2023 NCAA gymnastics championships: Maile O'Keefe wins all-around, as Oklahoma and Utah advance to finals

Jordan Chiles, Maile O'Keefe score perfect 10s (1:46)

Jordan Chiles and Maile O'Keefe score perfect 10s for their respective schools at the NCAA gymnastics championships. (1:46)

After an unforgettable season chock full of surprises, viral moments, dominant performances and even the occasional scoring controversy or two, the 2023 NCAA championships are upon us in Fort Worth, Texas.

The competition got underway Thursday, with LSU, Florida, Oklahoma and Utah advancing out of semifinals and into Saturday's final round. Utah's Maile O'Keefe won the all-around, just edging UCLA's Jordan Chiles, who earned national titles on bars and floor.

Want the lowdown on everything you might have missed? We have you covered with recaps of all the action from both semifinal sessions:

Maile O'Keefe stuns to win the all-around title

Many predicted Jordan Chiles would win the all-around -- and for a few brief moments during Thursday night's final rotation, it looked as if Chiles would do just that. She seemed to have the NCAA's top individual honor all but locked up when she ended her competition with a perfect 10 on bars.

But Utah's Maile O'Keefe had other ideas. Competing on beam just moments after Chiles' score was announced, and as Chiles was celebrating her momentous score with her teammates, O'Keefe flawlessly executed her routine in the Red Rocks' anchor position. She earned a 10 of her own, just the second of the day. The score was good enough to clinch Utah's spot in Saturday's team final -- and earned her the all-around and beam titles.

O'Keefe seemed to be as surprised as everyone else by the achievement.

"I didn't even know until a couple of minutes ago," O'Keefe said during a post-meet interview.

Cracking just the slightest smile, she said she would be celebrating the victory with some hugs with her parents and some happy tears.

Chiles ultimately finished the all-around competition in second, and won the bars and floor titles. She said the accomplishments felt "amazing" but was visibly disappointed by the abrupt end to the Bruins' season. Chiles will miss the 2024 season as she trains for the Olympics.

LSU's Haleigh Bryant, the top scorer from the day's first semifinal, finished in third place. -- D'Arcy Maine

Individual champions:

All-around: Maile O'Keefe, Utah 39.7625

Vault: Olivia Trautman, Oklahoma 9.95

Bars: Jordan Chiles, UCLA 10.0

Beam: Maile O'Keefe, Utah 10.0

Floor: Jordan Chiles, UCLA 9.9875

Utah and Oklahoma advance to finals

The Sooners cemented their status for Saturday with a strong 49.4625 total on vault, lead by Olivia Trautman's 9.950 stuck Yurchenko 1½.

Then it all came down to a battle between Utah, on beam, and UCLA, on bars. Chae Campbell led off the Bruins with a 9.900, later matched by Margzetta Frazier. Selena Harris earned a 9.9125, setting up Jordan Chiles, who earned a perfect 10 -- the first of the day.

And then ... over on beam, Maile O'Keefe earned a 10 of her own, after scores of 9.9625 from Cristal Isa, 9.925 from Grace McCallum and 9.9125 from Kara Eaker. Utah's incredible beam score of 49.6875 bested UCLA, and boosted the Utes to the top of the standings overall.

Kentucky ended up fourth, with a solid floor rotation that included a 9.9375 from their all-around star Raena Worley. -- Amy Van Deusen

Final results from semifinal II:

  1. Utah: 198.2250

  2. Oklahoma: 198.1625

  3. UCLA: 197.9125

  4. Kentucky: 197.1250

Jade Carey: Beam queen

Olympic and world gold medalist Jade Carey might have only qualified for one event at the NCAA championships but, wow, did she make it count. Competing on beam during third rotation, and as the lone gymnast representing Oregon State, Carey took over the lead on the event with a 9.9625. -- D'Arcy Maine

Rotation three: A new leader

On floor, Audrey Davis started Oklahoma off with a 9.900 -- and it only got better from there. Ragan Smith earned a 9.925, while Danielle Sievers a 9.9375. Jordan Bowers and Faith Torrez capped off the counting scores, with matching 9.950s. Totaling 49.6625 on the event, the Sooners have now surged to the overall lead.

