RQS Progress

RQS will take over for season average in the rankings on February 25th, so it’s time to begin looking at where teams stand and what they still need to do to achieve the ideal RQS.

But first, a brief introduction or refresher: RQS (Regional Qualifying Score) is the score used to determine the top 36 teams that will qualify to one of six Regional Championships as well as their respective seedings. It is calculated by taking a team’s top six scores (at least three of which must be on the road), dropping the highest score, and averaging the remaining five scores.

1. Florida (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 197.575
Road Score 2: 196.575
Road Score 3: None
Road/Home Score 1: 198.100
Road Home Score 2: 197.650
Road/Home Score 3: 197.300

Next week at Georgia, Florida will get its third road score. For the Gators to score up to their potential, they will also need to record something in the 197s either at Utah or at SECs to replace that 196.575. In the post-2004 era, the highest RQS recorded is 197.445, achieved by Florida last year. Expect that to be surpassed easily.

2. Oklahoma (Current RQS: 197.025)
Road Score 1: 197.625
Road Score 2: 197.375
Road Score 3: 197.275
Road/Home Score 1: 197.325
Road/Home Score 2: 196.700
Road/Home Score 3: 196.450

I expect Oklahoma to bump down those 196s with 197s over the next two weeks, which will also highlight the problem with RQS. The Sooners have seven meets left before Regionals, so the last month or so of competition will likely have little influence on their ranking. Since the wins don’t matter either, it will be just a month of posturing for the postseason with no weekly stakes.

3. Michigan (Current RQS: 196.770)
Road Score 1: 196.925
Road Score 2: 196.775
Road Score 3: 196.575
Road/Home Score 1: 197.350
Road/Home Score 2: 196.900
Road/Home Score 3: 196.675

As these numbers bear out, while the Wolverines are relatively close to Oklahoma in RQS, they have many scores to replace to hope to catch them. Likely, Michigan will go no higher than #3 in the rankings and will hope to focus on staying in the top six and getting a #1 Regionals seed.

4. UCLA (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 196.925
Road Score 2: 196.375
Road Score 3: None
Road/Home Score 1: 197.425
Road/Home Score 2: 196.950
Road/Home Score 3: 196.150

For UCLA, these RQS numbers get a little sloppy toward the bottom. Over the next three weeks on the road, the Bruins will need two scores of at least 196.750 to make those road numbers a little healthier. Then, there will be three more weeks to get rid of that final road/home score.

5. Alabama (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 196.950
Road Score 2: 196.850
Road Score 3: 196.450
Road/Home Score 1: 196.575
Road/Home Score 2: 196.575
Road/Home Score 3: None

Alabama still hasn’t broken 197 and needs a couple of them (one to drop and one to count). A team like Alabama shouldn’t be forced to count anything under 196.750, so each of the final six meets before Regionals will be valuable for ranking positioning.

6. Utah (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 196.600
Road Score 2: 195.300
Road Score 3: None
Road/Home Score 1: 197.050
Road/Home Score 2: 196.950
Road/Home Score 3: 196.425

Obviously, road scores are currently in a rough place. Fortunately for the Utes, they still have four opportunities to fix it. Expect Utah to fall in the rankings when RQS debuts because that 195.300 will still be in the picture. They won’t have a chance to erase that until March 1 at BYU.

7. LSU (Current RQS: 196.290)
Road Score 1: 197.275
Road Score 2: 197.100
Road Score 3: 195.875
Road/Home Score 1: 196.875
Road/Home Score 2: 196.075
Road/Home Score 3: 195.525

Next week at home against Arkansas, the Tigers should be able to get rid of that 195.525, and overall the RQS picture looks quite healthy with sure-to-be-dropped low scores and already one counter over 197.

8. Nebraska (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 196.300
Road Score 2: 196.150
Road Score 3: None
Road/Home Score 1: 197.175
Road/Home Score 2: 196.700
Road/Home Score 3: 195.750

Nebraska has four meets remaining on the road and needs to record three usable scores over those four meets to have any hope of becoming a #1 seed at a Regional since a 196.300 is too low to be a counting score for one of the top teams.

9. Georgia (Current RQS: 196.370)
Road Score 1: 196.775
Road Score 2: 196.200
Road Score 3: 195.825 
Road/Home Score 1: 197.500
Road/Home Score 2: 197.000
Road/Home Score 3: 196.050

Season average currently undervalues Georgia slightly because of the early 195.425 that has already been dropped from RQS. With four more road meets, I don’t expect those lower scores to be a problem, and the top end scores look fine. Georgia doesn’t necessarily need a slew of great results to ascend.

10. Stanford (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 196.450
Road Score 2: 196.025
Road Score 3: 195.425
Road/Home Score 1: 196.200
Road/Home Score 2: 195.425
Road/Home Score 3: None

Stanford’s numbers look a little dire, and with just five meets remaining, it will be difficult or impossible for the Cardinal to contend with the multi-197 teams. The 10-15 section is rough this year because most of those teams will end up paired in the Florida and Oklahoma Regionals with no margin for error to advance.

11. Minnesota (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 195.525
Road Score 2: 194.325
Road Score 3: None
Road/Home Score 1: 196.800
Road/Home Score 2: 196.775
Road/Home Score 3: 195.550

12. Denver (Current RQS: 195.625)
Road Score 1: 196.400
Road Score 2: 195.850
Road Score 3: 195.125
Road/Home Score 1: 196.600
Road/Home Score 2: 196.050
Road/Home Score 3: 194.700

13. Oregon State (Current RQS: 195.455)
Road Score 1: 196.825
Road Score 2: 196.300
Road Score 3: 196.050
Road/Home Score 1: 195.950
Road/Home Score 2: 195.375
Road/Home Score 3: 193.600

14. Arizona (Current RQS: 195.525)
Road Score 1: 195.950
Road Score 2: 195.800
Road Score 3: 195.200
Road/Home Score 1: 196.075
Road/Home Score 2: 195.850
Road/Home Score 3: 194.825

15. Auburn (Current RQS: 195.385)
Road Score 1: 196.725
Road Score 2: 196.025
Road Score 3: 195.700
Road/Home Score 1: 196.325
Road/Home Score 2: 194.625
Road/Home Score 3: 194.250

16. Boise State (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 194.700
Road Score 2: None
Road Score 3: None
Road/Home Score 1: 196.325
Road/Home Score 2: 196.300
Road/Home Score 3: 194.875

17. Kentucky (Current RQS: 195.240)
Road Score 1: 195.525
Road Score 2: 195.125
Road Score 3: 194.800
Road/Home Score 1: 195.825
Road/Home Score 2: 195.500
Road/Home Score 3: 195.250

18. Maryland (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 195.975
Road Score 2: 195.000
Road Score 3: 194.825
Road/Home Score 1: 195.300
Road/Home Score 2: 195.150
Road/Home Score 3: None

