The 198 barrier is a thing of the past. That’s what we learned this weekend. Remember in 2012 when UCLA hit 198 and it was a thing? People fainted with outrage about it. There was an epidemic of vapors. It was a different time. Mattie Larson got a 9.900 on bars at that meet, to illustrate what a different time it was.
This weekend, Oklahoma and LSU took 198’s fragile innocence, with a 198.150 from Oklahoma and a 198.075 from LSU. Not surprising that those two were the first to do it. What is more surprising is how close Utah has come the last couple weeks, and how high they have risen in the rankings.
Speaking of Utah’s scores, in spite of this being a huge-scoring weekend, we saw just two 10.0s, which is sort of low based on my expectations, both from Utah on vault. Once again, we saw lots more 10s from individual judges, including for this fab 9.975 from Mary Jane Horth.
As for the 10s, we need to have an honest conversation about how Tory Wilson didn’t stick that vault. Let’s just all acknowledge it and move on. After that score, Georgia Dabritz better get a 10 for sticking that excellent 1.5. If Wilson got a 10 and then Dabritz didn’t, just throw out the whole system.
And now to the rankings.
Week 5 Rankings – GymInfo
1. Oklahoma – 197.579
Week 5: 198.150
Week 5 leaders: AA – None; VT – Scaman, Capps 9.950; UB – Wofford 9.950; BB – Capps 9.950; FX – Dowell, Jackson 9.950
Oklahoma maintains a comfortable lead after recording the weekend’s highest score yet again. In the Friday live blog I mentioned that Oklahoma had the highest average ever recorded and that point in the season, and unsurprisingly after a 198, that is still true this week. When RQS officially debuts in two weeks, the Sooners have a pretty good shot of starting with a higher RQS than they finished last year. UCLA’s record RQS of 198.055 may still be a tough ask, but we’ll see.
This team is certainly capable of getting big scores from every spot in the lineup, including the first. Having that 9.925 from Clark in the first spot on bars, and starting with a 9.850 on beam, were critical in allowing Oklahoma to build from there and reach up into the 49.5s on those events, to match what they have been doing regularly on vault and floor. That big score from Clark meant Dowell could take an extra swing after Church, and no one even noticed. Sign of a championship team: your star makes a mistake, and you still get a 49.525.
2. LSU – 197.315
Week 5: 198.075
Week 5 leaders: AA – Courville 39.825; VT – Courville 9.950; UB – Courville 9.950; BB – Courville, Macadaeg, Gnat 9.950; FX – Courville 9.975
Not to be overshadowed, LSU was not too shabby this weekend either. It was clear that things got a little silly with the scoring for LSU in that meet, especially toward the end on floor, but the big story was the exceptional beam rotation. With the lovely work from Hambrick and Macadaeg introduced this year, LSU is capable of being anyone on beam now, even Oklahoma (gasp!), but until this week, they had not actually shown that in competition. On Friday, we finally saw it, which is especially remarkable because Jessie Jordan wasn’t available. Get back immediately. We’re nothing without Jessie Jordan. When that beam lineup is Ewing, Hambrick, Gnat, Macadaeg, Courville, Jordan…whew.
3. Utah – 197.195
Week 5: 197.825
Week 5 leaders: AA – Dabritz 39.675; VT – Dabritz, Wilson 10.000; UB – Dabritz 9.950; BB – Rowe 9.900; FX – Dabritz 9.950
As mentioned, there were some crazies happening at this meet, and I still need therapy about a few of those floor scores, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that this is Utah’s best team since 2010 or so. A healthy Lothrop, a career-best Dabritz, the introduction of Kari Lee, Baely Rowe starting to grow into the beam star she should be based on her JO career, even Wilson’s much-improved form on bars releases. They have the pieces on all events this time around.
4. Florida – 197.145
Week 5: 197.200
Week 5 leaders: AA – Fassbender 39.375; VT – McMurtry 9.950; UB – Boyce, Caquatto, Fassbender 9.850; BB – Boyce, Spicer 9.875; FX – Hunter 9.925
Florida in 4th. What is happening? Answer: When Bridget Sloan is injured, Kennedy Baker has a concussion, and Kytra Hunter has probably the worst meet she’s ever had as a college gymnast (which still included a 9.925 on floor), it’s more a miracle that they were able to break 197 this week than anything else. That’s tough to do when missing basically 2.5 of your top 3 AAers. They certainly have backups, but it was more a 9.850-9.875 kind of meet than the 9.950 fests we have come to expect. The Gators are the most depleted of the top teams right now, but it would be short-sighted to declare them clearly behind Oklahoma and LSU. These are temporary issues, and I certainly don’t expect Florida to have another meet where Kytra splats her 1.5. I’ve decided that didn’t happen in real life, anyway. It was fictional.
