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:
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.
- Who Will Qualify As Individuals? (The Balance Beam Situation)
- ‘Beacon of goodness’: NCAA women’s gymnastics is booming (ESPN)
- In a Sport Known for Poise and Perfection, UCLA Is Making Gymnastics Fun Again (Sports Illustrated)
Elite gym news
- Canadian gymnasts echo growing call for investigations into abusive practices, toxic culture, Canada’s sport minister vows to leave ‘no stone unturned’ in tackling toxic sport culture (CBC)
- Jessica Gadirova won the all-around at the 2022 British Championships! Ruby Stacey is injured and didn’t compete, and Becky Downie sadly withdrew from the bars final due to illness. Here’s a little recap from British Gymnastics.
- Baku World Cup will decide winners of 2022 FIG Apparatus World Cup Series (FIG)
- Women’s National Team camp underway in Texas (USA Gymnastics). Speaking of USAG, this week the org announced that the Women’s High Performance Director position will be split into three, which is a welcome development. The job descriptions are here.
- Chiles says she will try to make this year’s worlds team (Olympics.com).
- Simone Biles is an inspiration, whether competing or ‘pushing mental health to the forefront’ (USA Today)
- Oksana Chusovitina is working on her produnova again:
- 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.
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