Big 12 Gymnastics Week 2 Preview: All five teams in action, two at Sprouts Farmers Market Collegiate Quad

By Micahya Costen | January 12, 2024
BYU's Sydney Benson chalks up for bars at the 2024 Mean Girls Super 16.
© Filippo Tomasi/Gymnastics Now

All five Big 12 gymnastics teams are in action in Week 2, with two heading to the Sprouts Farmers Market Collegiate Quad.

#1 Oklahoma

Matchup: Saturday, January 13 @ 4 p.m. ET | LSU, Oklahoma, UCLA, Utah (Sprouts Farmers Market Collegiate Quad) – Live Stats | Video

The reigning back-to-back champion and current No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners will face two of their three 2023 Four on the Floor opponents this weekend in the Sprouts Farmers Market Collegiate Quad. That matchup includes No. 2 Utah, No. 5 LSU, and No. 12 UCLA and will be on ABC.

The Sooners had a dominating start at the Mean Girls Super 16, earning the highest score in the nation in Week 1 and already pushing the 198 mark. The only team to get close to them was Utah, earning a 197.300 at home, with LSU further back (196.975), and UCLA still finding its footing (196.550).

Despite typical new year adjustments – clean slate, freshmen, transfers – the Sooners are clearly still the team to beat.

In their first outing, fifth-year Ragan Smith had two scores of 9.95 (bars and beam), junior Jordan Bowers had three scores of 9.9+, and freshmen Hannah Scheible and Keira Wells broke into the vault and beam lineups.

Sophomore Faith Torrez was also recently named Big 12 Gymnast of the Week, making this her eighth career honor along with her seven Big 12 Newcomer of the Week titles achieved last year. Torrez tied for the beam (9.95) and all-around (39.625) titles at the Super 16.

#6 Denver

Matchup: Sunday, January 14 @ 4 p.m. ET | Arizona State @ Denver – Video (Free)

To close the weekend, Denver will be competing at home against Arizona State, with both teams coming off opening wins. After a score of 196.850 at the Mean Girls Super 16, the third-highest season opener in school history, the Pioneers are eyeing their first win at home.

Seniors Jessica Hutchinson and Bella Mabanta and freshman Madison Ulrich are three to watch as the season unfolds. Hutchinson won vault, bars, floor, and the all-around at the Super 16, with Ulrich sharing the vault title and finishing second in the all-around. Mabanta earned a 9.925 for her stunning set.

#19 BYU

Matchup: Saturday, January 13 @ 9 p.m. ET | BYU, California, Michigan State, North Carolina State (Sprouts Farmers Market Collegiate Quad) – Live Stats | Video (ACC)

BYU competes late Saturday against No. 6 California, No. 14 Michigan State, and NC State.

The Cougars fell to Minnesota, Oregon State, and Southern Utah at the Mean Girls Super 16 to start the season, but there was promise in the loss, with four new floor routines and an event title for Ava Jorgensen on vault (9.875).

Senior Anyssa Alvarado also received the Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week title for her performance. She achieved a new career-high score of 9.950 on bars.

#21 Iowa State

Matchup: Friday January, 12 @ 6 p.m. ET | Iowa State @ Penn State

The Iowa State Cyclones are kicking us off this week with a meet against at Penn State. The Cyclones competed last week against Nebraska but came up short, 196.125-195.825.

With that being the highest season opener for Iowa State since 2004, along with it being the first meet under head coach Ashley Miles Greig, the Cyclones are clearly starting anew this year, already impressing college gymnastics fans.

With six freshmen, along with 13 veterans, the Cyclones are prepared to make some adjustments when it comes to lineup changes and finding their rhythm. Junior Hannah Loyim is one all-around competitor that everyone has their eye on. She was the sole all-arounder in Iowa State’s close loss to Nebraska and could be a cornerstone for this team as the season progresses. Freshman Noelle Adams contributed on three events last week, completing her first meet with the Cyclones with a 9.850 on vault, 9.875 on beam, and a 9.900 on floor. Her beam total tied teammate Lauren Thomas for that event title, and her great scores across events shows promise.

The last time Iowa State faced Penn State was in 2015, when the Cyclones fell 196.650-195.375. This year, Penn State is coming off wins against Pitt, Penn, and Temple with a score of 194.725.

West Virginia

Matchup: Saturday, January 13 @ 3 p.m. ET | UW-Oshkosh, West Virginia, Western Michigan @ Illinois – Live Stats | Video (Big+)

West Virginia will be facing No. 21 Illinois, UW-Oshkosh, and Western Michigan in their first road meet of the season. The Mountaineers are high off a win against Temple for their Mental Health Awareness Meet last Sunday with a score of 193.800.

The Mountaineers pushed the 49 mark on vault and bars against the Owls, with Emma Wehry winning the latter event with a 9.825. Beam will be the event to focus on this weekend after the team posted a sub-48 on the event in its first outing.