Friday – 2/21/14
7:00 ET/4:00 PT –  LSU @  Florida (Scores) (Video – school subscription)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT –  Kent State @ Ball State (Video)
7:30 ET/4:30 PT –  Minnesota @ Iowa State (Video – school subscription)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Bart & Nadia Festival ( Oklahoma,  Alabama,  Michigan, West Virginia) (Scores)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT –  Georgia @  Auburn (Scores) (Video – all-access subscription)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Kentucky @  Arkansas (Scores) (Video – school subscription)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT –  Illinois, Illinois-Chicago, Northern Illinois @ Illinois State (Video)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – San Jose State @  Boise State (Scores) (Video)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT –  Denver @ Utah State
It’s going to be a good one.
Introductions getting started at Florida with the match of the LSU Tigers. I didn’t know Savona was the shortest one on the team. That’s always a good contest. We know Sarie is the tallest. Have we not seen much from Mathis this season because she’s still recovering from her Achilles issue or because it’s just too hard to make LSU’s lineups right now? Combination of both?
Florida’s dancey introductions. I identify with Colussi-Pelaez for only kind of doing it. They’re kind of struggling with the spotlight positioning during this. Macko stole some pom poms from somewhere and is dancing with them. It reminds me of Bart from the Simpsons when he has ADD. “Oh no! He got into the pep closet!”
Warmups getting underway momentarily. Important for LSU to post a competitive number on bars right from the start like they did last week at Metroplex. Wyrick will be interesting to watch. She’s getting back, but they’ll need her to be where she was last year, going in the back half of the lineup for possible 9.9s, once the postseason rolls around.
No surprises in the Florida lineups today. Hunter, Johnson, and Sloan all doing AA. No Macko on floor. LSU’s bars lineup is the same as last week: Dickson, Wyrick, Jordan, Ranzy, Courville, Morrison.
Rotation 1- Florida on vault, LSU on bars
1. Spicer – yfull – fairly nice shape (small pike toward the end), and a bounce back. 9.800.
2. B Caquatto – yfull – another strong showing in the air, came in slightly short this time and hopped forward – small hop. 9.800.
3. M Caqautto – yfull – pretty vault, good height, clean shape, opens out of it – hop back. 9.900.
4. Johnson – yfull – another excellent vault, one of her best of the season – comes in ever so slightly short and shuffles one foot on landing, but strong. 9.925.
5. Sloan – Oh hey brunette – yfull – looked amazing in the air, like it was going to contend for a 10, but she does take a shoulder-width step back on landing. 9.900.
6. Hunter – y1.5 – Another stick. That was the same vault that she got a 10 for last week, so I expect it again. Nailed it. 10.000. “They’re racking up like candy!” Is that an expression?
1. Dickson – Strong opening straddled jaeger, one short handstand followed by a fairly significant leg break on the bail. Tuck full dismount – nice stick. 9.800
2. Wyrick – Small leg break in the full turn at the beginning, strong tkatchev, handstands look good and bail is clean, sticks her DLO. 9.800
3. Jordan – Jaeger opening is strong, bail and handstands are hit, step back on the DLO but the cleanest showing for LSU so far. 9.800. OK. Maybe was a little rushed at the beginning.
4. Ranzy – Good shaposh, small leg break in the bail, great height on the tkatchev – pike open pike dismount is stuck. It’s not my favorite dismount because it just ends up looking like a poor DLO (and can be confused as such) instead of its own dismount, but she executes it. 9.925.
5. Courville – Jaeger is giant and form is excellent – clean bail hs, her shoot to the high bar is much improved over struggles early last season – no problems with the handstands at all and a stuck dismount. Very well done. 9.950.
6. Morrison – Strong piked jaeger, bail is perfect, handstands look clean to me from this angle, and she sticks her tuck full. Two very strong bars routines to finish that rotation for LSU. 9.950.
After 1: Florida 49.525, LSU 49.425
Florida has the lead after the first rotation as expected, but LSU kept it as close as they needed to. No problems in the early bars rotation from LSU, but a few leg breaks and maybe some rushed handstands that kept the scores down. I thought Jordan looked stronger than 9.800, but Ranzy weaker than 9.925, so it evens out. Courville and Morrison were clean and excellent throughout.
