Most Difficulty In The 2017 NCAA Super Six: Uneven Bars Edition

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
In NCAA gymnastics, there's no question that execution is a key part of an athlete's performance. By using the 10.0 system, gymnasts are striving for perfection and looking to minimize form deductions as much as possible.

At the same time, the NCAA's top athletes will also aim to include high difficulty in their routines without sacrificing on execution. In fact, taking into account all composition requirements, routines on bars, beam, and floor all start from a 9.5. Gymnasts are required to achieve bonus points to get to the 10.0 start value, and they do this by adding in difficult skills and connections. "D" level skills get an extra 0.10 in bonus, while "E" skills get an extra 0.20. In addition, connection bonus is determined differently on each event. Gymnasts can only receive a maximum of +0.40 in bonus from connections and +0.40 from D/E skills.

Ever wondered which teams have the most difficulty in their lineups? We took a look at the lineups from the Super Six teams this year and ranked them by difficulty. Check out our rankings for uneven bars below:


1. UCLA


It's no surprise that UCLA takes the top spot in our ranking. The Bruins' 2017 bars lineup was stacked, with Olympic gold medalists Madison Kocian and Kyla Ross and the unique difficulty of Canadian Olympian Peng Peng Lee. Kocian had the most difficulty in her routine, with three "E" skills and five "D" skills, plus the maximum amount of connections -- notably a stalder to Chow II to Pak salto at the start of her routine that got +0.40 in bonus. When it comes to "E" skills, Lee had a whopping four in her routine -- a Ray II (toe-on Tkatchev), Bhardwaj, Van Leeuwen, and double layout dismount.

Check out the full breakdown:

​"E" Skills - Total: 12 x 0.20 = 2.4
​1. Full twisting double back dismount (Kocian, JaNay Honest)
2. Double layout dismount (Lee, Ross, Sonya Meraz)
3. Chow II (Kocian)
4. Van Leeuwen (Kocian, Lee)
5. Ray II (Lee, Meraz)
6. Bhardwaj (Lee)
7. Piked Jaeger (Stella Savvidou)

​​"D" Skills - Total: 10 x 0.10 = 1.0

​​1. Tkatchev (Honest)
2. Stalder (Kocian x3)
3. Pak salto (Kocian)
4. Overshoot (Meraz, Ross, Savvidou)
5. Maloney (Ross)
6. Giant 1/1 (Savvidou)

​Connection Value - Total: 1.1
​1. Honest: Giant 1/2 (C) + Straddle back (C) = +0.10
2. Kocian: Chow II (E) + Pak Salto (D) = +0.20, Stalder (D) + Van Leeuwen (E) = +0.20 [max 0.40]
3. Lee: Toe-on (C) + Van Leeuwen (E) = +0.10
4. Meraz: Toe-on (C) + Overshoot (D) = +0.10
5. Ross: Maloney (D) + Overshoot (D) + Ray I (C) = +0.30
6. Savvidou: Giant 1/1 (D) + Double tuck dismount (C) = +0.10

TOTAL BONUS: 4.5


2. LSU


Although bars is not usually mentioned as one of LSU's best events, the Tigers did bring a lot of difficulty in their 2017 lineup. They placed just behind UCLA in terms of "E" skills but were at the top when adding up connection bonus. Myia Hambrick and Ruby Harrold contributed the most connection bonus, with both counting +0.30 in their routines. Hambrick connected three skills in a row with a giant full to overshoot to Ray I. Harrold had two big connections -- her Van Leeuwen to Zuchold and her toe-on to Jaeger. 

Check out the full breakdown:

​"E" Skills - Total: 10 x 0.20 = 2.0
​1. Full twisting double back dismount (Hambrick)
2. Double layout dismount (Kennedi Edney, Sarah Finnegan, Lexie Priessman)
3. Double front/1/2 double front dismount (Harrold, Shae Zamardi)
4. Van Leeuwen (Harrold)
5. Ray II (Hambrick, Finnegan)
6. Hindorff (Edney)

​​"D" Skills - Total: 10 x 0.10 = 1.0

​​1. Overshoot (Edney, Finnegan, Hambrick)
2. Giant 1/1 (Hambrick)
3. Zuchold (Harrold)
4. Jaeger (Harrold)
5. Tkatchev (Priessman)
6. Pak salto (Priessman, Zamardi)
7. Maloney (Zamardi)

​Connection Value - Total: 1.3
​1. Edney: Clear hip (C) + Overshoot (D) = +0.10
2. Finnegan: Toe-on (C) + Overshoot (D) + Ray I (C) = +0.20
3. Hambrick: Giant 1/1 (D) + Overshoot (D) + Ray I (C) = +0.30
4. Harrold: Van Leeuwen (E) + Zuchold (D) = +0.20, Toe-on (C) + Jaeger (D) = +0.10
5. Priessman: Tkatchev (D) + Pak salto (C) = +0.20
6. Zamardi: Maloney (D) + Pak salto (D) = +0.20

TOTAL BONUS: 4.3


3. Oklahoma


The national champion Sooners are in third place in our rankings. Oklahoma had a good range of difficulty across the board, with lots of "D" and "E" skills as well as connection bonus. Freshman Maggie Nichols had the highest difficulty in her routine, with three "E" skills (a Ray II, Van Leeuwen and double layout dismount), one "D" skill, and an extra 0.20 in connection bonus. Her teammates Chayse Capps and McKenzie Wofford also had 0.20 in connection bonus in their routines -- Capps for her giant full to Tkatchev combo and Wofford for giant full to Jaeger combo. 

Check out Nichols gorgeous routine from NCAA semifinals -- which earned her a 9.95 from the judges:


Here is the full breakdown of Oklahoma's bonus: 

"E" Skills - Total: 10 x 0.20 = 2.0
1. Full twisting double back dismount: Capps, Wofford, Nicole Lehrmann
2. Double layout dismount: Nichols, Stefani Catour, Brenna Dowell
3. Ray II: Catour, Dowell, Nichols
4. Van Leeuwen: Nichols

"D" Skills - Total: 10 x 0.1 = 1.0
1. Giant 1/1: Capps, Wofford
2. Tkatchev: Capps
3. Overshoot: Capps, Catour, Dowell, Lehrmann, Wofford
4. Jaeger: Lehrmann, Wofford
5. Pak salto: Nichols

Connection Value - Total: 0.9
1. Capps: Giant 1/1 (D) + Tkatchev (D) = +0.20
2. Catour: Toe-on (C) + Overshoot (D) = +0.10
3. Dowell: Toe-on (C) + Overshoot (D) = +0.10
4. Lehrmann: Toe-on (C) + Overshoot (D) = +0.10
5. Nichols: Pak salto (D) + Toe-on (C) + Van Leeuwen (E) = +0.20
6. Wofford: Giant 1/1 (D) + Jaeger (D) = +0.20

TOTAL Bonus: 3.9



4T. Utah


Utah ties for fourth in our ranking, thanks mostly to lots of connection bonus and "D" skills in their routines. The Utes actually had the most "D" skills in their routines out of any of the six teams and the least amount of "E" skills. Kari Lee was the only gymnast in the lineup to compete an "E" release move -- a piked Jaeger. In terms of connection bonus, Tiffani Lewis and MyKayla Skinner both added +0.30 in each of their routines. Lewis connected a giant full to Tkatchev in addition to an overshoot to Ray I. Skinner connected a Maloney to overshoot, in addition to a toe-on into her full-twisting double back dismount. 

Check out the full breakdown below:

"E" Skills - Total: 6 x 0.20 = 1.2
1. Full twisting double back dismount: Kari Lee, Missy Reinstadtler, MyKayla Skinner
2. Double layout dismount: Tiffani Lewis, Baely Rowe
3. Piked Jaeger: Lee

"D" Skills - Total: 13 x 0.1 = 1.3
1. Giant 1/1: Lewis, Rowe
2. Tkatchev: Lewis, Rowe
3. Overshoot: Lewis, Makenna Merrell, Reinstadtler, Rowe, Skinner
4. Deltchev: Merrell
5. Stalder: Merrell
6. Jaeger: Reinstadtler
7. Maloney: Skinner

Connection Value - Total: 1.2
1. Lee: Piked Jaeger (E) + overshoot, not to handstand (C) = +0.10
2. Lewis: Giant 1/1 (D) = Tkatchev (D) = +0.20, Overshoot (D) + Ray I (C) = +0.10
3. Merrell: Toe-on (C) + Deltchev (D) = +0.10, Stalder (D) + Double tuck (C) = +0.10
4. Reinstadtler: Toe-on (C) + Jaeger (D) = +0.10
5. Rowe: Giant 1/1 (D) + Tkatchev (D) = +0.20
Skinner: Maloney (D) + Overshoot (D) = +0.20, Toe-on (C) + Full twisting double back (E) = +0.10

TOTAL Bonus: 3.7



4T. Florida


Florida's gymnasts relied mostly on "E" skills for bonus in their 2017 lineup -- they are tied for second place in terms of the most "E" elements as compared to the other five teams. Kennedy Baker and Amelia Hundley had the highest difficulty in the lineup, both with two "E" skills and the highest connection bonus. In addition to a toe-on connected into her double front dismount, Baker competed a Ray II as her release move and an overshoot connected into a Ray I for connection. Hundley connected two "D" skills with her Maloney to Pak salto combo, and then she also performed a Van Leeuwen for her "E" release move.

Check out the full breakdown below:

"E" Skills - Total: 10 x 0.2 = 2.0
1. Full twisting double back dismount: Maegan Chant, Amelia Hundley, Alex McMurtry
2. Double layout dismount: Alicia Boren, Rachel Gowey
3. Double front dismount: Kennedy Baker
4. Ray II: Baker, Gowey, McMurtry
5. Van Leeuwen: Hundley

"D" Skills - Total: 9 x 0.1 = 0.9
1. Overshoot: Baker, Boren, Chant, McMurtry
2. Tkatchev: Boren, Chant
3. Pak salto: Gowey, Hundley
4. Maloney: Hundley

Connection Value - Total: 0.80
1. Baker: Overshoot (D) + Ray I (C) = +0.10, Toe-on (C) + Double front (E) = +0.10
2. Boren: Clear hip (C) + Overshoot (D) = +0.10
3. Chant: Clear hip (C) + Overshoot (D) = +0.10
4. Gowey: Toe-on (C) + Pak salto (D) = +0.10
5. Hundley: Maloney (D) + Pak salto (D) = +0.20
6. McMurtry: Overshoot (D) + Ray I (C) = +0.10

TOTAL Bonus: 3.7


6. Alabama


Like Florida, Alabama also relied mostly on "E" skills for bonus this year, but the Crimson Tide only had a few skills in their lineup that were "E" level and weren't dismounts. Three gymnasts in their lineup competed Ray II release moves: Amanda Jetter, Keely McNeer, and Kiana Winston. Mackenzie Brannan had the most connection bonus in her routine and competed a toe-on to Jaeger, in addition a toe-on to overshoot, for +0.20 total connection bonus.

Here is the full breakdown below on Alabama's bonus:

"E" Skills - Total: 9 x 0.20 = 1.8
1. Full twisting double back dismount: Katie Bailey, Shea Mahoney
2. Double layout dismount: Mackenzie Brannan, Keely McNeer, Kiana Winston
3. Double front dismount: Amanda Jetter
4. Ray II: Jetter, McNeer, Winston

"D" Skills - Total: 9 x 0.10 = 0.90
1. Jaeger: Bailey, Brannan
2. Overshoot: Bailey, Brannan, Jetter, Mahoney, McNeer
3. Maloney: Mahoney
4. Pak salto: Winston

Connection Value - Total: 0.60
1. Bailey: None
2. Brannan: Toe-on (C) + Jaeger (D) = +0.10, Toe-on (C) + Overshoot (D) = +0.10
3. Jetter: Overshoot (D) + Ray I (C) = +0.10
4. Mahoney: Toe-on (C) + Maloney (D) = +0.10
5. McNeer: Toe-on (C) + Overshoot (D) = +0.10
6. Winston: Toe-on (C) + Ray II (E) = +0.10

TOTAL Bonus: 3.3

Check out our rankings split out for "D" skills, "E" skills and connection bonus below, and stay tuned for future rankings for beam, floor, and vault.

​Rankings
Total "D" skills:
​1. Utah​
2T. Oklahoma​
2T. LSU
2T. UCLA
5T. Florida
5T. Alabama

Total "E" Skills:
​1. UCLA
2T. Oklahoma
2T. LSU
2T. Florida
5. Alabama
6. Utah

Connection Bonus:
​1. LSU
2. Utah
3. UCLA
4. Oklahoma
5. Florida
6. Alabama


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