Tag Archives: LSU

Friday Live Blog – January 13, 2017

Friday, January 13
Scores Watch
6:30 ET/3:30 PT – [21] West Virginia @ Pitt LINK ACCN
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [15] Kentucky @ [3] Florida LINK SEC+
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Georgia @ [14] Auburn LINK SECN
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – UW-Whitewater @ UW-Stout LINK FREE
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – UW-Oshkosh, Towson @ Iowa State LINK ISU TV
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Hamline @ UW-La Crosse FREE
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Gustavus Adolphus @ Winona State FREE
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [6] Missouri @ [12] Arkansas LINK SEC+
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Michigan State @ [24] Iowa LINK UI TV
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – [1] LSU @ [4] Alabama LINK SECN
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [5] Utah @ [23] BYU LINK FREE
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [16] NC State, Bowling Green @ Utah State LINK FREE
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Stanford, Boise State, Yale @ UC Davis LINK
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [9] Oregon State @ Seattle Pacific LINK FREE
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – San Jose State @ [20] Sacramento State LINK

A big day! Well, you know, a relatively hearty day. A husky day. It’s LSU and Alabama. I mean, come on. The live-blogging plan is to begin with Georgia/Auburn and Kentucky/Florida, then on to LSU/Alabama and maybe a dash Missouri/Arkansas. Today, we also have some watch-worthy later teams including Utah and Oregon State, so the slate is packed. For you non-subscription viewers, your treat today is the free streams for both Utah and Oregon State.

Of course, Stanford and Boise State would be a watch-worthy later meet as well, if we could watch it. Still, that’s one of those meets where refreshing the live scores should be a sporting event unto itself. Lots of calories burned there. Continue reading Friday Live Blog – January 13, 2017

Friday Live Blog – January 6, 2017

Friday, January 6 Scores Watch
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [9] Georgia @ [2] LSU LINK SECN
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [21] Kentucky @ Eastern Michigan LINK ESPN3
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Illinois-Chicago @ Michigan State LINK BTN+
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Arizona State @ Iowa State LINK ISU TV
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [3] Alabama @ [1] Oklahoma LINK FSN
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [13] Oregon State @ [8] Auburn LINK SECN+
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [24] Illinois, Ball State @ [19] Missouri LINK SECN+
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Utah State, TWU @ [18] Arizona LINK P12

And so it begins. The live blogging plan is to start with Georgia/LSU for the first hour, then switch major focus to Alabama/Oklahoma while also continuing Georgia/LSU and keeping a quarter of an eye on interesting routines from Oregon State/Auburn. Illinois/Missouri actually should be worthwhile too, but priorities priorities. Continue reading Friday Live Blog – January 6, 2017

LSU 2017

Last night, LSU conducted its now-annual Gymnastics 101 (GET IT BECAUSE THIS IS A COLLEGE) to showcase the team’s best routines heading into the new season. It was…exactly what you would expect from a meet a month before the season begins. Sort of getting there. It did, however, provide a glorious opportunity for us to dig into the lineups and prospects for the upcoming season, so let’s go.

LSU ROSTER 2017
Seniors
Sydney
Ewing
  • Competed VT, BB, FX every meet in 2016
  • 2016 RQS: VT – 9.905, BB – 9.870, FX – 9.865
Ashleigh Gnat
  • Team’s top routine & anchor on VT, BB, FX
  • Can contribute UB as needed
  • 2016 RQS: FX – 9.980, VT – 9.965, BB – 9.895
  • 2016 average: UB – 9.727
Shae
Zamardi
  • Weekly UB routine each of last two seasons
  • Provides FX option
  • 2016 RQS: UB – 9.875
  • 2016 average: FX – 9.517
Juniors
Myia
Hambrick
  • Competed AA at nearly every meet in 2016, ranked 10th nationally
  • 2016 RQS: UB – 9.905, BB – 9.885, VT – 9.880, FX – 9.880
Lauren Li
  • Transfer from Penn State for sophomore year
  • Has not competed a routine for LSU
Erin
Macadaeg
  • Constant important work on BB
  • Can provide VT, FX as needed, competed once on FX in 2016 for 9.950
  • 2016 RQS: BB – 9.890
  • 2016 average: VT – 9.768, FX – 9.950
Kylie Moran
  •  Has not competed a routine for LSU
Sophomores
Julianna
Cannamela
  • Provided borderline lineup/backup routine on each event in 2016
  • Made final VT, BB lineups
  • 2016 RQS: VT – 9.835
  • 2016 average: UB – 9.663, BB – 9.603, FX – 9.050
Sarah Finnegan
  • Weekly UB, BB routines and frequent VT in 2016
  • Provides occasional option on FX
  • 2016 RQS: UB – 9.915, BB – 9.915, VT – 9.835
  • 2016 average: FX – 9.692
McKenna
Kelley
  • Near-weekly FX routines in 2016
  • 2016 RQS: FX – 9.885
  • DID YOU KNOW SHE’S MARY LOU RETTON’S DAUGHTER?????
Lexie
Priessman
  • Overcame Chronic Cincinnati Leg Death to make final UB lineup
  • Contributed a couple early seasion VT, BB routines
  • 2016 averages: UB – 9.869, VT – 9.750, BB – 9.725
Kaitlyn
Szafranski
  • Did not compete a routine in freshman year
Freshmen
Kennedi
Edney
  • Precision
  • 2016 JO Nationals 3rd AA
  • 2014-2015 JO National AA champion
Ruby Harrold
  • 2016 Olympian for GBR
  • 2013-2015 World Championship team member, UB finalist
Ashlyn Kirby
  • Shooting Stars NC
  • 2015 JO Nationals 10th AA

Recent History
2016 – 2nd
2015 – 10th
2014 – 3rd
2013 – 5th
2012 – 9th
2011 – 20th
2010 – 9th

They’re inching closer. The question for the LSU Tigers is not whether they can make Super Six in 2017. They can and better, otherwise they’ll have squandered a championship-level roster twice in three years. The question right now is whether LSU can improve on last season’s “Oh, so close” and actually take the title for the first time.

It’s a distinct possibility, one that will largely depend on just how good Oklahoma ends up being this year. Still, LSU has lost very few routines from last season, which provides an opportunity for improvement over last season’s 2nd-place side. If the Tigers can get just a little better on bars and a little more consistent on beam, there’s every reason to expect them to be able to challenge the Sooners. Continue reading LSU 2017

2017 Freshman Preview: LSU

“Is this LSU’s year?” they say every year. Given the relative paucity of lost routines and a number of expected contributions from significant freshmen…if not now, then when?

Returning Routines – LSU
VAULT
Gnat – 9.965
Ewing – 9.905
Hambrick – 9.880
Finnegan – 9.835
Cannamela – 9.835
Macadaeg – 9.790
Priessman – 9.750
BARS
Finnegan 9.915
Hambrick – 9.905
Zamardi – 9.875
Priessman – 9.869
Gnat – 9.727
Cannamela – 9.663
BEAM
Finnegan – 9.915
Gnat – 9.895
Macadaeg – 9.890
Hambrick – 9.885
Ewing – 9.870
Priessman – 9.725
Cannamela – 9.603
FLOOR
Gnat – 9.980
Macadaeg – 9.950
Kelley – 9.885
Hambrick – 9.880
Ewing – 9.865
Finnegan – 9.692
Zamardi – 9.517
Cannamela – 9.050

That’s already a pretty solid batch of routines, with only bars showing some troublesome holes. Enter Ruby Harrold.

Stalwart of the quadrennium for the British, Harrold made teams because of her ability to deliver a believable TF routine on three different apparatuses, but the showpiece of her gymnastics has always been difficult and interesting bars composition.

zucholdschleudern

Girl, you Zuchold the crap out of that Schleudern.

Harrold’s biggest obstacle in getting huge, huge scores on bars was always that, because she went for major difficulty, her form became a sack of damn crazy in places. Let’s just address the Bhardwaj in the room before we go too far. A skill like that would destroy her NCAA score, but at the same time, I do think Harrold needs to retain a solid chunk of that unique elite composition to make this a true standout, end-of-lineup, 9.9-even-on-a-bad-day routine. If it’s just “shaposhjaegerbye,” I will sigh the world down.

All of which is to say, I know Jay Clark and I have our differences because of his fundamentally abominable worldview, but if the Zuchold-Schleudern doesn’t stay in Ruby’s routine, we really are done forever. Continue reading 2017 Freshman Preview: LSU

Returning Routine Rankings 2017

Yes, that is a picture of D-D Breaux in a pink hardhat. Because there doesn’t need to be a reason.

Now that the NCAA schedules are finally coming together-ish, it’s probably important for us to start remembering who the people are and what the things do. It’s a really tough job. We need three months.

Before beginning to evaluate this year’s incoming freshmen, I decided to check out where the teams stand without them, how they rank using only scores from 2016’s returning gymnasts. It’s a totally scientific and unimpeachable way of quantifying just how much work the freshmen and new transfers will need to do for teams to return to (or improve on) last year’s level.

When available, I used RQS for each gymnast, but when not, I used full season average.

Most teams do return at least five people who competed on each apparatus last year, but when they don’t, I filled out the remaining scores with punishment 9.700s (I told you, totally scientific). It’s a way of making sure each team has a comparable total, operating under the belief that for these top 15 teams, the backup gymnast who wasn’t good enough to compete probably would have scored a replacement-level 9.700. That is, unless the returning scores were already lower than that (*cough* Utah’s beam *cough*).

1. LSU – 197.726
VAULT
Gnat – 9.965
Ewing – 9.905
Hambrick – 9.880
Finnegan – 9.835
Cannamela – 9.835
Macadaeg – 9.790
Priessman – 9.750
49.420
BARS
Finnegan 9.915
Hambrick – 9.905
Zamardi – 9.875
Priessman – 9.869
Gnat – 9.727
Cannamela – 9.663
49.291
BEAM
Finnegan – 9.915
Gnat – 9.895
Macadaeg – 9.890
Hambrick – 9.885
Ewing – 9.870
Priessman – 9.725
Cannamela – 9.603
49.455
FLOOR
Gnat – 9.980
Macadaeg – 9.950
Kelley – 9.885
Hambrick – 9.880
Ewing – 9.865
Finnegan – 9.692
Zamardi – 9.517
Cannamela – 9.050
49.560

Losing only Savona and a not-100% Wyrick from last year’s Super Six team, LSU is sailing smoothly on most events. Continue reading Returning Routine Rankings 2017

Comings and Goings

Oklahoma won the national title six whole days ago, which is like a thousand years ago. Sorry, Oklahoma. We’re moving on. What have you done for us lately? Basically nothing? That’s what I thought.

The 2017 season is just around the corner, as long as that corner is really, really far away. We don’t know anything real about 2017 yet, but we do know which valuable gems and enthusiastic leaders in the training gym we won’t see next year, along with which bright new lights full of possibilities and undiagnosed shin problems will be joining the teams in their place.

Detailed looks at each team and roster will come much later, when the season approaches and I actually vaguely know who these JO gymnasts are, but let’s call this a preliminary glance at who’s coming and who’s going on each team now that the 2016 season is closed and locked away forever and the traditional eight-month moratorium has been placed on the terms “parity,” “yurchenko arabian,” “confident leadoff,” and “life lessons.” I’ve placed the top teams into various categories based on the current outlook and added the RQSs for the routines they will lose after 2016.

This is, of course, assuming that people do what they’re supposed to and don’t suddenly turn pro or run off to join a traveling circus or whatever.

Smooth sailing

LSU
Out: Jessica Savona, Randii Wyrick, Michelle Gauthier
In: Ruby Harrold, Kennedi Edney, Ashlyn Kirby

Savona – VT – 9.820 avg; UB – 9.840; FX – 9.902 avg
Wyrick – UB – 9.810; FX – 9.905

The Tigers certainly lose a few critical routines, the most important being Savona’s floor, though they already gained some experience with life after Savona’s vault and floor when she was out early this season (and life after Wyrick’s bars when she didn’t compete in the postseason). They survived, for the most part. Several of these openings should be filled by people already on the roster, and while I don’t think we can have any expectations for Priessman at this point because any week she’s healthy enough to compete is just a bonus, Kelley should do more next year. Add to that this freshman class, and I think there’s every reason to expect LSU 2017 to be stronger than LSU 2016.

ALABAMA
Out: Lauren Beers, Carley Sims
In: Maddie Desch, Wynter Childers, Shea Mahoney

Beers – VT – 9.905; UB – 9.690; FX – 9.915
Sims – FX – 9.868

Alabama is in a similar position to LSU in terms of not losing that many routines, though Alabama’s losses carry a bit more significance, especially on floor with the team’s two strongest floories departing. They’ll need some of the upperclassmen like Brannan to step up and be a little more Beersy on those events and a little less middle-of-the-lineupy, but with increased contribution from a potential star like Ari Guerra who didn’t figure at all by the end of the season and the introduction of Maddie Desch and Wynter Childers, Alabama’s first-ever recruit who’s also a citizen of District 1, I’m not too worried about the look of Alabama’s future roster.
Continue reading Comings and Goings

National Championship Preview Part 3: You’re All Super to Me, Except for Five of You

Without knowing how the semifinals will play out, previewing Super Six is like looking for shadows in a blindfold factory. Still, performances so far this season have provided a pretty good indication of which teams are in serious contention to win the title and which teams are simply looking to make Super Six/snatch a respectable finish if one of the top teams falters. Surprise, surprise, the four most likely title contenders are also the four top-ranked teams.

Those rankings exist for a reason. The ultimate champion has not come from outside the top three since the beginning of the Georgia dynasty in 2005, when Georgia entered the postseason in 5th, and for each of the last three seasons, the regular-season top three has also finished Super Six in the top three places. So while a weird upset or two in the semifinals could help the chances for a cusp team like Utah to get into the rarefied territory of podium-land, the four teams that should be challenging for the title of Superest of the Super Six, because you’re all just super, are Oklahoma, Florida, LSU, and Alabama. The only other team that spent any time in the top three this season was Michigan, and that ship has sailed.

A rotation-by-rotation team comparison as to the pace they’ll need to set won’t be possible until we have the rotation order, although this is the draw for Super Six for quick reference once we know how the semifinals finish.

The winner of the second semi gets Olympic order, and the winner of the first semi gets to start on beam. Fun. The third-place teams are the ones who will end on byes, as by design.

Of course, to win Super Six, you have to be good on all the things, but rather than just go through the teams and say, “It would be nice if Florida got a good score on bars, and also beam, and floor, and vault. That would make it easier to win” (duh), I’ve assigned each of these four teams a critical event, not necessarily a “must-win” event because that’s hyperbolic (and I never, ever, ever write hyperbolically), but one that should be a massive strength, can’t be a massive weakness, or is generally the best indicator for that team as to whether a title chase is really on.

Vault – LSU

LSU’s ability on vault and concerted use of Gnat Power has made the Tigers the only non-Oklahoma team to occupy the top spot on any event to end the season. If circumstances play out the way they have during the regular season, vault appears to be the juiciest opportunity for the other teams to strike a blow to the Sooners since Oklahoma’s RQS is just a pitiful 49.415 here. (Like, are you even trying?) LSU is the best poised to do that.
Continue reading National Championship Preview Part 3: You’re All Super to Me, Except for Five of You

National Championships Preview Part 1: Innocent Gymnasts versus the Beam Troll

Gather round, darling children, and learn about the NCAA national championship, a far-off magical land where all the most glorious gymnasts assemble in an arena made of gumdrops and frozen tears for a battle royale to see who can force the biggest fake smile after her teammate falls on beam. It’s always a really close contest. 

As is only traditional, let’s begin at the start. The first of the two semifinals will take place in the void between the dimensions on April 15th at 2:00 ET/11:00 PT and should be a doozy. 

Competing teams (starting event)
[2] Florida (bye before floor)
[3] LSU (bye before bars)
[6] Auburn (vault)
[9] Georgia (beam)
[16] Minnesota (floor)
[18] Stanford (bars)

Competing individuals
All-around – Nicole Artz, Michigan; Alison Northey, Washington; Morgan Porter, Missouri; Sidney Dukes, Kentucky; Alex Hyland, Kentucky; Danielle Ramirez, Southern Utah

Vault – Meaghan Sievers, Iowa State
Beam – Lexi Mills, Arizona
Floor – Talia Chiarelli, Michigan; Brianna Tsang, Penn State; Lindsay Offutt, Pittsburgh

An argument can be made for five of these six teams advancing without having to concoct very many insane circumstances at all (sorry, Minnesota, but it would take a splatfest from the others). The big five should all expect to score into the 197s and will be disappointed by anything less than that. Even though we see 197s fall all over the place during the regular season, it’s not a given that the challenging teams will reach that plateau in this meet as scores tend to tighten at nationals (tend being the operative word). The highest score that has ever failed to advance from a semifinal is 197.025, an ignominious mark shared by Utah 2014 and Michigan 2015. That’s not a particularly impressive score these days during the regular season, but 197 remains a thing at the national championship.

To some extent, we’re in the dark about how scoring will play out in the semifinals because we’re entering a whole new era. Starting this year, six judges will work each event beginning with the semifinals. Will that depress the scores? Possibly. That’s two more whole people who have to be slipped a roll of cash under the bathroom door, which is a lot of work. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

This was instituted in an attempt to prevent a heap of ties for event winners now that those titles will be decided on Friday as well, and in case you’re wondering, it’s terrible. Theoretically, having more judges and more oversight for scores at the most important meet is a great idea, but this is also going to result in a ton of really ugly-decimal scores that will be inconsistent with the round-number scores we’ve seen all season long. It’s the most unappealing thing I’ve ever heard. I just want to buy a crate of apples and stab them all about it.

So…to the teams!

FLORIDA and LSU
Closer to nationals, I’ll do a Super Six preview, which is ludicrous to do before we know who has qualified to Super Six but when has this blog ever been unludicrous? I’ll save a more detailed discussion of Florida and LSU and how they match up against the other title contenders for that preview since they should both be in the mix. Of course, there’s still the semifinal to get through, and counting a fall could ruin the year for any team at this point, but these two are the clear favorites to emerge from this semifinal. If either doesn’t make it, it’s an upset. For the rest of the teams in this group, it isn’t.

Florida looked distinctly meh at regionals, and while that’s a near-annual tradition that shouldn’t necessarily indicate anything real, the score was a far-from-peak 196.725. I’m not expecting a 196.725 to make Super Six. By contrast, Florida also looked a little meh at regionals last year, but the score was still 197.475. Just a sliver of doubt begins to creep in, though I would be surprised by a repeat of those weak landings once we get to nationals. Another significant contributor to Florida’s low score was the Kennedy Baker ankle situation. She landed short on her double pike on floor and was pulled from vault as a precaution, and with normal hits from her on those events, Florida is close to—if not at—197 already, even with the same blah landings. Baker is essential to Florida’s title hopes, so the amount that ankle does/does not affect her will be a critical storyline on semifinal day.

LSU did not have the same issues as Florida at regionals, comfortably breaking 197 and sliding through to qualification without a question. Very reassuring. Except nothing is reassuring ever. Most doubts as to LSU’s ability to fulfill expectations this year are based on traumatic flashbacks to last season, when the Tigers were in an essentially identical position and seemed a sure qualifier to Super Six until three falls on beam happened. It didn’t come out of the blue last year. LSU had an iffy but manageable beam performance at regionals right before, which is why that 9.6 and 9.7 action from this year’s regionals did not help alleviate any of those flashbacks.

Still, this is prognostication about the likelihood of counting falls, which is a fool’s game, but that’s what it would take to knock Florida or LSU out of this. Based on the quality of the gymnastics we’ve seen this season, both of these teams should be in the hit-and-advance category. Elimination with a hit meet would be a massive shock.

