DU gymnastics was on fire Friday evening at the Air Force Academy! The team score was a season high of 197.65. However, if this meet had been in the SEC, I guarantee you that score would be a 197.9. These Colorado judges are hurting DU’s national ranking. DU is forced to compete better while traveling out of state than when they are at home (or in the Springs).
The competition was against Air Force Academy and UC Davis. They scored 195.125 and 195.3 respectively. This further illustrates what I’ve stated about DU’s schedule not bringing enough top ranked teams to Colorado. If Denver gymnastics wasn’t in the Big 12 conference, it’s unlikely even Oklahoma would come here. I hope next year the NCAA will take a harder look at Denver’s match-ups.
Denver started the night on floor. For the second meet in a row, graduate student Lynnzee Brown was in the anchor position. Her improvement over last Sunday was huge. Last week Lynnzee took two steps out of bounds on her double layout. Then in her second tumbling pass she all but stumbled out of her punch front. Counting that up, it would be .1 for out of bounds, .1 for a step on the double layout, and .1 for the stumble. Her score that night was 9.775 (a little higher that I’d have given, but I didn’t complain).
This week Lynnzee’s tumbling was clean and in bounds. Her leaps were superb. Her dance was joyful and the overall performance was awesome. One judge gave an abysmal 9.85. The other gave a 9.95. The average was a 9.9. It should have been a 9.95. Juniors Jessica Hutchinson and Rylie Mundell also scored 9.9s on the floor exercise.
Vault came second, and it wasn’t a great day on vault for DU. Junior Rosie Casali and her Yurchenko 1.5 sat out again, putting DU with only three 10.0 start value vaults. Some hops and steps on landings added up extra tenths off. Can’t blame the judges here.
Third rotation was bars and here is where DU excelled. It was an outstanding rotation. DU scored four 9.925s on this event. While these are great scores, the judges were still a little stingy. DU overall deserved .1 higher on the team score.
As she’s done for most of her career, Lynnzee Brown was in the lead off position on beam. She was absolutely robbed in her score! She had one minor bobble. A 9.95 would have been reasonable. She got a 9.875 (one judge awarding a 9.85, the other a 9.9). Juniors Abbie Thompson, Rylie Mundell, and Jessica Hutchinson all scored 9.925s. The judges were like a broken record with these 9.925s. Overall again, DU deserved a tenth higher in team score.
The highest score all meet was 9.925. The fact that this meet had seven 9.925s across two events for DU means that the judges were looking for anything to avoid giving any 10s. The highest floor scores of the night were 9.9s. This is not what we’re seeing from SEC judges with other top 10 ranked teams. Whether Colorado judges are wrong, or SEC judges are wrong, and given these are matters of half tenths, and I know it’s a hard job, but we need to see better consistency in NCAA judging. I really hope they address this on a national and state level. The inconsistency is hurting our Pioneers.
So, why am I whining about tenths? Well, the difference in national ranking from 10th place to 5th place is only three tenths of a point in average team score out of 200 maximum. Does Denver deserve to be in 5th place? That is a strong maybe. But without getting more head to head competition with top ten ranked teams, we’ll never really know.
On the other hand, the atmosphere at the USAFA Cadet Gym was largely skewed towards the Pioneers. DU gymnastics enthusiasts showed up in force. Our crowd hype guys were there and led the cheers for Denver. The venue is much smaller than Magness or even Hamilton Gym. Attendees were in the hundreds (I estimate 300ish). It was a very intimate setting, so for those who traveled, we got to see our Pios up close and feel like a part of the team. I know the DU team felt the crowd too.