Oklahoma and Utah advance to NCAA Gymnastics Team Finals

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Oklahoma’s women’s gymnastics team returns to a familiar place thanks in part to a little pep talk from Baker Mayfield.

The Sooners posted the best score of 198.112 in the opening session of the NCAA Semifinals on Thursday, moving the four-time national champions to the Finals for the ninth straight time.

Utah also advanced with an overall score of 197.712, ahead of Minnesota (197.112) and Alabama (197.100).

Thursday’s second semifinal will feature Auburn and defending Olympic champion Sunisa Lee, Florida, Missouri and defending national champion Michigan.

Oregon State’s Jade Carey, who won gold in the floor exercise at the 2020 Olympics, led the opening session of the all-around with a 39.650.

The Sooners chatted with Mayfield – who won the Heisman Trophy in Oklahoma in 2017 – on Wednesday night, with Mayfield urging them to “feel dangerous” as the program chases its fourth title since 2016.

Oklahoma moved up front on the second rotation, using a stellar set on uneven bars to slip by the Utes first. The set included a 9.887 from Olivia Trautman, competing for the first time this season after being limited by a knee injury.

“(Mayfield) told us to do our thing and believe in ourselves,” Trautman said.

Utah reached the final for the fourth time in five championships by finishing the encounter with a rock-solid beam. The Utes’ score of 49.600 was the highest of the event in the first semifinal, ending any hopes of Alabama or Minnesota closing the gap.

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Jordan Bowers of Oklahoma competes in the floor exercise during the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships, Thursday, April 14, 2022, in Fort Worth, Texas.

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