The Alabama gymnastics team is back up to eighth in the nation thanks to its National Qualifying Score, which will determine rankings from here on out. The Crimson Tide has a 196.735 NQS that’s much better looking than its 196.438 average. UA’s season high is still a 196.9, making it the only program in the top 10 that hasn’t broken 197.

Even with the different system, Oklahoma’s 197.925 keeps it at No. 1. UCLA (197.8) is next in line, followed by Florida (197.545). LSU (197.28) and Utah (197.22) are fourth and fifth, respectively.

Eight of the top 10 teams’ NQS is stronger than their average. Florida and Utah are the only two that didn’t benefit from the change numbers wise.

NQS, which used to be known as Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) but changed this year to better reflect the new postseason format, is meant to provide a more accurate idea of scoring abilities. It forgives low scores and forgets high scores.

Here’s how a team’s NQS is calculated: First, take the three best road scores. Then, take the remaining three best scores — home or away. Drop the highest out of those six, and average the five left. The answer is the NQS.

So, for Alabama, its best three road scores are the 196.9 at Georgia, the 196.85 at Missouri and the 196.8 at Kentucky. Its next three best are the 196.85 against LSU, the 196.7 at Arkansas and the 196.475 against Florida. The 196.9 is dropped, leaving the pair of 196.85s, the 196.8, the 196.7 and the 196.475 to be averaged out. Boom, 196.735.

This is good for the Crimson Tide because its season-opening 194.75 is completely ignored, unless UA manages to score lower than that before the regular season ends.

A team’s NQS can change every week if it posts something that fits into those categories.

The 2019 SEC Championships will be seeded by the final NQS standings. The top four teams will end up with the night portion of competition, while the other four will compete in the afternoon. With where the teams are right now, the Crimson Tide would make the night cut. But Alabama has three regular-season meets left, starting with Auburn at 6:30 p.m. Friday in Coleman Coliseum for Senior Night.

Event rankings

Alabama is now in the top 10 on only two of the four events. NQS also dictates these rankings. The Crimson Tide is sixth on floor exercise (49.285) and ninth on vault (49.16). It then drops to 11th on the uneven bars (49.19) and 15th on the balance beam (49.06).

UA freshman Shallon Olsen is Alabama’s best-ranked gymnast. She is 23rd on vault with a 9.865 NQS. Emily Gaskins, another first-year, is next. She’s 26th on bars with a 9.87 NQS.

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