN checks in with head coach Jenny Rowland mid-meet and in the team’s behavior – look for them to be paying attention to each other, dancing, having fun, and lifting each other up rather than paying any mind to the cameras, scores, or other teams. Florida’s plan is to stay in its bubble, and that’s where this team does its best work.
It all starts very soon – 6pm ET on ESPN2 for the main broadcast with a quad box and event-specific feeds available on ESPN+ with some of of the best commentators in the business. However, if you don’t have access or can’t make it to a television, we’ll have every routine for you here, moment by moment. Stay with us! You won’t want to miss a thing.
Here are the scores to beat from the first session in terms of individual titles! In terms of team scores, the first session’s scores don’t really matter – the top two from this session qualify regardless. However, Oklahoma’s 198+ does demonstrate the kind of level it’s operating on versus Utah. It’ll be interesting to see how the scores this evening stack up.
Rotating with Florida tonight will be Kentucky’s Raena Worley, the top all-arounder whose team did not qualify from the Auburn regional. She’ll be an individual title threat on several events, including in the all-around, where her NQS is higher than Carey’s currently-leading mark of 39.65. Trinity Thomas is not currently ranked nationally in the all-around, but anyone who’s watched college gymnastics at all this year should know that she’ll be a threat as well.
Hoping this intro will be posted on social media somewhere… 👀
My setup for tonight! Here we go!
6:02pm: Looks like a new leotard for Florida?
Kathy Johnson Clarke and Bart Conner on the call tonight on the main broadcast, with Sam Peszek as their floor reporter. Kathy outlining how teams with “everything to gain, nothing to lose” are prime for an upset… Auburn and Missouri definitely have that potential. Let’s just hope it’s Michigan they upset, if anyone, not Florida. Fingers crossed.
6:06pm: Time for rotation one! The Gators begin on vault tonight.
Skaggs, VT: FTY, stuck! A little off to the side, but same clean form as usual.
Brenner, Michigan FX: Solid opening two passes. Dance series looked clean. A fun classic rock mix in here. Double pike to close, well controlled. A good start for them as well.
Hollingsworth, Aub BB: Clean dance elements that I saw. Had to swim for it but stayed stuck on her dismount!
6:08pm: Schoenherr, VT: Y1.5, big bounce forward.
Celestine, Miz UB: Good opening handstand work. Maloney to pak, ooh, some leg separation and very whippy there. Unique stalder pike front half dismount! Looked like a small foot adjustment to me.
Heiskell, FX: Double arabian to open, controlled step forward. 1.5 to front lay, good control there as well. Think I missed her middle pass but sounds like a hit from the team reaction.
Wong, VT: Podkopayeva, strong shape in the air, toes pointed, just a small hop back. That vault has made leaps and bounds this year!
6:12pm: Reed, VT: Y1.5, another big hop forward. Great dynamics, but won’t be the big score they need.
Wojcik, FX: Front double full to front pike, takes it right to the line but stays in bounds. Double pike, big step back, may have moved her front foot… did she go out? Camera angle didn’t show far back enough, I couldn’t tell. She looks nervous, not as into her choreo as usual. Rudi to straddle jump, lots of travel on that jump.
Thomas, VT: Y1.5, the smallest of adjustments on one foot but that was GORGEOUS.
Peszek giving us a story about a pep talk UCLA’s Jordan Chiles gave Thomas during podium training yesterday – they’ve been friends since they were 15! Love to see those friendships staying strong despite being competitors.
6:15pm: Groth, BB: Triple series riiiight to the end of the beam, so steady. Switch to switch half, she’s thrilled, and should be – it was gorgeous. Front aerial, super secure. Side aerial back full stuck!
Sheremeta, UB: Nice high Jaeger to immediate shootover. Good final handstands. Front twisting 1.5 dismount, small adjustment on the landing.
Worley, UK indiv VT: Y1.5, somehow stayed stuck through to her salute, although I wouldn’t give her full control of that landing. Incredible how she muscled that though!
6:18pm: Brooks, FX: Apparently has retooled this routine due to some sore ankles, now only two passes. Let’s see how the content is. Opens with a full in, riiight on the line but doesn’t go over, that’s acceptable. Great amplitude on her leaps! Front tuck through to double tuck, looked maybe a little underdone but pushes to step back instead of forward. Drops the mic at the end – yeah, I’ll buy that! Solid showing from Michigan.
