1. Oklahoma Sooners
Previous ranking: 1
Oklahoma extends its lead over all the other teams after a second-straight road 198 in an already-famous visit to UCLA. Six 10s were awarded between the two teams—one shy of the all-time record set in 1997. (Not a role model.) Again this week, the score is probably not representative of current level, but the Sooners nonetheless continued to prove that they are the top team in the country on three events. That’s enough to carry them ahead of most other schools, but floor is still a swirl of uncertainty. Also, Nicole Lehrmann’s bars was the best routine Oklahoma had that day, and it wasn’t one of the 10s. There. I said it.
2. Utah Utes
Previous ranking: 3
Utah leapfrogs LSU for the week thanks to a season-high 197.700 in victory over Washington. That 197.7 outpaces LSU’s season-high by .250 and is the #5 score recorded in NCAA so far this year. It’s the success of Merrell-Giles—who has moved very close to catching Skinner in the national all-around rankings—that is fueling the Utes’ rise to #2, as they now have two big AAers to rely on instead of one, which is particularly useful in keeping those vault and floor scores high. The control of the landings on vault was the highlight of the 197 performance, looking very March/April.
3. LSU Tigers
Previous ranking: 2
LSU will be frustrated again with the weekend’s showing, having to count a 9.400 mistake on bars that prevented the team from recording a 197.5+, which all the other top contenders have done at least once so far this season. Ergo, the Tigers drop to #3. The big positive was getting Priessman into the floor lineup since she’ll be a necessary member of a best-case-scenario floor six in the postseason (now to have Priessman and Desiderio at the same time), but left unresolved are the mystery position on beam and the Ruby Harrold situation. Harrold has been out on vault and floor lately, and just fell on bars, and it’s a concern.
4. UCLA Bruins
Previous ranking: 4
Despite losing to Oklahoma by a tenth at home, UCLA can have few complaints about that meet or the season-high 197.950 that came with it. There’s no question that several of those routines would not be getting 10s at a normal meet, but the bigger takeaway was UCLA kind of/sort of being able to keep pace with Oklahoma through the majority of a meet. Beam is at the same level, and floor is actually more consistent. (What world is this?) Where UCLA fell behind was in using too many Yfulls and in the early half of the bars lineup, which was a clear step behind what Oklahoma brought in form and handstands. Still, UCLA is in the same stadium as the #1 team, which is something, and is moving closer in the rankings to #2 and #3 despite still having to absorb that 196.2 from the first week.
5. Florida Gators
Previous ranking: 5
Florida loses ground to the top 4 after a 197.400 against Auburn, because that’s where we are right now as a society. Like LSU, Florida will feel a little deflated by this one because it could have been a much higher score if not for some uncharacteristic mistakes on one event, in this case the final two routines on beam. Alex McMurtry going fall-10-fall in her last three beam routines is SO college gymnastics. Foberg was rested for this meet (and Alexander is now out with an Achilles), and you didn’t really notice, which is a good sign for the team’s depth and prospects, as is knowing that the score likely would have been higher had Foberg been in on a couple events.
6. Kentucky Wildcats
Previous ranking: 6
Kentucky is doing enough to stay at #6 in a competitive section of the rankings by recording a second-consecutive 196.700, this time in a loss to LSU. The Wildcats won’t care so much about the result because they were never expected to win, and this is a very usable road score with clear room for improvement. Korth fell on bars and struggled with her 1.5 vault landing and the team still went 196.700 on the road, which augurs well for ultimate 197 ability. Although, road and home is a little misleading with Kentucky because—as one of the less-heralded SEC programs—the best chance for big scores will come at road meets against the famous teams.
7. Michigan Wolverines
Previous ranking: 7
Uh oh. It was going well for a while. Michigan was squarely on track to reach the 197s again after three events, but then a disaster on floor changed everything. The final total of 196.875 would still be perfectly acceptable if not for the circumstances in which it occurred, with Olivia Karas tearing her Achilles on her final floor pass. Not good. The team has routines to replace hers with Funk (VT/UB), Marinez (UB/FX), and Shchennikova (BB) able to add more events (also Osman, when she returns, might have just become a lot more important for VT/FX), but there’s no avoiding that Michigan will take a scoring hit on every event, making it more difficult to get those 197s.
8. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Previous ranking: 9
A second-straight 196.8 has bumped Nebraska up to a very-Nebraska ranking of 8th. This team will always hang around on the edges of the Super Six group, but one of the differences this season is the level of depth that allows for these high 196s even without Houchin and Roby in the all-around—as they likely would be in ideal health circumstances. It means Nebraska will expect to continue getting better as the season progresses because these are not final lineups.
9. Alabama Crimson Tide
Previous ranking: 10
The world got a little nicer for Alabama over the weekend, recording a symbolic victory by reaching (exactly) 197 for the first time, and also an actual victory in defeating an Arkansas team that had been positioning itself to disrupt the SEC balance of power. Alabama put a stop to that for the time being, but worries about the team’s competitiveness on vault and floor are as high as ever with 9.6s and 9.7s popping up on both events. In the grand scheme of scores, 197.000 is an improvement but still not great for a team with Alabama’s expectations. A visit to FLORIDASCORING next weekend couldn’t have come at a better time.
10. Arkansas Razorbacks
Previous ranking: 8
Arkansas came back to earth a little after losing a dual meet to Alabama for the first time in a few years. Beam wasn’t quite as confident as it had been the previous week, and the five-vaulter issue reared its head with some uncontrolled landings that had to count. Still, a 196.350 road score is nothing to sneeze at (they would have given a hoof for it last season) and will keep Arkansas exactly where it wants to be: in position to challenge the typical #2 seed-ish teams, with what should be some high-scoring road meets still to come on the schedule.
11. Oregon State Beavers
Previous ranking: 13
Oregon State continues moving swiftly up the rankings after that first-meet trouble in Pittsburgh with another high 196 in a victory over Arizona State. Floor ended up the big score in this one (home meets, floor, you know how it goes), but bars proved quite impressive because of the performances of Minyard and Singley, emerging as very clean options to fill roles that seemed uncertain heading into the season. Singley’s cast handstand before her dismount this week should get an award.
12. Denver Pioneers
Previous ranking: 11
Something keeps going slightly wrong for this Denver team to block moving into the top 10, which should be a very attainable ranking. And by something, I mean counting a fall on bars. It’s basically every time. Denver ranks top 8 on all the other events and 29th on bars. It’s not because of the quality of the gymnastics, either. Just the hitting. Nonetheless, because of home and all the 9.9s, Denver still recorded a very usable 196.750. It’s probably better to get the bars problems out of their system now, during this streak of home meets when they can still get high 196s even with the problems, because it’s unlikely they’ll go 196.7s and 196.8s with a counting fall under typical road or postseason circumstances.
13. Georgia Bulldogs
Previous ranking: 14
Mimicking Alabama, Georgia also recorded its first 197 of the season by going 197.000 at home against an upstart conference rival. There were some strong moments for Georgia, particularly on bars and beam where we can really see the makings of nationally competitive lineups once Schild returns. As for vault and floor, Georgia more or less escaped in this meet, avoiding paying the price for a mistake on floor and a vault lineup of mostly average fulls because of soaring scores. It’s still an untenable situation, though. Watch for how those lineups are evaluated next week on the road at Kentucky. It will tell us a lot.
14. Boise State Broncos
Previous ranking: 16
Boise State recovered from two straight weeks of 195s with a much more befitting 196.625 in victory over Utah State. It was an even performance across four events (despite some falls that were able to be dropped) with every event scoring in the 49.1s, marked by some highlight beam routines and a huge 9.950 for Bir on vault with her handspring pike 1/2. Not having to rely on bars for the score is a big deal and is markedly different from scenario of the last 4-5 years.
15. Auburn Tigers
Previous ranking: 17
It was a week of scoring 197.000 in the SEC, with Auburn joining Alabama and Georgia on the exact same score, which reveals what a significant performance this was for Auburn, pulling back onto the same footing as those typical SEC powers. Really, the only weak counting scores came on bars and came because of a weird miss from Milliet, who we know is a 9.9 in most circumstances. Of note, that was the best meet Gracie Day has ever had. She’s starting to look like the star the team needs her to be.
16. Washington Huskies
Previous ranking: 15
Washington recorded its third-straight 196 against Utah, which is enough to keep pace with these mid-teens teams, the ones that will be jockeying for third-seed positions once we move into RQS. The meet did not start ideally for Washington, not landing well on vault and getting away with a better score than expected, but the quality of the dismounts on bars and the overall comfort on the other events helped get back into the 196s. For the first time this season, Goings hit beam the way she was hitting last year, providing an encouraging progress report for her eventual comeback as a necessary all-arounder.
