Wait, college gymnastics live on television? What is this glamorous life I’m leading? Am I a movie star?
I don’t know what to expect from this meet, which is the usual narrative for UCLA but slightly new territory for Utah. The Utes, especially without Delaney and Allex for the time being, are unusually patchy in some of these lineups. At the same time, they are still able to show more than six competition-ready routines on each event, so they are still ahead of UCLA, who put out six routines on each piece last week but really had five floor routines and 2.75 vaults. Fortunately, good, responsible Utah always gives us the lineups in advance.
UCLA lineups: (Note: UCLA lineups always change after warmups)
Vault: McDonald, Sawa, Pritchett, Courtney, Baer, Zamarripa
Bars: Francis, Courtney, De Jesus, Larson, Wong, Zamarripa
Beam: Baer, Larson, Courtney, De Jesus, Zamarripa, Francis
Floor: McDonald, Bynum, De Jesus, Pritchett, Zamarripa, Courtney
Is Bynum really any more ready to compete floor than she was last week? I’m not going to be happy with that floor lineup until Larson and Francis are in (so, never). Pritchett looked months away from being competition-ready on vault in exhibition last week, but then again so did Wong in her actual competition routine. Courtney is in on beam. Hitting is a victory. I’m disappointed to see wonderful Lichelle Wong on only one event, but she didn’t exactly earn her other spots last week.
Vault: Lofgren, Damianova, Del Priore, Dabritz, Lothrop, Wilson
Bars: Lofgren, Hughes, Damianova, Hansen, Lothrop, Dabritz
Beam: Wilson, Tutka, Hughes, Dabritz, Lothrop, Lofgren
Floor: Lofgren, Damianova, Wilson, Tutka, Lothrop, Dabritz
Red alert: that beam lineup. I’ll need to be proven wrong. It’s nice to see Hughes in on two events, though. Are we dealing with an injury for Lopez? I would have expected her on multiple events, otherwise. The first couple vaulters will have trouble scoring well, but they can certainly hit. That’s about the bars lineup I would expect except for Lopez being out. I’m pleased to see Dabritz in the AA. She needs to be there every meet and needs to be outscoring Lothrop on two to three events.
The meet begins promptly at 7:30 PT (10:30 ET), and is available on the Pac-12 network.
Catching up on the end of Ohio State/Oregon State, which is on before the meet begins. This isn’t in HD, though. What is this, the 50s? Oregon State at least managed to avoid another disaster in this meet. When everyone’s really relieved about a 195.375 . . . Amanda Borden is pretending we don’t know the result until the final score.
Earlier in this meet Amanda Borden called a Yurchenko layout 1/2 a Yurchenko Arabian. Is that proper terminology? Doesn’t it need to have a half turn before a front salto to be an Arabian?
Soon to start now for UCLA and Utah. The routines will start only shortly after the coverage begins.
Introducing Peng at the beginning only makes us miss her more. Live college gymnastics in HD. Pac-12 Network, you’re my hero. Dozens of people are waiting for the meet to start. Amanda Borden’s preview amounted to “This is a gymnastics meet.”
Rotation 1: UCLA on vault, Utah on bars
Val is looking stern and ready for TV. Good job, lady. Everyone’s all dressed up looking dapper in their suits.
McDonald – UCLA – VT – Yfull, good stick, unexpectedly strong, a little bent knees and not a ton of amplitude, but much better than last week. (9.875) It’s going to be a big scoring meet.
Lofgren – Utah – UB -I’d like a little more flight on the tkatchev, completely goes over on handstand on the low bar and has to come off. Flung DLO dismount with crazy EHH legs. Poor start.
Sawa – UCLA – VT – Let’s hope for better than last week – Better landing, hop back, not as strong as McDonald, but more flight than last week. (9.800)
Hughes – Utah – UB – good positions, line, and toe point. Hits bail hs well, they need her on this event like no one’s business, sticks tuck full dismount. That should go high-ish. I’d like more counter rotation on the tkatchev, ideally. (9.850)
MDLT – UCLA – VT – In for Pritchett, good. A little shuffle on the landing, but her usual 9.800-9.850 vault. Nice to see her in the lineup today. (9.825)
Damianova – Utah – UB – totally botches a kip cast handstand and came off. What happened there? She was going for a toe-on shaposh and missed her toe. Did she really need to come off? Maybe. Finishes up well but just a double back dismount. (9.225)
Courtney – UCLA – VT – Yes you did! Great amplitude and a stick. Should easily go 9.9. (9.900)
Hansen – Utah – UB – lover he toe point and stalder. Completely misses her jaeger. This is such an unexpected start for Utah. They don’t do this. Crazy legs in a cast up, Good tuck full. This looks like nerves more than lack of preparation.
Baer – UCLA – VT – Landing is good. Her block still has crazy legs and misses a little amplitude, but it should be a 9.825 or something. (9.875 – a touch high)
Lothrop – Utah – UB – piked jaeger, hit, a couple early short handstands, but this is the best orutine they’ve had, stuck DLO. They needed that. That’s what she brings to this team. (9.850)
Zam – UCLA – VT – 1/2 layout 1/2, pikes again and bounces out of it like crazy. Honestly should be the lowest score of the rotation, but who knows if it will happen. Variety is great, but they’re giving a lot away. (9.825)
Dabritz – Utah – UB – slightly past on the first ahndstand but fine, good jaeger, everything else is excellent, minor step on tuck full. Lothrop and Dabritz saved this. (9.875)
After 1 event: UCLA 49.300 Utah 48.075
This is a different UCLA team in terms of landings than last week. They still aren’t there with the amplitude and distance, and they need to take a look at that Zamarripa situation, but they came to stick today, and that can make all the difference. Utah has to count two falls, and some of those mistakes were so uncharacteristic like Damianova just sort of flopping off after a missed foot. Dabritz, Lothrop, and Hughes will be the class of the lineup and showed it. They are missing Lopez’s 9.800.
Rotation 2: UCLA on bars, Utah on vault
Utah needs a recovery. The Lofgren and Damianova vaults will be crucial and need to be 9.800 to keep things in shape for the top women. UCLA needs to stay on course. I’m interested to see how De Jesus scores this week after last week’s creative scoring choice of 9.900.
Oh brother. Don’t ask basketball coaches to do commercials. That’s like rule #1.
Lofgren – Utah – VT – Yfull, short, low landing and lacks a little amplitude and distance. Not a huge vault. (9.700)
Francis – UCLA – UB – same problem as Damianova but didn’t come off, which also should have happened to Damianova. Big bounce forward after double pike dismount. Not a good routine, lots of breaks. Shame. (9.675)
Damianova – Utah – VT – Yfull, very nice, very little movement on landing. She pikes and flexes feet on this vault, but better than I’ve seen from her sometimes. (9.825)
Courtney – UCLA – UB – good shaposh, clean bail hs, step back on tuck full but she usually sticks. Would have been great other than that. Still Strong. (9.850)
Del Priore – Utah – VT -Good height, a little low but very minorly, hop back. Some bent knees in the air, should score similarly to Damianova. (9.850)
De Jesus – UCLA – UB – better first hs, crazy legs on her Gienger again and comes off. Francis will have to count. They started so well. Hits bail hs, had a lot of height on the tuck full but took a major step back. (9.300)
Amanda is pretending that UCLA is known for its level of consistency.
Dabritz – Utah – VT – beautiful Yfull, just a minor step back when saluting. Good direction, good toes, good amplitude. Well done. (9.875)
Larson – UCLA – UB – It’s a must hit situation for Larson, which is a scary sentence. missed hs slightly on bail hs, tkatchev needs more amplitude as always, hop forward on DLO. Fine but not amazing. The handstands have improved. (9.875 – highish)
Lothrop – Utah – VT – Omelianchik, just slightly under but saves it with just a step back. She can do this vault better than that this year. That looked closer to last year. (9.800)
Wong – UCLA – UB -misses first hs, good jaeger, very precise bail hs, a little short on DLO and hop forward. Not nearly as strong as last week. This is a much more nervy rotation than it was last week. (9.900 – way high)
Wilson – Utah – VT – Great amplitude and a stuck landing, a bit better distance than last year, just minorly low in the chest when she lands. (9.900)
Zamarripa – UCLA – UB – handstands like Zam, lovely stalder that I live for, nothing wrong with this so far, stuck DLO. I’d take .05 for the leg break on the bail hs, but this will be in the 9.9s. Should be an 11 if Wong was a 9.9. (9.975) Career high-tying routine.
After 2: UCLA 98.575, Utah 97.325
Well, so much better from Utah on vault. There’s some improvement there from last year and aslo some room for improvement still from some. The landings were nice for a first meet. UCLA got some charity on that bars rotation because it was noticeably worse than last week. Still a 49.275 is strong. Zamarripa was lovely as always, but not quite 10 lovely. It will be all about beam for UCLA. They’re on pace for a 197 right now, but still . . . beam.
Peszek hopping around on that boot pretending to do warmups. That’s the saddest thing I’ve ever seen.
This could be Utah’s strongest event, and beam is beam, so I expect some tightening of the margin, which is 1.250 right now and would need a counting fall to change entirely.
Baer – UCLA – BB – good switch side, hits side somi, popa is slightly under the full turn but no problem there and no wobble, just the dismount left, minor hop on the loso+full. Good hit to start. (9.775)
Lofgren – Utah – FX – double pike is strong to start, dance elements just a little under 180, bigger bounce outof the whip double full, rudi + loso with some sloppy legs and not a ton of power on that punch into the loso. (9.800)
Larson – UCLA – BB -lovely split position in mount, no wobbles on dance combo this week, hits aerial + bhs a little slow in the connection but should get credit, methodical but composed, gainer back pike dismount (which I don’t love) but executed well. (9.850)
Damianova – Utah – FX – good tight double tuck, back 1/5 + layout is strong, not much to deduct so far, she remembers to smile for a second, a little low in the double pike but fine. Strong. (9.850)
Courtney – UCLA – BB – huge wobble on her loso and grabs the beam, followed by wobbles. She didn’t need that major break because she looked right on line with the beam in the air. More wobbles on the punch front. This is the same as her first routine last season so far, extremely tentative. Double back is fine with a step forward. (9.525)
Wilson – Utah – FX – DLO is high but she bounces back and goes OOB (questionable but the flag went up, Tom isn’t happy and I think he has a point, she looked just in to me), minor stumble on the front full landing, another bounce out of the high double tuck. Not her best on those landings.(9.725)
De Jesus – UCLA – BB – major wobble on front aerial but hangs on, strong moving past that, she has refocused on the performance after the mistake, which will make her a Val favorite. Front hs + tuck 1.5 is not my favorite dismount (don’t really love the fhs), minor step. Overall a hit. Val is expressing exactly what I thought she would. (9.825)
Tutka – Utah – FX – good precise tuck full to start, she has put the most energy and confidence into the tumbling of the Utah gymnasts we’ve seen so far, needs to work on her horizontal leg on that wolf jump, sticks double tuck dismount. (9.850)
Zamarripa – UCLA – BB – going 5th to protect Francis in the last spot, her full turn is like water, minor wobble on onodi, again on the walkover, loso series is great. Val is right, she does give herself too much time to make mistakes. Sticks double full. I see high 9.8s in her future for that routine. (9.925 – slightly high for a routine with 2 clear, if minor, wobbles)
Lothrop – Utah – FX – a little low in her tuck full and a hop to the side, otherwise it’s a strong routine that should continue this 9.850 trend that Utah has gotten into on floor. They’ve fixed things after bars. (9.825)
Francis – UCLA – BB – needs to help drop that 9.525 and redeem after a wonky bars routine. Val is doing some talking and Danusia looks pertrified. Lovely dance elements with hit split positions, slow in the aerial bhs connection but will get credit, floppy leg in L turn but no wobble, dismount left, stick or near stick on the loso full dismount. Good hit overall. No low scores counting. (9.925)
Dabritz – Utah – FX – I could have done with her changing this music this year, very low landing on the pike full with the chest down. She’ll get there but that skill clearly needs a bit more time, nearly there on the 3/1 but had to readjust her feet after being slightly underrotated, which made it look worse. (9.775)
All of a sudden, UCLA gets a 49.300 on beam after those final two 9.925s. They need just a 49.125 to get the first 197 of the season. Still some questions in that floor lineup, though.
After 3 Rotations: UCLA 147.875, Utah 146.425
I don’t see any problems for Utah on floor. They need a little bit more time on some of those passes, but I expect this to be a 49.300 before long. It was 49.100 today. Tutka looked the most confident and farthest along. I love that Francis hit well for UCLA, but I don’t see Courtney staying in that lineup if Wong gets herself together.