19. Ohio State (Current RQS: 195.035)
Road Score 1: 195.000
Road Score 2: 194.675
Road Score 3: 194.600
Road/Home Score 1: 196.250
Road/Home Score 2: 195.975
Road/Home Score 3: 194.925

20. Arkansas (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 195.650
Road Score 2: 193.075
Road Score 3: None
Road/Home Score 1: 196.175
Road/Home Score 2: 195.775
Road/Home Score 3: 195.475

21. Illinois (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 196.350
Road Score 2: 195.100
Road Score 3: 194.750
Road/Home Score 1: 196.125
Road/Home Score 2: 193.750
Road/Home Score 3: None

22. Kent State (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 195.800
Road Score 2: 195.450
Road Score 3: 193.575
Road/Home Score 1: 195.675
Road/Home Score 2: 194.675
Road/Home Score 3: None

23. Washington (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 195.950
Road Score 2: 194.875
Road Score 3: 193.500
Road/Home Score 1: 196.025
Road/Home Score 2: 194.800
Road/Home Score 3: None

24. Central Michigan (Current RQS: 194.730)
Road Score 1: 195.875
Road Score 2: 194.650
Road Score 3: 194.175
Road/Home Score 1: 195.050
Road/Home Score 2: 194.975
Road/Home Score 3: 194.800

25. Arizona State (Current RQS: X) 
Road Score 1: 195.450
Road Score 2: 194.350
Road Score 3: None
Road/Home Score 1: 195.600
Road/Home Score 2: 195.450
Road/Home Score 3: 193.625


Week 6 Rankings and Notes

Florida’s 198.100 on Friday makes it quite unlikely that any team will be able to catch the Gators before that high score is dropped when RQS comes into play. Then, Florida will simply have to rely on all those paltry mid-197s that anyone could get. The top five from last week remains intact, but Georgia does fall three places after failing to reach 196 over the weekend.
While RQS will not officially be in effect until February 25th, a few teams do have their RQSs already, and that is noted next to their scores.

1. Florida – 197.296
Week 6: 198.100
Leaders: AA – Sloan 39.675; VT – Dickerson 9.925; UB – Sloan, M. Caquatto 9.950; BB – M. Caquatto 9.925; FX – Hunter 9.975.

It’s important that the Gators are not as infallible on beam this year as they have been in years past. These competitors are gaining experience competing after falls, which makes me less nervous for a  postseason implosion like in 2011 when Ashanee got a negative score at Regionals. The crucial piece in Florida’s 2013 success was always going to be bars, and no team is close to matching the quality of that rotation right now.

2. Oklahoma – 197.125 (RQS: 197.025)
Week 6: 197.625
Leaders: AA – Spears 39.575; VT – Kmieciak 9.925; UB – Brewer 9.925; BB – Spears 9.975; FX – Scaman 9.950.

Even though the score is only a few tenths better than the 197.3s we’ve been seeing, it’s a vital step forward for the Sooners because a 197.6 is not attainable without a phalanx of 9.9s. I expected Oklahoma to spend much of the season riding to low 197s with predominantly 9.875s, but the Sooners showed ten scores in the 9.9 range this week. Now do it again.

3. Michigan – 196.867 (RQS: 196.770)
Week 6: 196.925
Leaders: AA – Zurales 39.375; VT – Zurales 9.925; UB – Beilstein, Sampson 9.900; BB – Casanova 9.875; FX – Sampson 9.925

Michigan lost a potential road 197 after some shaky beam performances from the end of the lineup, but a few pieces of crucial progress were made all named Natalie Beilstein. The team has been in need of a 6th bars worker, and the degree of her improvement on that event was a nice surprise. I would have been skeptical of her receiving a 9.900 if I hadn’t seen the routine, but her form has made strides from the 9.7s I remember. She also upgraded her floor routine, which was a necessary step.

4. UCLA – 196.765
Week 6: 196.950
Leaders: AA – Zamarripa 39.625; VT – Zamarripa 9.950; UB – Zamarripa 9.925; BB – Courtney, Francis 9.875; FX – Zamarripa 9.925

To some extent, my impression of UCLA is informed by the meet broadcast where we were seeing half routines and partial replays of other routines, but that’s what this team feels like right now: half of a hit routine. Maybe the broadcast style was a prudent thematic choice. All of the 9.9s from the meet came from Zamarripa and Courtney, and nearly all of the other routines were just OK. In the coming weeks, continue to watch for the degree of supporting contribution. It has to be higher.

5. Alabama – 196.680
Week 6: 196.850
Leaders: AA – Jacob 39.425; VT – Gutierrez 9.950; UB – Demeo 9.875; BB – Jacob 9.875; FX – Gutierrez, Jacob 9.900

This team is still clearly a work in progress, but I don’t see any reason for significant concern right now. No one is quite hitting vault at the same time, but when they all do hit at the same time (which will be soon), the event will be best/second-best in the nation. Sledge went back to bars leadoff, and I’m done making the argument against it because of bleh. Beam still shows the most signs of uncertainty, but I think last weekend’s lineup is probably correct.

6. Utah – 196.465
Week 6: 197.050
Leaders: AA – Wilson 39.475; VT – Wilson 10.000; UB – Damianova 9.875; BB – Dabritz 9.900; FX – Dabritz 9.975

Bars and beam remain a concern. Those who came into the lineups for Lothrop did a workwomanlike job, but the large majority of both of those rotations looked flat. A lot of those beam routines had minor, meet-specific issues, but those minor issues were enough to drop the scores below 9.800, which indicates a lower ceiling than one would hope for. Two to three scores of 9.875+ on those events next week should be the goal. It’s not an ambitious goal at all, but it will be a necessary step. 

7. LSU – 196.454 (RQS: 196.290)
Week 6: 197.275
Leaders: AA – Courville 39.600; VT – Courville 9.950; UB – Courville, Dickson, Morrison 9.850; BB – Courville, Jordan 9.900; FX – Hall 10.000

As this past week proved, this team is talented enough on vault and floor that it doesn’t need to be great on bars and beam. It just needs to be good enough, a status as to which I still have doubts. Even when LSU hits bars and beam, a fall is usually dropped, and the beam score is often too much in the hands of the judges, depending on how harsh they want to be (see the previous week at Kentucky). With a good score at home this week, LSU will be able to drop a 195.525 and increase that currently tepid 196.290 RQS.

8. Nebraska – 197.175

Week 6: 197.175
Leaders: AA – DeZiel 39.525; VT – DeZiel, Skinner 9.925; UB – Giblin 9.950; BB – J Lauer 9.875; FX – DeZiel, Wong 9.925

Nebraska is starting to show a bit more of its potential now that veterans like Schleppenbach and Skinner are in on multiple events and showing some consistency. The team is still giving away too much in the early parts of lineups, making every subsequent routine a must-hit to avoid counting something in the 9.7s. The most important development for Nebraska is that there are actual options on beam, making the event less likely to be a problem.

