The NCAA Gym Skim | January 15

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The daily NCAA gymnastics update featuring the must-know moments and top stats from every meet all in one place.

A list of links to full results and next week’s schedule is available here.

Oklahoma 197.550, Georgia 196.600 [Results]

After losing several major contributors at the end of the 2017 season, the reigning national champs came out on fire, posting the highest season opener this year with the kind of polished and solid routines that look ready for postseason. Despite a couple of falls throughout, the Sooners didn’t actually end up counting any into their total, finishing with a 49.3 or better on all four events. Anastasia Webb had a phenomenal start to her career as a freshman, showing lovely work on bars and a solid half-on front pike vault before hitting a full-in on floor and looking stunning on beam, where she got a 9.875. Brenna Dowell also competed like it was the most important meet of her life, with her stuck Yurchenko 1½ vault a standout, Brehanna Showers stepped up on three events looking excellent with a gorgeous beam set that included a bit switch leap to straight jump full to Korbut, making her a great addition after missing her freshman season due to injury, and of course, Maggie Nichols was magnificent, competing all but vault with beautiful work anchoring bars and beam. For Nichols, who went public with her abuse at the hands of Larry Nassar only days earlier, this was a huge statement, and a testament to her strength and spirit as she refuses to let his actions affect her.

As great as Oklahoma was, though, this day was all about Georgia. After losing GiGi Marino to a season-ending Achilles injury with enough depth to field only five gymnasts on vault, bars, and floor, things were looking pretty depressing for the host team and yet they came together, overcoming all of the adversity they’ve faced over the past season to hit every single routine. Rachel Dickson stepped up with excellent routines on all four events, winning the all-around and putting up the team’s top scores on bars and beam. Marissa Oakley was wonderful on vault, bars, and beam, Vivi Babalis had strong work on beam, Jasmine Arnold stepped it up with a fantastic leadoff floor set, and Sabrina Vega was a star on beam and floor, with the latter a star-making routine that allows her personality and strong dance ability to shine through, putting a beautiful finish on an epic competition for the Gymdogs. 2018 won’t be their year, but this meet was an important step as the team looks forward to the future after spending nearly the past decade trying to rebuild the program.

AA: Rachel Dickson, Georgia, 39.500
VT: Brenna Dowell, Oklahoma, 9.950
UB: Maggie Nichols, Oklahoma, 9.925
BB: Vivi Babalis & Rachel Dickson, Georgia, & Brehanna Showers, Oklahoma, 9.900
FX: Sabrina Vega, Georgia, & Brenna Dowell, Maggie Nichols, & AJ Jackson, Oklahoma, 9.900

Lindenwood 194.650, S.E. Missouri 191.900 [Results]

The Lions came back from a disappointing loss at TWU earlier in the week to defeat DI SEMO at home thanks to excellent performances across all events but floor, where the team counted a fall. Specialist Samantha Borges had a standout routine on bars, as did Courtney Mitchell, who also performed well on vault. Andavea Alexander and Ryan Henry brought in some of the top scores across bars, beam, and floor, Breanna Franklin was solid on beam and floor, and Kyndall Baze did her job on vault, beam, and floor.

SEMO struggled on bars and floor here, counting a few falls that kept them from being able to challenge the host team. Alexis Brawner and McKinzie Jones had rockstar performances, though, with Brawner leading the team on vault and bars while Jones took over on beam and floor, both putting up two 9.8+ scores apiece to carry the team. I was also impressed with Lindsey Bates’ ability to come back from a weak bars set to nail the three remaining events, and Alana Fischer also brought in valuable routines on bars and beam.

AA: Lindsey Bates, SEMO, 38.250
VT: Alexis Brawner, SEMO, 9.825
UB: Courtney Mitchell, LU, 9.875
BB: Lindsey Bates & McKinzie Jones, SEMO, 9.800
FX: McKinzie Jones, SEMO, 9.850

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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