With a new postseason format set for 2019, this year’s NCAA gymnastics championship season is bound to deliver a thrilling April of amazing action from the first round of play-in meets to the all new Final Four Team Final at the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships in Forth Worth, Texas on Saturday, April 20th.

The new postseason format features four regional sites hosting competition from Thursday, April 4th through Saturday, April 6th, with the two lowest-ranked teams at each regional site facing off in play-in meets on Thursday, two regionals on Friday with the top two in each advancing to Saturday’s super regional, where the top two teams will punch their tickets to the national championships two weeks from then in Fort Worth.

The Athens Regional stood out after the selection show, with number one Oklahoma, eighth-ranked Georgia hosting, number nine Kentucky, and 16th-ranked Cal all will be battling for spots at nationals in a few weeks’ time in Texas.

Athens Regional

Teams:

Play-in meet-

NC State vs. New Hampshire

Regionals-

Session One:

(8) Georgia (host)
(9) Kentucky
Missouri
Iowa State

Session Two:

(1) Oklahoma
(16) Cal
Maryland
Play-in meet winner

Individuals:

All-around-
Danielle Mulligan
(New Hampshire)
Rachael Underwood (Western Michigan)

Vault-
Khazia Hislop
(North Carolina)
Drew Grantham (NC State)
Mikayla Robinson (North Carolina)
Ariana Castrence (Temple)
Alexa Phillips (NC State)
Nicole O’Leary (New Hampshire)

Bars-
Lauren Kent
(NC State)
Jessica Wang (Yale)
Mei Li Costa (Brown)
Morgan Spence (Western Michigan)

Beam-
Khazia Hislop (North Carolina)
Monica Servidio (Temple)
Brittany West (Pitt)

Floor-
Khazia Hislop (North Carolina)
Belle Huang (Rutgers)
India Anderson (Temple)
Alexa Phillips (NC State)

Thursday night is the first day of competition at Stegeman Coliseum, with NC State and New Hampshire facing off in a play-in meet vying for a spot in Friday’s regional round. Both teams have had great seasons so far, and will be looking to advance to Friday’s competition and secure themselves a spot in the second session of regionals.

Play-in meet winner: NC State

Sydney Snead celebrates after performing on the floor exercise for the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens, Georgia/Georgia Athletics

Friday’s regional competition will begin with number eight Georgia taking on number nine Kentucky, number 19 Missouri, and 22nd-ranked Iowa State in a battle to finish in the top two spots to advance to the final round of competition. Georgia and Kentucky will be the favorites to advance, but both Missouri and Iowa State have the ability to capitalize on an off day for either of the top two.

Georgia is led by sole senior Sydney Snead as well as juniors Rachel Dickson and Sabrina Vega, and they will be looking to put on a show for their home crowd. Kentucky is led by dynamic all-around duo senior Alex Hyland and junior Mollie Korth, and the Wildcats will look to prove they can defeat Georgia on the road after losing in a very close head to head matchup earlier in the season. Beam will be critical for Kentucky, as it is the only event where they are higher ranked than Georgia and where they will need to garner a lead. This session should be especially intriguing as it will likely be a preview of the battle to be held on the final day of competition, where Georgia and Kentucky are expected to face off for the second national qualifying position. Missouri is a real contender as well, with floor a major strength for the Tigers. Vault will be a critical rotation for Iowa State, as it is their strongest event and they need to capitalize if they are to have a shot at advancing.

Regional one qualifiers: Georgia, Kentucky

The team expected to take home the first national qualifying spot and the number one ranked team in the nation, the Oklahoma Sooners, headline the second session of day two. Oklahoma, who is undefeated thus far, will face off against number 16 Cal, Maryland, and the winner of the NC State and New Hampshire play-in meet to attempt to qualify to Saturday’s super regional competition.

Barring a disaster, the Sooners, led by junior Maggie Nichols, are expected to advance, but the battle for the second spot could get interesting. Oklahoma is ranked in the top two in the nation on every single event, and is expected to be one of the favorites for the national championship title later in the month in Fort Worth, Texas. Cal is the favorite to join Oklahoma in advancing to the super regional, but even one rough event could open the door for one of the other teams to slip in, with Maryland very capable of posting a high number if they hit a great meet. The key for Cal will be floor exercise, as it is the only event where they are ranked outside of the top 15, currently sitting at number 21. Maryland will look to be consistent across the competition, ready to capitalize if one of the top teams has a mistake.

Regional two qualifiers: Oklahoma, Cal

Maggie Nichols competes on the balance beam for the Oklahoma Sooners at the Metroplex Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas/FloGymnastics

The top two teams from each session will then face off in Saturday’s super regional competition,  where the top two teams will then advance to nationals. The number eight vs number nine showdown of Georgia and Kentucky should be incredibly exciting, but both teams will have to compete well enough Friday to make it through, as anything is possible in the highly-pressurized regional format. The three-day competition is sure to be very intense, as seven of the nine teams will end their season and two very deserving and talented squads will make their way to the national championships in Texas.

Advancing to nationals: Oklahoma, Georgia

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