9. Georgia – 196.396 (RQS: 196.370)
Week 6: 195.825
Leaders: AA – Rogers 38.600; VT – Jay, Rogers 9.925; UB – Davis, Rogers, 9.900; BB – Earls 9.875; FX – Tanella 9.875

We’ve seen enough quality from Georgia this season to treat that 195.825 as a random outlier, and I would be quite surprised if we saw anything that rough at home next week. However, I am nearly ready to declare a balance beam situation in Athens. Just when the start-value issue gets worked out, a wobbly fall-fest takes its place. The Gymdogs had five 9.9s on vault and bars and none on beam and floor on Friday, which is a trend this year.

10. Stanford – 195.900
Week 6: BYE

Stanford did not compete over the weekend but will face Arizona State at home this Friday. Stanford had a fine high-196 in order except for a counted fall on bars against UCLA, so watch for that issue to be resolved against Arizona State after two weeks off. Also keep an eye on the flurry of 9.7s from the freshmen. They are needed on the power events this year, and they are needed for more than 9.7s. 

11. Minnesota – 195.795
12. Denver – 195.788 (RQS: 195.625)
13. Oregon State – 195.683 (RQS: 195.455)
14. Arizona – 195.617 (RQS: 195.525)
15. Auburn – 195.608 (RQS: 195.385)
16. Boise State – 195.550
17. Kentucky – 195.338 (RQS: 195.240)
18. Maryland – 195.240
19. Ohio State – 195.238 (RQS: 195.035)
20. Arkansas – 195.230
21. Illinois – 195.125
22. Kent State – 195.035
23. Washington – 195.030
24. Central Michigan – 194.921 (RQS: 194.730)
25. Arizona State – 194.895

[4] UCLA Quad Meet Live Blog

Before we get started on today’s UCLA quad, a few things about last night’s meet at Utah. I didn’t live blog the meet, but I did watch it and did make incomprehensible notes like “Oh hey, Miss Confident Arms.” These are the things I think when watching gymnastics. It was important for Utah to count no falls in the beginning of the no-Lothrop era, but the 197 score flatters some deficiencies. There are too many 9.800-level routines in these lineups. Most of these rotations are going to be relying on the starring classy routine to save them, which is not an ideal strategy. When Dabritz falls on bars, there is no one to pick up the rotation. Dabritz hit beam this week, but when she doesn’t, it’s the same thing. As for the Wilson 10, her landing was better than the 9.975 last week, so the 10 was inevitable, especially because of the inflated 9.875 that Damianova had just received. Wilson’s vault was easily two tenths+ better than Damianova’s, so where do you go?

As for Cal, the score is catastrophic because of one of the more disastrous beam rotations I’ve seen in a while. So many falls that weren’t close. Nonetheless, this certainly looks like a Regionals-worthy team. As with many teams at their level, they cannot compete with top-10 teams like Utah when it comes to handstands and dance elements. Every routine loses multiple tenths because of those issues. The highlights were the floor routines from Asturias and Leong. Wonderful. 

UCLA enters this meet having recorded a 196.9 for a fine but unremarkable performance at Stanford. At each of the last two away meets, bars has been a saga of missed handstands and sloppy dismounts. That needs to improve at home, and I’d like to see some progress on vault as well. Right now, it’s still  Zam, Courtney, and the 9.800 sisters. Let’s talk about constructing some new 9.9s.

The meet begins at 5:00 ET/2:00 PT, and may be viewed here.

Around the nation today, Penn State had a 196 going before a beamtastrophe pushed the score way down to 195.050. Nebraska wins the meet easily with a 197.175. DeZiel takes the AA title by .025 over Wong. Meanwhile, Boise State opened with a 49.325 on vault before giving the positive score away on beam, counting three scores in the 9.5-9.6 range.

UCLA has one of the less irritating intro videos this year. Did I miss a new injury to Sawa? She didn’t compete last week and is just in a t-shirt today for the intros. I would certainly think she would be in on vault over Pritchett if she were healthy.

Alternating routines in a quad meet . . . bets on how long this will take?

Rotation 1: UCLA vault, Washington bars, Sac State beam, Davis floor.
UCLA vault lineup: McDonald, Pritchett, De La Torre, Baer, Courtney, Zamarripa
Washington bars lineup: McCartin, Northey, Fetcher, Tham, Metcalf, Rogers

McDonald opens vault for UCLA with a 9.750 according to the scores. I missed the beginning. Our first up for Washington on bars, McCartin, looks strong with just a step on a double back dismount. Patchy sound happening on this feed. Hits for Sac St. and UC Davis.

Now McDonald starting, the scores lied to us earlier. UCLA starting last but on vault. Good stick on a yfull. That will definitely be more than the 9.750 lie. Chest down and legs in flight and on block.

Northey – Wash – really nice stuck tuck full dismount. Strong routine overall.
Benning – Sac St – fine loso series, sticks gainer full, proficient routines.
DeFrancesco – Davis – mounts with a double tuck, way short punching into her front out of her dismount and falls.
Pritchett – UCLA – legs, huge bounce back, similar to what we’ve seen. She doesn’t have the landing or the power.

3rd up:
Fetcher – Wash – UB – a couple leg separations, but another stick or near stick on the dismount. They are saving tenths with these dismounts.     
Sac State giving away some on wobbles and non-stuck dismounts on beam, lacking the amplitude and precision we see from the top teams. Davis on floor now starting to show a bit more in the third routine – a double pike mount, but it’s quite low chested.
MDLT – UCLA – VT – fine flight, hop back, probably about her usual score as well. They’ll hope to drop Pritchett’s 9.700, and this will help with that, but it’s not getting out of 9.800 land.

Tham – Wash – UB – good tkatchev, strong lines, hunched on DLO and a bigger step forward. Crazy save on a full turn from Sac State on beam, great to stay on but huge deductions. Stronger from Yamamura for Davis on floor. They’re starting to get out of this 9.6 territory now.
Baer – UCLA – VT – Her usual vault, maybe a bit better in the legs on the block or it could be the angle, hop back.

Metcalf – Wash – UB – solid work, cowboys double front but finishes early and takes just a step. Should keep the solid pace. This is a fairly strong event from what I’m seeing. Good lines, more refined hs than some other teams.
Ouchie. Sac State 5th up on beam was completely off on her series and landed near sideways on the beam and took and awkward fall. She’s fine and gets back up. Davis puts up the best floor routine so far 5th, and they are definitely showing up Sac State in the battle for third. Enough power on tumbling, tight legs, good.
Courtney – UCLA – VT – Nice in the air, swims to hang onto the stick and doesn’t.

