1. Florida – 197.296 (RQS: 197.280)
Week 7: 197.300
Week 7 leaders: AA – Sloan 39.600; VT – Hunter 9.950; UB – Sloan 9.950; BB – Hunter, M Caquatto, Sloan 9.875; FX – Dickerson 9.875
Florida looked perfectly strong but not unbeatable over the weekend. Obviously, there are brilliant routines on this team, especially on bars. Bridget Sloan’s UB routine from Friday contends for the best routine I’ve seen this season on any event. What also stood out, and may not be evident from the scores, was the lack of secure landings on both vault and floor. The Gators can be much better than they showed and will need to be (but we have a month). I’m becoming very interested in how these lineups will develop over the next few weeks, particularly regarding Johnson’s return and who competes bars and beam.
2. Oklahoma – 197.171 (RQS: 197.225)
Week 7: 197.450
Week 7 leaders: AA – Olson 39.550; VT – Scaman 9.900; UB – Olson 9.950; BB – Brewer 9.950; FX – Spears 9.900
Interestingly enough, the biggest issue for Oklahoma this past week came on beam where the Sooners had a fall from Alexander and a 9.750 from Spears. That’s unusual and very unlikely to become a thing. Just pretend it didn’t happen. Eight 9.9s, while not as high as the ten 9.9s we saw last week, is a very good number for February. This team is on track but can still turn a few more of those vault and floor 9.850s into 9.900s, which will be necessary to stave off an Alabama surge. I’m already looking forward to that mid-March meet against the Tide, which should tell us a great deal going into postseason.
3. Michigan – 196.939 (RQS: 196.905)
Week 7: 197.375
Week 7 leaders: AA – Sampson 39.600; VT – Beilstein, Colbert, Sugiyama 9.875; UB – Martinez 9.950; BB – Martinez 9.900; FX – Sampson 9.975
It had been almost a month since Michigan showed a 197, so the Wolverines were due. The huge 49.625 floor score will be the focal point (we can’t declare the death of Crisler scoring because they didn’t compete in Crisler this week), but those kinds of scores don’t tend to hold up week to week. What’s more important is their overcoming problems on bars and beam. The bars rotation saw an issue from Beilstein and a lower-than-normal score with an odd judging spread from Zurales, who is usually among the strongest, but that (along with three scores under 9.8 on beam) was not reflected in the finals scores because the team erased it with other strong numbers. That’s a quality that several other high-profile teams did not display last weekend and will be crucial if maintained.
4. Alabama – 196.842 (RQS: 196.680)
Week 7: 197.650
Week 7 leaders: AA – None; VT – Gutierrez, Milliner 9.925; UB – Sledge 9.900; BB – Williams, DeMeo, Jacob 9.900; FX – Gutierrez 9.925
Alabama jumps up to #4 after finally breaking that non-197 streak in a big old way. We knew it was coming because only a random mistake here and there had 197-blocked them over the past few weeks. Priess came in on floor, which will be necessary at the end of the season, and while DeMeo might belong in that lineup over Frost if she’s hitting, the six who performed last weekend did well. Bars is beginning to move into concern territory primarily because of the handstand issues in the middle of the lineup but also because Priess is missing her dismount often enough to stunt the chance of a high anchor score. Sledge was far and away the top worker last weekend but will peak out at 9.900 in that leadoff position. Compared to Florida, this team is giving away a ton on bars.
5. UCLA – 196.650 (RQS: 196.495)
Week 7: 196.075
Week 7 leaders: AA – Zamarripa 39.525; VT – Zamarripa 9.900; UB – Wong, Zamarripa 9.900; BB – Francis, Wong, Zamarripa 9.850; FX – Zamarripa 9.875
While we can never make too much out of one performance, UCLA was dropped by the lead pack last weekend and has significant work to do in order to get back into the highest tier. Without Peszek and Lee (and with Larson not currently in a position to compete to her potential), the Bruins have been fighting the depth monster since the first week of the season. The injuries to Sawa and DeJesus exacerbated the situation, and now Courtney has an ankle issue and De La Torre has shoulder pain. What we saw on Saturday was Zamarripa, some 9.8s, and a hospital waiting room. UCLA won’t contend for a title without a mass recovery over the next month.
