Week 9 Rankings and RQS Update

Remember back in ancient times last week when the pace of 10s had started to slow down? Me neither. There were a billion of them over the weekend. Welcome to senior night scoring. Expect more of the same this coming week. It’s a little frustrating because when you’re giving out 10s for vaults that aren’t stuck just because it’s a senior’s last home meet, it cheapens the 10. It shouldn’t just be a gesture. But it’s also sort of hilarious. Not ha-ha hilarious, but more am-I-having-a-mental-collapse, is-this-even-a-real-sport hilarious.

Oklahoma won the weekend with a 198.500, which isn’t quite at the level of the 198.8s that were being thrown out in 2004, but it is the highest score we’ve seen in a while in a meet featuring a downright alarming number of 9.9s for both sides. In all, four teams broke the 198 barrier this week, and UCLA came just short of making it five. These kids today with their 198s. Back in my time, if you wanted a 198, you had to get out the checkbook and buy it yourself. You know, the good old days.

Senior night scoring sure makes everyone seem amazing and ready for the postseason. That’s not necessarily true, but the level of hitting does make me ready for championship season to see how it all plays out in less fanciful and creative circumstances. Hopefully, everything will come down to earth once we get to four judges, if for no other reason than the beautiful number of passive aggressive coach interviews we’ll get whining about 9.850s. The best. 

For now, let’s look at where everyone stands with one week of regular meets remaining before conference championships, with particular emphasis on possible ranking and RQS scenarios. The biggest news for now is that Georgia will not be able to pass Auburn before SEC Championships in Duluth, meaning that Auburn will be in the evening session and Georgia will be in the day session. A coup. I just hope that means there isn’t a mass exodus of Georgia fans after the first session.

Week 9 Rankings (GymInfo)
1. Oklahoma – 197.845
Week 9: 198.500
Week 9 leaders: AA – None; VT – Scaman 9.950; UB – Dowell 9.950; BB – Brewer 10.000; FX – Scaman 10.000

RQS
Road Score 1: 198.150
Road Score 2: 197.875
Road Score 3: 197.700
Road/Home Score 1: 198.500
Road/Home Score 2: 197.850
Road/Home Score 3: 197.650

The Sooners have comfortably eclipsed their final RQS from 2014, which was 197.775, and can now set their sights on beating Florida’s top RQS from last season, 197.895. They can do it with a 197.925 away at Alabama on Friday. Judging by last Friday’s result and the presumed scoring situation we’ll have in Alabama, that seems doable. The RQS record is UCLA’s 198.055 from 2004, which is potentially within reach, but it would take a couple more 198s in the final two meets. Possible but tough. I’m excited for that Alabama meet. While the Sooners have had plenty of road meets, they haven’t had any big-crowd, tough-environment road meets yet. And because their conference championship is relatively low key, and their Regional will be at home, this meet is a necessary hurdle before Nationals. 

2. Florida – 197.690
Week 9: 198.100
Week 9 leaders: AA – Hunter 39.750; VT – McMurtry 9.975; UB – Sloan 9.975; BB – Hunter 9.975; FX – Hunter, Caquatto 9.925

RQS
Road Score 1: 198.100
Road Score 2: 197.425
Road Score 3: 197.200
Road/Home Score 1: 198.225
Road/Home Score 2: 198.125
Road/Home Score 3: 197.600

In spite of that disastrously terrible garbage 198.100 in the loss to Oklahoma, the Gators used their several billion 9.975s to jump ahead of LSU for the moment and become the only team with three 198s so far this year. It’s difficult to approach this meet from the perspective of what Florida needs to do improve on the loss because they got a 198. Um, stick more everything? Stop getting those hideous 9.875s. Bridget Sloan came back on beam, and everyone feels safer because of it. More 9.9s! She was in for Boyce this time, but I’m interested to see how some of these Boyce, Baker, Fassbender spots play out in the beam and bars lineups as we head toward SECs. It’s not that usual to see Florida playing with lineups this late, but I like it. I’m always in favor of playing with lineups until the end rather than settling on what worked in February and assuming it will be the same. 

Florida will not be able to catch Oklahoma this week, but they do still have a 197.200 to get rid of at SECs, which should allow them to make a bit more of a challenge if they get two big results in a row. Expect senior night to be very senior night.

3. LSU – 197.630
Week 9: 198.375
Week 9 leaders: AA – Gnat 39.725; VT – Courville, Jordan 10.000; UB – Courville 9.925; BB – Gnat 9.925; FX – Hall 10.000

RQS
Road Score 1: 197.425
Road Score 2: 197.350
Road Score 3: 197.350
Road/Home Score 1: 198.375
Road/Home Score 2: 198.075
Road/Home Score 3: 197.950

That thing where you get a 198.375 and fall in the rankings. Because Florida was able to record a big road score and the Tigers were at home while holding three solid home scores already, they could not gain much ground. LSU is still lacking that huge road score to rely on, so this weekend they’ll need to do exactly what Florida did against Oklahoma if they’re to find a way to regain the #2 ranking, though a meet at Centenary doesn’t really have that same rah-rah, big-team 9.975 atmosphere.

Courville sat out on beam and floor again this week, which was fine because LSU has enough depth on those events to survive comfortably, but I do think the bars lineup is a bit of a question. It was the weakest event on Friday, clearly feeling the lack of Wyrick and perhaps Ranzy. Ranzy is back on vault now, but if it’s at all possible for her to get back on bars, it needs to happen. Gnat and Savona have made great strides, but are they part of the best six? 

4. Utah – 197.530
Week 9: 198.250
Week 9 leaders: AA – Dabritz 39.700; VT – Delaney, Wilson, Lee 9.925; UB – Dabritz 10.000; BB – Lee 9.975; FX – Dabritz, Wilson 9.950

RQS
Road Score 1: 197.850
Road Score 2: 197.025
Road Score 3: 196.900
Road/Home Score 1: 198.250
Road/Home Score 2: 198.050
Road/Home Score 3: 197.825

Utah used its own 198 to gain back a little bit of ground on the top 3 after falling the week before. The Utes are in good shape in RQS right now because they still have that 196.900 road score to get rid of and are heading to Georgia on Saturday. It’s such a juicy road score opportunity that catching LSU and Florida this weekend isn’t unrealistic, though of course it will take some help in the form of a sluggish result from either.

Senior night really reinforced how much Utah needs to have a big year this year, with all three of their big AAers in Dabritz, Lothrop, and Wilson about to skip town. Sure, we can expect bigger contribution from this talented group of current freshmen next year, but before the big guns leave, this is the year for Utah to make a statement.

5. Alabama – 197.390
Week 9 A: 197.350
Week 9 A leaders: AA – Beers 39.500; VT – C Sims 9.925; UB – Clark 9.950; BB – Beers, Clark 9.900; FX – Beers 9.925

Week 9 B: 197.200
Week 9 B leaders: AA – Beers 39.450; VT – Clark 9.900; UB – Bailey, Winston 9.925; BB – Clark, Williams 9.875; FX – Beers 9.950

RQS
Road Score 1: 197.675
Road Score 2: 197.350
Road Score 3: 197.200
Road/Home Score 1: 197.800
Road/Home Score 2: 197.400
Road/Home Score 3: 197.325 

As expected, Alabama used two road meets over the weekend to get rid of some poor scores and make a big jump in RQS, but it was not as big a jump as it could have been. When the top teams in the country are getting 198s, albeit with some senior night fancy times, scores on the lower side of 197 are not going to make an impact comparatively. Alabama has proven the capability to get big results, but a couple of these lineups are still uncertain, especially as Katie Bailey works her way back, and a couple of these composition choices still needed to be considered. Is it really pragmatic to have Beers vaulting the 1.5? Alabama will be one of the most interesting teams to watch over the next two weeks to see how those issues unfold.

Coming back home to face Oklahoma, Alabama will not be able to make a big move in RQS this weekend and cannot move any higher than 5th. But more importantly, they are facing the challenge of losing their most recent home meet and now hosting the top team in the country. Tough days. 

6. Michigan – 197.180
Week 9: 197.675
Week 9 leaders: AA – Artz, Brown 39.550; VT – Sheppard, Sugiyama 9.900; UB – Artz, Brown 9.950; BB – Chiarelli 9.975; FX – Sugiyama 9.925

RQS
Road Score 1: 197.675
Road Score 2: 197.125
Road Score 3: 196.975
Road/Home Score 1: 197.300
Road/Home Score 2: 197.250
Road/Home Score 3: 197.250

Even though the Wolverines lost and fell in the rankings, this was a big result and an important score, their highest of the season so far. They just didn’t have much room to improve RQS since all the previous counting scores have been so similar. Michigan goes on the road again this weekend for one of the Big Ten pre-championships meets, but regardless of the score they will not be able to catch Alabama for the time being. The bigger concern is the teams ranked below. They’re probably safe for now (though not definitely), but the top six teams have enjoyed a comfortable cushion for a long time that is dissipating now that the challengers are starting to get rid of their poor scores and close the gap. Is Michigan going to look like a Super Six team once we head into Regionals/Nationals? More 197.675s would help.

7. Auburn – 197.020
Week 9 A: 196.325
Week 9 A leaders: AA – Atkinson 39.575; VT – Atkinson, Demers 9.900; UB – Atkinson 9.850; BB – Atkinson 9.875; FX – Atkinson 9.950

Week 9 B: 197.025
Week 9 B leaders: AA – Atkinson 39.750; VT – Atkinson 9.950; UB – Atkinson 9.975; BB – Walker 9.925; FX – Atkinson 9.925

RQS
Road Score 1: 197.025
Road Score 2: 196.875
Road Score 3: 196.825
Road/Home Score 1: 197.750
Road/Home Score 2: 197.300
Road/Home Score 3: 197.075 

Quite similarly to Alabama, Auburn was able to use two road meets to drop a yucky score and zoom up the rankings, but it was not quite the result it could have been. Especially coming off the high of a 197.750 at home against Georgia, these scores were a bit of a letdown, counting a beam fall in one meet and counting a beam struggle in the other meet. And beam is supposed to be a strength for this group. While the Tigers were just able to sneak to the top of the challenging pack in 7th, those scores will not allow them to challenge for a higher ranking this weekend and have left them a little too close for comfort with UCLA and Nebraska.

Still, it was a big weekend for Caitlin Atkinson, who very nearly led her team on every event and in the AA for two meets in the same weekend, just missing Walker’s beam score in the second meet by .025.  

8. UCLA – 196.895
Week 9: 197.950
Week 9 leaders: AA – Peszek, Williams 9.950; UB – Peszek 9.900; BB – Francis, Lee 9.950; FX – Bynum 9.975

RQS
Road Score 1: 197.350
Road Score 2: 197.075
Road Score 3: 196.000
Road/Home Score 1: 197.950
Road/Home Score 2: 197.050
Road/Home Score 3: 197.000

This was a significant senior day result for the Bruins, recording by far their best result and performing by far their best meet of the season. They needed it. They’re better than all these 197 flats they’ve been getting, and while there’s still cleaning up to do on every even to turn this into a Super Six team, that’s starting to seem at least possible. I still worry about the first half of the lineups and some really 9.825 routines that are being thrown up, but is this team capable of challenging Utah, Alabama, Michigan, etc? Yes. While many of the teams seem relatively set with their RQS positions right now, UCLA is typically leaving it right to the end and still has that 196.000 to get rid of this weekend. They’ll be heading to Arkansas and, with a strong 197, can realistically challenge Auburn and could potentially threaten Michigan as well.

9. Nebraska – 196.865
Week 9: 197.225
Week 9 leaders: AA – DeZiel 39.500; VT – DeZiel 9.975; UB – DeZiel 9.900; BB – J Lauer 9.900; FX – Blanske 9.925

RQS
Road Score 1: 197.075
Road Score 2: 196.650
Road Score 3: 196.250
Road/Home Score 1: 197.325
Road/Home Score 2: 197.225
Road/Home Score 3: 197.125

The Huskers managed a solid home result featuring vault excellence once again this week. Those home results are all pretty bunched together, so they couldn’t do any RQS damage with Saturday’s meet and will be in the same situation this weekend while hosting the other Big Ten pre-championship. Even with a season high, things won’t change much. It’s all about that low 196 road score, so the pressure to get a significant score will be on. The good news is that the top 10 teams have opened up a pretty nice margin for themselves, so they’re not in danger of falling too hard.

Interestingly, there are some really dangerous teams hanging around the 16-20 spots right now, so those 6/7/18 and 5/8/17 Regionals that are usually easy may not be quite as cushy this year.

10. Georgia – 196.835
Week 9: 196.775
Week 9 leaders: AA – None; VT – Davis 9.950; UB – Rogers 9.950; BB – Rogers 9.925; FX – Marino, Box 9.950

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.950
Road Score 2: 196.850
Road Score 3: 196.775
Road/Home Score 1: 196.975
Road/Home Score 2: 196.825
Road/Home Score 3: 196.775

Another week, another 196.775. The same old song. This time, the culprit was a beam fall that kept Georgia out of what would have been yet another easy 197. It’s always something, but this one stings a bit more because, as mentioned, Georgia now does not have a chance to pass Auburn before SECs. Still, there’s time to pick it up. For the sake of confidence if nothing else. The Gym Dogs will be hosting Utah for senior day on Saturday and will not have a better opportunity to finally get a 197. Or just pass 197 altogether and go straight to 198, which would not be that surprising.

One of the issues for Georgia right now is that there’s such a large variation in performance from meet to meet. And not just on the trouble events. Even on vault, it’s 49.250, then 49.550, then 49.100, then 49.275, as everyone is so erratic with the landings. On bars, it’s the same thing. A stuck dismount one week, a giant leap the next week, and then back to a stuck dismount. No one’s performance is at all regular, consistent, or predictable. So they’re keeping it interesting, I’ll say that.

11. Stanford – 196.530
Week 9: 196.625
Week 9 leaders: AA – Rice 39.350; VT – Price 9.950; UB – Shapiro 9.875; BB – Hong 9.925; FX – Vaculik 9.900

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.625
Road Score 2: 196.525
Road Score 3: 196.275
Road/Home Score 1: 197.525
Road/Home Score 2: 197.000
Road/Home Score 3: 196.225

MAX RQS: 196.790

Stanford has no meet this coming weekend and, with just Pac-12s left, cannot move any higher than the current ranking of #11 before Regionals.   

12. Penn State – 196.430
Week 9: 196.750
Week 9 leaders: AA – Tsang 39.475; VT – Sibson, Tsang 9.850; UB – Welsh 9.950; BB – Welsh 9.875; FX – Sibson 9.950

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.750
Road Score 2: 196.175
Road Score 3: 196.025
Road/Home Score 1: 197.025
Road/Home Score 2: 196.650
Road/Home Score 3: 196.550

13. Illinois – 196.355
Week 9: 196.275
Week 9 leaders: AA – Horth 39.350; VT – O’Connor 9.850; UB – Kato 9.900; BB – Kato 9.900; FX – Horth 9.825

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.975
Road Score 2: 196.425
Road Score 3: 196.275
Road/Home Score 1: 196.500
Road/Home Score 2: 196.400
Road/Home Score 3: 196.175

14. Oregon State – 196.330
Week 9: 196.700
Week 9 leaders: AA – Gardiner 39.450; VT – Keeker 9.825; UB – Gardiner, McMillan 9.875; BB – Gardiner 9.925; FX – Tang 9.900

RQS
Road Score 1: 197.250
Road Score 2: 196.700
Road Score 3: 196.450
Road/Home Score 1: 196.275
Road/Home Score 2: 196.250
Road/Home Score 3: 195.975

15. Boise State – 196.325
Week 9: 196.800
Week 9 leaders: AA – Morris 38.875; VT – Perkins 9.900; UB – Perkins 9.975; BB – Jacobsen 9.900; FX – Morris 9.900

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.625
Road Score 2: 196.025
Road Score 3: 195.975
Road/Home Score 1: 196.800
Road/Home Score 2: 196.725
Road/Home Score 3: 196.275

16. Arkansas – 196.260
Week 9: 196.650
Week 9 leaders: AA – Wellick 39.500; VT – Elswick, Wellick 9.900; UB – Freier, Wellick, Zaziski 9.825; BB – Dillard 9.900; FX – Wellick 9.900

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.650
Road Score 2: 196.250
Road Score 3: 196.250
Road/Home Score 1: 196.650
Road/Home Score 2: 196.325
Road/Home Score 3: 195.825

Arkansas is one of those dangerous #3 seeds hanging around this part of the rankings. We saw once again over the weekend, when Arkansas seriously threatened a fall-counting Georgia, that this team can make top teams pay for counting falls, especially if they’re given a neutral venue. If the season ended today, Arkansas would be drawn with Utah and Nebraska and would be no fun as a third seed. They’ll have a chance to move up this weekend (even a 196.325 could put them as high as #13 if the higher-ranked teams don’t step on it as well), and I can think of a few teams hoping that they do. The question is, which of these #3 seeds would you rather have?

17. Arizona – 196.195
Week 9 A: 195.450
Week 9 leaders: AA – Flores 39.225; VT – Edwards 9.900; UB – Felix-Terrazas, Howard 9.825; BB – Cindric, Edwards, Flores 9.825; FX – Flores, Sisler 9.850

Week 9 B: 197.125
Week 9 B leaders: AA – None; VT – Edwards 9.875; UB – Felix-Terrazas, Flores 9.875; BB – Mills, Sisler 9.950; FX – Sisler 9.875 

RQS
Road Score 1: 197.125
Road Score 2: 196.050
Road Score 3: 195.450
Road/Home Score 1: 196.625
Road/Home Score 2: 196.475
Road/Home Score 3: 196.375

18. Denver – 196.100
Week 9: 196.925
Week 9 leaders: AA – McGee 39.625; VT – Fielitz 9.950; UB – McGee 9.875; BB – Ross 9.925; FX – McGee 9.975

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.150
Road Score 2: 196.100
Road Score 3: 195.500
Road/Home Score 1: 196.925
Road/Home Score 2: 196.725
Road/Home Score 3: 196.025

