In short order, the NCAA Championships will get underway at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where the Gators will host twelve teams and nine individual gymnasts in the preliminaries.

As seen in previous posts, the twelve teams that qualified are:

University of California – Los Angeles – Bruins
University of Florida –
Gators
University of Alabama –
Crimson Tide
University of Oklahoma –
Sooners
University of Utah –
Utes
Stanford University – Cardi
nals
University of Arkansas –
Razorbacks
University of Missouri –
Tigers
Louisiana State University –
Tigers
Oregon State University –
Beavers
University of Nebraska –
Cornhuskers
University of Michigan –
Wolverines

The individual qualifiers are:

Vault:
Allison Buckley – University of Illinois
Whitney Rose – Unviersity of Kentucky
Hannah Redmon – Boise State University

Uneven Bars:
No individual qualifiers.

Balance Beam:
Courtney McCool – University of Georgia

Floor Exercise:
Courtney McCool – University of Georgia
Rachel Inniss – Auburn University
Hannah Redmon – Boise State University
Kristen Linton – University of Washington
Samantha Wailor – University of Washington

All-Around:
Brandi Personett – Penn State University

– – – –

Now the fun part… My predictions on who might win.

Team: UCLA, Florida or Oklahoma.

All three teams have been exceptionally strong this season, and with UCLA hitting their stride starting with the Pac-10 Championships, they could take it all. But don’t count out Florida or Oklahoma.

Oklahoma went undefeated in the regular season and so far in the post season. They won the Big12 Conference Championships over Nebraska, Missouri and Iowa State, and they won their regional competition over Louisiana State, Penn State, New Hampshire, Ohio State and Maryland. Oklahoma also has Senior Hollie Vise, who won the regional Balance Beam title, and took second on the Uneven Bars.

Florida has been the NCAA rockstar this season, posting consistently high scores and winning the SEC Championship this year. They have an exceptionally strong freshman contingent in Marissa King, Ashanee Dickerson and Liz Green posting strong scores in their appearances. Florida could very well take it all, just like Oklahoma or UCLA

All-Around: Vanessa Zamarripa, Ashanee Dickerson, Sarah Shire, Susan Jackson, Casey Jo Magee, Brandi Personett.

Vanessa Zamarripa, Sarah Shire and Susan Jackson have all been ranked #1 in the country this season. Ashanee Dickerson won the regional All-Around title. Brandi Personett won her conference and regional All-Around titles and her scores have been competitive. Watch for her to sneak in if she is given the chance. Casey Jo Magee could also sneak in. She was ranked 4th when the last rankings came out.

Vault: Vanessa Zamarripa, Susan Jackson, Mandi Rodriguez, Brandi Personett, Morgan Dennis.

Zamarripa and Jackson are ranked #1 at last release. Jackson and Rodriguez are both strong vaulters with chances of scoring 9.950 or better. Personett is ranked #3 in a tie with Rodriguez and has a strong Yurchenko 1.5 vault. According to an interview with Anne of Gymnastike, she is working a Yurchenko Double Twist, which, if hit cleanly (if performed at all), could propel Personett to a national vault title. Morgan Dennis should be taken into account as well, as she is the top-ranked vaulter for the Crimson Tide and she is made out of power.

Uneven Bars: Anna Li, Laura-Ann Chong, Hollie Vise, Vanessa Zamarripa.

Anna Li has recorded TWO perfect 10’s in a row, and she is looking better than ever. Oregon State’s Laura-Ann Chong has been a strong competitor for the Beavers and could contend for the title with a hit set. Hollie Vise shared the world title in 2003 with Olympian Chellsie Memmel. The Sooner senior is a threat on the Uneven Bars for the title, having taken second at the regional. Vanessa Zamarripa is ranked #2 in the country on the Uneven Bars, and she could realistically contend for the title.

Balance Beam: Courtney McCool, Hollie Vise, Casey Jo Magee, Ashley Priess, Vanessa Zamarripa.

McCool could score big on the Balance Beam, one of her strongest events, to take a bit of happiness back to Athens after Georgia failed to qualify to the NCAA Championships. Hollie Vise is the top-ranked Beam worker in the country and has hit more often than not in her career at Oklahoma. Arkansas’ Casey Jo Magee is tied for #2 with Ashley Priess of Alabama, and both have been standout beam workers this season. Don’t forget Vanessa Zamarripa, the only gymnast to be ranked in the Top 10 on all apparatus. She is strong, clean and can stick a landing like none other.

Floor Exercise: Jackie Flanery, Brandi Personett, Mandi Rodriguez, Courtney McCool.

Jackie Flanery (Oklahoma) is #1 in the country on the Floor Exercise, where she won the regional title. Solid tumbling and great choreography help her case. Brandi Personett throws out a massive Double Layout and consistently hits her Floor set. Mandi Rodriguez of Oregon State is astounding on the Floor Exercise. She opens with a very high Tucked Double Arabian, and her 5’7” body creates wonderful lines in her dance. Courtney McCool shared the regional title on the Floor Exercise with Missouri’s Sarah Shire and has won the NCAA Floor Exercise title in the past, making her a legitimate contender for the title. To McCool’s advantage, she has beautiful execution and choreography, coupled with a knack to hit her tumbling passes as though they are nothing more than small hops.

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