Saturday Live Blog – March 4, 2017

Saturday, March 4
Scores Watch
12:00 ET/9:00 PT – Ithaca @ Cortland FREE
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – UW-Oshkosh @ Hamline
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – North Carolina @ William & Mary LINK FB
3:30 ET/12:30 PT – Temple @ Cornell Ivy $
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [1] Oklahoma @ [11] Michigan LINK FREE
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Iowa State @ [14] Iowa LINK BTN
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – BYU @ Minnesota LINK BTN+
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [25] Ohio State @ [7] Denver LINK DU $
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – UC Davis, Seattle Pacific @ Sacramento State LINK FREE

American Cup is not a role model. I repeat, not a role model. Neither in terms of performance nor crazy scoring. (Are we just not going to talk about how McCusker finished fifth even though she fell a billion times and didn’t even have a beam dismount?)

So yeah, that was super bleak on the women’s side. Just a big old mess. Let NCAA keep us warm.

Nichols on only bars today for Oklahoma. DeGouveia vaulting, Jackson on beam, Turner on floor.

Artz and Chiarelli are already seniors, you guys. That’s a lot of scores. Good thing the Michigans did so well at the NLC last night, but there’s a year in between Artz and Chiarelli leaving and when they arrive. This year’s freshman class has shown some solid contributions but will be called upon for a lot more routines next year.

The stream is up. Be sure to refresh if you opened it before the broadcast started. Touch starting now.

Rotation 1:
Funk – VT – lunge back on the full, good distance, normal, lunge a little large, though. 9.750.

Capps – UB – good giant full finish – tkatchev OK – hits cast – tiny tiny bit of legs in the bail – pretty precise – flings out tuck full somewhat this time with a step back. 9.850.

Zaziski – VT – nearly gets the stick on her full but ends up with a hop forward, so won’t be a big total. A little piked as well. 9.775.

Catour – UB – strong Ray – toe on to bail, clean legs together, arches the bail but holds it – sticks DLO. Good one, arch on the bail wasn’t too bad but a clear deduction. 9.850.

Artz – VT – lunge back on the full, similar to Funk, but a bit farther and straighter. 9.825.

Dowell – UB – Excellent counter on her Ray – toe on to bail, pikes that a little in the air – sticks DLO cold. Good cast handstands as well, expect a step up in scores from the first two. 9.900

Chiarelli – VT – still with the full – too piked in the air and a small hop – I like her 1.5 better. 9.825.

Lehrmann – UB – hecht mount – 1/2 turn to jaeger, excellent toes and height – hitting her casts – a little angled coming into that bail it appeared from this angle – sticks the tuck full. They’re on with these dismounts today. 9.900.

Karas – VT – exceptional height on that 1.5, just ideal dynamics – a larger lunge forward to control this time, and they can also take for crossed legs in the twist. 9.875

Wofford – UB – great full turn to half turn to jaeger – vertical and pointed toes throughout – clean through the bail – shortish final handstand and then a small step on the tuck full, though, so she won’t make the 10 a trend. Just lost her perfection juice at the very end. 9.875

McLean – VT – good 1.5, smaller lunge forward than Karas had, just a normal step, so expect a higher score. Some mushy knees in hers as well.

Nichols – UB – strong Ray, caught a little bent it appeared from her but no trouble – great leg form through the bail and shap 1/2 – sticks DLO. I say one questionable handstand in there but not much else. And it’s a 10.000. One routine up, business done. It wasn’t her 10iest bars this year. She has been more precise.

So now Nichols has a 10 on every event. Usually, you know, the pinnacle of a career.

After 1: Oklahoma 49.525, Michigan 49.200
Oklahoma got those handstands and those dismounts today for a huge score. I would have had Nichols at 9.950, but otherwise I thought the scores were pretty appropriate in that rotation. Michigan will need to get some more control on the majority of those landings to get a competitive total in the postseason, but 49.200 is perfectly fine.  Oklahoma is pretty much ready. Just an arch here and there and a couple handstands. Catour and Wofford can go cleaner, and they still broke 49.5.

Rotation 2:
Jones – VT – good full, small hop back – stays pretty well extended throughout. 9.875.

Funk – UB – that giant tkatchev where you think she gets lost in Narnia halfway through but catches – short on her bail, which will hurt – sticks DLO – other than the bail, quite a strong set, but that will take the score down. 9.800.

