Saturday Pac-12 Meets – Oregon State @ Utah, Stanford @ UCLA

We have double Pac-12 duty tonight, with two (sort of) simultaneous meets to get through, both of which should provide a satisfying level of intrigue in both the rankings picture and the “can you hit beam?” picture.

We’ll start with Oregon State and Utah, which can be viewed on the Pac-12 Network beginning at 8:00 ET/5:00 PT. Oregon State currently sits in a somewhat precarious RQS position, especially where road scores are concerned, so tonight is an opportunity to give themselves a serious dose of help. The Beavers are currently ranked 11th, and have lower-ranked teams like Minnesota nipping at them with solid mid 196s already this weekend. No team wants to finish ranked in those 11-14 places, resulting in a tough Regionals assignment with multiple other realistic contenders.

UCLA is another team needing a breakthrough performance, and I’ve beaten that horse enough already this year, so I’ll just say that allegedly Danusia is returning tonight, which has the potential to make everything better.

I know I mentioned that I would like these videos to just be Val, which is still true, but Randy Lane.

UCLA’s meet is available on streaming here beginning at 9:00 ET/6:00 PT. I’m going to try to do double-duty blogging when the meets are overlapping, and it’s going to be a disaster. Hooray! Good practice for Regionals.

Starting with Utah, we don’t know yet whether Breanna Hughes or Georgia Dabritz will be in the beam lineup for Utah tonight, which could be an interesting choice. It’ll be telling to see where they go with that.

Coverage is starting, and we’ve already learned that the beam is four inches wide. Coverage B Team today: Brian Webber and Carly Patterson are doing the commentary, and the focus is, as expected, on Utah’s beam issues. It’s certainly the rotation of the day.  

Rotation 1 Utah on vault, OSU on bars:
Utah vault:
1. Tutka – yfull – one of her best landings of the year, good stick. She was a question mark this week, but maybe she should be a question mark more often. 9.900
2. Lofgren – yfull – Another who sticks. They’re bringing the landings this week. She has a bit more piking in the air and not the height of the others, but a secure finish. 9.900. 
3. Damianova – yfull – doesn’t have the landing of the first two, bounces back and then takes another step afterward, but her leg form is the strongest of the three – together on the block and less body piking in the air. 9.800
4. Delaney – yfull – Her usual great vault, but didn’t get the stick this time – a small hop in place. But good height, body shape, and chest up on landing. 9.950. Same score she has been getting for sticks.
5. Wilson – yfull – Her height is crazy as always – there’s only so many times you can say it. Also has a small hop in place. Delaney’s is a bit stronger in the air form in my view, but the landings were basically equivalent, so we’ll see what they do. 9.950. The final score is fine, whatever. But one of the judges gave her a 10, which is not acceptable. She clearly didn’t stick that.
6. Dabritz – Yfull – doesn’t do the 1.5 this week. She does stick it, but she lands pretty squatty and low, so they’ll take for that. Maybe not accustomed to bringing it back in to just do the full right now. 9.925. That’s high for that vault because of the landing. Doesn’t adequately separate it. 

OSU bars:
1. Gardiner – Clean legs on the bail handstand, a bit of a dead hand on her shoot to high bar, strong full turn and a stuck double back. Not a ton of content there, but fairly well executed. 9.775.
2. Keeker – Clean piked jaeger, she has a couple leg separations here – on a turn and on the bail as well – but sticks her DLO. Lots of sticks to start this meet. 9.800.
3. Tang – Her full turn looked a little past vertical and a leg break on the bail handstands as well – otherwise strong – hop back on tuck full dismount. 9.800.
4. Harris – Clean shaposh, but arches on her bail so much that she was never going to be able to save it and comes off the bars. No chance there. Finishes up by sticking her dismount, as most of them are doing. 9.075.
5. Aufiero – Great first handstand, very precise in the legs, great tkatchev, misses her handstand after the release, but everything else is strong. Amazing DLO height, just does hang onto the stick. I’d give it to her. 9.875.
6. Casey – Works very quickly, and sometimes looks a little rushed, great gienger and clean handstands, hop back on the DLO. 9.900. 

After 1: Utah 49.625, Oregon State 49.150.
Utah vaulted very well, as we have been seeing every week. It was important for them to see those first few get sticks because they don’t have the same exceptional quality of the later lineup gymnasts. But sticking helps them push the scores up. Of course, I would still like to see more accurate and appropriate separation, but the story will be the absolutely ridiculous judge who gave Wilson a 10 for a non-stuck vault. We’ve seen this story before, and it’s frustrating.

Oregon State did well enough on bars. They were able to drop the fall, and Aufiero and Casey finished with fairly precise routines, strong line and handstands and largely well-performed skills. A few form breaks early in the rotation, and everyone had at least one or two little problems with precision to bring the scores down.

In the commentary department, Carly is doing a fine job. She’s a little meek and quiet, but she’s pointing out deductions appropriately and providing helpful analysis of the routines.