Hu, UB: Piked Tkachev to pak, WOW! Great giant full to double tuck stuck!
6:21pm: Wilson, FX: Full in, big bounce into the lunge. Combo pass, strong control there. Great amplitude on her leaps. Double tuck to finish, very nice.
Chiles, UCLA indiv UB: Piked Tkachev, goes big and misses the bar! Oh no! Maloney to Gienger is gorgeous. Stuck her dismount – so upset for her, but she’ll have floor as well later.
Lee, BB: Wolf turn, solid. Front aerial to bhs loso, fantastic. Switch leap to switch half, strong positions and landed steadily. Bhs gainer full stuck! That’ll be a great score for her.
Flatley, UCLA indiv FX: Triple full to open, WOW! She looks so focused here. Front double full – that’s a second E pass, very few gymnasts are capable of that. Gorgeous dance series, beautiful extension throughout. Really selling this choreo too. 1.5 to front layout, she finessed the HECK out of that but pulled it out like a veteran. Should put her in a great position to compete for the AA title as the night goes on.
AFTER ONE: MICH 49.4875, AUB 49.475, UF 49.2375, MIZ 49.1125
Florida needs to settle down and reset on bars. Michigan will go to vault, where it’s ranked No. 1, but Auburn now has to contend with floor, which is its lowest-ranked event of the four. The Gators are No. 2 on bars, so with a normal rotation, they should close this gap, but they can’t take that for granted.
Blakely, UB: Maloney to pak, nice. Good low bar handstand! Great final handstand too… misses the full pirouette and she comes off! Oh god. Remounts, double front, small hop. Oof.
Wojcik, Mich VT: Y1.5, little hop on the landing.
Brusch, Aub FX: Strong opening pass. Dance series was nice! Final pass is a double pike, into the lunge, fine. A good start for them.
Think that was Heiskell on vault with another strong 1.5.
6:37pm: Morrison, VT: Y1.5, short, has to slide her feet back under herself.
McCusker, UB: Maloney to pak, super clean. van Leeuwen, also legs pasted together. Short on final handstand, but stalder to double tuck is the best she’s ever done!
Brooks, VT: another Y1.5, small hop forward this time.
6:39pm: Wilson, VT: Y1.5, single step forward. Nothing stuck, but all strong 1.5s. Michigan not leaving any room for error for others.
Schoenherr, UB: Good opening handstand work. Great Jaeger, saved the toe handstand somehow. Bail was fine. Double front half out stuck! That could have been a disaster, what a veteran.
Stevens, FX: Front lay to Rudi, some pike in the hips but good landing. Leap series was solid. Double tuck to finish, fine on the landing there.
Skaggs, UB: GREAT opening handstand! Tkachev to pak, some ankle sep. DLO stuck COLD! That’s exactly what they need right now. Holy cow.
6:44pm: Sheremeta, Miz BB: Clean dance series, lovely 180 split. Gainer tuck full off the end is stuck! Mizzou fighting for this.
Groth, FX: Front double full, lovely. Combo pass, more clean twisting. Rudi to finish, great landing there. Not an exceptionally exciting routine, but very very clean.
Little bit of a wait on bars, something up with the equipment! Thomas and assistant coach Owen Field hanging out by the chalk bucket, trying to stay loose.
6:47pm: Lee, FX: DLO, solid landing there. Great ring position today, lovely oversplit positions. 1.5 to front full, solid landing even if not the greatest rise into the second element. That’ll be another great one for Auburn.
Schreiber, BB: Triple series, soooo solid. Switch half to split, great positions. Gainer full stuck!
Gobourne, FX: A crime to have these two going at the same time. Double tuck to open, soooo open and great landing. 1.5 to front lay, gorgeous control on that. Double pike to close, she’s STOKED, shimmys into her finish – that will be MASSIVE for Auburn.
Equipment malfunction still going on bars, Thomas has apparently put her sweats back on…
Davis, UK indiv, FX: Double pike to open, very nice. Gorgeous switch side to Popa dance series, great straddle positions. 1.5 to front lay, very floaty! Double tuck to finish, a little short but she’s just stoked to be competing here, she had so much fun.
WILD things happening over here and it’s only rotation two.
7:00pm: Thomas finally getting ready to go.
Thomas, UB: Great opening handstand. Maloney to pak, both fly high. Great low bar handstands. van Leeuwen is great. DLO is STUCK COLD! Iced out? Never would have known anything was wrong. What a QUEEN.
