19-year-old Maggie Nichols’s perfect 10 on the balance beam helped Oklahoma Sooners to lift their second straight national championship at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis.
Maggie Nichols, who was demoralized after falling on the same apparatus a day before, during the semifinal round which washed away her all-around title hopes, the Oklahoma freshman yearned to make it up to her team, adding a 10 for the final score of 198.3875.
“I have never felt such feelings before. I’m so proud of my team and I don’t know, I’m on the top of the world right now, on cloud nine. I’m speechless.” said Maggie Nichols.
The artistic gymnast was a standout on the 2015 U.S. team winning a gold medal at the world championships, but her promising career took a hit when a knee injury called for a surgery last April. Consequently, she wasn’t at her peak form by July’s Olympic trials. However, that all seemed long forgotten this weekend in St. Louis.
Coach K.J. Kindler took pride watching her talented freshman shine at this new stage and acknowledge the difference between collegiate gymnastics and the pro competitions.
“The team aspect is clearly very engrained in collegiate gymnastics, “Kindler said. “Personal goals and all those things are secondary and the team comes first”
Further, as per Kindler, it was senior Chayse Capps who set the rhythm with the 9.8875 start on the bars. From there, the Sooners got their necessary fire.
According to junior AJ Jackson, After Capps perfect landing Kindler told the girls that they just had to make sure they do what they normally do in the gym and if they did what they normally do in the gym, the national title is the outcome.
Banking on Kindler’s advice the Sooners snatched away the needing combined 47.6875 on vault to match Utah, who was then leading the race. All six gymnasts, one after the other, gave their best and Oklahoma surpassed the Utes and everyone else with 49.4875 on vault, securing the National Championship.