The day has arrived, when twelve become six and you become vaguely emotionally unhinged again.
By the magic of the draw (and by magic, I of course mean trash), the semifinals have been divided by conference and geography, with the eastern-ish teams from the SEC and Big Ten placed in the evening session and the western-ish teams from the Pac-12 and Big 12 placed in the afternoon session. It’s pretty racist.
We’re a little more than a week away from nationals now, so to begin preparing, here’s a preview of the race to qualify to Super Six from the first semifinal, the one that appears the more straightforward of the two but is certainly not open-and-shut.
April 14, 12:00 CT
Teams (starting event)
 Oklahoma (bye before floor)
 Utah (vault)
 UCLA (bye before bars)
 Oregon State (floor)
 Denver (beam)
 Washington (bars)
Jessica Yamzon, Arkansas, AA (rotating w/ Utah)
Alexis Mattern, Ohio State, AA (rotating w/ UCLA)
Shani Remme, Boise State, AA (rotating w/ Washington)
Angel Metcalf, Iowa, AA (rotating w/ Denver)
Katie Becker, Auburn, AA (rotating w/ Oklahoma)
Haylee Young, Iowa State, AA (rotating w/ Oregon State)
Braie Speed, Arkansas, VT (rotating w/Oklahoma)
Samantha Cerio, Auburn, UB (rotating w/ Utah)
Clair Kaji, Iowa, BB (rotating w/ Utah)
As much as a sure thing to qualify to Super Six exists, Oklahoma is it. Oklahoma’s score from regionals was nearly a point better than any other team in this semifinal and was .625 better than any other team in the country. The margin for error the top teams usually have heading into regionals is what Oklahoma has in the semifinal. Counting a fall would be fine, and that’s pretty rare for nationals.
My primary areas to watch at regionals were vault, where Oklahoma responded with basically-almost sticks from Dowell, Jackson, and Nichols for 49.575, and the Maggie Nichols AA, which she did and scored 39.750. So, I’d say both of those were a check mark. A dose of floor landings was the only knock on Oklahoma’s regionals performance, which would serve them very well if replicated at nationals. I’ll get into the title race in more detail in a later preview, but it would be quite the ridiculous shock if Oklahoma were not to advance to Super Six somehow. Continue reading National Championship Preview Part 1: Western Semifinal
It’s time to get rid of some people! Phew. None too soon. After enduring eleven weeks of not being allowed to care who wins and who loses because we’re all just one big happy family that’s learning life lessons together, we have finally entered the elimination round.
Elimination round. Add that to the list of names that would be better than “regionals.” Knockout stage. National quarterfinals. Potluck hoedown. The end of days. Of course, it’s not a true knockout stage because half the teams that advance will have lost their meets. But you know…progress?
Let’s begin the previews with the top-seed Oklahoma Sooners and their trip to the long-anticipated, inevitably contentious Washington regional.
April 1, 2017, 7:00 ET/4:00 PT
Teams (starting event)
 Oklahoma (bars)
 Kentucky (vault)
 Washington (bye before floor)
 Utah State (bye before bars)
 Stanford (beam)
 BYU (floor)
Alexis Brown, UC Davis (AA)
Caitlin Soliwoda, Sacramento State (AA)
Lauren Rice, Sacramento State (AA)
Kaitlin Won, San Jose State (AA)
Ariana Harger, Seattle Pacific (VT, FX)
Julia Konner, Sacremanto State (VT)
Yonni Michovska, UC Davis (UB)
Rachel Heinl, San Jose State (UB)
Yasmine Yektaparast, UC Davis (BB)
Taylor Chan, San Jose St (BB, FX)
The favorite – Oklahoma
While we should still expect the Washington regional to fulfill the ancient prophesy of excitement and competitiveness when it comes to Washington and Kentucky (and…Stanford…?) competing for the second spot, Oklahoma will be about a point better than any other losers in this competition and should run away with it. It would take Oklahoma counting two falls to start getting interesting, but there are nonetheless aspects of Oklahoma’s performance that will be telling moving toward nationals.
Keep an eye on vault. That’s the one event where Oklahoma is not currently ranked #1, and it is a potential vulnerability in the title chase with LSU, a team with equivalent ability, one extra 10.0 start, and superior stickitude displayed over the last couple weeks. Oklahoma needs to begin getting sticks out of Dowell and Jackson more regularly because even a hop forward for 9.875-9.900 may mean losing ground at nationals. On the other hand, if Nichols, Dowell, and Jackson are all going 9.950, that minimizes or eliminates any advantage LSU might gain because of vault and would put less onus on OU’s bars to create a margin of victory. Things to keep in mind for next month.
It’s also imperative that Nichols get back to the AA for Oklahoma truly to be at title strength. The staff has been conservative with her on the leg events this month because of a sore knee, but clearly she showed no rust in her return to vault at Big 12s. You know, a 10, NBD. She’ll come back on floor at regionals, and similar lack of rust will need to be shown to give Oklahoma the full complement of competitive 9.9+ routines. Continue reading Washington Regional Preview
On to the Pac-12!
Like the SEC and Big Ten, the Pac-12 conducts its championship in two sessions, the first beginning at 1:00 PT and including Cal, Arizona, Stanford, and Arizona State, and the second beginning at 6:00 PT and including UCLA, Utah, Oregon State, and Washington.
