The Mount: Week Four

How is it already week four? With some up-and-down performances, dazzling freshmen and general weirdness to start the season, things are finally starting to even out and get back to “normal.” Like the first few weeks of 2018, we’ve got a handful of good matchups you don’t want to miss, including Oklahoma’s trip down south to Gator territory that is almost certainly going to be one heck of a competition. But if that’s not your thing or if you’re a hardcore gym nerd like the rest of us, we’ve got a breakdown of all the top meets, links to every competition you might possibly want to follow along with and Fantasy Gymnastics resources to help when setting your lineups.

No. 1 Oklahoma at No. 5 Florida: Friday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. ET

Florida faces its second Super Six opponent in a row as Oklahoma pays Gainesville a visit Friday. The Gators will look to capitalize on their home floor advantage to keep the meet close. But to stand a chance at defeating the two-time defending national champion Sooners, Florida will look to prove they are still a strong beam team after the unfortunate falls from both Kennedy Baker and Alex McMurtry at Kentucky last week. It’s critical the team put forward strong routines to compete with the Sooners. It’ll also be worth noting which events the freshmen contribute on, especially Megan Skaggs, who has been in and out of various lineups to start 2018. Finding her permanent lineup positions and solidifying her scoring ability should be a priority, as she can contribute 9.85 or higher on every event when she’s at her best.

Oklahoma, has its lineups fairly set, particularly on vault and bars. Beam might be up for debate, especially after seeing freshman Carly Woodard go 9.875 her first time collegiate routine, but floor is where the Sooners haven’t been able to hit six for six yet this year. They might be in for a shakeup, especially if head coach KJ Kindler decides she has someone more consistent to go in for Jade Degouveia, who’s had hiccups on both floor routines.

Alicia Amy Caroline Christina Elizabeth EmilyHF EmilyM Rebecca Tara

No. 11 Georgia at No. 10 Arkansas: Friday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. ET

In a strange turn of events, this SEC duel will begin with Arkansas ranked ahead of Georgia, something some fans might not have pegged after the 2017 season. With a tumultuous few weeks behind it, Georgia pulled out its first win under new head coach Courtney Kupets Carter last week against Auburn in Athens, but the real test will be whether it can do the same on the road. The Gymogs regained a bit of depth, with Natalie Vaculik joining vault and Jordyn Pedersen debuting on bars, something that certainly helped take pressure off the precarious five-up-five-count system that preceded the competition. Sabrina Vega is training bars, and both Hayley Sanders (illness) and Emily Schild (knee injury) have been spotted training again as well. The Gymdogs will still be rather depleted on floor, but a full bevy of routines on three of four events after as many injuries as they’ve suffered this season is all Kupets Carter can ask for.

Arkansas is a team on the rise this year, and facing an unsettled Georgia in Gymback territory will be an opportunity it won’t want to pass up. Key performances will come from Amanda Wellick and Sarah Shaffer in the all around, as well as Sophia Carter, who’s turning into quite the beam queen. The star performances, though, aren’t where Arkansas has been lacking—it’s the supporting cast that isn’t getting the job done. Razorback gymnasts won two of the four events against Missouri but still dropped the overall team total to the Tigers. Improving score potential will be key to picking up a W.

Alicia Amy Caroline Christina Elizabeth EmilyHF EmilyM Rebecca Tara
Arkansas Arkansas Georgia Georgia Georgia Arkansas Arkansas Georgia Georgia

No. 8 Michigan at No. 12 Nebraska: Saturday, Jan. 27 at 3 p.m. ET

Michigan and Nebraska are the top teams in the Big Ten, and this meet could be a preview of the battle we’ll see for conference champion come March. Nebraska comes into the meet after a strong 196.3 performance last week, despite a 9.7-heavy vault rotation. Megan Schweihofer enters week four ranked No. 15 in the all around, and Sienna Crouse is ranked No. 9 on vault. If the Huskers can clean up landings, they are poised for another strong home performance. Michigan, on the other hand, is coming off a tough road meet and its lowest team score since 2012. A low-scoring vault rotation, plus counting a fall on floor, held the Wolverines to a 194.975. And to make matters worse, Olivia Karas was pulled from the beam lineup after her floor fall, leaving her status questionable without more information. Don’t count Michigan out, though; the Wolverines are still tied with Oklahoma for the highest score in the nation so far—a full 1.25 higher than Nebraska’s 2018 high.

