Friday Live Blog – UCLA @ Utah, Florida @ Alabama

Friday, January 23

7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Western Michigan @ Kent State (Scores) (Stream)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Central Michigan @ Ball State (Scores)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Florida @ Alabama (Scores) (ESPN3
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – UCLA @ Utah (Scores) (Pac-12 Network)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – SEMO, TWU @ Oklahoma (Scores)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Arkansas @ Auburn (Scores) (ESPN3)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Lindenwood @ Northern Illinois (Scores) (CSL)
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – Missouri @ LSU (Scores) (ESPN3)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Southern Utah @ Boise State (Scores)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Utah State @ BYU (Scores) (BYUtv)
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – UC Davis @ Sacramento State (Scores) (Stream)

UCLA, Utah, Florida, Alabama, Oklahoma, LSU, Arkansas, and Auburn all going at the same time. What more could you want? Them all going separately so you could watch each of them? I know. Me too.

I’ll be here to start blogging at 8:00 ET/5:00 PT. As I mentioned yesterday, I’ll be doing a live blog for UCLA/Utah followed by a not-live blog for Florida/Alabama. It should be a good one.

Stay tuned!

Lineup notes for Alabama: Kayla Williams has been moved to the leadoff position on beam. Lauren Beers and Katie Bailey are also in on floor. No Brannan on floor tonight. For Florida, Fassbender is back in on beam instead of Dancose-Giambattisto.

In Utah’s tentative lineups, Tutka is supposed to be coming back on floor (important step), and Partyka is supposed to come in on vault, and I also approve of that. UCLA also has tentative lineups out, but like that does any good. There will be 16 changes in the next 10 minutes anyway. But for now, the news is no Peng on vault this week. Peszek is back in the AA, which had to be expected.

Does the Pac-12 Network always show the exact same program before gymnastics? I’ve seen this same football play already a thousand times this year.

“The two most successful programs in the history of collegiate gymnastics.” What measurement are we using for that? How does Suzanne feel about that proclamation?

We’re profiling the Dabritz/Peszek AA showdown now. Georgia Dabritz in the AA. It’s like bizarro gymnastics.

Is “One attempt per competitor” really necessary as part of the rules? Obviously.

Rotation 1 – Utah on vault, UCLA on bars
Utah vault:
1. Lewis – no Partyka after all – yfull, nice form and distance, quite clean, medium bounce back. 9.825.
2. Rowe – yfull – could use a little bit more height, but similar landing to Lewis – good distance and smallish bounce back. 9.875. It’s going to be one of those days.
3. Hughes – 1.5 – hits it – knees are quite bent and comes in a little short with a step back. 9.825. 
4. Delaney – full – great height and distance as always – strong form – medium hop to the side. 9.900.
5. Wilson – full – Just meh but her standards – piking and comes in short, fighting for the stick – bends to try to hold it. 9.900. BAHAHAHAHAHA. This score.
6. Dabritz – full this time – given up on the 1.5? Great form in the air, bounce in place – medium feet apart on landing. 9.950.

UCLA bars:
1. Francis – slight arch on first hs, hits shaposh small leg break, excellent shoot back to high bar, late on giant full turn but sticks the double pike. Nice start. 9.825. 
2. Honest – She just Shayla-ed her mount! Back up now, close on tkatchev catch and has to muscle out of it – toes flexed on most skills but some good handstands – large lunge forward on dismount. Shame. 8.750.
3. Mossett – does well to hit her 1/2 turn to jaeger – hits her toes on the bar swinging through! Close on pak and can’t cast out of it. Early disaster for UCLA. Tuck full dismount – low and hop forward. Oh, UCLA. 8.525. Counting an 8.525. They’re basically out it already.
4. DeJesus – good first hs, very late giant full, particularly crazy legs on the gienger – hits bail – low on tuck full and hop forward. Not her strongest. 9.725. 
5. Peng – Jim says UCLA has been a mess so far. Night of honesty. Great on the bhardwaj and shaposh 1/2 this time – nearly sticks her DLO with just a small shuffle. Lovely stuff. 9.900.
6. Peszek – a little tight on first hs – GREAT giant full turn and gienger – solid pak – hitting all the subsequent handstands – one of her best DLOs in the air – not as flung out – looks like a small shuffle on landing.  9.900.

