Pac-12 Announces 2021 Women's Gymnastics Awards
SAN FRANCISCO - Ahead of Saturday’s Pac-12 Championships, the league’s head coaches selected the 2021 Pac-12 Women’s Gymnastics yearly award recipients.
Gymnast of the Year: Maile O’Keefe, So., UTAH (Las Vegas, Nev.)
As the No. 1 all-around performer in the Pac-12 this season, O’Keefe led Utah to its second consecutive Pac-12 regular-season championship. Her 39.725 career-high score against Oregon State was 1-of-5 all-around titles out of seven meets for the sophomore. She entered the Pac-12 Championships ranked No. 1 in the nation on beam, with a national qualifying score of 9.975. Her four Gymnast of the Week awards this winter is tied for most in a season in school history, as she had hit a team-high 34-of-34 routines. The Red Rocks finished the season as the No. 6 team in the nation.
Specialist of the Year: Alexia Burch, Sr., UTAH (Sparks, Nev.)
Utah team co-captain Burch was the No. 1 vaulter in the Pac-12 this season, scoring a Conference-high 9.975 on two separate occasions. A year after earning 2020 All-Pac-12 honors, she finished 2021 as the No. 9 vaulter in the nation, entering Saturday night’s championship with a 9.838 national qualifying score. She also ranks in the top-15 in the Conference on the beam, leading off the beam lineup in seven of the Red Rocks’ nine meets this season. Across all of her performances in 2021, Burch has hit on 24-of-25 routines, competing on the vault and beam during all nine of Utah’s meets and bars on seven occasions.
Freshman/Newcomer of the Year: Chae Campbell, Fr., UCLA (Carrollton, Texas)
A three-time Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Week winner, Campbell competed in the all-around in all but one meet during her first season with the Bruins. Heading into the Conference championships, Campbell held four all-around scores of at least 39.400, including a personal-best 39.625 against California. That mark represents the highest all-around score by a freshman in the Pac-12, and matches the top freshman score in the nation. Amidst a competitive pack of Bruins, Campbell shares the lead on the team with 12 individual victories, including a team-best four in each the all-around and vault. She currently holds a career-high of 9.950 on the floor and vault exercises.
Coaches of the Year: Justin Howell & Elisabeth Crandall-Howell, CALIFORNIA
California co-head coaches Justin Howell and Elisabeth Crandall-Howell led the Bears to a 7-1 overall and 6-1 conference record in 2021, wrapping up the year as the No. 5 team in the nation — the best in program history. As a team, the Bears set school records on bars, beam, floor and total team scores, including tying an uneven bars record (49.825) that had not been matched in 17 years. California currently ranks in the top-three in all five events in the Pac-12 and top-10 in the nation, highlighted by No. 1 ranking on the bars. This year’s award is Howell’s third career honor, and Crandall-Howell’s first. The Bears are set to compete in their ninth straight NCAA postseason.