Tag Archives: Illinois

Saturday Live Blog – March 11, 2017

Saturday, March 11
Scores Watch
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Brown, Cortland, Rhode Island @ Springfield FREE
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Ursinus @ West Chester
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Northern Illinois @ Central Michigan LINK FREE
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Big Ten Qualifier: [13] Nebraska, [24] Ohio State, Michigan State, Maryland @ [19] Illinois LINK BTN
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Big Ten Qualifier: [11] Michigan, Minnesota, Penn State, Rutgers @ [16] Iowa LINK BTN
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [5] Utah @ [7] Georgia LINK SEC+
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – SEMO @ Western Michigan LINK
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Illinois-Chicago @ [9] Oregon State LINK FREE
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Hamline @ UW-Whitewater LINK FREE
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Bowling Green @ [25] Eastern Michigan LINK EMU
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Seattle Pacific @ [14] Washington LINK FREE

Yesterday’s action did not provide too much new clarity for the postseason picture, but I don’t expect today to follow in its footsteps. In particular, the scores from Minnesota, Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Penn State, and Michigan State will tell us a ton about the race for the top 36. Those teams currently sit in spots 35-39 in the in-progress rankings and, barring anything untoward, are the most likely contenders for the final two regionals spots.

Here’s the setup as we have it now for the remaining spots.

Team Current RQS Max Monday RQS
 #32 Maryland  195.410  195.525
 #33 BYU  195.370  195.615
 #34 North Carolina  195.210  195.525
 #35 Minnesota  195.160  195.745
 #36 Central Michigan  195.085  195.370
 #37 Western Michigan  195.035  195.290
 #38 Penn State  195.020  195.610
 #39 Michigan State  194.915  195.230
 #40 UC Davis  194.885  194.885
 #41 Ball State  194.870  194.870
 #42 Arizona State  194.740  194.740
 #43 Towson  194.640  194.965
 #44 NC State  194.600  195.085

Davis and Ball State are already done for the weekend and likely didn’t do enough to help themselves. Minnesota and Penn State have the biggest upsides and really should move to a safer position with anything resembling a hit today. If they both get good scores and North Carolina gets something useful at UCLA tomorrow, it will make life very difficult for the Michigan teams. But if one of those things doesn’t happen… Continue reading Saturday Live Blog – March 11, 2017

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Friday Live Blog – February 24, 2017

Friday, February 24
Scores Watch
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – Maryland, Temple, Southern Connecticut, West Chester (@ Philadelphia, PA)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [13] Missouri @ [3] Florida LINK SEC
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [8] Denver @ [20] Ohio State LINK OSU $
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [18] Washington, [22] Illinois, Northern Illinois @ [11] Kentucky LINK SEC+
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – William & Mary @ North Carolina LINK ACC
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Rutgers @ Towson LINK FREE
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Ball State @ Eastern Michigan LINK ESPN3
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Air Force @ [23] New Hampshire LINK FREE
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – UW-Whitewater @ UW-La Crosse FREE
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – UW-Eau Claire @ UW-Oshkosh FREE
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – UW-Stout @ Gustavus Adolphus LINK
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [7] Georgia @ [1] Oklahoma LINK OU $
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – [2] LSU @ [14] Auburn LINK SEC
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – [12] Boise State @ [4] Alabama LINK SEC+
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [10] Oregon State @ Stanford LINK P12
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [17] Iowa @ BYU LINK FREE
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Sacramento State, San Jose State, Seattle Pacific @ UC Davis LINK FB

For today, the top four in the rankings are set and will not move regardless of result. Tomorrow, it will be possible for both Utah and UCLA to challenge Alabama depending on how everyone does. The 4-6 teams could end up in any order in Monday’s rankings, but no lower teams can challenge that group of six for this week. Continue reading Friday Live Blog – February 24, 2017

