Bubble Watch: Mar. 10

With two weeks left in the regular season, the postseason field is beginning to take shape. Michigan and George Washington finally reached enough scores to calculate an NQS while Michigan State officially ended its season, meaning every team capable of figuring into the regionals discussion is now ranked.

Regionals Projection: Teams

Let’s start with the teams not on the bubble. Here are the projected regionals placements if the current standings were to hold.

Tuscaloosa Athens Morgantown Salt Lake City
1. Florida 1. Oklahoma 3. LSU 4. Michigan
8. Alabama 7. Minnesota 6. California 5. Utah
9. Arkansas 10. Arizona State 11. Denver 12. BYU
15. Auburn 16. Georgia 14. UCLA 12. Kentucky

Florida and BYU win their tiebreakers (over Oklahoma and Kentucky, respectively) by virtue of having the higher scores remaining once all scores counting toward NQS calculation are removed. In addition, Georgia gets swapped with Auburn so that there isn’t a host conflict with Alabama.

The following teams would then be distributed to the four regionals according to some combination of geographical and conference criteria that only makes sense to the committee who decides these things, with teams in the bottom two rows participating in the first round “play in”:

17. Southern Utah 18. Boise State 19. Iowa 20. Utah State
21. Missouri 21. Illinois 23. Iowa State 24. Oregon State
25. Ohio State 26. Central Michigan 27. N.C. State 28. Maryland
29. Western Michigan 30. Penn State 31. Towson 32. Eastern Michigan
33. Kent State 34. Ball State 35. Nebraska 36. West Virginia

Bubble Watch: Teams

This week we’ll assume that every team currently ranked No. 28 or higher is a lock to make regionals, so we’ll examine the scoring outlook and qualification scenarios for teams ranked No. 29 to No. 42. Scores in bold can no longer be dropped. Just like last week, we’ll be projecting their NQS if they match their season high this weekend.

No. 29 Western Michigan

Current NQS 195.769
Highest two road scores 196.05; 195.575
Other counting scores 196.025; 195.425
Meets remaining 1 road; 1 home
NQS with season high this weekend 195.925 (27th)

WMU dropped three ranking spots with its bye week, but it has the opportunity to reverse that with a road meet this weekend. However, it’s going to be difficult to avoid the play-in round unless the Broncos can drop both of its sub-196 scores over its remaining two meets.

No. 30 Penn State

Current NQS 195.763
Highest two road scores 196; 195.85
Other counting scores 195.925; 195.275
Meets remaining 2 road
NQS with season high this weekend 195.944 (27th)

Penn State is already locked into counting one sub-196 score, but with two road scores it will have two opportunities to drop the 195.275 currently holding it back from avoiding a play-in round. 

No. 31 Towson

Current NQS 195.756
Highest two road scores 196.15; 195.55
Other counting scores 196.15; 195.175
Meets remaining 1 road; 2 home
NQS with season highs this weekend 196.000 (27th)

WMU, Penn State and Towson are clustered very closely in the current rankings, but Towson has the most opportunity to improve with a double header and the lowest score (195.175) to drop.

No. 32 Eastern Michigan

Current NQS 195.688
Highest two road scores 195.975; 195.15
Other counting scores 195.825; 195.8
Meets remaining 2 road
NQS with season high this weekend 195.894 (28th)

EMU has two opportunities left to drop its lowest score of 195.15, which would solidify its regionals berth, but the remaining NQS-counting scores are clustered closely together, so it would be difficult to avoid the play-in round at this point.

No. 33 Kent State

Current NQS 195.675
Highest two road scores 195.65; 194.825
Other counting scores 196.375; 195.85
Meets remaining 2 road
NQS with season high this weekend 196.063 (27th)

With a season high of 196.375 and two road meets left, Kent State has the opportunity to drop its two low road scores and move up in the rankings. But the away scores have been low all year, so it’s unlikely that the Golden Flashes will be able to put up the numbers required at this point. However, even dropping the 194.825 for a mid-195 would help prevent them from falling out of regionals qualification.

No. 34 Ball State

Current NQS 195.631
Highest two road scores 195.975; 195.725
Other counting scores 195.55; 195.275
Meets remaining 2 road
NQS with season high this weekend 195.806 (29th)

With no scores over 196 this season, it’s unlikely the Cardinals will be able to increase their ranking enough to move out of the play-in round, but they can avoid dropping out of the regionals field entirely by scoring in the high 195s in their two remaining road meets.

