The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Week 2 Rankings

1. Florida Gators

Average: 197.375

Florida retained the #1 ranking in week 2 despite not quite matching the strength of its first-meet performance (a national theme) and having this weird thing happen where Trinity Thomas fell on beam. Nonetheless, Florida’s 197.250 proved to be nearly the top score of the weekend, receiving a necessary boost from Nya Reed’s final rotation 9.975.


2. Oklahoma Sooners

Average: 197.238

The Sooners fell to #2 in the rankings this week after a meh-for-Oklahoma 197.025, the team’s lowest score in two years. The lineup felt the strain of the additional injuries to Audrey Lynn and Carly Woodard in a hoppy vault rotation and tight beam performance, though will take comfort that the “off” meet still featured six 9.9s—an improvement over last week’s five—and a score over 197.


3. Michigan Wolverines

Average: 197.225

A statement season opener saw Michigan debut among the best teams in the country, and very nearly break into the top two in the process. The five Y1.5s on vault will be a formidable force, and the bars dismounts look almost postseason ready. Michigan will be particularly encouraged about being able to open comfortably into the 197s with a nationally competitive score, even on a day when beam was only OK.


4. Minnesota Gophers

Average: 197.025

A first-rotation zero didn’t seem to bode well, but then Lexy Ramler and Ona Loper took over to bring the team into the 197s as Loper jumped into the top position in the national all-around rankings. The addition of Mya Hooten, who debuted with a 9.950 on floor after the vault unpleasantness, should give Minnesota some much-needed oomph on floor, the weak event for last season’s roster.


5. LSU Tigers

Average: 196.913

LSU pulled itself up from last week’s performance with a much stronger 197.275 that turned out to be the top score in the country this weekend. The improvement came largely thanks to the bars scores and slightly more hitting on beam—though Kiya Johnson still needs to get that hex taken off of her. Haleigh Bryant competed the all-around for the first time for a casual 39.600 and made a compelling case for herself as a beamer in addition to the other events.


6. Utah Utes

Average: 196.725

Utah will be ruing a missed opportunity this week as Oklahoma’s average performance opened the door for an upset if Utah had been at its best. It was an anxious performance on beam, typically the team’s strongest event, that took away any chance for the victory. A 196.550 is still a fine score, but probably not a road score that a team like Utah wants to have to count come the end of the season.


7. Denver Pioneers

Average: 196.600

Denver will be fairly pleased with 196.600 as a foundational score as Lynnzee Brown competed all four events in her return to lead the team. The promise of increased depth from the freshman class also came through as they delivered 11 of the team’s 24 routines. Vault landings proved the lone stumbling block for a low event score there despite what should be a greater number of options this season, so watch out for that.


8. Arkansas Razorbacks

Average: 196.488

It was kind of a weird one for Arkansas. The team did not come as close to upsetting LSU this time around and had to count a fall on bars, but still somehow improved on last week’s result to score a quite strong 196.625 and rank as the #3 team in the conference. To a large extent…it’s good to be home. But the makings of a very competitive SEC team are there, Maggie O’Hara’s scores are thriving, and Sarah Shaffer has never looked stronger in setting an all-around career high.


9. Iowa Hawkeyes

Average: 196.450

Iowa proved one of the delightful surprises of the week as the debut performances of Jerquavia Henderson and Adeline Kenlin delivered as promised—even if the Big Ten Network couldn’t make a 10 happen for Henderson’s bars, hard as it tried. The floor rotation continues to set itself apart with non-boring, non-ugly routines as Iowa currently sits second in the nation on that event.


10. Alabama Crimson Tide

Average: 196.313

Alabama lost ground this week thanks to that old enemy, a counting fall on beam. That final-rotation disappointment dropped the team into the 195s for an unusable total score, even though Luisa Blanco returned to the beam lineup this week to make the best-case-scenario beam situation much more auspicious. Makarri Doggette’s anchor bars routine was a treat.


11. Georgia Bulldogs

Average: 196.113

Georgia had some obstacles to overcome in week 2, such as having to do without Mikayla Magee. On the other hand, the vault squad did get Rachael Lukacs back as the team ultimately took a very different route a nearly identical score to week 1. An extremely tentative beam was the primary culprit that kept Georgia from posting the kind of score it actually wants (still 7 chances left to get 4 scores, so there’s time for everyone), and Victoria Nguyen’s sudden absence on beam and floor in the second half of the meet was…not ideal.