Sunday Live Blog – January 29, 2017

Sunday, January 29
Scores Watch
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – [6] Kentucky @ Ball State LINK FREE
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Eastern Michigan @ Western Michigan LINK ESPN3
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Utah State @ New Hampshire LINK
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – [7] Denver, Towson, Temple @ [25] West Virginia LINK FREE
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Kent State, SEMO @ Northern Illinois LINK NIU
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Iowa State @ TWU LINK FREE
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Penn State @ [21] Illinois LINK FREE
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Maryland @ [22] Iowa Iowa
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Air Force @ Centenary
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Arizona @ Stanford LINK P12
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Sacramento State @ UC Davis LINK FREE
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [5] Alabama v. [16] Auburn (@ Birmingham, AL) LINK
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Illinois-Chicago @ Illinois State FREE

Another day! Another travesty. Probably. Continue reading Sunday Live Blog – January 29, 2017

Utah Regional Preview

Welcome to Pac-12s Part Deux: Megan’s Revenge, the thrilling summer blockbuster in which Utah will try to beat UCLA for the first time in 2016 following two consecutive losses in what feels like their fifteenth meeting of the season.

Repetitive matchups are one of the problems I have with creating a bracket for the postseason, in addition to the fact that it’s not a true knockout event and doesn’t have enough rounds for a bracket to be all that necessary. (It should be a true knockout event, but it isn’t. The meets are best 2 out of 6, or 3 out of 6, which isn’t the same thing and is fundamentally less dramatic. You don’t get a bracket until you institute a format that lends itself to a bracket. You don’t get dessert until you eat your vegetables.) You might as well just list all the teams at the beginning of the season in two columns, put a box in the middle for the winner, and say, “It’s a bracket!” It’s not a bracket.  

This will be the third meeting of the season between Utah and UCLA (and their third each against Washington, though at least they were in different sessions at Pac-12s). If they both do qualify, the semifinals will be their 4th meeting and the third consecutive meet day in which they’ve faced off. We get it. By contrast, Utah and Auburn would have been an interesting comparison, and they probably won’t meet at all.

Competing teams (starting event)
[5] Utah (bye before bars)
[8] UCLA (beam)
[17] Washington (floor)
[23] Southern Utah (bye before floor)
[29] Illinois (bars)
[32] Utah State (vault)

Competing individuals 
Sacramento State (Kalliah McCartney – AA; Lauren Rice – AA; Cassie Benning – UB, FX; Julia Konner – VT)
UC Davis (Alexis Brown – UB, BB; Stephanie Stamates – BB, FX; Katy Nogaki – VT)
Seattle Pacific (Maria Hundley – AA)
Alaska (M’rcy Matsunami – AA)

The favorites – Utah and UCLA

Unlike in the regionals previewed so far, this one features two teams that really should go through barring disaster. Disasters are always possible, and always the most fun, but if Utah and UCLA hit five-for-six on each event, they’ll advance. The other teams are hoping for a mistake.

The clash between Utah and UCLA should still be quite interesting and telling about both teams’ potential to do some damage in the postseason. UCLA’s position is bolstered by the two wins over Utah this year, while Utah’s position is bolstered by finishing only .325 behind UCLA at Pac-12s in spite of counting a fall. And by being at home this time. The Bruins would counter that they also had some mistakes at Pac-12s that brought down their score, like Cipra’s floor fall and Preston’s not-in-the-face vault. And we could go on. It should be a close-fought affair. With the home advantage and the stronger scoring pedigree over the whole season (a higher RQS on three of four events), Utah should come in as the favorite between the two, though far from a prohibitive one.

Neither team has a ton of difficulty on vault and both may struggle to compete with the three-1.5 lineups of the SEC once we get to nationals, but Utah’s landings were significantly stronger than UCLA’s at Pac-12s with a couple vaulters showing season-best sticks. Even without a difficulty edge, Utah’s vault beat UCLA’s by nearly three tenths because of landings (and direction, and knees), which would be a massive boon if that were repeated at regionals.

UCLA’s edge comes on beam, with a lineup that is quite smooth in rhythm, precise in split elements, and varied in skill selection and difficulty. Utah, meanwhile, showed the signs of the Stover-ectomy in counting a beam fall at Pac-12s. It’s clear the team needs her back as soon as possible not just to prevent using a fall but to provide a much-needed 9.9.

Interestingly, UCLA beat Utah on bars at Pac-12s, even though bars is supposed to be a weakness for UCLA that compromises postseason hopes while it has been a strength for Utah. If UCLA is able to continue minimizing the bars deficit compared to a team like Utah, perhaps aided by a mysterious secret-weapon appearance of Peng or Ohashi, that would eliminate one major obstacle to postseason success. I’m not convinced yet, but it will be worth watching.  

