The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Sunday Live Blog – March 12, 2017

Sunday, March 12
Scores Watch
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Penn, Southern Connecticut, Ithaca @ Temple FREE
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Stanford, NC State, Yale @ [18] George Washington LINK GW $
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Cornell, Brockport @ Towson LINK FREE
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – North Carolina @ [4] UCLA LINK P12
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [1] Oklahoma @ [17] Cal LINK P12

While UNC is the lowest ranked and least heralded among this batch of teams, today is significantly more important for North Carolina than it is for any other team competing today. It’s sort of all about UNC because of what happened yesterday.

Many of the bubble-ranked Michigan teams did their jobs yesterday, meaning that North Carolina has dropped from 33rd in Monday’s rankings to 38th in the in-progress rankings, outside regional-qualifying territory. It’s critical for UNC to get a good score today to be situated to qualify after EAGLs.

North Carolina must score at least 195.025 to move ahead of Minnesota for 36th in the in-progress rankings, though that’s still an extremely precarious position. A 195.325 or more would see them move ahead of Maryland for 33rd, which would look a lot safer.

Some of the other scoring intrigue was taken out of today by Washington scoring 196.925 yesterday, which clinched the evening session at Pac-12s and relegated Cal to the day session, though Cal is still in seeded-spot danger at 18th. Something mid-high 196s today would solve that situation pretty well.

UCLA was let off the ranking hook by relatively weak scores from Utah and Alabama this weekend, meaning 4th is already guaranteed for Monday. Catching Florida moving into 3rd is possible, though. It would take 197.800 today.

Also, Stanford is having another catastrophe. Five went on bars and one of them was in the 8s. Imagine if Price weren’t there. In other news, George Washington’s score has moved them temporarily ahead of Cal, but Cal will have a very good chance to pass right back in a couple hours.

Stanford ending up having to put Nicole Hoffman up on beam (7.850) and so counted an 8.8 from Cole. Final score: 193.275. Lord and butter.

George Washington’s final is 196.500, which means Cal has to get 196.325 later to pass GW and get back into the seeded spots.

FINAL: GW 196.500, NC State 194.825, Yale 194.575, Stanford 193.275

“One thing’s for sure, UCLA is loaded.” I think you mean the judges…

No Kocian today, as was announced before. Smart. She’s been hanging by a single thread physically since about Olympic Trials. They’re just trying to get her through the season somehow.

Is Val imparting coaching advice or checking to see whether Peng has lipstick on her teeth? Either or.

Sam is campaigning for floor 10s for Cipra and Mossett already.

Rotation 1:
Meraz – VT – comes in somewhat short again this week (not as extreme as last week) with a hop forward – good layout shape

Nettles – UB – hilf turn to high jaeger to overshoot – solid – nice final hs – DLO, small amount of legs, hop back – a couple late early handstands as well, but this is a competitive set.

Cipra – VT – also short, shorter than Meraz – hop forward, comes in very far forward with chest down. Shouldn’t be a particularly high score. Higher than Meraz, which is a bit of lineup order scoring.

Donaghy – UB – tkatchev, flattish but solid – feet on her giant full, pretty pak – struggles up to handstand on the low and has to re-cast – short hs – whippy DLO with legs and a hop.

Hall – VT – they’ve brought back the terror of the y1.5 for her, but it was OK – not as crazy as it has been in the past – mushy knee form throughout and a lunge forward.

Marchese – UB – lovely first handstand through shap, small leg break on pak – she has the same problem struggling to cast into perfect handstand on the low, has to re-cast – toe-tuck 1/2 turn dismount a la the Canadian elites, lunge back.

Ross – VT – strong full – small hop in place, chest up, should be a good score –

Lane – UB – 1/2 turn to bail, clean legs – hitting handstands pretty well – DLO, just flung out a tad with a lunge forward – simple routine, pretty form.

Preston – VT – excellent amplitude on the full as always, great layout shape – hop back, we’ll see whether it’s a half tenth or a tenth hop. Borderline. 9.900. Did we ever doubt?

