Live updates from NCAA gymnastics championships semifinals

After an unforgettable season chock stuffed with surprises, viral moments, dominant performances and even the occasional scoring controversy or two, the 2023 NCAA championships are upon us in Fort Price, Texas.

The competitors bought underway Thursday, with LSU and Florida incomes the highest two spots within the first semifinal and advancing to Saturday’s crew ultimate. Oklahoma, Utah, UCLA and Kentucky will compete within the night time session (9 p.m. ET on ESPN2), and the 2 highest-scoring groups there’ll advance as properly. Gymnasts may even be competing Thursday for the all-around and particular person occasion titles — awarded to the highest scorers on the finish of the second semifinal.

It has already been an thrilling day of competitors, and there is way more to return. We’ll have updates on the entire motion right here:

Who to look at in semifinal II

Led by Jordan Chiles, the Olympic silver medalist and all-around frontrunner within the absence of Thomas, UCLA will look to proceed its current resurgence and make its first crew ultimate since 2019. Chiles’ world and Olympic teammate Jade Carey’s Oregon State squad did not advance to Fort Price, and he or she surprisingly did not qualify as a person all-arounder both, however Carey will likely be competing on beam and presumably doing all the things she will be able to to go away her mark in her lone occasion.

Fellow Olympian Grace McCallum is anticipated to make her return after a knee damage sidelined her for a lot of the season, and can do her half to assist a gifted Utah crew in its quest for its tenth nationwide title and first since 1995. After which, in fact, there’s reigning champion Oklahoma, the closest factor to a dynasty within the sport right now. The Sooners have superior to the crew ultimate yearly since 2013 and can look to maintain their dominant stretch very a lot intact. — D’Arcy Maine

LSU and Florida advance to Saturday’s ultimate

After a fiercely contested, and at instances chaotic, first semifinal session, the LSU Tigers and Florida Gators superior to Saturday’s crew ultimate. Lower than some extent separated all 4 groups competing within the occasion.

Led by Haleigh Bryant, who earned a 9.9375 or higher on three occasions, and Aleah Finnegan, who tied for one of the best rating of the session on flooring, the Tigers trailed all through the day earlier than a robust ultimate rotation on bars to take the lead and notch a 197.4750 rating. After a season marred by accidents and advancing to Fort Price by a tiebreak, Bryant mentioned she by no means doubted her crew would be capable to attain the crew ultimate.

“This crew has a lot functionality, all people on this crew is right here for a purpose,” Bryant advised ESPN’s Samantha Peszek after the meet. “Even when we misplaced a few of our stars, all of us got here collectively and are going to do that for everyone that may’t contribute proper now and that is simply what we have been doing. We’re nonetheless climbing and going to the ultimate 4, child!”

LSU completed .075 of some extent forward of their SEC rivals. For Florida, it was a roller-coaster day, marked by the late return of star Trinity Thomas, who competed on bars and vault regardless of a leg damage. The Gators held the lead after the primary rotation — thanks partly to Thomas’ 9.95 bar rating — dropped to final place on the midway mark and fought their manner again.

Thomas was emotional following the meet and mentioned she has excessive hopes for Saturday’s ultimate.

“We’re so particular and I hope you’ll be able to really feel that, even from the skin,” Thomas advised Peszek. “… All of us come collectively to be one nice crew. And I am unable to wait to step out right here once more on the ground one ultimate time with this Gators crew as a result of they imply the world to me.”

