And we’re down to 8. The remaining teams will face off in two semi-finals on Thursday April 14, with the top 2 teams from each semi-final advancing to the final on Saturday April 16, so let’s see how they clash. A tick goes to the top 2 teams in each semi-final in each category: NQS for the season, regional semi-final scores and regional final scores.
National Semi-Final #1 – 12:00 p.m. CT
Oklahoma will be the favorite in the first semifinal and are expected to advance, sporting five 198s in their last six showings (only Oklahoma and Florida have reached 198 on the two regional days), but this will also be the first time that Oklahoma will face several other 198able teams. Utah and Alabama also beat 198 in the Regional Finals, and they can’t all advance.
As for Utah and Alabama, that seems to be incredibly close. Just a tenth separated their scores in the regional semi-finals, then only 0.025 separated their scores in the regional finals. Utah gets the slight advantage for the season overall, but again Alabama kept pace over the weekend with Luisa Blanco limited to bars only. Choosing this one is a fool’s game.
Minnesota is the clear underdog here, but has the safe and the ground to take on the presumptive qualifiers. The question will be whether bars and beams can deliver at a similar level. They also need to be close to 49.5, otherwise all the notches in the world on jump and floor won’t save you.
National Semi-Final #2 – 5:00 p.m. CT
Like Oklahoma, Florida should make it to the finals with the least amount of drama (a whole new experience?), especially after the scores from regionals, where Florida beat 198 on day one with a pre-jump lineup. season, then nearly broke the all-time record on the second day everyone showed.
Depending on the season, this semifinal should have an easier pick for second place Michigan. But. Michigan’s performance at regionals proved strong enough to advance without that plenty of tension at the end, but featured enough sketchy performances and rosters in the lineup to cause some trepidation — and some optimism for Auburn that they’d be good enough to advance if Michigan has another repeat of regionals. Although Michigan’s lineups have been largely predictable this season, they now raise some of the most pressing questions: Is Brooks capable of going down at the nationals? Will Brenner come in on vault for Guggino?
For Missouri it’s probably kind of like ‘congratulations on getting this far’ because I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it takes 198 to make it out of the semis but Missouri showed their ability to shoot party errors so far.
As for the individual qualifiers, those taking part in the afternoon session will be: Jade Carey (AA), Kennedy Hambrick (AA), Gayla Griswold (VT), Mia Townes (VT), Sarah Shaffer (UB), Mia Takekawa (UB), Sirena Linton (BB), Skyla Schulte (BB), Jaye Mack (FX), Kyla Bryant (FX).
Participants in the evening session will be: Raena Worley (AA), Norah Flatley (AA), Kiya Johnson (VT), Elexis Edwards (VT), Jordan Chiles (UB, FX), Cally Nixon (UB), Adeline Kenlin ( BB), Abbie Thompson (BB), Hailey Davis (FX).
For reference, the last four National AA Champions have all come from the evening session. Historically, there has been no real or discernable advantage for individual stocks coming from the evening session over the afternoon session (and over the past 8 years – yes, it’s been 8 years since I haven’t last reviewed this, I don’t want to talk about it—54% of individual champions came in the evening vs. 46% in the afternoon). But it should be noted that last year, 8 of the 9 individual champions left the evening.