17. Arizona State Sun Devils
Previous ranking: 12
It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times. After three-straight very successful performances, ASU dropped over the weekend with a counting fall on beam, some mistakes on floor, and an overall whiff of 9.6ishness for routines that had been 9.8ish. It happens, and 17th is still an amazing ranking for Arizona State, but it does pump the breaks on the hype car a little bit. The real concern is the health of Nichelle Christopherson, who had to be carried off floor after tweaking her ankle at the end of her routine.
18. Minnesota Golden Gophers
Previous ranking: 22
Minnesota gains another four places after recording a season-high 196.375 against Nebraska. The Gophers stayed close with the Huskers on three events, only losing major ground because of the 2018 tradition of using only five vaulters and having to count a 9.6 from one of them. Otherwise, the 9.9 brigade of Ramler and Loper kept Minnesota on the right side of 196 for the second time in three meets, joined by sophomore Ivy Lu, who is becoming an auto-9.9 on bars and is currently ranked 5th in the country. Side question: why do we keep seeing her name written as Ivy lu everywhere, like with a lowercase L affectation? Is that a thing?
19. Central Michigan Chippewas
Previous ranking: 20
Central Michigan scored 195.6 for a third consecutive week in falling to Southern Utah by a slim margin. Denelle Pedrick starred with a 39.350 in the all-around and three scores of 9.850+ as she is proving herself to be more than just a big vault, but a few too many 9.7s across all the events meant CMU couldn’t get over the mid-195 hump yet again.
20. Stanford Cardinal
Previous ranking: 21
Progress accomplished for Stanford this week, breaking the 196 barrier and doing it without Price on beam and floor (two events that were stuck in the 48s as a result). Defying the odds, bars stood as Stanford’s highest score this week. No one is really sure how that happened, but the team will definitely take it. Hits in backup routines by Team “We’re Not Related, Stop Thinking We’re Related” (Nicole Hoffman on beam, Hailee Hoffman on floor) also showed that Stanford might have a little bit of (gasp) depth on beam and floor this season. The problem is that Stanford is still yet to record a top-18 level score and has exactly six meets left in the regular season. Every one of those remaining meets must be a good hit in the 196s for Stanford get a seeded place at regionals this year.
21. BYU Cougars
Previous ranking: 18
BYU had to go back on the road this week, resulting in the Cougars’ second 194 score in as many road meets, the culprit this time being a three-fall beamtastrophe for 47 that took away a possible 196. BYU still has five more road meets remaining in which to get good scores but would prefer one of those good scores this coming weekend at Southern Utah to take some pressure off the end-of-season meets.
21. George Washington Colonials
Previous ranking: 25
George Washington gains four more places in the standings to reclaim the sort of ranking we expected for the team going into the season. This improvement comes as a result of a season-high 196.525 in a 24-for-24 home meet that featured Winstanley breaking the 39.5 barrier in the all-around with nothing lower than a 9.875 on any event.
23. Iowa State
Previous ranking: 24
Iowa State stays fairly steady in the rankings but did reach a critical milestone over the weekend in breaking into the 196 zone for the first time and recording its first score that would be usable for RQS. It wasn’t a perfect performance, with mistakes on vault and floor taking away the chance for a higher total, but the team’s scoring leaders hit their high 9.8s and Young managed to score over 39.5 in the all-around.
24. Missouri Tigers
Previous ranking: 23
Missouri is still waiting for a real breakthrough performance after recording a fine-but-unremarkable 195.8 in a loss to Georgia. The issue for Missouri was not mistakes—all falls were able to be dropped—but a preponderance of 9.800-quality routines that aren’t going to snatch those big totals. The one 9.9 came from Ward on beam, a critical routine for the team, but the Tigers will also have to get Porter at full strength and resolve Ward’s vaulting issues in order to hope for a more competitive amount of 9.9s in the future.
25. Arizona Wildcats
Previous ranking: 19
Arizona loses quite a bit of ground in the rankings after a weak performance in a season-low 194.425 loss to Cal. Being without Schneider showed, particularly on floor, but the real problem was another beam collapse. Arizona has struggled on beam in most meets this season and currently ranks 39th there, which is not going to get the job done. The Wildcats don’t yet have a usable road score and have four more road meets remaining, so the margin for error is shrinking.