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National All-Around Preview

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Let’s take a moment to discuss the race for the much-ignored all-around title at this week’s NCAA All About The Team Sisters Championship. This is the dumbest thing in the world to try to preview because it’s just going to come down to whoever happens to hop a little bit on her vault instead of sticking that day, so that’s why I’ve decided to make it my preview passion.

Expect between 20 and 22 people to compete the all-around on the semifinal day when the title is decided, with a smaller handful looking like realistic winners.

Tier I – Favorites

Trinity Thomas

Thomas’s back-to-back 39.875 and 39.900 with a basketful of 10s at regionals may have done just enough to establish her as the favorite for this year’s all-around title. She’s currently the most likely to get a 10 on any given event—and all of them are possibilities—with the fewest built-in execution deductions. With Thomas on the team favored for the title (at least, this hour) and competing in the evening session, this is setting up well for her chances.

Jade Carey

Carey has consistency and predictability in her corner, where she’s expected to go 9.950 on every event without giving away full-tenth errors or checks. If it’s one of those days where everyone is having a freakout with their teams, she’s your favorite. Carey would become the first to win the AA without a team since Jenny Hansen and the first to win the all-around from the early session since 2016. Of the top tier, Carey has shown less 10ishness this season than Thomas or Lee, so the best situation for her is one where the judges are scared that they’ll get crap for giving out 10s like candy so they end up bunching a lot of routines at 9.950. That would bode well for Carey because then she can have the peak score everywhere.

Sunisa Lee

Of everyone, Lee is the most likely to get 10s on bars and beam for doing her normal. She doesn’t have to bust out an exceptional routine to get those scores, and if the competition were just those two events, she would be an easy favorite. The big question for Lee is whether the Lopez on vault will score well enough to get her the title. If the numbers are flying, even a good controlled landing for 9.9125 (average of four judges’ scores at nationals) could put her in a hole.

Tier II – Spoilers

Leanne Wong

No one in the country besides Thomas has reached the 39.875 mark that Wong notched in the regional final. That level of scoring, however, hasn’t been as consistent for Wong this season and she’ll need to replicate the vault landing she had at the regional final to have a shot. The way scoring has been going, you have to think a 9.850 on any event takes you out of it.

Raena Worley

Worley enters nationals as the plucky underdog for the all-around, the only major contender who has neither a team nor a gold medal. Worley has been deeply consistent this year and ranks behind only Carey and Thomas on average, ahead of Lee. But if things start getting all 39.8, can she match that level?

Lexy Ramler

Will they go there for her? That’s the big question for Ramler’s all-around title hopes. Will they go there for her on vault and floor in the middle of the lineup knowing there are probably two stronger routines still to come on those events. And will they go there for her on bars, just in general?

Sierra Brooks

Brooks didn’t do floor at regionals. Obviously Michigan needs her there, and when she’s back on floor, she’s one of the top scorers in the all-around with equivalently predictable numbers on pretty much every event. There’s a big decision to make as to whether it is score-sensible for her to do the double back beam dismount, both for Michigan’s hopes and for her all-around potential. If she’s doing a beautiful beam and then taking a medium step back for 9.850, that’s suddenly not a competitive score.

Natalie Wojcik

Wojcik has the execution and lack of built-in deductions to win and rival Thomas in that department. But it has been an up-and-down season for her personal performance, with more days of errors and 9.7s creeping in than you would have expected, which has her ranked just #3 in the all-around on her own team. But if Wojcik has one of her best days, what are you even taking? Like Ramler, she also needs the judges to go there for her in an earlier lineup position on vault and floor.

Tier IIB – Is she even doing the all-around?

There are a couple contenders with the scoring potential, but we don’t actually know if they’re going to compete all the events in the semifinal.

Grace McCallum

Does McCallum make Utah’s final beam lineup? She did not compete beam at regionals when the beam team posted huge, critical scores on both days. And in terms of bringing people back into the lineup, Paulson is the obvious choice. Would they make two lineup changes from a 49.7?

Luisa Blanco

Blanco returned from her SEC Championship injury to compete only bars at regionals. Does she have enough time to add back all of the events?

Tier III – Will someone pull a Kim Jacob?

Ona Loper is right up there among the top-ranked all-arounders with an NQS of 39.645, a high of 39.750, and a competitive average over 39.5. She has done the all-around with Ramler in every meet this year with Loper winning 5 times, Ramler winning 5 times, and 2 ties. But is “good one for 9.900” on bars on beam enough in this field without a lot of help?

Abby Heiskell and Megan Skaggs are two others with the extremely clean gymnastics necessary to score well across the board and get an excellent all-around total, but they also compete early in most lineups and it typically happens that if they have a big day, there’s going to be a teammate who’s having an even bigger day. For Skaggs—as well as Maile O’Keefe—it brings up the question, is it possible in 2022 to win with a Yurchenko full, even if the other events are there?

Tier IV – A list of other names

We’ll also be looking to see Sienna Schreiber, Naomi Morrison, Sophia Groth, Sloane Blakely, Lilly Hudson, Cassie Stevens, Norah Flatley, and Kennedy Hambrick compete the all-around, so, you know, if one of them wins you can’t accuse me of not mentioning them in the preview.

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