As for the rotation order, UCLA begins on its two best events, which I don’t love. It means the Bruins must get a bunch of big scores early and absolutely need a lead at the halfway point, and a pretty significant one, to have a shot at winning this thing. They’ll want a solid 98.800 after beam and floor, which is doable. The Utes will gain ground in the second half of the meet, particularly when they turn to floor as UCLA is turning to vault. As long as Utah is anywhere over 98.500 after bars and beam, even if still trailing, I would consider that on track to put up a competitive total/win. 

The challengers – Washington, Southern Utah, Illinois
All three of these teams have proven capable of a mid-196 this year, each peaking in the 196.5-196.6 territory. The problem for them is that both Utah and UCLA would consider a 196.6 quite a poor showing. Even when counting a fall at Pac-12s, Utah went 196.9, and UCLA’s last fall-counting score was 196.8. Both favorites will have some buffer. But which of these challenging schools is the most likely to put pressure on Utah and UCLA? It could go any which way.

If we judge by RQS, Washington is 3rd on vault, Southern Utah is 3rd on floor, Illinois is 3rd on beam, and Utah State is 3rd on bars. So that helps zero. Thank you, RQS.  

Somewhat in keeping with the theme of this regional, vault has been a nightmare for all of the challenging teams, and we’re going to see a rash of 48s. If Washington can in fact be the best of the group on vault, that bodes well since bars and beam really should be their most competitive pieces. With hits. Beam was an absolute catastrophe at Pac-12s, taking Washington out of the competition in the very first rotation, but the style in that lineup has not gone unnoticed. It’s only fitting when an accomplished butterfly charmer is coaching the event. There’s a universe in which Washington stays very competitive on bars and beam. I’m not sure if this is that universe, but I know it exists.

Southern Utah has been a floor force this year and will look to put up a score well over 49 there that can be ridden into the mid-196s with hits on the other pieces. Having to start on floor is unfortunate because we don’t know how much the floor scores will soar early before UCLA and Utah head there, but SUU has regularly scored 9.875-9.900s in a variety of contexts this season. Southern Utah should be leading the pack of challenging teams after one apparatus and will then look to hold on with consistency to remain in front of the peloton. Bars can be another strong SUU score, with a couple likely 9.850+s including a routine from Memory Shettles, whose name is Memory Shettles. She was an AA star two seasons ago but missed last year with injury and is just back on bars this season, though we’re seeing the shades of that success once again in her bars work. 

It’s sort of shocking to see Illinois sitting all the way down at a #5 seed. Illinois is a perennial nationals contender, but it just wasn’t happening this season, even before the storm of injuries to Horth and O’Connor. That’s eight essential routines lost that most schools would be unable to replace, and Illinois is one of those schools, having to throw out a yurchenko layout on vault and a number of 9.725s on the other events. There are still highlights. Sunny Kato is a joy and 3/4 on bars and beam, Erin Buchanan continues leading the floor lineup, and Lizzy Leduc has moments where she shows that elite training even if the consistency of execution isn’t there yet. We’ll see some good scores pop up for Illinois, and a total that could verge on 196 with a hit, but with all the injuries, the lineups just aren’t deep enough to fulfill the potential this roster seemed to be bursting with before the season began.

And the rest
Sorry, Utah State. You’re alone in this one. As mentioned, Utah State has been competitive on bars this season and should put up a 49 score there, but the 196s have been harder to come by than for the other challenging teams. Utah State is the least likely of the group to emerge as the top challenger, but this does mark the third-consecutive season that Utah State has advanced to regionals, following a long winter of hanging down in the bottom half of the 40s and not challenging for regionals places at all. Utah State had an absolute nightmare on bars and beam two years ago and counted a major mistake on bars again last year, so with bars such an important event for the team score this year, slaying that postseason demon is imperative to remaining in the vaguely competitive zone. Really, Utah State’s main goal will be a qualifier in the individual race, which is possible.  

