No. 1 Oklahoma completed a successful title defense Saturday at the 2023 NCAA women’s gymnastics championships in Fort Worth, Texas, marking the Sooners sixth national championship in the last decade. The Sooners moved into the lead during their first rotation — on vault — and never relinquished control, finishing with a total score of 198.3875.
Also making headlines at Dickies Arena was Florida’s Trinity Thomas, competing in the final meet of her celebrated college career. The 22-year-old Thomas competed in just two events due to a leg injury sustained at regionals, but the fifth-year senior made the most of it on Saturday, earning the 28th perfect 10 of her career on a flawless Yurchenko 1½ on vault. Her 28 perfect scores tied the NCAA record for the most ever with Kentucky’s Jenny Hansen (1993-96) and UCLA’s Jamie Dantzscher (2001-04), and helped the Gators to a second place finish, -.150 behind Oklahoma.
The momentum also continued for Utah’s Maile O’Keefe, the 2023 NCAA all-around and beam champion, who scored a perfect 10 on beam for the second straight day as the Red Rocks finished third, -.450 behind Oklahoma. LSU placed fourth, -.862 back.
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Utah’s Maile O’Keefe wins all-around, Jordan Chiles secures bars title with perfect 10
Utah’s Maile O’Keefe had a career night Thursday as the 21-year-old won this year’s NCAA all-around title, becoming the first Red Rock to win the NCAA all-around since 1999. O’Keefe, the 2017 U.S. junior all-around champion and 2021 NCAA bars and floor champion, also won the individual beam crown after scoring a perfect 10 in the semifinals. Her perfect 10 (the 10th of her college career) was enough to edge Olympic silver medalist Jordan Chiles for the all-around title, with O’Keefe finishing with 39.7625 points to Chiles’ 39.1725.
RELATED: Maile O’Keefe edges Jordan Chiles for NCAA all-around gymnastics title
Additionally, O’Keefe’s performance helped nine-time national champion No. 5 Utah advance to Saturday’s NCAA team final for the third year in a row. Also advancing the Saturday’s finals are the defending champion No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 2 Florida and No. 6 LSU.
𝐏𝐄𝐑𝐅𝐄𝐂𝐓 𝟏𝟎 𝐅𝐎𝐑 𝐎𝐔𝐑 𝐁𝐄𝐀𝐌 𝐐𝐔𝐄𝐄𝐍 𝐌𝐀𝐈𝐋𝐄 𝐎'𝐊𝐄𝐄𝐅𝐄‼️
📲 https://t.co/Gh6jmhoiCx pic.twitter.com/ivrfmXFoMz
— Utah Gymnastics (@UtahGymnastics) April 14, 2023
Chiles, who was bidding to become the first Olympian to win the NCAA all-around title since Bridget Sloan in 2016, won two individual titles for UCLA, securing the crown in the uneven bars with the first perfect 10 of the semifinals and a 9.9875 on the floor. Oklahoma’s Olivia Trautman won the vault title with a 9.9500.
JORDAN CHILES IS PERFECT‼️#Pac12Gym | @uclagymnastics pic.twitter.com/iB0vc6eQQf
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) April 14, 2023
SEMIFINAL RESULTS (teams in bold advance to Saturday’s final)
*NOTE: Oklahoma won the 2022 championship with a score of 198.2000, while Florida took second with a score of 198.0875.
How to watch the 2023 NCAA gymnastics championships
Watch all the action from this year’s championships at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, beginning with Thursday’s semifinals and finishing with the team final on Saturday.
Thursday, April 13
- Semifinal I: 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2, streaming on ESPN+ (individual events feeds available)
- Semifinal II: 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2, streaming on ESPN+ (individual events feeds available)
Saturday, April 15
- Team Final: 4 p.m. ET on ABC, streaming on ESPN+ (individual events feeds available)
Who’s competing in the 2023 NCAA gymnastics championships?
The quest for the national title continues this week with eight teams, four all-arounders and 16 individual event specialists competing in two semifinals on Thursday, April 13. The road to nationals began at the end of March, with 36 teams qualifying for postseason competition via national qualifying score rankings (NQS for regionals). Regionals were held at four sites (Denver, Colo.; Los Angeles; Norman, Okla.; Pittsburgh, Pa.), with each regional featuring nine teams and a varying number of individuals. The top two teams from each region make up the eight-team field for the championships in Texas. They are (listed by semifinal):
Semifinal I teams:
- No. 2 Florida
- No. 7 California
- No. 6 LSU
- No. 14 Denver
Semifinal I individuals (school, event):
- Courtney Blackson (Boise State, vault)
- Elexis Edwards (Ohio State, floor)
- Delanie Harkness (Michigan State, floor)
- Payton Harris (Ohio State, all-around)
- Emily Lopez (Boise State, bars)
- Ava Piedrahita (Penn State, vault)
- Cassidy Rushlow (Penn State, bars)
- Alisa Sheremeta (Missouri, beam)
- Gabrielle Stephen (Michigan State, beam)
- Chloe Widner (Stanford, all-round)
Semifinal II teams:
- No. 1 Oklahoma
- No. 5 Utah
- No. 4 UCLA
- No. 9 Kentucky
Semifinal II individuals (school, event):
- Luisa Blanco (Alabama, bars)
- Sierra Brooks (Michigan, floor)
- Jade Carey (Oregon State, beam)
- Norah Flatley (Arkansas, beam)
- Derrian Gobourne (Auburn, floor)
- Abby Heiskell (Michigan, all-around)
- Naomi Morrison (Michigan, vault)
- Hannah Scharf (Arizona State, all-around)
- Lauren Williams (Arkansas, vault)
- Natalie Wojcik (Michigan, bars)
Past NCAA women’s gymnastics champions
|YEAR||TEAM WINNER (points)||COACH||INDIVIDUAL/ALL-AROUND WINNER (school, points)||RUNNER-UP||HOST/SITE|
|2022||Oklahoma (198.2000)||K.J. Kindler||Trinity Thomas (Florida, 39.8125)||Florida||Fort Worth, TX|
|2021||Michigan (198.25)||Beverly Plocki||Anastasia Webb (Oklahoma, 39.7875)||Oklahoma||Fort Worth, TX|
|2019||Oklahoma (198.3375)||K.J. Kindler||Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma, 39.7125)||LSU||Fort Worth, TX|
|2018||UCLA (198.0750)||Valorie Kondos Field||Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma, 39.8125)||Oklahoma||St. Louis|
|2017||Oklahoma (198.3875)||K.J. Kindler||Alex McMurtry (Florida, 39.8125)||LSU||ST. Louis|
|2016||Oklahoma (197.675)||K.J. Kindler||Bridget Sloan (Florida, 39.7000)||LSU||Fort Worth, TX|
|2015||Florida (197.850)||Rhonda Faehn||Kytra Hunter (Florida, 39.600), Samantha Peszek (UCLA)||Utah||Fort Worth, TX|
|2014||Florida, Oklahoma (198.175)||Rhonda Faehn, K.J. Kindler||Kim Jacob (Alabama, 39.625)||LSU||Birmingham, AL|
|2013||Florida (197.575)||Rhonda Faehn||Bridget Sloan (Florida, 39.600)||Oklahoma||UCLA|
How do the NCAA women’s gymnastics championships work?
