The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

U.S. Classic Senior Live Blog

Here it is! The one before the one before the one before the one that matters. Or something like that. Anyway, it’s CLASSIC! It has been a long wait, but now the new crop is ready to show its wares.

Our rotation 1 start list (full start list to show rotation positions, including those who will skip those events):

P.S. negative 2 people are doing the all-around, so this thing is wide open for Abby Paulson to win.

Smith is just UB/BB, McCusker is on the list for everything but VT. Hurd is not doing UB. Thomas is UB/BB.

Locklear is just BB. Presumably she’s waiting to unveil her real difficulty for nationals, but she needs to do that.

Aly Raisman is so disappointed in everyone for not doing the AA. If she were here she would clean up.

Stream has started. We’re checking out warmy-uppies now. As they’re called.

I think we just got a glimpse of the Jade Carey Amanar in warmups if you were watching. I’d put it at Shawn Johnson on the Amanar scale.

And now we wait.

Introductifications now.
Interests: Opera with a Wisconsin accent.

Rotation 1 warmups are beginning. Random shot of Tim Daggett on mute. We’re all familiar with that.

They’ve really brought out the who’s-who for these judging panels.

Rotation 1:
Looks like we’re going to be starting with Abi Walker on vault. Texas Dreamers in rainbow sherbet and now I really want a popsicle.

Walker – VT – a fine full – gets some distance, not too much height and then a hop.

Kenlin on bars hits her shap 1/2, toe 1/2 to double front half out witha  bit of a stumble forward.

Paulson on floor, also in rainbow sherbet – secure piked full in, chest down but won’t give away too much – not really around on 3/1 but closer than most of the juniors – doing what she has done this year so far – 1.5 to full – secure and solid hit, as we expect.

Okeefe – UB – shap to pak, toe on to shap to Ricna all secure and then struggles on her cast handstand and has to recast – piked jaeger – double arabian dismount with a step. The recast will destroy the score, but overall the strong pieces are there and she’s so far ahead of the game that it may not hurt her too too much.

Our first look at Laney Madsen, going on floor – whip to strong double arabian – stumbles on her full in second pass, hands down – 1.5 through to an underrotated 3/1 that will get 2.5 credit – nice scorpion turn – solid double tuck.

Second half of Lee’s bars – we saw the piked jaeger – and the tucked full dismount with a hop.

Jade Carey first vault is her Kas 1/1 – hop on landing, a little chest down, gets rather piked in the second salto, but since the piked version isn’t a vault, she’ll get layout credit and then deducted for shape.

Carey’s second vault, going for the Amanar – stumble to the side but got it around and kept it to her feet.

Interesting because she hit both vaults, but they’re not the cleanest and there are deductions to be taken that might not make them worth as much as it might immediately seem. Still, it’s a Kas 1/1 and an Amanar, and that goes a long way.

Shania Adams is TALL now by the way. Struggles to get some of those passes around.

Also, Olivia Dunne is 915 feet tall now also – shaposh is clean – hits jaeger and tkatchev, a little floppy in tuck full – not a huge difficulty set, but she hit it well and she can do 54s or a 55 if she does that through four pieces.

Blanco on floor – solid double pike, reasonable – 2.5 with a large lunge forward – switch half and split jump that was a struggle –

McCusker – UB – stalder full, a little late – toe shap to tkatchev, hit – tucked stalder tkatchev – well that’s new – got through it – catches Shap 1/2 – solid dismount – got through with a hit – only the one significant error inventing the tucked tkatchev, but for how few routines she has had, I’ll take it.

Gaskins – BB – candle mount – good loso series – switch ring attempt is a no – check on punch front with a major lean – the leaps just aren’t there right now – large break on side aerial, just stays on – switch leap is fine – secure, chest down double tuck.

McCusker’s bars score is taking a while because they’re like, what was that skill? 13.450

Chiles – UB – hits a shap 1/2, really struggles on the next hs – piked jaeger – tkatchev to bail to shoot like it’s 2012 – hits gienger – good tuck full, small step. Gets through her weakness with a hit.

This is the only event still going, so we’re waiting on the Chiles score before Frazier can go, the last of the group.

13.600 for Chiles.

Frazier – UB – stalder full – toe shap 1/2, catches – stalder 1/2 to piked jaeger is comfortable and quick – church to pak with legs but hit – shap to tkatchev is hit – DLO stuck – very good set.

So…the vaulters Shchennikova and Carey have the highest scores with 14.350 so far. Carey isn’t doing AA, which means Shchennikova leads the AA for now. Soza is 13.9. Frazier is next with 13.750 on bars, though she’s also not AA. So actually next is 13.600 from Chiles and Kalyany Steele.

Rotation 2:

Madsen – VT – round off 1/2 on back pike! Fun!

Clapper – FX – piked full in to start – Scott is going to get in a little trouble for going to Clapper on floor instead of O’Keefe on beam – deep double arabian, still tries to connect it into a stag just cuz – short double tuck –

SJS with a high clean full on vault. She can do a DTY. She’ll have to petition to nationals.

Soza hits her Yezhova on bars – short on some handstands but so good in the toes – DLO 1/1 dismount with a step but does a pretty good job staying laid out.

Malabuyo – UB – inbar 1/2 to forward stalder 1/2 – stalder shap to pak (lovely) – stalder shap 1/2 with just a bit of legs – full to tkatchev – deep tuck full but secure. She has stepped up this routine to something more competitive.

Sunisa Lee – BB – works through the double wolf pretty well -aerial to split to straddle is pretty good – layout series is a little whippy but secure – she’s one of the VERY few allowed to do a switch 1/2 on beam – side aerial loso loso is great – this is in a different world from Gymnix – not wild about these split ring elements – low double tuck with a step.

Thomas – UB – weiler 1/2 to toe shap to clear hip 1/1 to HUGE tkatchev, just catches and connects into pak – on the verge of being out of control but nice – shap 1/2 – strong DLO. Good routine.

Senior elites get penalized two tenths for doing FTYs because ADDRESS YOUR LIFE, which is why you see those all starting from 4.4.

Dunne – BB – exccelent extension in loso series just a check

Steele – FX – crunches down to land her DLO but solid height – stumble on 2.5 dismount.

Shchennikova UB – inbar 1/1, nice connected to shap to tkatchev – good hs – Ricna to pak to stalder shap 1/2, very strong – stalder 1/2 – very deep DLO landing, shades of Polina, but she pulled it out. Should be a strong score.


Mccusker – BB – pulls around her wolf triple, same with the wolf double but MY GOD MY EYES – check on aerial, no connection into switch and straddle – check on loso series – switch to switch 1/2 to back tuck, fine until another check on the back tuck – check on side aerial – they’re all small errors, but they’re errors on everything – great form on switch ring, one of the best – deep crunch down on double tuck dismount and sits it.

It’s a 14.500 for Shchennikova with a 6.2 D.

Smith UB – inabr to innbr 1/2 to toe 1/2 to jaeger – good – Downie is strong – Ricna to pak is hit, some legs – 1/2 turn on low to shoot – high tuck full with a step to the side. Correct. Good.

Chiles – BB – oh dear that wolf turn – well, she stayed on, that’s something – but it was one of those wolf to standing position – and falls on her loso series. Oh Jordan. We already know this tale well. solid side aerial – switch to pause to split leap full attempt with a large check – side somi check – secure front tuck, a little deep – double pike step back. 11.650. Yikers.

Morgan Hurd waiting for her turn on beam now –

Hurd – BB – her toes are majestic – large break on tuck full, just avoids grabbing the beam – loso series, secure – aerial to split to straddle – high front tuck with a hop forward – check on full turn – switch ring is actually quite nice – good double pike with a small hop. Rather nice after the early error.

It’s 14.550 for Smith on bars, ahead of Shchennikova. If Smith keeps barsing like that, it changes the whole UB scenario for worlds, potentially.

Kenlin finishing up on beam in this rotation – that switch to switch 1/2 to back tuck combo all the juniors are doing – hers is not too troubling – split half from side – aerial to split to sissone – layout series, secure – good L turn, strong – double pike, solid, chest down.

O’Keefe is having a TIME in this meet, so the juniors are all about Malabuyo right now. Shchennikova holds onto a huge lead int he senior competition. But she has done her good scores now, so there will be time for, like, Bea Arthur to come pass her or something.

Rotation 3:

Esparz just through out a DTY, chest down.

Dunne is on FX with a DLO and a piked full in, OOB on the DLO – front tuck through to double tuck – double pike, a little crunchy, normal routine.

Big full from Gaskins on vault.

Thomas had a nice one-armed bhs to loso on beam.

McCusker – FX – full in, good – front double full to the most hilarious side punch front tuck, well, she executed a skill? Good save. That’s also going on the highlight reel, awesome – double pike lunge forward – sticks double tuck.

Was that Blanco who just dismounted bars with a Nastia?

Shchennikova – BB – also negative one million points for the triple wolf to double wolf combo – aerial to split to sissone, good – larger check on her two loso series – that switch ring attempt was nothing – check on onodi – side aerial, good – side somi, small lean – cannonballs a double tuck dismount and sits it down.

