Friday Live Blog – [11] Georgia @ [3] Florida

Friday, January 30
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Georgia @ Florida (Scores) (ESPN3)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Alabama @ Kentucky (Scores) (ESPN3)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Pittsburgh @ Kent State (Scores) (Stream)
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Missouri, Lindenwood @ SEMO (Scores) (Stream)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Air Force @ Auburn (Scores) (ESPN3)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Maryland @ Iowa
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Boise State, UC Davis @ Utah State (Scores) (Stream)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – BYU @ Southern Utah (Scores)
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Washington, Sacramento State, Hamline @ Oregon State (Scores) (Stream)
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Alaska @ Seattle Pacific (Stream)

Get ready. I’ll be here for the Georgia/Florida meet and whatever other meets I happen to be glancing at at the time, which begins at 7:00 ET/4:00 PT on the SEC Network.

Score predictions? Massive? Any 10s? Both teams have multiple vaults that could get there, plus Florida obviously has Kytra’s floor and Georgia has a couple 10-adjacent bars routines.

It will be primarily the usual suspects for Georgia today, although GiGi Marino is coming in on floor this week, which is a great sign. She needs to be in that lineup. Also, Kiera Brown remains out on beam, and my fantasy team is not happy about it.

No Bridgey on vault today. Fassbender instead. Fassbender exhibitioned vault in the first meet of the year.  

I am the least patient person in the world. I’m actually making screaming sounds during this SEC Network show.

Phew. It’s starting. Bart and Kathy, the A team, are here to make me feel better. Bart and Kathy are wearing flashing sunglasses. I can’t deal with this. I’ll obviously need a screenshot of that, framed, on my desk immediately. For Georgia the theme is…bandana headband night?

Amanda Plugrad has the scoop on Bridgey. She was putting additional pressure on herself? Out of the lineup with self-reflection?

Rotation 1- Florida on vault, Georgia on bars
Florida vault:
1. Fassbender – Yfull – small amount of piking – pretty large hop back –
2. Spicer – Yfull – Good amplitude on this one – nice enough form and just a bounce in place – one of her better vaults in the landing department. This will help us test the scoring at this one. 9.800. Fair. Good. 
3. Wang – Yfull – Strong vault – Kathy kept talking about her landing position as she vaulted – but another with just a bounce in place – will get docked for distance, but the position and landing were solid.
4. Baker – Yfull – Best distance of the group so far, smaller hop back on the landing -once she starts sticking, there will be little to take.
5. Hunter – 1.5 – Magical. Perfectly stuck. Let’s see what the judges do with this. I’m still wondering about the feet together, but she appeared to bring those heels together this time.That exact vault has received 10s before. 9.975 this time. Her second straight week of that score, but this one was much better.
6. McMurtry – Yfull – Another brilliant vault from her. Brilliant in the air as usual – not quite as strong in the landing as her 10 – just a small little step or slide or lean – just enough that there wasn’t as much control.

Georgia bars:
1. Schick – good first hs – solid piked jaeger – slightly crooked on bail handstand, but a beautiful DLO in the air – just takes a small step forward – looked like it could have been a possible stick if she had held.
2. Vaculik -good half turn – Kathy says she was a little close on her jaeger -bail is strong with lovely toe point throughout this thing – short landing on her tuck full with a large lunge. “Oh, unfortunate landing.” Natalie! Come on!
3. Jay – A little bit of a hip angle on her early handstands – but very strong on the tkatchev and the bail – perfectly hit – sticks the DLO – good finish.Just holds onto the stick with her toes, but she held it.
4. Brown – strong first hs – gigantic and amazing on the tkatchev – great leg form on the pak – I hate having that random half turn on the low bar because it’s a deduction trap, but the rest is truly excellent – she appeared to fling out that DLO at first but managed to stick it perfectly in a Peszek kind of way.
5. Rogers – Duchess of stalderland – amazing Ricna – possibly short on a handstand, but the bail was exceptional – toes and everything – WHAT? – hands down on the DLO. Flung out. Devastation. I jinxed her.
6. Davis – Another glorious tkatchev – great swing out of it – clean and solid on the bail – all the handstands look good – small bounce back on the tuck full, but great on the bars themselves.

Anyone watching Alabama? Those bars scores don’t look great there.

Rhonda says her vault rotation was amazing and that the scores aren’t acceptable. I love when coaches call out the scores. I will say, the vault scoring was much more conservative than I thought it would be. Normal Florida meet, that’s a 10 for Kytra and at least a 9.950 for McMurtry. The judges are conscious of not going too crazy early.

