November 29, 2013

Uneven Bars and Vault Champions Showdowns

Courtney Kupets has overcome her second place finish in the floor champions showdown to put on a near-McCullough display of dominance in the beam showdown. Can she keep it up on bars?

I didn't plan these polls out particularly well, so I'm including both bars and vault in the same post because after today will come time to start thinking about preseason rankings and the coaches poll and team previews and all of those delicious morsels.

2013 NCAA Bars Champion – Alaina Johnson (I just wrote Alabama Johnson on the first try. Ugh, me.)

2012 NCAA Bars Champion – Kat Ding (routine begins at 17:30)

2011 NCAA Bars Champion – Kat Ding

2010 NCAA Bars Champion – Carly Janiga

2009 NCAA Bars Champion - Courtney Kupets

Who is your UB Showdown winner?

Vault may be a bit difficult to compare since the 2013 winners didn't have to do two, but we'll see what happens. I'm including just four years on this one because I can't find video of Clare-Kearney from 2009.

2013 NCAA Vault Co-Champion – Rheagan Courville

2013 NCAA Vault Co-Champion – Diandra Milliner

2012 NCAA Vault Champion – Kytra Hunter (first vault begins at 42:40)

2011 NCAA Vault Champion – Marissa King

2010 NCAA Vault Champion – Vanessa Zamarripa

Who is your VT Showdown winner?


  1. Uneven Bars: I think you can make a case for CK, KD (2012, not 2011), or AJ. Each had a near flawless routine, but I went with CK because I like her aggressive hand stands.

    Vault: Really tough to compare two vaults with one vault. if you look at just the first vault from each competitor, it's KH hands down. If you compare the average performance for each competitor based on either one or two vaults, the winner is either Van Zam or RC. I used the first approach and went with KH.

    -- Markey

  2. So before I get into my analysis I have to get a few things off my chest (because apparently vault/bars finals over the last 5 years made me angrier than beam and floor haha.)

    First: I did not even consider Alaina Johnson for bars. I was at Championships at UCLA and she did not have the best routine. She had a few visible leg separations. After she went I felt confident that Georgia Dabritz would remain in 1st place because she had a better routine. When Alaina surpassed Georgia's 9.9 I was pissed. I don't dislike Alaina and she has an amazing 2013 Championships story (from injury, not competing all season to team & UB champion), but she did not have the best bars routine at EFs so I cannot consider her.

    Next - how can EVERY vault champion from the last 5 years not have a stick? Not one of those vaults ended with a stick. Unbelievable. A vault is like 90% stick and none of these routines had it. Seems odd to me.

    Last - Apparently I disagree with all of 2013 EF champions. Vaults didn't end in a stick, Bars rewarded a lesser routine, Beam champion had a huge form break, and Floor was dull with zero dance. 2013 didn't have any legendary winners.

    With all that being said, let's dive into it!

    Without considering Alaina that leaves 4 routines. Carly's routine was very unspecial to me. Technically sound, but just uninspiring. Just a solid, clean routine. That leaves Kat Ding vs. Kat Ding vs. Courtney Kupets. Kat Ding 2011 was probably technically better - turns completed on top of the bar, mostly. I agree with the poll results (as of now) that 2012 was better though. Although her turns on top of the bars were not as clean as 2011 her handstands are gorgeous! They are seriously to die for. Plus with the close-up camera angle she just looks so in charge and badass. Kat Ding was definitely underrated. But I had to vote for Courtney Kupets. Kupets had huge skills, a sky-high hop full, and probably the longest-distance dismount in NCAA history. I was shocked at how far from the bars she dismounted, and stuck it cold (with legs together). I understand why someone would vote for either Kat Ding routine, as they're both stunning, but Courtney just has the IT factor, giant release moves, never stands on the low bar so the routine has better flow, and a killer dismount.

    Vault - again, how is it possible that none of these vaults has a stuck landing? With no truly stuck landing I guess we eliminate that as a factor? I voted for VanZam because she has the best entry and form of all of these vaults, by far. Props to Marissa for going for a different vault, but she doesn't have the form of Vanessa. That's really all there is to it. No stuck landing, Vanessa has super tight form, flies, opens early, and has no worse landing than any other vault. (Where's Ashley Miles when you need her?)

    So all my EF votes are:

    Vault - 2010 - Vanessa Zamarripa
    Bars - 2009 - Courtney Kupets
    Beam - 2009 - Courtney Kupets
    Floor - 2010 - Brittani McCullough

    To me each of these routines is special, unique, different, and legendary. I guess the past few years haven't produced any new legendary winners. Here's hoping for a special 2014!

  3. 2009 ACK EF first vault is at about 33:08 and she hammers the landing.

    It was good to see Zamarripa land squarely on her vault, something she never did after her Achilles tear.

    UB - Kupets hands down. I loved watching Kat Ding grow into her ability, but she still looked like she 'worked' bars to me. Courtney Kupets looks like a kid swinging on the monkey bars - all fun and flight, and then throw in the form and flow. College UB has not been the same since she left...