5. Michigan – 196.970
Week 5: 197.125
Week 5 leaders: AA – Sugiyama 39.525; VT – Sugiyama, Artz, Chiarelli 9.875; UB – Sheppard 9.925; BB – Artz 9.925; FX – Sugiyama 9.925
The Wolverines stay safe at #5 with a pretty comfortable lead over Alabama. They did very well to break 197 again this weekend even without the benefit of some of the routines and big scores we would expect them to rely on. Chiarelli fell on beam and Artz had an OOB for 9.725 on floor, but they still remained comfortably over 49 on both events. In the lineups, Casanova was limited to just beam and Christopherson was out on bars, yet Brooke Parker stepped in to get a 9.900 on bars, which I never would have expected and is more evidence of what has made Michigan successful this year, people making the rare transition from backup to 9.900.
It is still a tenuous hold on big scores. They really don’t have the depth to afford any injuries to lineup, which we saw of evidence of this weekend when they Stanforded vault (to Stanford: to put up five competitors instead of six). That’s also evidence of how much they need Austin Sheppard back there. Wrap everyone up and swaddle them until meet time.
6. Alabama – 196.765
Week 5: 197.325
Week 5 leaders: AA – Beers 39.475; VT – Williams 9.900; UB – Bailey, Beers 9.900; BB – Beers, McNeer 9.900; FX – Beers, Clark, A Sims 9.900
7. Nebraska – 196.375
Week 5: 197.325
Week 5 leaders: AA – DeZiel 39.550; VT – Blanske, DeZiel, Lambert 9.925; UB – Laeng 9.900; BB – DeZiel 9.925; FX – Blanske 9.925
In this next portion of the rankings, we saw some solid, encouraging, not-problematic 197.325s from Alabama and Nebraska. Alabama still has areas to clean up (I expect this to be a slow-burn year for the Tide), but there are no egregious issues cropping up, only a lack of 9.950s to wonder about. Though some might consider any Alabama gymnast scoring below 9.800 on vault to be an egregious issue. Alabama doesn’t do that.
The weekend also saw an important result from Nebraska, breaking the 49.3s on both beam and floor to start moving out of one-event-team territory, which is how they had looked at a few previous meets. Recovering to hit a full beam rotation was necessary (in spite of not having Lambert in the lineup like I asked for, Nebraska), and most importantly, working Jessie DeZiel back up toward 9.9s on all four events is the most essential piece for this team as we move into February. There’s a lot on her shoulders this year without Wong.
8. Georgia – 196.079
Week 5: 196.850
Week 5 leaders: AA – None; VT – Jay 9.925; UB – Davis, Rogers 9.875; BB – Broussard 9.875; FX – Box 9.875
9. Auburn – 196.065
Week 5: 196.825
Week 5 leaders: AA – Atkinson – 39.475; VT – Demers 9.925; UB – Atkinson 9.875; BB – Atkinson, Demers, Walker 9.900; FX – Rott 9.825
Georgia and Auburn were the 196.8 twins over the weekend, both falling to stronger teams but still recording acceptable scores. Especially for Auburn, a team much less accustomed to high 196s. Georgia gave away too much on bars and beam with some landing issues on bars and tentative errors on beam, but they’re hanging close and should break 197 any minute now. Big progress was made on vault. Clear season bests from Vaculik and Marino were important to see, and will be necessary if Georgia is to make a legitimate assault on a Super Six spot.
Auburn continues to mess with the traditional powers and prove that they’re legitimately in the hunt and at the same level. Of note, in spite of losing to Alabama, they won both vault and beam, which should provide a confidence boost and illustrate their potential to everyone. Continuing to develop Abby Milliet’s comfort level on beam is vital, and hopefully we see more from her. Of note, Auburn has a lot of sheep jumps on beam, but get this: they’re not terrible. Some of them are almost real sheep jumps, so credit for that.
10. Oregon State – 195.985
Week 5: 196.250
Week 5 leaders: AA – Gardiner 39.275; VT – Keeker 9.900; UB – Aufiero 9.875; BB – Perez 9.850; FX – McMillan 9.875
Oregon State is still just managing to hold off Penn State (with a 197 over the weekend) and Boise State, though it’s a tenuous hold after a 49.050 kind of meet on Saturday. UCLA does not compete until tonight and can jump ahead of Oregon State for the time being with a 196.450. That should be doable, but you never know. Stanford lost the chance to move up after a Price-free, bars catastrophe of a meet on Sunday that saw them lose to arch-rival Cal. Oh, Stanford.
11. Penn State – 195.975
12. Boise State – 195.963
13. UCLA – 195.875
14. Arkansas – 195.820
15. Illinois – 195.800
16. Stanford – 195.754
17. Washington – 195.531
18. Denver – 195.488
19. Arizona – 195.408
20. Cal – 195.304
21. Kentucky – 195.250
22. Minnesota – 195.225
23. Southern Utah – 195.167
24. Ohio State – 195.163
25. New Hampshire – 195.095