Minnesota Quad Meet Recap
I went to Minnesota’s meet yesterday against Michigan, Central Michigan and Iowa State. As a first live gymnastics experience at the college level (I haven’t been to an elite meet either!) it certainly didn’t disappoint. Michigan, along with maybe LSU, has been the pleasant surprise of the NCAA season so far. Their team was great in 2011, but was depleted in 2012 due to the loss of three exceptional seniors. They struggled to put out a full lineup week after week. This year, however, Michigan is back- they started off the season strong with a win at the Cancun Classic, and backed that up with two solid home performances, earning a 197.350 last week. This put them in the #1 spot last week.
Minnesota has also been having a great season. Despite counting falls both weeks, the team started out strong, with two scores in the 195.5 range. Junior Kayla Slechta was tied for #1 on vault last week, and as a team, Minnesota was ranked #12, 11 spots up from their #23 in the pre-season coaches’ poll.
Central Michigan and Iowa State performed some nice gymnastics (and I was super excited to be in the same building as Kristen Maloney), but the focus was certainly on the top two teams.
A little note on the scoring here, so I can focus on other things- yeah, it was a surprise to see Minnesota beat Michigan in the last rotation by a very small margin. I’d probably call this the upset of the weekend, considering the momentum that Michigan has been building for the past few weeks. Minnesota did somewhat shockingly win this meet 196.8 (their highest score since 2004) to Michigan’s 196.775.
Michigan had a really though time breaking out of the 9.8 range last night (their only 9.9+ score was Sugiyama’s 9.95 for a beautiful Yurchenko 1.5). I don’t necessarily disagree with that for the most part, though. Looking at their high scores for this season, it doesn’t really seem to be a surprise. Michigan was a team that was killing it with consistent 9.85s, 9.875s and a few 9.9s, for the most part. Only two of their routines, prior to this weekend, had averaged at or above 9.9. I think that it is possible that they occasionally were not given the benefit of the doubt, but I never saw one of their scores and thought that it was ridiculously low. They also had a few mistakes- Natalie Beilstein had a rough landing on vault and stumbled after one of her tumbling passes, and both of her scores were dropped.
As far as Minnesota goes, I thought that the scores for the first three rotations, at least, were reasonable. I didn’t think their bars were exceptional (there were some form breaks), but the scores reflected that. All of the beam dismounts were stuck or very close to it, except for one double back, and the gymnasts were pretty solid on all of their skills. I did think that there was some overscoring on floor, though. I, for one, did not think that their last routine was a 9.9 routine (I’d say more like 9.85), but I also had no desire to be in the middle of that crowd if Minnesota lost in a tiebreaker, which they would have if it had come to that.
So do I think that things would have gone differently if the meet was held in Michigan? Certainly. Would I be able to say things with more conviction if there had been only two teams competing and I had been totally focused on each routine? Probably. Either way, congratulations to Minnesota, and Michigan still got a pretty decent road score, so I don’t think they can be too upset.
Now that the scoring talk is over, I thought I’d give my highlights of the meet.
- Lindsay Mable in the all around
Lindsay just won the all around for the second time in her collegiate career- and it’s only her third meet! She totalled 39.45 all around, and posted her first two 9.9+ scores, a 9.9 on beam and a 9.925 on floor. She should be a steady contributor to the Gophers over the next four years.
- Taylor Noonan’s beam
Noonan is a Sophomore at Central Michigan who has very nice lines and performs a Silivas mount, which I highly appreciate. She scored a 9.85, the high score for the Chippewas on any event.
- Sachi Sugiyama on vault
Sugiyama’s vault earned the only score in the 9.9s for the Wolverines, scoring a 9.95. Her yurchenko 1 1/2 was beautiful and perfectly stuck.
- Iowa State’s vault rotation
I pretty much told the friend who I brought to the meet that vault would be boring because everyone does the same thing, then proceeded to sit in front of the vault (which is probably why this post seems slightly vault-centric). Iowa State, however, had a somewhat interesting lineup- I saw at least a tuck front 1/2 and a yurchenko 1/1 on back tuck off. I’m not sure what those are rated, but it was nice to see something different.
- Briley Casanova’s exhibition beam
I enjoyed Briley as an elite, and it was nice to see her somewhere other than vault for the first time in her collegiate career. She performed a clean beam routine with a stuck dismount for a 9.8- hopefully we will see her in the lineup soon!
- Kayla Slechta’s vault
Yeah, this is where it gets more obvious that I was sitting in front of the vault. Kayla earned her second 9.95 of the season for a beautiful yurchenko full.
That’s pretty much what I have for highlights. Overall, I had a great time at the meet, and I think that Michigan and Minnesota both may have a chance to qualify for nationals this year (Michigan probably a higher chance), which is pretty exciting!
I wish I could attend a dual meet this year, because last night was a bit chaotic, but I’m not sure that it would be worth the trek up to Minneapolis- I’d like to go to meets with stronger opponents, so I’d probably choose to go to the Arkansas, Centenary College and Nebraska quad meet if I were to go to any. It’s a shame that the Florida meet is away, because I would do anything to make it there if they were coming to Minnesota!