Individuals
If we assume that Utah and UCLA do qualify as teams, then the biggest favorite to advance to nationals as an all-arounder is Allison Northey. She’s ranked in the top 15 and has proven her ability to hit that exalted 39.500 plateau. The other major player to keep an eye on is Danielle Ramirez from Southern Utah. She’s more than capable of going 9.850 across the board, and potentially higher on bars when she hits. There have also been some falls, but earlier in the season. If gymnastics betting were a thing, those are the two I would go for, but it’s not as straightforward as all that. There are some complications. Bailey McIntire of Utah State is a big one.

McIntire has gone 39.400 twice this season, including at the conference championship, and her ability to brush the 9.9 plateau on bars and floor is what makes those events USU’s most competitive scores. It’s always fun to have someone from a #6 seed to watch out for, and McIntire is a legitimate contender here.

Under normal circumstances, Illinois would have been expected to snatch both the AA spots with O’Connor and Horth, but now, individual qualification to nationals appears much less likely. It would be amazing to see Leduc sneak in there, and while she does have a few competitive scores and can stay close on one of her consistent days, vault may take her scoring potential down too low to challenge hits from Northey and Ramirez. Buchanan is probably the team’s top AAer now. She should be very competitive on floor and vault, but bars and beam can get a little 9.7y. They’re both in it, yet others have proven more 9.850ish across the events. The same is probably true for Goings, Washington’s second AA option. She’ll get a solid number, but Northey is more likely to score higher.

Saturday and Sunday Meets

For Saturday and Sunday, I probably won’t be doing much of the normal routine-by-routine live blogging (save that for Monday, when I’ll be all over it), but I’ll be popping in and out watching bits of things over the two days and will keep this post here for some basic reactions and impressions as needed. Feel free to use the comments to communicate all your feelings/profanities/side-eyes/insane commentator quotes/crack-smoking-judge reports from whatever you’re watching. I’d love to know what I’m missing. We’re all in this together. We can get through NCAA gym as a family.

Saturday, January 16
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Illinois @ Rutgers
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Brown, Springfield, Ithaca @ Southern Connecticut
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Ursinus @ Brockport
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Cortland, Rhode Island @ West Chester
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Hamline, UW-Eau Claire, UW-La Crosse @ UW-Oshkosh
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Ohio State @ Michigan
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Nebraska @ Penn State
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Maryland @ Minnesota
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Illinois-Chicago @ Northern Illinois
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Ozone Classic (Iowa State, Pittsburgh, SEMO, Air Force)

 

Sunday, January 17
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green @ Western Michigan
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Towson @ Ball State
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – North Carolina, Penn, Cornell, Temple @ George Washington
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Arizona @ Texas Woman’s
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Oklahoma @ Arkansas
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Alabama vs. Auburn (Birmingham, AL)
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – New Hampshire @ West Virginia

The Rutgers/Illinois feed was going Rutgers-only for the first half of the meet (it’s also fun when they cut away from a floor routine to show a judge just doing some judging), but I’m still slightly appalled that a team with Horth, Kato, and O’Connor all going on bars can keep scoring a 2. Those are three would-be 9.9s. I picked Illinois to have a big year before the season started, and I’m sticking to it. The pace at halfway is still an improvement on last week, though. Ish. This will not be a usable score for Rutgers after a bars rotation in which every single person fell on a gienger. Did I spy with my little eye a Mustafina dismount, though? You go, Rutgers.

Continue reading Saturday and Sunday Meets

Freshman Notes: UCLA, Auburn, and the Rest

One last batch of freshman notes here for all your perusing/fantasy gym needs. After this, we’ll still have the coaches poll to look forward to, which is released annually at half past whenever-they-damn-please. That should be some fun nonsense carrying on the grand middle school tradition of ranking people based on their reputations. But for now, there’s still the UCLA Medical Center/part-time gymnastics program to break down.

UCLA
Worried. That’s where we’ll start. UCLA is coming off an 85%-dismal performance at Nationals last season and is now without Dr. Sam Peszek, PhD in bailing your asses out at every turn. The losses from last season don’t amount to all that many routines, but those were extremely valuable routines for both their scores and, more importantly, Peszek’s reliability and consistency. Dare I say, calm confidence. (Put a dollar in the “calm confidence” jar.)

