Monday Rankings

We have a few straggling teams that do not have their three away meets yet, so RQS won’t officially come into play until next week (unlike last year, where we started RQS before Utah was eligible, so they were just a ghost team for a week). But that means that our official rankings are still based on average, so they’re about as relevant as a Y2K reference. As such, I’ve included the top 25 based on current RQS as well below.

Official Rankings for February 20th, 2012
1. Florida – 196.929
2. Oklahoma – 196.784
3. Georgia – 196.725
3. Alabama – 196.725
5. Utah – 196.721
6. UCLA – 196.543
7. Arkansas – 196.500
8. Oregon State – 196.383
9. Nebraska – 196.308
10. Penn State – 195.982
11. Ohio State – 195.856
12. Stanford – 195.725
13. LSU – 195.575
14. Arizona – 195.321
15. Auburn – 195.250
16. Boise State – 195.225
17. Missouri – 195.211
18. Illinois – 195.036
19. NC State – 194.957
20. Denver – 194.829
21. Michigan – 194.700
22. Minnesota – 194.593
23. West Virginia – 194.543
24. Arizona State – 194.514
25. Washington – 194.504


For the uninitiated, RQS is calculated by taking a team’s top 6 scores (at least 3 of which must be away), dropping the highest score, and averaging the remaining 5. Anyone who tells you it’s complicated is lying. It took 27 words.

RQS Rankings for February 20th, 2012
1. Oklahoma – 196.995
2. Florida – 196.925
3. UCLA – 196.725
4. Georgia – 196.660
5. Utah – 196.555
6. Arkansas – 196.545
7. Alabama – 196.525
8. Oregon State – 196.180
9. Nebraska – 196.095
10. Penn State – 195.950
11. LSU – 195.935
12. Ohio State – 195.735
13. Stanford – 195.580
14. Missouri – 195.485
15. Auburn – 195.245
16. Illinois – 195.155
17. Arizona – 195.130
18. Boise State – 195.035
19. Denver – 194.890
20. NC State – 194.775
21. Washington – 194.525
22. West Virginia – 194.520
23. Iowa – 194.415
24. Kentucky – 194.255
25. New Hampshire – 194.150

Thoughts after the jump:

  • Oklahoma has flown completely under the radar to this #1 RQS spot, and I don’t think anyone is sold that they are the top team in the country. They are very good, but I still have questions about how competitive they will be on vault and floor when competing directly against the top teams in the postseason–amplitude and difficulty may pale in comparison. However, they have achieved this position by being extremely consistent on beam and recording huge scores on the road, two excellent predicting factors for postseason success. 
  • UCLA is a bit of a surprise in the #3 spot because they have been good but not great for the last couple weeks on the road.  However, they have put up scores in the high 196s which puts them in an advantageous position compared to teams still counting road scores in the low 196s from the beginning of the season. Unfortunately, they are looking more and more like an injury box.  
  • Arkansas and Utah are the only very top teams hosting Regionals this year. Watch out for Auburn as a potential spoiler host in that #3 seed spot. That’s the most dangerous type of team in Regionals. If I’m a nonhost, I’d much rather see a top seed or a lower team with an unrealistic shot even with charitable scoring.  
  • We’re just seeing Arkansas falter a bit in the rankings after the fast start. It may just be a bit too much to ask this year, but they’re making a case for always being part of the conversation.
  • Most teams have just three or four regular season meets left. It’s time to start getting those postseason lineups out onto the floor this week and next week, especially because those teams that compete the week before conference championships have to manage fatigue at the very end of the regular season. This weekend, keep an eye on which teams are able to do it and which teams still have to manage lineups because of injury or uncertainty about hitting. It will be very telling with regard to postseason success. 

Things That Are Actually Good

I’m so pleased that we can welcome back scoring controversy in all its glory this year. Sure, we’ve had crazy scores over the past couple of years (we always do), but it was much more isolated to specific meets or specific locations. Now, we’re getting it so intensely all over the country to the point where Greg Marsden had to comment on the inconsistency. It feels like it’s been a few years since it’s been this fun. Just me?

I never want to give the impression that I am ever upset or frustrated by crazy scores. I live for them. Where would we be without them? But, if you’re tired of thinking about these scores and their tentative relationship with visual reality, I understand. I therefore submit the following soothing bar routines for your enjoyment:

Saturday Meets

Final Scores:
Georgia 197.225, Kentucky 193.125
Ohio State 197.625, Denver 195.450 (Ohio State got a 49.600 on floor. This is our second 49.600 on floor of the weekend. Unless you cured cancer as a second pass, you do not deserve a 49.600)

Georgia, Nebraska, Stanford, Penn State, and Ohio State are all in action on this busier than usual Saturday. I’ll be paying attention primarily to how Georgia manages to score at home with a definite opportunity to pick up ground on Utah if they convert well.

UCLA has confirmed that Lichelle Wong suffered an Achilles injury yesterday during the three-minute touch before floor. The extent of the injury has not been specifically confirmed, so we can only hope it’s not a complete tear, but…McDonald last week, Wong this week…this team might as well hold training sessions at urgent care.

In other news, congratulations are in order to former Arkansas gymnast Casey Jo Magee, who achieved her qualifying score today at the WOGA Classic to qualify to the Covergirl Classic as an all-arounder.

Georgia is soon to get underway against Kentucky at 4:00 ET / 1:00 PT. Moffatt and Breazeal are in on beam today for the Gymdogs, so that will be a rotation to watch. No Kaylan Earls on any event because of an Achilles-related issue. Trend?

Big start for Georgia with a 9.850 from Davis on vault.  As an elite, this was her weakest event, but she has carved out a solid place for herself in this lineup.  Bodes well for a big rotation to start with 9.850.

Georgia is not really able to pick up on the momentum from Davis’s opening, continuing to hang out in that 9.8 territory until Breazeal’s 9.750.  It will be a fine rotation, but Hires and Ding need to go in the 9.9s to make it big. The best teams are consistently going over 49.400 this year, so anything below that is just OK, especially at home.