Marks – VT – just a little short on her FTY this time with a step forward. 9.800

Karas – UB – toe on to shap, leg break but not too extreme – very strong vertical on bail – a little whippy on her DLO but a great stick. Expect a high score on that. 9.925

Capps – VT – small slide back on her DLO – this angle emphasizes the leg separation at the end, but it rarely shows up to the side, maybe bigger this time. 9.800

Marinez – UB – arches in several handstands, once somewhat significantly, flings out her DLO with a larger bound forward. Good toes in her tkatchev but I sometimes worry she’s not going to clear the bar. 9.775.

DeGouveia – VT – she has brought in the 1.5 the last couple weeks – good clean legs for the most part in the air, just loses them at the very end, and then a fairly sizable hop forward. That’s a nice development for the lineup, though. 9.825.

Shchennikova – UB – shap to pak is pretty, maintains her legs better than most – giant full to a basically stuck double tuck – one of her good ones. 9.900.

Dowell – VT – nearly looked like she was going to hold the stick on her 1.5 but a hop forward this time. 9.900.

Artz – UB – 1/2 turn to piked jaeger, solid – a short cast handstand after that, which is rare for her and you could tell she was off – things went crazy on the bail and she doesn’t catch. Shame. Sticks DLO obviously. 9.225.

Jackson – VT – small small hop to the side on her 1.5 but among her more controlled landings. Great in the air. 9.900.

Zaziski – UB – giant full to giant Tkatchev, great height – good extended body throughout the bail – I saw a short cast at the end and rushed on that first giant full, step back on DLO. 9.925 seems high in there.

Lehrmann stucks her exhibition full it appeared. Still challenging for lineup.

Brianna Brown is a person again! Doing exhibition on bars – she looks pretty much there with the routine we expect from her, near stick on the DLO. Should come into the lineup for the postseason.

After 2: Oklahoma 98.825, Michigan 98.525
I’m actually legitimately pleased with the scoring in this meet. So weird. I don’t understand this emotion. Things got a little high at the end of bars for Zaziski, but otherwise not too too crazy. Karas was the highlight of bars for Michigan for me. Her bail is so crisp and vertical. Polina also had a good one.

Oklahoma didn’t have the best landings this week on vault with Dowell and Jackson having hops to give away the big, big numbers, and then Nichols wasn’t there so the score wasn’t as high as it could have been. DeGouveia’s 1.5 is a significant development as a 4th 10.0 start. It won’t score the same as the other three 1.5s but it looks comfortable enough for her and good enough to be in the lineup because of the SV. It makes for a legit question about what they do with this lineup when Nichols is in it. Who comes out? Probably Marks?

Rotation 3:
Karas – BB – great chest up when she lands her punch front – works into the beat jump quickly to cover any lack of control on landing – high leaps – bhs loso with a balance check – punch rudi, stuck – excellent first routine. 9.850.

Jones – FX – 2.5 to front tuck, securely landing and finishes easily – 1.5 to layout, maybe a little bouncy – loses her feet in her split leap – solid double pike, borderline chest down but not a thing. 9.825.

Zaziski – BB – cat leap to switch side, a tad crooked – lean correction on loso series – switch to straddle 1/4, excellent 180s shown there – check on full turn, girl what is this January – strong kickover front – OMG SHE’S DOING THE MOONWALK LET’S DEFINITELY MAKE THAT A THING THAT WE TALK ABOUT A LOT – gainer full. A couple checks but overall positive execution. 9.875.

Brown – FX – rudi to start this time instead of the front 2/1 – front lay to another rudi – loso side pass, as pretty as ever – hits her split and straddle shapes very well – another rudi – Just a big ol’ rudi fest? Why?

Funk – BB – secure on her opening loso series – switch and split, strong – hitting comfortable leaps – this is what her preseason showcase routine looked like when she was basically the best one in the rotation – step on dismount. 9.900.

We don’t have a score for Brown yet. I think the judges were like, “Wait, did she just do three rudis?” too.

Dowell – FX – short on double front this time with two pretty large steps back to save it – 1.5 to layout, well extended, high, controlled – no trouble on the landings of her final two passes, just that first one coming in short. 9.775.

Artz – BB – pike jump to straddle 3/4, no trouble – aerial to bhs, smooth and comfortable – full turn – nails kickover front to beat – hop to the side on punch rudi dismount. Really the only issue, though, expect a high score.

Tuner – FX – good height on double pike, step back, I’m fine with it because she kept her front leg down but a little far for a controlled step – slight stumble landing the layout on her middle pass – slide on double tuck. Fine, but this won’t be a normal Oklahoma floor rotation total.

Marinez – BB – check on aerial – strong bhs loso to split jump, extended and secure – side aerial – beat jump to double stag – quite strong after the initial break on the aerial – pretends she stuck her 2/1 and that bouncy around was just extreme excitement, but she didn’t really stick that.