Florida stills needs to zero in on the landings early in the rotation because both Spicer and Bridgey had large hops that brought their scores down. Macko and Johnson were really close to being amazing and are getting closer each week. Sloan was going to be right in it for a massive score – at least 9.950 if not 10 – had she not rushed to salute and taken a step back. It looked like she could have held onto a stick there. And then Kytra. When she sticks, she sticks. Great start.
Rotation 2 – Florida on bars, LSU on vault
1. BDG – Opening shaposh to bail handstand is clean, has great toe point on her shoot to high bar – DLO is the usual DLO with the straddley second salto, but it’s also very high – small step back. 9.850
2. Hunter – Massive hindorff as always, maybe a slight bit of awkwardness in the bail, but everything else looked clean, including a stuck tuck full. 9.850.
3. B Cauqatto – Big ray to start, and great handstands early, another with a clean bail, and sticks her DLO. Great routine. One borderline handstand at the end? Maybe. 9.850. Hm, I thought it was really strong.
4. Sloan – They’re all killer with these opening tkatchevs – the bail handstand was a little floppier this week with the leg break – more defined break than usual – but the handstands all look strong. Finishes with a DLO – step back. 9.900.
5. M Caquatto – Excellent shaposh and bail combination to begin – tkatchev is solid with good rotation – tries to pretend that she stuck her tuck full but she didn’t – a fairly large step salute at the end. 9.875.
6. Johnson – Toe point bonus from me on the Ray, but she struggles on her bail handstand – arches and has to hold onto it, which will bring down the score. Everything else looks solid. The usual leg separation on the DLO but she sticks it. 9.925. How, when she had a big arch on the bail, is that the best score of the rotation? Sense making = zero.
1. Dickson – Excellent yfull, great height, stickish landing – stuck but kind of rushed to step into her slaute. 9.875
2. Jordan – yfull – another vault with very clean form in the air, fights for the sticks and bends a little but doesn’t step. They’re bringing it with these vaults early. 9.950
3. Savona – yfull – Looked like she didn’t get quite the distance of the first two, came in slightly short with a step to the side, but that makes it sound more problematic than it really was. Solid vault, just weak for LSU’s expectations. 9.825.
4. Gnat – y1.5 – her vault is so massive – she could still do the double – can’t quite control the landing though with a large lunge forward. 9.875.
5. Morrison – yfull – her usual strong form on the vault – but she has been sticking recently – smallish hop back this time. 9.900.
6. Courville – yfull – Correct. Just correct. Form, distance, power, all excellent. The smallest of hops in place, but it’s such a good vault. 9.950.
SCP does a really pretty exhibition on bars – her best of the season until the DLO, which isn’t there yet and keeps her out of the lineup.
After 2: LSU 98.975, Florida 98.925
Boom, LSU moves into the lead after a massive 49.550 on vault. Both teams are bringing some spectacular gymnastics to play today. No major errors from anyone so far, so it’s coming down to the littler things (unless you’re Alaina Johnson on bars and getting a 9.925 even when you struggle on the bail). But, Florida did look very strong on bars, not making that many mistakes, but a few did give away too much on the landings – particularly Macko – and that’s the reason they got a lower bars score than LSU and are currently behind.
LSU vaulted like monsters, getting a 49.550 when they didn’t even do their best. Most of the vaults were excellent, but every one of the last three can do better, which is kind of scary. They were just regular – not amazing by their own standards – but still bested Florida and exceeded what most teams could dream of. Basically the only deductions the final three incurred were on landing control, since none of them stuck. If those final three stick, they can realistically go 9.950, 9.950, 10.000. At least.
Rotation 3 – Florida on beam, LSU on floor
1. Spicer – opens with a small wobble on her loso series, solid gainer loso. Stuck gainer full to finish. A little tentative in some opening skills, but a solid start. 9.900. We’re getting high, people.
