NCAA women’s gymnastics Week 6 recap: Metroplex Challenge eventful despite no broadcast, Oregon State ties again

By Hannah Johnson | February 14, 2023
The Minnesota women's team celebrates during its matchup against Michigan on February 10, 2023.
The Minnesota women's team celebrates during its matchup against Michigan on February 10, 2023. (© Minnesota Athletics)

Week 6 of NCAA women’s gymnastics was one for the books. Check out our recap of key meets below, and click here for a full recap (plus post-meet press conference video) of LSU vs. Auburn.

B1G Battle

#19 Minnesota @ #2 Michigan

Despite trailing at the midway point, Michigan ended up taking this meet 197.975 to Minnesota’s season-high 197.075. The Wolverines struggled a bit to find their typical stuck landings on vault, which put them in a shallow hole early on. In each subsequent event, the Wolverines’ apparatus score was higher than the last, culminating with a 49.675 on floor that secured the win.

Even though there were a few wobbles throughout the rotation, Michigan received a 49.625 on balance beam, good for a new program record on the event. The highlight of the rotation was fifth-year Natalie Wojcik’s perfect 10.

Natalie Wojcik (Michigan) – BB vs. Minnesota

Junior Mya Hooten was the star once again for Minnesota, going 9.95+ on vault, bars, and floor. It seems she is still adjusting to her beam composition, which will only improve with additional lineup experience. 

If Minnesota can figure out how to reduce some deductions on balance beam, this team has a chance to go far in the postseason. Importantly, fifth-year Tiarre Sales competed on beam for the first time this season. It seems as though the Gopher coaching staff is willing to experiment with lineups in an attempt to maximize its scoring potential.

Pac-12 Matchup

#7 California @ #13 Oregon State

When it was all said and done, this meet ended in a tie at 197.375. 

California excelled on bars, as they are known to do, and earned a season-high 49.55. After struggling on floor the previous meet, the Golden Bears rebounded on the event this time out and instead received their lowest apparatus score on vault. It seems as though each meet California has one event that lags behind the rest. 

Three near-perfect scores of 9.975 were given out at the meet: two to Oregon State’s Jade Carey (bars, floor) and one to California’s Andi Li (bars). 

The Oregon State Beavers earned a season-high 49.35 on uneven bars. This is huge progress at this point in the season considering the Beavers opened the year with a 48.375 on the event. It seems they have found the lineup that works best for the apparatus.

Metroplex Challenge

Afternoon Session: #4 Utah, #18 Georgia, #22 Illinois, and Illinois State

The biggest piece of news coming out of this untelevised event is that Utah sophomore and Olympic silver medalist Grace McCallum went down on vault with what appears to be a serious injury. The Utes were unable to break 49 on vault, but rebounded very well on the other three events en route to a team total of 197.6 and the Session 1 win. Senior Maile O’Keefe led the Utes’ beam team with a perfect 10.

Illinois finished in second place in Session 1 with a 196.3. Freshman Arielle Ward debuted a Yurchenko 1.5, and Illinois now has three 10.0 start value vaults in their lineup. Controlling the big vaults and perfecting the Yurchenko fulls will be key moving forward, however, since the team was unable to break 49 on the event this time.

Georgia took third place in Session 1. The Bulldogs seem to have lost their mojo a bit on balance beam, only scoring a 48.7 and counting a 9.4. They are certainly capable of good beam scores; the Bulldogs had gone 49+ in the five meets prior to this one.

Illinois State finished in fourth place in Session 1, but they put together a good showing for a season-high 195.8.

Evening Session: #1 Oklahoma, #11 Alabama, #16 Arkansas, and #24 Stanford

Session 2 was a lot closer than anticipated. The Oklahoma Sooners (198.125) edged out the Alabama Crimson Tide (198) for the win.

The 198 was Alabama’s season-high, and they became the fifth team to reach the mark this season. In the fourth rotation, the Crimson Tide’s landings on vault were the best yet this season. This put pressure on Oklahoma’s floor team to hit, and they turned in a huge 49.675 season-high score.

Arkansas had a strong performance across all four events, led by a season-high 49.375 on bars. The Razorbacks finished in third place in Session 2.

Despite finishing in fourth place in Session 2, Stanford notched a big season-high 196.725. This was the second-straight meet in which the Cardinal did not use all-around gymnast Chloe Widner on floor exercise. This is something to pay attention to as postseason approaches.

Combined Metroplex Challenge Final Standings

  1. Oklahoma – 198.125
  2. Alabama – 198
  3. Utah – 197.6
  4. Arkansas – 197.125
  5. Stanford – 196.725
  6. Illinois – 196.3
  7. Georgia – 196.1
  8. Illinois State – 195.85

Around the Country

  • History was made at Western Michigan’s meet; Payton Murphy bested her own score and set a new program record of 39.5 in the all-around. The Broncos’ 49.525 floor rotation was also a program record on the event
  • Rutgers achieved two new records, including a new program record on floor of 49.425 and Hannah Joyner broke her school record all-around score by receiving a 39.575.
  • The No. 2 Florida Gators earned a season-high 198.350.