SALT LAKE CITY — Utah gymnastics fans were on top of the world Sunday night, after the Red Rocks defeated rival UCLA in Los Angeles. Utah made history in the win, recording the program’s highest road score (198.075) and best beam score (49.775) ever. There was a perfect 10 from freshman Abby Paulson, too, to top everything off.
IT'S A PERFECT 10 TO WIN THE MEET FROM ABBY PAULSON!! pic.twitter.com/LurypsWGaQ— Utah Gymnastics (@UtahGymnastics) February 24, 2020
Nothing could ruin the moment, that is until Road to Nationals released the latest national rankings. Utah and UCLA were tied at No. 3 entering their showdown, but the Red Rocks left L.A. ranked No. 4. What was worse, they were behind the Bruins, whom they just defeated.
Calculating Utah Gymnastics’ 2020 National Qualifying Score
Meet 4 — Feb. 1 at Arizona (Away) — 197.300
Meet 5 — Feb. 8 at California (Away) — 197.550
Meet 6 — Feb. 15 vs. Oregon State (HOME) — 197.100
Meet 8 — March 1 at Washington (Away) — 197.675
Meet 9 — March 6 vs. Stanford (HOME) — 197.750
NQS — 197.475
Welcome to a world with NQS, aka National Qualifying Score.
NCAA gymnastics rankings are not based at all on wins and losses. Nor is there a vote or committee. Instead, rankings are based solely on team score. Through the first seven weeks of the season, teams are ranked by their average meet score. Everything changes in Week 8, though, when qualifying score takes over.
The qualifying score — formerly called RQS, now NQS — is designed to eliminate the extremes, both good and bad. It is calculated as follows: Take a team’s top six scores from the season, three of which must have come on the road — this is done to eliminate perceived biased scoring at home — then remove the highest score and average the remaining five.
The system allows teams that started the season poorly or had an uncharacteristically poor meet to drop their bad scores. It rewards a team’s peak ability, but can have a detrimental effect on teams that are consistent, but have lower and/or fewer high scores.
Red Rocks on the air
No. 4 Utah (197.200) at No. 13 Washington (196.575)
Alaska Airlines Arena, Seattle, Washington
Sunday, 3 p.m. MST
TV: Pac-12 Networks