Hires and Ding do exactly what they needed to with 9.925s to end the rotation at 49.375. It’s just below that 49.400 level, but since Georgia is not relying on vault to beef up their score the way some other teams are, that’s exactly where they need to be. They can pick up ground on bars, where a lot of teams are still satisfied with something like 49.200.  UGA can (and should) go higher than that.

Worley, Davis, Nuccio, and Ding are the highlights of the Georgia bar rotation, so if they can get Tanella and Couch going over 9.800, it’s a good day. And that’s exactly what happens with Tanella and Couch going 9.825, 9.850.

Important that Chelsea Davis goes 9.900 on bars. She’s been capable of it since Day 1, but there’s always been a handstand here and there that keeps her from it. Kat Ding finishes the rotation with 9.900 as well (when will she get a 10? I need it more than she does.) so Georgia scores another 49.375.

Halfway: Georgia 98.750, Kentucky 97.050. Georgia should expect a score in the 197s based on these first two rotations.

Good to see Moffatt post a 9.825 on beam. I certainly like her much better than Tanella in this position, but who knows if the lineup will stay this way.

A fine 9.775 from Breazeal on beam should boost this team, as they now have the two question mark routines out of the way without a mistake. (Although, perhaps Shayla is always a question mark.)

Oh Shayla. Oh Shayla. I would say I jinxed you, but it’s happened way too many times to be my fault. An 8.700 on beam with two falls. This was supposed to be Shayla’s year, but it’s still a miracle when she hits all three events.

After three rotations, Georgia stands at 147.775 to Kentucky’s 145.500.  Georgia can still hit 197 with a 49.225 on floor, though that’s no given.  They’ll have to put Shayla back together.

So, as we finish, Georgia scores a 49.450 on floor with Couch getting a 9.950.  A 9.950.  Again.

FINAL: Georgia 197.225, Kentucky 193.125.  

Also, Ohio State scored something crazy. See the top of the post. I can’t deal with this.  What is happening?

It’s Friday. There Are Meets. We Have Scores.

Some of them might even be interesting.  An early start to today’s action as Utah visits Michigan beginning at 6:00 ET / 3:00 PT.

Michigan has carved out a little place for the team in the 20s in the rankings, and while the team may eventually climb up into the teens, it’s hard to expect much more than that with how depleted they are.  They have only ten healthy gymnasts and two of them are non-competers.  Utah is looking to rebound after an uncharacteristically inconsistent meet last week.

Final Scores:
Utah 196.150, Michigan 194.850
Florida 197.500, Auburn 196.875
Oklahoma 197.400, Missouri 196.375
Alabama 197.650, Arkansas 196.125
UCLA 196.775, Oregon State 196.775

The only lineup change from last week for Utah is Damianova in on floor instead of Delaney [Never mind, Delaney is back in].  I’m a bit surprised to see Hansen remain in the bars lineup.  She didn’t look ready last week. Hansen scores a 9.700 this week following Lopez’s 9.775.

Michigan has a mistake from Zakharia on vault – (that she has to vault is evidence of this team’s dire situation) – so they’re counting a 9.725.

Beers goes 9.650 for Utah.  She has some very tenuous form on that event – this will happen from time to time.  Not an auspicious start for Utah.  Now they need Dabritz to hit to capabilities this week.  But it’s just more scores in the high 9.7s.  I’m sure they’re surprised by these numbers.  Welcome to Michigan.

Good for Michigan.  They get biggish scores from Zurales and Sugiyama on vault to go 49.100.  Beam will tell us how this meet goes, but you can’t deny that they do have some talented performers capable of big scores (just not enough).  The bigger surprise is that they lead Utah after one event (49.100 to 48.850).  Utah had no routines scoring over 9.800.

Bars is not the strength for Utah.  They can come back on the other three events by showing their difficulty, but this kind of road scoring should be worrisome for them.  It will be interesting to see how the Michigan judges respond to Utah’s “E passes” narrative.

Utah is getting a bit more help from the judges on vault, where Tory Wilson has finally broken the 9.800 barrier for them, and Dabritz follows with a 9.900.  The final three in the Utah vault rotation do have pretty nice form and can score exceptionally well when they hit their landings.

Utah recovers a bit on vault with two 9.9s from their freshman duo (where would this vault lineup be without them?) to score 49.200.  After two rotations, they lead Michigan now 98.050-97.825.  Just like Utah, Michigan had a walking 9.7 of a bars rotation.  In most cases, the top teams put themselves in a position where they can count a fall and still have a solid 196-y meet that is at least respectable in the grand scheme of a season.  At Michigan, Utah has no room to count even an OOB, let alone a fall.

Delaney is back into the floor rotation instead of Damianova.  Tutka opens with a big 9.850.  Zurales has been doing the largest share of the work for Michigan tonight – a 9.850 on beam is exactly what they needed.  Surprised a little at the mistakes we’re seeing for Utah on floor.  I thought for sure they would come back on a mission and hit well after last week, but if Lothrop and McAllister hit they can still go a couple tenths over 49.  Don’t expect those home 9.950s, though.

Michigan looked to be on the way to a serviceable beam rotation until 9.200s from the final two competitors deflated any scoring potential.

Utah scores 49.100 on floor, so a 196.500 looks a bit too far out of reach for them in this meet.  But they should focus on hitting six beam routines so they can put up something respectable for this road score.  The #1 ranking looks in serious jeopardy.

Lopez struggles again in the beam leadoff position for Utah, scoring 9.575.  Pressure’s on again in the last rotation this week.  Utah will be counting at least a 9.600 from McAllister, and Michigan will be counting at least a 9.675 from Sugiyama.  This is just about getting through the meet now for both teams and then hoping to move on to bigger and better scores.

The 9.925 from Sampson on floor is the highest score of the meet so far.  Michigan finishes, though, with a disappointing 194.850.

Utah finishes with a 9.825 from Robarts to just barely scrape above the 196 mark.  Both this score and the 196.150 will be counting toward their RQS.  The home scores are probably big enough to keep Utah in the top six going into regionals, but at this point it’s likely that we will see another one of the top 9 teams in the Utah regional, which Utah would not prefer.  You always want to have a buffer.

