Week 1 Rankings

With many teams not competing, and many other teams competing like a thousand-year-old skeleton with bronchitis, the first-week rankings are always going to be a little screwy. Nonetheless, we proceed.

1. LSU Tigers

Average: 197.150
Previous ranking: 3

LSU came out of the Weekend That Shall Not Be Named on top, primarily the result of an excellent UB rotation featuring April-level sticks. The Tigers will nonetheless be unsatisfied with the performance on the remaining three events, all of which featured mistakes along with the presence of some backup routines (with Kennedi Edney limited to only bars). Let’s be honest, LSU will have no plans to count a 197.150 home score for RQS.

2. Utah Utes

Average: 197.000
Previous ranking: 5

Across the four events, Utah looked the most prepared team in the NCAA this week, not a particularly surprising development based on what we expect from Utah. It was just a start-value nightmare from McNatt on beam and the OOB from Skinner for the lowest floor score of her NCAA career (9.800) that kept Utah out of the top spot.

3. Central Michigan Chippewas

Average: 196.375
Previous ranking: 30

End the season right now, we have a champion. Central Michigan took advantage of hitting five routines on each event (as well as the joys of home floor), to snatch a program-high ranking of #3. It won’t last, but we’ll always have that time Central Michigan was #3.

4. UCLA Bruins

Average: 196.250
Previous ranking: 6

A meet of highs and lows ultimately settled UCLA in 4th with a score that will be unremarkable a couple months from now but with a level of preparation on floor that provokes optimism for meets to come. The team showed some less-than-ideal routines on all events, but it was falls on two of the three 10.0-start vaults that caused the most angst. Vault angst is nothing new these last few years. 

5. Michigan Wolverines

Average: 196.200
Previous ranking: 7

Michigan will be floating victoriously after a win over a power school like Alabama. Several aspects of the performance were far from ideal (the first half of the floor lineup’s endurance, some “Oh, Paige” moments), but for a first outing, especially one that was scored relatively tightly on vault and beam as this one was, breaking 196 is a successful result.

6. Kentucky Wildcats

Average: 196.075
Previous ranking: 10

The NCAA’s favorite underdog of 2018 will surely take a 196 for the opening-weekend performance, a meet that mostly featured the big stars picking up where they left off—if with a little more rust. Operation Keep Everything The Same got upgraded slightly with the resurrection of Alaina Kwan and the introduction of January Surprise Ella Warren, looking very bars-lineup. 

7. Florida Gators

Average: 195.900
Previous ranking: 2

This 195.900 marked Florida’s lowest team score since February 2010, so it can hardly be considered anything in the vicinity of a success. The team looked uncomfortable on floor (counting a fall) and threw up some rather unexpected mistakes, like Slocum’s vault. Kennedy Baker scratching with a cramp did not help matters at all, but with backups like Gowey and Foberg who can come in, having a star pull out of a meet isn’t really an excuse for a dip in performance for Florida. On the bright side, Alyssa Baumann on beam.   

8. Denver Pioneers

Average: 195.775
Previous ranking: 8

The final score may be somewhat disappointing for Denver, a total that was taken down into the 195s by counting a bars fall, but the overall performance (going over 49.1 on the other three pieces) and potential displayed by the freshmen will be extremely encouraging for this season’s prospects. Even the two freshmen who fell on bars did so on lovely release skills.

9. Alabama Crimson Tide

Average: 195.675
Previous ranking: 4

Alabama did not look particularly prepared for excellence in the loss to Michigan, struggling to get through full floor routines and peppering in some sloppy landings on the other events. Throw in unexpected mistakes like Guerrero wobbling on beam (and a 1000% pee-pants beam debut from Key—#itgetsbetter), and it was never going to be a strong showing. Seven meets until this score can be dropped. 

10. Arizona Wildcats

Average: 195.425
Previous ranking: 26

Arizona snatches the final space in the top 10 in this depleted week by being just solid enough in the home loss to Denver. It’s not a big score, but no counting falls, a very confident AA performance from Cindric, and getting three events out of Leydin make it a successful opener.

11. Arkansas Razorbacks

Average: 195.350
Previous ranking: 19

Arkansas will be similarly encouraged, despite a score that will need to be dropped, because of a performance featuring new beams of sunlight that can erase the depression of last season. Wellick returned on three events, and the freshmen Laird and Carter both showed themselves to be very viable beamers capable of boosting that lineup.

12. Iowa State

Average: 195.175
Previous ranking: 29

Iowa State takes 12th after a victory in the actually-pretty-exciting Arizona State quad, where the two unranked sides proved more consistent and impressive than their ranked counterparts. A 39.200 from Young was good enough to take the AA title.

13. Temple Owls

Average: 194.875
Previous ranking: Unranked

Temple’s previous best score in an opening meet was 191.925. So yeah. This was better. The program-record score is 194.975, set last season, which doesn’t seem like it will be the record for very long at all. These rankings can be misleading because so many teams haven’t competed yet, but Temple is by far the most improved team in NCAA for the last couple seasons. FULL POINTS better than ever before. 

