Week 6 Rankings and Notes

Florida’s 198.100 on Friday makes it quite unlikely that any team will be able to catch the Gators before that high score is dropped when RQS comes into play. Then, Florida will simply have to rely on all those paltry mid-197s that anyone could get. The top five from last week remains intact, but Georgia does fall three places after failing to reach 196 over the weekend.
While RQS will not officially be in effect until February 25th, a few teams do have their RQSs already, and that is noted next to their scores.

1. Florida – 197.296
Week 6: 198.100
Leaders: AA – Sloan 39.675; VT – Dickerson 9.925; UB – Sloan, M. Caquatto 9.950; BB – M. Caquatto 9.925; FX – Hunter 9.975.

It’s important that the Gators are not as infallible on beam this year as they have been in years past. These competitors are gaining experience competing after falls, which makes me less nervous for a  postseason implosion like in 2011 when Ashanee got a negative score at Regionals. The crucial piece in Florida’s 2013 success was always going to be bars, and no team is close to matching the quality of that rotation right now.

2. Oklahoma – 197.125 (RQS: 197.025)
Week 6: 197.625
Leaders: AA – Spears 39.575; VT – Kmieciak 9.925; UB – Brewer 9.925; BB – Spears 9.975; FX – Scaman 9.950.

Even though the score is only a few tenths better than the 197.3s we’ve been seeing, it’s a vital step forward for the Sooners because a 197.6 is not attainable without a phalanx of 9.9s. I expected Oklahoma to spend much of the season riding to low 197s with predominantly 9.875s, but the Sooners showed ten scores in the 9.9 range this week. Now do it again.

3. Michigan – 196.867 (RQS: 196.770)
Week 6: 196.925
Leaders: AA – Zurales 39.375; VT – Zurales 9.925; UB – Beilstein, Sampson 9.900; BB – Casanova 9.875; FX – Sampson 9.925

Michigan lost a potential road 197 after some shaky beam performances from the end of the lineup, but a few pieces of crucial progress were made all named Natalie Beilstein. The team has been in need of a 6th bars worker, and the degree of her improvement on that event was a nice surprise. I would have been skeptical of her receiving a 9.900 if I hadn’t seen the routine, but her form has made strides from the 9.7s I remember. She also upgraded her floor routine, which was a necessary step.

4. UCLA – 196.765
Week 6: 196.950
Leaders: AA – Zamarripa 39.625; VT – Zamarripa 9.950; UB – Zamarripa 9.925; BB – Courtney, Francis 9.875; FX – Zamarripa 9.925

To some extent, my impression of UCLA is informed by the meet broadcast where we were seeing half routines and partial replays of other routines, but that’s what this team feels like right now: half of a hit routine. Maybe the broadcast style was a prudent thematic choice. All of the 9.9s from the meet came from Zamarripa and Courtney, and nearly all of the other routines were just OK. In the coming weeks, continue to watch for the degree of supporting contribution. It has to be higher.

5. Alabama – 196.680
Week 6: 196.850
Leaders: AA – Jacob 39.425; VT – Gutierrez 9.950; UB – Demeo 9.875; BB – Jacob 9.875; FX – Gutierrez, Jacob 9.900

This team is still clearly a work in progress, but I don’t see any reason for significant concern right now. No one is quite hitting vault at the same time, but when they all do hit at the same time (which will be soon), the event will be best/second-best in the nation. Sledge went back to bars leadoff, and I’m done making the argument against it because of bleh. Beam still shows the most signs of uncertainty, but I think last weekend’s lineup is probably correct.

6. Utah – 196.465
Week 6: 197.050
Leaders: AA – Wilson 39.475; VT – Wilson 10.000; UB – Damianova 9.875; BB – Dabritz 9.900; FX – Dabritz 9.975

Bars and beam remain a concern. Those who came into the lineups for Lothrop did a workwomanlike job, but the large majority of both of those rotations looked flat. A lot of those beam routines had minor, meet-specific issues, but those minor issues were enough to drop the scores below 9.800, which indicates a lower ceiling than one would hope for. Two to three scores of 9.875+ on those events next week should be the goal. It’s not an ambitious goal at all, but it will be a necessary step. 

7. LSU – 196.454 (RQS: 196.290)
Week 6: 197.275
Leaders: AA – Courville 39.600; VT – Courville 9.950; UB – Courville, Dickson, Morrison 9.850; BB – Courville, Jordan 9.900; FX – Hall 10.000

As this past week proved, this team is talented enough on vault and floor that it doesn’t need to be great on bars and beam. It just needs to be good enough, a status as to which I still have doubts. Even when LSU hits bars and beam, a fall is usually dropped, and the beam score is often too much in the hands of the judges, depending on how harsh they want to be (see the previous week at Kentucky). With a good score at home this week, LSU will be able to drop a 195.525 and increase that currently tepid 196.290 RQS.

8. Nebraska – 197.175

Week 6: 197.175
Leaders: AA – DeZiel 39.525; VT – DeZiel, Skinner 9.925; UB – Giblin 9.950; BB – J Lauer 9.875; FX – DeZiel, Wong 9.925

Nebraska is starting to show a bit more of its potential now that veterans like Schleppenbach and Skinner are in on multiple events and showing some consistency. The team is still giving away too much in the early parts of lineups, making every subsequent routine a must-hit to avoid counting something in the 9.7s. The most important development for Nebraska is that there are actual options on beam, making the event less likely to be a problem.

9. Georgia – 196.396 (RQS: 196.370)
Week 6: 195.825
Leaders: AA – Rogers 38.600; VT – Jay, Rogers 9.925; UB – Davis, Rogers, 9.900; BB – Earls 9.875; FX – Tanella 9.875

We’ve seen enough quality from Georgia this season to treat that 195.825 as a random outlier, and I would be quite surprised if we saw anything that rough at home next week. However, I am nearly ready to declare a balance beam situation in Athens. Just when the start-value issue gets worked out, a wobbly fall-fest takes its place. The Gymdogs had five 9.9s on vault and bars and none on beam and floor on Friday, which is a trend this year.

10. Stanford – 195.900
Week 6: BYE

Stanford did not compete over the weekend but will face Arizona State at home this Friday. Stanford had a fine high-196 in order except for a counted fall on bars against UCLA, so watch for that issue to be resolved against Arizona State after two weeks off. Also keep an eye on the flurry of 9.7s from the freshmen. They are needed on the power events this year, and they are needed for more than 9.7s. 

11. Minnesota – 195.795
12. Denver – 195.788 (RQS: 195.625)
13. Oregon State – 195.683 (RQS: 195.455)
14. Arizona – 195.617 (RQS: 195.525)
15. Auburn – 195.608 (RQS: 195.385)
16. Boise State – 195.550
17. Kentucky – 195.338 (RQS: 195.240)
18. Maryland – 195.240
19. Ohio State – 195.238 (RQS: 195.035)
20. Arkansas – 195.230
21. Illinois – 195.125
22. Kent State – 195.035
23. Washington – 195.030
24. Central Michigan – 194.921 (RQS: 194.730)
25. Arizona State – 194.895