Moving on, Oklahoma is currently visiting Missouri and the queens of the road are on the lookout for yet another road 197.

Well, hello, Missouri.  The Tigers just scored 49.350 on vault with three scores at 9.900+.  I was……not expecting that.  Oklahoma avoids counting a fall from Brie Olson, but is not able to break 49.  The Sooners surprisingly trail by .375 after the first rotation.  I can’t imagine this will continue, but watch this space.

In the second rotation, Taylor Spears (whose name is a sentence, and I have no time for that) scored a 9.850 on vault.  I’m going to need to see these Oklahoma vaults again.  They’re scoring too well to be as unmemorable as I think they are.  Apparently my amplitude standards are too high, among other gymnastics-related psychoses.  Sara Stone scores 9.950, and Oklahoma recovers from bars with a 49.450 on vault, which is near UCLA/Alabama levels of scoring.

Over at the Auburn/Florida meet, Ashanee scored a 9.850 on bars, which we should just accept as a positive because she was scoring like an 11.000 at home, but I still have a lot of questions about leg separations and handstands and foot form.  Marissa King appears to have emerged as that third bar worker we were looking for in preseason, scoring a 9.900 to introduce similar scores from Caquatto and Johnson.  Johnson scoring only .050 more than Dickerson is not an adequate separation to reflect the difference is subtle qualities.  49.400 is the final bars total.

Over with Alabama/Arkansas, it looks like Alabama is pulling out the ideal lineup on each event (at least as I see it).  Very positive that they have moved Sledge to #4 on bars.

Florida was supposed to be putting up sort of a B+ lineup today, but this looks pretty close to their ideal lineup (and they’re scoring like it), except for King on vault it appears.  Hello, Florida just vaulted 49.575.  We have an official 198 watch happening here.

Alabama is vaulting very well through the first two.  They’ll be challenging Florida’s score here.  Do we hear another 10?  A little hop back for Sledge, so that shouldn’t go quite as high.  Oooh, I had Gutierrez in the 10 pool, but she steps back pretty far.  Not as strong as usual.

Fall from Salmon for Arkansas, but they had strong enough routines from Pisani and Grable that Howdeshell should be able to save a fine rotation.

It was tough to judge Geralen’s 9.950 because the replay didn’t show her legs (thanks), and Milliner got a 9.925 for her 1.5 with a step to the side.  Overscoring was clearly there (no way was Milliner a 9.950 – which one judge gave her), but it was relatively minor, expected, home overscoring.  The total of 49.525 still feels too high – though not relative to other teams.  Unfortunately for Arkansas, Howdeshell had some really bent arms on catches and a big lunge forward on the dismount.  They finish bars with 48.950 and are more than a half point behind Alabama.

Clark has a few form breaks on bars and should score about where she usually does, but Alexin had a handstand issue and a poor dismount, so they’ll hope to drop that.  Arkansas has been solid enough on vault so far, but they lack the dynamics of Alabama at the beginning of the lineup – they improve tremendously toward the end.  Pisani and Grable are a treat.

Sledge was very close on her gienger and had to muscle up a handstand – so unfortunately not her best routine.  Geralen hits well with just one handstand not up to scratch, and Priess does about the same.  For DeMeo, GSE, and Priess this was very solid progress on bars.

Okay, I know Oklahoma is the most confident, best trained team on beam, but still…a 49.600 is wow.  They finish with 197.400, another huge away score.  At this rate, they’ll be counting only away scores for RQS.

Where were we?  So, Alabama had another strong rotation on beam, led by Priess with 9.925, to put them on pace for well over 197.  They will be potentially challenging Florida and Oklahoma’s scores, especially with most of the big guns in the floor lineup tonight.

Jacob has staked a claim to this leadoff spot because she has solid 9.8-level tumbling and energetic routines.  This performance was on par with her usual.

Frost can sell her routine and is pretty solid on her DLO always – let’s see about this dismount.  It’s a tuck, which is smarter and she hits well – probably the best she’s been on floor.

Arkansas’s first three beam routines have little wobbles here and there.  They’re not bad by any means, but they don’t keep the team competitive with the top beam teams.  I agree with KJC and Suzanne that there’s a little lack of attack early in that lineup.

Milliner’s choreography doesn’t really do much for me.  It’s a lot of arms and smiling when the music asks for a harder attitude and stronger, more committed movements.  That being said, the tumbling was excellent.

Rough time for Arkansas with the fall from Williams.  They’ll be counting two scores in the 9.6s.

Gutierrez was mostly excellent except for a really upsetting ring position and perhaps a little issue (very minor) on the second pass.  This rotation has been scoring high, so I don’t expect that to be reflected too much in the score.

Pisani has a little wobble in her routine, but she rights things for Arkansas.  Her dismount is a confident joy.

Geralen lands very low on her double arabian, but I’m impressed she got it around because it looked like she set it awkwardly.  The rest of the routine is a hit, but the composition is a little strange because the most intense part of the music (which has too much of that film score feel – because it is one) comes when she is prepping for her dismount – odd choice.  The 9.950 is kind of a joke because of the low mount.

Grable dismounts with her ambitious double pike, but it’s very low with a big step forward.

Priess hits her floor in the final routine of the meet.  It will probably get a 12. (9.950)

Alabama goes 49.600 on floor – their tumbling is very nice, but there were definite issues ignored here – to score 197.650 and lead the day.  UCLA and Oregon State could potentially pass this up, but I feel confident in concluding that this will win the day.  Arkansas scores 196.125, which will certainly hurt them in the standings.

UCLA is starting on beam at Oregon State.  This will be an adventure.  Aisha returns to leadoff (…..) and scores 9.750.  That’s the kind of score Wong or Baer might be getting in the first spot, but Aisha needs to be going higher [Score revised to 9.825].  Harris leads the first half of OSU’s lineup with a 9.875, until Blalock goes 9.925 – it will be interesting to see what UCLA’s lineup gets – going after OSU is a bonus because UCLA has the more dynamic vaults.

