Tag Archives: Sarah Finnegan

Best Routine of Conference Championships Poll

Congratulations to the week 10 champion, Stacie Webb’s beam, the first 10 in Southern Utah history, which beat out Katelyn Ohashi’s beam in second place and Kiana Winston’s beam in third. It was the week of beam.

ROUTINE of the WEEK 1st 2nd 3rd
Week 1 Skinner, FX Edney, VT Nichols, UB
Week 2 Ward, VT PP Lee, BB Hambrick, FX
Week 3 Artz, FX Childers, BB Skinner, VT
Week 4 Ross, UB McMurtry, VT PP Lee, UB
Week 5 Gardiner, BB Ward, VT Winston, FX
Week 6 PP Lee, UB Slocum, VT Jackson, FX
Week 7 Ross, BB Price, UB Guerrero, BB
Week 8 McMurtry, FX Mossett, FX Lehrmann, UB
Week 9 McMurtry, VT Aufiero, UB Deans, FX
Week 10 Webb, BB Ohashi, BB Winston, BB
Conference Champs

To the vote for the conference championships, meets that brought us four more 10.000s, all from gymnasts who have already received 10s on those events this season. Be more interesting, humanity. Continue reading Best Routine of Conference Championships Poll

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Best Routine of Week 7 Poll

Congratulations to our week 6 champion, Peng Peng Lee’s bars, which won by a billion votes to zero. It was a close-run thing for the remaining spots, however, as Rachel Slocum’s vault took second, just two votes ahead of Ali Jackson’s floor, which was just three votes ahead of Alex McMurtry’s bars, itself only two votes ahead of Maggie Nichols’ floor.

ROUTINE OF THE WEEK 1st 2nd 3rd
Week 1 Skinner, FX Edney, VT Nichols, UB
Week 2 Ward, VT PP Lee, BB Hambrick, FX
Week 3 Artz, FX Childers, BB Skinner, VT
Week 4 Ross, UB McMurtry, VT PP Lee, UB
Week 5 Gardiner, BB Ward, VT Winston, FX
Week 6 PP Lee, UB Slocum, VT Jackson, FX
Week 7

Now, to the vote for week 7, in which the highest score given out to any gymnast was 9.875. No, I’m totally kidding, everyone got a 10 obviously.

(Heads up, no nominees from the GymQuarters meet this weekend because that meet is behind a paywall and not all of you can watch the routines, in case you’re wondering why Maggie Nichols isn’t four of the nominees. I think she’ll survive.) Continue reading Best Routine of Week 7 Poll

Best Routine of Week 3 Poll

Congratulations to our week 2 champion, Britney Ward’s vault, which ran to victory ahead of Peng Peng Lee’s beam in second and Myia Hambrick’s floor in third.

ROUTINE OF THE WEEK 1st 2nd 3rd
Week 1 Skinner, FX Edney, VT Nichols, UB
Week 2 Ward, VT Lee, BB Hambrick, FX
Week 3

Who will take the title for week 3, a week peppered with 10s and 9.975s? (Usual disclaimer: If you don’t make videos of full routines available, I can’t nominate them. Even if they got 9.975. Cough cough, Pac-12 Network.) Continue reading Best Routine of Week 3 Poll

Best Routine of Week 1 Poll

Poll time!

Each week, I’ll put up the top routines of the previous weekend and let you guys vote on which routine wins the award for best of the week. Deciding the nominees is up to me (mwahahahaha) and is based on 3) score, 2) overall quality, and 1) which ones are easily available online—aka, which ones have been uploaded by our dear NastiaFan101. Because, you know, we need to be able to see them in order to vote for them. So if you want to vote for Elizabeth Price…get those meets to start taking place in the present day. With color televisions. And the iron horse.

Feel free to use the comments for reasoning and/or write-in votes.


1. Kennedi Edney, LSU – Vault


2. Maggie Nichols, Oklahoma – Bars

Continue reading Best Routine of Week 1 Poll

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

Before They Were NCAA – The 2012 Elites

Now comes the point in the year when we must attempt to wrench ourselves out of an NCAA mindset and pay attention to the elite world again. We’re little more than a month away from Classic now, so the Mad Max remake that masquerades as the US Olympic selection process is soon to reach its familiarly feverish levels. “Do we actually need a bars specialist?” he asks, sharpening an abandoned femur into a spear.

As a bridge between the two worlds, I periodically like to take the results of past US elite competitions and examine how the gymnasts ranked at that point compared to how they would eventually fare in NCAA a few years later. Who rises? Who falls? Who is like the mousy girl in the high school movie who takes off her glasses and suddenly turns beautiful in the NCAA code? Who was using elite difficulty to mask deficiencies that are exposed in college? As we know, success in elite and success in NCAA do not have a 1:1 relationship.

