Regionals Outlook and RQS Update

There is a lot of text coming up, so I have included this unrelated image of Vanessa Zamarripa hitting a handstand to put you in a comfortable place.

While the official distribution of Regional Championships assignments is still a month away, now that RQS is in effect, we begin to see a fairly reliable image of how those Regionals might look. At Regionals, the seeds are distributed in the following ridiculous way:

Regional 1: Seeds 1, 12, 13
Regional 2: Seeds 2, 11, 14
Regional 3: Seeds 3, 10, 15
Regional 4: Seeds 4, 9, 16
Regional 5: Seeds 5, 8, 17
Regional 6: Seeds 6, 7, 18

Because the goal is to finish in the top 2 at Regionals, the top seed ends up with the most difficult job, having to outscore the #13 team, while the #6 and #7 teams must merely outscore the #18 team. This increases the likelihood of top seed upsets but hardly provides much incentive to be the #1 team. This year, however, the seeding might actually work out in the most interesting way because of the hosting situation, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

These seeding assignments remain intact unless there is a hosting contradiction where two hosts would end up placed in the same Regional (obviously impossible), in which case the distribution is adjusted slightly. This year’s hosts are as follows: Oklahoma, Florida, Alabama, Oregon State, West Virginia, and Ohio State.

Oklahoma, Florida, and Alabama are going to be the top seeds at their Regionals, and while there is still room for change, right now Nebraska, Auburn, and Stanford would be the second-seeded teams in each of those meets (because Oregon State is also a host). Even though it might appear that no second-seeded team would want to be placed in those Regionals since the hosts are going to get huge scores, I would take that placement in a second. If I’m Nebraska, Auburn, or Stanford, I know I don’t have a great chance of beating that top host seed, but I also know that I’ll be on a level playing field with the closest competitor (the likes of Denver, Minnesota, and Arizona right now) and in quite strong shape to advance.

A much more dangerous Regionals placement is with a third-seed or lower-seed host, which we should see in both the West Virginia and Ohio State Regionals. The most likely scenario right now is that the 5,8 and 6,7 teams will go into these Regionals. Many times in the past, we have seen a third seed get a little home bump and make life very difficult for the top two seeds, and both Ohio State and West Virginia have shown the capability of receiving those home scores in the mid 196s (and we all remember that 197 home score for Ohio State last year), which provides less room for error for those higher seeds. When Georgia missed Championships in 2010, we forget that the Gymdogs didn’t count a fall at Regionals. They were off and missing key competitors, but that happens to many teams that advance easily. I would argue it was ultimately the home advantage of third-seed Missouri that pushed Georgia into the tiebreak with Oregon State and eventually out. Right now, LSU, UCLA, Georgia, and Utah would be the teams in that precarious situation this year.

Host Oregon State looks to end up ranked somewhere in that 9-12 area (they could move up, yes, but I don’t like some of these counting road scores), meaning it’s quite likely that the top-ranked team who is not Oklahoma, Florida, and Alabama will go to that Oregon State Regional. That spot currently belongs to Michigan, but it should be sought-after because I would much rather face a second-seed as host than a third-seed as host. With the second-seed host, you are both seeded to advance. LSU and UCLA will be fighting Michigan for that spot in the coming weeks. 

Even though a team never likes to fall in the rankings, If I’m Utah, I would be almost OK with going down a peg and ending up in Alabama’s Regional. I’d much rather be tasked with beating an away Arizona than beating a home Ohio State. This whole interplay will be fun to watch in the coming weeks.

These things will change week-to-week, but this is where we stand now based on current RQS. Speaking of which . . .

Now that the teams have few meets remaining, I have bolded the scores that are guaranteed to remain part of the RQS picture and will not be dropped.

1. Oklahoma (Current RQS: 197.410)
Road Score 1: 197.625
Road Score 2: 197.450
Road Score 3: 197.375
Road/Home Score 1: 198.375
Road/Home Score 2: 197.325
Road/Home Score 3: 197.275

Oklahoma needs a 197.475 at Texas Women’s this weekend to reach the highest RQS recorded since 2004.

2. Florida (Current RQS: 197.280)
Road Score 1: 197.575
Road Score 2: 197.300
Road Score 3: 196.575
Road/Home Score 1: 198.100
Road Home Score 2: 197.650
Road/Home Score 3: 197.300

The Gators are at home again this weekend, so they would need a 197.975 to pass Oklahoma if Oklahoma does not increase at all. Oklahoma would guaranteed to retain #1 with that 197.475. Florida won’t have a good look at passing the Sooners until the next road meet (March 16th at Utah).

