The Best International NCAA Gymnasts of All Time

If you’re a fantasy gym aficionado, you’re likely no stranger to drafting an international roster. Wade a little further into the fun, and you may come across a ‘one per country’ team—a fun challenge in post-Olympic years for seasoned fantasy players. What would happen if we use the one-per-country rule but expand it to an all-time roster? The rules are simple at face value: Create a team with five routines on each event, but each athlete must come from a different country.  I gave it a try, with the additional challenge of relying on athletes who’ve competed in the NCAA. Here are my picks for every country with at least two gymnasts on collegiate rosters, and why I’d draft them. 

Nations with only one gymnast on a collegiate roster are noted at the bottom. For this exercise, only gymnasts who have lived in and competed for their listed nations have been considered (which is why you don’t see the likes of Aleah Finnegan or Emma Malabuyo listed, for example).

Argentina: Romina Mazzoni, Iowa 

Why she’s listed: After transferring from Oklahoma midway through her freshman year, Mazzoni became a staple in the Gymhawk bars lineup. She put up a steady 9.800 set in her sophomore season and was the team’s highest scorer on the event, topping out at 9.850. 

Australia: Shona Morgan, Stanford

Why she’s listed: Morgan holds career highs of 9.950 (UB, BB) and 9.925 (FX) from her time at Stanford – but that alone didn’t cement her as the top Australian athlete in college gym. She joined the team after finishing 15th all around at the 2008 Olympic Games, and quickly became a beam fixture for the Cardinal. In her senior season, she earned first team All-America honors on bars, and put her name to three of Stanford’s top 10 beam scores. 

Austria: Simone Penker, Alaska

Why she’s listed: Penker joined the Seawolves after representing the Austrian national team and seeing frequent competition time in the German high school league. She grew into a consistent all-arounder in Alaska with her signature forward skill repertoire, notching highs over 9.700 on all four events. 

Bermuda: Jenny Wright, Maryland 

Why she’s listed: While Wright never saw competition time in her season as a Terrapin, she did represent her home country at the 1997 World University Games. Competing at a multi-sport Games for student athletes serves as a worthy tiebreaker between her and Cortland’s Morgan Beckles – Bermuda’s only other collegiate gymnast who also never recorded scores for her team. 

Brazil: Mariana Goncalves, Oklahoma

Why she’s listed: Goncalves proved herself as a consistent all-arounder in her career as a Sooner, amassing a career high of 39.625 in 2002. That same year, she was ranked third by RQS nationally in the all-around, as well as sixth on vault and eighth on bars. She also holds multiple Big 12 Gymnast of the Week honors, including a string of three in one month as a senior. 

Canada: Leah Homma, UCLA

Why she’s listed: To find the greatest Canadian gymnasts in NCAA history, look no further than the UCLA Hall of Fame where Homma is in good company. The Hall of Fame currently has two other Canadians (Yvonne Tousek and Kate Richardson) with more surely to join in the future. In her career as a Bruin, she led the team to its first national team title in her senior year, earned eight All-America honors, and was named Pac-12 Gymnast of the Year twice. She has three skills in the FIG Code of Points to her name, with the most common – the Homma flairs – reemerging as a fan favorite in Pauley Pavilion as recently as 2018. 

Czechia: Anna-Maria Kanyai, Bowling Green

Why she’s listed: The MAC’s scoring is notoriously tight on bars and Kanyai’s singular NCAA season proved no different, with only one score north of 9.900 on that event. Scoring a 9.825 in her second ever meet as a Falcon and staying over 9.700 more often than not was a big undertaking for the second Czech to compete in NCAA women’s gymnastics. 

England: Marissa King, Florida

Why she’s listed: King is no stranger to the NCAA postseason. Her Tsukahara full and Tsukahara one and a half earned a national vault title in 2011, and in 2013 she contributed in the all-around towards the Gators’ first national team title. She holds 11 All-American honors, event highs of 9.925 or better on every event, and holds a career all-around high of 39.650. 

Finland: Annamari Maaranen, Denver

Why she’s listed: Maaranen brought her arsenal of unique bars skills to Denver with her, and consistently wowed with her high-flying Markelovs. She brought flair with her near-split giant into her toe on dismount –  a combination not seen often in American gymnastics. It was skills like those that caused her to stand-out in a Pioneer roster that was composed of athletes from six countries during her collegiate career. 

France: Anne Kuhm, Arizona State  

Why she’s listed: One of two French women to compete in NCAA gymnastics, Kuhm, who graduated in 2019, competed as a junior and senior for the Sun Devils. In her two seasons of eligibility, she earned an all-around high of 39.450, and earned top 10 finishes at the 2019 Pac-12 championships on floor as well as in the all-around. 

