For one meet — if they want — Selena Harris, Mya Hooten, Mara Titarsolej and Raena Worley will be honorary Red Rocks.

The gymnasts, among the best in all of NCAA women’s gymnastics, are slated to compete alongside Utah gymnastics during one of two national championship semifinals next week, on Thursday at 7 p.m. MDT in Fort Worth, Texas.

Harris will compete on balance beam, Worley on floor exercise, Hooten on vault and Titarsolej on uneven bars. All will compete following the Red Rocks.

“We have four incredible athletes with us, so that will be fun to watch them,” Utah coach Carly Dockendorf said.

Why they are competing with Utah?

Kentucky's Raena Worley competes on the floor exercise during an NCAA gymnastics meet on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024 in Las Vegas. | Stew Milne

NCAA women’s gymnastics has two kinds of national championships.

The first is of the team variety, dominated lately by Oklahoma. That title is decided on the second day of competition at nationals.

The process works like this: The eight teams that advanced to nationals will compete in one of two national semifinals, for a spot in the national championship meet. Ultimately four teams — the top two finishing teams in each semifinal — will earn the right to compete for a national championship. And the best team among the four in the final meet of the year is the national champion.

This national title is the one that is talked about the most. It is the one Utah has won nine times in NCAA history and it is the one that the Red Rocks haven’t been able to reclaim since 1995.

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There is another type of national title though. Individual national titles.

They are awarded each year on all four events and in the all-around.

Gymnasts win those national titles during competition in the semifinals. The highest scores across those two meets determine which gymnasts are individual national champions.

While Utah gymnasts will be competing for both types of national titles, Harris (UCLA), Hooten (Minnesota), Titarsolej (Missouri) and Worley (Kentucky) will be competing for individual accolades, after their teams were eliminated from postseason competition.

What it’s like to be an individual competitor?

Minnesota's Mya Hooten competes on the balance beam during an NCAA gymnastics meet on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024 in Las Vegas. | Stew Milne

No Red Rock has ever competed as an individual at the national championships. That is what happens when your program has advanced to every nationals ever held. Forty-eight consecutive now.

Dockendorf, however, does know what it feels like to compete without your team at nationals. She did it, as a gymnast at Washington, competing alongside LSU.

“It is definitely a different experience to not be there with their team,” she said. “I remember rotating with LSU and they were there to do their job.”

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For their part, multiple Red Rocks appreciate that they haven’t had to compete without their teammates at nationals.

Said Jaedyn Rucker, an individual NCAA champion on vault: “I know how hard it is to come (to nationals) as an individual when you wanted your team to come. I would not want to do that.”

Added Maile O’Keefe, the reigning NCAA all-around champion: “I’m sure it is hard to be an individual there without your team.”

What Selena Harris, Mya Hooten, Mara Titarsolej and Raena Worley can expect competing with Utah

Missouri gymnast Mara Titarsolej during an NCAA gymnastics meet against Alabama on Friday, Jan. 12, 2024, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. | Vasha Hunt

The Red Rocks are largely in agreement, competing alongside Harris, Hooten, Titarsolej and Worley is notable.

The quartet are all All-Americans after all, with Harris and Worley standing as two of the seven best all-around gymnasts in the country.

Any could become national champions on the events in which they are competing, with Worley ranked No. 1 in the nation on floor, Hooten ranking No. 8 on vault, Titarsolej ranking No. 10 on bars and Harris ranking No. 13 on beam.

“It is kind of exciting,” O’Keefe said.

Rucker noted that she is particularly thrilled for the chance to meet Hooten, a gymnast she said she has looked up to from afar throughout their careers.

“It is so fun. In my personal opinion, some of these girls I look up to still,” she said. “Like Mya Hooten. I’m so excited to see her. And Raena Worley. Selena Harris. Everybody. It is so fun to see them be great in their own way and talk to them about how they got here and their feelings about it.

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“... It is really fun to see them and get to tell them how much they’ve meant to me and how much they’ve inspired me and how genuinely cool I think they are. I am with cool people all the time, but to see them come from different places is super, super fun.”

The Red Rocks plan to offer as inviting of an environment as possible to each gymnast, affording each the chance to be involved as much as they want and/or are willing with Utah.

“It is always really fun to just bring them in and welcome them as much as they want to be a part of our team,” said Abby Paulson. “We are always going to be there, and we are going to ask them if they want to join in on the cheers. It is up to them, ultimately if they want to or not.

“Personally, I’m pretty serious when I compete so I don’t know, I’d maybe want to be a little bit (involved), but I have my routines and maybe they have that, too. Either way, we’d love for them to join in our cheers and join in our pre-meet fun. They are more than welcome to come and be a part of the team and I love that.”

Added Rucker: “We want to bring them into our Utah family and make them feel important. Making them feel that they aren’t alone is important.”

No matter what, each gymnast will walk away with a keepsake from Utah, a letter signed by every Red Rock.

“We make sure we sign a card for them,” Rucker said. “We write about how we are really excited to have them, and how we are proud of them. We all sign it and then give it to them.”

This year Utah may include something a little extra, though.

“I feel like we should throw in a Utah shirt,” Rucker said. “Something small. They don’t have to wear it if they don’t want.”

A reminder of their brief time as honorary Utah gymnasts.

Utah Red Rocks seniors Alani Sabado, Jaedyn Rucker, Maile O'Keefe and Abby Paulson are honored after a gymnastics meet against Stanford and Utah State University at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, March 15, 2024. Next up for the Red Rocks is the NCAA gymnastics championships in Fort Worth, Texas. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News