3. Michigan (Current RQS: 196.975)
Road Score 1: 196.925
Road Score 2: 196.925
Road Score 3: 196.775
Road/Home Score 1: 197.375
Road/Home Score 2: 197.350
Road/Home Score 3: 196.900

4. Alabama (Current RQS: 196.810)
Road Score 1: 197.100
Road Score 2: 196.950
Road Score 3: 196.850
Road/Home Score 1: 197.650
Road/Home Score 2: 196.575
Road/Home Score 3: 196.575

5. LSU (Current RQS: 196.770)
Road Score 1: 197.275
Road Score 2: 197.100
Road Score 3: 196.975
Road/Home Score 1: 196.875
Road/Home Score 2: 196.825
Road/Home Score 3: 196.075

6. UCLA (Current RQS: 196.720)
Road Score 1: 197.200
Road Score 2: 196.925
Road Score 3: 196.375
Road/Home Score 1: 197.425
Road/Home Score 2: 196.950
Road/Home Score 3: 196.150

7. Georgia (Current RQS: 196.595)
Road Score 1: 196.825
Road Score 2: 196.775
Road Score 3: 196.200
Road/Home Score 1: 197.500
Road/Home Score 2: 197.000
Road/Home Score 3: 196.175

8. Utah (Current RQS: 196.375)
Road Score 1: 196.600
Road Score 2: 195.975
Road Score 3: 195.300
Road/Home Score 1: 197.300
Road/Home Score 2: 197.050
Road/Home Score 3: 196.950

9. Oregon State (Current RQS: 196.370)
Road Score 1: 196.825
Road Score 2: 196.300
Road Score 3: 196.050
Road/Home Score 1: 196.925
Road/Home Score 2: 196.725
Road/Home Score 3: 195.950

10. Nebraska (Current RQS: 196.365)
Road Score 1: 196.300
Road Score 2: 196.150
Road Score 3: 195.625
Road/Home Score 1: 197.175
Road/Home Score 2: 197.050
Road/Home Score 3: 196.700

11. Auburn (Current RQS: 196.270)
Road Score 1: 196.725
Road Score 2: 196.575
Road Score 3: 196.025
Road/Home Score 1: 197.175
Road/Home Score 2: 196.325
Road/Home Score 3: 195.700

12. Stanford (Current RQS: 196.235)
Road Score 1: 197.075
Road Score 2: 196.450
Road Score 3: 196.025
Road/Home Score 1: 197.275
Road/Home Score 2: 196.200
Road/Home Score 3: 195.425

13. Denver (Current RQS: 195.990)
Road Score 1: 196.400
Road Score 2: 195.850
Road Score 3: 195.850
Road/Home Score 1: 196.600
Road/Home Score 2: 196.050
Road/Home Score 3: 195.800

14. Minnesota (Current RQS: 195.775)
Road Score 1: 195.550
Road Score 2: 195.525
Road Score 3: 195.025
Road/Home Score 1: 196.800
Road/Home Score 2: 196.775
Road/Home Score 3: 196.000

15. Arizona (Current RQS: 195.640)
Road Score 1: 195.950
Road Score 2: 195.800
Road Score 3: 195.200
Road/Home Score 1: 196.075
Road/Home Score 2: 195.850
Road/Home Score 3: 195.400

16. West Virginia (Current RQS: 195.560)
Road Score 1: 195.775
Road Score 2: 195.150
Road Score 3: 194.675
Road/Home Score 1: 196.550
Road/Home Score 2: 196.150
Road/Home Score 3: 196.050

17. Washington (Current RQS: 195.520)
Road Score 1: 196.000
Road Score 2: 195.950
Road Score 3: 194.875
Road/Home Score 1: 196.025
Road/Home Score 2: 195.975
Road/Home Score 3: 194.800

18. Ohio State (Current RQS: 195.495)
Road Score 1: 195.575
Road Score 2: 195.000
Road Score 3: 194.675
Road/Home Score 1: 196.300
Road/Home Score 2: 196.250
Road/Home Score 3: 195.975

19. Illinois (Current RQS: 195.480)
Road Score 1: 196.350
Road Score 2: 195.450
Road Score 3: 195.100
Road/Home Score 1: 196.125
Road/Home Score 2: 195.975
Road/Home Score 3: 194.750

19. Kent State (Current RQS: 195.480)
Road Score 1: 195.800
Road Score 2: 195.800
Road Score 3: 195.450
Road/Home Score 1: 196.050
Road/Home Score 2: 195.675
Road/Home Score 3: 194.675

21. Kentucky (Current RQS: 195.445)
Road Score 1: 196.075
Road Score 2: 195.525
Road Score 3: 195.125
Road/Home Score 1: 195.825
Road/Home Score 2: 195.500
Road/Home Score 3: 195.250

22. Penn State (Current RQS: 195.415)
Road Score 1: 196.700
Road Score 2: 195.150
Road Score 3: 194.150
Road/Home Score 1: 196.700
Road/Home Score 2: 195.575
Road/Home Score 3: 195.500

23. Maryland (Current RQS: 195.340)
Road Score 1: 195.975
Road Score 2: 195.000
Road Score 3: 194.825
Road/Home Score 1: 196.175
Road/Home Score 2: 195.600
Road/Home Score 3: 195.300

24. Iowa (Current RQS: 195.265)
Road Score 1: 195.875
Road Score 2: 195.325
Road Score 3: 195.200
Road/Home Score 1: 195.875
Road/Home Score 2: 195.725
Road/Home Score 3: 194.200

25. Arkansas (Current RQS: 195.260)
Road Score 1: 195.650
Road Score 2: 195.625
Road Score 3: 193.075
Road/Home Score 1: 197.100
Road/Home Score 2: 196.175
Road/Home Score 3: 195.775

Week 8 Rankings and Notes

Sirs and madams, we have arrived in the land of RQS.

1. Oklahoma – 197.410
Week 8: 198.375
Week 8 leaders: AA – Olson 39.700; VT – Kmieciak, Kanewa, Olson 9.925; UB – Kmieciak, Olson, Spears 9.925; BB – Brewer 9.950; FX – Scaman 9.975

After the colossal score over the weekend, Oklahoma has become the prettiest, most popular girl at the county fair. Like all prettiest girls at the county fair, though, the real test will come when she tries to make it in LA. Because the Sooners already are (essentially) guaranteed the top seed at their own Regional and have a massive RQS, they are kind of done with this regular-season nonsense. They could get 194s for the rest of the year. Expect them to use this opportunity (especially the double home weekend on the 8th and 10th) to rest the most fragile to stay as healthy as possible. It’s a difficult balance, though, because there are still a number of refinements to be made on routines. They can’t stay at this level.

2. Florida – 197.280 
Week 8: 196.975
Week 8 leaders: AA – None; VT – Hunter 9.975; UB – Sloan 9.975; BB – Dickerson, Stageberg 9.875; FX – King 9.950

Oklahoma taking over the lead is the best thing that could have happened to Florida. Nobody likes a preordained champion, and the Gators were starting to fall into the very strange position of being the boring choice to win even though they’ve never won before. Now, a little of the attention is off them for a week or two. (Watch, they’ll get a 210 next week.)

There was some degree of experimentation with Florida’s lineup over the weekend, so I wouldn’t read too much into the low scores from the likes of Bridgey Caquatto (though it is a shame because it doesn’t really make a case for her staying in these lineups), but the beam performance raises some flags with two low scores coming after a fall. This team hasn’t been that unstoppable on beam even when they hit, but previously they had been very controlled and strong performing after mistakes. Don’t let this be a 2011, Gators.

3. Michigan – 196.975
Week 8: 196.925
Week 8 leaders: AA – None; VT – Zurales 9.925; UB – Sampson 9.875; BB – Zurales 9.925; FX – Sampson 9.950

This meet was not pristine for the Wolverines. They counted a mistake on bars, which was unexpected and knocked them out of the 197s. Bars has been the go-to event for this team for most of the season, yet occasionally on the road it has not been as strong. That’s normal, but it will be something to watch going into this weekend’s meet at Michigan State. The team did well to hit beam coming right off of that weak bars rotation, but the prevalence of low 9.8s and scarcity of 9.9s on beam will become an issue moving into the final third of the season. No team has been great on beam this season besides Oklahoma, so the ones that develop those 9.9s in March will have a leg up and gain extra value from that.

4. Alabama – 196.810
Week 8: 197.100
Week 8 leaders: AA – None; VT – Gutierrez 9.950; UB – DeMeo 9.900; BB – Priess, DeMeo, Milliner 9.900; FX – Jacob 9.900

It’s not a surprise that Alabama still has a number of areas to improve as February closes. That’s normal, as is a 197.100 road score. Last season, Alabama didn’t score above the 197.1s on the road until Championships, when the high 197s started flowing. The biggest concern right now is Marissa Gutierrez, who took a nasty fall on floor and whose status is currently undetermined. She’s an integral part on vault and floor, and while the vaulting group is deep, she’s the only one who has been hitting to capability the last couple weeks. In other news, how do you solve a problem like these bars routines?

5. LSU – 196.770
Week 8: 196.975
Week 8 leaders: AA – Courville 39.475; VT – Lau, Mathis, Taylor 9.925; UB – Morrison 9.950; BB – Dickson 9.850; FX – Courville, Mathis 9.900

While I wasn’t looking, LSU became better than UCLA, at least according to the rankings. Note that the Tigers have a strong chance to move up again next week with one more low score still lurking in the RQS picture. This is a bit misleading because it will still be an uphill battle for LSU to make Super Six. The team often has to rely on the one big routine to save both bars and beam from being mediocre. This time, Morrison’s 9.950 did the job on bars, but Courville had a major wobble on beam, meaning that her normally tremendous routine could not save the event score. The success or lack thereof in a rotation hinging on one routine is a risky game.

6. UCLA – 196.720 
Week 8: 197.200
Week 8 leaders: AA – Zamarripa 39.650; VT – Zamarripa, Courtney 9.900; UB – Zamarripa 9.950; BB – Larson 9.900; FX – Zamarripa 9.950

Because this is the first week of RQS, we saw a lot of teams have strong performances and drop in the rankings, with UCLA being one of the leaders in that category. This was quite obviously the best UCLA performance since week 2 and a necessary recovery from the previous week’s stinker. Encouraging developments were Larson winning beam and the overall ability to overcome mistakes. The negative, and the reason the Bruins are still not in the top conversation, remains a lack of depth. Floor should be endurable when Courtney comes in for Bynum (and possibly Wong comes in as well). Bars is not exactly ideal (can MDLT come back from her recurred labrum issue?), but save for a Peng ex machina, this is probably what we’re stuck with. Vault is the biggest issue because it is the farthest behind the top teams. Someone who can get at least a 9.850 has to get healthy this second and throw us a Yurchenko full.

7. Georgia – 196.595
Week 8: 196.825
Week 8 leaders: AA – Rogers 38.600; VT – Jay 9.900; UB – Davis 9.950; BB – Worley 9.950; FX – Couch 9.925

I agree with the insightful rogue, me from Friday, who noted that the beam rotation against Missouri might very well be a turning point for Georgia. A fall in the first position after two straight weeks of being “the team that can’t hit beam” could have been devastating. The fact that they endured it speaks to a previously reclusive ability to handle this event. The next step is to, you know, hit six beam routines in the same meet. In spite of the mental victory, beam and floor were still 49.1s over the weekend, and that’s not so much a competitive thing. Earls definitely needs to come back on floor, but overall these landings have been rather January and need to improve at a faster-than-normal rate to catch up with the 49.4s from other teams. 

8. Utah – 196.375
Week 8: 197.300
Week 8 leaders: AA – Wilson 39.425; VT – Wilson 9.950; UB – Dabritz 9.925; BB – Lofgren 9.900; FX – Del Priore 10.000

Like Georgia, Utah will take joy from not succumbing to a weeks-long weakness. The Utes didn’t have to count a fall anywhere and broke 49 on both bars and beam. While it’s probably not great that breaking 49 counts as a victory right now, that’s where we are. The vault score is misleading, and those landings have to improve for this event to be nationally competitive. Beam remains woefully nerve-wracking. The current group has to be the final lineup given the roster, so they have to discover a way for Dabritz not to be so, so tight during her routine. Her score is necessary.

9. Oregon State – 196.370
Week 8: 196.925
Week 8 leaders: AA – Tang 39.400; VT – Blalock 9.950; UB – Stambaugh 9.900; BB – Jones 9.850; FX – Stambaugh 9.950
Look at you, Oregon State, all 9th in the nation. I didn’t see that coming based on preseason expectations and early performances. A couple of lower road scores (with only one road meet remaining) makes it pretty unlikely that the Beavers will get into the top 8 for the postseason, but we’ve seen a few solid, high 196 performances these last few weeks. A team can go quite far by maintaining that scoring level. Still, I don’t see enough depth in these lineups overall, with beam a total nail biter. Vault is also very unlikely to keep up the high 49.3s we saw over the weekend.

10. Nebraska – 196.365
Week 8: 197.050
Week 8 leaders: AA – Wong 39.600; VT – Giblin 9.875; UB – Wong 9.925; BB – Wong, Lauer 9.900; FX – Wong 9.925

Nebraska keeps hanging around. Every time it seems that a low score will start to do them in, they come back with a 197. The Huskers should be a much better vaulting team than they have shown the last few weeks, so keep an eye on potential improvement in those landings. They’re currently only #14 in the nation on vault, which is far too low for them to accept. Jessie DeZiel’s RQS should not be in the low 9.8s. The biggest strength for Nebraska is the epically excellent back half of the bars rotation, so look for all three of those routines to begin receiving 9.9s every week soon. With beam, if they just get through it, I’ll take it.

11. Auburn – 196.270
12. Stanford – 196.235
13. Denver – 195.990
14. Minnesota – 195.775
15. Arizona – 195.640
16. West Virginia – 195.560
17. Washington – 195.520
18. Ohio State – 195.495
19. Illinois – 195.480
19. Kent State – 195.480
21. Kentucky – 195.445
22. Penn State – 195.415
23. Maryland – 195.340
24. Iowa – 195.265
25. Arkansas – 195.260

Full rankings

[10] Stanford @ [7] Utah Live Blog

The meet will get underway at 10:00 ET/7:00 PT on the Pac-12 Network. Enjoy!

Don’t expect any changes to the Utah lineups, with Wilson and Dabritz remaining as the AAers. Utah could really use hit bars and beam rotations tonight. All of the top teams have showed high 196s this weekend (at least), so Utah and Stanford will both hope to keep pace with that.

If I know anything about basketball (it’s the one with icing right?), the fact that there are still 5 minutes left in this game currently airing on the Pac-12 Network does not bode well for its finishing in 9 minutes. We may be in a holding pattern. Stanford’s basketball team is not playing super awesome (nice air ball). Kristina Vaculik needs to give them a talking to, I think.

1:45 left in this boring basketball game. Patience? Never. Timeouts shouldn’t be allowed. That’s like cheating. What if you could take a timeout in the middle of your beam routine and reassess? Psssh. Some of these players really need to spend more time working on their posture and elegance. It’s like they’ve never even heard of performance quality. Phew, it’s finally over.

Lofgren vaults a very piked yfull with a low landing and a major step forward. Not her best at all. She went after a couple of big scores for Utah, though. 9.825? What?

Hong – UB – ST – wonderful handstands, tkatchev is her tkatchev, bail is wonderful, a little under on the DLO and has to take two hops forward into salute. That’s a shame. 9.725.

Damianova – VT – UT – pikes down on yfull and hops back. Just OK. 9.900 – what?

Vaculik – UB – ST – awesome high gienger, good bail hs, a little short on final hs, whips her DLO a little bit with a hop back and some separated legs in the second salto.

Dabritz – VT – UT – piked a little bit but less than Damianova, hop back. 9.900

Shapiro – UB – ST – very nice handstands, great high jaeger, looked so floaty in her pak but missed and hand and came off. She was looking great before that. Ruh-roh. Pikes a little on DLO with a hop forward.

Wilson – VT – UT – They’ve been setting her up for a 13 based on these scores so far. She sticks her yfull but pikes a little in the air and bends to hang on. It shouldn’t be a 10 because of that. 9.950.

Archer – UB – ST – clean gienger, good line and handstands, also has to pike her DLO a little and takes a step back. She has been better. 

After rotation 1: Utah 49.500, Stanford 49.050
Utah didn’t look particularly strong in the vaults that we saw. Several of them had trouble maintaining the straight shape, and everyone but Wilson should have incurred a tenth on the landing. They need Delaney to come in at some point and be the third star with Dabritz and Wilson because the other vaulters will probably be very 9.825 in a postseason context.

Stanford can be better than that on bars as well. Shapiro’s fall was an odd one I don’t expect to be a thing, but they gave away too much on the dismounts, piking their DLOs and taking at step, giving away what otherwise would have been 9.9s because of clean skills on the bars.

Rotation 2: 
A number of gymnastics commentators enjoy the word bugaboo, Jim Watson and Kevin Copp most of all.

AMorgan – VT – ST – Yhalf, looked a little underrotated but held onto the landing well. Needs a bit more amplitude and distance. 9.875.

Wilson – UB – UT – very late on her giant full, floppy legs on gienger and bail, the tuck full is nice and high but she takes a step back on it. Lots to take, but she got through it. 9.775.

Rice – VT – ST – A bit flat on her yfull with a major hop back, piked a bit. 9.800.

Hughes – UB – UT – a little flat and close on her tkatchev but got through it, tuck full is almost to her knees and she may have brushed a knee on the mat. Three tenths? Probably. She got through the tkatchev earlier, but it looked like she released late. 9.525.

Vaculik – VT – ST – Omelianchik – love to see it – low landing and had to squat for it, so it won’t be a big score. 9.775

Hansen – UB – UT – misses first hs, hits jaeger, good pak, she looked a little tight at the beginning but got through it, sticks tuck full, one of her better routines this year. 9.850.

Hong – VT – ST – yfull, not quite as clean as usual with her and a major hop back. Pretty good overall, though. 9.825. I see no difference between her vault and Damianova’s, though.

Lopez – UB – UT – good height on tkatchev, clean through the bail hs, hop back on DLO. I haven’t been too impressed by the landings from either team on either event so far. Very little sticking. 9.850.

Dayton – VT -ST – sticks her yhalf cold. Best vault landing of the day so far, but I don’t love her legs on her block. 9.950.

Damianova – UB – UT – a little leg break on her shaposh, these handstands are judgment calls, might be close enough to forgive, but a tough judging panel would take for a couple of them (similar to what we’ve seen from Jacob for Alabama this year) sticks double tuck. Fine routine. 9.850.

Hanset – VT – ST – handspring pike half, low chest as always with a controlled hop back. Solid. 9.875.

Dabritz – UB – UT – great comaneci, jaeger is hit, clean bail hs, best routine of the group by far, sticks tuck full. They will desperately need this routine when we get into the business part of the season.  9.925

Rotation 2 scores: Utah 98.750, Stanford 98.375
On vault, Dayton was excellent for Stanford, but the landings can be improved for almost everyone else. Many of them gave away tenths from big hops or squatty landings. Utah’s bars rotation remains a concern because of how 9.8 the rotation is besides Dabritz. The 49.250 works for today, but it’s hard to see the team going much higher than that number in a road context. Landings, landings, landings. It’s important for Dabritz to hit as well as she did, though, so that’s a plus. Great routine from her. 

Rotation 3:
Tutka – BB – UT -hits her dance series, significant wobble on her series but she pulls it back, minor check on side aerial, sticks gainer full. Hit. 9.775.

Dayton – FX – ST – bounces out of a high double pike, front layouts as her middle pass, hitting her dance well, a little low on the double tuck and has to shift a little. 9.825.

Hughes – BB – UT – lands pretty short on her loso series but does well to be secure, looked like she didn’t get any lift out of her bhs, otherwise very strong, 2/1 dismount with a hop to the side. She’s been better but another hit.  9.825.

Rice – FX – ST – Also bounces out of her high double pike, front layout front tuck full second pass with a large lunge forward, hits double tuck dismount well. Just OK. 9.850.

Wilson – BB – UT – good loso loso opening with the slightest of corrections, and another slight correction on straddle, hop forward on 1.5. A few corrections, but otherwise solid and fine. She’s turning into an efficient early lineup beamer. 9.850.

SMorgan – FX – ST – Pretty strong double tuck with a slight slide, a leg separation in her 1.5 + layout middle pass, hits double pike. Better than I’ve seen from her so far this year. 9.900.

Lopez – BB – UT – hits opening dance combo, minor balance check on loso series, again on the punch front. Major bend in her straddle 3/4 and has to touch the beam. Front tuck 1/1 dismount with a major hop forward. They’ll need to drop this. 9.350.

Hanset – FX – ST – whip 2.5 + punch front, looked like a fall for sure but she held onto her punch somehow and even kept it in bounds, a definite deduction, though. Hits double pike to finish. 9.750.

