Saturday Live Blog – January 7, 2017

Saturday, January 7
Scores Watch
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – New Hampshire, Bridgeport, William & Mary @ Rutgers LINK
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Southern Connecticut @ Towson LINK FREE
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Gustavus Adolphus @ UW-Oshkosh
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Bowling Green, BYU, Temple @ [23] Penn State LINK FREE
6:30 ET/3:30 PT – Ohio State @ Pitt LINK ACCN
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [7] Michigan @ [6] Utah LINK P12
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [17] Arkansas @ [4] UCLA LINK P12
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [25] George Washington v. Yale (@ Boston, MA)
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [14] Denver @ [16] Minnesota LINK BTN+
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Winona State @ Air Force FREE

Today’s live blogging will be focused on the simultaneous Pac-12 meets hosted by Utah and UCLA (thanks, Pac-12 Network), but I’ll include some notes on action I’m seeing earlier in the day.

-Brianna Comport of Bridgeport started with a 9.850 on beam and a 9.825 on floor.

-Tyra McKellar of Towson has the biggest piked Jaeger you’ll see. Tons of other breaks in the routine, still somehow got 9.750 I think due to Jaeger respect because…that Jaeger.

-The exhibition bars for Southern Connecticut dismounted with a 1.5 twist to side-pike jump to hip slam. She seems fine, so it’s OK how much enjoyment I’m getting out of this.

-Towson is GOOD at beam. Gabriella Yarussi nailed for 9.900. She even had a sheep jump that wasn’t completely heinous.

-Here’s your weekly reminder that Jeff Thompson is still the head coach at Penn State.

-Vault scores for Penn State’s first three Yfulls are about .050-.075 stricter than we saw at the big meets last night.

-Temple has a Game of Thrones floor routine. Natalie Brown is like, “That was so 12 months ago…”

-Penn State has the two 10.0 starts in the vault lineup this year, the handspring pike 1/2 from Sibson and the 1.5 from Tsang. 48.650 rotation score for Penn State.

-I’m amazed that Temple gymnast even got that front tuck around enough to land on her trapezius. Pretty sure she didn’t even leave the ground. “And another good routine from Temple.” Either you weren’t watching, or that is supreme shade.

-In typical me fashion, I saw the first two tragic Penn State bars routines with falls on double tuck dismounts and did not see the rest. Sabrina Garcia got a 10 from one judge. On replay of the dismount, I’d say that final handstand was short. Strong stuck DLO.

Penn State just edges BYU, 194.625 to 194.525.
-Does anyone know if Jovannah East did her 1.5 for Bowling Green?

Next stop, the Pac-12.

Because of UCLA, we already know the Bruins will be without both Glenns this season because of twin labrum injuries. That would have been more lineup devastating in other seasons, but this year the roster should be able to withstand it.

UCLA lineups
VT – Meraz, Kramer, Kocian, Ross, Preston, Hano
UB – Honest, Meraz, Savvidou, Ross, Lee, Kocian
BB – Gerber, Meraz, Ross, Kocian, Lee, Ohashi
FX – Meraz, Hall, Preston, Kocian, Hano, Mossett

That Cipra-boot situation is seeming more dire. Three events for Ross, AA for Kocian and Meraz, just one event for Ohashi. We’ll hope to see Honest on floor at some point as well. A bit surprised she’s not on VT, FX. There should be a bunch more options for these lineups as we go, like Toronjo. Ideally we’ll see Ohashi and maybe Mossett rounding out bars. It’s early. And it’s UCLA.

We have interrupty basketball garbage on the Utah meet, but we’re getting going with UCLA right now.

Amanda is telling us about how she missed out on NCAA gymnastics.


Ross and Kocian Olympic gold is going to be the BEAM IS FOUR INCHES WIDE of this season.

“We begin with an old face, Mark Cook.” Thanks, Rene.

Rotation 1:
Meraz – VT – full – better open than last year and a stick – one of her best vaults – not much distance, but ideal landing there. 9.825.