Alicia Amy Caroline Christina Elizabeth EmilyHF EmilyM Rebecca Tara
Michigan Nebraska Michigan Michigan Nebraska Michigan Nebraska Michigan Michigan

Metroplex Challenge with No. 2 LSU, No. 4 UCLA, No. T-14 Washington and No. 28 N.C. State: Saturday, Jan. 27 at 7:45 p.m. ET

In what is shaping up to be an outstanding matchup between top teams, LSU, UCLA, Washington and N.C. State will descend upon Texas for the annual Metroplex Challenge for a taste of the podium in preparation for nationals in April. LSU has shown steady performances to kick off January, putting up a handful of 197+ scores and most recently hitting a season-high 197.450. A big question mark for the Tigers will be the health of sophomore Kennedi Edney, who only competed bars and beam last weekend after tweaking her knee in warm ups. UCLA is coming off its own season high at Arizona, posting a 197.300 while resting a number of stars—sophomore Kyla Ross only competed bars while Nia Dennis was rested on beam. That gave the Bruins the opportunity to show off their depth, debuting Katelyn Ohashi and Felicia Hano in the all around and Madison Kocian on beam. Washington, like UCLA, will compete on podium for the second time this season as both met in the Reno Elevate the Stage competition week two. The Huskies started preseason with a number of injuries but have since shown they can stand up to other top teams, defeating California last weekend and Stanford the week before. Keep an eye out for all arounders Hailey Burleson and Evanni Roberson as well as Madison Copiak, who is a standout on bars. Finally, N.C. State rounds out the quad with former Illinois head coach Kim Landrus and the Wolfpack sitting well within the top 36 after missing regionals the past two years. Like the other teams competing in Fort Worth, the Pack notched a season high last weekend, besting their previous mark by over a point and a half. If things go just right Saturday, we could be looking at a potential upset. But even if the chalk dust doesn’t align, N.C. State will be happy to leave the Lone Star State with another 196 to add to its RQS when the time comes.

Alicia Amy Caroline Christina Elizabeth EmilyHF EmilyM Rebecca Tara

No. 29 California at No T-14 Arizona State: Sunday, Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. ET

Arizona State is having one its best seasons in many years, holding a top 15 ranking and sharing the No. 3 position in the Pac-12. This will mark the second conference matchup for both teams, and the Sun Devils come in as favorites after two strong performances on the road. They beat West Virginia and Stanford, breaking 196 on both occasions. Balance beam has been a particularly gorgeous event, and the entire lineup is a must-watch: Don’t miss Katelyn Lentz who has scored career-highs in each of the last two weeks, as well as lead-off Justine Callis and sophomore Ashley Szafranski. Freshman phenom Cairo Leonard-Baker was once again named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week. She has been a stellar asset in the all around and really stands out on bars and floor. On the other hand, California has had a slow start to 2018, failing to break into the 196s and struggling mightily on bars. Counting two falls on the event again will not cut it if it hopes to beat the consistently improving Sun Devils. Additionally, the Bears had to deal with a minor, last-minute arm injury to Alma Kuc last week, who was a strong contributor on bars in the first two meets. If she’s still out versus Arizona State, Cal could be in for more issues on its weakness. But there are bright spots. California is entertaining to watch on vault, beam and floor. Don’t miss Ariana Robinson’s Ilg on vault and Toni-Ann Williams and freshman Kyana George on floor.

Alicia Amy Caroline Christina Elizabeth EmilyHF EmilyM Rebecca Tara

Other Notable Matchups

No. 3 Utah at No. 21 Arizona: Friday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. ET

Utah is the clear favorite in this Pac-12 matchup. The Utes once again had another strong showing at home for their ‘Ute Proud’ meet, scoring their highest mark of the season with a 197.400. At the meet, they tested out a new beam lineup, which included freshman Alexia Burch, and it proved successful. Watch for Utah on vault and floor, where it is ranked No. 2 and No. 1, respectively. Arizona, meanwhile, looked impressive on bars and floor last week but will need to focus on its vault landings and on putting up a steadier beam rotation if it wants to hang with Utah. Madison Cindric continues to be a valuable all arounder and is now joined by sophomore Maddi Leydin, who had a very solid first four-event performance against UCLA for a 39.200.

