[4] UCLA @ [11] Stanford Live Blog

UCLA Gymnastics posted this picture, and it’s all I’ve ever needed. Presenting Evita Kondos Field.
UCLA comes into this meet after a mostly pleghhhh performance at Arizona State. The time for good road scores is immediately, so I expect Zamarripa back in on all the events. Now, the best teams are consistently going into the 197s (or at least high 196s), so this month will be the deciding point as to whether UCLA keeps pace all season with the top 4 or has one of those years where it enters the postseason in 6th-9th and has to talk about peaking at the right time.
For Stanford, there’s an opportunity to make up a little ground here with a strong score. Minnesota had a poor meet, and Utah counted a fall this week. This is one of just three home meets this year. The Cardinal doesn’t get the frequent home boost that other teams do, so when the opportunity arises, it is impotant to take it. Otherwise, the team becomes reliant on big road scores, which can’t always be counted on. 

The meet will begin at 7 ET/4 PT, and can be veiwed here.

Our main commentator looks like he’d rather been anywhere else than a gymnastics meet, called it a “match,” and then successfully named all four apparatuses. Good thing we have a mustachioed hero helping him out who can correctly pronounce Vanessa Zamarripa and name-dropped a Lopez on vault. A+. 

Warmups just getting underway now. Mattie looked positively Zam-like in her warmup. Do that in competition, girl. Val is known for “very extravagant floor exercises.” Ha.

Rotation 1:
Stanford Vault
1. A Morgan – yhalf, hop forward but a bit more control than usual. Fine start. (9.825)
2. Rice – good form on the yfull (this has improved from JO) with a big hop in place on landing.(9.775)
3. Chuang – solid yfull, lacking in power on block with a step back. (9.750)
4. Hong – Great stuck yfull – that’s reminiscent of what she was doing at the end of last season. (9.900)
5. Dayton – yhalf with a pretty big hop forward. They probably needed a stick from her. (9.825)
6. Hanset – handspring pike half, hop back on landing with the inherent low chest for that vault.(9.875)

1. Francis – good first hs, hits shaposh, a few leg seps here and there with a hop forward on double pike. This is not her event, and they need to find a sixth worker soon. (9.675)
2. Courtney – good shaposh, clean bail hs, sticks tuck full. I really like this critical commentary, pointing out things like bent arms on giants that never get deducted. Keep it up. (9.800)
3. Larson – clean start, very strong bail hs, hits tkatchev as usual with no flight, hop forward on DLO – worse than her warmup in the handstands and the dismount. (9.750)
4. DeJesus – good first hs, crazy legs on her gienger, a few slightly missed handstands and a stuck tuck full. (9.825)
5.Wong – hits jaeger, misses handstand afterward, otherwise perfect, minor hop on her DLO. Best so far for UCLA. (9.850)
6. Zamarripa – milking that handstand like no one’s business but doesn’t stick the DLO very well again this week with a low chest. They’re losing tenths on these dismounts at these road meets. Not as strong as we saw against Utah at home. (9.850)
Exo – Baer – a little sloppy in the legs, feet on the tkatchev but fine, sticks her dismount. It’s not phenomenal, and there are breaks everywhere, but it could come in for Francis. (9.725)

Scores after rotation 1: Stanford 49.200, UCLA 49.075
Some average gymnastics in that first rotation, but we’re also seeing some tigher scoring than at Georgia (and we’re all shocked). Stanford didn’t capitalize on vault because of some uncharacteristically missed landings. It was just OK except for Hong, who was the standout for them by far. UCLA overall looked tight in the handstands and uncertain on the dismounts, which we also saw against Arizona State. They have five routines. They need a Peng. If they stick those vaults oin the next rotation, though, there’s a very strong chance to outperform Stanford.

Rotation 2:
Stanford Bars
1.S. Morgan – close on shoot to high bar, good piked jaeger, double front with step forward. (9.800)
2. A. Morgan -good routine overall, big step back on DLO, enough breaks to take down the score. (9.825)
3. Hong – her usual tkatchev, lovely bail hs, sticks the DLO. Great routine other than her tkatchev, which is as low as ever. (9.875)
4. Vaculik – big wobble on her squat up, wonderful gienger and other than that silly mistake it was fine. Crazy legs on DLO second salto with a step on landing. (9.850)
5. Shapiro – good shoot, fine jaeger – close, pak is great, misses last hs, flings DLO and was never close to landing it, falls to knees. (9.175)
6. Dayton – comes off on her tkatchev, couldn’t get her hands. They were looking good until the final two. Counting a fall now. Finishes strong. (9.275)
Exo – Archer – great line, dead hang after shoot, sticks DLO. Fine routine, great to have as a backup.

