The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Week 9 Rankings, Notes, RQS Update

equal-sign-clip-art-5pypjt-clipart 1. Oklahoma 197.990
Road Score 1 198.350
Road Score 2 198.175
Road Score 3 198.075
Home/Road Score 1 198.025
Home/Road Score 2 197.925
Home/Road Score 3 197.750
  • This weekend brought a low-for-Oklahoma 197.575 in what was almost not a victory (!) at Michigan. The Sooners remain very safe at #1 but would still need 198.100 in the next meet to set a new RQS record.
  • Nichols competed only UB, got a 10.000 (because Nichols) to complete the gym slam in under two months.
equal-sign-clip-art-5pypjt-clipart 2. LSU 197.775
Road Score 1 197.700
Road Score 2 197.700
Road Score 3 197.675
Home/Road Score 1 198.150
Home/Road Score 2 197.975
Home/Road Score 3 197.825
  • LSU broke into the 198s for the first time this season in victory over Florida, increasing its lead over #3. The gap behind Oklahoma is still too great to make up this coming weekend.
  • Gnat scored her second 10.000 of the season on VT.
equal-sign-clip-art-5pypjt-clipart 3. Florida 197.495
Road Score 1 197.425
Road Score 2 197.325
Road Score 3 197.125
Home/Road Score 1 197.975
Home/Road Score 2 197.900
Home/Road Score 3 197.700
  • An overall poor meet marked by UB mistakes keeps Florida in 3rd, becoming much more vulnerable to being passed because of those relatively low road scores as UCLA, Utah, and Alabama all close the gap. At home this week, Florida’s maximum RQS for next Monday is 197.550, which means the Gators may not hold their own ranking destiny.
  • McMurtry scored her first VT 10.000 of the season and third overall.
equal-sign-clip-art-5pypjt-clipart 4. UCLA 197.445
Road Score 1 197.500
Road Score 2 197.325
Road Score 3 197.150
Home/Road Score 1 198.125
Home/Road Score 2 197.725
Home/Road Score 3 197.525
  • UCLA used a 197.525 victory over Cal to erase a 196 in the RQS picture and move rather close to Florida in 3rd.
  • With a slightly higher maximum RQS after this coming weekend, UCLA could pass Florida this weekend. It would take at least a 197.800, which is no easy task, but UCLA would move ahead if both teams score season highs.
  • In a parade of 9.975s, Katelyn Ohashi emerged with her first career 10 on BB.
equal-sign-clip-art-5pypjt-clipart 5. Utah 197.355
Road Score 1 197.600
Road Score 2 197.150
Road Score 3 196.900
Home/Road Score 1 197.875
Home/Road Score 2 197.625
Home/Road Score 3 197.500
  • Utah used a 197.500 of its own to stay on track at #5, but because they Utes go on the road this weekend and have that lowish 196.900 to stop, they have a chance to catch both Florida and UCLA and hang right with them in the rankings. Like Florida, Utah’s max RQS after this weekend if 197.550, so if they both manage season highs, they would end up ties. Utah would need a minimum of 197.375 to have a chance to pass UCLA, depending on UCLA’s performance.
  • Skinner also joined the 10 club with her first on FX.
equal-sign-clip-art-5pypjt-clipart 6. Alabama 197.285
Road Score 1 197.700
Road Score 2 197.225
Road Score 3 197.050
Home/Road Score 1 197.825
Home/Road Score 2 197.350
Home/Road Score 3 197.100
  • Alabama did the job with a road high score, narrowing the margin a little bit behind Utah and UCLA, though not enough to move anywhere. It would be possible for Alabama to pass Utah this weekend but would take at least 197.475 and likely also a Utah miss.
  • Winston’s 9.950 on FX and 39.650 AA score led the team as usual.
green-up-arrow 7. Georgia 196.930
Road Score 1 196.975
Road Score 2 196.925
Road Score 3 196.800
Home/Road Score 1 197.325
Home/Road Score 2 197.075
Home/Road Score 3 196.875
  • A season high 197.325 in the loss to Alabama bumps Georgia up ahead of Denver for the moment in our only ranking movement among the top 10.
