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 knew as soon as schedules started coming out that this year would have major, major gaps since most teams are taking more byes than usual and several will have to cancel meets for COVID-related reasons. Take a break from crying over your Arkansasless fantasy lineups and review the weirdest events from the last two weeks when things were still busy and fun.
Mia Townes debuting Illinois’ first 10.0 vault since the Yurchenko full was devalued was a major feel-good moment, especially for a team with substantial vault issues.
On the Struggle Bus
With a combination of COVID absences and injuries, Bowling Green has been unable to field full lineups for two weeks straight, bottoming out at 142.075. The Falcons should have more warm bodies next week, luckily.
You’re Beautiful but Please Hit
The Penn State beam lineup is GORGEOUS this year. Maggie Ayers, Ava Verdeflor and Cassidy Rushlow make me feel things. The Penn State beam lineup is also ranked No. 44 in the country and gets worse every week. Oh well.
Why Is This Happening
Nebraska has fallen off a cliff over the past two seasons, and this year the Huskers have not scored a 49.000 on any event. Only a few years ago this team was a nationals stalwart, and now there’s pretty much nothing left. This isn’t just a rebuilding-year-after-great-senior-class-leaves situation, either. There’s no reason to expect substantial improvement, and the rest of the Big Ten is in increasingly great shape and keeping the pressure on the struggling Huskers.
Makarri Doggette is ranked No. 3 in the country on bars. Clair Kaji is No. 5 on floor. I’m mildly surprised by both of those rankings. It’s also fair game to be mildly surprised by Madi Dagen’s No. 2 ranking on vault, but as a person who’s spent all of January forcing everyone I know to watch Madi Dagen’s vault sticks, I know all about that one.
Next Week, I Swear
I’d really, really like a Maryland four-for-four weekend. I know it’s early and taking time to find consistency is normal when your team is suddenly much, much better than it’s ever been before, but I personally am impatient and want to see what happens when the pieces come together.
Won Lost Twitter for The Week
I’ll remember this week fondly for two astoundingly cold takes that popped up in replies to CGN content. One person contended that judges fistpumping in response to a routine is just a normal and acceptable reaction to seeing good gymnastics. Another decided that they had the right to unilaterally decide a coach’s racial identity and ignore any evidence to the contrary.
Was That Just a Fluke
I’m going to say this very quickly and then run away before I jinx anything but…
…North Carolina might be kinda good at bars now? okbye
Glad You’re Having Fun
Uh… the judges at Oklahoma.
I Don’t Know Who Needs to Hear This, But…
It’s literally fine to hate whatever athletes or teams you want to hate! Having negative feelings toward some of your faves’ rivals is an integral part of sport culture, and you’re not special or better if you claim not to have those feelings!
This week has brought us a lot of discourse about whether, and to what degree, hate is acceptable in gymnastics. I could go on for a while about how I feel that gymnastics has a serious toxic positivity problem, but this is a joke column, so instead let me introduce you to something I like to call The Patriots Principle.
Here’s how it works: Whenever someone complains about how there’s too much hate in gymnastics, take their complaint and replace any team or athlete names with “the Patriots.” If the complaint suddenly sounds completely absurd, it probably is.
Here’s an example, derived from something I’m sure we all saw on our TLs a few days ago.
Fall of the Week
Missouri’s Amaya Marshall subscribes to the all gas, no brakes model of gymnastics.
(GIF credit to Emily Howell-Forbes.)
Article by Rebecca Scally
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THANK YOU for the twitter input. I thought that was ridiculous too, especially since not make nationals was only mentioned as a very crazy what if for that team and that was such a ridiculous overreaction.
I loveeee the patriots thing. That was a bunch of bullshit the other day. This is why people outside the community don’t always see gymnastics as a real sport. The toxic positivity of some people