NCAA gymnastics championships: Live updates as Florida, Oklahoma, Utah and Auburn compete for the national title

FORT WORTH, Texas — It all comes down to this. Individual all-around champion Trinity Thomas leads the favored Florida Gators as they take on Olympic gold medalist Suni Lee’s underdog Auburn Tigers and two perennial powerhouses, the Oklahoma Sooners and Utah Utes, in a quest to claim the NCAA gymnastics championship.

On Thursday, Jade Carey, Jordan Chiles, Lee and Grace McCallum competed for individual and team glory in the semifinals as eight elite squads (Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma and Utah) vied for the four spots in the Saturday team finals.

After a ridiculously tight semifinals that saw the defending champion Michigan Wolverines sent home, it’s anyone’s title to win.

We have you covered with live updates on all the action from NCAA gymnastics’ biggest stage:

Oklahoma fights back, but Utah holds its lead

Utah kept the momentum going on floor, with 9.900s from Grace McCallum and Abby Paulson and a 9.9125 from Sydney Soloski that brought the already excited crowd to eardrum-bursting decibels.

On bars, Trinity Thomas and Savannah Schoenherr led the way with scores of 9.975 and 9.925, respectively, overcoming a fall earlier in the rotation to sit in second at the halfway point.

The Sooners came roaring back on vault with a massive 49.6250 total, and huge scores from Katherine LeVasseur (9.975), Olivia Trautman (9.625), Jordan Bowers (9.9375) and Allie Stern (9.900). They’re now just the tiniest of margins (.025) behind the Gators in third.

Auburn sits in fourth but only three-and-a-half tenths back from the top spot with floor, a high-scoring event for the Tigers, up next. Suni Lee led their beam rotation with a 9.900. – Amy Van Deusen

Team scores after rotation two:

  1. Utah 98.9750

  2. Florida 98.8750

  3. Oklahoma 98.8500

  4. Auburn 98.6250

The drama begins — and we’re here for it

The first event was as wild as anticipated. Utah jumped to an early lead, with stellar beam routines from freshman Kara Eaker (9.95) and juniors Abby Paulson and Maile O’Keefe (both 9.900).

Auburn’s Suni Lee (9.9125) and Derrian Gobourne (9.9375) both excelled on bars — as expected. Florida improved on vault from semifinals, with Trinity Thomas earning the highest score so far with a 9.9875 for a stuck Yurchenko one-and-a-half vault. Oklahoma had two uncharacteristic out-of-bounds deductions on floor, but certainly shouldn’t be counted out yet. — Amy Van Deusen

Team scores after rotation one:

  1. Utah 49.5125

  2. Auburn 49.425

  3. Florida 49.3500

  4. Oklahoma 49.1875

Bring the noise

The energy brought by the Auburn, Florida, Oklahoma and Utah fans rivals anything seen on College GameDay. No sooner had the clock struck noon than the stadium began to fill up with boisterous fans touting their squads whilst wielding signs, popcorn and cups of beer.

The vibes? Immaculate. The noise? Deafening. Between the constant cheering and ear-splitting music it is hard to put together a coherent thought, let alone nail a beam routine.

For this reason, it seems worth doubling-down on the fact athletes are flying through the air performing incredibly dangerous skills in this environment.

Real gymnastics aficionados will undoubtedly laugh at the forthcoming observation, but I am blown away by the unparalleled concentration each and every gymnast is displaying. Can you imagine a golf or tennis match unfolding in such circumstances? Absurdity. — Tory Barron

It’s go time

To quote the immortal words of the rapper, Yung Joc: “It’s goin’ down.”

The fans don’t play

College gymnastics fans are a dedicated bunch. Yes, we realize it is the NCAA championship we’re talking about, but the passion is palpable. We were struck by the length of the line which had already formed outside of Dickies Arena when we arrived two hours before showtime. It was reminiscent of when the K-pop group “BTS” descended upon downtown Los Angeles. You don’t muster that sort of turnout on a whim. — Tory Barron

The stage is set

In the biggest upset of the semifinals, No. 6 Auburn took the second spot of the session, earning a berth in the team finals. Michigan, ranked No. 3 in the country after the regular season, finished fourth in the semifinal after multiple falls on bars and beam, and will not have a chance to defend its national title from last year.

Florida finished in the top spot overall, jumping ahead of Auburn in the last rotation after a gigantic 49.7500 floor total — the highest event total of either semifinal. Trinity Thomas capped off the meet with the only perfect 10.000, winning the bars, floor and all-around titles in the process. Suni Lee won the beam title, and Utah’s Jaedyn Rucker won vault. — Amy Van Deusen

Final team scores of semifinal two:

  1. Florida 197.9750

  2. Auburn 197.8375

  3. Missouri 197.2000

  4. Michigan 196.2875

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