The Pac-12 is packed with talent, and the conference will surely field a great battle this season for the top spot. Utah is the reigning Pac-12 champion and the team will need to be at its best this year to repeat with all the outstanding talent in the conference.
Let’s take a look at the top teams in the Pac-12 based on incoming freshmen, overall talent, and coaching.
Utah has won three of the last four Pac-12 conference championships and is looking to defend their title once again. Sophomore MyKayla Skinner will lead the team with her outstanding difficulty and consistency. Unfortunately, standout Sabrina Schwab medically retired this fall and will no longer be competing for the Utes. The team will capitalize on multiple 10.0 start value vaults to give them an edge on other teams in the conference. Look for the Utes to have a consistent season and peak at the right time to defend their title and aim at winning a national championship.
Strengths: Experience, leadership
Challenge: Losing Schwab in the AA
Gymnasts to watch: MyKayla Skinner, Makenna Merrell-Giles, Kari Lee
UCLA is once again packed full of big names and talent this season. The Bruins will look to peak at the right time in order to retake the top spot in the conference. They absolutely have the talent and drive to win the Pac-12, and even a national title, but will they remain healthy and peak at the right time? The Bruins have outstanding experience and leadership that comes from multiple Olympic and world champions. Watch for Madison Kocian, Kyla Ross, Nia Dennis, and Peng-Peng Lee to lead this team to the top.
Strengths: Depth, experience
Challenge: 10.0 SV vaults
Gymnasts to watch: Kyla Ross, Madison Kocian, Nia Dennis, Peng-Peng Lee, Katelyn Ohashi
Washington is coming off an outstanding record-breaking season in 2017 in which the team qualified to NCAA nationals. The Huskies continued to improve last season, finishing ranked No. 8 in the country. They will look to build off their success by welcoming three talented freshmen. Watch for the Huskies to be a consistent team again this year to peak at the right time to not only be a contender in the Pac-12 but make another run at the NCAA championships.
Strengths: Consistency, beam
Gymnasts to watch: Hailey Burleson, Jennifer Oh
Other Pac-12 Contenders
Cal, Stanford, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State