Floor exercise is arguably the most exciting of all the women's events, especially at the college level. Energy is at its highest when a team competes on floor, and this energy and excitement is easily felt and shared by spectators. With high-flying tumbling, and energetic dance and choreography, floor exercise is the most performative of all the events.
Floor was my favorite and my best event during my career. The performance aspect and musicality came very naturally to me, but it doesn't always come naturally to all gymnasts. In fact, many gymnasts struggle with the aspect of performing a floor routine, and as a result, their routine becomes dull and uninspired. In my opinion, artistry is just as important as the tumbling. At the core of a great routine is great choreography. A floor routine can easily become formulaic and dull (pose, pose, tumble, pose, pose, leap, etc). Good choreography should be a physical manifestation of the music, and the gymnast must embody the music through their movement. This concept of musicality is often overlooked and missing in many otherwise lovely routines. In addition to coaching and judging gymnastics, I also have a tremendous passion for choreographing floor routines, so in a nutshell, good choreography is something I really value and appreciate.
Because floor is my favorite event, it was so hard for me to choose just five college floor routines that I loved because there are so many that I do love. Some of the routines I chose were due to the tumbling, some of the routines I chose were because of the organic and unique choreography that deviated from the norm, and some were chosen as a combination of both. I suppose the parameters for which I picked my top five centered around how often I find myself watching these routines. If it was a routine I could watch 5 times in a row on youtube without getting bored, chances are, it made my list.
#1: Kat Grable (Arkansas)
I featured Kat Grable in my post about vault, and she has popped up again here. She is one of the best gymnasts in the NCAA and her tumbling skills are both unique and beautiful to watch. At 0:16, she begins her first tumbling pass: a double arabian with an additional half twist. Arabians are difficult skills and quite rare in college gymnastics, but Kat is so great that she added an additional half twist in the second flip, because... why not, right? Her second pass at 0:55 is a back one and a half to a front full to and immediate front half with a step out. Makes you dizzy just watching, right? Finally, she finishes with a double pike. In addition to her beautiful tumbling, she has a smile on her face throughout the entire routine.
#2: Georgia Dabritz (Utah)
I featured Georgia in my uneven bars post. She's another unbelievable college gymnast, and one of the reasons why I love her is because she takes risks on all events. The above video is one of her scoring a perfect 10.0 on floor. She opens at 0:19 with a full twisting double pike (another rare skill in NCAA gymnastics due to its high level of difficulty). But my favorite part comes at her last pass at 1:18, where she does a triple full. This skill so hard that I could probably count on one hand the amount of college gymnasts who perform it. Furthermore, Georgia has it at the end of her routine, where she is the most tired. Most people who do a triple full do it first when they have the most energy. Georgia does it last.
#3: Chayse Capps (Oklahoma)
This is an example of a routine that I chose for the choreography. Chayse is only a freshman and the first time I watched this routine, I fell in love with it and I want to hug whoever did the choreography. I love her selection of music ("Intro" by a band called "the XX", who I adore and whose music I would love to choreograph to). The choreography is astoundingly evocative of the music, and I especially love the portion from 0:52-1:22. I also love her last tumbling pass: a double full to immediate layout step out. Words cannot articulate how much I love this routine, and I think anyone who knows me and my preferred style of choreography can see why. I am excited to follow Chayse's career, as she as already made tremendous waves as a freshman.
#4: Bridget Sloan (Florida)
Bridget Sloan was a member of the 2008 US Olympic team, 2009 world champion, and as a Florida gator was crowned NCAA All-Around Champion last year. She is one of my favorite gymnasts of all time, and I had the opportunity to meet her last summer at National Congress. As you can imagine, I was absolutely elated to meet one of my gymnastics idols. I love her floor routine this year. The rock 'n roll girl in me give two thumbs up to her music selection ("Seven Nation Army" by the White Stripes), and her choreography is a fantastic showcase of musicality. She opens with a front double full at 0:32 (I'm a sucker for front tumbling because it is innately more difficult than back), and the look on her face during her ending pose (which I also love) is just priceless.
#5: Lloimincia Hall (LSU)
Finally, the queen of NCAA floor and hands down my favorite floor performer: LSU's Lloimincia Hall. There is nobody, and I mean nobody, who performs floor like Lloiminica (or "Mincie" as she is affectionately called). She has the ability to engage an entire arena of people. She has spunk, energy, and great tumbling to boot. I've seen a lot of hate and vitriol from some people directed towards this routine because, in their opinion, it deviates from what gymnastics "should" look like, but I couldn't disagree more. I love this routine because Mincie shows so much energy, personality, and flare, and that is what floor exercise is all about. I am a ride or die Lloimincia Hall fan. In the above video, she scored a well-deserved perfect 10.0. She makes tumbling look so easy, especially her double layout at 0:17. At 1:00 she does her signature seat drop on floor and you can hear the crowd go wild. The facial expressions and choreography she does after her last pass at the end of her routine always puts a smile on my face, and you can really tell that she is definitely a crowd favorite! I've watched the above video probably about 100 times!
(because I had such a hard time choosing!)
Alicia Asturias (California-Berkeley)
Lindsay Mable (Minnesota)
Haley Scaman (Oklahoma)
Jessica Savona (LSU)
Lane Jarred (NC State)
As the NCAA gymnastics season comes to a close (and what a season it's been!), I'm happy to report that I came in first place in my Fantasy Gymnastics conference, and our UNH Wildcats are EAGL Champions and are heading to NCAA Regionals. I hope you all enjoyed my posts about college and found them interesting and educational! These last few weeks should be very interesting as the road to the national championship unfolds!
Peace, love, and gymnastics,
Spectrum Gymnastics Academy
26 Buttrick Rd
About the Author
Coach Sarah is a former Rhode Island College gymnast, NCGA National qualifier, All-American, current gymnastics coach and judge, and contributor for the gymnastics news source, The Gymternet. Find out what's going on at Spectrum and learn more about the incredible sport of gymnastics!