National Championship Preview: For the Win?

Team Title

I hesitate to do any kind of real or deep dive into the team title conversation right now because, first, we don’t know who the four advancing teams are and, second, we don’t know how everyone is going to look in the semifinal. I should wait and do a more informed preview that Saturday morning after the semifinals and before the team final, but I think we all know that’s not going to happen.

So…Oklahoma and UCLA, right? They are comfortably out in front by NQS, had the two highest scores from the regional finals, have been 1-2 all season long, own 2/3 of the 198s recorded this season, and…the list could go on and on. The margins in college gymnastics are too close to be confident…but Oklahoma and UCLA.

The argument for Oklahoma begins with vault. Oklahoma will put up a lineup with six 10.0-start Y1.5s, while UCLA is looking at putting up a couple fulls and has been more inconsistent with the overall landings on the 1.5s it does have. When Oklahoma has a lunge on a 1.5, it can drop that score and count the five other 1.5s in the lineup, but when UCLA has a big lunge on a 1.5 for 9.825, that score can’t be replaced as easily. That dynamic has carried Oklahoma to an NQS advantage of .170 over UCLA, the largest difference between these two teams on any single event.

The second-largest difference belongs to UCLA on floor with a lineup that owns a .150 advantage over Oklahoma there. When at its strongest, we’ve seen this UCLA floor lineup start with something like 9.925 from Frazier and not dip below that mark for the entire six routines, ending with what is a almost an auto-10 from Ohashi. Those big scores have become such a given that the only real question we have about UCLA’s floor heading into nationals is Tratz or Dennis for the lineup?

Meanwhile, floor has been Oklahoma’s low event with its most depleted lineup that has resulted in an NQS of (GASP) 49.570. You know, so bad. But it’s true that Oklahoma can get a little more 9.850y through the Draper and Schoepfer/LaPinta portion of the lineup, which makes the potential for a Maggie floor comeback so influential because she can erase much of that floor deficit we’ve seen develop this year.

To reduce it as much as possible, I expect either vault or floor to produce the largest single-event margin between these two teams, and whichever team’s strength happens to be the event producing that margin…there’s your winner. Because both teams are going to get huge numbers on bars and beam. I think Oklahoma is a little stronger overall on bars (UCLA has some mid-lineup uncertainty about who is going, with a couple potential 9.8s there in the middle), while UCLA is a little stronger overall on beam (Oklahoma has a routine or two early on that should get in the 9.8s, while UCLA starts with a legit potential 9.950 from Glenn and can go from there). But those are small margins, on-the-day differences that could flip to the other team in an instant. Hard to make an argument based on them.

Not to limit this thing totally to Oklahoma/UCLA, but they’re the top two teams, and we just…don’t know who’s going to be in the final with them at this point. But I will say: LSU comes into nationals in exactly the same position as UCLA did last season—the #3 most likely team to win the title, close enough to spoil should things fall just right.

Individuals

All-Around
The all-around title at NCAAs is supposed to be challenging to pick because you have all these amazing AAers within a tenth of each other—and then you know it’s probably going to get weird anyway and Kim Jacob wins. Based on what we’ve seen so far, however, this year shouldn’t be as wide open as normal.

With the frequency at which she is racking up the 10s, Kyla Ross has pulled out as a clear frontrunner. If she lands that 1.5 under control in the first rotation, she’s going to be on track for an absolutely massive number. One of the reasons Ross appears to be so far out in front, though, is Maggie Nichols’ floor absence. She hasn’t done AA since week 2. If Nichols returns to floor at nationals, there’s really no routine where you’d put Ross clearly out in front. They can both knock on the door of 10s on every event.

At the same time, we haven’t seen Nichols on floor in so long. We don’t know…that she’ll go, we don’t know what difficulty she’d put up, we don’t know how the landings are looking, so there’s always going to be some mystery about her AA chances.

