In a thrilling finish, defending National Champion Alabama edged Florida and UCLA to successfully defend their crown.
Bama started strong, posting the night's top marks on floor (49.45) and vault (49.625), highlighted by Geralen Stack-Eaton's stuck Yurchenko Layout Full (9.975). Then, on UB, perhaps their weakest event, Sarah DeMeo had a problem and small errors kept the Tide to a 49.275 tally. With UCLA already done and posting a 197.75, Bama needed a 49.425 on beam to win. Bama opened strongly with Kim Jacob hitting a 9.9. Then, DeMeo had a large break on her series. Following that small break, seniors Geralen Stack-Eaton and Ashley Priess delivered nearly flawless routines, with Priess sticking her dismount to seal the win.
Florida opened on vault with a 49.475 and then ran into issues on UB when Ashanee Dickerson fell on her Ray. But a 9.95 from Alaina Johnson and a 9.9 from Mackenzie Caquatto lifted the Gators to a 49.425 on the event. The Gators then moved to beam, where problems have derailed them in the past. But not tonight Led by Johnson's 9.925, the Gators posted a big 49.475 on the event ,setting them up for floor. They entered floor knowing they needed a 49.4 to pass UCLA. On floor, Florida kept their power under control, hitting their sets for a 49.4, slipping past UCLA -- only to be passed one routine later by Bama. All weekend long, scores above 9.9 on floor were far and few between.
UCLA started off with a 49.35 on floor and then moved to a series of stuck vaults, highlighted by Vanessa Zamarripa's 10.0. After a low dismount from Monique De La Torre, UCLA posted a 49.475 on bars, led by Zamarripa's 9.95. Then, the Bruins moved to beam, finishing the meet one round ahead of the rest of the field. After a problem from leadoff Aisha Gerber, the Bruins rebounded with solid sets until senior Ellyse Hopfner-Hibbs fell on her side aerial-back layout series. Recovering strongly, Sam Peszek closed out the meet with a 9.95, pushing UCLA to a 197.75 as Florida and Bama went to their last event.
Stanford hit their best meet of the year to post a 197.5 and finish fourth. They hit a 49.55 on vault, including a 9.975 from Ivana Hong, to pass by Utah. A few lower scores in the 5 & 6 positions kept Stanford a half step back from the leaders. Utah posted a 197.375, hitting their sets but held back by small errors and the resulting lack of 9.9 plus scores (just five, compared to 12 for Bama, 10 for UF and 11 for UCLA). Arkansas ran into problems on floor, posting a 196.3.
If you have room for more gymnastics this weekend, watch Region 7's live scores on Meetscoresonline.com. The juniors compete today and the senior compete on Sunday.
Illinois won the 2012 Men's NCAA Team title on Friday night, posting a solid overall performance to defeat host OU. PSU was third.
OU was led by AA champ Jake Dalton, who was unstoppable with a 91.0 tally. Tied for 2nd at 89.7 were Michigan's Sam Mikulak and Illini CJ Maestas.
|4||U.C. Berkeley - California||353.|
Alabama edged Florida to take the evening session of the NCAA Women's Preliminaries. Bama opened the meet with a huge 49.6 on beam and then battled back and forth with Florida all night long. A 49.4 on bars was enough to pass Florida, who managed a 49.275 on floor after a few small stumbles. The Gators tied or outscored Bama on every event but Beam. But solid 49.4 scores on vault and bars to close out the meet was just enough to edge the Gators, and set up a battle for the title tomorrow night.
Arkansas took third, fueled by the return of key gymnasts back from injury. After encountering an early fall on their last event, their two stars Jaime Pisani and Katherine Grable hit for 9.95s to close out the event. They were helped along by two counting falls on beam by UGA. The GymDogs finished fifth, just behind Ohio State in fourth. If not for the two falls, UGA would have challenged Bama and UF for the session win. Ohio State came back with solid performances after opening on their weakest event, uneven bars. Oregon State was just behind UGA with a 196.475, after a slow start caused by a few problems on floor.
In the AA race, Florida frosh Kytra Hunter was unstoppable, posting a 39.725 for the win. In second was senior Kat Ding of UGA (39.65), just ahead of Arkansas senior Jaime Pisani (39.625).
The results set up a Pac-12 vs. SEC showdown in the finals, with three squads from each conference battling it out.