Field set for NCAA women's gymnastics championships finals

Michigan, Florida, Oklahoma and Utah advanced after a drama-filled day

By Scott Bregman
Picture by USA TODAY Sports

After an NCAA women's gymnastics season filled with concerns about the COVID-19 virus, it seems fitting to have one more scare.

Minutes before competition was scheduled to begin in the first of two sessions Friday at Dickie's Arena in Ft. Worth, Texas, reports began to surface that the University of California at Berkeley was out of the competition. The team had been escorted off the floor mid-warmup and weren't seen for more than 40 minutes.

Two-time Olympic champion and ESPN commentator Bart Conner confirmed that at one point, due to COVID-19 contact tracing protocols, Cal had been forced to withdrawn. But ultimately, they were re-instated, allowed extra warmup time and the competition started minutes behind schedule.

In the end, Cal battled to the final routine but came up just short of a chance to compete in Saturday's team final. Instead, the University of Michigan (197.8625) and the University of Florida (197.4375) advanced out of the first session of competition. Cal needed a perfect 10 in their final routine of the night to pass Florida, but Emi Watterson's 9.9125 left them .075 behind Florida at 197.3625.

In the second session, the University of Oklahoma Sooners posted the top score at 198.0875. The University of Utah was second at 197.600 and also advanced to the finals. The University of Alabama finished third (197.575) and Louisiana State University was fourth (197.5625).

OU's Anastasia Webb won the individual all-around competition after earning a 39.7875.

The championships title will be awarded Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The competition will air live on ABC television in the United States.