Pac-12 women’s gymnastics championships

Day session

When: Saturday, 1 p.m. MDT

Venue: Maverik Center (12,600 capacity), West Valley City

TV: Pac-12 Networks

Livestream: Pac-12 Networks Live

The teams

  • No. 18 UCLA (5-6, 196.795)
  • Stanford (5-11-1, 196.415)
  • Washington (8-8, 196.290)
  • Arizona (2-10, 196.230)

The stakes

Traditionally, teams in the first session of the conference championships rarely compete for the conference title, but that might not be the case this season.

UCLA is one of only nine teams to score a 198 or better this year, and the other eight teams to do so are ranked No. 1 through No. 8. The Bruins started the season extremely slow, but have scored a 197 or better in their last three meets, showing potential on par with the best teams in the Pac-12.

Stanford, Washington and Arizona, meanwhile, are long shots to contend for the conference title, but the conference championships affords both the Huskies and Wildcats one final opportunity to qualify for regionals (Stanford is a lock at this point).

Ranked No. 29 and No. 32, respectively, Washington and Arizona are among the 11 “bubble teams” remaining, along with Towson, Southern Utah, North Carolina, West Virginia, San Jose State, Western Michigan, Penn State, Kent State and Central Michigan.

The top 36 teams in the rankings after conference championship weekend advance to NCAA Regionals.

The gymnasts

Jordan Chiles or Norah Flatley (UCLA) — Chiles is the more notable given she is an Olympic silver medalist, but both she and Flatley have been vital for UCLA (Chae Campbell and Emma Malabuyo have arguments to be included in this as well). Chiles and Flatley are ranked No. 16 on bars, while Chiles is also ranked No. 31 on vault. Both gymnasts have some of the highest scores on any event for UCLA this season, including a pair of perfect 10s for Chiles.

Kyla Bryant (Stanford) — Ranked No. 24 in the all-around, Bryant has been a star ever since she got to Stanford and that has remained the case in her fifth and final season. Bryant has the highest scores on every event for Stanford this year, including a 9.95 on bars, a 9.975 on beam, a 9.975 on floor and a 9.925 on vault.

Skylar Killough-Wilhelm (Washington) — The Huskies are young but have steadily improved as the season has progressed, and no Washington gymnast has shown more than Killough-Wilhelm. The Huskies’ top all-around gymnast — she is ranked No. 24 nationally — Killough-Wilhelm has flourished in her role and has excelled especially on bars and beam.

Malia Hargrove (Arizona) — Like Washington, Arizona is one of the younger teams in the Pac-12, and the junior Hargrove has been one of the best Wildcats. Hargrove is Arizona’s top-ranked all-arounder — she is ranked No. 44 — and is the only gymnast on the team to score a 9.875 or better on every event.

Night session

When: Saturday, 6 p.m. MDT

Venue: Maverik Center

TV: Pac-12 Networks

Livestream: Pac-12 Networks Live

The teams

  • No. 4 Utah (10-3, 197.870)
  • No. 10 Cal (7-2, 197.220)
  • No. 13 Oregon State (10-3, 197.040)
  • No. 14 Arizona State (6-4, 196.880)

The stakes

First and foremost, the Pac-12 championship is up for grabs. All four programs — Utah, Cal, Oregon State and Arizona State — tied for the Pac-12 regular season title, but Utah is the reigning champion at the conference championships. The last time UCLA or Utah did not win the Pac-12 championships was in 2013, when Oregon State took home the crown.

Put aside the battle for the conference title, and Utah, Cal, Oregon State and ASU are all currently top 15 teams in the country and will be seeded in NCAA regionals according to their ranking, if they hold.

Utah is a No. 1 seed, but needs to hold off No. 5 LSU and No. 6 Auburn to maintain that position. Cal is a No. 3 seed, but could move up to a No. 2 seed with a good enough meet, combined with subpar meets by No. 8 Minnesota and No. 9 Kentucky.

The Beavers and Sun Devils are currently No. 4 seeds. The possibility exists for either to move up to a No. 3 seed, but it would take season-high scores, coupled with poor showings by No. 12 Michigan State or No. 11 Missouri.

The gymnasts

Grace McCallum (Utah) — Early in the season, McCallum likely wouldn’t have been the Red Rock mentioned here (Maile O’Keefe or Cristal Isa come to mind) but after an up-and-down start to her collegiate career, the Olympic silver medalist has caught fire. McCallum ranks in the top 15 on every event and is No. 7 in the all-around. She is tied for No. 8 on bars, ranks No. 12 on beam and floor, and is tied for No. 15 on vault. McCallum is also one of three Red Rocks, along with O’Keefe and Sage Thompson, to earn a perfect 10 this season.

Andi Li or Maya Bordas (Cal) — Li and Bordas have been excellent this year for Cal and rank No. 17 and No. 18 nationally in the all-around. Li in particular excels on bars, where she is ranked No. 8, while Bordas has proven solid across all four events. Bordas has scored a 9.950 at least once on bars, beam and floor this year, while Li has done the same on bars and floor.

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Jade Carey (Oregon State) — Arguably no gymnast in all of the NCAA has been better than Carey this season. The freshman superstar (and Olympic gold medalist), is the top-ranked all-around gymnast in America, and is ranked in the top 5 on three events (bars, floor and vault) while also ranking No. 11 on beam. Carey has the top score on every event for Oregon State this year, perfect 10s on bars and floor, and 9.975s on beam and vault.

Hannah Scharf (Arizona State) — Scharf has been the Sun Devils’ best gymnast for multiple seasons now, but the junior has never been better. Scharf is ranked No. 12 in the all-around and is ranked in the top 60 on every event. She has ASU’s best score on beam this season (9.950) and has broken the 9.90 mark on every event multiple times.

Next up

Teams across the country will tune in at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 22 for the 2022 NCAA women’s gymnastics championship selection show, which will unveil this year’s 36-team postseason bracket.

Each of those 36 teams will then have a bye the final weekend in March, before NCAA regionals kick off March 30 through April 2 at one of four locations — Auburn, Alabama, Raleigh, North Carolina,, Norman, Oklahoma, and Seattle, Washington.

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