Utah had a similarly huge rotation on bars, with scores of 9.950 from Maile O'Keefe, 9.9375 for Abby Brenner and 9.925 from Cristal Isa, respectively. Then Olympian Grace McCallum, returning to the bar line-up after injury, scored another 9.950 in the feel-good moment of the competition so far. Utah's monster total of 49.6750 places them in second, .162 ahead of UCLA.

The Bruins had their lowest event total of the day so far on vault, but still had two scores of 9.900 from Chae Campbell and Jordan Chiles. Still, they'll need to jump ahead of the Utes in the final rotation if they hope to advance to Saturday's finals. Kentucky's beam rotation was highlighted by Isabella Magnelli's 9.950, for a strong 49.4125 on the event. -- Amy Van Deusen

Third rotation results:

  1. Oklahoma: 148.700

  2. Utah: 148.5375

  3. UCLA: 148.4000

  4. Kentucky: 147.6875

Grace McCallum is back

After a two-month absence due to a knee injury, McCallum officially made her return to competition and made sure EVERYONE knew it. The sophomore earned a 9.95 as Utah's anchor on bars and her tearful reaction after her stuck landing made it clear just how much it meant to her. -- D'Arcy Maine

Jordan Chiles brings down the house

Chiles bounced back from any disappointment she may have felt about her beam routine to earn a 9.9875 on floor -- the highest score of the day on any event, and putting her in strong contention for the floor title. Her double layout mount almost hit the rafters: -- Amy Van Deusen

Rotation two: UCLA's floor party

We're officially at the halfway mark, and UCLA and Oklahoma appear to be separating themselves ever so slightly from the pack due to very strong starts. The Bruins hold the lead with a 99.2250 following a season-high performance on floor. Four of the six judges gave Jordan Chiles a perfect 10 for her electrifying 1990s-themed routine, and her 9.9875 is the current top score on the day for the event. Selena Harris and Margzetta Frazier both added 9.95 scores with their crowd-pleasing routines.

The Sooners were equally dominant on beam, with six hit routines and four scores of 9.90 or better. Olivia Trautman earned a 9.95 -- tying the mark for the best score on the event for the day -- and Oklahoma is just .188 behind UCLA entering the third rotation.

Other standout performances from the second rotation included Michigan's Natalie Wojcik scoring a 9.925 on bars in the final routine of her esteemed collegiate career and Utah's Makenna Smith (9.90) on vault. -- D'Arcy Maine

Second rotation results:

  1. UCLA: 99.2250

  2. Oklahoma: 99.0375

  3. Utah: 98.8625

  4. Kentucky: 98.4375

Olivia Trautman is near-perfect on beam

Oklahoma fifth-year senior Olivia Trautman tied her career high on the event with a nerves-of-steel routine that tied the top score of the day. She stuck her dismount, of course: -- Amy Van Deusen

Jordan Chiles entertains, as always

The frontrunner for the all-around title entering the evening session, UCLA sophomore Jordan Chiles was looking perfect on beam, right up until the end. She took a big step on her dismount, and was given a 9.825. While not a terrible score, it may end her all-around quest, as she now needs above a 9.95 on the other three events to top LSU's Haleigh Bryant's 39.6875 from the first semifinal.

Although Chiles didn't get the score she was looking for, it's safe to say there was no one enjoying themselves more ahead of the competition. -- D'Arcy Maine

Derrian Gobourne's farewell

Competing as an individual qualifier and solely on floor, Auburn senior Derrian Gobourne ended her collegiate career with her fan-favorite routine. The last gymnast to compete in the first session, Gobourne had the undivided attention of all those in the crowd -- including her brother Derric who was appropriately wearing a crown atop his head -- and she didn't disappoint. Her infectious choreography and high-flying tumbling brought down the house and earned her the second-best score on the event of the rotation with a 9.9125. -- D'Arcy Maine

Rotation one: And ... we're off!

