Here are my numerous feelings about this week of gymnastics, including my opinion on Mykayla Skinner’s ‘perfect 10.0’ disappointment.
1. UW-Stout sophomore Shadae Boone made history on Friday, by becoming the first Division III gymnast to ever compete a Yurchenko 1.5 – and she stuck it! The judges will have a lot to explain, after they scored it only a 9.600, but on our part, congratulations to Shadae and the whole Stout team!
2. LSU senior Sarah Finnegan once again performed a gorgeous floor routine (9.950). That 9.9 from one of the judges however is inexplicable…
2a. Arkansas freshman Kennedy Hambrick stuck her Yurchenko 1.5 on vault (9.900). Beautiful!
3. Bridgeport junior Maya Reimers competed this week one of the most beautiful double layouts I have seen this season on floor (9.275). Congratulations!
4. It was a fantastic competition at Elevate the State on Saturday night. Michigan freshman Natalie Wojcik FINALLY scored a well-deserved perfect 10.0 on vault for yet another perfectly stuck Yurchenko 1.5. Weekend made for me!
4a. Minnesota sophomore Ona Loper nearly stuck a beautiful Yurchenko 1.5 on vault (9.925).
4b. Rutgers sophomore Belle Huang hit an ambitious and very well-performed bars set (9.800).
4c. Illinois sophomore Rachel Borden, only one week after being added back to the roster, was given the honour to lead off her team on beam (9.625). Not her best performance, but what a debut!
5. At UCLA at Utah meet, UCLA junior Kyla Ross kept being the boss, scoring yet another perfect 10.0 on the uneven bars. It is becoming a weekly routine, is it not?!
5a. Impressive was also UCLA senior Macy Toronjo, who competed for the first time this season on bars and hit a beautiful set (9.800).
5b. Controversial was instead the gesture of disappointment towards the judges of Utah junior Mykayla Skinner, after she scored ‘only’ a 9.925 on floor. I am torn here. On the one hand, Mykayla has all the right to express her feelings and disappointments, especially considering that we have seen less than perfect routines scoring perfect 10.0s in the recent past. Moreover, we all noticed how hard Mykayla has worked on her form, the improvement is impressive, it is almost unrecognisable from her elite days. Yet, on the other hand, I feel that she and her coaches should rethink the concept of a perfect routine: the latter includes a multitude of factors, such as technique, good chest, leg and split positions, amplitude and extension, that go beyond simply sticking a landing. Mykayla should be commended for bringing her elite difficulty to college, yet she should not expect to receive perfect scores just for that. Furthermore, however frustrating it can be, gymnastics, especially in college, goes beyond mere individual scores. Mind me, I am strongly in favour of praising individuals (if it were for me, I would also bring back Nationals event finals), yet I feel that sometimes there is an uncomfortable and unspoken double standard between competing for the team and achieving individual scores. Finally, if I may add, if Mykayla (rightfully) complains, what should the likes of Lexy Ramler, Ivy Lu, Natalie Wojcik, Sarah Finnegan, Trinity Thomas and A LOT of less-renowned gymnasts you do not even know they exist say?
6. Speaking of controversies, Rhode Island senior Miranda Murphy posted her floor routine from this week on Twitter. It is a beautiful set, with excellent tumbling passes, leaps and choreography. It was scored a 9.075. Something needs to change.
7. The musicality of Utah State sophomore Autumn DeHarde in her floor routine is captivating (9.875)!
8. Denver junior Maddie Karr stuck cold her Yurchenko 1.5 for a 9.975. If that vault was not a 10.0, her reaction to the stick certainly was!
9. It was the first Baumann v. Baumann meet this week between Florida sophomore Alyssa Baumann and Georgia freshman Rachel Baumann. The little Baumann surprised everyone and proved that she is not so little anymore, beating her older sis on her pet event, beam. Rachel scored a slightly inflated 9.925 for a very intricate routine. Rest content… Until the next time!
10. California senior Toni-Ann Williams explained to Sam Peszek that all the love and support she has received since her injury last week made her realise that ‘the gymnastics community is one big family’. So much emotion, grace and poise. It brought tears to my eyes.
Highest scores of the week
Team: UCLA – 198.025
All around: Kyla Ross (UCLA) – 39.775
Vault: Natalie Wojcik (Michigan) – Perfect 10.0
Bars: Kyla Ross (UCLA) – Perfect 10.0
Beam: Sabrina Vega (Georgia), Kyla Ross (UCLA), Alexis Vasquez (Denver) – 9.950
Floor: Trinity Thomas (Florida) – 9.975
Natalie Wojcik (Michigan) – vault
Kyla Ross (UCLA) – bars
Routine of the week
UW-Stout’s Shadae Boone made history, by becoming the first Division III gymnast to ever compete a Yurchenko 1.5 on vault.