Home Sports NCAA gymnastics Week 7: Utah prevails over UCLA, while OU and LSU are now 1-2

NCAA gymnastics Week 7: Utah prevails over UCLA, while OU and LSU are now 1-2

NCAA gymnastics Week 7: Utah prevails over UCLA, while OU and LSU are now 1-2


Since 2011, Utah and UCLA have provided one of the best and most competitive rivalries in college gymnastics. The two teams, who combine for 16 NCAA team titles, have battled for Pac-12 supremacy, and no other school has won the conference championship since 2013.

It’s been a rivalry for the ages. But all things must come to an end, apparently. Or at least according to the rules of conference realignment. The 2024 season marks the final season of the Pac-12 — Utah will be competing in the Big 12 next year, and UCLA will be joining the Big Ten.

All of that history made Utah and UCLA’s meet on Monday particularly bittersweet. Competing at Pauley Pavilion in Westwood, the Red Rocks and the Bruins met for the final time in a regular-season meet as conference rivals.

Both teams entered the meet undefeated in Pac-12 competition, and four of their previous six meetings had been decided by 0.150 or less. But, despite a huge day for Bruins sophomore Selena Harris, it was ultimately the Red Rocks who won the final chapter.

Trailing at the halfway mark, Utah took control on floor, its third event of the night, following four routines of 9.90 or better by Abby Paulson, Jaylene Gilstrap, Grace McCallum and Maile O’Keefe.

With Utah holding a narrow lead entering the final rotation, and UCLA closing out the day on floor, its signature event, the meet came down to the final few gymnasts. Harris earned a 9.95, but it wasn’t enough to carry UCLA. O’Keefe ultimately clinched the 197.300-196.975 victory with a 9.975 in the anchor spot on beam.

While technically Utah’s win counts towards the Week 8 rankings because it took place on Monday, it still marked the conclusion of a dramatic holiday weekend of gymnastics. Here’s what else you missed:

Metroplex Challenge

Providing fans in Fort Worth, Texas, a sneak preview of some of the gymnastics they will get to see in April at the NCAA championships, the two highest-ranked teams in the country, Oklahoma and California, as well as Arkansas and Washington, squared off at the Metroplex Challenge on Saturday.

Competing at the Fort Worth Convention Center, the Sooners won the meet and remained undefeated, with a 198.300 final score. California (197.4000) finished in second, with Arkansas (196.850) in third and Washington (196.450) in fourth.

It was a dominant night in a season full of them for Oklahoma. Fifth-year senior and the Sooners’ reigning beam queen Ragan Smith earned a perfect 10.0 on the event — her first of 2024 and sixth overall — and is now just one away from tying Maggie Nichols’ record at Oklahoma of the most ever on beam. Jordan Bowers won the all-around title (39.675) and the team earned at least a share of every event title. Bowers, Smith and Faith Torrez all earned 9.95s on floor and tied for the event’s top honors.

Oklahoma remains in the No. 1 spot in the rankings at the end of Week 7, with California dropping to No. 3 behind LSU. Utah and Florida round out the top five.

Perfect 10.0s

Smith wasn’t the only gymnast who earned a 10 over the weekend. Here are the six others who joined her on the elusive list:

Selena Harris, UCLA: The sophomore won the all-around title (39.675) during Monday’s loss against Utah, in addition to taking home top honors on bars (9.95), floor (9.95) and on vault, which she did with her perfect-scoring Yurchenko 1.5. It marked the second straight week Harris earned a 10.0 on the event, and the third time in her career.

Mara Titarsolej, Missouri: What’s better than earning a perfect 10.0? How about becoming the first gymnast to record the score on bars in school history? That’s what Titarsolej did during the Tigers’ highest-scoring night of the season on Friday. With a routine in the anchor spot described by ESPN’s Sam Peszek as “textbook” and “exquisite,” Titarsolej had her teammates calling for a 10.0 almost immediately after sticking her double tuck dismount.

Gabby Wilson, Michigan: During Friday night’s victory over Rutgers, Wilson recorded her second perfect score of the season on floor, and the fourth of her career, with her latest flawless performance. Nailing every second and step of her choreography, and with sky-high tumbling and leaps, Wilson remains one of the most dynamic performers on the event.

Raena Worley, Kentucky: Until last month, the Wildcats’ fifth-year senior had never scored a 10.0, despite a highly decorated rΓ©sumΓ©. However, Worley has now earned not one, not two, but three in her career. After earning perfect scores twice on floor over the past month, she recorded her first 10.0 mark on bars during the team’s win over BYU on Friday. Worley had already been ranked No. 2 on the event in the national rankings, but now she has the elusive score she had been seeking as well and moves into a tie for the No. 1 spot with Oklahoma’s Bowers.