Rotation 2 – Utah on bars, Oregon State on vault
Utah bars:
1. Hughes – Good opening handstand, catches her tkatchev, clean legs through the bail hs, small hop back on the tuck full, but a strong first routine. 9.850.
2. Wilson – Small leg break on the full turn, but a big gienger to overshoot combination – not too bad on the form this time, hop back on the tuck full. 9.850.
3. Hughes – First handstand was borderline, but the jaeger was good, hits her pak and works it out on the low bar this week. Bends to hang onto her stick for the tuck full. Strong showing, a few areas, but good. 9.825. 
4. Lothrop – Good jaeger, clean showing so far, good bail handstand, short last handstand before her dismount and a fairly large hop back on the DLO. She was going great for a while there, but gave away too much right at the end. 9.850.
5. Damianova – Good opening handstand, she breaks her legs on the shaposh each time, but everything else looks good. Most precise handstands of the group and a clean, well-executed stalder. Sticks her double back dismount. They needed that kind of stick. 9.925.
6. Dabritz – So clean, jaeger is easy for her and bail is ideal. No question on the handstands. Sort of stuck her tuck full – shuffled her leg a little bit it was minor. 9.950.

OSU vault:
1. Tang – yfull – not a huge amount of height, hops back fairly far on landing. Fine start. 9.825.
2. Aufiero – yfull – similar to Tang in that the block is fine but not that big, pretty secure landing, just a hop in place. 9.875.
3. Keeker – Yhalf – pretty good form, breaks her legs a little to land, and a hop forward. 9.875. Oregon State getting the same scoring benefit as Utah did, so that’s at least good to see. 
4. Blalock – Yfull – She gets great distance, but does not have much height, has to pike to complete the vault and bend forward to save the stick. 9.825. 
5. Harris -yfull – She also came in high on the horse and didn’t get a lot of power, but she does well to get it around – though she does have to break in form – both pike and bend the knees – to finish the vault. So, not her best. 9.875. WHAT? 
6. Witherby – Tsuk full – another who has to pike a little to get it around – hops back a bit. 9.800.  

After 2: Utah 99.050, Oregon State 98.425.
Utah gets another good score on bars. The first four all had at least an error or two in their routines to bring the scores down, but the final two were quite strong. They need to get a few more landings in those early routines to really get the scores. Dabritz is the clear class of the field on bars.

We can conclude that vault scoring is just funky tonight. First Wilson gets a 10 for not sticking, then Harris gets a 9.875 – tied for the highest of the rotation – after legitimately struggling on her vault and breaking form and landing low. The vault score is fine, but that event is still a bit of a struggle for Oregon State. They’re not getting big blocks and aren’t able to maintain their form throughout. They fought for a couple sticks, but they had to fight. The landings don’t look comfortable or easy yet.

Is that Becky Tutka with a pillow taped to her back? The height of medical treatment.

Rotation 3 – Utah on beam, OSU on floor:
Utah beam:
1. Rowe – Here we go. Moment of truth. Good creative mount, wobbles slightly just getting up onto the beam, but it was tiny. Waves the arms on her straddle 1/4 to not wobbles. Step back and adjustment on her loso. Good switch side, and front toss. Improving and getting less tight as the routine goes on. Lands a little low on the 1.5 with a step back. Definitely tight with some issues, but she got through it. 9.775. 
2. Dabritz – She’s still in the lineup. It’s a good decision even if it doesn’t work out. Pretty full turn. Hits her back tuck to swingdown. Switch half is fine, small check on side aerial. She’s working quicker this week, which may help her. A little quick through those leaps but fine. Sticks her double full dismount. There it is, Georgia. Good for her. 9.875. 
3. Wilson – Secure two layouts series, that switch split just kills me each time, but everything else is OK so far. Wobbles on her full turn, and saves from a small check on the straddle jump. Small hop on 1.5 dismount. 9.875.
4. Lofgren – Side somi is fine – slides her foot a little, no problems on the walkover to bhs this week, solid stag jump, sticks her roundoff to (piked) gainer full. 9.925. OK, calm down judges. 
5. Delaney – Wobble on the opening loso series and the leg comes up, great straddle jump but a fairly big bend on her tuck full jump landing, smallest check on the standing loso, sticks gainer full. Well, they’re not counting a fall this week. 9.725.
6. Lothrop – Steps a little to avoid giving away a wobbles on her opening leap, clean loso series. Just a few steps out of her skills here and there, but doing a fine job. She’s hitting. Pretty big bound forward on her 1.5 dismount.9.650. Did she not get her full difficulty? It seems like she must not have. 

OSU floor:
1. Witherby – Secure landing on the full in mount, definitely some knee-chest but secure. 1.5 to layout is clean. Again with the bend over landing on the double pike, but she didn’t give anything away on control. 9.825.  
2. Turner – Bounds forward a little on her double arabian landing but does stay in bounds, another one with a clean 1.5 to layout middle pass. The classic switch side to popa combo dance element combo, and hers is fine. Hits double pike. 9.825
3. Tang – Punch rudi mount with a little bounce, good switch ring, just got her double pike together – low landing and drifts backward – but it could have been worse, finishes 1.5 to layout. These are fine but not big floor routines. 9.825.
4. Blalock – Big double back to open, overdoes it a little and steps back – also overdoes her 2.5 middle pass and bounds out of it and continues running right off the floor and out of sight. Just couldn’t control it, so they’ll need to drop this. Pretty 1.5 to loso though. Ha. Carly wants her to do a punch layout out of her 2.5. 9.175.
5. Gardiner – Opens with a triple full – a little bounce but love to see it and well executed overall. She just moves comfortably through all her gymnastics and choreography, and it’s engaging because of that. Finishes with a double pike, a bit low but well done overall. 9.850.
6. Harris – Strong 2.5 to start, controlled landing and good form in the air. Secure double pike and high. First split jump was short of 180. Full to front pike to finish. Best routine of this rotation but quite a way.  Or not. 9.825. OK.

