At regionals, we had 11 perfect 10s, but as fans, athletes, commentators, and seemingly everyone other than the judging panel has acknowledged, not all 10.0s are created, or distributed, equally. With regionals, we have the benefit of a four judge panel. This means that the high and low score are dropped for each routine, and the two middle scores are averaged to generate the final score. Because of this, to score a perfect 10 the gymnast would need at least three out of four judges to award a 10.
Hopefully that means more four and five-star 10s this time around, but you never know! Here I’ll break down the deductions I saw when watching the videos in real time and rank the 10.0 from one to five stars. As a reminder, here’s my rating scale:
⭐ This was clearly not a 10.0 routine (but still very good!)
⭐⭐ There was definitely a deduction there, but maybe the judges blinked?
⭐⭐⭐ 10.0 vibes, but not actually perfect
⭐⭐⭐⭐ It was a “college 10”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 100% a perfect routine
Disclaimer: The video quality on some of these routines is not great due to the nature of the quad box, so I apologize in advance for the sometimes-blurry screenshots/GIFs and trouble. It’s possible there may be some small execution deductions like leg form or foot form that I won’t be able to see because of the quality of the film.
Jaedyn Rucker, Utah (March 30)
Leg separation (-0.050)
The reigning NCAA national vault champion delivered a beautifully stuck Yurchenko one and a half on Thursday in the second round of regionals. From this angle, I noticed her legs start to separate and possibly stagger a bit early in preparation for her landing. Her feet are also a bit wide on her landing, but I can’t tell if they are greater than hip width from this angle or if she had to lift one of her feet to bring them together on her extension to salute. One judge went 9.950 (which was dropped), so they probably saw the leg separation or something on the landing. Overall, it was still a great performance from Rucker.
Courtney Blackson, Boise State (March 30)
LA turn started too early (-0.050)
Shoulder angle (-0.050)
Blackson had a fantastic showing for the Broncos during the second round of regionals, scoring a perfect 10 on her Yurchenko one and a half. Her height, distance, leg form, and landing were all textbook. From this camera angle, she has a small shoulder angle on the vault and starts her twist early, both of which are small deductions. She also had some leg separation with the early twist, but they were together almost immediately after this screenshot. This would be hard to see in real time, especially if each judge was focused on the shoulders. One judge gave her a 9.950, so I’m guessing they took some for the twist and/or shoulder angle on the vault.
Katherine Levasseur, Oklahoma (April 1)
Levasseur is so consistent on this event. This vault is a carbon copy of the five-star 10.0 from last month. I also like this vault angle much better as we can better appreciate her height and distance, as well as see her beautiful form on the table and in the air. One judge gave her a 9.950, but I’m not sure where the deduction was. I did see a bit of leg separation on slow motion before she landed, but in full speed it looked appropriately timed for her landing. She also finishes her twist very late, which makes it easier for her to spot the landing, but one judge may have found a reason to deduct for it.
Jaedyn Rucker, Utah (April 1)
Leg separation (-0.050)
Rucker again has some minor leg separation at various points throughout the vault. One judge gave her a 9.950 while the others all gave her a 10.0. She also may have been a little low on her landing position, but even in slow motion she moves through it quickly.
Selena Harris, UCLA (April 1)
This was a well deserved 10.0 from Harris with great form, amplitude, and control. I love how she finishes her block before she twists, making the vault look so easy and comfortable for her. One judge went 9.950, but I’m not sure what the deduction was. Interestingly, it was the same judge that went 9.950 on Rucker as well. And while this vault was perfect, the most perfect part of this vault rotation was the celebration between Chiles and Harris after the 10.0 was posted.
Jordan Bowers, Oklahoma (March 30)
Bent arms (-0.050)
This was an absolutely beautiful routine from Oklahoma all-arounder Bowers. Her form was beautiful, she hit all her handstands, and her extension throughout the entire routine is exquisite. She caught the bar a little close on her release, which was the only deduction I saw and is not consistently applied. Looking at the score sheet, one judge did give Bowers 9.950, but that score was dropped since only the middle two scores are averaged.
Kayla DiCello, Florida (March 31)
Toe-on to handstand (C)
Arm bend (-0.050)
Leg bend (-0.050) x2
DiCello earned a 10.0 on this beautiful bar routine, earning a 10.0 from three of the four judges. The quality of the video was low, so this one was hard for me to analyze. She had some knee bend on her tap, as well as a small bend in her arms during her toe circle on the low bar. Her amplitude on her releases and her dismount are breathtaking. She’s definitely one to watch at nationals.
Maile O’Keefe, Utah (March 30)
Everyone please take note that O’Keefe is showing us all the correct position to complete a full turn on beam. In addition to her precise and well-controlled full turn, her leap series had great rhythm, her execution was pristine, and I didn’t see any deductions. I usually see a flexed foot or two on her side aerial, but the video quality is so poor that there’s no way to know if she did in this particular routine. One judge gave her a 9.950, so maybe they could see something that I couldn’t, but this was nevertheless a great routine.
Ragan Smith, Oklahoma (March 30)
Bent arms (-0.050) x2
Precision of body position (-0.050)
I must be the only person that sees Smith’s body position in her full turn as an execution error rather than an artistic choice, because all four judges on this panel gave Ragan a 10.0 for her routine. I do still believe that judges should deduct for bent arms in back handsprings, however Smith’s fast-paced, aggressive, punctuated beam set is an absolute pleasure to watch. I especially love her straddle half to back handspring swing down and wish that more athletes would connect mixed series like she does. If I could give her extra credit for that connection, I would. With Smith being the first athlete to get a 10 from all four judges this postseason, this definitely qualifies as a four-star 10.0.
Sierra Brooks, Michigan (March 31)
Small hop (-0.050)
Body posture on landing (-0.050)
Brooks did an absolutely beautiful floor set where she outright stuck her first past, nailed a beautiful leap pass, and finished with a sky high front through to double back. She had a small hop forward due to being a hair under-rotated, which should have been a half-tenth deduction. One judge went 9.900 for this routine, which I would guess meant they took for the hop forward, and a half tenth on her first pass. Although she stuck her full-in, her chest was a little low on her landing.
Jordan Chiles, UCLA (April 1)
This was the best floor routine I’ve seen from Jordan Chiles this season. Her double layout was high, and she maintained her straight body through her landing, making it look so effortless. Her jumps were precise, and her choreography was as engaging, energetic, and high energy as always. A well-earned 10.0!
READ THIS NEXT: The Dismount: Regionals
Article by Rhiannon Franck
Rhiannon Franck is a former national-rated NAWGJ women’s gymnastics judge with over 15 years of USAG judging experience and nine seasons judging NCAA gymnastics. Outside of gymnastics, Franck works at a university as a nursing professor and loves to travel. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.
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