  • That score, coupled with Kentucky’s non-counting score clinched Georgia’s spot in the evening session at SECs along with LSU, Florida, and Alabama.
  • 9.950s were key (Snead VT, Marino FX) and critically Snead also returned to the floor lineup for 9.875.
reddownarrow 8. Denver 196.910
Road Score 1 196.900
Road Score 2 196.875
Road Score 3 196.500
Home/Road Score 1 197.150
Home/Road Score 2 197.150
Home/Road Score 3 197.125
  • With an already-healthy crop of home scores, Denver was handicapped in its ability to increase, even by scoring another 197 over the weekend, as Georgia passed by a hair.
  • But, with that 196.500 road score left to drop, the fate of the #7 ranking switches to Denver’s hands this coming weekend with a max RQS of 197.040 compared to Georgia’s 197.020.
  • Nikole Addison scored her sixth 9.9+ of the season on FX with a 9.925.
equal-sign-clip-art-5pypjt-clipart 9. Oregon State
Road Score 1 197.125
Road Score 2 196.825
Road Score 3 196.200
Home/Road Score 1 197.325
Home/Road Score 2 196.900
Home/Road Score 3 196.700
  • A season high on senior day sees Oregon State retain the #9 spot and reach the team’s highest RQS total since 2013, still with two meets left to increase it further. OSU does have a chance to challenge Georgia and Denver depending on the performance of all three this weekend, but with Michigan and Kentucky poised to move up even with just OK performances, the bigger task will be keeping this spot.
  • Erika Aufiero went a career-high 9.975 on UB in her senior day routine.
equal-sign-clip-art-5pypjt-clipart 10. Boise State 196.700
Road Score 1 197.075
Road Score 2 196.700
Road Score 3 196.675
Home/Road Score 1 197.025
Home/Road Score 2 196.700
Home/Road Score 3 196.400
  • Boise State used another solid 196 on Thursday to fend off the challengers for the moment, but with a max RQS of 196.835 after this coming weekend, it will be Michigan and Kentucky’s performances that will decide where BSU is ranked next Monday, more than BSU’s own performance.
  • 9.925s on FX from Stockwell and Collantes sent Boise State to a FX score that was higher than the UB score (what?)
equal-sign-clip-art-5pypjt-clipart 11. Michigan 196.595
Road Score 1 196.475
Road Score 2 196.025
Road Score 3 195.725
Home/Road Score 1 197.825
Home/Road Score 2 197.525
Home/Road Score 3 197.225
  • Michigan’s continued ability to pump up its home scores was enough to retain 11th place in the rankings, but this upcoming weekend finally brings an opportunity to drop that 195 road score and move way up. With a season high, Michigan could reach an RQS in the 197s, which would currently place 7th. But, even a meet score of 196.950 would guarantee moving ahead of Boise State, and 197.050 would guarantee staying ahead of Kentucky.
  • It was a senior-day 9.975 on FX from Artz that paced the team, along with a 9.925 from also-a-senior Talia Chiarelli.
reddownarrow 12. Kentucky 196.535
Road Score 1 196.950
Road Score 2 196.150
Road Score 3 195.850
Home/Road Score 1 197.475
Home/Road Score 2 197.100
Home/Road Score 3 196.625
  • Kentucky remains tantalizingly close to a big RQS but keeps missing opportunities to drop lower scores. Still, dropping that road 195.850 is such a juicy proposition and means that Kentucky is in a similar position to Michigan in the opportunity to move way up the RQS ladder with a good result. Kentucky’s max RQS is 196.860 after this week, which would challenge as high as Oregon State in 9th depending on the results of the other teams.
  • This week’s culprit was uncontrolled VT landings and weird wobblies on BB, but Hyland did take the AA crown with 39.325.
equal-sign-clip-art-5pypjt-clipart 13. Nebraska 196.450
Road Score 1 197.125
Road Score 2 196.550
Road Score 3 196.050
Home/Road Score 1 197.125
Home/Road Score 2 196.825
Home/Road Score 3 195.700