Burton – UB – overbalances her very first cast handstand and is off. Welcome to Arkansas 2017. Shap to a short bail – another arched handstand and another fall. She was actually really good in JO on bars, but we haven’t seen bars from her in forever. Give it time? Double tuck with a hop.

Kramer – VT – just a full – very short landing with a medium stumble forward. They’ll want a 1.5 from her soon, like she did in JO. 9.725.

Two 9.7s on vault to start for Utah. THe basketball is finally ending.

Garner – UB – good position on full and a huge gienger with legs together – short final handstand – double tuck full, step forward – a hit and she’ll get better. She is a future star on UB, BB.

Marinez is going on bars for Michigan – really struggled on final hs – floppy DLO with a lunge back.

Kocian – VT – yfull – a little bit of piking and a hop back. 9.825. OK not great. They’re teaching her an Omelianchik. Her fulls this summer were much better, which is to be expected.

Lovely position on vault from Tiffani Lewis.

Polina – UB – shap woth some legs, smae about the Pak – misses her 1/2 turn, has to recast and then comes off. Oh Polina.

Yamzon hits for Ark. DLO 1/1 dismount.

Ross – VT – she’s also doing the full – better height than Kocian and just a hop in place. 9.875.

Tessen – VT – does the 1.5 this time – squatty landing with a large bounce forward/to the side.

Speed – UB – good first hs – a little late on 1/2 turn, high jaeger – casts look good – a little short of vertical on the bail – short hinal hs and full turn – cowboy double tuck but controlled landing.

Brown gorgeous on the Ray and Pak on bars for Michigan – archy double layout with a hop.

Missed Preston on vault but she got a 9.900. So I’m thinking it was pretty good?

Skinner – VT – DTY – good distance and direction, larger bounce back. Still gets a 9.900, which means it would have been a 10 without the landing error since that was a large bounce.

Hano – VT – very high full, pikes at the very end and hops in place. 9.825.

Not enough of those 10.0 starts for UCLA. We knew most of those vaults were unrealistic in the preseason, but they’ll need to add a few.

Fall from Zaziski on bars (for Michigan, not Arkansas) on a Jaeger.

Anderson – UB  – very short first hs – jaeger – legs on the bail and missing most of the handstands – full turn is tentative into double tuck with a hop. Five hits, but some low scores in there.

Michigan counts a fall on bars because of Zaziski and Shchennikova. Oh Polina. She’s JUST getting back to adding bars.

I’m basically treating this like a quad meet, so after 1 rotation:
– 49.250
Utah – 49.100
Arkansas – 48.825
Michigan – 48.300

Actually thought Arkansas ended up getting through bars pretty well. Some real potential in there, and impressed Anderson added bars and got through. It’s ragged, but it’s not disastrous. UCLA is definitely at home. They won’t expect 49.250 for that many fulls in the future.

Utah got the big score from Skinner. Tessen added back the 1.5, which will be important in the future, but she looked a bit unready with the landing there. Merrell’s 1.5 was also a bit squatty with a significant step to the side.

Rotation 2:
Yamzon – VT – full – a little short, hop in place – somewhat similar to Meraz, weaker body position, though.

Honest – UB – good first hs – high tkatchev and misses her catch. OFF THE TEAM.

Utah is starting with Tessen on UB – good 1/2 turn – lovely jaeger with pointes toes – very straight body position on bail – a little muscle in final handstand – near stick on tuck full with a step. Very clean routine, high potential.

Artz – VT – full, some piking, just a small stewp back, I think she surprised herself with how well she controlled that landing. She was ready to bounce and then was like I DON’T HAVE TO.

Anyone else losing their UCLA stream? Just me? We’ll have to figure this out.

Merrell – UB – toe one is good – IT WAS A DELTCHEV – and it was very high – short of hs on the bail, though – better final cast hs – a little struggle through the stalder but sticks the double tuck.

Savvidou – UB – good first hs – nice 1/2 turn – piked jaeger high, loses legs just a bit – strong bail but handstands are the highlight of this routine – full turn to cowboyed double tuck and stuck. Less wonky than last year.

Wellick with her usual huge full and just a hop in place on landing. Such excellent amplitude.

Ross – UB – good first hs – solid shap and great legs together on that and the pak – back up to high – just the dismount left – hop back on DLO that should probably be a tenth. Still goes 9.875. Yeah, she’s going to get some scores.

MacmOyle – VT – full and it’s short, hop forward. They were lineup working with putting her last, that or she wasn’t supposed to go. Arkansas gets through vault as well.

Apparently Skinner went 9.900 on bars. I saw the very beginning, a Shap with some floppity legs.

Peng – UB – good first hs – has added a Ray and it was excellent – Bhardwaj is lovely – shap 1/2 is also strong a caught – tons of risk in this one – hop on DLO. Also goes 9.875.

Schwab on bars – good line – close on a shoot to high bar and has to muscle out of it – otherwise quite clean – very vertical on hs – a hesitation on a Stalder and then an open double back with a small slide.

Kocian – UB – stalder shap is strong – some leg break on the pak, toe shap 1/2 and loses her legs a little again – double tuck full and a hop. Another 9.875.

Looks like Olivia Karas did just a full coming back.

Rowe – UB – good position on full turn – high tkatchev – solid handstand positions, last one may be a little short – flings out DLO with some piking and a hop back.

After 2:
UCLA 98.500
Utah 98.375
Arkansas 97.700
Michigan 97.425

The highlight there was UCLA’s bars. They’re going to be very good very soon. The handicap may be difficulty. They’re going for so much that there are going to be more errors, though they didn’t stick dismounts much and still got a bunch of 9.875s, so we know there will be willingness for 9.9+ when they stick landings. Ross, Kocian, and Lee all could have lost a tenth on landings (probably didn’t though), and still went 9.875.

Utah was good at bars. Didn’t stick as much as we expect and had some things that brought their scores down, Schwab with the close shoot to high, Rowe with the flung out dismount etc.

Michigan got back on track with a 9.8-a-thon of a vault rotation and Arkansas showed just five vaults but it was enough. They’re just getting by, but getting by.

Rotation 3:

Gerber – BB – wolf turn is a little wolf turn – smooth walkover to split – long pause – before bhs loso series – secure leap series – bhs to gainer full, stuck but squatty on landing. 9.850.

Merrell – BB – This will be interesting – good switch to split to open – bhs bhs loso series, secure – she still looks tight but is hitting better than her showings last year – walkover – full turn – very good kickover front, high finishing position – 2/1 with hop back.

Nelson hits floor. Leading off which is interesting since she’ll be one of their most important floor routines this year.

Zaziski is back to floor this season.

Meraz – BB – bhs bhs loso is solid – switch 1/2 is a little more rushed than usual but still solid on position – check after the switch, has to improvise a leap series but does beat jump to straddle – sticks 1.5. That will help a bit. 9.625. Wonder if she did not get dance series credit?

Schwab – BB – lovely planche mount – switch to a somewhat tight straddle 1/4 walkover to split, good split position – small slide and a lean after loso series – works slowly but getting all her leaps – round off to stuck gainer full.

Kyla – BB – bhs to a lovely loso, perfect – walkover to sheep – a little slow in combination and a small lean after the sheep – excellent switch ring – just these little pauses and leans – long pause – side aerial to full – nearly stuck, hop. 9.700? Why?

Skinner – BB – bhs loso series, secure but LEGS – side aerial to pause to sissone – switch to split looked fine – L turn – straddle to back tuck is strong – double tuck with hop back

OMG I LOVE BUFFERING THROUGH KOCIAN’S BEAM. Bhs loso series is wonderful – switch to split, very well hit leaps – 2/1 with a hop back. 9.850.

Zaziski is having a bit of a nightmare Michigan debut. Another fall on floor.

Nice to see Elswick back on floor – good high double pike – 1.5 to a very whipped layout to get it around.

Stover – BB – walkover to bhs series with a small pause – switch to straddle – sticks gainer full dismount –

Peng goes just 9.650 on beam because everything is terrible.

