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All About Regionals

Today, the top 36 NCAA Gymnastics teams will go head to head for a spot at the NCAA National Championships April 17-19.

The teams have been seeded into "regionals" (not so much based on their region, but based on their rankings) based on their regional qualifying score or RQS. The top two qualifiers from each of the six regionals will go onto NCAA's in Dallas.

So much gymnastics, this is what Spencer at the Balance Beam Situation is calling Gymnastics Christmas.

I've gone through and to the best of my abilities,  I have picked my selections for the teams who will qualify out of their regional.  I have no real scientific analysis of who will win, so don't use my guesses to win money in Vegas... if they actually bet on gymnastics in Vegas.


West Virginia Regional:
Teams:
Florida
Stanford
Illinois
Arkansas 
New Hampshire
West Virginia
Thoughts:
Florida was co-national champion with Oklahoma, who like Florida the year before, were first time champions. Before 2013, only four teams had ever won the title, Utah, Georgia, Alabama and UCLA. Florida has won that title two years in a row. Florida is hungry. They've enjoyed the champagne and they want more.  No doubt they will qualify out of this regional.  However, they do have their work cut out for them, Bridget Sloan is coming back from that ankle injury and hasn't competed all around since the season opener. But they do have Kytra Hunter, who is a strong all arounder, freshman standout Alex McMurtry and there is Bridgette Caquatto, who is making a name for herself apart from her sister. The second qualifier is going to be a battle. My money would go to Stanford or Arkansas. Arkansas is the dark horse that could sneak up behind you in the last leg of the race. But, really, l like Stanford. They have Ivana Hong, Taylor Rice and Ebee, so I'm rooting for them based on that fact alone.

Auburn Regional (Auburn, host) 
Teams
1. Alabama
2. *Auburn
3. Minnesota
4. Iowa
5. Maryland
6. George Washington

Thoughts:

Well, my money is of course on Bama. You can't count them out. Even with changes in the coaching, they are still fighting. They mounted a sneak attack at SECs and won the whole thing, even though Florida or LSU was favored to win. They are consistent, you gotta give them that.  Head coach Dana Duckworth is in a position of taking over the reigns from Sarah Patterson, who has some pretty tall stilettos to fill. My next pick to qualify is Minnesota. They're not known for huge, flashy gymnastics, but they are clean and consistent and often times, that's the key to winning in gymnastics. Stay clean, and consistent and win. Plus, they have Lindsay Mable, who is the definition of consistent. 

Berkeley Regional (California, host) 


Teams
1. Utah2. Georgia3. Boise State4. *California5. Utah State6. BYU

With this regional, I think Utah will definitely qualify. They're a strong team with strong players, including Miss Georgia "I do Comaneci Saltos on the Uneven Bars, oh and I don't wear Grips" Dabritz. They lost Tory Wilson at the Pac 12 conference championships, but they still have plenty of depth. My next choice would have to be Georgia, but they're in a bit of a rebuilding phase since they lost Suzanne Yoculan and then Jay Clark. They're not the team they were, not to say they can't comeback... My next choice would be Cal... They're a bit of a sleeper team. They've got Toni Ann Williams who is fantastic with her powerful vaulting and floor exercise.  They are also the regional host, so they might reach deep down inside and fucking kick someone's ass on their own turf.

Ames Regional (Iowa State, host) 

Teams
1. LSU
2. Nebraska
3. Denver
4. Washington
5. Michigan State
6. *Iowa State



For the Ames Regional, the number one pick to qualify for many is LSU. De De Breaux has been the head coach at LSU for longer than I've been alive. LSU has been this-close to winning the title so many times it hurts. Of course, they have Rheagan Courville, who is beautiful and rivals Nia Dennis with having the best standing Arabian on beam ever. She's been the lynch pin of the team and has competed all around all season long. She always comes out and finishes strong for the team. Plus, there is Liomencia Hall and her powerful floor exercise which has the power to go viral. Ashleigh Gnat who can pull out a double twisting Yurchenko in a never ending sea of Yurchenko fulls. Jessie Jordan who is another strong all-around gymnast. There is also Erin Macadeag who is tiny, but has beautiful lines on beam. For my second pick, I'm going with my hometown team Denver.  Many people might pick Nebraska, but I'm rooting for Denver 100%. Denver of course has stand out Nina McGee, who, by the way is more glorious in person, by the way. Nina is a strong vaulter and floor worker, although she can be a bit inconsistent on beam, she's really a pinch hitter on any event and can pull 9.8s and above seemingly out of nowhere.  Plus, Denver had a huge confidence booster when they beat Georgia early in the season. They're ranked 16th based on their RQS, which is up from last year when they hovered around the 19-20 spot. Another gymnast to watch at Denver would be Julia Ross. Julia has beautiful long lines on uneven bars and pretty toes and knees and is just elegant. If she has a weakness, I'd say it's consistency, mostly on beam. The two times we went to a Denver meet, she fell both times from beam.

Norman Regional (Oklahoma, host) 
Teams
1. *Oklahoma
2. Oregon State
3. Penn State
4. Southern Utah
5. Missouri
6. NCa State

Number one pick for Norman Regional? Uh, duh? Oklahoma! Really? Who else? They're undefeated in the regular season, which is impressive in and of itself. They have Chase Capps and Brenna Dowell. Chayse Capps on beam and floor could be considered the 8th wonder of the World. Not just the gymnastics world, the entire freaking world! Brenna on bars, fantastic, wonderful to see her competing and shining. College gymnastics has really been awesome for Brenna. Plus, there is Haley Scamann, who can easily put up 10s on vault and floor. The second qualifier? I'm not sure. It could be anyone, I highlighted Penn State at random, because I was not sure who else to pick.  Word on the street is Oregon State has been a little inconsistent this year. But who knows, the second spot could go to anyone.

Columbus Regional 
Teams
1. Michigan
2. UCLA
3. Arizona
4. Central Michigan
5. Kentucky
6. *Ohio State
Last but not least,  the Columbus regional. My picks are Michigan and UCLA. Michigan is always a strong team. They're consistent on any event. Plus, like LSU, they're a bubble team that's been on the bubble of winning that national title, but haven't quite broken through just yet. They lost Joanna Sampson, their star all arounder last year, but they have the depth to make it up. There is Nicole Artz, Sachi Sugiyama and freshman Brianna Brown. UCLA of course will always be a part of the picture. A team stacked with elites, Samantha Peszek, a fifth year senior and former world champion and Olympic medalist. She doesn't have a bad event, plus with that Colgate smile, she could just smile at the judges and get a ten, just because she's Sam. Then there is Peng Peng, the queen of the bars and beam with that flair beam mount and the Bhardwaj on uneven bars. Plus, there is Danusia Francis, who is the empress of the beam in all her side aerial glory.

For live stream and rotation schedule, visit Spencer's post on the Balance Beam Situation.  He also gives more detailed analysis that includes individual and event regional qualifiers.

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