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Brandis Heffner and Emily Minehart, College Gym News | April 13, 2022

Contenders, sleepers in the 2022 college gymnastics championships individual events

The 2022 NCAA women's gymnastics championships, previewed

It’s finally time for the NCAA national championships once again! We know our eight teams, our four all-arounders and our 15 individual event specialists. Today we’re tackling the individuals and taking a look at the most likely contenders for the all-around and event titles.

Four all-arounders and 15 individual event specialists qualified to compete in Fort Worth. They will be split up into the two semifinal sessions with national champions determined at the end of the night.

LIVE UPDATES: Coverage and scores from the NCAA gymnastics championships

For a more in-depth explanation on the postseason format, check out College Gym News' NCAA postseason guide. Here's the schedule for Thursday's semifinal session:

Session One VAULT BARS BEAM FLOOR
Rotation One OKLAHOMA ALABAMA MINNESOTA UTAH
  Jade Carey (OSU) Sarah Shaffer (Ark.) Sirena Linton (Ariz.) Kennedy Hambrick (Ark.)
Rotation Two UTAH OKLAHOMA ALABAMA MINNESOTA
  Kennedy Hambrick (Ark.) Jade Carey (OSU) Skyla Schulte (MSU) Jaye Mack (Ill. St.)
Rotation Three MINNESOTA UTAH OKLAHOMA ALABAMA
  Mia Townes (UIUC) Kennedy Hambrick (Ark.) Jade Carey (OSU) Kyla Bryant (Stan.)
Rotation Four ALABAMA MINNESOTA UTAH OKLAHOMA
  Gayla Griswold (LU) Mia Takekawa (UIUC) Kennedy Hambrick (Ark.) Jade Carey (OSU)

 

Session Two VAULT BARS BEAM FLOOR
Rotation One FLORIDA MISSOURI AUBURN MICHIGAN
  Raena Worley (UK) Jordan Chiles (UCLA) Adeline Kenlin (Iowa) Norah Flatley (UCLA)
Rotation Two MICHIGAN FLORIDA MISSOURI AUBURN
  Norah Flatley (UCLA) Raena Worley (UK) Abbie Thompson (DU) Hailey Davis (UK)
Rotation Three AUBURN MICHIGAN FLORIDA MISSOURI
  Kiya Johnson (LSU) Norah Flatley (UCLA) Raena Worley (UK) Jordan Chiles (UCLA)
Rotation Four MISSOURI AUBURN MICHIGAN FLORIDA
  Elexis Edwards (tOSU) Cally Nixon (UK) Norah Flatley (UCLA) Raena Worley (UK)

All around:

RANK GYMNAST (SCHOOL) NQS AVERAGE HIGH SCORE
1 Jade Carey (Oregon State) 39.79 39.76 39.85
2 Sunisa Lee (Auburn) 39.75 39.642 39.825
3 Sierra Brooks (Michigan) 39.685 39.562 39.725
4 Raena Worley (Kentucky) 39.68 39.647 39.75
5 Lexy Ramler (Minnesota) 39.665 39.64 39.825
6 Grace McCallum (Utah) 39.65 39.436 39.775
7 Ona Loper (Minnesota) 39.645 39.467 39.75
8 Megan Skaggs (Florida) 39.575 39.547 39.725
9 Leanne Wong (Florida) 39.555 39.561 39.875
10 Abby Heiskell (Michigan) 39.55 39.455 39.7

The Contenders: There is one very important name missing from the above list: Trinity Thomas. She doesn’t have an all-around NQS because she competed all-around events too few times after resting floor in a number of meets, but she owns the highest number in the country and third-highest all time with a 39.900 at the Raleigh regional final. Thomas is without question the favorite going in, but she won’t have an easy road. Her Gator teammate Leanne Wong owns the second-best number of the year with a 39.875 also in the regional final. Olympians Jade Carey and Sunisa Lee are also massive threats, with high marks just a pace behind the Gators’. Lee is known to shine under pressure, and Carey has been remarkably consistent all year. The field is stacked, with Natalie Wojcik, who had some misses and is just outside the top 10 by NQS, also having eclipsed 39.800. Perennial favorite Lexy Ramler is right there with her as well.

