March 2, 2015

Week 8 Rankings and RQS Update

In week 8, Florida returned home and managed to win the high-score championship for the second time in the last three weeks with another home 198. As is often the case, floor was where things got really enthusiastic as every competitor in the rotation broke 9.900, causing a bit of an uproar as Bridgey Caquatto got a 9.975 in the anchor position, riding the scores from the bigger routines from Baker and Hunter before her.

There's sort of a traditional notion that rotation orders should culminate with the best routine (which would be Hunter's...or Baker's more and more), but Florida has been able to squeeze so many big scores out of Caquatto's routine over the last several years because of the lineup position. I don't know why more teams don't take that cue and manipulate the lineup order to their advantage. Florida will consistently score better on floor finishing with Baker, Hunter, Caquatto than they would with Caquatto, Baker, Hunter. You don't need Kytra in the anchor position because her routine is big, impressive, and famous enough that it doesn't need to be 6th to get a 10.

Sam Peszek's vault was another discussion topic, as she stuck a very strong vault and originally received a 9.925 for it, which is a normal score but was a little silly based on the scores given to the previous vaults in the lineup.

It was ultimately raised to an appropriate 9.950 after Miss Val performed one of her classic interpretive movement pieces entitled "Open Mouth, Silent Outrage, Tears of a Nation." Peszek definitely did not obey the heels-together-post-stick guideline, leaving a pretty big foot separation as she held her stick, but it reinforces the frustration that if you're going to impose stricter standards to the best vaults, you also have to impose the same strict standards to the weaker vaults, otherwise the scores end up being too similar, which happened in UCLA's vault rotation.

In other news, we're moving dangerously close to Regionals with every passing day, so for reference, here is what the Regional placements would look like if the season ended today. We have a lot of hosts this year who aren't currently in the top 18 (Cal, Ohio State, Iowa State, West Virginia), which always makes things a little more interesting.

Regional 1: [1] Oklahoma (HOST), [12] Illinois, [13] Stanford
Regional 2: [2] LSU, [11] Penn State, [14] Boise State
Regional 3: [3] Florida, [10] Georgia, [15] Oregon State
Regional 4: [4] Utah, [9] Auburn (HOST), [16] Minnesota
Regional 5: [5] Michigan, [8] UCLA, [17] Denver
Regional 6: [6] Alabama, [7] Nebraska, [18] Arkansas

Week 8 Rankings – (GymInfo)
1. Oklahoma – 197.740
Week 8: 197.875
Week 8 leaders: AA - None; VT - Capps, Dowell, Scaman 9.925; UB - Scaman 9.925; BB - Capps, Clark, Sorensen 9.925; FX - Jackson, Scaman 9.925

Road Score 1: 198.150
Road Score 2: 197.875
Road Score 3: 197.700
Road/Home Score 1: 197.850
Road/Home Score 2: 197.650
Road/Home Score 3: 197.625

After a couple weeks of normal, Oklahoma jumped back up into the high 197s for the second-highest team score of the season, and did it mostly because of an epic final rotation on beam. That's the beam rotation we've been missing the last few competitions. Things are about to get really interesting for the Sooners now. They've had a couple meets with top teams so far this season (LSU, Michigan) and have come out on top, but with Florida and home and Alabama away in the next two weeks, we'll get a great sense of where they stand in the actual title race heading right into conference championships.

Oklahoma extended the lead over LSU with the performance this weekend, getting rid of a 197.3 and spiffing up the RQS outlook to the point where there aren't really any scores to drop or worry about. It's unlikely that they'll reach a historic RQS this season, but with a 197.825 against Florida on Friday, they can eclipse their final RQS from last season with a couple weeks to spare.

