[4] Utah @ [12] Stanford

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final score: Stanford 197.000, Utah 196.300

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

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

[9] UCLA @ [23] Washington

If, perhaps, you haven’t checked in since Friday, you may have missed Saturday’s scoring explosion (duh, it’s Metroplex – everything’s bigger in Texas) that saw Oklahoma take the Metroplex meet and take over the #1 national ranking with a 198.175 to LSU’s 197.875. Arizona and Kentucky also made up the numbers in this meet with 195.625 and 194.850 respectively. Arizona has been solid 196y at times this year, so this was a missed opportunity to get back to challenging for a top 15 spot after last week’s off meet.

Three routines received 10s at Metroplex (Courville on vault, Hall and Scaman on floor), and individual judge 10s were also distributed to Capps on beam and Morrison, Wofford, and Jordan on bars. It has been quite a while since seven different routines received at least one 10 between two teams at a single meet. Since the Georgia dynasty would be my guess. LSU ended up scoring higher on vault and bars, while Oklahoma was stronger on beam and floor, which is half expected and half unexpected. LSU had to count scores in the 9.7s on both beam and floor, which accounted for the deficit. Oklahoma, LSU, and Florida are running so close right now that the next few months should make for an exceptionally close and engaging fight. Florida v. LSU next Friday will be a treat.

But for now, we adjust attention to UCLA’s struggle to get into the top conversation this year as the Bruins meet Washington in an important meet for both in terms of getting a counting score for RQS. Both teams have six meets remaining before Regionals, and UCLA must begin getting 197s while Washington should be far better than the low 195s we’ve been seeing. With reliable AAers like Vaccher and Northey and spot contributions from McCartin and Janik, 196s should be believable and would do the Huskies a world of ranking good.

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

The key event to watch for UCLA today is going to be vault. While beam has been the biggest problem area in terms of consistency and counting mistakes, vault has deteriorated over the last three weeks to the point where we’re seeing all kinds of piking and short landings from the beginning of the lineup.

Jim and Amanda preview the action, telling us that the big rock for UCLA is Hallie Mossett. Um sure, she’s been good for 9.825s on each event as a freshman, but the rock is Sam Peszek. That’s not even a question. I was like . . . huh?

It’s funny hearing Jim and Amanda talk about how UCLA finally came through and put it all together last week, contrasting that with Val’s . . . different feelings about the exact same performance. You can construct the narrative of a meet so many different ways based on expectations and the story you’re trying to tell.

Apparently, UCLA is changing up the lineups today. Um yeah, it’s a day that ends in y. Jessy MacArthur is making her non-exhibition debut this year. 

Rotation 1- Washington on vault, UCLA on bars
Washington vault:
1. McCartin – Just a layout Yurchenko – no twists. Fine but irrelevant, just to put up a sixth routine.
2. Podlucky – Yfull, some messy legs and rather significant piking at the end with a step back. 9.725.
3. Janik – Yfull, looked like she went very high on her vault but pikes very significantly to get the landing – controlled 9.750.
4. Vaccher – Yhalf – good power and height, clean form, squatty landing with a lunge forward. 9.825.
5. Northey – Yfull – strongest of the yfulls so far for this team, still pikes but less so than the others, fairly large step back. 9.825. 
6. Yacalis – Similar to Northey for the most part on her yfull, good power but small pike at the end with a largish step back. 9.800

UCLA bars:
1. Sawa – Nice Ray, clean hs, leg break on the bail and maybe a little short, a few leg breaks in this routine and a large step back on the double pike. Handstands were hit, but there are several areas to take. 9.825
2. MacArthur – Clean first hs, very late on her giant full and crazy legs on her gienger, wobble on her step up to the high bar – hop back on double tuck to salute. She got through it. It won’t be a big score and I don’t expect her in the final lineup, but she hit it. 9.750.
3. Mossett – Good stalder shoot, and strong jaeger, hits her pak, the stalder was as we’ve come to expect with the bent elbows, small hop on double back. I’m still not wild about this composition with the stalder and how many times she casts to handstand. It seems inefficient and asking for deductions. 9.850.
4. Courtney – Great stalder, clean bail, looks a little more rushed in her handstands this week than last week, has to fight for the stick on the tuck full and bends for it but doesn’t move. 9.925.  
5. DeJesus – good first hs, giant full looks OK, still the leg break on the gienger which will need to be cleaned up, but she does get the stick on the tuck full again this week. That dismount is really becoming a strength this season. 9.875.
6. Peszek – Giant full is right on vertical and the gienger is exceptional as always, bail is clean and secure. Everything looked great within the routine, small hop back on the DLO this week but otherwise it was similar to last week’s showing. One of the major improvements in this routine is her shoot to the high bar. She gets better counter rotation than she did earlier in her career, so she’s not muscling up that handstand afterward quite as much. The DLO is still just sort of whippy. She can stick it sometimes because of her extreme talent level, but it never looks like she’s going to. 9.925.