After 1: Florida 49.300, Georgia 49.250 
Strong vault rotation for Florida. They could have used a little more control on those early vaults, but I mostly agree with Rhonda. They should be happy with the quality of that rotation. Georgia was going to be in line for a lead, but then Rogers had that weird fall. I take full responsibility after talking about her on Gymcastic this week. That was the best bars routine Brown has done this season, and we’re starting to see what that bars lineup can be.

Meanwhile, Alabama just got a 48.850 on bars. No good. Lots of 9.7s. Another fall from Jetter. Good news: Winston is back in the lineup.

Theme of tigher-than-expected scoring so far tonight? Even on Kytra’s, there’s a real argument that it was the strongest vault she’s done as an NCAA gymnast. 

Rotation 2 – Florida on bars, Georgia on vault
Florida bars:
1. Baker – great firs hs – YOUR RAY – strong so far – a little floppy on the bail handstand – blind change to double front – pretty large hop back on landing. Kathy wants her Ray to be bigger? Oh, pick your battles, Kathy. That’s far from the biggest issue today.
2. Boyce – pretty line early on – hips shaposh but not the cleanest legs – great position on the bail – almost had a mistake on her step up to the high bar – dear – not the biggest DLO and close to the bar but controlled and just a small hop.
3. BDG – toe on – shaposh with cleaner legs than Boyce – great line and toe point throughout – usual DLO – just a little flung with a hop forward.
4. Caquatto – strong opening hs – great counter rotation on the Ray – leg break on the bail – hitting the handstands – pretty strong DLO with a small hop back. Improvement over last week.
5. Hunter – rushing early – but the Hindorff is magical – looks like she’s rushing a couple of these handstands and the bail – looked short of vertical – massive tuck full dismount but chest slightly low and a hop forward.
6. McMurtry – toe on, giant full is a little late – bail handstand – looks clean enough on the bars – and then great on the tuck full with a stick – the dismount was brilliance. Did look short on some of her positions on the bars, though.

Georgia vault:
1. Persinger – Yfull – not great. She doesn’t have the vaulting she used to have – not the power of the Florida vaulters – a lot of piking and a step forward.
2. Vaculik – Yfull – Crazy legs on the block – small amount of piking but great control on the landing – just a small hop.
3. Marino -1.5 – appreciate the difficulty, but bent knees throughout and a very squatty landing with a hop to the side. Just did get it around.
4. Broussard – Yfull – Good power on her yfull – just off to the right too much, but just a small step
5. Rogers – Just the full this time – an easy vault for her – legs apart on the block but just a small bounce back. 11,000 mats.
6. Jay – 1.5 – Sticks! Another excellent 1.5 today. Stuck. Kathy mentioning the heels together rule. Great, great vault.

Danna isn’t happy with the improvement on vault. Not enough improvement. “Something else wasn’t quite right.” She mentions they have to be quicker off the table. Yes. I just enjoy her.

After 2; Florida 98.675, Georgia 98.450
Georgia’s vault score come in lower than Florida’s, which makes sense comparatively because they did not have the dynamics or landings that Florida did. Jay was exceptional, but it was not as strong as Hunter’s, and both judges recognized that by going .050 lower.

(Sidenote: watching the last couple Alabama vaults, just a few unexpected steps back from Williams and Clark in there.)

Florida’s bars were fine. They didn’t give away too much on dismounts, which helped, but McMurtry got the benefit of an amazing dismount in the scores there because the interior was not at 9.9 level. But once again, this is why I always say Florida is the savviest team in the country. They take advantage of lineup order better than any other school. Not that much difference in quality so far, but Florida has the stronger early-lineup routines in both of these rotations, and that is making the difference. Georgia has to count Vaculik’s dismount issue on bars, and a couple of those iffy early vaults for 9.800.

In spite of those steps from the Alabama vaults I saw, they recovered to go 49.300 there, which is a respectable score. They’ll take that.

Rotation 3 – Florida on beam, Georgia on floor
Florida beam:
1. Baker – tuck turn – hits this time – just slightly slow in the aerial to bhs connection but strong on the individual skills – good split jump and pulls around the split half – shortish – long pause before dismount – sticks the double back. There you go. Solid routine.
2. Spicer – solid bhs loso series – she’s always very tight in all her movements – gainer loso now – switch to 1/4 down to the beam – sticks the gainer full. No wobbles this time. Kathy wants to see some oversplit on these leaps. Get in line. 
3. Fassbender – aerial to bhs to open – split jump – I would like to see better thythm maintained is these forward to backward connections since they’re not real – sheep jump is pretty NCAA with a small check – side aerial to full with small bounce back.
4. Boyce – WHOA. Aerial to bhs and missed her hands on the bhs and had a little beam-head action there. She’s fine though, but rare to see someone fall on a bhs – adds a bhs loso series – just tense and uncomfortable now – wobble showing flexibility – sitcks gainer full – a fall to contend with now. 
5. McMurtry – “the single most critical routine in the meet” – she has an excellent punch front – the legs looked wonky on the bhs in her series but fine – hits the switch – 2.5 dismount is solid with just a small hop back centrally.
6. Hunter – I love that chalk handprint on her shin. Warpaint – excellent, high loso series as always – switch side is hit – long pause before dismount – double back with a couple steps back.

