When I (rarely) have free time, I like to watch gymnastics. It’s my favorite sport, not only because I competed for most of my young life, but also because I really just respect the athletes and the incredible dedication I know it takes.

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UCLA Gymnasts.
Images in this post from Parker Knight.

This year, I got into Fantasy College Gymnastics. I wrote a little bit about it when I introduced you to fantasy sports in my how-to post a couple of months ago. However, with the season wrapping up, I want to talk about my fantasy team, and how much fun it’s been having something at stake.

From the first meet of the season, my girls and I have held onto the second place spot in my division. The first place spot is guaranteed a place in the post-season, and the second place spots must battle among other divisions, with only the top twelve remaining in the competition.

The way my league works, each player has a team of twenty gymnasts. For each of the four apparatus, I can choose eight gymnasts to put in my line-up. The five highest scores of those eight count to my team total. A perfect total would be 200 points, or a 10.0 on each event from each girl. This is nearly impossible. Instead, I strive for a 198, or a 9.9 average score.

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There were a few strategies I could use to reach this goal. At the beginning of the season, I just put girls in my line-up that I knew would be competing on the events – I didn’t want to count zeroes. It took a couple weeks for each school to set their line-ups, and I didn’t want to take too much of a gamble.

Now that it’s later in the season, I’m more willing to take risks to get those 9.9s. I performed a detailed statistical analysis on my girls’ scores from the season, including average and standard deviation. Then I delved further into data analysis, calculating hit percentage (how often they don’t fall), hit average (score when they don’t fall) and determining the best to include in my line-up.

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Since five scores count, I put up five girls with 1.00 hit percentages. I can’t risk falls. For the other three spots, I put girls that hit those high scores, but occasionally fall. So far, I have not had to count a fall in my scores. That helps me hold onto my second place position.

Creating the line-ups is a lot of fun, but some weeks I make mistakes. For example, Uneven Bars is the strongest event for my team. This week, two girls hit 9.9 that didn’t make it into my line-up. I had to take a hit, as I counted a few 9.85s instead. The worst is when a girl does really well on an event one week, and then falls the next. I had one girl hit a 10.0, but then drop to a 8.75. You never know how it’s going to go!

So far it’s been a lot of fun. I hope I can hold onto a spot that puts me into the playoffs! Keep your fingers crossed for me.

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