After the first two days of competition, Georgia leads the way with a 196.525. They will be over the moon if they can pop up in the first Monday rankings as the #1 Georgia Gymdogs, and we probably won’t hear the end of it for a while.
However, both of the teams competing this afternoon have a legitimate chance to eclipse that total. Based on the lineup Utah is sending out and their recent training videos, I don’t expect to see many 9.9s, but this team is certainly capable of 9.850-ing their way into the mid/high 196s at this point in the season. Watch for Dabritz and Delaney’s scores relative to the rest of the team and how far along Robarts is in coming back. They need her to be a scoring leader.
For UCLA, we have no idea, as always. I’d like to see them send out as many top gymnasts as are ready to compete for this first meet (with meets against Cal and San Jose St to follow, there will be ample opportunity to experiment), but Val could just as easily decide to “explore depth” here, in which case the scoring expectations would be lower. Their overall goal needs to be to hit all events (beam!) and make sure they start this season from a place of confidence instead of having to swim against the current of debilitating early performances as we have seen in most of the recent seasons. Val won’t want to have to keep convincing the team that they are on the right track this year. They should know it from their own performances.
- Allison Taylor will be providing the commentary. I can barely fathom what to expect. This will be her biggest contribution ever to a UCLA meet. I almost miss her one routine (9.225) per year. Maybe she’ll surprise us as a commentator. Maybe…
- Tiffany Hyland is no longer on the UCLA roster. I’m actually kind of sad. Freshman walk-ons, you have some very big shoes to fill. I never would have had a problem had the team not pretended she was part of the roster and a gymnast on the team, rather than a manager/helper/cheerleader.
That picture of Zam in her superhero outfit is terrifying. Is her super power haunting nightmares?
There’s a rhythmic show before the meet. The sound is terrible. Please work on this, UCLA. Anna Bessonova wept. Leave it to the Asian girl to raise the level. Thank you.
Lineup time: Ads over the Utah lineup announcement…hahaha.
OMG…this video…I can’t…This is the story of how we became ’80s drag queens…
So many options in this UCLA lineup (please stop talking over it…) who will compete? Allison Taylor has overperformed so far.
1st rotation – UCLA on vault, Utah on bars
Kaelie Baer is competing on vault. I’m floored. Dear guy, please don’t say “exhibitionist,” say “performing an exhibition.”
I just lost the feed. Are you kidding me? …… Phew, it’s back. Don’t scare us like that, please.
Baer – UCLA – not too bad, fine distance, medium hop back (9.825)
Lofgren – Utah – tkatchev, straddle back, hitting handstands, flung DLO with step forward. Nice before the dismount. They originally announced 9.875, which would have been way high, then announced 9.750, now it’s 9.550 on the scoreboard – no idea what’s happening.
Larson – UCLA – good start to her career, similar to Baer with hop back but more powerful, maybe a little pikey on replay. (9.875 – high)
Lopez – Utah – tkatchev, little leg sep on bail hs, better DLO with step forward. (9.750 – hers was better than Lofgren’s).
Courtney – UCLA – good power with slide back, not quite what she was doing at the end of last year. (9.900 – it was a good vault, but they are…enjoying being at home)
Dabritz – Utah – good hs, hit comaneci, ooh was way far away on her jaeger and fell, that’s a shame this would have been a good routine. Good stuck tuck full dismount – she’ll be a high scorer for them soon enough. (9.350 – that’s a great score for having a fall)
Frattone – UCLA – stuck Omelianchik – really nice job – they are on and prepared at the first meet – wow. (9.950)
Lothrop – Utah – missed hs to start, piked jaeger, little sloppy on bail hs, nice clean DLO. She gave away more than she should have. (9.800)
Peszek – UCLA – almost stuck but she stepped back, so she won’t get it. Doesn’t quite have the distance, but good confidence and power. (9.925 – too high)
Beers – Utah – ooh – missed first handstand, leg sep on pak, this is a big struggle, DLO with hop forward – that was a very weak routine. (9.500)
Zamarripa – UCLA – great Zam vault – except maybe more piked than it used to be – with slide back – probably shouldn’t get more than 9.9, though. (9.900 – you could make the argument for 9.850, but this is expected at home)
McAllister – Utah – good high gienger, ugh- wieler kip, little flung on the tcuk full with step back, but she hit. (9.825)
McDonald Exo – UCLA – good height and distance, will need to work on landing to make the lineup – bigger step back.
Damianova Exo – Utah – good height on her jaeger but fell, bad handstand back up, bail hs with back issue, dbl front dismount with big leg sep and step back – not lineup ready yet.
Rotation 1 – UCLA – 49.550 Utah 48.425
UCLA was very good, but certainly not that good – it’s nice being at home isn’t it? Shame about the fall from Dabritz for Utah, but she’ll get there. Beers was the bigger concern in that lineup for me. They don’t really have the showpiece routine on bars yet.
Rotation 2 – Utah on vault, UCLA on bars
Allison is talking about what it feels like to compete at Utah (with all her experience competing)…Oh Allison, you were doing so well…
Wilson (in for Lopez) – Utah – fine y full, step forward – unremarkable but good leadoff. (9.850 – at least they’re being equally charitable)
MDLT – UCLA – (hmmm, leading off) hop full to gienger – same as always, bail hs, stuck DLO – they are on fire. (9.850)
Lothrop – Utah – y full with biggish hop back, needs a bit more height, but is helping to get them back on track. (9.800)
Gerber – UCLA – lovely toes, good jaeger, pak with leg sep, dbl arabian dismount – new – with step forward – mistakes but she’s a joy to watch on this event. (9.900 – extremely high)
McAllister – Utah – y full, a little off line with step back – missing just a bit of the power. (9.775)
Larson – UCLA – nice shaposh, little missed hs, bail hs, DLO with hop forward – very good and can get better – this routine looks so easy for her…it is. (9.825 – fair score, but it was comparable to Aisha’s routine)
Dabritz – Utah – just the y full – I wish we had seen the 1.5 – good clean form with small hop. Hopefully she will upgrade. (9.875)
Peszek – UCLA – nice high gienger, good bail, a little struggle back to high bar, DLO a little flung with hop back.
Delaney – Utah – really nice form on y full with tiny hop back – this vault would get a 9.9 in the UCLA rotation, let’s see… (9.900 – ok, good consistency, judges)
Zamarripa – UCLA – good shaposh, stalder + bail hs, over on hs but saved it, DLO – almost stuck with small step – this can get toward 10 territory in time but had the handstand mistake here. (9.825)
Robarts – Utah – great distance on Omelianchik but larger step forward. (9.875)
Courtney – UCLA – (why is she the anchor?) – another shaposh, bail hs, tuck full – very nice and stuck – a little bit of toes and legs, but it’s fine. (9.875)
Lopez Exo – Utah – average yfull with small hop
EHH Exo – UCLA – (let’s see about the dismount) – giant full to bail hs – good, this was really excellent and then just a dbl tuck dismount – if they can figure that dismount out finally, she can be great. (9.775)
Whitcomb Exo – UCLA – missed hs, good stalder and bail hs, just a dbl tuck dismount right now – they’ll need her to step that up and be in this lineup.
Rotation 2 – UCLA 49.275 Utah 49.300 (Overall UCLA 98.825, Utah 97.750)
Much better on vault from Utah than bars, but the landings can get better and will over time. UCLA had little mistakes through the bars rotation with some legs and handstands and dismounts – this group has potential, but they are not as far along as they are on vault. Still, they should be better on this event than they were last year.
Rotation 3 – UCLA on beam, Utah on floor
Uh oh, UCLA on beam…here we go. If they can hit 5 of 6, this meet is automatically a victory.
Gerber – UCLA – (ugh, why is she still leading off?) – tuck turn – hit, excellent dance elements, nice on the side somi – that’s sometimes a problem for her, big wobble on walkover but saved it, dismount series — stuck landing with full twist. Would have been great if not for the walkover. (9.800)
Tutka – Utah – tuck full mount with bounce back, rudi + leap + front tuck – good energy, the leaps need some work – dbl tuck dismount – good body position but a bigger step back out of it. (9.800)
Courtney – UCLA – full turn – a little tentative, loso series – big wobble, bigger than Aisha’s, she looks nervous, front tuck – solid – issue on dbl tuck dismount- may have been a fall but it was off camera — oh, UCLA… (9.400 – not sure what the judges decided there, one went 9.6 and one went 9.2…these scores were later revised to 9.45 and 9.35. How tidy.)
Damianova – Utah – layout + rudi, 1.5 on 2nd pass – music choice is a little predictable, but it works for her performance personality, dbl pike – a little low. (9.825)
Wong – UCLA – (white knuckle time) – wobble on both leaps, shouldn’t get connection, wobble on aerial walkover, back tuck – another big wobble – this is a nervy mess, switch side – hit, full turn – big wobble, 1.5 dismount with hop forward — that was kind of a disaster, but she stayed on the beam. (9.550)
Dabritz – Utah – good dbl arabian mount, nice attitude turn and front tuck, whip + dbl full, this has improved since some of the training videos, triple full dismount – a little legs but nice. Their best routine so far. (9.900)
Larson – UCLA – let’s see how she handles her balance beam situation, good aerial walkover, loso series – good, switch + ring jump, full turn, good display of flexibility, dbl full dismount with near stuck. Mattie didn’t splattie! Nice work to start to change the narrative. (9.800)
Robarts – Utah – dbl arabian – low and step forward but she got it, dbl pike – bounce back, whip + dbl full dismount. Not so clean on the landings, but she got through a hit routine, which is progress in her comeback. (9.750)
EHH – UCLA – hit mount, perfect on series (Allison pretends like she didn’t know what was coming), little balance check on leap, off on her illusion turn – well this is officially a disaster rotation for UCLA – some things never change – hits dbl full dismount. They cannot afford falls from their best gymnast on the apparatus. (9.225)
Lothrop – Utah – tuck full – solid, 1.5 + layout, dbl pike – a little low. Another efficient routine from her. (9.875 – a little high)
Peszek – UCLA – leaps and gainer loso, L turn – wouldn’t get credit in elite – and wobble, walkover to dismount series – hit. They took out the standing full since they needed a hit – smart. (9.825)
McAllister – Utah – tuck full – a little low but fine, 2.5 + front tuck – little uncontrolled step out, dbl full + loso – nice. In the Utah way, they stepped it up in this rotation when they needed to. (9.875)
Frattone Exo – UCLA – loso series – wobble, leaps – a little tentative, punch front – low and iffy, dbl full dismount – stuck. Good routine, but she wouldn’t have hit had she been in the lineup.
Lofgren Exo – Utah – good dbl pike, split full was seriously lacking split, whip + dbl full, rudi + loso
Baer Exo – UCLA – good switch side, side somi – grabbed beam, her leaps are actually nice, dismount series with small hop. Don’t see her in the lineup, really…
Rotation 3 Utah 49.275 UCLA 48.375 (Overall UCLA 147.200 Utah 147.025)
Well, UCLA completely UCLA-ed that rotation with 1 fall, 1 should-have-been-a fall, and 1 wobble-burger. They can come back on floor and still win this, but beam remains a concern, but it shouldn’t really be this year. They’ll hope to get Zam back here soon, so perhaps she can replace Wong, but they need people like EHH to be rocks.
Rotation 4 Utah on beam, UCLA on floor
Lothrop – Utah – switch side, side aerial and series are solid – another good, efficient routine from Lothrop – she’s the perfect little leadoff, 1.5 dismount with hop back. (9.800)
Gerber – UCLA – (how I love this routine, please hit) – dbl tuck – low and step forward, whip half + front full – big stumble but stayed up…oh dear, Allison needs to stop talking through this, dbl pike dismount with big step – not well executed on the tumbling, but we forgive her. (9.750)
Lopez – Utah – loso series with wobble, punch front – step, dbl full dismount with step – good start for Lopez in her career today. (9.800)
Frattone – UCLA – combo opeining, rudi then back into dbl pike- hit it, this is one of the better routines she’s had, rudi into wonky shushunova to end – hmm, how will the judges treat that? (9.875 – high)
McAllister – Utah – loso three series – hit, good confidence on leaps, stuck double full – consistent, hitting to win. (9.850)
Courtney – UCLA – Dbl arabian with huge step forward and OOB – she often overdoes that pass – 1.5 + layout, this routine doesn’t really do anything for me because she doesn’t sell it well enough, dbl tuck dismount with wobbly step back. This routine needs work. (9.700)
Lofgren – Utah – leaps aren’t great to open – even Allison commented on it, completly off on loso – I don’t think either foot touched, off again on aerial – uh oh, gainer full dismount. Utah didn’t count a fall in 2011, can they keep it up? (8.400)
Larson – UCLA – (marionette routine) – mount – good not great, totally messed up her second pass – only did a single tuck – not doing the whole routine and missing necessary skills – shades of Worlds 2010 – oh dear, Mattie, great turns and leaps, 2.5 dismount. (9.550)
Beers – Utah – aerial – hit, loso three series – solid and on, wobble on jumps, slightly off balance on full turn, side aerial – good, gainer full dismount with step. They’re not imploding to the degree of UCLA. (9.750)
Peszek – UCLA – rubbing herself to start, DLO mount – nice, front full + front layout – almost lost where she was in the air on the stag jump out of that pass, usual Miss Val writhing on the ground choreo – I’m a sucker for it, dbl pike dismount with bounce back. Big necessary hit for UCLA. (9.875)
Robarts – Utah – missed beginning, switch leap, side aerial, dbl full dismount – legs and hop, but they hit when they needed to. (9.800)
EHH – UCLA – they need a big score from her – working it as always – dbl tuck mount (hmm) bounce back and OOB, usual middle pass, not her usual quality of routine so far, very low landing on dbl pike dismount – she may just have lost the meet with that – it will be close. Two pretty poor rotations from UCLA to finish. (9.675 – revised score to give her the OOB, which she was)
Kobayashi Exo – Utah – sheep, wobble on jumps, loso series – wobble, completely off on side aerial – that’s a shame. Stuck gainer full dismount.
UCLA just ekes out the win.
MDLT Exo – UCLA – dbl pike – a little uncontrolled, whip half + front full, leaps are a little better perhaps, like the choreo on this one, 1.5 + layout with stumble. Probably shouldn’t be in the lineup.
FINAL – UCLA 196.075 Utah 196.025
Well, after the first rotation I was going to say that UCLA and Florida had switched places, but UCLA showed they are truly themselves in January on those last two disheartening apparatuses. The result probably would have been flipped had this meet been in Utah, but neither team deserved it more than the other. Utah was poor on bars and average on beam, UCLA was poor on beam and average on floor.
Utah is just missing the potential for star performances on bars and beam, and UCLA had too many wobbly, tentative, not fully prepared routines on the final two apparatuses. Both teams should be right there in the top 5 all season, but there’s a lot to be frustrated by as a fan of either team (but also a lot of time to fix it).
Sam Peszek wins the AA with a 39.450. Good for her. They need her in the AA hitting her routines for 9.875 all season long.
Anna Li is there. We miss her. Val pretended that Anna got to compete at Worlds. I’m going to pretend that, too.
Scores adjusted: Judges realized that EHH was OOB, and raised Beers by .025, so it got even closer.