No. 35 Nebraska

Current NQS 195.488
Highest two road scores 196.15; 195.35
Other counting scores 195.25; 195.2
Meets remaining 1 road; 1 home
NQS with season high this weekend 195.725 (32nd)

Last week we wrote that Nebraska’s chances at qualifying were slim given its narrow spread of scores, but the Cornhuskers bested their previous season high by eight tenths last week. However, that was only enough to keep them ranked No. 35 as other teams made moves around them, so they will need to keep up the higher scoring to remain in regionals qualification position.

No. 36 West Virginia

Current NQS 195.456
Highest two road scores 195.9; 195.35
Other counting scores 195.4; 195.175
Meets remaining 1 road; 2 home
NQS with season highs this weekend 195.775 (29th)

Like Nebraska, West Virginia set a new season high last week but didn’t move up the rankings, so there’s more work to do if the Mountaineers want to qualify as a team to regionals. Taking advantage of the double-meet weekend to replace those low-195 scores would be a great place to start.

No. 37(T) New Hampshire

Current NQS 195.419
Highest two road scores 195.3; 194.9
Other counting scores 196.125; 195.35
Meets remaining 2 road
NQS with season high this weekend 195.725 (32nd)

We have our third team in a row that set a new season high last week, and it did it by a lot. But it wasn’t enough to move UNH into the top 36. With two road meets left, the opportunity is there, but the season high came at home so it’ll be a tall task to reproduce that performance in both of the remaining meets.

No. 37(T) Arizona

Current NQS 195.419
Highest two road scores 196.075; 195.65
Other counting scores 195.075; 194.875
Meets remaining 1 road; 1 home
NQS with season high this weekend 195.719 (32nd)

Arizona, though tied with New Hampshire, seems more likely to improve on its NQS over the remaining weeks because its two highest scores this season have come on the road.

No. 39 North Carolina

Current NQS 195.338
Highest two road scores 195.6; 195.25
Other counting scores 195.3; 195.2
Meets remaining 1 road; 1 home
NQS with season high this weekend 195.438 (37th)

We wrote last week that then-No. 33 UNC needed to start setting some new season highs to stay in regionals qualifying position, but unfortunately that didn’t happen and the Tar Heels have fallen to No. 39. With the scores so bunched together, even matching their season high this weekend would keep them on the outside looking in.

No. 40 Rutgers

Current NQS 195.15
Highest two road scores 195.975; 195.225
Other counting scores 194.8; 194.6
Meets remaining 1 road; 1 home
NQS with season high this weekend 195.494 (35th)

Like Arizona, Rutgers’ best scores this season have come on the road, so the opportunity is there to replace those sub-195 scores still counting toward its NQS. However, the Scarlet Knights are already guaranteed to count a 195.225 in their final regular season ranking, so there is no room for error.

No. 41(T) Northern Illinois

Current NQS 195.044
Highest two road scores 195.05; 194.8
Other counting scores 195.5; 194.825
Meets remaining 2 road
NQS with season high this weekend 195.219 (40th)

Unfortunately for NIU, it looks like the regionals door has been closed for this season. Even two 196-level scores in both of the Huskies’ remaining meets would push them only up to 34th in the current rankings, but other teams would likely pass them as well.

No. 41(T) Temple

Current NQS 195.044
Highest two road scores 194.85; 194.825
Other counting scores 195.4; 195.1
Meets remaining 3 road
NQS with season highs this weekend 195.325 (40th)

With three road meets left, including a double-meet weekend this week, Temple has slightly more opportunity to increase its NQS than its rankings twin NIU, but it feels unlikely with a season high of only 195.4; the Owls would need three scores of 196 or better.

Regionals Projection: Individuals

If regionals were to start tomorrow, the following gymnasts would qualify as all arounders:

Gymnast School Current NQS
Hannah Joyner Rutgers 39.331
Payton Murphy Western Michigan 39.306
Tara Kofmehl Northern Illinois 39.206
Cassidy Rushlow Penn State 39.169
Angelica Labat Illinois State 39.150
Lauren Bolen Towson 39.113
Belle Huang Rutgers 39.106
Sarah Moravansky Western Michigan 39.075
Elizabeth Culton North Carolina 39.075
Dahlia Solorzano-Caruso SEMO 39.038
Rachel Decavitch Kent State 39.000
Kylie Gorgenyi New Hampshire 38.919

On the outside looking in: Brianna Greenlow (UNC; 38.913), Marissa Nychyk (Ball State; 38.875), Isabelle Fox (Illinois State; 38.856), Daija Stevenson (Air Force; 38.850). The most likely of these to qualify is Nychyk, who has three scores of 39.0 or higher but is still counting a 38.3 with two opportunities to drop it. Also keep an eye on Washington’s Geneva Thompson, who has two scores over 39.2 but two low scores as well. Temple’s Ariana Castrence should join the group of qualifiers if she competes all around in one more meet; she currently does not have an NQS. Of the currently projected qualifiers, Decavitch is most in danger of falling out of qualifying position with a high of only 39.05 and no low scores to drop.

Projected Vault Qualifiers

Gymnast School Current NQS
Anika Dujakovich Nebraska 9.875
Camille Vitoff Towson 9.875
Geneva Thompson Washington 9.863
Courtney Mitchell Lindenwood 9.850
Malia Hargrove Arizona 9.850
Ariana Castrence Temple 9.844
Kyndall Baze Lindenwood 9.844
Aleah Leman Lindenwood 9.838
Julianna Roland Temple 9.838
Alissa Bonsall Penn State 9.838
Jessica Castles Arizona 9.831
Victoria Henry Ball State 9.831
Daisy Woodring Texas Woman’s 9.825
Kendall Whitman George Washington 9.825
Emily Liszewski Pittsburgh 9.825
Amara Cunningham Washington 9.825

On the outside looking in: Jenna Weitz (Towson; 9.819), Arden Hudson (Ball State; 9.819), Hallie Thompson (UNC; 9.819), Drew Aldridge (UNC; 9.813), Robyn Kelley (UNH; 9.813), Nikki Borkowski (Towson; 9.813). Weitz and Aldridge have both reached 9.875 this season and are the likeliest to move into qualifying position, while Kelley could move up if she drops the 9.75 that is currently counting toward her NQS. In addition, GW’s Deja Chambliss is very likely to move into qualification position once she achieves an NQS, as her season low is a 9.875. Of the projected qualifiers, Bonsall and Castles are most vulnerable to dropping out of contention with season highs of only 9.85.

Projected Bars Qualifiers

Gymnast School Current NQS
Ava Verdeflor Penn State 9.900
Alissa Bonsall Penn State 9.894
Kynsee Roby Nebraska 9.881
Katrina Coca Pittsburgh 9.881
Allison Zuhlke Towson 9.875
Natalie Hamp Northern Illinois 9.875
Cortney Bezold Eastern Michigan 9.869
Kinsey Davis Nebraska 9.869
Grace Evans Ball State 9.863
Katie Chamberlain Pittsburgh 9.863
Jada Rondeau Eastern Michigan 9.863
Jade Brown Kent State 9.844
Geneva Thompson Washington 9.844
Amy Stewart Towson 9.844
Tess Zientek Towson 9.844
Brookelyn Sears Northern Illinois 9.844

On the outside looking in: Alexandra Fochler (Bowling Green; 9.838), Elena Deets (Arizona; 9.838), Sofia Iribarren (Illinois State; 9.838), Camille Vitoff (Towson; 9.838), Megan Teter (Ball State; 9.831), Skylar Killough-Wilhelm (Washington; 9.831). Fochler is in a great position to move up, with a season high of 9.9 and a 9.775 to drop. She could pass Sears, Stewart, Zientek or Rondeau, who all have lower season highs than the other projected qualifiers. We were hoping LIU’s Mara Titarsolej could sneak into this field once she competed enough meets, but unfortunately she was injured this past weekend.

