With the increase in the number of 10.0s scored in the last several NCAA seasons, it feels like all the top-scoring gymnasts have reached perfection at least once in their career. However, there are quite a few athletes who consistently scored 9.9-plus on their events yet never scored a perfect 10.0. This article is dedicated to giving a second look at those routines to see if they are scored consistently with some of the other 10.0s received this season.
I will use the same five-star rating scale I do with the 10.0s to rate these routines to see if they are on par with other 10.0 routines under current judging norms. I’ll use a green check mark to denote those routines that were appropriately scored below a 10.0, even with the generous allowances some of the 10.0s have received in recent years.
Since there are so many athletes that have NOT scored a 10.0 but have been consistently close, we’re going to start with more recent competitors. If you like this article and have any requests for more “classic” routines or other favorites from more recent athletes, put it in the comment section below. As a reminder, here’s the 10.0 rating scale I’ve been using all season:
✅ This should not have been a 10.0 routine
⭐ 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
Sydney Soloski (Utah) – Floor
This routine had major 10.0 vibes, and with a 9.975, one judge agreed it should have received a 10.0. Her jumps looked clean and well rotated, and her execution was beautiful. She does have a slight pike down on her double layout, and her last landing, while technically only a step, does not look controlled and could also be a deduction. There have been so many piked down double layouts this season that have received a 10.0, so I think this routine definitely could have been a perfect 10.0 with a different judging panel.
Emily Muhlenhaupt (Boise State) – Bars
Muhlenhaupt has beautiful lines, exquisite toe point, and a high, floaty Jaeger into a well-controlled shootover. The amplitude requirements for the shootover following a single bar release are only to catch at horizontal or above, which she hit. Her handstands may be a bit borderline, but it’s always hard to tell looking through the camera. I did see a clear landing deduction on her double layout, though, where she landed with her chest forward before she stood to finish. We’ve seen 10.0s for routines with foot shuffles and sometimes steps on landings, so it’s not out of the question that a judge might give this a 10.0, but I think 95% of the time this will go between 9.900 and 9.950. However, she definitely has all the ingredients for a 10.0 routine if she could get the right panel and hit all her skills at once.
Sabrina Vega (Georgia) – Floor
This routine was powerful, and I loved the artistry and attitude she maintained throughout the performance. She has a couple of deductions that I noticed, both in her technique and execution, that make me feel this was not a 10.0 routine. Honestly, that a 9.900 was a little high as well. Her knees are staggered in her full-in, her ring position lacks precision, and her tour jetè full was very unde- rotated. She also slid her front foot backward on her double pike landing, which would be a clear execution deduction. If she’s consistently making the technique errors in her jumps and full-in, then I don’t think she should have ever scored a 10.0 on this event.
Rating: ✅ (I would have scored it around a 9.800 to 9.850)
Alyssa Baumann (Florida) – Beam
This solid beam routine from Baumann went 9.975 at Georgia in 2020. The only errors I saw were flexed feet on her roundoff, a small bit of leg separation on her dismount, and a lean and arm movements to maintain her stick. All of these are deductions, but every single one of these deductions has been missed in other 10.0 routines, although perhaps not when they all occur at the same time and at the end of the routine. At home and with the right panel, this could have gone 10.0, but I do think a 9.950 is an appropriate score for this routine.
Helen Hu (Missouri) – Beam
Hu is known for her beautiful flexibility, unique combinations, and consistency on beam. This was a beautiful beam routine, but she doesn’t have the control of her landing, which you can tell with her heels digging into the mat to try and save the stick. Hu is another athlete that has all the ingredients and capability to score a 10.0 on this event, she just needed to hit all of her skills in the same routine.
Maddie Karr (Denver) – Bars
Honestly, I’m not going to even post any screenshots or GIFs of this routine because it definitely could have been a 10.0. I am honestly struggling to see what the 9.950 judge took off. If I’m being extremely picky, there are body shapes that are a little more “pikey” than “round” but not to the point that I—or any judge that I have known—would deduct for them. This definitely could have gone 10.0.
Lauren Guerin (Iowa) – Floor
Guarin’s routine has a lot of similarities to Mya Hooten’s, who has scored six 10.0s on floor in her career so far. She also has the same error on her jump series, where she over-turns her switch side, and under-turns her straddle full. Assuming she consistently does this in her routines, she wouldn’t get a 10.0 from me. However, that has not kept Hooten from racking up 10.0s on this event. In this routine specifically, she does the somewhat controversial “hop to lunge” rather than step-to-controlled lunge, which is a deduction. On her last pass, her step back is rather large (and not controlled), and her front foot slides, which should incur a landing deduction as well.
Rating: ✅ (I would have been around a 9.800 on this routine)
Ivy Lu (Minnesota) – Bars
This routine has beautiful execution and definitely could have gone 10.0 depending on the judging panel. It’s hard to tell with the camera angle and quality, but she may have some bent legs on her tap and may have been short on one or both of her low bar casts to handstand. She also had a small leg separation on the Van Leeuwen that the judges may have seen. I think the most likely culprit for the 9.950 is a short cast on the low bar, but it’s definitely borderline and could go either way depending on the viewing angle of the judge.
Nia Dennis (UCLA) – Floor
This is another example of a routine that could have gone 10.0 based on the judging panel. Her landings were all well controlled, her leaps were great, and her artistry was on point. If I’m going to be super picky, her legs in her first front handspring looked visibly bent, but this definitely could have been a college 10.0.
Mary Korlin-Downs (Minnesota) – Beam
Korlin-Downs, a beam specialist from Minnesota, has a beautiful routine and one of the nicest back handspring layouts I’ve seen in the NCAA in this set. She scored a 9.975 here, and the only errors I saw were the ever-present flexed feet on the side aerial, as well as the small adjustment of her left foot on her landing. I’ve seen Abby Heiskell score a 10.0 this season with a similarly small adjustment on her landing, so it’s plausible that one judge (or both) may have missed it. This definitely has the potential to go 10.0, but this routine wasn’t quite it.
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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.
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