January 27, 2014
Week 3 Rankings and Notes
Week 3 Rankings (GymInfo)
1. Oklahoma - 197.317
Week 3: 197.575
Week 3 leaders: AA - None; VT - Kmieciak 9.925; UB - Spears 9.925; BB - Spears 9.950; FX - Albright 9.900
It appeared as though the Sooners would be passed by Florida in the rankings this week after the events of that fateful Friday, but a 197.575 on Saturday saw them leap back into the lead, still boasting two of the top three scores recorded by any team this season. The bars rotation was beautiful this past weekend, with such satisfyingly clean handstands. For the last couple weeks, floor has been lagging a bit behind the other events, but if Oklahoma is going to have any hope of pulling off the upset in the mega-anticipated clash against Florida next weekend, they can't give the judges any excuse to give them 9.800s because they'll fall behind by a million tenths.
2. Florida - 197.258
Week 3: 198.050
Week 3 leaders: AA - Sloan, Hunter 39.700; VT - Sloan 9.925; UB - B Caquatto 9.950; BB - M Caquatto 9.950; FX - Sloan, Hunter 10.000
The 198 barrier has already fallen this year, courtesy of Florida. Remember way back in 2011 when a 198 would have been a shock? The Gators have been climbing the rankings one spot at a time since the opening mid-196 against UCLA, and now they are in striking distance of #1 with a home meet coming up next. Don't be surprised if they jump another spot next time the rankings come out. Enough has been said about that floor rotation, and I have nothing to add at this point, but it's interesting that the hoopla over that score is covering up some of the other gymnastics from that meet. Vault has been just OK all month with a bunch of uncharacteristically average performances, so keep an eye on that in the coming weeks.
3. LSU - 197.083
Week 3: 197.175
Week 3 leaders: AA - Courville 39.600; VT - Courville 9.925; UB - Courville 9.875; BB - Jordan 9.925; FX - Courville 9.950
The Tigers aren't getting the humongous team scores so far this year relative to their top peers, but they are right in that 197.000 area every week, which is enough to hold onto #3. We all know floor is going to be an asset, so it was important that they recover from the poor showing against Georgia on that event to break 49.5 this week for the first time this season. It will be the first time of many. Given the strong vault and floor showings, the team score this past weekend could have been higher, but they're feeling the lack of Wyrick on bars. With just two big scorers, if Morrison has an off day (and by her standards, a 9.850 is an off day) the score is nowhere. The same goes for Courville getting a 9.850 on beam. If they aren't leading the charge, it's tough to get out of the 49.1s.
4. Utah - 196.883
Week 3: 197.125
Week 3 leaders: AA - Wilson 39.050; VT - Dabritz 9.975; UB - Dabritz 9.950; BB - Delaney 9.850; FX - Dabritz 9.975
The Utes have started quickly this season, which I tend to expect from them. They always do look like the best team in November and December, so it's normal that they would be right up there in January. The final three vaults in that lineup are exceptional and will keep them right with the powerful SEC teams as long as the landings don't disappear as the season progresses. Georgia Dabritz is having an immense season so far. Her season low is a 9.875, and that floor routine from the weekend is among those memorable performances we'll look back to in April as one of the year's highlights. Now get her in that beam lineup. Everyone's falling anyway, so it would be no different if she does it instead.
4. Michigan - 196.883
Week 3: 197.325
Week 3 leaders: AA - Sampson 39.475; VT - Sheppard 9.900; UB - Sampson, Artz, Beilstein 9.875; BB - Gies, Zakharia 9.900; FX - Sampson 9.950
Without much fanfare, the Wolverines pulled out a 197.325 over the weekend, which ranks as one of the top 5 scores in the country so far this season and the third-highest of a big weekend. Interestingly, the scores from this meet are almost identical to Michigan's third meet of the year from last season (197.325 vs. 197.350). Both meets saw a 49.300 scored on vault and a 49.500 on floor, and even the bars and beam scores were within .050 of each other. Sampson won floor with a 9.950. . . I could go on. Conclusion: they're on a good track, as they were last year. And the three-event contributions from Artz and Chiarelli for consistently 9.8ish scores have been an important development to mitigate what seemed to be a significant loss of routines from last season. Now keep this beam 49.2ing up for a few more weeks.
