Maggie Nichols dazzles with huge all-around performance, perfect 10

Oklahoma was slightly off its total from last week, but topped West Virginia, 197.925 to 195.550 on Saturday night in the Sooners first road test of the season. The night, though, belonged to freshman Maggie Nichols who led the Sooners with a huge all-around performance that included a 10.0. She tallied a 39.875 in the all-around.

Soaring to perfection

Nichols came agonizingly close to scoring a perfect 10 in her first meet as a college gymnast with a 9.975 on bars. Two meets later, Nichols grabbed the first perfect 10 of her young college career on the vault.

As she approached the vaulting table, one of the West Virginia broadcasters asked “Do we have a 10 here?” Nichols pulled her one and a half twisting Yurchenko around and opened up at exactly the right moment. Her let foot slid in slightly as she brought her heels together after landing.

The slight foot slide is allowed if the gymnast is pulling her heals together.

[More from Excelle Sports: How Oklahoma’s Maggie Nichols ‘flipped a switch’ to become gymnastics’ biggest star]

History in the making

She became the eighth Sooner gymnast to earn a 10.0 on vault. Her perfect score was the first 10.0 on vault for a visiting gymnast at West Virginia’s Coliseum.

Nichols posted a massive 39.875 all-around total to top her previous best of 39.750 set last week against UCLA. That mark eclipsed the previous top all-around total set against the Mountaineers previously set by former Florida gymnast Bridget Sloan.

[More from Excelle Sports: Florida’s Alex McMurtry nails vault for top score; Ruby Harrold makes LSU debut]

Dream team on floor

Oklahoma put up a season-high 49.650 total with all six scores hitting the 9.850 mark. Of those scores, four of them were a 9.900 or better. The top mark? Nichols’ 9.975.

The freshman has dazzled on floor all season with a pair of 9.950s. Her full-twisting double piked opened up the season with a bang and had great landings on all three of her tumbling passes. Nichols won a bronze medal at the 2015 world championships on floor and shows that elite polish throughout her routine.

In the fourth and fifth spots in the lineup, Chayse Capps and AJ Jackson each posted 9.950s for the Sooners. Capps’ routine showcases her dance background and fantastic tumbling while Jackson shows off sky-high tumbling with great landings.

Chase Capps performs on floor exercise for the Oklahoma Sooners. MADISON MOORING / University of Oklahoma
Chase Capps performs on floor exercise for the Oklahoma Sooners.
Madison Mooring / University of Oklahoma

Former world team member Brenna Dowell added a 9.900. The highlight of her routine comes in her front pass, which features a huge front double tuck.

Clean Sweep

Nichols carried her momentum to the balance beam where she nabbed another near-perfect score of 9.975. Her low score of the night? Just a 9.925 on the uneven bars, which opened her competition. The freshman swept all four event titles plus the all-around crown.

Anything you can do…

Last night, former world championship teammate MyKayla Skinner topped Nichols’ all-around total from a week ago with a 39.775 in her third collegiate meet. Skinner tallied a pair of 9.975s on vault and floor.

[More from Excelle Sports: Utah freshman MyKayla Skinner soars to top all-around score in the nation]

Nichols’ all-around total of 39.875 eclipsed Skinner’s total by a full tenth of point. Nichols and Skinner will continue dueling throughout the season, but will not face off head-to-head until the postseason. That battle is definitely going to be one to watch for the rest of the season.

Bonus fact: Nichols has not scored below a 9.900 across all three meets this season.

 

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