She gets a 9.975!
Wong, UB: Great first handstand! Maloney to pak, lovely. van Leeuwen, super clean. Good final handstand. DLO, the stick was a little questionable but that will erase Blakely’s fall – this team came THROUGH!
The GUTS on this team! The FIGHT! So proud.
7:04pm: Worley, UK indiv UB: Another pro I bet can handle the pressure. Great opening handstand work. Tkachev is big, nice and dynamic. Pak has some leg sep. Great last handstand! Full out dismount is STUCK! What’d I tell you? A true professional.
AFTER TWO: AUB 99.05, MICH 98.9125, UF 98.7125, MIZ 98.5375
The Gators trail by two tenths at the halfway mark, but they head to beam, where they notched a season-high at regionals two weeks ago. They need to take the momentum from Thomas and Wong’s massive hits at the end of the bars debacle and bring it into beam – fight for every tenth, every toe point, every landing. This is when they can make their move.
7:14pm: Groth, Aub VT: FTY, little pike in the hips, hop back.
Skaggs, BB: Wolf turn, solid. Switch half to split, gorgeous. Bhs loso, soooo effortless. Front aerial, secure. KJC just said it, “could go 10 in the leadoff.” Cat leap to switch side, textbook! Side aerial back full! CLUTCH.
Hubbard, VT: Y1.5, little stutter step forward.
Stevens, VT: Yfull, just a hop back.
7:17pm: Brenner, Mich UB: Goes for her Tkachev and misses! Ate mat. Finished the routine well, but the door could be open.
Blakely, BB: Let’s hope she can bounce back. Front aerial to bhs is solid. Switch to switch half, gorgeous. Side aerial back full stuck! She’s STOKED, as she should be! Kept fighting through her difficulties today, so proud of her.
Gobourne, VT: Y1.5, little stutter step forward and to the side. Great amplitude though.
7:20pm: Baumann, BB: Time for the ice queen. Bhs loso, little bobble but corrects like a pro. Switch to split jump, gorgeous. Side aerial, solid. Roundoff 1.5, little adjustment with the left foot. Fighting for every tenth – just like I said.
Watson, VT: Y1.5 STUCK COLD! Holy cow, best I’ve ever seen her do!
Lee, VT: Yhalf on, front layout half off, a little piked in the body but just a small hop on the landing.
7:22pm: Morrison, UB: Jaeger was nice! Bail is solid. DLO stuck! A good reset for Michigan
Wong, BB: Bhs loso, solid. Switch ring, a little adjustment but finesses to look like choreo. Roundoff double full, tried to hold onto the stick but has to take a step back.
Johnson, LSU indiv VT: Ydouble full, STUCK! Love seeing her rep her team here, I know they were devastated not to qualify as a team but there’s no one better to represent the Tigers here than her.
Brooks, UB: Hit releases. Full twisting double, stuck! Another hit for Michigan.
Thomas, BB: One arm bhs to loso, dead on. Mixed series into bhs swingdown, well done. Side aerial back full is stuck! Team chanting 10s for her again.
Moore, Miz FX; The first routine we’ve seen from them this rotation. Great opening pass, so high! Dance series is excellent too, she gets great height. Double tuck to finish is pretty short, unfortunately, that would’ve been a good score.
Wojcik, UB: Deltchev, sooooo high! To immediate shootover, fine. DLO, little hop forward.
7:28pm: Clapper, BB: Bhs loso loso, just lays it back, gorgeous. Dance series is good. Stuck dismount! Should be a fabulous beam rotation score for them.
Celestine, FX: Full in, definitely fully in bounds today! Great leap series. Double tuck to finish, SKY high! She is killing it out here. Should be a great score.
7:30pm: Vore, UB: Maloney to bail, solid. Almost overarches the handstand, DLO, she hits her feet on the bar!! Stumbles back and sits it! Michigan will count a fall!
Chiles, UCLA indiv FX: FTDLO to open! Wow! Front full through to double tuck, great landing. SLAYING this choreography, she wants this national title, especially after her fall earlier. Dance series gets a little wild but she still pulled it around, I think. Double pike, landing a little deep but she goes back into the lunge. What a showstopper. Love her, love her gymnastics. She is one to watch, if any of you aren’t watching anyone but the Gators most of the year.
AFTER THREE: AUB 148.4, UF 148.225, MIZ 147.95, MICH 147.5875
7:41pm: Rotation 4 time! Let’s finish this!