Hedelund – UB – shap to bail – loses her legs on the bail, comes in awkwardly and takes a fall. That low bar is killing these UNC gymnasts. finishes flung out tuck full, way deep on the landing and sits it.

Kramer – VT – solid 1.5 – hop forward – some knees as well but not too bad.

Can we have a chat with the judge who saw Hall’s and Kramer’s vaults and thought they warranted the same score?

Pheil – UB – tkatchev – some legs on clear hip – hits vertical on the bail – very short final cast handstands – giant full to double tuck, step. Fine.

After 1: UCLA 49.275, UNC 48.225
A fine, not great, first rotation for UCLA. Ross and Preston did very well, and Kramer was solid. Theoretically, having Hall’s 1.5 in the lineup is a boost, though that vault is so inconsistent and occasionally terrifying that we’ll see whether it’s actually a boost. I think it’s necessary to try for it because Operation Omelianchik was a bust, though. They need more 10.0 starts even if they’re risky. Meraz and Cipra can’t be landing short if they want a big rotation score come the postseason. They have to start in the 9.8s to push the rest of the scores up

Disappointing first rotation for UNC, which does not help the regionals qualification project. Some regionals-level basics and skill quality there, especially in the first part of the lineup, but they lost it trying to be too precise on handstands and ended up giving away way too many tenths.

BEST FRIENDS SHAWN AND NASTIA ARE SITTING TOGETHER.

EMERGENCY FIXING KYLA’S HAIR – OH MY GOD WHAT IF SHE HAS A HAIR OUT OF PLACE AND CAN’T GO ON BARS?!?!?!?!

Rotation 2:
Robinson – VT – y tucked full – hop back – not quite tight in the tuck shape.

Meraz – UB – good height on Ray and getting more counter, does come in close – legs on bail and a little short of vertical – solid final cast handstand – DLO, lunge backward.

Marchese – VT – full – comes in short – piking in the air – hop forward –

Honest – UB – tkatchev – hitting handstand positions – clean straddle back – strong interior set – tuck full dismount, chest down and step forward.

Allen – VT – Y half, not a ton of distance, lunge forward, good height – maintains her layout shape.

Dennis – UB – Oh yeah, her – rushes first hs – great height on gienger and keeps her legs – overshoot – giant full to double tuck with a hop. Some late handstand positions.

Lane – VT – yurchenko full on – back pike – AWESOME – basically stuck landing, small hop – Sam correctly points out that she gets very little block, but it’s a yurchenko full on, you’re not going to get much of a block –

Savvidou – UB – good first hs – great height on piked jaeger – clean legs through vertical – pulls out that final hs with smallest arch while showing vertical – sticks double tuck, that cowboy will be the death of me but she did stick – her cast handstands are very strong but she does finish some of these giant fulls past vertical.

Nettles – VT – solid full – hop in place, chest up – keeps her form – should be another score over 9.8, which they need right now.

Ross – UB – Shap to bail, extremely clean – good counter on shoot to high, nails cast handstands – nearly holds the stick on the DLO with a lean. Pretty, though, really only the dismount will be taken.

Hedelund – VT – y tucked 1.5 – angles that vault off to the side and a lunge on landing – also not the tightest tuck shape, which is a main danger of the tucked 1.5 vault, tough to keep that tuck.

Peng – UB – strong Ray as usual – clean hs – comfortable bhardwaj catch – gets the shap 1/2 – short on final cast, sticks excellent DLO. I could still see 9.950 for that, though.

Oh, dear. 10.000 for Peng. That’s a senior day 10 because of the pretty clearly short final cast handstand. Otherwise excellent. Even Sam was like, yeah that handstand was short.

After 2: UCLA 98.725, UNC 97.725

UCLA pulled together that bars rotation at the end to get a real score there. Great, gorgeous sets from Peng and Kyla. Savvidou clean enough with a stuck dismount. They were a little sloppy early in the rotation which took away an even bigger score, and then not having Kocian, of course. Bars is on track for the postseason, though. For UCLA, you’re not worried about bars. You’re worried about floor.