After 1: UCLA 49.400, Washington 48.925
That was a fairly respectable bars rotation for UCLA. All of the final three looked strong, none quite as strong as last week, but they were solid routines that the team will be happy to have in the postseason. I’m not convinced about the beginning of this lineup – though I’m not sure where the better options would come from, but once Danusia comes back, they should be buoyed a bit and not have to throw in a lower-quality routine. Washington has some power and possibility at the back of that vault lineup, but they need landings and they’re having to make up for the scores from the first three in the lineup.  

Rotation 2 – Washington on bars, UCLA on vault
Washington bars:
1. Duranczyk – Big leg break on the bail and shortish of handstand, does manage to stick the DLO with another leg break in the air. 9.750.
2. Northey – Hits her piked jaeger to the overshoot, stronger leg form – high tuck full but very close to the bar – small steps on landing. 9.750
3. Vaccher – first hs was borderline, catches her jaeger, very strong bail handstand, a little late on her giant full to a double tuck dismount – step back. 9.850. 
4. Metcalf – Legs apart on the shaposh but strong, small adjustment on her step up to the high bar and a step back on her double front – big cowboy and leg form potential deductions throughout, but a hit. 9.775. 
5. Janik – Clean first handstand – hits her shaposh and pak well – though does have leg breaks in each – she has a nice line overall, though, and a lot of potential here – double back dismount with a steppy-salutey out of it. 9.825
6. McCartin – Good first hs, catches a high tkatchev – though it might have been a bit close, best rhythm on the team, hits her pak very cleanly, a little rushed through some of this and one questionable handstand toward the end, but a stick on the double back. 9.925. 

UCLA vault:
1. Pinches – Seemed like she got a bit more height, but still with the piking and the short landing and a hop forward. Not a ton better than what we’ve been seeing. 9.750.
2. Mossett – Good power and distance, but she’s another one still landing short with a large lunge forward. Val will be similarly displeased with this vaulting as last week. 9.725. 
3. Sawa – Yfull, a little bit better than last week in the form, but takes a hop back. 9.800.
4. Bynum – Her best yhalf of the year so far, maintained her power and form that we have been seeing, but much more control on the landing, small hop. First one to show improvement. 9.900.
5. Courtney – Didn’t get her usual distance but had a very high vault, also comes in short on her landing but doesn’t give away much of a step. Fine but not what we expect from her. 9.900.
6. Pass. They had Gerber in the lineup, which seemed inadvisable, so they’ll just take the first five. Oh, UCLA, why can you not put up six vaulters in February, even with Cipra out this week?

After 2: UCLA 98.475 (vault: 49.075), Washington 98.050 (bars: 49.125)
It’s another pretty uninspiring vault rotation for UCLA. Piking and uncontrolled landings were the name of the game at the beginning. Sawa has regressed here the last few weeks from the sticks we saw at the beginning of the season. Bynum made a nice improvement for her best vault of the year, and Courtney is good enough that even when she’s not her best she can get a strong score. I’m not sold on this team on vault, but a Peszek return would help quite a bit.

Did we need to ask the Pac-12 basketball coaches who their favorite presidents are? I didn’t need that information.

Rotation 3 – Washington on beam, UCLA on floor
Washington beam:
1. Vaccher – A little short on her aerial but holds on without a wobble, switch and split combo, pretty full turn, bhs + gainer loso, strong 1.5 dismount with a step back. Secure, fine leadoff. 9.725
2. Northey – Nice full turn, a little short on switch split but connects it to straddle, way off line on her bhs loso and comes off the beam. I had you in my fantasy lineup this week, Allison! Dear. Otherwise it’s a hit routine with another good 1.5 dismount. Four routines to get through now without a fall. 9.275
3. Duranczyk – So, so tight on her bhs + loso series. I was sure she would come off from the moment she started, but she saved it after a big wobble, really fought to stay on there. The rest of the routine is more comfortable after that, small hop on loso + layout full dismount, but she’ll lose a lot on her series, off line and very short. 9.475.
4. Fechter – Secure front toss, small check on the bhs connected after it, split 3/4 is strong, comfortable full turn, sticks gainer pike. Not a lot of content in that routine, but she hit it. Elise Ray sighting. Hooray! Want to do every event, please? 9.825. 
5. Janik – walkover was pretty but she bends at the waist on it, repeats the skill and it’s acceptable. Slightly off line on her side aerial and takes another balance check, also does a gainer pike dismount with a stick. Wobbly throughout, but her gymnastics is pretty. 9.600
6. McCartin – Clean walkover to bhs, good split and stag combo but perhaps had a little shuffle out of the stag. Another gainer pike and sticks it. Too many gainer pikes in this rotation. 9.875.  

UCLA floor:
1. Pinches – competition debut on floor – bouncy on her 1.5 through to double full – needs more control there, short on her double back landing but does a stag out of it and doesn’t give away anything. How do we feel about this music? I’m currently ambivalent. A little squatty in her double pike, but she hit it enough. 9.825. 
2. DeJesus – Bounces out of the double pike – pretty secure double back still a little low and a small adjustment, but this looks better than the last couple weeks so far – switch ring is OK, small bounciness on the 1.5 to layout dismount, but a solid performance. 9.875.
3. Bynum – Slightly short on her DLO this week but controls the landing well enough – better than the last couple weeks. 1.5 through to double back has a slide out of it. Another bounce on the final double tuck, but these are small bounces. It was a fine performance, mostly controlled, nothing amazing but they can definitely count it. 9.900. The judges are on the happy juice in this rotation.  
4. Courtney – over rotated and lungey on the double arabian this week – it’s hit or miss with that but not a disastrous lunge, also bouncey on her 1.5 to half – doesn’t connect it to the layout stepout this week – boo. I’m done with this music of hers. Really strong double pike to finish but not the control we expect on the first two passes. 9.900.
5. Sawa – Pretty good double back mount, could be a little more open but it’s fine, slightly short on the double pike middle pass and steps forward, splits look good. Finishes 1.5 + .5 + stag. Strong performance, should score very well based on the scoring we’ve seen so far on this event. She has been stronger and more comfortable in the tumbling, though. 9.900.
6. Pass. Hallie Mossett won’t go this week. What is with all of this passing?

After 3: UCLA 147.875 (floor: 49.400), Washington 146.550 (beam: 48.500)
Not a great beam rotation for Washington. Lots of wobbly performances, which you especially cannot afford when performing fairly sparse routines. Those beam routines get their five tenths of bonus and get out of there without showing any more difficulty than necessary – and all these gainer pike dismounts at the end of the rotation are tough to see. Janik is impressing me in her potential if not her performance. She works beautifully and has the opportunity to be great in time on bars and beam.

UCLA scored very well on floor. I wasn’t as enthusiastic about those routines as the judges were because there was a lot of lack of control through those five routines – on multiple tumbling passes in each routine – that could have been deducted, but it was certainly an improvement over last week’s showing on the event. They can get much better, though, and should expect to perform routines with more composed tumbling than what they just showed, even though the score was big.

Our weekly Jordyn Wieber update. A shot of her with a stank face while watching beam warmups, which we can all identify with while watching UCLA on beam this year. 

Rotation 4: Washington on floor UCLA on beam 
Washington floor:
1. Duranczyk – Very short on her punch front through to double pike with a large lunge forward, splits aren’t quite there. Layouts as a middle pass and short on the second layout with squatting. Low landing on double tuck dismount. They’ll want to drop this. 9.550. 
2. Northey – Solid double pike mount, high 1.5 to front tuck as well, split full wasn’t quite there and music is a little hellish, slightly short on double tuck dismount with a slide, but a good routine. They’ll definitely take it. 9.800. 
3. Podlucky -High double pike with a small bounce back, clean layout to front full with a controlled landing. She’s another who doesn’t hit the split in her split full which we’ve been seeing a ton this year in particular. Chest forward on the double pike landing but secure. Solid performance. 9.825.  
4. Janik – Nice high double pike with a small slidey bounce out of it just like the others have been doing – 1.5 to front layout is clean – a little short on her rudi dismount, but another hit they’ll take. 9.775.  
5. Yacalis – Strong tuck full mount and controls the landing, high double back as the second pass. This is a big step up over the first four routines in power, difficulty, and overall quality, whip to 1.5 to punch front is hit as well. That should help them get a strong floor score to recover from beam a bit. 9.850.
6. Vaccher – Controlled double back, comfortably performed – looked like she overdid her 1.5 in the middle pass and barely hung onto the layout, but she did hang onto and complete the skill. Still, she gave away a bit there. Secure double pike to finish. Good tumbling. 