OSU finishes with 49.200 on vault.  They looked to go higher but had to drop Jones’s anchor score of 9.725.  UCLA is hovering around 9.750-9.800, which is not great, but they’ve hit 4/4 so far, so it’s not the end of the world.  Good to see Zam in the lineup, which likely means her injury is not bad – but she, too, needs to be going much higher than 9.750.

Scratch that about Cal.  The score was momentarily wrong.  They had to count a fall on bars and went 48.325.  Sad for them, but much more believable.

Uncharacteristic fall from Peszek (her first of the season), so UCLA scores just a 48.950 on beam.  After today, UCLA has only three regular season meets remaining.  The time is passing where we’re just OK with getting through a meet.  The high-level performances need to start coming, especially from gymnasts like Larson, who hasn’t really put it together yet.

Gerber’s score was revised to 9.825 – (one judge went up .1 and the other went up .05, so it can’t have been a start value issue, right?) to put UCLA over 49 with a bit more respectable of a score.  Still, they need to have multiple people going over 9.825.

De La Torre is in the floor lineup (oddly, because I would put her probably 9th on a UCLA floor depth chart.  Are we still exploring depth?  Aren’t we exploring good yet?) and scores 9.750 to start.

Unexpectedly, it appears Zamarripa has come in on floor (after Val just got done telling us that she wasn’t ready yet yesterday.  She’s a tricky one.) and scored 9.800 in her season debut.

OSU runs through all the 9.8 combinations to score 49.325 on bars, which is an excellent score, but since this is their best event, they probably want more than 9.875s from Mak and Vivian.

UCLA ends up putting up a pretty makeshift floor lineup to score 49.100.  It’s of concern that Peszek did not compete floor after her issue on the beam.  Hopefully nothing is wrong there.  Perhaps that’s why MDLT had to come in.  Pritchett also had a fall to break her streak.  I wonder if she can maintain that lineup spot with Zam back and when Larson and Peszek come back in.

After 2: Oregon State 98.525, UCLA 98.125, Cal 95.550 (disaster on beam)

OSU to the beam now, and UCLA to the vault.  This is where UCLA could make up those four tenths in one go.

Another odd lineup for UCLA on vault with no Larson or Peszek (which makes me think something is wrong or potentially wrong) and with MDLT in (and she goes 9.925, which is also sort of bizarre).  Nonetheless they put together a 49.450, which is not their best but we desperately needed.  They won’t hit 197, but they could manage high 196s again if they do something on bars.

Leslie Mak goes 9.950 on beam with a 10 from one of the judges.

After 3: Oregon State 147.700, UCLA 147.575, Cal lagging well behind after another struggle.

Oh man, Ellette Craddock comes in for UCLA on bars (and good for her for scoring a 9.800).  Is this just about depth, or is this team all of the sudden crazy depleted?

UCLA is able to withstand a fall from De La Torre on bars and score 49.200 (without Larson and Peszek again), so they finish with a solid, fine, respectable 196.775, though they are capable of much more and will not be satisfied by that score.  I’m expecting something very 197-y from them at home next week.

In a surprising turn of events, we actually have a tie final score.  It looked like OSU had it in the bag, but Mak scored just 9.750 on floor, so they came back to the Bruins.  That will be disappointing for Oregon State because UCLA was slightly off and didn’t have their best gymnasts available all the time. They probably should have won this meet.  Reaching back for this tie on the road will be a mental victory for UCLA.

The Weekend Agenda (February 17th-19th)

Both Arkansas and Alabama are coming off weak scores of 195.875 and 196.000, respectively, which saw them fall from the 3rd and 2nd spots to the 5th and 6th.  The loser of this dual meet may be on downward spiral watch.  The last time Alabama competed at home they put up an enormous score, and we can probably expect the same thing this week when away 9.775s become home 9.850s.  The vault judges at Alabama are 2/2 for giving out 10s, do I hear a third?  I’m betting on Gutierrez this week.

Arkansas struggled last week because Grable struggled.  That was a test of whether their depth could make up for a weak meet from one of the stars, and they didn’t really pass.  There are a lot of missed handstands and low landings in the early lineups, so keep an eye on how those routines are progressing. I finally got the chance to catch up and watch the Arkansas/Florida meet from forever ago, and I was not wholly impressed by Arkansas.  I need to see something more in the third and fourth positions.

I’ll also be following the scores for the UCLA @ Oregon State (with Cal) meet, watching specifically for Oregon State’s vault and floor scores because I still wonder about their amplitude and landing position  and for UCLA’s bar scores (and lineup decisions).  Also, it will be interesting to see how much Zamarripa does.  They’re praying that ankle issue is just a minor annoyance.

Georgia, Alabama, and Oregon State are the major teams competing at home, so they look the most likely candidates for the highest score of the week, especially with Utah visiting Michigan.  I’ll go with Alabama because I think they have the highest scoring potential of the three, but I don’t feel completely certain about that.

Top 25 Schedule:
Friday – 2/17/12
6:00 ET / 3:00 PT – [1] Utah @ [21] Michigan
7:00 ET / 4:00 PT – New Hampshire @ [19] NC State
7:30 ET / 4:30 PT – [3] Oklahoma @ [16] Missouri
8:00 ET / 5:00 PT – [2] Florida @ [17] Auburn
8:00 ET / 5:00 PT – Michigan State @ [18] Illinois
8:00 ET / 5:00 PT – Iowa State @ [24] Iowa
8:30 ET / 5:30 PT – [5] Arkansas @ [6] Alabama
9:00 ET / 6:00 PT – San Jose State @ [14] Boise State
9:00 ET / 6:00 PT – BYU @ [15] Arizona
10:00 ET / 7:00 PT – [7] UCLA, Cal @ [8] Oregon State
10:00 ET / 7:00 PT – [13] LSU, Seattle Pacific @ [23] Washington