2. LSU – 197.485
Week 8: 197.350
Week 8 leaders: AA - Jordan 39.575; VT - Hambrick 9.925; UB - Courville, Gnat, Jordan 9.875; BB - Jordan 9.900; FX - Jordan 9.925

Road Score 1: 197.425
Road Score 2: 197.350
Road Score 3: 197.350
Road/Home Score 1: 198.075
Road/Home Score 2: 197.950
Road/Home Score 3: 197.350

In spite of the score being 197.350 and relatively pedestrian compared to what we've come to expect from the top schools this season, this was a big win. If LSU needed a further statement that this team is ready to beat everybody, becoming the first team to beat Alabama at Alabama was it. It was not an ideal performance, but they delivered a very strong floor rotation when necessary, and even though the beam score was the lower rotation score on the day, that was a nailed rotation with the exception of a nervy, Kathy-Johnson-destroying routine from Macadaeg. Jessie Jordan's beam routine was the best 9.900 beam routine you'll see this year. I supposed that gets balanced out by some of the charitable bars scores for routines with clear errors.

The Tigers are home against Minnesota this weekend in their home finale, so they will not be able to challenge Oklahoma in the #1 spot even with a season high. It will be hard for LSU to move up from this #2 spot with that guaranteed-to-count 197.425 road score because Oklahoma's current low RQS score is already two-tenths higher than that.

3. Florida – 197.455
Week 8: 198.125
Week 8 leaders: AA - Hunter 39.600; VT - McMurtry, Baker 9.950; UB - Sloan 9.975; BB - Baker, Hunter 9.900; FX - Caquatto 9.975

Road Score 1: 197.425
Road Score 2: 197.200
Road Score 3: 196.925
Road/Home Score 1: 198.225
Road/Home Score 2: 198.125
Road/Home Score 3: 197.600

With another strong home performance, the Gators became the country's first double-198 team. So far this year, they've made a habit of being just meh on the road and then coming back home for a huge score where everybody gets a 9.900. They're going to Oklahoma this weekend, so they will be under major pressure to cut out that streak and not have another letdown road performance like they did in the losses to LSU and Alabama. 

I was pleased to see the progress made on vault in this meet. Those were the most controlled landings they've had so far this year as a rotation. Much better than some of those bounce-fests they've had that still scored 49.4 because of magic.

Florida is closing in on LSU now. Both teams have a road 197.425 counting, but Florida's bigger home scores give them an advantage in the bold-score department in spite of currently being ranked lower. With a 196 to get rid of, they'll have the edge on LSU going into the weekend if both teams hit to capability. 

4. Utah – 197.295
Week 8: 196.875
Week 8 leaders: AA - Rowe 39.300; VT - Wilson 9.950; UB - Dabritz 9.950; BB - Lothrop 9.875; FX - Dabritz 9.925

Road Score 1: 197.850
Road Score 2: 197.025
Road Score 3: 196.900
Road/Home Score 1: 198.050
Road/Home Score 2: 197.825
Road/Home Score 3: 196.875

Utah missed an opportunity this weekend. The Utes were right with Florida and LSU going into competition, but they counted a fall on beam to score under 197 in a vital road meet, which means the gap between them and the top three teams has grown wider. Now they're counting a 197.025 road score, which is a perfectly fine number, but is troublesome when trying to bust into the top echelon. Still, with a 196 home scores to get rid of this weekend and a meet against Michigan that should have some skyrocketing scores to rival to the Oklahoma/Florida meet, they can still put pressure on Florida and LSU with a big result.

As for this most recent meet, Utah hadn't put up a yucky beam rotation to that point this season, which is commendable. But, because of previous issues, one poor showing sets off more red flags than it would otherwise. That's especially the case because following the leadoff fall, nearly everyone performed much worse than they had been performing. They got tight and sloppy, and that's something they'll need to work through, not letting the fall affect the next people in the lineup.

5. Michigan – 197.065
Week 8: 197.250
Week 8 leaders: AA - Artz 39.525; VT - Sugiyama 9.900; UB - Brown 9.900; BB - Artz, Casanova, Chiarelli 9.900; FX - Chiarelli 9.975

Road Score 1: 197.125
Road Score 2: 196.975
Road Score 3: 196.725
Road/Home Score 1: 197.300
Road/Home Score 2: 197.250
Road/Home Score 3: 197.250

Going in, it didn't look like Michigan would be able to make a jump in the rankings this weekend, but they took advantage of Alabama's home loss and recorded yet another low 197 to sneak back up into the top 5. Michigan is the low 197 team this year. It's every week now. The showing on beam was of particular importance because we all know the past troubles this group has had on beam, but unlike Utah, they were able to withstand the fall from Sugiyama in the second position and still come up with multiple 9.9s after that.

