The best college gymnasts in the country gathered inside Dickies Arena at Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday, April 16, for the NCAA National Championships. Arizona GymCat Malia Hargrove was amongst them, competing as an individual on floor exercise.
Hargrove was the last gymnast to perform and she gave it everything she had, but it, unfortunately, was not enough. Hargrove scored a 9.8625, finishing at No. 27 out of 28 gymnasts in the semi-final round two and tied for No. 46 overall out of 56.
Before she arrived at the national championship, Hargrove attended a press conference via Zoom to discuss what she was most excited about. Since the national championships are formatted like the Olympics, Hargrove would rotate with a team and the school she was placed with was the top ranked Alabama.
“I cannot wait to meet the girls and see what [Alabama] is like and how they compete together,” Hargrove said in the past press conference. “I have heard that teams are really nice to the individuals and … I feel with COVID-19 during the regular season you weren’t allowed to be with other teams because you were so focused on yourself and what you could do for your team, so it will be exciting to watch other teams.”
Even though she did not walk away with a national title, Hargrove said she was thankful for the opportunity to represent Arizona gymnastics.
“It is an honor to go to nationals and compete,” Hargrove said in the past press conference. “Whether it is with your team or individual … I made it, so I should be proud. I should compete the best I have ever competed and leave it out on the floor.”
One person who said they are very proud of Hargrove is head coach John Court. For Court, his admiration for Hargrove extends beyond the gym. Hargrove is majoring in optical science engineering and that is what Court said he wants people to know about her.
“[Hargrove] is going to do great things here and do great things when she leaves,” Court said in the past press conference. “[Hargrove] is special, as are many of the ladies on our team. Did I expect big things [from her?] Yes. If you look at the numbers this year compared to last year with her, she is trending up. As a coach, you can always tell the direction an athlete is going to take between their freshman and sophomore year. She came back in the fall better than when she had left in the spring … and she made a tremendous impact on our team.”
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