Utah hit that vault rotation. They can be better in the landings. They gave up quite a bit. And some of the scores were silly. 9.900 is too high for Wilson piking and bending to hold the landing like that. They did all they needed to do, though, since UCLA already had a ghoulish nightmare of horrors on bars. Counting an 8.750 and just a 48.100 for the rotation. That’s a ridiculous score. Peng and Peszek were strong, but it didn’t matter at that point. What is happening?

After 1: Utah 49.450, UCLA 48.100

In other news, Scaman got a 10 this week. She’s always in the running for it with a stick because her full is crazy good. 49.575 for Oklahoma’s vault.

“Georgia Dabritz used to be just a bars specialist.” When?

No Grips Dabritz counter is on. We’re at two so far, and the rotation hasn’t started. 

Rotation 2 – UCLA on vault, Utah on bars
Utah bars:
1. Hughes – nice half turn – tkatchev is high but seems a little close – short on following hs – hits bail – nice on the last hs – stucks tuck full with staggered landing. 9.775.
2. Wilson – short on first hs – pulls around her giant full – a little wonky – gienger to shootover have improved over the years – still close on the gienger – tuck full dismount as well – hop back. 9.725.
3. Rowe – solid giant full – tkatchev is fine – clean on bail – no major issues so far and hitting handstands well enough – whippy on the DLO with a leg break in the second salto – hop forward. 9.750.
4. Lopez – late on giant full – hits tkatchev – slightly short on bail it appeared – stronger form on DLO – small hop forward. 9.850.
5. Lothrop – food first hs – hits jaeger – more precise in the handstands – not much amplitude on the DLO but a near-stick – small, small hop. 9.900.
6. Dabritz – love that the comaneci is back – weird leg break on the 1/2 turn, hits jaeger – NO GRIPS MENTION – hs look fine – small hop to the side on dismount. 9.875.

UCLA vault:
1. Honest – Solid enough yfull – some piking – medium on height and distance – step back. 9.800.
2. Cipra – Good form – legs glued together throughout – medium hop back – some piking at the end. 9.825. 
3. Irvin – She can stick – landed off to the side and a little staggered, but she held onto the landing. 9.900. 
4. Bynum – Good form on the yhalf – not a lot of distance and a step forward, which would be the major deductions. 9.850. 
5. Peszek – “Nothing matters to Sam.” I think that’s not what you mean. Exceptional power and distance, but one of her bigger hops back. In other news, I want Dom’s shirt. 9.900. 
6. Williams – yfull – comes in short this time and staggered – piking and a step forward. Wonky is the theme of this rotation. A little more sideways than is normal. 9.775.

UCLA gains a tenth on Utah! Only a billion more points to go.
After 2: Utah 98.600, UCLA 97.375

More 10s for Oklahoma. Dowell on bars this time. We’ll need some video happening. 198 WATCH.

How do we feel about reporting people’s GPAs on the broadcast? Not a fan. I have traumatic memories of a biology teacher that used to make everyone announce their grades on each test in front of the whole class, and so any public reporting of academic results makes me squeamish.

Rotation 3 – Utah on beam, UCLA on floor
Utah beam:
1. Wilson – solid on her two losos series – very short back leg on switch split – fine straddle – full turn – very short on split jump as well – 1.5 dismount – medium hop forward. 9.725.
2. Dabritz – Here we go – pretty full turn – clean on the loso series – she still looks nervous as hell but she’s getting it – switch 1/2 is not exactly fully to split – step back – good switch – straddle 1/4 is OK – hop back on double full – another hit beam for Dabritz. New world.
3. Lee – Did she just wobble on choreography? – Also secure on her two losos series – switch and straddle 1/4 are strong – hits side aerial – good double full. She’s such an important addition to this lineup. 9.900.
4. Stover – strong aerial – does well not to give away a wobble – hits bhs loso series with Amanda Spinner level distance between her legs – good switch to straddle 1/4 – solid front toss – round off gainer full – stuck with legs apart. Her best of the year so far. 9.850. 
5. Rowe – switch to straddle 1/4 – Off the beam on her three series – just totally missed and landed on her hip there – comes back with a solid front toss – 1.5 dismount hop forward -9.050.
6. Lothrop – switch side 1/2 to start – hits it better than her switch side, which still amazes me – loso series is secure – switch side now – a little crooked it appeared – switch to straddle 1/4 – 1.5 dismount hop forward. They’re all hopping forward on these 1.5s. 9.825. 

