Tag Archives: Natalie Vaculik

Week 4 Rankings + Notes

That Florida gymnastics isn’t marketing a shirt that says, “On Fridays, we get 10s” is ludicrous. Verging on lyyyyyudicrous. Florida’s meet was the closest to a postseason-level performance we’ve seen so far this year (closest, but not there by any means), and now the Gators lead the rankings by a big, heaping margin this week with that 687.900 (because of Florida at home), highlighted by a “yeah, I’m down with that” 10.000 for Bridget Sloan on beam, a “squint…but also that Dos Santos” 10.000 for Kennedy Baker on floor, and a “Bahahahaha” 10.000 for Alex McMurtry on bars. At least she has a same-bar release this year.

Kathy is not OK with these piked giants. The judges are. The interesting thing is that McMurtry gets a heaping load of side-eye for this bars routine every time because she gets such high scores, but if she were going, say, 2nd or 3rd in the lineup and getting a 9.850 for this routine, we would be standing up and applauding for how much she has improved on bars from her Level 10 career, when she was getting 8s for hit routines. Compare her 10.000 to this routine from the Nastia in 2013, which scored 8.925, uninspiring even by JO scoring standards. Improvements, clearly.

But let’s be honest, the biggest difference between 2013 and 2016 is going 6th in a Florida lineup. Many of the factors that got her an 8.925 remain, hence the saltiness about this 10.

And now Baker and Sloan.

Kennedy Baker is like, “This is the seventh-best floor routine I’ve done at Florida, and this is the 10?”

To the rankings!

Week 4 rankings

1. Florida – 197.438
Week 4: 198.175
Week 4 leaders: AA – Sloan 39.775; VT – Boren, Baker 9.950; UB – McMurtry 10.000; BB – Sloan 10.000; FX – Baker 10.000

2. Oklahoma – 197.185
Week 4: 197.550
Week 4 leaders: AA – Capps 39.575; VT – Jones 9.900; UB – Wofford 9.950; BB – Capps 9.900; FX – Jones 9.950

3. Michigan – 196.860
Week 4: 196.550
Week 4 leaders: AA – Karas 39.525; VT – Karas, Chriarelli, Sheppard 9.850; UB – Brown 9.875; BB – Brown, Karas 9.875; FX – Artz 9.975

4. Alabama – 196.855
Week 4: 197.525
Week 4 leaders: AA – Beers 39.650; VT – Beers 9.900; UB – Beers 9.925; BB – Sims 9.975; FX – Winston 9.925

5. UCLA – 196.758
Week 4: Monday meet

6. LSU – 196.525
Week 4: 196.750
Week 4 leaders: AA – Gnat 39.500; VT – Gnat 10.000; UB – Finnegan, Zamardi 9.900; BB – Gnat 9.925; FX – Gnat, Finnegan 9.900

7. Utah – 196.342 
Week 4: Monday meet

8. Arkansas – 196.210
Week 4: 196.600
Week 4 leaders: AA – Wellick 39.500; VT – Wellick 9.900; UB – Wellick, Speed 9.850; BB – Wellick, Nelson 9.850; FX – Nelson 9.925

9. Boise State – 196.175
Week 4: 196.400
Week 4 leaders: AA – Collantes 39.475; VT – Stockwell 9.850; UB – Jacobsen 9.950; BB – Everyone 9.825; FX – Collantes, Krentz 9.950

10. Auburn – 196.080
Week 4: 195.975
Week 4 leaders: AA – Atkinson 39.400; VT – Rott 9.900; UB – Milliet, Engler 9.875; BB – Demers 9.850; FX – Atkinson 9.900

11. Georgia – 195.870
Week 4: 196.275
Week 4 leaders: AA – Jay 39.350; VT – Jay 9.900; UB – Rogers 9.925; BB – Rogers 9.875; FX – Box 9.900

12. Stanford – 195.856
Week 4: 196.075
Week 4 leaders: AA – Price 39.600; VT – Price 9.875; UB – Price 9.950; BB – Hong 9.925; FX – Price 9.875

13. Denver – 195.763
Week 4: 196.125
Week 4 leaders: AA – McGee 39.525; VT – McGee 9.850; UB – McGee 9.900; BB – McGee 9.850; FX – McGee 9.925; LIFE – McGee 60.000

14. Nebraska – 195.700
Week 4: 196.775
Week 4 leaders: AA – Williams 39.500; VT – Laeng 9.850; UB – Laeng 9.925; BB – Williams 9.950; FX – Schweihofer, Williams, Orel 9.875

15. Oregon State – 195.694
Week 4: 195.875
Week 4 leaders: AA – Gardiner 39.300; VT – Gardiner, Jimenez 9.825; UB – M Colussi-Pelaez 9.850; BB – Gardiner 9.925; FX – Perez 9.900

16. Missouri – 195.645
Week 4: 195.825
Week 4 leaders: AA – Porter 38.750; VT – Harris 9.875; UB – Porter 9.900; BB – Kelly 9.875; FX – Harris 9.850

17. George Washington – 195.517
Week 4: 194.950
Week 4 leaders: AA – Drouin-Allaire 39.250; VT – Drouin-Allaire 9.875; UB – Raineri 9.825; BB – Pfeiler, Zois 9.850; FX – Drouin-Allaire, Raineri 9.800

18. Minnesota – 195.469
Week 4: 196.075
Week 4 leaders: AA – Mable 39.150; VT – DeMuse 9.850; UB – Holst 9.975; BB – Mable 9.900; FX – DeMuse 9.875

19. Illinois – 195.363
Week 4: 195.725
Week 4 leaders: AA – Horth 39.400; VT – O’Connor 9.825; UB – Horth 9.900; BB – Kato, Leduc 9.900; FX – Leduc, Buchanan 9.875

20. Arizona – 195.217
Week 4: Monday meet

21. Cal – 195.150
Week 4: Monday meet

22. New Hampshire – 195.095
Week 4: 195.800
Week 4 leaders: AA – Lauter, Pflieger 39.150; VT – Pflieger 9.750; UB – Mulligan 9.900; BB – Lauter 9.925; FX – Pflieger 9.900

23. West Virginia – 195.083
Week 4: No meet

24. Southern Utah – 195.056
Week 4: 195.250
Week 4 leaders: AA – None; VT – Ramirez 9.875; UB – Yee 9.875; BB – Webb 9.900; FX – Brownsell 9.850

25. Kentucky – 195.031
Week 4: 195.025
Week 4 leaders: AA – Dukes 39.300; VT – Stuart 9.825; UB – Dukes 9.825; BB – Dukes, Hyland, Whittle 9.800; FX – Dukes 9.875

-The top 10 is still sort of a work in progress at this point because UCLA and Utah are yet to compete tonight, which will change the dynamic. How Utah adapts to life without Kari Lee will be the most interesting part of tonight’s meets, but Valorie is teasing a Peng vault as well. It begins…?

-In addition to the four 10s recorded this week, Nicole Artz went 9.975 on floor, Aja Sims went 9.975 on beam for sticking her double tuck and showing everyone what dance elements are, and Bailie Holst went 9.975 on bars for a routine I haven’t seen yet. But Minnesota is the best about uploading all the routines to youtube, so I’m sure we’ll see it in due time.

-New Hampshire is in a fight with George Washington to see who can be the new, cool team this year, and UNH is gaining every week as Casey Lauter continues to be the gymnast you wish you had on your fantasy gym team. We need to make sure she makes it to nationals. Here’s her 9.925 on beam (along with all the other northeast-based routines your heart could desire from David Pendrys).

-Lizzy Leduc had a rough start to her NCAA career in those first couple meets, but a 9.900 on beam and a 9.875 on floor over the weekend are very good signs that my anticipated O’Connor-Horth-Kato-Leduc quadrangle of triumph may come to fruition after all.

-Grace Williams hit a 39.500 in the AA, the best mark of her career by over a tenth. With Ashley Lambert MIA again, that increases the pressure on Williams and Blanske to be all the types of fantastic, and this is much more the kind of number we expected for Williams based on her exceptional JO career.

-Fun game: Denver scored 196.125 on Saturday. Without Nina McGee, the score would have been 195.475. That’s an MVP. McGee better not get overlooked when it comes to naming the AAI six this year, even though Bridget Sloan has already won it. This is also a fun game to play with Ebee and Stanford, since Stanford would be ranked 600th without her.

-Georgia hit beam this week sort of! We’ll take a sort of. It was a beam rotation that the Gymdogs endured rather than thrived in, but that’s the first step. Vaculik came into the lineup, and weirdly, this is the most confident I’ve ever seen her look on beam. She’s a beautiful beam worker (it should be her best event) when she’s not terrified. We need this from her because two of Georgia’s other lovely beam options, Schick and Cherrey, may have to be jettisoned by the business-end of the season for consistency. Even if Georgia does work out beam, it may not be the strength it could have been if that means sacrificing style and execution to get six hit routines.

