Live Blog – National Semifinal #1

Over the course of a season, we see a number of teams score well. Be it because of an outstanding performance, preposterous home scoring, or just a cruel trick played by swift-footed Hermes, so many teams record large scores that it is only our collective qualitative assessments that separate one from another. Today, we put those assessments to the test.
Six teams will advance to Super Six Team Finals. Logic would seem to tell us that Florida, UCLA, and Alabama will cruise safely into tomorrow, but it is impossible to be certain when a random fall on beam can make all the difference. I’m nervous, and I don’t even know about what in particular. I’m nervous for everyone in general.
And before we begin, a quick note to the judges. Please, in the name of my precious sanity, have some self-respect. Your 9.950 is precious. Don’t just give it away to anybody because all the cool kids are doing it. If Carole Ide jumped off a cliff, would you do it too? There are only a few routines that really deserve your 9.950, and I don’t want to see you throwing it away on some average stuck dismount that went up second on bars and won’t treat you right. Thanks for listening. I really do want what’s best for you.
OK. Now we can begin.
Here you may find your Live Stream links.
Semifinal 1, 12:00 ET: UCLA, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Utah, Stanford, LSU 
Semifinal 2, 6:00 ET: Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Oregon State, Ohio State
Follow along after the jump for live commentary and panicked murmurings around 11:30 ET.
We’re almost there. There are a few lineup decisions I’m still interested to hear about, like how much Kayla Nowak is actually doing. Oklahoma needs her on vault otherwise they will be sending up a 9.9 SV. Automatic drops are a big no-no at Championships.

Your judges for Semifinal 1:

Event Number Name Rating
Vault Judge 1 Charlene Christensen Brevet
Judge 2 Lee Bjella National
Judge 3 Marian Dykes Brevet
Judge 4 Gay Ann Valkoun Brevet
Bars Judge 1 Carol Ide Brevet
Judge 2 Kat Sgamba Brevet
Judge 3 Linda Fenton National
Judge 4 Donnalyn Trevethan Brevet
Beam Judge 1 Kelly Dornon-Heimsoth National
Judge 2 Mary Dillard Brevet
Judge 3 Patricia Ethredge Brevet
Judge 4 Donna Meinecke Brevet
Floor Judge 1 Lois Colburn Brevet
Judge 2 Catherine Batsche Brevet
Judge 3 Laurie Reid Brevet
Judge 4 Kim Riley National
Stream is up. Let’s get excited. I’m starting to get an overwhelming sense of uncertainty, like we might see some serious upsets today. Just a feeling.

UCLA introductions first. Kozai is always one of their people on floor event though . . . does she do gymnastics? She’s the new Tiffany Hyland. Natasha Kelley is there on the floor for Oklahoma.

Intros over, warmups soon to start. Upwards of several people are waiting for the meet to start. It looks like about 64 Bruins are warming up vault, including De La Torre and Larson.

It always looks so awkward for the individual competitor. Judges are taking control of their events. Here we go.

Rotation 1:
Cut away from Tutka on floor so we can see the crowd. Helping no one, cameras. Finishes with a strong double tuck. Vault warmup still concluding.

K.J. holding forth at beam. Bars from Nebraska – we see a moment before cutting to Damianova on floor. Camera operators Utah fans? High double pike.

What we’ve seen from Nebraska so far on bars has been clean. DeZiel sticks a nice dismount.

Olson has a minor wobble on her series on beam, but hits the rest. UCLA getting some pretty low scores on vault. Interesting.

Dabritz finishes well on floor. I’m seeing 9.850s being waved around.

Bounce back from Zamarripa – not her best. Maybe we’re seeing some nerves here from UCLA because these scores are poor. Frattone won’t make vault finals again. UCLA gets just 49.275. They’re in trouble. Utah is hitting floor.

The bits of Nebraska we’ve seen on bars have looked good but not great. We’ll see how Giblin and Evenstad do.

Pretty major wobble for Spears on Oklahoma’s beam. They don’t look quite on yet either, but good dismount from her.

Megan Ferguson waiting on the beam, our last competitor of the rotation for Oklahoma. She’s hitting very well. UCLA could be behind both Oklahoma and Utah after the first rotation, which I would never have picked. Robarts hits floor to finish things off for Utah.

After Rotation 1: Oklahoma 49.325, UCLA 49.275, Utah 49.275, Nebraska 49.150.

Standout score of the rotation was a 9.950 from Ferguson on beam. Oklahoma and Utah did their jobs. Nebraska and UCLA have some work to do.

Rotation 2:
UCLA and Oklahoma go to byes. Stanford and LSU enter the competition. I’m interested to see what the judges make of Stanford on floor and how Utah vault now compares to UCLA since UCLA had troubles with landings. Will everybody?

LSU starts on bars, some sloppy legs in this routine into a double tuck dismount.

Big bounce back from Dayton on her floor mount, I don’t expect this to be a very big score. No major problems, though. Second from LSU on bars also has a little sloppiness into the dismount. Utah is losing it on vault, but I don’t know what about.

Some wobbles from Skinner on beam but she got through it, and we see Shona Morgan finishing strong on floor. We’re not getting any scores yet on the live scoring.

Huge mistake from Nebraska on beam, but she stayed on. Hall has to come off the bars for LSU. Disaster. Ivana Hong looking lovely on floor. Huge lunge forward from Robarts on vault. That won’t score well. Courville hits bars well to start saving things for LSU.

Hanset on floor for Stanford, followed by Morrison on bars for LSU, stuck dismount there. Wong on beam for Nebraska hits, and we’ll see Pechanec on floor, a little low on double tuck mount, good presentation but the tumbling in underwhelming.

If we had scores, we would know how Nebraska is scoring on beam, but things don’t look great. These camera angles are horrible. Everything is cut off or behind a sign. Ahsley Morgan finished floor for Stanford.

Some individual competitors finishing up now. Any word on scores? Utah 49.525 on vault? I have a lot of questions for these judges. UCLA will feel cheated by this since Courtney went just 9.900 for a stick. It will be fascinating to see what the judges do with Oklahoma now. Look at Marian Dykes’s scores for Utah on vault (judge #3). She was not as impressed as the others.

Rotation 3:
Utah and Nebraska on to byes, UCLA and Oklahoma rejoin the competition. UCLA probably needs a 49.250-49.300 on bars right now, but I don’t know if that’s in the cards. Rotation starting now.

Big lunge out of the mount for OK on floor, so Albright won’t get the 9.9s she’s been seeing. Score is 9.850 which is high. Floor seems a little charitable so far.

Ashley Morgan pretends to stick her yhalf but takes a big step forward. Hanset is very low-chested but appears to stick. MDLT starts UCLA with a needed 9.850 on bars. Pechanec bounces out of a Yfull.

Larson on bars now. Too much sloppiness everywhere but she hits her DLO better than usual.

Wobbles all over the place for Lau on beam. They’ll need to drop this. Oklahoma doing fine on floor, but the tumbling is not totally controlled. Good stick from Dayton on vault for Stanford.

Hall has some struggles on beam but stays on to help LSU stay slightly alive. Stanford scores a 49.300 on vault. These judges are judging landing and not form and amplitude. This is not acceptable. Dayton barely even left the table and got a 9.950 from one judge.

Courville hits her Arabian well, but has to struggle to save her front tuck.

UCLA has finished bars and scored a massive 49.450 to mostly make up for vault. They will feel much better about their chances now. We didn’t get to see anything except Larson, who was scored appropriately at 9.775, so it’s hard to judge.

Big wobble from Jordan on beam, but other major wobbles haven’t seemed to matter because the judges are giving everyone a 9.850, so we’ll see . . .

Interesting about the judging on floor, I mentioned it was loose, but it only seems loose for the weaker routines and harsher for the better routines. They’re keeping everyone too close together. Everything is a 9.850-9.875. Even Ferguson gets just a 9.900, when she has been going 9.925-9.950.

1. Utah – 98.800
2. UCLA – 98.725
3. Oklahoma – 98.575
4. Stanford – 98.450
5. LSU – 98.200
6. Nebraska – 98.150

Well, we certainly won’t be seeing any teams advancing with 196.200s like we did last year. Everyone is still in this. Oklahoma going to vault now, which will be the make or break event for them. They probably need to break UCLA’s score to feel safe enough. Similarly, UCLA is going to beam, so we know that it’s all still on the table. I thought LSU was overscored there, so let’s see what happens now.

Rotation 4:
Stanford and LSU leave the floor, Utah and Nebraska come back on. Just looking at the LSU beam scores some more. Courville had a clear full tenth wobble on a single skill and still got a 9.950 from one judge, so this is what we’re dealing with today. I can tell you right now that this session will not be controversy-free.