  • Nebraska emerged from a bye week unscathed and still at 13th. Having that 195.700 to drop at this weekend’s Big Five meet does give Nebraska the opportunity to increase RQS somewhat dramatically, but since Michigan and Kentucky have better opportunities and higher peaks, Nebraska’s ranking position depends on what those two do. Really, Nebraska would be pretty content staying at 13th and hosting a regional where the task would simply be to beat an equivalently ranked team.
green-up-arrow 14. Washington 196.355
Road Score 1 196.450
Road Score 2 196.450
Road Score 3 195.825
Home/Road Score 1 197.175
Home/Road Score 2 196.750
Home/Road Score 3 196.300
  • It wasn’t a completely ideal road performance for Washington in a second-consecutive 196.450, but it got the job done, dropped the bad score, and saw Washington move up to 14th. The gap between the Huskies and the second-seeded teams is large enough that it isn’t really a goal for Washington. The remaining meets are more about keeping a #3 seed ahead of a number of teams still capable of passing.
  • BB continues to be the team’s best event, featuring 9.925 from Burleson and 9.900 from Goings.
equal-sign-clip-art-5pypjt-clipart 15. Missouri 196.325
Road Score 1 196.750
Road Score 2 196.350
Road Score 3 196.225
Home/Road Score 1 197.200
Home/Road Score 2 196.225
Home/Road Score 3 196.075
  • Missouri posted a season high but was unable to move up because Washington had a lower score to drop and moved up even more. This coming week, Missouri has a slightly higher max RQS than Washington, but they’re close enough that it could go either way. These recent higher scores put Missouri in a pretty comfortable position ahead of the challengers.
  • This weekend’s season high was all about the 9.9s, with seven in total and at least one on each event.
reddownarrow 16. Iowa 196.315
Road Score 1 196.550
Road Score 2 196.400
Road Score 3 196.175
Home/Road Score 1 196.725
Home/Road Score 2 196.475
Home/Road Score 3 195.975
  • Iowa keeps putting up very competitive 196s but falls two spots in the rankings because not having a 197 is soooo three seasons ago. In terms of seeded spots, Iowa is safer than some others but not safe, needing another 196.175 this weekend to ensure staying top 18. Very doable.
  • The 196.725 win over Iowa State was all about the FX scores with a 49.525 and 9.950 from Lanie Snyder.
green-up-arrow 17. Cal 196.250
Road Score 1 196.800
Road Score 2 196.400
Road Score 3 195.725
Home/Road Score 1 197.075
Home/Road Score 2 196.300
Home/Road Score 3 196.025
  • Cal recorded a necessary season road high at UCLA of 196.800 to move back among the seeded teams and, for the moment, avoid that Washington regional. With a home meet this weekend, Cal won’t be able to drop that 195 quite yet but can still assure a spot in the top 18 in next Monday’s rankings by scoring 196.550 or more.
  • Draghi and Palomares both hit the BB/FX double-9.875 spot on the wheel to lead the team on Sunday.
reddownarrow 18. George Washington
Road Score 1 196.725
Road Score 2 196.375
Road Score 3 196.150
Home/Road Score 1 196.400
Home/Road Score 2 196.100
Home/Road Score 3 196.050
  • Another strong 196 nonetheless sees George Washington fall a couple spots in the rankings because staying in the lower 196s just isn’t very regional-seed these days. For reference, in 2011, GW’s current RQS would already have clinched at #2 seed at a regional, but not this year. They’re going to need some higher 196s in the next two weeks to get a seed because of SUU’s likely challenge.
  • Winstanley took the team RQS crown over the weekend 49.325, beating out Droiun-Allaire by a tenth.
green-up-arrow 19. Illinois 196.135
Road Score 1 196.625
Road Score 2 196.150
Road Score 3 196.050
Home/Road Score 1 196.550
Home/Road Score 2 196.025