Even though most UCLA fans will be waiting for next season when the Ross/Kocian wagon pulls up to the curb and expectations will be much higher, this year’s freshman class is exceptionally talented, though sadly also the usual amount of already-in-several-pieces-on-the-floor. We’ll start with Macy Toronjo, who is out with a shoulder injury. Because of course she is. That’s particularly disheartening news for the Bruins because she’s such an ideal NCAA gymnast, with strong basics, precision, and elite skill set across four events. Second-tier elites, the golden fleece of NCAA gym. She would have been relied on in the all-around, and certainly will be in the future. Even in JO, she showed both a DLO and full-in on floor, and nailed the crap out of them along with definitively not-awful dance elements that scored an a million. It would do the same in NCAA.

She brings the same comfort level on both acro and dance elements to beam and has a perfectly fine full on vault that she has done for actually ever. Bars can get iffy sometimes in the handstands and legs, but she performs a Ray and has strong amplitude in release elements that should absolutely become something real. Because so many of the other UCLA pieces are in the beautiful-fragile-inconsistent category, like a SYTYCD performance about broken marionettes to the tune of “Fix You,” she’ll need to be the constant, reliable one when she comes back.

So, with Toronjo currently on the sidelines, let’s focus on that paragon of sturdy physical well-being, Katelyn Ohashi. Remember 2.5 years ago when she was absolutely going to the Olympics? Times change, and injuries change. Ohashi is obviously a glorious gymnast, the most talented entering NCAA this year, but she’s a different gymnast now than she was as an elite. Her JO performances in 2015 were encouraging as to her new potential as an NCAA gymnast, but the main questions are how healthy she is and how healthy she’ll be able to stay for an NCAA career after being used up and broken in elite. Will her shoulders just get thrown on the pile with the rest of them?

The biggest takeaway from Ohashi’s more recent performances is that beam is back. She has maintained impressive difficulty and looks more confident without the burden of that layout full.

She’ll need to slot into the Peszek role in the famous Francis-Lee-Peszek triumvirate of beam wonderfulness, as that’s still UCLA’s greatest asset compared to other teams. She can absolutely be another walking 10. She also has the pike full-in back on floor, and while she downgraded to a full on vault, it’s a high and comfortable full. At some point, if they feel they can risk it, she could work the difficulty back up to something 10.0. Now, bars. There was a time last quad when Ohashi was a good bars worker and everyone died about her jaeger every minute of the year, before she was torn asunder in 2013 by introducing those E pirouetting elements she couldn’t do. She didn’t compete bars during the 2015 comeback, but let’s hope she can get her groove back eventually. 

Remember? REMEMBER????

Ohashi could have, should have, been a longtime elite star. Since that didn’t pan out, I’m really hoping she has enough left in the tank to be the NCAA star she can be.

CGA escapee Maddie Preston didn’t perform vault or floor in 2015 because of a leg injury no one saw coming, but her most important event for the team will still be vault. Vault was her strength throughout JO, and she consistently showed respectable height and more than respectable form on her yfull, enough to be a necessary option. With several other vaulters for UCLA having not panned out yet (implied Pua) or just vaulting sideways for some reason, they’ll need her. I could see Preston contributing elsewhere as well, depending on depth needs, particularly with the style and raw potential on beam to be molded into a UCLA beamer.

Nicki Shapiro. She still does gymnastics? It’s impossible to have any impression of how Shapiro might contribute to the team since she Amelia Earharted from gymnastics after 2012. She was an exceptionally good junior JO gymnast, with well-hit splits and secure acro in an altogether impressive beam routine, clean twisting elements on floor, and worthy pop on a yfull. She doesn’t have her sister’s bars routine by any means, with too many handstand and leg form problems, but had she continued on a healthy and not-lost-at-sea path, she would have been among the most sought-after recruits this year. As it is, it’s hard to expect anything other than continued lost-at-sea. Though I’m sure Val has Ariana Berlin fantasies of walking down some stairs hugging a clipboard and going, “Nicki Shapiro,” which turns her into a star. After she decides she really wants it. (We know now that’s exactly how it happened.)
    
There’s also Matteah Brow, and I’ve got nothing for you.