Oklahoma starts vault with Brewer doing a fine Yfull with low chest. Nebraska desperately needs a good 49.400 on floor right now to contend.

Looks like Gerber hit beam to start for UCLA. Baer now, have her dance elements deteriorated a bit from earlier in the season? Good same on the side somi as one foot was nearly off the beam entirely. This won’t be a great score but she’s staying on.

I hate seeing DLO bars dismounts head on, they always look terrible. Beers appears to hit bars. Utah started that rotation with a couple of 9.800s. Baer gets 9.875 on beam, which is too high but consistent with what LSU was getting.

These Nebraska floor routines are very 9.825, but we’ll improve as we get later in the lineup. Oklahoma went 49.125 on vault. Not good enough to feel safe now.

Zamarripa comes off on beam. Disaster for UCLA, and very unexpected. Wow. Everything to play for now. Huge pressure on EHH and Peszek.

McAllister finishes bars for Utah with a stick. EHH to go now on beam. She looks terrified.

DeZiel looking strong on floor. She needs to be 9.900 for Nebraska to get in this, little bounce out of dismount, but a strong routine.

EHH goes on beam now. HUGE hit for them. That should score well. Just huge pressure on Peszek. Well, we know she won’t be throwing her tuck full, that’s for sure. Evenstad follows to finish Nebraska off with a very nice routine. I enjoyed that even though the music choice has become a cliche.

Peszek now – hits series and gainer loso. Just the dismount left. Consider that bullet dodged by UCLA.

Wrong music on floor. Love that annoyed body language. Was focused on UCLA, but Utah gets a 49.225 on bars, which is OK but not great. No 9.9s in that rotation, so UCLA has actually moved .025 ahead of Utah. Would not have expected that after Utah’s massive vault scores. Both Utah and UCLA should feel OK right now, except Utah still has beam.

Rotation 5:
UCLA and Oklahoma head away, LSU and Stanford come back. Watch out for Stanford’s bar scores in this rotation. Oklahoma should not feel safe in their lead over the Cardinal right now. Nebraska and Utah will be finishing their competitions in this rotation.

Lothrop starts on beam (I still don’t like that decision), she hits very solidly but it will be hard for her to score that high here, just a minor hop on dismount. Stanford leads off witha hit bars and we see just a moment of LSU on floor.

Skinner vaults a fine Yfull with a pretty big step back, Giblin follows with a comfortable stick. It may be too little too late. LSU appears to be hitting floor, and Lofgren looks solid enough for Utah on beam. They probably just need to hit two more beam routines to advance.

Our first final: Nebraska finishes with a 196.625. Would have been enough to advance out of either session last year, but it won’t be enough this year. Ashley Morgan hits bars. Stanford is right in this. We may have a nice qualification fight in the last rotation.

Mathis is strong on floor except for the leg separations in her tumbles. Huge wobble for Robarts on beam now, but they can drop it.

LSU is looking out of this, but Courville appears to be hitting her routine well. She’ll still be looking for some EFs potentially. Big wobble from Lopez’s feet (thanks a lot camera work) on beam, but she hits. Utah should be fine.

My stream kept cutting out during Hall on floor, which seemed appropriate.

Oooh, Stanford is currently .050 ahead of Oklahoma going into the last rotation. Everything to play for, ladies and gentlemen.

Utah finishes with a 197.200. Oklahoma and Stanford would need really big scores in the final rotation to pass that, so the Utes are comfortably in the clubhouse right now. UCLA needs just a 49.175 to guarantee qualification, which is certainly very attainable for them on floor. They basically just need to hit.

Rotation 6:
Utah and Nebraska are done. Nebraska, done for the season. Oklahoma will be on bars and Stanford on beam in what will likely be the qualification race. UCLA warming up floor. Cory is dancing more than anyone on the team, as usual. Love.

I think we have to give the slight edge to Oklahoma here because bars is lower risk than beam, but Stanford has proven 9.9 capability from many corners on beam and Oklahoma ust lost Hayden Ward on bars, so who knows. LSU will be on vault, where they can score well, but not well enough to make it into the top three unless we see many falls.

Stanford begins on beam with Becky Wing. Minor wobble after walkover, solid on series. Lunge forward on dismount, but job done.

