Florida set the standard with the 198.100 last weekend. Now, a merely good score like a 197.300 would seem like a letdown, and with the talent of this team and the way they are performing, it probably would be a letdown. In the rankings, Florida needs just a mid-196 to stay ahead of Oklahoma, so that should not be a concern. Rhonda is correct in the above interview about how peaking early has not really been an issue this season because the Gators are not putting out all of their best gymnasts in the all-around every week. Either because of injury or conscious resting, they are keeping people off events fairly regularly.
Georgia is coming off a rough one against Kentucky, where the beam rotation was filled with so much tentative acrobatics (and all the falling). While Earls has done an excellent job in the anchor position, especially these last few weeks, there is enough uncertainty in those first four positions (where we’ll often see at least one lower score) that the rotation really rises and falls with Shayla in the fifth spot. Last week, beam was lost before we even got to Earls. If Shayla hits this week, I don’t foresee a problem.
In the rankings, Georgia has an opportunity to move up and needs just a 196.300 to move ahead of Utah after the Utes’ low score last night. Nebraska is yet to compete, so we don’t know what score Georgia will need to move ahead of the Huskers, but the Gymdogs could also move ahead of LSU with a 197.300.
The only change of note in the lineups is Couch coming in on vault for the first time this season. Her stick is needed in this lineup, and while in the past I’ve argued that she should be vaulting first, I like her in this third position right now because if the judges go high for her after a strong landing, they’ll have to go even higher for the back three for their better form and amplitude/distance.
We need to have a frank discussion about the script of this Georgia intro video. “But will not rest on the accolades of our history.” That phrasing implies that the history itself has received the accolades rather than the team receiving the accolades at a point in the past.
Are the teams having more pink meets this year than before? It’s just every week, now, right? Beautiful vault warmup from Rogers.Who do we think goes out of bars for Florida when Johnson comes back? That will be a difficult decision.
1. Davis -Yfull, minor slide back on landing, otherwise good form. Strong overall. (9.875)
2. Hires – a little low on yfull, step back, still not the quality she has shown in past seasons but better. (9.825)
3. Couch – Her usual, stuck landing. Needs more height as always, but it’s a Couch vault and it will score big. (9.925) It’s nice to be at home.
4. Rogers -Y1.5, a little leg separation on the block and a shuffle to the side on landing. (9.875)
5. Cheek – Got a little high on her block it appeared, but fine and takes a hop. No problem but not her best. (9.900)
6. Jay – Sticks Y1.5, excellent vault with perhaps some leg issue. (9.975) Here’s the problem with giving Couch a 9.925 (especially the one judge who went 9.950 – I’m mostly fine with Marian Dykes going 9.900 and then 9.950) because it doesn’t leave enough room to reward Jay’s superior vault while still recognizing that it wasn’t completely perfect.
1. Dickerson -muscles first hs a little, hits tkatchev, usual toe issues, sticks DLO to slide salute. (9.800)
2. Dancose-Giambattisto -gooes toe point, nice shaposh, hits bail hs, floaty stuck DLO. (9.875)
3. King -slight leg separation on bail hs, overbalances hs and does amazingly to save it, fine markelov, misses next hs, hop on DLO. Not good for her. (9.675)
4. Hunter – good clear hip tkachev, just a bit over rotated on her tuck full with a hop back. Overall good, though. (9.825)
5. Sloan -perfect hist hs, lovely tkatchev, hits bail hs, great amplitude on shoot, stuck DLO. Very, very little to take there. Leg separation on bail hs, perhaps? Excellent, excellent, routine. (9.950)
6. M. Caquatto -wonderful pak, hitting her hs, good bail, sticks her tuck full easily as always. Not as strong as Sloan’s routine in the hs department, though. (9.925)
Rotation 1 score: Georgia 49.550, Florida 49.375
Some excellent gymnastics in that rotation, particularly from Sloan and Jay. Bridget’s bars routine was absolutely amazing. Probably the best vault rotation I’ve seen from Georgia especially because of Couch coming in and Davis hitting well. That takes the rotation up a level and sets the table for some higher scores. Interesting that one judge gave Dickerson a 9.750 (clearly took for toes), and the other gave a 9.850. The only weak routine in this rotation was King’s bars, which is a real shame, but she should get bonus points for saving that handstand, when by sanity she should have gone over.
OK, you can’t cut to Lindsay Cheek doing a bars routine in this featurette because it makes me think I missed the start of the rotation.
1. Cheek -good first hs, legs on full, high tkatchev but maybe close to the bar, they really focused on her handstands, step back on DLO. (9.800)
2. Tanella -As usual her deductions are on turning elements, plus has one short handstand, sticks double full. (9.875)
3. Jay -fine shaposh to start, hits bail hs, just off slightly on some of these hs, khorkelov is good, a little hunched on her dismount with a hop forward. (9.800)
4. Worley -Everything looks clean, good tkatchev, misses one hs, and one of her better DLO dismounts she’s done. Just hangs onto the stuck landing. It’s not a great DLO still in the grand scheme of DLOs, but it’s a major improvement. (9.900)
5. Rogers -misses first hs, lovely stalders, Ricna, and toe point. Kevin is more pleased with these handstands than I am. Sticks a slightly staggered tuck full. Fine but she has been more precise in the past. (9.925)
6. Davis -Love her handstands. She’s the best on the team in that department. Wonderful stuck tuck full. There’s nothing you can take on that dismount. (9.950)
Exo – Unick – good amplitude on her shoots, hits jaeger, she has a bit of Tanella-itis on her turning skills, good pak, step on double front. Good job.
1. Wang – Kevin pronounced Wang technically correctly, but I don’t know if that’s how she pronounces it. Missing distance on her yfull with a hop back. Weaker than the Georgia vaults. (9.825)
2. M. Caquatto – Fine Yfull but another major step back. She can get a better block and land better. (9.825) Florida looks just a little flat so far comparatively.
3. Sloan – Better power on the yfull and then a minor hop back. She can stick this and often does. (9.925)
4. King -Tsuk 1.5, hops forward a bit. Oh, I wanted the stick. Still a strong job though that has few deductions and rarely gets the score it deserves. (9.900 – good, I thought they would go lower)
5. Dickerson – Super powerful yfull obviously, but hops back. They’re not getting these landings. (9.875)
6. Hunter – stuck wonderful Y1.5, she has better form than Jay does, so let’s see what the judges do. She is tighter in the body. Kevin says she hopped back, did she? Then the score is appropriate. (9.950)
Rotation 2 score: Georgia 99.000, Florida 98.850 (Rotation 2: Florida 49.475, Georgia 49.450)
Florida vaulted perfectly acceptably, and Hunter was very nice, but the score is going to be misleading because they were really uncontrolled in the landings and has looked a little flat overall through the first two events (flat and getting a 98.850). The Gators can be much better than that, and it seems like the judges were ready to give them 10s had they stuck. Georgia was very strong on bars, but they have been all season. I thought the judges were a little light on the handstand evaluation, but they are still making slight improvements each week. That said, vault and bars haven’t been the concerns all season. Let’s see where we go from here.
1. Cheek – good flow to her full turn, hits loso series, very clean aerial cartwheel, this is one of her better beam routines, sticks a staggered gainer full. Well done. (9.900)
2. Persinger -good hold on L turn, walkover is fine, rather significant wobble on loso series, hop forward on front toss, flexibility class, breaks her leap series a little but should get it, wobble afterward, 1.5 with hop forward. OK, but weaker than Cheek’s. (9.725)
3. Couch – good loso series, completely off line on her front toss and comes off. These last two meets she has looked rather un-Couch-like on beam with the lack of stability. Good double full. (9.250)
4. Rogers -Good bhs 3/4 to start, L turn lacks a little bit of horizontalness, hits bhs full this time and sticks her layout full dismount a lttle hunched. (9.900)
5. Worley – good sheep, weird fall on her loso series because it looked like she was right on. As goes Shayla, as goes the beam rotation. Bhs full is good, one of her better gainer fulls. (9.350)
6. Earls -Foot injury but hits her loso without the second loso this time. Comes off on side aerial. This is even worse than last week at Kentucky when Earls saved it a little bit with a good routine. Two counting falls. Low double back. Must resolve this beam issue. (9.250)
Exo – Kirby – holds onto her loso series, but they are way off today. Hits, but probably isn’t working her way into the lineup anytime soon. Big lunge out of 1.5 dismount.
1. Wang – Strong DLO, hunched a bit, just front layouts second pass (pet peeve alert!), good double pike. She has improved on this event over the year. (9.800)
2. Stageberg -good pike full with a slide, I’m such a sucker for this kind of routine, this tumbling is OK but deductions can be taken, bounces out of her double pike as well. (9.825)
3. Sloan -You know what I said about being a sucker for Stageberg’s routine? I’m even more of a sucker for Sloan’s routine. Give me some emotional reaching for things on the ground any day. A little stumbly on her front 2/1, has to control her double pike a little but covers well, good dismount. Fine. (9.850)
4. Dickerson – Good DLO, minor bounce back out of double tuck in the middle pass, sticks a very good double pike dismount. (9.875)
5. King -Her DLO looked so beautiful is the air, had to take a hop back and went OOB and the slope of the floor made her stumble and put her hands down, bounce forward out of her front full. Rough day for Marissa. I hope she gets it back on beam. Good double pike. That’s a shame. (9.150)
6. Hunter – Another one who bounces back out of her huge DLO. Not quite getting the landings has been a theme today for Florida. Her second pass is crazy good. I love it to death, and it reminds me of a different era. Bounce back out of the double tuck as well. She can do better with the control. (9.875)
I’m surprised Florida isn’t putting anyone in exhibition today. They certainly have the routines to show.
Rotation 3 score: Florida 148.000, Georgia 147.125 (Rotation 3: Florida 49.150, Georgia 48.125)
This was a disappointing rotation from both teams. Georgia had two good routines from Cheek and Rogers, but another week of counting falls, this time counting two falls. The high scores from the first rotation should still put them in the mid-196 range if they hit floor, but it’s a disappointing performance. Florida is still looking at mid-197s, but I don’t they’ll be pleased with much of anything they’ve done today. It looked like they had trouble adjusting to the floor because even Dickerson wasn’t quite as on in the landing department as she can be. Lots of bouncing out of passes.
Does any team besides Georgia have 13 meets this season (before Regionals)?
1. Persinger – combo double tuck mount, L turns are my favorite skill from her, travels too far on her double pike and steps back OOB, rudi dismount right into the corner. OK apart from the OOB. (9.675)
2. Tanella – Just a bit low on a fine double pike, otherwise this has been one of her stronger routines, even though it includes a cat leap and that’s difficult to forgive. (9.875)
3. Hires – Back in the lineup today for Earls. I still can’t place this music, and it’s driving me crazy. A little lack of control on the double pike, legs on rudi but it’s fine. Too much pausing in the corner before dismount. Very low double tuck with a lunge forward. (9.725)
4. Jay – A little low on the tuck full, comes close to OOB on the middle pass but keeps it in, rough double tuck with a major bounce out. That will take the score down significantly. (9.700)
5. Worley – Good double pike to start, lunge out of her middle pass that she prudently tries to turn into dance, fine rudi. An OK routine in a mostly sloppy rotation so far. “We just don’t see Shayla fall” says Cassidy. (9.850)
6. Couch – Couch should save a 196 with this routine. Low pike full in but her usual, strong middle pass, sticks double pike. Good ending to a rough final two rotations. (9.900)
1. Stageberg – hits her aerial + bhs series, good dismount series. Not a ton to take there. I’m interested to see if Rhonda keeps her in the lineup when Johnson comes back. I probably wouldn’t, but it’s a good routine. (9.825)
2. Sloan -good loso, love the flourish out of her full turn, good aerial + bhs combo, slight fight on her dance combo, side aerial is strong, sticks double full. Wonderful routine. (9.875)
3. Hunter -good amplitude as always on her acro series, she has improved elements like the switch side significantly in college. Step back on double back dismount. (9.875)
4. M. Caquatto -perfect loso series, good aerial and swingdown, nothing to take so far. Hits her leaps with good position. Step back on double full. (9.875)
5. Dickerson – good control on loso and probably saves a wobble, minor step on the double back but her usual strong, controlled routine. (9.850)
6. King -wobble on opening acro, and another major break on her layout, so they won’t count this score. Not Marissa’s best day, but I think this has been one of the stronger rotations for Florida. Sticks double full.
Exo – Spicer – Now we get an exo for Florida, wobble on loso series, hits gainer loso, slight correction while turning around, sticks gainer full.
Final scores: Florida 197.300, Georgia 196.175 (Rotation 4: Florida 49.300, Georgia 49.050)
I’m totally a psychic genius for mentioning a 197.300 for Florida in the intro. I said it would feel like a letdown, and it does. This was just OK, and the landings were not up to expected level. It’s February, so that’s fine, but this team looked rather beatable today. Work to do. Interestingly, I thought the strongest, most precise event for the Gators was beam, but that was the third-highest scoring rotation. Those 9.875s were really good 9.875s.
I’m ready to declare that Georgia has developed a full-on balance beam situation. They’ve hit this event to capability once this season, and it carried over into floor where several of the routines had flat, blah tumbling landings. They are developing the reputation of being a two-event team and haven’t yet proven that they don’t deserve that reputation. This team still has the potential to be a Super Six team (and no team will want to see Georgia as, say, a #4 seed in their National Semifinal because we know what they can do), but there are many things that have to come together on both beam and floor.
Join me again tonight for a live blog of UCLA/Oregon State, especially for those who don’t receive the Pac-12 Network because there is no other way to watch the meet.
Elsewhere, Michigan has managed a humongous floor score of 49.625 (including a 9.975 for Sampson) to overcome an OK beam rotation and score 197.375. Well now. Alabama, Oklahoma, and Michigan all outscored Florida this week so far. Also, I completely jinxed Natalie Beilstein and take full responsibility for her 8.750 on bars this week. That’s on me. Penn State got a 196.700 in that meet, which is a huge boost for a struggling team.