The 2022 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships conclude today with the National Championship Final at the Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas (ABC, 1pm ET). Here is a quick overview of how NCAA gymnastics championship work, the competition schedule, how to watch, and key differences between elite and collegiate gymnastics.
2022 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships – Schedule:
- Semifinal #1: Thursday, April 14 at 1pm ET (ESPN2) – live scores can be found here
- Semifinal #2: Thursday, April 14 at 6pm ET (ESPN2) – live scores can be found here
- National Finals: Saturday, April 16 at 1pm ET (ABC) – live scores can be found here
How do the NCAA gymnastics championships work?
To reach this weekend’s NCAA women’s gymnastics championships, gymnasts had to make it through regional championships. Of the 36 teams that competed at Regionals (March 30-April 2, 2022), eight teams qualified for the NCAA championship.
The 2022 NCAA championship opened with two semifinal rounds, each featuring four teams:
- Semifinal #1: No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 4 Utah, No. 5 Alabama, No. 7 Minnesota
- Semifinal #2: No. 2 Florida, No. 3 Michigan, No. 6 Auburn, No. 8 Missouri
The top two teams from each semifinal (in bold above) advanced to today’s final:
- NCAA Gymnastics Championship Final: No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 2 Florida, No. 4 Utah and No. 6 Auburn
The team with the top score today will win the 2022 NCAA title.
What about individuals?
In addition to the team prize, gymnasts also competed for the individual all-around title. Individual titles for both the all-around and apparatus titles were determined based on the results of the two semifinal competitions.
2022 NCAA Gymnastics Championships – Results:
- 2022 NCAA individual all-around champion: Trinity Thomas (Florida)
- 2022 NCAA vault champion: Jaedyn Rucker (Utah)
- 2022 NCAA uneven bars champion: Trinity Thomas (Florida)
- 2022 NCAA balance beam champion: Suni Lee (Auburn)
- 2022 NCAA floor champion: Trinity Thomas (Florida)
Related reading on NCAA Gymnastics:
- Olympic gold medalist Jade Carey announces return to elite gymnastics (On Her Turf)
- College gymnastics a ‘saving grace’ – even for Olympic medalists like Suni Lee (Associated Press)
- NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships: Olympians follow the path of a pioneer (OlympicTalk)
- Oklahoma advances to NCAA Gymnastics Championships finals for the ninth straight time (Associated Press)
- Olympians Sunisa Lee, Jade Carey, Grace McCallum, Jordan Chiles carry extra burden into NCAA championships (Associated Press)
- Trinity Thomas edges Suni Lee for NCAA all-around gymnastics title (OlympicTalk)
How is college gymnastics different from Olympic gymnastics?
Competitive gymnastics is divided into levels, from 1-10. Gymnasts who reach Level 10 typically have the option to test into “elite” at some point, an avenue that usually first becomes available when they are around 12 years old.
While only a few move on to elite, the vast majority who reach Level 10 have the opportunity to compete collegiately.
Elite gymnastics is considerably more difficult, with routines that are longer and packed with more elements. College routines are shorter and “easier” by definition, though some of that is due to the nature of the competition season and the fact the athletes are full-time students.
MORE FROM ON HER TURF: Olympians Sunisa Lee, Jade Carey, Grace McCallum, Jordan Chiles carry extra burden into NCAA championships
That said, while the routines may be “easier” by definition in college gymnastics, the slightest wobble can be the difference between winning a national championship or finishing off the podium — the result of the scoring system.
While the 10-point scoring system disappeared from elite gymnastics in 2006, it is thriving collegiately. Judges have awarded a staggering 69 perfect 10s this season, including a weekend when all four of the 2020 Olympians saw the iconic number flash across the scoreboard for them at least once.
In elite gymnastics, the open-ended scoring system allows mistakes in form that can be made up by increasing the difficulty of a routine.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC