The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Regional Championships Selection

It’s all set now. With (a little too) much house music and bugle interludes, the NCAA has announced which teams have been sorted into which regionals. The setup is the one I listed as Option #4 yesterday based on my reading of the rules, but I’m more than OK with it because I think it’s a pretty sane decision and among the more logical of the four placement possibilities. Georgia was moved one spot while Minnesota was moved two, which makes sense since Georgia is the higher ranked team, and the teams that were affected by the two-spot Minnesota move were each adjusted downward one spot rather than “exchanged,” which is more fair overall.

Weirdly, I’m actually happy with what the committee came up with and think it was the right call given the rankings and hosts. That’s out of character, so I’ll let you know when I have something to complain about. It will happen in time.

I am disappointed that there weren’t any really terrible pronunciations coming from our selection show host this year to add to the pantheon of Georgia Burritz (a burrito that doesn’t wear grips?) and Lymeenis Hall (just…no). He did say Danuzza Francis, but that’s not even that bad.

HERE WE GO.

EVENING SEMIFINAL GROUPS:

IOWA (5:00 ET/2:00 PT)
Oklahoma
Nebraska
Arkansas
Iowa
Kent State
Central Michigan

Just three AAers join this section because there were only three ranked AAers in this region that weren’t already going with a team. That’s why there’s an extra individual event specialist on each event.

AA: Corbett, Western Michigan; Hood, Western Michigan; White, Centenary
VT: Christian, Ball State; Buis, Western Michigan; Ebeyer, Ball State
UB: Penny, Ball State, Peszek, Western Michigan; Juncaj, Western Michigan
BB: Underwood, Western Michigan; Peszek, Western Michigan; Bell, Ball State
FX: Christian, Ball State; Underwood, Western Michigan, Ebeyer, Ball State

Should be an exciting race for that second spot because Nebraska and Arkansas have displayed very similar scoring potential this year, with Arkansas more consistent but with Nebraska probably having the higher peak on a great day. Wouldn’t want to pick it. Plus, there’s Iowa as a host, having scored mid-196s often at home this season. Shouldn’t be more than a few tenths separating those three.

UTAH (8:00 ET/5:00 PT)
Utah
UCLA
Washington
Southern Utah
Illinois
Utah State

AA: McCartney, Sacramento State; Rice, Sacramento State; Hundley, Seattle Pacific; Matsunami, Alaska
VT: Konner, Sacramento State; Nogaki, Davis
UB: Brown, Davis; Benning, Sacramento State
BB: Stamates, Davis; Nogaki, Davis
FX: Stamates, Davis; Benning, Sacramento State

Utah and UCLA will be expected to come through this regional given hit meets, but Washington and Southern Utah are both mid-196 capable groups, and Illinois is still Illinois in spite of being so depleted. Utah has two losses to UCLA already this year. The fans will be aware of this.

ALABAMA (5:00 ET/2:00 PT)
Alabama
Cal
Boise State
Kentucky
West Virginia
Bowling Green

Taylor Allex will be competing as an individual. Yep, Arizona State heading to Alabama. “Regionals.”

AA: Brawner, SEMO; Salas, Arizona State; Northern, UIC; Israel, SEMO
VT: Allex, Arizona State; Vorrhis, Northern Illinois
UB: Carter, Northern Illinois; Africano, Northern Illinois
BB: Mohler, Illinois State; Greenfield, Northern Illinois
FX: Allex, Arizona State; Jones, SEMO

I’m really excited by this one because we’re guaranteed to have a nationals qualifier that we wouldn’t necessarily have expected heading into the season, with Cal, Boise State, and Kentucky (based on what we saw at SECs) in it for that second spot. All three of these teams could get into the high 196s, and Boise State spent much of the early part of the season outscoring Cal. All would have been threats if distributed to other regionals. Bowling Green made regionals!

AFTERNOON SEMIFINAL GROUPS

MINNESOTA (5:00 ET/2:00 PT)
Florida
Denver
Minnesota
Missouri
Ohio State
BYU

AA: Young, Iowa State; Sievers, Iowa State; Witgen, Air Force; Lewis, Air Force
VT: Converse, Iowa State; Ledesma, Iowa State
UB: Green, Iowa State; Smith, UW-Whitewater
BB: Marasco, Iowa State; Converse, Iowa State
FX: Ledesma, Iowa State; Paz, Iowa State

Overall season form would tell us that Denver joins Florida coming out of this regional, but Minnesota is at home and has flown up in the scores over the last month, making this a little more exciting than it would have seemed otherwise. Who’s scoring higher on floor, Nina McGee or Lindsay Mable (or Bridgey Caquatto…)? Missouri had more troubles at SECs than the other sides, but we’ve seen the mid-196s.

MICHIGAN (6:00 ET/3:00 PT)
Auburn
Michigan
Stanford
Eastern Michigan
Penn State
New Hampshire

AA: Offutt, Pittsburgh; Groden, Rutgers; Valentine, West Chester; Pearson, Pittsburgh
VT: Wilson, Rutgers; Amoresano, Rutgers
UB: Liautaud, Bridgeport; Botson, Pittsburgh
BB: Green, Cornell; Comport, Bridgeport
FX: Comport, Bridgeport; Cutolo, Bridgeport

YESSSSSS PLEASSSSSE. This is the one we’ve been excited about. Stanford still probably comes in as the underdog because of season form and the performance at Pac-12s, which was more competitive than the score might suggest compared to the scores from the other teams in this section but was still somewhat ragged. They may need to pull out some special Stanford last-minute projects like Hong on floor to boost the scoring potential. Stanford has a very good shot to win bars and beam at this regional, but Auburn and Michigan will soar on floor, so can Stanford minimize the deficit? We’ll have to do a lot of talking about this one.

GEORGIA (4:00 ET/1:00 PT)
LSU
Georgia
Oregon State
Arizona
George Washington
Michigan State

AA: Watkins, NC State; Lane, North Carolina; McKellar, Towson; Stover, William & Mary
VT: Tang, Maryland; Knight, NC State
UB: Epperson, Maryland; Hedelund, North Carolina
BB: Arduino, Towson; Wild, NC State
FX: Tang, Maryland, Roberts, Maryland

Don’t sleep on Oregon State. This really should be the LSU/Georgia show, and that’s what I would pick if I were making a call, but Oregon State has improved miles in the last month. A lot will depend on how vault and floor are evaluated. LSU and Georgia have MUCH bigger floor lineups than Oregon State, but Oregon State has been minimizing deductions lately, and the beam performance at Pac-12s was lovely. Will Georgia’s beam be lovely?

Semifinals should work out relatively evenly (at least in terms of quality of teams, though one semi will be very SEC loaded), but so much will depend on who actually gets through. If we have an upset, it could make for a really uneven distribution, which is why I don’t love making the semifinal draw in advance.

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