Week 3: Review

Photograph: YouTube

It was a terrible week for gymnastics. The Larry Nassar sentencing revealed at least 140 cases of sexual abuse of young gymnasts over the course of over twenty years perpetrated by the USAG doctor. It is both outrageous and heartbreaking to realise that so many young girls were left alone, unsafe and unprotected by adults who did not have the morality, the courage, the consciousness and the decency to denounce the abuses and the abuser. Adults who preferred prestige and money gain to the health and wellbeing of athletes. Adults who were enablers.

This week these young girls turned into strong women and came together, not only to denounce the abuse, but as an overwhelming force that demanded change. As this is an NCAA gymnastics blog, we give special mention here, among all brave survivors, to our current college gymnasts, who were victim of abuse. A shout-out to Oklahoma’s Maggie Nichols, who revealed this week to be ‘Athlete A’ in the Nassar case. To Lindsey Lemke, a current senior at Michigan State, who called out MSU and its president for their inaction. And to Jordyn Wieber, UCLA assistant coach, who was the latest gymnast to come forward in court with heartbreaking revelations, and accused USA Gymnastics of failing to protect her and her teammates. We stand for and support all these strong women. In the words of Kyle Stephens, who started being abused by Nassar aged six: ‘Little girls don’t stay little forever. They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world.’

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Now, it is difficult, but we need to go back to the NCAA. In Week 3, national champions the Oklahoma Sooners made their senior debut, and unsurprisingly they are again #1 in the leaderboard. Behind them, LSU, Utah and UCLA also did an outstanding job this week. Individually, Stanford’s Elizabeth Price proved once again to be the best all arounder in the nation right now, posting a huge 39.775 overall score. Utah’s MyKayla Skinner proved to have improved so much on her weakest apparatus, bars, to receive a perfect 10.0 from one judge (!!!), while Cal’s Toni-Ann Williams showed off how really (not) to compete vault!

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On Monday, national champion Oklahoma finally made its season debut – with style. The Sooners tied the highest score of the season so far, a 197.550, also posted by Michigan last week. Oklahoma defeated Georgia, which however seemed a completely different team compared to its season opener last week, scoring a significant 196.600, posting two 9.900s on beam and suffering less falls than the Sooners! Though not perfect, Oklahoma impressed once again for its ability to hit routines and stick landings so early in the season. Junior Brenna Dowell had a fantastic competition, scoring a 9.950 on vault for a stuck Yurchenko one-and-a-half and two 9.900s on bars and floor. On bars, Maggie Nichols (please let’s give her a second round of applause) posted the highest score of the meet, a 9.925. National co-champion Nicole Lehrmann also posted a 9.900 on bars. On floor, AJ Jackson and Maggie Nichols also tied Brenna Dowell’s 9.900. Surprisingly, Oklahoma, that is the beam team in the country, posted its lowest score on this apparatus, though a still impressive 49.300. The only 9.900 came from Bre Showers, followed by Maggie Nichols’ and Anastasia Webb’s 9.875. Freshman Anastasia Webb was the revelation of the meet for the Sooners. She competed in the all around, posting four solid scores in the 9.8s. She will have a great career! Despite almost a one-point difference between Oklahoma and Georgia, I was possibly even more impressed with the Gymdogs, for their ability to come back strong after last week’s disappointing performance. Rachel Dickson won the all around with a big 39.500, and she and Vivi Babalis posted two impressive 9.900s on beam. On floor, sophomore Sabrina Vega posted a 9.900 for a very fun routine, and on bars Rachel Dickson posted another impressive 9.900. Overall, what an effort for both teams!

Also on Monday, Lindenwood defeated host S.E. Missouri 194.650 to 191.900. Lindenwood’s Courtney Mitchell impressed on bars with a 9.875, while SEMO’s McKinzie Jones posted a 9.850 on floor.

WHAT AN INTENSE WEEKEND!