14. Arizona State Sun Devils

Average: 194.675
Previous ranking: 31

Arizona State’s renaissance took another step forward with a second-place performance that would have been a win if not for counting a fall on beam. Getting 194.675 for a meet with a fall is a significant step up from 30 seconds ago, when that score would have been a season-high miracle.

15. Ball State Cardinals

Average: 194.475
Previous ranking: Unranked

Ball State upset George Washington to take a surprising second place at the Kentucky quad meet, a performance that (critically) featured no counting falls on any event. It was the 27th-best performance in program history, and Ball State’s best opening-meet score in the era for which we have easily-accessible records.

16. West Virginia Mountaineers

Average: 194.425
Previous ranking: 28

West Virginia did catch Florida on an off day but showed far too many 9.6s to be able to take advantage, recording a score that the team will hope to drop as soon as possible. Freshman Linnen was quite nice on beam, showing a ton of potential as one of the highlights of the day along with the always-excellent Koshinski.

17. BYU Cougars

Average: 194.275
Previous ranking: 34

BYU had a mess on bars in the first rotation against Utah, a rotation that undermined what otherwise would have been a very 9.775 meet for a useful road 195. That’s a surprise because bars is typically a strong event for this BYU group, with the routines from Hawes and Hortman-Evans typically the best the Cougars put up on any event.

18. Penn State Nittany Lions

Average: 194.275
Previous ranking: 25

Penn State won’t love the score from this first meet, one that was taken down into an unusable zone because of struggles on beam and floor, accompanied by a pretty tight score-scape overall—the tightest I saw across the weekend. Nonetheless, the new-blood potential shone through. Watch out for Bonsall and Bridgens in the all-around this year.

19. New Hampshire Wildcats

Average: 194.175
Previous ranking: Unranked

New Hampshire would not be denied by a little snow in the quest to compete the first weekend, jumping in on the Little Boston meet and nearly having an excellent performance if not for a catastrophic floor. The strengths were what we’ve come to expect from UNH: bars and beam. Mulligan’s 9.875 carried the bars lineup, while three 9.8s leading to Lauter’s 9.925 on beam means New Hampshire is currently the #2 beam team in the country.

20. Maryland Terrapins

Average: 194.100
Previous ranking: Unranked

It was a similar story for Maryland at the same meet, except replace a catastrophic floor with a catastrophic bars, where the team was forced to count an 8.800 and drop into an unusable score zone. Freshman Barber excelled, recording the team’s high score on VT, UB, BB.

21. NC State Wolfpack

Average: 194.025
Previous ranking: Unranked

NC State did emerge with a victory from Sunday’s meet at Northern Illinois, but a preponderance of 9.6s across the events left the team relying on savior scores from Knight to pull up the total. NC State has had a rough couple years, missing regionals twice in a row. It’s going to take 195s to break that streak.

22. Bowling Green Falcons

Average: 194.000
Previous ranking: Unranked

Bowling Green upset the favored Michigan State in the first week by not counting a fall on any piece. Operation Cross-the-Pond helped the team survive an early fall on beam by throwing up some late-rotation 9.8s from Mitchell and McPeak, and the power of East is keeping BG competitive on vault and floor.

23. Auburn Tigers

Average: 193.950
Previous ranking: 14

A third-place finish at a meet Auburn was expected to win will not sit well, a result marred by counting falls on both bars and floor. Milliet won’t be pleased with two falls on three events in her comeback meet, but having her back will be such a boon to Auburn on bars and beam as the weeks go on. She was sorely missed in those lineups last year.

24. Towson Tigers

Average: 193.800
Previous ranking: Unranked

Towson finished last at the Little Boston quad meet, never a good thing. There would be no recovering from a fall in a five-person vault rotation. But for a team that spent last season ranked in the 40s without enough 195s to make a run on regionals, it’s not an unacceptable score to start from.

25. George Washington Colonials

Average: 193.775
Previous ranking: 20

The beam bug took out George Washington in the first week as the team finished third in the Kentucky quad meet exclusively because of three beam falls. It was GW’s lowest score since March 2015, a result they’ll hope to remove from memory (and the rankings) as soon as possible. 


4 thoughts on “Week 1 Rankings”

  1. Great recap of the opening weekend! Thank you for this and all of your posts!

    Just a quick note in the Temple-UNH-Maryland-Towson meet: It was actually held in Boston and was called the Little Boston Invitational. (Maybe it was in conjunction with a JO meet?) So even though it might show at “Towson’s” meet for some reason, it wasn’t on Towson’s home turf.

    1. Nice to know that there’s someone else sufficiently detail-oriented and/or invested in that meet to point this out. I’m not alone!

  2. Bowling Green actually did count a fall – on bars. I know because it was during the first rotation that lasted 45 minutes and was appalling.

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