FORT WAYNE – There has been a subtle, albeit important, change in the way that gymnastics meets are scored this season. And it has put into conflict two concepts: the desire to keep the sport’s participation high vs. the desire to reward the best gymnasts with the highest scores.
When I first heard of the change, I did kind of think it, said Rosemarie Nix, coach of defending state champion Bishop Dwenger. Man, they are making it harder, and maybe the lower-level girls will say Forget it.’
Added Rosemary Scheele, coach of 15th-ranked Carroll: We’re trying to keep the sport alive at the high school level.
But concern for participation aside – and northeast Indiana has several strong programs – Nix and Scheele said the change has resulted in lower scores this season and benefited the most advanced gymnasts.
In that respect, scoring now more closely represents USA Gymnastics guidelines and has been positive in that view.
I tend to agree with (the change) a little bit, Scheele said, I’ve had girls with a lot of difficulty in their routines but, because of the way the old scoring was, they still received the same scores as girls without as much difficulty. (The less-advanced) girls were able to get the bonus with jumps or leaps, stuff like that, instead of the really difficult tumbling.
According to Nix, whose team is favored to win tonight’s regional at Huntington North, the scoring change is reflected in bonuses for performing skills consecutively.
They actually added a category, Nix said. Back-to-back high level and a back-to-back low level, whereas before you just had back-to-backs. And you get an extra two-tenths if you have a high level. Those are obviously the high-level skills, and it benefits the high-level gymnasts.
Dwenger won the sectional at Concordia on Feb. 28 with a 109.075, led by Katy Linvill’s 36.1 in the all-around.
Carroll was second with a 103.95.
At the Wawasee Sectional on Saturday, Angola won with a 106.175, led by Alex Nickel’s 38.125.
Last year, Dwenger won at Concordia with a 109.950, paced by Linvill’s 36.65.
And the victor at Wawasee in 2012 was DeKalb with a 106.575.
No one seems surprised scores have gone down this year.
In the past, you might have those skills in your routine, but now you have to have two connected somewhere, Nix said. It does make the routine level a little higher, and it’s been a change.
Linvill, a junior, said the gymnasts have noticed the drop in scores this season, but that should be a motivating factor, not a deterrent.
If it’s for everyone, then it’s not that big of a deal, she said. It’s nice to get those 9.7s, but if I get those 9.4s, then it makes me want to strive for those higher scores, and that’s OK for me.