The PMAC was sold out and on wild fire on Friday for LSU v. Alabama. The LSU Tigers were honoured with a record attendance of 13,729 fans, which became louder and louder the further the meet went on. The Tigers had another outstanding meet, defeating the Crimson Tide 197.450-196.725. LSU did not have the strongest start on vault, where the best score was Sarah Finnegan’s 9.900 for a gorgeously stuck FTY. The Tigers, however, were on FIRE on bars (remember those times when bars was their weakest apparatus? They are over.). All six gymnasts scored a 9.9 or better. Sami Durante, Ruby Harrold and Lexie Priessman scored 9.900s, Myia Hambrick (OH MYYYYIA, the commentator screamed!) and Kennedi Edney two 9.925s and Sarah Finnegan a huge 9.975 – we are finally starting seeing 10s for Sarah, a perfect 10.0 is finally in the air. Beam was a bit of an up and down for LSU, but three gymnasts still came out strong with three 9.875s (Christina Desiderio, Kennedi Edney and Myia Hambrick). Finally, on floor the Tigers were again of FIRE! Myia Hambrick posted her third consecutive 9.950 for a routine that included a stuck double layout. She was followed by Sarah Finnegan’s 9.925 and by Julianna Cannamela’s and Sarah Edwards’ 9.875s. It was a fantastic meet for Julianna Cannamela. After Kennedi Edney tweaked her knee in warm-ups on vault (she seems all right), Julianna took her place both on vault and on floor as the anchor… And bam! She posted a 9.875 on floor and a 9.850 on vault. Good for her, she looked so happy! Alabama also had a pretty good meet on the road. The Crimson Tide impressed especially on beam, where they posted five scores over 9.8. Nickie Guerrero won the event with a 9.950, followed by Kiana Winston’s and Peyton Ernst’s 9.875. Alabama also did well on floor, where Kiana Winston posted a 9.925, and Abby Armbrecht and Nickie Guerrero two 9.875s. Bama had weaker performances on bars and vault. On bars, Kiana Winston and Mackenzie Brannan posted two 9.875, but the Crimson Tide were a bit too aggressive with their handstands and lost significant tenths on overarched backs. On vault, they could not break into the 9.9s, but Abby Armbrecht and Shea Mahoney posted two good 9.825s and Nickie Guerrero a 9.800. Overall, I believe that Alabama has so much potential, but is playing very safe because of some injuries and unhealthy athletes. Hopefully they will come out of their shell by mid-season as they normally do!

Utah also had a fantastic competition, scoring a big 197.450, its highest team score so far and tying LSU, against Oregon State (196.300). Sophomore MyKayla Skinner was on fire, scoring a 9.950 on vault for her DTY, a 9.925 on beam (just a pace forward on the dismount) a slightly overscored 9.875 on floor and a HUGE 9.975 on bars. Yes, you read well – MyKayla Skinner got a 10.0 from a judge on her weakest apparatus. So good this gymnast has become! She won the all around with an impressive 39.725, the second highest score in the nation so far. MaKenna Merrell-Giles was right behind her with an impressive 39.600 all around score. MaKenna posted a huge 9.950 on vault for a Yurchenko one-and-a-half and a 9.925 on floor. Utah had splendid rotations on vault and floor. On vault, in addition to MaKenna’s and MyKayla’s 9.950s, Kim Tessen kept impressing with another big 9.900 for an almost stuck Yurchenko one-and-a-half. And on floor, MaKenna Merrell-Giles, senior Tiffani Lewis and impressive freshman Sydney Soloski all posted three 9.925s. Freshman Alexia Burch made her college debut on her best apparatus, beam, where she scored a respectable 9.700. Oregon State impressed especially on bars, where Mariana Colussi-Peleaz scored a big 9.900 and teammate Sabrina Gill a 9.850. It was a very good day also for Oregon State’s Dani Dessaints, who scored a 9.850 on vault and a 9.875 on beam.

The UCLA Bruins once again proved that they are ON this season, scoring a big 197.300 to defeat Arizona (195.750). The Bruins were slightly off on bars, and yet Kyla Ross still posted an impressive 9.925 and Kaytlin Ohashi finally hit her routine for a 9.900. UCLA was however on fire on the other three apparatuses, including vault (yes, I’m still surprised!). On vault, Felicia Hano won the even with a big 9.900 for her Yurchenko one-and-a-half, followed by Pua Hall’s 9.875 for the same vault and Katelyn Ohashi’s 9.875 for an almost stuck FTY. The Bruins then showed the world how to compete balance beam, with three gymnasts, Grace Glenn, Katelyn Ohashi and Peng-Peng Lee posting three huge 9.950s. Peng did her usual Peng things, hitting big skills flawlessly and sending the crowd nuts with her mount. Grace Glenn was a joy to watch. The sophomore, in her first year competing as a Bruin, is acquiring confidence meet by meet and is becoming a rock. This was the first beam routine of the year for Katelyn Ohashi. Her routine is new. She removed (sigh!) her triple series in favour of a free-walkover into BHSO, but she added a difficult switch ring to beat jump. It is not a breathtaking routine, but it is interesting and different, it will produce good scores and hopefully will keep Katelyn healthy! The Bruins kept impressing on floor with their excellent conditioning. Fish Hano and Pauline Tratz posted two big 9.900s, followed by Sonya Meraz’s and Gracie Kramer’s 9.850s. This was Sonya’s first floor routine of the year and she nailed. Gracie keeps impressing me on floor. She is the perfect leadoff gymnast, and once again she stuck all three landings. Katelyn Ohashi won the all around with a 39.450. It was a week of season debuts for the Bruins. Madison Kocian was BACK on the beam, and despite a fall her routine is strong and she seems ready to compete. Welcome back to the Olympic champion! Grace Glenn’s twin sister Anna Glenn also got a chance to compete exhibition routines on vault and beam, her very first as a Bruin. She impressed on beam with a 9.850. Junior Stella Savvidou also performed an exhibition routine on floor, and impressed everyone by performing all her tumbling passes with only one hand, including two-and-a-half twists and a double tuck. Impressive! Arizona impressed with five routines in the 9.8s on bars, capped by Christina Berg’s and Madison Cindric’s 9.875s. Kennady Schneider impressed on floor, where she posted a 9.900.

On Sunday the Oklahoma Sooners competed in their second meet of the week and scored only 0.025 lower than their season opener on Monday, an impressive 197.525. They won ahead of Iowa State (194.975) and Texas Woman’s (191.425). Maggie Nichols competed in the all around for the first time this season, posting a big 39.625, which included a big 9.950 on bars and a 9.925 on beam. The Sooners were on fire on vault, their first apparatus, where Brenna Dowell stuck her second Yurchenko one-and-a-half in a row for a 9.925, followed by AJ Jackson’s 9.900 and by three 9.875s by freshman Anastasia Webb, Jade Degouveia and Maggie. The Sooners did even better on bars, where, behind Maggie Nichols, Brenna Dowell and Nicole Lehrmann scored two 9.900s and AJ Jackson and Stefani Catour two 9.875s. Beam, though still not up to Oklahoma levels, was much better than on Monday. Behind Maggie’s 9.925, Nicole Lehrmann posted a 9.900, Anastasia Webb posted a 9.825, and two 9.875s were posted by Bre Showers and by freshman Carly Woodard in her first ever competitive routine as a Sooner! Oklahoma had a few uncharacteristic hiccups on floor, but still managed to score over 149. AJ Jackson topped the leaderboard with a big 9.925 (her full-twisting double back was so high it went off camera!), and Anastasia Webb and Maggie Nichols two 9.875s. It was also a very good competition for Iowa State on all apparatuses but beam. On bars, Hilary Green posted a big 9.900, followed by Hailee Young’s 9.850. On vault, they counted a couple of 9.850s with Hailee and Meaghan Sievers, and on floor Ariana Orrego and Briana Ledesma posted two 9.825s. Texas Woman’s impressed especially on vault, where Mallory Moredock posted an impressive 9.850 and Brandi Lazarus a 9.825. I’m so impressed with Texas Woman’s! The leader of the Division II group can easily compete with top Division I teams and completely feel they deserve their place there!

