The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

The Individuals

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE TEAM, YOU GUYS!

Except for right now because I’m talking about individuals and their various individualities. That’s right, it’s time to think about the all-around. The NCAA all-around title is a bit like the ugly cousin who is forced to live in the attic and be silent when visitors come around (you know, like you have). No one is really allowed to talk about it or acknowledge caring about it because that might make it seem like they are putting personal goals above the team (THE HORROR!), but the quest for the all-around title is an exciting battle this year that I’m eager to keep an eye on more than I have been in most years for some reason. 

So, who are the frontrunners? I’m glad you asked, person I invented. There are a few. One might look at the RQS rankings to find out, but this is the balance beam situation. It’s about going deeper. The season RQS leader is notorious for not winning the ultimate AA title, unless you’re Courtney Kupets (which is a phrase I use a lot—she should write an autobiography called Unless You’re Courtney Kupets). Season average is a slightly better indicator, but why use one indicator when you can use 8? Exactly.

I have taken the top AA contenders this season and ranked them in a series of categories below [rankings are in brackets], including RQS, season averages, and high scores, and then averaged their rankings from each category. My focus in these categories is more on season averages than RQSs because I think the averages are more helpful in this kind of evaluation. RQS tends to get rid of the bad performances, reflecting a gymnast’s quality at her peak rather than quality throughout the season, but increased potential for mistakes is important to take into account when evaluating AA contention. For instance, Kytra Hunter can be great on beam, but her inconsistency so far this season is quite relevant to this discussion and gives her a question mark on that event that some of the other top women may not have. 

The list is limited to 16 gymnasts–anyone who has hit 39.500 in the AA in any meet this year and is currently making all four lineups for her team. That means that Georgia Dabritz is included because she’s in on beam now, and if she can even do just OK on beam, she can ride her other events to becoming a frontrunner. Conversely, Macko Caquatto isn’t here because she hasn’t appeared on floor in weeks. Although if she does come back, she’s certainly another member of this conversation. We will have other contenders beyond this 16 emerge as we go on (for instance, Sam Peszek would certainly be right in any AA battle if UCLA can find enough super glue to get her feet in shape to compete floor), but for now these are the top 16 we have.  

This system is scientific kind of like in the way that awarding 10s has been scientific. Not. But I like it as an overview of who’s in the picture right now moving into the business end of the regular season. 

1. Bridget Sloan – Florida
RQS: 39.540 [3]
Season high: 39.750 [T1]
Season average: 39.593 [1]
Event averages:
VT – 9.929 [T2]
UB – 9.900 [2]
BB – 9.836 [T4]
FX – 9.929 [4]
High scores: VT – 9.950, UB – 9.925, BB – 10.000, FX – 10.000, TOTAL: 39.875 [1]

Average ranking: 2.250

2. Rheagan Courville – LSU
RQS: 39.595 [1]
Season high: 39.750 [T1]
Season average: 39.525 [4]
Event averages: 
VT – 9.919 [4] 
UB – 9.834 [11]
BB – 9.872 [3]
FX – 9.900 [8]
High scores: VT – 10.000, UB – 9.950, BB – 9.950; FX – 9.950, TOTAL: 39.850 [2]

Average ranking: 4.250




http://www.gymnastike.org/embed/NTk3NzM1MDIw?related=1&autoplay=false

3. Katherine Grable – Arkansas
RQS: 39.555 [2]
Season high: 39.725 [3] 
Season average: 39.568 [2]
Event averages:
VT – 9.907 [6]
UB – 9.843 [10]
BB – 9.886 [2]
FX – 9.932 [3]
High scores: VT – 9.950, UB – 9.900, BB – 9.925, FX – 9.950, TOTAL: 39.725 [T8]

Average ranking: 4.500

4. Kytra Hunter – Florida
RQS: 39.475 [5]
Season high: 39.700 [4] 
Season average: 39.513 [6]
Event averages:
VT – 9.936 [1]
UB – 9.832 [12]
BB – 9.739 [13]
FX – 9.954 [1]
High scores: VT – 10.000, UB – 9.900, BB – 9.900, FX – 10.000, TOTAL: 39.800 [T3]

Average ranking: 5.625

5. Georgia Dabritz – Utah
RQS: N/A [T14]
Season high: 39.625 [7]
Season average: 39.538 [3]
Event averages:
VT – 9.911 [5]
UB – 9.939 [1]
BB – 9.775 [11]
FX – 9.939 [2]
High scores: VT – 9.975, UB – 9.975, BB – 9.875, FX – 9.975, TOTAL: 39.800 [T3]

