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Questions, Comments, Concerns: Week 6

The hits just keep coming in a gymnastics season that seems to be going too fast. Now there are senior nights. Excuse me? And despite all that, there’s still so much we don’t understand about the power dynamics of this season and who, besides the obvious, is really going to be good at the very end. Here’s what I’m watching, anticipating, and worrying about as we cross the midpoint of the regular season.

Question: Is this the golden era of Ivy League gymnastics?

This week, Yale registered its second-best score in history and best ever at home.

Cornell scored its second-best beam rotation in program history, led by two individual program-record scores. The outright beam record came earlier this year.

Penn already has two of its top five scores in history in 2024, and Skyelar Kerico has produced a record-book total in the all around on all three attempts this year. 

Brown, with a late start to the 2024 season after the cancellation of the MLK invitational, is the only Ivy team not to make a major impact on its record book yet this year, but given its obvious upward trajectory and the number of records it has blown through in the last two seasons, it’s a reasonable guess that it’ll happen soon.

The dynamic among these four teams tends to ebb and flow: Most seasons, two are great and two are rebuilding, and it varies year to year which is which. This year, it looks like all four are thriving. It’s hard to recruit at this level: Truly great Ivy League gymnasts could absolutely get athletic scholarships elsewhere. In fact, there are current Ivy gymnasts who were previously committed to N.C. State, UC Davis and Georgia. Still, the recruiting has gotten better and better, and the results are following closely behind. 

Bonus Questions:

Can Ohio State go 197.000+ on the road? This isn’t a pathological home scoring situation: The Buckeyes’ road scores have both been comfortable high 196s. Still, with only one home meet left in the season, the next few weeks are an important opportunity to start producing serious numbers on the road. They’re already dropping a 197.025 because of the NQS home meet cap. 

Is Texas Woman’s one of the great winners of this year’s transfer market? Kaitlyn Hoiland, previously of Oregon State, and Emma Brkljacic, formerly of Northern Illinois, have both been real highlights for the Pioneers this year. 

Comment: Why are big neutral-site meets still getting away with not streaming?

There’s still a chance that streaming information will emerge for this weekend’s Elevate and Metroplex meets, but as it is, we’re not expecting to be able to watch either of the two most recent national championship teams this weekend. 

It’s not news at this point, I just can’t believe we’re still dealing with this. Tennessee at least had the thin and unconvincing excuse that none of the teams in attendance were top teams. How can you ask Michigan to attend a meet that will only ever be watched by level 6s from your invitational and their parents? How can Michigan agree?

The onus to fix this is definitely partially, though not primarily, on teams. It’s hard to imagine that if Oklahoma threatened not to go back to Metroplex because of the lack of streaming, a solution wouldn’t be found. Both of these meets were streamed back in the FloGymnastics days, and while I can’t say I’m nostalgic for that, it at least demonstrates that it can be done. Maybe the limited subscription base of Flo convinced the meet organizers that interest level in watching the meet was actually low? That’s really not an excuse either, but it’s the best I’ve got. Regardless, the fact that we still have serious teams competing with zero video coverage is one of the biggest threats to college gymnastics’ credibility. This just shouldn’t happen, ever.

Bonus Comments: 

Don’t look now, but Arizona is No. 4 in the Pac-12 and on track for a night session spot at the conference championship. Plus, it’s better prepared for NQS than No. 5 Oregon State. Intriguing.

The inaugural Empire State Collegiate Championship was a blast and Brockport’s win was incredibly impressive. State meets are always fun, but New York’s parity really elevated this one.

I love the explosion of My Cause meets. I’m having a blast reading about what everyone is picking and anyone who makes me Google their topic is a new fave. (Idiopathic hypersomnia was a new one, I’ll admit.) 

Concern: Country roads, take me… to the bottom of the Power 5? 

It’s been a rough season for West Virginia. The Mountaineers, who have only missed regionals twice since Road to Nationals records began and who have never finished a season ranked below No. 40 in that interval, are now ranked firmly outside the top 50 and have scored a 49.000+ rotation only twice all year.

Injuries have hit hard for this team, which is now vaulting a Yurchenko layout. The absence of Emma Wehry, the Mountaineers’ best bars gymnast prior to a hard fall two weeks ago, has been painful for her team’s weakest event. On floor, typically West Virginia’s strength, the bottom hasn’t totally fallen out, but weekly scores around 48.900 aren’t what we hope to see there either. 

The freshmen have been promising, with Jurnee Lane in particular stepping into some new lineups to try to fill gaps, and Amber Lowe proving solid on three events. The other saving grace is that Wehry’s injury might turn out to be short-term. Still, it’s hard to see from where the upside would come that could save this season. 

Bonus Concerns: 

LIU hasn’t improved week-over-week yet. After the Sharks’ season opener, I was kind of perplexed about why they looked pretty good after an incredibly tumultuous offseason. Well, they don’t any more. Bars has been a huge problem.

Alabama is going to put the pieces together soon, right? ….right?

READ THIS NEXT: Questions, Comments, Concerns: Week 5

Article by Rebecca Scally


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