19. Cal – 196.050
Week 9: 197.325
Week 9 leaders: AA – Williams 39.625; VT – Williams 10.000; UB – Williams, Owens 9.950; BB – Palomares, Paz 9.800; FX – Williams 9.975

 RQS
Road Score 1: 196.600
Road Score 2: 196.100
Road Score 3: 195.425
Road/Home Score 1: 197.325
Road/Home Score 2: 196.225
Road/Home Score 3: 195.900

If there’s cause for concern about some of those #3 seeds, there’s really cause for concern about an unseeded Cal, the new darling of the NCAA, hosting a Regional. If these rankings hold, that Cal meet will be the Regional no one wants, especially if Cal’s home 197.325 on senior day is any indication. Imagine if you had a Florida/Stanford/Oregon State/Cal Regional at Cal, which could happen as of now. The good news is Cal still has a mid 195 to drop, and if current form tells us anything, that should be easy to do this weekend.

20. Minnesota – 196.035
Week 9: 195.450
Week 9 leaders: AA – Mable 39.375; VT – Covers 9.850; UB – Mable 9.875; BB – Mable 9.850; FX – Mable 9.875

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.875
Road Score 2: 196.350
Road Score 3: 195.450
Road/Home Score 1: 196.675
Road/Home Score 2: 196.325
Road/Home Score 3: 195.375

Missed opportunity for Minnesota over the weekend at LSU. They have no more margin if they want to be a seeded team and must get 196s at the remaining two meets. 

21. Washington – 195.810
Week 9: 195.775
Week 9 leaders: AA – Northey 39.325; VT – Burleson 9.875; UB – Northey 9.850; BB – McCartin, Fechter 9.800; FX – Northey 9.900

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.300
Road Score 2: 196.125
Road Score 3: 195.550
Road/Home Score 1: 195.950
Road/Home Score 2: 195.775
Road/Home Score 3: 195.650 

21. Southern Utah – 195.810
Week 9: 195.925
Week 9 leaders: AA – None; VT – Webb 9.850; UB – Armijo, Ramirez 9.900; BB – Jaworski 9.850; FX – Webb 9.875

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.225
Road Score 2: 195.750
Road Score 3: 195.500
Road/Home Score 1: 196.475
Road/Home Score 2: 195.925
Road/Home Score 3: 195.650

23. Central Michigan – 195.695
Week 9: 196.150
Week 9 leaders: AA – None; VT – Teet 9.875; UB – Fagan 9.850; BB – Noonan 9.900; FX – Bolender 9.875

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.400
Road Score 2: 196.175
Road Score 3: 196.150
Road/Home Score 1: 196.125
Road/Home Score 2: 195.875
Road/Home Score 3: 194.150

Watch out for Central Michigan. It’s been a bit surprising this year that Central Michigan hasn’t been ranked higher, but they’re finally starting to get rid of the low 194s that have been plaguing their RQS. If they’re able to get rid of that last one, they can easily challenge for a seeded spot as well. 

24. Kentucky – 195.625
Week 9: 196.575
Week 9 leaders: AA – Waltz 39.325; VT – Mitchell, Phipps 9.875; UB – Rechenmacher 9.825; BB – Mitchell 9.925; FX – Phipps 9.875

RQS
Road Score 1: 195.950
Road Score 2: 195.825
Road Score 3: 194.975
Road/Home Score 1: 196.575
Road/Home Score 2: 195.750
Road/Home Score 3: 195.625
 
25. Michigan State – 195.550
Week 9: 194.350
Week 9 leaders: AA – Burt 38.575; VT – Cartwright 9.950; UB – Burt 9.900; BB – Westney 9.850; FX – Lagoski 9.900

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.325
Road Score 2: 196.275
Road Score 3: 195.625
Road/Home Score 1: 195.750
Road/Home Score 2: 195.150
Road/Home Score 3: 194.950

25. Iowa – 195.550
Week 9: 195.775
Week 9 leaders: AA – Metcalf 39.325; VT – Glover, Metcalf 9.825; UB – Sotillo 9.900; BB – Sotillo 9.850; FX – Hoerr 9.925

RQS
Road Score 1: 195.850
Road Score 2: 195.225
Road Score 3: 195.175
Road/Home Score 1: 196.375
Road/Home Score 2: 195.775
Road/Home Score 3: 195.725

Down at the bottom of the Regionals rankings, George Washington and Utah State are beginning to pull away for those last few spots, but NC State is still challenging in 37th. NC State has a few lower 194s and with one big meet, could upset things. 

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