NCAA In the Know by John Roethlisberger

Oh my! What a year of college gymnastics it’s already been! On the women’s side, we’ve seen school scoring records dropping right and left, attendance records getting crushed and 10.0’s getting handed out like an Oprah Winfrey giveaway. It’s been a fun season to say the least, but that shouldn’t be a surprise to those who have been following women’s college gymnastics. The sport has been exploding already, then you roll into a season where fans are back in the stands, you have dozens of stars from the 2021 season that had an opportunity to come back for a fifth year (aka the Super Seniors), and just to add some more excitement to the mix, you have an incredible group of Olympians taking the stage, including the first ever Olympic All-Around champion to step onto the college floor, Sunisa Lee.

One preseason conversation had been about parity, and how it could be at an all-time high, especially with the return of so many seniors for a fifth year, along with the influx of Elites. Teams that had typically been outside of the top four suddenly seemed like they might have a chance. Teams like Minnesota, Oregon State, and Auburn to name a few. We’ve seen some of these teams (and others) put up some great performances and set records within their respective programs, the problem is, the rich have gotten richer as well. As of writing this article the top four are Michigan, Oklahoma, Utah and Florida, and if you are going to replace one of these teams, which one are you going to take out? 

Right now Michigan has picked up right where they left off after last year. They’ve put up big scores and made it look easy. To some, Oklahoma is the team that could drop, but they look strong even without the household names (aka Elites) like some of the other top teams and without one of their best, Olivia Trautman. Utah has added some tremendous talent and Tom Farden has his team performing as well as they ever have. Finally, Florida, arguably has the most talent laden team in the history of the sport. They are taking the early part of the season slow to get their athletes comfortable and keep them healthy, and if they are hitting on all cylinders in April, look out. Needless to say, keep tuning in, it’s going to be fun!

The men are rolling as well, and on their side it’s largely business as usual. Stanford and Oklahoma are awesome. If you want to see world class gymnastics (that’s not hyperbole) find a place to watch some of the top men’s college teams. If you watched the Olympics, you’ll see the same level of gymnastics. In fact, Stanford and Oklahoma could darn near be a top 12 team at the World Championships, if they could compete as a team. One team to watch however is Nebraska. They’ve made some great strides in the last few years, finishing 2nd in the Big Ten and 4th at NCAA’s, and this year look poised to give the top teams a run for the NCAA title. Of course, Michigan is right there as well, with National Team members Cameron Bock and Paul Juda back, if they are hitting and healthy at the right time, they will make the battle for the NCAA title a four team race. This could be one of the most exciting finishes to a men’s season that we have had in a long time. The men aren’t broadcast to the degree the women are, but there are places to watch them, and you will be glad you did.

Speaking of tuning in, don’t miss Out Of Bounds Live, with myself and co-host and Olympian, Alicia Sacramone Quinn. We broadcast Thursday’s at 1pm EST each week (day and time subject to change) and talk all things college gymnastics, with fun interviews from some of your favorite gymnastics personalities. Follow us on our website and watch us live on our Facebook page. You can also follow us on Twitter @OutOfBoundsgym and Instagram @OutOfBoundsLive

Photos by Lloyd Smith for Inside Gymnastics

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Congratulations to Leanne, our 50 Most Artistic, Class of 2022 Cover Star!

In a stunning display of delicate grace and poise, our 50 Most Artistic Class of 2022 Cover Star Leanne Wong captured All-Around silver and balance beam bronze in her very first World Championships in Kitakyushu, Japan. Her beautiful floor routine was a crowd favorite throughout 2021, gaining some of the highest social media shares, loves and likes we’ve seen to date! Now, with her World medals secured, the 2020 Olympic alternate who trained at GAGE during her Elite career, is ready for her next chapter as a student athlete onstage at the University of Florida where her impeccable toe point, style and finesse should translate perfectly and make her an NCAA star!

Watch the cover presentation here!