Birmingham, Ala. • Utah’s failure to make the Super Six wasn’t the only surprise of the NCAA Championships.
Perhaps the biggest shocker was Florida’s Bridget Sloan, the defending balance beam and all-around champion.
Sloan, one of the sport’s most decorated gymnasts, fell off the balance beam and scored just 9.2.
The mistake didn’t cost the Gators as they advanced to the Super Six, but it did cost Sloan a chance at more individual titles since only the top four gymnasts from each session on each event advance to Sunday’s finals.
Alabama’s Kim Jacob went on to win the all-around title with a 39.625. Utah’s Tory Wilson, who won the Pac-12 all-around title, finished No. 15 with a 39.35.
“There were a lot of good teams here and a lot of good gymnasts here,” Utah coach Greg Marsden said. “That is just how things happen sometimes though. Everything is so close.”
Even though Utah won’t compete in the Super Six, which starts Saturday at 6 p.m. MDT, the Utes will be represented in Sunday’s individual finals.
Utah’s Georgia Dabritz qualified on the vault with a 9.925 and Becky Tutka and Nansy Damianova made the cut for floor finals by scoring 9.925.
Dabritz, who has been one of the top-ranked gymnasts on the uneven bars all season, failed to make the uneven bars finals as she scored just 9.9 on the event, finishing in a tie with four other gymnasts for sixth.
There will be some other notable absences in Sunday’s individual competition. Georgia’s Chelsea Davis, who spent most of the season ranked in the top three on the uneven bars, scored just 9.875 in the afternoon session and failed to qualify and LSU’s Lloimincia Hall, who was ranked third on the floor, scored just 9.85 and didn’t advance.
Missing from the vault competition will be Michigan’s Austin Sheppard, who was ranked third on the event. She broke her ankle in practice three weeks ago and did not compete.
Pressure is off
Many of the teams and gymnasts expressed that Friday’s preliminary round was the most nervous for them as opposed to the Super Six, where the general consensus is there isn’t an overwhelming favorite.
“You want to make it to that last day,” Oklahoma coach K.J. Kindler said. “Tomorrow is a lighter day — it’s everything or bust.”
Alabama’s 49.375 on the uneven bars tied its seventh-highest bars score at the NCAAs. … As expected, SEC schools Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Florida all had large crowds at the meet. The Utes were well-represented as well with more than 250 fans making the trip. … Nebraska is in the Super Six for the first time since 2011 when it finished fourth. … With Stanford, Utah and UCLA all failing to qualify for the Super Six, Saturday’s competition represents the first time the Super Six won’t have any Pac-12 representation since the format was adopted in 1993.