After 3: Utah 148.225, Oregon State 147.575

The important development is that Utah hit beam. They didn’t come very close to having a fall and dealt with the event well. There is still work to be done. It was a tight rotation with some wobbles and breaks here and there, so it was good but still needs to get better to be competitive.

Over in the UCLA and Stanford, both teams had a little it of an issue to start, with Pinches getting very bouncey on her vault landing and Morgan falling on bars, but they appear to be getting it back together as we go through.

Rotation 4 – Utah on floor, Oregon State on beam, plus UCLA on vault and Stanford on bars 

Bynum – VT – UCLA – lands a little short on her yhalf this time with a bounce back, not the strength we saw last week.  9.875 is high.

D McNair – UB – Stanford – Solid handstands, clean straddled jarger and an efficient overshoot, step back on DLO. Good routine. They’re already counting a 9.750, so they need it.

Peszek – VT – UCLA – She’s back, and they need it. Pretty good yfull – strong form – not all the way back there yet with a hop on landing, but very good. Should be 9.9ish still because there was little else of issue there. 9.925.

Shapiro – UB – Stanford – lovely toe point as usual, great high jaeger and a hit pak salto, a little low on that DLO dismount with a bound forward. They’re almost there but just missing that final touch on these routines.

Courtney – VT – UCLA – big high yfull with the usual strong form – does bounce back, so not the great landings we saw at the very beginning of the year, but that’s really the only thing to take. 9.925.

Vaculik – UB – Stanford – Clear hip shoot. Amazing gienger, Hitting her handstands, maybe a leg separation on the bail handstand, good routine until the DLO. Another with a large bounce back. This was a weaker bars rotation by a margin than we saw last week, too many people giving away full tenths on their dismounts. They can’t afford that. 9.825. 

Witherby – BB – Oregon State – Checks after her walkover and breaks the connection to the bhs, otherwise looks contained and solid. Double pike dismount is well done with a hop back. 9.775. 

Alex Archer comes off the bars almost immediately doing exhibition for Stanford. UCLA gets a 49.400 on vault, which they desperately needed. It’s amazing what a little Peszek and a little home scoring will do for you. Stanford goes 49.000.

Del Priore on floor did her mount behind the rest of her team on camera, so it was tough to tell about the landing, but she landed her double back dismount very low and lunged forward, almost had to put her hands down on it. 9.825. is charitable. 

Blalock – BB – Oh, Kelsi. She really struggles here. Front toss is off line and she comes off the beam. Comes off again on her loso series. Ouchie, ouchie. Brilliant gainer full to finish, so there’s something, but that’s a sad one. 8.625.

Delaney – FX – Strong tuck full mount and secure, front layout front full middle pass – she slides that back foot forward on landing – Good straddle elements – and a stick on the double back. Well done. 9.875. 

Harris – BB – Oregon State – nice front toss, does check on the bhs after it – nice split jumps and a three series into a stuck gainer full. A few minor things, but a necessary hit and comfortable routine.

Chuang – VT – Stanford – Comfortable yfull – a little leg form and a near-stick on landing. Good job. 

Wilson – FX – Utah – Strong and high DLO to start with a little slide back, and an overall solid routine, except she lacked a little control on some of those passes. Bouncing a little too much and not nailing them. 9.825.

Sawa – UB – UCLA – Great tkatchev to start, leg separation on the pak, and a big lunge backward on the double pike dismount. Saved on the low bar by swinging around to save it.

Mossett – UB – UCLA – Had one of her better routines going but way missed a handstand and then had to take an extra swing on the low bar afterward. Not a great start for UCLA here. Some people aren’t going to be getting stickers.

Oregon State has a fairly big wobble from Ohlrich early in her beam routine, but she stays on.

Tutka – FX – Good tuck full to start, followed by a clean rudi to a strong split jump, this is the strongest of the rotation so far, confident double tuck to finish. I don’t believe that this girl is injured. 9.875.

Danusia returns to UCLA’s bars lineup and gets them back on track a little bit, and Taylor Rice lands a secure yfull.

Gardiner – BB – Oregon State – opens with an early wobble and had another on her walkover. She’s hitting these skills and then just wobbling as she begins to move afterward, but she becomes more secure as the routine goes along. Step to the side on double full. They’re already counting a 9.6, so they’ll take this, which was much better. 

Dabritz – FX – Utah – Just that little, little hop forward on her pike full in again this week. Rudi to loso is great, and just the smallest slide on the triple full dismount. Not the complete stick fest we have seen a couple times this year, but still a good routine. 9.875.

UCLA is having a big struggle on bars coming off a pretty good vault score. Even Peszek didn’t have a great routine by her standards with an arched handstand and not sticking her dismount. Stanford put together some vaults with very good form at the end of that rotation, and only some small movement on landing to get themselves a 49.350. They’ll have the lead at the midway point.

Damianova will finish the meet for Utah on floor, going right after Tang nailed a beam routine for OSU to help saves the rotation a bit. Strong double back for Damianova. It will be a big final score for Utah at this meet after four hit rotations.

Final Score: Utah 197.575, Oregon State 196.450. 
Utah pulled it together this week for another strong score. The judging is the judging, but wasn’t too untoward after the crazy 10 from one judge to Wilson. Just a few overscores here and there. They put a full meet together with solid hits. Oregon State had a pretty acceptable score going until giving too much ground away on beam with a minor wobble fest. The 196.450 is fine, but as I mentioned, nothing that will separate them from that dangerous 11-15 pack in the rankings.

