Does Winning a National Championship Affect the Amount of 10s Given the Following Season?

This weekend marks the anniversary of Michigan’s historic three-10 vault lineup at Rutgers that scored a 49.875. That lineup had perfect 10s from Reyna Guggino, Natalie Wojcik, and Abby Heiskell. It was a record-setting vault score for the Wolverines, and it was Guggino’s and Heiskell’s first career 10s. 

“I feel like all of the hard work paid off,” said Reyna Guggino. “I think that gymnastics is just very based on being perfect, especially in college, and that’s the ultimate goal.”

The historic vault lineup at Rutgers gave Michigan three of its eight 10s that were earned in the 2022 season. That’s six more 10s than the Wolverines earned in 2021, the year they won their first national championship. 

“Looking back on it, I’m like ‘You know, I honestly think I’ve done vaults that have been a little bit better,” said Abby Heiskell. “In the moment, I was like ‘No way! This is impossible!”

It’s no secret that some college gymnastics teams tend to get scored higher than others. You’ll see more obviously imperfect beam routines score in the 9.9s in the SEC than you will in the EAGL. Most gymnastics fans can see the differences in judging across the various conferences, but could there be other factors? Why did Michigan score six more perfect 10s the year after it won a national title? We looked at the data to find out if winning a national title can impact the amount of 10s in the following season. 

First, let’s take a look at which teams have won a national championship: Utah, Georgia, Alabama, UCLA, Florida, Oklahoma and Michigan. Unfortunately we don’t have data that goes back to Utah and Georgia’s first or most recent titles, so they won’t be included in this analysis. As for Alabama and UCLA, we’ll look at their most recent titles for the same reason. 

For most of the teams that we analyzed, there was an increase in 10s the year after bringing home a national championship. Some teams had some pretty dramatic increases in the frequency while some had only a modest one. Oklahoma scored three 10s in 2014 and four in 2015. Florida, which had scored a lot of 10s before its first national title, went from one 10 in 2013 to eight in 2014. Michigan went from two 10s in 2021 to eight in 2022. In the years following their national titles, the Sooners finished third and the Wolverines finished eighth. 

UCLA had the most dramatic increase in 10s, with 12 in 2018 to 21 in 2019, but it should be noted that 37 10s were earned across the NCAA that year. The Bruins finished in third place at the national championships that year. Alabama seems to be the exception to the trend. The Crimson Tide scored two 10s in 2012 and none in 2013 after it won the title. Despite not scoring any 10s in 2013, Alabama was still able to pull off a third place finish at that year’s national championships. 

To conclude, it looks like winning a national title may actually affect the number of 10s that a team receives. Of course, there are plenty of other factors at play. Conference, home-arena advantage and even the individual judges can play a big part in how many 10s a given team can receive. But it seems like winning a national championship is one of those factors that play a part. 

READ THIS NEXT: Is Receiving a 10 From a Judge Still Rare?

Article by Emily Lockard and Mia Neil

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