UCLA Vault
1. McDonald – OK yfull but she took a hop back. Not the level we’ve seen in the 9.850s she’s received previously. (9.775)
2. MDLT – We missed it, but do these people really not know how to pronounce Torre? Apparently it was a good landing but lacked amplitude – so same as always. (9.800)
3. Pritchett – Just OK on the yfull with a major step back. It has improved, but she’s still a few months away on this vault and probably shouldn’t be in the lineup. (9.725)
4. Baer – Hop back on the yfull, but she has improved her lift and power over last season. Same crazy legs on the block, though. (9.850)
5. Courtney – big power on her yfull with a one-foot step back. They needed these sticks and aren’t getting them, same as bars. (9.875)
6. Zam – wonderful stuck Yfull – she postured very slightly and crunched to hold the stick, but she’s gotten 10 before for an identical vault. It was stronger than the Super Six 10 in terms of vaults that fight for the stick. (10.000) It’s basically a given when she sticks these days.

Scores after rotation 2: UCLA 98.375, Stanford 97.825 (UCLA 49.300, Stanford 48.625)
UCLA had looked kind of blah on vault, and Zamarripa’s 10 will cover up some deficiencies in the first few workers. Baer and Courtney can land better, but they’re on track. They still need to work out what they’re doing with that Pritchett position in particular. Even though it’s been a ragged start, UCLA is still on high 196s pace, which is what they need from this meet. A long way to go still. Stanford has been looking perfectly fine 9.825-9.850 so far today, so that fall will underrate their performance so far. Other than Zam and Hong on vault, though, I’ve seen very little exciting gymnastics. These teams are farther away from peaking than the SEC teams right now.

Why are they showing us all these videos from last season?

Rotation 3:
Stanford Beam
1. S. Morgan – good aerial, clean loso series, very nice line on this event and very few deductions, good 2/1 dismount with a small hop. Strong opening. (9.825)
2. A. Morgan – loso series looks fine, right on punch front, sticks double tuck? It was out of frame. (9.900)
3. Hong – her lovely mount, minor wobble on her aerial bhs loso connection. Good sheep. She has permission to perform that skill. Great hit. (9.900)
4. Spinner -great routine so far, a little off to the side on the dismount, but that looked very similar to the 9.9s we saw from her last season. (9.875)
5. Vaculik – love seeing a Rulfova but she was slightly off to the side, hits loso series,great high double full but a big lunge back out of it. (9.825)
6. Rice – slight correction on sheep jump, otherwise solid until a big wobble on her loso. They won’t count this but won’t need to. (9.725)

UCLA Floor
1. McDonald – a little low on double pike with a lunge forward – crazy legs on the rudi middle pass but hits it, hits rudi dismount. Fine start. (9.775)
2. Bynum – still in the lineup, needs a hit after last week, big bounce out of double pike, front full is fine, slightly short on double tuck with a step forward. Not strong, but it’s a hit this time (9.825)
3. DeJesus – good double pike to start, low chest on double tuck but stuck, 1.5 + layout dismount is hit. This is the best I’ve seen her do. It will be a big score if Bynum’s score is a comparison. (9.850 – which is fair, but was notably better than Bynum’s)
4. Pritchett – she has become the dependable member of this lineup, and I think training the double double tuck has helped her landing position on the tuck full. Low double pike landing but hit. “This is the least expressive routine.” (9.875)
5. Zam – great high double pike, and I could see that becoming the DLO if they want to take the risk, popped up the loso out of her middle pass, but it was fine, usual rudi dismount. Strong, not much to take there. (9.925)
6. Courtney – dbl arabian mount, stumbles back out of it, which she never does. That’s a shame. Just slightly off today, like the whole team has been. No real problems, but tenths away from their best showings. She can get higher on the double pike but sticks the landing. (9.850)
Exo – Francis – so glad to see her, whip double pike, low landing, floppy layouts for her second pass, splits are great, but the tumbling is not up to lineup. Poor double back and OOB. That’s a shame. I need her in this lineup, but it’s not happening.
Exo – Wong – Here’s another who needs to be in the lineup, not totally around on her layout out of the front full. UCLA doesn’t usually exo at home meets, so they’re getting their money’s worth today. Bounces a little out of 1.5 front pike. There’s no difficulty in this routine, but she’s 9.9-capable at her best. The two exhibition routines aren’t there yet, but they stood out for having stronger dance elements than most of the lineup.