The Dark Horses: Consistency rules the day for the peloton. Sierra Brooks, Raena Worley and Ona Loper have all been strong across all four all year. Their highs are a pace behind the leading group, but they each absolutely pose a threat. Grace McCallum, who wasn’t in the Utes’ beam lineup at regionals, is also in this group if she’s on all four. These gymnasts are just a stuck landing away from the top; it’ll come down to precision.

What If?: This conversation wouldn’t be complete without Norah Flatley. She’s competing in Fort Worth as an individual, but she absolutely has the ability to keep pace with the field. Her 39.750 at Cal in March is among the best in the nation. She did sit out of some events due to mental health in the regional final, but if she’s prepared, she can make a run at the title.

Vault

Rank Gymnast (School) NQS Average High Score
1 Jordan Bowers (OKlahoma) 9.965 9.831 10.000
Trinity Thomas (Florida) 9.965 9.930 10.000
3 Haleigh Bryant (LSU)* 9.960 9.855 10.000
4 Sierra Brooks (Michigan) 9.955 9.845 10.000
Ona Loper (Minnesota) 9.955 9.863 10.000
6 Jade Carey (Oregon State) 9.945 9.930 9.975
7 Jocelyn Moore (Missouri) 9.940 9.897 9.950
8 Katherine Levasseur (Oklahoma) 9.935 9.902 10.000
Naomi Morrison (Michigan) 9.935 9.893
9.975
10 Natalie Wojcik (Michigan) 9.930 9.845 10.000

*Did not qualify to nationals on vault.

The Contenders: Claiming both the top regular season ranking and a 10 for her most recent vault, Trinity Thomas enters as the slight favorite in a deep field with a trio of perfect vaults under her belt. Ona Loper earned a pair of 10s on vault this season to enter herself in the conversation, as has the entirely of Michigan’s impressively difficult vault lineup.

The Dark Horses: Of the Wolverines, Gabby Wilson stuck her Yurchenko one and a half at the regional final to earn a perfect score and come into semifinals hot. Florida’s Nya Reed sits ranked just outside of this top 10 after setting up Thomas with big scores of her own all season long. She is certainly one to keep an eye on along with teammate Leanne Wong, who hit perfection for the first time on this event at regionals for her unique Podkopayeva.

What If?: Coming after a full lineup of 10.0 start values from Alabama, individual qualifier Gayla Griswold could be set up to make some waves with a stuck Yurchenko one and a half of her own despite being from a Division II school. She stuck her vault in the team final at USAG nationals just a few days ago, so the potential is there.

Bars

Rank Gymnast (School) NQS Average High Score
1 Sunisa Lee (Auburn) 9.970 9.929 10.000
2 Audrey Davis (Oklahoma) 9.955 9.933 9.975
Grace McCallum (Utah) 9.955 9.813 10.000
Jade Carey (Oregon State) 9.955 9.955 10.000
5 Trinity Thomas (Florida) 9.950 9.909 9.975
6 Leanne Wong (Florida) 9.945 9.877 10.000
Emily Muhlenhaupt (Boise State)* 9.945 9.931 9.975
8 Natalie Wojcik (Michigan) 9.940 9.831 9.950
Mara Titarsolej (LIU)* 9.940 9.877 10.000
Luisa Blanco (Alabama) 9.940 9.930 9.975

*Did not qualify to nationals on bars.

The Contenders: So many gymnasts are capable of perfection on bars that it’s hard to narrow down the list to the few who could run away with the title. Lee is the easy favorite, but Carey and Audrey Davis will not go down easily. Luisa Blanco, who competed only bars at regionals due to injury, also poses a serious threat.

The Dark Horses: McCallum has had a love-hate relationship with bars this season, including a miss in the regional semifinal. At her best, though, she’s perfect. If she’s on her game on Thursday, she could top the field. All of Wong, Jordan Chiles, Sage Thompson and Maile O’Keefe have also been perfect. Counting Ramler out on one of her best events would also be shortsighted.

