Five NCAA gymnasts you might not know yet — but should

FORT WORTH, Texas — This week’s NCAA gymnastics championships were highlighted by the huge starpower of Olympians Suni Lee, Jade Carey, Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum, as well as newly crowned all-around, bars and floor champion Trinity Thomas. And for good reason.

If you’ve been drawn in to NCAA gymnastics by this all-star group, you’re in luck — we’ve got several more years of the Olympians (all just freshmen!) and senior Thomas has hinted she is not done with the sport.

We’d also like to introduce you to a few gymnasts that you might not know about yet — but, based on their performances this season, are likely headed to big, perhaps even Trinity-sized, results in NCAA gymnastics. Here’s five you’ll want to keep your eye on next season:

Leanne Wong

While Wong is certainly well-known — she was the 2021 world silver medalist in the all-around — she is showing all signs of becoming the next NCAA megastar for Florida. Wong was fifth in the all-around at championships, and has scored as high as 39.8750 (at regional finals) — one of the top marks for anyone in the country this season. The freshman transitioned from elite to NCAA gymnastics remarkably quickly, and brings an artistry to the collegiate level that is simply beautiful to watch:

Jordan Bowers

The Oklahoma freshman immediately became an essential part of the Sooners lineup, and tied with Thomas for the No. 1-ranking on vault after the regular season. She is equally impressive on bars and floor — just missing a national title on floor with a second-place finish in Fort Worth:

Haleigh Bryant

Bryant had an extraordinary season her freshman year at LSU, winning the 2021 NCAA and SEC vault titles, and becoming a six-time All-American. This year, things didn’t go her way. The team was upset in the second round of NCAA regionals, and she was edged out of qualifying as an individual to nationals.

Next year, expect her to be a contender for the vault, floor and all-around titles, and a leader on a recharged LSU team eager for redemption. Bryant’s vault, a front handspring front pike-half, is one of the best ever done:

Kara Eaker

Eaker had an unlucky freshman year at Utah, with an injury in the first meet that kept her out of competition for nearly two months. But even with a shortened season she showed flashes of brilliance: She placed fourth on beam at championships with a 9.9375, and earned a perfect 10.000 at regionals, at a moment when the team needed a big score to make up for a fall. At full strength, she is expected to be in several lineups for the Utes next year, and will bring her poise and impeccable form to each of them:

Sophia Groth

Auburn, led by Suni Lee and Derrian Gobourne, garnered a ton of buzz this week by qualifying into the team final, and ultimately placing fourth. Freshman Sophia Groth is also not to be overlooked. She competed on all four events both days, putting up a 9.925 on beam and a 9.900 on floor in the semifinals:

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