NCAA women’s gymnastics: Week 9 Power Rankings & meets to watch

By Gymnastics Now | March 10, 2023
Arizona State's Hannah Scharf competes on floor during the 2023 Super 16 meet.
Arizona State's Hannah Scharf competes on floor during the 2023 Super 16 meet. (© Amy Sanderson)

Each week, Gymnastics Now’s NCAA women’s gymnastics writers – Patricia Duffy and Hannah Johnson – will share their Power Rankings for the top 10 women’s teams, providing insight into why certain teams are trending up and others trending down.

These rankings are purely subjective. A (+) or (-) next to each team will signify how far the team rose or fell compared to the previous week.

Hannah Johnson headshot

Hannah Johnson

Intern, NCAA Women

1. Michigan (+5)

I really did not feel like I had a choice but to put the Wolverines in this first spot. They knocked off the reigning national champion. What else can you ask for? They did so without a perfect meet, nonetheless. This should fuel Michigan toward another shot at a title.

2. Michigan State (+8)

In terms of momentum, the Spartans probably have the most of any team. Their 198.225 was the first-ever 198 for the program, and was also the highest score in the nation this week. There is no denying this team is peaking at the right time and has a legit chance at a birth to nationals.

3. Denver (unranked)

The Pioneers really put it all together this week. They scored the program’s first-ever 198+ as well. What is even more impressive is they did this despite starting with a 49.075 on vault. Floor was especially outstanding, with a program-record 49.825, where the lowest counting score was a 9.925. Graduate student Lynnzee Brown seems to have returned to her pre-Achilles tear form.

4. UCLA (+3)

The Bruins hit their first 198 of the season this week. Olympic silver medalist Jordan Chiles is stepping up big to lead this team. If they are able to clean up their Yurchenko fulls on vault and perform like they have been as of late, the Bruins should not be counted out of title contention.

5. Florida (-1)

After a bit of analysis, it became clear to me that the Gators nearly beat the reigning national champion while resting key contributors on floor. If they had put out a full-strength lineup on the event, they would have been all but guaranteed to win. Florida deserves praise for being able to accomplish what they did with the gymnasts they had available.

6. Oklahoma (-5)

Oklahoma faced two tough opponents this week, which served as great preparation for postseason. The Sooners won their meet against Florida, but were edged out during senior night at Michigan. Oklahoma was wobbly on beam and struggled with floor landings both days. It will be interesting to see how the Sooners use this experience as motivation for the postseason. If Oklahoma can score near-198s with these errors, they can certainly put up a huge number when they are perfectly on.

7. LSU (-4)

Wow. What this team is doing despite so many injured athletes is truly remarkable. In Week 9 – after senior Kai Rivers went down in warmups with an Achilles injury and sophomore Aleah Finnegan was out sick – the Tigers still put up a 197.7. The adversity seems to be motivating them, which should make the Tigers a daunting team to face. If they continue at this pace, this is a team to watch out for in the postseason.

8. Utah (-6)

The Utes seem to be fully adjusted to competing without Olympic silver medalist Grace McCallum. While they did come back to Earth a bit following their 198.55 in Week 8, the Utes still put on a great performance in Week 9. Senior Maile O’Keefe has settled in nicely to an all-around role and should be crucial for the Utes down the stretch.

9. California (unranked)

The Bears were just a bit off during the Purple and Gold meet. Uncharacteristically, beam was their lowest-scoring event, on which they barely broke 49. This team is short of a wildcard because they have yet to really put together a complete meet across all four events this season. If they can go roughly 49.4+ on all four events, they can go far in the postseason, but that is a big “if”.

10. Arizona State (unranked)

I am really liking what I have been seeing lately from Arizona State. Senior Hannah Scharf appears to be one of the top all-arounders in the country. The Sun Devils used season-highs on beam and floor en route to a season-high 197.725 in their upset win over Oregon State. This team has lots of momentum and this should only increase as they go against a top opponent in Oklahoma in Week 10.

