RQS Progress

It’s coming. Whether you’re ready or not, the annual nightmare that is RQS is coming. On February 24th, RQS will take over from season average in determining the rankings, so now is a good time to check out where teams stand and what they still need to do to achieve a worthwhile RQS.

The rules: RQS (Regional Qualifying Score) is used to determine which 36 teams advance to the Regional Championships. It is calculated by taking a team’s six highest scores on the year, of which at least three must be road scores, dropping the highest score, and averaging the remaining five.  

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you may know that I have a love/hate relationship with RQS. I love the fact that it involves calculations and spreadsheets, but I hate the fact that it imposes an artificially small sample size on the rankings in a sport that already has a small sample size of meets to begin with. It throws out a majority of the data points and shouts, “Do-over!” on most of the routines during the year so that there are few repercussions for top teams having bad meets.

1. Florida (Current RQS: X)
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: X

Florida is in a perfectly solid position for RQS and will end the season with a large number, but for a team looking to finish the year in the top spot, those road scores are not devastatingly amazing. The Gators are currently trailing both Oklahoma and LSU in the road race, so even though having a counting 197.875 home score is an asset, Florida will probably need to put up a couple mid-197s in the remaining three road meets to feel comfortable in maintaining that #1 spot. The Gators will not have a chance to bounce that road 196 until the meet in Alabama on the 28th, which is after RQS kicks in, so don’t be surprised if the Gators drop a couple ranking places in the first week of RQS from where they are now.

2. Oklahoma (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 197.575
Road Score 2: 197.225
Road Score 3: X
Road/Home Score 1: 197.700
Road/Home Score 2: 197.325
Road/Home Score 3: 196.675

While currently ranked lower, Oklahoma is in a nearly identical RQS position to Florida with their stronger road numbers balancing out Florida’s stronger home numbers. Over the next two weeks, Oklahoma has Metroplex and then the “road meet that’s not a road meet” in Oklahoma City, which is a very advantageous position for extending the road advantage over Florida and settling into a comfortable mid-197 RQS with a whole month of the season remaining.

3. LSU (Current RQS: 197.225)
Road Score 1: 197.650
Road Score 2: 197.225
Road Score 3: 196.875
Road/Home Score 1: 197.650
Road/Home Score 2: 197.200
Road/Home Score 3: 197.175

Kick back and relax, LSU, because 197.225 is already an excellent RQS. Based on precedent and the scores currently being recorded, it shouldn’t take all that much more to secure a top 6 ranking and a #1 Regionals seed. There are no clunkers in this group of scores already, and they’ll have a chance to go straight 197s across the board after Metroplex this weekend. The Tigers’ only wish will be that RQS kicked in this coming Monday instead of the next week, because they may very well finish this weekend with the #1 RQS given the 196.6s that Florida and Oklahoma will still be hanging onto.

4. Utah (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 197.200
Road Score 2: 196.875
Road Score 3: X
Road/Home Score 1: 197.825
Road/Home Score 2: 197.125
Road/Home Score 3: 196.650

While the Utes are mostly keeping pace with the current top 3 in the season average department, they won’t be able to count that big home 197 for the time being, so they’re going to need a couple more scores in the mid-197 family to keep within striking distance. They’ve got a nice edge over the teams below right now, but a high road score at Stanford this weekend would help them become part of the lead pack instead of the leader of the second pack.

5. Alabama (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 196.825
Road Score 2: 196.050
Road Score 3: X
Road/Home Score 1: 197.500
Road/Home Score 2: 197.150
Road/Home Score 3: 197.125

The meet last weekend was a good sign of Alabama rounding into form, but there’s still a bit of road work to do in the RQS department with just three road meets left on the schedule. Two of those road meets are the next two weeks, so the Tide will need a strong counting score from at least one of those meets and maybe both to consider moving up because it doesn’t appear that Florida, Oklahoma, or LSU will end up having any 196s in their RQS picture when we get down to the end of the year.

6. Georgia (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
With all those packed weekends early in the season, Georgia already has the luxury of more scores than needed and is already dropping a 196.3 from the first weekend. This is particularly helpful because this weekend’s clash against Missouri has been cancelled, so the Gym Dogs just lost one of their opportunities to bump up their RQS. They’ll need to step up some of these road scores to remain in the picture for a #1 Regionals seed, but there’s not anything disastrous hanging around threatening to be counted. The current 196.900 is a very strong number for February.

7. Nebraska (Current RQS: X)
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: X

The Nebraska Huskers have an important clash with Michigan this weekend that will round out their RQS crop for the moment. They need to get rid of a couple of these mid 196s at some point, but they should still debut with a comfortable score. Currently, there is a break between the top six teams and everyone else in the amount of 197s recorded, which is something to keep an eye on. The Huskers currently have no 197s counting for RQS, so they’ll need a couple more of them in the next few weeks to jump anywhere higher than the current spot.

8. Michigan (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 196.800
Road Score 2: 196.525
Road Score 3: 195.800
Road/Home Score 1: 197.325
Road/Home Score 2: 196.800
Road/Home Score 3: X

Obviously, the big issue for Michigan is that 195 from over the weekend, which cannot be allowed to stay and, we can assume, will be evicted from the picture soon, leaving a much more respectable number than the current landscape would indicate. The two road meets over the next two weeks will be critical in deciding just how high the Wolverines can climb. If they’re still getting mid-196s at these coming road meets, they’ll be stuck with them and won’t be able to attack the top spots.

9. UCLA (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 196.575
Road Score 2: 195.875
Road Score 3: X
Road/Home Score 1: 196.925
Road/Home Score 2: 196.625
Road/Home Score 3: 196.425

UCLA hasn’t had that big breakthrough number yet, and with six more meets in the season, it’s likely that at least several of these current scores will have to be counted, which places a relatively low ceiling on how high UCLA can go. There’s absolutely no more margin for another bad meet, especially on the road this weekend in Washington, because they don’t have the luxury of big scores already in the bank. They’re going to want to count everything left.

10. Stanford (Current RQS: 195.930)
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: 196.325
Road/Home Score 3: 195.925

Stanford is often in a tough position for RQS because historically they have fewer meets during the regular season than the other teams. The situation is a bit better this year with still five meets remaining, but they will need to count at least four of those remaining five scores if they are going to be safe as a #2 seed at a Regional. There are too many teams below that can catch them to have any of these 195s around. Stanford is another team with no margin left for bad meets. Ideally, only the 197.275 and 196.825 would be kept. 

11. Arkansas (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 196.275
Road Score 2: 196.050
Road Score 3: X
Road/Home Score 1: 196.275
Road/Home Score 2: 196.200
Road/Home Score 3: 196.100

12. Auburn (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 196.850
Road Score 2: 196.550
Road Score 3: 195.950
Road/Home Score 1: 196.225
Road/Home Score 2: 194.875
Road/Home Score 3: X

13. Oregon State (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: 196.425
Road/Home Score 3: X

14. Minnesota (Current RQS: 195.720)
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: 194.425

15. Illinois (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 195.350
Road Score 2: 195.325
Road Score 3: X
Road/Home Score 1: 196.475
Road/Home Score 2: 196.175
Road/Home Score 3: 195.575

16. Boise State (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 196.325
Road Score 2: 195.850
Road Score 3: 195.250
Road/Home Score 1: 196.025
Road/Home Score 2: 195.150
Road/Home Score 3: X

17. Arizona (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 195.850
Road Score 2: 194.750
Road Score 3: 194.425
Road/Home Score 1: 196.925
Road/Home Score 2: 196.500
Road/Home Score 3:

18. Denver (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 196.550
Road Score 2: 194.825
Road Score 3: X
Road/Home Score 1: 196.050
Road/Home Score 2: 195.800
Road/Home Score 3: 195.200

19. Central Michigan (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: 194.800

20. Ohio State (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 195.200
Road Score 2: X
Road Score 3: X
Road/Home Score 1: 195.900
Road/Home Score 2: 195.625
Road/Home Score 3: 194.775

21. Penn State (Current RQS: 194.980)
Road Score 1: 196.150
Road Score 2: 194.825
Road Score 3: 193.975
Road/Home Score 1: 196.150
Road/Home Score 2: 194.825
Road/Home Score 3: 193.925

22. Arizona State (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 195.900
Road Score 2: 194.950
Road Score 3: X
Road/Home Score 1: 196.000
Road/Home Score 2: 194.900
Road/Home Score 3: 193.625

23. Washington (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: 195.025
Road/Home Score 3: 194.825

24. California (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 195.350
Road Score 2: 194.650
Road Score 3: 193.225
Road/Home Score 1: 196.275
Road/Home Score 2: 195.550
Road/Home Score 3: X

25. Kent State (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 194.725
Road Score 2: 194.025
Road Score 3: X
Road/Home Score 1: 195.675
Road/Home Score 2: 195.400
Road/Home Score 3: 194.475

Week 5 Rankings and Notes


This video has been making the rounds for the past day or so. If you happen to be new to NCAA gymnastics and are perhaps curious about why there is an intense cult of adoration around Valorie Kondos Field, this is the reason. It’s not the floor routines; it’s this–sharing all the explicatives she’s feeling with the rest of us in contrast to the stream of positivity and lies we are usually subjected to. Apparently, the theme of this week is Everyone except Sam Peszek is garbage.

Week 5 Rankings – (Gyminfo)
1. Florida – 197.365
Week 5: 197.175
Week 5 leaders: AA – Sloan 39.675; VT – Hunter 9.925; UB – Sloan, M Caquatto 9.900; BB – Sloan 10.000; FX – Hunter 9.925

It’s a respectable road score for the Gators and enough to keep them in first place for the moment, though the margin is getting tight and interesting. Florida didn’t put out entirely full lineups over the weekend (Macko sat out on the leg events), but it was mostly a first-team experience. A couple people had marginally weaker showings than what they have produced recently, but the scoring also did not hit the heights we saw at the home meets over the past few weeks. That is, except for Sloan’s 10, which was suddenly and surprisingly big. I don’t begrudge this 10 all too much, but Sloan has done her routine in that exact same way a number of times without getting a 10.

2. Oklahoma – 197.300
Week 5: 197.325
Week 5 leaders: AA – None; VT – Capps 9.950; UB – Scaman 9.925; BB – Brewer, Kmieciak 9.875; FX – Scaman 9.975

The Sooners were on pace to take over the #1 spot after the first two events of their meet on Sunday, but it was a beam problem that pushed them back into second and back behind LSU for a loss. A beam problem? What is this? How are you supposed to be the undisputed, swooned-over queens of beam if you’re going to count a fall and be ranked third in the country on the event like some common raggedy peasant children? I expect this problem to be resolved instantly. Are we clear?

3. LSU – 197.296
Week 5 A: 197.225
Week 5 A leaders: AA – Courville 39.600; VT – Courville, Gnat 9.900; UB – Morrison 9.925; BB – Courville, Jordan 9.925; FX – Courville, Hall 9.925

Week 5 B: 197.650
Week 5 B leaders: AA – Jordan 39.525; VT – Morrison 9.975; UB – Morrison 9.925; BB – Gnat 9.900; FX – Hall 9.950 

The Tigers should be quite pleased by the weekend’s showing, taking a chunk out of the Florida advantage with two strong meets and a whole heap of 9.9s. It may have taken an opponent’s fall to do it, but beating Oklahoma away is a significant feather in their caps if they want to keep up this assault on a historic ranking position and remain in the conversation as a spoiler for the “next team to win a title” debate. The most important LSU routine of the weekend was Gnat’s 9.900 on beam from Sunday. She has had some falls recently and seemed like a major question mark, but they need her score to help them through their weak event, so her winning beam against Oklahoma is a big deal.

4. Utah – 197.135
Week 5: 197.825
Week 5 leaders: AA – Wilson 39.600; VT – Wilson 9.975; UB – Dabritz 9.975; BB – Lofgren 9.925; FX – Dabritz 9.975

The Utes used a massive home score to keep pace with the lead pack of three, ranked top in the country on both vault and floor, and Dabritz continues to be the sultan of three events. Well, really the whole team continues to be the sultan of three events. There’s enough strength on vault and floor for the most part to expect these scores to continue (not 49.7s, but strong numbers), and for the time being at least, stunted performances on beam are not significant enough to hurt the team score. Facing off against Stanford away on President’s Day next week will be telling in that regard.

5. Alabama – 196.930
Week 5: 197.500
Week 5 leaders: AA – DeMeo 39.400; VT – Milliner 9.925; UB – Clark 9.925; BB – Clark, Sims 9.875; FX – Jacob, Milliner 9.950

Alabama shot up two ranking spots after recording a season high and the #3 score of the weekend in the showdown against Georgia. The Tide was close with Georgia for three events, recording fine but unremarkable numbers on the first three events with a few landing and handstand issues and some uncharacteristic beam errors, but they pulled away on floor to a comfortable victory. It’s significant not just because of the win but because floor had been the slow event to this point. Seeing the team hit in the way they are capable of was an expected but notable progression. I still have some questions about vault – the absence of Williams is really showing there – and bars, where we need to start seeing some cleaner gymnastics, but they’re moving in the right direction to challenge the teams currently at the top.  

6. Georgia – 196.864
Week 5: 196.825
Week 5 leaders: AA – Rogers 39.450; VT – Jay 9.900; UB – Brown 9.925; BB – Earls 9.950; FX – Box, Reynolds 9.875

If not for these nasty little beam falls, we would be praising Georgia for five consecutive meets over 197. That would have been a surprise, given the makeup of that team, which I didn’t think would be this strong this early on. Against Alabama, they were cut down again by a final-rotation beam struggle, and that whole lineup remains nerve-wracking. However, even though she was responsible for a fall, getting Sarah Persinger back in there is a necessary switch toward becoming strong on all four events. We can expect the vault landings to be made more consistent, and bars has been very impressive all year, but this group still has to prove that they are more than a two-event team. Two-event teams don’t make Super Six.

7. Nebraska – 196.705
Week 5: 197.225
Week 5 leaders: AA – DeZiel, Wong 39.575; VT – DeZiel 9.950; UB – Wong 9.900; BB – J Lauer 9.925; FX – Blanske, Wong 9.900

Nebraska is not one of those teams that gets a ton of attention because we don’t get streams to check in on them regularly, but the Huskers are quietly hanging around these 7th and 8th positions and staying within sight of the top teams, helped by a season-high last weekend and the first 197 on the year. The meet was marked by a big beam score of 49.400, which is one of the program’s all-time high marks on the event, and a somewhat unexpected accomplishment. If this is for real, and they can continue hitting beam that way, they will have carved away a big weakness perpetually keeping them down below the top teams. 

8. Michigan – 196.650
Week 5: 195.800
Week 5 leaders: AA – Sampson 39.300; VT – Sugiyama 9.900; UB – Artz, Gies 9.825; BB – Gies 9.850; FX – Sampson 9.925

The Wolverines experienced a little bit of plummeting in the rankings action as a result of that 195 over the weekend, and I already expressed my thoughts on the uncharacteristic scoring choices in that meet. Still, they did leave the door open with mistakes that they shouldn’t be making on bars, and this team has enough troubles on beam to begin with without the scoring refusing to give them favors. The lack of Beilstein didn’t help either, and even though she hasn’t been performing quite to the expected level on vault and floor so far this season, over the last year or so she has become someone capable of 9.9 on three events, and Michigan will need that kind of performance in order to win the exciting clash with Nebraska over the weekend.

9. UCLA – 196.485
Week 5: 196.925
Week 5 leaders: AA – Mossett 39.325; VT – Courtney 9.925; UB – Peszek 10.000; BB – Peszek 9.950; FX – Sawa 9.925

Miss Val has made her feelings about this meet quite wonderfully clear, and I have very little to add. The Bruins had some wimpy, uninspiring, preseason showings on each event, so even though the final team score is acceptable, this was an opportunity at home to put up a huge number and make up some ground on the teams that should be their peers, and they missed it. The path this team will take to success is apparent: it goes through Peszek, Courtney, and Francis getting huge scores and everyone else supporting them by being acceptable, but there are also routines they must use in these bars and beam lineups that don’t look like they have even the possibility of becoming competitive with the top teams. We shouldn’t be really proud of someone for getting a 9.825, but that’s where we are right now with some of these routines.

10. Stanford – 196.154
Week 5 A: 195.750
Week 5 A leaders: AA – N McNair 39.300; VT – N McNair, Vaculik 9.900; UB – N McNair, Vaculik 9.875; BB – S Morgan 9.900; FX – Vaculik 9.925

Week 5 B: 196.825
Week 5 B leaders: AA – Vaculik 39.600; VT – N McNair 9.900; UB – Vaculik 9.925; BB – Vaculik 9.925; FX – Vaculik 9.900

Stanford finally climbed into the top 10 this week after the usual struggle of starting out somewhere in the teens and slowing working up the hill. The top-10 debut has actually come a bit earlier than expected this season, and the absolute most important thing for this team right now is how much Kristina Vaculik’s name is appearing in the above stats. Her collegiate career has been characterized by so many beautiful mistakes and headcase moments, but with Hong out and Shapiro reduced to an occasional supporting specialist who either gets a 9.9 or a 9.2 on bars, the pressure is on Vaculik to emerge as the leader of that once-potential-filled trio. Nicolette McNair has also necessarily established herself as a scoring leader early in her collegiate career, and while we’re seeing shades of the excellence this team can attain, there are still pieces (Ivana Hong) that are missing (Ivana Hong) that will need to be there (Ivana Hong) for this team to make Super Six (Ivana Hong). 

11. Arkansas – 196.145
Week 5: 196.275
Week 5 leaders: AA – Grable 39.625; VT – Grable 9.875; UB – Grable 9.900; BB – Grable 9.900; FX – Grable 9.950 (The sweep!)

12. Auburn – 196.090
Week 5: 195.950
Week 5 leaders: AA – Guy 39.500; VT – Rott 9.925; UB – Walker 9.850; BB – Walker 9.875; FX – Guy 9.950

13. Oregon State – 196.088
Week 5: 197.100
Week 5 leaders: AA – Tang 39.350; VT – Blalock 9.875; UB – Aufiero, Harris 9.925; BB – Tang 9.925; FX – Blalock 9.950

14. Minnesota – 195.825
Week 5: 196.025
Week 5 leaders: AA – Mable 39.175; VT – Mable 9.900; UB – Covers, Holst, Slechta 9.825; BB – Schermann 9.825; FX – Mable 9.925

15. Illinois – 195.780
Week 5: 195.575
Week 5 leaders: AA – See 39.075; VT – O’Connor 9.850; UB – Kato 9.800; BB – Kato, McNabb 9.825; FX – Buchanan 9.825

16. Boise State – 195.720
Week 5: 196.325
Week 5 leaders: AA – Morris 39.275; VT – Perkins 9.875; UB – Perkins 9.875; BB – Morris, Urquhart 9.850; FX – Perkins 9.900

17. Arizona – 195.690
Week 5: 194.425
Week 5 leaders: AA – Flores 39.350; VT – Sangston, Valentin 9.825; UB – Flores 9.850; BB – Mills 9.850; FX – Flores, Wobma 9.875

18. Denver – 195.685
Week 5: 196.050
Week 5 leaders: AA – Martin 39.450; VT – Martin 9.900; UB – Martin 9.925; BB – Martin, McGee, Ross 9.775; FX – McGee 9.875

19. Central Michigan – 195.432
Week 5 A: 195.925
Week 5 A leaders: AA – None; VT – Moraw 9.875; UB – Druien 9.850; BB – Noonan 9.800; FX – Moraw 9.850

Week 5 B: 196.500
Week 5 B leaders: AA – B Petzold 39.225; VT – Moraw, B Petzold, K Petzold 9.875; UB – Fagan, B Petzold 9.850; BB – Noonan 9.900; FX – Moraw 9.925

20. Ohio State – 195.250
Week 5: 195.900
Week 5 leaders: AA – Shaffer 39.400; VT – Shaffer 9.900; UB – Aepli 9.875; BB – Miller 9.900; FX – Shaffer 9.950

21. Penn State – 195.175
Week 5: 196.150
Week 5 leaders: AA – Stauder 39.350; VT – Sibson 9.950; UB – Stauder 9.900; BB – Stauder 9.925; FX – Musgrove 9.850

22. Arizona State – 195.075
Week 5: 194.950
Week 5 leaders: AA – None; VT – Kraus 9.850; UB – Kraus 9.875; BB – Perez 9.875; FX – Sundby 9.925

23. Washington – 195.030
Week 5: 196.200
Week 5 leaders: AA – Northey, Vaccher 39.275; VT – Yacalis 9.875; UB – Metcalf 9.850; BB – Northey 9.850; FX – Vaccher 9.900

24. California – 195.010
No meet

25. Kent State – 194.860
Week 5: 195.675
Week 5 leaders: AA – Case 39.300; VT – Case, Mims 9.850; UB – Baxter 9.850; BB – Case 9.850; FX – Mims 9.900

Saturday Notes

We enter a solid day of Saturday competition, starting with UCLA and Arizona State in Pac-12 action, coming off a Friday marked by highs and lows. Utah finished the day yesterday by putting up a colossal 197.825, led by a 49.725 on floor in a season already characterized by big floor scores. Going into this season, we hadn’t seen a team score over 49.700 on floor in the regular season since 2008, and it has already happened twice so far.

Alabama also recorded a huge floor number of 49.625, which seems frankly paltry this year by comparison even though it is Alabama’s 4th-best floor score in the history of the program, en route to a 197.500, which will see them bounce up a couple places in the rankings to a place closer to where we expect to see Alabama. LSU and Florida also managed low 197s in road performances that they will gladly take for RQS and that will keep them in a comfortable ranking position.

On the contrasting side, we saw Michigan record a score in the high 195s in a meet with just weird scoring, a fair amount of the scores–but notably not each and every one of the scores–were lower than we would expect. You can always find reasons to justify a low score because the deductions exist even if the judges rarely elect to take them, but in the two rotations of that meet that I saw before Georgia and Alabama started, the standard of scoring was different from and inconsistent with what we have seen throughout the country this season. The Wolverines didn’t look great, we’ve seen much better from them, but they didn’t look all that bad either. They were evaluated with a different standard, which primarily accounts for the 195.

Bev Plocki had this to say about it:
“You can only control what you can control. You can’t control the judging. This was one of the strictest-officiated meets I’ve been at across the board in all my years. There were some really high-quality routines that were being scored well below their average. No matter how upset or disappointed we are with the way they were judging, we still opened the door for them to take those deductions. Tonight, they just chose to take more. We have to button those things up.”

The Oregon State and Cal meet has been cancelled because of poor weather, which is rough for everyone, especially if you were relying on Erika Aufiero’s bars score in your fantasy lineup to offset the low scores from Michigan. Just as an example.

I’ll be watching UCLA against Arizona State, which begins at 3:30 ET/12:30 PT and giving some general notes on the rotations as we go along.

UCLA will have Peszek on two events today, which they desperately need. Really, they desperately need her in the AA.

UCLA vault: Courtney had by far the top vault in that rotation, giving us her usual powerful yfull. She had to windmill to hang onto the stick and bent for it, but otherwise it was strong. Cipra and Bynum are both still trying to get the landings in order, Cipra with a big bounce back and Bynum with a lunge forward, though her vault was very clean in the air. Much of the early rotation was marked by significant piking in the air and not maintaining the shape we would expect and landing low. A weaker showing from Sawa in that regard in particular because she has been much better than that early in the year. Sawa and Mossett both took hops, but smaller, controlled hops, on their landings. 49.225 

Arizona State bars: ASU had a fall from Gades in the fifth spot on her double front dismount but were able to drop it. They had some handstand and form issues in much of the rotation, especially the beginning, along with some close catches and late pirouettes here and there. Miceli and Kraus showed the best line and strongest handstands in that rotation to hang onto an acceptable score and get the team over 49. They need to stick a few more of those dismounts because we saw hops even on the double tucks. 49.025

UCLA bars: It was the tale of two rotations for UCLA on bars. It started with two falls from Craddock in the first position in a disastrous routine, and both Sawa and Mossett struggled through their performances, Sawa with leg breaks and a large step on dismount, and Mossett with missed handstands and the usual struggle on the stalder. 9.850 was charitable for her. But, they got it together for the final three and hit one of the best series of three routines they have so far this season. Courtney was very clean, probably her best of the year. DeJesus also did quite well and stuck her dismount brilliantly, but the score of a 9.975 was out of control because she did still have some crazy legs on the gienger (though it’s getting better), and Amanda Borden commented that it looked like she caught it close as well. Peszek returned to the end of the lineup and hit a brilliant routine, and we knew if she stuck the dismount it was going to be a 10 because it was stronger than DeJesus’s routine. You can argue it, but they had nowhere to go after the DeJesus 9.975. It’s a 10 in the same way that the Sloan floor routine was a 10 against Georgia. 49.525. 

Arizona State vault: It was a solid enough rotation, including a tucked 1.5 from Sundby, which is also nice to see as a different look on vault. We saw some strong distance throughout the rotation on many of those vaults, especially for Kraus on her 9.850, but they need a little bit more control on the landings. A lot of people were bounding out with fairly large steps. They decided to do only five vaults because they were happy with the first five scores. Because they don’t have the huge, huge power, they’ll need some more control in the landings to get into those 49s but the talent is there. 48.975 

UCLA beam: If they could just get Peszek and Francis into the lineup at the same time, this rotation could actually be something for as much of a problem it has been so far, but Danusia is still sick, so we have to wait for that to happen. The rotation started off well enough with Craddock and DeJesus hitting their most comfortable beam routines of the season. DeJesus was in line for a great score before a hop on her 1.5 dismount. Then Gerber came up third to debut in the lineup and fell on her mount choreography and never pulled it together after that, with major wobbles on every skill, looking very tight and frail. Mossett got through her routine with nervous wobbles, and Sawa somehow saved a poor walkover and stayed on the beam with some fancy bending and facial expressions. It was mostly the facial expression. I’m still not really sure how that happened, but this rotation is far from comfortable. Lots of nervous struggles all over the place. They were saved by Peszek at the back of the rotation being all the kinds of excellent and performing exactly as we expect from her. Well, they went over 49, so that’s a victory. 49.175

Arizona State floor: There was not a ton of difficulty in this floor lineup except for the big tuck full from Sundby in the anchor spot, but the level of the double backs improved as the rotation went along, as we would expect. The back half showed strong amplitude, and Steigerwalt in particular showed the most comfort dropping into those landings. Perez had the showpiece routine choreographically and hit her tumbling securely, but the biggest score struggle for this team in the early part of the rotation is the dance elements, which aren’t hit to full extension and hurt the scores even if the tumbling is controlled. The scores are going up, and it looks like the judges are ready to give out some big numbers here. Lots of hugs from Hollie Vise. She needs to be in this rotation. 49.300

UCLA floor: UCLA was on pace for a very big score in spite of some of the early errors going into floor, but it was just a whole mess throughout. Mossett started off all right, though she’ll need to upgrade at some point, but then DeJesus came up with a wonky dance element and some low amplitude on her tumbling, Bynum had short landings on her DLO and her double pike dismount, and then Cipra upgraded to a tuck full mount and bounced OOB. She appeared to hurt her foot during the routine and was in tears after it, getting looked at by the medical staff. Talk about not being able to afford that injury. Courtney bounded way out of her double arabian and didn’t look ready to do a full floor routine coming off her wisdom teeth removal, just pulling off her double pike dismount. Sawa didn’t have her absolute best routine – a little bouncy on the mount – but it was by far the strongest showing on the team. 49.000

Arizona State beam: Arizona State started fairly well on beam with comfortable, confident routines from Steigerwalt and Perez with minimal wobbles, but then Gades, Miceli, and Sundby all came up with falls on their series make the rotation a disaster with two counting falls. There is potential there, but just a very insecure showing for almost the entire gang. It was one of those disaster days where the mistakes just compound each other. Not much else to say other than let’s pretend it never happened. 47.650.  

Final Score: UCLA 196.925, Arizona State 194.950

Friday Friday Friday, Meets Meets Meets: Florida, Michigan, Georgia, Alabama

Friday, February 7th
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [1] Florida @ Kentucky (Scores) (Video – All-access)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [15] Minnesota @ [21] Ohio State (Scores)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [19] Central Michigan @ Eastern Michigan
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Northern Illinois @ [25] Kent State (Scores) (Video)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [3] LSU @ [11] Arkansas (Scores)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [6] Michigan @ [14] Illinois (Scores) (Video – All-access)
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – [5] Georgia @ [7] Alabama (Scores) (Video – free)
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – Chicago Style – [18] Boise State, North Carolina, Illinois-Chicago, Bowling Green
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [13] Arizona @ [4] Utah (Scores)

This week’s top 10:

Major action begins with Florida and Kentucky at 7:00 ET/4:00 PT, with the big question being exactly how too cool for school Florida’s lineups will be in this meet. Because of the schedule this season with many teams beginning competition in the second weekend of January instead of the first, most teams do not have a week off during the regular season this year, so expect most coaches to look for opportunities like this at winnable away meets over the next month or so to Miss Val some of their lineups, “explore depth,” and give their major contributors a chance to back off on a couple of events so they’re not doing the AA every single weekend right into the postseason. [At least, this is what I expected based on Florida’s schedule. We didn’t end up seeing much resting at all.]

Minnesota will also be facing off against Ohio State at the same time, and Minnesota is still yet to get things going this season in that contending-for-the-top-ten way we would expect, particularly on bars and beam, which were always going to be their struggle events. Lindsay Mable had a surprisingly poor meet last weekend with a couple falls, and the team certainly cannot afford that from its star. Minnesota is capable of a high 196, but not when they’re topping out at 9.850s like last week against Nebraska. Ohio State is ranked about where I would expect right now, but they’re yet to record a meet without counting a major mistake. They’re still looking for that all-important third contributor to help Miller and Shaffer get the scores. Is it going to be Tenille Funches? Am I just looking for any opportunity to use the name Tenille Funches?

Intros now for the Kentucky team. Kentucky is certainly a top-25 quality team, but that -6 they scored last week against Georgia with 5 beam falls destroyed their ranking, and it will probably take until RQS kicks in for them to climb back up to where they belong. Is Florida even at this meet? Why was there only one team standing there all pathetically? That was amusing looking. 

We’re getting started now, with Harrison on vault for Kentucky. Front handspring on, front pike – bent knees and a hop forward. 9.775.

BDG begins for Florida on bars, with a clean routine – strong shaposh and bail and a stuck DLO – one of her better of the season so far.

Beucler – VT – UK – yfull and a stuck landing with it – pretty piked and a low landing as a result, but strong landing there.

Hunter – UB – UF – Another great showing, highlight was the big hindorff as always, but the bail looked clean and the tuck full was stuck. Very nice start for Florida.

Hilton – VT – UK –  another stick or near stick on a yfull – deductions to take for leg form and piking again, but they’re not giving away on these landings, which is very important for this team early in the vault lineup. 9.800

B Caquatto – UB – UF – Just a huge tkatchev, handstands are all very clean and precisely held, hops back on her DLO which she hasn’t been doing, but it should be another big score for her. She has been the highest bars score surprinsgly a couple times for this team.

Mitchell – VT – UK – Another front handspring front pike – same bent knees as the first one – and a step forward on landing.

Sloan – UB – UF – Great power on that Ray – excellent handstands – and a stuck DLO – she had the usually legs flopping apart a tad on the bail, as she always does, but an excellent routine. I wish we were getting Florida’s scores. 

Hedges – VT – UK – Yfull, best height or distance on any vault so far for Kentucky – maintained her straight shape better as well, clean landing. They look pretty good on vault so far.  9.800.

M Caquatto – UB – UF – We missed the very beginning of Macko’s routine, but the Tkatchev looked nice, still a step back on the dismount, and she hasn’t been sticking that these last weeks. I always expect her to stick that every week, but it’s not happening this year.

Cunningham – VT – UK – Clean yfull – best form on the team with straight legs throughout – some separation though – and a stuck landing. This has been a pleasing vault rotation for Kentucky. 9.850. 

Johnson – UB – UF – Gorgeous Ray – otherwise I thought one of her early handstands was rushed and the legs came apart on the bail and the second salto in the DLO, so not her absolute best routine, but she did stick the DLO this time, so the landings are coming along for the most part.

SCP does exhibition on bars for Florida – and while she’s a solid backup, there are just a few too many deductions for her to make the lineup right now. An arched handstand here, steps on the DLO there. The Gators have the luxury of not having to use that routine.

-For Kentucky, one of the problems has been the low scores early in the vault rotation, so getting those landings early and avoiding having to endure an early 9.6 is huge for them. That vault rotation was pretty much competitive with what we see from teams in the 15-20 range in the rankings.

I was pleased by the progression on Florida’s landings. We’ll wait on the scores, but they didn’t give away as much as they have in a couple meets so far this year. They trotted the full lineup out, and delivered for the most part. A strong showing.

Over at Ohio State, the Buckeyes have a lead of .250 after the first rotation 49.025-48.775 led by a 9.900 from Shaffer on vault. Bars is the most challenging event for Minnesota, and they got through it, but had to count a 9.550 from Mable and dropped a fall from Hanley. Those two should be two of their highest scorers on the event, so they couldn’t recover from their lower scores. Not yet is the answer for Minnesota, but they’re a stronger vault team, so they can get it back in the second.

It’s a 49.325 for Florida, led by 9.9s for Sloan and Macko. I thought Sloan’s routine warranted a stronger score than Macko’s. Just cleaner.

Spicer – VT – UF – Solid yfull, could distance, small hop – not the pop we see from some of the others. Meanwhile, Kentucky begins with a serviceable bars routine from Roemmele – clean straddle back, a couple short handstands, step back on tuck full.

Johnson – VT – UF – yfull with a small hop in place – she’s pulled together that landing after a couple struggle weeks in there.

Hilton – UB – UK – Catches a big gienger with a little bit of crazy legs – that’s the showpiece of her routine – another with a DLO who completely straddles the second salto, but she stuck it.

On Kentucky coverage, we often miss some opponent routines for replays of Kentucky’s routines, and that appears to be the case with some of these vaults here, like Sloan’s. But she gets a 9.900.

Sienkowski – UB – UK – Nice rhythm and power in her routine – mixed grip jaeger? Cool. I saw some missed handstands and a couple places to take for leg form, but visually pleasing. 9.750.

So we’ve given up on showing Florida’s vaults. That’s going to make it harder to maintain energy for this meet once the 8:00/5:00 meets start.

Hartley – UB- UK – High tkatchev and a nice full turn, some pretty significant hip angle on the bail, but a stuck DLO. Really good routine. They should be happy with that.  That could be 9.8s. Never mind. 9.775. OK.

Harrison – UB – UK – Good height on jaeger. I’ve been enjoying the releases for this team so far. The problem has been the details. Like for Beucler, who just followed her with a strong enough routine but completely missed her first handstand, which will help keep her score down.

We barely saw anything from Florida in that rotation, but the score is just a 49.250, which is fairly low for this team. We saw our first swap out of the night, with Macko coming out on vault for SCP, who scored a dropped 9.700. Kytra and Sloan went into the 9.9s as we always expect from them, but no one scored anything massive. Scores have been what I would consider appropriate so far, but I like a harsh scoring landscape. We certainly see more charitable numbers in most places. Kentucky was pretty 9.7y on bars because of form breaks in all of these routines – leg separations – that kind of thing, but there are some nice qualities.  

Florida still on pace for a low 197 so far, which would make it challenging but definitely imaginable for Oklahoma to pass with a big home score.

Minnesota lost more ground on Ohio State in the second rotation after a 49.075 on vault. Mable got her 9.900 to recover from last week’s fall, but they had three scores in the 9.7s. They can still become the stick machines for 9.900s throughout the end of the lineup that they were in the postseason last year – the lineup is almost entirely the same, but we’re not there yet. Ohio State went low 49s on bars with a bunch of 9.8s, led by Aepli’s 9.875.

Boyce starts Florida with a clean enough showing – a split here, some lack of control there, but fine. We’ve seen better from her. Mitchell is up second for Kentucky on beam, and she is usually very secure but takes a bend at the hips in her back tuck after the walkover, which will bring down the score. Good stick on the front full dismount.

SCP is into the floor lineup for Florida and landed pretty low on her layout out of the middle pass and had to tuck it a little, but held on. Nice to see her in, but probably won’t stay there. Roemmele on beam for Kentucky now, and she’s another with a big hip bend on acro, a side aerial this time, one step back on her 1.5 dismount.

Sloan – FX – sticks her front double full as we’ve come to expect. Listening to other people, I think I may be the only person in the world who likes this floor routine, but that just makes me like it more out of spite. Another really clean showing. Fought slightly to hold onto the stick on her final pass. Really only a small notch below what we’ve seen the last couple weeks at home. 9.875. Hilton takes a fall on beam for Kentucky.

Johnson – FX – Yay for Alaina in this lineup today. Strong double arabian to open – it seems forever ago that she got this routine, but we’ve seen it only so rarely. A good showing, not quite there yet – a little short on her double pike landing for instance, but they should consider keeping her in this lineup.  

Beucler – BB – Must hit because they’re already counting a 9.650. Break on the gainer loso, but that was the only significant mistake in the routine, and they’ll take that score. They’ll have to.

For all Rhonda’s talk of resting people, we’re seeing no rest for Hunter and Sloan, just Macko really. Hunter – FX – big DLO that loses some impact with the close up camera angle – there’s no perspective for hugeness when gymnastics is shown in close up. It loses it’s impressiveness. We don’t need to see faces. We need to see amplitude. Another excellent showing with little to take. I sincerely doubt a road 10, but she’s on fire this year. Better than two weeks ago, worse than last week. 

Nice layout to two feet on beam for Kentucky’s Harrison in the final position – capped with a stuck 1.5. Strong way to finish, and they won’t be counting a fall. And Bridgette finishes up cleanly for Florida. Another who lands slightly short on her double pike but otherwise strong. Should be a solid if slightly unimpressive score.

It’s a 49.275 for Florida on floor, so they should still comfortably jump into the 197s, but we’re not seeing the huge numbers this week on the road, which is not particularly surprising. Kentucky pulled out a 48.625 on beam, so they should still be on track to break 195. 

I’m switching over to Michigan and Illinois now. I got behind so I missed some of the early routines. Sorry about that one. Michigan is already going to have to drop a 9.575 from Sugiyama on bars. Uh oh.

Gies – UB – clean firs hs, legs firmly together, strong tkatchev, small hop on the double back. A borderline handstand here and there, but strong. They’ll take it.

Nice height and distance on the yfull for O’Connor Illinois, a hop on the landing, but impressive.

Sheppard shows she excellent piked tkatchev, and she appears to be getting this routine together after some early errors in the season. Sticks the cowboyed double front. I had some buffering so must has missed a mistake for her 9.550. I’ll pull it together for the second rotation. I promise. Same thing happened for Sampson’s routine. What I saw looked nice, but it was jumpy and the score is a 9.750.

Buchanan finishes with a stick on her yfull for Illinois. That’s the kind of vault that has kept them in the top 15 even without Weinstein this year.

It’s a rough start for Michigan with a 48.725 on bars, though I didn’t see any of the mistakes, but they’re trailing Illinois by over two tenths and will have to pick it up significantly on vault.

Minnesota got it together on floor with 49.300 to take the lead over Ohio State, and Arkansas got an important 49.250 on vault to take the lead over LSU after 1. That 49.250 may be the boost they need to finally get out of the low 196s. LSU gets a 9.925 from Morrison, but has to count a 9.775 from Dickson. As pointed out in the comments, Wyrick is back on bars. They need her.

I’ll watch this next rotation for Illinois and Michigan before switching over to the Alabama and Georgia main event, which won’t start for another 15-20 minutes or so if the past is any indication. 

Brooke Parker is in for Michigan on vault – clean enough yfull it appeared – not a huge vault – step back – she’s getting there.

Naleway – UB – big leg break on the shaposh but hit – a little late on her gaint full and a hop on the double back. 9.725.

Zakharia – VT – (No Beilstein this week?) – Handspring pike half is solid but slightly off line, so her step to the side goes a little off the mat.

See – UB – All about the jaegers to open – nice composition and sticks the DLO to finish well.

Chiarelli – VT – sticks her yfull, which they needed – a little bit for leg form on the horse and she had to pike and hold to the stick, so the score shouldn’t be huge, but they needed that landing.

O’Connor – UB – Clean straddle back and a hugely high taktchev – small hop on the DLO and a short handstand or three, but good enough. 9.725.

Sugiyama – VT – Strong 1.5 with a small step forward, should be a high score. Much needed. 9.900.

McNabb – UB – Good full, catches tkatchev – not as high but a fine skill – step on DLO, and bail looked like it might have been a bit short. Fine.

Sampson – VT – looked like just a small hop in place on that landing for the yfull – maybe came in a little shorter than she usually would, at least it looked that way from behind.

Fielder for Illinois shows by far the best form on the team so far with her jaeger and finishing with a stuck DLO, and she is followed by Sheppard who does her usual huge and amazing yfull that she opens out of, had to fight and bend to hang onto the stick, so not her absolute best but a strong vault. Kato finishes on bars with a strong jaeger, and another clean enough showing overall – gets high on her DLO but lands it a little squatty – does hold onto the stick, though.

9.800 for Sheppard. Scoring has just been weird at this meet so far. I’m not sure what the deal is. Michigan hasn’t looked great, but has looked much better than a sub-196 pace would suggest.

Thanks for the heads up about Sloan getting a 10 on beam. She’s always close, so it seemed like it would be coming one of these days. That’s the first perfect 10 on beam since the 2010 UCLA/Georgia meet in which both Taylor and EHH got beam 10s, isn’t it? Was it merited?

Florida finishes with a 197.175. LSU is currently on pace for a similar number after two events, getting 9.9s from Gnat and Courville on vault. Now it’s time to switch over to Alabama and Georgia. Stream working for anyone? Not for me so far.

Now we’re up in time to see Dominique Pegg tuck her yfull. What was that? Lots of 9.8s leading up to this for both teams. Cheek hasn’t done much of that, so let’s see what she does.

Cheek – UB – clean first hs, looked like she caught her tkatchev as little close or awkwardly, and the final handstand was short, step back on the DLO. She’s been better than that most of this year. 9.850.

Beers – VT – Big power on the yfull – love that height and distance, but a pretty large step back.

Rogers – UB – Lovely stalders, excellent ricna, clean bail, and a stuck tuck full. Really good routine. So clean and pretty in the legs throughout, and very precise. 9.900.

Milliner – VT – Bam! Huge height on her 1.5 and a stick. One of her better vaults ever. I would be fine with 9.950, but the judges keep it in line with a 9.925. She’s gotten that score for a non-stick before, which is interesting.  

Davis – UB – Great first handstand and tkatchev, looked like one of her handstands was a little struggle and has to bend to hold onto her stick on the DLO, but very good. 9.900

Shocked Lauren Johnson caught her gienger in bars exhibition – it was basically in Mississippi, but she falls on the dismount.

Alabama goes 49.300 on vault, which is their score so far this year. They were able to drop Pegg’s weird tuck – but Beers’ vault was great except for getting that landing a little more controlled to make 9.9s more realistic, and Milliner’s was excellent. Georgia has the one tenth lead after the first, led by Brown’s 9.925, which I missed but we can assume she was rewarded for her amazing tkatchev. Both Cheek and Davis were fine, but neither had her absolute best routine. I thought Rogers was great.

Rotation 2 – Alabama on bars, Georgia on vault
Alabama bars:
1. DeMeo – Hate that random half turn to start and there were a couple handstands to argue, but she sticks the DLO and it’s a mostly clean showing. Great leg form throughout.
2. Bailey – Looked like she would be a little close on her opening release but she worked it out with sufficient swing – still doing the double back – small step. Clean but unremarkable routine. 
3. A Sims – Big leg break on her bail handstand and floppy legs on the DLO with a step back but a workable routine – the leg form was my main concern for her in this lineup.
4. Jacob – Misses first handstands, huge ray and does well to control the swing afterward, great stick on the DLO. Still a couple handstand issues to take for, though. 
5. Jetter – Strong Ray, but she struggled on her double front with an immediate hop and then another step. A couple handstands were borderline as well. 
6. Clark -Her shaposh and bail combo that makes up the majority of her routine is well done, finishes with her DLO 1/1 dismount with a step back.

Georgia vault:
1. Davis – Excellent yfull – maybe not a stick – she kind of stepped salute. Good height, though.
2. Broussard – Really strong distance on her yfull – small hop back – good form in the air.
3. Hires – good form on the yfull but a big bounce back out of it – not her best.
4. Jay – 4th now, and she has upgraded to the 1.5 – nice to see – fairly notable step but she’s progressing. 9.900.
5. Cheek – Lands a little short on her yfull with a step forward. She’s been fine so far, but it’s her weakest showing of the season through two events. Just not what we expect.
6. Rogers – 1.5 for her as well – more controlled landing than Jay, just a small step back. Very nice.I thought her vault was better than Jay’s, but whatever. 9.875.

Johnson sticks an exo vault for Georgia with a little fight, and now we’re seeing McNeer do an exo on bars. Interesting. Clean first handstand and strong Ray, bail is short of handstand with a leg break. DLO is a little whippy with a hop back. Potential, but not yet.

Alabama cuts the deficit to just a half tenth after two rotations. They needed to be close to take it on the final two events so they seem to be in good shape, since I would give the Tide the edge on the final two events. It wasn’t a particularly strong bars rotation for Alabama, though. I saw a lot of missed handstands and too many leg breaks. Georgia also needed to get a few more landings to hope for a score any higher than what they got.

Rotation 3 – Alabama on beam, Georgia on floor
Alabama beam:
1. Milliner – clean walkover, hits switch and straddle – works deliberately but hits – no wobbles on the loso series – good secure leadoff – step forward on double full dismount.
2. DeMeo – Handspring mount looks comfortable, biggish break on her series – bend at the hips and the leg flies up – she can be so great but she’s also the member of this lineup most likely to have an error. The splits are pristine. Step back on double pike. It won’t be terrible but they’ll want to drop it. 9.800. Hmm. Better than I thought after the large wobble, but she does give away very little elsewhere. 
3. Jetter – Windmills a little bit on her switch side – hits her loso well – gets her front tuck around but it’s not exactly comfortable – she’s hitting but it still looks nerve-wracking at every moment just like in elite. Small hop on 1.5 dismount.
4. A Sims – Lovely walkover and split jump – secure loso series – this is how you hit dance elements – holds onto her switch side like a veteran without giving up a wobble – a little short on her double back dismount with a step forward, but that was the only major thing to take. 9.875.
5. Clark – A little off on her loso series and raises a leg but does well not to give away a bigger wobble than that, small check on the front tuck, walkover is OK but she’s fighting it a little bit here. Sticks her 1.5 to help, but there were a couple checks in that routine. 9.875 seems high.
6. Jacob -Secure on her dance series – series of layouts is excellent – WOAH – big wobble on her barani and graps her legs to stay on the beam. We take that skill for granted from her. She always hits it. Hmmm. You can bend over a grab your thighs on a skill and still get a 9.825? Who knew. 

Georgia floor:
1. Earls – Really secure opening her Georgia as well – the split jump wasn’t quite there and some lack of control on the double back dismount as the hips slide back – but otherwise it’s a controlled and solid leadoff.
2. Hires – A little low on the double pike to open – and not quite there on her double back to finish as well – in a squat and not quite controlled – just not quite secure enough in the tumbling to get the big score. 9.800.
3. Reynolds – mount looks great, a little low chesty on her double pike – we’ve seen her be a bit stronger than this, but her dance elements look hit and her tumbling was under control. 9.875.
4. Box – Nice high double pike to open – keeps the landing in control enough, straddles look hit – same height on her double back – 1.5 to front layout is hit. Good showing. 9.875.
5. Rogers – Looked like she had her front double full but hops forward – perhaps minorly short of 180 on her split full but it was fine – small bits here and there on the tumbling – a little hop a little slide. 9.825
6. Jay – Very low on her tuck full and almost puts her knees down but it’s not a fall. Did she bail out of that middle pass a little? What was that? Anchor trouble. Hits the double pike to finish at least, but they could have used a big score from her. 9.800. OK. . .  

Both teams score a 49.225 in the third rotation to keep the margin razor thin at just .050 going into the final rotation, where I would say Alabama still does have the edge, though I thought Alabama would gain something in the third rotation. They had mistakes, wobbles throughout the routines from some of the big hitters – and then that really uncharacteristic mistake from Jacob. Even the one who looked the best on the beam, Sims, had a struggle on the dismount.  Similar, Georgia could have used some big hitting from the final two, but neither landed as well as they needed to, so Box and Reynolds had to carry floor, which Georgia should not be relying on.

Shot of Kayla Williams on crutches. Uhhhhhh. Sadness.

This is almost an identical situation to what Georgia did against Florida before Florida had the 49.875 heard round the world and Georgia melted down on beam. They’ll hope for a better result this time around. Persinger back in the lineup is an upgrade.

Rotation 4 – Alabama on floor, Georgia on beam
Alabama floor:
1. Jetter – Clean double back to start – splits are OK – hits 1.5 to front full as well – I was unsure whether she would make this lineup, but she’s making the most of hit. 1.5 to layout dismount. 9.875. 
2. Beers – Secure double tuck (Alabama with first two gymnasts starting with double tucks? Where are we?) long pause before second pass – slightest stumbly step on layout to layout full middle pass – Umm, this choreo before the dismount? What is that supposed to be? – Great double pike dismount. 9.925.
3. Bailey – Excellent double arabian mount and secure layout to front full middle pass – that double arabian mount is a big asset to this lineup – Milliner Lite – a bounce back out of her rudi. 9.875.
4. DeMeo – Another great double arabian – so maybe Bailey is DeMeo Lite – a little slide on the 1.5 to layout – Oh, a forgot about this travesty of a music melange. We call this iTunes vomit. Mute. Great 2.5 dismount. 9.925.
5. Jacob – A little slidey lack of control on the pike full in mount but well performed in the air – secure double pike – good straddles – takes her 1.5 to front full right up to the edge but stays in. 9.950.
6. Milliner – So high on her double arabian but lands just slightly short with a step back – great dynamic middle pass – excellent and secure double pike to finish. Excellent routine, stronger than Jacob’s, but not really a 10, so the judges have a little pickle here. 9.950.

Georgia beam:
1. Box – tuck jump full to start – clean loso series – she’s really making sure of these landings, squatting and holding each one – walkover is hit – small hop on 1.5. Tentative in places but hit well. 9.875.
2. Broussard – Never had a chance on her layout series. She had fallen the second she started that bhs. Well, Georgia, what are you going to do now? She’s off again on her side aerial.
3. Rogers – A little slow in her dance connection but gets it – strong loso series – just very small corrections on everything – tight – bhs 3/4 to stag is excellent this time – hits her bhs 1/1 to layout 1/1 dismount as well. Great finish after a tentative start. 9.850. 
4. Persinger – Excellent L turn – a little slow in that full turn but fine – hits walkover and hangs onto her loso series well without giving up much of a wobble if at all – does her front toss and barely even sniffs the beam on it. Counting a fall again after having a chance to win. Oh Georgia.
5. Cheek – Just trying to limit the damage at this point – and a clean loso series is a good start – lovely switch side – small adjustment on the side aerial – sticks gainer full. They needed that, and would have needed it more if they were still in this. 9.925.
6. Earls -Hits her two layouts series – small correction on switch split before straddle 1/4 – this is an important routine for the team score because they cannot count that 8.400 or anything close to it. Nice stick or close to it on the double back dismount. They were very close to a great rotation score here, but needed Persinger to be in form. 9.950. Still a good overall team score.  

Final score: Alabama 197.500, Georgia 196.825.

This is the team score Alabama has been needing, finishing with a big floor performance. It was all to play for in the end, and Alabama won it in the final rotation as much as Georgia lost it.