Rotation 4: UCLA on floor, Utah on beam
Wilson – Utah – BB – two loso series, hits well, straddle 3/4 is on, she was doing well until the back pike and then came off on it. Amanda is disappointed that she came off on such an easy skill. Rough fall in the first routine. She was being a solid Jennifer Lauer before that. (9.275)
McDonald – UCLA – FX – music started before she was ready, Val stops the routine, a little low on double pike but good landing, I love that she has emerged as a competition performer on two events, some twisted legs on the second pass, dismounts with a strong rudi. Deductions on each pass but they were minor. Good hit to lead off. (9.850)
Tutka – Utah – BB – hits loso series right on, minorly tentative on her side aerial but hits it with no wobble, was that supposed to be a gainer dismount or did she miss a foot? Funny angle on that one. Good landing, though. Important hit. (9.750)
Bynum – UCLA – FX – bounce out of double pike but she doesn’t go OOB. I don’t see this being in the lineup all season, and she needs to work a little bit more on her facial commitment, but she’s hitting so far, tuck double back is short but she stayed upright this week so it’s an improvement. They’ll probably still want to drop it. (9.800)
Hughes – Utah – BB – wobbles on loso series but saves it well, something flies off her hair mid-routine, good switch split + side aerial, a little rushed in some dance elements and not quite hitting the positions, but that’s the only problem. Minor hop on double full. This is very lineup. Great debut meet for her. (9.800)
De Jesus – UCLA – FX – minorly short on double pike, I’m liking this choreography more each time, very short on the double tuck landing. That was always my worry, that the tumbling wouldn’t live up to the dance. No fall, though. Fine on the 1.5+layout with a minor stumble. Another hit, which is what they needed, but not great. If Bynum was 9.800, this should be the same. (9.875 – some UCLA scoring there)
Dabritz – Utah – BB – perfect loso, same with side aerial, Amanda really likes her facial expression, leg form in the double full but stuck. We were unsure about her status as a beamer, but she has erased that uncertainty. Good routine that should be clearly the best score. (9.875)
Pritchett – UCLA – FX – the chest position on landing is getting better on that tuck full, or maybe I’m just getting nicer. I hope it’s the former because otherwise what kind of world is this? Just the dismount left, pretty strong double pike. This is still the kind of proficient but not awesome or memorable routine I would give a 9.850-9.875 because she hit it very well this time, but judging by the trend it will be way higher. (9.925)
Lothrop – Utah – BB – she is very consistent on beam, but I’d just like to see a little more amplitude in all skills, which would bring her into the 9.9s. Otherwise, she’s a solid 9.850. No wobbles so far. Small hop on the 1.5 dismount, great height on that one and I thought she would stick. (9.825)
Zam – UCLA – FX – She got a 9.975 last week, so let’s see. Better double pike, no problems there. Love this smile from her and love how much UCLA is reacting to the moment and embracing this meet atmosphere. This is the most comfortable I have seen Zam as a performer. Sticks rudi dismount. Confirms the 197, but lets do something about that vault. In no way should vault be Zam’s worst-scoring event of a meet. (9.950) Another 39.675 in the AA. Doesn’t she always do that?
Lofgren – Utah – BB – good side somi, very off on the loso series from the beginning but saves it with a major break in the hips, more wobbles, not Utah’s day but not a completely dire meet for the first time out. (9.600)
Courtney – UCLA – FX – She was brilliant last week, let’s see if she can match it. Perfect double Arabian again. It has improved since last season. No deductions through the first two passes. Not a huge fan of this choreography but whatever. A little low chest on the double tuck but no problem on the landing. We can talk about UCLA scoring certainly, but this was a thoroughly delightful performance through four events regardless of the score. This team will be exciting to watch all year. (9.950)
So, UCLA goes 49.550 on floor. I thought the treatment of De Jesus and Bynum was a bit soft, but this was an excellent rotation. Zamarripa is performing the best gymnastics of her career on three events.
Final Score: UCLA 197.425, Utah 195.300
I’m not worried about Utah. This was a poor performance by their standards, but after bars it was perfectly acceptable for a first meet. I was surprised that the veterans were the ones who looked the most tentative on bars. UCLA was worlds better than they were last week, and we certainly saw that in the score. They have clearly been working those landings and will be the #1 team in the rankings next week, which I would not have picked after watching last week. It’s hard to say what this score would have been outside of UCLA, but it still would have been quite high, at least in the upper realms of 196. Some UCLA (obvious) freshmen are being utter freshmen in front of the camera. Please stop.
It’s still so surprising to me how nervous Vanessa gets when she’s on camera. It’s like she’s a different person.
Fun meet overall. I loved the live TV coverage and look forward to more of it. The much higher production quality than we get on the live streams gives a better sense of atmosphere for those who aren’t in attendance.