UCLA floor:
1. Pinches -opens with a solid double back – small slide – 1.5 to double full is strong as well – completes the turns on her wolf jumps – secure on the double pike dismount – chest position. “Last year we didn’t see her compete on this event.” False. 9.800.
2. Gerber – solid double tuck mount – (all these double tuck mounts) – I enjoy this routine though – clean through layout and pike in the middle pass – lovely switch ring – chest basically on the ground on her double pike but not much movement on the landing. 9.825. 
3. Francis – whip to double tuck is a shorter landing this week – low and a hop forward – 2.5 middle pass – splits are excellent, which sets this routine apart – she’s also performing it better each time – secure landing on double tuck but also very, very low chest. 9.850. 
4. Bynum – (in for Hall) – short on her DLO with a bounce forward – front tuck through to solid double back – that was nicely done – second double tuck is a little squatty but better on the chest position.She almost snagged Val’s necklace when hugging her and was SCARED to death about it. 9.850.
5. Cipra – Tuck full landing was very solid – still low chest but more secure than previous weeks – clean 1.5 to layout – good switch ring as well – UCLA doesn’t tend to cheat those as much as other teams – landed the double pike this week as well. The team is thrilled. 9.850.
6. Peszek – She just totally had trouble getting into her starting pose. We all saw it, Sam. Good DLO – came in a little shorter than usual but not weak – 1.5 to layout middle pass is great – switch rign to split full – so much better chest position on the double pike but does bounce back. 9.875.

This meet would have been really exciting if UCLA had not melted down on bars in the first rotation. As it is, the whole thing has been pretty anticlimactic. I probably should have watched the Florida/Alabama meet live, but that’s the way things go.

Solid beam rotation for Utah, which shows the improvement over last season. Lee was clearly the class of that rotation, which showed up in the scores.A hit floor rotation for UCLA but no one’s best. So many tumbling passes landed with the head basically on the ground.

Oklahoma fell off the pace a little bit on beam but still looks good for a 198 with a strong floor rotation. 

After 3: Utah 147.725, UCLA 146.625

Rotation 4 – Utah on floor, UCLA on beam
Utah floor:
1. Hughes – Solid double tuck (it’s the day of the double tuck mounts) small bounce – clean 1.5 to layout but drags her foot forward on the landing – 2.5 dismount -pretends she meant to step way out of it. 9.800.
2. Lewis – good split full – wolf full – strong and secure double pike – layout to layout full is also clean – this tumbling is nice so far – UCLA chest on her double tuck – but a strong hit routine. Keep this one in the lineup.
3. Tutka -Strong full in as usual – back where she left off, did well to keep in in bounds – punch rudi second pass is also secure – straddle full wolf full – dismount is double tuck – just didn’t have enough for that pass yet – very short and a stumble forward with multiple steps. 9.600. 
4. Lothrop – tuck full is solid – low and a small slide back – strong 1.5 to layout – also secure on the double pike – just a solid routine all-around. Should get a good score because Utah – good position landing the dismount as well.