Dabritz – BB – UT – Pressure routine for her to drop that score from Lopez, lovely full turn, huge huge wobble on her loso series but she stayed on the beam, so so tentative, again on her side aerial, she had it and then readjusted for a major wobble, wonderful 2/1 dismount. Nervy routine that will have to count. 9.675.

AMorgan – FX – ST – doubel arabian opening with a major lunge out of it, layouts middle pass, double tuck is fine to finish. Not her best because of the uncontrolled mount. 9.850.

Lofgren – BB – UT – a must-hit, significant adjustment on her side somi, hits loso but these last three workers have been tight, Lofgren working it out after the first wobble and sticks her gainer full. Well done to get back on track after a big wobble early. 9.900.

Vaculik – FX – ST – punch front to double tuck, very short with a lunge forward, finishes with a low double pike with a major step back. She can be better.

After 3 rotations: Utah 147.775, Stanford 147.600
I suppose Utah can take this beam rotation as a victory because it means they have officially endured both bars and beam without counting a fall, but Lopez and Dabritz both struggled. They need Dabritz on this event, so they can’t afford her to be so tentative, but the fact that they need her so much probably makes her more tentative. Jury is still out on if this rotation can be nationally competitive.

Stanford closed during that rotation witha 49.225 on floor, but they can be much better than what we saw in terms of keeping those landings in control. They weren’t going out of bounds, but they were not showing the dainty, controlled steps they need to. Those were lunges and will need to be cut out over the next month.

Rotation 4:
SMorgan – BB – ST – Getting a pep talk from Wing. Is she definitely out for the whole season? Good aerial to start, only the very smallest correction on her loso series, very confident work, wobble on side aerial, side somi, lots of acro difficulty in this routine, hop on double full. Solid start. 9.875.

Lofgren – FX – UT – pretty low on double pike mount with a step forward, whip + double full looks fine, rudi + loso looks good to finish. 9.825.

AMorgan – BB – ST – large wobble on her loso series to open, very strong punch front, just a step on the doubel back dismount. Good routine after the first pass. 9.850.

Del Priore – FX – UT – Solid tuck full mount, hits 1.5 layout middle pass, this is much stronger than I’ve seen from her in the past, rather long pause in the corner, a little low on the double tuck but hit. 10.000? What? What? Yeah, I can’t believe it either, Lia. I’m not a huge fan of the relationship between music and movement in this routine. The choreography doesn’t exactly live up to the dramatic music selection. That’s the kind of thing that becomes a topic when a routine gets a 10.

Hong – BB – ST – wobble on the loso out of her aerial-bhs-loso, sticks gainer pike dismount. Very strong other than the wobble on the early series. Still, she can be so great, and she’s not there yet. 9.900.

Wilson – FX – UT – DLO is strong, a little low, hits front layout to front full, a little slide out of the double tuck dismount. It’s another perfectly acceptable hit routine, so I don’t know what to think about the score. 9.850.

Spinner – BB – ST – excellent loso series to start, good gainer loso, 2/1 dismount is strong. Very good routine for her, very little to take there. 9.950.

Dabritz – FX – UT – minor adjustment out of the pike full – shuffle to the side, hits whip double full, off to the side a little on her 3/1 with an adjustment. Not her best but fine. 9.850.

Vaculik – BB – ST – great switch split to back tuck, rulfova is excellent, secure loso series, this is very nice so far, hop on 2/1, but otherwise this was near pristine. Another great routine from Stanford. 9.900.

Damianova – FX – UT – a little short on her double tuck mount with a tiny hop, slides significantly out of her double pike. A strong routine but not quite as contained in the tumbling landing as some of her teammates. 9.925. Does anyone else get the feeling that 9.925 is the new 9.850?

Rice – BB – ST – anchoring over Hanset, adjustment on her punch front, another significant wobble on her loso series, sticks gainer full, a fine routine but not as impressive as what we saw from the rest of the rotation. It was a beautiful beam rotation overall from Stanford, though. 9.825.

Tutka – FX – UT – good tuck full, stumbles a little on her front 1.5 in the middle pass-comes in low and pops to the side, good double tuck dismount. 9.900

Final Score: Utah 197.300, Stanford 197.075 
Season high for Utah.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

UCLA @ Oklahoma in Review

A free replay of the UCLA/Oklahoma meet is available HERE. Excellent. What wonderful service you have here. I’ll be making notes about the meet as I go along as if it were a live blog. I’m very interested to see how I feel about this scoring and the quality of the teams. By all accounts it was the best meet for both teams this season.

I love hearing KJ talk. She has a way of speaking that’s very deliberate and confident but calming, which is a great quality in a coach. Although, someone should have provided Zamarripa pronunciation lessons to everyone. She’s prominent enough that there’s really no excuse for not caring enough to pronounce it properly.   

