Utah's Maile O'Keefe and UCLA's Jordan Chiles collect two NCAA Titles apiece at Nationals
FORT WORTH, TEXAS - The semifinal rounds of the 2023 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships concluded Thursday night at Dickies Arena with a pair of Pac-12 gymnasts earning NCAA individual titles and Utah advancing to the National Finals for a third straight year. Ute standout senior Maile O'Keefe became the 2023 NCAA Champion in the all-around and the beam and Olympian and UCLA sophomore Jordan Chiles is the 2023 NCAA Champion on the floor and the bars. The Red Rocks, seeded No. 2, took first in the second semifinal, finishing ahead of top-seeded Oklahoma to hand the Sooners just their second loss of the season.
Joining Utah and Oklahoma in Saturday's NCAA Finals are LSU and Florida, who took first and second, respectively, in the first semifinal earlier in the day. California and UCLA's outstanding seasons came to an end Thursday with the Bears finishing third in the first semifinal and the Bruins taking third in the second. UCLA's final score of 197.9125 is the highest non-advancing score in semifinal history.
O'Keefe, a two-time Pac-12 Specialist of the Year, stepped in as an all-around competitor for the Utes in the latter half of the season and only got stronger each week. On Thursday, the Las Vegas native posted a 39.7625 in the all-around and scored her ninth career perfect 10 on beam, becoming the first Pac-12 gymnast to win the NCAA title in the all-around since UCLA's Samantha Peszek in 2015 and first on the beam since UCLA's Christine Peng-Peng Lee in 2018. The two titles Thursday give O'Keefe four in her career after she was the 2021 NCAA Champion on the floor and bars.
Chiles earned the first two NCAA titles of her career after posting her third perfect 10 on bars and just missing another 10 on floor with a 9.9875. It was her fifth overall 10.0 for the season and seventh of her Bruin career. The Vancouver, Wash., native also finished runner-up in the all-around with a 39.7125. The NCAA Champion in bars and floor has now come from the Pac-12 at three of the last four championships (2020 was canceled).
Chiles' Team USA teammate, Oregon State's Jade Carey, was an individual competitor on beam and finished tied for second with Utah's Cristal Isa with a 9.9625. Stanford senior Chloe Widner, an individual qualifier in the all-around, had the top beam score of the first semifinal (9.950), which tied for fourth overall along with UCLA's Emma Malabuyo at the Championships. On bars, Utah's Grace McCallum competed for the first time since February 11 after an injury kept her out most of the season and nailed her routine with a 9.9500 to tie for second with O'Keefe and two others. On floor, UCLA's Selena Harris and Margzetta Frazier both finished tied for fourth alongside O'Keefe at 9.9500.
The "Four on the Floor" final is set for Saturday, April 15 at 1 p.m. PT/3 p.m. CT and will air live on ABC. Utah has kicked it into another gear during the postseason, posting three straight scores of 198-plus at the two regional rounds and the National Semifinals, with Thursday's 198.225 its second-highest of the season and highest postseason score in program history. The Utes are the only program to qualify for all 47 Nationals Championships and are seeking their first NCAA title since 1995 after finishing in third each of the last two seasons.