Smith Is Pressure Personified, Sooners Take the Title

The moment Florida’s Trinity Thomas scored a 10 on floor, Oklahoma junior Ragan Smith launched into her series on beam in what was perhaps the most important athletic moment in her life. It was pressure personified. Perfect. No doubts. Just her and the beam. The score 9.9625. The highest of the meet and more than enough to secure the title for the Sooners (198.200).

After a slow start on floor exercise with Jordan Bowers and Smith going out of bounds to lead off their competition, Oklahoma caught momentum on vault and bars to take the lead after three rotations and never let go to claim their fifth title in the last eight seasons. “What fight, what heart they had to fight back after floor,” Head Coach KJ Kindler said. “They didn’t count themselves out (and) pushed, not just on vault, but every single event after that.”

Following the competition, Smith said she “didn’t know anything” – the scores, the placements, she knew she just needed to do her job. “I was so locked in. I didn’t hear anything.” She also gave full credit to her team.

“I’ve never experienced this much team love before,” she said. “Everyone had my back.”

Florida gave the Sooners a definite run for the Championship including top scores from All-Around Champion Thomas on every event but beam. The Gators had some less than perfect vault landings to open their meet but kept it close throughout to capture second in what was an incredible season.

The Utah Red Rocks finished third with a 197.750, while the Auburn Tigers claimed the fourth spot with a 197.350.

During the meet, in a testament to the power of women in sport, ESPNPR tweeted: “The most-engaged women’s sport on ESPN’s social media accounts is college gymnastics” 

See the full interview with Ragan Smith & Look for much more from Fort Worth in the 2022 Special Edition NCAA Commemorative Issue of Inside Gymnastics magazine! +New photo galleries coming soon to InsideGym.com!

 

Photos by Lloyd Smith for Inside Gymnastics

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