NCAA gymnastics Week 5: OU and Cal battle it out, while LSU notches the top score of the year



A new season-high team score. Six routines earning a perfect 10. The continued dominance of a slightly unexpected team and the resurgence of another on its signature event. Week 5 of the NCAA gymnastics season truly had it all.

Not to mention, a blockbuster showdown between the nation’s two top-ranked teams: No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 2 California. On Friday night, the two squads met in a tri-meet hosted by Arizona State in Tempe, and the event more than lived up to the hype. The Sooners recorded a new program record of 49.825 on bars, which ties the NCAA record, and earned their best score of the season (198.375) to remain undefeated. Jordan Bowers earned a 10.0 on bars (more on that below) and also won the all-around title, and Faith Torrez earned a nearly perfect 9.975 on beam to help secure the win on the final event of the night.

Despite finishing second to Oklahoma, Cal still matched its season-high score of 197.950. eMjae Frazier and Mya Lauzon each scored a 9.90 or better on three events and Gabby Perea earned a 9.975 on bars.

While overshadowed by their opponents, Arizona State finished in third place but also recorded a new season-high score of 197.250, and the event drew one of the largest crowds in team history.

“I thought the atmosphere was great,” Sun Devils head coach Jay Santos said after the meet. “The crowd was great. I think all three teams did a fantastic job. I think it was just a really exciting competition tonight.”

Here’s everything else you need to know from the fifth week of college gymnastics:


L-S-WHO?

After losing to Missouri in Week 4, LSU responded in a huge way on Friday with a dominant showing over Arkansas. In front of a raucous home crowd, the Tigers earned a monster 198.475. Not only was it the highest score in program history, but it’s also the best score of 2024 by any team in the country and the 14th highest score of all-time. So, yeah, it was a pretty good day for LSU.

Haleigh Bryant and Kiya Johnson finished 1-2 in the all-around and both earned a 9.90 or better on all four events, and Konnor McClain scored a 9.975 on both beam and floor. The Tigers were particularly impressive on beam, setting a new season high (49.625) and matching the program’s sixth-highest score on the event.

“Well, we got better. That’s what this week was about,” head coach Jay Clark said. “The focus and the main goal was to get a good performance, a complete performance. I know everyone wants to talk about the score tonight and that’s great.

“I do not focus on whether we get a low or high score. It’s about our performance. We did our job tonight and we can do that same performance somewhere else.”


Perfection continues

Another week, another six more entries into the 2024 Perfect 10 club. While two of these gymnasts are new to this season’s list, four of the gymnasts below had already scored a 10.0 this year. All six of these need to be viewed at your earliest convenience:

Jordan Bowers, Oklahoma: Considering the season the Sooners have already had, it might sound surprising that no one on the team had yet to record a 10.0, but Bowers changed that with her flawless performance on bars. It was the second of her career on the event and fourth overall.

Gabby Wilson, Michigan: The Wolverines tied the program record on floor during Sunday’s meet against Michigan State at home — and Wilson was a big reason why. Competing in the anchor spot during a tightly-contested afternoon, her jam-packed floor routine –filled with an equal parts precision, power, poise and fun — had the crowd on its feet and earned her the third perfect score of her career on floor and first of the season.

Sage Kellerman, Michigan State: While Wilson’s heroics helped the team come close, the Wolverines couldn’t eke out the win over their in-state rivals and, led in part by Kellerman, the Spartans got the victory. The sophomore earned her second perfect score of the season on vault with her front handspring front pike half — and became the first gymnast in the country to earn two 10.0s on the event.

Raena Worley, Kentucky: Entering Week 4 of the NCAA gymnastics season, Worley was one of the most decorated NCAA gymnasts competing who had never recorded a 10. But now, the senior has earned not one, but two perfect scores this season. Last week Worley finally broke through on floor — and she followed it up this week by doing it again on the event. And not just that, but she did it in the not-so-friendly confines of Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa. More on that shortly, but for now just appreciate Worley’s clutch performance below.

Maile O’Keefe, Utah: There have been four perfect scores on beam this season. O’Keefe has been the recipient of three of them. And with the mark, the Red Rocks’ fifth-year senior is now tied for the most 10.0 scores in program history, at 14. It’s honestly hard to know what else to say about O’Keefe on the event, but she is simply magic.

