Oklahoma advances to NCAA Gymnastics Championships finals for the ninth straight time

Olivia Trautman #513 of the Oklahoma Sooners performs a floor routine during the Division I Women's Gymnastics Championship.
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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team is heading back to a familiar spot thanks in small part to a little pep talk from Baker Mayfield.

The Sooners posted the top score of 198.112 during the first session of the NCAA semifinals on Thursday, moving the four-time national champions into the finals for the ninth straight time.

Utah also advanced with an overall score of 197.712, ahead of Minnesota (197.112) and Alabama (197.100).

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The second semifinals on Thursday include Auburn and reigning Olympic champion Sunisa Lee, Florida, Missouri and defending national champion Michigan.

Jade Carey of Oregon State, who captured gold in the floor exercise at the 2020 Olympics, led the early session in the all-around with a 39.650.

The Sooners chatted with Mayfield — who won the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma in 2017 — on Wednesday night, with Mayfield urging them to “feel dangerous” as the program tries to win its fourth title since 2016.

Oklahoma moved in front during the second rotation, using a stellar set on uneven bars to slip by the Utes into first. The set included a 9.887 from Olivia Trautman, competing in the event for the first time this season after being limited by a knee injury.

“(Mayfield) told us to just do our stuff and believe in ourselves,” Trautman said.

Utah reached the finals for the fourth time in five championships by finishing the meet with a rock-solid beam set. The Utes’ score of 49.600 was the highest on the event during the first semifinal, ending any hope of Alabama or Minnesota closing the gap.