AUBURN v. GEORGIA v. STANFORD
Basically, I could copy-and-paste the “Auburn v. Michigan v. Stanford” section from the regional previews here and just replace the word Michigan with Georgia. It would be upsettingly accurate and appropriate, hearkening back to some of my frustrations with the repetitiveness of the current postseason assignments. We more or less just did this, and if everything goes to plan, it will be these three teams facing off against each other, only now it’s a fight for one spot instead of two. The comparison is particularly congruent because Michigan was thwarted by the beam at regionals, and Georgia is Georgia. Just swap one for the other.

As I said then, I still consider Stanford the challenger of the group rather than a likely qualifier because of those weaknesses on vault and floor. Everything worked out at regionals because bars and beam came through as they were supposed to and the other teams had errors, but at some point relying on just two events won’t be enough. Still, if Stanford’s first-place tie at regionals taught us anything, it’s that this is more than possible. Georgia misses beam, Auburn repeats its uninspiring regionals performance, and hello Stanford once again. 

Auburn had a slow start to the year, with some untimely injuries and lost magical routines that needed replacing, but ultimately showed far fewer low points than either Stanford or Georgia. That’s why Auburn ranks the best of the group on three of the four events, and maintaining that commitment to fewer lows is Auburn’s path to qualification here. If I were to name the most talented of these three teams on each event, I would give vault and floor to Georgia and bars and beam to Stanford. It’s close, but that’s what I would do. At the same time, Georgia and Stanford are also more prone to faltering on the other events and throwing in weak meets in general, which gives Auburn the opportunity to jump into the top three by virtue of being the steadiest and least horrifying.

I suppose Auburn is the safest choice, but if the others, particularly Georgia, come through with a real hit on the weak events, they have higher potential score and could leave Auburn behind.

Beam beam beam. That repetition of the same word three times is always appropriate, but beam is particularly critical for each of these three teams’ qualification hopes. We’re all well acquainted with Georgia’s crusade against the troll that lives under the beam and occasionally pops out to force Brittany Rogers to answer his questions three, but if Georgia conquers beam, I would argue that Georgia becomes the favorite to advance. If we total the teams’ RQSs on the other three events, Georgia has the edge over Auburn by a tenth. Still, Auburn is ranked higher, defeated Georgia in their dual meet, and scored higher at SECs. Because of beam. When the teams met in the regular season, Auburn won the meet by .050 and won beam by .050. BEAM.

They really do balance each other out elsewhere. Georgia has the edge on vault, Auburn boasts more reliable sticks on bars. Georgia has Jay, Box, and Marino on floor. Auburn has Atkinson, Demers, and Rott. Auburn has not been as dominant on beam this season as last season, but Milliet, Demers, and Atkinson? That should be a stellar group, and with everything else too close to call, beam remains Auburn’s chance to pick up some ground in spite of the uninspiring score from regionals.

Beam is just as critical for Stanford, but in a somewhat different way. It’s not critical in the please-don’t-fall kind of way (although not falling is always a good idea), but more in the you-probably-need-a-49.500 kind of way. I don’t know how realistic that score is for a beam lineup that misses Vaculik and Wing, but because the scores on vault and floor will be somewhere around 49.1-49.2 on a solid day, the beam number needs to be large. Those vaults have been getting the “none for Gretchen Wieners” treatment all season, which isn’t tenable in semifinals. A 49.1 is not a Super Six score, which means by default, bars and beam must be world-beating to catch a hit meet from any of the top four seeds here. Bars delivered at regionals. Now beam needs to as well.

Stanford competes on bars and beam in the first two rotations so will let us know fairly early if this meet is a thing. The combined bars and beam score from regionals was 98.750, and if Stanford isn’t at least equal to that here, I have a hard time envisioning qualification or a 197. Top three at the halfway point is essential. If Stanford isn’t top three after three rotations, that’s it. Ground won’t be gained on floor and vault. Stanford must lead from the front. It’s not ideal, but Stanford had the same rotation order last year and was able to get the big scores early and use them to hold off a surging Michigan by a slim margin at the end.

Starting on beam, Georgia will compete on what presumably will be its lowest and highest scoring events in the first half of the meet, so an acceptable halfway score probably means something around 98.600. If we say 49.200 on beam and 49.400 on floor, that’s a solid number and one that is fully attainable for these lineups. Since Auburn gets to finish on floor during the year of the insane final-rotation floor scores, Georgia will want a healthy lead heading to the end of the meet to buffer against a Rott, Demers, Atkinson festival of 9.9s that could change the game at the last minute.

The fourth rotation is the serious one to watch here. Georgia goes to vault, Auburn goes to beam, and Stanford goes to floor. This is the Gymdogs’ opportunity to pounce. They should win this rotation by a couple tenths given the events on which the others will be competing, so Georgia’s margin (or lack thereof) at this point will tell us who holds the power.

MINNESOTA
Poor Minnesota, I’ve left you out of this completely, but Minnesota’s victory for the season is advancing to this stage. Until about March, that seemed unrealistic, but Minnesota held to the plan exactly at regionals by staying close with Denver on three events and then being clearly better on beam to establish a margin. Well, not exactly to the plan since Mable fell on floor, but mostly to the plan. If Mable doesn’t fall on floor in the semifinals, she’s one of the legitimate contenders for the all-around title in her final attempt. Minnesota has gone through some…issues…since 2013 when the team last qualified in Mable’s freshman year, so it’s sort of fitting to return to nationals in her senior year. It’s been a long road, but…poetic-sounding things about how it has come back around.

If Minnesota were to have a path to qualification, it would be through weathering a disaster meet from all corners. Minnesota is rooting for insanity and chaos. Say, Georgia and Auburn both have a beam catastrophe and Minnesota outscores Stanford by enough on vault and floor. It could happen, but it’s quite dependent on the performance of the other teams, not the performance of Minnesota. I do expect a competitive beam score for Minnesota since Mable and Nordquist would be late-lineup beamers for any team in this competition, and a mid-196 would be quite a worthy result.

THE PACE
Stanford and Minnesota will certainly need to exceed their RQSs to have a chance to qualify out of this meet (and the same applies to Auburn since Georgia’s event-by-event RQSs are actually higher than Auburn’s), but the rotation-by-rotation RQSs do provide a sense of where teams are expected to score/rank at various points in the meet so we can tell who is exceeding those expectations as we go.