Switching over to the affairs of UCLA and Stanford, the Bruins had a chance to get toward that elusive 197 after starting with a couple of strong vaults and a solid score, but they gave it back with a sloppy bars rotation, and now Stanford holds a slight lead. It’s still up to be won by either team, but lowish bars scores results have dashed the dreams of a big score.

Rotation 3 – UCLA on beam, Stanford on floor
UCLA beam:
1. Mossett – UCLA needs a recovery here, and Mossett appears to start well with one of her more confident beam routines of the year with less of the wobbling and tentativeness. Well done for her. 9.875.
2. DeJesus – Clean walkover, and well connected into the loso series. Good leaps, and front toss is right on. Sticks front full dismount. Whatever Val said to them at halfway, they are bringing it so far on beam. 9.900.
3. Courtney – Wobble on the front toss but probably pulls off the connection to bhs. Good splits. Almost, almost sticks her double back but just has to bend and step, landed too low to hold onto the stick. A few areas there, but she looks much improved on this event the last couple times we’ve seen her here compared to that terrified girl we used to see here. 9.875.
4. Peszek – Lovely aerial to back tuck – perfectly on, splits look good, and she sticks her layout stepout layout full dismount. We expect no errors from her every week, and that’s just what we get. 9.950.
5. Francis – Excellent easy flexibility on her mount, does her walkover to bhs – maybe a small pause in the connection but really nothing. Splits are supreme, and she makes that Y spin look like it’s not terrifying. Here we come to the dismount – just the transverse side aerial this time – she’ll simply throw in a layout stepout to layout full dismount off the end instead. Not great, but more than respectable for an improvised dismount. Large hop back. Oh, Danusia. Welcome back. We needed you in our lives. 9.925. She got some Danusia bonus there, for sure, but I can’t stay that mad at it. 
6. Sawa – Switch split was a little short but secure in her opening dance elements, hits loso series. Way short on her side aerial and comes off. They don’t need this routine by any means, so it’s not a big deal, but she had such a good one last week, and this is back to what we’ve seen mostly in the past. 9.350

Stanford floor:
1. Morgan – strong double back, a bit of lack of control coming out of her layout middle pass. I’m not sure if she sells the “staring as choreography” thing still, but I appreciate the attempt. I’m not mad about it. It’s weird and mostly in a good way. Hits double pike dismount. 9.825.
2. Chuang – Secure double pike, could be landed higher, opening split leap was well short of 180, very low on her front full middle pass and lunges forward several miles – perhaps OOB. Finishes strong, but they’ll want to drop this. 9.200.
3. Daum – A buffering affair for me, but it looked like she hit it well in that 9.850ish way we’ve seen from her. Strong double back to finish, high and securely landed. 9.875.
4. Hanset – Good 2.5 to punch front to open, nice high double pike with a small slide back – dance elements look fine (one straddle was a little angled) – and a comfortable front full to pike to finish. Solid. 9.875.
5. Rice – Opens with a good double pike and the routines is clean and confident until the double back dismount, where she just comes in way low and stumbles on it. Had a good one going. 9.725
6. Vaculik – Needs a good one here to drop Rice’s score, and she’s certainly capable. Excellent double tuck mount, and 1.5 to layout to stag is clean. No trouble on those dance elements. She’s working exceptionally well. Kristina! Stumbles several paces back out of her double pike dismount and goes OOB. You had it! 9.675.

The Pinch is doing an exhibition on beam. Good full turn, wobble on dance, and off line on her bhs layout series and comes off the beam. In the words of Christine Still, “Oh, JENNI!”

After 3: UCLA 147.800, Stanford 147.325
Well, through the first five routines, that was the UCLA beam rotation we’ve been waiting for all season. They’ve been painfully capable of it, but we finally, finally saw people like DeJesus and Mossett come up with wobble-free, confident performances. If not for the bars issues, UCLA would be in line for a massive score. There’s still a lot to be pleased about in terms of improvements on what have been weak events so far, but as Miss Val mentioned in that gymnastike interview, at this point in the season to still have the highs and then the lows is a problem.

Just a few key mistakes destroyed Stanford’s chances on floor. With Chuang, I’m not sure if she ended up putting something down on her struggle pass to get that 9.200 or exactly what happened, but it had significant errors nonetheless. They would have gotten away with it, but both Rice and Vaculik gave away potentially big scores by botching their dismounts. They can’t afford that. A good beam rotation can still get them into the high 196s, but this could have been better. UCLA’s beam rotation put them back on track for that elusive 197, and they just need a competent floor rotation to get there.

Who on earth has been commissioned to be UCLA’s in-stadium commentator who is screaming at us and ordering us to dance? Unwelcome. Mandatory enthusiasm may be my largest pet peeve of all.