For the rotation order, the Pac-12 did things a little differently this year, just to make everyone confused. Rather than a predetermined draw, teams were given the opportunity to choose which even they’d like to start on, picking in seeded order. So for the evening session, UCLA chose vault, then Utah chose bars, then Oregon State chose floor, then Washington was left with beam and went, “We’re all going to get 9.875 anyway, so eat that SUCKAAASSSS.”
For the afternoon session, Cal chose vault, then Arizona broke with convention and took beam with the second pick, Stanford took bars, and Arizona State was left with floor.
Session I – Cal, Arizona, Stanford, Arizona State
It’s not completely ridiculous to expect a good score to come out of the first session, a score that at least challenges a couple of the teams in the top group. The scoring potential UCLA and Utah have displayed this year should see them pull away with hit meets, but a team like Cal having a good meet and finishing third is entirely within the realm of possibility. Continue reading Pac-12 Championship Preview
|Friday, February 24
|6:00 ET/3:00 PT – Maryland, Temple, Southern Connecticut, West Chester (@ Philadelphia, PA)|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT –  Missouri @  Florida||LINK||SEC|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT –  Denver @  Ohio State||LINK||OSU $|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT –  Washington,  Illinois, Northern Illinois @  Kentucky||LINK||SEC+|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT – William & Mary @ North Carolina||LINK||ACC|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Rutgers @ Towson||LINK||FREE|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Ball State @ Eastern Michigan||LINK||ESPN3|
|7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Air Force @  New Hampshire||LINK||FREE|
|7:30 ET/4:30 PT – UW-Whitewater @ UW-La Crosse||FREE|
|7:30 ET/4:30 PT – UW-Eau Claire @ UW-Oshkosh||FREE|
|7:30 ET/4:30 PT – UW-Stout @ Gustavus Adolphus||LINK|
|8:00 ET/5:00 PT –  Georgia @  Oklahoma||LINK||OU $|
|8:30 ET/5:30 PT –  LSU @  Auburn||LINK||SEC|
|8:30 ET/5:30 PT –  Boise State @  Alabama||LINK||SEC+|
|9:00 ET/6:00 PT –  Oregon State @ Stanford||LINK||P12|
|9:00 ET/6:00 PT –  Iowa @ BYU||LINK||FREE|
|10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Sacramento State, San Jose State, Seattle Pacific @ UC Davis||LINK||FB|
For today, the top four in the rankings are set and will not move regardless of result. Tomorrow, it will be possible for both Utah and UCLA to challenge Alabama depending on how everyone does. The 4-6 teams could end up in any order in Monday’s rankings, but no lower teams can challenge that group of six for this week. Continue reading Friday Live Blog – February 24, 2017
|Sunday, February 19
|12:00 ET/9:00 PT – UW-La Crosse @ Illinois State|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Central Michigan @ Kent State||LINK||FREE|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Temple @ New Hampshire||LINK||ESPN3|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Cortland @ Brockport||FREE|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Ithaca @ Springfield||FREE|
|2:00 ET/11:00 PT –  Kentucky, William & Mary, Penn @ Maryland||LINK||BTN+|
|2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Penn State, Western Michigan, Sacramento State @ TWU||LINK||FREE|
|2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Brown, Seattle Pacific @ Lindenwood||LINK||FREE|
|3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Rutgers @ Illinois-Chicago||LINK|
|3:30 ET/12:30 PT –  George Washington,  Iowa @  LSU||LINK||SEC+|
|4:00 ET/1:00 PT –  Arizona @  Washington||LINK||P12|
|4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Alaska @ UC Davis||LINK||FREE|
Remember that UCLA/Utah meet last night? I know. Me too. I just started laughing again. #neverforget
Anyway, there are no rules in this house anymore, so I can’t wait to see what happens next. Continue reading Sunday Live Blog – February 19, 2017
|Sunday, February 5
|12:00 ET/9:00 PT –  Michigan @ Maryland||LINK||BTN+|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – New Hampshire, Ball State @  George Washington||LINK|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Illinois State @ Central Michigan||LINK||FREE|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – NC State, Bridgeport, Cornell @ Penn||LINK||Ivy $|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Springfield, Rhode Island @ Cortland||FREE|
|2:00 ET/11:00 PT –  Iowa @  Nebraska||LINK|
|2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Western Michigan @ Bowling Green||LINK|
|2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Lindenwood @ TWU||LINK||FREE|
|3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Eastern Michigan @ Illinois-Chicago||LINK|
|4:00 ET/1:00 PT –  Washington @ Stanford||LINK||P12|
Before getting to the day’s main meet featuring Washington and Stanford, we have a few other results to dissect.
First, Michigan started horrendously on bars with an 8.9 and a 7.2 (I can’t even…), having to count the 8.9, but then rebounded on the remaining events with all kinds of cupcakes and sprinkles and butter and sugar to get to 196.475. It’s still not a road score they’d love to count, but especially considering that their first two road meets were in the 195s, it’s acceptable. It’s not the end of the world if they have to use this 196.4. The Wolverines still have three road meets remaining, so they could yet drop this one. Teams getting a regional #1 seed are unlikely to be using a 196.4. Continue reading Sunday Live Blog – February 5, 2017