Meg Adler NC State on beam

2024 Ann Arbor Regional Preview

It’s almost time for the NCAA gymnastics postseason! We know where each of the top 36 teams in the country will travel to compete for a chance at advancing to nationals, and in the days leading up to the championships, we’ll preview and analyze each of the four regionals, discussing which teams have a chance of moving on each day and which individuals could qualify as well.

First up is the Ann Arbor regional. Wednesday will feature No. 31 Illinois and No. 34 Ball State in round one. Thursday we jump into round two action with No. 8 Alabama, No. 11 Michigan, No. 23 Kent State, and No. 25 Penn State competing in the afternoon session and No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 16 N.C. State, No. 17 Ohio State, and the winner of round one in the evening session. Two teams from each of these Thursday competitions will advance to the regional final on Saturday where the top two from that meet make it to nationals.

There’s also a handful of individuals that will compete on Thursday in both of the round two meets. Simply put, the top all-arounder and event specialists qualify to nationals. To determine those gymnasts, combine Thursday’s individual event and all-around results, wait until Saturday’s meet concludes, take out all the gymnasts from the two qualifying teams, and take the top individual on each event and in the all-around.

Easy enough, right?

For a more in-depth explanation, including how the tie-breaking procedure works (it’s complicated), how the whole format is structured, and even how judges are selected, check out our NCAA postseason resource guide.

Round One

Date: April 3 at 2 p.m. ET

How to Watch: ESPN+

Teams: No. 31 Illinois vs. No. 34 Ball State

TeamNQSAverageHigh ScoreStarting Event
No. 31 Illinois196.690196.393197.275Vault
No. 34 Ball State196.600196.292198.025Bars


Illinois has had a fairly consistent season with a lot of scores in the 196 range and one 197. The Illini has been especially excellent on floor and maxed out at a 49.475. Its most inconsistent event this year would have to be vault, with a low of a 48.600 and a high of 49.300. Ball State, on the other hand, has not been quite as consistent. The Cardinals got off to a hot start and scored a program-high 198.025 at the Tennessee Collegiate Classic but struggled to get back above mid-197. Floor will be the event to watch for Ball State, with a handful of scores above 49.500 and plenty of 9.9-plus potential from Victoria Henry and Suki Pfister.

So You’re Saying There’s a Chance

If both teams have their best day, it should be a close meet. Although Ball State does have a season high of 198.025, the meet in Tennessee was very controversial for its high scoring, so the Cardinals’ second highest score of 197.425 is probably a more accurate ceiling. Illinois’ season high is just two tenths below that, so if each team arrives ready, this meet could come down to the final routine.

Round Two

Session One

Date: April 4 at 1 p.m. ET

How to Watch: ESPN+

Teams: No. 8 Alabama, No. 11 Michigan, No. 23 Kent State, and No. 25 Penn State

TeamNQSAverageHigh ScoreStarting Event
No. 8 Alabama197.805197.527198.075Vault
No. 11 Michigan197.545197.269197.725Floor
No. 23 Kent State196.900196.135197.725Beam
No. 25 Penn State196.825196.406197.025Bars


Each one of these teams has had a successful season, some more than others. Alabama finished second at the SEC championship, Kent State qualified for regionals after finishing 41st in 2023, and Penn State has been heating up to close out the regular season. The only team that hasn’t quite met expectations is Michigan. The Wolverines have struggled to reach the 198 after the departure of Natalie Wojcik, Abby Heiskell, and Nicoletta Koulos. They also only finished third at Big Tens, and a third place finish at regionals obviously won’t cut it.

So You’re Saying There’s a Chance

Although every team in this session has the potential to put up big scores, the teams advancing out of it will very likely be Alabama and Michigan. While Michigan and Kent State do have the same season high, Michigan’s much more consistent with its scores in the 197-range. Plus, with the meet being in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines will have home floor advantage on their side. 

All AroundVaultBarsBeamFloor
Payton Murphy, Western Michigan (with Kent State) Jaye Mack, Illinois State (with Alabama) Ella Chemotti, Eastern Michigan (with Michigan) Cassie St. Clair, Western Michigan (with Michigan) 
Raisa Boris, Eastern Michigan (with Penn State) Alana Fisher, Eastern Michigan (with Michigan) Jaye Mack, Illinois State (with Alabama) 

*Note: Individuals from both round one teams are included in the individual draw to account for one team being eliminated after Wednesday’s competition. The spots from the individuals on the advancing team will not be filled.

