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2015 NCAA Gymnastics Regionals- National Qualifiers, Triumphs, Upsets and Surprises
Regionals happened. Eight straight hours of gymnastics from two o'clock in the afternoon till about ten at night.
There were tears, screaming, punching and hitting things. So were my predictions head on? Should I go take my special skills to Vegas or should I keep my day job?
West Virginia Regional:
Florida Stanford Illinois Arkansas New Hampshire West Virginia
My Picks: Florida and Stanford
Qualified - Stanford 197 and Florida, 197.425.
That was an easy one. Florida and Stanford are teams stacked with elites. Plus, with Bridget Sloan back competing all around, Florida was the shoo-in for the regional winner. Bridget was on point, winning the all-around and scoring a 39.800 total, this means she averaged a 9.95 on every event. Bridget has begun her campaign for NCAA all-around champion early. Stanford brought it. They came, they saw, they hit. Taylor Rice made it rain and Ivana Hong won the balance beam with her glorious toe point. Biggest upset: Sasha Tsikhanovich of Bridgeport who qualified as an individual to Regionals did not qualify to nationals. Even though, her leaps on beam rival that of most elites, not to mention, she does her mama's floor choreography from 1988 (Sasha is the daughter of former Soviet gymnast, Natalia Laschenova). Maybe she could go elite and blow everyone away with her leaps? Le sigh...
1. Alabama 2. Auburn 3. Minnesota 4. Iowa 5. Maryland 6. George Washington
My Picks: Alabama and Minnesota
Qualified: Alabama and Auburn
Well, like I said, you can never count Bama out. Sarah Patterson's Jedi Padawan, Dana Duckworth is on her way to becoming the gymnastics Jedi master. Could Alabama pull off their first national title without Sarah? Maybe, but they're going to have an uphill battle. Auburn pulled it off, which part of me thought they might. They've got a strong team that has Bri Guy, Abigail Millet. Although I do love Minnesota for their beautiful, clean gymnastics. Biggest Triumph - even though her team did not qualify to Nationals, my fellow redheaded Colorado girl, Lindsay "Precision" Mable qualified as an individual in the all-around. It's the redhead power, I'm telling you.
Ames Regional Teams1. LSU2. Nebraska3. Denver4. Washington5. Michigan State6. Iowa State My picks: LSU and Denver Qualified: LSU and Nebraska LSU had a little rough for a while. Some landing issues and just not as on. But they reached down deep inside and pulled out that tiger spirt and won. Like they ever weren't going to win. Pssh. Nebraska deserved their spot. They were clean and they hit when it counts. Their coach danced around in between rotations and one touch warm ups like he just did not care. Denver, what can I say? They had a good meet, but they could have done better, finishing a point behind Nebraska. Hopefully, they will take the success they've had this season and store that positive energy and use it to drive them into next year and maybe they can get their ticket to Nationals. Biggest Triumph - my home girl (well, she's from Cincinnati, but she's a Denver transplant, and once they come, they never leave) Nina McGee qualified as an all-arounder. She deserved it. She kicked some serious ass, never letting the judges see any weakness. On floor, she landed her double layout and one foot came up. Of course, the fabulous Nina held her position saying "Hey, I meant to do that." She tied Rheagan Courville for first on the uneven bars and she beat Liomencia Hall of LSU on floor by a quarter of a tenth.
Teams 1. Oklahoma 2. Oregon State 3. Penn State 4. Southern Utah 5. Missouri 6. NC State
My Picks - Oklahoma and Penn State
Qualified - Oklahoma and Oregon State
Oklahoma was a big fat UH DUH to qualify. They were unbeaten in the regular season and they had yet another win, winning the regional title. What else can you expect? They've been nothing short of amazing. Last year, they tied with Florida for the National title. This year they're campaigning to have that national title all to themselves. They don't want to share it with Florida. Florida has to get their own toy, Nyah! Oregon State, well they have Maddie Gardiner, who has the single wolf turn to split beam mount. They have Risa Perez, who was at Arizona last year, the Broadway star of floor exercise. Biggest Triumph - Southern Utah qualified two gymnasts as event specialists to Nationals. Jaime Armijo qualified on bars and Ana Jaworski qualified on beam. Not to shabby Southern Utah, not to shabby.
Teams 1. Michigan 2. UCLA 3. Arizona 4. Central Michigan 5. Kentucky 6. Ohio State
My Picks: Michigan and UCLA
Qualified: UCLA and Michigan
This regional went as expected. I followed UCLA since this was a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure stream. They were fantastic. Danusia's beam was glorious with her side aerial to full dismount and her Silivas mount and her ridiculously awesome flexibility. I tweeted that I feel like it should be my goal in life to be as flexible as Danusia (damn, I better get started!). Peng Peng on bars, that Bhardwaj, her general aura awesomeness. I'm just so happy to see her competing since she missed two years due to her ACL injury and surgeries and re-surgeries (no that's not a word, I made it up). Sam Peszek competed against her sister for the first time ever. Biggest Upset - I guess it would have to be Jessie Peszek, Sam's sister, failing to qualify. She qualified to regionals as a bar specialist By the score, she obviously did not have a good meet since she scored an 8.825. I'm sure she was hoping she'd do better.
3. Boise State
5. Utah State
My Picks: Utah for sure, and either Georgia or California Qualified: Utah and Georgia. There was no doubt about Utah. They came, they saw the writing on the proverbial tablets in the ground, or on the Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, or on the canyon walls at Canyon lands, or perhaps written in the salt in the water at the great Salt Lake. But the point is they won, they qualified. They didn't have Tory Wilson, but they still had Georgia Dabritz, who had an all-around score of 39.750, Bridget Sloan better watch her back. They had some issues, just not as clean as they usually are. As for Georgia, you can never count them out. They won the regional with a 197.025, ahead of Utah who scored only a 196.575. The power of Suzanne Yoculan flows through their veins. That and they have Danna Durante cheering uber enthusiastically for every girl. Fellow Colorado girl from FortCollins, Brandie Jay threw her full out on floor, she hit bars, she hit vault. At this regional, they had M'rcy Matsunami who threw a counter Kim (toe circle to straddled front salto forward over the bar), freaking insane, man. Biggest Triumph -Despite not having her team qualify on to Nationals, Toni Ann Williams of Cal qualified as an individual in the all around. Not to bad for a freshman.
Should I risk it all in Vegas or keep my day job: well, I'm leaning towards keeping