Oklahoma women share NCAA gymnastics title with Florida

Sooners finish strong, end up in dead heat with Gators to claim first national crown.
By Tommy Deas, For The Oklahoman Published: April 19, 2014
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— A national championship tie is still a national championship in gymnastics, and the Oklahoma Sooners were crowned as co-champs Saturday at the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships.

Oklahoma and defending national title-holder Florida ended in a dead heat at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex Arena, each scoring 198.175 to split the championship.

It marked OU’s first national title in the sport. Oklahoma joined Florida, Alabama, Utah, UCLA and Georgia as the only schools to win national titles in women’s gymnastics.

“Our team was just in a magical place from the second we got here tonight,” Oklahoma coach K.J. Kindler said. “We worked through practice, we worked through (Friday’s semifinal), but today we didn't work at all. It was like gymnasts were dropping out of the sky, all butterflies and wonderful things.

“There was very little error from our team. That's the best we can do it.”

The Sooners and Gators had to come from behind to share the title. Alabama took a lead into the final rotation, and had to count a fall on balance beam on its final routine of the night to drop out of first place.

The gymnasts had no qualms about sharing the championship.

“I don't think there should have been a tiebreaker,” OU's Haley Scaman said. “We all deserve it. It was an awesome experience, not just getting our first title but also sharing it with another team.”

Oklahoma had just finished a sizzling turn on the vault with a team score of 49.55, with Chayse Capps and Scaman closing out the rotation with 9.95 outings, with the Gators still closing out their floor exercise rotation. Florida was even hotter, scoring 49.675 to catch up with OU by posting scores of 9.95 on its final four routines.

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