The Michigan Wolverines come into their home opener on the heels of their highest score since April 15th, 2011. Part of the impressiveness of that performance was that Michigan succeeded in spite of a less than strong score on its purported best event, vault. The teams that competed in Cancun felt that the vault scoring was inaccurate. Traditionally, Michigan has the most realistic scoring in the nation, so this meet should be more telling. Usually the rule of thumb at Michigan is to add a tenth to the team score on each event to see what the score would have been at some more charitable locales that shall remain nameless.
Also watch for the Wolverines on beam. At Cancun, they received competent performances from some who struggled last year on that apparatus. This week should give us more information as to whether this is a trend of improvement or a one off.
For Nebraska, I think we know what to expect from DeZiel, Wong, Giblin, and Schleppenbach as the season progresses (even if they are not up to form yet), so the fifth and sixth workers on each event will be crucial. Is there at least 9.800 potential there, or is there going to be a lot of withstanding early low scores this season. The Huskers should have more depth this year; let’s see if they show it today.
The meet begins at 4:00 ET/1:00 PT. Enjoy.
Introductions now. Wow, it’s like Michigan actually has a full team or something.
Rotation 1: Michigan on vault and Nebraska on bars
Nearly ready to begin.
Colbert – Mich – VT – Good yfull, near stick, a little direction (9.800)
Blanske – Neb – UB – good bail hs, struggles a bit and has to take an extra circle, a little piked in a stuck DLO. A bit of a struggle in debut. (9.700)
Casanova – Mich – VT – she gets good air on her Yfull but a large bounce back (9.725)
Nathe – Neb – UB – good tkatchev, precise hs, big cowboy on her double front with a large bounce back. (9.750)
Zurales – Mich – VT – good distance on yfull, a little piking and a hop to the side. (9.800)
J Lauer – Neb – UB – good tkatchev from her as well, a little rushed, flung out DLO with little amplitude and a lunge forward. They are losing probably .150 on these dismounts. (9.825)
Zakharia – Mich – VT – hs front pike half with a little hop in place. It’s difficult to land that vault with good chest position, so she may get docked for that, but it’s a good score. (9.775)
Wong – Neb – UB – lovely first hs, gienger to bail, goes a bit over on a hs but saves it, a little low on the tuck full with a hop. Started wonderfully but . . (9.800)
Sampson – Mich – VT – lovely yfull with a hop back, best combination of direction and distance so far. (9.800) We can see the Michigan scoring a bit here. I would have gone 9.850.
DeZiel – Neb – UB – good piked jaeger, hitting hs, best tuck full so far. That can go 9.9s (9.875)
Sugiyama – Mich VT – a little bent legs on the 1.5 and a hop forward. (9.825)
Giblin – Neb – UB – lovely gienger with huge height, oooh misses a hand on transition but good fix, hits her tuck full quite well, but this will be getting those 9.9+s soon enough. (9.475) I assume this is the only time she’ll be dropped this year.
Austin Sheppard bails out of her vault on exhibition. Not sure what happened there.
After 1: Michigan 49.000, Nebraska 48.950
Michigan vaulted proficiently. The landings and landing positions aren’t there yet, so that’s keeping the scores down, but this rotation will be scoring higher quite soon. I don’t expect a couple of those early Nebraska bar routines to remain in the lineup, but DeZiel, Wong, and Giblin will be great soon enough. The dismounts aren’t there yet for those first few workers. The positive for Nebraska is that this year they actually have enough routines to play around with those lineups.
Rotation 2: Michigan on bars, Nebraska on vault
Stephens – Neb – VT – yfull, comes in a little low with a step forward. (9.775)
Zurales – Mich – UB – love a deltchev, hits bail hs well, hitting all these hs, a little crunched in her DLO landing with a step back. Very good start. (9.900)
J Lauer – Neb – VT – hilarious run face, very short on landing with a big step forward, one of the weaker we’ve seen so far. (9.675)
Williams – Mich – UB – jaeger with a little lack of amplitude, not as clean as Zurales, not nearly, fine form on DLO with a step back. (9.725)
Giblin – NEb – VT – minor step on her Yfull, a little piked in the air but overall good form and landing, best so far.