Saturday – 2/18/12
4:00 ET / 1:00 PT – Kentucky @ [4] Georgia
4:00 ET / 1:00 PT – [20] Denver @ [11] Ohio State
7:00 ET / 4:00 PT – [9] Nebraska @ Minnesota
7:00 ET / 4:00 PT – Brockport @ [10] Penn State
7:00 ET / 4:00 PT – [23] West Virginia, Rutgers, William & Mary @ Maryland
7:30 ET / 4:30 PT – Metroplex Challenge ([12] Stanford, Brown, Bridgeport)

Sunday – 2/19/12
4:00 ET / 1:00 PT – [18] Illinois @ [25] Arizona State

Press Conferences

Val has mentioned a few times lately that she will pull people from the lineup who don’t warm up well right before the competition.  I like this strategy for a deep team because it keeps everyone on their toes and ensures that the most likely hits get to compete (you’re not putting in a clunker just because she usually hits in practice), but it brings up an interesting coaching question.  In the past, Val has been very adamant that she won’t pull a gymnast from the beam lineup just because of a fall the week before because she doesn’t want the gymnast to think that the coaching staff has no confidence in her.  This new attitude seems like a clear departure from that philosophy.  How is a gymnast going to believe you have confidence in her if you’re yanking her right before the meet because you’re afraid she’ll fall?

It’s important that Rhonda is resting some of her gymnasts this week.  That foresight will be important in keeping everyone healthy, and it goes hand in hand with the new strategy to peak later.  They can’t peak if they’re not intact.  We haven’t seen too much variation in lineups so far, so getting to see gymnasts like Wang come back into the lineup will help us see how much depth this team has and whether they really do have those reliable backups or whether there will be pressure to hold on to the six who are currently converting in competition.  A big road score will help them close the RQS gap with Oklahoma.

Monday Rankings

Rankings for February 13th
1. Utah – 196.855
2. Florida – 196.833
3. Oklahoma – 196.696
4. Georgia – 196.642
5. Arkansas – 196.554
6. Alabama – 196.540
7. UCLA – 196.504
8. Oregon State – 196.305
9. Nebraska – 196.200
10. Penn State – 195.988
11. Ohio State – 195.604
12. Stanford – 195.595
13. LSU – 195.429
14. Boise State – 195.175
15. Arizona – 195.130
16. Missouri – 195.017
17. Auburn – 194.979
18. Illinois – 194.860
19. NC State – 194.833
20. Denver – 194.725
21. Michigan – 194.670
22. West Virginia – 194.500
23. Washington – 194.425
24. Iowa – 194.383
25. Arizona State – 194.346


Have I underestimated Oregon State?  The team recorded a great score this weekend of 197.400, which certainly took me by surprise.  I tend to think of them as being the excellent Leslie Mak, a few routines from Makayla Stambaugh, and Olivia Vivian on bars.  To me, that’s not enough to sustain a top team.  But if they’re able to show more than that, we may have to expand our conversation to a nine-way race.  I haven’t seen a full meet from them this year, so I will likely check in on UCLA @ Oregon State this Friday.

More thoughts after the jump.

  • Arkansas and Alabama dropped significantly after poor performances.  They will be competing against each other this week, both needing a rebound, which Alabama is more likely to get at home.  At Georgia, Grable had an off meet and Pisani had a fall, which the team could not recover from.  As they go, so goes Arkansas.
  • LSU is starting to show more and more potential, scoring in the high 196s over the weekend.  Everyone will be hoping that this team finds its way into the top 12 before Regionals.  No one wants to see this LSU team as the #3 seed.  They would be a prime spoiler.  Imagine if Utah were to get Stanford and LSU in their Regional (as the rankings stand now).  That would be a fun day.
  • More teams are starting to have running RQS totals, which gives us a great glimpse of where teams stand and what they need.  Oklahoma is in the wonderful position of scoring so well on the road that they have an upper hand on the rest of the teams that are trying to scrape together three usable road scores.  This is why they have the upper hand on higher-ranked Florida.
  • UCLA should be pleased at how close they are to the teams above them, considering their running RQS includes a 194.600.  Even something like a 196.500 at Oregon State would put them right in middle of the lead pack.
  • Nebraska competed six all-arounders last weekend, which I suppose makes sense since they are probably the team’s best on each event, but I’m not comfortable with it.  Beam continues to be a nail-biter.

Top 25 Scores

Scores from the Top 25 teams for the weekend of February 10th-12th.

Week 6
1. Florida – 197.850
2. Oregon State – 197.400
3. Oklahoma – 197.200
4. UCLA – 196.850
5. NC State – 196.775
6. LSU – 196.750
7. Georgia – 196.725
8. Penn State – 196.650
9. Nebraska  – 196.550
10. Stanford – 196.175
11. Utah – 196.150
12. Ohio State (1) – 196.125
13. Boise State – 196.025
14. Alabama – 196.000
15. Arizona – 195.900
16. Arkansas – 195.875
17. Michigan – 195.825
18. Missouri – 195.525
19. Arizona State (1) – 195.500
20. Ohio State (2) – 195.450
21. West Virginia – 195.175
22. Illinois – 195.100
23. Iowa – 194.425
24. Washington – 194.150
25. Arizona State (2) – 194.000
26. Denver – 193.750
27. Auburn – 193.650

Utah @ Arizona State – Live Blog

Watch Live from 4:00 ET / 1:00 PT [NOTE CORRECT TIME – I had it wrong before]

Though Florida put up a tremendous score this week, it looks like all Utah has to do at this meet to retain the #1 ranking is score over 196.  That should be no problem for them, but that also should not be the concern for them.  With Pac-12s and Regionals both in Salt Lake City, this team will have few opportunities to become accustomed to competing on the road (and scoring on the road) before Nationals, so this meet takes on added importance both for eventual seeding and for road experience.  It will be important for Utah to get the freshmen Dabritz, Delaney, and Lopez in the lineup significantly over the next two weeks so they can be ready for a Nationals atmosphere.

The gymnast I’ll be paying the most attention to in this meet is Corrie Lothrop.  At least through the first month and a half of the season, she has made the successful transition out of the 9.825 territory with strong performances late in the beam and floor lineups.  She has been quite solid in landing her acro elements and appears to be performing with more confidence.  However, I do still have questions about her amplitude and landing positions.  Those questions were not shared by the judges at home, but how she scores on those events at an away meet will be very telling.

