Whew. That was quite a little first session. We’ll get to Session 2 after the jump, but first a few notes about today so far. UCLA came out on top, but they had two falls and a really tight vault rotation. It was not assured until the end of the final floor routine. Val probably had six heart attacks. UCLA should be worried that they didn’t perform that well but can also be encouraged that they certainly haven’t peaked today. Improvements are there to be made for tomorrow.
Utah looked very solid, but there was a concerning lack of 9.900s in some of those rotations. Most of those lineups are not set up to finish with the strongest worker, which is safe but not conducive to the big scores that they would need in Super Six. Stanford was excellent and definitely defied the odds by qualifying, but this was mostly a peak performance from them. Can they improve on this score tomorrow? It’s doubtful.
We’ve heard a lot about the competitive depth at the top this season, and the first session showed that. We have seen many upsets over the years, but it usually happens when the top team has to count a fall. Neither Oklahoma nor Nebraska had any rotations scoring under 49, yet they failed to qualify because of 9.800s. Those aren’t good enough for Championships.
Now, I don’t expect to see the same kind of drama in the next session because the disparity between the teams is enough that it probably would take a fall from one of the top three this time to make it interesting, but we’ll see.
Loyal reader Alex wondered about the stats for the ultimate champions, namely which session they usually come from and how they rank overall after prelims, so here we go.
2011 – Alabama – Evening Session (Qualification Score 197.050, 1st place)
2010 – UCLA – Afternoon Session (Qualification Score 196.875, 1st place)
2009 – Georgia – Afternoon Session (Qualification Score 197.450, 1st place)
2008 – Georgia – Evening Session (Qualification Score 197.625, 1st place)
2007 – Georgia – Afternoon Session (Qualification Score 197.700, 1st place)
2006 – Georgia – Evening Session (Qualification Score 197.275, 1st place)
2005 – Georgia – Evening Session (Qualification Score 197.350, 1st place)
2004 – UCLA – Evening Session (Qualification Score 197.675, 1st place)
2003 – UCLA – Afternoon Session (Qualification Score 196.950, 2nd place)
2002 – Alabama – Afternoon Session (Qualification Score 197.300, 1st place)
So, we’re split down the middle between afternoon and evening session, but this does show how good it is to win on Day 1. That bodes well for Florida because UCLA’s 197.400 is hardly unassailable.
I’ll be here around 5:30 ET for discussion before our second Semifinal begins.
Getting ready to start now. How will the scores compare to the first session? Will we see score building? Some of that scoring in the first session was truly bizarre. Across the board, I thought the weaker routines were overscored and some of the stronger routines were underscored. Everything was too bunched together, especially on beam and floor. We didn’t get nearly enough separation.
Any chance at an upset here? I don’t see it, but I’m hopeful it won’t be a snooze.
I thought we’d see a bit bigger crowd for the evening session. Nope.
I’ve lost my video. Awesome. Let’s see if we can work this out before the meet begins. The insufferable facebook/twitter feed next to the video seems to indicate that everyone is having the same issue.
They have some time to fix things since the actual routines won’t start for a few minutes now, but I’m turning on Kevin Copp on the radio feed from Georgia as a backup. Video is back now. Good job, NCAA.
We’re seeing Georgia warm up bars now, looks like Christa Tanella is back in the lineup. I’ve kept Georgia’s radio on as well to get some commentary.
We’re already underway now, and Kim Jacob looks good to start on beam, and now we’re seeing Arkansas on floor. 9.900 for Jacob. Hello.
Tanella falls on bars, apparently. Well, here we go. Welcome to Nationals. Jay will be regretting that last minute change. Two falls. Watch out for Shayla now.
Ashanee has good flight on vault with a .1 hop back. Arkansas is hitting some solid mid-9.8 gymnastics on floor. Kayla Williams now on beam for Alabama, pretty solid on punch front followed by a good series. Sticks dismount.
Sounds like Shayla managed to get through her bar routine. They might be safe enough.
Nice to see Marissa King get a 9.950 on vault so she’ll make finals. Kytra is getting some 10s, wow. Wish we could have seen it. Arkansas has a bounce back on floor from Lewis.
Chelsea Davis sticks her bars dismount. 9.925 to bump things up. Demeo looks fine but just a little tentative on beam, but the double pike dismount is nice. Nuccio sticks very well on bars.
Grable on floor now [I had a typo before and said Pisani, but it was Grable]. Beautiful dismount – no deductions there. Love it. Geralen looks strong on beam, best she’s been in a while. Kevin Copp is shouting at me. Kat Ding stuck her bars dismount.
We have our answer about score building in the evening session. These are higher than we saw in the afternoon. 9.950 for Stack-Eaton. This is humongous. Alabama is extremely strong, but these scores cannot be compared to the previous session.
Now we’re getting Pisani on floor. Great routine, and a strong rotation from Arkansas, but it’s almost like they’re already out of it. 9.900 for Jaime. I really hope the scores don’t go so crazy that she misses floor finals.
After Rotation 1: Alabama 49.600, Florida 49.575, Georgia 49.400, Arkansas 49.150
So Georgia escaped the poor decision of putting Tanella up on bars. Even in the best case scenario, is she better than Persinger? No. Sometimes I feel like Jay doesn’t have an astute eye for elegance and it gets him into trouble. He needs Julie or someone else to tell him that, all other things being equal, Persinger will be better received than Tanella. So, how will they handle beam now?
Florida and Oklahoma say goodbye, OSU and OSU (see what I did there) come in. Neither of our newcomers will be feeling very optimistic after that first rotation.
Noel Couch falls on beam. Another pressure situation for five gymnasts, but this one is much harder. Will Jay have any hair left tomorrow? Bad OOB from Oregon State on floor, so they will need to drop this as well.
Solid bar routine from Ohio St with a step on dismount. Harris improves things for Oregon St, but they’ve got to hit four more like that.
Borsellino puts up a solid Yfull, but Arkansas is stuck in this 9.8 range, so they will basically need a fall from Georgia. Huge fall from Vivian on floor. She’s fine, but they are basically out of it already, as is Ohio State will all these 9.7s on bars.
Moffat hits beam for Georgia. Four more to go. Great stick from Zurales on vault. She can go 9.925. Moffat scores 9.9, just like everyone else in this session. 9.900 is the new 9.850 from the last session.
Kat Ding also hits beam with a step on dismount. It will be a miracle if they can get through these two rotations after a first fall. 9.850 for Ding.
Stambaugh is a little bouncy out of her mount, but otherwise very nice. They’re counting a 9.600, so everyone else has to be perfect.
Kaylan Earls falls on beam. Georgia counting a fall and Arkansas is right in this. Harrowing for the Gymdogs. I wish we were seeing more of this beam rotation and less of Oregon State floor.
Persinger falls. Looks like three straight years right now for Georgia unless they get some help from Arkansas. Absolute collapse. Three beam falls and Shayla wasn’t even one of them. 48.275. You can’t come back from that.
Georgia sulks back to the locker room, and Arkansas floats there. Florida and Alabama come back in, and they could stage a sit-in on the floor exercise and still advance to Super Six.
I’m interested to see how well Alabama is landing on floor because that has been a problem lately. Jacob starts well with a nice high double pike, strong opening overall. Will let us know a lot about the floor scoring.
Dickerson on bars, her usual routine. It will probably get a 10. It actually goes 9.875. I would have given it 9.850, so that’s fine.
Milliner looks nice on her mount (that was one of my questions), and finishes strong as well. This is looking like another strong rotation.
Hunter gets a 9.900 on bars. Interesting. AA champion? I think so. Oregon St. is struggling with these vault landings.
Priess on floor – didn’t look like she was going to get that front layout around but it was fine. Oh great, our foot camera worker is doing it again. A little low on dismount but fine. Not quite as clean as the others.
Macko on bars, very clean and will score very well but I’d like to see a little more risk from her.
Sledge now on floor, not quite controlled on the double tuck but no big deal. Should be another solid 9.800-9.850. Alaina Johnson hits bars, so this will be another big score. 9.950.
Musser hits bars, but she’s out of the AA after vault. Gutierrez hits her DLO well as always, best routine for them so far. Switch ring was creative. Solid double pike. They needed this because everyone else has been just OK. 9.850 is the score, but hers was better than Jacob and Milliner. They are continuing the trend of bumping up the weaker routines and bumping down the better ones.
Geralen will certainly go 9.9, then. She’s bringing it today to challenge Hunter. Someone threw a 10 her way, but it’s a 9.900.
1. Florida – 99.025
2. Alabama – 98.875
3. Arkansas – 98.425
4. Ohio State – 98.200
5. Oregon State – 98.025
6. Georgia – 97.675
Ohio State, who are actually in this, and Oregon State take a rest. Georgia will have to refocus for floor, and Arkansas will have to come back and stick some bar landings to get those 9.850s.
Florida needs to show me something on beam. They’re not in a pressure situation right now, but they will be tomorrow, so I don’t want to see any uncertain gymnastics.
Kevin Copp is trying to pretend like Georgia is still in this. Bless. Starting with Earls, bounces out of double pike, solid second pass and clean overall. Will be a fine score, but they’re going to need some 9.9s and some help.
Let’s look for these Alabama vault scores. What do we think? 49.650?
Arkansas is having a minor problem on bars – but not reflected in the score. Good double pike from Persinger, very nice routine. 9.850.
Alabama is not sticking these vaults again. This will be a problem tomorrow. Kat Ding on floor, looking very nice, sticking a double pike, lovely routine. Gutierrez does better on vault for Alabama, Milliner finishes the rotation with a stuck vault. Should probably go 9.950.
Ashanee is a little wobbly on her beam routine, and then there’s the feet, sticks the double back. Chelsea Davis hits a very nice floor routine. Too little too late?
Howdeshell takes a fall on her DLO (again) for Arkansas, but they will still score 49.275, led by a 9.900 from Pisani.
Ouch, Nuccio caught a foot on her dismount, so disaster there, but they can probably drop it.
Marissa King is oddly wobbly to start on her first two acro elements. Not her best routine by any means. Won’t matter for the score, but she should be doing better.
Noel Couch does her usual floor routine with the usual deductions. 9.825. Georgia is .800 behind Arkansas now, so they’ll need Arkansas to count a fall for this to be an issue.
In the fifth rotation, Georgia and Arkansas will be finishing up, Florida and Alabama take a little break and Ohio State and Oregon State try to pretend that they are going to catch Arkansas, but Arkansas can close it down with 5 hit beam routines. Whatever happens, we’ll probably know the result going into the last rotation, so that will be about Florida vs. Alabama for the session win. Edge to Florida.
We’re getting underway with Ohio State on floor. Nice double pike – this is where they have scored the highest this season. Stuck double tuck dismount with low chest. Nice vault from Davis to start. Doug is right in front of this vault camera angle and it’s not helping. Sounds like Couch stuck as well.
A little stumble from DeLuca(?) on her floor dismount. Davis went 9.900 on vault first up, and Noel Couch got a 9.925. If you ever wanted evidence of score building throughout Championships. There we are. Either that or the judges really want the Gymdogs to make Super Six.
Ohio State is very efficiently 9.800 on floor. Kat Ding sticks to end a great vault rotation for Georgia. She should be in a couple finals. Wow, 9.975.
Um, feed? Show us Arkansas please. They just had an 8.500 on beam and may be throwing this away. 49.625 on vault for Georgia. Can we have a conversation, please?
Big wobble on a front flip from Borsellino on beam, but she stays on. Must hit. Just Pisani and Grable now who have to seal it for Arkansas.
Leslie Mak is a little shaky on her Bhardwaj, which will hurt her EF chances.
Pisani hits a beautiful beam routine. She probably can’t take the AA away from Hunter, but she can get into a few EFs.
Ohio State is being very solidly 9.825, which could be enough to beat Georgia even after that vault rotation.
Massive routine for Grable now on beam. Series is very nice. Feet. FEET. Grable hits and that should do it. She’s losing it, so is the whole team. Two 9.950s to finish beam for Arkansas, so they finish with a huge 197.150. It will take a 9.950 to make beam finals, so Shayla will miss out.
We know that Florida, Alabama, and Arkansas will be our advancing teams. This rotation is about deciding who wins and crowning an AA Champion. The current leader is Kat Ding with 39.650, and you have to be rooting for her, but Kytra Hunter needs a 9.900 on floor to beat that, and Alaina Johnson would need a 9.925 to do the same. Not so realistic for Johnson, but it certainly is for Hunter.
Stambaugh hits beam, and we’re seeing congratulations instead of a rotation that matters. Someone who knows the sport needs to be there directing the broadcast.
OOB from Stageberg on floor. You could see that coming. Sledge is very nice on bars, and Florida will want to drop Stageberg. One of the better dbl Arabians from Johnson, bounce back out of her double pike dismount.
Ohio State finsihes with 196.525, just edging out Georgia in the overall standings. Dickerson had just the slightest lack of control on her mount, but the other passes were stuck.
Alabama finishes with three 9.900s and a 197.675. With the scoring today, they could have done better, but they are definitely on an upward slope and will contend tomorrow.
King is short on her DLO. That’s been happening. Huge stumble back OOB out of second pass, so this will be a drop. She needs to get that fixed for tomorrow. Not acceptable.
Stack-Eaton is not able to pass Ding in the AA, so it will be down to Ding or Hunter for the title. Kytra is a freshman. Kat Ding is amazing. Let her have this one.
Hunter hits her excellent routine. It looks like she will have this. 9.950, so Kytra Hunter is our AA Champion. Florida finishes just behind Alabama with a 197.650. Don’t let Hunter’s AA win overshadow the concerns we should have about Florida’s floor based on that. With this scoring in thsi session, both Florida and Alabama probably should have scored higher.
1. Alabama – 197.675
2. Florida – 197.650
3. Arkansas – 197.150
4. Ohio State – 196.525
5. Georgia – 196.500
6. Oregon State – 196.450
1. Alabama – 197.675
2. Florida – 197.650
3. UCLA – 197.400
4. Utah – 197.200
5. Arkansas – 197.150
6. Stanford – 197.125
So, it did take a 197 to advance this year, after all.
EF Qualifier from Session 2:
Vault – Hunter, Ding, Gutierrez, Milliner, King, Cheek
Bars – Johnson, Ding, Caquatto, Davis
Beam – Stack Eaton, Priess, Pisani, Grable
Floor – Hunter, Stack-Eaton, PIsani, Dickerson, Ding, Jones, Updike