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NCAA Power Rankings Week 9

It's Tuesday and that means it's time for NCAA Power Rankings.

These aren't the official Road to Nationals rankings, rather they are stories and people that have caught my attention throughout the week, whether it be note-worthy events or a reaction to something.

Last week, I talked about:
# 1 LSU at Florida - Florida's home scoring benefits the visiting team, LSU
# 2 Kelly Garrison's Oklahoma home meet commentary
# 3 Maddie Gardiner is basically holding her whole team together
# 4 Epic Beam Saves
# 5 If Ebee Price Deserves a Traveling Group of Back-Up Dancers then Risa Perez deserves her own act in Vegas.
# 6 Julia Ross of Denver FINALLY is Rewarded for her Glorious Beam Routine
# 7 The Push to the Post Season

Without further adieu, I present week 9 Power Rankings:

# 1 The Rankings Shakeups - 

With one week of regular season meets before Conference Championships, the competition is getting fierce and the rankings reflect that. Utah knocked Michigan down a notch in the rankings after beating them at home on Friday.  Of course, Michigan had a beam-pocalypse that contributed to their demise.  For Utah, it was a nice way to conclude a three-week long stretch on the road. They scored a season high of 197.525 and their reward is, they get to finish the pre-conference championships regular season at home, in front of their 15,000 fans, which we all know, they love.

Denver also boosted their spot in the line-ups and they are currently sitting at # 10, while Arkansas got the bump to the 11th spot. Of course, they basically had the same meet twice in one week. The first time on Friday night at home against Minnesota and Air Force, scoring a 196.825. My glorious Julia Ross got a 9.9 on bars and another 9.9 on beam. This was still a home meet, but this is a team that was ranked # 16 two weeks ago. Prior to week four, their top score was 195.900 at Iowa. Every week since week four, they have scored 196 and above and hitting 197 twice in the last two weeks. This team is so close to that NCAA bid, they can taste it. It will be exciting to see them do it (I'm thinking positively).

# 2 Greg Mardsen throwing shade at SEC scoring during the Georgia, Stanford & UCLA tri-meet

It's no secret that SEC scoring is ridiculously high. It's now a running Gymternet joke to say a routine would get an 11 because, (Florida, LSU, etc). You know it's out of hand when it inspires snarky observations from commentators.

During the UCLA, Stanford, Georgia tri-meet, Elizabeth "Ebee" Price performed a DTY that rivals that of LSU's Ashleigh Gnat in terms of height, form, power and awe. She earned a 9.975, a near perfect score. She also performed an awesome bar routine with only a zillion and one connections. Greg Marsden made the astute (and obvious) observation that if it were Florida, she'd be getting a 10. Oh the hilarity, oh the shade.  Off the cusp moments like this are what I live for. So please, Greg Marsden, keep throwing the shade (let's just be professional with the shade).

# 3 Will the real Stanford please stand-up?

Stanford has been just a little inconsistent this season. Ok, very inconsistent. However, Sunday, at the UCLA, Georgia tri-meet, the Stanford we all know and love came back. For the first time in what seems like forever, it wasn't up to Ebee Price to basically hold the team together. Taylor Rice was back to her spunky self, making it rain on floor, making silly faces at the camera when it came by. She got a 9.85 on floor, her highest all season. And for most of the season, she's been averaging a sub-Taylor 9.7-9.75 all season. If someone gave her a big dose of caffeine before the meet, please keep it up. We need spunky Taylor. Also, Ivana Hong got rid of her dog-dragging-its-butt-on-the-floor Tkatchev and traded it for a beautiful Ray. They scored a 197.400, beating both UCLA and Georgia, much higher ranked teams. This gave them a boost from # 16 to # 13. They're on a bye this week, conveniently before the conference championships next week. Will they make another NCAAs bid? They could, but there are a bunch of teams ahead of them that are also looking to make it and could very well do it.

# 4 Lindsay Mable

Lindsay Mable, the underrated star of the Minnesota Gophers. She's a senior this year which is such a shame. Her form is absolute perfection. Hips square on beam, leaps perfectly split, legs pasted together. She's a joy to watch. I finally got to see Minnesota in action this week at their tri-meet at Denver, with the Air Force (they're always competing when another meet is on). She earned a perfect 9.95 for her Yurchenko full, a vault she's gotten a 10 on when it was still worth a 10.00).  Lindsay is also a fellow ginger and a Colorado girl from Aurora, so she deserves several shout outs in my book. It will be a very sad day in the world of NCAA gymnastics when she graduates. I'm sure Minnesota is going to be scrambling to fill her grips. 

# 5 Beam Fails

Two of the top ranked teams in the NCAA, Michigan and UCLA were both done in by epic beam fails. We saw a lot of beam fails earlier in the season, especially when teams were trying to find their footing and solidify their line-ups (unless you're Oklahoma).  Okay, and Georgia is still struggling to put up a beam rotation of six hit routines every week. But, that seems to be a forgone conclusion that one will hold their breath during a Georgia beam rotation.

This weekend, it was especially bad, definitely for UCLA and Michigan. Despite Danusia Francis scoring a 10.00, UCLA scored a measly 48.950. For UCLA, that's just bad, I mean scary bad. That's over 0.4 less than their RQS and it brings their average to a 49.1 Since Nicki Shapiro only scored a 9.1, they had to count a 9.275. No bueno.  Michigan lost to Utah this week and it pushed them down further in the rankings and really, their downfall came on beam. Lauren Marinez crashed on her front aerial and then repeated the skill and connection with a big wobble. They were able to drop it, but they also had to count Talia Chiarelli's beam fall. Since when does Talia fall on beam? Really? She hasn't fallen all season (as far as I can remember) and she's usually the most reliable person in that line-up. I will chalk it up to "someone spiked her drink before she went up" because that is the only reasonable explanation. Hopefully, everyone will forget this week ever happened and the coming week, things will have returned to the status quo. 

# 6 Jessie Peszek

I'm still depressed about UCLA loosing Sam Peszek (to be totally honest, they are too). She was such a dynamic gymnast and she was such a wonderful beam performer, and generally all-around. Luckily, Western Michigan has one Miss Jessie Peszek on their roster, Sam's baby sister.

This weekend, Western Michigan was hosted at Washington, scoring a season high of 195.575. Jessie contributed her services on beam, bars and floor. Obviously great gymnastics runs in the family. Jessie is dynamic on bars, beautiful release moves and pirouettes that are directly on top of the bar.  She's dynamic on floor, and although she did have a fall on beam, she's very crisp and fluid beam worker. Jessie is a junior this year, so there is still one more year to enjoy the Peszek family gymnastics, unless Sam and Jessie want to team up and go to compete for Azerbaijan? The sister duo? Anyone?

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