16 Things to Watch as the Regular Season Comes to a Close

With just two more weekends worth of scoring opportunities before regionals and nationals qualification, we’re keeping our eye on a number of things across the NCAA. From Maggie Nichols’ injury status to regionals bubble teams, make sure you’re paying attention to these storylines as the 2019 regular season comes to a close.

  • Maggie Nichols’ Injury Status: Nichols bruised her heel on a floor landing at Oklahoma’s very first home meet of the season and has been out of the all around ever since, only competing bars and beam most weeks. While Oklahoma is doing fine without her, Nichols certainly provides a much-needed boost and is likely crucial to the Sooners’ postseason success.
  • Olivia Trautman Being Rested: Along the same lines, we heard Olivia Trautman’s being rested for the rest of the regular season thanks to a minor groin injury. However, this leaves her abilities upon her expected return in question as the freshman has been a star for the Sooners in 2019, and Oklahoma’s floor lineup is more precarious than no without both her and Nichols.
  • Lindenwood Regionals Watch: Lindenwood, a DII team and the newest in the NCAA, is currently sitting at No. 39 in the country with a very real chance of sliding into the regionals picture. According to the Balance Beam Situation, a 195.575 or higher at Arkansas this weekend would push it to at least No. 37 leading into the conference championship.
  • UIC’s Final Meets: UIC is sitting in a regionals qualification position right now, at No. 34. Again, according to Spencer at the Balance Beam Situation, a 195.450 will keep the Flames in the top 36 while anything lower could make it vulnerable to dropping down.
  • UCLA Bars Lineup: Ideally, the Bruins have both Nia Dennis and one of the Glenns in its final postseason lineup on bars. However, with Dennis managing a torn labrum and neither Glenn having competed on bars since the beginning of February due to injuries—Grace was slated for the lineup Sunday but was replaced by Dennis at the last minute and Anna is nursing a knee injury—the top six is still fluid heading into the final few competitions.
  • Pac 12 Evening Session Fight: UCLA and Utah are locks for the evening session at Pac 12 Championships, but there is a three team battle for the remaining two spots between Oregon State, Cal and Washington. While Oregon State and Cal control their own destinies, a miss from either and a season high for Washington would give one of the spots to the Huskies.
  • Denver Watch: Denver’s having one of its best seasons as a program. It already set the program record for NQS and national ranking now that it is ranked at No. 5 overall. At this rate, the Pioneers are looking like a contender for nationals and the Big 12 championships could get interesting if Oklahoma doesn’t bring its A-game and is still without key performers like Nichols and Trautman on floor.
  • MRGC Battle: The MRGC gap is getting smaller as the years go by, and this season is proving it. Boise State is still a major player, but BYU has upped its game and Southern Utah is a dark horse, capable of upsetting the latter two teams for the conference title.
  • The Final Regionals Spots: Does the battle for the last few berths to regionals feel more intense than ever to you too? UIC, Kent State, George Washington, Illinois, UC Davis and Lindenwood are all right there, fighting for three spots. We can barely look.
  • What the Heck, Nebraska: The Huskers have been all over the map this year, and we have no idea what team will show up to the conference championship next week. This is a team with a long history of hitting when it counts, but who is healthy enough to make lineups? Taylor Houchin has been rested on floor two weeks in a row, and the bars lineup is a constant head-scratcher.
  • MAC Parity: The MAC has more parity than any other conference in the NCAA. Any team could win the conference title on the day. Really. Which team will be the second, after Central Michigan, to hit 196?
  • Centenary Watch: Centenary is having its best season in years after hitting its first 192-plus since April 2013 a few weekends ago. How high can it go?  It seems sure to surpass DI conference foe Southeast Missouri at MICs, but can it eclipse a second team as well?
  • Hold Your Breath for Alabama: It might miss the SEC evening session, depending on Kentucky’s weekend. We’re starting to feel worried about Dana Duckworth’s job security, given the uproar at her after the Crimson Tide missed the Super Six last year.
  • Big Ten All Arounders: Natalie Wojcik and Lexy Ramler are ranked Nos. 5 and 7 in the all around, respectively. Ramler’s NQS is slightly lower, but her average is slightly higher than Wojcik’s. Their ceilings are just 0.025 apart, with Wojcik narrowly beating out Ramler. Both have stellar Yurchenko one and a halfs and are ranked in the top 10 on beam. Wojcik just upped the ante by adding a second E pass, a full-in, to her floor set, which already features a front double full. Phew! Don’t take your eyes off these two in the coming weekends.
  • Men’s Big Ten: Who will win the inaugural men’s Big Ten regular season title? Currently Illinois, Iowa and Michigan are all tied on top of the standings with a 2-1 record, and Penn State is close behind at 1-1. The Illini, Nittany Lions and Wolverines all compete against one another this weekend, leaving only one of the three in the driver’s seat to win the title. You also can’t count out the Hawkeyes, who have already pulled the upset on two of the toughest challenges they had to face this season.
  • EAGL Championship Battle: While N.C. State is the defending champion and currently has the higher ranking, a second straight victory is hardly a sure thing. New Hampshire has more scores above 196 and is the host this year. The Wildcats have won the EAGL championship twice, in 2003 and 2014, and both times were the host. Also, don’t count out George Washington, Pittsburgh or North Carolina, who could be right there to take the title if the frontrunners have bad days.

Article by the editors of College Gym News

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