Pretty competitive vault rotation from UNC, definitely worthy of a regionals spot, especially once we got past the first couple, which were at a lower level. 49.050 really helps recover from bars.

“Her handstands were also phenomenal during this bars routine,” Sam has decided starting now. LOVE that the highlight reel of Peng’s routine casually eliminated that final cast handstand while showing the whole rest of the routine and all of Kyla’s.

Rotation 3:
Sorry, computer freezing issues at the beginning of this rotation.

Gerber had a few more checks than usual and appeared to break a connection that would have had her starting from 9.9 as well.

Weisel got 9.725 on floor, landing short on a rudi with a stumble.

One of Mossett’s cleanest routines.

Marchese – FX – layout to rudi first pass, good control on landing, chest down – very strong 180s on her leap positions – 2.5, damn crossover steps OOB, out with both feet on two separate steps.

Meraz – BB – two bhs to loso, secure – switch 1/2 to wolf jump, excellent positions – check moving out of a full turn – 1.5 dismount, a little off to the side with a step.

Robinson – FX – big double arabian and doesn’t cowboy much at all, steps forward OOB – front full to front layout, a little soft but fine – switch side, popa, tuck full, to straddle sit – double tuck, secure, chest.

Ross – BB – falls on loso series, way short. First time you’ve ever seen Kyla miss a loso series? 9.950! Aerial is smooth – side aerial to full dismount, swims to hold the stick.

Nettles – FX – controlled double pike, chest down – front lay to front half, keeps that front foot down – switch side, popa, solid 180s – rudi to double stag, very composed, solid.

Peng – BB – Flares, lovely, obviously – switch to split, excellent – bhs layout, steps backward and checks dancing out of it – pretty double turn, secure – basically her biggest checks have been just walking – sticks dismount.

Apparently they’re petitioning for a Maranda Smith year for Peng. Not complaining.

9.925. Peng doesn’t wobble. She just artistries harder than everyone else.

Lane – FX – double pike, small slide – rudi to layout stepout, gorgeous – strong switch side and popa, hits 180 and finishes precises – rudi, just a little bounce on a couple passes but excellent shapes and form and should be a big score. 9.900.

Ohashi – BB – perfect on the layout series this time – switch to split, strong – comfortable full turn – aerial, smooth, easy – bhs loso to stuck full. Well, that was better than the routine she got a 10 for last week, so I’ll be surprised if we don’t see it.

And it is a 10 for Ohashi.

Hislop – FX – I love how this guy says “Pac-12 caliber gymnast” like that’s a thing – punch double front! That’s new from earlier in the year, a touch short with a step back – front layout to rudi, high, pretty twisting form, bounce back – excellent height on leaps and 180s – double tuck, steps OOB. Wait, is she Shaka Hislop’s daughter? And how did I not know that until now?

Great form, shame about some of those landings. Um, she also still got 9.950 from one of the judges. The judges were HERE for UNC’s floor, which gives us a preview of how much they’re going to be here for UCLA’s floor.

After 3: UCLA 148.150, UNC 146.325

UNC staying on track for that 195 as long as they hit beam. As long as. But would need a very strong 49 to get that 195.325 I mentioned at the beginning. UCLA heading to floor. Would need 49.650 in this rotation to move ahead of Florida for 3rd in Monday’s rankings. That’s quite a score, but also…UCLA floor on senior day.

Errors from a couple on beam, but not major except for the Kyla fall. I mean, the Peng error was major but the judges decided it wasn’t.

Kocian needed “a mental break.”

Rotation 4:
Marchese – BB – back roll on her mount – smooth and secure loso series – switch to split series, large wobble landing the split – illusion turn, kind of awkward as illusion turns are, but you know, fine – holds the stick on a 2.5 dismount with a bit of a lean.

Meraz – FX – slide and step back on double tuck – front lay front full, she’s just staggering a little on landing – excellent straddle positions – more secure on double pike, chest down.

I don’t like the way they talk about forcing shyer people to break out of their shells. It constructs shy as “less than” compared to gregarious people. That has not been my experience at all. Shy is not something wrong with you that needs to be fixed by gregarious people.

Donaghy – BB – tight in some of these early skills, loso series and leaps not the most extended, but very secure – side aerial, hit – check and overturns her full turn – step on gainer pike, nice open shape.

Toronjo – FX – nice double pike, maybe a small slide but not much – nails the double tuck, more control and better chest position on that landing – 1.5 to layout, high, better than last time. Clean set.

Wait. 9.950. 10 from one judge for Toronjo. LOLOLOLOL. Here we go. She’s as shocked as all of us. Like, it was really good, but also….huh? Just…huh?

Hedelund – BB – falls on loso series – nice on leaps and side aerial after that – check on full turn – three very important beam routines coming up for UNC to get the score they need to move back into the top 36. Hop on 1.5.

Ohashi – FX – double tuck, just does keep the front foot down, basically, but also sliding back apparently isn’t anything anymore – travels a bit on second pass combinations but fine – switch ring to switch 1/2, very nice positions – very deep landing on double pike, chest down.

Hislop – BB – aerial to bhs, clean form, a little slow in combination – sissone – switch to split, a lean between the skills so getting a dance series credit will be interesting – punch 1/5 dismount, hop. But a solid hit. One down, two to go.

Cipra – FX – double tuck, similar to Ohashi, just does keep front foot down but could be construed as lack of control – 1.5 to half to split to front tuck, a little low on the half – great switch ring and split full – short on double pike, lunge forward. 9.900 BECAUSE SURE WHY NOT???

Lane – BB – gorgeous press handstand mount – right into loso loso series, secure – beat jump to straddle 3/4, small lean – smooth full turn – sticks 1.5 with a lean. Really nice set, not her absolute most secure, but she has no built-in deductions so just the two checks really. 9.900 is fair.

Preston – FX – front tuck through to double tuck, short with a lunge forward – gets her split leap 1.5 around – really tight on her leap combination, which is uncharacteristic, did not hit those 180s – double pike, deep with a slide back. Fine, but clearly rusty. ANOTHER 9.900 SUREEEEEEEE.

Allen – BB – one hit away from a really useful score for qualifying to regionals – switch side, nice height, small lean – just a bhs, will redo to perform her series – does it the second time and secure – hitch kick to side aerial, smooth – full turn – gainer full, very small slide. Did the job.

Mossett – FX – whip to double tuck, slide back – great leaps, 180s and finishes crisply – piked side somi that is the best side somi you’ll see – secure double pike. So, no, it shouldn’t be a 10, but we’ll see what the judges decided that they saw… 9.975. So, one judge decided not to see that slide on the first pass, one judge was like, “I have eyes.”

UCLA goes 49.650. Not representative. Still issues to work through on landings on most if not all routines. But, overall, good hits through the lineup with routines that can be postseason competitive with top teams if the landings come into line. It’s still very simple tumbling, which shouldn’t be taken into account if starting from a 10 but may be when compared directly to E-pass parades.Even if Preston was rocky on the landings, it’s progress to get her back out there and she should be a reasonable postseason option.

FINAL: UCLA 197.800, UNC 195.400
UCLA gets exactly the score needed to pass Florida for third, though I’m not sure we got any new answers to questions about vault and floor in this one. We know bars and beam will be right with any other team. The floor and vault landings still need to become more secure if winning a championship is going to be a realistic goal. As we’ve all been saying since maybe the first week.

UNC got the necessary score. 195.400 will put them ahead of Maryland, BYU, CMU and Minnesota for the moment at least, which is a more comfortable position heading into EAGLs. The teams will be chasing UNC, not the other way around.

And now we get Cal and Oklahoma!


Scoring link for Cal has been updated at the top.