Rogers – Wash – UB – good first hs, orphan 1/2 turn, strong bail hs, step back on double front. I’m happy with this team on bars. They should be over 49 here for sure based on what I’ve seen. (Yes, all but McCartin are 9.800+.
Big break for the Sac State anchor on beam, but otherwise strong, she had the best dance elements on the team by far, and hopefully that will be reflected in the score. No counting a fall. Ho anchors floor for Davis, double back is low with a bounce, not as strong in the form department as the 5th, Stamates.
Zamarripa – UCLA – VT – it’ll be a 10 if she sticks, for sure. Overthinking this on the runway? Very minor hop back. Not a 10, but will be a huge score. Near stick. 9.950

I’m really enjoying this discussion of Val’s numerous pet peeves. They’re embracing her Val-ness.
This discussion of Chris Waller’s colorblindness, however, is not acceptable, ladies. Colorblind people can still see color unless they’re achromatopic. Certain colors just look different.
After 1: UCLA 49.300, Washington 49.125, Davis 48.750, Sac St. 47.850 

2nd rotation: 
Francis – UCLA – UB – definitely better than the 9.675s we’ve seen from her. Step back on the double pike dismount.
Vaccher – Wash – BB – stays on, solid overall, not a ton of amplitude but a good choice for leadoff, step on 1.5 dismount.
Sac State takes a fall in the first routine on floor.Tuck Yfull from Davis leads off vault and is fine. We’re going multiple routines at a time now it appears. Giving up on the one-at-a-time after one rotation? Nothing from UCLA second on bars?

Washington beam – straddle 3/4 with a wobble, good stuck 1.5 dismount.
We see the end of MDLT on bars, UCLS’s 3rd, with a stuck DLO. She’s usual either 9.7 or 9.9, so the stuck DLO bodes well. Crazy deraged cutting between routines now because we’re definitely not doing one-at-a-time. This is a mess. Stronger second floor for Sac St. Rough, low tuck y from Davis on vault.

3rd Washington beam takes a major lunge back on a 2/1 dismount.
Good stuck yfull from Davis with piking, Mattie on bars, usual rugged tkatchev, just a hop in place on the DLO, though, which is nice. 9.875 is one of her better scores, and her last hs was much nicer than usual and held. Good improvement.

Zam on bars now, clean on hs as walys, perfect, does the tkatchev, good, still short on the DLO now and takes a hop forward. She was hitting that much better in January. They’ll be counting a 9.775 from Francis, and Zam gets a 9.925, which is too high for that dismount.

Washington 5th up on beam (Bixler?) – pause on a dismount combo and then a major step forward into salute and more steps as she salutes amongst her team. That will get deducted heavily, which is a shame since it was a strong routine otherwise.  9.850. OK, looks like they probably just took for the first step.

Benning on floor for Sac State, good double back mount with nicer landing position, what is happening with the music choice, however, I cannot say.

Sac State finishes strong on floor with much better landing position on tumbling from the last couple. They will avoid counting a fall again for what was overall a much stronger event than beam. 

UCLA goes 49.225 on bars, led by the 9.925 from Zam and the 9.875 from Larson. No De Jesus today on bars, but it’s good that MDLT came in. Wong had a miss-ish that we didn’t see for 9.725.

After 2: UCLA 98.525, Washington 98.150, Davis 97.325, Sac St. 96.675
That rotation was an erratic mess after scrapping the one-at-a-time idea. We saw a lot of half routines and missed some other important ones. UCLA looked . . . fine, just like vault. Nothing to swoon over. A lot of proficient 9.825 gymnastics from Washington so far. I’m seeing little difference between Washington and some of these teams ranked in the low-mid teens like Denver and Arizona. They can get there.

Floor scoring looks to be going a little high. Watch it as the top teams move there.

Rotation 3:
Baer – UCLA – BB – slightly tentative on some of these skills, but she solves them well with no wobbles, until a major wobbled on the popa, saves it with a leg up, a little off to the side on dismount series but fine. OK start. 9.625. Looks like they took for those tentative almost-wobbles early. I’m fine with that.
Good thing we got to see an ending pose on floor. Thanks, organization of meet.
Defrancesco – UB – Davis – very short on straddle abak, leg break into a stuck double back.
End of Lichelle’s beam routine, major wobbled on walkover and breaks her connection, has to create a new series and takes a major wobble again, and again on switch side, will be a very low score. How did she outscore Kaelie? Did Baer not get her 10.0 SV or something?

Washington floor (sorry for not knowing my Washington gymnasts better) – layouts middle pass, bounces out of dismount but stays in bounds.

Mattie back to third up – lovely walkover, just perfect, just a step on the dismount. Good hit.
Double arabian bars dismount for Davis. Nice to see. Just a step.

Fetcher lunges out of her floor mount, and is very low on her punch out of the middle pass but saves it. Definite deductions on tumbling here, though.

Courtney is in on beam for UCLA. Eeeepers, with already a couple scores they’d rather not count. double back dismount is OK with a hop forward. 9.875.

Bixler floor – totally loses control punching into her attepmted split (?) into front tuck. I’m interested to see what the judges do because she didn’t really execute it and the front tuck was an orphan. Washington underperforming on floor.

Zam beam – looks good from what we’ve seen. Even the PA announcer is losing control. No one knows what is going on. If you’re going to try to make a point of alternating routines, then actually do it and stick to it. Otherwise, no one is on the same page. Good stick from Zam on the double full.

Francis on beam but we won’t see it. Rogers on floor looks fine but bounces back out of her double back dismount and will probably continue the low-scoring trend. Looks like Francis hit well from the replay.

Vaccher finishes floor for Washington – good amplitude on her tumbling, more dynamics than the others.

UCLA gets solid enough routines from the final four to go over 49 on beam, but they had to count Wong’s wobble-fest for 9.650. That’s the danger of this beam rotation. It can be beautiful and among the best in the country at some point, but it’s so prone to counting falls or 9.6s. We saw mostly pieces of routines, so it’s difficult to make a total judgment. Washington certainly lost some ground here with uncontrolled tumbling in the early-mid rotation.

After 3: UCLA 147.600, Washington 146.875. Davis 146.100, Sac State 145.100 
We’re seeing beam replays for UCLA now, and Francis turned into Zamarripa mid-routine. Fracnis will be in on floor today because De Jesus is out for this meet. I love it, but I’m petrified.

UCLA will need a 49.400 on floor to go 197 at this meet, which they need to keep pace with the other top teams’ scores.

Solid beam start for Davis, not quite there on dance elements and a couple wobbles, low on dismount with a step to the side. Are we showing McDonald’s intro video during her routine? What? UCLA has another multi-team home meet later in the season, and they must get the format resolved. Bynum goes 9.850 on floor.