Michigan's RQS picture reflects the performance so far this season, solid and even-keeled. Every team score this season has been from 196.600-197.300, which is a pretty small and consistent range. There hasn't been a lot of variation from week to week, but that also means that there's no low disaster score to get rid of to provoke a big ranking jump. The Wolverines can't move up any higher than 5th regardless of their performance this weekend. They're in hold mode.

6. Alabama – 197.055
Week 8: 197.225
Week 8 leaders: AA - Beers 38.400; VT - Beers, Clark 9.900; UB - Jetter 9.900; BB - Everyone 9.850; FX - Dennis, Jetter, C Sims 9.900

Road Score 1: 197.675
Road Score 2: 196.700
Road Score 3: 196.175
Road/Home Score 1: 197.800
Road/Home Score 2: 197.400
Road/Home Score 3: 197.325

Well, that happened. The symbolism of this performance, losing at home for the first time in over 6 years, is much greater than its actual significance. It's just a low 197, but it still hurts. And it removes some of the luster from Alabama, perhaps unfairly reinforcing the idea that they have regressed without Sarah (but really, it's more about being without Jacob, Milliner, and DeMeo). There were still a few highlights in this meet, including some very strong vaults, one of Amanda Jetter's better meets, and some great work on beam that was lost in the scores because of significant hops on 1.5 dismounts. The highlights, however, could not overcome the trouble spots, the sloppy bars work (they need Clark in that lineup) and Lauren Beers having just a bizarre meet with ridiculous nonsense mistakes.

Alabama remains in healthy shape in RQS land, with two strong 197s and four remaining meets while most teams have just three left. The Tide will compete twice this weekend, first on the road against Missouri, and then "on the road" against Auburn in Birmingham. That's going to be a meet. With two road 196s still to get rid of, Alabama can make a gigantic RQS jump after this weekend, but that means they'll have to perform well on the road, which they haven't really done so much this year. Mustering the energy to come back from this disappointment at a lower-key meet in Missouri will be essential.

7. Nebraska – 196.840
Week 8: 197.100
Week 8 leaders: AA - DeZiel 39.550; VT - DeZiel 9.925; UB - DeZiel 9.925; BB - J Lauer 9.900; FX - Blanske 9.925

Road Score 1: 197.075
Road Score 2: 196.650
Road Score 3: 196.250
Road/Home Score 1: 197.325
Road/Home Score 2: 197.125
Road/Home Score 3: 197.100

Nebraska is back to the 197s after finally getting the 9.9s they should be getting on bars. There was always going to be a lot of flux in the 7-10 area this weekend, but Nebraska did just enough to get rid of a nasty 195 and rise to the top. The Huskers have scores in the low 197s in three of the past four meets, which is the level of performance required to maintain this kind of ranking. Worryingly, beam was an issue again over the weekend with a couple counting 9.7s. It's either a 48.9 or a 49.3 with this team, and who knows which one you're going to get.

Nebraska has managed to close the gap to two tenths behind Alabama, but with home meets coming up now, they cannot jump any higher after next weekend's competition and are unlikely to make any kind of real move until they can get rid of that 196.250 at conference championships. But really, staying at #7 would be a solid result for the regular season and put them in great position for the postseason. They need to work on fending off Auburn, UCLA, and Georgia.