UCLA beam:
1. Gerber – strong full turn – clean aerial as well – long pause before series – bhs loso is fine – not much correction – switch to split – does well not to wobble on the side somi since she landed with her chest a little forward – 1.5 dismount step forward. Good. Leg form and split positions were a highlight compared to some of the Utah routines. 9.675. Did she miss SV? Not sure what the deal was there. 
2. Craddock – full turn – aerial looked like it would be fine but then kept wobbling and kept wobbling – tries again and does almost the same thing – no acro series in this routine – side aerial to front handspring she attempts to add to get her series – another wobble – side aerial to full dismount – huge step to the side. Another disaster routine for UCLA. 9.125. 
3. DeJesus – Strong aerial – major wobble on loso series as the leg flies up – small pause on her dance element combo but should be OK – front toss is secure – confident L turn – front full dismount with a hop forward. OK, but did have the big wobble. “Clean routine,” says Amanda. Except for the big wobble. UCLA filing a hundred inquiries about this rotation scoring. 9.425. Hm hm hm. 
4. Francis – Excellent side aerial – excellent aerial to bhs as well – great switch to split to wolf – y spin is hit – into dismount now – has to pause a little bit after the aerial and lands her full quite low this time but sticks it. Well done. On replay – it did look like a foot slipped after the aerial and she did amazingly well to still do the dismount. 9.800.
5. Lee – great lift on her switch to split combo – excellent – does her bhs to layout 2 feet and is off to the side and comes off the beam. Disaster rotation in another disaster meet – slightly short on her front tuck with a step back – hits double turn – strong double full dismount. Let’s just pretend this meet never happened.

SORRY about the delay. Computer problems. I’ll be back in service in a second, but suffice to say Dabritz had a strong floor with a step to the side on her triple full, Peszek was pretty much perfect on beam, and then Wilson had a weak floor routine with awkward landings and an OOB.

Final: Utah 196.725, UCLA 194.725
It was on OK meet for Utah. A hit, but still too many mistakes. They were saved in the score by those big vault numbers at the very beginning. For UCLA, let’s just pretend that one never happened. Nothing particularly memorable about that performance in the good ways. Sam Peszek wins the AA. That’s a plus?

In other news, Oklahoma got a 197.850 for the biggest score of the year so far. Would have been higher if not for counting an OOB from Capps on floor.

Short break, and then we’ll do Florida and Alabama OK?

I’ve already been checking the scores because please. Like I could stand not knowing what happened, but I’m still interested in seeing how it played out.

 “Those Gator-chomping gals from the swamp” sounds like a very different show. Ultimate bragging rights? This isn’t the championship.

In other news, Bridget Sloan is injured. WHA???? I didn’t know!

Looks like someone got the notes about the picture for “Courtney’s Keys” being from 2003 for no reason.

Alabama vault:
McNeer comes in a little short with a step forward, which is a shame. She had been sticking the last two weeks. Brannan some piking, not as much distance as others and a small hop back. 9.900 is high for that. Bailey does get excellent amplitude on her half, and good form with a pretty large step forward. Clark does a brilliant vault with great amplitude and form – it’s definitely on the 9.950 side and not the 10 side, but it’s very good. Beers looked strong in the air but was just a little short with a lean and a step. Williams ran through her vault, which I had heard about. At least she didn’t Kramarenko it. They do have three chances. Remember that time Monique De La Torre took 1800 runs and her vault still counted? Once she goes, running even harder than normal, comes in a little short on her 1.5 with a step back. Perfect in the air. 

Florida bars:
Baker‘s ray is truly excellent. She has to muscle up the handstands after the shoot a little bit and had a big cowboy on her double front with the step, but that was not bad. Boyce is a bars worker now, apparently. Strong shaposh to bail combo. Should have been a good score, but the three thousand steps landing the DLO didn’t help. BDG mostly did her usual routine but arched a handstand and took a hop back on the DLO. Still probably would have gone 9.850 in Florida, though right? Caquatto catches her ray close, but everything else looked normal. Hunter arched on her bail and did well to pull it back, but that’s where her deductions come from. Weird errors for Florida tonight. McMurtry doing her dismount with a bars routine around it. Just shorter on some of her handstands than last week.

Rotation 1: Alabama 49.500, Florida 48.950. Scores for Alabama were charitable in that rotation. It was good, but it wasn’t 49.500. Florida had too many mistakes like arched handstands and non-stuck dismounts to expect a much better score, though I was surprised to see so many of those in the 9.7s. Really apparent how much they’re missing Sloan/Macko/Alaina right now.

