Sunday Live Blog – February 23, 2020

Sunday, February 23
Scores Stream
11:00am ET/8:00am PT – Yale, Brown, Penn @ Cornell   ESPN+
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – North Carolina @ New Hampshire LINK ESPN+
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – Western Michigan, Bowling Green, Towson @ West Virginia LINK FREE
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – NC State, Northern Illinois, Temple @ George Washington LINK FREE
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – Kent State @ Ball State LINK ESPN3
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – West Chester @ William & Mary LINK FREE
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – Rhode Island @ Springfield    
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT – [25] Stanford @ [22] Arizona LINK P12N
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT – UW-Stout @ Lindenwood LINK FREE
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT – Brockport, Ursinus @ Ithaca    
3:00pm ET/12:00pm PT – Air Force @ TWU LINK FREE
4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT – [13] Washington @ Arizona State LINK P12N
6:00pm ET/3:00pm PT – [3] Utah @ [3] UCLA LINK ESPN2

In the earlier Pac-12 action, Arizona broke 196 while Stanford had a 2nd-meet-of-the-weekend nightmare on vault to end up with a fairly unhelpful 195.225, which will not be enough to stay in the top 25 on Monday.

In the second meet, we had a close one with no working live scores (FUN!) in which a 9.900 from Leonard-Baker in the final spot for Arizona State on floor clinched a tie with Washington, both teams on 196.875.

Now on to the big one.

In terms of goal scores for Utah and UCLA, it’s…you know…8 billion. As long as the scoring of this meet matches expectations. UCLA needs only beat the 197 mark to make sure the team stays in third place ahead of LSU and Utah (regardless of what Utah scores here), though actual expectations will be much higher than that. UCLA is looking for a new season high, which is currently 197.675.

Utah also has a bare minimum hope of 196.950 here, which would get Utah back ahead of Denver, Cal, and Michigan and at least to fifth place. The next goal is a 197.400, which would ensure Utah goes back ahead of LSU and is at least 4th in the rankings on Monday. But, really, Utah is also aiming for that season high, which is currently 197.550.

Marz Frazier still out of all lineups for UCLA. A problem for them.

Comforte’s Pants Alert. Dom’s Pants Alert.

Rotation 1

Dennis – VT – UCLA – huge full obviously, great position, a slide back, a bit bigger than her usual slide but not large. 9.850

O’Keefe – UB – Utah – toe on to maloney to pak, small legs on pak – a bit short on cast 1/2 on low – strong cast on high – holds the stick on her double arabian, very good. 9.925. It begins.

Kramer – VT – UCLA – Y1.5 – a lock-legged landing but ended up being one of her most controlled landings, a step to the side, the usual bent knees. 9.850

LaBlanc – UB – Utah – blind is a bit late – jaeger, pretty, caught with some close elbows – borderline cast – DLO, stuck landing. Not as strong as O’Keefe’s but a solid hit. 9.900 is quittttee high.

Poston – VT – UCLA – handspring pike 1/2, good improvement, a bounce back but had her chest up way better. 9.850

Isa – UB – Utah – Ray, another close catch with bent elbows – clean bail position – giant full, right on top, to immediate DLO, good landing. 9.925. The second half was truly glorious but they’re not appropriately evaluating these close catches.

Tratz – VT – UCLA – strong secure landing on her full, smallll slide, not her best distance and has a chest-down position on landing. 9.775, that’s more conservative than I expected from this meet, I’ll be honest. Not mad at it.

Paulson – UB – Utah – maloney to pak, some legs on both – giant full, later than Isa’s, double tuck, lunge back. Opened the door for the judges to go lower for this one with a no-stick. Or not. 9.850.

Hano – VT – UCLA – a larger bound forward on her Y1.5 this week – good position – deep in the knees and causing the bound. 9.875 is more the kind of high score I was expecting from this meet.

Reinstadtler – UB – Utah – toe 1/2 , a bit late, lovely jaeger – bail, little leg break, good toe point – final cast is solid – FTDT, bounce back. 9.900

What is happening? She had minimum a tenth on the dismount landing alone.

Ross – VT – UCLA – nailed the landing on her Y1.5 – her best of the season, very strong. That was an “I guess I have to do it all myself” vault.

Tessen – Ub – Utah – strong piked jaeger, solid bail, just a bit of feet – FTDT, stuck landing, good. I mean, it’s a normal good pretty routine, but since every little thing is a 9.9…

9.950 for Tessen

After 1: Utah 49.600, UCLA 49.375

Utah with some very strong landings in that bars rotation to establish a lead early, definitely their best bars of the year, the scores are also truly bonkers there. UCLA basically scored as well as it could have expected on vault given the landing control issues, but Ross saved the score with a very strong one. Her best of the year.

Rotation 2

Soloski – VT – Utah – secure landing on her full, not assss open as we’ve seen sometimes, chest forward, good control. 9.825. Vault def tighter than bars today.

Hano – UB – UCLA – Ray, mistimed it and falls immediately. Was going to catch super close, but couldn’t end up catching at all – Redoes it into overshoot, fine – a bit shoer cast on high – giant full, late with some feet, double tuck, bounce back.

Hall – VT – Utah – struggles to control the landing on her Y1.5 today, deep sit with two lunges back. 9.650

Kooyman – UB – UCLA _ maloney with legs into pak, hit – cast 1/2 on low, not bad – very strong cast on high bar – DLO, good height, comes in just a little chest down, small hop. One of her best ever bars. Nice. 9.900. Higggggh.

Reinstadtler – VT – Utah – pretty full in the air, large bounce back as we’ve seen on most instances this year. 9.800 high.

Flatley – UB – UCLA – higgins to jaeger, beautiful – toe on with some arch into bail, toes are a dream – a bit short on final cast hs – does the DLO 1/1 today, chest forward and a step. She had been struggling to control the DLO but the full does seem to be inviting deductions. 9.825

Isa – VT – Utah – solid control on her full, small slide back, good chest up – maintains her layout position well. 9.800

Steele – UB – UCLA – maloney to pak, small leg breaks on both – cast 1/2 on low bar was OK – fab Zam-stand on the high bar – DLO, a bit whippy but stuck landing. She’s also coming along with that routine. Good. 9.925

Burch – VT – Utah – Y1.5 – tries to fake it on the landing control, but she rises up onto her toes and step-salutes – not bad form, a bit deep on landing. Good. 9.900

Kocian – UB – UCLA – stalder shap to pak, pretty pak position – strong cast 1/2 on low bar – I like that UCLA is paying better attention to those cast 1/2s on low than most teams – FTDT, ooooof large lunge back, barely saved that from being a fall. 9.750

Tessen – VT – Utah – somehow she always manages to find the landing here despite having zero amplitude – great landing, stuck – 9.900

Ross – UB – UCLA – maloney to bail, perfect – shoot to high, strong – great cast hs on high – DLO, hop back. She was obviously going to have a 10 if she stuck. 9.925

After 2: Utah 98.825, UCLA 98.700

Not great rotations from either team in the second. The high bars scores were there for UCLA, if they had snatched them, just like they were for Utah, but UCLA had that early fall and gave away some important ground on landings. Utah pretty bouncy on a couple important ones there in the middle. And vault judging not as loose as bars.

Rotation 3

Kathy had a BATTLE OF THE BEAMS thing all ready to go and Bart kept talking and she was basically like, “I HAVE A THING BUDDY.”

G Glenn – BB – UCLA – bhs loso series, secure, good extension – aerial to split jump, lovely as well and as always – switch to split, strong – bhs gainer full, stuck. Excellent and also her usual.

And she got a 10.000. If for nothing else, we get to stop talking about how there has never been a leadoff 10.

Pauson – FX – Utah – double pike, bounce back – frontlay to front full to stag, stag was an afterthought, solid series – switch full, around – back 1.5 to layout, strong. 9.800

Sakti – BB – UCLA – loso loso series with a check correction, a bit smaller than last week – switch 1/2 with check, breaks connection into beat, switch and split, arm wave – side aerial to full, stuck. Not quite as hesitant as last time but not as smooth as she can be. 9.800. (The 9.850 judge was feeeeling it there)

Isa – FX – Utah – double tuck, really strong, chest up – back 1.5 to layout, good lift – switch side to popa, overturns the switch side, finishes in the right place – double pike, no comedy this week, strong routine. 9.925

Flatley – BB – UCLA – aerial with a slight hesitation into back pike, so we’ll see, lovely individual element s- side aerial, smooth – L turn, excellent today – switch to split – bhs to 1.5, little hop. 9.825

Randall – FX – Utah – double tuck, some lack of control this time with a slide – switch side to popa to wolf jump full, also not quite showing a distinct finish position in each one – solid positions – double pike, crisp, nice – back 1.5 to layout, controlled fine but kind of low. 9.900

Shapiro – BB – UCLA – switch to switch combo, solid this week, good 180s – bhs bhs loso series, right on – full turn tight but fine – side aerial to full, holds the stick with a stagger. Well, that’s definitely the best routine Nicki Shapiro has ever competed. 9.900

Hoffman – FX – Utah – better DLO, controls the landing, just some chest down position – good split positions, again sort of in between elements when she lands – back 1.5 and got no punch out of it to connect to a layout, tried to tuck it but even that she couldn’t get around – fall.

Hano – BB – UCLA – bhs lay-pike series is secure today – switch 1/2, tight position and an arm wave correction – split jump 1/2 from side, hit – switch to split jump, back leg – 1.5, good height, solid landing. Some deduction moments but also a lot of improvements, i.e. the series. 9.825

O’Keefe – FX – Utah – double pike, hit, some chest position and a slide back – front lay to front full, strong – switch to split leap 1.5, around, great split positions – Is Kim Tessen holding a picture of a whale at her? – nearly had the same problem as Hoffman on her 1.5 to front, lost her knees and had some form deductions though

Friday Live Blog – February 21, 2020

Friday, February 21
Scores Stream
6:00pm ET/3:00pm PT – [8] Alabama @ [2] Florida LINK SECN
6:00pm ET/3:00pm PT – Central Michigan @ Bowling Green LINK  
6:00pm ET/3:00pm PT – Illinois State, West Chester, Southern Connecticut, Ursinus @ Temple LINK  
7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT – Big Five Day 1
[16] Nebraska, [23] Illinois, Ohio State, Iowa, Rutgers
7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT – [11] Georgia @ [12] Kentucky LINK SEC+
7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT – West Virginia @ Pittsburgh LINK ACCNX
7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT – William & Mary, Centenary @ NC State LINK ACCNX
7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT – [20] Auburn @ [14] Arkansas LINK SECN
7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT – UW-Oshkosh @ UW-Eau Claire    
7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT – Gustavus Adolphus @ UW-La Crosse   FREE
8:00pm ET/5:00pm PT – [1] Oklahoma v. [25] Stanford @ Oklahoma City, OK LINK OU($)
9:00pm ET/6:00pm PT – [6] LSU @ [18] Missouri LINK SECN
9:00pm ET/6:00pm PT – [17] Iowa State @ [19] Southern Utah LINK FREE
9:00pm ET/6:00pm PT – Utah State, UC Davis, Sacramento State @ Boise State LINK FREE
10:00pm ET/7:00pm PT – San Jose State @ Seattle Pacific LINK FREE

It’s one of those three-SEC-Network-meet days, but we also have Georgia/Kentucky only on streaming, which may end up being the most interesting of all the SEC meets.

Plus, there’s the first of the two Big Five meets to keep track of. This is the less deep of the two Big Fives, but still a critical competition for Nebraska to get the win with a high 196.

And there’s Oklahoma 10 Watch. So lots to keep track of. Then when it’s all done, you get a couple-hour break, and then it’s the first day of finals from Melbourne. And people always have looks when I say watching gymnastics is a full-time job…

Continue reading Friday Live Blog – February 21, 2020

Melbourne Pre-Finals Update

Here’s a rundown on who qualified to each final in Melbourne and a quick note on how things are shaping up on each event. Finals begin at 6:00pm Saturday local time, which is 2:00am ET/11:00pm PT in US time, and are indeed streaming at the Olympic Channel.

Men’s Floor

  1. Kirill Prokopev – 15.000
  2. Ryu Sunghyun – 14.500
  3. Milad Karimi – 14.433
  4. Rayderley Zapata – 14.066
  5. Ethan Dick – 13.966
  6. Jorge Vega Lopez – 13.933
  7. Yahor Sharamkou – 13.900
  8. Bram Verhofstad – 13.633

Rayderley Zapata achieved his first goal, which was making the final. Qualifying in 4th may be a bit of a concern for him, though he is currently in a position of control and can therefore afford not to win this event and still be the frontrunner to get the Olympic spot. For now. The door remains open for someone like Prokopev, and if Prokopev were to win the title here, he’s in this race. Still, he has left it quite late and would need to be very good at everything remaining.

(Prokopev’s quest to challenge Zapata would also be helped if the FIG does not end up redistributing points from those who qualified to the Olympics as individuals. The original rules discuss redistributing points from those who qualified as part of teams, but makes no mention of individuals. Which is insane, but also…FIG. Part of Zapata’s frontrunner status is based on his gaining points redistributed from Yulo, Dolgopyat, and Shatilov.)

Tomas Gonzalez did not advance to the final, and I don’t want to talk about it.

Women’s Vault

  1. Jade Carey – 15.049
  2. Shoko Miyata – 14.166
  3. Coline Devillard – 14.050
  4. Ahtziri Sandoval – 13.916
  5. Maria Paseka – 13.883
  6. Angelina Radivilova – 13.883
  7. Teja Belak – 13.849
  8. Tkasa Kysselef – 13.733

Carey did what she had to do in qualification, scoring nearly a point better than anyone else and moving ever closer to the almost-basically-assured-but-not-quite-mathematically-guaranteed Olympic spot status she can reach with a victory here. Maria Paseka did not go for anything near full difficulty in qualification, but I’m sure we can count on her to chuck some insanity in the final. It also looks like Devillard fell on her DTY, but she would be the other closest challenger to Carey if she hits in the final.

Continue reading Melbourne Pre-Finals Update

NCAA Week 8 Preview

Full schedule and links

Marquee Meet

[3] Utah @ [3] UCLA

Sunday, February 23rd, 3:00pm PT – ESPN2

Well, look how that worked out. Utah and UCLA find themselves tied in the rankings heading into their annual wackadoo dual that is truly going to be a sight this year. What do we think…three 10s? Five?

UCLA has been the stronger team over the last couple seasons and is hosting the meet this year, so the advantage will default to the Bruins. At the same time, we’ve seen UCLA putting up some non-ideal lineups lately, and last weekend the Bruins scored basically the same thing for a (semi) hit meet as Utah did for counting a fall on floor. That’s why Utah will feel, with a hit meet, this thing is very winnable, even on the road.

While it’s all been “Utah’s beam, Utah’s beam, Utah’s beam” (and we’ll get there), at least equally critical in this performance will be vault. Utah’s vaulting last week was excellent in the Y1.5 landings department from Hall-Burch-Tessen, a serious step—or seven—better than what we had seen earlier in the season. If repeated, and if UCLA is still hopping around on those 1.5s, vault provides Utah with a chance for a legitimate multi-tenth advantage. Because UCLA is theoretically the stronger team on bars and floor, Utah will be particularly keen to muffle that advantage with its vaulting performance so that winning doesn’t have to be all about beam.

As for beam, that’s obviously going to be THE TEST of this meet because it has been easily Utah’s best event this year while it has been the rebellious problem child for UCLA. But when you look at the gymnasts in these lineups, Utah shouldn’t actually be any better than UCLA on beam given that the Bruins can put up people like Ross and Glenn and Flatley. The difference between the two beam teams has been consistency, health, and confidence. So most important for UCLA will be not just hitting beam but hitting to the lineup’s actual potential. Last week’s 49.275, for instance, was an improvement on some of the weeks before, but still not enough to cut it or to minimize the beam difference that rankings tell us exists between these two.

Much depends on the actual fullness of UCLA’s lineups. I mentioned that the Bruins should be the better team on bars, but that’s fairly contingent on Frazier being in the lineup for a 9.9+ routine to complete that unassailable Flatley-Kocian-Frazier-Ross punch. Meanwhile, floor has certainly done the job—being ranked #1 and all—but Flatley-Lashbrooke-Andres is not the final, ideal, postseason leadoff group with the highest scoring potential. Now, I mean, it’s UCLA at home in a big regular season meet. They could put up Nicki Shapiro doing a yoga workshop in the third spot and get 9.875 for it (the dream), but if there are tenths that need to be made up in the final rotation, you want gymnasts like Frazier and Tratz in there for the most likely 9.9+ scores.

This is going to be a fun one.

Continue reading NCAA Week 8 Preview

Melbourne Olympic Qualifier: Your Questions Answered

Wait…what’s happening?

The Melbourne apparatus world cup, the 6th of 8 events in the series used to determine which 10 individuals (4 women, 6 men, one for each event) gain Olympic berths.

When is it?

Qualification Day 1
Thursday, February 20, 6:00pm local/2:00am ET/11:00pm PT

Qualification Day 2
Friday, February 21, 6:00pm local/2:00am ET/11:00pm PT

Finals Day 1
Saturday, February 22, 6:00pm local/2:00am ET/11:00pm PT

Finals Day 2
Sunday, February 23, 3:00pm local/11:00pm ET/8:00pm PT

How do I watch?

We think the finals will be live streamed on the Olympic Channel, but they haven’t posted the specific information yet. They streamed it last year and have broadcast rights because they’re showing it tape delayed on TV later.

Continue reading Melbourne Olympic Qualifier: Your Questions Answered