8. UCLA – 196.785
Week 8: 197.350
Week 8 leaders: AA - None; VT - Peszek, Williams 9.950; UB - Lee 9.950; BB - Francis 9.950; FX - Cipra 9.875

Road Score 1: 197.350
Road Score 2: 197.075
Road Score 3: 196.000
Road/Home Score 1: 197.050
Road/Home Score 2: 197.000
Road/Home Score 3: 196.800

UCLA made some good progress this week with a season-high score of 197.350 and another brief glimpse of how formidable they can be when Peszek, Lee, and Francis are all firing at the same time. The Bruins have a higher ceiling than several of the teams ranked above them right now, it's just a question of whether they will ever reach it. But, no 9.6s on bars this week was a welcome miracle. The only thing keeping them from a very impressive 197 was floor, where Val put up a bit of a B team this week, lacking Peszek, Pinches, and Gerber. Pretty much everyone had at least one weak landing to depress the rotation score.

The Bruins manages to make a big jump in RQS because this score allowed them to drop that Utah nonsense result. They're at home against Stanford next Saturday in an American Cup after party, so they're unlikely to make up too much ground but can challenge Nebraska if things fall their way. UCLA still has that road 196.000, so there is still potential for another jump when they head to Arkansas in a couple weeks.

9. Auburn – 196.745
Week 8: 197.750
Week 8 leaders: AA - Atkinson 39.675; VT - Rott 9.975; UB - Milliet 9.925; BB - Atkinson, Demers 9.900; FX - Atkinson 9.975

Road Score 1: 196.875
Road Score 2: 196.825
Road Score 3: 195.650
Road/Home Score 1: 197.750
Road/Home Score 2: 197.300
Road/Home Score 3: 197.075

RQS. That's why Auburn can have the most important result and biggest score in team history and still fall two spots in the rankings. Gotta love it. Right? This win was a big deal for Auburn because, while there's still a long way to go to be competitive with the Super Six teams, the fact that we're even using Auburn and Super Six teams in the same sentence is new and revolutionary. They managed to defeat Georgia soundly, and paired with a competitive showing against LSU, that officially demonstrates that the SEC has expanded to a five-team race.

With two road meets coming up this weekend and a 195.650 still to get rid of, Auburn is in excellent shape to soar in the RQS race. They'll jump ahead of both Nebraska and UCLA even with just a normal mid-196, and with a huge result in just one of the two meets, can put real pressure on Alabama and Michigan. But, Auburn does still need to prove that quality is not just a home thing. They certainly got the benefit of being at home over the weekend, which is a fun new phenomenon that comes along with being good. Still, having yet to break 197 on the road, there's work to do to show that they can be a 197 team at championships.

10. Georgia – 196.720
Week 8: 196.775
Week 8 leaders: AA - None; VT - Jay 9.875; UB - Brown, Rogers 9.900; BB - Box 9.925; FX - Babalis 9.825

Road Score 1: 196.950
Road Score 2: 196.850
Road Score 3: 196.775
Road/Home Score 1: 196.975
Road/Home Score 2: 196.825
Road/Home Score 3: 196.200

Oh, Georgia. The Gym Dogs are still yet to break 197 this year, and it's becoming a thing. Especially because of how many of these 196s they're already having to count for RQS. Losing to Auburn is a problem because it means Georgia has now lost to Michigan, Denver, Florida, LSU, Alabama, and Auburn so far this year. 6 losses = no good. In spite of the fancy scoring, Georgia still looked like the weaker team over the weekend. But on the other hand, even though the final score was lower than last week's disastrous home meet, the performance was noticeably better. Because gymnastics. Babalis got the same floor score in both meets, yet had a controlled hit this time and bounced a hundred miles on one of her passes last time. Apparently that doesn't matter. But qualitatively, Georgia made strides. Floor was much more controlled, beam looked a little calmer, and the people who were supposed to nail bars did so. Still, the landings were a problem all over the place, especially on vault where they gave away a bunch of tenths they didn't need to give away

In spite of losing, Georgia was able to get rid of a 195 and remain solid in the RQS race. They're another team whose scores are very bunched at a similar level, but with a good hit at home against Arkansas this weekend, they also have a chance to get the jump on everyone ranked #7 or lower. They're still in this.

