Sunday Live Blog – January 15, 2017

Sunday, January 15 Scores Watch
12:00 ET/9:00 PT – Brockport, Springfield, Ithaca @ Rhode Island
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Central Michigan @ Western Michigan ESPN3
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – [17] Northern Illinois @ Ball State LINK FREE
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – West Chester, Cortland @ Southern Connecticut SCSU
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – [19] Penn State @ Nebraska LINK
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – [13] Cal @ [24] Iowa LINK UI TV
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [6] Missouri, SEMO @ Lindenwood LINK FLOG
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [8] UCLA @ [2] Oklahoma LINK FSSW

Ah, the day has come. This is the second-straight year we get a UCLA/Oklahoma meet, and I hope this develops into an annual matchup because it’s becoming among the most anticipated and delightful meets in college gymnastics. You know it’s going to be a show: two teams whose ultimate goal is to out-“floor routines about refugees” and out-“solving world hunger through beam emoting” the other. Also winning, but that’s definitely item #2. (Mostly because we all know Oklahoma is going to win). Anyway, a few meets going on before that.

Do we know why the gymnasts are going at the same time at Northern Illinois/Ball State…? A dual meet?

Ashley Lambert is vaulting for Nebraska! That’s a big old deal, especially considering she was in a hospital bed 30 seconds go.

Taylor Houchin’s debut for Nebraska is a 9.900 on vault. Have we talked about how she’s going to be a thing?

Sabrina Garcia enacts the traditional “routine after a big score” performance by falling. Penn State 48.975 on bars. Nebraska 49.000 on vault with just five vaulters. The Nebraska special. Of note, no Breen or Williams in that vault lineup.

Ouch. Penn State is counting a fall on vault. VAULT. 48.025.

Nebraska close to 197 pace after two pieces with six total competitors so far.

To the person asking about Gabby Laub’s 6 from yesterday: I haven’t heard anything official, but Tabitha Yim mentioned unfortunate mid-meet injuries in her post-meet comments, so my assumption is that she’s referring to both Felix Terrazas and Laub.

Why is Nebraska not using Houchin on beam? Isn’t that her best event? Anyway, counting a fall and a 9.6 now. Williams is competing beam, so all the main players are at least able to do one event today.

We still don’t have a sixth floor score for Penn State, which is critical because one of the five scores so far is 8.000. Yikes. Yeah, we’re onto the fourth rotation now, so it appears PSU is counting an 8.000 on floor.

I saw that Amber Takara went 9.775 on bars for Cal before those scores crapped out. SUCH A SHOCK.

Re: UCLA and Oklahoma. It’s on a bunch of the regional fox sports networks throughout the southwest, so I’d bet some illegal streams will pop up around meet time. If you’re searching around, it will be on FSSouthwest, FSOklahoma, and FS West that I know of so far.

Nicole Medvitz finishes for Penn State with 9.900 on beam, but that can’t get them into the 193s after floor. Final: 192.900. FAKE ADDERAL PRESCRIPTIONS FOR EVERYONE.

Final: Nebraska 195.700, Penn State 192.900

Live scores for Cal/Iowa are 95% tragic. MSO is not set up for NCAA. What are the team scores, exactly?

OK, here we go. UCLA/Oklahoma time.

Oklahoma’s lineups remain the same. UCLA’s remain a mystery for now, but since they’re usually a mystery until after the meet ends, that’s fine.

Still haven’t seen anything about streams yet, but share in the comments if you have information for our friends in need.

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

Be honest, who had that floor lineup for UCLA this season?

Glad to see Hano vaulting, even if she is out of floor. No Preston today. Presumably because we can’t have nice things.

They’ve trotted out Bart for the meet. That’s how you know it’s a big deal. Also, we get Bart’s pronunciation of Kocian, so I’m in heaven already.

We’re learning that Maggie Nichols is a gymnast to watch. News.

Kelly Garrison has already broken the sound barrier, just without even trying.

Rotation 1:

Jones – VT – very good shape and direction on full – medium-sized hop back. 9.825

Honest – UB – good first hs – hight tkatchev – 1/2 turn to straddle back, a little angle in the hips on that – short final handstand – good stick on full-twisting double back. Foot form but solid. 9.875

Marks – VT – Pretty in the air, comes in a little short, which is rare for her, step forward – small step but they will take for chest down. 9.775.

Meraz – UB – opens with a Ray – good counter rotation – toe on to bail – also a little hip angle in that bail – DLO much better in the legs on that DLO than usually, does pike those saltos – step. 9.825.

Capps – VT _- Sticks! Excellent full – great distance, great shape, not much to deduct at all there. 9.925. Judges agree.

