ST. LOUIS — The Oklahoma gymnasts were done and in the lead when UCLA’s Peng-Peng Lee stepped on the balance beam for the Bruins’ final routine of Saturday’s NCAA Women’s Gymnastics National Championships.
Lee needed a score higher than 9.9625 to give UCLA the national title.
When she stuck her dismount following a flawless routine, fans throughout Chaifetz Arena — but most emphatically the ones from UCLA and Utah — started chanting “10.”
UCLA assistant coach Randy Lane was among the UCLA gymnasts in the corral, and they all had their arms up with their palms splayed and showing 10 fingers.
As the crowd’s chants dissipated and the athletes dropped their hands, Lane did not stop. He kept his hands up and chanting until the judges revealed their scores.
“I knew the judges were still kind of vacillating,” said Lane, who is gay. “I’m like, I’m going to give every chant that I can and lose my voice as much as I needed to.”
Lee, a sixth-year senior, received five 10s and a 9.95. With the highest and lowest scores dropped, her score was a perfect 10, and UCLA won the 2018 NCAA title.
“Excited, cheerful,” Lane said of how he felt. “I can’t even describe the words. It’s pretty spectacular.”
This is UCLA’s first women’s gymnastics national title since 2010. This is Lane’s first national title during his current stint at UCLA, which started in 2011. It is his fourth NCAA team title overall.
He previously was a UCLA assistant coach when the team won NCAA titles in 2000 and 2001. As a college athlete, he helped Illinois win the 1989 NCAA men’s gymnastics title.
“I rely so heavily on them,” UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field said of her assistant coaches after Saturday’s win.
UCLA scored 198.075, and Oklahoma took second with 198.0375. Florida finished third with 197.85.
“We were firing on all cylinders, and it just was an exciting end to the season,” said Florida volunteer assistant coach Jeremy Miranda, who is gay.
This was Miranda’s 11th season as a Florida coach. He said he has been out as gay to his athletes his entire time as a coach and that “everyone is very supportive.”
Miranda’s role is to help the athletes create their floor routines. As they performed those routines Saturday, he moved and danced along with them from the team corral.
“It’s hard not to,” Miranda said. “We work so hard on the routines. … It’s just so amazing to see that come to fruition on the floor.”
Floor was Florida's final event. The Gators’ score on floor moved them past LSU, which finished fourth.
UCLA moved past Oklahoma and LSU during the balance beam. The Bruins’ 0.0375 margin of victory is the smallest in the 37-years of the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships.
“It’s really never over until the last routine in this championship,” Lane said. “That’s what made it really exciting today for all of us. … It’s kind of nice to be back on top of the hill.”
Gymnast thanks her coach
During Friday’s individual event competition, Stanford senior Elizabeth Price won the uneven bars with a perfect 10. Price, who is straight, previously won an NCAA title on vault in 2015.
Stanford volunteer assistant coach Cale Robinson, who is gay, was unable to attend the meet, but he was one of the first people to text her after the win.
“He coaches me the most on bars,” Price said of Robinson. “It’s pretty cool to look back, and when I think of all the people that helped me get to this national championship, he’s one of those people I think about along with, of course, our other three amazing coaches.”
In addition to the national title, which she shared with Oklahoma’s Maggie Nichols, Price finished fifth on floor, tied for eighth on vault, and tied for 10th on beam.
Names in bold are people that have announced publicly they identify as LGBTQ. Results are for competitions that took place April 9-22.
Jace Anderson (junior, Nebraska men’s track & field) took fourth in triple jump (46 feet, 10 1/4 inches) at the McDonnell Invitational in Arkansas on April 14. He also finished fourth in triple jump (49-4 1/4) at Saturday’s Kansas Relays.
Philip Batler (sophomore, Brown men’s track & field) finished 44th in the 100 meters (12.07 seconds) and helped Brown’s 4x100 relay finish sixth at Princeton’s Ellis Invitational on Saturday.
Joey Bonanno (junior, Ohio State men’s gymnastics) competed on floor at Friday’s NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships and posted a score of 14.3. Bonanno’s score Friday tied for the second-best score of the day behind only his teammate Sean Melton. The Buckeyes finished fourth in their session Friday and did not advance to Saturday’s finals as a team. As an individual Saturday, Bonanno scored 13.633 on floor to tie for 25th of the 43 competitors.
Nile Clark (senior, Miami men’s tennis) went 2-2 in doubles and 0-1 in singles as the Hurricanes (14-11 overall, 4-8 ACC) went 2-3 the last two weeks. Clark helped Miami close the regular season with a 4-0 win against Dayton on Sunday by winning 7-5 at No. 3 doubles. His singles match was April 15 when Boston College beat Miami 4-3, and Clark lost at No. 6 singles 6-2, 6-2.
Konrad Eiring (junior, Illinois men’s track & field) ran the 800 meters in 1:59.44 to finish 110th of 148 runners at Friday’s Bryan Clay Invitational.
