Lynnzee Brown caps college gymnastics career at NCAA national championships

Lynnzee Brown brought the Pioneers to tears.

In her final event as a college gymnast and DU great at the NCAA national championships in Fort Worth on Thursday, Brown scored a 9.9500 on the flour routine. She walked off with tears streaming down her cheeks and was greeted by crying teammates and coaches, too.

Brown, a sixth-year graduate student who overcame two Achilles tears, is the heart and soul of a Pioneers team that made its sixth appearance at nationals and first since 2019, when DU advanced to the Final Four. But Brown and the Pioneers wouldn’t get that far this time. No. 14 DU failed to get out of its semifinal, as No. 2 LSU and No. 6 Florida moved onto the Final Four while the Pioneers and Cal saw their seasons come to a close.

Brown’s floor routine is an ode to two Black gymnasts who also went to DU. She won the 2019 national championship in the event, but her routine wasn’t good enough to be atop the leaderboard in floor after the first semifinal. However, Brown was tied for the lead in vault with Boise State’s Courtney Blackson at 9.925; for Brown to win a share of the national title, that score will have to hold up through the second semifinal on Thursday night.

After Brown’s floor routine closed out DU’s season, she and DU coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart shared a long embrace.

“That (routine) was a gift to all of us,” commentator Kathy Johnson Clarke observed. “The power, the grace, the heart — she just put it all out there on the floor exercise for everyone to take in this moment.”

This story will be updated.

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