No. 6 Kentucky at No. 16 Auburn: Friday, Jan. 26 at 8:30 p.m. ET

Kentucky heads out on the road to take on Auburn this week, both coming off losses in week three. Key weaknesses revealed themselves at these meets, including Kentucky having to count a fall on bars and Auburn having to count three scores at 9.75 or lower during its matchup at Georgia. Kentucky will want to clean up bars and tighten up the landings on vault while Auburn should be looking for more amplitude on vault and increased confidence on beam. Auburn could also stand to see better scores from transfer Skyler Sheppard, whose first performance as a Tiger only earned her a 9.65 on floor. Knowing what she did at Arizona previously, she could also be of tremendous help to the beam lineup if she’s back to form.

No. 17 Missouri at No. 7 Alabama: Friday, Jan. 26 at 8:30 p.m. ET

The final SEC matchup for the week sees Missouri facing the Crimson Tide in what should be an easy win for Alabama. This week was a much more even-keeled performance from the Tide, even without Lexi Graber, whose vault injury is still a bit of a mystery. Strong performances from Kiana Winston and Nickie Guerrero will lead the team, but watch for landings, particularly on vault and floor. Alabama gave away some good tenths against LSU, and head coach Dana Duckworth won’t want to make a habit of that if she wants the Tide to contend for conference and national titles come postseason. Missouri also has some issues to correct, including a fall on floor and lower scores on bars. While it’s unlikely Missouri gets the upset over Alabama this week, we know all too well from past experiences never to count the Tigers out until the final dismount is landed.

No. 33 Illinois at No. 32 Penn State: Saturday, Jan. 27 at 4 p.m. ET

This meet should be an exciting Big Ten fight. Both teams have had highs and lows, including tough meets last weekend. Illinois’ home debut was highlighted by a strong beam rotation, Rae Balthazor’s all around debut and Bridget Hodan’s 9.9 on beam. However, counting a fall on bars and too many scores in the 9.7s kept the Illini under 195. Penn State has been hindered by wobbly beam sets in every outing so far this year. The Nittany Lions need their freshman duo of Alissa Bonsall and Lauren Bridgens to have strong all around performances if they are going to beat the Illini.

No. 23 Stanford at No. 18 Oregon State: Saturday, Jan. 27 at 5:30 p.m. ET

The Beavers will be back home after a strong showing at Utah, where they broke 49 on all four events. The team is the favorite here thanks to their consistency and their depth. Sabrina Gill is turning out to be a reliable all arounder, and don’t miss Isis Lowery on floor, who won the hearts of most Utah fans last week with her fun and energetic routine. Stanford will once again have to figure out its bars situation, which was really what made the difference against ASU in week three. With only putting up five routines and only Elizabeth Price and Kyla Bryant hitting big scores, fans will once again hold their breaths when Stanford heads to the event to start the competition. The Cardinal has, however, been excellent on floor and beam. Don’t miss Price, the current Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week, on any of her four events, as she is having her best season yet and is ranked No. 1 in the all around, bars and floor.

No. 26 Pittsburgh, No. 48 Eastern Michigan and No. 56 Rutgers at No. 45 Michigan State: Saturday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. ET

Pittsburgh is the favorite in this East Lansing quad meet. Haley Brechwald, fresh off of two EAGL Freshman of the Week accolades, leads the team, which scored a 196.225 to beat New Hampshire last weekend. Catie Conrad has also excelled in the all around and will face her former team in Eastern Michigan this weekend. If Pitt falters, however, Michigan State could very well take the meet. The Spartans showed great improvement last weekend, nearing a 195 team total. But depth continues to be a question—Madison McHale has been seen training bars and Michelina Lupinetti has made an impact in vault and beam lineups after coming back from injuries, but options are still limited. Roya Shirley has stepped into an important role as a veteran all arounder for the Spartans, and Hailee Westney continues to excel on bars and beam. EMU and Rutgers will also have a battle. EMU comes in with three solid all arounders in Emili Dobronics, Kendall Valentin and Megan Hultgren and is led on bars and beam by Lacey Rubin. Rutgers has been a team of highs and lows, but with a hit meet, the Scarlet Knights could put up a solid team total. Kaitlyn Hall debuted a 10.0 vault last week, and Mackenzie Shank has the potential for a big beam score.