Germany: Daria Bijak, Utah

Why she’s listed: Bijak broke into all-around competition as a sophomore in the midst of a truly stacked Red Rock lineup. Her gymnastics was especially dynamic. She competed a front handspring front layout vault, a hop-full to piked Deltchev on bars, as well as a double front tuck on floor. She topped out at 39.575 in the all-around, and holds highs over 9.925 on each event.

Guatemala: Luisa Portocarrero, UCLA

Why she’s listed: Portocarrero graced the beam at Pauley Pavilion with a fluid style akin to that taught by Canadian coach Carol-Angela Orchard, the same coach who taught Canadian-turned-UCLA star, and beam stand-out, Peng Peng Lee. The Guatemalan star was instrumental to the rise of the Bruins at the end of the century, and helped usher the team into the powerhouse we know today. 

Hong Kong: Robin Chiu, MIT

Why she’s listed: Chiu was rostered for three seasons at MIT, contributing on every event but bars throughout her career. For two of her three years on the team, MIT was stretching its small roster thin – allowing its 12 member team little rest but plenty of opportunity to grow as athletes; a tough balancing act when combined with the school’s demanding workload.

Hungary: Gabriella Onodi, Utah

Why she’s listed: During her time at Utah, Onodi grew from not competing as a freshman, to being named the team’s most improved gymnast, to finally seeing time as an all-arounder. She showed such improvement over her time as a Red Rock that she held the crucial position as beam leadoff by her senior season. During her time in Salt Lake City, her team finished the season no lower than 10th on any event. 

Italy: Martina Comin and Clara Colombo, Nebraska

Why they’re listed: Two sides of the same coin, Comin and Colombo fill equal and opposite specialist roles for the Huskers. Colombo was the first Italian to enter NCAA women’s gym in 2020, but quickly set a precedent for others when Comin signed to join her in Lincoln for the following season. The two have been instrumental on their pet events (Colombo on bars and beam, Comin on vault and floor) in the seasons since the pandemic and have helped the Huskers climb back from being a bubble team.

Japan: Sunny Hasebe, Winona State

Why she’s listed: Hasebe contributed almost weekly on bars and beam for Winona State. She brought fluidity to both events, and holds collegiate highs of 9.625 on each – no small feat in the WIAC. Of note, her years rostered for the Warriors overlaps with three of the other five international gymnasts in the program’s history. 

Mexico: Ericka Garcia, LSU

Why she’s listed: Garcia’s freshman campaign in Baton Rouge included steady lineup time in vault, bars, and beam, before she broke into two all-around lineups during her second season. She hit a personal best of 39.000 all-around, before ultimately growing into the beam leadoff role as an upperclassman.

Netherlands: Mara Titarsolej, Missouri

Why she’s listed: A transfer from LIU, Titarsolej holds claim to LIU’s first ever 10.0 and was the Sharks’ first regional qualifier. Achieving both stats is no small feat, especially in the team’s second competitive season. She’ll compete for Missouri this upcoming season and is poised to fit into it’s lineup, competing weekly against some of the nation’s top bar workers in the SEC.

New Zealand: Courtney McGregor, Boise State

Why she’s listed: McGregor was a key all-around contributor for the Broncos, with highs over 9.900 on each event during an era of program records. In 2019, she contributed in the all-around in every single meet, all the way through to the final round of regionals. 

Northern Ireland: India McPeak, Bowling Green

Why she’s listed: Transferring to Bowling Green from Michigan after her freshman season, McPeak was a force to be reckoned with on beam and floor. Her senior season saw no beam routine below a 9.700, and an event high of 9.925, which qualified her as an individual to regionals. 

Norway: Marny Oestreng, Bowling Green

Why she’s listed: Oestreng is plastered all over the Falcons’ record book, holding the program high all-around (39.600), vault (9.950), bars (9.950), and floor (9.975) scores. Between her four seasons, she competed in an impressive 42 all-around competitions. In her freshman season, she became the first Falcon to qualify to nationals as well as the first to win a national title – which she did in floor event finals. 

Peru: Sandra Collantes, Boise State

Why she’s listed: A steady all-arounder for Boise State, Collantes finished her collegiate career with six All-MRGC honors between all-around, floor and bars. She holds an all-around high of 39.475, and was one of six gymnasts to tie for the 2018 MRGC floor title. 

Philippines: Sofia Gonzalez, UCLA

Why she’s listed: Gonzalez never saw lineup time as a Bruin, but was no doubt a strong recruit for the already stacked team. As a member of the Filipino national team, she competed at the multisport SEA Games and left with a team bronze medal. Fun fact, being a Bruin runs in the family: her father is also an alumni of UCLA’s men’s gymnastics program.