Nichols on just bars and beam today. We get some actual word on her. Sore knee. Resting for the important meets.

Charlie Owens proving that baking cookies for Jim gets you featured before the meet starts.

Oh yeah, the entire Cal team is seniors. I kind of forgot.

Justin is killing it in the pants department today.

Rotation 1:
Gallarzo – VT – clean y half in the air but far too large of a lunge forward out of it this time.

Capps – UB – great first hs – good finish on giant full – tkatchev – clean bail vertical – shortish on final hs – tuck full, holds the stick. One short handstand, that tkatchev amplitude, not much else.

Takara – VT – big height on her full, hop back, a little piking –

Catour – UB – muscles a little on that first handstand more than I’d like to see – very good ray – nice vertcial on the bail – final cast is hit – small step back on DLO. Good.

Peterson – VT – super clean full – great landing, the smallest hop back – pretty laid out as well. Excellent.

Dowell – UB – excellent Ray – arch up on the handstand after it, not vertical – better on the bail – hits final cast – sticks DLO pretty much, a bit of a bounce up and lean.

Robinson – VT – front handspring front pike gets the stick this time – sometimes she has the lunge but not one this one, well held – a little off line but not too bad, would still be within bound lines if they had those.

Lehrmann – UB – gorgeous on the jaeger, saves an arched handstand after that but it will be a deduction – strong bail and final cast – sticks tuck full. Pretty pristine other than that one handstand.

Richardson – VT -Kas, small hop back, keeps her layout position much better than she was earlier in the year. This is a much-improved Cal vault rotation in the landing department.

Wofford – UB – smooth hs – great giant 1/1, fab finishing position, best there is on that – awesome jaeger – solid bail – borderline short final hs – hop back on tuck full.

Mastrangelo – VT – good full, hop back, a small amount of piking. A useful option in her debut – nice distance.

Nichols – UB – Ray, strong – legs on the pak this time – toe to toe shap 1/2, great – DLO, stick, no question. Excellent routine. She did break the connection between the pak and the toe on but just added an extra cast. Not her strongest pak but pretty pristine in every other way. 9.900.

After 1: Oklahoma 49.425, Cal 49.175

Good bars rotation for Oklahoma as expected. The distribution of scores was a little funky (like, I had some of those 9.850s as 9.900s and some of those 9.900s and 9.850s, and then Nichols seemed a little low, but we have a terrible angle for judging bars so I’ll hold off on that one. The pak could have been more of a struggle than we saw). Oklahoma should be quite pleased with that rotation, just a twitch of a handstand in most routines to refine before regionals.

Also, very pleased with the landing control demonstrated by Cal in that one. That’s a step up and is a rotation more likely to get high 9.8s than we’ve seen on several occasions this year.

Scoring seems pretty sane/conservative to me so far. Not breaking into hives about overscores through one rotation at least.

Rotation 2:

Jim just gave us a TV-friendly version of “Ugh, Stanford.” We know, Jim. We know.

Jones – VT – small hop back on full, otherwise strong – legs together and direction is good

So Seilnacht – UB – half turn to piked jaeger, small legs but secure – smae on the bail, small leg break but hits vertical – short final hs – 1.5 twist, a little short of rotation with a hop forward.

Marks – VT – comes in short on her full this time – good shape throughout, but short with a step forward.

Takara – UB – clear hip to huge gienger, pretty strong legs (Amanda isn’t happy, but on the scale of Sophina/Chelaru legs, it’s not bad) – overshoot – hitting hs – tuck full and stuck, one of her best sets, very strong.

Capps – VT – great stick on her full – best landing of the season? – great open, keeps her chest up, feet a little far apart but as long as she pulls her heels together to present, it’s fine.

Shu – UB – short first hs – solid tkatchev to overshoot – really struggling with these cast handstands like we’ve seen from her before – near stick on tuck full, small hop in place and a lean.

Really happy with the separation the vault judges are creating here between good and great.