Eric Holley (redshirt sophomore, Oklahoma men’s gymnastics) helped the Sooners on Saturday capture the NCAA Men’s Gymnastics national title, the program’s fourth consecutive NCAA team title. During Friday’s semifinals, Holley scored 14.166 on vault, which was tied for the 25th best score of the 73 gymnasts at the championships and the third best score on the Sooners’ team. During Saturday’s final, vault was Oklahoma’s best event with 72.566 points, and Holley scored 14.0 on vault — the 28th best score of the 44 competitors — to help the Sooners move from third place to the lead during that event. Oklahoma won with 414.858 points with Minnesota second (411.923) in the six-team final. The win also completed Oklahoma’s fourth consecutive undefeated season. “These guys on this team had to fight every practice, every competition, and every rotation in team finals to have another perfect season and another national championship,” Holley said.
Johnny Kemps (junior, Boston men’s track & field) finished sixth in the mile (4:07.79) at the Ocean State Invitational at Brown on April 14. Kemps took 18th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:16.61) at Princeton’s Ellis Invitational on Saturday.
Dawson LaRance (freshman, Minnesota men’s track & field) and Derek Wiebke (redshirt senior, Minnesota men’s track & field) competed at Stanford’s Cardinal Classic on Friday and Saturday. Wiebke finished sixth in the 1,500 meters (3:45.71), and LaRance finished sixth in the 800 (1:52.24) and helped the 4x400-meter relay place third.
Jake Leffew (junior, Yale men’s golf) shot a 15-over-par 155 during the 36-hole Yale Spring Invitational on April 14, and he tied for 54th in a field of 89 golfers.
Alexis Lewandowski (junior, IUPUI women’s track & field) and Kelsey Tyler (senior, IUPUI women’s track & field) both competed in the 1,500 meters at the Illinois Twilight on April 14. Tyler finished 15th in 4:56.79, and Lewandowski took 19th in 5:06.17. On Saturday at Grand Valley State’s Owens Classic, Lewandowski came in ninth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (11:45.23) and Tyler finished 12th in the 5,000 meters (18:18.64)
Justice Lord (junior, Barton men’s volleyball) led the Bulldogs with three blocks in Saturday’s season-ending loss to No. 1-seeded King in the championship of the Conference Carolinas tournament. He had seven kills and led Barton with seven blocks in Friday’s four-set semifinal win against Mount Olive. His 91 kills this season rank fifth on the team. Barton finishes 21-8 overall.
E.J. Proctor (senior, Duke women’s soccer) was named the team’s co-MVP for the 2017 season at Sunday’s team banquet. She recorded a school record 18 shutouts as Duke reached the NCAA national semifinals. She shared the MVP award with midfielder Rebecca Quinn.
Ryan Signorino (junior, St. Bonaventure men’s track & field) finished 17th in the 3,000 meters (10:23.17) at Saturday’s Bucknell Challenge.
Jenny Allard (head coach, Harvard softball) led the Crimson (20-13 overall, 13-5 Ivy) to a 5-1 record during the last two weeks. Harvard has the best record in the Ivy League heading into its final regular-season series against Brown.
Colin Christiansen (assistant coach, UMBC softball) saw the Retrievers (9-28 overall, 4-9 America East) go 2-5 the last two weeks.
Shawn McLaughlin (formerly assistant coach, Incarnate Word women’s volleyball) accepted a women’s volleyball assistant coaching position at Alabama-Birmingham.
Lowell McNicholas (assistant coach, Wisconsin men’s rowing) saw the No. 10-ranked Badgers’ varsity eight beat Oregon State and lose to No. 1 California and No. 12 Stanford at the Stanford Invite on April 14-15.
Nich Lee Parker (head coach, Columbia men’s lightweight rowing) led the No. 1-ranked Lions to the Dodge Cup title on April 14 with wins against No. 4 Yale and No. 7 Penn. Columbia’s first varsity eight won Saturday against Cornell and MIT, and on Sunday, the Columbia first varsity eight beat Dartmouth. Columbia’s second varsity eight beat Dartmouth on Sunday to complete an undefeated regular season. “Our guys showed their character with these types of performances in our second straight day of competition,” Parker said Sunday in a press release. Columbia announced a documentary about its 2016 rowing national title will air May 10 on ESPNU.
Simon Thibodeau (head coach, UC Santa Barbara women’s tennis) led the Gauchos (11-12 overall, 7-1 Big West) to a 4-0 stretch the last two weeks to close the regular season. Saturday’s 4-0 win against Cal Poly earned UCSB the Big West regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the Big West tournament.
Kirk Walker (assistant coach, UCLA softball) saw the No. 3-ranked Bruins (40-3 overall) sweep a three-game series with No. 1 Washington from Friday to Sunday. UCLA also swept a three-game series with No. 11 Arizona on April 13-15. The Bruins sit in first place in the Pac-12 at 15-3.
