For all the high school gymnasts out there who are wondering how college competitions work, I’ve got the answers for you. While I may not be a gymnast myself anymore, I am the Towson Gymnastics Commentator so I know a thing or two about NCAA gymnastics meets!
First of all, we have the set up. While every college is altered in how they set up their arena, there is a basic layout for all four apparatuses: vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor exercise. Each apparatus is lifted up onto a platform or podium in larger arenas, or they could be simply placed on the ground in smaller arenas. Hundreds or thousands of people pack into the stands with team colors on, pom poms waving in the air, and of course, the all important “perfect 10!” signs.
Right before the competition begins, the home team is announced. It is truly an experience like no other. The arena goes dark, and the spotlights come on. In height order, each member of the team is called out while their pictures are displayed on the Megatron. The fans go wild cheering for their favorite gymnasts, and it is a great way for the whole team to pump up before the meet. There is also an highlight video played in the beginning to introduce the team’s best skills. I believe the theory of the ‘home field advantage’ definitely weighs in during collegiate meets!
The main difference you can expect out of a college meet is the fact you are on a team with a TON of school pride. You will no longer be competing for individual honors, rather in effort to raise the entire team’s score. The energy flowing throughout a team during a meet is exuberant.
Here’s 5 tips to remember during your first meet:
- After every girl competes on each event, the entire team must high five the performer to congratulate them on their performance.
- The home team always competes in Olympic order: vault, bars, beam, floor.
- All of the gymnasts have an autograph signing session after every meet where they get to see their families and meet their biggest fans.
- Not only will you have to wear the team leotards, but you also have to place a small, temporary tattoo next to your eye to support your school mascot.
- If you score a 9.7 or above, or you stick your landing on your dismount, you get to throw a t-shirt to the crowd!
Think you’ve got the basics? Put your skills to the test!