Rotation 4 – UCLA on floor, Stanford on beam
UCLA floor:
1. Mossett – Opens with a y spin and great display of flexibility, but she bounces completely out of her double back and goes OOB. Maybe that’s why she was held out last week in that sixth position. Layouts middle pass. They’re going to be working against a need-to-drop now for five routines. 9.625.
2. DeJesus – Good double pike to open, maybe a little slidey but I couldn’t tell, strong stick on the double back middle pass. I preferred last year’s routine choreographically, but she dances well enough that she’s always engaging to watch. Good layout to finish. Nice showing for her. She’s pulling it together on this event after some low scores early in the year. 9.950. 
3. Bynum – good DLO mount – best it has been in a couple weeks. Bounces back out of her front tuck through to double back but she stays in bounds. The tumbling is the highlight of the routine. Another bounce back out of the double tuck dismount. They’ll take the score, though. 9.900. OK, so we’re fine with the bounces. 
4. Courtney – Another week of bouncing pretty far forward out of her double arabian and just staying in bounds (?). 1.5 to half middle pass is fine, but I miss the loso. Not a strong routine for her, though, she comes in stiff on her double pike and stumbles. Rough one. 9.625.
5. Sawa -Very strong double back, a little slide out of the double pike this time. They need a big score from her to overcome these mistakes and since they didn’t get a big score from the other go-to in Courtney. They will get that big score. A confident showing. 10? OK, so that happened. I want to see that middle pass again, then, because I think she’s been better for lower scores this year. First and final passes were exceptional, though. It’s the season of the 10. 
6. Pinches – Just needs a 9.725 to give the team its first 197 of the season. Strong 1.5 to double full mount, securely landed. Oh, Jenni again! Bounces back on her double pike middle pass and stumbles and goes OOB. Short on her dismount to her knees (or maybe just close to her knees). They just can’t get that 197. 9.500.

Stanford beam:
1. Morgan – pretty walkover, love her on this event, wobbles on her loso series and leg goes up, and another very small adjustment on the side aerial, but she has great difficulty in this routine performed confidently and elegantly. Just the one real error on the series. Small hop on double full dismount. 9.825. 
2. Wing – bhs 1/1 and does well to pull it back onto the beam and hit it because it looked like she was going to be off line. Small adjustment after the stag jump, a little short on her front aerial and holds onto it with a leg adjustment, sticks gainer full. 9.800.
3. N McNair -strong opening loso series, and I’m still impressed how high she gets on her straddle 1/4, side somi is securely on the beam, and side aerial is comfortable. Good switch to back tuck – lots of content in this routine as well. Hops back on double full dismount, but good routine. 9.850.
4. Rice – Fairly good sheep jump and no wobble on it, pretty full turn, hits front toss. Woah, looked like she was fine on her loso series but goes to set her second foot down and it’s off the beam, so she stumbles back – doesn’t come off but falls back onto the beam. 9.300.
5. Vaculik – Excellent rulfova, maybe the smallest adjustment on her loso series but well performed, along with the rest of the routine, good dance elements throughout, and only a very small twitch of the foot on the double full dismount. 9.600. Must have missed something there because it looked good to me. The feed did jump in the middle, so I assume that’s when it happened. Shame.
6. Spinner – Good loso series, she really hits those positions on her straddle jumps and the switch as well. Solid loso. One step back on the double full dismount. They needed that routine. 9.850. 

Final: UCLA 196.900, Stanford 196.250
This is why UCLA is the most frustrating team to watch in NCAA this year (and always). They have the amazing potential and the great individual moments, and then it just falls apart somewhere, every time, way too often. The scoring was fanciful in several instances, and I’m sure we’ll have some discussion about the Sawa 10. On the two events that have been the weakest for weeks, vault and beam, they finally pulled it together and showed their capability – for the most part – with a number of great routines, but then they have a messy bars rotation – which had been going well – and a completely up and down floor rotation, with half excellent performances and half poor performances. I really think we need to hear from Val again immediately after this showing. Get on it gymnastike. It must be infuriating because they’re so close and yet so far.

Stanford didn’t put up a weak meet, but they were clearly not the team we saw last weekend at home. The falls cropped up, and the insecure landings really cropped up. They gave away the whole deficit in this meet on landings. Lots of big bounces and big lunges that took away from the scores. They got just two 9.9s, both for strong vaults but vaults that weren’t stuck. The potential is so much greater, but it’s a bit of a step backward from last week. For UCLA, it’s more like two steps forward, two steps back, one step upside down, and one step underground.

Friday Meets – LSU @ Florida Live Blog, Georgia, Auburn

Friday – 2/21/14
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [3] LSU @ [1] Florida (Scores) (Video – school subscription)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [25] Kent State @ Ball State (Video)
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [15] Minnesota @ Iowa State (Video – school subscription)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Bart & Nadia Festival ([1] Oklahoma, [5] Alabama, [7] Michigan, West Virginia) (Scores)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [6] Georgia @ [10] Auburn (Scores) (Video – all-access subscription)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Kentucky @ [13] Arkansas (Scores) (Video – school subscription)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [14] Illinois, Illinois-Chicago, Northern Illinois @ Illinois State (Video)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – San Jose State @ [16] Boise State (Scores) (Video)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [18] Denver @ Utah State

Top 15:

Get. Ready.
It’s going to be a good one.

Do we think Oklahoma’s season record of 198.175 gets broken today, and by whom? We’ve got a whole bunch of likely nominees.

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
Florida vault:
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?

LSU bars:
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
Florida bars:
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.

LSU vault:
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
Florida beam:
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.

LSU floor:
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 
Florida floor:
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. 

LSU beam:
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. 

The Weekend Ahead – February 21st-23rd

The ranking scenario gets a little funky this weekend as we switch over to RQS. LSU currently leads the RQS battle with a 197.380, but the Tigers are heading away to Florida while trying to fend off an Oklahoma team that’s not far behind with a 197.300 (and still has a 196.675 to drop). If the Sooners score in the 197s this weekend (which seems likely), they will have the opportunity to move ahead of LSU’s current mark, though LSU can also increase its number by going 197.250+, which is also quite doable. Florida cannot mathematically move ahead of LSU this weekend (but can get close), so it’s a battle between LSU and Oklahoma for #1.

The top teams are confined to just a couple different meets this weekend, a few of which will make for a very enticing Friday of action. The showdown between LSU and Florida makes up part of LSU’s quest for a whole tuft of feathers in their cap, though Florida will enter the meet as the home favorite. It’s going to be an exceptional challenge for LSU to beat Florida’s 10 machine in Gainesville, but the Tigers also managed a few 10s of their own last weekend, so we could certainly see them fly tomorrow. Dueling 198s are not out of the question.

A few teams have come into Florida this season and stayed close for three rotations before falling back in rotation 4, performing on beam while Florida is on floor. LSU will also lose ground in the final rotation, so it’s vital that they be ahead by several tenths after three events to have a shot at the upset. The one area where LSU appears to have a clear advantage is in the first four performers of the vault lineup, so watch for that scoring comparison at the halfway point. LSU will need to pick up ground there. For Florida to maintain its pristine record, the team will need to eradicate those beam wobbles, obviously, but also focus in on sticking more of those bars landings. The Gators can and should have an advantage over LSU on bars, but it won’t happen if they’re not getting multiple stuck DLOs, which has yet to happen. I’m also eager to see how the scoring goes on floor since LSU is capable of matching Florida routine-for-routine on that event. Do they get the 10s as well?

Lest it appear everything is about these two teams, Friday will also feature the stacked Perfect 10 Challenge in Oklahoma City, which will be broadcast on a couple of those Oklahoma networks and provides another huge scoring opportunity for all the teams competing, especially Michigan, which can theoretically contend with these other teams in the 197s but has been stuck with lower scores for the last couple weeks. Even a high 196 would probably give the Wolverines the necessary distance over Nebraska and UCLA in the rankings. Look for Oklahoma to continue the 198 parade at this de facto home meet, but Alabama has been 197.500 lately and could jump back into the top group with a statement win here. The Tide will have to keep things relatively close on bars (within two tenths or so) to have a likely shot, but also keep an eye on vault. Alabama theoretically should have the stronger vault lineup, but Oklahoma has been better there so far this season. To win, it seems Alabama would have to lead on vault.

Georgia has been on ice for a while including last week’s cancelled meet, but the Gym Dogs get back in action by traveling to Auburn and can get their RQS up into the 197s by also scoring a 197.000 at this meet. Auburn just cracked the top 10 after a 197.100, which is a major accomplishment for the program, but the main focus of Auburn’s performance this weekend will be how they fare without Bri Guy, who tore her everything in a floor fall last weekend. She’s such a standout performer, so the pressure will be on Atkinson, Rott, and Walker to prove the team can contend and maintain top 10 status without her.  

On Saturday, the focus switches to the Pac-12, where the top four teams in the conference face off against each other. Utah is coming back home and can expect three big-scoring events, but the meet won’t be a true success unless they can figure out beam, while UCLA and Stanford should have an interesting battle considering Stanford looked superior to the Bruins this past weekend. The Cardinal will be maneuvering for a second-straight conference upset while UCLA will be maneuvering to arrive with a 197 finally.

Top 25 Schedule

Friday – 2/21/14
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [3] LSU @ [1] Florida
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [25] Kent State @ Ball State
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [15] Minnesota @ Iowa State
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Bart & Nadia Festival ([1] Oklahoma, [5] Alabama, [7] Michigan, West Virginia)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [6] Georgia @ [10] Auburn
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Kentucky @ [13] Arkansas
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [14] Illinois, Illinois-Chicago, Northern Illinois @ Illinois State
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – San Jose State @ [16] Boise State
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [18] Denver @ Utah State

Saturday – 2/22/14
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – [17] Arizona @ [22] Arizona State
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – [20] Penn State, Temple, Ursinus @ Rutgers
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [11] Oregon State @ [4] Utah
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [12] Stanford @ [9] UCLA
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [24] Washington, Sacramento State @ [21] California

Sunday – 2/23/14
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Kentucky, Bridgeport, Wisconsin-Stout @ [8] Nebraska
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – [19] Central Michigan, [23] Ohio State @ [14] Illinois
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Gustavus Adolphus, Hamline, Winona State @ [15] Minnesota

Week 6 Rankings and RQS Update

Week 6 Rankings (GymInfo)
1. Oklahoma – 197.446
Week 6: 198.175
Week 6 leaders: AA – None; VT – Scaman 9.950; UB – Wofford 9.975; BB – Capps 9.975; FX – Scaman 10.000

Current RQS: 197.300
Road Score 1: 198.175
Road Score 2: 197.575
Road Score 3: 197.225
Road/Home Score 1: 197.700
Road/Home Score 2: 197.325
Road/Home Score 3: 196.675

One more score to get rid of that 196, and they’re sitting pretty. With a fake road meet coming up over the weekend, that looks likely to happen promptly.