Puerto Rico: Andrea Maldonado, Iowa State

Why she’s listed: One of many names synonymous with Iowa State and floor exercise, Maldonado is the only gymnast to have competed a front triple twist in WAG. She brought speedy twisting with her to Ames, occasionally competing a Randi as a first pass and going as high as 9.975. Although the 2020 season was cut short, her final NQS ranking on floor that year was T-7th, registering in at 9.935. 

Singapore: Nicole Tay, Yale

Why she’s listed: Tay brought her elite skills to Yale, five years after famously tying for the SEA Games all-around title with her twin, Tabitha Tay, who also competed for Yale. Nicole saw time as an all-arounder in her freshman season, before growing into a consistent bar worker for the Bulldogs. Her set included a rarely-seen-in-NCAA Geinger, and scored as high as 9.775 through in-season ECAC competition. 

Slovenia: Sara King, Springfield

Why she’s listed: King competed as a bars and beam specialist for Springfield after spending her freshman season recovering from surgery. She finished third at NCGA East regionals on beam in her first of two competitive seasons and was a regular in Springfield’s beam lineup, counting five 9.600+ scores en route to the school’s first 190+ team score. She represented Slovenia occasionally while studying at Springfield, with stops at the summer Universiade, Maccabiah Games, and multiple world cups.

South Africa: Zandre Labuschagne, UIC

Why she’s listed: Labuschagne came to Chicago with an impressive elite resume, notably competing at the 2004 Olympic Games in Sydney as the first South African gymnast at the Olympics in 44 years. She holds a high of 9.925 on beam, as well as a conference title on the event. She saw consistent time on vault, bars, and beam throughout her career, and maxed out her all-around at a 38.850. 

Spain: Melodie Pulgarin Linero, Denver

Why she’s listed: Pulgarin Linero was a mainstay in the Pioneers’ lineup, notably as a sophomore when she competed all-around at each of the 13 meets in Denver’s schedule. She holds event highs over 9.900 on every event, and boasts an impressive 10 all-around scores over the 39 mark. 

Sweden: Gabriella Brunn, UIC 

Why she’s listed: Brunn made consistent lineups through her three seasons at UIC on vault, beam, and floor. She hit or surpassed 9.900 on each of her three events by her sophomore season, and was the team’s top scorer on all three of her events that year. During all three seasons, her vault reached 9.900 and was UIC’s top mark. 

Switzerland: Anne McPherson, Yale

Why she’s listed: McPherson served as captain for the Bulldogs, earned through her consistent all-around lineup time and consistently 9.900+ floor scores. As a junior in 2005, she contributed all-around at all 10 meets, took the all around title at the Ivy Classic, and qualified to regionals as an individual competitor on beam. 

Venezuela: Jessica Lopez, Denver

Why she’s listed: The three time Olympian lays claim to one of Denver’s most decorated individual careers, including five All-America honors. Her all-around career high is a whopping 39.625, and she holds highs over 9.950 on each event. 

Athletes who are the only NCAA gymnast from their country:

  • Gergana Bounova, Bulgaria – MIT (2000)
  • Simona Castro, Chile – Denver (2011-2013)
  • Luisa Leal, Colombia – Rutgers (2011-2015)
  • Luciana Alvarado, Costa Rica – Central Michigan (2023)
  • Charlotte Andreasen, Denmark – Towson (1998-2001)
  • Nirvana Zaher, Egypt – Sacramento State (2002-2005)
  • Paola Barahona, El Salvador – Alaska (2023)
  • Lilja Olafsdottir, Iceland – Seattle Pacific (2019)
  • Elina Vihrova, Latvia – Penn State (2022-2023)
  • Julija Kovaliova, Lithuania – Towson (2002-2005)
  • Gharde Geldenhuys, Namibia – Washington (2002-2003)
  • Isabella Amado, Panama – Boise State (2017-2020)
  • Anna Michaliszyn, Poland – Northern Illinois (1998-1999)
  • Bea Titsu, Romania – Oregon State (1998-2000)
  • Elena Tkacheva, Russia – Alaska (1994-1997)
  • Meegan Lannin, Thailand – Stanford (1992-1995)
  • Ananda Fraser, Trinidad and Tobago – Rhode Island (2007-2008)
  • Karina Agafanova, Ukraine – Oklahoma (2003-2004)

Interested in a more complete list of international gymnasts in NCAA gymnastics? Click here to see our full list, going back to 1998. 

READ THIS NEXT: Pan American Championships Recap

Article by Peri Goodman

Like what you see? Consider donating to support our efforts throughout the year! [wpedon id=”13158″]


  1. Gabi Onodi’s career was so great to watch in real time — she made so much progress, both in her skills and her confidence.

    Also, I would probably commit a felony if Daria Bijak asked me to. The amplitude on her beam skills… *sigh*

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.