12. Kentucky Wildcats

Average: 196.025

Speaking of beam, it has not been Kentucky’s friend so far. This now makes two meets out of two in which Kentucky was on its way to a high 196 but had to count a fall on beam. UK is really just a smidge away from putting it all together as gymnasts like Bailey Bunn and Anna Haigis have made statement performances so far to keep the team looking threatening with a roster that initially seemed to lack star power.


13. Ohio State Buckeyes

Average: 196.000

Ohio State opened the season with one of its best results in recent years (it took until late February for OSU to break the 196 mark last season). The team withstood leadoff falls in both the beam and floor rotations to emerge from those events unscathed, which was a significant sign of progress.


14. BYU Cougars

Average: 195.975

BYU got into the 196s this week and will take the score, even if losing to Arizona State will be a disappointment. BYU would have expected to win that one. The opening rotation bars performance was truly exceptional, particularly the 9.925 from Anyssa Alvarado, which is one of the cleanest bars sets you’ll see.


15. Iowa State Cyclones

Average: 195.500

Iowa State probably would have been looking for more in the score department from this meet, but some shaky beams and uncertain floor landings took away the shot at a 196. The sheer number of competitive Y1.5s on vault will be a major asset, so look for big team scores there consistently this season. ISU will expect to be a top-10 vaulting team.


15. Arizona State

Average: 195.500

Arizona State enjoyed a massive improvement from its first-week performance in its home opener this week, upsetting BYU, hitting the requisite five beam routines this time around, and showing progress in the tumbling department, even without Cairo Leonard-Baker in the floor lineup.


17. Illinois Illini

Average: 195.475

Illinois notched the upset in its season opener over a struggling Nebraska team with a perfectly acceptable 195.475. The showcase of depth was critical as Illinois trotted out 13 separate gymnasts to provide counting scores, and after Kaitlyn Ewald was given a redo at the end of the bars rotation, she came through with a 9.900, the team’s highest score of the day.


18. Auburn Tigers

Average: 195.138

Auburn won’t be especially thrilled with how things have started this season. On Friday, the team had to suffer through a 194.550 in its second meet, one that surprisingly did not feature any counting falls. It was a 9.5 and 9.6-a-thon on bars and beam that dropped the total as the team notched just two numbers in the 9.8s throughout the entire meet, both from Derrian Gobourne coming in to save the day.


19. Southern Utah Thunderbirds

Average: 195.063

With a mostly-hit competition, Southern Utah improved on its first-meet performance by a point and a half to get its average into the 195s and stay in the top 25. Hannah Nipp recovered from last week’s miss on floor to record a 9.900 this time, the team’s top score of the day on any apparatus.


20. Missouri Tigers

Average: 195.000

Missouri likewise recovered from a disappointing opening meet to score more than a point higher in week 2, though will still be somewhat miffed at losing to Alabama by just .025 when the opportunity for the upset so squarely presented itself. Alisa Sheremeta was able to return for this competition after missing the first, which helped the bars, beam, and floor lineups look far heartier.


21. NC State Wolfpack

Average: 194.925

NC State jumped into the top 25 following a victory over Pitt in the season opener. The team went over 49 on bars, thanks to a 9.875 from Meredith Robinson, which turned out to be the team’s top score on any event. Former elite Carina Jordan made her debut with a 38.750 in the AA.


22. Maryland Terrapins

Average: 194.875

Maryland will be encouraged not by the score but by the fact that the team was able to count falls on both bars and beam and still rank in the top 25, indicating that its first-week struggles were not debilitating or out of the ordinary and that, given a hit, the team should be quite competitive.


23. Kent State Golden Flashes

Average: 194.675

Similarly, Kent State overcame a missed beam rotation to notch a still semi-acceptable total, at least compared to the national standard, and the top score so far in its conference. Freshman Kyndall Gilbert made her debut with the team’s top vault score at 9.850.


24. Utah State Aggies

Average: 194.350

Utah State was idle in week 2.

25. Boise State Broncos

Average: 194.300

Boise State vaguely survived the trauma that was Oregon State’s season opener to emerge with a score in the 194s, thanks almost exclusively to bars (no surprise there) and the 9.950 for Emily Muhlenhaupt that currently has her at the #1 spot in the country. The trouble on floor, however, with a five-member lineup and only one score in the 9.7s, kept the team from recording a more usable total.


25. Eastern Michigan Eagles

Average: 194.300

Eastern Michigan achieved that first-week goal of not counting any falls in its opening tri-meet victory at Temple. The one routine of this performance I caught, Jada Rondeau’s bars, turned out to be EMU’s highest score of the day, a well-extended and confident 9.850.


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