Capps – FX – slide back on double pike – front full to layout, comfortable – excellent height and extension on straddles – final pass magic spell tutting (thanks, Melanie!) – chest down a bit on rudi but fine –

Chiarelli – BB – Speaking of magic tricks, somehow she stayed on the beam for her series but a massive break that will mean this is the dropped score regardless – sticks double tuck. Of course she would this time.

Jackson – FX – open fill in, excellent – also tremendous height and extension on her straddles – maybe a little slide forward on the middle pass – strong double pike, controlled landing – excellent set. 9.950.

Brianna Brown doing exo on beam as well. Has a big wobble but her execution is as it was. Will be an option for the lineup but not a given based on that.

After 3: Oklahoma 148.125, Michigan 147.900

Closer than a lot of us expected through three. Oklahoma won’t be happy with that floor rotation. A couple good routines but Dowell had a pass error and then Brown with the SV issue. Scores started to go a little high there on the beam rotation for my taste, but only minor checks until Chiarelli. She could have come close to catching Oklahoma with a hit.

Rotation 4:
Jones – BB – loso series, solid – kickover front to beat jump – switch to split – hitting comfortably, no balance checks – small step on 1.5. Good one.

Funk – FX – powerful double pike – gets amplitude on her switch side and popa – very deep landing on double tuck with a lunge back, kept it to her feet but it was touch and go there – solid otherwise.

Lehrmann – BB – aerial, smooth – cat leap to switch side – large check on loso series, leg flies up – sticks 1.5 cold.

Marinez – FX – front layout to rudi – whips the front layout somewhat, twists very quickly – switch to split jump full to wolf full, some indistinct landing positions – double pike, secure chest down –

Catour – BB – smallest wiggle correction on her series but basically nothing – cat leap to switch side – aerial, comfortable – hop forward on gainer pike, she took that really high, maybe surprised herself.

McLean – FX – slide-ish on landing on double pike – otherwise strong, hitting her 180s, Paise Zaziski’s background facial expressions are artistry – excellent double back, high and controlled, that was the highlight.

Brown – BB – aerial to two bhs series – beat jump to straddle 3/4, a touch under and then scoots the last 1/8th around – full turn  and lovely leaps – sticks gainer full.

Karas – FX – controlled double arabian landing, some cowboy, not extreme, as usual – super height on that wolf jump, now that’s a wolf jump – front lay front full – high double pike, slide back.

After we ban the switch side + popa combo on floor, I would like to see fewer front lay front full middle passes.

Jackson – BB – bhs loso with a fairly significant wobble, correction and then a second correction – good position on switch side, squats to avoid a real wobbles – straddle jump to loso – sticks 1.5.

Chiarelli – FX – nails double tuck, controlled, chest up – 1.5 to layout to front tuck, I like the idea of the pass, too arched around on that layout though – hits leaps – strong control on double pike as well, chest down.

Capps – BB – strong control on loso series – easy and fluid on the full turn – aerial and does it to scale this time, keeps moving pretty well through it as well – switch to straddle 1/4 – gainer full. One of her good ones. Will make it tough on Artz to get the necessary score. 10.000. Well now. Such a pretty routine. Beam scores were also on the high side today.

Artz – FX – strong piked full in, good control – hits her leaps very well – perhaps arching over a layout on the middle pass – and maybe a little slide on the double pike, but pretty much her usual floor – she didn’t open the door too much in case the judges want to give her a senior day 10. One did. 9.975.

FINAL: Oklahoma 197.575, Michigan 197.525
Came down right to it there. I love that Oklahoma got a 197.575 with two 10.0s and we’re like, “WHY DID YOU SUCK SO MUCH?” In some respects it was an off meet for OU, mostly due to a couple floor errors and not having the landings on vault. And not having Nichols on three events. Still nothing to worry about, though. When we talked to KJ on Gymcastic, she mentioned peaking and dropping multiple times throughout the season, and this looks like one of those little drops. Nothing to worry about but not a postseason showing.

Also, Kara Lovan just hit a “shades of 2015” beam routine in exhibition.

Good showing from Michigan. They’ll be happy with this. Scoring started normally, went a little high toward the end of the meet with some beam scores and then a home floor 9.9 fest that was very strong and well controlled but wouldn’t get as many 9.9s in a neutral context. Still, nearly beat Oklahoma and certainly proved competitiveness and danger when it comes to the postseason.

YIKES. Zaziski was doing exhibition on floor, totally tripped mid-pass or botched a punch or something and then basically did an improvised side somi/wild frog leap. She’s fine, though.

