Four Pac-12 gymnastics teams set to compete in NCAA Championships
All eight Pac-12 teams will be represented at nationals
SAN FRANCISCO – Four of the eight Pac-12 gymnastics teams are set to compete in the NCAA National Championships in Fort Worth, Texas this weekend. No. 10 STANFORD is competing in the early semifinal session, which begins at 11 a.m. PT on Friday. No. 5 UTAH, No. 8 UCLA, and No. 11 CALIFORNIA will compete in the later session, which gets underway at 5 p.m. PT Friday evening. Both sessions will be broadcast live on ESPNU.
The top three teams from each semifinal session will advance to the Super Six Team Finals on Saturday at 6 p.m. PT, also broadcast on ESPNU.
In addition to the four teams from the Pac-12 competing in the 12-team NCAA field, individual gymnasts from No. 14 OREGON STATE, No. 18 WASHINGTON, No. 21 ARIZONA, and ARIZONA STATE will also compete in Fort Worth. WASHINGTON's Allison Northey and OREGON STATE’s Madeline Gardiner will compete in the all-around. In individual events, OREGON STATE’s Risa Perez and ARIZONA’s Lexi Mills will compete on the beam, and ARIZONA STATE’s Taylor Allex will compete on the vault. Mills and Northey will compete in the early session, while Gardiner, Perez, and Allex will compete in the evening session.
In a change from past years, this year’s NCAA Championships will not include a separate individual event competition. The all-around and individual event champions will be determined by the results of Friday’s semifinals. Additionally, this marks the first year in which the entire event is being broadcast live on television.
ARIZONA: The No. 21 Wildcats came in fourth place with a score of 195.90 in the Athens Regional two weeks ago. Despite not qualifying for NCAA Championships as a team, senior Lexi Mills captured the regional balance beam title with a score of 9.90, advancing to the NCAA Championships as an individual event qualifier, Arizona's first since 2012. Mills will compete on the beam in the first semifinal session, rotating alongside LSU.
ARIZONA STATE: ARIZONA STATE Senior Taylor Allex will compete as an individual event qualifier on vault after winning the regional vault title at the Tuscaloosa Regional with a 9.90. Allex is the Sun Devils’ first NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships qualifier since 2010. Allex hit a 9.90 on vault five times this season, and has hit a 9.90 or higher ten times overall. This season she also has either won or tied for first on vault seven times. Allex will rotate with Oklahoma in the second semifinal session on Friday.
CALIFORNIA: For the first time in 24 years, No. 11 CALIFORNIA is back in the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships after coming in second place with a 195.925 team score at the Tuscaloosa Regional. The Golden Bears are making their first appearance in the 12-team NCAA championship field since 1992 and are looking to improve on their first and only showing, an eighth-place finish. The team will be without sophomore standout Toni-Ann Williams as she has the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Test Event this weekend with the goal of becoming the first Jamaican gymnast to compete in Rio at the upcoming Olympics. The Golden Bears will compete in the second semifinal session on Friday.
OREGON STATE: The No. 14 Beavers finished in third place at the Athens Regional, falling just short of qualifying for NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships as a team. However, junior Madeline Gardiner and senior Risa Perez will represent the Beavers in Fort Worth. Gardiner will compete in the all-around after scoring a 39.275 in Athens. She has qualified for NCAA Championships as an individual all-arounder once before, in 2014. Gardiner will rotate with Oklahoma in the second semifinal session. Perez scored 9.90 on the balance beam to tie for the Athens Regional title, securing her place at nationals. Perez will rotate with UTAH, also in the second session on Friday. Five OREGON STATE gymnasts have combined to win seven individual national titles in Beaver history. The last time an OREGON STATE gymnast won a national title was 1993.
STANFORD: The No. 10 Cardinal tied with Auburn to share first place at the Ann Arbor Regional with a score of 196.525 and move on to NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships for the ninth time in the last ten years and the 16th time overall. STANFORD is seeking its eighth Super Six berth since 2002. The Cardinal reached the Super Six last season, finishing in fifth place overall. They’ll be seeking their first team national title, as the highest the Cardinal has ever finished has been third place in 2004 and 2008. STANFORD has had three individual NCAA Champions in its history, including Elizabeth Price on vault in 2015. Price is the only individual title winner from 2015 returning to this year’s championship. The Cardinal will be the lone Pac-12 team competing in the early semifinal session on Friday.
UCLA: Eighth-ranked and six-time NCAA champion UCLA will seek their seventh national title this weekend in Fort Worth. The Bruins scored a 196.375 to come in second place at the Salt Lake City Regional and secure their spot at the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships. This is UCLA’s 32nd overall appearance at NCAA Championships in the 35 year-history of the event. Additionally, the Bruins have qualified to the Super Six 18 times. A total of 16 Bruins have won 33 individual NCAA titles, including individual titles in the all-around and on balance beam last season. Last year as a team, UCLA came in eleventh place overall. The Bruins will compete in the second semifinal session on Friday in hopes of moving on to the Super Six and winning their first NCAA team title since 2010.
UTAH: After winning the Salt Lake City Regional with a score of 197.125, ten-time national champion UTAH has qualified for its 41st-consecutive national gymnastics championship and its 35th NCAA Championship. This UTAH program has qualified for every national championship since its debut year in 1975. The No. 5 Utes came in second place overall at NCAA Championships in 2015, making their 19th Super Six appearance. Also in 2015, UTAH claimed the NCAA individual event title on the uneven bars. The Utes will compete in the second semifinal session Friday, seeking their 20th Super Six appearance and first NCAA team title since 1995.
WASHINGTON: WASHINGTON senior captain Allison Northey will compete as an all-arounder after finishing in fourth place in the all-around at the Salt Lake City Regional with a score of 39.275. Northey also won the regional beam title as the Huskies took third place as a team, narrowly missing a chance for the whole team to qualify for NCAA Championships. This will be Northey’s first trip to the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships and she will be WASHINGTON’s first individual competitor at the championship since 2013. Northey will compete in the early semifinal session on Friday and rotate alongside Georgia.
Friday, April 15: Team Semifinals and Individual Finals (ESPNU)
• 1:00 p.m. CT / 11:00 a.m. PT— LSU, Georgia, Florida, Auburn, STANFORD, Minnesota (Plus individuals from Southern Utah, Missouri, Kentucky, Iowa State, WASHINGTON, Michigan, and ARIZONA)
• 7:00 p.m. CT / 5:00 p.m. PT— Oklahoma, Alabama, UTAH, UCLA, Nebraska, CALIFORNIA (Plus individuals from Arkansas, Michigan State, OREGON STATE, ARIZONA STATE, Iowa, Michigan, Denver, and Boise State)
Saturday, April 16, 8:00 p.m. CT / 6:00 p.m. PT: Super Six Team Finals (ESPNU)
• Will feature top three teams from each semifinal session