Projected Beam Qualifiers

Gymnast School Current NQS
Kynsee Roby Nebraska 9.906
Emerson Hurst Towson 9.900
Caitlin Satler Eastern Michigan 9.894
Jessica Castles Arizona 9.881
Robyn Kelley New Hampshire 9.881
Hailey Lui New Hampshire 9.875
Kaitlyn Higgins Nebraska 9.869
Kathryn Thaler Nebraska 9.869
Jada Rondeau Eastern Michigan 9.869
Abby Fletcher Kent State 9.856
Charlotte Tishkoff Western Michigan 9.856
Kiera Doherty-Herwitz Rutgers 9.850
Arden Hudson Ball State 9.850
Briona Carswell Air Force 9.844
Hadyn Crossen Eastern Michigan 9.844
Jenna Weitz Towson 9.844

On the outside looking in: Zoie Schroeder (NIU; 9.844), Maddie Johnston (Penn State; 9.844) and Anna Kaziska (SEMO; 9.844) all lost out on the tiebreaker with Carswell, Crossen and Weitz in this projection, but Schroeder is in the best position to move up with a 9.9 season high and a 9.8 still to drop. Natalie Cross (Penn State; 9.838) is also in a good position with a 9.775 to drop. Among the projected qualifiers, Tishkoff and Doherty-Herwitz are the most vulnerable to dropping out of contention with season highs of only 9.875.

Projected Floor Qualifiers

Gymnast School Current NQS
Abby Fletcher Kent State 9.900
Amara Cunningham Washington 9.900
Melissa Astarita Penn State 9.894
Kendra Combs West Virginia 9.888
Cameron Topp Illinois State 9.881
Robyn Kelley New Hampshire 9.881
Faith Leary Temple 9.881
Claudia Goyco Ball State 9.875
Kylie Piringer Nebraska 9.875
Anna Kaziska SEMO 9.869
Jada Rondeau Eastern Michigan 9.869
Kaitlyn Higgins Nebraska 9.869
Jade Brown Kent State 9.863
Malia Hargrove Arizona 9.863
Amy Stewart Towson 9.863
Julianna Roland Temple 9.863

On the outside looking in: Megan Teter (Ball State; 9.856), Isabel Goyco (TWU; 9.856), Brooke Donabedian (Temple; 9.856), Emily Holmes-Hackerd (WVU; 9.856). Goyco is in the best position to improve with a 9.8 still to drop, and she could pass Roland, whose season high is only a 9.875. Also watch out for UNH’s Hailey Lui who has scored two 9.9s and has a 9.775 to drop. Kent State’s Karlie Franz and Toshi Richard could also move into qualifying position after dropping a 9.775 and a 9.675, respectively. Finally, Temple’s Ariana Castrence only has three floor scores this year but the lowest is a 9.875, so one more score would add her into the mix.

Teams on the Cusp

While Central Michigan, N.C. State and Maryland are currently ranked in the top 28, all are in danger of slipping below that threshold in the coming weeks if teams ranked below them excel. Let’s take a look at the individuals from those teams who could qualify if that happens.

Name School Event Current NQS
Hannah Demers Central Michigan All Around 39.263
Hannah Demers Central Michigan Vault 9.850
Hannah Demers Central Michigan Bars 9.875
Hannah Demers Central Michigan Floor 9.869
Sierra Demarinis Central Michigan All Around 39.144
Sierra Demarinis Central Michigan Floor 9.906
Katie Kowalski Central Michigan Vault 9.869
Morgan Tong Central Michigan Beam 9.863
Taylor Pitchell Central Michigan Floor 9.875
Emily Shepard N.C. State All Around 39.363
Emily Shepard N.C. State Vault 9.875
Emily Shepard N.C. State Bars 9.900
Emily Shepard N.C. State Floor 9.875
Chloe Negrete N.C. State Vault 9.856
Chloe Negrete N.C. State Beam 9.863
Chloe Negrete N.C. State Floor 9.894
Katelyn Cox N.C. State Bars 9.869
Meredith Robinson N.C. State Bars 9.863
Audrey Barber Maryland All Around 39.394
Audrey Barber Maryland Vault 9.850
Audrey Barber Maryland Bars 9.913
Audrey Barber Maryland Floor 9.863
Alexsis Rubio Maryland Vault 9.863
Collea Burgess Maryland Vault 9.844
Collea Burgess Maryland Floor 9.875
Reese McClure Maryland Vault 9.831
Reese McClure Maryland Beam 9.881
Aleka Tsiknias Maryland Bars 9.850
Sabriyya Rouse Maryland Floor 9.869

Article by Jenna King

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