Georgia floor:
1. Brown – very secure double pike to start – 1.5 to layout – just pulls that layout around but it’s OK – doesn’t give away a weird step – split full looked short of 180, but not too bad – didn’t get much on that double tuck and landed with a low chest.
2. Marino – This is interesting to see where she is now – no DLO – boo – just the double back – fine on the split and straddle elements – clean and solid 1.5 to layout – very secure on the double pike dismount – just slightly low. Needs the DLO to be a big routine, but you can see why she should be in this lineup.
3. Box – Great height on her double pike and good landing position – just did keep her controlled step in bounds – clean 1.5 to layout as well – showing the difference between hers and the flatter ones previously – strong switch side to straddle full – hits double back – lowish but I’m fine with it. Strong routine. Kathy keeps using the word “flirty.”
4. Broussard – high double back to start – but bounces out of it – short on those leaps, both the switch ring and the split full – layout to very nice rudi – good straight position and controlled landing – very very low on her double pike landing – knee-chest with a step.
5. Babalis – roundoff to double back – but bounces way out of it and OOB. This should be the dropped score – but she pulled it back for the middle pass – and the double pike at the end was solid as well – secure landing. Shame about that first pass. Bounced 800 miles. 
6. Jay – Secure on the full out opening pass – lands with her chest horizontally as always but held the landing well – clean on the front full to layout – fine on the split, wolf, and cat leaps – strong double pike. She has pulled this routine together. Should be a solid enough score.
Did Kathy and Bart get a note about defining the world amplitude?

The scoring has not been as tight at this meet since the vault rotation. The judges are not being as strict as it seemed they were being early on.

After 3: Florida 148.000, Georgia 147.700
Both teams scoring well and should be pleased enough with their progress so far. Florida is the clear favorite with a lead going to floor, but it is paramount that Georgia hit a good beam rotation this time. They have the chance for a big road score here and they need to close the deal regardless of winning or losing. Florida did what they needed to do on beam and made up for the Boyce mistake. Still a few dance elements in the first routines that aren’t crisp, but McMurtry and Hunter hit well. Kytra did take a few steps on that dismount, so is fortunate to get out with a 9.875.Box was the class of that floor rotation for Georgia in consistency and confidence of tumbling and landing position.

Alabama got a 49.250 on floor, so they are on pace for a solid road 196 now if they can get through beam in the final rotation. Kentucky is also in line for a very good score by their standards after 5 usable hits on beam to recover from the mistakes last week. 

Baker’s beam score is raised to 9.925. Great stick on the dismount, but there were leaps to take.

Rotation 4 – Florida on floor, Georgia on beam
Florida floor:
1. Boyce – front double full – uncontrolled step to the side and takes it right to the edge – 1.5 to front pike is solid – split looked OK and straddle full was quite nice – hits rudi – 
2. Spicer -Macko in the background – we miss you – strong piked full it – very secure landing – just the usual stagger – bounces a little out of her front pike on the middle pass – also a slide on the double pike dismount but kept it in bounds – missing a little control in the last two passes, but strong first pass and hit routine.
3. Wang – I’m so glad she’s back in lineups this year – a little short on her DLO but fine – small hop – almost pops OOB on her split jump out of her middle pass – a lot of traveling and a little Lauren Mitchell on that post-pass leap – good regular dance elements to follow – also a little low on her double pike but very secure. Landing mistakes in these early routines for Florida. They need some Kytra help to erase some of these scores. 9.875 is too high for that middle pass and the shortness on the others
4. Baker – GOD – your piked double arabian – and stuck this time. DONE. floats down into her double pike – another very strong pass – good switch split and split full – 1.5 to half to straddle. Greatness. 9.975. The first of many. That’s what happens when you stick a piked double arabian. 
5. Hunter – Huge DLO as always – maybe a little less confident control than last week but that’s being  picky – small side – middle pass is the usual and the leaps look strong – open double back – another with a little, little slide – not the stick from last week on that pass, but still great. Another 9.975. Could have been a 10 last week, but not this week.  
6. Caquatto – front double full to punch front is great this week – front 1.5 to rudi to split jump – another great pass – good position on the split – straddles are well past 180 – this has been one of her best routines so far – secure enough on her double pike. Good routine.