Rotation 1:
Oklahoma vault
1. Spears – Good height on yfull, pretty significant shoulder angle on the block, pikes noticeably to finish, sizable hop back. Fine start. 9.800. No Kelly Garrison, that was not stuck.
2. Mooring – Just a replay of the yhalf from the forward angle, minor hop forward. 9.900.
3. Kmieciak – Nice yfull, lands lowish, sort of crunched in the knees, but doesn’t step. 9.925.
4. Kanewa – Debut vault, good vault for her introduction, also comes in a little low like Kmieciak, hops in place. 9.925.
5. Olson – Very difficult to tell anything from this forward angle, but her vault appeared to have a bit more power than the last two with a higher chest on landing. Potentially a hop in place? I couldn’t tell. 9.925.
6. Scaman – Y1.5 that looked powerful, bent knees, a major bound out of it on landing. 9.850.

UCLA bars
1. Francis – Good shaposh form from this angle, clean bail handstand, hs before the bling full was a little short, but the blind full was more precise, stuck double pike, her best routine of the year. 9.800.
2. Courtney – Shaposh was clean, but she missed the connection into the bail, had to kch and it was very short, good stuck tuck full. She’s getting there. 9.825.
3. Larson – This high camera angle is awful. Nice first handstand, a little legs in the bail, tkatchev as usual. Misses last handstand, DLO to her knees. 9.150.
4. DeJesus – The gienger was a little close, but from this perspective (similar to the judges’ perspective) the crazy legs looked improved, nice bail, short last handstand, stuck tuck full. Very strong. 9.850.
5. Wong – Wonderful jaeger, bail is excellent, misses last handstand again, fine DLO – slightly piked, to stuck landing. Very good routine. 9.825.
6. Zamarripa – That was the best routine she has done this year. One judge originally went low, so I’m not surprised there was an issue that caused a Val protest. That absolutely would have been a 10 at UCLA and certainly could have been here as well. Crazy gorgeous. 9.950. This shot of Val going “Oh my God! Oh my God!” about the score is perfection.
A fine routine from Kaelie in exo until she fell on the tkatchev, but it won’t go into the lineup now that Danusia has improved.

Rotation 1 score: Oklahoma 49.525, UCLA 49.250
Oklahoma’s vault rotation was very good. It wasn’t 49.5 good, but that shouldn’t necessarily take away from the improvements the Sooners have made through the power and skill level of these freshmen. There is still work to be done, however, because they will lose out to teams like Florida and Alabama with the dynamics of the vaults, which often manifests in the finishing chest position. Those are the .050 differences that make championships.

UCLA gave away too much on some of those final handstands before the giants, so there’s work to be done there. Other than Mattie’s fall, however, this was the best bars rotation in terms of landings and precision since that second week against Utah. Well done.

Rotation 2:
Oklahoma bars
1. Clark – Nice shaposh, good line, misses one handstand but the full is precise, stuck double back. 9.900.
2. Scaman – She works bars like a power gymnast, which shows in her nice high jaeger, perhaps a little close. Another one who missed her last handstand, minor step on dismount. 9.875. 
3. Kmieiciak – Extremely close on her tkatchev, but does well to pull out the handstand afterward, which is always a challenge, clean bail hs, small hop-salute on the tuck full. 9.925, which is too high.
4. Brewer – Very nice tkatchev, hits bail hs very securely, nice high DLO but has a bend and then a hop trying to hang onto the stick. 9.900. Really good work. This routine was stronger than Kmieciak’s.
5. Olson – Short on first handstand, deltchev between the bars is well executed. Even though deltchevs sometimes look sloppy, there’s nothing technically wrong with hers. DLO full with a step back. That is close to the bar but no problem. 9.925.
6. Spears – Nice high jaeger, right there on the bail hs, hop forward on double arabian. Very strong finish and very strong routine. 9.925. All of these routines are getting the same score, but they’re not of the same quality.

UCLA vault
1. McDonald – Fine yfull, a little piked, hop back. Almost identical to Spears. 9.800.
2. Wong – So much better than last week. Sometimes she comes off a little flat but not this time as much. I’d still like more distance, a little pike, notable hop back. The deductions are there, but it’s an improvement. 9.825.
3. Pritchett – What has become her usual on vault, not the height, bent knees, major step back. She has been forced into this position because of injury, but this vault isn’t competition level. 9.725.
4. Baer – Good power, and I give her credit for working on having those legs together throughout the vault. It’s getting better – iffy whether you call that a stick or not, she held it for a second before step-salute. 9.875.
5. Courtney – Good power, wonderful distance, step back. She can stick that for 9.950s (or more even). 9.900.
6. Zamarripa – Bends to try to hang onto the stick and a hop back. 9.900. One of her weaker yfulls of the year because of the bend, but it’s still a 9.900 because she’s Zam.

Rotation 2 score: Oklahoma 99.100, UCLA 98.550 (Rotation 2: Oklahoma 49.575, UCLA 49.300)

Rotation 3:
Oklahoma beam
1. Kmieciak – All we see is a very strong stuck double back dismount. 9.900.
2. Alexander – So precise in all her movements, clear wobble after front aerial but I’d give her the connection to the bhs, she has some deduction-erasing flexibility in the middle of this routine, sticks gainer back pike. 9.875.
3. Olson – Lovely full turn, wobble on front aerial, side aerial + layout dismount is good. I’d give the stick on that one. She showed control. 9.900. These routines are quite short and work the code to its deduction-minimizing capability.
4. Brewer – Perfect on her bhs and two layouts, efficient and secure through her split and straddle elements, step on the double back. 9.950.
5. Mooring – Very nice loso series, clean with a good line, wobble on front aerial, major hop forward on the 1.5 dismount. 9.825.
6. Spears – Great rhythm in her onodi+swing down connection – those connections are often very pause-y but hers is not, nice aerial, sticks gainer full dismount. She’s on a different level. 9.925.