Here comes Francis – just front layouts? Can’t we do better than that? Still love this choreography though and need her in the lineup just for that.Washington finishes vault with a 9.875, helping save the rotation from some 9.7s. Looks like the Huskies will go high 195s, which is fine.

Pritchett now on floor. All I’m watching is Val doing her little clap dance in the chair. Bounces out of her double pike a bit too much, which she doesn’t usually do.

Davis is competing beam similarly to Sac State. Very 9.6 work. Pritchett goes 9.875.
Zam now on floor – music issues and she steps away, and then bows to the crowd. Gem. Be more like that in interviews. Good double pike, very clean overall, still has the legs in twisting issues and bounces a little on the dismount. Fine, not her best.

Davis is finishing on beam, best splits on the team, nice full turn, stuck 1.5, good finish, should easily be the highest score.

UCLA needs a 9.950 from Courtney in the anchor position to go 197, which is possible since Zam just went 9.925 for a good-not-great routine by her personal standards. Good middle pass and good double pike finish. 9.900

FINAL SCORES: UCLA 196.950, Washington 195.850, Davis 194.675, Sac State 193.925
That’s a good score for Davis. They’ll take that any day. UCLA performed overall very similarly to the Stanford meet. From what we saw, there were some brilliant routines here and there, but there were also too many wobbles and mistakes and too many routines that are uncharacteristically weak for this team. I can count four or five routines that competed for UCLA today that are not Championship-calibre and are unlikely to get there in two months. Usually, UCLA peaks late, but we see the potential in those who are underperforming early. I don’t see as much potential this year, and the strongest routines like Zamarripa’s everything, Courtney’s vault and floor, and Francis’s beam can carry them only so far. To sound like Val, they need to start turning these 9.8s into 9.9s. But can they?

Even though De Jesus has been up and down so far this year, they missed her today. With such an issue with depth, UCLA can’t afford to be without contributors because they don’t have the 9.850s to step in the way some other teams do. There is a lot of work to be done, but I’m still excited by the potential of this team even if it never materializes. I need a Peng update is what I really need. 

It’s sort of weird to see all of these 196.9s put up and come away with deciding unenthusiastic feelings from the performances, but that’s been happening a ton this season. We’re seeing a lot of almost-hits for 9.850s that are culminating in these scores. Nothing actually bad occurred in this UCLA performance, but there is also not a lot to be satisfied by from a team that can still be impressive, even if it is depleted.

Injury update: Sawa has a high ankle sprain and DeJesus has a mild concussion.

Friday Live Blog – Florida, Alabama, Michigan, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma

Today, Florida and Alabama fight for SEC supremacy, Michigan attempts to hang onto #3 in the face of a wave of increasing 197s, Georgia tries to prove that it is worthy of competing at the top, and Oklahoma says, “Another 197.3, please!”

Friday – 2/8/2013
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [5] Alabama @ [1] Florida Scores
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [3] Michigan @ [20] Ohio State Scores Video(All-access)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [6] Georgia @ [18] Kentucky Scores Video(All-access)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – NC State, New Hampshire, Towson @ [17] Maryland Scores Video(All-access)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Northern Illinois @ [21] Central Michigan
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Rutgers @ [24] Kent State
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [8] LSU @ Missouri Scores Video(All-access)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [2] Oklahoma @ Iowa State Scores
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [19] Arkansas @ [15] Auburn Scores Video

8:30 ET/5:30 PT – IGI Chicago Style ([13] Arizona, Pittsburgh, Illinois State, Texas Women’s)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [11] Denver @ Southern Utah
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [12] Oregon State @ Arizona State Scores Video(free)

Lots of all-access options today, but there’s nothing doing for non-subscribers until OSU @ ASU in the later slot.

I’m particularly interested in Georgia’s floor rotation today with Rogers coming in, so I’m starting with Michigan/Ohio State and then switching to Georgia/Kentucky. Also note that Georgia currently has Demetria Hunte slated to compete vault in place of Persinger. I’m not used to Georgia doing west coast-style depth exploration, but I like it in an “I will obviously make fun of it if it goes poorly” kind of way.

Michigan has Miele leading off on bars now instead of Zurales – not quite there in a couple handstands, but flies well on the DLO with a step back. Solid start.

I need to know my Buckeyes better, but we started with a fine, low Yfull and then a whippy yhalf. Zurales now second on bars is lovely on the deltchev, clean on the bail hs, and sticks her DLO. Legs here and there, but this should score well.  (9.850, appropriate but the routine was more than .025 better than Miele’s 9.825)

Schaffer on vault, yfull with lowish landing and a leg break in the air. Perfectly acceptable. Gies goes third for Michigan, so clean to start, a little lacking flight in the tkatchev and then a short hs after that, but sticks the double back easily. 

Marohn a little low on her yfull as well (it’s a trend) with a sizable bounce back. They’re playing “this is the story of a girl” on the PA for what seems like a century. Good thing we’re keeping the music current. Saw the second half of Sugiyama’s bars which seemed solid other than a fairly big hop forward on the tuck full. Dunn vaults, and just like her teammates she does a perfectly fine vault than can be knocked for being low and for the bounce back.

Sampson – beautiful tkatchev that scared me a little by being far away. Looked slightly more tight in some of her hs and took a step on the dismount, so not her absolute best but clean and should still score well. Miller finishes vault with an uncharacteristic large step forward on her front pike.

Beilstein finishes on bars (no Martinez today) and her gienger is ridiculous in its height as always and she sticks her dismount cold. The best bars work I’ve seen from her.

Williams is in on exhibition now and is short on her bail hs and takes a big step on the DLO. I don’t see her coming back to the lineup, but it’s not a problematic backup. 

Michigan should be pleased because it was a good rotation, but they missed a couple dismount and can clean up in places and still scored 49.375. Great job. Ohio State goes 49.000 on vault, led by the 9.850 from Miller. They gave away a lot on the landings in that rotation.
Georgia gets a strong 49.300 on bars, led by 9.900s from Rogers and Davis. We know Davis can do better and Cheek can also be better than 9.775. This is a strong score but can be better. Kentucky went 48.925 on vault. As usual, it appears that Kentucky struggled through the first two vaulters but did enough well with the last four.

Macko is in on vault for Florida, which may not always be necessary (though ideally the lineup would be Macko, Johnson, Sloan, Dickerson, King, Hunter), but currently is necessary without the team at full strength. The Gators got by with Shisler, Stageberg, and Wang all going last week, but they can do better.
 Casanova leads off vault for Michigan with an OK yfull, low with a bounce back just like much of OSU’s work. DeLuca had a fine routine going (a few hs) until the double front dismount which was totally flung out and resulted in many steps.

Zurales vaults #2, gets much better flight than Casanova and sticks. I would take for low chest on landing certainly, but I could see 9.900 easily. Aepli has some back form in her bail hs and is OK overall in her hs, just a step on the DLO full.