In also its second meet of the week, Georgia kept impressing and improving, scoring a 196.725 against Auburn (196.375). If the Gymdogs keep this pace, we shall soon see their first 197 of the season! Despite losing arguably their best floor worker, GiGi Marino, to injury last week, the Gymdogs posted a HUGE 49.525 overall score on floor exercise. Sabrina Vega scored a 9.950, Rachel Dickson and Sydney Snead two 9.925s and Vivi Babalis a 9.875. There was again no drama on beam, with Sabrina Vega and Sydney Snead posting two 9.875s. Lauren Johnson scored an impressive 9.900 on vault, the first 9.9 on vault for the Gymdogs this season. Georgia was a bit more vulnerable this week on bars, where it had to count several scores in the 9.7s, but this is their best apparatus and we shall consider it a hiccup. Sydney Snead won the all around with a 39.500. Auburn, despite the defeat, had a very solid competition. Drew Watson and Jada Glenn posted two big 9.875s on vault. Samantha Cerio tied for the bars title with a 9.875, followed by Gracie Day’s 9.850. On beam, three Tiger gymnasts shared the beam title, Abby Milliet, Samantha Cerio and Taylot Krippner with three 9.875s. And on floor, Abby Milliet and Gracie Day posted two 9.850s.

It was an ‘unfinished business’ meet for Florida and Kentucky. The Gators defeated Kentucky 196.325 to 195.950, both team scoring almost one point lower than last week. Florida had a fairly good competition, better than what their overall score suggests. On vault, Rachel Slocum finally got her vault right (a front pike with half twist out) for a big 9.925, followed by Alex McMurtry, who keeps collecting 9.900 after 9.900 for her big FTY. Sierra Alexander also improved her landing in her FTY very much for a 9.850 and Alicia Boren almost stuck her Yurchenko one-and-a-half. The Gators also had a good competition on floor, where scores were a bit shy, but Kennedy Baker posted a big 9.900, Alicia Boren a 9.875 and Alyssa Baumann a 9.850. Things, however, went awkwardly on bars, where Florida was inexplicably underscored on several routines. Their best routine was Rachel Gowey’s, who won the event with a 9.825, for a routine normally worthy of a 9.9+. Alex McMurtry, Alicia Boren and Jazmyn Foberg all got outrageously low 9.775s. Alex’s score was particularly weird, as her routine looked practically identical to the past two. Even the commentator said: ‘This must be in the 9.9s for sure!’ Hem… Not for the judges! Judges aside, however, the Gators had problems of their own on beam, where they had to count Alex McMurtry’s 9.425 after Kennedy Baker fell off the beam. Rachel Gowey, on the contrary, kept impressing with her confidence with a 9.900-scoring routine. Kentucky had a very good meet overall, but its overall score was marred by some problems on bars. There, they had to count Cori Rechenmacher’s 9.175, after Alaina Kwan scored in the 8.8s. The rest of the competition, however, was very solid. Star Mollie Korth won the all around with a 39.500, tied for the vault title with a 9.925 and posted a big 9.900 on floor. Kentucky had an excellent competition on beam and floor. On beam, Alex Hyland and Sidney Dukes tied Rachel Gowey for best score with two 9.900s, followed by Mollie Korth’s 9.875. On floor, Sidney Dukes won the even with a 9.925, ahead of Mollie Korth’s 9.900 and Alex Hyland’s 9.875.

After a fantastic meet last week, Michigan disappointed with a low 194.975 at Illinois-Champaign (194.325). The Wolverines did not have a disastrous meet, but could not find their momentum, having to count several scores in the 9.7s and a fall on floor. Paige Zaziski posted the only 9.900 for Michigan on bars, followed by Olivia Karas’s 9.875 and Polina Shchennikova’s 9.850. Polina Shchennikova also made her debut on beam, scoring a respectable 9.725. All other events, however, went to Illinois-Champaign. Kasey Meeks won vault with a 9.850, Bridget Hodan won beam with an impressive 9.900 and Rae Balthazor won floor with a 9.875, tied with Michigan’s Emma McLean, as well as the all around with a 39.100.

Host Missouri defeated Arkansas in a tight battle 196.325-196.150. The Missouri Tigers impressed with their consistency and some big scores. On bars, Morgan Porter won with a 9.900, followed by Madeleine Huber (9.875). On beam, Kennedi Harris posted a big 9.925 and Aspen Tucker followed with a 9.875. On vault, they posted three 9.825s with Britney Ward, Madeleine Huber and Shauna Miller. Arkansas also had a strong overall performance. Braie Speed posted a huge 9.900 on vault and on beam Jessica Yamzon and Michaela Burton posted two big 9.900s. On bars, Arkansas posted three 9.800s and on floor Sarah Shaffer posted a 9.875. Jessica Yamzon also won the all around with a 39.250.

Pittsburgh improved by two full points from its season opener, scoring a good 196.225 and defeating New Hampshire, which scored a 195.175. Pittsburgh impressed with a lot of consistent scores in the 9.8s. Alecia Petrikis scored a 9.850 to top the vault ranking. Catie Conrad and Haley Brechwald posted two big 9.875s on bars. On beam, Catie Conrad posted another 9.875 and the two Lucy, Lucy Brett and Lucy Jones, two 9.825. On floor, Haley Brechwald won the event with a 9.875. Haley also won the all around with an impressive 39.300. New Hampshire impressed especially on bars, where Danielle Mulligan and Lauren Diggan scored two big 9.875s. Casey Lauter also kept impressing on beam, scoring a 9.875. Her teammate Courtney Bondanza also competed a big beam routine for a 9.850.

North Carolina State won a three-team meet with an impressive 196.350, ahead of Ball State (194.750) and William & Mary (193.300). North Carolina State’s Chelsea Knight impressed, winning the all around with a big 39.450, as well as vault and beam with two big 9.900s. North Carolina State impressed on floor, where five of its six scores were 9.8s or better. The best score was Drew Grantham’s 9.875. It also had a great competition on bars, where it posted four scores over 9.8, capped by Maggie Tamburro’s 9.850.

Washington is slowly but consistently coming out of its shell and improving. This week it posted its first score in the 196s, a 196.325 to defeat California (194.850). The Huskies had wonderful rotations on bars and floor. On bars, four gymnasts posted 9.825s (Evanni Roberson, Madison Copiak, Maya Washington and Michaela Nelson) and Hailey Burleson posted a 9.800. Washington did even better on floor. There, Hailey Burleson and Maya Washington posted two 9.900s, Kristyn Hoffa and Zoey Schaefer two 9.875s and Evanni Roberson a 9.825. For Cal, senior Toni-Ann Williams won the all around with a 39.325, as well as vault with a 9.900 and floor with a 9.925. The Golden Bears also did well on bars, where Nina Schank scored a 9.925 to tie her career-high and Sofie Seilnacht posted a 9.850. The funniest moment of the meet happened on vault during warm-ups, when Toni-Ann missed her round-off completely, and dived over the vaulting table (she is fine!).

Arizona State kept impressing with its second consecutive score in the 196s, a 196.250 to defeat Stanford (195.650). Arizona State had a fantastic competition on beam and floor to seal the victory. On beam, Katelyn Lentz scored an impressive 9.900, followed by Cairo Leonard-Baker’s (how good is this freshman?!), Justine Callis’s and Nichelle Christopherson’s 9.875s and Ashley Szafranski’s 9.800. On floor, Cairo Leonard-Baker scored a 9.900, Kaitlyn Szafranski a 9.850, and Jessica Ginn and Katelyn Lentz two 9.800s. The undisputable star of the meet, however, was Stanford’s Elizabeth Price, who is having the season of a lifetime. Ebee won the all around with a career-high 39.775, the highest score in the NCAA this season so far. She also posted three 9.950s on vault, bars and beam, and a 9.925 on floor. Ebee’s 9.950 on vault for her FTY is the second in a row and it makes three perfect scores for the senior this season (a perfect 10.0 on bars and two perfect 9.950s on vault for a FTY). Surely this MUST be enough to earn her the Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week award this week, after mysteriously missing out on any award last week? Stanford’s freshman Lauren Navarro also impressed on beam, where she posted a career-high 9.925.