11. Penn State – 196.200
Week 8: 196.650
Week 8 leaders: AA - Welsh 39.400; VT - Sibson, Welsh 9.925; UB - Li, Witt 9.800; BB - Sanabria-Robles 9.900; FX - Welsh 9.875

Road Score 1: 196.175
Road Score 2: 196.025
Road Score 3: 195.600
Road/Home Score 1: 197.025
Road/Home Score 2: 196.650
Road/Home Score 3: 196.550

Good home scores. All the rest of their meets are on the road, so they'll have to prove they're also a road team to keep up this ranking.

12. Illinois – 196.195
Week 8 A: 195.950
Week 8 A leaders: AA - O'Connor 39.425; VT - O'Connor 9.875; UB - Horth 9.850; BB - Kato 9.950; FX - O'Connor 9.925

Week 8 B: 196.425
Week 8 B leaders: AA - O'Connor 39.625; VT - O'Connor 9.900; UB - O'Connor 9.925; BB - Horth 9.875; FX - O'Connor 9.900

Road Score 1: 196.975
Road Score 2: 196.425
Road Score 3: 195.475
Road/Home Score 1: 196.500
Road/Home Score 2: 196.400
Road/Home Score 3: 196.175

13. Stanford – 196.175
Week 8: Monday meet

Road Score 1: 196.525
Road Score 2: 196.275
Road Score 3: 195.950
Road/Home Score 1: 197.000
Road/Home Score 2: 196.225
Road/Home Score 3: 195.900

14. Boise State – 196.165
Week 8: 196.275
Week 8 leaders: AA - Morris 39.450; VT - Perkins 9.950; UB - Perkins 9.900; BB - Jacobsen 9.875; FX - Morris 9.925

Road Score 1: 196.625
Road Score 2: 196.025
Road Score 3: 195.975
Road/Home Score 1: 196.725
Road/Home Score 2: 196.275
Road/Home Score 3: 195.925

15. Oregon State – 196.150
Week 8: 195.750
Week 8 leaders: AA - None; VT - Aufiero 9.850; UB - Tang 9.900; BB - Tang 9.925; FX - Gardiner 9.925

Road Score 1: 197.250
Road Score 2: 196.450
Road Score 3: 196.275
Road/Home Score 1: 196.250
Road/Home Score 2: 195.975
Road/Home Score 3: 195.800

Oregon State is currently achieving the rare feat of having their three best scores all be road meets. A bars-tastrophe and an unusable number this weekend did not help. The Beavs are in real danger of being a #3 Regionals seed now. That's legitimately worrisome, especially for the better teams because OSU is still very dangerous and still 197 capable when they hit. Not a fun #3 seed to have. (Though it's far from a guarantee—there's little margin from 11-15 now).

16. Minnesota – 196.010
Week 8: 194.725
Week 8 leaders: AA - Mable 39.650; VT - Mable 9.900; UB - Mable 9.900; BB - Mable 9.900; FX - Mable 9.950

Road Score 1: 196.875
Road Score 2: 196.350
Road Score 3: 195.375
Road/Home Score 1: 196.675
Road/Home Score 2: 196.325
Road/Home Score 3: 195.325

The Lindsay Mable show was able to muster just five bars workers this week, featuring an 8.500. They still have multiple weak scores to get rid of and could be dangerous, but will they actually be able to get rid of them? I'm very interested to see how they fare in LSU next weekend. They need to take advantage of an SEC meet for a serious 196.

17. Denver – 195.935
Week 8: 196.100
Week 8 leaders: AA - Ross 39.375; VT - McGee 9.950; UB - McGee 9.850; BB - Barrett, Ross 9.800; FX - McGee 9.925

Road Score 1: 196.150
Road Score 2: 196.100
Road Score 3: 195.500
Road/Home Score 1: 196.725
Road/Home Score 2: 196.025
Road/Home Score 3: 195.900
18. Arkansas – 195.910
Week 8: 195.825
Week 8 leaders: AA - Zaziski 39.200; VT - Wellick 9.925; UB - Freier 9.900; BB - Freier 9.800; FX - Wellick 9.900

Road Score 1: 196.250
Road Score 2: 196.250
Road Score 3: 194.900
Road/Home Score 1: 196.650
Road/Home Score 2: 196.325
Road/Home Score 3: 195.825