Big day of meets tomorrow! Rest up.


75 thoughts on “Saturday Live Blog – March 4, 2017”

  1. So proud of the NCAA Men for showing up and doing a great job at American Cup! Best performers of the day!

    1. Agreed! Every since I saw Moldauer at Winter Cup in 2015 I’ve been excited for his big elite debut. Love his gymnastics, good lines, light, very clean, and as we are seeing, consistent! Hope he can bring the US men’s team more success.

  2. BUT RAGAN WON. I’m kind of screaming even though she fell on her full on beam and almost fell on her wolf full but ehhh who cares she still won by two points. To add to the crazy E scores given out (high and low) Lets, look at some NCAA gymnastics! Yay!!

    1. It came down to her exceeding everyone in D score…. by a lot (by more than the deduction for her fall). And her mildly okay DTY being the best scoring vault.

      1. Is the 2017 US National AA title and the 2017 World AA title Ragan Smith’s to lose? I imagine Smith also has to be the odds-on favourite for the beam titles, while Ashton Locklar is the bars favourite.

  3. Is Nichols nursing an injury? It seems abnormal to rest her 2 weeks in a row unless otherwise.

      1. Also, I had a feeling she was doing the only event today in which she has yet to get a 10. And of course, she got a 10!

  4. I got mine to work easily, but seriously though, the one time I can watch an OU meet, and Nichols is only competing one event. Oh well, it’ll be good to see with my eyes how much their over scored

  5. Despite Maggie’s 10, I didn’t think OU’s bars were over scored

  6. Wow, Karas really flies on her vault. Stunning!
    I’d love to see her go for a DTY, she def has the air time and rotation to add the extra half twist.

  7. Who did the exhibition routine for Oklahoma? It was pretty nice although with a couple of things left to fine tune.

  8. I think it was Natalie Brown, but to be honest, their brown buns all look the same

  9. Man where was Lehrmann in that vault lineup, her exhibition was the only stick in that entire rotation; they really need maggie back

  10. Lexi Funk’s bail always looks like that, I think it’s meant to be an overshoot? It always looks awkwardly halfway between, but if that was a mistake I don’t know why they’d let her go and do it every week …

  11. Pleasantly surprised with Michigan’s vault today. I’m not sure what to do about OU’s vault lineup, they seem to have quite a few of meh vaults

  12. I guess this is what happens when you have a season in which 10s are handed out like candy: you get to the end of the season and look around and say, “By this season’s standard, she definitely should’ve had a 10 by now. Give her a 10 as long as she doesn’t land on her butt.” I expect to see more 10s tomorrow.

    On the whole, though, I’m pleased to see some very reasonable scoring. Can judges at other meets please follow the lead of these judges? I’m guessing that’ll be a no…

  13. Am I crazy or did Natalie Brown do the same tumbling pass three times? (the rudi.) honestly I probably just wasn’t paying enough attention but just in case, someone help!

    1. No she did. First pass is usually front 2/1. Looks like she bailed on it and did a rudi. Second pass is usually front handspring front layout front 1/1, but for some reason did another rudi out of the front layout. Last pass is usually a rudi and she did a rudi.

  14. Thank the lord for these live blogs like, “wow! that was SO GOOD!” 9.825, “what did I miss?”

  15. Wow what happened on Brown’s floor, did she forget her routine or something?

    1. I think the double front came in short and ended up as a rudi and then the other two passes were already supposed to be rudis so…

  16. Natalie’s score is a 9.350. Is the deduction for repeating the same pass twice that large?

    1. She did the same pass three times. So basically knocked her start value down because she didn’t have enough content.

    2. I didn’t see her routine, but if she actually did 3 rudis, then it sounds like she didn’t do a pass with a double salto, which I’m pretty certain is a requirement, so that would bring her start value down considerably. Additionally, I don’t think there’s necessarily a deduction for repeating skills, it’s just that you’re only allowed credit for a skill once. If what I’m understanding is correct, it sounds like her first pass was just a rudi, her second pass was a layout into a rudi, and her third pass was also just a rudi. If that is actually true, then by the way gymnastics is judged, it’s like she did a rudi for her opening pass, did a layout for her second pass, and didn’t do a third pass.

      1. I think you can repeat a skill in ncaa so a layout to rudi and a rudi alone would be okay (they’re in different combinations) as long as the final pass was different. (there’s another gymnast somewhere who does front tuck through to double back and double back as two or her passes). You would still need to build enough difficulty through your skills though.