It was a rewarding meet between Minnesota and Michigan State, with both teams outscoring their best score by over one point. Minnesota won the meet with a good 196.075, defeating Michigan State (194.925). Minnesota impressed on all apparatuses, but had a fantastic rotation especially on bars, where Ivy Iu scored a 9.900, Lexy Ramler a 9.875, Hannah Hitchcock a 9.850 and Rachel Rowland a 9.800. Lexy Ramler had an excellent competition, winning the all around with a 39.450 and beam with a 9.950. Ona Loper also impressed, winning both vault and floor with two 9.900s.

Nebraska also posted its first 196 of the season, a 196.300 to defeat Rutgers (192.975). Nebraska did outstanding on bars, beam and floor, and only a weaker performance on vault prevented it from scoring in the high 196s. On bars, Taylor Houchin scored a 9.900, Abbie Epperson a 9.850, and Catelyn Orel and Megan Schweihofer two 9.800s. On beam, Abbie Epperson, Grace Williams, Megan Schweihofer and Sierra Hassel all posted 9.825s. And on floor, Sienna Crouse posted a 9.900, Grace Williams a 9.875, Megan Schweihofer a 9.850 and Abbie Epperson and Sierra Hassel two 9.825s. Consistent routines win you meets and precious points, this is the proof!

Host Iowa defeated Ohio State 195.725-195.300. Iowa impressed with some solid scores. Nikki Youd won vault with a 9.850, Melissa Zurawski won bars with a 9.875, Clair Kaji beam with a 9.850 and Charlotte Sullivan and Lanie Snyder tied for the floor title with two 9.875s. Iowa’s Charlotte Sullivan and Ohio State’s Jenna Swartzentruber tied for the all around with two 39.100s.

Host BYU defeated Southern Utah 195.750 to 194.475. BYU’s Jill Van Mierlo won the all around with a 39.025 and teammate Mackenzie Douglas won floor with a 9.875. Southern Utah’s Autumn Jorgensen posted the highest score on beam, a 9.875.

Host Bowling Green won over Eastern Michigan with a 195.025 to a 193.950. Eastern Michigan’s Kendall Valentin won the all around with a 38.975, while all other events were won by Bowling Green gymnasts. Jovannah East won vault with a 9.850 and floor with a 9.875, Lexi Augustine bars with a 9.775 and India McPeak beam with a 9.850.

Host Kent State defeated Northern Illinois 195.925-195.200. Kent State impressed with some big scores. Rachel Stypinski won the all around with a big 39.425, as well as floor with a 9.900 and beam with a huge 9.925. Teammate Ali Marrero won bars with another 9.900. Northern Illinois’s Ahley Potts won vault with a 9.850, while teammate Anna Martucci tied Stypinski’s 9.900 on floor.

Host Maryland won over Penn State 195.550-195.025. Maryland’s Alicia Farina won floor with an impressive 9.900 and teammate Audrey Barber tied for the vault title with a 9.800. The real star of the meet, however, was Penn State’s Briannah Tsang, who won the all around with a 39.300, as well as bars with a 9.900 and tied on vault with Barber and teammate Gianna LaGuardia. Penn State’s Mason Hosek won beam with an impressive 9.900.

Host North Carolina defeated Temple 195.300-194.375. North Carolina impressed with their consistency. On vault, three UNC gymnasts tied for the title with a 9.825: Kaitlynn Hedelund, Khazia Hislop and Madison Nettles. On beam, Alexis Allen posted an impressive 9.900, followed by Zhazia Hislop’s and Morgan Lane’s 9.850s. On floor, Mikayla Robinson won the even with another impressive 9.900. Grace Donaghy won bars with a 9.800.

Host Lindenwood won its second meet of the week with a 194.500, defeating Alaska (188.300) and Centenary College (184.125). Lindenwood’s Kierstin Sokolowski impressed with victories on vault and beam with two 9.825s. Teammate Ryan Henry won bars with a 9.800 and Breanna Franklin, also of Lindenwood, won floor with another 9.800. Alaska’s Isabelle Fox won the all around with a 38.425.