UCLA floor
1. McDonald – A little low in her double pike mount, this routine is growing on me, her legs are a little sloppy in places, but this is a confident, competent opening. 9.825. Is Kelly trying to start an It Gets Better campaign for parents of compulsory gymnasts?
2. Bynum – Good double pike, one of her better ones, pops way up on her layout and overrotates it and falls on the full. It’s something every week. Low on double back but fine on that one this week. 9.150. Once Courtney is back, she will be out of the lineup. Wong can also come in.
3. DeJesus – Sticks double pike – low chest but nice landing, exactly the same on the double back. 9.875. This would be really excellent if she landed a little higher on her tumbling.
4. Pritchett – Good tuck full, her tumbling is more precise this season and she gets good bounce into her dance elements to help her complete them, low on the double pike landing but secure. 9.900.
5. Zamarripa – Good double pike, I wonder if they will decide to upgrade or not, the scoring hasn’t indicated that she needs it, rudi + loso is perfect, hits rudi. Great routine, but I would love to see a compositional upgrade. 9.950.
6. Francis – A little low on the double pike, layouts middle pass, I love this routine. Kelly just said this routine reminded her of a “Chinese circus.” Big stumble out of her double back dismount. 9.800.

Rotation 3 score: Oklahoma  148.650, UCLA 147.900 (Rotation 3: Oklahoma 49.550, UCLA 49.350)

Rotation 4:
Oklahoma floor
1. Albright – Watch KJ shoulder dancing to this routine. I like this routine better now than when I saw it the first time. I would say slightly out of control on the rudi dismount but fine start. 9.900.
2. Kmieciak – Good high double pike but a noticeable stumble/wobble to stay in bounds, otherwise very strong. 9.900.
3. Brewer – Bounces out of double back, same on front layout front full, needs more control in her tumbling landings, very low on her double pike dismount. 9.875 – that’s crazy too high and makes the stronger routines around it seem worse because there is no separation or reward for them.
4. Spears – Front double is nice, a slight lack of control I would say, good form on her twisting elements – legs right together with no bend – that’s the best part of this routine. 9.950.
5. Olson – Good double pike mount, most secure landings on the team so far, strong routine. 9.950.
6. Scaman – Good high DLO, these are very strong final routines, but the score for Brewer bumped up the scoring a little bit. 9.975.

UCLA beam
1. Baer – Really strong routine for her – now that her side somi is more consistent than it used to be, she’s the ideal leadoff because I have more faith in her hitting ability than anyone else on the team besides Zam. 9.800
2. Wong – Wonderful leaps, very secure in aerial + bhs, keeps the switch side in control when it could have been a wobble, sticks 1.5 dismount. One of her best beam routines. Lovely. 9.875.
3. DeJesus – Aerial + bhs loso is strong, good front toss, slightly low on her tuck 1.5 dismount with a hop, otherwise nearly perfect. 9.875.
4. Larson – Boy does this girl need a hit, lovely flexibility and dance elements, I like the aerial aerial bhs combination even though it ends in a bhs, sticks gainer back pike, one of her strongest of the season. Good for her. 9.900.
5. Zamarripa – Strong onodi, hits aerial, has to correct slightly on her loso which is surprising, wonderful stuck double full. The only thing you can take is that wobble on the series, really. 9.850.
6. Francis – Huge wobble on her switch split to open, nice aerial + bhs series, hop back on layout dismount, strong routine other than the opening wobble. 9.625.

Final scores: Oklahoma 198.375, UCLA 197.200 (Rotation 4: Oklahoma 49.675, UCLA 49.300)
Unfortunately, the story for this meet becomes about the scoring, but I’m going to try to forget about that because it’s not so relevant won’t be maintained. One of the positives of Oklahoma getting this kind of high score, though, is that it improves national reputation, and the more teams that are seen as realistic championship contenders, the better.

Oklahoma looks quite good, especially Taylor Spears who was excellent on three events at this meet. All these routines are very well composed and very well drilled. There are still areas to improve and areas where the Sooners will have to improve to compete for the title. Nothing was absolutely pristine. There were wobbles here and missed handstands there and uncontrolled landings there, little things that can be resolved over the next month. They can be better than this.

I am so much more encouraged by UCLA than I was after last week. In particular, DeJesus came back and had a very good performance, which got some of these 9.7s out of the lineups. Beam was very close to being brilliant. This should be lineup. It will always be nerve-wracking, but it is full of very pretty, refined gymnastics. Floor and vault still have too many routines that shouldn’t be in or aren’t ready, which remains the major concern for the Bruins. They need a few more options, otherwise they will fall behind significantly on those events.

Overall, this meet made me more excited for the postseason than I have been. These teams perform exceptionally well, have very thoughtful routines, and are joys to watch. I hope they’re both contending in Super Six because that will make it a great meet.