Savvidou – UB – pretty first handstand – blind to piked jaeger – catches with bent elbows – bail – pretty final handstand – good finish on giant 1/1 – hops forward on double tuck. 9.800

Dowell – VT – 1.5 – step forward on her 1.5, and then another college step-salute after that – good shape, good position, everything else excellent. 9.850

Ross – UB – lovely shaposh and bail – one small leg break on the shap – great shoot to high, good counter rotation – hits final handstand – sticks DLO. That will do, Kyla. That will do. 9.925.

Jackson – VT – 1.5 – so close to sticking that – hop forward – great form and direction, really just the landing is the only thing you can take there. 9.900.

Peng – UB – Ray – huge and lovely – Bhardwaj is hit well – toe on to toe shap and hit – excellent final handstand – basically sticks DLO – really tried to hold that stick but I would say that’s a step to salute. Very little else you can take there – hit her hs. 9.925.

Nichols – VT – Sticks 1.5? There it is. Tremendous. Did she hop in place? Replay inconclusive? Amazing anyway. 9.925. We call that an Ashleigh Gnat 10.

Kocian – UB – stalder shap to pak – loses her form and legs completely on her pak and can’t catch the bar. She comes off, UCLA doesn’t need the score, but very strange to see. Val’s head is TO THE SIDE. Missed a hand on her pak – got back on and lost her form completely on the shap 1/2 as well. Finishes with excellent stalder and tuck full, but weird. Kelly and Bart are questioning if it’s a grip problem.

Rechelle Dennis is doing exhibition in bars – good giant 1/2  huge gienger with legs together – overshoot – solid hs – a little sloppy in giants – chest down on double tuck landing with a lunge forward. It’s a usual option, but she probably didn’t get herself into the lineup with that one.

After 1: Oklahoma 49.425, UCLA 49.350

Scores are going high but not crazy high. These are very good routines. Judges not wanting to go too, too high into the 10 zone but that resulted in some bunching. Peng and Ross were tremendous on bars, very pretty, very little to take from those routines. Kocian had a weird one that we’ll just chalk up to being a weird one for now and hope it’s not representative of her litany of injuries.

On vault, Dowell, Jackson, and Nichols were stars obviously, though the landings can improve. The big asset for Oklahoma being that the form is strong enough that there’s very little to take in deductions apart from landings.

UCLA will be pleased with that rotation despite the Kocian miss. It needs to be a big event for them, and that score is progress.

I’m enjoying this break-down of the deductions in Nichols’ routine and accurate assessment of where the deductions will come from.

Rotation 2:
Meraz – VT – Good open on her full, just the tiniest hop in place – she’s never going to have the biggest or fartherst vault but she gets the most out of that vault. 9.775.

Capps – UB – good finish position on giant 1/1 – tkatchev, lowish but fine – short on a bail – better final hs – TRIES to stick that tuck full but steps forward, and actually ends up being a pretty big step. 9.900 is too high for me. EVEN KELLY THINKS SO.

Kramer – VT – good shape on her full, too much power – lunge backward. 9.800

Catour – UB – muscles up first cast handstand – pretty tkatchev – one short hs in there – good bail but she does have to muscle up these casts – DLO with a hop back. 9.900

Hall – VT – just the full from her as well – opens out, some legs, larger bounce back. Randy has some notes… 9.775.

Lehrmann – UB – 1.2 to Jaeger is nice – some good verticals on handstands – they can still work on their bails as well – clearly short final handstand – tuck full, sticks but does land a little staggered – 9.925.

Kocian – VT – solid full from her – just a touch short and a hop forward, but not too extreme. good legs. 9.875.

Dowell – UB – Shap is solid – precise first handstand – Church is excellent – to qualms with these hs – GIRL! Loses balance on her step up to high, standing on the low bar, waves her arms, saves it and recasts, but GIRL.

Ross – VT – Excellent amplitude on her full, best on the team so far, but she also hops back a little too far on that one. 9.850

Wofford -UB – beautiful giant full – sweet jaeger – LORD AND BUTTER MCKENZIE – she came off on a CAST HANDSTAND – I would not have called that fall either – back on, lovely bail – sticks excellent tuck full. Weird. 9.375.

Honest – VT – wonky legs on her full, and off direction – pretty good control, step back. So no Hano.

Nichols – UB – lovely Ray – hitting hs – perfect Pak – that low bar hs is still a little short – great shap 1/2 – all other hs are fine – sticks a wonderful DLO – basically this routine is identical to last week. 9.925.

Craus doing exhibition for OU – nice jaeger, a little close catch – some angle on the bail as well – very short final hs – stumble back on double tuck.

They’re having trouble with the scores, so we don’t have the numbers from the second half of that rotation yet. Wondering what Brenna’s score will be because she had that wobble and swim before having to recast, and they have to count it because of Wofford’s fall. Felt the first three bars scores for OU were too high given some of those handstands, which are also really emphasized by our camera angle.

Somehow, Brenna still got 9.825.

UCLA doesn’t have the difficulty yet on vault, so really needed more control on the landings for a top score. Quite a lot of stepping and hopping there.

OU’s twitter says Nichols got 9.925, which continues the trend of bunching. These 9.900-9.925 routines were not all identical.

Oklahoma 98.900 UCLA 98.425

Rotation 3:

Jones – BB – bhs loso is secure, feet but solid – full turn – cat leap to front tuck, a little deep but works out of it well – switch to split is solid – sticks 1.5. 9.800.

Meraz – FX – double tuck, good control, chest down – front lay to front full to front pike – loose in the body on the front lay but stuck that front pike – very good position and amplitude of switch side and popa – double pike, chest down with a smallish hop forward. 9.850

Lehrmann – BB – full turn – smooth aerial, pulls it in without a check – switch side with a bend at the hips and a wave of the arm – YEOUCH – bhs loso series and splits the beam and comes off – straddle quarter and another little check – she’s working too quickly following the fall – 1.5 dismount with a hop forward.

Honest – FX – high double pike, slide back on landing – mildly obsessed with this routine – front lay to front full – another slide, just needs some more control on these landings for a good score – solid leap amplitude as well – double tuck chest down with a hop forward, similar to Meraz. Getting there with the endurance through the first two but not quite there yet. 9.850.

Catour – BB – full turn – bhs loso, good legs and secure – switch side, also bends with a check on hers – walkover is lovely – gainer pike out of frame. One significant error on the switch side but otherwise fine. Simple, especially in the dismount, but good. 9.875.

Hall – FX – 1.5 through to double tuck, step back is a little big but she pulls her chest up well – front full to front pike, just a touch bouncy – switch 1/2 and wolf full, good positions and finishes distinctly – double pike, way short and falls hands down. You could see that one coming. Before that, it was one of her better routines.

Brown – BB – aerial to two bhs series, small check after the second bhs – beat jump to split 3/4 is solid – full turn – sissone – switch leap to pause to gainer full – strong. Smoother than Catour’s so let’s see the score. 9.925.

Savvidou – FX – front 2/1 mount witha  hop to the side but got it around – the theme of her routine is “MISS VAL IS OBSESSED WITH ME DUH” – 1.5 to layout second pass, so so deep and lunges forward OOB. Splits are gorgeous – double pike – huge bounce backward into New Mexico and OOB.

When beautiful things break.

Nichols – BB – aerial to beat jump is smooth – bhs loso series, bends well to save a true check, but it was a bend – 1.25 turn, corrects again to avoid wobble – switch and split are heavenly – front tuck is high and great – double tuck and sticks. Or as Kelly called it, “a double EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.”

Kocian – FX – good front 2/1 first pass, crossover step but keeps the back foot down – back 1.5 to rudi is strong – switch side and popa, popa a little crooked – switch ring – they’re trying so hard to get her to perform, but still feels like this routine is counter to her personality, almost like it’s imposing an attitude on her that isn’t her own – double pike, very strong, chest up and controlled. 9.900

So, can we discuss how Pua got 9.475? That was not a brush, that was a hands-down fall.

Capps – BB – being all lovely – loso series to beat jump – shows her quality because that loso came in short but you would never know because she held it not to give away a wobble or even a lean – aerial, decides not to go to sacle this time – switch to straddle 1/4, great position – sticks gainer full. 9.975. Just Chayse Capps things – although that was like the 19th-best beam routine she has done in college.

Mossett – FX – whip tot double tuck, good chest up – I’m casually obsessed with you as well – split 1.5 that actually hits the position – piked side somi, even makes that look good – double pike, chest up, secure, excellent routine. 9.875.

Lovan is doing exhibition! Check after her aerial, does not connect to bhs and a wobble – oh Kara – split to straddle 1/4 is excellent – gainer full.

So Oklahoma with a casual 49.550 on beam. Kind of silly on some of those numbers, but there was some lovely beam in there from a lot of lovely people.

Somehow, UCLA escapes what was essentially a two-fall floor rotation with 48.950. (Savvidou didn’t fall but those two body-throws OOB basically equal a fall.) So…we’ll just leave that right there and think about Mossett and Honest and how well Kocian controlled her passes.

After 3: Oklahoma 148.450, UCLA 147.375

The one we’ve been waiting for, UCLA’s beam and Oklahoma’s floor. Put your dance-element-connection goggles on.

Rotation 4:

Gerber – BB – wolf turn is fine – aerial to split is methodical but solid – long pause before series – bhs loso is right on – switch to split – bhs to gainer full and stuck. Very good start. 9.825.

Jones – FX – 2.5 to punch front is excellent, good leg position throughout and chest up – 1.5 to layout, steps forward but stays in bounds – split full to a crooked straddle as well, back leg low – double pike is good, secure landing. 9.875.

