Gymnastics begins and the SEC continues to dominate

Charlotte Stephan

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NCAA gymnastics has started back up again, and we are already seeing top-tier athletes after week two. Earlier this year, I explained how the SEC conference is the most competitive and entertaining to watch. I also predicted that it would dominate the national rankings. The SEC is on track to proving me correct.

After week two, the SEC is the only conference with all of its programs in the top twenty-five teams out of eighty-three in the nation. The SEC’s eight teams include the universities from Florida, Auburn, Alabama, Kentucky, Arkansas, LSU, Georgia, and Missouri. As expected, the Arkansas Razorbacks are currently in the last place spot for the conference but are holding a strong twenty-fifth spot in the national rankings. Also predicted, the Florida Gators take the lead for the SEC as they fall in the second-place spot for national rankings. 

The Florida Gators are more than deserving for that spot atop of the conference. What the Gators have presented in the past two weeks of gymnastics is something that I wouldn’t expect to see from most teams until at least halfway through the season, if at all. It is a team that is solid in every event and shows no nerves as the gymnasts compete. The Gators provide so much excitement and entertainment as a viewer, and you would dare not to ever take an eye off of them. They put up three perfect tens this past Friday. Sophomore and previous Olympic alternate, Leanne Wong, is going to lead the Gators to success this year. She scored back-to-back perfect ten’s on bars and beam and earned herself a 9.975 on the floor after one of the judges gave her another perfect ten. Seeing these huge scores this early in the season proves that she will be one of the best gymnasts not only in the SEC, but in the nation. 

A team I have been disappointed in watching is the LSU Tigers. After finishing second in the SEC and fifth in the nation, I had high hopes for them this year. Although it has only been two weeks, I expected to see a little more out of them after such an amazing finish the previous season. They are currently in sixth place in the SEC and thirteenth in the nation. Their meet this past weekend against Kentucky was one I expected them to win but turned into a disaster. While they did decently on bars and were able to drop a low score of 9.6, the other events did not go over too well. Freshman Bryce Wilson took a serious fall on the beam, which gave her a score of 8.6 and forced the team to count an unfortunate 9.55. Later, on the floor, senior Kiya Johnson also took a fall leaving her with a possible season-ending injury. Kiya is a very experienced gymnast who ended last year with an average score of 9.930 on the floor, so I was disappointed to see her begin the season the way she did.

As the season progresses, I will continue to spend every Friday night watching the SEC teams battle for victory and encourage everyone else to do the same.