Ranking the 2012 Floor Final

Continuing the mission to pick the real winner of things, it’s time to look at the 2012 NCAA Floor Final, a.k.a. the vacation home of our very best friend, controversy.

Unlike the vault 10s, in this case we do have an actual winner. Kat Ding won the title with a 9.950 over the 9.9375s for Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs and Geralen Stack-Eaton. There were . . . a lot of opinions about this result the first time around, so it will be interesting to see how things have developed now that we’ve had months to reflect.

The top 5 finishers are included below. Watch the routines and rank how you think they should have finished. I did not include the 9.900 routines from Zamarripa, Dickerson, and DeZiel because, while they were solid performances, none would be mistaken for a potential winner. The real shame is that Jaime Pisani probably should have been our floor champ, but she didn’t have a strong performance in the final.  

(Where would we be without NastiaFan101 uploading all these individual routines?)

Kat Ding – 9.950

Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs – 9.9375

Geralen Stack-Eaton – 9.9375

Melanie Jones – 9.925

Kytra Hunter – 9.9250

My ranking and thoughts:

1. Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs
2. Melanie Jones
3. Geralen Stack-Eaton
4. Kytra Hunter
5. Kat Ding

Let’s begin with Kat Ding. She’s a gem, but this is the least impressive routine of the five. Perhaps the judges just felt bad that she has been stuck on such a stinker team for the past few seasons and wanted to give her two titles. As KJC points out, the dance elements are not quite there. The front leg is well below horizontal on the switch ring, and she has a bent leg on the wolf full. There’s also some leg separation in the twisting elements. She does get bonus points from me for the layout stepout on the dismount, which is to die for.

If we’re going to keep NCAA from turning into elite, then we have to place serious importance on choreography, and that is the primary reason for EHH outpacing the rest of the group. You can argue against the difficulty of her double tuck mount, but her tumbling was right on and the artistry is the best of the group. She manages not only to have interesting movements but to portray a cohesive, fluid character. Everything fits together, and she doesn’t fall out of the persona of the routine when she’s not specifically focused on the choreography, as so many do. She has laser eyes.

I was also pleasantly surprised by Melanie Jones in this final. Her form is strong across all the elements. I also live for a simple dive roll, and hers is placed and performed excellently. Like Stack-Eaton, she is using a very dramatic piece, but she pulls it off just a little bit better. People often want to use big music for their floor routines, but that is a challenge because you have to live up to that music continuously for a minute and a half. I wish Alabama had recut Stack-Eaton’s music and recomposed her routine. She ends up standing in the corner during some of the most sweeping parts of the piece, and it feels incongruous.

As for Kytra Hunter, her tumbling is crazy excellent, as we all knew it would be, but her performance is still just a little Hill’s and a little pose-y. You can see the moment when she remembered to smile. She could very well deserve this title in her junior and senior years, but right now it’s a tumbling show with a little bit of standing on her head in the middle. She needs to become a floor performer.

4 thoughts on “Ranking the 2012 Floor Final”

  1. It is easy to beat on judges, but in this case they deserve it… Ding received one of the biggest “gifts” in NCAA Gym history that night. I think the judges just gave up on “fairness” and decided to give the local UGA fans something to smile about.

    Personally I think you overrate EHH and underrate Hunter, but I must agree that Ding probably had weakest performance of the group.

  2. Ding's score was a joke, it just adds fuel to the fire that judges have shown favoritism toward Georgia i.e. the infamous 2009 Beam Rotation. Scoring a 9.95 should not be possible when opening with a Rudi, regardless of the level of artistry, which while fair with ding was nothing amazing. It really is sad because she hit her routine, it was very well executed, unfortunately should max out at 9.85, 9.875.

    For me EHH wins the Artistry battle. I don't think it can be overstated how much her dance blows away every other competitor. But I can't award Floor Champion to a double tuck opening.
    Kytra wins the difficulty.
    But GSE wins the whole package.

    1. GSE
    2. EHH
    3. Kytra
    4. Jones
    5. Ding

  3. I would have been fine with Stack-Eaton, EHH, or Hunter winning. Ding should not have even been in the top 5. A 9.95 for her routine was laughable. I would've had her at 6 behind DeZiel. I think Jones had nice artistry and good leaps, but I think the FX champ should show a mix of twisting and flipping. I would have her at 4.

    Between EHH, Stack-Eaton, and Hunter, EHH has BY FAR the best artistry, Hunter has the best tumbling, and Stack-Eaton has the best mix of tumbling and dance. I would probably go 1. Stack-Eaton, 2. EHH – I simply can't look past a double tuck opening. 3. Hunter. I think these three were the class of the field, in any order.

  4. I could not disagree more, having just watched these all again. Ding has a quality that balances grace, amplitude, being right 'ON' the music, that made me prefer her routine to all the others. The way the first pass continued into other elements made it exciting. For this reason I also really liked Jones, but Ding's ability to really use her music stands out to me. I think the judges got it right.
    I have to say that of all of them, EHH's is my least favorite. She has a manaical/creepy look on her face and her posture throughout, the way her head juts forward, really ruins the look of the routine for me. The illusion rotates out to the side (I've noticed this on beam too) (compare it to Leslie Mak's, for example). Also, EHH's feet slid/bounced on the first landing. Just my opinion, I'm sure many won't agree, but for these reasons, she is not even close to the others shown.
    Hunter can't dance. I agree that a fair choice as champion would also have been Geralyn.

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