Boise State won a quad meet with a 195.850, ahead of Denver (195.050), UIC (192.375) and Seattle Pacific (186.875). While Denver posted the highest scores, Boise State was the most consistent team. On bars, in particular, Boise State posted a big 49.225 overall score, with the lowest score being a 9.825. Denver’s freshman Lynnzee Brown kept impressive, posting a big 9.900 on floor and a 39.325 in the all around. Maddie Karr posted another big 9.900 on bars, while Nikole Addison a 9.900 on vault. Boise State’s Shani Remme won beam with a stellar 9.925.

In a three-team meet, host Utah State (195.450), defeated San José State (194.275) and Sacramento State (193.275). Utah State impressed especially on bars and floor. On bars, Keri Peel and Madison Ward posted two big 9.825s, tying for the title with Sac State’s Jackie Sampson. And on floor, Autumn DeHarde and Faith Leary posted two impressive 9.850, tying San José’s Ellie Pascoe-Long. Ellie also won vault with a 9.825, while teammate Kaitlin Won won the all around with a 39.075. San José State impressed on beam, where Stephanie Relove won the event with a 9.875, followed by Kaitlin Won’s 9.850.

In an all Michigan meet, host Central Michigan narrowly defeated Western Michigan 195.600-195.425. Central Michigan impressed with several scores in the 9.9s. Denelle Pedrick won vault with a 9.900, Kennedy Rae Johnson posted another 9.900 on bars and Katy Clements won beam with an impressive 9.925. Katy also won floor with a 9.875. Western Michigan’s Morgan Spence won the all around with a 39.025, while teammate Amelia Mohler tied for the bars title with a 9.900.

George Washington won on the road with a good 195.575, ahead of host West Virginia (195.400) and Towson (194.000). Both GW and WV particularly impressed on floor, the only apparatus in which they scored over 149. George Washington scored a 9.875 with Camille Drouin-Allaire, a 9.850 with Sara Mermelstein, and two 9.825s with Alexandra Zois and Madeline Seibold. West Virginia did even better, scoring an impressive 9.900 with Kirah Koshinski, two 9.850s with Erica Fontaine and McKenna Linnen, and two 9.800s with Abby Kaufman and Jordan Gillette. GW’s Jillian Winstanley impressed on bars and beam, where she posted a 9.850 and a 9.825 respectively. Camille Drouin-Allaire won the all around with a 39.225 and vault with a 9.875. Towson’s Cortni Baker impressed on vault with a 9.850.

Host Bridgeport defeated Brown 193.275-191.250. Bridgeport impressed especially on floor, where Kelly Aycock and Maya Reimers posted two 9.825s, followed by Gabrielle Kistner’s 9.800 and by Kelsey Campbell’s 9.700. Impressive were also, for Bridgeport, Kathryn Doran’s 9.825 on bars and Lauren Ramirez’s 9.800 on beam. Maya Reimers won the all around with a 38.850.

Cornell won with a 192.500, ahead of Southern Connecticut (189.825) and Cortland State (185.150). Cornell dominated the competition on vault and bars. They impressed especially on bars, where Amy Shen posted a big 9.825 and Kaitlin Green a 9.800. Amy Shen also won the all around with a 38.875. Cortland State’s Emma Schulz impressed on beam with a 9.825.

It was a bad meet for both Illinois State and Alaska, which scored way below their potential. Illinois State defeated Alaska 188.825-186.150. Illinois State’s Gabrielle Cooke, who won the all around with a 38.875, impressed particularly on floor, where she scored a 9.875.

Division II West Chester defeated Division III Ursinus College 191.725-186.800. West Chester’s Myranda Marshall impressed on bars with a 9.800 and teammate Sarah Boyd impressed on beam with another 9.800.

In Division III, UW-Stout defeated UW-Eau Claire in a tight competition 185.825-185.475. Stout’s Brooke Terry won the all around with a 37.725 and Eau Claire’s Tori Erickson posted an impressive 9.725 on beam.