Well, this is going to be very exciting. Everyone brought their A-game right from the start, and, as expected, it's very, very close.

UCLA's lead-off Emily Lee started brilliantly on beam with a 9.900, which Ciena Alipio, the second gymnast up, promptly matched. Jordan Chiles was rock solid during her routine, but a big step forward on her double pike dismount left her with a 9.825, lower than her typical score. Her teammates picked it right back up, with freshman star Selena Harris earning a 9.9375, and Emma Malabuyo a 9.950, tying the top score of the day on beam. UCLA is in first, but only by the slimmest of margins (.013!)

Utah's Maile O'Keefe led her squad on floor with a 9.950, and Jaylene Gilstrap added a 9.900 for a solid rotation that puts them into second place. Oklahoma began on bars, an event where it's ranked No. 1, with a stunning 9.900 from Danielle Sievers. Ragan Smith later earned a 9.925, while Audrey Davis added another 9.900. Though they didn't stick dismounts as well as they would have liked, they still earned a 49.4875 and sit in third, but only .025 out of first.

Kentucky had a great outing on vault as well, with three sky-high front pike-halfs, and the top score of 9.9125 from Makenzie Wilson. -- Amy Van Deusen

First rotation results:

  1. UCLA: 49.5125

  2. Utah: 49.5000

  3. Oklahoma: 49.4875

  4. Kentucky: 49.3125

Who to watch in semifinal II

Led by Jordan Chiles, the Olympic silver medalist and all-around frontrunner in the absence of Thomas, UCLA will look to continue its recent resurgence and make its first team final since 2019. Chiles' world and Olympic teammate Jade Carey's Oregon State squad didn't advance to Fort Worth, and she surprisingly didn't qualify as an individual all-arounder either, but Carey will be competing on beam and presumably doing everything she can to leave her mark in her lone event.

Fellow Olympian Grace McCallum is expected to make her return after a knee injury sidelined her for much of the season, and will do her part to help a gifted Utah team in its quest for its 10th national title and first since 1995. And then, of course, there's reigning champion Oklahoma, the closest thing to a dynasty in the sport today. The Sooners have advanced to the team final every year since 2013 and will look to keep their dominant stretch very much intact. -- D'Arcy Maine

LSU and Florida advance to Saturday's final

After a fiercely contested, and at times chaotic, first semifinal session, the LSU Tigers and Florida Gators advanced to Saturday's team final. Less than a point separated all four teams competing in the event.

Led by Haleigh Bryant, who earned a 9.9375 or better on three events, and Aleah Finnegan, who tied for the best score of the session on floor, the Tigers trailed throughout the day before a strong final rotation on bars to take the lead and notch a 197.4750 score. After a season marred by injuries and advancing to Fort Worth by a tiebreak, Bryant said she never doubted her team would be able to reach the team final.

"This team has so much capability, everybody on this team is here for a reason," Bryant told ESPN's Samantha Peszek after the meet. "Even if we lost some of our stars, we all came together and are going to do this for everybody that can't contribute right now and that's just what we've been doing. We're still climbing and going to the final four, baby!"

LSU finished .075 of a point ahead of their SEC rivals. For Florida, it was a roller-coaster day, marked by the late return of star Trinity Thomas, who competed on bars and vault despite a leg injury. The Gators held the lead after the first rotation -- thanks in part to Thomas' 9.95 bar score -- dropped to last place at the halfway mark and fought their way back.

Thomas was emotional following the meet and said she has high hopes for Saturday's final.

"We are so special and I hope you can feel that, even from the outside," Thomas told Peszek. "... We all come together to be one great team. And I can't wait to step out here again on the floor one final time with this Gators team because they mean the world to me."