Alanna Carvalho (senior, Alabama-Huntsville women’s lacrosse) scored 20 goals in four games as the Chargers (12-4 overall) went 3-1 the last two weeks to close the regular season. She scored six goals in a 20-12 win against Lee on April 11. UAH will be the No. 2 seed in the Gulf South Conference tournament.
Kylon Drones (senior, West Texas A&M men’s track & field) took second in the 110-meter hurdles (14.59 seconds) and tied for third in pole vault (12-11 3/4) at the Ross Black Open on April 14. Drones competed in four events at Sunday’s WT Invitational, and he took second in pole vault (14-1 1/4), third in the 110 hurdles (13.95 seconds), sixth in the javelin (114-11), and helped the 4x400 relay finish fourth.
Michael Holland (sophomore, Felician baseball) did not play the last two weeks as the Golden Falcons (22-22 overall) went 11-3.
Austin Shupp (senior, Shippensburg men’s track & field) earned an NCAA provisional qualifying time while winning the 400-meter hurdles (53.31 seconds) at the Shippensburg Mid-Week Invitational on April 18. He also produced season-best performances in the 110 hurdles and long jump. He took second in the 110 hurdles (14.73 seconds) and fourth in long jump (22-7). In his fourth event, he helped the 4x100-meter relay to a win.
Mark Johnson (assistant coach, Tampa baseball) saw the No. 2-ranked Spartans (32-7 overall) go 4-2 the last two weeks.
Lauren Lappin (assistant coach, Missouri-St. Louis softball) watched the Tritons (28-18 overall) go 4-4 the last two weeks.
Faith Carson (junior, Ursinus softball) went 2-for-3 in Saturday’s 6-0 loss to Franklin & Marshall. Carson started all 10 games the last two weeks, and Ursinus (11-19 overall) went 1-9 in that stretch.
Kyle Davis (junior, Ithaca men’s track & field) finished 19th in triple jump (40-7 3/4) and 21st in long jump (19-11 1/2) at the Pollard Invitational on April 14 in Pennsylvania.
Michael Drougas (senior, Oberlin men’s tennis) went 1-2 in doubles and 0-2 in singles the last two weeks to close the regular season. His doubles win came Saturday in an 8-1 win at No. 2 doubles against Allegheny.
Lindsey Farrell (junior, McDaniel women’s lacrosse) contributed three goals and two assists to Saturday’s 19-18 overtime win against Swarthmore. The Green Terror (6-8 overall) went 1-2 the last two weeks.
Jason Hadley (junior, Mount Union men’s track & field) has decided to take the rest of the outdoor season off to recover from some health problems.
Craig Lauer (sophomore, Ursinus men’s track & field) finished 12th in Saturday’s 3,000-meter steeplechase (10:15.58, a personal record time) at the Widener Invitational.
Tucker Meijer (junior, Amherst men’s track & field) finished 21st of 61 runners in the 5,000 meters (15:25.84) at the 19-team Silfen Invitational on April 13-14.
Cal Neikirk (junior, Pomona-Pitzer men’s track & field), Nick Vucovich (senior, Pomona-Pitzer men’s track & field), and Lucas White Moon (sophomore, Pomona-Pitzer men’s track & field) competed at a four-team meet April 14 at Claremont. White Moon won the long jump with a personal record (21-8 3/4) and took third in triple jump (45-0 1/2), while Neikirk took third in his pole vault debut (14-5 1/4), and Vucovich finished 14th in the 800 meters (2:02.44).
Isaac Reed III (junior, Denison men’s track & field) took third in triple jump (43-6) and finished 12th in the 110-meter hurdles (15.94 seconds) at the All-Ohio Championships on April 14. Reed took fourth in the 110 hurdles (15.86 seconds) at Saturday’s Kenyon Spring Invitational.
Andres Bustani (head coach, Rutgers-Newark men’s tennis coach) led the Scarlet Raiders (5-7 overall) to a 4-1 stretch the last two weeks to end the regular season. “We are playing well right now,” Bustani said in a press release after Saturday’s 9-0 win against Albertus Magnus. “The guys are showing a lot of improvement.” Rutgers-Newark continues its season Saturday in the Northeast Athletic Conference tournament.
Jen Moore (assistant coach, Swathmore softball) saw the Garnet (17-11 overall) go 4-6 the last two weeks.
Taylor Tvedt (assistant coach, Augsburg women’s lacrosse) watched the Auggies (11-4 overall) go 4-1 the last two weeks. Sunday’s 10-4 win against Aurora clinched a postseason berth for Augsburg.
David Gilbert (redshirt senior, Lewis-Clark men’s track & field) finished seventh in the 800 meters (2:03.45) at the Whitworth Twilight on April 12. He took 11th in the 1,500 (4:20.7) during Saturday’s Spokane Memorial Meet.
Cavender Salvadori (assistant coach, Johnson and Wales men’s track & field) saw senior Alberto Rodriguez win the 1,500 meters (4:07.76) at the Mayer Invitational on April 14. Rodriguez finished 11th of 44 runners in the 800 meters (1:55.66) at the Kansas Relays on Thursday.