Home/Road Score 3 195.900
  • Illinois has recorded five 196s over the last six meets to move tantalizingly close to the regionals seeds, though a lower max RQS than any team in the top 18 means getting a seed is still not really up to Illinois for the moment. They’ll need at least a 196.325 this weekend to have a chance to pass GW, but really they’ll need some other teams to make mistakes to get into seeded territory.
reddownarrow 20. Auburn 196.090
Road Score 1 196.450
Road Score 2 196.400
Road Score 3 195.800
Home/Road Score 1 196.100
Home/Road Score 2 196.075
Home/Road Score 3 196.075
  • It’s just not happening for Auburn this season after counting a fall on bars for another unusable 195. At this point, it will be difficult for Auburn to get a seeded spot, so unless Auburn pulls out two scores at least in the high 196s in the next two meets (so that one of them can count), they’re looking at a geographical regional placement (Florida? Arkansas?) Still no fun for any teams that gets Auburn.
equal-sign-clip-art-5pypjt-clipart 21. Southern Utah
Road Score 1 196.600
Road Score 2 195.800
Road Score 3 194.325
Home/Road Score 1 197.025
Home/Road Score 2 196.725
Home/Road Score 3 196.700
  • Watch out for SUU this week, the main complication for teams like Illinois and George Washington getting seeds. Southern Utah set another school record (all of those counting home scores were school records at the time) of 197.025. But right now, it’s all about the road scores, both for ranking and for proving status as a realistic upset threat. By dropping that 194.325, SUU could even move into the lower teens by Monday, but will need only 195.950 to guarantee moving into the seeded set and bumping down GW and Illinois.
green-up-arrow 22. West Virginia
Road Score 1 195.950
Road Score 2 195.800
Road Score 3 195.700
Home/Road Score 1 196.300
Home/Road Score 2 195.950
Home/Road Score 3 195.800
  • A flurry of high 195s has finally pushed West Virginia back into the top 25. RQS is less important for the teams in this sector because a seeded spot is probably out of reach but making regionals is already a definite. WVU is setting itself up as a spoiler-alert host team.
  • WVU’s two weekend meets ended up with similar results, though with polar opposite FX scoring environments. The first meet was crazy tight for 9.7s, while the second featured a flood of 9.9s including 9.950 for Koshinki and 9.925 for Cluchey.
reddownarrow 23. Utah State
Road Score 1 196.200
Road Score 2 195.725
Road Score 3 195.700
Home/Road Score 1 196.300
Home/Road Score 2 195.850
Home/Road Score 3 195.675
  • The weekend’s second meet ended in an unusable 194.0, which saw Utah State unable to move up any more in RQS and fall behind the surging West Virginia. Still, USU is very safe for an impressive finish this season.
green-up-arrow 24. Ohio State
Road Score 1 196.450
Road Score 2 195.950
Road Score 3 195.475
Home/Road Score 1 196.075
Home/Road Score 2 195.800
Home/Road Score 3 195.775
  • Ohio State had recently fallen several spots but was able to drop a nasty little 194.3 over the weekend and in doing so solidify its position in a top 25 that is starting to create some serious separation ahead of the challenging teams, which will need to start getting some serious scores to make a real push.
reddownarrow 25. Eastern Michigan
Road Score 1 196.225
Road Score 2 195.925
Road Score 3 195.400
Home/Road Score 1 196.000
Home/Road Score 2 195.950
Home/Road Score 3 195.750
  • EMU recorded another season high and a very useful 196.225 but fell because Ohio State was able to drop such a low score. But, remaining a solid tenth ahead of New Hampshire in 26th is a useful setup.
  • Kendall Valentin’s weekly 9.9+ on UB is no longer eligible for the unheralded scores section but will never be forgotten. 9.950.