And now we'll just have to wait and see which two other teams will face LSU and Florida with the NCAA title on the line. -- D'Arcy Maine

Semifinal I final results

  1. LSU: 197.475

  2. Florida: 197.400

  3. California: 196.9125

  4. Denver: 196.500

Individual event leaders

An overall winner will be determined on each event and in the all-around after both semifinals are complete today. As of now, here's who leads the standings:

Vault: Lynnzee Brown (Denver) & Courtney Blackson (BSU), 9.9250

Bars: Trinity Thomas (Florida), 9.950

Beam: Chloe Widner (Stanford), 9.950

Floor: Leanne Wong (Florida) & Aleah Finnegan (LSU), 9.9625

All-around: Haleigh Bryant (LSU), 39.6875

Leanne Wong puts on a show

When her team needed her most, Leanne Wong stepped up in a major way with a gorgeous floor routine to help lead the Gators to first place after the third rotation. The 2021 world bronze medalist on floor, Wong earned a 9.9625 -- despite chants and pleas from her teammates for a perfect 10. Wong is currently tied for the top score on the event with LSU's Aleah Finnegan. -- D'Arcy Maine

Florida back on top!

Florida went from fourth to first after an absolutely wild rotation three, and the two spots in the final are now firmly in the hands of Florida and LSU as long as all goes well in the last rotation.

On floor, the Gators bounced back from their beam challenges, with Payton Richards scoring a 9.9250, Victoria Nguyen a 9.900 and Leanne Wong a 9.9625 for an oh-so-close-to-perfect routine.

LSU had a solid, if not spectacular, vault rotation, led by 9.8625s from Haleigh Bryant and Bryce Wilson. Bryant, one of the best vaulters in the country, was a little off on her block and scored lower than she would normally after taking a step. Unfortunately, it will keep her from earning the individual vault title today, but it was enough to keep LSU in the second spot overall, just .100 behind Florida.

Cal had a tough rotation on bars, typically one of their best events, counting a fall and scoring only 48.700. Lynnzee Brown led off for Denver with an incredible 9.9125 on beam, but the squad struggled from there with two falls and is forced to count a low 9.000 score in its team total. -- Amy Van Deusen

Third rotation results:

  1. Florida: 148.100

  2. LSU: 148.000

  3. California: 147.4875

  4. Denver: 147.1375

Aleah Finnegan fantastic on floor

LSU's phenomenal sophomore Aleah Finnegan earned the highest score of the day so far -- a 9.9625 -- for her floor routine, which included a gorgeous Arabian double front mount, and a super difficult back 2½ to punch front combo pass. The score puts her in firm contention for the individual floor title. -- Amy Van Deusen

Rotation two: Florida struggles

After entering the rotation in first place, it was a shaky outing for Florida on beam, and the Gators fell to fourth at the halfway mark. Sloane Blakely (9.9375) and Kayla DiCello (9.925) were the bright spots for the team, but it was an uncharacteristically error-riddled rotation overall.

Buoyed by a 9.9. from Mya Lauzon, Cal took over the lead with a strong rotation on vault. The Golden Bears now hold an ever-so-narrow lead over LSU, but it was the Tigers who had some of the most entertaining performances of the rotation with powerful routines on floor from Haleigh Bryant and Aleah Finnegan. -- D'Arcy Maine

Second rotation results:

  1. California: 98.7875

  2. LSU: 98.7500

  3. Denver: 98.5875

  4. Florida: 98.5750

Haleigh Bryant's opening statement

While Trinity Thomas was (understandably) the center of attention during the first rotation, LSU's Haleigh Bryant casually scored a 9.9375 on beam to help boost the Tigers early and make a convincing argument for her own all-around campaign. -- D'Arcy Maine

