Wanna Be Photographer

There are 6 Conferences in NCAA Gymnastics:  Big 10 Championship, Big 12 Championship, Pacific 12,  Mid-American Conference, Southeastern Conference and Western Athletic Conference.Each conference has it's own championship for the Conference Title AND qualification to Regionals.  The top 6-7 teams in each region earn a place in Regional Championships and are assigned to one of six held across the nation.

Road to NCAA Championships
Columbus Regional– UCLA, LSU, Arizona, Ohio State, Central Michigan, North Carolina State
Corvallis Regional  – Georgia, Oregon State, Arkansas, Boise State, Arizona State, Cal
Gainesville Regional  – Florida, Minnesota, Auburn, Maryland, Bridgeport, Pittsburgh
Morgantown Regional  – Michigan, Nebraska, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina
Norman Regional– Oklahoma, Stanford, Penn State, Washington, Iowa, Southern Utah
Tuscaloosa Regional  – Alabama, Utah, Denver, Kent State, Brigham Young, Iowa State
  • The top two teams and the top two all-around competitors not from an advancing team at each regional receives a berth in the NCAA Championships.  In addition, individual event winners who did not already qualify with their team or as an all-arounder will advance.
  • At the national championships, the twelve teams that made it compete in two different qualification sessions on Day 1 to make it into the team finals. 
  • The top three teams from each session advance to the Super Six Team Finals which is held on Day 2.
  • The top four individuals from each semifinal in each event (including ties) from Day 1 of competition will compete in the individual-event championships which is held on Day 3. 
  • There is no separate event for the Individual All Around.  The top finishers who did all four events in the team qualification round are ranked based on those results. 
So what we saw at the 2013 NCAA National Gymnastics Championships was the best of the best college gymnasts from across the nation and lots of great gymnastics.  Gymnastics levels go from 1-10 with competition starting at level 5.  After Level 10 is Elite.  The girls you see in the Olympics are Elite gymnasts which is a whole other ballgame and the girls that are competing division I college gymnastics are closer to level 10 although a lot were former Elites.  You will not see the difficulty that you see in the Olympics in College Gymnastics.  They are limited to 20 hours per week of training per NCAA rules whereas Elite gymnasts will train 30 hours plus.  Elite routines require a lot more difficulty then the level required for NCAA Gymastics but almost everything at any competitive level of gymnastics is pretty incredible considering a lot of people can't even do a cartwheel.  Very few make it to the Elite level and even fewer make it to Worlds or Olympics.  For some girls College is the dream and for others it's what they do after their Club/Elite gymnastics career is over so there are quite a few former Elites, Olympians and World team members in NCAA's. The vibe in college gymnastics is a lot looser and fun then what you see at the elite level.  They are just as competitive and determined but they let loose a lot more.  A lot of the girls broke into random dancing to the piped in music between rotations and they always high five their whole team after each routine.

As a former gymnast myself I know how hard the sport is.  And I wasn't even that good!!  Gymnasts are incredible.  No matter how many times I watch it I am never any less amazed at the tricks they do.  They are so strong and they make it look so easy.  The thing is, that people aren't supposed to do the things that they can do.  Not only do they they defy gravity but they are fearless.  They stand there, raise their arms over their heads and launch into a tumbling series on a four inch beam like it's nothing.  They are in such good shape too.  Muscles popping out everywhere.  In the crowd there were a lot of gymnasts and you can spot them a mile away because of their toned legs and build.  I have abs and pretty solid muscle tone to this day that I think is from doing gymnastics so many years ago!  I maintain that gymnastics is the best sport in the world and nobody can tell me any different.

The real photographers were on the floor where they were confined to this little taped off square box area.  I'm a wanna be photographer so I got what I could from the stands.  We had pretty good seats.  Here are some of my favorite shots.

Marissa King, Florida- Team Qualifications // 2008 Canadian Olympian

Shayla Worley, Georgia- Team Qualifications // Former World Team member

Nansy Damianova, Utah-Team Qualifications // 2008 Olympian for Canada

Vanessa Zamarripa, UCLA-Team Qualifications // Former Elite & US National Team member

Marissa King, Florida-Team Finals

Mackenzie Caquatto, Florida- Team Finals // Former World Team member

Bridget Sloan, Florida-Team Finals // 2008 Olympian, 2009 World Champion

Oklahoma, Team Finals

Chelsea Davis-Georgia, Team Finals // Former Elite & US National Team Member

Shayla Worley, Georgia- Team Finals

Ashley Priess, Alabama- Team Finals // Former Elite

Shalya Worley, Georgia-Team Finals

Bart Connor and Kathy Johnson were right in front of us

Chelsea Davis, Georgia Bar Finals

Emily Wong, Nebraska- Floor Finals, 3rd Place
Standings after Team Qualifications Session I and II
1. University of Florida, 197.775
2. University of Alabama, 197.350
3. Louisiana State University, 197.325
4. University of California-Los Angeles, 197.200
5. University of Oklahoma, 197.200
6. University of Georgia, 197.150

Final Results
1. Florida, 197.575
2. Oklahoma, 197.375
3. Alabama, 197.350
4. UCLA, 197.100
5. LSU, 197.050
6. Georgia, 196.675

Bridget Sloan from Florida won the All Around.

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Kathy said...

Great shots! I love women's gymnastics!! How exciting to see the up and coming!

Law_Fal said...

These pics are amazing!

LifenotesEncouragement said...

i think you did pretty good!

Michelle said...

These are all great pictures!

Mrs. Pancakes said...

Wow these are awesome...great action shots!!

Faith said...

Wow! You got some great shots!

My older sister was also a gymnast and she also swears that her body is the way it is due to gymnastics.

Deidre said...

You got some wonderful shots! And it's good to see some of the gymnasts genuinely smiling, sometimes I worry that such a competitive atmosphere just sucks away the fun.

Also, they get so much height! It's amazing.

Laura B @ Walking in Memphis in High Heels said...

Wonderful pictures. I miss it so so much. I used to compete at level 7 many many years ago before I switched to cheerleading. Is it sad that I still hardly watch it on to because it makes me tear up because I miss it so much?! Lol.

The Thrifty Book Nerd said...

Your photos are amazing. You are a photographer with an excellent eye for action! I am so glad you had a good time.

LWLH said...

Wow, you got amazing photos girl!!
Especially with all the action, they're so crisp and clear.

Unknown said...

I have so many things to say! First of all, I LOVE this LOVE it! I was a gymnast growing up and absolutely love going to competitions. I was SO bummed that I couldn't make this competition, especially because I wanted to see the new UCLA gym.
And let's be honest with a few things 1) Florida only one because of Bridget. seriously, FLORIDA?!, 2) I love that picture of Vanessa Zamarripa. That girl can fly! 3) I'm a UCLA, and Georgia fan. That fact that they both placed so low - especially my gym dogs - makes me so sad!

and ps - all the pictures are beautiful!!

Kim Jackson said...

You got REALLY good pics, Cece! Look at you with the photography skills! It doesn't even seem like very long ago when you first got your camera.


Janna Renee said...

Wow...it is really hard to get the action shots, but you did so good!