Patricia Duffy Fiske

Patricia Duffy

Founder, Gymnastics Now

1. Michigan (+5)

Hard to argue with taking down the top team in the country as reason enough to put the Wolverines at the top of my Power Rankings. I do think the Wolverines were the better team on Monday, but I also think some of the home scoring was generous, per usual. That being said, Michigan proved this week that they are capable of besting the previously seemingly unbeatable Sooners.

2. Florida (+1)

Florida’s decision to rest their top all-arounders on floor against Oklahoma proved controversial to say the least, and honestly, I can see sides for both arguments. That being said, the Gators almost took down the top-ranked team on the road without their best lineups – that’s impressive, no matter how or why it came about.

3. UCLA (+1)

A 198.175 for UCLA and a perfect 10 for Jordan Chiles is reflective of what we’ve seen slowly building throughout this entire season – UCLA is a title contender when they’re on. And with the news that Chiles will not be returning for the 2024 season, or potentially ever, there’s even more motivation for the Bruins to do something special now. Side note: I’m so excited for the all-around battle at nationals.

4. Denver (+6)

Denver looked fabulous this past week. Point blank. That floor rotation was exceptional, and it’s exciting to see this team rising through the ranks with conference championships on the horizon. I don’t know if this is a performance level that the Pioneers are capable of sustaining moving forward, but if they can, that could be another magical run.

5. Oklahoma (-4)

Oklahoma lost to Michigan this week and looked beatable against Florida at home, so momentum-wise, the Sooners don’t have as much of it this week. They face a red hot Arizona State team this weekend before conference championships next week. It will be interesting to see how they rebound.

6. Utah (-4)

I like to see Utah’s scores settling a bit, because I think their 197.925 in Week 9 was a more accurate number than the 198.550 the week before. I really agree with Hannah in her assessment: they’ve recovered from the loss of Grace McCallum, and Maile O’Keefe is a strong leader. I would be shocked if this team doesn’t make it to nationals.

7. LSU (-2)

I would say LSU needs prayer circles and rain dances and all the hoodoo voodoo after yet another Achilles injury and poor Aleah Finnegan getting sick, but the Tigers don’t seem to want to need any of my sympathy. They just keep rolling through every fire, stomping it out and moving on looking better than before. It’s just so impressive. This team is special, and I, personally, hope to see a special run from them in the postseason.

8. Michigan State (unranked)

Let me preface this by saying: I think Michigan State is a strong team with tremendous potential and the ability to go far in the postseason, but I’m not vaulting them to the top of my rankings just yet. A 198+ at home, in my book, is a 197.5 (maybe) anywhere else, which is why they’re ranked No. 10 in NQS.

9. California (-2)

I’ve loved this Cal team from the start, especially with their creepy stick bear head thing. It’s a team you can’t not root for, and eMjae Frazier’s first-career perfect 10 was something special! I do think there’s still time for the Bears to put it all together, but that time is running out quickly. It’s now or never.

10. Alabama (-2)

Alabama’s loss to Missouri was surprising. Definitely an off performance for the Crimson Tide, so I’m interested to see how they take that and turn it around this week against Boise State at home.

Meets to Watch

Here are some of the exciting matchups we’ll be watching this weekend. All times are ET.

Friday, March 10

7 p.m. – #2 Michigan vs. #18 Georgia – Live Stats | Video (SEC+)

8 p.m. – #19 Minnesota @ #16 Arkansas – Live Stats | Video (SEC+)

10 p.m. – #15 Ohio State, #20 Stanford, Utah State @ #7 California – Live Stats | Video (FREE)

Saturday, March 11

3 p.m. – Iowa State @ #5 UCLA – Live Stats | Video (P12)

3 p.m. – #12 Kentucky, Illinois State @ #22 Illinois – Live Stats | Video (B1G+)

5 p.m. – #4 Utah @ #13 Oregon State – Video (P12)

Sunday, March 12

3 p.m. – #14 Arizona State @ #1 Oklahoma – Live Stats | Video (ESPN+)

4 p.m. – Arizona, Sacremento State, UC Davis @ #7 California – Video (P12)