UCLA beam:
1. Craddock – Full turn, does her walkover but goes to connect it to the front handspring and runs right off the beam. So this is happening. Switch leap is strong. Very short landing on the side aerial + layout full dismount with a large lunge forward and to the side. This will be in the 2s.
2. Mossett – Almost pulled a Mikaela and came off on her press handstand mount but pulls herself back together with only minimal awkwardness, small adjustment on her walkover to bhs series, windmills the side somi, step back on gainer pike dismount. Not great. 9.725.
3. DeJesus – wobble on walkover, hangs onto loso series without taking a wobble, but does wobble on her split jump, slips on her front toss and almost comes off and takes a big wobble to save it, sticks front layout full. Another problem beam rotation for UCLA. No wonder Jordyn looked so unhappy when they were warming up. She saw this mess coming. 9.600.
4. Pinches – Rough position to do a beam debut coming after three problems – she looks a little tight but her switch split was good, small wobble on the bhs + pike series but fine, side somi looked wonky in the air but she held onto it. Step forward on 1.5 dismount. It wasn’t awesome, but she could be an addition here. Val is super pleased. 9.675. That seems low comparatively. There were mistakes but she hit it well enough.
5. Peszek – Walkover to back tuck – strong. Good that she added the back tuck out of the walkover instead of the bhs. That lame bhs series is way beneath her. Everything looks pretty, but now she’s stalling with choreo for about 11 minutes. Does her loso to layout full dismount without the back handspring this time. Small slide back on landing. 9.875. 
6. Sawa – Confident switch to straddle to start, and hits her bhs + loso well this time instead of flying sideways off the beam. Improvement! She has always had potential on beam but never seems to hit, like ever. Small check on her side aerial, but otherwise this is an important hit routine for the team. Sticks her 1.5 dismount. That’s the best beam routine she has ever done for UCLA by a fair margin. 9.925. 

Final Score: UCLA 196.675 (beam: 48.800), Washington 195.650 (floor: 49.100)

Another beam mess for UCLA to end things, surprising no one. “Bleep, bleep, explicative.” It’s easy to say, “Oh, they need Danusia on this event,” which they definitely do, but a team like UCLA should be able to muster more than 2.5 beam workers to go in any given week regardless of which regal swans might happen to be sick or resting. Sawa delivered like she never has before on beam, but I’m still convinced by no one except for Peszek and Francis on this event. It’s just so upsetting to look at. UCLA ends with another mid 196, which is exactly what they didn’t need any more of. No progress was made on vault and beam. Bars was the strongest event again this week, but even that has issues at the beginning. UCLA is a team full of mid 196s, but that doesn’t cut it because they’re 9th right now, and teams below them like Stanford, Auburn, and Oregon State etc. can all comfortably beat a mid 196 and will begin to do so and move ahead if the Bruins can’t pull it together and quickly. It’s a frustrating team to watch right now because they should be so much better than this. They’re way too talented to be OK with 196s. 

Washington also had potential for a strong performance if not for the beam. There’s some solid 9.850 work on the back end of most of these events, but on beam they are missing the consistency and on vault and floor they are missing the six full, solid routines they would need to contend for bigger scores. They can’t continue to work against an auto-drop right from the beginning of the rotation. That’s a tough position for any team and not the condition of one that will put up a fight at a Regional.

Friday Live Blog – Florida, Arkansas, Alabama, Auburn

Friday – 2/14/14
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [11] Arkansas @ [1] Florida (Scores) (Video – school subscription)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [8] Michigan @ [7] Nebraska (Scores) – (btn2go.com – with Big Ten Network TV subscription)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [5] Alabama @ [12] Auburn (Scores) (Video – all-access)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [20] Ohio State @ Iowa (Scores) (Video – all-access)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [18] Denver @ Southern Utah (Scores)

Current top 10:

Okay, time to place your bets. How many 10s will we see in the Arkansas/Florida meet, and who will get them?

Both Kytra and Macko will be out of floor for Florida today, but otherwise these lineups resemble what we have been seeing. Colussi-Pelaez is getting another shot at floor in place of one of them, and Johnson is in again as well. Johnson has been in the last two weeks while Macko is off, but it will be interesting to see how the lineup plays out when no one is resting. Is Boyce the odd woman out? Macko? Johnson? Rachel “9.975” Spicer?

Warmups underway for Florida and Arkansas right now. 

Rotation 1: Florida on vault, Arkansas on bars:
Florida vault:
1. Spicer – strong landing on the yfull, a little pike in the air but fairly controlled landing.
2. B Caquatto – clean yfull in the air, but a large bounce back on it.
3. M Caquatto – opens out of her yfull beautifully, good height and distance, small hop back
4. Johnson – similar strength to Macko, good height and distance, pretty clean in the air, hop back.
5. Sloan – Gorgeous yfull with a stuck landing – she is becoming so consistent with this vault – I’d give her the stick on that – she kind of leaned back to step into the salute, but I’d call it stuck. 9.950.
6. Hunter – Sticks her 1.5, so let’s see what happens here. No question about the stick on that vault. She nailed it, and it looked good in the air from this angle. 10.000. She did stick with legs fairly far apart – so that’s where the arguments may come from, but it’s a 1.5. She has been in line for a 10 for a long time here because her vault is all the kinds of excellent.

Arkansas bars:
1. Ellsworth – good giant full, a pirouette heavy routine – much cleaner line than the videos from preseason we saw – not to handstand on the bail if it was intended to be to handstand – cowboy on the double back dismount but controlled landing.
2. Freier – hits shaposh, clean bail, looks about 11 feet tall on bars – not a ton of content in this routine – very low landing on DLO dismount with a large step forward.
3. Canizaro – shaposh and Ray look pretty good, but had some trouble on the handstand part of her bail handstand – splayed second salto on the DLO but stuck.
4. Wellick – Big jaeger, the most powerful of the bars workers so far, missed a handstand toward the end of the routine but stuck the double front.
5. Grable – Excellent piked jaeger, clean in the leg form throughout – sticks her double front half out so well – that seemed like it might be trouble earlier in the year, but that was excellent.
6. Salmon – Nice height and style on her piked jaeger, small step back on dismount but she was overshadowed during this by Kytra’s 10 and all the screaming.

After 1: Florida 49.500, Arkansas 48.950

The highlights of that rotation were Sloan and Hunter with their excellent sticks on vault. The vaults leading up to it weren’t anything to be too thrilled about because the landings still need to get a bit more controlled – especially Bridgey who could be the #3 vaulter on the team if she controlled that bounce, but it was a solid rotation to start. Arkansas has some form issues in those first few spots with legs flying apart and bails not being hit, so those scores can’t get all too high even when hit, but there’s strength in the final three.

Rotation 2 – Florida on bars, Arkansas on vault
Florida bars:
1. BDG – Catches shaposh and bail with good leg form – handstands look clean – hop back on landing on the DLO.
2. Hunter – Big hindorff and controls it well into the next hs, bail is clean and strong – low landing on the tuck full dismount with a lunge out of it – was looking excellent until then.
3. B Caquatto – Great ray, small leg break in the air on her bail, but hs look strong, another hop on the DLO – small – but good routine.
4. Sloan – The Ray sisters are all on track tonight – bail looked very nice this time as well – looked like she might have to take a step forward on her DLO but she holds onto it.
5. M Caquatto – clean shaposh and bail combo, a couple borderline handstands at the end of this routine, which we don’t usually see from her, but she sticks her dismount this week with no question, so we’re moving up in the world.
6. Johnson – Another of the great Rays, possible leg break on the bail but she’s hitting her handstands well. The form on the DLO is the weakest part of her routine, it’s whippy and the legs fly apart, but sticking helps a lot, as she did here. 

Arkansas vault:
1. Elswick – off to the side on her yfull with some piking and a step forward/sideward
2. Zumwalde – not a big block on the yfull, so not a lot of distance and lands short
3. Canizaro – piked on her yfull and another short landing with a hop forward to control it
4. Williams – Pretty yhalf with a stick – best vault on the team by a long way
5. Wellick – Good power and height on her yfull – lands a little squatty and takes a step to the side
6. Grable – ohhhh, hops forward on her ro 1/2 on, pike 1/2, I was hoping for the stick and the huge score, but not her best landing, still an excellent vault, and she still gets a 9.900 for it.

After 2: Florida 99.025, Arkansas 97.950
Florida is currently on 198 pace, and with floor still to come, don’t doubt it happening. Florida’s bars rotation started out by missing the sticks, but came around at the end with a Sloan 9.925 and Macko and Johnson with 9.950s. I thought Sloan’s was the strongest routine of the three, but they were all solid. The judges probably didn’t have a problem with Macko’s two borderline handstands, accounting for the 9.950. Arkansas opened that rotation with three struggle vaults, but once again the rotation’s back three are competitive with the top 10 teams. They’re just giving too much away at the beginning with very short yfulls.

In other lands, Nebraska is maintaining a small lead over Michigan at the halfway point, 98.475-98.300. No one bringing in shockingly high scores. Even Sheppard had “just” a 9.875 on vault. Sampson’s vault 9.925 and DeZiel’s vault 9.900 and Wong’s bars 9.900 lead their teams so far. Artz in on vault this week instead of Parker or Zakharia. Beilstein is also back for Michigan, which should provide a bit of a boost.

Rotation 3 – Florida on beam, Arkansas on floor
Florida beam:
1. Spicer – controlled loso series, wobble on the gainer loso as the leg flies up a little – everything else looks like the usual 9.8y type work, small step on gainer full.
2. Johnson – Big break on her walkover – bends at the waist and nearly comes off, tentative on her switch – didn’t get that back leg up, small step on her side aerial + full, but they’ll want to drop this.
3. Boyce – solid aerial to bhs, secure loso – she is emerging as someone who can be relied on for scores in that 9.8 land because of her lack of wobbles – switch split was short of 180, though, and a hop back on the gainer full  – which shouldn’t happen. 9.875 – Rule: you’re not allowed to give a 9.9 to anyone who does a gainer full dismount and doesn’t stick. This is my code. 
4. Hunter – excellent on the punch front mount, big wobble on the bhs + loso and comes off the beam. That has become a struggle skill for her since Super Six last year. It’s so high but not consistent. They’ll be counting Johnson’s score now. Sticks the double back dismount, which she often does after she has had a mistake.
5. Sloan – Coming off the 10 from last week – strong loso series, struggles slightly to control her aerial to scale this time so a wobble there (it’s why I don’t like this skill, if you’re even slightly off it looks so messy and inelegant) – hits side aerial and sticks the double full dismount.
6. M Caquatto – Strong loso series, and – while a little slow in connection – hits her walkover to swingdown series as well. Switch is excellent – struggles to hang onto the stick on her gainer full and bends, but does it.

Arkansas floor:
1. Nelson – bounces a little on the double pike – but secure on the 1.5 + layout – another slide back on the double tuck dismount. It’s not a big routine in amplitude or difficulty, but it’s a hit. 9.775.
2. Dillard – front 1.5 with a slide back – switch ring looks fine – front full front layout for the second pass – back 1.5 to finish – another without the difficulty to stand out, so it has to be perfectly clean and there were areas to take. 9.750
3. Zumwalde – lands low on her whip + double pike, 1.5 + layout middle pass lands short and controls with a step back – dance elements looked like a possible struggle – long pause in the corner before the dismount – slightly low on 1.5 dismount.
4. Elswick – More secure on her double pike than the previous competitors have been, 1.5 + layout is solid as well – dance elements again weren’t quite there, but she’s giving away less than her teammates did on the landings, maybe a small slide on the double back – but strong.
5. Wellick – Good height on her double pike and controls the landing – let’s talk about the 180 situation again because they’re opening the door to take for that, slides forward on her front full, but a comfortable double tuck dismount. Problem – there’s no major difficulty in this rotation aside from Grable.
6. Grable – Arabian half out and a great landing on it as well. Damn, girl. Keeps it in bounds too even though she takes it right to the edge. Leaps are strong in this one as well. 1.5 + front full + layout stepout is excellent as well. Controlled on the double pike as well. Nailed it. Don’t you dare give this anything less than a 9.950. 9.950. 

SCP falls in beam exhibition.
Arkansas cuts into the lead slightly after the third rotation as Florida must count the 9.550 from Johnson. The Gators out of the 198 fight now, but very much in the mid 197s fight still.

After 3: Florida 148.025, Arkansas 147.125  
Not a great beam rotation for Florida. They got just enough to hit the 49 barrier, but two routines had major mistakes and everyone had at least small problems that brought their scores down. For Arkansas, that rotation is a little blah, but then Grable makes everything better. At the beginning of that lineup, they’re not precise enough to get away without big tumbling. They’re really missing Borsellino and Lewis there this year.

Nebraska has given away the lead with some beam problems, a fall from Stephens and 9.6s from DeZiel and Lauer, while Michigan hit floor with 9.9s from Artz and Sampson.

Arkansas looks to be in line for yet another low 196, but a strong beam rotation could bump them up a little bit.

Rotation 4 – Florida on floor, Arkansas on beam
Florida floor:
1. Boyce – front double full mount is fine enough, 1.5 to front pike is hit and finishes with the rudi. No significant issues there. Not a big routine, but there and fine. Very traditional 9.8ish leadoff.
2. SCP – secure whip through to double back – her splits are nice – short on her 1.5 + layout with a hop back to hold onto it – strong double pike to finish. Good progress for her. 
3. Spicer – Solid pike full landing, front full + front pike – maybe a little short but does well to keep it in bounds – split full misses the split part – bounces on the double pike and just keeps her foot in bounds. She was flirting with the line throughout that routine.
4. Johnson – Hits the double arabian landing, and a very strong 1.5 + layout as a middle pass – splits look fine – strong double pike dismount it appeared from this terrible angle, but a good routine.
5. Sloan – Sticks her front double full as usual. The crosses legs take away from the look a little, I admit, but that doesn’t get deducted in NCAA. Split full looked a little meh this week, but otherwise it’s the same routine she has been nailing for huge scores for weeks. 9.975. Not a 10 for me, but an equivalent routine to the 10 she got  few weeks ago.
6. B Caquatto – front double full is nice but she lands short on the front tuck and steps back to control it. Big double full with a nice high bounce into her split jump. Straddle skills are well executed. Hits her double pike. Good, not her best. 9.900.  

Arkansas beam:
1. Williams – switch and sheep to open – hit, travels about 16 feet on her front aerial and pauses before connecting it to the back pike, loso to 1.5 dismount with a step.
2. Freier – small step back on stag jump, another small wobble on loso, but she has nice form on this event. Strong side aerial and the splits are good. Hop back on gainer full.
3. Wellick – clean walkover to start, smallest check on the loso, very pretty full turn in attitude, hits side somi, she’s not giving away the wobbles on the first two – and as I saw that she wobbles on choreo – double full dismount is landed slightly short but held onto the stick.
4. Dillard – small wobble after the walkover, bhs-loso series is good – clean side aerial to side position. Switch is hit, wobble on her side aerial – lands short on her 1.5 dismount but also does well to hang onto the stick. A couple wobbles but a lovely routine.
5. Nelson – Way under on her loso and never hand a chance to keep in on the beam – they’ll drop this fall, but that means they’re counting two scores in the 9.7s. The rest of the routine was well done – an efficient style with good form. 
6. Grable – Smallest of corrections on her walkover and bhs loso series, but otherwise this routine is excellent as usual. Hop forward on her stag jump (Katherine!) – but sticks her double full dismount excellently. 9.875.

Final score: Florida 197.525, Arkansas 196.025 

Arkansas breaks 196, but had a chance for more if they hadn’t had to count some 9.7s on beam. No major, major problems on beam for them in the five counting routines, but far too many small wobbles on multiple skills in routines. Florida looked strong on floor, especially for a non-Kytra week. Some of those scores were too high, but they performed comfortably. The 197.525 should make it very challenging for anyone to pass them for #1. Oklahoma and LSU would have to score very high 197s or close in on a 198 to do it tomorrow at Metroplex.

In the lands of elsewhere, Michigan and Nebraska are getting close to finishing up, and Michigan looks to be riding into a comfortable road victory and a strong enough recovery from last week with a mid-ish, high-ish 196. Nebraska is looking to get rid of a 9.6 on floor from DeZiel, but they’re already counting a 9.750.

Emily Wong just edges Sampson in that AA battle, 39.475 to 39.450. And Bridget Sloan takes our other AA battle over Grable 39.750-39.575.

Auburn and Alabama are neck and neck right now at the halfway point, Alabama with a .025 lead as a result of a 49.425 on vault. Both teams are currently on pace for 197s.

It’s a shame about the Auburn feed not working. I was going to check in on that. That makes it a lot harder to stay in this for the long run.

We haven’t gotten a sixth score from Nebraska on floor. Did they just show five routines? They have been known to do such things. If so, the final score is Michigan 196.650-Nebraska 196.125. That’s enough for Michigan to jump back ahead in the rankings.

Alabama is extending the lead early in the third rotation on floor, going against Auburn’s weak event, the beam. Aja Sims is in the floor lineup this week for 9.875.

We have the feed now for Auburn and Alabama. Seeing Katie Bailey’s finishing pose. Bri Guy up now on beam: strong loso series, her straddle jump is strong, long pause before her double back – stuck landing. Good routine.

Demeo – FX – Amazing double arabian with a stuck landing. That’s easy for her, time to upgrade to the piked version, right? Right? “Fun compilation of music” or “Horrifying auditory hellscape.” Whichever you prefer. Strong 2.5 dismount. Excellent routine. 

Walker – BB – Good front toss, very secure, hits loso – clean leg form. Not giving away much at all here. Sticks gainer full.

Milliner – FX – Just slightly under rotated on her double arabian with a hop back, clean and controlled front full in the second pass, strong double pike. Won’t be her best score because of the mount, but there’s not a ton to take.

Atkinson – BB – clean walkover, very small correction on loso series but otherwise strong. Hops back on the double pike, which is the only major deduction three. Three very strong beam routines to finish that rotation.

