National All-Around Preview – The Balance Beam Situation

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Let’s take a moment to discuss the much-ignored all-around title run at this week’s NCAA All About The Team Sisters Championship. This is the dumbest thing in the world to try to preview because it will depend on who jumps on their vault a bit instead of staying that day that’s why I decided to make some my passion for previewing.

Expect between 20 and 22 people to take part in the all-around on the day of the semi-final when the title is decided, with a smaller handful looking like realistic winners.

Level I – Favorites

Trinity Thomas

  • #1 all-around score (39.900)
  • Season #1 average including regionals (39,787)
  • Most 10,000 (10)

Thomas’ consecutive 39.875 and 39.900 with a 10 field goal at regionals may have done just enough to establish him as a favorite for this year’s all-around title. She is currently the most likely to roll a 10 on any given event – and all are possibilities – with the fewest built-in execution deductions. With Thomas on the favorite team for the title (at least, this hour) and competing in the evening session, this sets up well for his chances.

Jade Carey

  • #1 NQS of 2022 (39,790)
  • Season #2 average including regionals (39,768)
  • Seasonal low in 2022 (39,650)

Carey has consistency and predictability in her corner, where she is expected to get 9.950 every event without giving a tenth of errors or checks. If it’s one of those days when everyone gets mad with their teams, she’s your favorite. Carey would become the first to win the AA without a team since Jenny Hansen and the first to win the all-around from the start of the session since 2016. From the top tier, Carey has shown fewer 10s this season than either Thomas or Lee, so the The best situation for her is when the judges are scared of getting shit for giving 10s like candy, so they end up bundling a lot of the routines to 9.950. This would bode well for Carey, as she could then have the highest score anywhere.

Sunisa Lee

  • #2 NQS of 2022 (39,750)
  • 2nd highest number of 10,000 of 2022 (5)
  • T-#3 best all-around score of 2022 (39.825)

Of everyone, Lee is the most likely to get 10s on bars and beam for doing it normally. She doesn’t need to perform an outstanding routine to get those scores, and if the competition was just those two events, she’d be an easy favorite. The big question for Lee is whether Lopez on the vault will score well enough to earn him the title. If the numbers fly, even a good controlled touchdown for 9.9125 (average of four judges’ scores at Nationals) could put her in a hole.

Level II – Spoilers

Leanne Wong

  • #2 best overall score of 2022 (39.875)

No one in the country but Thomas has hit the mark of 39.875 that Wong landed in the regional final. That level of scoring, however, hasn’t been as consistent for Wong this season and she’ll need to replicate the jump landing she had in the Regional Finals to stand a chance. The way the scores went, you have to think a 9.850 on any event will get you out of it.

Raena Worley

  • Season #3 average including regionals (39,654)
  • #4 NQS of 2022 (39,680)

Worley enters the Nationals as a brave underdog for the all-around, the only major competitor who has neither a team nor a gold medal. Worley has been deeply consistent this year and ranks behind only Carey and Thomas on average, ahead of Lee. But if things start to hit 39.8, can she get to that level?

Lexy Ramler

  • Season No. 4 average, including regionals (39,640)
  • T-#3 best all-around score of 2022 (39.825)

Will they go for her? That’s the big question for Ramler’s title hopefuls. Will they go for it on vault and floor in the middle of the roster, knowing that there are probably two stronger routines left to come at these events. And will they go there for her in bars, just in general?

Sierra Brooks

Brooks did not play ground at regionals. Clearly, Michigan needs her there, and when she’s back on the floor, she’s one of the all-around leading scorers with equally predictable numbers on just about every event. There’s a big decision to be made about whether it’s reasonable for her to do the rear double-beam takedown, both for Michigan’s prospects and her overall potential. If she makes a nice beam and then steps back 9.850, that’s suddenly not a competitive score.

Natalie Wojcik

  • T-#3 best all-around score of 2022 (39.825)

Wojcik has the execution and lack of built-in deductions to win and rival Thomas in that department. But it’s been a season of ups and downs for her personal performance, with more error days and 9.7 seeping in than you’d expect, putting her third in the all-around of her own. team. But if Wojcik is having one of his best days, what do you take? Like Ramler, she also needs the judges to go there for her in a pre-vault and floor position.

Level IIB – Does she even make the general competition?

There are a few contenders with scoring potential, but we’re not sure if they’ll make it to all of the semi-final events.

Grace McCallum

Is McCallum making Utah’s final beam lineup? She did not compete on beam during regionals when the beam team posted huge critical scores on both days. And when it comes to getting people back into the lineup, Paulson is the obvious choice. Would they make two line-up changes from a 49.7?

Louise Blanco

Blanco returned from her injury in the SEC Championship to compete only on bars during regionals. Does she have enough time to add all the events?

Tier III – Will Anyone Pull a Kim Jacob?

Ona Loper is among the best all-rounders with an NQS of 39.645, a high of 39.750 and a competitive average above 39.5. She has done the all-around with Ramler in every encounter this year with Loper winning 5 times, Ramler winning 5 times and 2 draws. But is “good for 9.900” on bars on beam enough in this area without much help?

Abby Heiskel and Megan Skaggs are two others with the extremely clean gymnastics needed to score well across the board and get a great overall total, but they also compete early in most lineups and it usually happens that if they have a big day there will be a teammate who has an even bigger day. For Skaggs, as well as Maile O’Keefe— it raises the question, is it possible in 2022 to win with a full Yurchenko, even if the other events are there?

Level IV – A list of alternate names

We’ll also be looking to see Sienna Schreiber, Naomi Morrison, Sophia Groth, Sloane Blakely, Lilly Hudson, Cassie Stevens, Norah Flatley and Kennedy Hambrick compete in the all-around, so, you know, if any of them win, you can don’t accuse me of not mentioning them in the preview.

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