Week 4 Rankings and Notes

The Florida Gators won week 4 with a 197.650, the highest score recorded so far this season. Expect the home 198s to start coming for the Gators before too long. Florida was followed by a couple of the significant totals recorded at Metroplex, Oklahoma’s 197.275 and LSU’s 197.100.

1. Florida – 197.025
The Gators move up to #1 in the nation this week, a post they seem primed to occupy for many weeks to come. This week marked the highest-scoring vault performance for Florida along with another 49.5+ bars rotation, made more impressive by the fact that Alaina Johnson didn’t even compete. Dancose-Giambattisto came in on bars for a 9.925, providing yet another option for 9.9+. Florida on bars looks to be the most difficult lineup to make in the country this year. Looking ahead, there are still a couple question marks on beam and a couple people underperforming on floor, which is the difference between the current level and a home 198.

2. Oklahoma – 196.938
Oklahoma recorded the highest road score of the season thus far, a 197.275 at Metroplex, a performance that was fine but not without significant room for improvement. Vault was a little bit of a missed opportunity because of several gymnasts giving away tenths on landing. Oklahoma doesn’t have the easy power of an LSU, Alabama, or Florida, so each vaulter must hit her landing to contend with those scores. Brie Olson had a weak meet, but it didn’t end up affecting the team score significantly. While there’s not a ton of depth on bars, the Sooners do appear to have six strong workers, and be sure to check out Lauren Alexander’s 9.975 on beam, the team’s best event. Through February, continue watching for how many potential 9.9s the Sooners have on vault and floor that can become 9.9s by March. They showed two at Metroplex; I’d like to see the number around five.

3. Michigan – 196.900
Michigan was upset on the road this week by Minnesota, but the score of 196.775 is very usable as a road score for RQS, so there’s nothing wrong with this 9.850 of a performance. I saw the bars rotation, and the dismounts in particular were far less crisp than they have been the last two weeks at home, which was true for several road teams this weekend. Natalie Beilstein had a poor meet, and while it has been important to get Lindsay Williams competition time, she’s not a solution on either of her events. I’d like to start seeing Briley Casanova incorporated into a couple more lineups in the coming weeks.  

4. UCLA – 196.650
The Bruins lost ground on the top three this week after an overall lackluster road performance that was saved by Zamarripa returning to the Yfull and getting a 9.950. This team really cannot score well without her, which was evident on beam and floor. Some lineup changes were encouraging, like getting Wong in on beam and Sawa in on floor. Even though Sawa had an error, she should be in the lineup over Bynum from here on out, which will raise the scoring potential. Otherwise, bars dismounts were a concern (but I’m not ready to call it a trend), and Mattie underperformed (which we all long ago started calling a trend). Like I said at the time, though, if 196.375 is the bad road score of the year, then the Bruins don’t have reason to worry. In particular, watch the bars dismounts next week at Stanford.

5. Alabama – 196.533
The Tide is still stuck in this mid-196 territory after a fall on beam from Ashley Priess in the anchor position prevented the team from reaching 197. I’m not worried about Ashley Priess hitting beam, but Gutierrez is probably not a long-term solution there. There were a few positive developments in terms of lineups and content, with Williams showing the Y1.5 and Priess coming in on floor. Vault was still a bit disappointing with a number of inexact landings. Next week at Georgia, sticks are going to earn huge numbers, so if the team zeros in on landings, I see a 49.500. Bars was a good score (and Jacob improved over last week), but I still think this is a two-gymnast lineup, which is a concern. Watch in particular for how the handstands are evaluated by the judges at Georgia because I haven’t been that happy with those handstands yet.

6. LSU – 196.394
For LSU, the big news of the weekend was a bars score of 49.450. Don’t use this score as a barometer for future performances on uneven bars because it was at Metroplex and much of the scoring utilized poetic license (9.900?). Regardless of the score, the overall performance was significant because it showed that bars may not be a debilitating weakness this season. It is still a weakness, but the score this weekend was hunted and gathered from secure landings, and if those keep up, bars could be an event that LSU gets through without having to dig out of. The 49.500 on vault, though, seems much more likely to be a recurring guest star. 

7. Nebraska – 196.383
Nebraska didn’t put up a great score against Ohio State in what was a strange meet overall. We weren’t getting scores after the routines, and based purely on observational evidence, it shouldn’t have been as close as it was. Nebraska wasn’t on and gave away many tenths but was clearly the better team. Blanske, Nathe, and Lauer all struggled on bars, and I’m not sold on any of them as late-season workers. Beam was wibbly-wobbly from most, and everyone had landing issues on that floor. You kids these days with your hula hoops and snap bracelets and sliding back out of double pikes every time. The Huskers had the weakest performance of the top 10 teams this week overall, and a lot of cleaning is in order for next week at home against Illinois.

8. Georgia – 196.290
For Georgia, a 4th-place finish at Metroplex might be taken as a negative, but like Michigan, they’ll appreciate that 196.775 away score when it comes RQS time. The Dogs didn’t quite have a full contingent of routines, with Kirby coming in on beam and Breazeal coming in on floor, neither of which I expect to be all-the-time things. Overall, the team is still more ragged than the rest of the top group and more likely to throw in the occasional 9.725-9.800, but there are already reasons to be optimistic that the Durante era will be stronger than the Clark era. In terms of fitness, creativity, and grace, the team appears stronger. There are still many issues to be resolved: floor consistency, the mercurial nature of the vault performance, and Brittany Rogers on beam to name a few.

9. Utah – 196.283
Like the other strong road scorers, Utah will absolutely take the 196.600. This team is on a fine track, but a fan base that is so dedicated and so expectant of greatness needs more than fine. There is work to be done and routines to find if the Utes are to become a Super Six team again. When it comes down to it, I expect Utah to be contending with the likes of LSU, Georgia, Stanford, and Michigan for those final Super Six spots, and they don’t have those big, constant 49.450 rotations the way some of the others do. I’m not worried about vault (and floor should be able to get by) but continue to watch bars for someone besides Dabritz to emerge and beam for routines that can always go 9.9, of which there are currently none.

10. Minnesota – 195.958
Minnesota is our new friend of the week after a 196.800 home performance pushed the Gophers ahead of a perfectly acceptable Stanford. Any team of this tier can have a strong home score here and there, so proving that the team belongs in this conversation will be dependent on going over 196 multiple times on the road. I’m not convinced. Although, I did see the vault rotation from this 196.800 meet and was impressed with the sticking capability of the final few gymnasts. That’s a strong-scoring rotation that should be so every week. In all, this team is probably a gymnast or two on each event away from top-10 level, but if you’re looking for a good spoiler choice once they become a #3 seed at Regionals, Minnesota is your team.

11. Stanford – 195.825
12. Arizona – 195.638
13. Denver – 195.569
14. Oregon State – 195.438
15. Maryland – 195.238
16. Kentucky – 195.238
17. Auburn – 195.150
18. Ohio State – 195.125
19. Illinois – 194.992
20. California – 194.975
21. Boise State – 194.788
22. Arkansas – 194.775
23. Central Michigan – 194.713
24. NC State – 194.675
25. Kent State – 194.567

Full Rankings