In the next group, we have Sarah Finnegan. Finnegan can challenge for 10s on three events, but she’s probably going to max out at 9.900 for her vault given the difficulty and position in the lineup. The way scores have been going this season, one 9.900 is basically enough to drop you out of the title race. MyKayla Skinner will also be in the hunt, but for her, one step on the double tuck on beam presents the opportunity to take that score down to 9.850, and if 9.900 drops you out of the race, then 9.850 definitely does. They’re both in it, but if the scores are trending super, super high, Finnegan and Skinner max out at a lower position that Ross and Nichols.

Natalie Wojcik, Maddie Karr, and Lynnzee Brown present some enjoyable underdog hopes, and keep an eye on Alicia Boren as well competing as an individual, but it would be a definite surprise if the AA title doesn’t go to one of those first four.

Vault
Have fun guessing this one.

Someone with a 10.0 start and stick capability is going to get 10s from at least a couple judges and move ahead of the rest. We’ve seen that from Ross, Wojcik, and Nichols this year, so be surprised by a victory for none of them. But you could list so many others as realistic. Skinner, Brown, Snead, Karr, literally the entire Oklahoma lineup. The way vault is evaluated, we know it’s going to come down to who sticks on the day. Nothing more, nothing less.

Bars
You look and bars and ask, who is the most likely to get a 10? And the answer is Kyla Ross, so she’s going to enter the competition as the favorite for the bars title. She is best able to replicate the exact same routine from meet to meet to meet to meet—and the most likely to stick her dismount—which makes her the most reliable pick.

Beyond that…a win from Nichols? Not surprising. A win from Finnegan? Not surprising. A win from Lexy Ramler? More surprising, but I’m not going to shut up about the possibility and her routine is absolutely worthy. Trinity Thomas is also competing as an individual for bars and floor. I firmly believe that we will see an individual title go to a Florida gymnast in this meet, and Trinity Thomas on bars is not a bad option at all.

Beam
Do we want to just copy+paste Ross, Nichols, and Finnegan again into this one? Yeah, basically. Beam is definitely more unpredictable than bars this year (and every year, it’s beam), but it’s pretty much those three and Ohashi as the squad of most likely winners right now. UCLA has won beam at nationals 4 years in a row, and there’s no reason to think that streak won’t continue. I mean, it could even be Grace Glenn getting a 9.950 in the first spot if no one ends up 10ing.

The upset picks you’re rooting for here are Lexy Ramler and Alexis Vasquez, both of whom have been very 9.950 this year, but there are many, many you could add and not be remotely surprised by, like Sabrina Vega or Anastasia Webb or something.

Floor
This one is in Ohashi’s hands, let’s be honest. We’re at a point where, if she controls the landings on the DLO, she’s getting a 10 and at least a share of the floor title. They’re going to give her the win unless they physically can’t.

If Ohashi doesn’t control the DLO and the judges have to go 9.950, however, then this thing is live. I mean who didn’t get a 9.950 on floor at least once this season? I got 6 of them. From Trautman and Dowell, to Finnegan and Kelley, to Lynnzee Brown, to Trinity Thomas again as an individual, to literally the entire UCLA floor lineup, we’re going to see a lot of 9.950s on floor at nationals and more than a couple 9.9625s (remember that extra judges at nationals give us some weird decimal places) especially from anchors after three 9.950s have been given out to the previous three competitors. The surprise here would be if the floor win doesn’t go to a lineup anchor.

I’m a bit bummed that the new format kind of quashes my typical sassmonster individual strategy of just picking whoever goes last on each event in one of the semifinals as a protest of rising scores, but it’s my thing, so I’ve got to do it. Taylor Houchin for vault, Lexy Ramler for bars, Alicia Boren for beam, and Sophia Carter for floor. Let’s go.

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48 thoughts on “National Championship Preview: For the Win?”

  1. What is different about this year’s format that makes your usual end-of-lineup approach less viable? A higher number of individual qualifiers? They always went last in each rotation on qualification day, didn’t they?