    3. Okay, I went back and checked out the NCAA rules just in case anyone’s as curious as I was about what exactly this rudi-fest did to her start value. One of the requirements is three different saltos. If this requirement is not met, a 0.2 deduction is taken. Since her only saltos were rudis and a front layout, this brings her start value to 9.8. I think she also lost a tenth of start value because she lost one of her bonus tenths that she used to have for difficulty. The E salto in the first pass (2/1 front) would normally give her a bonus tenth, but since she didn’t do it she lost the tenth and her start value dropped to 9.7. Those were the only start value deductions I saw. Even though she effectively did a 2-pass routine (I’m guessing anyway because I’m guessing the third pass that was identical to the first didn’t count as another pass), she managed to do a routine that counted as “up to competition level” for a 2-pass routine since she did the rudi in her second pass and not just the full. However, I don’t necessarily know that those two start value deductions were the only ones taken. They were just the only ones I saw.

  17. Oh snicker doodles, floor is not going well for OU today, is it too early to say that Michigan could win?

    1. It’ll be a fight to the finish for sure. OU is just barely going to be ahead given Jackson knocking off Brown’s score.

  18. Anyone else think Michigan is over scored this meet? Started on bars and now beam…

    1. Not really, they’re hitting pretty well. I’d say each team got about one real overscore on bars, so it evens out.

    2. After the first two rotations, I was shocked to see OU only up by 0.3. Vault rotations were fairly comparable, but OU bars are gorgeous, and Michigan’s were pretty rough overall.
      I would agree Michigan is overscored.

      At the same time, nice to see a tight race and some pressure on OU going into the final rotation!

      1. OU scored 49.3 on vault and on floor. Lower than normal which is why the race is tight. They aren’t having a 198 meet which is what we are used to seeing from them.

    3. Yes, I thought Michigan was scored more loosely than OU. Even their vaults were a bit questionable. Some of them had fairly large steps or hops and still scored high.

  19. So, serious question here:
    Do 0.3 deductions for major wobbles with a break at the hips not exist in the NCAA code? Or do they just never take them?
    Because Lehrman’s 9.825????

  20. Hey spencer, can you do a post on how to judge NCAA gymnastics, because when watching these routines, I just don’t know what to look for and I don’t catch the majority of things that judges take for, and then i’m just left sitting there like, why?

    1. I second this request. Especially wrt start scores. I’d love to see the breakdown of the minimum it takes to have a 10 SV on each event.

    2. A lot of it has to do with how much tequila you’ve poured down your throat… the more tequila you’ve had the more a large wobble looks pretty.

  21. That was a close one! I’d have loved to see Michigan upset Oklahoma just for fun.

  22. Zaziski’s really having a rough time with floor this year. She fell in her first two performances, they took her out of the lineup, and then last week she did an exhibition and fell and now this. YEESH.

    1. Zaziski’s never been able to make friends with floor. When she was at Arkansas, she broke 9.8 on floor exactly once as a freshman and she wasn’t even in the floor lineup at all her sophomore year.

  23. Aw, Michigan gave flowers to the OU seniors before doing the honours for their own seniors. Is that typical treatment for visiting teams on senior night?

    1. Yes, it happens everywhere. Last night the Stanford seniors got bouquets from Utah. Usually the seniors on opposing teams are given flowers and special recognition either at the beginning of the meet during intros or at the end.

    2. Alabama give flowers to Stanford seniors a few years ago before honouring their own at the end of the meet. UCLA has done this as well and so has UGA.

  24. On the topic of leo fit issues:
    There are at least a couple gymnasts in NCAA who have a bikini tan line like six inches below the cut of the leo. Not ok!!!! It just looks trashy and emphasizes how overly high cut the leo is. I’m surprised KJ lets that fly. This, to my eyes, is almost as bad as perpetual booty hanging out.

    And, whatever happened to wearing trunks the same material as the leo, so even if they are hanging out, you might not even notice??

    1. I have yet to see an OU meet this year (and granted, I have missed a bunch due to $$ streaming) where I didn’t see at least one athlete’s underwear. Again, I blame this on the coaches, not the athletes, but I just don’t understand why it continues.

  25. Imagine if Artz hit bars and Chiarelli hit beam… I think Michigan would’ve won. I actually would’ve liked to see that, cause it would kind of be a pretty big upset.

    1. Yeah but to say something like that you have to say Oklahoma also didn’t hit and were missing Maggie, essentially.

  26. I think the most interesting thing about this meet was seeing what a average-day Oklahoma looks like without Nichols. Certainly the weakest they’ve looked all season so far. It must be an injury, albeit minor, for them to be sitting her out against Michigan. Last meet it could make sense to rest her given that their opponent was so far below them, but Michigan could’ve been (and was) dangerous.

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