Beilstein does the 1.5 and has to bend a little to hang on and takes a step (or minor stumble) back. Fine. The scores currently show a 9.925 for Casanova, but I have to imagine that was for Zurales. Yes, 9.750 from Casanova and 9.925 for Zurales. That’s much more realistic. OSU gets another routine in the likely 9.7 territory from Herr. Hs and dismounts mostly.

Sampson does a lovely yfull with great easy power, near stick, tries to hang on but hops forward slightly. Abrams goes on bars, feet and height on the jaeger, leg separation on the blind full, and a step on the double back. Sugiyama vaults the 1.5 – similar to Beilstein in having to bend a little but her step is forward instead of backward.

Marohn on bars for OSU, best line so far, similar hs problems though, opens out of her double front way early and sticks it cold. I thought she was going to overdo that dismount a bit, but she got it. Sheppard finished vault for Michigan with nice flight on a yfull but a larger bounce back. Schaffer finishes for Ohio State, good speed and power, finished her tuck full dismount early enough to stick it but had to take a step.

Michigan goes 49.250 on vault and did give away a bit on landing, especially on the 1.5s from Beilstein and Sugiyama. They weren’t problematic, but they weren’t free of deductions either. Zurales was the class of that rotation.
Georgia got just a 9.300 from Hunte in the vault anchor position, but had a 49.275 anyway so it didn’t matter. Persinger will be back unless Couch is ready. A mistake from Hires for 9.725 had to be counted. She has struggled a bit more than I would expect for the last month or so. Otherwise, we saw 9.925s from Jay and Rogers and a 9.900 from Cheek. Georgia on 197 pace at halfway and Kentucky hanging on close to 196 pace.

Florida went 49.475 on vault, where Hunter crucially returned for 9.900. If they can get Johnson in for Wang by March, they will be in constant 49.500 contention. Alabama returned Sledge to the leadoff position after a leadoff fall last week (UGH) and got a 49.175, led by a 9.875 from DeMeo. They need Priess and Sledge going much higher than 9.825 and 9.850 respectively for this rotation to be competitive.
Perhaps time for a little halfway switch to check in on Georgia and Kentucky with Georgia soon to begin on floor.

Earls begins for Georgia, strong mount where she has to slide minorly out of it, clean and stuck front 1.5 in the middle, good double back to finish. Only minimal issues, good start. The 9.725 seems harsh. Not sure what I missed that the judge who went 9.650 saw. Mitchell hits another clean beam routine for Kentucky – very deliberate, no wobbles.

I’d also like to commend Ohio State and Kentucky for their efficient meet conduction. We’re just 50 minutes past the scheduled start time and already well into the third rotation. Tanella on floor does a little improvised half stumble dance to keep herself in bounds on the second pass. As she was going, it looked for sure like she would go out, but she kept it in. Otherwise a strong routine.

Hires now on floor. She looks much more competent in this routine than she did at the beginning of the season. Hits the double tuck dismount. Harrison on beam for Kentucky takes a wobble on her full turn but her layout is excellent and she sticks the 1.5. 
In Florida, Hunter takes a fdall on bars, but the rotation is saved by 9.950s from Sloan and Macko for 49.575. No one else scored under 9.875.
Rogers on floor now, just got her double arabian around with a step back. There are fire alarm sound effects in this music. Disqualified. 1.5 + layout is strong. She’s at her best when she’s displaying flexibility in this routine. Will this stay? I’m not there. 9.675.

Jay is low on her tuck full and takes a step forward. This is not the floor performance we saw last weekend, that’s for sure. Fine double tuck but not her strongest routine.
Alabama went 49.325 on vault, which is fine but is not keeping pace with Florida. Encouraginingly, Gutierrez went 9.950. They’ve needed her to get the landing together, but the 9.775 from Sledge and the 9.825 from Milliner are uncharacteristically low. They can do much better and will need to. Alabama still on 197 pace, though.
Couch finishes on floor for Georgia. I am a Jedi! I am a Jedi! It’s all I can think of. They desperately need a hit to erase that 9.675 from Rogers. They’re already counting a 9.725. Most complete routine of the group, just missing the landing position on the dismount and having the usual legs on the mount. They really took for those things, apparently. 9.725. I wish I were listenting to the audio broadcast to hear what Kevin and Cassidy think of that. Cunningham does beam exo for Kentucky, and if she’s consistent this should be in the lineup.

Georgia with just a 48.950 on floor, which takes a 197 essentially out of the picture. High 196s is still realistic, though, which all these teams will be fine with for a road score.
Michigan went 49.250 on floor, led by a 9.925 from Sampson and a 9.875 from Beilstein. If they hit beam, this should easily be a 197+ road score.

Florida begins well on beam with a 9.825 from Spicer and a 9.875 from Stageberg. That’s before the big guns. Still on 198 pace but only just. It will be tough to get there but I’m not doubting it.

LSU didn’t have to count a fall from Jordan and got a 49.100 on bars. They’ll take that, no question. 9.850s from Morrison, Courville, and Dickson. Ranzy in over Hall is a good choice.
Cheek leads off beam for Georgia. They need a hit from her this week after the fall last week. Pretty big bend in the loso but hangs on, another big wobble on the side aerial, she still looks very tentative but she hit it. Phipps on floor for Kentucky, performs a double back, front full + layout, front 1.5. Solid start but things to take, especially if the likes of Couch and Earls were low for fine-ish routines, this meet is still looking very high-195 for Kentucky.

Persinger is strong through the loso,big wobble on her front toss, she gets good lift into her dance elements which can be rare. Larger hop on 1.5 dismount. Gross bounces well OOB on her double pike second pass.

Couch third on beam, bigger wobble on loso series, all three have had a hips wobble so far in their routines, legs on her dismount combo but good landing on the double full. I’m interested to see how they score some of the legs on these skills after the 9.725 on floor. Hedges has more power than the other Kentucky tumblers so far, but these landings could use more control.

Rogers on beam now, after the first three routines have been in the 9.7s – bhs 3/4 is great, L turn could have been more steady, huge wobble on bhs 1/1 and comes off the beam. Bad start for Georgia on the final event. Great dismoutn series but she was nowhere on that bhs 1/1. Ooh, Val would be destroying her for her poopy face after that routine.

We’ve learned the last few weeks that Kentucky beam scoring is not willing to forgive issues that other places are, particularly those entended legs on both dance elements and back handsprings. I would LOVE for beam at Nationals to be judged with exactly these standards.

