Remember a few weeks ago when we were young and innocent little ducklings and thought, "Hey, some of the meets this year are being scored with a more discerning standard than we've become used to"? Yeah. Not that. We've now entered the portion of the season where a low-mid 197 is a medium score for a top team, and it takes a high 197 to constitute a standout meet, which is pretty much the same as the last season or two. Nothing changes. The circle of life. Or something. I don't know.
Two more people joined the 10 club this weekend, Ciera Perkins on vault and Georgia Dabritz on bars, and many, many, many more people joined the 9.975 club. We're seeing a lot of individual judges giving out 10s this season while the other judge sits there going, "Y'all tripping." I'm with Other Judge. Obviously and always.
Except this, which was the tumbling pass of the weekend. I said at the moment her routine was better than Kytra's this week, and I stand by that.
Now, to the rankings.
Week 4 Rankings – (GymInfo)
1. Oklahoma – 197.465
Week 4 A: 197.650
Week 4 A leaders: AA - None; VT - Scaman 9.925; UB - Wofford, Scaman 9.900; BB - Lovan 9.925; FX - Dowell 9.950
Week 4 B: 197.700
Week 4 B leaders: AA - None; VT - Everyone 9.900; UB - Wofford 9.950; BB - Capps, Sorensen 9.900; FX - Scaman 9.950
The Sooners extended their lead this weekend with two more scores over 197.600, which has become the expectation for this team already. Basically, now if they get a 197.300 it's like, "Uh oh, who ruined everything?" Given the strengths of the roster this season, vault and floor were always going to be the talking points, and while those have been the best-scoring and most consistent events, all of the events are pretty much at the same level. It's tough to pick out an area of concern at this point.
As of this week, Oklahoma is ranked first on every apparatus except vault, where they're second to Nebraska. Part of the identity of Oklahoma is that this team is never over-reliant on a single individual, and this year, it's not over-reliant on a single event either. Right now, it's about waiting for the other top teams to catch up so that we can really pick apart this fight.
2. Florida – 197.131
Week 4: 197.600
Week 4 leaders: AA - Hunter 39.675; VT - Hunter 9.975; UB - McMurtry 9.925; BB - Baker 9.925; FX - Baker, Hunter 9.975
By virtue of a handy little home score, Florida managed to leapfrog LSU to get back into the #2 spot. It's not coincidence that the Gators had by far their best score of the season when Baker and McMurtry showed their most complete performances so far. Their ability to support Kytra's routines with equivalent scores will dictate the success of this team without Sloan. When they're both getting 9.9s on beam, the Gators are in good shape.
3. LSU – 197.125
Week 4: 197.425
Week 4 leaders: AA - Courville - 39.625; VT - Courville 9.950; UB - Courville 9.950; BB - Courville 9.875; FX - Hall 9.925
LSU put up a measly 197.425 at Metroplex (HOW DARE YOU?) to fall to Oklahoma and drop behind Florida in the rankings. Obviously, they did not have a weak performance, but they threw in a 49.125 on beam, which isn't competitive enough when everyone is getting a 6 million. Two or three years ago, LSU would have sacrificed a goat to get a 49.125 on beam, but they're not that team anymore and will expect much more.
But I think I've gone long enough without discussing Ashleigh Gnat's DTY. Because she did a DTY. And it was, you know, easy. She finished twisting, invented the printing press, and then landed. Keep doing that. Those were LSU's best vault landings of the season so far.
Also, Gnat's score was 9.850. Discuss.
4. Utah – 197.038
Week 4: 197.850
Week 4 leaders: AA - Dabritz 39.700; VT - Dabritz 9.975; UB - Dabritz 10.000; BB - Lee 9.925; FX - Dabritz 9.975
That time the live scores originally said Tory Wilson got a 9.925 on beam. In case you didn't hear, Utah got a cray-cray score over the weekend to help launch them closer to the big three in the rankings while providing a handy little road number that they'll be warming their hands against for the next few months. 9.900 is the new 9.825. 9.875 is the new 9.400. But in the larger picture, this Utah team does look the most Super Six-y it has in several seasons, and also the least stressful. You can watch their beam rotation without a pharmacist this season.
5. Michigan – 196.931
Week 4: 197.300
Week 4 leaders: AA - Artz 39.600; VT - Sugiyama 9.950; UB - Brown 9.900; BB - Chiarelli, Casanova 9.875; FX - Artz 9.975
The Wolverines also recorded their best score of the season so far, only falling in the rankings because of Utah's massive number. Michigan was close to a 197 at their previous meet, but this time they pulled together the vault landings they needed, with the added bonus a couple truly excellent floor routines from Artz and Sugiyama, to break the coveted 197 barrier with room to spare. The fall from Sheppard on bars broke the hit streak and my fragile heart, but we're all just antsy to see her back on vault anyway. It's like it's not real until she's vaulting.
6. Alabama – 196.625
Week 4: 196.700
Week 4 leaders: AA - Baoley 39.200; VT - Beers, C Sims 9.900; UB - Beers 9.875; BB - Clark 9.900; FX - C Sims 9.900
A 196.700 is a solid score, but in a season where we have seen plenty of teams be just OK and score around that mark, a 196.700 is not going to help them bridge the gap into the top 5. Right now, Alabama is the best of the teams that have botched a meet and have to wait for RQS to get rid of it. For the most part, this was another solid 9.875 meet, similar to the one that got them a 197.400 to beat Florida. But this time, bars was a problem, much as it was for Florida the week before, with way too many 9.7s to expect a competitive score.
7. Nebraska – 196.138
Week 4: 195.875
Week 4 leaders: AA - Blanske 39.375; VT - DeZiel 9.900; UB - Blanske 9.825; BB - Blanske, DeZiel 9.850; FX - Blanske, Williams 9.850
Nebraska had a fine mid-196 going against Michigan for the first three rotations. It was nothing special, but they still managed a strong vault score in spite of not bringing the same quality as previous weeks. Then, things went yucky on beam for the second straight week. Nebraska beam is looking a little too much like Nebraska beam instead of the fancy 9.9-fest from nationals last year. Right now, they have to fight against seeming like a one-event team. Vault is brilliant. We know that. But DeZiel, Williams, and Blanske still need to round into form on the other events. Outside of vault, the Huskers had no score higher than 9.850 on Saturday.
8. Arkansas – 195.931
Week 4: 196.250
Week 4 leaders: AA - Wellick 39.350; VT - Zaziski 9.900; UB - Zaziski 9.875; BB - Dillard 9.850; FX - Wellick 9.875
Arkansas keeps getting low 196s. They'll take it. While their partner in surprise top 10-dom, Penn State, plummeted in the rankings after beam and floor troubles over the weekend, Arkansas keeps fending off the rising tide of Georgia, UCLA, and Auburn with their perfectly acceptable low 49s and the continued emergence of Paige Zaziski as the new supporting AAer. Wellick/Zaziski is no Pisani/Grable, and Arkansas doesn't have the 9.9s to stick around at this same ranking once order is restored to the universe, but they do appear to have enough 9.850s in the lineup to at least put up a challenge for a nationals spot, which didn't seem too likely before the season started.
9. Georgia – 195.925
Week 4: 196.950
Week 4 leaders: AA - None; VT - Jay 9.925; UB - Brown 9.925; BB - Broussard 9.950; FX - Jay 9.925
It's evidence of what a complete and utter stinker Georgia put up against Denver that they have followed with two strong, high 196s are are still languishing down in 9th with an average under 196. But, they are getting back. They're hitting beam (mostly) and starting to show a few more of the 9.9s they should be getting every week on bars. Still, the Gymdogs can be much better than the level they showed the last two weeks. Natalie Vaculik is too beautiful to be getting 9.7s on bars and beam. The freshman grace period is ending, and now it's time to nail some routines.
10. Oregon State – 195.919
Week 4: 195.800
Week 4 leaders: AA - Gardiner 38.400; VT - Gardiner 9.900; UB - Aufiero 9.925; BB - Tang 9.900; FX - Tang 9.850
Oh, Oregon State. That was a missed opportunity. The scores were flying, and the Beavs were looking high-196 for over half the meet. They were cruising along getting their 9.850s (with a couple 9.9s from the specialists who should be scoring at that level like Aufiero on bars), and then in the final routine, Maddie Gardiner fell on her middle pass on floor and got a 9.000. So instead, they finish at a flat 195.800, which is not helpful at all and makes Oregon State pretty vulnerable to dropping out of the top 10 next week. I was, however, pleased by the control on vault landings. The 49.375 from Monday is stronger than any vault score from OSU last season (the 49.275 from Friday equals the 2014 high), and they're looking much closer to competitive on that event than they have looked in many seasons.
Auburn, UCLA, and Stanford all move up this week as they try to mitigate their disaster scores, but things might be a little scary around this part of the rankings right now. If we have to be back on Ebee Price/Sam Peszek Health Watch 2015 (Price pulled out of the meet after bars, Peszek was limited to only bars with a calf issue) that's catastrophic for both teams. In better news, Kristina Vaculik came back on two events this weekend, so get the choir of angels out of storage.
11. Auburn – 195.875
11. UCLA – 195.875
13. Stanford – 195.840
14. Illinois – 195.806
15. Boise State – 195.475
16. Penn State – 195.713
17. Washington – 195.531
18. Arizona – 195.470
19. Denver – 195.355
20. Cal – 195.250
21. Southern Utah – 195.206
22. Ohio State – 195.113
23. Kentucky – 195.106
24. Michigan State – 195.100
25. Minnesota – 194.913