Suni Lee and Jordan Chiles are on different teams now, competing in college gymnastics for Auburn and UCLA. Thursday, when Lee needed a pep talk at the NCAA championships, she got it from her former Olympic teammate.

Lee was feeling a little nervous in the team semifinals, as the Tigers were battling for a spot in Saturday's team finals. Chiles, competing at the championships as an individual, reminded her to focus on the fun. That was all the Olympic all-around champion needed to hear.

Lee, of St. Paul, captured the NCAA title on balance beam, finished second in the all-around and helped sixth-ranked Auburn advance to Saturday's team finals at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas. The Tigers will compete against Florida, Oklahoma and Utah for the team championship.

Though the Gophers did not move on to the team finals, their sixth-place finish is the best in program history. They were third in the afternoon semifinal with a team score of 197.1125, behind the Sooners (198.1125) and Utah's Red Rocks (197.7125). The top two teams in each semifinal advanced.

In her final meet, Gophers fifth-year senior Lexy Ramler tied for second place on uneven bars, tied for fourth on beam and placed sixth in the all-around. Gophers sophomore Mya Hooten tied for fourth on floor exercise with Lee and Florida's Leanne Wong. Hooten also tied for eighth on vault.

Lee, a freshman, scored a 9.9625 on beam to add her first NCAA title to the all-around gold, team silver and bronze on bars she won at last summer's Tokyo Olympics. Florida's Trinity Thomas earned a perfect 10.0 score on her final event, floor exercise, to slip past Lee for the all-around championship. Thomas had a total score of 39.8125 to Lee's 39.6750.

Referring to her talk with Chiles, Lee said, "Jordan was like, 'I can tell you're stressed and you're nervous and you're putting pressure on yourself. She said, 'Calm down, go out there and have fun. That's what we're out here to do.'

"I reminded myself of that, and it took the pressure off. I went out there and just enjoyed it."

Thomas's masterful floor routine got the only perfect-10 score Thursday. She also won the individual championships on floor exercise and bars. Utah's Jaedyn Rucker won the vault title.

Gophers coach Jenny Hansen was delighted with her team's finish, and with Ramler's dazzling end to a standout career. Ramler, of St. Michael, Minn., set a new standard for Gophers gymnasts, leading the program to its first back-to-back team appearances at the NCAA championships. She recorded the highest scores in program history in the all-around, beam and bars.

"Lexy has taken us so far, in so many ways," Hansen said. "She's had an absolutely tremendous career.

"She came in with expectations of elevating our program, and she's taken us to this place where now, we're looked at as a team that deserves to be in the national championships every year. "

The Gophers were in fourth place in the afternoon semifinal through three rotations. They finished strong on bars, with Ramler going last. Her glorious routine, punctuated with a stuck dismount, earned a 9.95 to push the Gophers past Alabama.

Ramler said that during the routine, she thought about the arc of her Gophers career and about how far the program has progressed.

"I was almost like dreaming about what it would feel like, sticking that dismount," Ramler said. "When I stuck it, it was kind of like a career flashback. It was awesome to be able to end my career like that."

Other Minnesotans with top-10 finishes included Utah's Abby Paulson (beam, tied for fourth) and Grace McCallum (floor, tied for seventh). Lee also tied for ninth on bars.

Auburn reached the team finals for only the second time since 1993. "We're really excited about finally accomplishing what they set out to accomplish months and months ago," said coach Jeff Graba, a Forest Lake native. "We felt like we were capable of this. I'm really proud of the group."

The Star Tribune did not travel for this event. This article was written using the television broadcast and video interviews before and/or after the meet.