What If?: We’ve seen an incredible and improbable number of 9.975s on bars this year. One of them belongs to Cally Nixon, who is competing as an individual. She rotates with Auburn, so she’ll go up after Lee. A tough act to follow to be sure, but Nixon has one of the smoothest swings in collegiate gymnastics. Don’t write her off.

Beam

Rank Gymnast (School) NQS Average High Score
1 Ragan Smith (Oklahoma) 9.980 9.783 10.000
Sunisa Lee (Auburn) 9.980 9.846 10.000
3 Maile O’Keefe (Utah) 9.970 9.846 10.000
Trinity Thomas (Florida) 9.970 9.934 10.000
5 Cristal Isa (Utah) 9.960 9.796 10.000
Lexy Ramler (Minnesota) 9.960 9.945 10.000
7 Sophia Groth (Auburn) 9.950 9.923 9.950
8 Natalie Wojcik (Michigan) 9.945 9.914 9.975
9 Luisa Blanco (Alabama) 9.940 9.841 9.975
Carly Woodard (Oklahoma) 9.940 9.862 10.000

The Contenders: Once again, the field is stacked with 10.0s and incredible gymnastics. It’s no secret that Wojcik is chasing another beam title, and she’s certainly in the mix. Ramler has the best average in the county, followed closely by O’Keefe and Thomas. O’Keefe stands out especially after her calm walk-off 10.0 under incredible pressure at the Seattle regional final. Ragan Smith, with two 10.0s and five 9.975s on the year, is easily a top contender despite a slightly lower average after some misses.

The Dark Horses: Sophia Groth has been an incredible asset to the Auburn beam lineup in her freshman season. She’s topped out a 9.950, but her average is a whopping 9.923. She’s been below 9.900 only once, in January, and scored eight 9.950s. Similarly, Sienna Schreiber hasn’t been below 9.875 all year and has five 9.975s or 9.950s. Both could walk away with the title with a normal hit.

What If? It seems wild to put someone who has scored a 10.0 in the “what if” section, but that is the landscape in 2022. Cristal Isa has had a few misses but owns a 10.0 and a smattering of 9.975s as well. Her numbers in March are: 9.975, 9.975, 9.950, 9.950, 9.975.

Floor

Rank Gymnast (School) NQS Average High Score
1 Trinity Thomas (Florida) 9.980 9.983 10.000
2 Mya Hooten (Minnesota) 9.970 9.966 10.000
3 Nya Reed (Florida) 9.965 9.952 10.000
Jade Carey (Oregon State) 9.965 9.955 10.000
Gabby Wilson (Michigan) 9.965 9.956 10.000
6 Sydney Soloski (Utah) 9.960 9.923 9.975
7 Derrian Gobourne (Auburn) 9.955 9.931 10.000
Sierra Brooks (Michigan) 9.955 9.943 9.975
8 Sunisa Lee (Auburn) 9.950 9.923 9.975
Lauren Guerin (Iowa)* 9.950 9.931 9.975
Raena Worley (Kentucky) 9.950 9.940 9.975

*Did not qualify to nationals on floor.

The Contenders: Floor is maybe the deepest event in this incredibly deep year, but Thomas, Mya Hooten, Carey, Wilson and Reed stand out among the rest. All have multiple 10.0s. All are incredibly consistent. All have high-flying E passes. It’s going to come down to landing precision and dealing with the pressure of the moment. Or, of course, all will score 10.0s and we’ll have a five-way tie. It is 2022. It’s worth noting that Carey closes out the first session as the last competitor of the afternoon on floor.

The Dark Horses: Sydney Soloski is still searching for her elusive 10.0. It could finally be her time. She brings all of the other pieces the top group shares—she’s just missing that magic number. Derrian Gobourne is also perennially in the top floor workers conversation. She is consistently excellent and scored a 9.975 in the Auburn regional final. She also stands out with performance quality, something that becomes especially important when the group is bunched this tightly.

What If? Chiles has been a little inconsistent on floor, but she has also been perfect twice. While it’s hard to be extremely successful as an individual competitor, Chiles certainly has her elite experience on her side. Someone with her background and ability to hit under pressure can’t be ruled out.

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