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Andrew Prezioso | | April 19, 2014

Prezioso: The rotation that nearly decided it

Holding a slight edge
After Haley Scaman's routine on the floor, Oklahoma held a 148.625-148.550 edge against Florida entering the sixth and final rotation at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convocation Complex in Birmingham, Ala. Entering the final rotation, LSU held the lead, followed by Nebraska, but neither squad could earn more points having already completed their four events. That left the title to be decided by the Sooners, the Gators and Alabama, which was within striking distance.

Falling off
Alabama faced a major setback as Diandra Milliner fell off the beam to open the final rotation for the Tide. Her score of 9.30 put the Tide in a big hole, and their fate was sealed as normally steady Kim Jacob scored a 9.35 to end the night for the Tide.

Florida makes its move
The floor routine has been one of the Gators' strong suits all year, and that is what they finished at on Saturday. Three of the first four to go for them on Saturday scored at least a 9.900, including Bridget Sloan's 9.925.

Vaulting to the lead
Oklahoma ended on the vault and excelled at it. Four Sooners scored a 9.900 or better as they finished with 49.550 points overall. With the vault going quicker than the floor routine, they were finished first and put the pressure on Florida to match or better their 198.175 overall score.

Needing one more big one
Florida's Bridget Caquatto was the last Gator to go on the floor. With all other events that could have impacted the title over, all eyes were on Caquatto.

Reaching the mark
Caquatto's performance was nearly flawless as she finished with a 9.950. That left all in attendance wondering who had won the title. "With floor being our last event and knowing that score needed to count in order to win us a national championship, it was even crazier and just overall I’m really happy to do it for the Gator nation and everyone who supports us,” she said.

Waiting for their moment
Florida was left to wonder for a few minutes about whether they had done enough to capture back-to-back titles.

Cause to celebrate
Florida coach Rhonda Faehn, right, hugs Kytra Hunter after the announcement comes that they are co-national champions with Oklahoma. This is the first time in history that co-champions have been crowned. "I’ve always felt that if there’s a tie, it needs to remain a tie," Faehn said. "This is such an incredibly challenging competition. I understand the tie-break situation for qualifications, but for the actual title, if there’s a tie, then that’s how it should be."

Getting their moment
When Florida won the title last season, it broke a two-year run at the top by Alabama. Now, it's the Gators turn to stay at the top.

"Throwing up the ones"
Despite the fact that they did not own the title outright, the Sooners were still happy to get the title. "There’s so many numbers involved in gymnastics so [a tie] almost seems impossible but you know it happened," Taylor Spears said. "I’m really happy that it did."

Room for both
Oklahoma and Florida each finished with 198.175 points -- the highest total for a champion in history. LSU finished in third with 197.600 points

Time to play
Just like Oklahoma, the Gators were plenty happy to take the title even if it ended in a tie. "I definitely wouldn't want to break the tie," Caquatto said. "It’s amazing to go up there and stand behind the first-place national champion team banner and cheer with another team next to you. You’re holding the trophies and screaming and it makes it that much more fun and loving. It’s awesome that we shared it with Oklahoma."

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