It’s fun to watch rankings change every week, but they only tell us so much about the status of a team. Which teams are on the rise and which are barely hanging on? Which ones have a competitive ranking by the grace of their RQS drop scores and which will pose a real threat in postseason? I’ll dig into the real dynamics of NCAA gymnastics in this biweekly column that’s part power ranking, part high school yearbook awards—all serious analysis.
Just kidding, almost zero serious analysis.
In the very first edition of The Stock Market—since obviously nothing has happened yet—I’ll be taking you on a quick tour of the categories we’ll use to open the season. We’ll likely introduce a few more as the year goes on; feel free to take to the comments with suggestions for new categories or hot takes of your own!
This award goes to a team that put all the pieces together and is now slightly terrifying. I’ll look at a variety of levels and conferences, but it’s going to be Florida at least twice.
Great Except for That One Event
Think Cal in January 2018. We might not know why bars is causing such a problem—and it’s always bars—but it is, and it’s ugly.
You know how N.C. State spent half of 2018 ranked in the upper 20s and no one really knew what was up with that? This is the award it would get.
Just When You Thought They’d Done It
This team put all the pieces together last week at home and got our hopes up, and then it got another 194 on the road. Sigh.
On the Struggle Bus
Sometimes you just have a bad meet. Sometimes you have four of them in a row. You know how it is.
Do You Have a Seventh Routine
This team is doing really well but has zero depth on at least one event and can’t afford an injury. Alternately, this team has already had an injury and is now putting up a Yurchenko layout in the six spot that it can scratch if everyone else lands feet first.
Was That Just a Fluke
In 2018, Central Michigan would have gotten this award at least three times. I’m still not sure if any of it was a fluke.
Next Week, I Swear
This team is SO SO CLOSE. It just needs one lineup change or one critical injury return, or it has all the routines and can’t quite put it together mentally. It’ll happen, but it hasn’t yet.
Why Is This Happening
Sometimes a team has an incredibly weird week, and no one has an explanation. Occasionally even the head coach is baffled. These are the best stories.
You’re Beautiful but Please Hit
There are so many of these. In teams in the top 20, they can flirt with lineups and then break our hearts when they’re cut for inconsistency. Lower down, their talent is enough to keep them in but they’re not exactly someone you pick for your fantasy lineups.
Should Have Been a Ten
I’m retroactively assigning a half dozen of these to Ivy Lu.
Please Never Leave
Sometimes a whole lineup hangs on one routine, and you can’t help imagining how uncomfortable things will be when that routine graduates. This award can either go to a senior who is about to graduate and cause a crisis or a freshman who makes us think “oh my god it’s finally OK.”
Glad You’re Having Fun
This is basically a “biggest smile” award. It might be Iowa rocking out so hard to its own floor rotation that it knocks down the corral, or maybe it’s Katelyn Ohashi trying to sign 1-0 with her hands for the camera but getting mixed up and doing 0-1 instead.
Fall of the Week
Self-explanatory. As long as no one’s getting hurt, watching people fall over is fundamentally just funny.
Well That’s Different
This might be a creative composition choice, a rare vault or a pop song as floor music. It might not be something brand new each week since obviously routines tend to stay the same through the season, but it’s fun to show off people doing something a little special.
I’ll be back on January 16 with our first real column. Until then, check out our first edition of The Mount tomorrow and keep an eye out for our expanded live blog schedule—we’re covering 10 meets in week one!
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Article by Rebecca Scally
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