Rotation one: A roller-coaster start

Florida started off with a fall on bars on the first routine, but then came roaring back with scores above 9.9 for the last three gymnasts. Highlighting the rotation: The return of Trinity Thomas to the lineup. She earned a 9.95 for a near-perfect set. Denver was solid with a 49.225 on vault, led by Lynnzee Brown's stuck Yurchenko 1½ that earned a 9.925. On beam, LSU's Haleigh Bryant scored a 9.9375 with an immaculate set, and on floor, Cal's Mya Lauzon and eMjae Frazier earned matching scores of 9.9375. -- Amy Van Deusen

First rotation results:

  1. Florida: 49.4875

  2. California: 49.4375

  3. LSU: 49.2750

  4. Denver: 49.2250

Strong start for Lynnzee Brown

Lynnzee Brown made a statement for Denver in its opening rotation on vault. The only thing more impressive than her stuck Yurchenko 1½? Her absolutely perfect reaction to it. She earned a 9.925 -- the best score for the Pioneers at the event. -- D'Arcy Maine

Trinity is in!

After days of speculation and a near-constant stream of questions about her participation status because of a lingering lower leg injury, Trinity Thomas was announced to be competing on bars and vault moments before the meet.

Showing no visible signs of injury, nor wearing any wrapping, she did Trinity Thomas things and scored a 9.95 with a nearly flawless opening routine on bars. Having been unable to practice her landing for nearly two weeks, Thomas stuck her double layout dismount.

"How did she do it?" ESPN reporter Sam Peszek asked Florida coach Jenny Rowland after the first rotation.

"Trusting her training, the months and weeks that led into these last couple weeks," Rowland said. "She did a phenomenal job, extremely proud. I know this team is proud." -- D'Arcy Maine

It's go time

The gymnasts are warming up, and Florida (with Trinity Thomas there as well) started the day with a dance party. The countdown begins.

Who to watch in semifinal I

The biggest question leading into the weekend has undoubtedly been the status of Florida star and reigning all-around champion Trinity Thomas. The fifth-year senior injured her right leg during regionals and was unable to compete in the regional final.

During Wednesday's practice session, Thomas trained exclusively on bars, giving fans a glimmer of hope that she will compete in at least the one event.

Still, Thomas' presumed absence for most of the competition is a major blow to the Gators, who for much of the season appeared to be a front-runners for the NCAA title. Florida has the talent to advance to Saturday's final even with Thomas' limited participation, but it won't be easy.

Who else should you be keeping an eye on during the first semifinal? LSU's Haleigh Bryant is the likely favorite from the afternoon session to take the early lead in the all-around race. Freshman phenom eMjae Frazier and California will be looking to keep their record-setting season going. And Denver's sixth-year senior Lynnzee Brown, one of college gymnastics' most beloved figures, could put up big numbers on bars and floor -- and force one more meet in her legendary career. -- D'Arcy Maine

Get more predictions from Kathy Johnson Clarke, Sam Peszek, John Roethlisberger and many more here.

Championship history

Georgia has won the most national titles overall, with 10, and had a streak of five titles in a row from 2005 to 2009. But the Bulldogs haven't won since 2009, and did not qualify to compete in Fort Worth this year.

Utah dominated the 1980s to the mid-1990s and has nine titles overall, with the most recent coming in 1995. Recently, Oklahoma has been the team to beat, with five national titles since the Sooners first won in 2014 (a tie for the title with Florida -- the only tie in history.)

The full breakdown of national titles:

Georgia: 10 (1987, 1989, 1993, 1998-99, 2005-09)
Utah: 9 (1982-86, 1990, 1992, 1994-95)
UCLA: 7 (1997, 2000-01, 2003-2004, 2010, 2018)
Alabama: 6 (1988, 1991, 1996, 2002, 2011-12)
Oklahoma: 5 (2014 [tied], 2016-17, 2019, 2022)
Florida: 3 (2013, 2014 [tied], 2015)
Michigan: 1 (2021)