Secret Classic Results by NCAA Verbal Commitment

Peyton Ernst (2015-2016) – 2nd SR AA (58.250); 6th VT (14.700); 4th UB (14.350); 1st BB (14.700); 2nd FX (14.500)
Amelia Hundley (2016-2017) – 2nd JR AA (57.950); 5th VT (14.700); 2nd UB (14.400); 5th BB (14.400); 3rd FX (14.450)
Kennedy Baker (2014-2015) – 5th SR AA (56.450); 7th VT (14.550); 10th UB (13.550); 3rd BB (14.300); 6th FX (14.050)
Alyssa Baumann (2016-2017) – 7th JR AA (54.900); 12th VT (13.750); 7th UB (13.900); 20th BB (13.050); 4th FX (14.200)
Grace McLaughlin (2014-2015) – 11th SR AA (52.750); 13th VT (13.650); 8th UB (13.900); 10th BB (13.300); 14th FX (11.900)

Veronica Hults (2016-2017) – 3rd JR AA (56.800); 16th VT (13.650); 1st UB (14.550); 3rd BB (14.900); 10th FX (13.700)
Madison Kocian (2015-2016) – 7th SR AA (55.350); 8th VT (14.450); 2nd UB (14.450); 13th BB (12.800); 10th FX (13.650)
Felicia Hano (2016-2017) – 20th JR AA (52.450); 7th VT (14.500); 20th UB (12.600); 32nd BB (12.100); 20th FX (13.250)

Brenna Dowell (2014-2015) – 3rd SR AA (57.200); 2nd VT (15.550); 6th UB (14.050); 10th BB (13.300); 4th FX (14.300)
Alexandra Marks (2016-2017) – 29th JR UB (11.650); 39th BB (10.450); 20th FX (13.250)

Lexie Priessman (2015-2016) – 5th SR VT (14.750); 4th UB (14.350); 1st FX (14.800)

Abigail Milliet (2014-2015) – 4th SR AA (56.800); 10th VT (14.200); 3rd UB (14.400); 5th BB (14.200); 7th FX (14.000)

Ariana Guerra (2015-2016) – 8th SR AA (55.000); 10th VT (14.200); 7th UB (13.950); 12th BB (13.250); 11th FX (13.600)

Erin Macadaeg (2014-2015) – 9th SR AA (54.050); 12th VT (13.950); 12th UB (12.100); 3rd BB (14.300); 8th FX (13.700)

Mykayla Skinner (2015-2016) – 10th SR AA (53.000); 3rd VT (15.250); 13th UB (11.150); 9th BB (13.550); 13th FX (13.050)

Kyla Ross – 1st SR AA (58.650); 4th VT (15.200); 1st UB (15.400); 2nd BB (14.650); 12th FX (13.400)
Maggie Nichols – 6th SR AA (55.750); 9th VT (14.400); 11th UB (13.250); 8th BB (13.900); 5th FX (14.200)
Simone Biles – 9th SR UB (13.650); 7th BB (13.950); 8th FX (13.700)
Maddie Desch – 6th SR BB (14.150)

Secret Classic Tomorrow

For misguided individuals who are like me and enjoy having score sheets to print out for each event so that you can record the scores as they are given and then keep them in a folder for easy access if, for instance, you need to analyze the differences in execution scores between 2010 and 2013 or . . . I’ll just stop talking. 

Anyway, here they are for the Secret Classic:


I’ll be watching (at least the senior competition) and perhaps checking in on twitter as we go. @TheBBSituation

A Secret Classic Post Without a Pun in the Title

And it was really hard to resist, but I think we can all agree that this particular well of rolling eyes has been more than exhausted. Yes, secret is an actual word and a sponsor of an event. We get it.

But first, time to keep up with a little NCAA talk. I’m soooo changeable.

Earlier this week, Jenni Pinches announced she will be attending UCLA for the 2013-2014 season, giving a big, unexpected boost to the Bruins for next year. The UCLA scholarship situation is always a little bit of witch’s brew (eye of newt, toe of frog, Kaelie Baer – we don’t know what’s in there), so it’s not yet clear whether there was an opening or whether the team had to play “Eeny, meeny, miny, medical retirement.” We’ll see in time.

Pinches brings early or mid lineup potential on all four events, a tremendous piece of security for a team losing half of its Super Six routines from last season. While the injury comebacks and the already-committed freshmen would likely have prevented a repeat of the depth problems from last season, some holes still presented themselves. On certain events, the Bruins would have had enough routines to get by but perhaps only about 7 that they would really want to compete, while the others made up the depth charts. That’s assuming seamless comebacks from the injured, which is hardly assured, and would not be enough for any degree of confidence. One person gets injured, someone else needs time to get back into form, and it’s Alyssa Pritchett’s 9.750 on vault all over again. Pinches provides breathing room and solid .050s here and there over what otherwise could have competed.

Back in the elite realm, the Secret Classic is just a week away. The roster was released early this week, and it features 17 seniors and 46 juniors.

The senior roster contains the usual batch of “OMG you guys! I qualified elite!” mixed with the “Look at me Martha! Please! Look at me! She knows my name, right?” mixed with the “See you in Belgium, beyotches!”