-Also, Brittany Rogers is a lunatic woman and attempting to compete Georgia/Florida and Elite Canada this week. How is that…I don’t even…? In other news, someone get her legs a therapy dog. 

-The coach who picked Boise State #1 in preseason is looking at us all right now and going, “Mmmmmmmmmmmmmhmmmmmmm.” Except not really because…#1?

-Arkansas defeated Auburn in the Battle for Underdog SEC Darling of the Year, cementing the position as an outsider pick for a real postseason run in a meet that was marred by the physical destruction of every possible Auburn gymnast. With Phillips and Engler going down, the vault lineup in particular will need some serious help, putting more pressure on Atkinson, Rott, and Demers to bring the big numbers to overcome the inevitable low replacement scores.

-Sadly, a streak ended over the weekend when Michigan went sub-49 on beam for the first time since March 15, 2014. The fall from Artz was particularly unexpected, and while Michigan did record a perfectly fine 196.550 in the loss to Nebraska, the precarious depth situation did rear its head with the lack of Casanova clearly felt by all, particularly people watching that vault rotation. Michigan has no intention of counting Brown’s vault score, which means the other five must not only hit but perform ideal vaults to keep the total competitive.

-LSU continues to break hearts on beam, recording a 48.600 and dropping to a wholly unbefitting beam ranking of 18. This week, the Tigers had only two truly acceptable hits, from Hambrick and Gnat, which isn’t good enough even for this point in the season. Both of the falls came from gymnasts missing skills they never miss, Ewing on her layout and Finnegan on her triple wolf, but this can’t be dismissed as an anomaly because falls and weird 9.700s have been the name of the game in pretty much every meet this season. LSU, you’re on beam watch. Not everything can be Ashleigh Gnat’s job.

-There’s less to say about Alabama and Oklahoma other than that they looked goooood over the weekend. Alabama showed LSU what a beam recovery is and gleefully took advantage of a juicy Florida road score, even while continuing to exploring depth and shunning a top-strength lineup/missing Jetter. So many floor options. There are still questions about how competitive bars will be against the best teams, as well as who the six vaulters are (I’m not convinced by Bailey or Bresette yet, but Beers, Brannan, Guerrero, Winston, McNeer, TBD is enough to be getting on with), but the meet against Florida was a very good sign in spite of the loss.

-The last two weeks, we’re starting to see the performances we expected from Oklahoma from the very first week of the season: not pristine post-season level, but impressive, consistent, and clearly 197. Yes, it was Metroplex and there were some Metroplexy scores in getting to that 197.550, a number that flatters a meh-landed vault lineup and too many wobbles on beam, but for the end of January, this is how a title-contending team should look. Also, Chayse Capps’ best event is bars now. Apparently. I don’t know either. I think there’s still room to play around with those bars and beam lineups to bring out the best options. Are Jackson and Capps final lineup on bars (though if Capps keeps scoring like this…I guess so)? Is Jones final-six on beam? We’ll see how this progresses.

#9 Georgia Preview

Arnold, Jasmine – Sophomore – N/A
Babalis, Vivi – Sophomore – BB, FX
Box, Mary Beth – Senior  – BB, FX
Bradford, Caroline – Freshman 
Broussard, Ashlyn – Junior – VT, BB, FX
Cherrey, Gracie – Freshman
Jay, Brandie – Senior – VT, UB, BB, FX
Johnson, Lauren – Junior – VT
Marino, Gigi – Sophomore – VT, FX
Reynolds, Morgan – Junior – VT, BB, FX (out with the NCAA’s annual bizarre hospitalization)
Roberts, Beth – Junior – backup on VT, BB, FX
Rogers, Brittany – Senior – VT, UB, BB, FX
Sanders, Hayley – Sophomore – UB
Schick, Rachel – Junior – UB, BB (possible VT)
Snead, Sydney – Freshman
Vaculik, Natalie – Sophomore – VT, UB, BB (possible FX)

Recent History
2015 – 9th
2014 – 5th
2013 – 6th
2012 – 11th
2011 – 10th
2010 – 13th

2016 Outlook
Georgia took a step back last season by being so distraught at the lack of Lindsey Cheek on the team that no one could emotionally handle hitting a beam routine anymore, but this year should be better. The sheer number of returning routines is cause for encouragement because Georgia will have options to work with, especially on beam, and won’t get trapped into using iffy routines the way some of these other 6th-12th schools will. The Gymdogs should be a 197 RQS team and will expect to better this preseason ranking (another year of 9th would be a disappointment). This is the last year of Jay and Rogers, so this is the time to do something. It will be much, much harder next season. Super Six is a pretty realistic hope for this group, and anything less would be a missed opportunity that may not come back around for a while.   

Key Competitor
Brittany Rogers, obviously. Rogers is trying to do the borderline impossible, go straight from NCAA to elite, then back to NCAA, then back to elite, while still remaining a living person by the end of it. It’s a grueling schedule, but keeping her healthy is missions A, B, C, D, E, and G. (Mission F is stop fucking up beam—such language!) Georgia will need Rogers fully intact to make those Super Six hopes happen, especially after losing so much on bars. She’s the remaining diamond. While Rogers has been big on vault and bars throughout her NCAA career, beam isn’t always so much with the good, so let’s hope she also turned a corner by hitting twice at worlds. She’s too good there not to be the best one. No more 9.700s, OK? Rogers needs to be a three-event 9.9er in her final season to join Jay as part of a formidable scoring foundation, and I’m still holding out for a hero on floor as well. 


Making up lineups is so much easier with full intrasquad videos!

This is the most important event for Georgia in 2016. It needs to be such a big score that it punches us in the face. Georgia has been a good vault team throughout the Durante era (although last year the vault RQS was actually lower than the floor RQS, which…what?), but difficulty should make the Gymdogs an excellent vault team this year, at least top 5 and possibly top 3. Main reason: the Jay and Rogers 1.5 duo. While all teams will be looking at slightly withered vault scores this season, the business end of Georgia’s lineup retains the same scoring potential and can still do the 9.900-9.950 double, a dying species. Gigi Marino also has the 1.5, but her landing is more questionable, so it won’t be quite the same kind of asset. Her vault will still be useful but won’t necessarily outscore the better yfulls the way Jay’s and Rogers’ vaults can.

A fourth 10.0 SV vault should come from Sydney Snead, who had an excellent 1.5 in JO. She’s coming back from injury and showed only a full in the video above, but she clearly has the height and power to do a 1.5, made evident by bouncing across several state lines out of that full. Ideally she’ll be working back up to that vault, which would give Georgia a significant start-value advantage over even Florida and Oklahoma, allowing leeway for some iffy landings.

As with every team, the Gymdogs will also be putting up some fulls. I like Broussard for one of those spots, and there will be a solid contingent of options for the final opening. Of note, Lauren Johnson of “remember that time I had basically never vaulted before and then won the SEC Championship?” fame is back. And where did that vault from Rachel Schick come from? I guess someone is healthy again, though she may lack the distance to get big scores from it. Regardless, this should be a 49.4 event for Georgia.


Along with vault, we’ve all become accustomed to bars being a big, reliable score for Georgia, but that may not be the case this season. Expect noticeable regression in the bars score, tenths that they’ll need to make up with improvements on beam. Brittany Rogers is now the only remaining member of the powerhouse bars quartet, and she should stalder her way to 9.900s and 9.950s every week once again. After that, this lineup doesn’t have a ton of 9.9s, making it look like more of a 49.200 this year than the 49.4s we have come to expect. I believe Brandie Jay is singlehandedly trying to make up for this by throwing all the difficulty ever, including her shushunova and a DLO 1/1 dismount. We’ll see how advisable that ends up being and watch for when that DLO 1/1 becomes a DLO for sticking reasons, but the girl is going for it. She should be able to extract herself from leadoff 9.825 purgatory to be a more significant part of the lineup this season since she’s now the team’s second-best bars worker. 

Rachel Schick and Natalie Vaculik were both in the lineup last year (and in spite of my hunger strike for a Vaculik gienger, it didn’t happen), getting too many 9.800s for their ability levels. But at this point, I don’t really see anyone knocking them out of those positions, so they’ll just need to stop with the not sticking. Simple task. Snead impressed enough in the intrasquad to seem a logical option, and I still think it’ll be important to get Cherrey into the lineup at some point even though that dismount is not currently usable. That’s why I’m a little worried about bars this year. The early scores may need some therapy, and I’m already anticipating having to live blog “Brittany Rogers coming up in the anchor spot, needs a 12.” Hayley Sanders really should be a bars worker for (and you can absolutely see the talent there), but they’ve got to work out the body angle on that bail and the landing on that double front. If they do, she’s someone who could score quite well and be solidly mid-lineup.