DeGouveia – VT – just a touch short on her 1.5, step back, a very little bit of knees.

Sternberg – UB – toe on toe Ray, solid, not a ton of counter but a solid catch – legs together through bail – some flexed feet throughout routine – stalder to double tuck, and a good stick. Solid set.

Dowell – VT – small hop forward on the 1.5 this time, not much else you can take, great form throughout, perfectly straight direction, height and distance. Strong.

Richardson – UB – small arch on opening cast – solid tkatchev, better distance from bar and counter – overshoot – DLO – flings a little, hop forward on landing.

Jackson – VT – very similar to Dowell, small hop forward – nothing else you can really take there.

Gallarzo – UB – 1.2 turn to big jaeger, looked crooked in the air but caught well – deep landing on DLO with a hop forward, similar to Richardson but a little more extreme.

After 2: Oklahoma 98.850, Cal 98.300

Solid start both both sides, nothing remarkable or unexpected, but they’ll both take this through two. Marks didn’t have a great vault for Oklahoma, but everyone else was as expected. It’s not going to score as well as it could without Nichols. When she comes in for Marks, this should be a 49.5+ rotation.

Cal had a few things to clean up in each routine, some handstand issues early in the rotation and some dismount issues later that prevented the scores from going as high as they might, but no one had major errors. Cal still on track for that score on the higher side of the 196s, which is what they’re looking for.

Rotation 3:
So Seilnacht – BB – full turn, good – balance check on her loso series this time – beat jump to split full, very nice position and finish – switch to switch – side aerial to a stuck full. Her usual pristine work except for the error on the series. 9.825.

Jones – FX – 2.5 to front tuck, solid – 1.5 to layout, very clean, good straight shape in layout, just a slide forward this time – also slides back on the double pike. Good skills, not quite the landing control she often has.

Shu – BB – aerial to bhs series, small lean on bhs – switch to split to beat, pretty – full turn – side aerial to full, small hop back. A couple errors, but only a couple and all .050. 9.875.

Brown – FX – front 2/1, so not a whole routine of rudis this time – front lay to rudi, somewhat short on rudi with a hop forward – wonderful layout stepout side pass – strong leap positions – finishes rudi, maybe a small slide.

Palomares – BB – secure loso series – she no longer possesses a back, it has been replaced entirely by tape – pike jump to straddle 1/4, good, a little foot separation in pike jump- aerial to straddle, awesome – sticks gainer full. 9.850.

Turner – FX – solid double pike, small slide – front full to layout – solid shapes, they are struggling to control these passes more than their usual meets. Not large lunges or any bounces, but slides forward on most passes through three so far – better on the double tuck, secure and chest up.

Draghi – BB – cat leap to aerial, comes in a little short but holds well to avoid much of a check – smooth and extended on the loso series – switch to sheep, great amplitude on that sheep – gainer full.

Dowell – FX – nails double front to stag, stuck, excellent ( I mean, stag is a little flat but the tumbling was awesome )- layout to “I burned my feet but it’s choreography” to cover up any landings errors, strong straddle shape split can be an issue for her – front lay front full, solid, one of her best floors this year.

Richardson – BB – bhs loso series, lean – switch to straddle 1/4 – check on full turn but small – sticks double tuck basically sort of! Small slide back with one foot.

Capps – FX – strong double pike, good chest up – 1.5 to layout, lovely – rudi, chest just a touch forward, but excellent positions and controlled landings –

Howe – BB – she lives! Aerial to split to stag, nice – bhs, a little crooked on it but saves without much of a check – clean on loso series, good but not her smoothest that we came to expect last year – side aerial to full, small hop. Still a good one.

Jackson – FX – open tuck full, excellent, controls the landing, chest up – 1/2 to front full, dance out but not an uncontrolled dance out – strong leaps – strong and secure double pike as well, excellent, one of her good ones.

