[4] Utah @ [12] Stanford

It’s a three-day weekend because of the presidents, so let’s take this opportunity to kick back with some bonus Monday gymnastics action. As is customary, this Monday meet won’t be included in the rankings until next week, so the new rankings are as follows:

Utah is currently resting steady at #4, and that looks fairly likely to continue. The Utes will have an RQS after this meet, but would need to score a 198.450 to match Florida’s current total of 197.260. That’s a little much, but they would need a 196.825 in order to stay ahead of Alabama’s current RQS of 196.930, which seems doable.

As expected, LSU would be debuting at #1 if RQS had started today instead of next week, but as it stands, the Tigers currently sit at #3 as Oklahoma moves up to the top spot.

By not competing over the weekend, Stanford has dropped a bit, and as I mentioned in the RQS update earlier in the week, there’s reason to begin feeling some urgency over Stanford’s scoring because the current RQS would also drop them behind both Arkansas and Minnesota. They won’t be able to get rid of their road 194 for another week, but they have the opportunity to get rid of a counting 195 today, which would move them to slightly more secure ground.

The meet will begin at 5:00 ET/2:00 PT on the Pac-12 Network.

Each team is putting up one all-arounder today, Rice for Stanford and Wilson for Utah. The live scores page is currently trying to tell us that Dabritz is doing the AA, but that is simply a cruel trick. She remains out of the beam lineup according to Utah.

Rotation 1: Stanford on vault, Utah on bars
Stanford vault:
1. Chuang – yfull, good height, pikes a little and has a large bounce back out of it. OK start. 9.775.
2. Daum – yfull, excellent form, and another with fine looking height, a small hop in place but a high-chested and controlled landing. 9.825 
3. Rice – Another yfull with fairly nice form throughout – looks improved over last year in that department. I recall her being more pikey, but so far this team doesn’t pike as much as some of the teams we have been seeing. A weaker landing than Daum’s, though, with a medium step back. 9.775 
4.  D McNair – Yfull, another with good power and body shape – but a large bounce on the landing and an extra step after the bounce, which will hurt her score. 9.800.
5. N McNair – Excellent power and form again, but more control than her sister in the landing, bends to hang onto the stick there but doesn’t quite keep it. Good job, almost a great job. 9.850. 
6. Vaculik – Yfull, she stands out from the rest for her superior distance, which may have kept some of the early scores down, but she also has a large bounce back. They’re very close to being great on this event, but so many of them are giving away a lot on landings. 9.850.

Utah bars:
1. Hughes – Handstands and form look strong early, nice tkatchev at least from this angle, mediumish-largish step back on the tuck full dismount, but it’s a clean start. 9.850. 
2. Wilson – The form is getting a little better on some of the releases it appears – at least the overshoot, still a leg break on the gienger, though. Misses her final handstand and takes a step back on the tuck full. Not quite her best. She usually sticks that dismount to help bump up her score. 9.825. 
3. Hansen – Hits her jaeger, not her biggest jaeger but fine enough, small leg break on the pak and had to redo the cast to handstand on the bar after not getting the half turn the first time. Sticks her dismount, but the mistake on the low bar will bring the score down. 9.775.
4. Lothrop – Efficient and speedy in her work as always, jaeger is good. She had one short handstand in there and tried to pretend she stuck her DLO but didn’t hold the stick long enough – stepped into the salute. 9.850. 
5. Damianova – Leg break in that shaposh, clean bail and the handstands and pirouetting looks good so far – sticks her double back as usual. It’s a short routine and there are small areas like her toes that are a little crossed and strange, but nothing major that can be taken. 9.900
6. Dabritz – Pauses before her jaeger to hang onto her handstand but does so and moves in the skill,  catching it very well. Clean and precise on the bail and finishes with another stuck tuck full. Very strong showing that will score high again. 9.925.

NOTE: A know a lot of these teams are constrained by space and the layout of the venue, but straight on is the worst angle from which to view bars and evaluate routines. Ideally, we would be seeing them from the side, slightly angled. We rarely get that perspective in NCAA meets. 

After 1: Utah 49.350, Stanford 49.100
Utah looked fine on bars, not the team’s absolute best showing but nothing problematic. There were big enough mistakes in those first few routines to keep the scores down (even though they didn’t go that far down) – Hughes and Wilson with fairly large steps on the landing, Hansen with the mistake on the low bar – but the last three performed as we would expect them to perform.

I’m actually pretty encouraged by Stanford’s vaulting even though the score isn’t too high. They gave away a ton with four uncontrolled landings out of the six- and we’re starting to get to the point in the year where that is not allowable (though Stanford does tend to round into form fairly late), but the basis is there for a potentially excellent rotation. A couple sticks for 9.9s should be expected in the near future.

Rotation 2 – Stanford on bars, Utah on vault
Utah vault:
1. Tutka – yfull, pretty strong in the air with a fairly significant step back. 9.825
2. Lofgren – yfull, doesn’t have the hugeness of others in this lineup – pikes a little bit more and lands lower – bounce back. 9.800.
3. Damianova – yfull, strong height and form – she’s improving in that department over her early years – has to bend and windmill to hang onto the stick, but it didn’t look like she took a step. 9.850.
4. Delaney – yfull, she’s crazy good on this event. Like, it’s offensive. Very high, great form, stuck landing. Yep. 9.950.  
5. Wilson – yfull, yep again. Great power and height as always, didn’t look like she bounced on that landing – replay shows a small bounce in place/slightly back. 9.925. I’m fine with that score because Delaney’s was a touch stronger with a definite, clear stick. Wilson’s landing wasn’t definite.  
6. Dabritz – Y1.5 – this vault is becoming very consistent for her in the scoring department – good form in the air – hop forward but not a huge hop – not one of those bounding 1.5s. 9.875.

Stanford bars:
1. Morgan – Piked jaeger to open is big, far, and well caught. All her handstands look clean, and a stick on the (cowboyed) double front. Excellent opening routine. 9.900.
2. Rice – She has improved a ton here as well. Clean jaeger to open and precise handstand after it, one handstand was questionable but another stick on the dismount – double back. 9.875.
3. N McNair – Another big piked jaeger, and good form on the bail as well. Hop back on her tuck full dismount, and I saw a borderline handstand or two in there, but another really strong routine.  9.875.
4. D McNair – Hit handstands early and a powerful straddled jaeger, overshoot, squats to stick her DLO but does so. Her opening shoot to high bar wasn’t particularly great, but another efficient and confident routine otherwise. Stanford looks good here. 9.875.
5. Shapiro – Yet another showing excellent handstands like her teammates, but she stands out from the earlier competitors with her elite refinement and toe point – she should get more reward for that than the judging currently allows. She hits this time too! I saw one leg break in a turn, but it’s a great routine. Such a floaty and excellent DLO, but she does take a step back on it. 9.900.
6. Vaculik – Love that she does that hip circle up to high bar, which we rarely see these days. And then that gienger.  Yes. Yes. Yes. Correct. Flops the legs apart a little on the second salto on the DLO dismount and maybe a small slide on landing? But very strong again from my perspective. 9.850. 

After 2: Utah 98.775 (vault: 49.425), Stanford 98.525 (bars: 49.425)
That was an excellent rotation. Really strong gymnastics for both teams. For Stanford, those handstands are so clean and precise throughout the lineup. They give away much less than most teams do in that department. Lots of jaegers, but they’re all well done so they jaeger fatigue is minimal. Stanford is a team with efficient form without giving away much at all. Utah didn’t quite get the landings from the first three competitors in that rotation, but the final three were gems.

We’ve got some judge chatter for some reason delaying the rotation. Kristen sashays her flowy dancer palazzo pants over the the judges table to straighten things out, and we’re back in action.

Rotation 3: Stanford on beam, Utah on floor
Stanford beam:
1. Morgan – Pretty walkover to split jump, followed by a loso series with impressive amplitude and precise form. Switch split was a little questionable, but side aerial and side somi are right on with no wobbles. Clean full turn, small hop back on the double full. Great start. 9.850. 
2. Wing – Balance check on the bhs full to open the routine, but her bangs obviously erase some of her deductions rght away, secure jumps combo. Some large pauses before her acro. Short on her walkover but hangs onto it with a step, wobble on the loso series, sticks gainer full. Errors throughout but it shouldn’t be a terrible score. 9.825 – (that’s a fine score for this routine as a standalone, but relatively, Morgan’s was worlds better)
3. N McNair – Strong and secure loso series to start, nice height on her leaps which sets them apart, side somi was a little nerve wracking there but no wobbles. Side aerial is excellent. Switch to back tuck is also hit. A little short on the double full dismount with a hop forward. Lots to like on the beam itself, though. 9.850.
4. Rice – She looks petrified, but both her opening straddle and sheep jumps were hit, even with a pause in between them. Front toss is mostly fine with a small correction, loso series is hit, ends with a bhs to gainer full with a small hop forward. Some tentativeness and small adjustments on a few skills, but a solid hit. 9.825.
5. Vaculik – Nice switch, goes to connect it to the back tuck and one foot looked totally off the beam but she lands it on the other foot just fine. The Rulfova is strong and well done even if constantly terrifying. P.S. Your pelvis is broken. Loso series is strong, finishes with a double back dismount but lands short with a lunge forward. 9.825. 
6. Spinner – Wobble on the loso series to open, looked a little tight in that full turn, straddle elements are excellent, she lands her gainer loso lands with her legs in different counties, but it’s secure. Small step on double full dismount. 9.850. 

Utah floor:
1. Lofgren – Hit double pike to start, and solid on her whip to double full as well. Ends with an adequate rudi to layout stepout. No trouble in that routine. Good, solid, regular opening routine. 9.825.
2. Delaney – Tuck full in to mount, bounces out of it and barely stays in bounds. Good form on layout full middle pass with a hit landing, straddle elements look fine, high and comfortable double tuck to finish. 9.825. 
3. Del Priore – Very short on her tuck full in landing with a large lunge forward. Also looked a little short on her layout full + layout middle pass but didn’t give away anything. Double tuck dismount is perfectly fine, but she lost multiple tenths with that mount. 9.725.  
4. Wilson – Big DLO with a stuck landing. She also gets good lift off the floor on those straddle elements to help her complete them. Front layout full middle pass is solid, and a nice high double tuck to finish. That’s the most comfortable routine they’ve had so far by a margin. Jim Watson must have a card in front of him that says, “Best smile in college gymnastics” because he has said it about Tory about six times already today. 9.900. 
5. Dabritz – Not the stick we have come to expect lately on the pike full in mount – small hop forward on landing because she tried so hard to stick it. The layout stepout out of her middle pass is so excellent. Her music is a bit strident, but there’s no questioning the stick on that triple full dismount. 9.975. It wasn’t that – she had the hop forward on the mount, so it was weaker than her other 9.975s, but it is becoming a tradition. 
6. Damianova – Double tuck is nice in the air as always – maybe a little bounce on the landing, dances out of her 1.5 to layout, straddle elements are strong, sticks the double pike to finish. 9.925. 

After 3: Utah 148.225 (floor: 49.450), Stanford 147.725 (beam: 49.200)

Utah started out a little average in that floor rotation with some uncontrolled landings in the opening few routines, but in what is becoming a tradition for them, the final three performers of the rotation delivered strong, confident, and securely landed routines. The judges got a little enthusiastic on that Dabritz score – everyone is giving her a 9.975, so they wanted to get in on the action, but it was still a great routine. Stanford has the potential to do much better than this on the beam, but everyone had at least one notable mistake to bring a few scores that should have been 9.9s in under 9.9. This is an event where they can make up ground on some other teams, so they can’t afford to give away those tenths with wobbles. Morgan was probably the highlight routine, but going first appeared to drop down her score a little.

Utah currently looks on pace for a mid 197, though beam might have something to say about that. Stanford can go into the 197s, which would be a big get for them, with a 49.300 on floor. But, floor has been a question mark for them and currently isn’t featuring a few of their best options.

A delay here again. Tabitha Yim giving a little floor pep talk.

Rotation 4 – Stanford on floor, Utah on beam
Stanford floor: 
1. Morgan – Sticks the opening double tuck, clean form on the 1.5 to layout middle pass, slide back on the double pike dismount, but she has been mostly clean through her three leadoff routines today. 9.875.
2. Frowein – Bounces back fairly significantly on the double pike, does a double L turn and it wasn’t bad as far as double L turns go (in that they are so very rarely completed or L – a “double L turn” is usually more like a “1.65 K turn”) – switch ring was a little short of position – does front pikes out of her final two passes, and they’re just sort of fine. Regular. 9.825. 
3. Daum – A little short on the double pike landing with a lunge forward, splits look good, also pretty short on her 1.5 to front full and hangs onto it with a step back. Pretty much the same shortness on the double back dismount but less so, small hop forward. Not her best. 9.800.
4. Hanset – 2.5 to punch front mount is solid, a little bouncy on her double pike middle pass, switch ring, wolf full and straddle full look fine. She goes so far on her combination passes, takes her front full to front pike right to the edge but stays in bounds. 9.825. 
5. Rice – Great double pike to start, clean front full in the middle pass – turns are pretty and she’s hitting her dance elements. Good form throughout, but then lands short and lock-legged on her double pike and awkwardly bounces forward out of it. She had a good one going for a while there. 9.800.
6. Vaculik – Nice high double tuck and drops excellently into the landing, 1.5 + front layout to stag is strong as well, and she really hits her dance elements allowing no questions about hitting the correct position. Strong and secure double pike. I’m so impressed with her improvement and confidence this year. She looks like a different gymnast. Excellent routine. 9.950.

Utah beam:
1. Rowe – full turn is good, switch split is a little short of 180, loso series – bends at the hips and takes a few steps back but she stays on the beam. Switch side is fine and front toss is secure, small hop on the 1.5 dismount, but the big check on the loso will bring down the score. 9.725. 
2. Dabritz – Now she’s in the lineup. So it wasn’t a vicious lie after all. Prove me right, Georgia. Good full turn. Back tuck to swingdown is strong. Huge break on her split half, bends at the hips and barely stays on the beam. Oh, Georgia. I always convince myself you’re worth being in the rotation and get mad when you are (admittedly justifiably) not in the lineup, but then this. Small hop back on double full. 9.650. It’s still in the team’s best long-term interest to find a way to get her hitting if at all possible. 
3. Wilson – Balance check on her two layouts series, but the wobble is small. Short of 180 on the switch split but doesn’t wobble on it the way she did in warmups. Bigger break on the straddle 3/4 as her leg flies up to stay on the beam. Several areas to take in this routine. Sticks 1.5 dismount. 9.775. 
4. Lofgren – Hits the side somi, takes a wobble on her walkover and was off direction in going to connect it to her bhs and comes right off the beam. Utah still doesn’t have this beam thing together and will now be counting Dabritz’s score. 9.150. 
5. Delaney – (Interesting that Hughes was the one they chose to take out for Dabritz, not Delaney) – Huge break on her opening loso series and she comes off the beam right at the start as well. They’ll be counting a fall. Tentative throughout the rest of the routine. Small check on gainer loso, and a bounce back on the gainer full. Aw, she looks so devastated. 9.025. 
6. Lothrop – Opens with a switch side half, which we rarely see – she looked tight going into her loso series but hits it securely – maybe a small check – wobble on the switch side and some of these dance elements are short of 180, hop forward on the high and otherwise strong 1.5. It’s probably their best routine, but not her best at all. They’ll take anything hit at this point. 9.775.   

Final score: Stanford 197.000, Utah 196.300

Utah looked strong through three events. No one would confuse it with their best showing of the year, but there were some highlights at the end of each of rotation and they would have gladly taken it. Then we got to beam, and this seems like a broken record after watching UCLA yesterday, but it was a mess. None of the six performers brought a strong routine. Dabritz came in and was disappointingly wobbly, but that wasn’t even the major problem with two falls coming up after her. Utah has been nipping at the heels of the top teams like Florida, Oklahoma, LSU, and Alabama, but they cannot be considered in the same conversation until they figure out beam. A 48.075 there today. Ouch.

Stanford impressed me. There were areas of mistakes (a few facets in multiple rotations that looked very January), and they generally look farther behind the teams that are scoring well on a weekly basis, but there was nothing disappointing about this showing. The foundation for big scores is in place, even on a couple of the events that brought in some of their lower numbers. Floor, while bringing in the second-highest rotation score of the meet for them, is a bit of a concern because there’s a lot of fine, slightly ragged 9.825 gymnastics going on there and a severe lack of difficulty. But, people with big passes like McNair weren’t in today, so this may improve as we go on as well. It’s a work in progress that we witnessed today, certainly, but that’s OK because I can see how this team becomes a contender if everything falls into place.

One thought on “[4] Utah @ [12] Stanford”

  1. Hugely disappointing end to an otherwise great meet for Utah. I don't know what happened on beam, but you can't contend for much when your high score on an event is 9.775. Not really any excuses for this type of midseason performance – hopefully Utah can get it corrected before the postseason though. Beam was bad and it drags down the team score, but hopefully the other 3 events continue to shine and don't get overshadowed by suspect beam work.

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