Previewing The Pac-12, Big Ten, SEC & Big 12 Conference Championships

College gymnastics conference championships are coming up this weekend, and every single conference has a lot of talent to watch! Here is a breakdown of the Pac-12, Big Ten, SEC and Big 12 conferences to give a closer look at what to expect in these competitions. 

Pac-12

The Pac-12 Championships are broken into two sessions, with the No. 6 through No. 8 seeds competing in session one and the No. 1 through No. 4 seeds competing in session two. Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford and Washington round out session one, while session two is comprised of California, Oregon State, UCLA and Utah. 

Six of these eight teams are ranked in the WGCA Top 25 going into conference championships—UCLA (No. 2), Utah (No. 6), Oregon State (No. 14), California (No. 16), Washington (No. 18), and Arizona State (No. 21). The two that didn’t make the cut aren’t far behind, with Stanford coming in at No. 26 and Arizona at No. 30.

Either UCLA or Utah has won each of the last five Pac-12 titles, with Utah taking three and UCLA taking two. UCLA won the most recent Pac-12 Championships in 2018. Oregon State has taken a few championships in the last 10 years, and Stanford took first place once as well. 

This year will be the first that Pac-12 Women’s Gymnastics Championships are held at a neutral location, the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah. 

Big Ten

The Big Ten Championships will be hosted by Penn State for the first time since 2014. Session one is Ohio State (No. 23), Rutgers (No. 45), Maryland (No. 27) and Michigan State (No. 40). Session two will be Illinois (No. 32), Iowa (No. 34), Minnesota (No. 11), Michigan (No. 7), Nebraska (No. 17), and Penn State (No. 25). 

Michigan is a strong contender for first place this year, as the Wolverines won the regular season with an undefeated 9-0 conference record. They won Big Ten Championships in 2018, gaining their 24th overall crown and fifth consecutive conference title win. They are ranked seventh overall and have a good chance of winning again this year. Minnesota trails behind, ranked 11th overall, with an 8-1 record in conference in 2019. Nebraska is hot on the Gophers’ trail, with a 6-3 in conference record and No. 17 overall ranking. 

Determined by regional qualifying scores, 16 gymnasts from seven schools earned First Team All-Big Ten honors: Mary Jane Otto from Illinois; Clair Kaji from Iowa; Abby Brenner, Lauren Farley, Olivia Karas, Emma McLean and Natalie Wojcik from Michigan; Ona Loper, Ivy Lu, Lexy Ramler and Paige Williams from Minnesota; Sienna Crouse, Sierra Hassel and Taylor Houchin from Nebraska; Jamie Stone from Ohio State; and Lauren Bridgens from Penn State. 

The conference also named 15 gymnasts to the All-Big Ten Second Team: Karen Howell, Kasey Meeks and Kylie Noonan from Illinois; Nicole Chow and Lauren Guerin from Iowa; Audrey Barber from Maryland; Lexi Funk from Michigan; Gabrielle Douglas and Lea Mitchell from Michigan State; Tiarre Sales from Minnesota; Adnerys De Jesus from Nebraska; Olivia Aepli and Jenna Swartzentruber from Ohio State; Sabrina Garcia from Penn State; and Belle Huang from Rutgers.

SEC

At the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, the top eight SEC teams will gather to compete in two sessions. Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri and Auburn will compete in session one at 3 p.m. CT before LSU, Kentucky, Georgia and Florida compete in session two at 7 p.m. CT. This is the first time this event will be hosted in New Orleans. 

This conference is one to watch, as last year six teams (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and LSU) went on to NCAA Championships, making up half the teams there. The LSU Tigers are two-time defending conference champions and are seeded in first place. This year, they narrowly beat out the Gators for the No. 1 seed going into championships after a win last weekend that put them ahead.

As the Tigers are seeded in first, they will compete in Olympic order in the second session. Florida will begin on bars, Georgia on beam and Kentucky on floor for the first rotation. All teams will then rotate in Olympic order. In session one, Alabama begins on vault, Auburn on bars, Missouri on beam and Arkansas on floor.

Big 12

The Big 12 Women’s Gymnastics Championships will be held at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Oklahoma. It was initially going to be held in West Virginia, but scheduling conflicts forced the location to be moved. It will be held in Oklahoma for the first time since 2015. 

Oklahoma (No. 1), Denver (No. 5), West Virginia (No. 27) and Iowa State (No. 22) are all slated to compete for the crown in this conference. Oklahoma will begin on vault as the first seed, Denver on bars, West Virginia on beam and Iowa State on floor, then rotating according to Olympic order. 

Oklahoma generally sweeps this conference and has dominated in recent years, winning seven consecutive Big 12 titles. In 2018, the Sooners won the Big 12 Championships before moving onto NCAA Championships and finishing runner-up. Denver will be OU’s greatest threat to adding an eighth conference title in a row.

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