NCAA Postseason update — Thoughts from Jenny Rowland — Other gym news

The IX: Gymnastics Saturday with Jessica Taylor Price, April 2, 2022

Happy Gymnastics Saturday! The first and second rounds of NCAA postseason happened this week. If you didn’t have eight screens running at once on Thursday like a crazy person, for now just know that going into Saturday’s regional finals, LSU is out, UCLA beat Michigan, Stanford beat out Oregon State, and Arkansas eliminated Arizona State. Here’s your updated bracket:

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Things kicked off Wednesday with four play-ins, where Arizona, Stanford, Iowa State, and North Carolina all advanced.

On Thursday, the eight regional semifinals took us from 32 teams to 16, with a few surprises, the biggest one being that #6 LSU is out of the postseason. After counting several falls and having to compete without Haleigh Bryant in the all-around, they scored 196.575, their lowest score of the season, at the first North Carolina State Regional Semifinal. #11 Missouri (197.150) advanced along with unranked Iowa (196.900).

The other big surprise of the evening is that despite having a rough season overall, #14 UCLA beat #3 Michigan, 197.800-197.400, at the second NC State regional semifinal. While we’re here, check out Jordan Chiles‘ bar routine:

#4 Utah (197.800) made it through in the second Washington semifinal as predicted, but the shocker here was that Stanford — which had just won the play-in — scraped by in a super, super-tight meet, beating out #13 Oregon State by just .025 points (197.450 to 197.425). Now, Stanford will compete for the third time in four days at Saturday’s final.

Our final upset comes from unranked Arkansas (196.925), which beat #16 Arizona State (196.600) to eliminate them at the second Oklahoma semifinal, though Arkansas is technically ranked 18th, so I don’t see this as too much of a surprise. Leah Smith got injured during competition, though it’s unclear how bad it is. #1 Oklahoma was the other team to advance there, which they did easily with a 198.175.

#2 Florida advanced with a 198.125 along with #15 Denver (197.075), which scraped by Ohio State (196.925) to advance at the second Auburn semifinal. Trinity Thomas scored 10s on bars and floor, completing a season gym slam. Here’s her 10 on floor:

#8 Minnesota (197.825) and #9 California (197.375) made it through in Oklahoma, as did #5 Alabama (197.700) and #12 Michigan State (197.325), which barely edged out Washington (197.175) at the first Washington semifinal.

#10 Kentucky (197.750) beat #7 Auburn (197.500) at the first Auburn semifinal, and both advanced, though Sunisa Lee had some ankle issues. Unranked Georgia unfortunately placed last here with a 195.725 after a rough season. This is leading some to call Courtney Kupets Carter’s leadership into question.

Follow The Balance Beam Situation for play-by plays: Play-ins, regional semifinals. Competition continues Saturday night with the regional finals.

Gym links

Elite gym news
  • Ashton Locklear is speaking up with allegations of abusive coaching practices from her time as an elite.
  • Laurie Hernandez got into drama school. Congratulations, Laurie!

Tweet of the week

Five at the IX: Jenny Rowland

Florida head coach Jenny Rowland spoke to the media a couple of days before the first regional semifinal.

This team has not been bothered by pressure at all; they’ve been unflappable. What kind of confidence does that give you as a coach, knowing that everything has worked pretty well aside from having some people hurt earlier in the season.
Well, it gives the coaching staff a lot of confidence. You know, going through an undefeated regular season, plus an SEC tournament, that just says a lot about this team. I think the the foundation that they have laid day in and day out in the gym has definitely been paying off in competition.

Looking ahead, we hear that you’re starting on floor for the first postseason competition. Does that give you a little confidence that maybe you can put up a big number right away?
For sure, starting on floor, it’s a great event to have this team set the tone for the evening and just continue to build, so they’re going to gain a lot of confidence starting on the floor and just be able to enjoy and relax, and do what they do.

How are you in terms of health and injuries going into the postseason?
Knock on wood. Everybody’s good. We have one more training today, so that’ll be the first box that I check after training, making sure everybody’s healthy, check, moving on. So it should be a great weekend for the Gators.

Are you worried at all about the pressure for freshmen competing in their first NCAA tournament, or is that not really something that worries you very much?
It’s not anything that really worries me too much. We’re really taking the approach with this team as we always do, that this meet is another opportunity to do something that we love. And that’s to work together as a team, do gymnastics, have a lot of fun. So it’s really just taking that approach, having that mindset, and not making it any different in the gym or making this weekend any more meaningful than it really needs to be.

Trinity won SEC Gymnast of the Year again. What can you say about that?
So well deserved. An amazing honor. This young lady just continues to raise the bar. And I know she’s very grateful, very thankful, but she really has put in that time … not only in the gym, but outside of the gym to have the success that she’s had this this year.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parkerThe IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: Anne Tokarski, @annetokarski, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Jessica Taylor Price, @jesstaylorprice, Freelance Gymnastics Writer