Meraz – BB – two bhs to a secure loso, right on – switch 1/2, strong position – switch to straddle, makes her combination this time – GIRL, check on a full turn – sticks 1.5 – great other than that full turn. 9.775.

Brown – FX – good front 2/1, controlled position – REALLY Syrian refugee pass there – front lay to front full with a little hop. Round off to layout stepout as part of choreo – split full is quite short today, that’s weird – lovely rudi to finish, a good one. 9.850.

Ross – BB – smooth and precise loso series – switch ring to small check, not trying to connect a leap out of it – full turn – front aerial is basically perfect – switch leap to beat jump, better choice – side aerial to full and just bends a touch to hold onto the stick. Brilliant routine. 9.825. [EDIT: As was pointed out in the comments, Kyla had just four tenths of bonus in this routine, not five. So the score of 9.825 makes total sense. Thanks for the heads up!]

Dowell – FX – STICKS double front, excellent – back 1.5 to front layout to little “I just stepped on a bee” wiggle that was either choreography or a break and I’m not really sure – front lay to front full, step forward but keeps that back foot down. 9.900.

Kocian – BB – aerial to sheep, very well executed, slow in connection but the individual skills were great – strong loso series – full turn – switch and split are hit to 180 – round off to 2/1, and stuck. Another very very good routine. Little to take in that one. 9.925.

Capps – FX – double pike, chest down but good control, needs to get her chest up though – front full to front layout – switch side to popa are excellent – rudi – this is a Carrie Fisher-themed routine? Now I love it even more. Wonderful obviously. Controls her tumbling well but there was some chest position. 9.900.

Peng – BB – triple flares – switch and split are wonderful – hits bhs to layout this week, step backward – double turn and controls it well, almost over-turned but help it with a bend – sticks dismount – she got this one. Good routine. 9.950. Judges are getting on the Oklahoma score train now.

Jackson – FX – gigantic open full in and nailed the landing – just shut up miss jackson – whip 1/2 to front full – walks out of it casually but maybe that was a lack of control – nails double pike. Awesome routine. Kelly wants her to smile. Ugh. No. It’s not a smile routine. 9.900. That was the best one of the group, though.

Ohashi – BB – just the layout not the dull this time – check – switch ring, not the greatest shape on that one – excellent rest of the routine – sticks dismount. 9.925 seems a little high for that. An oddly scored rotation, started too low and then got too high.

Nichols – FX – pike full in with a slide back this time around – 1.5 through to 2/1, controls that landing a little better, the shape in the twisting is good – switch ring and split full are well hit, clear 180 – double pike, still landing a bit staggered but it doesn’t show as much when allowed a controlled step back out of passes. Excellent as well. 9.950. Maybe a little high for that first pass, but otherwise it was great.

Macy Toronjo doing beam exhibition again – good switch leap – a little tight on loso series but hits it, check – switch 1/2 is nice – side aerial is solid, she’ll be in the lineup soon, but it’s quite a tough lineup to make. sticks 1.5. Good.

Final: Oklahoma 198.025, UCLA 196.825

Both teams will take this meet. For UCLA, improved bars and a big improvement on beam over last week. Showing the potential on those events. Floor had solid moments but also two poor routines. It’s getting closer, but they’re still not there with the stamina and control. It was also a double-pike-a-thon, which is a little blah from a tumbling perspective. Vault – the landings have to be better than that if they’re going to do a lineup of fulls. Too bouncy to get strong scores. Still, it’s a 196.825, which is good for UCLA early in the season. That’s progress.

Oklahoma got a 198 in a meet that I think anyone would watch and say, “they can be a lot better than that.” Which is a bit scary. They were good on each event but at their peak on no events. On bars, they had the Dowell weirdness and Wofford fall, making it one of the less-assured bars rotations I’ve seen from them in a while. On beam, there was a fall. Vaults were very good, but the landings can get better. Scores were high, mostly deservedly so, occasionally home-high (particularly on the first-couple routines on each apparatus). I thought there was too much bunching of the scores—a condition of going too high early—so that excellent routines like Nichols’ bars and Jackson’s floor scored the same as routines of lower quality earlier in the lineup and seem under-scored as a result.

105 thoughts on “Sunday Live Blog – January 15, 2017”

  1. And Crouse’s 9.925 on bars! Single handedly saved my fantasy gym bar score since way too many people this week couldn’t stay ON bars.

    1. she was spotty competing bars all last season (even though she should’ve been in there, but might’ve been an injury thing), so I didn’t put her up…missing that score 🙁

  2. Do you know what is up with Jessica Howe? I don’t see her on the start list–2nd meet in a row?

  3. Anyone know of a way other than FOX to watch the OU & UCLA meet? That channel it’s on isn’t avaialable where I live.

    Seriously OU needs to get it’s s*** together with televising its Natl Championship team. It’s literally the only college I cannot get access to. Super annoying.

    1. You could do the playstation vue free trial and watch it that way? It’s the second package that was fox sports college. But that would probably only last you one or two meets tops.

      1. Can’t. Not in the right location. My husband has been trying everything. Legal and non-legal. I guess I’ll just watch the replay on YouTube when NastiaFan posts it illegally.

      2. Andrea, what a good husband you have!!
        Reminds me of a friend I have whose husband said *in his wedding vows* that he will support her gymnastics habit. Sweet!

    2. Where do you live? Nearly every cable company has “sports packages” that include the regional fox stations. I live in LA and with Frontier the meet is on Fox Sports West. It can be expensive, but I usually add the sports package just for gymnastics months.

      I know it doesn’t help, but it’s not really OU’s fault. The Big 12 has a television deal with Fox, but they haven’t created a Big 12 Network yet (stupid Longhorn network). Thus, Big 12 meets/games are regulated to the regional and national Fox networks. I suspect they’ll eventually get their own network like the other power conferences and OU’s meets will then get some airtime. Although, because gymnastics isn’t really a “thing” in the Big 12, the coverage will likely be pretty sparse (similar to Big 10, but less due to only have 4 teams).

      1. Eastern washington. Husband sat on hold with the cable company and my area doesn’t have an option to add any of the FCS networks. It sucks.

      2. Well, I know that we used to get it in our sports package with xfinity, but they dropped coverage at the end of 2016! Apparently it’ll be available to stream “soon” though.

  4. The Penn State Twitter implied that Emma Sibson was supposed to anchor floor, but she didn’t for whatever reason and now they’ve already moved to beam. Ouch!

  5. The commentator for Iowa/Cal just called Arianna Robinson’s vault a “forward-facing double pike”…..sigh.

  6. If anyone comes up with an illegal stream for OU/UCLA please please please share! I’ve been searching for an hour :'(

  7. Penn State’s 192.9 makes it totally clear why the AD felt they couldn’t fire Jeff Thompson in spite of the abuse allegations. I mean, just look at the man’s results!

  8. UCLA Tentative vault lineup:
    Meraz, Kramer, Hall, Kocian, Ross, Hano.
    What?? No Madison Preston on Vault? She was the 9.90 full anchor last week and all of last season. Is she OK?

    1. I see no Madison Preston on the UCLA sidelines. Hopefully just out with a short-term flu or something minor. Anyone know?

      1. I think I saw a pic of Madison Preston on the sideline wearing a (noncompetition) tshirt and helping video routines on an ipad or whatever. Maybe just getting a rest?

  9. UCLA tentative lineup changes in week 2 from week 1:
    VT: Preston out, Hall in.
    UB: Unchanged.
    BB: Unchanged.
    FX: Preston out, Hano out, Honest in, Savvidou in.

  10. Let’s hope Bart gets a word in edgewise. In fact, let’s hope he gets all the words.

    1. lol, right? I know Kelly was a big OU star back in the day, but she is painful to listen to. From what I’ve heard today (a few seconds here and there before I lost my feed completely), she’s upping her game just sitting next to Bart.
      Just don’t talk about gymnasts’ bodies, Kelly. It’s creepy at best.

  11. Something is really weird with the commentary feed–sounds like they are taking through an underwater tunnel.

  12. Is Oklahoma wearing the same leo that they wore last week against Alabama? I don’t know that I’ve ever seen an NCAA team wear the same leo two weeks in a row.

    1. It looks like it! I think it’s fine to repeat leos — less expense and less wasted material. But these leos are almost as bad as BYU’s on Friday!

  13. I can eat an entire lunch while UCLA’s Stella Savvidou perfectly holds a cast handstand.

  14. Hallie Mossett broke her sternum last year in a bar release miss like Kocian just had.

  15. Do you think Kocian is struggling with college setting on bars? She looks like she’s whipping the pak salto and they’re always spotting her on it on training videos. Hope she’s okay – sure she’ll get more comfortable with the routine as the season goes on.

    1. The bars are farther apart in college right? I’d imagine that’s be a hard switch considering she’s been doing her pak salto at the elite setting for so many years.

    1. Ha! I think she was going to say “gained weight” and then thought better of it! LOL! Kyla has certainly gained height as well.

      Thanks to The Balance Beam Situation for hosting another great event…and a special thanks for an Anon poster’s streaming link in comments.

      Interesting to hear Bart’s closing comments when he repeatedly mentioned that OU was overscored today.

  16. UCLA’s Pua Hall downgraded her vault this year? Is it REALLY that great of a strategy to hold back on 10.0 starting value vaults until later in the season? If so, UCLA should just throw some level 3 kids vaults until the end of the season.

    1. She’s working on an Omelianchik which is definitely getting there but not quite 100%.

  17. It’s interesting that Kyla’s full is looking so good. Her Omelianchik looked very real in the training vids, and hasn’t she had shin splints? It’s surprising to me that she was still doing whatever FTY training she needed to in order to retain it.

    This meet’s total bars is even weirder than last week’s UCLA beam.

  18. And one of the toughest Region 3 judges is judging bars. OU are getting favor scores. It is sickening

  19. Nice to see Oklahoma judges finally figured out SEC home scoring. Remember like, four years ago when home judging was tight at Oklahoma? My how two championships changes things.

    1. Agreed. I never understood the “SEC” scoring thing, I think it’s always been a “favorite” scoring issue. UCLA and Utah have also had extremely favorable home scoring for a long time. The last few seasons we’ve seen it at OU, LSU, UF, Bama, UCLA, and Utah — the teams that are generally the favorites and with the “big name” elites.

      Ross, Kocian, Skinner, Nichols will all get the benefit of the doubt this season — just like Peszek, Sloan, Kupets, McCool all got. If you go to a top 5-8 program and have a big name, you’ll generally get the benefit of the doubt.

  20. When Kocian gets the team high score on vault, something is going very wrong.

    UCLA has way too much talent on the team to perform so poorly. I love Miss Val, but maybe it’s time to step aside for someone to more competently run the program? I can’t believe that their string of injuries and poor showing in competition is bad luck or the athletes’ fault.

    1. ~*Unpopular Opinion Time*~ I agree and I think Miss Val gets a pass on a lot of things that gym fans would criticize another coach for.

      1. Like her lineup choices?!?!?!
        Or failing to keep her athletes healthy?
        Or failing to prepare top athletes to hit and consistently get the 9.9’s they are more than capable of?

        There is too much of a pattern here. I can no longer chalk it up to bad luck.

        …. I’m with you … (sadly)

        Do we think Waller would be able to step in as head coach and bring the team to their (massive) potential?

      2. Completely agree!! It’s easy to let things slide because she seems so “fun”, but floor choreography isn’t the only important thing

    2. I think a big issue for UCLA is their strength and conditioning. I know they have a lot of former elites, which likely means more injury-prone athletes; however, the amount of injury issues UCLA deals with every year is crazy. Every team has an athlete tear an ACL or have a break once a year or maybe every other year, but UCLA seems to have not only those injuries but athletes with “constant nagging” issues. Something a strong strength and conditioning program would help. And a school like UCLA should have the resources to do it.

      Also, as a side note, Miss Val’s job would never be in jeopardy — she’s married to the associate AD. Personally, I don’t think she deserves to be fired, but certainly some changes in the program may help (and maybe changes that have nothing to do with the personnel — conditioning, training changes etc.).

      1. I even question the recruiting of so many known-injury-prone elites. I think their problems start there.

        Even if she couldn’t get fired, but she could step down if she really isn’t up for leading this team to success. Stay on as choreographer

        Or maybe I’m just mad that I’m not able to watch the meat until NastiaFan comes through for us. 😛

        I hope that they find their stride SOON as the season progresses and prove me wrong. I’m only so upset because I love this team and I love Miss Val and it hurts to see them implode or even just meh

      2. I hear what everyone is saying, but let’s not forget that a big reason these star gymnasts are at UCLA is because these great athletes want to be coached by Miss Val.

        Would they be at UCLA if Miss Val wasn’t the head coach? I’m not so sure.

      3. Gotta wonder who would replace Val. Promoting an assistant isn’t going to radically change things. I’m not sure there’s a coach ready. There’s been a major changing of the guard lately.

        I hope they stay the course and Wieber takes the reins on conditioning. I know it’s absurd to judge actual fitness on appearance, but she’s looked ready for the cover of Shape magazine her whole life, now included. I feel like she’d excel in that area. In any case, I still feel like UCLA puts out plenty of inspiring gymnastics even with the issues they have, and Val is still the driver behind that. They need to shore up a couple of weaknesses, not reboot the program.

    3. On the other hand, what she’s managed to do with athletes like Meraz is amazing. Some of that is down to Sonya, who clearly works incredibly hard, but you don’t improve that much in three seasons without good coaching to go along with it.

      1. Remember when we thought Meraz might have trouble staying in the lineups with all the new talent. Thank god for her!! Such a rock for this team!

    4. This may be totally off the mark since I am new-ish to NCAA, but I wonder if the program attracts a lot of former elites who are looking for a more nourishing environment and maybe a less rigid conditioning program. I’d consider Ohashi, Ross, and perhaps Hano to have been broken (physically and mentally) by elite. Kocian has glass bird bones, so there’s that.

  21. UCLA self-destructs on FX for the second week in a row. Who is their new FX coach again? lol

  22. Completely agree about Kocian’s choreography. It’s pretty awful and does not seem to fit her at all.

    1. Do the gymnasts have any say about their music or choreography? Or did Miss Val just decide this for her?

      1. Kocian was on Bruin Banter this week and she said when they showed her the routine the first time she didn’t think it was her at all, but it’s grown on her. I think they wanted to pull her out of her shell a bit by making the routine “sassy” (UCLA’s words). I would have given Kocian a more classical routine — allow her to be herself.

  23. Do the gymnasts have any say about their music or choreography? Or did Miss Val just decide this for her?

    1. I think it’s a combination, especially the longer they are there re music choice. Hallie probably didn’t choose her music as a freshman but her routine this year is just fabulous and it’s her choice! Maddy has time to get a routine that may suit her better, it’s nice to see her do something different and she’s scoring well. Ms. Val is the program, if you see them in person, their performances are sheer entertainment and the gymnasts want to go there because of her. Simone Biles even said it’s her favorite team last week when she was visiting. UCLA’s school starts later than most schools, so I believe the gymnasts show up later than other schools as well and after all the club training, it’s a tougher adjustment at first. They’ll be there when it counts and they were much better today. Missing Hano, Cipra and Preston on floor and vault certainly hurts, and Ross and Ohashi should add floor soon as well. Fingers crossed!

    1. I have rewatched this a handful of times now and I still can’t figure out the score – forget compared to OU, compared to other UCLA routines. There’s a shoulder adjustment after the series and a pause after the switch ring if you know there was supposed to to be something connected (she did switch beat instead later). The dismount landing is a little deep. But I can’t figure out why these things would be taken for this routine and seemingly not other routines. Help?

      1. Katelyn Ohashi was live on Insta last night and Kyla was explaining this. Apparently her routine composition is off (hopefully they fix this now). They were going for .5 of skill bonus but you can only get .4 of skill and the other .1 has to be connection? (I assume this is because they took her connection out of the switch ring and didn’t replace it?) …. that was basically her explanation anyway. So with the lost tenth in composition it would have been a 9.925 which sounds about right to me.

      2. But doesn’t Kyla get connection bonus from her dismount? She connects the side aerial to the back full. Whatever it is however, hopefully they get it fixed. It’s kind of unacceptable for there to be start value issues with her routine 2 weeks in a row.

      3. Does the switch to beat not count then? I thought switch was a c+ skill… I’m so confused. Thanks for the explanation!

      4. The switch to beat fulfills her dance series requirement, but it does not receive connection bonus. One of her five tenths of bonus must come from connections rather than skill value, so she starts from 9.90. The dismount also does not give her connection bonus, even though it is D+B, because combinations including B dismounts are not eligible for connection bonus. It’s a weird one.

      5. Thanks, Spencer.

        Anonymous and PennyB- Yeah, basically she needs a connection bonus out of either her dance series or her acro. For dance/mixed series it can be either A+D or B+C (switch+beat is B+A). A common one you see in level 9/10 routines is switch leap + back tuck (C+C). For acro B + D/E or C + C/D or a triple series pretty much any kind. The fact that coaches haven’t corrected this is ridiculous… (and relying on a connection bonus out of a switch ring is equally ridiculous).

  24. Stop try to make “Sassy Madison Kocian” happen. It’s never going to happen.
    At least not this year. Personalities change and maybe it will make more sense in the future. But right now this doesn’t make sense. Just let her go the sweet/serious route and we can all be happy

    1. Yes! The forced jazz hands on beam is also driving me a bit nuts. Kocian doesn’t look comfortable. Maybe by her senior year she’ll want to do that type of choreo, but for now, let her be herself. It’s okay to be a “quiet” athlete, which something I think some NCAA programs discourage.

    2. Agreed. I’ve only been following NCAA gymnastics for a couple of seasons, so maybe I just don’t “get” it, but I resent this idea that all NCAA gymnasts should be smiley and extroverted and flirty. These are incredibly strong, accomplished women, and I think there should be room for different personalities and forms of expression. Kocian wants to be a pediatric oncologist – this is a strong, intelligent woman who also happens to be an Olympic champion. I feel uncomfortable watching her twirl her hair and shake her hips because (maybe I’m wrong) she doesn’t appear comfortable with it. I actually loved her last two elite FX routines (not to mention how sad I was to see that her gorgeous double tuck didn’t carry over to UCLA). Give her a Syrian refugee routine.

      1. Definitely. Honestly I don’t think UCLA was the best fit for her. I think it’s fine for Kyla (who has become more outgoing since her elite days it seems like) and would have been okay for Simone. MyKayla is good at Utah, she gets the spotlight she wants. OU is GREAT for Maggie. I would have loved to see what Madison would have done at OU, think it would have been a better fit.

  25. Agree with these comments about UCLA, especially in regard to what seems to be a lack of conditioning. Why is Pua in the floor lineup? Just like last season, she steps onto the floor mat and I turn to my husband and say, “She doesn’t look like she has the stamina to make it through this routine without a fall.” 90 seconds later? “Told you so.” I mean, out of everything, building strength and stamina as a team should not be this challenging. It’s perplexing.

    Kocian’s floor is terribly awkward but I give her props for stepping outside of her elite comfort zone; and I actually think UCLA is a good fit for her, especially academically.

    And Hallie’s floor routine: swoon.

    1. Oh, I totally agree it works for her academically! Wanting to see her at OU is purely selfish from wanting to see her gymnastics there!

      1. I think KJ could have helped Kocian clean up some of her wonky form issues; and something tells me her routines wouldn’t be as watered down there. And I think her floor choreography would be TOTALLY different at OU. But I’m basically happy seeing her doing NCAA anywhere, honestly.

    2. Watching their snapchat and other stuff, they seem to have a pretty intense conditioning regime. I wonder if they just do full floor routines super late and don’t build specific floor endurance until later in the season.

  26. This is my first year following non-Olympic gymnastics and I’m in love. So thank you to you and Gymnastic for opening my eyes to this sport. I can see where Miss Val is coming from in picking this personality for Kocian. It comes off very Dallas showgirl. And in theory that could be a great fit for Kocian! Videos like remind us that Kocian does have a great sense of humor and is so cute and sweet. However, I think they could have upped her game with more sporty, confident choreo. She loves country right? Maybe Miss Val should do something with that. (And just…lose all the butt wiggling, lol) Her intelligence is not being put to use with this routine which is a real shame, especially for an athlete who values the mental side of the sport as much as Madison.

  27. For those of you like me dying to see footage of ucla vs ou, nastiafan has uploaded a handful of routines. no full meet, yet.

  28. my absolute two favorite NCAA teams. OU because OU (and refugee floor routines) and UCLA because let’s be honest if I was a former elite/top gymnast and was going to college for fun, of course I’d want to go to UCLA and the drama/glamour/ridiculousness of that program. So happy to see Kyla there – I hope she feels at home. Madison and her bird bones will settle in eventually (I hope).

    Real talk – who’s the male student (looking) assistant for UCLA? He’s cute. I have this vision in my head that all of UCLA is diva ex-elites and hot gay guys.

    1. Was he the one doing choreo along on the sideline? If yes, I enjoyed him.

      That description of UCLA should be in their admissions materials. “Come for the broken elites, stay for the hot gays.” If only I were 18 again.

      1. Yes, that’s the one I’m talking about. There was a moment in Kocian’s routine where he and Kyla smiled at each other and I realized there’s no cooler group of people I’d rather be with in college. While others are slaving away in frickin Oklahoma and Louisiana to make beautiful gymnastics, the UCLA bunch is constantly grabbing brunch and gossiping and going to the Golden Globes and drinking mimosas with Miss Val and then every once in a while they have to put on a leo and ariel their way through a routine. That’s the college experience I’d want.

        As a recent college grad who worked way to hard studying during my time, I definitely wish I’d just gone to UCLA, buddied up with the gymnastics team, and lived my LYFE.

    2. I think you are talking about Cory Tomlinson. He seems to be good friends with all the girls on the team. I believe he is the son or grandson of the former UCLA coach. Not quite sure of his background, but he’s been around the program a long time and does a good job of keeping the athletes and crowd pumped up.

      1. Yep that’s him.

        Are we all in agreement that UCLA is definitely the most glamorous college gym experience? (It shows in their lack of conditioning.) I’m happy for those girls though.

      2. Yes, I think it’s Cory, son of former UCLA head coach Jerry Tomlinson who, back in the day, hired Val as an assistant coach. He seems to truly love UCLA gymnastics and his energy on the sidelines is very infectious.

  29. And UCLA is still top 5 in vault averages nationally, without a single 10.oo on Vault.
    Seeing how they can only get better in the next weeks I’d say it could be worse.

  30. I think I read somewhere that Corey used to be a swimmer while a student at UCLA. He led the flash mob dance at ncaas a few years ago when it was st Pauley.

  31. As a longtime UCLA fan, I take it as a compliment that UCLA now has enough of a following to get some serious flak from the fans. This is good. 🙂

    Also, from having been in shoes fairly similar to Kocian’s (minus all the medals) at one point in my life, being pushed to portray myself (however ineffectively) outside of the character I had developed for myself in high school was absolutely critical to realizing that wasn’t the only valid version of me. This could be good for her, long-term. Or it could not. But I wish us gymternet folks could be a little more accommodating to her (or her coaches) playing outside her style.

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