And now we’ll simply have to attend and see which two different groups will face LSU and Florida with the NCAA title on the road. — D’Arcy Maine

Semifinal I ultimate outcomes

  1. LSU: 197.475

  2. Florida: 197.400

  3. California: 196.9125

  4. Denver: 196.500

Particular person occasion leaders

An total winner will likely be decided on every occasion and within the all-around after each semifinals are full right now. As of now, here is who leads the standings:

Vault: Lynnzee Brown (Denver) & Courtney Blackson (BSU), 9.9250

Bars: Trinity Thomas (Florida), 9.950

Beam: Chloe Widner (Stanford), 9.950

Flooring: Leanne Wong (Florida) & Aleah Finnegan (LSU), 9.9625

All-around: Haleigh Bryant (LSU), 39.6875

Leanne Wong places on a present

When her crew wanted her most, Leanne Wong stepped up in a serious manner with a beautiful flooring routine to assist lead the Gators to first place after the third rotation. The 2021 world bronze medalist on flooring, Wong earned a 9.9625 — regardless of chants and pleas from her teammates for an ideal 10. Wong is at present tied for the highest rating on the occasion with LSU’s Aleah Finnegan. — D’Arcy Maine

Florida again on prime!

Florida went from fourth to first after a completely wild rotation three, and the 2 spots within the ultimate are actually firmly within the palms of Florida and LSU so long as all goes properly within the final rotation.

On flooring, the Gators bounced again from their beam challenges, with Payton Richards scoring a 9.9250, Victoria Nguyen a 9.900 and Leanne Wong a 9.9625 for an oh-so-close-to-perfect routine.

LSU had a stable, if not spectacular, vault rotation, led by 9.8625s from Haleigh Bryant and Bryce Wilson. Bryant, the most effective vaulters within the nation, was a bit off on her block and scored decrease than she would usually after taking a step. Sadly, it can hold her from incomes the person vault title right now, but it surely was sufficient to maintain LSU within the second spot total, simply .100 behind Florida.

Cal had a tricky rotation on bars, usually one in every of their finest occasions, counting a fall and scoring solely 48.700. Lynnzee Brown led off for Denver with an unimaginable 9.9125 on beam, however the squad struggled from there with two falls and is pressured to rely a low 9.000 rating in its crew whole. — Amy Van Deusen

Third rotation outcomes:

  1. Florida: 148.100

  2. LSU: 148.000

  3. California: 147.4875

  4. Denver: 147.1375

Aleah Finnegan unbelievable on flooring

LSU’s phenomenal sophomore Aleah Finnegan earned the best rating of the day to this point — a 9.9625 — for her flooring routine, which included a beautiful Arabian double entrance mount, and a brilliant troublesome again 2½ to punch entrance combo move. The rating places her in agency rivalry for the person flooring title. — Amy Van Deusen

Rotation two: Florida struggles

After coming into the rotation in first place, it was a shaky outing for Florida on beam, and the Gators fell to fourth on the midway mark. Sloane Blakely (9.9375) and Kayla DiCello (9.925) had been the intense spots for the crew, but it surely was an uncharacteristically error-riddled rotation total.

Buoyed by a 9.9. from Mya Lauzon, Cal took over the lead with a robust rotation on vault. The Golden Bears now maintain an ever-so-narrow lead over LSU, but it surely was the Tigers who had among the most entertaining performances of the rotation with highly effective routines on flooring from Haleigh Bryant and Aleah Finnegan. — D’Arcy Maine

Second rotation outcomes:

  1. California: 98.7875

  2. LSU: 98.7500

  3. Denver: 98.5875

  4. Florida: 98.5750

Haleigh Bryant’s opening assertion

Whereas Trinity Thomas was (understandably) the focal point through the first rotation, LSU’s Haleigh Bryant casually scored a 9.9375 on beam to assist enhance the Tigers early and make a convincing argument for her personal all-around marketing campaign. — D’Arcy Maine

Rotation one: A roller-coaster begin

Florida began off with a fall on bars on the primary routine, however then got here roaring again with scores above 9.9 for the final three gymnasts. Highlighting the rotation: The return of Trinity Thomas to the lineup. She earned a 9.95 for a near-perfect set. Denver was stable with a 49.225 on vault, led by Lynnzee Brown’s caught Yurchenko 1½ that earned a 9.925. On beam, LSU’s Haleigh Bryant scored a 9.9375 with an immaculate set, and on flooring, Cal’s Mya Lauzon and eMjae Frazier earned matching scores of 9.9375. — Amy Van Deusen