2. Johnson – Hits her opening aerial to back handspring. She’s excellent at making it look like she doesn’t have to wobble when she’s slightly off. Split 1/2 is great this week. Hop back on the side aerial + layout full. A couple areas to take, but a good recovery from some recent error routines. 9.875.
3. Boyce – Secure aerial to bhs, and the same is true of her loso series – slight struggle on her full turn to bring it around, but it’s minor – switch and split look well done, sticks the roundoff gainer full. She’s becoming that sturdy German for them in this beam routine – not amazing-mazing, but hit. 9.900.
4. Hunter – The punch front mount is 50/50, and this week it’s the bad 50. Big break at the hips, a step and a near fall. They’ll need to drop this. Check on the loso landing. Sticks the double back, as she always does when she has a mistake. 9.650.
5. Sloan – Good loso series to start, and is clean and controlled on her aerial to scale this week. Switch and split look strong. Easy peasy full turn with nice flair. Side aerial – hit. Confident stick in the double full. Let’s see what they do with this. 9.950.
6. M Caquatto – Clean loso series to start, followed by the aerial to swingdown. Good full turn. Switch and splits are perfect 180. Step on the gainer full. It’s a great routine, very clean, but it’s a little too easy for her talent level, so it fails to stand out. 9.925.
1. Dickson – oooh, bounces fairly far back on her opening double pike. She stayed in bounds but will give some ground away there. Front layout in the middle pass looks strong. Rudi to finish is quite good. 9.875. Think of what they would have given her? That was like Zamarripa last year bouncing a mile out of her double pike and still getting a 9.900 for being just generally amazing.
2. Gnat – Eeek! Huge stumble with multiple steps out of her pike full in mount. 2.5 to front tuck is big and she does just stay in bounds. Some early errors in these LSU routines that they can’t afford. Great double pike to end. 9.750.
3. Jordan – Pretty and solid double pike to start her routine, and same with a floaty 1.5 + layout – splits are well performed – and nails her 1.5 to front full. Very clean showing, confident tumbling. 9.875. Um, it was better than Dickson’s.
4. Savona – 1.5 to double back mount is well performed, maybe the smallest of slides? But it looked good in the air. Nails the full in second pass. Straddles look good. And another double pike that’s easy for her. Great difficulty and secure throughout. 9.875.
5. Courville – Double arabian mount is excellent, not a budge. Floats down out of her front to double back. Dance elements are her dance elements. Just a bit short on her double pike and hunches over to step forward, but that’s the only real break here. 9.875. So just everyone is a 9.875?
6. Hall – The commentator called her “Lay-Monica.” Forgiveness. It’s a hard name. Second time it was kind of like “Lo-Meesha.” Still no. Brilliant power on the DLO. We have a couple DLOs in this meet that are just too easy. Sticks her front full front layout. Strong double tuck as well – a little bouncy? Great routine, not sure if it was a 10 this time, but good routine. A couple of the landings were not definite. 9.925. I’m fine with that.
BDG does a solid exhibition on beam. Pretty work. I enjoy watching her here, more than some of the people in the lineup.
After 3: Florida 148.475, LSU 148.400
Hmmm, Florida reclaims the lead. LSU was going to need a lead going into beam while Florida was on floor in order to win this meet, so Florida is definitely driving right now, but both teams look on the way to big scores. It’s funny to see Florida’s 49.550 on beam because it was a perfectly good rotation, but not the kind of remarkable work we expect to see for 49.5+ scores. Spicer and Boyce are good, and performed their routines well, but it’s hard to get excited about them for 9.9s for regular, expected routines – with all the gainer fulls. They’re regular. Sloan was the clear class of that rotation with a great routine, and they were able to drop Kytra’s mistake, so it’s a victory.
LSU hit a very good floor rotation, but they probably needed a great one. It wasn’t great. The mistakes at the beginning cost them, and even someone like Courville had a little issue on her dismount that brought down the impression of her otherwise excellent routine. There was not enough separation in those scores, though – everyone got a 9.875 for routines of varying quality.