19. Arizona – 195.860
Week 8: 196.475
Week 8 leaders: AA - Flores 39.100; VT - Edwards, Flores, Sisler 9.825; UB - Laub, Ortiz 9.900; BB - Edwards, Mills 9.850; FX - Mills 9.925

Road Score 1: 196.050
Road Score 2: 195.300
Road Score 3: 195.100
Road/Home Score 1: 196.625
Road/Home Score 2: 196.475
Road/Home Score 3: 196.375

20. Cal – 195.845
Week 8: 196.100
Week 8 leaders: AA - Williams 39.400; VT - Williams 9.900; UB - Ho, Owens, Richardson 9.825; BB - Williams 9.875; FX - Owens, Williams 9.850

Road Score 1: 196.600
Road Score 2: 196.100
Road Score 3: 195.425
Road/Home Score 1: 196.225
Road/Home Score 2: 195.900
Road/Home Score 3: 195.575

21. Southern Utah – 195.725
Week 8: 196.475
Week 8 leaders: AA - None; VT - Jensen 9.925; UB - Yee 9.875; BB - Webb 9.825; FX - Jensen 9.875

Road Score 1: 196.225
Road Score 2: 195.750
Road Score 3: 195.500
Road/Home Score 1: 196.475
Road/Home Score 2: 195.650
Road/Home Score 3: 195.500

22. Kentucky – 195.555
Week 8: 195.950
Week 8 leaders: AA - None; VT - Waltz 9.900; UB - Rechenmacher 9.800; BB - Mitchell 9.900; FX - Hartley, Mitchell, Puryear 9.850

Road Score 1: 195.950
Road Score 2: 195.825
Road Score 3: 194.975
Road/Home Score 1: 195.750
Road/Home Score 2: 195.625
Road/Home Score 3: 195.600

23. Michigan State – 195.550
Week 8: 196.275
Week 8 leaders: AA - Burt 39.325; VT - Cartwright 9.875; UB - Burt 9.875; BB - Burt 9.900; FX - Lagoski 9.950

Road Score 1: 196.325
Road Score 2: 196.275
Road Score 3: 195.625
Road/Home Score 1: 195.750
Road/Home Score 2: 195.150
Road/Home Score 3: 194.950

24. Missouri – 195.460
Week 8: 195.275
Week 8 leaders: AA - Schugel 39.100; VT - Kappler 9.825; UB - Conkle, Eubank, Schugel 9.800; BB - Conkle 9.825; FX - Harris 9.800

Road Score 1: 195.975
Road Score 2: 195.850
Road Score 3: 195.275
Road/Home Score 1: 195.800
Road/Home Score 2: 195.225
Road/Home Score 3: 195.150

25. Iowa – 195.395
Week 8: 195.000
Week 8 leaders: AA - Metcalf 39.325; VT - Metcalf 9.825; UB - Hoerr 9.925; BB - Metcalf 9.875; FX - Hoerr 9.900

Road Score 1: 195.850
Road Score 2: 195.225
Road Score 3: 195.175
Road/Home Score 1: 196.375
Road/Home Score 2: 195.725
Road/Home Score 3: 195.000

25. Washington – 195.395
Week 8: Monday meet

Road Score 1: 196.300
Road Score 2: 195.550
Road Score 3: 194.500
Road/Home Score 1: 195.950
Road/Home Score 2: 195.650
Road/Home Score 3: 195.325


  1. Can you imagine if Oregon State and Georgia end up in the same regional like they are right now!? That would be one insane and close regional for who comes out in second place. Georgia has shown more consistency later in the season but OSU has proven to have a higher scoring potential. -Jacob

  2. Do you think UCLA has a shot at Super Six if Miss Val puts up these gymnasts?

    VT - Pinches, Cipra, Lee, Bynum, Peszek, Williams
    UB - Francis, Mossett, Moraz, DeJesus, Lee, Peszek
    BB - Gerber, Moraz, DeJesus, Francis, Lee, Peszek
    FX - Pinches, Gerber, Francis, Cipra, Peszek, Bynum