The time has come for the post-Classic score update where all our questions can finally be answered. Now, because of how light the senior field was at Classic, “all our questions” amounts to exactly one question: where does Leanne Wong fit in the current team conversation after this meet?
Using everyone’s top score recorded in 2022, the highest-scoring US team remains unchanged, largely because the 13.7 that eMjae Frazier scored on beam at Winter Cup and the 13.85 she scored on floor at Jesolo remain ahead of the 13.5 and 13.6 that Wong got on beam and floor at Classic.
But it’s possible to take a slightly more nuanced approach to things than just the single highest score on each event over a 7-month period, and methods where we start to use averages do indeed put Wong on the highest-scoring team of five solely because of her Classic results.
Basing the team on straight average score for the whole year, Wong would move onto the above team to create the highest score along with a couple other shifts that are…interesting and probably unrealistic in the bars department. But that’s where we are right now.
Alternately, we could take the current Japanese approach to determining the highest-scoring team—the average of your top two scores on each apparatus (at least, for those who have two).
Essentially, you can cherry pick whatever variation on the method gets you the team you want (shhh, don’t tell the others), i.e. if you take this method and use only scores from public competitions and eliminate closed-door camps, you would see Frazier replace Blakely on this team. But the headline is that after one competition composed of two good events, one medium event, and a miss, Wong already is—or is at least very close to—making up the best US worlds team, which bodes very well for her chances as we progress.
From the performances over the first 7 months of the year, this third team seems a pretty reasonable estimate of what the best US team looks like, but there’s so much more action to come. DiCello appeared on the average-score team instead of Blakely, which seems quite realistic if she hits beam and gets her DTY back. Plus, of course, there’s the Jordan Chiles and Jade Carey factors, which are still TBD.
Of entirely pointless but also interesting nature: If I give Carey and Chiles what I think would be realistic scores for their previous routines under the new code’s vault values and CV changes—very rough, very guessy, but you know—that would have them replace Wong and Blakely on the above team, leaving Miller. That speaks to how challenging it may end up being to shift Miller off a highest-scoring team in a non-Suni year, despite the fact that she’s contributing only one event. Miller and Jones having mid-14s on bars while most other people are in the 13.9s is a huge asset that’s difficult to make up with an event like beam that’s all…beam.
Basically, regardless of what method you decide to use right now (best score, average score, average of international meets, yada yada yada), Konnor McClain and Shilese Jones are all the teams. I couldn’t find a method that didn’t include them, which means they’re currently most impervious to Olympian comebacks. Everyone else shifts in and out depending on what you decide to look at, but the next most frequent team member after those two is Zoe Miller. I’ll be keeping an eye on whether that remains the case after nationals, especially if we see Jordan Chiles compete, someone who should be going over 14 with a hit bars, or if we see a hit and fully connected bars from Wong, which could disrupt what currently looks valuable.