You can tell Karas is just back on a lot of these skills. She’s not at her 2016 level yet, and not all that close. 9.750.

Ohashi goes for her layout full! Misses a foot but stays on somehow with a gigantic wobble. UCLA gets a terrible beam score, partially because of mistakes like Peng and Ohashi that they had to save like monsters, partially because of…I don’t know why?

Bets on which point in the year UCLA will decide that all this difficulty isn’t worth it?

Kari Lee – BB – strong loso series – so glad to see her back on beam – not much amplitude on that switch split but hits the position – side aerial with a large wobble, has to swing her arms – sticks 2/1 with just a bit of crossed legs.

Does Sam Peszek get colds like 150 times per year?

Chiarelli – FX – full in, low landing and a lunge forward – 1.5 to very whippy layout that just got around and somehow she was able to throw a good front tuck out of that? Because Chiarelli? – double pike is good.

It sounds like neither Ross nor Meraz were given their leap series.

Rowe – BB – good and secure seres – nice height – kickover front is secure, a little low – moonwalks are still a thing – strong 1.5.

Artz – FX – piked full in, a little less control than her usual – just stumbled running on the floor but managed to connect it to her leaps well enough. Front layout full second pass – excellent double pike, chest up, small step.

After 3:
Utah 147.600
UCLA 147.225
Arkansas 146.450
Michigan 146.350

UCLA will be great at beam. Once they figure out some of those dance series and that correct composition. This was very UCLA January beam, so it’s nice to know that everything’s all the same.

Rotation 4:
Yamzon has a medium-sized wobble on a kickover front – hits gainer full.

Meraz – FX – double tuck with a slide back – front lay front full, also with a lunge – very good amplitude on her straddle combination – short on double pike with a larger lunge forward – didn’t really hit any of her passes ideally. 9.700.

Garner – BB – switch to split, very good positions – side aerial right to loso with a check – side aerial to full, nearly stuck with a lean/step.

Hall – FX – 1.5 through to double tuck, at least she’s not doing the double arabian – lunge back, misses her punch completely on her rudi and hands down – oh UCLA – can’t tell if she’s gravely injured after that or doing her choreography – it was choreography – double pike with hop. 9.225.

Wellick – BB – solid split and straddle 1/4 – large break on her walkover witha  bend at the hips, rather unexpected from her – smallest lean on her loso series. Strong side somi, confident – 2/1 with hop forward.

Zaziski solid on loso series on beam as well as the kickover front.

Preston – FX – front tuck through to double tuck, godo control and chest up on landing – hitting her splits, nice dance elements positions, not enough zombies in this routine this year, but she’s still keeping the exorcism butt, which makes me happy – a little squatty in double pike landing but secure. 9.875.

Funk – BB – Michigan – bedn at the hips on loso series – and now she’s off. She will be great. She was at the preseason showcase.

McGlone looks just as terrified as last year on beam, but she’s hitting- GREAT 2/1 dismount with a stick.

Kocian – FX – has a sass snap choreographed into her routine – she’s not really the sass snap type – front 2/1 with a very controlled landing – 1.5 to rudi, comes in a little shrot on rudi but connects directly into double stag so no one cares – good straddles – slide back on double pike. 9.875.

39.425 AA score for Kocian.

Marinez is having one of her good ones on beam. Michigan needs it. Very confident side aerial – beat jump to stag – and sticks her 2/1. Excellent one from her.

Merrell’s 2.5 to front tuck was strong.

Hano – FX – has 1000 mats – DLO – short ankle-stinger on landing with a lunge – 1.5 to half to stag to front tuck, a little short on that final front tuck with a hop – good switch side – wolf full is a little stumbly and awkward – double pike nowhere close and a fall. UCLA counting a fall on floor.

Brianna Brown with a check on a side somi – otherwise strong

Burton – BB – check on a walkover – wobble on loso series – full turn – large break on sheep jump and she comes off. “She removed her eyesight.”

Lewis – FX – Utah – a little low on the full in but she goes for it, step forward – front lay to front full, arches the front lay but great landing on the full – WAY short on double tuck and hands down – shame.

Mossett – FX – whip to double tuck, great chest up on llanding there – attitude turn to double spin and it’s actually pretty – somehow got her double pike around with no set, short with a lunge forward.

Amanda so excited that she’s heard of single ladies. Her mom energy about recognizing single ladies is literally a John Mulaney bit.

UCLA finishes 195.700 to Arkansas at 195.350. Not good scores for either. I was actually pleased to see Arkansas as competitive as that though – UCLA was so UCLA in January.

Schwab finishes with a 2.5 on floor – huge bounce out of it with OOB. They’ll have to count it because of Lewis and the fall.

Chiarelli – BB – bhs loso with a check – good straddle 1/2 – secure side aerial – smooth full turn – sticks her double tuck very well, chest down but great stick.

Skinner – FX – double double, very good landing with a controlled step back, chest up – this floor routine is no less unbearable – 1.5 through to double full, nailed landing – full in, step back, good showing.

Utah 196.625
UCLA 195.700
Michigan 195.525
Arkansas 195.350

Good, normal opening for Utah. No implosions like the other teams. The landings aren’t there yet, but that’s to be expected. UCLA had a weird beam, and probably too much difficulty to be too confident in hitting it all the time, but we’ll see. They also clearly weren’t ready on floor yet and will hope to change out some of those routines as we go because UCLA and obviously.

Just realized that Minnesota/Denver score link doesn’t work. What’s your deal Minnesota?

So, question: We were right that Meraz and Ross didn’t get their leap series and started from 9.8, but Sonya Meraz improvised a dance series of beat jump to straddle jump after missing her intended leap combo, so shouldn’t that have counted as her leap combo? The requirement is that it have a minimum C in the combo, but I thought straddle was a C in NCAA?

55 thoughts on “Saturday Live Blog – January 7, 2017”

    1. GA on beam yesterday: 47.225
      Towson on beam today: 48.875. They had to count a 9.525, their other scores: 9.75, 9.85, 9.85, 9.9. Seriously, who is their beam coach? I have to rewatch this meet!

    1. But Garcia received 9.150 on beam – UGA is now looking to recruit her away from Penn State. 😉

      1. She’s on my fantasy team, so I was really excited to see that she got a 9.95 on bars! But then the excitement was ruined with the beam score…

  1. Yarussi from Towson is from Southeastern Gymnastics…. She should be good……

  2. Fairly sure I saw Jovannah East vault (but there were no names or anything) – if so, it was a full.

  3. Very surprised about that ucla vault line up. But honestly I never understand their line up choices usually lol

  4. UCLA never got the memo that the full in vault has been downgraded in starting value since last year.

  5. So what happened to all of UCLA’s 10.0 vaults? They stay trolling us with their preseason training videos and the upgrades never make it into competition lol

    1. I know right? I do see at least Kramer and Hano upgrading eventually though

  6. is Michigan only competing five bar routines? the score sheet only shows five but I am just wondering if they are just behind on that.

  7. No reason for UCLA not to ease into the 10.0 starts. And they might want to keep Preston’s Y-full. Maybe slight deduction for chest a tiny bit forward on that bullet-stuck landing, but it was also gorgeous in the air. Already, they look better than they did all last year, so I’m happy with it.

    1. I think it’s just because they made such a big deal in the preseason about all their 10.0 vaults. And then literally none of them were done. I was surprised Preston got back in the lineup since she was injured earlier this year. But her vault was amazing.

  8. Anyone know what happened to Nikki Shapiro for UCLA? She’s not on the roster anymore.

  9. No bogus home scoring so far for UCLA…unlike some other teams yesterday (LSU, OK) lol

    1. Are you serious???? A Y 1/1 landing with their chest at 90 degrees goes 9.9…….

      1. Are you serious???? A Y 1/1 landing with their chest at 90 degrees goes 9.9……. (for UCLA home scoring not Wellick’s vault.)

  10. I don’t think either Sonya or Kyla got full credit despite improvised jump series. Hmm.

  11. Can someone break down Kyla’s beam score? I’m lost. Also I’m in love in UCLA’s leos 🙂

    1. She needed the bonus of the connection from the switch ring to the split jump (.2). The improvisation made it so the overall requirement (of a leap series) was met.

  12. Definitely a bit surprised about strict scoring for the Bruins, especially compared to yesterday’s meets. But in the end it’s for the better, not getting used to being overscored.

    Peng Peng’s save though – she should teach some of that confidence to Georgia!!!

  13. Oh, UCLA. Such a phenomenal beam lineup. So much beauty in their routines. Such a meh rotation.

    And Peng drives me crazy. She seems to either hit for 9.95… or miss 🙁
    UCLA needs her to hit. Every. Time.

    1. Haha, remember all those preseason videos of everyone doing DLOs? We all knew that wasn’t gonna happen lol

  14. Only the 1st meet, of course, but from what you saw yesterday and today–Can UCLA compete with the likes of LSU and OK for the national championship?

    1. Not yet. They have bright spots of course but I really think they are lacking in the power. But I do appreciate the difficulty on beam and bars….even though it’s just Peng basically lol.

    2. I don’t think so. Not even breaking 196! 🙁
      But I don’t think the championship was ever within view for them. They are going to have to improve a ton to reach the level OU and LSU are already at.
      I’d like to see them come out next week and hit show us their best.

    3. I think UCLA will downgrade a bit; the difficulty is what killed them. They can do easier routines and get higher scores.

    4. From what I saw yesterday and today LSU and Oklahoma are light years ahead of UCLA so the answer would be no. However, its early and there is a long season ahead. It doesn’t matter how you start, but how you finish.

    5. No. From the first meets, UCLA isn’t even up to Alabama’s standard. Looking forward to seeing the Tide battle LSU next week on beam. Top three beam teams right now: Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma.

  15. Beam and Floor didn’t go as planned – BUT I LOVE THE ROUTINES and their performance value, I’m sure they’re going to settle in after a little while and hopefully some more endurance!

  16. A BIG THANK YOU to The Balance Beam Situation for the great coverage, commentary, and community.

  17. Anyone else not a fan of Maddie’s floor? I feel like someone just forced the style (and snaps) on her even though it doesn’t seem to fit her personality

    1. Maddie and NCAA gymnastics all together seems like a weird fit. She’s so shy and serious that you can tell she’s not in the same groove as her teammates – she looks tired of having to high-five every single teammate, haha. It’s hard to see her outside of elite, as she is uniquely fitted to elite gymnastics in a way that many other athletes aren’t.

  18. Peng’s bars would have gone 9 + in SEC or Big 12, saw all the big meets on Friday and UCLA in person. UCLA’s floor choreo is the best and when they get Ross, Cipra and Ohashi and more time for the others, they’ll be there–I hope!

    1. Nah, I don’t like UCLA’s choreo much this year. I’m enjoying LSU’s a lot more.

  19. ATTENDANCE UCLA-Arkansas Los Angeles 1/7/2017:
    (Up 1,000 from UCLA’s 2016 home opener vs Alabama, but down 1,000 from UCLA’s 2016 home meet vs Utah. For 2017, UCLA has made a large number of seats unavailable behind a curtain (nearly the entire west end of Pauley Pavilion by the uneven bars). So, the available seating areas will appear more crowded in 2017–even if attendance is not higher.)

    1. I attended meets fairly regularly at Pauley until I moved away a few years ago. I remember a good attendance number being around 3,000, and most under 2,000. When did that start going up?
      Also I hear they’ve gone a bit crazy with security this year – has that affected the atmosphere at all?

      1. In answer to your attendance question, check out:
        (Note the low 2012 number was when Pauley was being renovated and gymnastics meets were in the small Wooden Center gym.)

        Regarding security this year, check out:
        (It was like this at Rose Bowl too….Some fans don’t like it….Some fans feel safer. Just a sign of the times I guess.)

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