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.
We’re heading into the last week of the season off of a ridiculous three days of regionals followed by all the emotions of USAG nationals. You’d be forgiven for having a little gymnastics fatigue this week, especially if you also watched Euros. But remember, you’ll miss it when it’s gone.
We could talk about the dynamics between the national championship contenders here, but instead I’d like to raise the fact that with only three days left until our first four-team national final, we still don’t have an agreed-upon name for the damn thing. Personally, I don’t like nicknames and am hoping we just call it “finals” forever, but I have a feeling I’m on the losing side of that one.
I have to give in to the pun I’ve been dodging all season and give this to UIC. It was tough for everyone to watch the Flames’ last meet, but they closed the book on their program with incredible grace. They also went out with a back double twist dismount on bars, which is pretty awesome.
Great Except for That One Event
Florida was my title pick, guys. Bye.
With only eight teams still alive, it’s difficult to argue that anyone’s exactly quiet. I’ll give an “Audibly Cruising” award to Minnesota’s Lexy Ramler though. Everyone knows she’s good at gymnastics, but her consistency this season is still shocking. Her all around LOW score in 2019 is a 39.350.
Just When You Thought They’d Done It
When Nebraska got its ridiculous high-197 in the middle of March, plenty of people (including me) took it as the first step in the Huskers’ postseason ritual of peaking late, upsetting everyone and making nationals despite every indication to the contrary. This year it never made it back to that zone. It could be a fluke—there were certainly some ill-timed injury concerns—but it would be really interesting if first year head coach Heather Brink has broken Nebraska of its mildly terrifying habit of waiting until the last week of regular season to get good at gymnastics.
Why Is This Happening
Usually I ask this question with a tone of genuine puzzlement. This week, it’s sadness and anger over everyone’s “last day of practice” photos. WHY do we have to lose Emma McLean? Who allowed this?
Was That Just a Fluke
One of the big selling points of the new regional format was an increased likelihood of upsets. That didn’t pan out, to say the least. While there were a few changes of order among the lower-ranked teams—Illinois outperformed in round two, for one—every team advanced exactly where it was projected to do so until Oregon State took out Florida in the weekend’s very last session. While ill-fated upset attempts by California and Minnesota kept regionals from being an outright snoozefest, I’m really hoping to get some more interesting results next year.
Glad You’re Having Fun
The people who have had the most fun by FAR this postseason are the judges at the Athens regional final. Half of the scores were 9.900-plus. It was a good meet, but goodness.
Well That’s Different
One of Division II Bridgeport’s trademarks is a team chant of “HOT HOT HOT” during floor routines, beam routines…and any other time it feels appropriate. I’ve gotten accustomed to this over the course of years of watching way too much DII, but colleagues who are less familiar with the Purple Knights reported some serious HOT HOT HOT fatigue by the end of the weekend.
Fall of the Week
I don’t have a fall for you this time. What I do have is two completely ridiculous bars saves from the Baton Rouge regional. You’re welcome.
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Article by Rebecca Scally
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