Today, six NCAA regional competitions were contested around the USA.

Hosting regional meets were:

West Virginia Univeristy
University of California – Los Angeles
University of Utah
University of Missouri
University of Kentucky
Pennsylvania State University

The biggest surprise of the day was the University of Missouri making their first trip to the NCAA Championships. Senior Sarah Shire led the Tigers to a rousing victory in the Columbia Regional held in their home gymnasium, taking titles on the Vault, Uneven Bars, Floor Exercise (tied with Courtney McCool of Georgia) and the All-Around. Mizzou has punched their ticket to Gainesville in commanding fashion, beating Oregon State University and the University of Georgia, the teams that tied for second, scoring a 196.500 to 196.275.

The second biggest surprise of the day was the five-time defending NCAA champions, the University of Georgia NOT making it to the NCAA Finals in Gainesville, Florida. A fall on the Uneven Bars by Courtney McCool, along with a break in form by Grace Taylor on the bars and some bobbles and low scores on the Balance Beam, were the detriment to the GymDogs, who lost a tie-breaker with Oregon State University. The tie-breaker procedure involves the adding-up of all scores for the team on each apparatus. The team with the highest score wins the tie-breaker. The low scores and the fall counted by Georgia are what kept them from making the trip to Gainesville. The upside to the sad story is that Courtney McCool, the winner of the Balance Beam and co-champion of the Floor Exercise in Columbia, will make the trip to Gainesville as an individual. This is an event foreign to the University of Georgia, marking only the third time in 22 years that the team has not travelled to the NCAA Finals.

Other exciting stories:

UCLA’s Anna Li scored a 10.000 on the Uneven Bars to win that event in front of a home crowd in Pauley Pavillion. That 10.000 went along with a 9.950 to win the Vault and a 39.650 to take second in the All-Around behind teammate Vanessa Zamarripa. UCLA went on to win the meet with the highest score of any region, a 197.875 over the University of Arkansas which came in second. The GymBacks are making their fourth trip to the NCAA Finals in the 7 years they have been a program, and they are quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the arena of NCAA gymnastics. Standout gymnast Casey Jo Magee won the Balance Beam for the GymBacks, scoring a 9.900. UCLA’s Brittani McCullough won the Floor Exercise scoring a 9.925, setting herself up to be a contender in Gainesville.

Boise State’s Hannah Redmon scored a 9.975 on the Vault in Salt Lake City to win that title. She also scored a 9.900 on the Floor Exercise to take a part of the 7-way tie for the lead there. She will be traveling to Gainesville to compete as an individual on both the Vault and the Floor Exercise. The University of Utah won their region, with Senior Daria Bijak taking the bar title along with three Florida Gators: Ashanee Dickerson, Amanda Castillo and Maranda Smith, all tallying a 9.900. Dickerson, a freshman for the Gators also won the Balance Beam (9.900) and the All-Around (39.700), and was part of the 7-way tie for the Floor Exercise title. Others taking the Floor Exercise title in addition to Dickerson and Redmon are Annie DiLuzio (Utah), Rachel Inniss (Auburn), Maranda Smith (Florida), Kristen Linton (Washington) and Samantha Wailor (Washington).

Out in West Virginia, the teams from Stanford and the University of Michigan punched their tickets to Gainesville, finishing first and second, respectively. Stanford’s Shelley Alexander took the titles on the Vault (9.900) and the Balance Beam (9.900). Michigan’s Jordan Sexton won the Uneven Bars with a 9.950, and Michigan’s Kylee Botterman and Natalie Beilstein shared the floor exercise title, both scoring 9.900. Botterman also took the All-Around title, scoring a 39.550.

In Pennsylvaina, Oklahoma took the title by nearly two points over the Louisiana State University Tigers. Two Sooners won titles today: Hollie Vise scored a 9.950 on the Balance Beam and Jackie Flanery scored 9.950 on the Floor Exercise. LSU’s Susan Jackson won the Uneven Bars with a 9.950 and shared the Vault title with Penn State’s Brandi Personett (9.950). Personett also won the All-Around, scoring a 39.550. Personett qualified herself to the NCAA Championships for the All-Around.

Last, but not least, down in Kentucky, Alabama and Nebraska qualified their teams to the NCAA finals. Ashley Priess of Alabama won the Balance Beam (9.875) and the All-Around (39.525), while her teammates Geralen Stack-Eaton and Kayla Hoffman shared a piece of the 5-way vault title with Allison Buckley (Illinois) and Whitney Rose (Kentucky). Buckley and Rose will make an appearance in Gainesville as individuals. Other Crimson Tide(ers?) to win are Kassi Price, who shared the Uneven Bars title with teammate Geralen Stack-Eaton and Brittnee Habbibb (Nebraska), all of whom scored 9.900. On the Floor Exercise, the Tide’s Morgan Dennis won with a 9.950.

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