Shayla beam in a must-hit, good sheep jump, falls on her loso series. Oh dear, Georgia and Shayla. They are all off on these series landings, but they don’t appear off in the air, at least from this angle. Devastating to give away the score they could have had from this meet.
Kytra is having a rough day. 9.400 on beam, but Florida is able to drop it again for 49.400 after a 9.925 from Macko and 9.900 from Sloan. Sloan and Macko are owning the AA today. I would love to see a major fight in the AA at Nationals between Kytra, Sloan, and Zam. Hopefully they’re all in the same rotation. Alabama was very strong on floor with 9.900s from Guti and Jacob, but they still lost more ground to Florida. Although, 197 finally looks a strong possibility.
Earls hits the best series of the Georgia beam rotation, good side aerial to side, step on the double back. I take back any criticism I made about her anchoring beam. She proved she’s the right choice, but Georgia will not accept this score after the otherwise disastrous beam rotation. Can Kentucky muster the win. Hartley is being a pirate, a pirate, oh yes a pirate she on the floor. Very good hit from the last two routines, but it may not be enough to pass Georgia. They do have a 9.600 they can drop, though. Kentucky needs 9.850 for the win, 9.825 for the tie. She could actually do it. If the last one got 9.900. 9.800 for Hartley, and Kentucky just misses the win. That’s a shame.

Final Score: Georgia 195.825, Kentucky 195.775
I thought floor was a bit harsh, but Georgia was messy messy on that beam rotation, bends and flops and falls. This was a step back after a step forward last weekend. 

Michigan had a surprising fall from Sampson on beam after she has been so strong this season, but they have 9.750s from Miele and Zurales to fall back on for a 49.050. Casanova had the highest beam score, and it’s important that she’s in the rotation. She can stay. Big routines from Sampson and Zurales would have put Michigan over 197, but a 196.925 is fine. Ohio State finishes with a characteristically large home floor score of 49.200 for a final total of 196.250, which will help the ranking.
Final Score: Michigan 196.925, Ohio State 196.250

Oklahoma gets a 49.400 on bars, led by 9.925 from Brewer and 9.900s from Clark and Kmieciak. We know the freshmen would help on vault and floor, but this could really be something if they’re leading on bars as well. Neither stood out there in JO, so give the Oklahoma staff credit for creating a bars rotation from a group of largely unheralded bars workers.

The LSU/Missouri scores are stuck in a time hole, apparently, but they have indeed moved to the third rotation.

Maryland had a reee-ough time on the beam, so don’t expect them to keep up this high ranking after this week. 

Oklahoma is not satisfied letting Florida be the big scoring team so far this year. The Sooners count no score under 9.875 on vault for a 49.450 – just under 198 pace, but expect this score to go over the usual 197.3 at this point. Kmieiciak wins vault with a 9.925. Oklahoma will have an RQS after this meet, and it will be monstrous.

Speaking of RQS, Georgia has no completed its meet and becomes the first team to receive an RQS, which currently stands at 196.370, counting that score from today as the third road score.
P.S. Ashanee gets a 9.975 on floor. Florida is in need of some 9.9s from the last two floor workers (of course possible) and that 198 is in reach. Alabama is still not quite there on beam yet with three 9.7s to start the rotation. Work to do for the final two for them if 197 is to happen. Scores on the line in the final two routines for both teams, but Florida has the win well in hand.

Sloan snatches the AA title at this meet with a 39.675 over Dickerson’s 39.650.

King hits for 9.950, Jacob hits for 9.875. Florida needs a 9.850 to reach the goal, Alabama comes up just short again with a 196.850. Fine score but not something they will be satisfied with. It’s now starting to stop being OK for the very best teams to put up hit rotations under 49.200. If you’re going 49.000, you need to be counting a mistake, but there are a lot of rotations from big teams that are not yet living up to this level.

Hunter goes 9.950, Florida goes 49.650 on floor and 198.100 for the meet. UCLA had a 198 last year, but before that it had been quite a while. This is a combination of the scoring going higher this year, the scoring always being high at Florida, and Florida having an offensively talented team.

Final Score: Florida 198.100, Alabama 196.850

Over in Auburn, the Tigers started well on vault but lost the advantage after bars. Arkansas is keeping this solid, low 49s pace consistent. I’ve barely seen anything of Arkansas this year, so I’ll check in on at least a rotation of that meet. Arkansas had Zumwalde start witha 9.725 on floor followed by a competent routine from Elswick.

I believe this is Dillard up third for Arkansas, but I have no sound. Stumbles a little out of a front 1.5 mount. Otherwise it’s a workable routine – not a ton of height in the tumbling from these first few.

Thanks for the heads-up from the commenter who noted that Georgia and Kentucky are now officially tied at 195.825. And to the person who noted that Hall got a 10 on floor – one of those matter-of-time scores, but it seems like it has been a LONG time since we’ve had a 10 on floor. I’m a bit surprised it happened away, but not at the same time since her floor routine is usually better away from LSU.

Guy takes a fall for Auburn on beam, but Lewis opens on floor with a very nice double arabian and by far the strongest floor routine for Arkansas. Walker hits beam for Auburn. One more to go to not have to count a fall.

Borsellino on floor for Arkansas, another strong double arabian. They have three strong routines to end this rotation, but those early 9.7s hurt the potential for big scores. In another year, Lewis and Boresellino would be early-mid lineup instead of some of the majorly relied-upon routines.

Atkinson takes a minor wobble on her loso series but saves it, near stick on the double pike with a step back. She is a big factor, if not the biggest factor, in Auburn’s contention for a Nationals place this year.

Grable finishes on floor for Arkansas (I was about to write “Pisani” . . . oh, how we all wish), cowboys her double arabian and bounces way out of bounds. That’s a shame. They could have gone over 49 again, second pass is brilliant, hands down on the double pike dismount. What happened there? Auburn makes up a little ground, and we’re tied after three rotations at 147.225.
Oklahoma got big scores at the end of the floor rotation from Olson and Scaman to save it and avoid counting a 9.650 from Brewer. Oklahoma is still on mid-197 pace if we assume the usual big beam rotation. This should be the highest score of the year for them, but they will lose pace to Florida anyway.
Fall from Arkansas in the first position on beam. They were on track through the first two rotations, but now this is getting rough. Opportunity for Auburn to snatch an occasionally rare conferene win if Arkansas can’t recover.

Auburn’s first on floor completely missed her punch for the punch front middle pass and did amazingly well to stay on her feet somehow, but it will be a major blow in the score.

Freier is second on beam for Arkansas, great line, strong side aerial, a little floppy in the legs on her series, she is nowhere close and comes off, just like the wheels for Arkansas. Oh, it’s just not their year.

Speaking of teams having a much better year, Oklahoma gets a 9.925 from Alexander on beam in the second position. These rankings are the way they are for a reason, and the top 5 teams are separating from the pack. LSU can make a gain after this week, though, with Georgia’s beamtastrophe.

197.250 is a huge score for LSU, superseding Georgia as the other team of the moment after Georgia got that 197.500 last week.