For the team competition: In the team competition, up to six gymnasts are allowed to compete on each event, with the five best scores counting toward the event total. Each event total is added together for the final team score. According to the NCAA, expect teams to aim for a score at least 49 on each event, with scores of 49.500 or higher considered excellent. The top teams are expected post total scores in the mid-to-high 197s, with a 198 or better considered “the gold standard.” The top two teams from each semifinal advance to the team final. The winner of the team final on April 15 is the national champion (ties are not broken).
A note about judging: While judges use the same “Code of Points” for postseason competition as they do during the regular season, there is a change in the number of judges. During the regular season, two judges score routines on each event, with the two scores averaged to determine the gymnast’s final score. At regionals, four judges score each routine, with the high and low scores dropped and the middle two averaged. At nationals, six judges score each routine with the high and low dropped and the middle four averaged. Additionally, two line judges will be assigned to the floor exercise to watch for gymnasts stepping out of bounds.
For the individual title: Individual national titles for the four events and the all-around are awarded based on results from the two semifinal competitions. To determine winners, results from the two sessions are combined, and those with the highest scores are crowned the national champions. Ties are not broken for these titles.
Preview rewind: Oklahoma takes aim at title defense
The 2023 NCAA women’s gymnastics championships open Thursday in Fort Worth, Texas, with eight teams and 20 individual qualifiers prepared to face off at Dickies Arena, where the Oklahoma Sooners aim to defend their national title and to secure their sixth championship in the last decade.
The defending champs are favored to repeat, and they’ve proven their depth after winning their home regional last week with a 198.085 despite having to count a fall on beam in the finals. Oklahoma has registered nine perfect 10s this season by four different gymnasts on all four events, with three of those gymnasts posting multiple perfect scores: Ragan Smith (three on beam), Jordan Bowers (one on bars, one on floor) and Katherine LeVasseur (three on vault).
But becoming repeat national champions will be no easy feat for the Sooners, who first must face a semifinal matchup that includes the Jordan Chiles-led UCLA Bruins as well as the nine-time national champion Utah, which also boasts eight runner-up finishes in the NCAA tournament.
The big question hanging over the tournament is whether for the Florida Gators superstar Trinity Thomas will be able to compete. The 22-year-old Thomas, a fifth-year senior and reigning NCAA all-around champion, sustained a lower-leg injury during her floor routine at the regional semifinal, stopping mid-action. She’s been listed as day-to-day since. Florida advanced without Thomas, however, posting a 197.800 and finishing second to the Cal Bears, whom they’ll face again in the first semifinal. If she does appear in the lineup Thursday, she’ll have a chance to move closer to the all-time perfect 10s record. With 27 in her college career, Thomas need one more to tie with Kentucky’s Jenny Hansen (1993-96) and UCLA’s Jamie Dantzscher (2001-04).
About all those perfect 10s this season… If it feels like they’ve been popping up in headlines more often, it’s because they have. According to Balance Beam Situation, gymnasts have earned 80 perfect 10s this season, up from 71 in 2022 (which was well up from the 31 in 2021 and 2020, and even the 37 before the pandemic in 2019). A recent AP report suggests the increase is due to the spike in talent, which has likely come due to athletes’ ability to take advantage of NIL opportunities.
The Pac-12 and SEC are tied for most teams participating in the NCAA semifinals with three each, while Michigan has the most individual competitors with four, led by Abby Heiskell in the all-around, Naomi Morrison in vault and Sierra Brooks on floor. On Tuesday, the 21-year-old Brooks was named winner of the 2023 AAI Award, given annually to the nation’s top senior women’s gymnast. The Illinois native recently scored her first perfect 10 on floor last week at regionals, which secured her spot in Texas. Brooks was one of six finalists, beating out Thomas, Alabama’s Luisa Blanco, Denver’s Kynnzee Brown, Utah’s Maile O’Keefe and Kentucky’s Raena Worley, all of whom are expected to compete in Fort Worth.
This year marks the third time Fort Worth has hosted the NCAA women’s gymnastics championships, which are scheduled stay in the venue through at least 2026 as the NCAA looks to establish a long-term site similar to College World Series in Omaha for baseball and Oklahoma City for softball.