[3] Michigan, Cal, Iowa St @ [6] UCLA

Mattie thinks she’s getting into the vault lineup today. She better.
In a season where a mid-197 is good, a high 196 is fine, and a mid-196 is bad, UCLA has suffered two bad meets out of the last three. So far this week, all of the title contenders have gone 197 or higher, and UCLA must do that today to avoid being dropped to the back of the conversation and the back of the top 10. 
Seeing the Bruins ranked at the back of the top 10 at this point in the season is not unusual. The ranking, however, is usually the result of one or two disaster meets where excellent gymnasts performed poorly. This year has been notably free of disaster meets, but it has been rife with 9.750s, the result of average routines performed to expectations, which is a more troubling situation. The postseason routines and gymnasts need to start appearing.
For being ranked #3 in the country, Michigan has remained on the periphery of the conversation for a couple of reasons. The first is lower expectations. The Wolverines were not expected to contend this year, and it takes time for the narrative to change. This team is still largely expected to fall away once championship season begins. The second is a lack of high-profile competition. Michigan faced Oregon State and Nebraska in the first two weeks but other than that has not competed against much top-tier competition. Beating UCLA away would be a victory of the level the Wolverines have not yet had this season.


The meet will begin at 5:00 ET/2:00 PT. This is a quad meet, but thankfully it appears UCLA is not pretending like doing one routine at a time is a good idea. It remains to be seen how many routines from each team will get to see on the broadcast, but hopefully there will be a degree of awareness as to which routines we viewers would actually like to see.

Oklahoma is currently in action for the second time this week, on pace for a mid-high 197 after three events. Once again a fall on beam that is dropped. I would not have expected to be concerned about Oklahoma’s beam. Stanford looks to be getting hit in the scores and needs a very nice bars rotation to go even mid-196.

The vault rotation is going to be crucial for UCLA. It seems that everyone can go 49.500 on vault this year, so the fact that the Bruins have not yet reached 49.400 is a problem. Michigan can be one of the stronger bars teams when they stick their landings, so they will look to have the lead after the first.

Morgan Smith introduced for Michigan. Does anyone know what happened with her this year?

UCLA introduced. We have no crowd mic, so it sounds like no one is cheering for them. So sad and feeble sounding.

UCLA starts on vault (obviously), Cal is on bars, Michigan is on beam, and Iowa State in on floor. Mattie is not vaulting for UCLA. It will be the usual vault lineup we’ve seen for many weeks now – McDonald, Wong, Pritchett, Baer, Courtney, Zam.

It’s times like this I wish the sound hadn’t started working. You have a microphone. You don’t need to shout. We’ve made significant advancements since can-and-string technology.

Oklahoma finishes with 197.525 today, Stanford scores 196.000.
Rotation 1:
McDonald – UCLA – VT – yfull, knees, a little piked, step back. OK but just OK. 9.725.

Martinez – M – BB – finishes with a 1.5 with a hop forward, looked to have a little wobble before that. 9.800.

Wong – UCLA – VT – Good height, some slight piking, hop in place, one of her stronger vaults. 9.850.

Pritchett – UCLA – VT – a lower landing than usual with a hop forward instead of the large step back. 9.725.

Miele finishes beam with a brilliant stuck double pike. We’re getting no intros and only partial routines for the other teams, so it’s hard to keep up. 9.800.

Baer – UCLA – VT – good height, pretty strong landing with perhaps a shuffle. It’s a much better vault than in 2012. 9.900

Casanova – M – BB – bit of a wobble/correction forward on her punch front, otherwise strong, another wobble on the straddle 1/4. 9.800.

Courtney – UCLA – VT – looked for a moment like she wouldn’t get the lift but she finished it quite well and stuck the landing. Well done. They need it to recover from the two 9.725s we’ve seen so far. 9.950.

Zam – UCLA – VT – everything was usual but she slid back. She needs to be sticking when they don’t have six strong vaults in the lineup. 9.950.

We’ve seen only partial routines from Michigan so far on beam, but they are stuck in 9.8 land so far. Zurales got completely crooked on her side aerial and couldn’t keep the bhs on the beam. Fall. Michigan will now be counting a 9.750 on beam and will go 48.925.  

UCLA gets 49.375 after being saved by the end of the lineup. It’s not a bad score considering the rotation included two 9.725s. If Mattie’s injury is serious, then they need to find someone else for this lineup, be it MDLT or Sawa or something. They can’t necessarily depend on Baer getting 9.9s for non-sticks, which has happened twice lately. They need one or preferably two new vaulters.