Full rankings at RTN.

And here is the latest update of the RQS Excel doc.

With just two weeks left to alter RQS (the final meet of the regular season and then the conference championship), prospects are starting to solidify. Over the weekend, the top-six group only further established itself as the presumptive Super Six by expanding its margin over the challenging teams.

Most important was the performance of Alabama, a team that had been teetering on the edge of looking beatable in recent weeks but threw up a 197.7 to beat Georgia, critically featuring a stuck 1.5 from Desch, who had been a little 9.8 for much of the early season, That’s a vault Alabama will need in order to keep pace with the best teams. The Keely McNeer broken hand-foot is a problem, though, as the team has been quite reliant on her “9.850 that would have been 9.900 later in the lineup” leadoff routines for a while now. While the replacement Armbrecht/Childers routines are usable—and I’m particularly pleased to see Childers in on floor because her performance style is so weird—they don’t necessarily have the same pristine scoring potential.

Of the secondary pack of teams, Michigan has looked the most compelling spoiler in the last few meets at home, particularly on beam. That’s a legit beam team. The scores from these next two road competitions will be telling, though, as I still question how many of the floor routines are actually going to be 9.9s in a non-home, non-senior-day environment and whether some of those 1-3 routines on vault and bars will score well enough. That’s the next step to being a Super Six contender. Michigan has not done well on the road yet this season.

Florida’s weak showing against LSU stood out as another significant development of the weekend as the Gators still need to show us title-level gymnastics and the ability to get competitive scores in a road context, particularly compared to those other teams that will be challenging for a title. Florida has suffered away losses to both LSU and Alabama in its only meetings against top-6 opposition. Not having use of Kennedy Baker’s scores anywhere except bars is really starting to show.

The major accomplishment of week 9 was Maggie Nichols completing the career gym slam with a 10 on bars, giving her at least one on every event. She’s the 9th gymnast to do this, following Sloan, Kupets, Kelly, Maloney, Lichey, Stepp, Kenoyer, and Marlowe, and is the second after Lichey to have accomplished it solely in her freshman year.

We’re getting close to actually knowing what the regionals placements are (WHAT?), but for those who also enjoy fun with meaningless in-progress scenarios, here’s what we’d have if the season ended today.

Regional 1: Oklahoma, Kentucky, Nebraska (host)
Regional 2: LSU, Michigan, Washington (host)
Regional 3: Florida (host), Boise State, Missouri
Regional 4: UCLA, Oregon State, Iowa
Regional 5: Utah, Denver, Cal
Regional 6: Alabama, Georgia, George Washington

We’ve got a lot of western teams in those 4 and 5 regionals, so I don’t know how that would go with the remaining hosts (Illinois, Arkansas, West Virginia). I’d give Regional 6 to West Virginia since that’s geographically sound, and then the other two would go to either Illinois or Arkansas. Those would be some fun regionals. I wouldn’t mind. Though it does reinforce the stupidity of the regional seeding system since your #1 and #2 seeds end up with the hardest and worst regionals. GREAT REWARD.

Next week, once we know final maximum RQSs to be achieved after conference championships, I’ll get into the race for the top 36 in more detail, but for now, here’s the group to keep an eye on.

Arizona State is actually sort of, kind of in this. Both ASU and Towson are still trailing by a significant margin but have some very low scores to get rid of and can theoretically pick up three tenths in a week to get into the conversation. The problem for them is that most of these teams also have a low score still hanging around and should move up rather significantly (except for Davis, which has been pretty consistent with its 194s and will be at the mercy of other teams’ performances).

Unheralded stars of the week
Gymnasts from schools outside the top 25 who scored over 9.900

Danielle Mulligan, New Hampshire – Bars, 9.925
Mulligan is currently ranked 12th on UB and is setting herself up as one of those gymnasts who could legitimately get to nationals as an individual.

Breahna Wiczkowski, Temple – Beam, 9.925
New name to learn. Sophomore whose previous high was 9.850 and had broken the 9.8 barrier just three times in her career.

Macey Hilliker, Central Michigan – Floor, 9.950
She’s so the new Rachel Stypinski in this category. After six 9.925s, CMU finally hit a 9.950. 

Rachel Stypinski, Kent State – Floor, 9.950
Actually no, Rachel Stypinski is the new Rachel Stypinski.

Bailey Abernathy, Minnesota – Floor, 9.950
How is your team ranked 34th? We need to talk about this.

Briannah Tsang, Penn State – Floor, 9.950
Penn State broke 196 for the first time this season, in the process moving back into the top-36 regional spots. I wonder what changed…

Nicola Deans, Michigan State – Floor 9.950
But I just used up my coaching sass about Penn State!

Kayla Beckler, Kaitlyn Menzione, Sydney Finke, Ball State – Floor 9.925
School record 49.500 on floor.

Krysten Howard, Arizona – Floor, 9.925
Victoria Ortiz, Arizona – Bars, 9.925
It was counting falls on bars and beam that sent Arizona to a loss to Arizona State that even these 9.925s couldn’t avert.

Taylor Chan, San Jose State – Floor, 9.925
The freshman is top 50 on floor, following a string of 9.875s with this 9.925. 


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