Commentary after the jump when the meet begins:

Is watching flames on a loop a form of hypnosis?

We got a little intro from our commentators for this meet, which was followed by the woman saying “I didn’t like that one.”  Love it.  I actually thought they were fine.  The male anchor seems more knowledgeable and engaged than they usually are.

Not a fan of these Arizona State leos with the ASU on the back.

First vaulter from ASU pikes slightly on her Yfull and lands to the side, and Lopez hits her DLO dismount for Utah on bars, but we didn’t see the rest of the routine.

Price for ASU sticks a nice Yfull. (9.850)

Hansen in for Utah on bars – a little close on jaeger and a leg separation on the pak.  Good tuck full dismount with a step – good to get her in the lineup, but I don’t see her staying there, though she has nice line. (9.750)

Sundby has good distance on her yfull but pikes down a bit with a step. (9.775)

Beers – she’s cleaned up this routine but a little leg sep and a late handstand on the low bar.  Just an inch backward on the DLO. (9.800)

Seaman – ASU – a little low on her YFull, but a pretty controlled landing.  It’s not national-class, but this is a solid vault rotation with nice difficulty. (9.775)

Jones – ASU has good power on her Yfull (9.875)

It looks like Dabritz is having trouble on her bar routine with her swing – couldn’t exactly see what it was, and then she had a broken handstand, but she hits her dismount well.  I hope she finds her consistency because she’s their best bar worker. (9.500)

Lothrop – hits both jaegers well and had nice position on her bail hs, step forward on the DLO.  I don’t think she hit a couple of her handstands quite vertically, but that was the biggest issue in the routine. (9.825)

ASU will send up only 5 vaulters, but they put up a very nice 49.000, led by Jones with a 9.875.

McAllister – long wait before this routine.  I don’t think there should be any problem with Lothrop’s start value – it seems very straightforward.  Here we go, a little close on the gienger, hits weiler and bail hs, good stick on the tuck full dismount. (9.875)

Damianova did an exhibition for Utah, and after one rotation we have a surprising tie score, each team at 49.000 on the first event.  Lofgren also exhibitioned on bars and showed off her nice line but had a few form breaks in her legs.

Rotation 2: Utah on vault, ASU on bars
Kahoku Palafox – quite possibly my favorite name in NCAA

Rew starts on bars for ASU and has a fall on her shaposh – she wasn’t really close to catching.

Good Yfull from McAllister – proper direction with a hop back.  Didn’t see Lothrop’s routine to start.

Strong stick on the YFull for Utah (they said it was Beers, but it wasn’t.  Tori Wilson, right?)

Jones hits a Shaposh but misses the handstand on the bail and has a big lunge forward on her DLO.  Looks like we missed Dabritz on vault for Utah.  Thanks.

Delaney – great height and distance on her Yfull – hop back.

Palafox dismounts with a DLO with a step forward – a bit of leg form several times throughout the routine.

A bit for leg form and a hop back on the latest Yfull from Utah. I believe it was an exhibition from Del Priore(?)

Good pak from Gades on bars, and stuck a cowboyed double front.  That’s their strongest routine so far.

Damianova exhibitions for Utah and sticks her Yfull very well.  This angle from behind is not the best for judging deductions.

Hangartner has a few issues on her bar routine, with a step forward on the double front.  Seaman catches her gienger extremely close and has to come off the bars – so ASU will be counting a fall and will drop way back after this rotation.  An injury appears to have happened there, but it was difficult to see.  Not sure what happened there, exactly.  Commentators say it may be a neck issue but that she is smiling.

On vault, Utah scores a 49.300, so they will be at 98.300 after 2, and it looks like ASU will be at 96.850.  If Utah wants to hit 197 this week, they will need to go 49.350 on each of the last two events.  197 is not completely necessary, and anything over 196.600 is a fine score for this meet, but 197 looks within reach.

Rotation 3: ASU on beam, Utah on floor
Jones – ASU – hits loso series right on the beam, solid punch front as well – hit start for ASU.

Tutka – Utah – tuck full mount, dance elements aren’t quite there but good body position on acro.  We can’t hear the floor music really at all – pet peeve alert! (9.800)

Robarts – Utah – good Dbl Arabian landing and high body position on the double pike.  This routine has notably improved since the beginning of the season. (9.850)

ASU is scoring well so far on beam – Gentile is next and hits her loso series and her double full dismount – this is a much stronger event for them than bars – much more confidence.

Delaney – Utah – a bit staggered on an otherwise strong tuck full, huge stumble on her second pass – a layout + layout full – they’ll hope to drop this score because that was several tenths right there, finishes with a double tuck with a slight slide to the side. (9.700)

Palafox – ASU – confident three series, weakness is the split positions and a stumble on a switch split – this will be their lowest so far.  Surprised she didn’t add in another leap after she broke her leap connection.

Dabritz – Utah – had no chance of controlling her pike full and fell back – very surprising mistakes from Utah here, so they will be counting Delaney’s score – a big stumble out of her 3/1 dismount as well.

Snowden – ASU – bend in the hips on her series, a slight wobble on choreo as well –

Lothrop – missed her first pass, solid on second pass – just a little stumble out of it and a bounce back on her double pike, should score well, but it’s not the 9.950 from last week. (9.900 – that’s still a little high for me, but precedent is a wonderful thing)

Steigerwalt – ASU – slight stumble back on ring jump – extremely low and off on her loso, no chance to save it, so they will be counting a 9.525 from Palafox, and another fall here, uh oh.

McAllister – She was completely off on her loso connection and had to put her hands down just at the end of the routine.  I never would have thought Utah would be counting a fall on floor, but they have to keep it together and show their usual consistency on beam now.

So Utah has their worst floor performance of the season to score a 48.550 on floor.  Now it’s about fighting to go positive on beam and get into the 196s.  They need to go 49.175 to break into the 196s for this meet, which should not be a problem for them if they hit to capability, but now it’s about mental recovery.

