On April 16-17, Dickies Arena will host the nation’s top female collegiate gymnasts. The 2021 National Collegiate Women's Gymnastics Championships, staged by the Fort Worth Sports Commission, Knight Eady and Texas Woman’s University, will determine NCAA Division I Team and Individual national champions in the sport of artistic gymnastics. Fort Worth previously hosted the event in 2015, 2016 and 2019, and is scheduled to do so each year through 2026.
Friday features two sessions of four teams each. The top two teams from each semifinal advance to Saturday’s final, aka “Four on the Floor.”
In addition, top individual gymnasts whose school teams did not qualify for the final eight compete alongside the teams. The best individual performances of the night from either team or at-large competitors earn individual national titles in specific events or the all-around (combining scores from all events).
Attendance & Viewing
Spectators will be permitted at Dickie’s Arena, subject to the venue’s COVID protocols, including a face covering requirement. Limited capacity is set at 25% and single-session tickets are available now. Doors open one-and-a-half hours before each session.
Even if you can’t watch from inside the arena, you can enjoy all the sessions live on television. Both semifinal rounds taking place at noon and 5 p.m. CST on Friday, April 16, will air on ESPN2, while the finals will on Saturday, April 17, will air on ABC at 2:30 p.m. CST.
The top eight teams in the current national rankings will vie for the title in Fort Worth. The absence of traditional powers UCLA and Georgia means five teams will be seeking their school’s first championship in the sport.
The Crimson Tide finished first at the Southeastern Conference Championships (SEC), then placed just behind Oklahoma in the Tuscaloosa regional to make it to Fort Worth. Luisa Blanco was the 2021 SEC Gymnast of the Year. Blanco (balance beam) and teammate Makarri Doggette (uneven bars) each posted 10.0s in the regional semifinal round.
The PAC-12 conference named Cal Berkeley co-head coaches Justin Howell and Elisabeth Crandall-Howell their Coaches of the Year this season. After finishing second in the conference meet, they barely outdistanced their downstate rivals, 7-time national champ UCLA, at the Morgantown Regional to qualify for a berth in the NCAA finals for the fifth time in school history. This year’s team set school records with four All-Americans and five All-PAC-12 performers.
Top-seeded Florida went undefeated in regular season competition before taking third in the SEC Championships. They rebounded for a come-from-behind win at the Athens Regional. Coach Jenny Rowland earned her third Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year award this season and Leah Clapper was named the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year. A key for Florida’s title hopes will be the health of All-American Trinity Thomas, who was limited by injury late in the season. The Gators won their third, and most recent, NCAA title in Fort Worth in 2015.
The SEC Championships runners-up also finished second in the Salt Lake City Regional, barely topping Arizona State and Kentucky, to get to Fort Worth. SEC coaches named Haleigh Bryant as conference Freshman of the Year and Kiya Johnson was tabbed as Specialist of the Year. Johnson posted a perfect floor exercise score at the SEC meet, so pay special attention to her in that event.
After finishing second at the Big Ten Championships, the Wolverines posted a 198.100 to match their best score of the season and win the Morgantown Regional (and finish three spots ahead of rivals Ohio State to boot). Their performance included a program-record 49.725 in the uneven bars competition.
The Golden Gophers won the Big Ten Championships and then took second at the Athens Regional to earn a chance to compete for the national title. Senior Lexy Ramler was among five Gophers to earn All-America honors, and she was also named Big Ten Gymnast of the Year for the third consecutive season.
The Sooners posted a 198.175, including a perfect vault score from Olivia Trautman, to win the Tuscaloosa Regional. It was the top score in any of the regional competitions and earned them a trip to Fort Worth. They’re no strangers to competing in the area, having won NCAA titles in 2016 and 2019 at the Fort Worth Convention Center and the Metroplex Challenge quad meet on multiple occasions. Five team members earned All-America honors this year, with at least one gymnast recognized in every event.
Utah was the class of the PAC-12 conference this season, with Maile O’Keefe earning Gymnast of the Year honors and Alexia Burch winning Specialist of the Year for her work on the vault. The 9-time NCAA titlists won the Salt Lake City Regional to advance to the NCAA’s national finals for the 45th consecutive year. The Red Rocks’ only loss of the season came in a dual meet at Oklahoma by a narrow margin, so keep an eye on that matchup.