For Olivia Trautman, the hardest part of adapting to college gymnastics was leaving her friends and family in Minnesota. But when she arrived at Oklahoma, she got some help from a familiar face.
Trautman, of Champlin, is finishing a fine freshman season with the Sooners — after being reunited with Maggie Nichols, her former teammate with the Twin City Twisters. Together, they have made top-ranked Oklahoma the favorite to win the team crown at this weekend’s NCAA championships.
A junior from Little Canada, Nichols recovered from some early-season injuries to win the uneven bars title and tie for the vault crown at an NCAA regional two weeks ago. Trautman won the floor exercise championship (9.975) in her regionals debut and was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. Both are part of a powerful lineup chasing the Sooners’ fourth NCAA team title in the past six years.
“Maggie and I were super close in club [gymnastics],” Trautman said. “When I got here, she took me under her wing, which really helped. I’m really happy with how my first year has gone.”
The 2018 NCAA all-around champion, Nichols competed in the all-around in only two meets this season and sat out two others entirely. She is fully healthy for the NCAA meet and could perform in all four events. At the Sooners’ regional, she was in top form, scoring a 9.975 on bars and a 9.95 in her first vault since Feb. 15.
Nichols has been looking forward to the NCAA meet since last April, when UCLA nipped the Sooners for the team championship by scoring a perfect 10 on the final routine. With Trautman in the fold, she likes Oklahoma’s chances to finish back on top.
“After last year, we were all really motivated to improve even more,” Nichols said. “If we go out and hit our routines, we’ll take [the title], no matter what.”