That’s part of the fun of the first year of the quad, the mixture.
It’s when everything seems possible, even to the people for whom it’s not. That’s why we see so many juniors competing elite this year, with all their hopes and dreams that we are far too jaded to understand. The bevy of juniors is large but falls slightly short of the 49 we saw compete in the junior sessions of Classic in 2009. That year, there we so many juniors and so few seniors that the most prominent juniors who were seen as having the most potential were invited to compete with the seniors. That group consisted of Sabrina Vega, Amanda Jetter, Bridgey Caquatto, and Briley Casanova. Meanwhile, Kyla Ross, Aly Raisman, and McKayla Maroney competed in the normal junior session (finishing 1st, 12th, and 24th respectively). So yes, don’t get too excited or unexcited by the junior results. Everything’s going to change. No one knew too much about Kyla Ross going into 2009, but her 15.200 on vault was the first routine of the competition and made everyone say, “Is this someone?” We learned a lot from that very first piece of gymnastics of the elite season in the new quad.

From those 49 in 2009, only Amelia Hundley is still competing junior elite four years later. From the 47 juniors who competed in 2010, Hundley, Bridget Dean, Polina Shchennikova, Alyssa Baumann and Ashton Kim are still junior elites. We’ll be playing the long game with some of these juniors.

In truth, the biggest lesson we learn from Classics each year is that if you make people wait long enough, even something kind of lame and insignificant seems like an extravaganza. The event is more anticipated than Nationals simply because of the wait, yet it is a minor blip on the overall landscape, the results of which are only minorly relevant come team selection. Classic will probably teach us less about who will make the Worlds team and more about who will be going up 4th on bars for UCLA soon. (Seriously, Olivia Courtney won in 2009 and Mattie Larson won in 2010.)

But because it is not actually in the vicinity of being as significant as Nationals, this competition is an opportunity for someone unexpected to place well and start becoming more than second tier if she can take the opportunity. If there is a narrative to be changed, this is the year to do it because enough is still up in the air with so many years to go. The majority of the top competitors, especially the veterans, will be aiming to peak later and will not bother with the AA at Classic. “I’m only competing two events at Classic” means you’re either in the “OMG you guys! I qualified elite!” group or the “See you in Belgium, beyotches!” group.

People in the middle group will have a chance to be featured and start sculpting identities for themselves. If we look back to Classic from 2012 and 2011, when most of her contemporaries were showing up at about 70% or competing one or two events, Aly Raisman was hitting four events every time out and won the title both years. She may have had her first staring moment at American Cup in 2010, but she didn’t truly become Sturdy Aly, the girl who can’t be left off a team, until later. Watch out for those who use the opportunity of a limited, slightly underprepared field to be the momentary queen.

2012 Skill Frequency – Floor and Vault

I might as well finish off the bunch with floor and vault frequency.

As always, the tables below show the frequency with which gymnasts performed skills as 2012 Visa Championships, this time on floor and vault as measured by the % of total routines featuring the given skill.

We’ll start with the various categories of floor skills, and the pathetically small vault table will follow at the end.

Clearly, the back 1.5 C skill connected into an E tumble dominates the composition. I’m of several minds about this. On the one hand, I don’t think any skills besides handsprings and round offs should be appearing in 90% of routines. That’s evidence of a code that is too limiting, ensuring there is but one realistic solution to receive the sought-after .2 CV. On the other hand, I love a combination pass. When done well, they are so much more interesting than straightforward tumbles, even difficult ones. So, if that’s the kind of combo pass we get, I’m in favor.

That said, I have absolutely no problem with the elimination of the combo pass requirement. The combo pass is so valuable for CV that this has little effect on composition. People will still perform as many misguided combinations to try to get a bigger D score as they did before, but my hope is that perhaps the lack of requirement will cause some to get rid of combinations they were barely getting through in the first place and doing only to fulfill the requirement. The most common combination performed, especially in the seniors, was the 1.5 through to double back, and very few of them were good ideas. Let’s get rid of them, McKayla.

While there are some other problems with repetitive composition (every junior dismounted with a 2.5, people perform the double back and the double pike in the same routine) few of the skills appear in more than half of routines, and the problems with repetition seem overall less severe than on bars and beam.

P.S. Why does nobody perform the DLO in elite anymore?

These assessments are made with the most charitable eye possible, counting the intended skill. Otherwise, we would have far fewer split 1.5s and switch 1/1s. Basically, the attitude is to attempt as many D dance elements as possible and then hope to swindle the judges into crediting at least one of them.

Lots of seniors performing double Ls, once again trying to pull around a D skill somehow, while the juniors opted for double turns and single Ys and Ls. The juniors had no problem throwing in some B elements, usually as backups in case other dance elements got downgraded.

Interestingly, fewer people attempted dance elements out of their acro skills than I expected. The gymnasts on the Olympic track were all over it, but a number of the others did not bother with everyone’s favorite combo of double arabian+pause+negative amplitude spasm in stag position. For that, we can be thankful.  

Pitiful, but we can expect nothing different in the future. It starts with JO for most. If they don’t have any incentive to learn a different entry early on, they won’t do so in elite. It’s the same argument we have in NCAA. People always want to impose some requirement about variety in vault lineups, but the gymnasts don’t have the skill sets to adapt to those potential requirements because they never learned anything different in JO. Imposing more variety on vault has to start at a younger age. It can’t begin at 18.

In elite, the code is just as complicit in the lack of variety. The powers did well to lower the value of the Y2.5 to 6.3, but that was done in order to keep vault scoring more consistent with the other events and keep the bad Y2.5s from outscoring the good DTYs (as easily). They therefore also lowered the values of the rudi, Cheng, etc, which was a mistake. They should have kept those values the same while lowering Yurchenko vault values in order to encourage more variety. As it stands now, there is no incentive to learn a non-Yurchenko vault.