Rotation 1: Minnesota 49.270, Auburn 49.250, Stanford 49.230, Georgia 49.180, Florida BYE, LSU BYE
Minnesota begins on floor and would need this exact kind of number to have any hope, but the Stanford bars and Georgia beam RQSs underestimate their capabilities (posssssibly). I’d say Stanford will expect and need the lead after one event. Not-last after beam may be the victory for Georgia.

Rotation 2: Stanford 98.425, Minnesota 98.390, Florida 49.505, LSU 49.370, Auburn 49.250, Georgia 49.180
Even RQS, which isn’t a particularly pretty picture for Stanford, tells us that Stanford should have a lead after two events, but the score will need to be bigger than this for Stanford to hold on. Stanford needs a giant lead after the second rotation. For Florida and LSU, as long as they can get relatively close to their RQSs on each event, they’ll be fine and dandy.

Rotation 3: Florida 98.925, LSU 98.725; Georgia 98.565; Auburn 98.545; Stanford 98.425; Minnesota 98.390
And this is why Stanford would need a much higher score after two events. Stanford needs to be top three once everyone has done two events, and RQS has them 5th. Nope. I really hope the race between Georgia and Auburn is as close as this the whole way because it’s going to make for an excellent finish. The rotation order gives us a relatively neck-and-neck picture throughout, and neither should ever leave the other behind. 

Rotation 4: Georgia 147.980, Auburn 147.760, Minnesota 147.570, Stanford 147.475, Florida 98.925, LSU 98.725
After that all-important fourth rotation, event RQS has Georgia leading Auburn by two tenths, which is the margin what we should be looking for if we want those two to end in a tie. When Auburn is on floor and Georgia is on bars for the last event, I’d take Auburn gaining about two tenths. Variation from that two-tenth margin will tell us who has the advantage. Except for the fact that inevitable falls will render all this moot, but if it goes to plan, this is the guideline. If Minnesota really is this close heading to beam, they’ll be over the moon.

Rotation 5: Minnesota 196.755, Stanford 196.595, Florida 148.425, LSU 148.270, Georgia 147.980, Auburn 147.760
High 196s like this would be a great result for Minnesota and would put the Gophers in a ripe position to take advantage of other teams’ mistakes, but Stanford should do better than this pace, in spite of this being quite similar to the result from regionals. A mid-196 is not going to be good enough, or an acceptable result for Stanford, even if the others have a sloppy meet. RQS tells us that Florida and LSU should have pulled away from the pack by multiple tenths at this point, which is why they should advance without all that much trouble given a normal hit.

Rotation 6: Florida 197.855, LSU 197.715, Georgia 197.260, Auburn 197.205, Minnesota 196.755, Stanford 196.595
The event RQSs give this thing to Georgia by a half tenth, while the overall meet RQSs give it to Auburn by a tenth and a half, hence Auburn’s higher ranking. That’s why I’m so hopeful for a really close contest. Once Georgia figured out beam (ish, sort of, not really), it became clear that these two teams are exceptionally evenly matched. Which brings us back to the quality of the beam hit. RQS assumes a relatively weak beam hit for Georgia, so the first rotation will provide a framework for which team seems to be the favorite.

Who Is Going to Make Super Six?

Are you still alive? Maybe? Ish?

The extended frigid hellscape that was regionals day is now squarely behind us, with all the Michigan tears and Stanford celebration dances accounted for, and if you were able to emerge from that 58-millenium barrage of meets and marathon of interminable bye rotations without passing out and deciding that you hate gymnastics now, you’re the winner.

For a recap of all the action you may have missed, or seen, or intentionally got amnesia about, or found infuriating, be sure to listen to this week’s episode of Gymcastic. I join Jessica and Uncle Tim to go through the day regional by regional to speculate about whether the Iowa regional was judged by three lemons and the concept of winter, argue over the merits of the handspring-onto-the-springboard vault, and warn that in spite of what you may have heard from your friends, the Stanford Rhythm Method is not a reliable form of making nationals. Among other topics. Get ready.

For the moment, let’s look toward nationals. We know our semifinalists, and the rotation order has been released, so it’s time to get a-speculatin’. 

It was probably going to be the case anyway, but the Michigan upset has left what looks to be a golden opportunity for several teams to snatch the third spot out of the first semifinal, assuming that Florida and LSU are the favorites. After all the terrors of this season, has Georgia become the pick to advance? The Gymdogs get to start on beam again. Nothing like a high-budget dystopian horror comedy to start the day. But they hit beam at regionals! Kind of! They did enough! Hooray!

Few of the rotation assignments jump out as particularly disastrous for any of these teams, though I do think that Stanford benefited from finishing on its good events at regionals and will have the opposite order here, starting with events that need to score massively and finishing on events that are unlikely to. Stanford will need the judges to be willing to flash the 9.900-9.950s right from the first routine of the first session because Stanford really must get 49.5s on bars and beam.

In the coming days, I’ll delve into more detailed prognostication about the semifinals, Super Six, and whether we even care about the individual competitions anymore, but for today, let’s set things up with a glance at the numbers. Which are the key events to watch if we’re looking for an upset? And who’s capable of pulling it off? Categories in which a team places in the top three in the session (a qualifying spot) are highlighted. 

SEMIFINAL 1

FLORIDA
Regional score: 196.725 [3]
RQS: 197.795 [1]
Regular season average: 197.502 [1]  
Season high: 198.175 [1]

VT regional score: 49.225 [3]
VT RQS: 49.420 [2] 
VT average: 49.341 [2]
VT season high: 49.500 [3]

UB regional score: 49.125 [4]
UB RQS: 49.500 [1] 
UB average: 49.439 [1]
UB season high: 49.650 [1] 

BB regional score: 49.300 [1]
BB RQS: 49.430 [1]
BB average: 49.318 [1] 
BB season high: 49.525 [3]

FX regional score: 49.075 [4]
FX RQS: 49.505 [2]
FX average: 49.405 [2] 
FX season high: 49.675 [2]

Florida should be the heaviest favorite in the first semifinal and settles in comfortably in the top three here in every category except those pertaining to that lackluster regionals performance. It’s worth treating as just an odd blip for now that shouldn’t compromise our expectations of Florida making it out of this semifinal safely and easily, but it doesn’t help in the race to catch Oklahoma.
 

LSU
Regional score: 197.300 [1]
RQS: 197.695 [2]
Regular season average: 197.209 [2]  
Season high: 197.925 [2]

VT regional score: 49.400 [1]
VT RQS: 49.445 [1]
VT average: 49.395 [1]
VT season high: 49.550 [1]

UB regional score: 49.300 [2]
UB RQS: 49.370 [2] 
UB average: 49.252 [2]
UB season high: 49.475 [3] 

BB regional score: 49.150 [3]
BB RQS: 49.355 [2] 
BB average: 49.141 [2] 
BB season high: 49.575 [2]

FX regional score: 49.450 [1]
FX RQS: 49.545 [1]
FX average: 49.420 [1] 
FX season high: 49.700 [1]

LSU goes all blue here because of a much stronger (and more charitably scored) regionals performance than Florida. There were some definite benefit-of-the-doubt scores, including Ewing’s 9.975 for an under-rotated 1.5 and Gnat’s floor 9.950 in spite of bouncing out of her final pass. Still, it would take a repeat of last season’s beam debacle to keep LSU out of Super Six, largely because of what the team can make up on vault and floor. Between Florida and LSU, the competition sets up pretty cleanly and clearly in that LSU has been the stronger vault and floor team and Florida has been the stronger bars and beam team (on non-regionals-type days), so determining which advantage is more valuable will be something to watch in this semifinal with an eye toward how these teams might fare in Super Six. 

AUBURN
Regional score:  196.525 [4]
RQS: 197.150 [3]
Regular season average: 196.692 [3]  
Season high: 197.325 [6]

VT regional score:  49.150 [5]
VT RQS: 49.250 [4] 
VT average: 49.167 [4]
VT season high: 49.375 [4]

UB regional score: 49.125 [4]
UB RQS: 49.295 [3] 
UB average: 49.215 [3] 
UB season high: 49.375 [6] 

BB regional score: 48.850 [6]
BB RQS: 49.215 [3] 
BB average: 49.042 [4] 
BB season high: 49.300 [6]

FX regional score: 49.400 [2]
FX RQS: 49.445 [3]
FX average: 49.269 [4] 
FX season high: 49.600 [4]

GEORGIA
Regional score: 196.850 [2]
RQS: 197.010 [4]
Regular season average: 196.462 [4]  
Season high: 197.525 [3]

VT regional score: 49.275 [2]
VT RQS: 49.415 [3] 
VT average: 49.283 [3]
VT season high: 49.525 [2]

UB regional score: 49.250 [3]
UB RQS: 49.280 [4] 
UB average: 49.165 [4]
UB season high: 49.400 [5]

BB regional score: 49.025 [5]
BB RQS: 49.180 [6]
BB average: 48.694 [6] 
BB season high: 49.425 [4]

FX regional score: 49.300 [3]
FX RQS: 49.385 [4]
FX average: 49.315 [3] 
FX season high: 49.625 [3]

Georgia finishes in the top 3 in more categories than Auburn, primarily due to Georgia’s superior regionals performance. Neither team had a phenomenal meet, but Georgia’s three post-beam events reflected a team that is quite capable of making Super Six out of this session. Auburn, meanwhile, won the coveted, definitely-very-important regular-season fight with Georgia to see which team would make the evening session at SECs. Georgia v. Auburn with a side of Stanford is setting up as the most entertaining part of semifinal day, barring the inevitable meltdown.

Critically, Auburn did worse than Georgia on beam at regionals. Surely that can’t be repeated in the semifinals if Auburn is going to qualify. And it all comes back to Georgia’s beam once again…

MINNESOTA
Regional score: 196.175 [6]
RQS: 196.495 [5]
Regular season average: 196.090 [6]  
Season high:  197.425 [4]

VT regional score: 49.175 [4]
VT RQS: 49.120 [5] 
VT average: 48.975 [6] 
VT season high: 49.275 [5]

UB regional score: 48.950 [6]
UB RQS: 49.180 [6] 
UB average: 48.963 [6]
UB season high: 49.425 [4] 

BB regional score: 49.150 [3]
BB RQS: 49.185 [5] 
BB average: 49.021 [5] 
BB season high: 49.675 [1]

FX regional score: 48.900 [6]
FX RQS: 49.270 [5]
FX average: 49.131 [5]
FX season high: 49.375 [5]

Of the 12 qualified teams, Minnesota is the least likely to advance to Super Six, though the Gophers do snatch a couple of blue spots thanks to Mable and Nordquist on beam, the duo that seriously helped them stay ahead of Denver at regionals. 

STANFORD
Regional score: 196.525 [4]
RQS: 196.355 [6]
Regular season average: 196.148 [5]  
Season high: 197.400 [5]

VT regional score: 48.800 [6]
VT RQS: 49.120 [5] 
VT average: 49.013 [5]
VT season high: 49.250 [6]

UB regional score: 49.500 [1]
UB RQS: 49.230 [5] 
UB average: 49.130 [5]
UB season high: 49.525 [2] 

BB regional score: 49.250 [2]
BB RQS: 49.195 [4] 
BB average: 49.088 [3]
BB season high: 49.375 [5]

FX regional score: 48.975 [5]
FX RQS: 49.050 [6]
FX average: 48.918 [6] 
FX season high: 49.250 [6]

The numbers bear out what we all already know about Stanford. When Stanford is having a good day, the bars and beam rotations can be a force and can contend with any team, but even though Stanford was able to overcome vault and floor to get out of a messy regional, can what is basically a two-event team + Ebee really put up a score viable enough to get out of a semifinal? 

SEMIFINAL 2

OKLAHOMA
Regional score: 197.575 [1]
RQS: 197.920 [1]
Regular season average: 197.588 [1]  
Season high: 198.075 [1]

VT regional score: 49.275 [1]
VT RQS: 49.415 [1] 
VT average: 49.356 [1]
VT season high: 49.475 [1]

UB regional score: 49.575 [1]
UB RQS: 49.575 [1] 
UB average: 49.467 [1]
UB season high: 49.675 [1] 

BB regional score: 49.425 [1]
BB RQS: 49.445 [1] 
BB average: 49.362 [1] 
BB season high: 49.550 [2]

FX regional score: 49.300 [3]
FX RQS: 49.575 [1]
FX average: 49.404 [2] 
FX season high: 49.700 [1]

ALABAMA
Regional score:  197.125 [2]
RQS:  197.400 [2]
Regular season average: 197.042 [2]  
Season high:  197.750 [2]

VT regional score: 49.225 [3]
VT RQS: 49.355 [2] 
VT average: 49.260 [2]
VT season high: 49.425 [2]

UB regional score:  49.275 [3]
UB RQS: 49.405 [2] 
UB average: 49.283 [3]
UB season high: 49.600 [2] 

BB regional score: 49.150 [3]
BB RQS: 49.320 [3] 
BB average: 49.142 [4] 
BB season high: 49.550 [2]

FX regional score: 49.475 [1]
FX RQS: 49.445 [3]
FX average: 49.356 [3] 
FX season high: 49.500 [4]

UTAH
Regional score: 197.125 [2]
RQS: 197.205 [3]
Regular season average: 196.970 [3]  
Season high: 196.675 [3]

