All posts by balancebeamsituation

National Championship Headquarters

As last year, both days of nationals will be brought to you live on the ESPN family of networks, starting with the first semifinal on ESPN2, then the second semifinal and Super Six on ESPNU, plus the dedicated event feeds and four-event quad window for streaming.

So now, the links.

Friday, April 20
Scores Stream
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Semifinal #1
[2] LSU
[3] UCLA
[6] Alabama
[9] Arkansas
[10] Nebraska
[12] Georgia



Projected lineups

7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Semifinal #2
[1] Oklahoma
[4] Utah
[5] Florida
[7] Washington
[8] Cal
[11] Kentucky



Projected lineups

Saturday, April 7
Scores Stream
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Super Six LINK ESPNU




Best Routine of THE YEAR Poll

Your instructions
1. Vote for the best routine
2. Don’t get upset when this inevitably devolves into a twitter popularity contest. It’s not that important.

The twelve winning routines from the season will go head-to-head-to head-to etc. for the title of best routine of the year.

1st 2nd 3rd
Wk1 Price (STAN)-UB Lee (UCLA)-UB Finnegan(LSU)-UB
Wk2 Crouse (UNL)-VT Price (STAN)-VT Gowey (UF)-BB
Wk3 Glenn (UCLA)-BB Ramler (MINN)-BB Hambrick(LSU)-FX
Wk4 McMurtry (UF)-BB Lee (UCLA)-BB Carter (ARK)-BB
Wk5 Hano (UCLA)-FX Lee (UCLA)-BB Dowell (OU)-VT
Wk6 Baker (UF)-FX Hambrick (LSU)-FX Lane (UNC)-BB
Wk7 Snead (UGA)-FX Finnegan (LSU)-BB Lu (MINN)-BB
Wk8 Ohashi (UCLA)-FX Williams (CAL)-FX Ross (UCLA)-UB
Wk9 Finnegan (LSU)-FX Houchin (NEB)-VT Hambrick(LSU)-FX
Wk10 Price (STAN)-FX Priessman(LSU)-UB Lee (UCLA)-BB
Wk11 Finnegan (LSU)-UB Hambrick (LSU)-UB Ohashi (UCLA)-FX
Conf Schweihofer(UN)-FX Baumann (UF)-BB Price (STAN)-UB
Winston (ALA)-BB

Week 1 – Elizabeth Price (Stanford) – Bars

Week 2 – Sienna Crouse (Nebraska) – Vault

Week 3 – Grace Glenn (UCLA) – Beam

Week 4 – Alex McMurtry (Florida) – Beam

Week 5 – Felicia Hano (UCLA) – Floor

Week 6 – Kennedy Baker (Florida) – Floor

Week 7 – Sydney Snead (Georgia) – Floor

Week 8 – Katelyn Ohashi (UCLA) – Floor

Week 9 – Sarah Finnegan (LSU) – Floor

Week 10 – Elizabeth Price (Stanford) – Floor

Week 11 – Sarah Finnegan (LSU) – Bars

Conference Champs – Megan Schweihofer (Nebraska) – Floor

Nationals Preview Part 4: Super Six

Super Six previews are weird to do, so here’s one.

At this point, we don’t know which teams will even be competing in Super Six, but we’ve all been watching this unfold for 80 million weeks and have a pretty solid sense of what’s going on.

Last season, we entered nationals with the expectation that Oklahoma would be the winner, LSU had the potential to be a fairly unsurprising upset champion, and Florida could challenge if things got weird. Ultimately, that’s what we ended up seeing. LSU made things a little more interesting than expected after the semifinal, but in the end, things went as regular season performance predicted.

This year, the scenario is not wholly different, with the only major change being that UCLA has become noticeably better than it was last year and should be included in this top-tier, medal-finish conversation (if medals were a thing here). The other differences are of small degree: Oklahoma has separated itself from the pack a little more this season, and Florida has fallen behind Utah with its inconsistent regular-season performances, meaning that a true title challenge from Florida would be more of a surprise than it would have been last year.

But besides going down the rankings and ticking off the favorites in order, it can be helpful to go through previous championship scoring standards to see which teams have proven the ability to meet those standards during this current season.

Winning scores
2017 – Oklahoma – 198.3875
2016 – Oklahoma – 197.675
2015 – Florida – 197.850
2014 – Florida/Oklahoma – 198.175
2013 – Florida – 197.575
2012 – Alabama – 197.850
2011 – Alabama – 197.650
2010 – UCLA – 197.725

The low in here is that 197.575 from when Florida counted a fall and still won, so that’s not too representative. The way scores have been going this year—as compared to the early 2010s—expect a winning total closer to the high-water mark here rather than the low. That’s the first standard to look at. Can you realistically score 197.8+? The winning score is likely to be in that zone. Sure, we could have another 2016 on our hands—not an insane thing to think—but season scoring evidence hasn’t really been pointing that direction. Continue reading Nationals Preview Part 4: Super Six

Nationals Preview Part 3: The Individuals

Welcome to Afterthought City.

The individual titles for the all-around and apparatuses are awarded on Semifinal Friday, which ensures that everyone will kind of forget they exist while focusing on team qualification standings—and then three minutes later, everyone turns to everyone else and says, “Oh yeah, wait, who won vault?” It’s a national tradition.

This year, we’re primarily rooting for having fewer than six people tie for the bars title. And by fewer, I mean more. The real goal of the event titles is to have so many people tie for a single spot on the podium that they have to Jenga it, and hilarity ensues. I really feel like floor is going to come through for us this time around.