AUBURN
After moving to the big city full of big dreams last year and taking Broadway by storm, Auburn is now in the position of proving that wasn’t just a one-year thing. This position is made more challenging with the loss of essential contributions from Bri Guy and Megan Walker, and without the beam-coaching wizardry of Jenny Rowland. Like UCLA, the losses don’t amount to all that many routines (and Bri Guy was never the same after her ankle apocalypse), but those were some of the team’s most reliably countable routines. The good news is that Auburn brings in a small phalanx of freshmen this year. There are approximately 700 million of them.

We’ll start with Taylor Krippner, and when she was a junior elite, if you didn’t refer to her as Taylor Krippendorf’s Tribe, then we have nothing in common. (Remember that movie? How was that even allowed?) She has solid-enough acro abilities to be conceivable as an option on several events, particularly beam where some important replacement routines will need to be found this season. Beam has not always been a strength for Krippner, but she won her division at JO Nationals this year with a 9.675, which is a big score for JO beam and speaks well for her ability to contribute. It’s worth noting that she moved to Simoneland for the 2015 season, and her scores improved noticeably, probably just out of general proximity to Simone. From what I’ve seen (pre-2015), there are some form issues across the board, particularly on bars where the legs and amplitude are a big struggle, but she has the skill set.

Apparently, Samantha Cerio‘s gymnastics is a national secret, but she’s allegedly going to be a bars and beam star and has shown lovely line and precision on both events. She’s another incoming JO champ in this class, having won bars this year with a 9.700. I look forward to seeing her declassified. This is certainly a class of spot players, but since it’s big, they should unite to be the equivalent of maybe 1.5-2 useful all-arounders. Emma Slappey‘s name is Emma Slappey, so she’s already my favorite member of the team. I expect to see her on vault and floor to complement Cerio. She has respectable power on vault (had a 1.5 back in the day, but the full seems more likely) and a high full-in and double tuck on floor that make her an attractive option there.

Emma Engler hasn’t seen much action since 2013, but she had a yfull that wasn’t bad at all and a conceivable beam routine that season. She’s another who should be pecking around a couple lineups from time to time but may also end up in the “helps our depth” category. The others are A’Miracal Phillips, who is evidently a miracle, and Telah Black, who I think is the Google translate version of Teja Belak. I don’t ultimately expect to see competition routines from Black, but Phillips has a pretty huge vault that could very well be a thing.

THE PROFESSOR AND MARY ANN
Let’s see. What other teams are there? Oregon State is under the pressure of replacing Chelsea Tang, as if anyone could ever. Mariana Colussi-Pelaez is completing the Colussi-Pelaez double for the team this year and should be a specialist contributor like her sister. Mary Jacobsen seems the most likely AA replacement, and did perform AA at their preseason showcase, with her Tsuk full on vault being particularly helpful because it starts out of a 10. For those teams who appear to be in the 11-15 ranking zone this year, the number of 10.0 SV vaults will be a huge factor in determining who sneaks through to nationals.

For Illinois, How I Didn’t Go To LSU: The Lizzy Leduc Story will be a fascinating Lifetime movie to watch this season. Her technique and basics should be a huge asset. She has the ability to become a star on a team that usually relies on unknown L10 gumption to challenge for a spot at nationals. With that junior elite basis, double-pike-style JO routines look very easy for her.

The big get of the year has to be West Virginia snatching up Kirah Koshinski. This floor routine should get some scores.

She’s a power specialist but should be a AAer for this team, with big scores on vault, beam, and floor. Bars are more of a struggle, but she has a usable DLO dismount and will be needed there as well.

Also keep an eye on Sarah Means for Boise State. BSU lost significant value from Kelsey Morris and has bled too many star routines over the last couple seasons, so they’ll need Means to stop the trend. She has an appealing balance of appropriate leg form on bars and beam and the power to throw a 1.5 on vault. Anyone else I’m missing? Kent State has Sarah Lippowitsch, who won beam in Senior D this year with a 9.700. The New Zealand elite Brittany Robertson is starting at Arizona this year, and Skyler Memmel gets the obligatory sister shoutout as she’ll be joining Central Michigan to try to make up for the million important routines they graduated after last season.