Gies – M – UB – great line, misses on hs after the tkatchev, a little late on her full before the double tuck, but cleanly done. (9.875)
Wong – N – VT – comes in low as well on her yfull with a hop forward. No one’s getting enough height yet. (9.750)
Sugiyama – M – UB -a little close on her gienger, solid pak, some of the hs are a little rushed, and sticks a very nice tuck full. (9.900)
Shcleppenbach – N – VT – by far the best one, amplitude distance and landing were excellent, stuck. (9.875)
Martinez – M – UB -miss her first hs, good bail hs, wonderful high tkatchev, stuck a beautiful DLO. Michigan is on. (9.850)
DeZiel – N – VT – very good height, not quite the distance as Schleppenbach, but just a minor step. (9.775)
Sampson – M – UB – great tkatchev, way over on her hs on bail hs but saves it, love the DLO full idea, but steps back and almost didn’t hold onto it. (9.825)
Miele is doing exhibition, a leg separation on her bail hs, great DLO dismount.
After 2: Michigan 98.350, Nebraska 97.900
No real problems for either team in this rotation. Aside from the final two, Nebraska didn’t have the amplitude on their vaults and so came in low on those landings and had to step forward on each. Schleppenbach looked very good and while DeZiel’s vault was probably .100 worse (so, consistency), I think 9.775 is a little harsh for that.
Michigan had some of the best bar routines I’ve seen so far this season. Zurales, Martinez, and Gies were my preferred routines, but we can clearly see how much farther along Michigan is on those dismounts. They weren’t giving away the .150 that a lot of the Nebraska gymnasts were. That’s to be expected with Nebraska being in the first meet of the season and Michigan being in the second.
Rotation 3: Michigan on beam, Nebraska on floor
Miele – M – BB – significant wobble after walkover, minor stumble on the popa, another wobble on the side aerial, hits her connection, front 1.5 dismount with good step. Nervy routine but fine start. (9.725, which Sarah Curtis tells us is a very good score)
J lauer – N – FX -good position on the double pike mount, 1.5 + layout, very low double back landing with a major step. Endurance may be an issue in this rotation. (9.750)
Sugiayma – M – BB – great amplitude on her loso, very low on her punch front and can’t stay on the beam, and she started so well. Nearly misses her double full dismount with a major step to the side. Needs to be dropped. (9.050)
Stephens – N – FX – strong double pike similar to Lauer to begin, but finishes with a better double back. I’m impressed by her today, after we saw nothing from her last year. (9.775)
Gies – M – BB – hits loso cleanly, strong aerial, little complexity in this routine but hit perfectly well. (9.825)
Giblin – N – FX – very low crunched landing on her double pike mount, nearly goes out on her double tuck but hits this one well, switch ring is not happening for me, improves on the tumbling as the routine goes, but her score won’t recover from the first pass. (9.725)
Martinez – M – BB – hits loso series, pretty significant wobble on her side aerial, minor stumble on the gainer full, otherwise strong. (9.875)
Schleppenbach – N – FX – nice height on her double pike but goes out, finishes with a minorly underrotated rudi, but this should be the highest score (at least before the OOB) (9.750)
Sampson – M – BB – a couple wobbles at the beginning, including on the sheep jump, side aerial is strong but the split after it is not hit, sticks a nice high double full dismount. (9.850)
Deziel – N – FX – she is clearly farther along on all these events than a few of her teammates, rudi dismount is strong as well. The first one with no problems and should easily go into the 9.8s. (9.875)
Zurales – M – BB – best split positions on the team, very nice series, a minor check after the sheep jump, great height on the double full with a small hop in place. She is the class of the team on this event by far. (9.900)
Wong – N – FX – lovely triple full with a little lack of control to the side on landing but nothing real, great line as always, lots of rudi dismounts. You could criticize this rotation right now for a little lack of difficulty (nothing more than a double pike, lots of rudi dismounts), but the last two were very pleasant. (9.925)
Zakharia comes off of the beam early in exhibition
After 3: Michigan 147.525, Nebraska 146.975
Michigan did well to avoid hacing to count that Sugiyama score. Miele was very tentative and there are some split positions here and there that I’m not happy with, but otherwise it was a strong group. DeZiel and Wong saved Nebraska on floor with great scores for their best rotation yet. It’s difficult to tell which team will be better eventually (and beam will of course be crucial for Nebraska as always), but Michigan is clearly farther along in the preparation.