But first…


The favorite
Maggie Nichols – Oklahoma
RQS: 39.830
High: 39.900
Ranking: 1

For the second straight year, Nichols enters nationals as the favorite for the title and clear #1 in the country, which she accomplished this season with a record-breaking 39.830 RQS, eclipsing Jeanette Antolin’s total of 39.795 from 2004.

Only 16 gymnasts in NCAA history have scored over 39.825 in the all-around on even a single occasion, and Nichols’ RQS is higher than that. If Nichols hits, she is a heavy favorite—though not an exclusive favorite—for the all-around title.

It was a fall on beam in the semifinals that dropped Nichols out of contention last season, but Alex McMurtry ultimately went on to score so high in the second semifinal that the fall from Nichols didn’t matter. McMurtry would have won regardless. (I think I’ve heard/maybe said before that the fall cost Nichols the all-around title, which is not correct.) The only thing the Nichols fall took away was any controversy over who the rightful winner was.  Continue reading Nationals Preview Part 3: The Individuals

Jesolo Live Blog

The competition is streaming on FLO, but I’ve got your backs with the live blog. We’ll work through these hard times as a family.

Warmups have concluded. We’re having special Ferrari time before the competition begins, where she is being awarded a melted frisbee?

Touch now. Remember the US gymnasts are competing as individuals, so they are spread across three different rotation groups here. Smith/Malabuyo are together, Kenlin/Dunne are together, and Shchennikova/McCallum are together.

ROTATION 1 – Part 1

Kenlin – VT – USA – inbar to stalder full to Ricna, hit, just slight late moments – inbar full, very late to Pak, brushes legs on mat on Pak – hits Shap 1/2 – toe 1/2 to front 1/2 back out dismount. A hit but will be disappointed in the Pak, totally lost form and hit the mat with her legs. Continue reading Jesolo Live Blog

Things Are Happening – April 13, 2018

A. Say Yes to Jesolo

The Trofeo Citta di Jesolo—or as it is known in the US, “[Pause] Italy meet”—is upon us once more with many of the best countries in the world converging on Jesolo, lured by its format of having barely any rules about roster size. A one-stop shop for international experience!

With the individual US gyms stepping up to send gymnasts (in absence of USAG sending an official team), the assembled roster is shaping up much like in other years with the US group a mix of top seniors (Smith, Malabuyo) and newbies at their first rodeo. Meanwhile, Russia has sent a pretty solid senior and junior squad this year led by Melnikova, Brazil is getting Saraiva and Barbosa back out there, Romania is sending a full team to show it still has a program kind of, and Italy is bringing the typical large army of everyone.

Junior Team/AA – Saturday April 14, 4:00am ET, 1:00am PT
Senior Team/AA – Saturday April 14, 10:00am ET, 7:00am PT
Event Finals – Sunday April 15, 8:30am ET, 5:30am PT

Only on FLO for us Americans.

On the US side, it will be fascinating to see how the scores put up by Smith and Malabuyo compare to what we’ve seen this year from Hurd as we start to clarify the picture of who the most significant contenders will be this summer/fall among a group that remains rather indistinct. Continue reading Things Are Happening – April 13, 2018

National Semifinal #2: The Preview

April 20, 6:00 CT

Teams (starting event)
[1] Oklahoma (beam)
[4] Utah (vault)
[5] Florida (bars)
[8] Washington (floor)
[9] Cal (bye before floor)
[12] Kentucky (bye before bars)

Morgan Lane, North Carolina – AA (rotating w/ Oklahoma)
Elizabeth Price, Stanford – AA (rotating w/ Utah)
Cami Drouin-Allaire, George Washington – AA (rotating w/ Florida)
Shani Remme, Boise State – AA (rotating w/ Washington)
Rae Balthazor, Illinois – AA (rotating w/ Cal)
Lexy Ramler, Minnesota – AA (rotating w/ Kentucky)
Denelle Pedrick, Central Michigan – FX (rotating w/ Oklahoma)
Shannon Hortman-Evans, BYU – UB (rotating w/ Utah)
Meaghan Sievers, Iowa State – VT (rotating w/ Cal)

As in the first semifinal, the second semifinal has a clear, built-in delineation between two sets of three teams. We have the ranking favorites, former champions, and famous programs in Oklahoma, Utah, and Florida, and then we have the upstart challengers in Washington, Cal, and Kentucky.

Before this year, the three bottom-ranked teams in this semifinal had reached NCAA/AIAW nationals a combined ten times (Washington eight times, Cal twice), and only twice in the current millennium (once each for Washington and Cal). As for the top three teams combined…well counting that took too long and I got bored.

Anyway, it’s around 100. So…it’s more.

Washington, Cal, and Kentucky are still newbies to this level of competition, each one looking for some way to make the Oklahoma jump—an upset in the semifinals to get into Super Six is exactly how you start to make that jump. The actual scores from this year are of course more relevant than the history of the programs, but the scores tell the same story. A 197.0 would be a fantastic performance in the semifinal for Washington, Cal, Kentucky and would constitute a miss for Oklahoma, Utah, or Florida, which is why they’ll enter as the favorites.

How the upset happens

Washington under-performed at regionals and ended up being fortunate in its draw that a 196.275 advanced out of Penn State since that score would have been eliminated from several other regional competitions. The scores from various regionals are not necessarily directly comparable—all of Washington’s vault scores were stuck in the 9.7s when some would have been 9.8s at drunker meets, those early beam scores looked disproportionately low—but it does serve as a warning sign that a repeat of that regionals performance will not come close advancing from this semifinal and would allow the top teams to have major mistakes and still qualify—or at least outscore Washington. Continue reading National Semifinal #2: The Preview