After 3: Oklahoma 148.375, Cal 147.625

Oklahoma not going to get the huge, huge score here but will get a usefully high 197 as long as beam is normal. Cal staying on track for that high 196 after a quite strong beam rotation. It’s their event with the fewest built-in deductions, which is rare, so they can go higher when the checks are minimized, which they were for the most part.

Fun fact: I was beset by a contraband lizard during the last rotation, so the hits were a little…distracted. The show must go on.

Rotation 4:
Jones – BB – strong loso series – full turn – kickover front to beat, it was weirdly deep last time (? time before?) but this was a little better – switch to split, 1.5 dismount, stuck. Good start. 9.825.

Owens – FX – great punch front 2/1, excellent height – 1.5 to layout, controlled landing with a very small inch backward – split leap 1.5 – rudi, a little bounce. Solid start, controlled landings, didn’t give away much.

Lehrmann – BB – so crisp on that full turn – hits aerial – cat to switch side, the trouble part of her routine, a check and a little short of the big straddle position – smooth loso series – sticks 1.5.

So Seilnacht – FX – front lay to rudi, not huge but clean and laid out – switch split, hitting 180s – 1.5 to front pike, also clean – why has she been the not-floor Seilnacht? Ohhhhh, that’s why. Front layout to full and sits it. Got it. Four more to get through.

Catour – BB – full turn, strong – hits loso series well, cat leap to switch side, comfortable – aerial, no trouble – she does not give away balance checks – gainer pike, stuck.

Peterson – FX – double pike, good amplitude, small slide – rudi, same – split position is close, not quite there but not egregious – 1.5 to layout, hit – normal routine, good, only small control issues on a couple passes.

Brown – BB – aerial to two bhs series, small lean coming out of the second bhs, otherwise lovely – pulls around that 3/4, good shape, scoots around that foot to get the 3/4 – leaps excellent – switch to gainer full, stuck. Good one.

Robinson – FX – sticks double arabian perfectly, excellent pass, never done it that well before – 1.5 to layout, good height, holds her step forward within reason – double pike just a hair forward. One of her strongest floor routines.

Nichols – BB – aerial to beat jump, smooth and solid – secure loso series – easy full turn – calm and precise – switch to split jump, excellent positions – nailed front tuck and does well to hold her feet down in the landing with the momentum carrying her forward – double tuck with step back. Will be a huge score.

Palomares – FX – sticks double pike, strong start – switch ring to split full, quick, doesn’t get a ton of height but moves quickly enough to ger to her 180s – deep landing on double tuck, lunge back – strong front lay front full, two excellent passes, just the struggle on the middle one.

Toni Ann just ran into the camera. Our hearts.

Capps – BB – bhs loso, fantastic – smooth full turn, that’s how you flare that leg out of a turn while showing control, contrasted with those who throw it out there to retain balance and pretend it was intentional – aerial to scale this time, keeps worthing through it fairly well – great leaps, sticks gainer full. Good.

Draghi – FX – big double tuck, hips go back on that lunge but she kept the front foot down – straddle and splits, excellent – front lay to front full, rises higher into the front full than the layout instead of collapsing onto it – strong rudi. Solid finishing routine, just a little bouncy on a pass but will be another big score.

FINAL: Oklahoma 197.800, Cal 196.775

Oklahoma doesn’t need a score at this point in the season, but that’s a solid one even though it doesn’t match their giant RQS setup. What will be more important is that this meet was not scored crazily in any way. The judges were clearly fairly conservative with regard to throwing out the huge number and scores over 9.900, even when we wouldn’t have made fun of them for doing so, like on those final two beam routines from Nichols and Capps, both of which I expected to go 9.950 based on precedent. It could have gone ridiculous and it didn’t, which leads me to believe this is the type of score Oklahoma could get in a championships scenario.

This score moves Cal ahead of Southern Utah for the moment (SUU has a meet on Monday) and into a tie with Iowa. A solid position especially with a 195 still to drop at Pac-12s, though not a completely secure position when it comes to ensuring a seeded place. Still work to do at Pac-12s with a hit meet.

 

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