Checking in with Oklahoma, they had to use Sorensen on vault but were able to drop the score and put up a very nice 49.250 led by the 9.900 from Mooring. Good to see Erica Brewer back in the lineup there. Bars appears to have been a bit more of a struggle, nothing more than 9.825. After two events, Oklahoma is on pace for another mid-196 score with 98.200.The improvement on vault should be extremely encouraging.
In the fourth rotation, a good floor score should see Michigan easily eclipse the number from last week, and Nebraska is looking on pace for something like a 196. They need some new freshman beamers, though, so this event will be interesting to watch for them. My hit confidence is not sky high.
Rotation 4: Michigan on floor, Nebraska on beam
Blanske – N – BB – She’s one of these necessary freshmen I was mentioning. Huge wobble on series, but well done to her for not coming off. A little low on her punch front, minor wobble on some choreography, low double full with a major hop forward. Not a great routine at all but there’s potential. (9.525)
Beilstein – M – FX -2.5 looks better than it did at the preview, I’m so glad she’s back, but it’s strange to see her leading off. She can go later, for sure, front double full dismount. Very nice in the tumbling overall. I was concerned about her doing so much twisting but she has cleaned it up. (9.900)
Nathe – N – BB – huge wobble on the punch front mount, and another wobble on her bhs layout to two feet, good split positions here, I can see why they need her back. Definite deductions but few of them are built-in. Stuck 1.5. This will score well eventually. (9.800)
Colbert – M – FX – good punch to double back and steps out of it a little, stays in bounds, just layouts for the second pass, which I always think is too simple for this level, fine double pike dismount with a low chest. Won’t score as high as Beilstein did at all. (9.850)
DeZiel – N – BB – a little wobble on her walkover, I’d like to see more amplitude on her loso and some of these leaps, but it’s because I expect more from her than some others. She can do better than this, but very few definite errors and a strong 2.5 dismount. (9.850)
Gies – M – FX – big steps out of a double pike, I always like her floor work but she often hasn’t made the lineup, let’s see how she handles this dismount which was a problem at the preview, good 1.5 + layout. Nice hit. (9.800)
Giblin – N – BB – Yes, commentators, yes you did mis-identify this Nebraska gymnast as Jennifer Lauer. Strong side somi even though it pains me to say that about a side somi, hop out of 1.5 dismount. I’m encouraged overall by this Nebraska beam work. (9.825)
Zakharia – M – FX – Barely gets that double front around but stays on her feet, won’t score that well because ot it, a little bit low on the double pike and a bounce out. Not quite there yet on the tumbling. (9.825)
J. Lauer – N – BB – hits a sheep jump, solid on her loso. If she continues to be this solid, she should continue her reliability from last year. Nothing majorly impressive as everything is sort of low to the beam, but she hits so solidly. (9.950 – she really did have few deductions at all in that routine, but I wasn’t blown away by anything and didn’t expect a 9.950 to come at all)
Sugiyama – M – FX -lovely high, contained double back, but just a double back to mount with. Low double pike to finish with a hop forward. Giving a little bit of the lead back on these routines. (9.875)
Wong – N – BB – great loso series, a little bit tentative in her leaps but good positions, big wobble on her switch side, had to swim a little to stay on, bounce back out of her double full. Lovely work. (9.900)
Sampson – M – FX – double full + loso mount, good height and I always love an loso combo, but it is strange to see just a double full on a mount, good high double pike with a major bounce back because of overrotation. Fine routine overall. (9.925)
Amanda Lauer does exhibition on beam and has the similar solid work to her sister, hop forward on the 1.5 dismount.
Final Score: Michigan 196.900, Nebraska 196.300
Scores went big in that final rotation, something I’m not used to seeing at Michigan. Really only a couple of vaults had the aura of traditional Michigan scoring, and the rest of the scoring went higher than I expected. Michigan defeats the current leaders LSU for the highest score of the weekend so far. Sampson just edges DeZiel and Wong by .025 to win the AA. Nebraska had four very solid routines at the end of that beam lineup, and that event looks healthier at least so far than it has in a few years.
Michigan should be thrilled by this result. There’s still an opportunity for some new people or some improvement on beam, and I don’t know that floor will always score that well, but this team should continue to be ranked in a high position all year. Nebraska starts with a great meet overall, considering the perfectly respectable score and the lack of landing readiness that we saw on vault and bars. They can be much better than this.
Over in the state of Arizona, Oklahoma was able to drop a floor fall from Kmieciak and score another 49.225, to stay on pace. With the strength of beam still to come, this could go into the higher 196s.