Four Gymnasts to Watch During the 2022 NCAA Gymnastics Championships

All eyes are on Fort Worth as the battle for the five individual titles begins.

By Alexandra Cadet

This year’s NCAA Gymnastics Championships are already underway, and the stakes for the individual competitions are as high as ever. Thanks to the insane level of talent in the division, there are plenty of athletes whose performances will merit attention, from the favorite in the all-around to the firecracker on floor. Without further ado, here are four gymnasts that casuals and diehards alike should keep a close eye on come finals time in Fort Worth, Texas.

Trinity Thomas (Florida)

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Trinity Thomas is the overwhelming favorite for the all-around title. She’s been on fire this season, scoring four perfect 10s in regionals and becoming the SEC all-around champion. Of course, it might seem a bit odd on paper to say that Thomas can win the all-around over two Olympic champions and a two-time World medalist. But per D’Arcy Maine of ESPN, cleanliness matters more than element difficulty in the NCAA Championships––and flawlessness is Thomas’s strength.

Trinity Thomas is a favorite for the individual all-around title. (Image courtesy of Jezebel)

Another reason to keep an eye on her is a bittersweet one: she’s a senior at Florida, meaning that this may or may not be her last chance to snag an individual title. She could decide to take on an extra year of eligibility as part of the NCAA’s pandemic-influenced rule change. But if this is truly her last year competing for the Gators, she deserves to go out on a high. Let’s hope she can do so in the coming days. 

Jade Carey (Oregon State)

Putting Carey on this list may be proclaiming the obvious, but somebody’s gotta do it. The 2020 Olympic floor exercise champion has grabbed both high scores from judges and attention from casual fans thanks to her stellar performances throughout the season. Despite Oregon State failing to advance to nationals in the team event, she’ll still get a chance to compete in Texas for multiple individual titles. 

An important thing to keep in mind when watching Carey is the history she could make this week. Should she secure victory in the all-around, she’d be the first-ever Olympic Champion to win that title. Of course, she’d need to be nothing less than perfect if she wants to do it, since she’ll be up against elites like Thomas, Suni Lee, and Grace McCallum. But if there’s one thing that we learned from Tokyo, it’s to never, ever count Jade Carey out––even when she’s not the overwhelming favorite.

The Auburn Tigers will feature in the team event, which starts on Thursday. 2020 Olympic all-around champion Suni Lee will hope to impress in the individual all-around event. (Image courtesy of ESPN)

Adeline Kenlin (Iowa)

Adeline Kenlin’s tale is all too common in the gymnastics world: a ton of promise on the youth level followed by burnout, setbacks, and the loss of an Olympic dream. But despite these hardships, she became the sole Hawkeye to make it to this year’s national event, thanks to an impressive regional score of 9.950 on beam.

With the insanely high level of competition for the beam title, Kenlin has a close-to-zero chance of making a splash. But that probably won’t matter to her––or casual fans looking for entertainment. “I’m just hoping to go out there and have some fun. I’m not nervous at all,” she said to J.R. Ogden of the Gazette. In a sport where athletes attempt to achieve ultimate glory by risking extreme bodily injury on a regular basis, maybe a little bit of fun is all we need. 

Nya Reed (Florida)

There are plenty of reasons to put Nya Reed on this list. Her impressive scoring potential. Her steady improvement through her career. Her ability to lift Florida to potential greatness in Fort Worth, along with all-around contender Thomas.

But even if those motivations didn’t exist, she’d still be here. And that’s because of her hip-hop-inspired, perfect-10-earning floor routine, which is nothing short of incredible. Regardless of whether she podiums or not in the individual floor event, her performance is still a must-watch on Saturday. Plus, the team gold medal she’ll probably get would be the cherry on top.

Thanks to these four athletes, the 2022 D1 Championships are sure to be an exciting conclusion to this year’s action. Here’s hoping that they can leave it all out on the floor––and maybe snag a medal or two.

The live scores for this year’s 2022 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships can be found here.

Schedule:

Semi-Final I – Thursday, April 14th, 1:00 PM EST

Semi-Final II – Thursday, April 14th, 6:00 PM EST

National Championship – Saturday, April 16th, 1:00 PM EST

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