Just like that, the 2023 season has come and gone. We can hardly believe it’s already over. But as we stare down eight long months before college competition resumes, put off the pain a little longer and relive the biggest meet of the season one more time in the final Dismount.
|Full Results||Oklahoma: 198.3875||Florida: 198.2375||Utah: 197.9375||LSU: 197.5250|
The Big Storyline
Just as they were ranked No. 1 all season long, the Sooners led wire-to-wire in the NCAA championship to win the 2023 title and tie the all-time record for highest score in a final (tied with their 2017 title-winning squad). Led by Jordan Bowers’ all-around performance and 9.9s on every event, Oklahoma led a tight first rotation where the top three were separated by less than a tenth before it pulled away and took the lead for good before floor anchor Danielle Sievers performed.
Every team kept it close throughout, but they didn’t have the 9.9 depth the Sooners did. The Gators got a remarkable final two routines from Trinity Thomas, who stuck her vault for a perfect score to tie Jamie Dantzscher (UCLA) and Jenny Hansen (Kentucky) for the most perfect 10s in a career. Maile O’Keefe ended the championships with her second beam 10 of the weekend to highlight Utah’s day while Haleigh Bryant led every all-arounder with a whopping 39.725 to lead the Tigers.
While the top-seed won the final, underdogs won both semifinals, as LSU topped Florida in the afternoon and Utah bested Oklahoma in the evening. The Red Rocks put up the day’s highest total, 198.225, as O’Keefe took home a pair of individual titles. UCLA—led by Jordan Chiles’ pair of event titles—placed third and did not advance to the final but did post a total that would have won the first semifinal by a number of tenths.
“I heard people are wearing T-shirts that say ‘Anyone but Oklahoma’ out in the audience. So that’s fun,” head coach KJ Kindler joked post-meet. “But you know, it’s OK. You take it.”
Thomas joined Dantzscher and Hansen with 28 perfect scores each in their NCAA careers. The Bruins’ semifinal total of 197.9125 marked the highest semifinal score ever not to advance to the final.
- Maile O’Keefe (Utah), 39.7625
- Jordan Chiles (UCLA), 39.7125
- Haleigh Bryant (LSU), 39.6875
It was an intense battle for the all-around title in the evening semifinal, as O’Keefe and Chiles both finished their nights with a perfect 10—O’Keefe on beam, Chiles on bars. An underrotated double pike beam dismount for Chiles was ultimately the difference between the two, with O’Keefe stating post-meet how proud she was of herself for overcoming the lack of difficulty with her Yurchenko full on vault. Haleight Bryant was the semifinal one leader after narrowly defeating teammate Aleah Finnegan.
- Olivia Trautman (Oklahoma), 9.950
- Courtney Blackson (Boise State), Lynnzee Brown (Denver), 9.925
Known for her postseason prowess, Trautman came through yet again with a pinpoint landing on her Yurchenko one and a half to take home the vault title from the evening session. The runners-up came from the afternoon, where Blackson and Brown finesse their blind landings for the top total of the semifinal.
- Jordan Chiles (UCLA), 10.000
- Luisa Blanco (Alabama), Abby Heiskell (Michigan), Grace McCallum (Utah), Maile O’Keefe (Utah), Trinity Thomas (Florida), 9.950
After scoring no less than a 9.925 on bars all season, Chiles ended the Bruins’ championships with a bang as she nailed her release-packed routine for her third perfect score on the event this season to take the title. She outpaced a crew of highly regarded bars swingers who were just a tad less perfect.
- Maile O’Keefe (Utah), 10.000
- Jade Carey (Oregon State), Cristal Isa (Utah), 9.9625
O’Keefe’s sixth perfect beam routine of the year made her a double NCAA champion for the second time, after winning bars and floor previously in her career. Her flawless side aerial to layout step-out combination upped the evening’s best total from her teammate before her, Isa, and the total Carey notched in the afternoon.
- Jordan Chiles (UCLA), 9.9875
- Leanne Wong (Florida), Aleah Finnegan (LSU), 9.9625
The first of Chiles’ two event titles from the 2023 championships came on floor, where her energetic routine, featuring every position of double back, anchored a 49.7125 floor rotation from the Bruins. Stunning double Arabian to stag jumps from the afternoon semifinal landed Finnegan and Wong on the podium as runners-up.
Click and expand the events below to see results from each meet, as well as individual career highs and team program records.
NCAA National Championships Semifinal One
NCAA National Championships Semifinal Two
NCAA National Championships Team Final
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Article by Brandis Heffner and Emily Minehart
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Moments after the final landing, Twitter blew up with ugly vitriol. So much was initiated by the casual fans that watch one meet a year. Suddenly “joe sixpack” has become an expert WAG judge. Conspiracy theories of KJ paying off the judges abound. Allegations of Jay forcing a gymnast to perform injured, and calls for the firing of Tom because his team had one really bad showing on vault. Gymnastics fans, particularly the “casuals,” often show themselves to be the lowest form of tweeter. Don’t believe me? Read the comments on virtually any ESPN post from Nationals. Sure, we all expect the “not a sport” comments and the rude sexual comments about leotards. But these trolls get downright ugly. Perhaps the most disheartening to me, though are the tweets from members of the so called gymternet. These folks should understand this sport for what it is and, as many have competed at some level, realize how complicated it is. Newsflash: NCAA WAG judging is really messed up right now and It really needs to be fixed. But that doesn’t mean that OU was predestined to win by some judging conspiracy. There is some pretty compelling evidence that “big name” gymnasts get better scoring for equal routines. But every one of these teams have these kinds of gymnasts. Any discrepancy wouldn’t have been enough to change the outcome. Yeah, I’m all for scrapping the system and starting from scratch, but let’s not be ugly towards, teams, gymnasts and coaches about it.
Yes, I wanted my Red Rocks to win, Yes I love the “Cinderella story” of LSU climbing their mountain, I too love Trinity and would have loved for her to get a ring. But OU and K.J. did exactly what they needed to do on the day they needed to do it. I won’t be ugly about it not going my way. How about you?