Today, I have taken the various AA and event results from the 2012 Visa Championships (Visa Championships…feels so long ago. Like the John Hancock US Championships, which were basically contemporaneous with John Hancock) and bolded the gymnasts who competed in NCAA at some point after this competition (so I didn’t include Anna Li since she’s a category all her own). A number of items jump out.

All-around
1. Wieber – 69.650/61.250
2. Douglas – 60.650/61.050
3. Raisman – 69.200/69.750
4. Ross – 59.750/60.200
5. Price – 59.600/58.500
6. Finnegan – 59.150/58.450
7. Vega – 56.500/57.950
8. Baker – 58.050/56.400
9. Dowell – 55.7800/56.900
10. Sloan – 56.250/56.150
11. Milliet – 55.250/55.150
12. Brown – 54.200/55.500
13. McLaughlin – 55.400/53.150
14. Jetter – 53.550/54.850
15. Skinner – 55.550/51.600
16. Jay – 52.550/53.150
17. Wofford – 51.900/53.350

Fewer than half of the future NCAA gymnasts who competed AA at the 2012 championships continued to do AA in college (and only two or three of the eleven have been full-time AAers for multiple seasons), which helps illustrate the danger of assuming NCAA dominance for all elites. Those who continue at the same strength as all-arounders, your Sloans and Prices and Bakers, are the exception more than the rule. Instead, we have the usual random smattering of competition and success levels, ranging from barely-one-event status to best-in-the-country status. But what’s of most interest here is the reason they’re not competing AA in college.

We tend to assume that the biggest obstacle for elites transitioning to NCAA is health, that they all would be top-ranked gems if their bodies weren’t halfway to the glue factory by now after so many trips to Martha’s Texas Adventure. While that’s true in several cases, many are relatively healthy but simply not making all the lineups. Even someone who counts in the all-around category like Brianna Brown probably wouldn’t have done AA this year if Casanova had been available, and Brandie Jay spent three years not even getting close to Georgia’s beam lineup, not because of health but because of “Aaahh, beam!” In her 2015 season at Oklahoma, Dowell was in a similar position to Jay. Sometimes, in spite of an elite pedigree and strong rankings through the age of 18, gymnasts are just not top six on their NCAA teams, even on events that were elite strengths.

In breaking down some of the specific rankings, I’m not taking Sloan into account much because she wasn’t up to her full level during 2012, so this isn’t really reflective of her standing in the elite world the way 2008 and 2009 were. It’s not like Sloan was some middle-of-the-pack elite who suddenly bloomed in college.

Brandie Jay is one who leapfrogged many of her higher-ranked elite peers to become a bigger and more influential contributor in NCAA than she was in elite, finishing largely on par with the likes of Kennedy Baker, who was a higher scorer and more compelling contender during the end of the last quad. Jay is probably the best example here of someone whose dominant years were still ahead of her in 2012.

Finnegan is also an interesting case because if we were to judge her freshman year by the second-behind-Price standard that 2012 gave us, the 2016 season would be considered somewhat average and not the dominance and team-leading influence normally expected of an Olympic alternate. Yet, having gone through years of “does she do gymnastics?” in between, her three events of 9.850-9.900 and ability to leg-event at all this season are a somewhat unexpected and welcome revelation. A lot happens between elite and NCAA, and we don’t often maintain expectations for NCAA based on elite results, especially for certain types of gymnasts. I don’t think many would say Abby Milliet’s NCAA career has been disappointing so far, but she’s certainly not top-6 AA level. Even before Grace McLaughlin started at Florida, she was at “maybe a beam routine?” status, not AA-queen status.

A lot of this does come down to injury history/gymnastics style. We tend to maintain elite expectations for gymnasts with Raisman legs who look like they can hold up to four more years of gymnastics, but with the fragile-looking spinny twisties, we’re just happy to see a routine at some point, even if it’s an exhibition bars. We’re like, “Good for her! I can see knees! She still has them!”

It’s worth noting that there are no “whoops, I broke and then disappeared into witness protection without another word” gymnasts in this AA collection, which is encouraging. Everyone either made the Olympics and turned pro, did NCAA, or will do NCAA. The only one in the whole 2012 competition who doesn’t fit into those categories is Bross. There are usually more.

