Big 12 Gymnastics Week 1 Recap: Oklahoma posts highest score in the nation on opening weekend

By Micahya Costen | January 8, 2024
Oklahoma's Keira Wells competes on beam at the 2024 Mean Girls Super 16 meet.
© Filippo Tomasi/Gymnastics Now

This past weekend, three of the five Big 12 gymnastics teams opened their seasons at the Mean Girls Super 16 competition in Las Vegas, with back-to-back national champion and No. 1 Oklahoma leading the charge.

#1 Oklahoma

Starting Friday evening, the Sooners scored a 197.850 to defeat No. 9 Kentucky (196.775), No. 11 Michigan State (196.300), and No. 6 Michigan (195.875). The Sooners have not lost a season opener since 2016.

Fifth-year Ragan Smith was outstanding on bars and beam, earning a 9.95 for each, and tied sophomore Faith Torrez for the beam title. Torrez also tied Kentucky’s Raena Worley for the all-around title with a 39.625.

Also impressive in the team’s first outing of the season were Jordan Bowers, who earned three scores over 9.9, including a 9.925 to win floor, and highly-touted freshman Hannah Scheible, who contributed a 9.9 on vault.

The Sooners won all events in their session, leading to a more than one point win over their formidable opponents.

Other fresh faces getting lineup action were freshman Kiera Wells, who earned a 9.850 on vault and 9.825 on beam, and Georgia transfer and fifth-year Soraya Hawthorne, who has started to find her footing with Sooners after exhibitions on vault and floor. Her floor routine was particularly engaging, and she received support from athletes and coaches from other teams in the arena.

#10 Denver

No. 10 Denver competed earlier on Friday at the Super 16 meet to achieve a collective total of 196.850, besting the scores of No. 21 Washington (195.000), Illinois (195.825), and San Jose State (194.950).

This is the third-highest score that the Pioneers have gotten in their season premiere.

“We started the season a little earlier than we usually do, and we want to slowly progress throughout the season. We’re building depth and had new faces stepping up in key positions today, and it’s encouraging that the exhibitions challenged the lineup scores,” head coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart said.

Freshman Madison Ulrich made her debut in the competition as an all-around gymnast and tied for the vault title with a 9.9. Junior Mia Hebinck also made her return after not competing in 2023 due to injury. She earned a 9.850 on bars. Senior Bella Mabanta won the beam title with a 9.925. The star for the Pioneers, though, was senior Jessica Hutchinson, who won vault (9.9), bars (9.925), floor (9.85), and the all-around (39.525).


Newcomer to the Big 12, BYU fell short in Session 3 of the Super 16 meet. The team’s score of 195.900 was last against No. 13 Oregon State (196.525), No. 18 Minnesota (196.525), and No. 24 Southern Utah (196.025).

BYU started on floor with four newcomers to the lineup and just two returners. Freshman Mya Kirkham led the team with a 9.8. Things picked up on vault, where all of the team’s counting scores were 9.8+ to earn a 49.225 – the highest team vault score of the session. Ava Jorgensen tied for the vault title with a 9.875. Bars also showed promise as the team recorded the second highest event total of the meet and their highest with a 49.425. All counting scores were 9.85+, led by Anyssa Alvarado’s 9.950. Finishing on beam, the Cougars saw their lowest score of the meet with a 48.600 after not being able to surpass the 9.8 mark.

On a more somber note, it was also announced Saturday that longtime BYU head coach Brad Cattermole passed away two days prior, on January 4, at the age of 71. Cattermole was the head coach of the women’s team for 27 years before retiring in 2015. Before that, he competed on the now-defunct BYU men’s team in 1971.

Iowa State

Iowa State hosted Nebraska on Friday and were edged by the Huskers, 196.125-195.825.

“Overall, this was so much fun. Just to see Cyclone nation show up for us. We had a great crowd, and the team came out focused and trusted their training,” first-year head coach Ashley Miles Greig said.

The team’s 195.825 was the highest season-opening score for the Cyclones since 2004.

Individually, three different Cyclones won event titles, with Josie Bergstrom winning vault (9.9), Lauren Thomas and Noelle Adams winning beam (9.875), and the freshman Adams also tying for the floor title (9.9) to cap off a stellar debut. Hannah Loyim was the sole all-around competitor, earning a 39.05.

West Virginia

The West Virginia Mountaineers concluded the weekend with a home meet against Temple on Sunday and won 193.8 to Temple’s 191.9.

The Mountaineers beat the Owls on all events but beam. Sophomores Emma Wehry and Miranda Smith brought home individual wins on bars (9.825) and beam (9.8), respectively.