NCAA Regionals, or situation normal all flipped up — Other gym news — Thoughts from Kathy Johnson Clarke

The IX: Gymnastics Saturday with Lela Moore, April 5, 2024

Happy gymnastics Saturday! How NCAA regionals started: 

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How NCAA regionals is going: 

How I’m feeling heading into the regional finals: 

Can we blame this on Mercury in retrograde? I think we can. 

There were definitely a few quirks in the regional assignments to start, notably that Big 10 champion Michigan State was thrown into a tough regional based in Gainesville after hosting conflicts shuffled them out of their rightful place. 

Then, a host was dethroned in Ann Arbor, as 2021 national champs Michigan fell to Alabama and Penn State. Fellow hosts Florida and Cal should be quaking in their leos right now, as both of those semifinals look to be absolute bloodbaths. (Those meets will have happened by the time you read this, so if there ends up being no reason to quake or bleed, forgive me.)

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We barely saw Ohio State coming for NC State and Illinois (which had itself triumphed in a close play-in against Ball State). BYU only advanced out of the Fayetteville play-in on a tiebreaker, which had proved quite controversial as a BYU gymnast’s fall was apparently not correctly factored into their score. Host Arkansas won their semifinal over Kentucky, which was definitely not a sure thing at the start of the season. 

And I haven’t even gotten started on the individual qualifiers. At least they seem to be paying attention to tiebreak policy after we saved them last week, but in addition to getting Boise State eliminated, it may also mean the end of Mya Hooten’s career if Minnesota fails to advance as a team. I cannot.

All this to say, this is a postseason worth watching. Here’s how

Other gym news

In addition to your regional viewing links above, The Balance Beam Situation has liveblogs from Day 1 and Day 2 of regionals.

College Gym News has liveblogs galore, and they are also tracking regionals results. There’s also a feature on George Washington’s floor superstar Kendall Whitman, a piece on Kent State’s amazing season, one on Clemson’s debut season, and, if you’ll forgive me for some self-promotion, my piece on Kathy Johnson Clarke’s retirement from ESPN.

Former UCLA floor great Gracie Kramer posted a video of her learning UCLA freshman Katelyn Rosen’s floor choreography.

The nominative roster for Euros has been posted.

And finally, last year’s worlds team got their championship rings at national team camp last week.

Five at The IX: Thoughts from Kathy Johnson Clarke on her retirement

As mentioned above, I interviewed Kathy Johnson Clarke, gymnastics commentator extraordinaire (and also an Olympian! It’s funny how that gets lost in the shuffle of her amazing career) this week for a piece that ran on College Gym News. She was an incredible interview, and I thought I’d add some of her quotes here. The regional final in Berkeley this weekend marks the official end of Johnson Clarke’s broadcast career, and we will miss her.

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On being a beam queen in gymnastics and in life: “My whole mantra now, is ‘Life is a balance beam.’ It’s about finding that balance, and it’s fluid, and it moves and it changes. And you have to make those adjustments without overreacting or underreacting.”

On providing good sports commentary: “[Commentary] is the balance between being responsible and being passionate. It’s one thing to be passionate and aware and knowledgeable and all these things, but you also have to feel the responsibility, the weight of the responsibility. And then what ties it all together is some grace.”

On convincing the NCAA to revamp its code: “I’ve done everything but set myself on fire. And now I’m going to sign off my final broadcast, ‘Good night and good luck.’ And they can look up the reference.”

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_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Lela Moore