In other meets, LSU is on pace to go well over 197.

Florida vault:
Wang has a clean yfull with small piking and a hop in place. 9.900 means both teams are getting the same benefit of scores. Spicer performs a good full with solid distance and a medium hop back. Caquatto got zero block on her vault, extremely short and a lunge forward. What is up with you today, girl? Kupets just said the word “horse” in an octave higher than I think exists. Baker would have been excellent with her form, height, and distance but bounced a million feet back. Hunter excellent 1.5 with a step. So let’s talk about how a judge gave that a 10 because, you know, she stepped. McMurtry same vault as last week, but not stuck this time. Brilliant, though, Actually two steps, so it could have been a 9.900, but great.     

Alabama bars:
Brannan has a high jaeger and great toe point and strong on the handstands, just whips her DLO around a little with a pikey second salto and a step. McNeer’s ray is quite nice – just a short handstand or two and fights to hold onto the stick on the DLO. Bailey doing her new routine, which I think is a big improvement. The full out is strong, and it gets rid of the giant full, which was an issue before. Just two steps on the dismount brings this one down. A Sims also brings back the comaneci and follow that up with a weiler 1/2. Points for composition. No points for the crazy leg form on that DLO. Jetter had great handstands but broke leg form on her bail and was close on her ray. She did work out the dismount this week for a stick, though, so that was big. Beers – the leg separations could be not so pronounced on the shaposh to bail and she was very late on the half turn, and then I’m so glad the camera cut away as she landed.   

LSU gets a huge floor score to finish with a 197.350. Their best of the season so far.

After 2: Alabama 98.725, Florida 98.450
Florida’s final two vaults were the best routines of the meet so far, but overall it’s clear both teams are getting the same benefit of the scoring. Alabama gave away fewer major issues on bars. Their problems were more in the leg form department than the arched handstands and steps department, so that accounts for the lead so far.

Alabama beam:
Did you know the beam is four inches wide? I’m excited for this rotation. They’re putting Kayla Williams up first now and she has a wobble on her huge switch side to start and is squatty on her front tuck, then covers a step on her loso series by pretending it was choreography. Also a step on dismount, so 9.850 is too high for that. Bailey is next, and I’m still obsessed with her L turn. Secure acro and a stuck dismount, Excellent routine. McNeer is very pretty on beam when she’s not wobbling, which she wasn’t today. Great splits and clean leg form, stuck 1.5. Great. Beers had a check on the side somi, but everything else was very solid until a step back on dismount. Kupets even dropped a “calm confidence” on us. Clark was excellent on her acro throughout the routine, just a check here and there and a step on dismount. A Sims is lovely as always, but did have a small check on her aerial. Her straddle jump is just awesome. Unfortunately she had a big lunge forward on her double tuck.    

Florida floor:
Boyce starts for the Gators. Commentators talk about “doubters” who thought she wouldn’t make lineups. BUT WHO WOULD THINK THAT?!?! Her usual routine, some piking and unclean legs on her twisting skills. Fassbender. I’m not completely sold on her in this lineup. Uh oh. I’m being a “doubter.” She had a nice double pike middle pass, but she is short of split on her split full. Wang has the dropped score in this rotation because of a bouncy layout half middle pass and a very short double pike dismount. Baker‘s piked double arabian. That’s all. She did have a stumble landing it, though. Her double pike was brilliant. Maybe a little too high bouncing into her straddle jump on the dismount and struggled to control landing it. Hunter had a total Kytra routine. Not distinguishable from her 10s. And it got a 9.975. And this is actually my favorite routine she has done, as her choreo is usually secondary. Or tertiary. Cindy Lou Caquatto anchoring as always. A little short on her front tuck out of her mount again this week, but not nearly as bad as last time. She has gotten some gymternet grief for this routine, but I have to say … this music is my nightmare.

Big recovery beam rotation for Alabama. That’s much more the quality we expect, and it means Florida was not able to pick up any ground during a rotation when they should have been able to. Hunter was obviously the highlight of Florida’s floor since everyone else had at least minor mistakes on one or more passes.

After 3: Alabama 148.050, Florida 147.800

Alabama floor:
Bailey does an excellent job on her front tuck to 2.5 with a stick. Having a sign with solely someone’s first name on it in Times New Roman really is the no frills approach. Great routine. A Sims had a big lunge back on her double pike and some iffy legs on her 1.5. C Sims next and has such a floaty DLO, but she does pull it in low each time I have seen it so far. Clark has become a real member of this floor lineup now. She was slightly bouncy on her double pike, but the double tuck dismount was excellent. Beers up next, and her DLO is also extremely strong. She bounced a little on the middle pass and her switch ring is pretty NCAA. What was Frost holding in the background? It looked like a life preserver. Frost to finish, the DLO was fine even if she came in a little short, and then a front full into a barely pulled around front tuck. Hits dismount. Done.

Florida beam:
Baker starts for Florida and falls on her wolf turn, which is bizarre and I will classify as punishment for performing a wolf turn in the first place. No. I will not let it go. At least she didn’t buzz right off the beam like a top like Skinner that time. Spicer had a fairly significant wobble on her series and looked pretty tight but had no other significant errors. Rigor mortis choreography. McMurtry is third and has an excellent and high punch front, but had a strange wobble on her full turn, though the 2.5 dismount was great if off to the side. Boyce now on beam, fluid and secure is her tendency on beam, thought the switch split landing looked a little awkward. No real issues at all, though. Fassbender was not in the lineup last week after a fall in the first meet, but now she’s here – several medium wobbles in here. Tentative aerials with the leg up. And an NCAA sheep, but that’s nothing new. Hunter anchors, and her series is a delight as usual – though she did have a small wobble just standing there before her dismount and a pretty big hop back on the double tuck. 

Big recovery meet for Alabama to pull out the meet and have the steadier performance overall. Florida had to count those 9.7s on bars and beam, and they can’t afford that against a hitting Alabama. Big win for the Tide.

Final: Alabama 197.400, Florida 196.800.


Except one more thing. GO AHEAD ON Auburn! 197.025. That’s the Auburn I expected to see this year. 

24 thoughts on “Friday Live Blog – UCLA @ Utah, Florida @ Alabama”

  1. I think they should be able to broadcast if someone is an academic all-american, but they shouldn't list individual GPAs on television. If they do, I'm just going to go ahead and assume that anyone who doesn't have their GPA broadcast on TV is not very bright.


  2. Scoring was looser on vault for both teams and tighter on bars for both teams. Florida had some serious wonky things happening on bars tonight in terms of landings, transitions, and handstands. As someone who is literally always ready to scream about home scoring, I'm not sure I agree they were underscored on bars.


  3. BDG, Hunter, and Caquatto can go 9.9 (although none are definite 9.9s). Baker is a solid lead off and McMurtry and Boyce are great gymnasts, but not natural bar workers. I think that is why people question the UB line up without Sloan. There's no one that you can really expect to hit a 9.95 or even a definite 9.9. There's great potential, but they aren't going to be hitting 49.5 every week.


  4. no but as long as we can go 49.2 every week until she gets back I'm ok. tonight was a little odd in the scoring imo and were a little low in some areas so we could have gone over 49


  5. Spicer and McMurtry need to replace Boyce and Fassbender on floor ASAP. And then if Sloan can do floor in the post season then she should replace Spicer. I like Wang in the lineup because she provides big tumbling that half this team is lacking. I think it was a mistake for Rhoda to not have her do the DLO considering she did it last week and I think that contributed to her low score as well. Judges hate it when gymnasts don't perform what they are capable of and are known to do.


  6. Thank you for blogging so many meets! I really appreciate your unbiased reviews and humorous comments. I don't know the names of all the skills and was never a competitive gymnast, but I love this sport and have been following NCAA gymnastics since 2003. This is by far the best website for NCAA information. Thank you so much! The SEC Network should have totally hired you as a commentator.🙂


  7. To be fair…. the judging was consistent. Vault was loose and the bars scoring was pretty tight. no complaints here… unless you have orange and blue glasses on.


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