Cal will drop a fall on bars and score a very respectable 48.775. Iowa State will be counting a fall on floor. Lindsay Williams is going exhibition for Michigan on beam, good routine for her.

Ivory finishes her floor routine for Iowa State with a slightly uncontrolled double pike, which will end the rotation.

After 1: UCLA 49.375, Michigan 48.925, Cal 48.800, Iowa State 48.500.
Rotation 2:
We’ll have to see who is forced to come in for Mattie on bars for UCLA. That will decide the success of the event. Good that it will be MDLT. She should be in the lineup anyway.

Beilstein – M – FX – opens with a tuck full, slightly low on landing but very secure, 1.5 + layout is OK with a slight slide.

Over to Francis now, she was worked out that double pike dismount, which helps her routine get out of that 9.6 territory, good stick. Fine start and it’s probably important she’s back in the leadoff position.9.875 – well now, scoring.

Courntye on bars, good shaposh, clean bail hs, slightly rushed in one handstand but a good stuck on her tuck full. Nice routine for her. Not a lot of content but clean. Another 9.875.

Casanova on floor looks clean, Beilstein goes 9.900. We didn’t get to see the full routine, but it looks like floor scores are going high so far. A little low on the double pike dismount with a small correction forward. Nice routine. 9.850.

Lovely jaeger from Wong, not completely pleased with some of these handstands but it’s a difficult angle to judge. Another stick on her DLO. Very nice dismount especially since it has been an issue sometimes. 9.875.

Zurales – M – FX – wonderful height on double pike, what we saw was excellent, high, and clean, now over to De La Torre.

MDLT – UCLA – UB – not sure if she’s a little short on her handstands, hop full has crazy legs, very good stick on the DLO, though. She can get knocked for those handstands though. They are much cleaner at her best. 9.925. Either they decided to go high, or my handstand angle is misleading (which is possible).

9.850 for Zurales on floor. Reema hits her double front well to open, but now we go over to bars again. This must be very frustrating for Michigan fans to see only bits of a couple routines, but it’s nice to see all the UCLA routines this time. De Jesus had crazy legs on her gienger as usual and then missed all her handstands by a lot. That should be a drop. Zakharia finishes with a strong double pike.

Zam needs a hit to make this a good rotation after the De Jesus routine. Overbalanced her first handstand very slightly but kept it together, everything else was nice until she locked her legs on her DLO and took a major step. She was the only one who didn’t stick. 9.825. That could have been a great score for the team before that landing. 49.375 is still good, but it could have been better.

Sugiyama also appears very strong on floor. Michigan is having a much better floor rotation than beam rotation. Exhibition on bars from Baer. The leg separations are the biggest deductions here.

Nice DLO to start from Sampson on floor, front full to front layout is totally clean, great high double pike. This should be a very strong score after a flurry of 9.9s already. 9.950. Well done, and a 49.500 on floor for Michigan. That was a very secure rotation.

Iowa State is counting a fall on vault and Cal is counting a fall on beam, which probably will take both of them out of 195 contention.

Halfway: UCLA 98.750, Michigan 98.425, Cal 96.875, Iowa State 96.625 

Aside from Zamarripa, those were by far the strongest bars landings UCLA has had this year, which accounts for the score. It was on its way to being a much higher score before the last two routines, so that is a bit of a missed opportunity. The other thing that accounts for the score is bars judge #2, who was feeling a little score happy and got rather inaccurate with these numbers and gave a 10 to De La Torre. Michigan recovers from beam, but both UCLA and Michigan, while performing perfectly well, have work to do to reach that mid-197 pace that all their closest competitors are reaching.
Rotation 3:
Michigan trailing so far but is already done with beam has two strong events still to come.

Baer opening on beam for UCLA. She had a fall last week at Alabama, so this is a big routien for her. Mostly secure on the side somi this time. Hitting her dance elements with very, very minor corrections. Sticks dismount. Hit opening. 9.800.

Zurales sticks her opening vault for 9.900 and Beilstein follows with a hit. 9.925. This is where they make up the ground. 

Courtney comes in on beam for Larson. Small corrections on her series and couple of early skills, hits the punch well, hop back on double tuck dismount. Another hit but it won’t be a big score. 9.825.

Michigan en route to something like a 49.600 on vault, which will probably close the gap going to the last event.

Wong on beam has to wobble on the bhs out of her aerial, a few small corrections on other skills similar to Baer, hop forward on 1.5. OK, another hit, but they need to build to the 9.9s in these last few routines. 9.775.

Sheppard finishes on vault with a hop back, so Michigan will drop that score and go 49.550 on vault with five consecutive scores of at least 9.9 to start the event. That’s what landings get you. 

Small wobble for DeJesus out of her aerial, much better one out of her series. She’s not having her best meet so far, quite ragged. Sticks front full dismount – I like that better than the tuck 1.5. 9.775.

This beam rotation has been very much like UCLA’s season so far. Fine, but not clean or impressive enough to be a thing.

Zamarripa needs a big score to make this rotation something usable. Huge wobble out of her onodi – that has become a surprising issue these last few weeks. She’s has suddenly become a wobbler on beam again. This puts more pressure on Francis. Sticks double full but not a good routine by her standards. 9.750.

UCLA needs something very significant from Danusia in the anchor position. Also has a big wobble on her bhs coming out of the aerial. She’s the second one to do that today. Everything else is very nice and clean, so it should still be a pretty strong score. 9.850.

After 3: Michigan 147.975, UCLA 147.775, Iowa State 145.800, Cal 145.800
Michigan takes the lead after an excellent vault rotation and a flat, wobbly beam rotation from UCLA. Val is going to be upset at how tentative and tight they were on beam. It’s still close enough to be a meet, but UCLA now has some work to do on floor to make sure this meet goes over 197. The landings were pretty poor last week, so watch for that this time.
Rotation 4:
Allison Taylor is reporting that Miele fell on bars. Not that we got to see it.

McDonald starts floor for UCLA. Fine double pike, perhaps a little low, clean middle pass with some bent knees, not happy with the front leg on the ring, rudi is hit. Good start but not without deductions. 9.875.

Wong going second on floor (yay!), but first we see Sugiyama on bars with an excellent stuck landing. They should win this if they get three more hit routines. 9.950.

Wong lacks a little control in her bounce into the split jump out of the rudi, front layout is much stronger this week. Look at Mattie with her leg in that huge brace in the background. Sadness. Front full to front pike is a little under but she holds onto it well. 9.800.

Martinez has a nice tkatchev and a beautiful stuck DLO. What we’ve seen on bars has been hit and brilliant. 

DeJesus now for UCLA, pretty strong double pike, the tumbling is worlds better than it was last week against Alabama so far, still the dismount to come, pretty strong on the 1.5 layout with maybe a hop. 9.800

Sampson finishes bars for Michigan with a 9.925, so she will win the AA and Michigan will win the meet with a 197.550. Beilstein does exhibition pretty well with a questionable handstand or two.

Pritchett now on floor and does a carbon copy of what she always does, perfectly solid. UCLA needs big scores from the final three gymnasts to go over 197s, and they are getting some cooperation. 9.950 for Pritchett.

Zam bounces significantly out of her double pike, and it’s been another weaker day for her. Otherwise it was a hit. Still gets a 9.875, so UCLA will break 197 but only by a touch.

Courtney will finish the meet, huge lunge out of her double arabian and goes OOB, so this will not be a counting score. That’s not what they needed from her.

Final Scores: Michigan 197.550, UCLA 197.075, Cal 194.925, Iowa State 194.650 
Huge day for Michigan. We didn’t get to see much of their routines, but what we did see was very clean and showed many, many stuck landings. Great meet except for beam, which is going to hold them back and is the major thing keeping this team out of the first tier of contenders. Very strong performance.

Val is giving a speech about Pritchett getting a 9.950 on floor. Once again, UCLA was nice in places, and we can never call a 197 a bad score (even though the scoring this year kind of makes it into a bad score), but the lack of Larson is another blow this team cannot afford. Larson in a massive leg brace may just be one injury too much. UCLA still showed seven scores under 9.8, and at this point in the year one is too many. Bars landings were a highlight, but there weren’t that many others. The end of the vault rotation was strong, but everyone was at least a little wobbly on beam, and floor just doesn’t have the punch this year we have come to expect. Either they have the dance and don’t have the tumbling, or they have the tumbling and don’t have the dance.

In the new rankings, UCLA will fall behind both Utah and Georgia into 8th, and Michigan will retain #3.

8 thoughts on “[3] Michigan, Cal, Iowa St @ [6] UCLA”

  1. Bev mentioned that most of the freshman were injured coming in – definitely Austin Sheppard had a shoulder problem, and Lindsay Williams has a knee brace on still. I'm guessing Morgan also had something that's kept her out, or at least long enough that they decided to redshirt.

  2. Mattie injured her knee in warmups and isn't competing today – not sure how serious it is

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