2018 Big 12 Conference Season Preview

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Big 12 is a small but mighty conference, having only four gymnastics teams. This conference has been dominated by Oklahoma over the past decade, as they are the six-time defending champions. With Denver joining the conference in 2016, the Pioneers have sure put pressure on the Sooners within the conference as another contender.

Let’s take a look at the top teams in the Big 12 based on incoming freshmen, overall talent, and coaching.


The Oklahoma Sooners have dominated the Big 12 over the past decade with an outstanding amount of talent on all four events from top to bottom. The Sooners have been the team to beat not only within the conference but within the nation. Look for sophomore Maggie Nichols to be huge leader again for this team, bringing in top scores and consistency. 

This team has several 10.0 vaults that set them apart from others within the conference as well as within the country. The Sooners are the team to beat in the Big 12 once again this season.

Strengths: Depth, consistency, experience

Challenges: Pressure to defend titles

Gymnasts to Watch: Maggie Nichols, Brenna Dowell, Ali Jackson, Brehanna Showers 


Denver has really grown as a team within the national spotlight over the past few seasons. The Pioneers are the biggest challenger to Oklahoma within the Big 12 conference, led by standout all-around sophomore Maddie Karr who brings a beautiful 10.0 start vault to the vault lineup.

Freshman Lynzee Brown brings a boost to the lineup as an all-around star for the Pioneers. Denver needs to be at their best this season and peak at the right time to make a run for the conference championship along with NCAA nationals.

Strengths: Consistency, leadership  

Challenges: Depth

Gymnasts to Watch: Maddie Karr, Lynnzee Brown

3.West Virginia

West Virginia is a team that is looking to push through to the top of the Big 12 this season. The Mountaineers are up against some tough teams in the conference but look to be consistent throughout the season and peak at the right time.  

Strengths: Depth, leadership

Challenges: 10.0 SV vaults, experience

Gymnasts to Watch: Jaquie Tun, Jordan Gillette, McKenna Linnen

4.Iowa State

Iowa State is among the teams in the Big 12 that is looking to continue to build to be a contender this season. The Cyclones have a strong foundation of athletes that is a key for them this season. 

Iowa State will be put to the test this season with Big 12 conference matchups that will prepare them for championships. Senior, Haylee Young brings experience from qualifying to NCAAs as an individual last year to her team to help boost the Cyclones this year.

Strengths: Leadership

Challenges: Experience, depth, 10.0 SV vaults

Gymnasts to Watch: Haylee Young, Ariana Orrego

Who do you think will be the top team out of the Big 12 this season?


Oklahoma, Florida, Utah Advance To Super Six At 2018 NCAA Championships

Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma, Florida, and Utah advanced to the Super Six after Semifinal II at the 2018 NCAA Championships.

UCLA, LSU, And Nebraska Qualify To Super Six At 2018 NCAA Championships

Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA, LSU, and Nebraska are the first three teams to secure their spots in the Super Six finals after Semifinal 1 at the 2018 NCAA Championships. Coming in, LSU, UCLA, and Alabama were the top-ranked teams but Nebraska was able to slide past Alabama with a fantastic showing on every event.

No Sophomore Slump For Utah's MyKayla Skinner

Utah Athletics

After an incredible freshman campaign, MyKayla Skinner kept the momentum going during her sophomore season. She has been a standout for Utah this season and finished the regular season ranked second in the all-around behind Maggie Nichols. 

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Listen below to hear all about Kupets-Carter's first year as head coach, goals for nationals, and bringing on Suzanne Yoculan!

Lexi Graber: A Stronger Mindset For Alabama After Adversity

Christy Ann Linder

Alabama freshman Lexi Graber had a stellar weekend at regionals in Tuscaloosa with a season-best all-around score of 39.575. Graber has been a solid contributor for the Crimson Tide throughout the season despite an early injury scare in just her third competitive routine on vault against Georgia. 

Marissa Oakley Embraces Team At Georgia

Christy Ann Linder

Marissa Oakley has been a solid, consistent three-event gymnast for the GymDogs this season. Offseason shoulder surgery kept her from adding her full difficulty on bars right away, but by the middle of the season she had found a groove on bars and on balance beam. 

NCAA Weekend Is Here: Teams Arrive In St. Louis

Oklahoma Gymnastics Twitter

We're here in St. Louis to keep you up to date on the action and excitement of this weekend's NCAA championships!

Florida Freshman Alyssa Baumann: Adversity 'Has Only Made Us Stronger'

Carly Mackler - Florida Athletics

Alyssa Baumann spent 2017 rehabbing from elbow surgery instead of competing in Gainesville. The severe elbow injury had taken the former WOGA gymnast out of contention for the 2016 Olympic team. But Baumann hasn’t missed a beat since starting at Florida. She has competed on balance beam and floor exercise in every meet this season and has vaulted on four occasions. 

Brooklyn Moors, Zoe Allaire-Bourgie Headline Team Canada At 2018 Pac Rims

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The 2018 Pacific Rim Championships will take place April 27-29 in Medellin, Colombia, and FloGymnastics will be providing the exclusive worldwide live stream for the men’s and women’s competitions. 

Amanda Wellick Helps Arkansas Razorbacks To First NCAAs Since 2013

The last time that Arkansas qualified a full team to the NCAA championships was in 2013—a year before Amanda Wellick joined the Razorbacks squad. Wellick qualified the following season as an individual in the all-around. She competed at nationals a second time as an individual in 2016 after Arkansas was edged by 0.050 in the Iowa City regional.