Individuals to Keep an Eye on

While Murphy will be competing in the all-around, she could more realistically qualify to nationals for floor. Murphy has scored above 9.900 more times than not, and she’s gone as high as 9.975. This session’s other all-arounder, Boris, has also proven her ability to score big, and if she hits to her full potential, she can go as high as 39.525. Advancing to Fort Worth may be a stretch, but it could be possible if she has her best meet of the year.

Session Two

Date: April 4 at 7 p.m. ET

How to Watch: ESPN+

Teams: No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 16 N.C. State, No. 17 Ohio State, and the winner of round one.

TeamNQSAverageHigh ScoreStarting Event
No. 1 Oklahoma198.500198.360198.950Vault
No. 16 N.C. State197.120196.583197.575Floor
No. 17 Ohio State197.110196.950197.350Beam
No. 31 Illinois196.690196.393197.275Bars


It’s been a record-breaking season for Oklahoma. The Sooners scored a jaw-dropping 198.950 at the Big 12 championship, Jordan Bowers had three 10s in one meet, and Ragan Smith was perfect on beam four meets in a row. But don’t let these historicaccomplishments overshadow the other great teams in this session. N.C. State won the first ACC championship since 1984, and Ohio State has had a stellar season, especially on floor. The Buckeyes haven’t gone below 49 on floor all year and have gone as high as 49.575. 

So You’re Saying There’s a Chance

It’s pretty clear to anybody who’s watched college gymnastics this year that Oklahoma will be advancing out of this session. The real contest will be between N.C. State and Ohio State for the second spot in the final. The teams’ NQS are as close as can be, but the Wolfpack has a higher season high by just over two tenths. It’s also coming off a win at ACCs while Ohio State scored a big 197.050 at Big Tens. Plus, both play-in teams are able to score within the low-197 range, so this session may end up being closer than expected with a three-way race for the second spot in the regional final.

All AroundVaultBarsBeamFloor
Zoe Middleton, Ball State (with Illinois) Victoria Henry, Ball State (with N.C. State) Megan Teter, Ball State (with N.C. State) Nya Kraus, Lindenwood (with N.C. State) Jordyn Ewing, Pittsburgh (with N.C. State) 
Suki Pfister, Ball State (with Ohio State)Ashley Szymanski, Ball State (with Ohio State) Suki Pfister, Ball State (with Ohio State) 
Angelica Labat, Illinois State (with Oklahoma)Jah’Liyah Bedminster, Pittsburgh (with Oklahoma)

*Note: Individuals from both round one teams are included in the individual draw to account for one team being eliminated after Wednesday’s competition. The spots from the individuals on the advancing team will not be filled.

Individuals to Keep an Eye on

Pfister has always been a great vaulter, and this season is no different. She’s gone over 9.900 eight times and scored a perfect 10. Additionally, keep your eye on Lindenwood’s Kraus on beam. She’s scored in the 9.9 range multiple times. On bars, Saltness has posted a massive 9.975, so if she hits to her potential, she has a chance at moving through as well.

Round Three

Date: April 6 at 5 p.m. ET

How to Watch: ESPN+

Teams: Top two teams from each Friday session

VaultTeam with the third-highest NQS
BarsTeam with the second-highest NQS
BeamTeam with the highest NQS
FloorTeam with the fourth-highest NQS

The Bottom Line

Assuming that Oklahoma, Alabama, and Michigan all qualify to the final, there will be some heartbreak at the end of the night when only two teams are able to advance to Fort Worth. It’s hard to picture Oklahoma not winning the meet, given its record-crushing scores this year and the fact that it won its home regional last year despite counting a fall. This means that either Alabama or Michigan will be missing out on nationals for the second year in a row. Will the Wolverines qualify in front of their home crowd? Or will Alabama keep its momentum going and punch its ticket to Texas?

READ THIS NEXT: The NCAA Postseason Format, Explained

Article by Emily Lockard


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