Scores after rotation 3: UCLA 147.700, Stanford 147.150 (Stanford 49.325, UCLA 49.325)
Zam is saving these UCLA scores again, so UCLA could even sneak a 197 out of this after beam if they hit to capability, but that’s always a saga. This could be a countable road score for RQS, which they’ll be thankful for after some just OK gymnastics. I’m happy with the final four floor routines, but there is room for alternation in this lineup. Stanford is probably looking at low-mid 196s depending on how far along they are on the floor, but that beam rotation was elegant and clean, their best event so far today by far. 

Rotation 4:
Stanford Floor
1. Chaung – fine double pike opening, layout + full, appears to slide a bit, stumble on the layout on dismount. Just OK as well. Missing splits and low amplitude overall. (9.700)
2. Hong – good tight double tuck mount, low double pike landing, layout + layout full is slightly underrotated on the twist, but it’s fine. (9.875)
3. Rice – good double pike, this is her event, totally splats her layout + layout full – had no punch into that full. That’s a shame. Low double back. Rough routine.
4. S. Morgan – very low double pike with a lunge forward, really misses her dance elements, but the judges have been a little here and there with deducting those today, big lunge back out of double tuck. Not a strong routine again. (9.725)
5. Hanset – doesn’t get a ton of height on her tumbling, but she’s solid in the way only Hong has been so far, a little low on double pike. It’s a hit. (9.875)
6. A. Morgan – too much of a lunge out of double arabian, so it will get deducted, sloppy legs on her layouts second pass, not her best routine overall, but good double back dismount. (9.875)

1. Baer – hits side somi, she doesn’t complete the popa, yes, but she never does, steps on the layout full dismount. Just OK. (9.800)
2. Wong – “she has a gorgeous beam routine when she hits.” That’s could be the slogan of UCLA on beam, big wobble on bhs out of series, comes way off the side on her 1.5 with a step. Still just OK but she hit. (9.750)
3. DeJesus – good aerial and bhs loso, great start for her, this is the most solid she’s been on beam so far, hop back on that tuck 1.5 dismount, but this was nice and should score pretty well. (9.850)
4. Zam – minor wobble on onodi, and again on aerial, not her best routine, but that’s all you can take so far, sticks double full. Great routine with just the two minor corrections. (9.900)
5. Francis – hits her leap series well to open, aerial + bhs is fine, minor wobble on full turn, wonderful loso + layout full dismount. A couple wobbles but once again that’s really all you can take. (9.925)
6. Larson – lovely mount, hits her dance series, very clean aerial + bhs, tried to add in her aerial to scale but comes off. She wouldn’t have done it if they needed it, but it will keep them from going 197. (9.325)
Exo – McDonald – good loso series with not awesome knees, but it’s fine, wobble on side somi, more wobbles and not quite hitting her dance elements, 1.5 with a step forward.

Final Scores: UCLA 196.925, Stanford 196.200 (UCLA 49.225, Stanford 49.050)
UCLA came out with a near-equivalent score to Alabama, and I think that should be encouraging given how much improvement still needs to be done and still can be done. These lineups are not finalized, and several people gave away uncharacteristic tenths. The beam routines from Zam and Francis were the highlights of the meet along with Zam’s 10 for them, and I still maintain that this beam rotation can be among the (if not the) best in the nation when they all hit if Peng comes back in form.
For Stanford, vault was OK but can be better if the landings are hit, and beam had five strong routines. I have little concern about those events. Floor looked underprepared, and event those who got 9.875s can improve. Bars was going perfectly fine until the falls, but the Shapiro routine in particular is an issue because she’s the best one and needs to be 9.900 every week.

2 thoughts on “[4] UCLA @ [11] Stanford Live Blog”

  1. There are some moments in these UCLA routines that are pretty horrid. What was that straddle push-up position that McDonald parked in and hopped around the floor?


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