Auburn is looking very much like a 196 that will easily defeat Arkansas. Grable finishing for Arkansas on beam with a hit, a good showing after a floor disaster for her.

Taylor Spears gets a 9.975 on beam for Oklahoma (their second beam 9.975 this season), and Oklahoma goes 197.625 for by far their best score of the season. Only Florida has managed to score higher. When was the last time Oklahoma scored that high?

Guy finishes up the win for Auburn on floor, Arkansas finishes with 195.650 and Auburn will surpass 196 yet again.Watch out for that ranking because it continues to skyrocket.

The Weekend Ahead – February 8-10

Florida has retained a firm grasp on #1, and at this point in the season it is becoming more difficult for any teams to catch the Gators before RQS kicks in. It’s not easy to outscore the Gators by over a half point, which is what Oklahoma would need to do to move ahead. Likewise, UCLA would need to outscore Michigan by over a half point to move into the top 3. As long as no one scores like a crazy person (in either direction), it’s unlikely that we’ll see a major change in the top few teams in the next couple of weeks. Lower in the ranks, however, there is a great opportunity for shift. That Utah, LSU, Nebraska sector is ripe for flux, and the 11-16 teams could end up in any positions after this week.

All of the important action accosts us right from the start on Friday, so there will have to be a lot of bouncing back and forth between meets and scores, which of course I love. Alabama @ Florida is the headliner, and while I’m sure Alabama would love to get the win on the road after the loss to Georgia, this will be Florida’s meet to lose. However, I do expect Alabama to get over that 197 hump. Florida could possibly be in the running for 198 depending on the lineup. They may have to wait until Johnson is back and hitting (a few more weeks yet), but if Hunter is in the AA, they’ll have a shot. 

Michigan, Georgia, and Oklahoma will all be in action on Friday, but pay special attention as well to LSU. They’ve been very up and down (one week it’s 197, the next it’s 195), and a hit meet on the road would do wonders. This is an opportunity for another big score, which the Tigers need after losing ground next week.

On Saturday, Utah hosts Cal, and it will be about watching the bars and beam lineups for how they survive without Lothrop. There is a bit of rebuilding that has to come, but they can’t start from scratch again like that very first bars rotation. It’s now easy to write Utah out of the Super Six script, so the Utes have something to prove at this meet. The weekend will finish with UCLA hosting a quad meet on Sunday, which they will attempt to run in the manner Utah did with no simultaneous routines. It’s going to be a long meet. I hope no one is offended if I take a blogging break during the Sac State and UC Davis routines.

Top 25 Schedule

Friday – 2/8/2013
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [5] Alabama @ [1] Florida
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [3] Michigan @ [20] Ohio State
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [6] Georgia @ [18] Kentucky
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – NC State, New Hampshire, Towson @ [17] Maryland
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Northern Illinois @ [21] Central Michigan
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Rutgers @ [24] Kent State
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [8] LSU @ Missouri
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [2] Oklahoma @ Iowa State
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [19] Arkansas @ [15] Auburn
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – IGI Chicago Style ([13] Arizona, Pittsburgh, Illinois State, Texas Women’s)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [11] Denver @ Southern Utah
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [12] Oregon State @ Arizona State

Saturday – 2/9/2013
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [22] Illinois @ [13] Minnesota
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [23] California @ [7] Utah

Sunday – 2/10/2013
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Penn State @ [9] Nebraska
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – SEMO @ [16] Boise State
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [25] Washington, Sacramento State, UC Davis @ [4] UCLA

Utah and the Road

The biggest news to come out of competition last weekend was Utah losing Corrie Lothrop for the season after a torn Achilles during floor warmups. This injury is devastating for the Utes. I’d compare it to UCLA losing Sam Peszek, also the reliable rock of the team, but Utah doesn’t have a Vanessa Zamarripa to fall back on. It is unlikely that Dabritz and Tory Wilson’s vault can carry that load.

So far this season, the Utes have put up an average score of 196.319, so every meet the team as a whole is averaging 0.319 better than 9.800 (given that a meet of 9.800s would result in 196). Lothrop herself has contributed 14 counting scores to the team so far this season, single-handedly averaging 0.163 over 9.800. So if Lothrop were replaced with 9.800 in every position, the team average would be 196.156, good for #9 in the country instead of #7. That’s if they can get 9.800s out of their 7th workers. The future of this team without her on bars and beam will be a story to watch this season.

Another story to watch over the next few weeks will be the evolution of road RQS. Most teams have just three or four road meets left this season, so there is precious little time for those teams that won’t want to count any of their current road scores to record viable numbers for the three required road scores. Estimating broadly based on the current trend and past scoring, it’s going to take three road scores averaging in the lower 196s (unless there is a monster home score balancing it out) to snatch a top twelve seed at Regionals. For a top six seed, it’s looking like it will take closer to a 197 average for the three road scores (once again, assuming regularish home scores).

Below, I have calculated how the top 25 teams currently rank based on the average of their road scores to be used as a guideline for how much improvement/score dropping needs to occur in the coming weeks.

1. Florida – 197.075
2. Oklahoma – 196.950

Florida currently has just two road scores and would like to drop the 196.575 but probably doesn’t need to. Another big score at either Georgia or Utah and the Gators are set. Oklahoma competes about 150 times this season and already has three usable road scores. The next eight meets are about getting two or three more scores over 197 and then posturing for the postseason.
3. Alabama – 196.700
4. Michigan – 196.675
5. UCLA – 196.650
6. Georgia – 196.488
This next group is in a healthy position. They all need a couple more solid high 196s, but they have enough mid-196s that falling back on them wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. For them, it will be about pumping up those mid-197 home scores and avoiding any road scores under 196.300 from here on out that would put RQS pressure on a road conference championships performance.
7. Nebraska – 196.225
8. LSU – 196.167
9. Utah – 195.950
10. Stanford – 195.825
11. Auburn – 195.768
12. Oregon State – 195.606
This group is primarily the “scores to drop” brigade. LSU has some 195s, Utah has that 195.300 at UCLA, and Oregon State has the Cancun score to contend with. The teams here that challenge for a top-six placement will be the ones who replace those scores with higher 196s in the coming weeks. On the other hand, Auburn shows its strength by being in this group. That road 196.725 will serve the Tigers well, but they still need four more scores over 196 (at least one on the road) to hope for top 12 at Regionals.
13. Denver – 195.488
14. Arizona – 195.275
14. Maryland – 195.275
16. Kentucky – 195.150
17. Kent State – 194.942
18. Minnesota – 194.925
19. Central Michigan – 194.900
20. Ohio State – 194.758
21. Boise State – 194.700
22. Illinois – 194.533
23. California – 194.350
24. Washington – 194.188
25. Arkansas – 193.075 (Five more road meets, three big scores needed)