Georgia beam:
1. Vaculik – Did Bart just say “fucking 40-45 hours a week”? I even went back and watched it again, and he totally did. I love you, Bart. Brilliant leaps – just great amplitude – long pause before her loso series but it’s excellent – tight on the aerial with a big break at the waist. Oh, it’s so frustrating because the routine was magical until then. Side aerial to full with a small, small step. Kathy gasped during it. Don’t scare me like that.
2. Reynolds – Oh, I forgot about you! Does well to hold her front toss onto the beam – one foot was off but she pulled it back – very solid loso series – switch side – secure on the side somi – tries a double full dismount – short of rotation with a hop forward.
3. Rogers – switch to a very tentative straddle jump – solid on the bhs to loso – her bhs 3/4 is excellent as usual – but this routine is tighter than expected from her – bhs full to layout full dismount – pauses slightly to connect them.
4. Broussard – one-arm bhs to loso is very secure – fine on the switch and a good straddle 1/4 – secure side aerial to split jump as well. She is right on today. sticks the gainer full – legs probably too far apart there, but great, great routine.
5. Babalis – big bhs loso series and secure – switch half has a wobble this time – bend at the hips – another small check on the front toss – another wobble on the front aerial but does stick her full dismount – very tight and mistakes on each acro skill.
6. Box – tuck turn full is hit – secure on loso series – a little tight on the switch – hits the straddle 3/4 – full turn small adjustment – excellent aerial to beat jump – ro 1.5 with a hop. Good routine.

Alabama note – I’m obsessed with Dana Duckworth’s “watching beam” face.

196.950 for Georgia is another strong score, especially on the road. They should be happy with that result.Box and Broussard were great on beam, and they got more 9.9s on beam and floor than they have been receiving. Mistakes still to eradicate, but they’re making noticeable and solid progress.

Final: Florida 197.600, Georgia 196.950
It was pretty close heading to the end, especially after Florida had some just OK floor routines in the first few spots. We still need to talk about that Wang score. But, Baker and Hunter were phenomenal. Sacrilege: I thought Baker’s was the stronger routine. That elevated the whole rotation and put Florida squarely out of reach.

In other news, Alabama had a strong beam rotation to finish the comeback from that iffy early bars score with a 196.700. They’ll take it. And Kentucky will take that 195.550, especially considering how depleted they are on vault now.

Auburn has been solid through the first two rotations for 49.1s, and I’m switching to that now.

Milliet on beam now – split jump and a pause before the sheep – wobble on the sheep – bhs loso is secure – tight on the full turn – a little short on the aerial but pulls it around – 1.5 dismount is good with step forward. She’s getting back.

I haven’t seen Air Force compete in a long time. McRobbie opens on floor with a double full – 1.5 and pulls around the layout to follow – big stumble on her wolf full jump – 1.5 to front pike – just sloppier and less amplitude than the top teams, but a hit.

Demers – BB – she moves very well – wobble on loso series and again on the sheep jump – but nice leg form and strong amplitude on leaps – side aerial to stuck full dismount. Good routine.

Lewis  – FX – Goes for the 2.5 mount – just barely gets it around – very squatty landing with a stumble back – 1.5 to front tuck almost gets off the ground – hits the wolf full jump – sticks the double back dismount. Well there you go!

Guy – BB – solid switch side – small check on loso series – switch is a little short but good straddle jump – aerial is secure – gainer pike dismount and stuck. When you tear two Achilles, you get permission to do a gainer pike, but that’s the only time you get permission.

Witgen – FX – solid double back to start with a slide back – that switch ring was better than most in NCAA – front full to layout – Air Force gymnasts are taking long pauses before their passes – no excuse for lack of conditioning when you’re in the Air Force. Finishes double pike slightly short, but that’s a good one. Hit leaps and competitive difficulty.

Walker – BB – good front toss to beat jump and secure on the loso series as well – confident start to this routine – good split jump to sheep and pulls back the foot to not wobble there – sticks gainer full – well done –

Stych – FX – solid landing on double back with chest low – just layouts as the middle pass – switch ring to split full – not the same leaps as Witgen – 1.5 front tuck to finish.

Atkinson – BB – fluid full turn – clean and secure on loso series – smallest check on front aerial – switch to wolf – great work so far – precise and well-executed and secure – double pike dismount with one step and another to salute. Great work.

Wallander – FX – front layout to rudi mount – switch side to a split full short of split – nice 1.5 to layout middle pass -got some more lift on that one – wolf jumps for dance elements – Shame that she sat down the dismount ont he 1.5 to front full – was looking pretty good before that –

Auburn on pace for a comfortable mid 196 today, which they’ll take. Beam score seemed a little tight for Atkinson, but the possible second step on the dismount hurt. That was a strong beam rotation.

Back now. Did I miss why Jeff Graba’s shirt is ripped? Was he just feeling too sexy for it?

Air Force probably looking at something int he 191s depending on how beam goes. It’s evidence that the difference between the lowest teams and everyone else is not usually the HUGE things. It’s amplitude, leg form, etc. Kelly has a major break for Air Force but stays on.

Hlawek – FX – secure double pike – wow, the moonwalk is so overused this year, even more than usual – rudi to back tuck – intended to be a back tuck? – clean front full to layout – hit.

Really nice three series for Contestant Graft on beam – that was strong – has a wobble on a switch side, but there are some nice qualitites in this routine like the fluid full turn – such a shame that she slipped on her side aerial to connect into dismount and dismounted with a full twisting face plant.

Rott – Excellent position on the DLO – just a slide back – split 1.5 to straddle full and hit – layout layout pike middle pass – sticks the double pike dismount – just a little squatty, but this should be a solid score.

Commentators says “THESE GIRLS WAKE UP AT SIX IN THE MORNING!” Is that not normal?

Webster – FX – sticks the pike full – there you go! – split full to straddle full is solid – 1.5 to layout is also quite clean and secure – hits double tuck as well – just low chest but a strong routine.

Air Force having a disaster on beam. Already counting a 9.200 and now a fall in the 4th spot as well. Front 1.5 dismount with a step to the side to finish.

Kluz – FX – strong tuck full in – she looks a little short in those leaps, but the tuck full in was under control – as was the layout to layout full – and sticks the double tuck with low chest. A few low chests, but they are sticking. I said before the season I was all about this team, and I still am.

McRobbie now on beam with a wobble on her series, but pulling it together through the leaps. They’re already counting a 9.2 and a 9.1 and cannot afford another fall. Hangs onto front toss into a wolf jump that was OK – big break on a side aerial teetering back and forth – sticks front tuck full dismount. Hit, but major errors to deduct.

Demers – FX – best height so far in the pike full in fest, but she does bounce out of it pretty far – wolf full and straddle full – front layout front full and dances out of it to cover the slide – (because sometimes you just need to wear dreadlocks and a hard hat to a gymnastics meet – I want to travel the world with him) – unfortunately short on her double pike dismount with a large lunge. She’ll get hit for these landings, but a ton of potential in this routine.

Ebel – BB – Layout to two feet to start this one – takes a wobble but hit it – split 3/4 – split to sheep – deductions to take certainly, but they needed a hit in this spot to contend for a 191, and they got the hit.

Atkinson FX – finishing the meet – great tuck full in – excellent control – and she hits her splits as well – this has been a good rotation, and she elevates it – solid middle pass – sticks double pike dismount. Very well done. Her scores in this meet were pretty 9.8, but she had a great showing.

Auburn finishes with an excellent 196.625. This needs to be the year that they make nationals, and scores like that early in the year, with room to grow, indicate that they’re on a good track toward a solid regionals seed. This is a competitive team.

Air Force just missed out on the 191, finishing with 190.900.

Alright, I’ve hit a wall with the live blogging, but I do recommend Oregon State and Washington starting in about 20 minutes if you have the energy after all this already. 

11 thoughts on “Friday Live Blog – [11] Georgia @ [3] Florida”

  1. 'Kiera Brown remains out on beam, and my fantasy team is not happy about that' – um, who is it exactly that is currently ranked first out of everyone playing fantasy gym this year?🙂


  2. I'm watching Alabama/Kentucky. Their routines aren't Oklahoma level, but the scoring is really tight. A couple routines, particularly Winston's, should have been scored in the 9.85 range IMO.


  3. Watching the Bama meet… scoring was somewhat tight on bars, but they didn't have the best set. It probably would've broken 49 in another arena, but not by much.


  4. Ugh Oregon State was on track for a mid 196 but they had to count a fall on floor and ended up being upset by Washington who went 196.3, Oregon ended up with a 195.8.


  5. I'm so excited that Bama and OU will face each other before the post season, a great chance to see both under the same judges and at points in the season when they should be rolling to April.


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