Aleah Finnegan, LSU: There was a sold-out crowd on hand in Baton Rouge for the Tigers’ 198.300-197.100 victory over Auburn on Friday night — and perhaps no one was more impressed by what she was seeing than LSU basketball star Angel Reese, who helped lead her team to the NCAA title in 2023. Reese called for all of them to gets 10.0s — and soon after Finnegan did on floor. The junior earned the third perfect mark of her career on the event and her fifth overall, and she nearly brought the house down in the process.

Gigi Mastellone, Southern Connecticut State: During Monday’s All-American Challenge, not only did the freshman help lead her team to its best score of the season (194.150) and a victory over New Hampshire, LIU and Yale, but she earned the first perfect 10.0 in program history with her bar routine. She had her teammates cheering wildly from her very first handstand.

Carey keeps it 100

It’s no secret Jade Carey is really, really good at gymnastics. She’s an Olympic gold medalist, a world champion and the reigning two-time Pac-12 gymnast of the year after all. On Saturday, the Oregon State junior achieved her latest milestone as she won her 100th NCAA event title during the team’s victory over Stanford. (Technically, she won her 98th, 99th, 100th and 101st but none of those other numbers quite have the same ring to it.)

Carey, who had been competing on just bars and beam for most of the season to rest as she trains to hopefully be named to this summer’s Olympic team, took home the titles in the all-around (39.650), bars (9.95), floor (9.925) and beam (9.925). Carey has now won 101 event titles — 15 behind the program record of 116 set by Chari Knight.

While sadly no one Photoshopped Carey into the iconic Wilt Chamberlain “100” sign image — yet, anyway — Oregon State did put together a commemorative video to celebrate her achievement.

Welcome, Wilberforce University

On Thursday, Wilberforce University, a historically Black university in Ohio, announced it would be starting a gymnastics team and become the third HBCU to do so. The team is expected to make its competitive debut during the 2026 season, and is being developed in partnership with Brown Girls Do Gymnastics and the HBCU Gymnastics Alliance.

Wilberforce joins Fisk, which had its inaugural season in 2023, and Talladega, which is currently in its first season.

“The introduction of a gymnastics team aligns with our commitment to provide inclusive athletic programs and highlights our belief in the power of diversity in sports and empowering future generations of gymnasts,” school president Dr. Vann R. Newkirk said in a statement.

Best of the rest

Isabella Minervini, Towson: It was a banner night on Friday for Towson. The team earned its highest road score in program history, and a season high, during a meet at George Washington. Minervini, a sophomore, recorded the team’s best individual event score since 2012 with a 9.975 on bars. Her double layout dismount serves as the perfect exclamation mark for a career-best routine.

Lauren Williams, Arkansas: Competing in the anchor spot on the Razorbacks’ final event of the night at the Metroplex Challenge, Williams gave fans and her teammates something to remember with an impressive Yurchenko 1.5 that earned a 9.925, and a share of the vault title.

Emily Shepard, North Carolina State: The Wolfpack clinched the first-ever ACC regular-season title on Friday during its win over Clemson due in large part to Shepard’s heroics. The graduate student earned the school’s highest-ever all-around score (39.750) — and the highest by a gymnast from an ACC school — and became the first to ever earn a 9.90 or better on all four events in a single meet. While we could justifiably show any of Shepard’s routines from the night, she earned a new high score of 9.95 on beam with this beautifully executed and confident performance.

Emma Malabuyo, UCLA: Malabuyo’s routine was not from UCLA’s meet against Utah on Monday. Instead, it was from the day before and over 7,500 miles away in Cairo, Egypt. Hoping to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games for the Philippines, Malabuyo was competing at a FIG Apparatus World Cup meet — her first of three over the next several weeks — and ended up finishing in second place on floor. The result earned her 30 points, and she now is currently in first place in the standings on the event. The top two on each event at the end of the World Cup series ultimately punch their ticket to Paris.

So, yes, while this routine wasn’t at an NCAA meet, Malabuyo’s triumph as she gets one step closer to her ultimate goal still very much deserves to be seen by college gymnastics fans.

Key meets for this weekend

Friday: Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State and Rutgers; 6 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network

Friday: LSU at Florida; 7 p.m. ET ON ESPN2

Friday: Missouri at Auburn; 7 p.m. ET on SEC Network

Friday: West Virginia at Oklahoma; 7:45 p.m. ET on ESPN+

Friday: Georgia at Alabama; 8 p.m. ET on SECN+

Friday: Stanford at Utah; 8 p.m. ET on Pac-12 Networks

Friday: Washington at Arizona State; 8 p.m. ET on Pac-12 Networks

Friday: Kentucky at Arkansas; 8:30 p.m. ET

Friday: Denver at BYU; 9 p.m. ET

Saturday: Illinois, Iowa, Maryland and Michigan at Penn State; 4:30 p.m. ET

Sunday: California at UCLA; 5 p.m. ET on Pac-12 Networks

Sunday: Oregon State at Arizona; 5 p.m. ET on Pac-12 Networks


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