VT regional score: 49.250 [2]
VT RQS: 49.255 [3] 
VT average: 49.200 [3]
VT season high: 49.400 [3]

UB regional score: 49.350 [2]
UB RQS: 49.395 [3]
UB average: 49.323 [2]
UB season high: 49.550 [3] 

BB regional score: 49.225 [2]
BB RQS: 49.290 [4] 
BB average: 49.168 [3] 
BB season high: 49.450 [4]

FX regional score: 49.300 [3]
FX RQS: 49.485 [2]
FX average: 49.280 [4]
FX season high: 49.625 [2]

The picture is clearer here. This looks to be the tougher of the two semifinals and poses a bigger challenge to the bottom three seeds. Based on recent performances, Oklahoma is pulling away from everyone, even the closest contenders like Florida and LSU, and Alabama and Utah look like the most convincing and least stressful choices among the remaining teams in this session. That outlook really hinges upon how influential UCLA’s beam and floor scores can be in trying to leap ahead of Alabama and Utah since vault and bars go to the top three seeds here in a landslide.

UCLA
Regional score:  196.375 [5]
RQS:  197.055 [4]
Regular season average: 196.782 [4]  
Season high:  197.475 [5]

VT regional score: 49.125 [4]
VT RQS: 49.180 [5] 
VT average: 49.084 [5]
VT season high: 49.375 [4]

UB regional score: 48.800 [6]
UB RQS: 49.235 [4] 
UB average: 49.105 [4]
UB season high: 49.350 [6] 

BB regional score: 49.050 [5] 
BB RQS: 49.325 [2]
BB average: 49.184 [2] 
BB season high: 49.575 [1]

FX regional score: 49.400 [2]
FX RQS: 49.430 [4]
FX average: 49.405 [1] 
FX season high: 49.600 [3]

UCLA is theoretically competitive with, if not stronger than, Alabama and Utah on beam and floor, but a repeat of the beam score from regionals would all but decide this competition and leave everyone waiting for a flurry of falls to somehow change the status quo. While it may not be quite as urgent as Stanford’s need on bars and beam, it’s tough to see UCLA advancing without exceeding RQS on beam and floor.

CALIFORNIA
Regional score: 195.925 [6]
RQS: 196.770 [5]
Regular season average: 196.230 [5]  
Season high: 197.500 [4]

VT regional score: 48.875 [6]
VT RQS: 49.185 [4] 
VT average: 49.086 [4]
VT season high: 49.225 [6]

UB regional score: 49.175 [5]
UB RQS: 49.150 [6] 
UB average: 48.936 [6]
UB season high: 49.475 [4] 

BB regional score: 48.900 [6]
BB RQS: 49.205 [6] 
BB average: 48.975 [6] 
BB season high: 49.350 [6]

FX regional score: 48.975 [6]
FX RQS: 49.295 [5]
FX average: 49.232 [5]
FX season high: 49.450 [6]

NEBRASKA
Regional score: 196.550 [4]
RQS: 196.635 [6]
Regular season average: 196.205 [6]  
Season high: 197.350 [6]

VT regional score: 48.925 [5]
VT RQS: 49.105 [6]
VT average: 48.991 [6]
VT season high: 49.275 [5]

UB regional score: 49.225 [4]
UB RQS: 49.180 [5] 
UB average: 49.016 [5]
UB season high: 49.475 [4] 

BB regional score: 49.125 [4]
BB RQS: 49.255 [5] 
BB average: 49.068 [5]
BB season high: 49.375 [5]

FX regional score: 49.275 [5]
FX RQS: 49.260 [6]
FX average: 49.130 [6] 
FX season high: 49.475 [5]

Nebraska was very steady in a somewhat strictly-evaluated regional, while Cal endured an off day to finish in the top two at its own, but the lack of blue categories for either raises the issue that they may not have the big rotation numbers it takes to emerge from a semifinal, the way UCLA might on beam and floor. Not since 2011 has a 196 been enough to qualify to Super Six, so the likelihood of hitting 197 must be the benchmark now.

Doesn’t this semifinal with Utah, UCLA, and Nebraska remind you of 2014 when Utah and UCLA were supposed to be battling for the final spot out of the second semifinal and then Nebraska just showed up on beam in that final rotation to go, “Oh wait, us.”

Georgia Regional Preview

A quick glance at Saturday’s schedule reveals that regionals have been planned even more horrifically than usual this year. There will be a point during the day at which five of the six competitions will be occurring simultaneously, mostly because they hate us and want us to miss everything. And by they, I mean the people. The people who do the things. Spread the regionals throughout the day, is all I ask. The silver lining to all of this is that Georgia’s regional begins an hour before all the others, and Georgia starts on beam. That means we can watch that entire emotional roller coaster unfold without distraction. Thank you, Georgia, for your time zone.

Competing teams (starting event)
[3] LSU (bye before bars)
[9] Georgia (beam)
[14] Oregon State (floor)
[22] Arizona (bye before floor)
[27] George Washington (bars)
[36] Michigan State (vault)

Competing individuals
NC State (Brittni Watkins – AA; Chelsea Knight – VT; Nicole Wild – BB)
Maryland (Kathy Tang – VT, FX; Abbie Epperson – UB; Macey Roberts – FX)
North Carolina (Morgan Lane – AA; Kaitlynn Hedelund – UB)
Towson (Tyra McKellar – AA; Mary Elle Arduino – BB)
William & Mary (Brittany Stover – AA)

The favorite – LSU

LSU should join Oklahoma and Florida at the same level of heavy, heavy, super favorites to advance from regionals, though the Tigers may feel a little more pressure in this one given the quality of the opposition and the scoring pedigree shown by Georgia and Oregon State, both historically and lately. This competition features the second-deepest collection of 1-2-3 seeds (behind the Michigan regional), so LSU will not be able to afford any mind-losing on beam. These other teams are too capable of taking advantage. Sans any mind-losing and fall-counting, however, LSU will slide through to nationals without forcing DD to punishment-sequin anyone.

The Tigers should have been right in the hunt for the SEC title this year but ended up a step behind Florida and Alabama entirely because of their performance on bars in the first rotation. In fact, if you take the scores from just vault, beam, and floor, LSU wins the competition. Lucky, lucky LSU, they’ll be starting on bars at regionals. You’re welcome. This LSU bars lineup should be quite strong, but as we saw at SECs, it has emerged as the team’s weak event and is still too reliant on Finnegan saving Earth through the medium of toe point for a 9.950. Wyrick hasn’t shown a great deal consistency since returning, Zamardi can often dismount herself down to 9.850, and Priessman has a couple built-in errors on the pak and a DLO that can look troublingly Shades of Shayla sometimes. All of them could score quite well, but they’re walking a fine line between greatness and getting stuck in the 9.800s, as happened at SECs. As we learned, that’s not going to cut it when trying to beat Florida.