Vault (one vault, two days)
1. Wieber 15.650/15.900
2. Price 15.800/15.600 
3. Douglas 15.350/15.800
4. Sacramone 15.450/15.500
5. Raisman 15.450/15.300
6. Ross 15.100/15.250
7. Finnegan 15.000/14.900
8. Baker 14.650/14.800
9. Skinner 14.550/14.600
10. Jay 14.600/14.500
11. Dowell 14.250/14.700
12. Vega 14.100/14.500
13. Jetter 14.100/14.150
14. Milliet 14.050/14.150
15. Brown 13.950/14.100
16. McLaughlin 13.800/14.200
17. Sloan 13.850/14.150
18. Brannan 13.800/14.150
19. Wofford 12.000/12.200

Continue reading Before They Were NCAA – The 2012 Elites

#5 LSU Preview

Roster
Cannamela, Julianna – Freshman
Ewing, Sydney – Junior – VT, BB, FX
Finnegan, Sarah – Freshman
Gauthier, Michelle – Senior – backup BB, FX
Gnat, Ashleigh – Junior – VT, UB, BB, FX
Hambrick, Myia – Sophomore – VT, UB, BB, FX
Kelley, McKenna – Freshman
Li, Lauren – Sophomore – backup VT, UB, FX
Macadaeg, Erin – Sophomore – VT, BB
Moran, Kylie – Sophomore – N/A
Priessman, Lexie Lee – Freshman
Savona, Jessica – Senior – VT, UB, BB, FX
Szafranski, Kaitlyn – Freshman
Wyrick, Randii – Senior – UB (backup VT, FX)
Zamardi, Shae – Junior – UB (backup FX)

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

2016 Outlook
LSU enters 2016 wallowing in the aftermath of an extremely disappointing collapse at nationals last year (THE FRESHMAN LOST HER MIND) and, much more significantly, the departure of the class that lifted this program back into the big time. So, some trepidation about this season is understandable. It seemed that LSU would be relying on a super-talented, but often MIA and legs-made-of-dust, freshman class to have a shot at repeating the top-three quality of the last couple years. Very dangerous territory. Thankfully, the complete and solid-for-December lineups LSU put up in the preseason showcase (without Priessman and Kelley) were very reassuring as to the status and competitive ability of the returning core of this team. LSU is a Super Six team even if the big-name freshmen aren’t able to deliver significant numbers, and will challenge for the title if they are.

Key Competitor
I’m going with Ashleigh Gnat. Gnat spent the first two years of her LSU career hanging out around the 4th spot on her main events, a prominent contributor on whom the team relied for scores but not necessarily the lineup leader or an absolutely essential score. When she had the occasional bad one, Courville and Jordan (or Hall on floor) were there to pick up the slack and save a great rotation total. Without them, Gnat will be expected to anchor multiple lineups and get 9.9s on vault, beam, and floor every single time, which is a new role and a new level of responsibility. In the absence of Courville, she has to become a Courville to keep LSU on track. 

Vault 

Under ideal health circumstances, LSU’s vault lineup will be Gnat, Priessman, Savona, Ewing, Kelley, and Hambrick. That’s a serious 49.4+ group even without the benefit of Courville’s mile-long vault (the start-value change also mitigates LSU’s vault losses since Courville and Jordan wouldn’t have scored as well this year anyway). Gnat continues to vault the DTY, which is developing into a US-elite level DTY that would provoke a tropical storm of Amanar rumors were she elite and competing it at Classic. She’ll be the head vaulter for the Tigers, and let’s hope the new values adequately reward her difficulty now instead of giving her a 9.875 every time and placing her on par with average yurchenko fulls.

When Priessman is able (she’s expected to return on at least bars by mid-January), she’s more than capable of producing a 10.0 SV since her Amanar remained only somewhat terrifying all the way through 2012, after which she was completing DTYs quite easily. Complementing those two will be Savona and Ewing, who both made their way into the vault lineup last season with sufficiently powerful 1.5s that will be even more valuable this year. With what should be four 10.0 starts and two other strong fulls, this lineup boasts both the difficulty and the execution to be a top-four vaulting team. At least. For the remaining fulls, I’d go with Kelley for her power and Hambrick for her incredible perfect perfection made of perfect. Her vault is a total joy and one of the few that qualifies as artistic. She can still hit 9.900 with a full this year.

When any of these six aren’t available, both Cannamela and Macadaeg have perfectly acceptable fulls (Macadaeg has nice pop but isn’t as steady on the landing) that should be able to score into the 9.8 range themselves and keep everything on track.

Bars

Bars is the worry event. While the Tigers have more than enough 9.800-level gymnasts to put together a workable lineup, they’ve been bleeding bars leaders for the last couple seasons in Morrison and now Courville and Jordan, leaving the team with mostly supporting characters and few stars. Conclusion: Sarah Finnegan. Finnegan has the toes, handstands, and general “she’s Sarah Finnegan” to become one of the strongest bars workers around, especially now that she can get rid of a few of those pesky elite skills that gave Elfi a case of the post-diarrhea moans at 2012 Trials. Finnegan will need to become the new 9.9er. Priessman must also contribute, though her bars execution score in elite was not always so much with the great. Still, paring down to NCAA skills should give her something cleaner that can be a definite mid-lineup routine if not necessarily a starring routine the way Finnegan’s should be. On twitter, Yosemite Clark took a short break from being the whole problem to post a video of her routine, which was fine if a little whippy in the DLO and a little leg-breaky in the pak.