After three events, Utah 146.850, ASU 145.550

Rotation 4: Utah on beam, ASU on floor

Lopez – Utah – extremely tentative on her layout stepout series and comes off.  Utah did not count a fall on beam all of last season, they will be putting that to the test for the next five routines here.  Absolute must hits for them if they want to hold onto their position.  Hits a very nice double full dismount.

Seaman – ASU – she has returned from her injury on the bars, so that’s a great positive – can’t have been too serious.  Odd that the commentators were mentioning that she doesn’t watch her teammates routines – very un-NCAA.

McAllister – Utah – great on her three series, slight wobble on dance, hits double full dismount with a small slide back – very confident recovery.

Sundby – ASU – really fun mount – 2.5 + layout + shushunova, good height on her double back with a minor, minor slide of the front foot and a nice double pike to finish.

Lofgren – Utah – she is right on as well for this routine so far, no break in confidence so far after the Lopez fall,

Steigerwalt – ASU – a little low on double pike, same with the double tuck with a slide back as she came out of it – low again on dismount with slight stumble to the side.

Lothrop – Utah – small stumble on her aerial cartwheel but hits the loso series, sticks the double back dismount but still iwth a low chest.

Snowden – ASU – she has been showing a nice line on her events today – front double + front tuck – a little low on her second, they will need to work on these low landings to contend, we’ve seen a lot of them.  A little piked on her dismount, but a hit routine.

Beers – Utah – biggest deduction in this routine was a slide back on the gainer full – very solid on her acro – just a little sluggish in some of her movements for my taste – maybe a little deliberateness that comes across as tentativeness in some of these skills – she doesn’t attack the routine.

Jones – ASU – has an unfortunate fall on her double pike dismount – they can’t afford that from a gymnast of her calibre on floor.

Once again, Utah is able to avoid counting a fall on beam by putting up five strong routines that gave little away – only minor stumbles here and there – the scores should be strong and put Utah well over that 196 mark.  It will not be the score they hoped for, but a good recovery on the last event with a 49.300 to match their score on vault. (Good hit from Delaney in her beam exhibition as well.)

Odd from ASU on the last floor routine, they moved the sting mat out from under Gades and she had to put hands down in the middle of her choreography.

So that will do it here.  Utah will win the meet easily, but the score of 196.150 is much lower than what we expected and puts more pressure on their final two away meets.  They will have to count this 196.150 as one of their six scores for RQS.  The biggest issues in this meet for me were missed handstands and leg separations on bars and unexpected uncertainty on the floor tumbling, though McAllister’s fall did look to be a total fluke.  This will be a motivator for Utah on the road next week.  Dabritz is one of their top workers, and they cannot afford her to miss two of three routines – even when they are able to drop the score, it’s a potential 9.9 lost.

No competitive routines from Damianova today, but she did a few exhibitions and I expect to see her in a few lineups moving forward.

FINAL SCORE: Utah 196.150, ASU 194.000

The Friday Scores

Lots of important meets to follow tonight.  I’m giving the edge for highest score of the week to Florida right now, since they are rapidly improving and are at home against SEC opposition.  At this point, it’s almost like I’m rooting for crazy scores just so we can see how high they’ll go.  You know they’re hoping for 198. You might be too.

In addition to our usual meets, Oklahoma will be competing in the Perfect 10 Challenge (like the judges do every week this year) and UCLA will be taking on BSU, Missouri, and Illinois at IGI Chicago Style. Oklahoma will be providing live scores as usual for their meet, but we’ll probably have to follow Chicago Style via telegram or something.  “Dear Val – Stop.  Don’t stop!” Last year, gymnastike did a live broadcast of the NCAA meet at Chicago Style.  They’ve never tried again.

In the news, Brianna Brown of CGA has verballed to Georgia.  This is not a surprise given the discussion a while back about Jay getting himself on board the CGA train in a big old way.  Since Whitcomb, Jetter, and Williams were already spoken for, it was assumed he would be courting Brown and Hundley. Priessman is in a different boat since elite success in the next quad may alter her NCAA trajectory.

Follow after the break as we start with the Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Arkansas meets.

For Alabama, Lindsey Fowler is coming in for Lora Frost on floor, meaning that they are showing only two routines from freshmen (Kaitlyn Clark on VT and UB).  Priess will not be competing floor, and Sledge will be anchoring that rotation.

Sledge starts Alabama with 9.800 on bars – for me it’s the 2nd best routine in the rotation usually.

Alexin scores 9.775 – we’ll be looking for who can get those 9.85s leading into the fianl two routines.  They’ll need them eventually, but Clark goes 9.750 and Demeo follows with a fall – meaning Stack-Eaton and Priess will have pressure to go 9.9s to put up a solid rotation score.

Stack-Eaton goes 9.850 and Priess has a slight issue on her dismount – so this will not be a huge score.  Well, we won’t see another 197.7 this week from them – unless they go, what, 49.550 the rest of the way.  Who knows this year…

After rotation 1: Kentucky goes 48.775 to trail Alabama’s 49.000.

Over in Florida, Marissa King got a 9.725 on vault, so there’s no point to continue living.  Alaina Johnson goes 9.950, so they’ll manage to get along somehow…They end up dropping King’s score and counting a 9.800 from Spicer.  Everyone else is 9.875+ to give Florida 49.400 – putting them on pace for 197.600 if it continues, how pedestrian…LSU should be pleased by a 49.150 on bars – when they go positive on events other than vault, it’s a good day.

Kayla Williams actually came in on vault for Ashley Priess – she wasn’t on the original lineup because of a wrist injury.  Clark and Williams both start with 9.750s – you know when you’re away from home. Sledge and Gutierrez go closer to what we usually expect from them – 9.850 and 9.900 respectively.  If they want to go 197, they have to keep up those 9.9s for the final two.

(Okay, we have to talk about Ashanee Dickerson going into the 9.9s on bars for the second time in a row at home…)

Milliner doesn’t get the kind of score she got last week, so only Gutierrez goes into the 9.9s, and they total 49.100.  They’ll have the clear lead, but they will have to step up the performance on the last two to be nationally competitive this week or to have a hope of hanging onto #2.  Even away, 49.100 on their best event is not a great sign.  After 2: Alabama 98.100, Kentucky 97.525.

