What We’re Talking About
What an opening weekend! Sellout crowds, best opening weekend team scores, career best scores, new programs competing for the first time, and even a couple 10s. So what did we learn? Oklahoma looks like Oklahoma and the rest of the NCAA is trying to Oklahoma. What the hell does that mean? Start strong and don’t let off the gas. In a crowd of Olympic Champions, World Champions and NCAA legends targeting the most 10s in history, it’s the roster without those women that continues to lead the way with machine-like consistency. In a showdown that would get the gymternet hyped in the last week of the season, we saw a four-way throwdown between Oklahoma, Michigan, Auburn and UCLA in the final session of the Super 16 in Las Vegas, where the four teams put up the 1st, 4th, 5th and 6th best scores in the nation.
Florida is still navigating the best use of their abundance of talent (watch out when it all clicks!) putting up the second best score in the nation; and Cal refreshed a substantial portion of their roster (losing a lot of big scores) and look better than ever, ranking third in the nation after the first week. With Utah tied with UCLA in 6th, the Pac-12 title is going to be a grind.
- The Janelle McDonald era of UCLA gymnastics feels different.
- After a sample size of one week, this feels like it could be the most competitive NCAA gymnastics season of all time.
- LSU is currently ranked 10th. That’s not where they’ll finish the season.
- If you’re going to do a Barbie-inspired routine, sell it like Rebekah Ripley.
- Only Derrian Gobourne can do the opening sequence of her routine and have it feel convincing.
- Praise the new variety in beam dismounts.
- And bless the new vault lines.
- Now if only we had clarity on the deductions on where the gymnasts land within (or outside) the lines.
- You hope everyone embraces every moment of every competition like Jordan Chiles.
- We’re just so happy to see the debut of Fisk.
- Thankful we get to see Lynnzee Brown for a 6th year.
- Sierra Ballard has great hair-ography.
- Utah Gymnastics home meets average larger crowds than 95% of NCAA men’s basketball programs.
- Norah Flatley looks good in red.
- We’ve never seen anything like the fandom of Olivia Dunne in NCAA gymnastics.
- Cal posted the best season-opening score in program history.
- Their 197.475 would have been their highest road score all of last season.
- Trinity Thomas posted the 21st perfect 10 of her career and the 1st of the 2023 season.
- Sunisa Lee posted the second perfect 10 of the season.
- Lauren Williams is the first Razorback from Arkansas in over a decade.
- In week one UCLA has already bested their top bars score from 2022.
- The 49.525 on beam was the highest in Missouri’s history.
- Florida keeps getting better. The 197.75 is an all-time high season opener, building upon their fifth consecutive best season-openings in (2022: 197.675; 2021: 197.50; 2020: 197.35; 2019: 197.30)
- Auburn put up their best opening score ever, 197.350.
- Most Stunning Gymnastics This Week: Helen Hu’s Beam
- The Kara Eaker Award for being the most Kara Eaker: Kara Eaker
- Comeback of the week: Jessica Johansson face-planting on the beam then winning the all-around the next day.
What’s On the Socials?
In her first time competing in Carmichael since suffering a season-ending injury last February, Lali Dekanoidze matches her career high on vault with a team-high 9.900.
Just watch. pic.twitter.com/fsfpsIFAoX
— Carolina Gymnastics (@uncgymnastics) January 9, 2023
History = made ✅
— Fisk University (@Fisk1866) January 7, 2023
“Do you want to make history?” ~ Corrine Tarver Wright, Trailblazer/Fisk Head Coach
The question coach Tarver would ask during recruitment of the inaugural class for the Fisk gymnastics program.
“We need to get our baseline, our starting point, and start to define what the make-up and mindset of this team is going to be. Nothing more, nothing less.” ~ Jay Clark, LSU Head Coach
Coach Clark on finding voice and tenor of his team in the first week of the season while facing off against the Utes, another team expected to be in contention at the end of the season.
“I will always appreciate and love the support from you guys, but if you come to a meet, I want to ask you to please be respectful of the other gymnasts and the gymnastics community as we are just doing our job” ~ Olivia Dunne, Gymnast/Gamechanger
Olivia posting on social media to her fans after they got a little too rowdy outside of the arena.
“I was pretty nervous, but I think it was more of the good nerves.” ~ Kayla Dicello, Gator Freshman
Kayla describing her emotions after winning the all-around in her first collegiate meet.
College & Cocktails
Listen to this week’s bonus episode (available to everyone this week!): Dial 1-800-Kazakhstan
.75oz Pomegranate Liqueur
.75oz Pomegranate Juice
.75oz Clementine Juice
Stick Gimmick (non-alcoholic)
1.5oz Pomegranate Juice
1.5oz Clementine Juice
* Combine Bourbon, liqueur, and juices in a glass with ice. Top with Prosecco, and garnish with a Clementine Wheel and an awkward cinnamon stick that may just be there to get the crowd worked up.
* N/A version, build all ingredients in a glass with ice. Garnish the same as the boozy one!
What? You want even more? Join Club Gym Nerd and you get a bonus episode, College & Cocktails, every Friday after our meet of the week. Once the NCAA season is over you continue to get a weekly bonus episode every Friday afternoon. Plus you get access to all of our archives, exclusive content and more. Then we give the sober analysis on Monday (or Tuesday) after we’ve allowed the data to penetrate our feelings.
This column was composed and compiled by Steve Cooper, Editor, GymCastic; as performed by hosts Jessica O’Beirne and Spencer Barnes.
Prefer to get this delivered to your inbox? Sign up for the newsletter here.