These aren’t the only meets happening this weekend. To see all the matchups all in one place, take a look at our master schedule. You can also find live scoring and video links for all this weekend’s meets below.

DateTime (ET)TeamsScoring LinkVideo LinkAvailability
Thurs, Jan. 256 p.m.Iowa at UMDScoresVideoBTN
Fri, Jan. 266:45 p.m.OU at UFScoresVideoSECN+
Fri, Jan. 267 p.m.Hamline, UW-W at WinonaScoresVideoLive Stream
Fri, Jan. 267 p.m.UGA at ArkScoresVideoSECN
Fri, Jan. 267 p.m.Gustavus at UW-SScoresVideoLive Stream
Fri, Jan. 267 p.m.UNC, Ursinus, Yale at TowsonScoresVideoLive Stream
Fri, Jan. 267 p.m.SEMO at PennScoresVideo
Fri, Jan. 267:30 p.m.TWU at Iowa StScoresVideoLive Stream
Fri, Jan. 268 p.m.Utah at ArizScoresVideoP12N/A/M
Fri, Jan. 268:30 p.m.UK at AubScoresVideoSECN
Fri, Jan. 268:30 p.m.Miz at AlaScoresVideoSECN+
Fri, Jan. 269 p.m.USAFA at BYUScoresVideoBYU TV
Fri, Jan. 269 p.m.Boise St at SUUScoresVideoPluto TV
Fri, Jan. 2610 p.m.LU, UW-EC at SPUScoresVideoLive Steam
Fri, Jan. 2610 p.m.Sac St at SJSUScoresVideoMWN
Fri, Jan. 2610 p.m.UIC, WVU at UC DavisScoresVideoFacebook Live
Sat, Jan. 271 p.m.Cortland, RIC at WCUScoresVideo
Sat, Jan. 272 p.m.Brockport, Brown, SCSU at SpringfieldScoresVideo
Sat, Jan. 273 p.m.UM at NebScores/Video$Paid Stream
Sat, Jan. 273 p.m.UW-L at UW-OScoresVideo
Sat, Jan. 274 p.m.Ill at PSUScoresVideoLive Stream
Sat, Jan. 274 p.m.Ill St, Minn at tOSUScoresVideo $Paid Stream
Sat, Jan. 275:30 p.m.Stan at OSUScoresVideoP12N/BA/O
Sat, Jan. 277 p.m.EMU, Pitt, RU at MSUScoresVideoBTN+/FloGym
Sat, Jan. 277:45 p.m.LSU, NCSU, UCLA, UW (Metroplex)ScoresVideoFloGym
Sat, Jan. 278 p.m.USU at DUScoresVideo
Sun, Jan. 281 p.m.BGSU at WMUScoresVideoESPN3
Sun, Jan. 281 p.m.GW at UNHScoresVideoLive Stream
Sun, Jan. 282 p.m.Cal at ASUScoresVideoP12N/A/BA
Sun, Jan. 282 p.m.KSU at Ball StScoresVideoLive Stream
Sun, Jan. 283 p.m.CMU at NIUScoresVideoPaid Stream
Sun, Jan. 287:30 p.m.Cornell, Ithaca, SEMO at TempleScoresVideoLive Stream

Don’t worry! We haven’t forgotten about Fantasy Gymnastics players. We have a number of resources to aid in your weekly success. Check out our updated injury report to see if any of your gymnasts have been out of action. We also have a list of teams on byes, as well as those with multiple competitions, this week.

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Article by the editors of NCAA Gym News

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