The 2018 women’s gymnastics individual and team national champions will be crowned this weekend in St. Louis, as the country’s top gymnasts gather inside Chaifetz Arena for the national semifinals and subsequent Super Six competition.
The first semifinal (LSU, Nebraska, Alabama, Georgia, UCLA, Arkansas) starts Friday at 1 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN2. The second semifinal (Oklahoma, Kentucky, Florida, Washington, Utah, California) starts Friday at 7 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPNU. And the Super Six starts Saturday at 7 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPNU.
If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can still watch both ESPN2 and ESPNU–and thus, all of the competition–live on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
Hulu With Live TV: In addition to a Netflix-like on-demand streaming library, Hulu now also offers a bundle of live TV channels, which includes both ESPN2 and ESPNU. You can sign up right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the competition on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
DirecTV Now: ESPN2 is included in all four of DirecTV Now’s channel packages, while ESPNU is in the “Just Right”, “Go Big” and “Gotta Have It” bundles. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, and you can then watch the competition live on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
Sling TV: ESPN2 is included in the “Sling Orange” channel package, while ESPNU is in the “Sports Extra” add-on. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial of both, and you can then watch the competition live on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.
WatchESPN: In addition to being able to watch the simulcast of the ESPN2 and ESPNU broadcats, you can also watch a stream of each individual apparatus (beam, uneven bars, etc.) live on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the WatchESPN app. Signing in to your internet service provider may be enough to watch these streams, but in other cases, you may need to sign in to a TV provider to watch. If the latter is the case, you can sign up for one of the above services and then use your Hulu, DirecTV Now or Sling TV credentials to sign in and watch on the ESPN platforms.
Oklahoma, who have captured the last two national championship and three titles in the last four years, are once again the team to beat. The Sooners finished with the highest overall team score during regionals (198.000), junior Nicole Lehrmann and sophomore Maggie Nichols are co-defending uneven bars champs (there was an unprecedented six-way tie last year), Nichols is a contender for the individual all-around crown this year, and they have five national All-Americans in total.
Joining No. 1 Oklahoma in their semifinal will be No. 4 Utah, No. 5 Florida, No. 8 Washington, No. 9 California and No. 12 Kentucky, with the top three teams advancing to Saturday’s Super Six national championship.
On the other side of the bracket, LSU is the top team. The Tigers have yet to claim a national championship in school history, but they’ve finished second to the Sooners in each of the last two years and will be looking to end that streak. They have four All-Americans, led by Myia Hambrick, who is ranked No. 1 nationally on the floor and was one of just three gymnasts in the country to earn All-American accolades in all five disciplines (vault, uneven bars, balance beam, floor, all-around).
Competing against the second-seeded Tigers in the semifinals will be No. 3 UCLA, No. 6 Alabama, No. 10 Arkansas, No. 11 Nebraska and No. 18 Georgia.
In the race for the individual all-around crown, Florida’s Alex McMurtry will look to become the first back-to-back champ since Courtney Kupets accomplished that feat in 2006 and ’07, but she’ll have plenty of competition. Nichols and Hambrick will be right in the mix, while other top contenders include Utah’s MyKayla Skinner and MaKenna Merrell-Gilles, UCLA’s Kyla Ross and LSU’s Sarah Finnegan.
Source: Heavy Sports