UW-La Crosse, the finest Division III team at the moment, defeated host Hamline 187.900-184.100. La Crosse’s Jessica Ahrens won beam with a 9.775, and Hamline’s Caitlin Cooper won the all around with a 36.200.

Springfield College defeated Rhode Island College 186.200-177.625. Despite the heavy defeat, Rhode Island can be very proud of itself, after improving by three full points from its season opener against Brown last week! Springfield’s Ali Rushlow won the all around with a 37.750.

UW-Whitewater defeated Gustavus Adolphus 188.500-176.850. This was Whitewater’s best score of the season so far, after a sensational rotation on floor, capped by Lisa O’Donnell 9.725. Lisa also won the all around with a 37.075.

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Thoughts

We had to wait until Week 3 to see the seasonal debut of national champion Oklahoma, and the Sooners did not disappoint. They competed twice this week, and they posted the highest and second highest score of the week, and well as tied the highest score in the nation, a 197.550. They mean business this year as well!

Behind the Sooners, three other teams mean serious business this year: LSU, UCLA and Utah, who all seem full of renewed energy, passion and team spirit. Florida and Michigan did not live up to expectations this week, but potential is all there, and it is too early to get concerned.

We are also finally starting seeing important scores also by other teams, such as Denver, Auburn, Arkansas, Washington, Missouri and Arizona State. Such broad range of excellent gymnastics is what makes the NCAA so exciting!

At an individual level, some gymnasts are literally on fire this year, including Stanford’s Ebee Price, Utah’s MyKayla Skinner and LSU’s Sarah Finnegan and Myia Hambrick.

Some less renowned gymnasts, however, are also showing that hard work pays off, and you know what? Good for them, it is so rewarding to see. These include Utah’s MaKenna Merrell-Giles, UCLA’s Grace Glenn and Gracie Kramer, Oklahoma’s Bre Showers and LSU’s Julianna Cannamela.

Finally, again we salute Maggie Nichols for her bravery, class and positivity – she is the perfect role model. In the words of commentator Bart Conner: ‘We all want to commend Maggie on her courage and bravery to come forward…she is rightfully being acknowledged as a hero in the gymnastics community’.

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Best scores

Team: Oklahoma – 197.550

All around: Elizabeth Price (Stanford) – 39.775

Vault: Brenna Dowell (Oklahoma), Elizabeth Price (Stanford), MyKayla Skinner (Utah), MaKenna Merrell-Giles – 9.950

Uneven bars: Sarah Finnegan (LSU), MyKayla Skinner (Utah) – 9.975

Balance beam: Grace Glenn (UCLA), Peng-Peng Lee (UCLA), Kaitlyn Ohashi (UCLA), Elizabeth Price (Stanford), Nickie Guerrero (Alabama), Lexy Ramler (Minnesota) – 9.950

Floor exercise: Myia Hambrick (LSU), Sabrina Vega (Georgia) – 9.950

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Routines of the week

Vault: Brenna Dowell (Oklahoma) – Possibly the best Yurchenko one-and-a-half of the season thus far… And we are just getting started!

Uneven bars: Sarah Finnegan (LSU) – Who would have ever imagined that over 13,000 people could be lit on fire with an uneven bars routine? Watch this routine and you will find out!

Balance beam: Lauren Navarro (Stanford) – What a solid routine and WHAT A DISMOUNT for a young freshman. Hail Ebee Price’s successor!

Floor exercise: Sabrina Vega (Georgia) – There is only one word to describe Sabrina’s floor routine, which was invented last week by NCAA commentator Kathy Johnson-Clark – sassitude!

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What’s next?

The best of the best is happening next week! On Friday, #5 Florida is hosting #1 Oklahoma, it is going to be big. Also on Friday, Utah is competing on the road at Arizona and Georgia is competing at Arkansas, while Alabama is hosting Missouri. On Saturday, BRACE YOURSELF, UCLA and LSU are competing against each other for the first ever time in the regular season, at the Metroplex challenge, which is also featuring Washington and North Carolina State. Also on Saturday, Nebraska is hosting Michigan and Oregon State is competing at home against Stanford.

Article by Talitha Ilacqua

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