These freshmen must boost the competitiveness of this group since LSU doesn’t return very many natural bars workers. There is Zamardi, who developed into a good 9.850-9.900 last year after being MIA her freshman year. Zamardi’s double arabian dismount still scares the bejesus out of me, but she has proven a consistently countable score. Wyrick will also return to the lineup. Hers is not a memorable routine, but she doesn’t give away much in form and can go 9.900 at times too. With those four, LSU can be on track for 49.300, which is perfectly fine. Beyond them, however, the team will be relying on people who might prefer if the bars would just go crawl into a corner and die, like Savona and Gnat. Both contributed for 9.800s last year but have enough leg and angle issues to keep their scores below what a championship team should be getting. Hambrick is another choice (but she struggles with consistency), Kelley has a routine although it’s also not her event, and at some point Cannamela should develop into either a solid 1st/2nd routine or a safely usable reserve. Enough people exist to stay above water, but the question is how often this lineup will get stuck in the 9.825-9.850s/49.200s, especially early in the season if Finnegan and Priessman aren’t all that right away.

Beam

The loss of Courville and, especially, Jordan introduces a lot more terror and drama into the beam lineup this year. How many times did Jessie Jordan save everything in the 6th spot? LSU’s biggest mission on beam this year is finding a new queen bee who can hit even when everyone else is terrible. Theoretically the team still earns enough lovely points to make this event a huge asset, but can they survive the rotation or will they fall into a pit of lava a la nationals? 

This is why Gnat must develop into a rock as an upperclassman. She has a tendency to get a little 9.7y in important moments and was one of the falls at nationals, and that has to go. She must be the solid lineup savior in case any member of the triumvirate of perfect finds that she’s just feeling too beautiful to stay on the beam that day. Obviously, by triumvirate of perfection, I mean Finnegan, Macadaeg, and Hambrick. The style, the elegance, the Kathy Johnson moans! Hambrick and Macadaeg both had hitting problems last year, but they’re lovely, give away almost no built-in deductions, and must return to the lineup. Finnegan is still doing the triple wolf, because she just wants to hurt me, but I suppose I can allow it since hers is not horrible looking. Regardless, she’ll be the same woodland beam heiress she always has been and will get a 20 every week.

I’d definitely take Priessman for another spot and then conduct an American Gladiator-style joust between Ewing and Kelley for the remaining place. Those are seven serious options and huge potential scores. When Lexie Priessman is the 5th person I mention on an event, you know it’s good. If they can actually figure out hitting, they can score with any team and should be right up there with Oklahoma and UCLA.

Also a couple notes from the preseason showcase: 1) Jessica Savona looked good. Where did that beam routine come from? Even the splits were solid. She might cause an upset by knocking out Ewing or Kelley or an inconsistent member of the triumvirate. 2) Every switch side was super crooked. Fix, please.

Floor

It’s LSU and floor, so even though Hall, Courville, and Jordan are no more, don’t expect the team to fall off in any significant way in 2016. Sure, there may not be anyone getting Hall 10s, but in time, this roster should develop enough 9.900-9.950 options to remain among the strongest floors in the country. The freshmen can be just as good as the departing routines. For both Priessman and Kelley, floor is the obvious specialty. It was Priessman’s floor tumbling and secure landing of difficult acro that had her on many people’s Olympic forecast during her larval stage, and Kelley is just a concentrated rubber ball of DLO/Mary Lou energy. That extreme-facial-reactions LSU judge is going to fall into the sky about McKenna Kelley. When healthy (and Kelley is supposed to be back to full strength for the beginning of the season), these two late lineup powerhouses should rack up the 9.9s.

The other members of the 9.9 brigade will be Gnat and Savona. Early in Gnat’s career she struggled with tumbling pass consistency, but last year she was a weekly 9.9 (ending the season on a streak of nine consecutive floor scores of 9.900 or greater, which is pretty impressive). As for Savona, the majority of her floor routines are worthy of 9.900, though last season she was getting stuck with some 9.850s in the first spot. Promoted back out of that spot this year, she should score pretty close to Gnat. These four will keep LSU in the 49.4s. Ewing competed consistently last season, so count on her to return with her front 2/1 and acceptable twisting form, along with perhaps Hambrick or Wyrick. Both of them competed in the preview and are opening with E passes this season, making it pretty likely that LSU will have six E-pass floor routines this season. As for Sarah Finnegan, she got the requisite “she’s the artistic one” Jessie Jordan choreography this year, though there are sufficient floor options that the team will have the luxury of saving Finnegan for bars and beam depending on how bubble-wrapped she needs to be.