From Katelyn Ohashi's to Maggie Nichols', 10 can't-miss routines for the 2019 NCAA gymnastics season
Love Katelyn Ohashi's new floor routine? We do, too. And we have great news for you: The 2019 NCAA gymnastics season is underway, and the meets are full of jaw-dropping performances. After intense debate, we came up with the 10 routines you absolutely must watch this year. The list starts with Ohashi, of course:
Katelyn Ohashi, UCLA
UCLA's team finish in 2018: 1st
2019 ranking after week two: 2nd
After nabbing a share of the NCAA title on floor last season (alongside Oklahoma's Maggie Nichols) and amassing nearly 100 million (!) views online of her Michael Jackson-inspired routine, senior Katelyn Ohashi knew she had a tough act to follow. She spent months brainstorming with Coach Valorie Kondos Field and others to come up with the perfect combination of music, dance moves and, of course, unique tumbling passes, and she didn't even make the final tweaks until days before the Bruins' opening meet on Jan. 4.
The final result? This awesome routine -- full of more music from the Jackson family (including Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation") and infectious energy -- that scored a perfect 10.0 in only the second meet of the season and, as of Monday afternoon, has been viewed 22 million times.
Maggie Nichols, Oklahoma
Oklahoma's team finish in 2018: 2nd
2019 ranking after week two: 1st
You could pick any event for junior Maggie Nichols -- and, in fact, we were tempted to just embed all four of her routines. The 2018 NCAA all-around champion earned a 10.0 on her very first vault of the season (and during the course of the previous two seasons scored a 10.0 on each of the four events). She performs with a style that few others have ever matched. On beam especially, her confidence shows through in every move.
MyKayla Skinner, Utah
Utah's team finish in 2018: 5th
2019 ranking after week two: 4th
The reigning NCAA vault champion, junior MyKayla Skinner wasted no time this season and earned a 9.95 on the apparatus in the first meet of the year with a nearly flawless Yurchenko double twist and the Pac-12's Gymnast of the Week honors. On Friday, she got even closer to perfection with a 9.975.
Kyla Ross, UCLA
What more is there really to say about Kyla Ross? The 2012 Olympic gold medalist has been amazing in college -- racking up two NCAA individual titles and three Pac-12 titles -- for the past two seasons and 2019 looks to be no exception. She won the all-around competition in her first meet of the season, and repeated the feat over the weekend at the four-team Collegiate Challenge.
While the 22-year-old junior is a force to be reckoned with on every event, she continues to showcase absolute perfection on bars more often than not, and she scored a 10.0 on Saturday.
And if Ross and Ohashi aren't enough for UCLA fans, let us remind you: Ross' fellow Olympic gold medalist Madison Kocian is still recovering from a series of injuries but has already impressed on bars and beam, and should continue to make an increasing impact for the Bruins this year.
Sarah Finnegan, LSU
LSU's team finish in 2018: 4th
2019 ranking after week two: 5th
Sarah Finnegan was well-known for her stellar beam work as an elite gymnast -- and, in fact, that was the event that helped her earn a place as an alternate on the 2012 Olympic team. In her senior season, Finnegan could well challenge Nichols for the NCAA all-around crown, and her beam routine remains spectacular.
Alicia Boren, Florida
Florida's team finish in 2018: 3rd
2019 ranking after week two: 3rd
Senior all-arounder Alicia Boren has been a key contributor for the Gators since day one, with 14 All-American awards already in her three previous seasons. Last season she won the SEC and regional title on floor, and it's easy to see why: her double layout is one of the highest ever, and her double tuck dismount looks ridiculously simple when she performs it.
Anastasia Webb, Oklahoma
While Nichols has gotten much of the (very well-deserved) attention on the Oklahoma team, Anastasia Webb quietly came in as a freshman last year and competed with ice in her veins. She hit at least 9.95 on every event during the course of the year and was named the 2018 Big 12 Co-Newcomer of the Year. Webb earned first-team All-American on floor with a fifth-place finish at nationals, but bars is arguably the event where she does the coolest skills. For her sophomore year, she's even upgraded her already tricky double-front dismount to add a half-twist at the end.
Trinity Thomas, Florida
Freshman Trinity Thomas is set to be a superstar for Florida this year -- and she already won bars in her competitive debut on Friday with a 9.95. On floor she combines creative choreography with massively powerful tumbling that matches her teammate Boren's. We predict a 10.0 for her on that event before February.
McKenna Kelley, LSU
After tearing her Achilles and missing the entire 2018 season, McKenna Kelley is back and, if her first meet is any indication, better than ever. The daughter of gymnastics icon Mary Lou Retton dazzled in her first routine of the season on Jan. 4 and earned a 9.90. Though she tweaked her ankle in warmups on Friday and didn't compete, it's expected that she will be back in action again this week, and the 2017 SEC floor champion looks poised to make a big splash on the event this year.
Taylor Houchin, Nebraska
Nebraska's team finish in 2018: 6th
2019 ranking after week two: 15th
With a sixth-place finish at the NCAA championships in 2018, the Cornhuskers will hope to sneak into a more cutthroat four-team final at this year's NCAAs. Taylor Houchin could help them do it. The junior went from one event to three during the course of last season, and in 2019 has competed all-around, with bars as her standout event. This impressive set earned a 9.925.