Bear with me a bit on this one.
I often think about scoring in terms of “positive routines” and “negative routines.” Positive routines are those scoring over 9.800, routines that would put the team on a positive path toward breaking 196. Negative routines are those scoring below 9.800, ones that would put the team below 196 if maintained. A score of 9.800 exactly is basically breaking even.
All of the very best schools will be able to put up very positive routines in the 5th and 6th positions (solid, consistent 9.9-level performances). Championships are so often decided by the rest of the lineup, not the stars. I decided to take a look at how the 1-4 performers were scoring for the top teams, and how many of the routines were positive. Here’s how it breaks down for the top 8 teams in the country.
Percent of #1-#4 Routines Scoring Over 9.800 (Overall)
1. Utah – 60.9%
2. UCLA – 57.5%
3. Alabama – 56.3%
3. Oklahoma – 56.3%
5. Nebraska – 53.1%
6. Arkansas – 45.8%
7. Florida – 45.0%
8. Georgia – 41.3%
It’s no surprise that Utah occupies the top spot on this list as well as the rankings, having recorded three straight scores over 197. Teams can’t score that high unless they are getting contributions throughout the lineup.
The issue for Arkansas, and one that may come into play more as the season progresses, is that nearly all their top scores come from Grable and Pisani, and even the numbers that put them at 45% on this list often come from Pisani when she is competing in the 4th position. They have a lot of other 9.8ish gymnasts in their lineups, but those 9.8s need to become at least 9.85s in April.
I was a bit surprised to see Georgia at the bottom of this group (and the clear bottom as well), but they are often relying on Ding and Worley in anchor positions to push their numbers up. They’re seeing a lot of 9.775-9.800s from Davis, Earls, and Persinger in those earlier spots. Interestingly, their worst numbers in this respect come from vault and beam. Didn’t Jay say those would be their strengths?
Individual apparatus numbers after the jump: