In our last regional analysis, we're taking a look at the Ann Arbor regional, or as some people affectionately call it, the death regional. We'll look at the matchups, who is likely to advance and if your picks in the 2016 NCAA gymnastics bracket challenge were smart.
In the most tightly contested regional of the weekend, Auburn, Michigan and Stanford are all capable of advancing to nationals and should be in Fort Worth. All three were there last year and two of the three made the Super Six. However, this year, one team will be left home. Stanford did what Stanford always does during the regular season and took a very long time to really get going, not scoring a nationals-worthy score until its last meet of the season. The Cardinal may come into this regional as the technical underdogs but it wouldn't really be an upset if it advanced.
Auburn has actually done better than last year's record-breaking season. However, there's still some doubt, especially when put up against Michigan at home and an unpredictable Stanford team. The Tigers have a lower scoring potential than the other two big teams but have been quite consistent so far. Michigan, on the other hand, has had some major troubles on beam, but hit the event when it counted at Big 10s. If things have been worked out ad there are no more issues, the Wolverines will surely advance, especially considering they're competing at home.
Stanford needs to have a more than great performance. Elizabeth Price needs to be rewarded for her perfection, and might we see Ivana Hong's all around debut? If not, Hong is capable of qualifying as an individual on bars and beam, Price will surely qualify as an all arounder and Melissa Chuang has a chance on beam as well. If Auburn doesn't advance, Caitlin Atkinson is a shoo-in for an all around spot. Pittsburgh's Lindsay Offutt is also a strong all arounder and Michigan has a number of strong contenders should the team not advance to nationals.
Eastern Michigan and Penn State as well as New Hampshire even, are capable of mid-196s and can challenge if one or more of the top teams have mistakes.
Almost every team hosts or participates in a pink meet in honor of breast cancer research. So rather than include them in with the regular leotards each week, we decided to do one big pink post. But we won’t include the score in with the regular season totals, because comparing a random pink leotard to a well-intentioned team design isn’t exactly fair.
Once again, we’re joined by special quest Gabrielle to the panel while Casey is off hanging out with Shang Chunsong in China. But while we have a guest judge, the criteria remains the same: up to three points for design; two points for fabric, sparkle, etc.; and two points for school spirit (or in this case, pink-meet spirit); three points for overall appearance. We want to know what you thought too (or if we forgot one of your favorites from this weekend)! Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter.
In the second-to-last regional analysis, we're taking a look at the Tuscaloosa competition. We'll dissect the matchups, look at who is most likely to advance and see if your picks in the 2016 NCAA gymnastics bracket challenge were smart or not.
It's hard to imagine Alabama not making it to NCAAs, especially since the competition's at home for the Crimson Tide. The team is still playing around with lineups, though, with some gymnasts competing on events at the conference championships for the first time. That's not typical of a major postseason meet, and you start to wonder if the Tide would have picked up its third-SEC championship in a row if it had just put up the best of the best. It's unclear whether Alabama will continue to explore depth at regionals or whether we'll finally see some solidified lineups. Or maybe the team is just waiting to pull out the big guns at nationals and just blow the competition away.
But in terms of advancing, the real excitement will come from California and Boise State. The Broncos have been quite consistent all season and fell out of the top 12 at the very end. While the team had nearly every competition in the 196s or 197s, California's highs were just higher, allowing the Golden Bears o jump ahead at the end. Boise is strongest on bars, lead by Krystine Jacobsen who is tied for the top spot in the uneven bars rankings with Oklahoma's McKenzie Wofford. So she's pretty good at the event. The Broncos also excel on floor, but Cal is better with Toni-Ann Williams and Zoe Draghi as the one-two punch in the lineup. Beam can be an issue for California at times but if the team hits, it'll be in a good position to advance. The Bears start on beam, so fans will get a good idea of where they stand after the very first rotation.
As for individual all arounders looking to qualify to nationals, there are a number that can make the trip. If Cal advances as a team, Boise's Shani Remme or Sandra Collantes are capable of hitting a high enough score. Jacobsen could also qualify as a bars specialist and Maddie Krentz is capable of putting up a big score on floor along with Collantes. If Boise qualifies as a team and Cal is left at home, Toni-Ann Williams could make it if she competes in the all around. However, Williams will most likely miss nationals even if she qualifies because it is the same weekend as the 2016 Rio Olympic Test Event. She'll be attending in the hopes of qualifying to the Olympics to represent Jamaica. Draghi is also a star on beam and floor and could advance depending on what Alabama's lineups score. Kentucky has two strong all aroudners as well in Sidney Dukes and Alex Hyland, who both could see trips to Fort Worth. There's also Arizona State's Taylor Allex, who is a phenomenal vaulter and floor worker as well as West Virginia's Kirah Koshinski who is a regular season All-American on vault.
Our fourth regional analysis takes a look at the Salt Lake City competition. Like the others, we delve into the matchups, who has the best chances of advancing and give you insight into whether or not your picks in the 2016 NCAA gymnastics bracket challenge were smart.
This will probably be the easiest regional to predict. Utah and UCLA are the clear leaders and should advance with no problems even if they have a mistake here or there. However, if there's a couple of biggies and Washington's having one of its mid-196 meets, there could be an upset brewing. The main competition will be between UCLA and Utah for the top spot. The bruins have now defeated the Utes twice this season, something the Red Rocks can't be too happy with. So expect the Utes so come out of the gates ready to finally beat their rivals and clear up those nasty beam troubles from Pac-12s. Oh, and don't forget the fact that the competition is in Salt Lake City.
Washington has quietly done well this season, impressing with not bottom of the conference results like we typically see from the conference. Southern Utah is also capable of a mid to low 196. Illinois is the question mark. It's still Illinois, but we can't expect much with the success or lack there of its been having this season. Add onto that the fact that both Mary Jane Horth and Giana O'Connor are our, and Illinois will be happy if it doesn't finish sixth.
As for individuals, it'll be hard for event specialists to qualify with Utah home scoring a thing that happens. However, Sunny Kato has a chance of putting up big number on bars and beam. Washington's Allison Northey and Joslyn Goings are the clear all around favorites, but SUU's Danielle Ramirez could challenge as well.
Days until the 2017 National Championships