NCAA Gymnastics

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Erin

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I'm guessing with the absolute terrible timing of the NCAA gymnastics season starting the same week as U.S. Nationals, most people have their attention focused elsewhere, but I need a distraction for when my skating favorites inevitably crash and burn and don't make the Olympic team (or in a month and a half, don't make the Olympic podium).

The season kicks off with Michigan vs. Alabama at 5:30 Eastern on Friday, which is being shown on ESPNU, followed by LSU vs Arkansas at 7 Eastern on the SEC network. We'll see how much watching I can do in between skating.

The consensus this season seems to be that it's a Florida vs. Oklahoma showdown for the title so that will be one of the most interesting stories to watch. Oklahoma looked incredible in their preseason exhibition but Florida has such a strong incoming class and hasn't lost any of last year's routines. Georgia with Courtney (but really Suzanne) at the helm should also be interesting especially since they have a million injuries at the moment.
 

Aceon6

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There is way way too much sports to watch in January!!!
With you on that. I'm trying to follow Olympic qualifications in a lot of sports for a lot of countries, and finding it nearly impossible. The gymnasts and golfers are just going to have to wait until February 26th.
 

Fridge_Break

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I am going to guess that Florida has the upperhand as far as the #1 rank goes this season. They didn't graduate a single routine from last year, and bring in a super talented freshman class on top of that. Oklahoma had a few heavy hitters graduate last year, so they'll need to find places to make up those tenths.

I just got my BTN2Go subscription set for this month. I am going to be plowing people over to be out the door at work tomorrow night ASAP so I can get home and watch gymnastics (and skating). Unfortunately we moved a few months ago and our new cable provider doesn't have SEC Network in the package we have, so that's a ton of meets I'm not going to be able to watch :wuzrobbed I wish Big Ten Network cared a bit more about the non-football/basketball sports.

It's been entirely too long of an off season, I am so ready for gym to begin again. One thing I LOVE about the season being January-April is that it makes the winter completely fly by, and I've had enough of this polar sub-zero temperature shit that's been happening here lately. Here's to an entertaining season of gymnastics! :cheer2:
 

Lucy25

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And Alabama continues their trend of the worst hair in the NCAA . That said, I am so excited about the new season! I have been counting the days to the new season. LSU will continue to be my favorite, but being from Michigan, I’ll be following them, too.
 
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ilovepaydays

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Watching LSU vs. Arkansas during U.S. Ladies LP commercial breaks. I really like Arkansas' new leotards. Having the Razorback on one shoulder and "Arkansas" down the other sleeve looks really nice. I grew up in Arkansas and I like seeing them try to build their program. :)
 

Lucy25

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Going to watch LSU now. Lots of early season bobbles in the Michigan meet, but thrilled to see the Wolverines beat Alabama! Floor is their (UM) weakness right now.
 
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Erin

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Well LSU looks raring to go on bars (of all events) but a little underprepared everywhere else. I was a little surprised the final score came out over 197.

Scoring was much tighter at the Alabama/Michigan meet although both teams definitely have more work to do, especially on floor. Only Karas and McLean looked like they are in shape to do floor right now. Poor Bailie Key did not have the debut she wanted. Will be interesting to see if she stays in the lineup, especially since I was surprised not to see Peyton Ernst on beam.

Florida...ouch...did not get off to the start they wanted. I have not been as convinced as others that this is their year, although they were obviously hampered here by the last minute injury to Kennedy Baker. I was multitasking with watching skating and LSU-Arkansas, so I didn't get a great sense of how much the new freshmen are bringing in terms of scores. I was impressed that Foberg is already in the all around. Had been hoping to see Baumann on bars as she looked beautiful in preseason. Disappointed Skaggs only did a full on vault.

Didn't get to see Utah but a 197 for them is very impressive especially since lots are predicting they won't even make super six this year.
 
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Lucy25

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Kennedy Baker has an injury?? Rats. Love her. Looking forward to LSU-Florida next week. I see the potential in Baily Key and think she will be just fine. I seem to remember Maddie Desch had a pretty rocky start last year, too. That transition from elite to college must be brutal at first.
 
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Erin

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Kennedy Baker has an injury?? Rats. Love her.
Yeah, it was the weirdest thing, she did a toe-on on bars, missed it twice, then quit her bar routine and got a 2.0 on bars. Then the trainer was apparently working on her leg and she was out of the rest of the lineups when it appeared she was supposed to be in at least the vault and floor lineups (Sierra Alexander pinched in on vault and Rachel Gowey suddenly anchored floor). I was sad too, after she was out for so much of last season, I was hoping this was going to be a big year for her. Not clear if it will be lasting or not though.
 

Lucy25

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Yeah, it was the weirdest thing, she did a toe-on on bars, missed it twice, then quit her bar routine and got a 2.0 on bars. Then the trainer was apparently working on her leg and she was out of the rest of the lineups when it appeared she was supposed to be in at least the vault and floor lineups (Sierra Alexander pinched in on vault and Rachel Gowey suddenly anchored floor). I was sad too, after she was out for so much of last season, I was hoping this was going to be a big year for her. Not clear if it will be lasting or not though.
Thanks for the info. Hope it won't turn out to be something serious.
 
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Erin

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Agreed. I believe Nichols' competition on Monday will mark the first time any gymnast will have competed who has gone public about Nassar so it would be great to see some appreciation for her.

I watched the two competitions on the SEC network with half an eye in the background while I was watching Canadians. LSU looked a little improved from last week on every event but bars. Having Edney back helped, even though she clearly wasn't at her best. I'm surprised not to see Desiderio in the floor lineup and wonder if there is an injury? Florida looked way better than last week and good to see it was just a cramp for Baker, but I'm still a little meh on them. Can't wait to see how Oklahoma compares.

Very sad to see two athletes go down to injury in the Georgia-Alabama meet. Georgia's will particularly devastating to their lineups. Outside of that, Alabama is just not looking like the team they were last year and don't have the depth we are used to seeing. And Georgia...well, people have pointed out that the bright side is that it was a point higher than last year's debut. But I was kind of amused that Suzanne made a claim that people wouldn't have to hold their breath for Georgia beam anymore and they open up with counting two falls.
 
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Erin

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@Rob, I agree that Finnegan looks amazing this season. She's a good example of someone that had a bit of an up and down freshman year, coming in after having not competed at all in three seasons, but improved so much last year, and has really come into her own this year.

Given all that has gone on in the gymnastics community this week, it felt a bit weird to just jump into college gymnastics, but I still do love the sport and I don't want to not support the gymnasts (although I won't be attending any USAG meets until I get a lot more evidence of change).

Anyway...Oklahoma still looks like the team to beat, but they don't look as impressive as I thought they might from their intrasquad. A few more hiccups than I thought there would be. That said, there is lots of fresh talent from Webb, Showers, Woodard. KJ Kindler continues to do great work with the team. UCLA is also looking pretty good - a lot further along than they usually are in January, so that's a good sign. And Kocian competed beam in Arizona, and it wasn't a hands-free routine, which suggests her recovery must be pretty far along. I did not expect to see her back this early at all.

Florida continues to look a bit rough - there was tough judging on bars at their meet on Kentucky but they also counted a fall on beam and even without those issues, they just don't look as good as Oklahoma or LSU. Alabama is also massively underperforming compared to expectations, although in retrospect I think that losing Katie Bailey and Aja Sims were holes that were too big for them to fill.

I went to the Minnesota meets the past two weekends - big improvement this weekend compared to last. They have two freshmen, Lexy Ramler and Ona Loper, who are both really talented and were exciting to watch. I really liked the floor choreography for a lot of the Minnesota team too (and luckily one of the routines that I saw that I wasn't a fan of wasn't in the competition).
 
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Erin

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So Oklahoma-Florida last night might have set the record last night for crazy town judging. For both teams. I think the worst score was Evy Schoepfer's floor score, which got a 9.9 with two passes with mistakes. But I would also say that neither of Alex McMurtry's 10s were deserved, Alyssa Baumann was overscored on both of her events, Bre Showers got a gift on beam, Jasmine Foberg's 9.825 on floor when all three passes had problems seemed high, AJ Jackson's floor going 9.775 with an out of bounds and a large step on the first pass. I could go on, these are just the most egregious. On the underscored side, I would say if anyone deserved a 10, it was Maggie's vault and both of Nicole Lehrmann's routines seemed low, especially with where the judges were going for everyone else.