2. Florida – 197.392
Week 6: 197.525
Week 6 leaders: AA – Sloan 39.750; VT – Hunter 10.000; UB – M Caquatto, Johnson 9.950; BB – Sloan 9.900; FX – Sloan 9.975

Current RQS: 197.260
Road Score 1: 197.175
Road Score 2: 197.075
Road Score 3: 196.650
Road/Home Score 1: 198.050
Road/Home Score 2: 197.875
Road/Home Score 3: 197.525

*Numbers in bold indicate scores guaranteed to be included and that cannot be dropped.

Florida has three road meets remaining to make those road scores a touch more competitive with Oklahoma and LSU.

3. LSU – 197.379
Week 6: 197.875
Week 6 leaders: AA – Courville 39.750; VT – Courville 10.000; UB – Morrison 9.975; BB – Courville 9.950; FX – Hall 10.000

Current RQS: 197.380
Road Score 1: 197.875
Road Score 2: 197.650
Road Score 3: 197.225
Road/Home Score 1: 197.650
Road/Home Score 2: 197.200
Road/Home Score 3: 197.175

LSU currently leads Florida in RQS going into their clash in Gainesville on Friday, and has more potential for gain, with a 197.175 to drop, whereas Florida’s lowest home number to drop is a 197.525.

4. Utah – 197.135
Week 6: Monday meet

Current RQS: X
Projected RQS: 196.830
Road Score 1: 197.200
Road Score 2: 196.875
Road Score 3: 196.300
Road/Home Score 1: 197.825
Road/Home Score 2: 197.125
Road/Home Score 3: 196.650

5. Alabama – 197.025
Week 6: 197.500
Week 6 leaders: AA – DeMeo 39.500; VT – Beers 9.925; UB – Jetter 9.900; BB – Sims 9.925; FX – Jacob 9.950

Current RQS: 196.930
Road Score 1: 197.500
Road Score 2: 196.825
Road Score 3: 196.050
Road/Home Score 1: 197.500
Road/Home Score 2: 197.150
Road/Home Score 3: 197.125

6. Georgia – 196.864
Week 6: No meet

Current RQS: 196.900
Road Score 1: 196.825
Road Score 2: 196.700
Road Score 3: 196.500
Road/Home Score 1: 197.400
Road/Home Score 2: 197.300
Road/Home Score 3: 197.175

7. Michigan – 196.650
Week 6: 196.650
Week 6 leaders: AA – Sampson 39.450; VT – Sampson 9.925; UB – Gies 9.850; BB – Artz, Sampson 9.825; FX – Artz, Sampson 9.900

Current RQS: 196.515
Road Score 1: 196.800
Road Score 2: 196.650
Road Score 3: 196.525
Road/Home Score 1: 197.325
Road/Home Score 2: 196.800
Road/Home Score 3: 195.800

8. Nebraska – 196.608
Week 6: 196.125
Week 6 leaders: AA – Wong 39.475; VT – DeZiel 9.900; UB – Wong 9.900; BB – Wong, Blanske 9.800; FX – Wong 9.925

Current RQS: 196.485
Road Score 1: 197.225
Road Score 2: 196.450
Road Score 3: 196.250
Road/Home Score 1: 196.975
Road/Home Score 2: 196.625
Road/Home Score 3: 196.125

9. UCLA – 196.517
Week 6: 196.675
Week 6 leaders: AA – Sawa 39.450; VT – Courtney, Bynum 9.900; UB – Peszek, Courtney 9.925; BB – Sawa 9.925; FX – Bynum, Courtney, Sawa 9.900

Current RQS: 196.435
Road Score 1: 196.675
Road Score 2: 196.575
Road Score 3: 195.875
Road/Home Score 1: 196.925
Road/Home Score 2: 196.625
Road/Home Score 3: 196.425

10. Auburn – 196.258
Week 6: 197.100
Week 6 leaders: AA – Atkinson 39.375; VT – Atkinson, Guy 9.900; UB – Walker 9.900; BB – Walker 9.925; FX – Rott 9.925

Current RQS: 196.090
Road Score 1: 196.850
Road Score 2: 196.550
Road Score 3: 195.950
Road/Home Score 1: 197.100
Road/Home Score 2: 196.225
Road/Home Score 3: 194.875

11. Oregon State – 196.205
Week 6: 196.675
Week 6 leaders: AA – Tang 39.325; VT – Blalock 9.900; UB – Aufiero 9.900; BB – Gardiner, Tang 9.875; FX – Gardiner 9.950

Current RQS: X
Road Score 1: 195.625
Road Score 2: 195.200
Road Score 3: X
Road/Home Score 1: 197.100
Road/Home Score 2: 196.675
Road/Home Score 3: 196.425

12. Stanford – 196.154
Week 6: Monday meet

Current RQS: 195.930
Projected RQS: 196.145
Road Score 1: 196.825
Road Score 2: 195.750
Road Score 3: 194.825
Road/Home Score 1: 197.275
Road/Home Score 2: 197.000
Road/Home Score 3: 196.325

13. Arkansas – 196.125
Week 6: 196.025
Week 6 leaders: AA – Grable 39.575; VT – Grable 9.900; UB – Grable 9.850; BB – Grable 9.875; FX – Grable 9.950

Current RQS: 196.095
Road Score 1: 196.275
Road Score 2: 196.050
Road Score 3: 196.025
Road/Home Score 1: 196.275
Road/Home Score 2: 196.200
Road/Home Score 3: 196.100

14. Illinois – 195.900
Week 6: 196.500
Week 6 leaders: AA – Fielder 39.200; VT – Buchanan, See 9.850; UB – Kato 9.900; BB – Lennon 9.900; FX – O’Connor 9.900

Current RQS: 195.780
Road Score 1: 196.500
Road Score 2: 195.350
Road Score 3: 195.325
Road/Home Score 1: 196.475
Road/Home Score 2: 196.175
Road/Home Score 3: 195.575

15. Minnesota – 195.854
Week 6: 196.025
Week 6 leaders: AA – Mable 39.550; VT – Slechta 9.925; UB – Hanley 9.900; BB – Nordquist, Schermann 9.950; FX – Mable 9.975

Current RQS: 196.040
Road Score 1: 196.350
Road Score 2: 196.025
Road Score 3: 196.025
Road/Home Score 1: 196.225
Road/Home Score 2: 196.025
Road/Home Score 3: 195.900

16. Boise State – 195.767
Week 6: 196.000
Week 6 leaders: AA – Morris 39.175; VT – Otuafi 9.925; UB – Mejia 9.925; BB – Jacobsen 9.775; FX – Perkins 9.900

Current RQS: 195.655
Road Score 1: 196.325
Road Score 2: 196.000
Road Score 3: 195.850
Road/Home Score 1: 196.025
Road/Home Score 2: 195.250
Road/Home Score 3: 195.150

17. Arizona – 195.679
Week 6: 195.625
Week 6 leaders: AA – Flores 39.175; VT – Wobma 9.825; UB – Howard 9.875; BB – Sisler 9.875; FX – Flores 9.825

Current RQS: 195.430
Road Score 1: 195.850
Road Score 2: 195.625
Road Score 3: 194.750
Road/Home Score 1: 196.925
Road/Home Score 2: 196.500
Road/Home Score 3: 194.425

18. Denver – 195.646
Week 6: 195.450
Week 6 leaders: AA – Martin 39.425; VT – Martin 9.950; UB – Martin 9.850; BB – Martin, Lomonte 9.850; FX – McGee 9.850

Current RQS: 195.465
Road Score 1: 196.550
Road Score 2: 195.450
Road Score 3: 194.825
Road/Home Score 1: 196.050
Road/Home Score 2: 195.800
Road/Home Score 3: 195.200

19. Central Michigan – 195.441
Week 6: 195.500
Week 6 leaders: AA – B Petzold 39.200; VT – B Petzold, K Petzold 9.825; UB – Fagan 9.875; BB – Druien, Heinz, Noonan 9.875; FX – Bolender 9.925

Current RQS: X
Road Score 1: 196.500
Road Score 2: 195.925
Road Score 3: X
Road/Home Score 1: 196.600
Road/Home Score 2: 195.800
Road/Home Score 3: 195.500

20. Penn State – 195.389
Week 6: 196.675
Week 6 leaders: AA – Sanabria-Robles 39.425; VT – Sanabria-Robles 9.875; UB – Stauder 9.875; BB – Stauder 9.875; FX – Welsh 9.900

Current RQS: 195.425
Road Score 1: 196.150
Road Score 2: 194.825
Road Score 3: 193.975
Road/Home Score 1: 196.675
Road/Home Score 2: 196.150
Road/Home Score 3: 196.025

21. California – 195.296
Week 6: 196.725
Week 6 leaders: AA – Howe 39.325; VT – Leong 9.925; UB – Asturias 9.925; BB – Palomares, Paz 9.825; FX – Leong 9.925

Current RQS: 195.010
Road Score 1: 196.725
Road Score 2: 195.350
Road Score 3: 194.650
Road/Home Score 1: 196.275
Road/Home Score 2: 195.550
Road/Home Score 3: 193.225

22. Arizona State – 195.263
Week 6: 196.200
Week 6 leaders: AA – None; VT – Kraus 9.900; UB – Gades 9.875; BB – Gades 9.875; FX – Steigerwalt 9.875

Current RQS: X
Road Score 1: 195.900
Road Score 2: 194.950
Road Score 3: X
Road/Home Score 1: 196.200
Road/Home Score 2: 196.000
Road/Home Score 3: 194.900

23. Ohio State – 195.254
Week 6: 195.275
Week 6 leaders: AA – Shaffer 39.200; VT – Miller 9.875; UB – Aepli 9.875; BB – Shaffer 9.800; FX – Shaffer 9.850

Current RQS: X
Road Score 1: 195.275
Road Score 2: 195.200
Road Score 3: X
Road/Home Score 1: 195.900
Road/Home Score 2: 195.625
Road/Home Score 3: 194.775

24. Washington – 195.133
Week 6: 195.650
Week 6 leaders: AA – Vaccher 39.250; VT – Northey, Vaccher 9.825; UB – McCartin 9.925; BB – McCartin 9.875; FX – Vaccher, Yacalis 9.850

Current RQS: X
Road Score 1: 195.175
Road Score 2: 193.925
Road Score 3: X
Road/Home Score 1: 196.200
Road/Home Score 2: 195.650
Road/Home Score 3: 195.025

25. Kent State – 194.971
Week 6: 195.525
Week 6 leaders: AA – Case 39.475; VT – Case 9.775; UB – Case 9.875; BB – Case 9.925; FX – Case 9.900

Current RQS: 194.830
Road Score 1: 195.525
Road Score 2: 194.725
Road Score 3: 194.025
Road/Home Score 1: 195.675
Road/Home Score 2: 195.400
Road/Home Score 3: 194.475