The fight – Georgia v. Oregon State

I considered throwing Georgia up into the favorite category with LSU as I do think Georgia should be able to 197 its way through this one, especially at home, but Oregon State proved with its performance at Pac-12s to be among the most dangerous and compelling upset challengers in the country. The Beavs simply suffered the (bad) luck of the draw in getting placed with Home Georgia since the original, non-host-adjusted draw would have seen them placed with Road Denver, where they would have been favorites to qualify. This job is much more challenging. The Beavs will take some confidence that the 196.925 at Pac-12s beat the 196.850 Georgia put up at SECs. Not equivalent meets, no host advantage, etc, but certainly a complication to this regional. On the other hand, Oregon State has not hit 197 yet all year, and in spite of all of the Gymdogs’ problems, they have done so in three of the last four meets and really should at regionals.

The advantages and weakness between these two teams set up rather clearly. Georgia should win vault and floor, vault a pretty sizable margin. Vault is far and away the most compelling argument for Georgia as the favorite, with a lineup boasting three 10.0 SVs and legitimate 9.9s coming from multiple quarters, while Oregon State is often stuck with 9.775-9.825s through the whole rotation. In fact, Maddie Gardiner is the only Beav in the lineup to score over 9.850 this year (Dani Dessaints also did so in the first meet before promptly getting injured to make sure that OSU wouldn’t have any vaulters). Oregon State had its best landings of the season at Pac-12s and will need to bring them again to minimize a Georgia vault advantage that could be three tenths or more.

Floor is a similar, if less stark, story. Oregon State has become pretty solid with the floor landings lately but is still going the 9.850-double pike route. When Box, Jay, and Marino are hitting, Georgia could realistically pick up another two tenths there. It would be tough for Oregon State to overcome this margin, but not impossible. Which brings us to beam. Oregon State’s massive score on beam at Pac-12s was to some extent the result of end-of-the-day drunk judging, but Gardiner, McMillan, and sometimes Risa are able to merit big numbers regardless. Oregon State will expect to gain tenths even against a hit beam rotation from Georgia. Whether it’s enough to make up for vault and floor probably depends on the quality of Georgia’s hit. Even a Georgia beam in the 48.9 range could give OSU the opening it needs to make this meet a thing.

Of course, assuming a hit Georgia beam is a risky proposition. Georgia seems to have worked out beam, but the old maxim that problems from the beginning of the season tend to manifest again in the postseason exists for a reason. The pressure of an elimination meet changes things and reveals old habits and tensions. “My college gymnastics career is over if I fall right now.” That’s a true, scary thought.

On bars, both teams have developed two strong scores at the end of the lineup, Georgia with Jay and Rogers and Oregon State with Jacobsen and McMillan, who don’t consistently score as high as Georgia’s duo but can still get 9.9s. Georgia’s rotation probably should do better, especially because of valuable supporting players like Snead and Schick, but Rogers’ high-risk routine can occasionally bring that total down and make bars more competitive. Oregon State won’t want to have to rely solely on beam to get an edge in this meet, so it’s imperative that Jacobsen and McMillan do have stick-for-9.9 days to put bars in that category as well.

Oregon State begins on weaker events, so I wouldn’t expect a big early score, maybe something like 98.300 at halfway. If Georgia puts up a solid beam and a normal floor on the first two events, that should warrant a score closer to the 98.500 range, which will be tough for the Beavs to make up even with stronger events in the second half. Oregon State will have to play from behind, but the mission will be to keep it as close as possible, then finish with a Pac-12s-ish beam rotation that at least puts the pressure on Georgia.

And the rest
Arizona is a solid team that found its 196s later in the year, but in a regional that’s this competitive at the top, it would take a confluence of disasters for Arizona to have a chance to sneak up into those qualifying spots. The team is relatively similar to Oregon State, just a step behind, in that the vault scores have struggled to remain competitive this season while bars and beam are where the roster truly stands out with extension and style. Those two event scores may be relatively competitive, but Arizona will also count some 9.7s on vault and floor, which makes it very challenging to maintain a competitive pace. 

The emergence of George Washington has been one of the joys of this season, not simply making regionals as they did last year but spending most of the season in the top 25 and becoming a realistic threat for 196s. With none of the current lineup routines coming from seniors and the majority of important scores coming from sophomores, there’s every reason to expect George Washington’s ascent to continue next season and for seasons after. Making some real noise at a regional competition is still several steps away, but individual qualification is a realistic possibility. It will also be interesting to see how vaults like Winstanley’s are scored in the same meet as Gnat, Jay, Rogers, etc. How is hers evaluated directly against the name-brand vaults?

Michigan State was the very last qualifier to regionals, enduring a nail-biting day to stay ahead of NC State by the slimmest of margins. Qualifying was the victory, but MSU has produced some impressively 49 floor rotations over the last couple weeks, so check them out as a team that could/should finish in the top three on floor, especially with ending on that event. A relatively competitive team total that challenges the high 195s is not out of the question in spite of qualifying in 36th.

Individuals
If Georgia doesn’t make it, then Brandie Jay is of course a likely AA qualifier (Rogers would be as well, but it seems she’s off floor now that Reynolds is back), but if we assume that LSU and Georgia qualify to nationals as the two teams, things get a little interesting. Maddie Gardiner would be expected to take up the Official Chelsea Tang Individual Spot now that Tang has graduated, but Arizona doesn’t compete an AAer, opening up what looks like it’s going to be a guaranteed AA spot for one of the two lowest-seeded teams.

Last year, Cami Drouin-Allaire of GWU pulled off the big upset by qualifying to nationals as an individual, and this year it looks like she and Jillian Winstanley could be in an intra-team battle for an AA spot once again. The two have been swapping places as AA winners and scoring very equivalent totals all season, so it could go either way. Keeping an eye on the back-and-forth scores for those two will be an interesting side story at this regional.

I also wouldn’t discount Lisa Burt of Michigan State who has saved the meet for that team more times than can even be counted over her career. She’s very capable of 9.850ing her way to a strong total. The fourth option for that final spot is probably DeMoura for George Washington, but her scoring potential tends to be a touch lower than that of Drouin-Allaire and Winstanley, so if George Washington is having a good day, expect the CDA and Winstanley totals to be the more competitive ones.

But unless things get really crazy in this competition, it looks like there will be just six AAers (add in Brittany Holmes of MSU) who don’t qualify with a team and are fighting for those two spots, five of whom come from the lowest seeds, so it won’t take all that many mistakes for any of the six to sneak in.