Average ranking: 5.750


6. Emily Wong – Nebraska
RQS: 39.505 [4]
Season high: 39.575 [T11]
Season average: 39.517 [5]
Event averages:
VT – 9.875 [11]
UB – 9.896 [3]
BB – 9.836 [T4]
FX – 9.925 [5]
High scores: VT – 9.925, UB – 9.950, BB – 9.925, FX – 9.950, TOTAL: 39.750 [T6]

Average ranking: 6.125

7. Joanna Sampson – Michigan
RQS: 39.440 [T8]
Season high: 39.650 [T5] 
Season average: 39.450 [7]
Event averages:
VT – 9.886 [8]
UB – 9.846 [9]
BB – 9.804 [7]
FX – 9.914 [7]
High scores: VT – 9.925, UB – 9.975, BB – 9.925, FX – 9.950, TOTAL: 39.775 [5]

Average ranking: 7.000

8. Tory Wilson – Utah
RQS: 39.445 [7]
Season high: 39.600 [T8] 
Season average: 39.411 [9]
Event averages:
VT – 9.929 [T2]
UB – 9.857 [8]
BB – 9.757 [12]
FX – 9.868 [T10]
High scores: VT – 9.975, UB – 9.950, BB – 9.875, FX – 9.950, TOTAL: 39.750 [T6]

Average ranking: 7.750
 
9. Jessie Jordan – LSU
RQS: 39.465 [6]
Season high: 39.550 [13]
Season average: 39.391 [10]
Event averages:
VT – 9.878 [9]
UB – 9.828 [13]
BB – 9.903 [1]
FX – 9.781 [14]
High scores: VT – 9.950, UB – 9.925, BB – 9.925, FX – 9.900, TOTAL: 39.700 [11]

Average ranking: 9.625

10. Alaina Johnson – Florida
RQS: N/A [T14]
Season high: 39.650 [T5]
Season average: 39.442 [8]
Event averages:
VT – 9.836 [15]
UB – 9.868 [6]
BB – 9.787 [9]
FX – 9.892 [9]
High scores: VT – 9.925, UB – 9.950, BB – 9.875, FX – 9.925, TOTAL: 39.675 [T12]

Average ranking: 9.750 

11. Kristina Vaculik – Stanford
RQS: N/A [T14]
Season high: 39.600 [T8] 
Season average: 39.275 [12]
Event averages:
VT – 9.863 [13]
UB – 9.881 [5]
BB – 9.725 [14]
FX – 9.868 [T10]
High scores: VT – 9.900, UB – 9.925, BB – 9.950, FX – 9.950, TOTAL: 39.725 [T8]

Average ranking: 10.500

12. Jessie DeZiel – Nebraska
RQS: 39.195 [12]
Season high: 39.575 [T11]
Season average: 39.258 [T13]
Event averages:
VT – 9.896 [7]
UB – 9.779 [15]
BB – 9.796 [8]
FX – 9.796 [13]
High scores: VT – 9.975, UB – 9.925, BB – 9.900, FX – 9.875, TOTAL: 39.675 [T12]

Average ranking: 11.375

13. Lindsay Mable – Minnesota
RQS: 39.440 [T8]
Season high: 39.600 [T8]
Season average: 39.222 [15]
Event averages:
VT – 9.803 [16]
UB – 9.719 [16]
BB – 9.783 [10]
FX – 9.917 [6]
High scores: VT – 9.925, UB – 9.850, BB – 9.875, FX – 9.975, TOTAL: 39.625 [T15]

Average ranking: 11.750

T14. Caitlin Atkinson – Auburn
RQS: 39.370 [10]
Season high: 39.525 [T14] 
Season average: 39.307 [11]
Event averages:
VT – 9.868 [12]
UB – 9.864 [7]
BB – 9.696 [16]
FX – 9.879 [12]
High scores: VT – 9.925, UB – 9.900, BB – 9.900, FX – 9.925, TOTAL: 39.650 [14]

Average ranking: 12.000

T14. Sarah DeMeo – Alabama
RQS: 39.185 [13]
Season high: 39.500 [16]
Season average: 39.258 [T13]
Event averages:
VT – 9.879 [10]
UB – 9.825 [14]
BB – 9.821 [6]
FX – 9.713 [16]
High scores: VT – 9.925, UB – 9.850, BB – 9.900, FX – 9.925, TOTAL: 39.725 [T8]

Average ranking: 12.000

16. Brittany Rogers – Georgia
RQS: 39.290 [11]
Season high: 39.525 [T14]
Season average: 39.175 [16]
Event averages:
VT – 9.841 [14]
UB – 9.894 [4]
BB – 9.700 [15]
FX – 9.741 [15]
High scores: VT – 9.900, UB – 9.950, BB – 9.900, FX – 9.875, TOTAL: 39.625 [T15]

Average ranking: 13.000

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