Haleigh Bryant, LSU: Bryant’s perfect-scoring floor routine was the exclamation point for the team on the final event of the meet. She already owned the school record for 10.0 scores — and this puts her at 12, further expanding her lead in the history books.


Big Blue Nation

While some teams are loaded with recognizable stars and others have dominated the titles and conversation in recent years, there’s another program that quietly has emerged as a contender this year: Kentucky.

Throughout the season, the Wildcats have defeated the likes of Michigan and Auburn, and on Friday the team recorded its biggest win of the year with the program’s first-ever victory over Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Kentucky scored a 197.600 on the night and Worley, who scored 9.95 on bars and beam in addition to her 10.0 on floor, won the 24th all-around title of her career.

The team now sits at No. 5 in the national standings — slightly falling from No. 3 after Week 4 — and is the top-ranked school in the country on vault. Makenzie Wilson, who scored a 10.0 last week and recorded a 9.95 on Friday, is a large reason for the team’s prowess on the event:

Kentucky has twice advanced to the NCAA championships, including last season, but has never made it to the final day of competition. Could the Wildcats make even more history this year? Stay tuned.


Floor party in Westwood

UCLA has long been considered the gold standard when it comes to NCAA floor routines, and while Nya Reed went viral before the season even began with her routine, the Bruins haven’t quite had the collective success they’ve become known for during the first few weeks of the season.

But then Sunday happened.

During a Pride meet in front of a home crowd at Pauley Pavilion, the Bruins defeated Arizona with a season-high 198.075 and season-best marks on bars and beam. But it was what the team did on floor — notching another season-high score of 49.750 — that understandably got the most attention. It was the sixth-highest score on the event in program history and the best mark since 2022. Emma Malabuyo, Emma Andres, Katelyn Rosen, Selena Harris and Reed all earned a 9.925 or better. Harris and Reed both were close to perfect with 9.975 scores.

“Putting all our energy on our last event made it so much better,” Harris said after the meet about the team’s performance on floor. “Our little talk before we went on floor was just to give everything we had and that’s what we did. We put up a great score and I’m very proud of that.”

The Bruins are now back inside the top 10 at No. 8 in the team standings, and are tied for second on floor.


Best of the rest

Here are just a few more routines that you need to see from the weekend:

Selena Harris, UCLA: The Bruins’ standout sophomore didn’t just shine on floor on Sunday. Harris, who earned the all-around title with the third-highest score in the country this season (39.775), also scored a 9.975 on beam with this stellar performance.

Mia Hebinck, Denver: After a strong freshman season in which she quickly made a name for herself on bars, Hebinck was sidelined from her entire sophomore campaign due to injury. She returned this year, and on Sunday, the junior recorded her new career-high with a 9.975 — and her smile after her dismount really says it all. Led by Hebinck’s score, Denver recorded a new program-high on the event with a 49.750.

Jaedyn Rucker, Utah: After a tough meet in Week 4, which included a missed landing on vault, the fifth-year senior not only rebounded on Friday but reminded everyone of why she won the 2022 NCAA vault title with her nearly flawless Yurchenko 1.5 during the win over Oregon State.

Ella Hodges, Ohio State: Currently ranked fourth in the country on the event, the Buckeyes’ graduate student might not be the most recognizable name atop the standings, but one viewing of this routine and you won’t soon forget her. With dramatic music and elegant theatrics, Hodges wows with her tumbling, choreography and high performance quality. She earned a 9.95 to help lift her team to its first road win of the season on Sunday over Maryland.


Key meets in Week 6:

Friday: LSU at Georgia; 6 p.m. ET on SEC Network

Friday: Penn State at Ohio State; 6:30 p.m. ET on B1G+

Friday: Missouri at Kentucky; 7 p.m. ET

Friday: Illinois at Michigan State; 7 p.m. ET on B1G+

Friday: Arkansas at Florida; 7:30 p.m. on ESPN

Friday: BYU, Utah State and Texas Woman’s at Oklahoma; 8 p.m. ET

Friday: UCLA at Oregon State; 11 p.m. ET on Pac-12 Oregon

Friday: Alabama at Auburn; 9 p.m. ET on SEC Network

Saturday: Michigan at Minnesota; 5 p.m. ET

Saturday: Utah at Washington; 3 p.m. ET on Pac-12 Network

Sunday: Arizona at California; 3 p.m. ET

Sunday: Iowa State and Southeast Missouri State at Denver; 4 p.m. ET





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