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St. Louis • After she finished her floor routine Friday, MyKayla Skinner turned to the Utah crowd and pumped her fists in the air and urged the fans to their feet.

They responded by giving her a standing ovation.

While the celebration was for Skinner's 9.9625 floor routine, which capped Utah's comeback to earn a spot in the Saturday's Super Six, they might have been honoring an NCAA champion too.

Skinner leads the all-around competition with a 39.6125 and the floor competition as well. She is also tied for first on the vault.

If those scores hold through Friday's evening session, Skinner will become Utah's first floor champion since Missy Marlowe in 1992, Utah's first vault champion since Kristen Kenoyer in 1992 and Utah's first all-around winner since Theresa Kulikowski in 1999.

Skinner scored 9.9 on vault, 9.8375 on bars and 9.9125 on the balance beam, then capped off her day with the big floor effort.

While the Utes stress the team competition, co-coach Tom Farden said winning an NCAA all-around title would be a special moment, given how rare it is.

"It's a testament to her hard work," he said. "She looked great tonight. Her legs looked strong and she stuck her vault and just drilled floor. We know when she has fresh legs you better look out."

The Utah freshman entered the NCAAs as one of the favorites, having won 11 of 12 all-around competitions and 10 floor titles this season.

All year Skinner has used the disappointment of being passed over for a spot with the Olympic team as motivation.

On Friday, on college gymnastics' biggest stage, she seemed satisfied enough to have given it her all.

"My first season of college gymnastics, I just wanted to end it the best I can," she said. "I just wanted to get the team into the finals and do the best I could."

Skinner was in a battle for the lead in the afternoon with Oklahoma's Maggie Nichols and UCLA's Kyla Ross. Skinner had an uncharacteristic slight break on the bars when she went over a bit on a handstand, but luckily for her she was able to deliver the big floor routine while Nichols and Ross also faltered.

Ross finished with just a 9.8375 on the vault and Nichols fell on the beam scoring 9.35.

Other favorites, Oklahoma's Chayse Capps and UCLA's Madison Kocian, also had small breaks to take themselves out of the running.

But even if those gymnasts had hit, they wouldn't have been able to finish ahead of Skinner who finished her competition with one of her best floor routines of the year.

Skinner, who arguably has more difficulty in her floor routine than any collegiate gymnast, nailed every pass.

She finished facing Utah's group of fans and immediately went into celebration mode.

"I got to come in here on floor on a podium and do my thing," she said. "I got to sell my floor routine and enjoy it."


• Skinner's hold on the vault title was short-lived as the evening session began at the NCAA Championships.

Skinner, who held the all-around lead with a 39.6125, the vault lead with a 9.9 and the floor lead with 9.9625, is in danger of losing all three as the scores are noticeably higher.

Already Florida's Alex McMurtry moved into the lead for the vault title with a 9.975 and LSU's Ashleigh Gnat was given a 9.9625 to tie Skinner for the floor lead.

Gnat doesn't compete in the all-around, but McMurtry does, making her a threat to Skinner's bid to become Utah's first all-around winner since Theresa Kulikowski in 1999. —

Individual NCAA winners

• Vault: Kennedi Edney (LSU), 9.9875

• Uneven bars: Alex McMurtry (Florida), Katie Bailey (Alabama) and Sarah Finnegan (LSU), Nicole Lehrmann (Oklahoma), Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma), Kyla Ross (UCLA), 9.95

• Balance beam: Kyla Ross (UCLA), 9.9625

• Floor: MyKayla Skinner (Utah), Ashleigh Gnat (LSU), 9.9625

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