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  2. My hopes:
    AA: Finnegan
    VT: Snead and Brown
    UB: Kocian and Lehrmann
    BB: Nichols, Ross, and Campbell
    FX: Vega and Karas

    What I think will happen — An OU and UCLA sweep.

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    1. Don’t count Skinner out on either vault or floor. Utah’s scores have been comparatively lower all season (please forget PAC 12s, that was just super cracky crap from start to finish – all 8 teams) If she brings it and sticks she could do it. I do think Ross has bars locked and a better that 50% shot at beam. (I hope “cover choreo” get the proper reductions and not a pass). When I say Utah has been lower I really mean that they have not been massively under scored but that they have not been gifted with the constant overages of other teams. This season is definitely one for the books. Utah has received “gifts” just not in massive quantity as have other teams. It will be interesting. Utah definitely has to stick vault and floor survive beam and do their stuff on Bars and they have a shot at finals. Should be a fun weekend. After regionals I just pray that all athletes are safe and unhurt and that the fans enjoy the show.

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  3. It’s already been written into the 2019 season script that UCLA is going to win. Val’s retirement, Katelyn’s viral floor routine. Come on now.

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  4. Lexi Ramler for the AA and bars titles (the latter shared with Ross). Also it would be awesome if Ramler won/or shared the beam title.

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  5. I’m really hoping that OU will win – they’ve been No1 all year, and they can be amazing and on top without having viral floor routines and a coach’s dramatic retirement. They really deserve this win – and that is fact.

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    1. Love this line, “Will there ever be room for the gymnasts who find their true joy in, you know, winning? Who dare to care when they don’t win? Who refuse to be sweet little bundles of delight? I’ll believe that the NCAA is the widely touted panacea to USA Gymnastics’ toxicity when its culture embraces the greatness of MyKayla Skinner—attitude and all.”

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    2. I hadn’t read this before. Wow! Powerful article. This reminds me of Tanya Harding & Nancy Kerrigan. Tanya had incredible skills but wasn’t a perfect princess and her scores suffered for it. The same can be said of Skinner. I wouldn’t take her any other way though. Skinner is a total badass and unquestionably one of the greatest gymnasts of all-time.

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      1. Ohh, in the whole Tonya vs. Nancy narrative I was 100 per cent behind Tonya Harding. Nancy, at the time, was a stuck up snob who got what she deserved. Thankfully Nancy grew up in her adult life when she left skating.

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      2. By “got what she deserved,” I really hope you’re not referring to her assault. If you didn’t like her personality and didn’t feel particularly bad for her when she didn’t win stuff, fine, but people don’t deserve to be physically assaulted just because they have an attitude that you don’t like.

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      3. Referring to Nancy’s attitude after the Olympics – the media obsessed over her as the “darling” and her poor attitude which proved she was not the “princess” type. Granted no one is the princess-type when the media pins the label on them – it was similar with Tiger Woods, I hated him pre-2009 because of his so-called “perfect” image but once he proved fallible and human he became much more likeable.

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      4. To the poster who called Nancy a stuck up snob, sorry, I take serious issue with that comment (and have found similar ones offensive since 1994). As a young skater who trained with Nancy for several years pre-Olympics, I can tell you that she is one of the nicest human beings and role models I ever came across. She had issues with public speaking and was shy with the media at that time in her life. That doesn’t make her a stuck-up snob; it just makes you judgemental of someone you didn’t know personally.

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    3. That article was a nice read. It’s nice to see a published article (and not just fan tweets) pointing out that there isn’t one “right” personality for a gymnast, and it’s perfectly fine to be noticeably annoyed when you get screwed. And Skinner has gotten screwed. The fact that she hasn’t gotten a 10 yet on vault doesn’t make sense compared to lots and lots of other scores across the country. As this article rightly pointed out, you can find a deduction if you look hard enough, but you can’t find one that is regularly being taken from everyone else.