6. LSU – 196.507 (RQS: 196.550)
Week 7: 196.825
Week 7 leaders: AA – Courville 39.525; VT – Morrison 10.000; UB – Morrison 9.900; BB – Dickson, Courville 9.825; FX – Hall 9.950
LSU is continuing to surge, and the 9.9s keep coming on vault and floor. Note that if RQS were in play this week, the Tigers would be #5 instead of #6. Beam kept them out of 197 territory this time with three counting scores under 9.800. For many of the teams outside the top group, the inability to put together four excellent rotations in the same meet is the biggest knock against them. As we are now squarely in the second half of the season, the question remains as to how likely it is that LSU will stick both bars and beam in the same meet.
7. Utah – 196.383 (RQS: 196.250)
Week 7: 195.975
Week 7 leaders: AA – Dabritz 39.200; VT – Wilson 9.950; UB – Dabritz 9.825; BB – Wilson 9.875; FX – Tutka 9.900
Utah’s current lot is not dissimilar to LSU’s. Vault looks fine (if Delaney comes back in it will be better than fine), and there is enough on floor to get by even though Lofgren and Del Priore wouldn’t be the choices in an ideal world. This week, the problems showed themselves in the guise of a fall from Wilson and a balk from Lopez on bars. We’re seeing people thrust into positions where they are not ideal (Wilson is not a bars worker), and so the mistakes are far from surprising. The bigger question for me is how high they can score even when they do hit.
8. Georgia – 196.369 (RQS: 196.395)
Week 7: 196.175
Week 7 leaders: AA – None; VT – Jay 9.975; UB – Davis 9.950; BB – Cheek, Rogers 9.900; FX – Couch 9.900
Vault and bars are really quite strong for this team. Maintaining the current quality will be enough to succeed in the postseason, so let’s just get right to the beam. It’s now a full-fledged problem, one made more difficult because there is not one specific or consistent issue, like when Shayla was missing her double full every time. The event is marked by a general lack of stability and what now looks like a recurring tendency for problems to compound one another. I wonder if we’re going to see the traditional lineup shift after consecutive beam problems, but I don’t know how that would help in this case. What’s sure is that Shayla needs a hit next week after two straight falls.
9. Nebraska – 196.283 (RQS: 196.105)
Week 7: 195.625
Week 7 leaders: AA – Wong 39.225; VT – Skinner 9.900; UB – Wong 9.825; BB – Nathe 9.850; FX – Blanske, Wong 9.825
Nebraska has been all kinds of under the radar this season. In what was apparently a low-scoring meet overall, the Huskers had just one 9.900 (Skinner’s vault). This team is a much better group on vault and bars than the scores from that meet reflected. Unfortunately, beam remains a problem. Even when there isn’t a fall, there is a 9.6 bringing the total down, which has been a trend for several seasons. They have the personnel to eradicate that trend this year, but it’s still a work in progress. Also, watch the floor landings over the coming weeks, that tumbling needs to be quite secure for this team to keep Super Six hopes alive.
10. Stanford – 196.129 (RQS: 195.900)
Week 7: 197.275
Week 7 leaders: AA – A Morgan 39.550; VT – Hong 9.900; UB – Vaculik 9.925; BB – Spinner 9.925; FX – A Morgan 9.950
Last weekend, Stanford recorded a 197.275 (which you would never know from the live stats; something must be done immediately), a tremendous score for this group at this point in the season. I still have some concerns about the depth of scoring on certain events in that there are a few great routines that have to make up for consistently lower scores. For instance, vault right now is Hong and Dayton and the hope that everyone else will just do OK enough. The 9.875 from Rice on floor was a major development because if she’s hitting like that, I feel much better about their stability on that event.
11. Oregon State – 195.832 (RQS: 196.080)
12. Minnesota – 195.829
13. Denver – 195.796 (RQS: 195.855)
14. Auburn – 195.746 (RQS: 195.850)
15. Arizona – 195.586 (RQS: 195.640)
16. Boise State – 195.555
17. Maryland – 195.396 (RQS: 195.240)
18. Illinois – 195.342 (RQS: 195.140)
19. Arkansas – 195.296 (RQS: 195.120)
20. Ohio State – 195.286 (RQS: 195.230)
21. Kent State – 195.204 (RQS: 195.035)
22. Washington – 195.188 (RQS: 195.020)
23. Kentucky – 195.182 (RQS: 195.240)
24. Penn State – 195.014 (RQS: 194.935)
25. West Virginia – 194.988 (RQS: 194.755)