Florida gets four 9.900s to go 49.475 on bars (what, only?)  I might have been wrong, they’ll have to go around 49.550 to get to 198.  Still, 197.5+ should be very doable with hit routines.  LSU has a two event total of a very strong 98.450.

Over in Georgia, Sarah Persinger has a 9.850 on vault, which is the top score I can recall from her this year.  Grable has a lower 9.750 on bars for Arkansas – it’s their most difficult event to score well, so they’ll just hope to get some positive scores at the end of the lineup so they can move on to stronger pastures.

Georgia records a strong 49.275 on vault, led by Ding’s 9.900.  This is the pace they need to go over 197 this week (which should be the goal), but they will hope to go higher on bars, where they have a little more 9.9 potential.  Arkansas has no gymnasts go higher than 9.800 on bars, this is the chink in their armor – 48.900.

Alabama starts with a 9.600 from Fowler on floor followed by a slightly below-par routine from Jacob with a struggle on the dismount, so she scores 9.700. (They are showing a lot of depth – 11 competitors today so far).  Millner – 9.800, Gutierrez – 9.825.  Just the one 9.9 routine for them so far tonight, Gutierrez on vault.  REALLY important for them that Stack-Eaton has come back on floor.

Sledge gets the highest score for Alabama on floor with a 9.875, so they continue the trend and score 49.050 on floor.  They will need a strong beam rotation to break 196.500, which is the bare minimum they will need to keep pace.  With all the tightly packed teams, they could fall as low as probably 6th if they don’t record a good beam score.

Florida’s beam rotation is led by Kytra Hunter’s 9.925, so they maintain their significantly more astronomical pace, at 148.225.  That means they would need a 49.550 to tie their national-leading score, which probably won’t happen, but they will be in line for best score of the week.

Over in Oklahoma City, Sara Stone leads the Sooners to 49.275.

Ack – Shayla has another issue on bars for Georgia (it’s always something), meaning they will count Tanella’s 9.750 – opening the door for Arkansas who scored 49.300 on vault.  Kat Ding saves the day, so Georgia scores a respectable 49.175 and maintain the lead over Arkansas by .250.

Milliner hits solidly for 9.800, but Sledge has a wobble-factory routine for 9.650 — that’s exactly what we didn’t see from them last week, but Kim Jacob hits well for 9.850.  That should provide necessary momentum.  No wait, momentum halted (kind of) – Gutierrez has a big bend and scores 9.750, which will have to count.

Oklahoma scores 49.125 on bars, led by 9.850s from Olson and Ward.  They are at 98.400 after two rotations.

The 9.700 from Demeo will also have to count, so Priess has to go 9.750 to make sure the team hits 196.  She didn’t do it after an error on her full Korbut gave her 9.625.  Alabama’s final score is 195.900 to Kentucky’s 194.700.  A very disappointing road score for the Tide – they are yet to record a big one – and will likely see them fall in the rankings.

Insane score watch: Florida is already at 49.500 on floor with Hunter still to go.  They will score at least 197.725 this week, and they will break their own record if Hunter goes 9.925.

AH! Hunter goes 9.975 (and breaks 9.9 on all three of her events)- so Florida scores 49.625 on floor and ends with a new season record of 197.850.  We’re getting closer!  And Florida still has home meets against Georgia and Utah still to come, so expect the scores to get even louder. LSU also records an excellent 196.750, their season high by far.

Over at Chicago Style, Zamarripa will not be competing vault because of the hard surface at this kind of meet.  A prudent, if disappointing, decision.

Georgia effectively avoids counting a disaster from Davis on beam and gets Shayla to recover for a 9.900.  Their total is another 49.175.  They would need to be excellent on floor (not a given) to break 197.  Arkansas is not having their best meet after Grable had an uncharacteristic 9.400 on floor.  They will need to hit beam for 9.8s to stay above 196.

Without Zamarripa, UCLA goes just 49.275 on vault, which is quite low for them this year.  MDLT will be returning to the bars lineup this week, which is an important step as she should be one of their 6 best.  No Wong, and Whitcomb is still not coming into the lineup.  (Also, you’ll be shocked to know, no Frattone or Baer either.)

While the 49.275 is low for UCLA, I would put my goal for them this meet around 196.700+ (enough to be their highest road score), and they are certainly on pace for that.

Over at Georgia, Kat Ding came in for the AA tonight (yay!) and scored a 9.750 on floor, which is sort of a mixed feelings score.  It’s great that she came in (and scored 39.450 in the AA), but they need higher scores than that.  For Arkansas, their oddly off night continues when Pisani has a 9.350 on beam.  Florida will feel confident about moving up to #2.

Oklahoma avoids counting a fall on beam and scores an excellent 49.350 – Three event total is 147.750

Like Alabama, Arkansas has faltered on the road with a total of 195.875, going below 49 on three events.  For having what seemed the whole time like an off meet, Georgia scores a respectable 196.725 with consistent performances on each event.  (Kat Ding wins the All-Around with 39.450!)

Thankfully, we do have live scoring for Chicago Style.  We won’t need those carrier pigeons after all.  UCLA has another OK, but not so great rotation, scoring 49.175 on bars and falling back to the pack a little bit.  They have no business making this meet close.  Peszek has had two lower scores and probably won’t win the AA for the first time this season.

Oklahoma continues their extremely solid 9.875 of a meet, and they will definitely break 197.  With Ferguson’s 9.95 on floor, they will score 197.200.  So they are set for road scores (the only team in that position) and need to focus on a few more good home scores.

Still no Courtney on balance beam for UCLA, which is a shame since she was the only one hitting that well tonight.  Wong and Baer still in the lineup, no Zamarripa here either.

Final update: Similarly to Georgia, UCLA appears to have an average meet by their standards, but they score well, recording a 196.850, which is a very helpful road score for them and is progress toward removing that 194.600 from memory.


Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama