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Missing NCAA gymnastics? We are too. Fortunately, there are dozens of exciting performances from this season that deserve a replay (or two!). From Lexy Ramler’s first 10.0 on balance beam to Nia Dennis’s Beyoncé-inspired floor routine debut, we’ve compiled a list of 10 routines to help you re-live the 2020 NCAA season right from your living room.
Vanessa Deniz’s Pinch-Hitting Floor Routine
Competing in her first collegiate meet ever, OU’s Vanessa Deniz replaced veteran Maggie Nichols in the anchor spot on floor at the MetroPlex Challenge on Jan. 25 after a last-minute decision by head coach KJ Kindler. The freshman stepped up to the plate, performing this gorgeous debut routine for a 9.900. The score was good enough to earn her a share of the event title and Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors.
Notably, it was also Deniz’s first meet back after sustaining a major elbow injury during her J.O. career. Although her first year was cut short, the freshman has a bright future ahead of her with the Sooners.
Lexy Ramler Finally Gets Her 10.0 on Beam
After many near-perfect routines, junior Lexy Ramler finally scored her first 10.0 on balance beam at Rutgers on Jan. 18. Everything about the routine is a joy to watch, from her oversplits to the smile on Ramler’s face after nailing each skill. This 10.0 paved the way for others to follow; the junior notched another perfect score on beam the following weekend — the first ever recorded at Minnesota’s Maturi Pavilion.
When the Beam is Your Playground
There’s a lot to love about this routine by CMU’s Savana Kotas. First, check out that mount. She takes a simple press handstand and transforms it into something else entirely. The fluid movement she performs is like the wave, but done with her legs. It’s lovely to see a collegiate gymnast show off her control and strength in such a fun way.
Kotas maintains this unique style throughout her entire routine, moving with a finesse that not many other gymnasts possess on balance beam. You’ll notice she went for her series and felt off, so the freshman seamlessly ad-libbed some choreography and went for it again. She nailed it on the second run, finishing with a popular TikTok dance move. What a cool routine.
Is Anyone Surprised This Went Viral?!
UCLA’s Nia Dennis debuted her new Beyoncé-inspired floor routine for the first time at the 2020 Collegiate Challenge on Jan. 4. Later in the season, the routine went viral, amassing millions of views on YouTube and social media. It received attention from many prominent celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, who invited Dennis to perform her routine live on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” a few weeks later.
Helen Hu is a Breakout Gymternet Favorite
If you know about Missouri’s Helen Hu, then you’re probably obsessed with her gymnastics. After entering the NCAA stage this season, Hu quickly became a clear gymternet favorite, and it’s easy to see why. With a unique skill set and flexibility that’s to die for, the freshman easily rose up through the rankings this season. She finished fifth in the country on this event with a career-high 9.975.
A Poetic Ending for Rachel Gowey
What a way to go out. Senior Rachel Gowey scored her first career perfect 10.0 in what would become her last collegiate routine ever. It was a poetic final performance for Gowey, whose prior career-best was a near-perfect 9.975. She finished the season ranked sixth in the country on the balance beam.
This Season’s 10.0 Superstar
(1:08:52 in the video above)
At the same competition, teammate Trinity Thomas earned her first 10.0 on floor after eight career 9.975s. Performing in her home state of Pennsylvania, Thomas collected this perfect score in from of more than 300 friends and family members.
Thomas notched her first career perfect score at the beginning of the 2020 season on the uneven bars, which opened the floodgates for more to follow. She went on to earn two more 10.0s on the balance beam before securing this one on floor. The Gator standout was the only gymnast to score a perfect mark on three different events in 2020, finishing the season ranked second in the all-around behind OU’s Maggie Nichols. Not a bad sophomore season!
Difficulty for Days
Alabama sophomore Shallon Olsen is one of the few NCAA competitors who still maintains an active elite career, and it shows. She was the only collegiate gymnast this year to perform a double-twisting double tuck on floor, an extremely difficult element that is common in elite gymnastics. Last year, Utah’s MyKayla Skinner competed the pass as well, but she deferred her eligibility this season to pursue a 2020 Olympic berth.
Although Olsen is great on every event, vault is her forte. At the 2018 World Championships, the Canadian earned a silver medal on this event behind USA’s Simone Biles. Here she is performing a double-twisting Yurchenko in the NCAA, another high-level skill that only a handful of other gymnasts competed this season.
Michigan’s Natalie Wojcik is another fan-favorite. This year, the sophomore competed a Deltchev for the first time on the uneven bars at a home meet against Rutgers. After winning the event with a 9.875, Wojcik decided to continue competing the single-bar release, which looks like a cross between a Gienger and a straddled Jaeger.
Here she is competing the skill in a meet against New Hampshire on Feb. 28, where she scored a 9.950 and nabbed the event title. It’s always impressive when an athlete can continue learning new skills throughout their collegiate careers, especially ones as impressive as the Deltchev!