Skaggs, FX: Double wolf turn to open, it’s great. Rudi to stag is solid, no traveling on that today. Dance series is lovely. Combo pass to finish is great! Skaggs is such a clutch leadoff for this team.
Michigan saves a fall just on a beam mount on her opening routine. Ouch. Just having bobble after bobble in this routine. And sits her dismount! Oh my god. That’s a meltdown of a routine.
McCrary, Miz VT: Yfull, just a step on the landing.
Groth, Aub UB: Strong Tkachev to start. Pak is solid. Good final handstand. A little slow on her full pirouette leading into her dismount but pulled it out somehow. Double tuck dismount, little adjustment it looked like.
Baumann, FX: 1.5 to front full to open, great control coming out of it, just a single step. Dance series and turns are lovely, just effortless. Double pike to close, good control there as well. That’ll be another great one!
Stevens, UB: Tkachev is solid, just some feet. Bail is fine. DLO, little hop forward.
7:47pm: Celestine, VT: Y1.5 STUCK! Held it just to show it off, what a night for her!
Wong, FX: Triple twist, two foot stick! Combo pass is lovely. Double pike to close, great control out of that – WHAT A NIGHT! She’s going to end up with a massive AA score.
Brusch, UB: Maloney, has to cast up to the high bar before she goes for her bail for some reason? Didn’t see her dismount.
Moore, VT: Y1.5, had to hop to the side but what height!
7:50pm: Reed, FX: She’s apparently the team’s candy supplier – HERE for that. DLO to open, one of her good ones. Front lay to Rudi, another solid landing. Double pike to finish, kept that front foot down. WINKS AT THE CAMERA in her ending pose! What a performer. What a star.
Another fall for Michigan on beam, Kathy gasped mid-gush about Reed.
Gobourne, UB: Sticks her dismount COLD, even holds it for a minute to show it off.
Lee, UB: Maloney to pak to van Leeuwen, gorgeous. Final handstand is perfect and she just HANGS OUT up there at a perfect 180 degree angle. stuck dismount!
7:54pm: Thomas, FX: DLO, gorgeous! “Boom.” as my husband just said. Gorgeous three-element leap sequence, all in oversplit. Front full to front lay to finish, just FLOATS into the second element. Incredible. Bring out the 10s. A 9.9625 would earn her the AA title apparently??
Wojcik, BB: Front aerial, gorgeous. Switch to split. Bhs loso loso, looked off but pulled it off somehow. Roundoff 1.5, little step back. Michigan is still absolutely out of it, but what a classy competitor she is.
7:57pm: Richards, FX: DLO, her best all season! Three element dance series, wolf was a little wild at the end but I think it got around. 1.5 to front lay to finish, what a great victory lap moment for her! She’s so happy!
Flatley, UCLA indiv BB: Seeing her on the Jumbotron right now, looked like a great leap series… and now they’re not showing her anymore, boo.
Worley, UK indiv FX: Committing to this opening choreo more than I’ve ever seen her do. Giving it everything she has left. Full in to open, excellent landing! Dance passage is well done, very deliberate in every movement she makes. Front full front lay, travels a lot just in those two elements but she twists so cleanly. Little grin at the camera, love that. Double tuck to finish, two foot stick! What a night for her – and she still has one year left!
FINAL: UF 197.975, AUB 197.8375, MIZ 197.2, MICH 196.2875
The Gators will advance to Saturday’s national final!
Trinity Thomas is your all-around champion with a MASSIVE 39.8125, and Megan Skaggs will take the bronze at 39.6625 just past Jade Carey’s winning mark from session one.
Jaedyn Rucker from Utah will be vault champion, and Missouri’s Amari Celestine will take a share of the silver as she wins the second session with a 9.95. Thomas wins bars with a 9.975, with a five-way tie for second including Auburn’s Derrian Gobourne and Minnesota’s Lexy Ramler. Sunisa Lee of Auburn will take the beam total with a massive 9.9625, with Missouri’s Sienna Schreiber and Adeline Kenlin, the individual qualifier from Iowa, taking second at 9.95! And of course, Thomas won floor with yet another perfect 10.0, with Gobourne and Oklahoma’s Jordan Bowers taking second at 9.9625.
Due to the random draw, Florida will once again get to go in Olympic order in the finals on Saturday! The championship meet starts at 1pm ET Saturday 4/16, and we will be back here with another liveblog. See you then!