Anyway so both teams hit 198 but I would take it with a grain of salt. They had a lot of help to get there.
 

Aceon6

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I wonder about the loose judging so early in the season. Do these folks want the teams to stay with the lineups and routines as is? If I was a coach, I'd be looking for real scores so that I'd know where the team needs work.
 

Aceon6

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OU/Florida was insane, although I did wonder what the beam judges were smoking when they threw out some 9.9s for obviously flawed routines. Still, that was great competition, especially from the #2 and #3 spots.
 

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It is great to see Flordia has remained so strong since the incredible Rhonda Faehn left. I was worried what would happen to them when this incredible women and coach left them.
 

HeatherC

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I've been watching a lot of SEC gymnastics and I think the Auburn team has some of the most gorgeous gymnastics being done in the SEC right now. Those girls were on fire tonight. I am so impressed with them and they're a pretty young team! :cheer:

Oklahoma vs. UCLA is going to be on ESPN on Sunday afternoon at 4 PM EST. I cannot WAIT to watch that one! :cheer2:
 

Lara

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I've been watching a lot of SEC gymnastics and I think the Auburn team has some of the most gorgeous gymnastics being done in the SEC right now. Those girls were on fire tonight. I am so impressed with them and they're a pretty young team! :cheer:

Oklahoma vs. UCLA is going to be on ESPN on Sunday afternoon at 4 PM EST. I cannot WAIT to watch that one! :cheer2:
Same - and I haven’t seen UCLA since their season debut! The Pac-12 Network’s been showing other teams. From what I’ve seen Utah’s solid, Cal needs to get through bars, Price is carrying an otherwise underwhelming Stanford, and I’m very happy to see Arizona State’s rise after years of being the bottom feeder of the Pac-12.

On the SEC side Kudos to Arkansas for their win over Georgia, and I’d love to see Kentucky make NCAA’s after having such an unlucky draw and narrow loss last year. And I also appreciate Auburn’s routines even if they’ve yet to reproduce the results they had with Caitlyn Atkinson.

I just watched OK vs FL and seems everyone’s in agreement on those scores. I could go with McMurtry’s 10 on vault though (maybe I missed something like legs being a bit apart?)
 
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Erin

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I just watched OK vs FL and seems everyone’s in agreement on those scores. I could go with McMurtry’s 10 on vault though (maybe I missed something like legs being a bit apart?)
She didn't stick the landing. And I don't think the landing is the only thing to judge but I can't go with a 10 for a landing that isn't stuck.

Anyway, moving on, today is OU at UCLA and it's going to be shown on ESPN which is a pretty big deal. At the beginning of the season, I would have thought this was a good match-up for the stars on both teams and more interesting choreography compared to most teams. But UCLA has looked a lot better than I expected this early in the season and with them at home, I actually think this competition could go either way. It would be a pretty big shock if OU were to lose two in a row though.
 

HeatherC

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This Oklahoma vs UCLA meet is living up to the hype with some REALLY great gymnastics so far! I hope it keeps up because not only are they mostly hitting their routines, they're doing some gorgeous gymnastics too. I saw UCLA (specifically Peng Peng Lee) live at regionals one year and I think Peng Peng has SO much talent. She and the other Bruins make that hard stuff look really easy! :swoon: :cheer: :biggrinbo
 

Lara

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She didn't stick the landing. And I don't think the landing is the only thing to judge but I can't go with a 10 for a landing that isn't stuck.
You're right, I put on Florida vs Auburn after posting and when they replayed the vault in the intro I could see the shift/bounce. Oops.
 
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Erin

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The judging was absolutely hilarious in the last half of the UCLA-OU meet. The beam judges were crazy the entire time and then the floor judges decided to get into the action in the last half of that rotation. Apparently everyone gets 10s. :lol:

Anyway, it was an exciting meet at least. And I'm not sure I have a strong feeling about who should have won. I think Oklahoma was stronger on everything but floor (once you throw out the falls) but they were significantly weaker on floor. So I think a close win by them makes sense but I really could have been fine with this one going either way. And I won't get too hung up on the individual scores because it's definitely not worth it!

The tribute at the end to the women who spoke out about Larry Nassar was well done and I am impressed that ESPN stayed on air for it.
 

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