Onward to Nationals

With the therapy-fodder that was the regional championships now behind us, we are left with 8 teams, 4 all-arounders, and 16 event specialists advancing to the national championship in Texas.

Semifinal 1
April 13, 2pm CT: [2] Florida, [6] LSU, [7] Cal, [13] Denver

Semifinal 2
April 13, 8pm CT: [1] Oklahoma, [4] UCLA, [5] Utah, [9] Kentucky

National Championship
April 15, 3pm CT

Semifinal rotation order
Vault – Seed #4 (Denver, Kentucky)
Bars – Seed #1 (Florida, Oklahoma)
Beam – Seed #2 (LSU, UCLA)
Floor – Seed #3 (Cal, Utah)

There was momentary concern over whether a new paragraph of complete gibberish that was added to the rules this year meant that they were going to re-seed the teams for the national semifinals and create a new draw.

That whole “remaining team with the lowest ranking shall also compete in the…evening session of nationals semifinals” caused particular consternation (because of…wait what), but it turned out that no, everything is as it was and the bracket is the bracket.

That means we have a pretty lopsided draw this year after Michigan’s still-inexplicable-after-second-viewing elimination at the Denver Regional of Infamy, but that’s sports. Re-seeding for nationals would have leaned too hard on artificially protecting the top teams for my liking, and we already have the entire concept of dropping a fall to do that job well enough.

That first semifinal certainly presents an opportunity, and while Florida, LSU, and Denver have all been to at least one national championship in the final-four era, Cal has not. And has never had a better chance to do so. The second semifinal is the deeper group, featuring three of the top four remaining teams, as we face another UCLA/Utah showdown. So far this year, Utah is 3-0 when directly up against UCLA, twice in Utah and once at UCLA.

Individual qualifier assignments

Luisa Blanco – Bars – Semifinal 2 – Rotate with Utah

Arizona State
Hannah Scharf – All-Around – Semifinal 2 – Rotate with UCLA

Lauren Williams – Vault – Semifinal 2 – Rotate with Utah
Norah Flatley – Beam – Semifinal 2 – Rotate with Utah

Derrian Gobourne – Floor – Semifinal 2 – Rotate with Utah

Boise State
Courtney Blackson – Vault – Semifinal 1 – Rotate with Denver
Emily Lopez – Bars – Semifinal 1 – Rotate with Denver

Abby Heiskell – All-Around – Semifinal 2 – Rotate with Oklahoma
Naomi Morrison – Vault – Semifinal 2 – Rotate with Kentucky
Natalie Wojcik – Bars – Semifinal 2 – Rotate with Kentucky
Sierra Brooks – Floor – Semifinal 2 – Rotate with Kentucky

Michigan State
Delanie Harkness – Floor – Semifinal 1 – Rotate with Cal
Gabi Stephen – Beam – Semifinal 1 – Rotate with Cal

Alisa Sheremeta – Beam – Semifinal 1 – Rotate with Denver

Ohio State
Payton Harris – All-Around – Semifinal 1 – Rotate with Florida
Lexi Edwards – Floor – Semifinal 1 – Rotate with Denver

Oregon State
Jade Carey – Beam – Semifinal 2 – Rotate with Kentucky

Penn State
Ava Piedrahita – Vault – Semifinal 1 – Rotate with Cal
Cassidy Rushlow – Bars – Semifinal 1 – Rotate with Cal

Chloe Widner – All-Around – Semifinal 1 – Rotation with LSU

The big individual development from regionals was the explosion of the prospective all-around competition with four, if not ultimately five, of the top ten AAers in the country not qualifying for or not competing the all-around at nationals (Carey, Lee, Blanco, Brooks, and we’ll wait and see about Thomas). From the rest of the top 10, Chiles, Bryant, Bowers, Harris, and Wong did all qualify and are expected to compete all four events.

In fact, none of the apparatuses will have all of the nation’s top-5 athletes competing on them at nationals: Carey and Brooks missing on vault, Carey and Lee missing on bars, Blanco missing on beam, and Carey and Hooten missing on floor. Theoretically, that creates a more open field, but it has always been an open field when it comes to individual event titles at nationals. Whoever happens to stick at night while being famous? I really wouldn’t be shocked by a Snub Sweep on the events, with Morrison on vault, Wojcik on bars, Carey on beam, and Brooks on floor.

6 thoughts on “Onward to Nationals”

  1. Jade Carey was overscored all season long. That fact that she isn’t at Nationals on any of these events is proof that they were cheating for her based on her Olympic Gold medal that should have been Mai Murakami or Vanessa Ferrari’s anyway. Adding in the extra two judges finally put her where she belonged. At home. I guess, Ex, USAG cog, Pat Warren’s daughter wasn’t there to fix it for her this time. Don’t worry, I’m sure she will be judging Nationals again.

    She should be happy. She still has Elite “Gymnastics”
    where she can chuck her ugly ass gymnastics and judges try and sell to the World that she and Jordan Chiles have the same execution.

    1. You say her gymnastics is ugly—–Your post is UGLY. No need to talk like that about wonderful athletes—as in most NCAA athletes. What are your records???

  2. Wow, are you happy you got that off your chest? Feel better? Proud of yourself? That was so unnecessary.

  3. Let’s don’t forget – Oklahoma advancing is not a given – could be UCLA and Utah coming out of that semifinal – then we would get to see 5 UCLA/Utah showdowns in one year.

    1. In a dream world the Final Four are: LSU, Cal, Kentucky and UCLA (I wish I could replace the latter with Denver but it is what it is 🤷‍♀️.

      Kinda hope LSU finally gets its first win especially after the injuries they’ve overcome this season.

  4. Going into the finals, just want to say how much I appreciate the Clickable Code of Points. Informative and so funny! Thanks.

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