Both teams are still en route to a massive team total. 198 is probably out of the picture for LSU, but still in for Florida going to floor. Not seeing quite the same scores in the Bart and Nadia meet. Oklahoma leading Alabama with a 49.350 on vault to a 49.225 on bars. Michigan started with a mess on beam. Ugh. Michigan why do you hurt my heart so?
Rotation 4 – Florida on floor, LSU on beam
1. Boyce – Stumble on the front double full – bounces to the side – clean 1.5 to pike. Rudi is fine. Solid start apart from the opening stumble. 9.825.
2. Spicer – Strong pike full in, hits the front full + pike as well – split leap turn was just short of 180 as we tend to see from her, really secure double pike to finish. One of her better floor routines on the year. 9.875.
3. Johnson -Strong landing on the double arabian, 1.5 to layout is clean as well. Good dance and a hit double pike to finish. Good routine, no major mistakes there. Choreographically I was more into this routine when we tasted it last year, but whatever. 9.925.
4. Sloan – Seven Nation Army. 10 Nation Army. I don’t want anyone to start calling Florida that, but I’m kind of surprised we haven’t heard it yet. Oh, me. Nails the front double full as always. That straddle jump was humongous, like in the ceiling. Double pike is great. 1.5 to front layout is clean and easy – small hop. Great job. 9.950.
5. Hunter – Strong DLO and secure landing, and the middle pass is well done again. I really appreciate that pass giving her routine some creativity and a different look. Hits and rotates her straddles jumps well. And nails the open double back. Mostly similar to the most recent 10 she received, better than the first one, maybe this is the middle one in quality. 9.975. Fine with it.
6. B Caquatto – A little poppy bouncey on her front double full + front, rudi to split jump is also strong. Really strong straddles, those are the highlight of her routine. Good double pike, maybe the smallest lack of control – lifting up her plant leg. 9.925. Well now.
1. Hall – She’s still “Lay-Monica” – windmills slightly on her switch side, but she hits the position. Solid bhs + loso. Wobble on the switch leap and the leg flies up. Great double back dismount with a step back, but lots of places to take in that routine. 9.575.
2. Dickson – nice front handspring early, and a good switch to straddle 1/4, secure opening. Clean loso series and a small step forward on the gainer pike dismount. Not a ton of content, but she hit it. 9.825.
3. Ewing – Really nice to see a layout to two feet – very secure landing, switch side is hit – balance check on the full turn. Hits her loso and step forward on the 1.5 dismount. Aside from the break on the turn, a good job. If she’s getting her consistency, she’s a strong addition. 9.825.
4. Gnat – wobbles on her opening front aerial, and then another break on the straddle 1/4 as her back leg flies up. Wonky legs on the switch side, does it on an angle. She’s not really on this week, but a good loso series late. Hop back on double full dismount. 9.750.
5. Courville – Work to do to save the rotation. Pretty L turn. Wobble on the arabian this week and the leg goes up. Smallest of corrections on the loso series. Hits her sheep jump. Splits are phenomenal as always. Small pause in her aerial + sissone but both were well done. Sticks gainer pike. 9.900.
6. Jordan – Aerial opening is solid. Loso is also strong, maybe a small step back. Hits her splits and a clean side somi, good 1.5 dismount with a bend to hang onto it, but she doesn’t move. She’s good at holding onto her sticks. 9.925.
So there we have it. Florida takes the meet, but for the most part there was not a huge disparity between the two teams. LSU’s struggles on beam and early breaks on floor were probably the biggest difference.
Final Score: Florida 198.125, LSU 197.625
Florida looked very strong throughout this meet. There are still a few areas they need to clean up, like some of the early vaults and some of the bars landings, but they’re on their way to looking like they’re in postseason form. No one really made a mistake except for Kytra on beam, and then as we’ve seen at home for them all year, the scores just keep going up on floor to end the night.
LSU started out like crazy, big performances and scores on the first two rotations (and they can get better), just a few mistakes in the final two showings knocked them down. They rely a lot on a big floor score, so they can’t afford to land passes with that much lack of control and give up tenths. And then a few too many mistakes on the beam, and not the same quality on some of the dance skills early in the rotation. They need that third score to help out Courville and Jordan, and they didn’t get it tonight. Still, a big road score for a strong performance. SECs is going to be good.
Sloan just edges Courville and Johnson for the AA title, 39.700 to 39.675 to 39.650.
Over in Oklahoma City, scores have been noticeably tame. Oklahoma maintains a lead of a few tenths at the halfway point, but 9.9s have been the exception. To those watching, are these teams performing at a lower level than the last few weeks, or are the scores tighter? (Which is not the history of this meet as far as I recall. I anticipated huge numbers.)
Over in Auburn, Georgia had a huge bars rotation of 49.500 to jump out to a big lead and get on pace for something in the mid 197s, while Auburn is sticking around the pace for low 196s. I’ll be checking in over there momentarily.
Before that, in the land of numbers, LSU’s RQS will increase to a 197.470 on Monday, which means that Oklahoma would need a 197.525 tonight to match that score, which is basically impossible at this point. Nailed it, LSU.
Auburn is now counting a fall on beam already, and is now relying on Megan Walker to try to save the score somehow with a strong routine. Very clean gymnastics. And finishing with a stuck gainer full.
Georgia is staying in the 9.8s on floor so far, now Rogers, who doesn’t nearly get her double arabian, landing very low and lunging forward – springing miles out of bounds, so they won’t be counting this one. And another struggle on the double pike – huge lunge back OOB. They’ll be counting a 9.725 from Box now.
Atkinson – BB – clean full turn, small wobble on the front aerial, secure loso series. Switch split and wolf jump are well performed, and now the double pike dismount – stuck. Great routine except for the one wobble on the aerial. 9.900.
Auburn will drop after counting the fall on beam and will now have to work to get back into the 196s in the floor rotation.
Jay – FX – Really open on her tuck full but barely even landed it to her feet – very low with a lunge forward. I’m not great luck for Georgia, apparently, because they’ve had two big mistakes since I joined the action. Sorry, Gym Dogs. Finishes with a double pike – chest forward with a step.
I don’t even recognize this girl doing exo for Georgia on floor. Beth Roberts. I do kind remember her from previewing the freshmen now, but I don’t remember thinking she’d be in lineups. Takes a fall on her middle pass – short of rotation and a hand down.
Over in OKC, Oklahoma finally started getting a couple 9.9s going on beam for a 49.300, but the rotations are still stuck in the 49.2s and 49.3s. The only exception is Michigan’s vault, a 49.425, but it’s too late to save things after beam. They’re just going for getting back up to a 196 now. Beilstein’s vault 9.950 is the highest score of the meet.
Oklahoma still looks on pace to go fairly comfortably over 197, and Alabama can hit 197 as well with a solid vault rotation.
After 3: Georgia 147.625, Auburn 146.650
In other news, Arkansas is on pace to reach a new season high comfortably, and maybe even get toward 197 with a big final floor rotation. Grable is all kinds of 9.9s.
Rotation 4 – Georgia on beam, Auburn on floor
Box – BB – comfortable loso as opening acro, some of her 180s are a little short, but she hits her front toss and comfortably lands her 1.5 dismount, so a fine start overall.
Walker – FX – Rudi to split is solid to start – just layouts as the second pass, a little separation in the legs – does a sheep jump on the floor, which we don’t usually see. Finishes with a 2.5 with a small stumble.
Why does the Auburn PA announcer sound like the wise old man sitting on a bench in the park?
Persinger – BB – Pretty L turn, hits her loso with a small wobble. What’s a fish jump? The commentator just said that. I don’t think I’ve heard that expression. Her flexibility is lovely, step back on the 1.5 dismount, but she’s getting there in this routine. 9.825.
Kluz – FX – Strong tuck full in mount. I like to see that difficulty. Clean body shape on the front layout, front full. Finishes with a secure double back. Good routine. Very well done. 9.850.
Rogers – BB – Pretty loso series with good form maintained throughout, and hits her bhs 3/4 very well this week. Clean start, and only a small hop on her bhs 1/1 to layout full dismount. Good hit. I know people always say, “Judges like to see variety,” but is there any evidence for that in the scores? 9.850.
