Oklahoma left no doubt. After losing on the final routine of the entire meet last year, the Sooners were not about to lose at the last second again. They opened up a lead in the first rotation, and all they did from that point on was extend it further and further.
The Sooners scored 49.450 on the bars to open the meet. It would be their worst rotation of the night. I mean, just look at their rotation scores: Beam 49.6125, Floor 49.650, and Vault 49.6250.
No one else had a chance.
If anyone else gave the Sooners a run, it was the LSU Tigers. LSU finished the first rotation in second with a solid 49.3750 on vault. And like Oklahoma, it was their worst rotation of the night. LSU slammed the door shut ever as strongly as Oklahoma did, just on the second place position, to which the Tigers had a stranglehold all night.
You knew it wasn’t going to be LSU’s night when on the second rotation, the judges seemed to put the squeeze on LSU’s bars scores. Ruby Harrold was indicative of the problem, getting a 9.900 from three different judges, and a 9.75. She finished with a 9.8750, but it seemed that Kennedi Edney and Lexie Priessman also had near flawless routines result in a 9.90 scores. 9.90 is a great score, but these both looked like flawless, high difficulty routines, ending in perfect sticks. And they just didn’t get that massive score.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma simply demolished the field on its third rotation. Now, we can complain about the judging, and Oklahoma certainly benefited from some loose judging, particularly on the floor, but this team was simply dominant. The gap in friendly judging was not 0.500 points.
LSU also didn’t let anything phase them, and continued to put forth great performance after great performance.
In the end, LSU finished second place to Oklahoma again, the third time in four years. But this is not a disappointment, this again is the standard to which DD Breaux has brought this program. It’s frustrating to finish second again, but finishing second also comes with a pretty damn big trophy. And this team is in the mix every year. And frankly, no one was beating Oklahoma tonight short of the US Olympic team.
LSU scored a 197.8250, the 2nd highest Finals score in team history (just below last year’s 197.8375). That’s all you can ask a team to do. Put their best foot forward when it matters most. LSU was clutch and had one of their best meets of the year. It just wasn’t quite good enough.
It was still great. These seniors left everything on the mat, and that’s the mark of a champion.