FORT WORTH, Texas — Make it two in a row, three of the last four and six of the last nine.
The Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team continued its dominance on Saturday by posting a 198.3875 — tied for its highest ever at the NCAA Championships — to win the 2023 national title inside Dickies Arena on Saturday afternoon. The top-seeded Sooners led from start to finish, defeating No. 2 seed Florida (198.2375), No. 5 seed Utah (197.9375) and No. 6 seed LSU (197.525) to earn their sixth overall national championship.
OU’s six women’s gymnastics national titles are tied for the most over a nine-year span in NCAA history (Utah won six of the first nine NCAA championships from 1982-90).
The Sooners began the meet on vault and scored a strong 49.5625 to hold a narrow lead over second-place Florida (49.525 on beam) and third-place Utah (49.500 on floor). LSU recorded a 49.3125 on bars. OU sophomore Danielle Sievers tallied a 9.8625 in the leadoff position before super senior Allie Stern posted a 9.900 in her final career performance. Junior Katherine LeVasseur notched a 9.8875 in the fourth spot before OU posted its two highest scores of the event. Freshman Faith Torrez, who competed on vault for the first time since the Big 12 Championship and only the sixth time this season, stuck her Yurchenko 1.5 for a career-high 9.925. She was followed by super senior Olivia Trautman in the anchor spot, who notched her second straight 9.950 with another stick. All nine of Trautman’s vaults this season scored a 9.925 or higher. OU’s 49.5625 was its fourth best on vault in NCAA Championships history.
OU took command in the second rotation with a flurry of sticks and a stellar 49.6375 on bars as all five counting scores were 9.9125 or higher. Sievers set the tone with a stuck landing and a 9.925 before sophomore Danae Fletcher posted another stick for a season-high 9.9125. Trautman tied a career high with a 9.950 and Smith followed with a 9.8875. Bowers and junior Audrey Davis each posted a 9.925 in the final two spots with the help of stuck dismounts. The Sooners’ score was their second best in NCAA Championships history and gave them a 99.200 halfway through the meet, pushing their lead to 0.250 over Florida (98.950), 0.550 over Utah (98.650) and 0.650 over LSU (98.550).
Florida cut OU’s advantage to 0.188 following the third rotation, as the Sooners posted a 49.5125 on balance beam, which featured four scores of 9.900 or higher. Davis was the highlight with a beautiful and near-flawless routine that resulted in a career-high-tying 9.950 in the No. 5 spot. In their final career performances, senior Jenna Dunn and Trautman started OU with respective scores of 9.850 and 9.825. Bowers was exceptional with a 9.9125 and Torrez kept the momentum going with a 9.900 before Davis’ 9.950. Smith anchored with a strong 9.900 to give the Sooners a three-rotation score of 148.7125, ahead of UF (148.525), Utah (148.200) and LSU (148.000).
Needing a gutsy effort on floor to fend off the surging Gators, who finished with the best NCAA Championships score in school history on bars (49.7125), Oklahoma delivered in a big way, as all six competitors scored a 9.900 or higher for a 49.675. Davis got OU’s party started with a 9.900 and Smith scored a 9.9125 in the No. 2 spot. Bowers’ graceful routine earned a 9.950 from the judges and Torrez followed with a 9.925. In the No. 5 position, Fletcher clinched the title with her clean, powerful and fun tumbling, registering a 9.9375 to give OU another crown. With the title already in hand, Sievers closed the meet in exhilarating fashion with a career-high-tying 9.950.
Sievers indicated after the meet she had a good feeling upon arrival at Dickies Arena.
“I could just feel it when everyone walked in (to the arena),” said the sophomore. “They just had this level of confidence that, honestly, I hadn’t seen all season. So I just had that feeling that today was our day, and we just left it all out on the floor. It was just a great day for all of us.”
OU’s team finals appearance on Saturday marked the program’s 10th straight and 12th overall. The Sooners have finished in the top three in each of their 12 finals trips and finished in the top two 10 times.
Saturday’s national title capped a 28-2 season that also featured a Big 12 Conference championship and the program’s 13th consecutive NCAA regional crown. The Sooners posted a nation-leading 10 scores of at least 198 in 2023, tied for the most in NCAA history.