There’s a new Division in USAG Xcel in 2022 – Xcel Sapphire!
A number of coaches and gyms have been asking for an Xcel Division higher than Diamond, and it is finally coming!
This new Division is piloting during the 2022-23 season, and during this season, it’s only available in 4 regions. The pilot will take place in Regions 3, 6, 7, and 8.
Which states are part of the pilot?
Here are the states in the regions that are piloting the Sapphire Division of Xcel in 2022-23:
Region 3: Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming
Region 6: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont
Region 7: Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia
Region 8: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee
Who is the Xcel Sapphire Division for?
This Division is for gymnasts who are able to meet the Diamond requirements, and can perform skills beyond those requirements.
These gymnasts may be former Level 8, 9, or 10 gymnasts who have dropped back to the Xcel program. They may also be gymnasts who have come up through all of the Xcel Divisions and are looking for a greater challenge.
Sapphire Division gymnasts may be preparing for NCAA Acro or Tumbling competition, or they may desire to compete in College Club gymnastics (NAIGC).
To compete in the Sapphire Division, a gymnast must be at least 12 years old, AND they must have scored a 34 at Diamond, competed Level 8, 9, or 10, OR submitted a video and petition to their regional chair.
Requirements for the Xcel Sapphire Division
All Xcel Sapphire routines (bars, beam, floor) will start from a 9.60, with bonus opportunities to achieve a 10.0 Start Value.
Each routine is required to have 3 A’s, 3 B’s, and 1 C skill.
Bonus is awarded for the following:
- 1 D skill = +0.10 (additional D’s allowed, but do not receive bonus)
- Any C skill = +0.10 each (bonus only given once per skill)
- Any B+B combination = unspecified amount of bonus
The B+B bonus combinations can include any connected skills, such as mounts, dismounts, dance, or acro. This includes indirect acro connections on floor.
The same C or D element can receive difficulty bonus only one time.
There is no requirement to get bonus from different categories. The gymnast can get all of her bonus from connections, all of her bonus from C/D skills, or she can use any combination of the above bonus opportunities.
No E skills are allowed in the Xcel Sapphire Division.
Special Requirements for the Xcel Sapphire Division
The Sapphire division has its own vault chart. The vaults range from handsprings (valued at 9.0) to Layout Tsukaharas and Yurchenkos (valued at 10.0). There are many other allowable vaults, with their values listed on the chart in this document.
If the gymnast performs a vault that is not allowed for the division (not listed on the chart), her score for the event will be a 0 (VOID).
If the gymnast uses the alternative springboard, the vault will be VOID.
There are 4 Special Requirements for Xcel Sapphire Bars:
- Minimum B skill finishing in clear support at vertical
- Minimum B 360° circling skill
- Minimum B release, turn, or 2nd 360° circling skill (different from #2)
- Minimum B dismount OR C skill connected to A dismount
- Minimum 360° turn on 1 foot
- Dance series AND 180° leap/jump (isolated or in series)
- Acro series w/min. 1 flight (at least 1 skill must achieve or pass through vertical)
- Minimum B dismount OR Acro flight skill connected to A dismount
I’m still trying to figure out what how many acro flight skills DON’T go through vertical – dive rolls are the only ones I can think of!
- One acro pass with 2 saltos, same or different
- Three different saltos, one a minimum of B
- Dance passage with minimum 2 elements, directly or indirectly connected, 1 element is a leap with 180° split
- Minimum B turn on 1 foot
Are the Xcel Sapphire rules available yet?
Yes! The official rules for the Xcel Sapphire Division are now available on the USA Gymnastics website. Click the link Official Sapphire Rules to access them.
The Sapphire rules are not included in the new Xcel Code of Points, which was released in June 2022. USA Gymnastics has a Google form you can fill out to receive updates about the Xcel Sapphire Division. Click here to read the article on their website and fill out the Google form.
Want to see a video on all of this information? Here’s an Introduction to Sapphire video, created by the Regional Technical Chair in Region 7. It also includes the vault chart for Sapphire, which hadn’t been included in the materials on the USA Gymnastics website.
Check back often to read new updates about the Sapphire Division, as well as the other levels and divisions in women’s gymnastics!