6. Georgia - 196.785
Week 3 A: 197.400
Week 3 A leaders: AA - Rogers 39.525; VT - Cheek 9.900; UB - Cheek, Brown, Rogers 9.950; BB - Cheek, Earls 9.925; FX - Jay 9.900
Week 3 B: 196.700
Week 3 B leaders: AA - Rogers 39.525; VT - Cheek 9.925; UB - Cheek 9.975; BB - Earls 9.950; FX - Jay, Box 9.900
Georgia goes up, Georgia goes down, and in the end Georgia stays the same. The Gym Dogs would have been momentarily #4 after the Monday performance, but now they're back to #6 after being in contention for a huge score at Florida before a beam meltdown. Florida has received all the attention from that meet, understandably, but Georgia looked very pretty on bars and perfectly acceptable on vault and floor before going to beam. For the first few weekends, they've been just holding on well enough when it comes to beam (unlike last year), but it's a fairly untested and nervewracking group composed of few who would be considered outright beamers, so this is not a shocking turn of events. They need a little Persinger action.
7. Alabama - 196.775
Week 3: 197.125
Week 3 leaders: AA - Demeo 39.400; VT - Demeo 9.925; UB - Jacob 9.900; BB - Jacob 9.925; FX - Jacob 9.900
It's still a bit strange to see Alabama down at #7. Even at the beginning of the season when they're often not doing as well, we can usually expect them to be lurking around 4th or 5th. But since they scored a low 197 in a week of low 197s, there was no room to move up. Coming back home and having Diandra Milliner back on two events helped turn last week's 9.7s back into 9.8s in a consistently strong 49.300 of a meet. The showdown with LSU next weekend should be an exciting one. Both teams scored very similarly in the first and third meets of the year, and have very similar scoring potential. I imagine it will be close throughout. I've been enjoying Alabama's beam work so far this year, and they'll need to be on point there to get the road upset because it's the biggest asset they hold over LSU.
8. Nebraska - 196.442
Week 3: 196.450
Week 3 leaders: AA - Wong 39.550; VT - Wong, Lambert 9.900; UB - Wong 9.900; BB - J Lauer 9.900; FX - Wong, Blanske 9.875
Nebraska is sticking around with these mid-196s every week. None of the scores have been showy so far this year, but they're peppering in enough 9.9s from Wong, Deziel, Wong, Lauer on beam, and Wong to erase any low numbers and keep the rotations scores consistently solid in low-49 territory. We know what a little nasty beam can be for this team, and while the Huskers have had their mistakes through the first three meets, they are yet to count a score under 9.700 on beam, which has helped them to #4 in the country on the event. An important step.
9. UCLA - 196.308
Week 3: 195.875
Week 3 leaders: AA - Mossett 39.075; VT - Cipra, Bynum 9.850; UB - Peszek 9.875; BB - Francis 9.950; FX - Sawa 9.925
With neither Francis nor Peszek available on all their events, this past weekend was always going to be a nail-biter for UCLA, and the nails were worn down to nubs pretty quickly after a sloppy bars and a lackluster vault. With all the injury and retirement action, this team is no longer deep enough to handle those absences. They have the numbers, but they don't have the depth, which means there are people going in both the bars and beam lineups who probably aren't ever going to score above a 9.800. I expect a rebound next week, especially on vault where I don't think we'll see the same uninspiring landings, but what are we going to do about beam? 15th in the country, yet to break 48.900. Not good.
10. Arkansas - 196.117
Week 3: 196.100
Week 3 leaders: AA - Grable 39.475; VT - Grable 9.950; UB - Wellick, Salmon 9.800; BB - Dillard 9.875; FX - Grable 9.925
I'm going to try to write something about Arkansas this week that can't be boiled down to Katherine Grable, Katherine Grable, Katherine Grable, Katherine Grable.
Nevermind. It's not going to happen. Her 39.475 pulled Arkansas up into the 196s for a third consecutive week, but the lack of Erin Freier was a concern. This team has only six bars routines including Freier, so they had to compete only five this week and were forced to count two 9.7s and a 9.6 for the lowest rotation score of the night. That along with consistent opening scores in the 9.6 and low 9.7s will not help Arkansas stay in this top 10 position once the next five teams in the rankings get things moving, which already began over the weekend.
11. Stanford - 196.088
12. Auburn - 195.983
13. Arizona - 195.842
14. Minnesota - 195.756
15. Oregon State - 195.750
16. Boise State - 195.675
17. Illinois - 195.617
18. Denver - 195.275
19. Arizona State - 195.175
20. Kentucky - 194.933
21. Ohio State - 194.908
22. Cal - 194.875
23. Central Michigan - 194.750
24. Penn State - 194.656
25. Kent State - 194.656
25. Rutgers - 194.656