Jacob – FX – Has to slide back a little on her pike full in this week, but everything else in the routine is so comfortable for her, 1.5 to front full is strong. Again, like Milliner, not quite the quality on the mount we have seen, but everything else was strong. Judges still happy enough to give it a 9.950, though.

Alabama puts a little daylight out there after the third rotation, 148.175-147.900, but since Auburn is going to floor and Alabama to beam, this thing isn’t decided yet.

That’s it for me for tonight. I’ll have to check in later to see how things turned out, but enjoy the rest of the meet if you’re watching. 

The Weekend Ahead – February 14th-17th

We’re heading into our final Monday of rankings being based on season average, and the race for the #1 ranking is open. Oklahoma and LSU are so close together in the second and third places that whichever team scores higher at Metroplex on Saturday will jump ahead, but they’re both also within sight of Florida. Oklahoma would need to outscore Florida by .350 this weekend to go ahead, and LSU would need to do so by only slightly more to take over #1. This will be a challenge because Florida is competing at home this weekend, but it is conceivable.


Compared to the usual bushel of Friday meets, tomorrow’s schedule is fairly light, especially now that Georgia’s meet against Missouri has been cancelled. Still, there are a few must-follow meets remaining on the schedule. Michigan and Nebraska will go at each other in a Joanna Sampson v. Emily Wong battle royale to claim the official Tiara of Awesomeness along with momentary supremacy in the Big 10. Michigan would need to win the meet by .200 to climb ahead of Nebraska in the rankings.

ANNUAL TANGENTIAL RANT ALERT: The Michigan and Nebraska fight for the #7 ranking may not seem like a thing, but while I was going through the RQS numbers yesterday, I was reminded of the annual complaint I have (and everyone who has ever been alive has) about the backward way the seeding for regionals is conducted, which results in cases when it is more advantageous to be ranked #7 than to be ranked #1. For instance, if the season ended today, the top-seeded regional would contain [1] Florida, [12] Auburn, and [13] Oregon State, while another would contain [6] Georgia, [7] Nebraska, and [18] Denver. With two teams advancing from each regional, the 6th and 7th seeds have the far cushier deal there. Not only does the current system make it not really worth it to be #1, but it also makes regionals less interesting. Put Oregon State, as the #13 team, in with Georgia and Nebraska, and you have a real showdown for both advancing spots and a completely exciting meet. But that’s not going to happen. Ugh. The sighing. Oh, the sighing. It’s out of my system for the moment but will surely come up again when regionals come around.

Back to the action, Florida will also take on Arkansas on Friday, and Rhonda has been teasing a little bit more lineup resting, so we’ll have to wait to see how that actually plays out and whether Florida can record a 10.000 for the fourth weekend in a row. Arkansas has been stuck in the low 196s all season, but going to Florida is a prime opportunity to bust out of that rut. And if the 10s are flying again in Gainesville, they need to be flying in the direction of Katherine Grable, who is in the running for one on floor, vault, and beam and needs at least one before she graduates. It’s not a conversation. She needs one. Alabama also goes against Auburn, which is a thing in football apparently, but now that Auburn is kind of good, it could be a thing in gymnastics too. Expect Alabama to be comfortable in victory, especially given the bump in quality we saw last weekend, but Auburn is capable of a 197 if everything goes well.

The feature of Saturday is the Metroplex NCAA meet, where Oklahoma and LSU will be trying not to step on a rat king made of tangled Level 6s as they go against each other for a second-straight weekend, with Oklahoma aiming for a little revenge and a little not counting a fall on beam this time with ranking glory potentially in the balance. Action also carries over into Sunday and Monday this weekend with some fancy Pac-12 action on the docket. UCLA visits Washington in need of a road score, and Utah will try to keep the big-scoring and beam-hitting streak going against Stanford. Those are Pac-12 Network non-streamed meets, so I’ll be sure to keep you up on the action. 


Top 25 Schedule
Friday – 2/14/14
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [11] Arkansas @ [1] Florida
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [8] Michigan @ [7] Nebraska
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [5] Alabama @ [12] Auburn
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [20] Ohio State @ Iowa
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [18] Denver @ Southern Utah

Saturday – 2/15/14
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [15] Illinois @ [21] Penn State
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Michigan State @ [14] Minnesota
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Metroplex Challenge – [2] Oklahoma, [3] LSU, [17] Arizona, Kentucky
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [16] Boise State, Utah State, Seattle Pacific @ [13] Oregon State
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – BYU @ [22] Arizona State

Sunday – 2/16/14
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – [25] Kent State @ [19] Central Michigan
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [9] UCLA @ [23] Washington

Monday – 2/17/14
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [4] Utah @ [10] Stanford