Beam looks like it will be much less scary this year than it has been recently. Phew. But famous last words. Still, when looking at this roster, it’s suddenly more about who gets left out of the lineup rather than who gets shoved in at the last minute to get a 9.725. Georgia will have the luxury of leaving out inconsistent workers. Mary Beth Box is the most confident and reassuring presence in the lineup and should jump into the 9.9s here and there once again this season. I’ve covered Rogers on beam already, and how her world-class execution is sometimes compromised by brain problems, but the 9.9s are there to be had for her as well. Ashlyn Broussard has been a ball of potential on beam ever since she started at Georgia, but she has finally worked it out and should be solidly late-lineup as well. Those three look like givens, but GASP, there are quite a few options for the other spots.

Apparently, Brandie Jay has already planted a flag on being this year’s senior three-event star who suddenly figures out how to do beam. There’s one every season. Dabritz took the title last year, and now she has bequeathed it to Jay. Jay has always possessed the ability to be a good beamer, but perhaps the hour has finally come for her. The team could certainly still use it, but where was all this routine during the dark ages of seven falls in six routines? Beamy come lately. She’ll actually have some competition to make the lineup, though. Gracie Cherrey and her laser hips certainly send a message in that video for a routine that also stands out by making the switch+switch combo look not horrific. She appears a very viable choice, as does Rachel Schick with her pretty dance elements and relatively deduction-free work. Those two may well jump in and be the Vaculik/Babalis of this season. (Speaking of Babalis, where are you, girl? We need you.)

I also need Natalie Vaculik’s beam routine in my life because it can be so gorgeous, but she lost her spot last year out of inconsistency and may just get bumped out of the lineup yet again if she continues working beam like an Antarctic explorer who just found out that help is not actually on the way. Many of the other routines in the video don’t necessarily look like they’ll be lineup routines, though Snead does show a partial routine with potential and there are multiple viable 7th and 8th routines cropping up. Options! Actual options! Also, even though I don’t think we’ll see a moment of Gigi Marino on beam this year, it’s worth watching for her dismount.


Though I’m optimistic about beam, floor is still a problem, and I can foresee a few more end-of-meet letdowns this year with a somewhat anemic floor score. The coaching staff will have to work out the issues with routine endurance, which really hurt the lineup at the beginning of last season, as well as when/whether to introduce difficulty. I hope they don’t get blinded too much by the cult of the E pass, since a double pike with comfortable landings is always going to score better than a cowboyed E skill with an uncertain outcome, and a lack of floor difficulty can be overcome with smart lineup construction. It will be interesting to watch whether they try to make Mary Beth Box’s double front a thing and risk it for the difficulty or settle for her ONLY 9.875s FOR YOU double pike routine. Right now, I’m team double pike because of the heavy cowboy in that double front, but we’ll see.

For Ashlyn Broussard, girl needs to get into the floor lineup. Remember when she was starting at Georgia and we were like, “SHE’S A FLOOR SPECIALIST. THAT DLO.” While other E passes may not always be the right call, that DLO remains far too competent for her to leave it out of the routine or be incapable of hitting it in a meet. The team needs that routine to be in working order, but the problem is that Georgia does not have much room for experimentation. There are just not enough high-scoring floor options to be able to afford people botching new E passes, or for that matter, Brandie Jay’s annual three awkward full-out landings. Jay needs to be getting a 9.9 every time, and Box needs to be getting her 9.875s, even if its with a double pike routine.

Marino should be back to the lineup as well, and while Snead still isn’t showing full floor difficulty as she comes back, she’ll be a very appealing option in time. What else is there? I’m not quite convinced by any of the other routines if Babalis is out (there are some fine backup double pikes in there but nothing remarkable), so let’s hope Rogers is, in fact, able to be an AAer this season to shore up what could become an OK lineup in the right circumstances, if a little tenuous. It’s still always going to be on the verge of becoming a 9.850 fest for 49.2s, but if they develop just one other consistent 9.9, this could be a relatively formidable lineup, or at least not a weakness. Here’s looking at you, Snead.