      There were two things I wasn’t fond of in the article, though:
      1. The line about commentators being “masters of euphemism” when they call her a competitor. That strongly implies that the commentators are throwing shade at her, and that’s not true. She’s gotten way more than her fair share of shade thrown at her, but it hasn’t been by commentators. They are always very complimentary of her excellent gymnastics, and they often speak up when they feel she got a lower score than she deserved. It’s fine to call out the hate against her, but we don’t need to blindly include everyone under that “hate” umbrella, even those who are kind and appreciative of her.
      2. The line about losing the the national title to an athlete with a fraction of the difficulty. This article was supposed to be about the prejudice against Skinner, but this line undermines that. If the author would’ve continued to talk about Skinner getting lower scores for routines that are (execution-wise) as good as or better than the routines other athletes do that get them very high scores, that would’ve been an excellent point. But people being able to score higher than her with less difficulty isn’t a result of the prejudice of the judges; it’s a result of the rules of the sport. Everyone knows going into NCAA that difficulty beyond that which is required to start from 10 gets you nothing. That’s the rules. If you have a problem with the rules, okay, but that is a separate issue from Skinner being viewed in a different light than other athletes.

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      1. Yeah it annoys me to no end when people insist that Skinner is the best NCAA gymnast because of her difficulty. If you want to compete on the basis of difficulty, you can do elite. Skinner did elite, and she couldn’t win at elite (her career was full of accomplishments but she was never the Best Ever). Other athletes had more difficulty (and better execution, too). You can’t drop down to NCAA, in which difficulty scoring is capped and execution is paramount, and then claim that you should get extra credit for difficulty because you can’t win on execution.

        To her credit, I don’t think I’ve ever heard Skinner make this argument, but legions of her fans and now apparently a Slate blog are pushing this narrative.

        Skinner’s gonna do what she’s gonna do… I’m not a fan but I’m pretty sure I’ve piled on her plenty on this board and don’t need to be repetitive.

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      2. I didn’t point out that line about other athletes with lesser difficulty being able to beat Skinner in order to make an argument against her being the best in the NCAA. Actually, I feel that it is impossible to pick a definitive “best” in the NCAA. There are lots of people who consistently perform at an incredibly high level, and it is impossible to choose just one of them as the definitive best. All I meant with that point is that the fact that another athlete with lesser difficulty can beat Skinner is a result of the rules, not the bias against Skinner, so bringing up that point in an article about the bias against her is a non-sequitur. I don’t think it’s fair to throw out the whole article because of a couple problematic sentences, though. The author made many valid points. I just object to a couple things which I outlined above.

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      3. Ok. Sorry if my comment reads like I put words in your mouth.

        I didn’t care for the article. I think it’s absurd to imply that Skinner experiences some sort of dramatic bias – she’s systematically overscored compared to almost every gymnast due to her elite cred, her difficulty, and her position as the anchor of a top-8 team. It’s hard for me to care much about some perceived comparative bias against Skinner which only comes into play when she’s compared to Ohashi, Ross, or Nichols, while gymnasts like Hislop miss out on nationals and gymnasts like Ramler are way down the rankings. Like… Skinner might be one or two places lower in the rankings because she hasn’t received 10s for comparable routines to Ohashi? Cry me a river. I do not think her FX or VT are undeniably better than the rest. It’s a bummer that her low DTY with okay form gets 9.95s when the same vault from others gets a 10, and I get the frustration from her fans, but I just don’t think it’s the injustice (or the BIAS!!!!) that it’s portrayed as. I have favorites too, and when they get ~slightly~ lower scores than some of the ludicrously overscored OU or UCLA gymnasts, I don’t insist that it’s a systemic conspiracy against them personally.

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      4. I think the crux of the article is that Skinner is very often scored lower than routines with flaws. I have seen her in meets in several different venues and she is scored lower. Watch Ohashi floor – she practically flies backward on her leaps, her landings are not always clean has a few weird things crop up at different times – she is a DELIGHT to watch but this is an athletic competition. The number of 10s received this year for that routine is a total crock – entertainment value 10 , not always competitively . I have seen Skinner get between 9.875 and 9.925 for routines with fewer flaws. At the Utah UCLA meet she had a right to be furious. I sort of like the warrior persona rather that the princess. There are an abundance of princesses out there so envelop the occasional warrior. Was UCLA the better team at that meet, yes, but Skinner had a right to be frustrated.

        As to form, she has improved so much in 3 years and credit is not given to her for that. Watch the vault. How many 10s has Kyla received with a squat. Some have definitely been earned but not all. Same on beam – choreo cover-up – is not perfection. She has received 10s with wobbles – she is amazing at at this time I think she is the front runner for AA. She is a lovely person, obviously sophisticated and intelligent but that shouldn’t give the bump. UCLA has benefited from media and social media – translated into inflated scores. No one is so perfect that they earn that many 10s. Skinner was hammered last year at Oregon when she was beaten by McMillan. Her routine was great but McMillan had a couple of staggers – they needed .025 to win and that’s what she got. I do think judging is a little unfair to Skinner but it is what it is and until the powers that be do something about it – it will continue. I have seen overscoring at LSU, OK, FLA, UT and don’t bet me started about the Arizona schools. I just hope that the judges realize what they are doing to the sport and correct the problem before NCAA gymnastics turns into a joke like professional wrestling where the winner is pre-determined.

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      5. Similarly, Skinner’s routines are often overscored when they have flaws. Please stop acting like it’s one-way in favour of everyone else.

        She’s ranked 6th in the country on bars with her consistently bent arms on re-grasp and short handstands. That’s hardly underscoring.

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    4. The author of the article clearly hasn’t watched Skinner’s whole career, stating that she gained fame at the 2016 trials, completely forgetting her team and individual world medals in ’14. Having watched her from the time she hit elite, I simply didn’t care for her gymnastics. Sure, she chucked the huge skills, but I didn’t care for her technique or style. That’s where it started for me. Compared to someone like Aly, who has similar execution, but Aly has redeeming features, she demonstrates herself to be a phenomenal human being. I came to love Aly as a sentimental favorite because of who she is (ok, how she presents herself). Skinner, on the other hand, made the tweet the gymternet will not forget, and that was it for me. Now on top of finding no reason to like her/be her fan, I had reason to disrespect her as a person.

      I was shocked to see her gymnastics in NCAA. The consistency, the execution, the auto-(deserved?!?)-9.9’s. While she does’t have the grace of other gymnasts, her execution is pretty damn clean. If I hadn’t followed her elite career, I would have been impressed as hell by her. Truly, her gymnastics in NCAA is in a league with Maggie Nichols, except that hers contributions are even more needed by her team.

      But, sorry not sorry, she has given us all the fodder we need to love to hate her. Which I will continue to do.

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      1. I think Skinner’s form is noticeably worse than both Nichols and Ross, who are two extremely clean gymnasts. If all three hit an AA set, Skinner should be a pretty clear third. This isn’t to say Skinner’s form is ~bad~ – it’s pretty good. But it is not the best in NCAA, and difficulty should not outweigh that.

        I think Skinner’s claim to the “Best NCAA Gymnast” title, if there could be such a thing, is her consistency. She is BY FAR the most consistent NCAA gymnast. And I think you could make a good argument for that being the most important feature in a team competition. Skinner performs close to the best gymnastics in the country and practically never falters – and as noted, her team relies on her much more than OU relies on Nichols or UCLA relies on Ross.

        “She’s ranked 6th in the country on bars with her consistently bent arms on re-grasp and short handstands. That’s hardly underscoring.”

        EXACTLY. It’s not like Skinner’s never had a score that was unfairly low, and she certainly doesn’t get as many perfect 10s as a few others, but on average she is right up there with the overscored star gymnasts. She gets 9.925s on floor with legit bad landings. There’s definitely scoring issues in NCAA that make me very upset and are IMO very problematic for the sport, but Skinner’s reception from judges is not one of them.

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      2. Same. Skinner’s attitude does it for me but her gymnastics are nothing to write home about either (at least for me).

        Sure, she did big skills in elite (which never quite worked) and continues to do so in NCAA but I didn’t enjoy watching her back then and I don’t now.

        And, before someone says I am biased or pouring the hate, I don’t particularly enjoy watching any of the Oklahoma routines either, or OSU floor, or LSU just about anything except for maybe Lexie Priessman on bars and Sarah Finnegan on floor.

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    5. There are others performing a DTY on VT – Olsen, Pedrick, Houchin all do one.
      Olsen has a 2/2 on FX also.
      The article is misleading and make it seem as though Skinner is head and shoulders above the rest of the competitors, when she really isn’t that far ahead.

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  6. I don’t think it’s entirely fair to paint last year as Oklahoma vs. LSU with UCLA as the third best team. UCLA always had the higher peak than LSU. LSU needed Oklahoma to make mistakes. UCLA was more in control of its own destiny, but was inconsistent.

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  7. From a fan-complaint standpoint, UCLA can’t win…

    UCLA-haters can just cut and paste the relevant one of these into their post-Finals comments:

    A. “Of course UCLA won! UCLA is the very definition of overscoring. This being the final season for Miss Val and for Ohashi made this so-called ‘victory’ absolutely inevitable. The only way anyone else could have had a chance is if they had sewn a UCLA logo onto their leos. Yawn. Last year’s miraculous comeback ‘win’ was also an undeserved joke.”

    B. “Of course UCLA didn’t win! This Finals used actual critical judging from multiple judges. With four teams on the floor it was obvious that UCLA had been overscored all season until reality set in at the Finals. They should have lost last year too.”

    😉

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    1. UCLA is the best team and have been all season (even if the scoring was consistent across the NCAA) and should win the 2019 title.

      But the question is: will they?

      In the NHL the Tampa Bay Lightning were the most dominant regular season team the hockey world had seen in a long time with 128 points – well ahead of the other teams – and they just got bounced from the playoffs without winning a game.

      OU and LSU are a lot closer (on paper) to pulling off an upset then any of the other NHL teams appeared to be able to knock off the powerful Lightning. Who knew a team who had never won a playoff series would be the ones to do it… might bode well for LSU or Denver or Oregon State.

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      1. For the record I had the Blue Jackets making it to the Stanley Cup final in my pre-season predictions in September 2018 where they would need to get past the Winnipeg Jets in order to hoist the Cup.

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      2. UCLA got the best scores which were not always deserved that doesn’t mean they were the best team all season

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  8. I was on a conference call this morning and was bored. So I decided to look up the individuals event winners over the past 10 years and their rankings at the end of the season. I’m hoping we get a few more “upset” event winners this year. I would love another Katie Bailey showing up. Their end of the regular season ranking is after the school.

    AA:
    2009-Kupets, UGA (1st); 2010-Jackson, LSU (3rd); 2011-Botterman, MICH (2nd); 2012-Hunter, UF (9th); 2013-Sloan, UF (2nd); 2014-Jacob, Bama (14th); 2015-Peszek, UCLA(NR) and Hunter, UF (1st); 2016-Sloan, UF (1st); 2017-McMurtry, UF (NR); and 2018-Nichols, OU (1st)

    VT:
    2009-ACK, LSU (4th); 2010-Zamarripa, UCLA (1st); 2011-King, UF (13th); 2012-Hunter, UF (5th); 2013-Milliner, Bama (8th) and Courville, LSU (5th); 2014-Grable, Ark (11th) and Courville, LSU (7th); 2015-Price, Stan (6th); 2016-Jay, UGA (4th) and Bailey, Bama (42nd); 2017-Edney, LSU (12th); and 2018-Dowell, OU (3rd), McMurtry, UF (2nd), and Skinner, Utah (5th)

    UB:
    2009-Kupets, UGA (1st); 2010-Janiga, Stan (10th); 2011and 2012-Ding, UGA (1st); 2013-Johnson, UF (NR); 2014-Sloan, UF (4th); 2015-Dabritz, Utah (1st); 2016-Rogers, UGA (8th) and Sloan, UF (3rd); 2017-McMurtry, UF (6th), Bailey, Bama (23rd), Ross, UCLA (1st), Finnegan, LSU (36th), Lehrmann, OU (12th), and Nichols, OU (2nd); 2018-Price, Stan (1st) and Nichols, OU (7th)

    BB:
    2009-Kupets, UGA (1st); 2010-Jackson, LSU (10th); 2011-Peszek, UCLA (NR); 2012-Stack-Eaton, Bama (78th); 2013-Sloan, UF (2nd); 2014-Spears, OU (2nd); 2015-Peszek, UCLA (1st); 2016-Sloan, UF (7th) and Francis, UCLA (2nd); 2017-Ross, UCLA (4th); and 2018-Lee, UCLA (1st)

    FX:
    2009- Kupets, UGA and ACK, LSU (both 1st); 2010-McCullough, UCLA (15th); 2011-Stack-Eaton, Bama (22nd); 2012-Ding, UGA (NR); 2013-Sampson, MICH (1st); 2014-Grable, Ark (8th); 2015-Hunter, UF (2nd); 2016-McGee, Den (2nd); 2017-Gnat, LSU (4th) and Skinner, Utah (1st); and 2018-Ohashi, UCLA (1st) and Nichols, OU (3rd)

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  9. My hopes:
    Team: UCLA
    Vault: Taylor Houchin
    Uneven Bars: Kyla Ross& Trinity Thomas
    Balance Beam: Grace Glenn& Raegan Campbell
    Floor Exercise: Sarah Finnegan
    AA: Kyla Ross

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      1. Just adding…

        In 2019-20 is there any doubt Kyla Ross will win the AAI award for her gymnastics/academics and community work?

        Maggie and Mykayla will probably get their schools nominations but I don’t believe either are acing their academics like Kyla – an engineering major I believe. Maggie is studying sports broadcasting I think and I’m not sure what Mykayla’s major is but I’d be very surprised if it’s a heavy math/science one.

        Kyla’s biggest competition will likely come from her teammate Madison who is a pre-med major. If Kyla gets the team nomination she’ll easily win. Madison would probably win as well if she is the UCLA nominee but it might be slightly closer.

        Yeah the AAI in 2019-20 is going to a UCLA gymnast.

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      2. Kyla is a biology major. She was honorable mention academic all-PAC last year. Kocian was the only All-PAC and Academic All-PAC this year.

        I think Kyla and Maggie have the inside track to this one. The academic side is not that important. Look at all the past gymnasts who have won — they were typically the best AA senior gymnast (or 3 event) gymnast of the year.

        Also, just because someone isn’t interested in STEM doesn’t mean they aren’t smart or that they are undeserving of academic honors.

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      3. Skinner was second-team for the Pac-12 academic honors this year (and last year too, I think) – so technically acing her academics more so than Ross. Her major (comm) is not as challenging for most as a STEM track would be, but these awards don’t take your major into account. Nor should they.

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      4. Well rumour is it’s highly unlikely Skinner will be doing NCAA next year so no point talking about her for the AAI award anyway.

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  10. Do you have a list anywhere that shows the rotation order for the NCAA individuals ? Like what team they rotate with and what event they start on? Sorry if I missed it if previously posted?

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    1. It’s on the NCAA site and I know BBS, Gymcastic, and others all posted it when it was first released after regionals. Look at the archives or go back to the articles posted right after regionals. Off the top of my head, I know Hyland rotates with UCLA and the Florida event specialists all rotate with Georgia.

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