Three things to watch at conference championships this weekend — other gym news — GymCastic talks to Hana Ricna

What to know and watch for before gymnastics conference championships kick off this weekend

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It’s conference championship weekend in college gym! Here are three things I’m going to be watching for this weekend.

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The race for the #2 seed at regionals: Cal vs. LSU

If LSU can score higher than a 197.900 at SECs this weekend, they’ll reclaim the #2 spot. If they don’t, or if Cal maxes out its own NQS, Cal takes it. These are two teams with a history of postseason jitters — particularly LSU, which is now rivaling Katherine Heigl in 29 Dresses for number of bridesmaid appearances in the top ranks. It will be interesting to see who can stay calmer and carry on farther. 

Kentucky at SECs

Kentucky’s having a great season so far, and has the potential to move from #6 to #4 with a banner performance at SECs. But can they displace both Florida and Utah to grab those two spots? Florida’s another team that is sometimes shaky in the postseason, so I give Kentucky the edge there if the jitters aren’t contagious. 

How far will UCLA go?

With a 197.575 at Pac-12s (sniff, the last one ever), UCLA would move up to a #10 ranking. If they go over 198, they could crack the top eight, but we’re also looking for errors from Alabama, Michigan State, and Denver for that to happen. Still, for a team that started the season with a lot of questions and lots of lineup holes, they are looking way more solid at this point than I would have expected. 

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Other gym news

Balance Beam Situation has the final NQS scenarios, the conference champs schedule and links to watch, and, of course, the GIFs

College Gym News has the Week 11 review, questions and concerns about Week 11, the conference champs preview, the Bubble Watch, and, of course, the leotards

There’s also an interview with Michigan gymnast-turned-BTN commentator Olivia Karas, an NCGA champs preview, and a judge’s take on the many 9.975s we’ve seen recently.  

The Gymternet has results from the Baku World Cup and from International Gymnix

Victoria Nguyen’s family are her biggest fans, per this article from Florida

This Reddit thread titled “What’s your gymnastics ‘I don’t know and at this point I’m too afraid to ask’ question?” is full of helpful info, even if you, say, write a weekly gymnastics column. 

Tiana Sumanasakera gave an interview to the Olympic Channel about training for 2028, not 2024. 

Alice Kinsella, who hurt her elbow and had to withdraw from British Championships, is recovering – the injury was “just” bruising, she said. 

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Five at The IX: Hana Ricna via GymCastic

Jessica O’Beirne of GymCastic interviewed Hana Ricna — Czechoslovakian Olympian, two-time world medalist, and eponym of the stalder Tkatchev — this week. Ricna’s daughter, Stanford gymnast Sandra Jessen, competed her mother’s floor routine from the 1988 Seoul Olympics this season, and Ricna talks about what a surprise that was. She’s funny and open about gymnastics as she did it versus gymnastics as her daughter and son (who was also a Czech Olympian in 2016) do it. 

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Written by Lela Moore