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College Gym News | January 25, 2022

5 special NCAA gymnastics records — and who might have an outside shot at breaking them

Your 2022 NCAA gymnastics season outlook

College gymnastics has continued to evolve since its first national championships in 1982. Through rule changes and increased difficulty, some of the NCAAs oldest records have continued to stand the test of time. The recent influx of Olympic and elite talent has revolutionized the sport once again, putting many records on the hot seat.

This season’s freshman class alone features four Olympians and three Olympic alternates from the United States — and that’s not even including all the international talent that has made its way to the NCAA as well. With the bar continuously being raised, the clock is ticking on some of college gymnastics’ most “unbreakable” records. We wanted to take the time to celebrate records that still stand before they are matched or overtaken by current NCAA talent.

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Most 10.0s in a career: 28 — Jenny Hansen (Kentucky), Jamie Dantzscher (UCLA)

In recent years, Kyla Ross and Maggie Nichols have come close to approaching this record with 22 perfect 10.0s a piece. However, young talent has the potential to get even closer and perhaps surpass this record that was established by Jenny Hansen in 1996 and joined by Jamie Dantzscher in 2004.

To earn the crown of most 10.0s in NCAA history, it will take a few stars aligning. It will take an all around sensation combined with the judges’ willingness to throw 10.0s. The number of 10.0s given tends to ebb and flow by year. Both Jenny Hansen and Jamie Dantzscher competed during years where scoring 10.0s was more commonplace. Since the early 2010s, the number of 10.0s in a season has been back on the rise, increasing from just two in 2011 to 31 in each of the last two seasons. The stage is set. Now, all we need is a talented young gymnast to bring the 10.0 talent on multiple events. And there are quite a few that fit the bill.

Haleigh Bryant from LSU earned several 10.0s on vault in her freshman campaign. If she competes all four events to her potential, she could vie for this record. Leanne Wong and Riley McCusker, both Florida freshmen, also have the difficulty and lines that will translate to big scores in the NCAA. Keep an eye out. This record will be shaking in its boots over the next few years. 

Highest all-around score: 40.000 — Karin Lichey (Georgia)

Maggie Nichols was inches away from accomplishing this feat a time or two. Trinity Thomas has scored perfect 10.0s on bars, beam and floor leading into her senior season. She has the potential to perform a perfect vault as well. The form is there. She just needs to stick it on the right day at the right time to get the 10.0. Thomas’ current career high all around score is 39.900, which she earned Feb. 12, 2021 at LSU. Here’s to hoping Thomas’ senior season also brings the 40.0 that gymnastics fans haven’t seen since 1996. With all the hype around her, though, don’t forget that there are other young talents more than capable of perfect 10.0s on all four events as well.

Team scoring records

Teams have been knocking on the door of scoring records for the past few seasons. In 2022, they will take advantage of the best freshman class we’ve seen in recent years if not ever to overtake the records that have been standing for years. Be on the lookout for new records from teams like Alabama, Minnesota, Missouri and Arkansas in the next year or two.

Alabama’s current program best is 198.250, achieved in 2015 with its next four highest scores coming prior to 2003.

Minnesota has been inching closer to its program best 197.700 over the past two seasons. The Gophers need to take advantage of their Ona Loper’s and Lexy Ramler’s fifth years to overtake this mark. This season,

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Missouri will have more 10.0 start value vaults than it’s had since the Yurchenko full was downgraded. With talented freshmen, the return of Helen Hu and national qualifiers Hannah McCrary and Sydney Schaffer still on the roster, Missouri is primed for its best season yet. Its current program record is 197.475, achieved in 2004. That mark is not out of reach for the Tigers this year.

Arkansas has been on the rise since 2018, scoring all five of its top five scores in program history between 2018-21. The Razorbacks have also added a talented freshman class and return an experienced lineup across all four events, including Kennedy Hambrick, Maggie O’Hara and Sarah Shaffer. With the late addition of 2021 Region 3 all around champion and national all around bronze medalist Morgan Price to the 2022 signing class, Arkansas is ready to leave its latest program record of 197.425 behind in the near future.  

Longest NCAA championship winning streak: 5 — Utah (1982-86), Georgia (2005-09)

With three different schools winning the past three national titles and the number of schools that have won a title nearly doubling from four to seven over the past decade, the era of dynasties in NCAA gymnastics is seemingly over. After Utah won the last AIAW title prior to the NCAA adding women’s gymnastics as a sport in 1982, the Utes started off the NCAA era as a powerhouse by winning the first five team titles before Georgia demoted them to runner-up status in 1987. The Gymdogs themselves went on to tie Utah’s streak in the late-2000s when Courtney Kupets helped lead them to five straight championships, with the Utes finishing in second three of those seasons as well. No other team has come close to breaking this record either, with Florida winning or tying for only three straight championships and Alabama, Oklahoma and UCLA having only ever won back to back.

Most NCAA championship individual titles: 9 — Courtney Kupets (Georgia)

Speaking of Kupets and NCAA titles, the former Georgia-gymnast-turned-head-coach also holds an NCAA record of her own, having won nine different individual titles during her team’s championship streak. Kupets’ tally includes three all around titles, two bars and beam titles and one apiece on vault and floor. In her final season in 2009, she nearly swept the titles as well, only missing out on vault. Prior to Kupets, Hansen held the record with eight individual titles, and Nichols has come closest to the record most recently by nabbing six titles in her NCAA career. Utah junior Maile O’Keefe is the only active NCAA gymnast with multiple individual titles to her name after winning bars and floor at last season’s championship, making her a threat to challenge Kupets’ mark with two seasons left in her career.

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