Mathis on vault for LSU, solid. Brewer on bars, clean, efficient, fine. Zam on floor looks nice, but those legs on the dismount I’m still not happy with.

Stanford and Oklahoma are trading off mid-9.8s. This could still go either way. HUGE 9.900 from Ivana Hong. Olivia Courtney hits floor, so they need just two more hit routines to win the session.

Stanford continues to set the pace on beam, Oklahoma will need something special from the final two bars workers to advance. Wow.

It’s official: Zamarripa will not advance to vault finals. That’s such a shame. So few can actually perform two real vaults.

Olson hits a solid bars to Oklahoma. Will it be enough? Outlook is doubtful.

Peszek bounces out of DLO, but it’s fine. She was ONE pass away from securing UCLA’s advancement to Super Six and she fell. Oh UCLA. Big pressure on EHH now. This is NOT a guarantee.

Pechanec hits beam for Stanford. GREAT day for the Cardinal. Huge surprise that they put four events together. EHH now has to hit her last pass and not pull a Peszek. She could even go OOB and it would be fine, she just needs to stay on her feet. Done. That was a nailbiter the whole way for the Bruins.

It’s official. Stanford will advance. They actually almost beat Utah. Huge for them after the horrendous most of the season they had. Devastating for Oklahoma. It’s so tough for a top team to come into semifinals, have no major mistakes, and still come away in 4th.

You have to feel for Oklahoma. With the injuries they’ve had, there’s not much they could have done better. They just didn’t have the routines top to bottom.

1. UCLA – 197.400 (that was the hardest easy victory I’ve ever seen)
2. Utah – 197.200
3. Stanford – 197.125
4. Oklahoma – 196.925
5. Nebraska – 196.625
6. LSU – 196.550

Note, every single one of these scores would have advanced from BOTH Semifinals last year.

Individual Qualifiers:
Vault – Delaney, Courville, Giblin, Dabritz
Bars – Gerber, Courtney, Zamarripa, Olson, Shapiro
Beam – Ferguson, EHH, Peszek, Wong, Stone, Hong, Spinner, Matusik
Floor – Zamarripa, EHH, DeZiel, Ferguson

Remember when I said that beam would have the fewest qualifiers? I’m smart.

Current AA leader: Rheagan Courville with 39.475, which will absolutely not hold up after the second session. It’s strange – a lot of people could have scored very well save for a weird fall. Zamarripa would have been the runaway leader had she not screwed up beam – same thing happened in 2010.

This thing is lengthy, so when we return for the second SF at 6 ET, I’ll start a new post, so follow along there.

17 thoughts on “Live Blog – National Semifinal #1”

  1. With great power comes great responsibility….use the 9.950 sparingly. Best weekend of the year! Can't wait to get started!

  2. The feed looks great! Shame that nobody is there. They definitely need to go back to rotating them among gymnastics cities.

  3. Is anyone able to get the stream to work on their iPhone or iPad? I'm at work and downloaded the free NCAA sports app, but can't find a link for live video. How am I supposed to procrastinate at work if I can't watch prelims?

  4. Zam goes 9.9 with nowhere near a stick, what could their other vaults have been like

  5. Agreed!! Zam was WAY overscored, she took a significant hop back. She does have better form than most girls, but she didn't stick and she shouldn't get a 9.9 for that.

  6. Well, the vault judging clearly is not tight. UCLA just didn't hit. I'm no Utah fan, but after their road schedules, it's nice to see them hitting so well thus far!

  7. Apparently, Utah had 5 sticks and only Robarts had a lunge. The judges set Utah up for high scores with over scoring UCLA.

  8. Is it top 4 scores from each session for EFs. If so, then if 2 more gymnasts go 9.925 or 9.95 (possible especially from Nebraska and LSU), UCLA will have no one in the vault EFs.

  9. Agreed on the judging. A 49.25 on beam seems high for LSU when each athlete that they showed looked rather shaky. Definitely not the beam judges from SECs.

  10. Yeah I was surprised to see 5 9.85s for LSU. Good skills but not 49.250-worthy. Grrr…

  11. A 9.875 for Baer?? I have no idea what the judges on any event are doing today!

  12. I'd love to see an analysis of where the team champion usually comes from: afternoon or evening session. And what place do they usually qualify into Super 6? If you want to stay up til midnight writing a pre-Super 6 post 🙂

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