Week 5 started on a high note, with four scores of 197+. Florida scored a 197.400, LSU a 197.225, and Auburn and Alabama (finally!) two 197.000s. Three teams posted their first 196 of the season – New Hampshire, Iowa State and Stanford. Three gymnasts were just shy of perfection. LSU’s Myia Hambrick scored a 9.975 on floor for the second week in a row, teammate Sarah Finnegan scored a 9.975 for the second time this season, and Gym Slam Club member Alex McMurtry of Florida posted a 9.975 on the uneven bars.
It was a fantastic competition between Florida and Auburn, with the Gators edging the Tigers 197.400 to 197.000. Scores were more like the real thing for Florida than last week, and Auburn impressed with their first score in the 197s of the season. Florida had a big rotation on vault, where Alex McMurtry posted a 9.950, Rachel Slocum a 9.925 and Kennedy Baker a 9.900. On bars, Alex McMurtry touched perfection with a 9.975, but it was the only score in the 9.9s on this apparatus for the Gators. Things went up and down on beam. Alicia Boren won the event with a big 9.925, followed by Rachel Gowey’s 9.900, but Alex McMurtry suffered a fall after last week’s perfect 10.0 (even she feels the pressure?), and the Gators had to count Alyssa Baumann’s 9.675. Finally, on floor Alicia Boren was on fire, scoring a 9.950, followed by Kennedy Baker’s 9.925 and Rachel Gowey, who returned to the floor lineup to stay with a big 9.875. Even though Florida won, Auburn was the team that impressed the most. On vault, Gracie Day posted a big 9.925, followed by Jada Glenn’s 9.900, and the lowest counting score was a 9.800. On bars, Gracie Day posted another 9.925, followed by Samantha Cerio’s 9.900. The Tigers had an outstanding rotation on beam, where the lowest score was a 9.800, and Abby Milliet topped the scoreboard with a 9.900. Finally, on floor, the lowest counting scores for Auburn were two 9.825s, and the highest Gracie Day’s 9.900. Florida’s Alicia Boren won the all around with a 39.550.
It was another big meet for LSU, which won at home against Kentucky 197.225-196.700. The Tigers are the only team of the SEC, and only one of two teams in the nation (the other being Oklahoma), which scored over 197 every meet of the season so far. LSU had an uncharacteristic slow start on vault and bars, but finished very strong on beam and floor. On vault, all scores were in the 9.8s, with Myia Hambrick posting the highest score, a 9.875. On bars, Ruby Harrold and Kennedy Edney made two big mistakes (and the Tigers had to count Edney’s 9.400), but the rest of the rotation was excellent. Sarah Finnegan scored a 9.975 (give the girl a 10 please!!!), Lexie Priessman a 9.950, Myia Hambrick a 9.925 and Sami Durante a 9.900. On beam, I recognised a glimpse of the Tigers’ beam rotation at last year’s NCAA Super Six, with Myia Hambrick winning the event with a 9.925, and Christina Desiderio, Erin Macadaeg and Sarah Finnegan posting three 9.900s. On floor, Myia Hambrick posted the second 9.975 in a row (BUT THIS WAS A PERFECT 10.0!!!). Lexie Priessman also debuted on floor and posted a big 9.875 – she will not go anywhere! Kentucky had a very good competition too. On vault, Alex Hyland won the event with a huge 9.925 for a stuck FTY, so impressive, I loooove this gymnast! On bars, the best score came by Katrina Coca with a 9.875, followed by other two scores in the 9.8s. Beam was a fantastic rotation for Kentucky, where they scored three 9.850s and two 9.875s with Alex Hyland and Hailey Poland. Finally, on floor all scores were again in the 9.8s, with Mollie Korth and Sidney Dukes posting two big 9.875s. LSU’s Myia Hambrick won the all around with a career-high 39.700.
FINALLY, Alabama had a meet worth of its prestigious name, scoring a 197.000 (YES.) against Arkansas (196.350). The Crimson Tide still had a weak rotation on vault, where the best score was Nickie Guerrero’s 9.850, but had excellent rotations on the other three apparatuses. On bars, Kiana Winston and Mackenzie Brannan posted two big 9.900s, followed by two 9.850s. On beam, Nickie Guerrero posted a big 9.925 to win the event, followed by freshman Lexi Graber, who has impressively stepped up since her injury, with a 9.900. Finally, Alabama had an outstanding rotation on floor. Kiana Winston and Maddie Desch posted two big 9.950s, and Abby Armbrecht and Nickie Guerrero two 9.900s. Arkansas did not have the outstanding meet they had last week, but they still had a respectable meet of the road. The Razorbacks impressed especially on floor, where four scores were in the 9.8s and Sarah Schaffer topped the rotation with a 9.900. Schaffer also impressed on beam with another 9.900, and won the all around with a 39.350.
Boise State had an outstanding meet on the road at Utah State, posting a 196.625 to 195.150. Boise State’s Mary Frances Bir impressed on vault with a huge 9.950, followed by Ann Stockwell’s 9.875. On bars, Shani Remme won the event with a big 9.900, followed by Courtney McGregor’s and Emily Muhlenhaupt’s 9.850s. On beam, Boise State impressed again, with three 9.875s by Alex Esmerian, Sarah Means and Shani Remme. Finally, Sandra Collantes posted a big 9.900 on floor and all other gymnasts scored in the 9.8s. Utah State had a great rotation on floor, where Autumn DeHarde posted a 9.925 and Madison Ward a 9.900. Shani Remme won the all around with a 39.350.
New Hampshire had an outstanding meet, posting the first 196 of its season, a 196.125, against North Carolina (195.075). New Hampshire had an excellent rotation on beam, where Danielle Mulligan posted a 9.925, and Lauren Diggan and Riley Freehling two 9.875s. On beam, Casey Lauter posted a sensational 9.950 – this gymnast is one with the beam! Finally, New Hampshire had an outstanding rotation on floor, where all counting scores were in the 9.8s and were topped by Khazia Hislop’s 9.925. Carolina’s senior Morgan Lane won the all around with a 39.200.
Iowa State also posted its first 196 of the season in a quad meet at home. It won with a 196.200, ahead of West Virginia (195.025), Northern Illinois (194.375) and Yale (192.800). Iowa State’s senior Haylee Young had an outstanding meet, winning all events and the all around. She posted 9.900s on vault and floor, and 9.875s on bars and beam, and a 39.550 in the all around. Iowa State impressed on bars, where Young, Hilary Green and Meaghan Sievers all posted three 9.875s, as well as on beam, where four out of the five counting scores were in the 9.8s. West Virginia’s Zaakira Muhammad had a fantastic vault for a 9.900.
Stanford ALSO, finally, posted its first 196 of the season, a 196.050 to win a quad meet, ahead of UC Davis (195.150), San José State (192.975) and Seattle Pacific (190.750). Stanford’s achievement was even more impressive considering that Elizabeth Price competed only on vault and bars! The Cardinals had particularly solid rotations on vault and bars. On vault, Ebee Price and Rachael Flam posted two 9.875s and Kyla Bryant a 9.825. On bars, Price won the event with a 9.925, followed by Kyla Bryant’s 9.850 and two scores in the 9.8s. Kaylee Cole and Rachael Flam came through on beam with two 9.825s, and Flam also won floor with a 9.875 and the all around with a 39.375.
Southern Utah won on the road at Central Michigan 195.825-195.675. Central Michigan’s Gianna Plaksa impressed on bars with a 9.900, and so did Katy Clements on beam with a 9.925. Denelle Pedrick won vault with a 9.850, floor with a 9.875 and the all around with a 39.350.
Illinois-Champaign edged Iowa at home 195.325-195.150. Illinois-Champaign impressed especially on bars, where Nicole Biondi and Rae Balthazor posted two outstanding 9.900s. Iowa instead impressed on beam, where Charlotte Sullivan and Nikki Youd posted two 9.875s.
Eastern Michigan had a very good meet, scoring a 194.900 against UIC (194.250). Eastern Michigan impressed particularly on floor, where Emili Dobronics and Jada Rondeau posted two 9.825s. Kendall Valentin won beam with a big 9.875 and Lacey Rubin bars with an excellent 9.825.
Texas Woman’s had its best meet of the season so far, scoring a 193.700 on the road at Centenary College (185.700). Texas Woman’s Bria Northrop impressed on bars with a huge 9.850, while teammate Schyler Jones won floor with a big 9.825.
Western Michigan won on the road at S.E. Missouri 192.425-191.650. Western Michigan’s Amelia Mohler and Rachel Underwood did very well on bars and beam respectively for two 9.825s. SEMO impressed on floor with a 9.900 by Alexis Brawner and a 9.825 with McKinzie Jones.
UW-La Crosse won a three-team meet with a 189.600, ahead of UW-Eau Claire and Gustavus Adolphus. La Crosse’s Ellie Beckman impressed with a 9.750 on floor.
Hamline defeated UW-Stout at home with a 186.150 to 184.525. Hamline had a fantastic rotation on floor, topped by Caitlin Cooper’s 9.700.
Article by Talitha Ilacqua