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We are almost at the end of the 2020 NCAA gymnastics season, which has been action-packed with crazy skills, exciting new routines, bedazzling leotards, and sticks galore.
There is also one particular trend from this season that I have noticed: NCAA vaults going viral. While there are a ton of great routines from every event, some of the most popular videos are those of vaults, Yurchenko 1.5s to be exact.
Obviously, one of the reasons for the popularity of vault clips over the other events is that vault takes probably four seconds total from sprint to salute. It’s the perfect amount of time to grab someone’s attention while they’re scrolling through Twitter. And that’s not a bad thing, as vault basically sums up gymnastics in the shortest and simplest way possible: high-flying, complex, difficult, and beautiful. I probably spent more time typing those adjectives out than it would take to watch one of those vaults.
The point is, these vault clips are popular for good reason. They’re fun to watch and the women this season have really been producing some beautiful ones. While the scores may seem incongruent due to the variance of judging in different conferences or meets (which is at times frustrating), we’re just here to have a good time and watch some pretty vaults. So here are some of the best Yurchenko 1.5s from this season so far.
Kyla Ross, a senior at UCLA, had a beautiful Yurchenko 1.5 over the weekend, scoring a deserved perfect 10. She gets massive height, stays crazy tight with her form, and sticks the landing — it’s what you would expect from a former Olympic gold medalist. She also has a career high of 10.0 on every event and is nationally ranked No. 11 on vault and No. 3 in the all-around. As a team, UCLA ranks third.
WARNING: You might not be able to stop watching once you start this video. So clear your schedule for the rest of the day.— Minnesota Women’s Gym (@GopherWGym) March 7, 2020
With that being said, please enjoy @honestlyona's Perfect 10 on vault. pic.twitter.com/N9UK7CXqO0
Ona Loper, a junior from the University of Minnesota, also scored a perfect 10 on vault Saturday. Her form on this is great, and her landing is so light it makes the vault hardly look difficult at all. Loper ranks No. 18 on vault and No. 12 in the AA, and Minnesota is currently ranked 10th.
This is my favorite of the whole season. It is one of the most beautiful Yurchenko 1.5s I have seen, and it was outrageously robbed of a 10.0. Nebraska senior Taylor Houchin competed this vault right at the beginning of the season and scored a 9.975. I have searched high and low and I have not found one good reason for there to have been any deduction on this vault. We will never know what those judges saw that day, but I know in my core that they were wrong. Houchin is currently ranked No. 3 on vault and No. 20 in the AA, and Nebraska is currently ranked No. 19.
Anastasia Webb’s vault at the Metroplex Challenge deserves more recognition ? pic.twitter.com/4jx9Ky0hUO— morgan hurd for 2020 (@youhurdwong) January 29, 2020
Oklahoma junior Anastasia Webb produced a similarly great vault a few weeks ago at the Metroplex Challenge. Although it wasn’t scored a 10.0, Webb scored a career-high 9.95 and is currently ranked No. 2 on vault, so not a huge loss for her. But for the record, that vault was 10.0-worthy. In the AA, Webb ranks No. 5, and Oklahoma, of course, is ranked #1.
Michigan sophomore Abby Brenner scored a career-high with this vault from the last weekend of January, where she scored a 9.950. It’s such a solid vault. Unrelated, I’m also really into Michigan’s leos this year — they’ve nailed the combo of sporty and sparkly. Brenner is ranked at No. 9 on vault, and Michigan is currently ranked at No. 5.
Oklahoma’s star senior Maggie Nichols is the nation’s No. 1-ranked vaulter and has a nice collection of 10.0s under her belt. Her vault average is 9.967, and like Kyla Ross, her career-high on each event is also 10.0. She has basically dominated the NCAA since she was a freshman and is currently ranked No. 1 in the AA.