Kadous – FX – Hits her opening front through to double back – missed some head release on her switch ring there – 1.5+tuck as a middle pass, also hit securely. And a solid double pike to finish. Coming in for Guy’s injury, that was a confident performance.
Brown – BB – Good opening loso series. I haven’t seen her on this event so far this year. But a strong showing with a stuck 1.5 to finish. Comfortable on all her skills, no wobbles, good addition to this rotation. That’s an asset because they’ve had some struggles. 9.850.
Webster – FX – Strong pike full in opening. I don’t know these commentators, but they’re pretty good (even though they confused Kiera Brown with Kaylan Earls. Ouch. Oopsie). They’re fairly and accurately pointing out deductions and being knowledgeable and supportive of their team without being obnoxious. Stuck double tuck finish. 9.900.
Cheek – BB – Pretty loso, good height and form, and a huge switch side, clean side aerial, switch is hit and works through being slightly off line into her straddle 1/4. Sticks her gainer full. Well done. Pretty work. 9.875.
Demurs – FX – Another with a pike full in mount, hers is a little lower, so she might lose some ground there. Misses her 180 on that switch split, clean front full in the middle pass, and small slide on the double pike. 9.925. OK. Scores are getting fancy late.
Earls – BB – Wobbles on her two layouts series and swings her arms but stays on the beam. Side aerial to side is strong. Sticks her double back. Came back from the early mistake with no issues at all afterward. 9.850.
Atkinson – FX -Another pike full in, hers is the best of the bunch, though. She landed it high and stuck. Excellent. Front into the wolf jump as the middle pass – clean and original. Small slide on the double pike, but otherwise an excellent showing. Great rotation overall for Auburn. Nice to see.
That will end things here. Final score: Georgia 196.875, Auburn 196.100
That’s a solid score for Georgia on the road, built mostly on that early bars rotation. They certainly struggled through those floor routines at the end of that rotation, which we know is going to be a place to watch for this team. Beam was pretty. A couple people gave away wobbles to bring the scores down, but I thought they looked fairly strong, and Brown is a solid addition at least based on that routine.
Auburn recovered from the beam falls to get back into the 196s, and I was impressed with that floor showing, especially without Bri Guy. Good difficulty and notable control in all of those landings.
Over in OKC, Oklahoma just managed to edge Alabama in what turned into a nail-biter after Alabama finally arrived on vault with a huge score, but it was Scaman’s 9.925 on floor that pushed Oklahoma over the top. Final: Oklahoma 197.200, Alabama 197.100, Michigan 196.200, West Virginia 193.525
Michigan also managed to recover well enough after beam and floor to save a 196 and post what would have been a strong score and contended for the meet win if not for the major beam problems.
It’s still a strong score for both Oklahoma and Alabama being in the 197s, but when we’ve become accustomed to teams broaching 198s when they hit, this is unremarkable.
Milliner came in on bars for Alabama this week and managed to win the AA title with a 39.525.
Oklahoma’s RQS will improve to 197.405, which means it’s official that LSU will move up to #1, improving theirs to 197.470.
Crazy AA alert: Katherine Grable just scored a 39.725 to win the AA at Arkansas’s meet against Kentucky. The Razorbacks finished with a 197.100, which is a huge boost for them. Grable would have been higher if not for the paltry 9.900 on bars, her low score of the meet.
In other final news, Minnesota recorded a nice 196.525, led by Mable’s 39.425 and 9.925 on vault, and beam 9.925s from Schermann and Hanna Nordquist [insert Kathy Johnson’s weird moan here – although she has nothing on Sandra Bezic, who has weird moaned her way through the whole Olympics. “She performs this routine from her soul outward. Triple toe. UHHHHHHHHH.” Like every double axel is a guttural adventure. I can’t take it.]
In late news, Amber See also received a 10.000 on vault today for Illinois. Her vault is the ninth different routine to receive a 10 this season after Hunter and Courville on vault, Peszek on bars, Sloan on beam, and Hall, Hunter, Sloan, and Scaman on floor.
I’ll be back tomorrow for the Pac-12 meets. Don’t miss me.