First rotation outcomes:

  1. Florida: 49.4875

  2. California: 49.4375

  3. LSU: 49.2750

  4. Denver: 49.2250

Sturdy begin for Lynnzee Brown

Lynnzee Brown made an announcement for Denver in its opening rotation on vault. The one factor extra spectacular than her caught Yurchenko 1½? Her completely excellent response to it. She earned a 9.925 — one of the best rating for the Pioneers on the occasion. — D’Arcy Maine

Trinity is in!

After days of hypothesis and a near-constant stream of questions on her participation standing due to a lingering decrease leg damage, Trinity Thomas was introduced to be competing on bars and vault moments earlier than the meet.

Exhibiting no seen indicators of damage, nor sporting any wrapping, she did Trinity Thomas issues and scored a 9.95 with an almost flawless opening routine on bars. Having been unable to observe her touchdown for almost two weeks, Thomas caught her double structure dismount.

“How did she do it?” ESPN reporter Sam Peszek requested Florida coach Jenny Rowland after the primary rotation.

“Trusting her coaching, the months and weeks that led into these final couple weeks,” Rowland mentioned. “She did an exceptional job, extraordinarily proud. I do know this crew is proud.” — D’Arcy Maine

It is go time

The gymnasts are warming up, and Florida (with Trinity Thomas there as properly) began the day with a dance social gathering. The countdown begins.

Who to look at in semifinal I

The most important query main into the weekend has undoubtedly been the standing of Florida star and reigning all-around champion Trinity Thomas. The fifth-year senior injured her proper leg throughout regionals and was unable to compete within the regional ultimate.

Throughout Wednesday’s observe session, Thomas educated completely on bars, giving followers a glimmer of hope that she’s going to compete in a minimum of the one occasion.

Nonetheless, Thomas’ presumed absence for a lot of the competitors is a serious blow to the Gators, who for a lot of the season gave the impression to be a front-runners for the NCAA title. Florida has the expertise to advance to Saturday’s ultimate even with Thomas’ restricted participation, but it surely will not be straightforward.

Who else do you have to be maintaining a tally of through the first semifinal? LSU’s Haleigh Bryant is the doubtless favourite from the afternoon session to take the early lead within the all-around race. Freshman phenom eMjae Frazier and California will likely be trying to hold their record-setting season going. And Denver’s sixth-year senior Lynnzee Brown, one in every of school gymnastics’ most beloved figures, may put up massive numbers on bars and flooring — and pressure yet one more meet in her legendary profession. — D’Arcy Maine

Get extra predictions from Kathy Johnson Clarke, Sam Peszek, John Roethlisberger and plenty of extra right here.

Championship historical past

Georgia has received essentially the most nationwide titles total, with 10, and had a streak of 5 titles in a row from 2005 to 2009. However the Bulldogs have not received since 2009, and didn’t qualify to compete in Fort Price this 12 months.

Utah dominated the Eighties to the mid-Nineties and has 9 titles total, with the newest coming in 1995. Just lately, Oklahoma has been the crew to beat, with 5 nationwide titles because the Sooners first received in 2014 (a tie for the title with Florida — the one tie in historical past.)

The total breakdown of nationwide titles:

Georgia: 10 (1987, 1989, 1993, 1998-99, 2005-09)
Utah: 9 (1982-86, 1990, 1992, 1994-95)
UCLA: 7 (1997, 2000-01, 2003-2004, 2010, 2018)
Alabama: 6 (1988, 1991, 1996, 2002, 2011-12)
Oklahoma: 5 (2014 [tied], 2016-17, 2019, 2022)
Florida: 3 (2013, 2014 [tied], 2015)
Michigan: 1 (2021)

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