Chiles – FX – DLO with a bounce back, good power – squatty Dos Santos, JUST saves it from going OOB, tries to wrench around some complicated split leaps – 1.5 through to double tuck, a little low. Pulls around final double pike.

Paulson – UB – (looked like Carey was hitting a bit of BB in the background – Chow to pak to stadler – toe shap 1/2 – toe on to piked jaeger, good – double front with a lunge forward, but another hit for her.

12.900 for Chiles on FX. Now what she needed.

Hurd – FX – good high double double, small hop back – really enjoy how she lands the piked full in in time with the lightning crack – a little short on double pike, lunge forward.

Smith – BB – hits her wolf turn – good and solid on the layout series – secure on back tuck full – front pike is comfortable – lean on the first side jump, second is better – double pike dismount, stuck. Girl was on today. Scores 78,000.

O’Keefe started rough today but mostly pulls it together for floor, starts with adouble arabian, a little short but saves with a step back – double tuck is fine – very strong leap shapes, which can undo some of tumbling trouble – double pike, good.

Walker – BB – nearly channeling Kristie Phillips on mount – double wolf, just a little hesitation – large break on loso series but saves it – switch to switch 1/2, switch 1/2 like all the juniors – side aeiral – straddle 1/2 from side, lean forward – 2/1 dismount, lunge forward.

Deanne Soza is randomly almost winning this meet? So her beam routine is starting to become important. (Not really but maybe second?) Great front tuck to straddle jump =- high layout stepout series, lovely and extended – check on aerial, saves it – hits side aerial – L turn to illusion turn with a large leg-up wobble – her leaps are exceptional – crunched down double pike but hit.

So, uh, hey? After three rotations, Shchennikova is still kind of destroying everyone, even with a fall on beam. She’s a full point ahead of Soza in second. Gaskins is third. Steele is 4th and somewhat surprisingly Paulson is 5th. I thought Paulson was going to rake it in in this one by being consistent, but she didn’t get the floor she needed.

We’ll get to see Chiles on vault and Perea on bars in this rotation, in addition to the fight to the finish on floor.

Rotation 4:

Chiles – VT – lands her Amanar! Crossover step, but she got it around and hit.

Shchennikova – FX – solid piked full in, small shuffle – 1.5 to front full, fine, another little hop – switch ring and switch side look nice – double pike – hits double pike – a fairly simple routine by elite standards, but that will do.

Steele hit a shap to ricna on bars – toe shap 1/2 – piked jaeger – she’s having quite the solid little meet – rough DLO with a pike down and a lunge forward.

Dunne hits a DTY with a hop back.

Gaskins – UB – pauses in a toe full but keeps it going – shap work – Ricna – not a lot of CV here but hitting what she needs to – DLO with hop back.

Carey – FX – awesome double double tuck, chest way up, very strong – DLO 1/1 – DAYUM – double L turn – switch full, good split positions as well – front 2/1, small step – just struggles a little with that final tuck full with a lunge forward, but GIRL CAN TUMBLE.

So yeah. That happened. Kind of a lot.

Shchennikova will win with a 54.950, though Malabuyo should beat everyone with a hit floor.

Nice DLO from Walker on floor.

Perea – UB – inbar 1/1 to toe shap to ricna, good but breaks connection here – pak to toe shap is very clean – inbar 1/2 to jaeger piked, comfortable – doesn’t dismount, just a Nastia.

Locklear – BB – oh yeah she’s here – triple and double wolf – clean legs through loso series – split leap full, almost gets it around – front tuck to straddle, nice – side somi – side aerial to switch to switch 1/2 – was a very good routine until hands down on double tuck dismount.

Soza FX – just tumbles a layout as her first pass. May have been intended? Front full to front tuck second pass – switch ring – lovely split positions – L turn to illusion turn – probably just throwing in floor so she can try to get her AA score for nats – short on double tuck but landed it – have I mentioned that her leaps are a dream? – Hits doubel pike as well.

Oakley finishes beam with a medium stumble back on a double tuck.

Malabuyo FX – good DLO – front double full to front tuck, a little sloppy in the 2/1 but comfortably completed – big full in – mostly strong leaps – a little short on double tuck with a pace forward – living for the hand-walking at the end of the routine –

Second half of Paulson’s beam – she’s going smoothly – rough switch ring , pulls out of it – 2.5 dismount with step to the side.

Paulson’s 13.500 on beam is enough to put her into second.

Madsen – BB – bhs tuck full with a fall – well, she went for it – barani, and another fall – split and sissone may not get combo credit – scorpion turns are her jam – now goes for a piked barani – fall again – neither have been close – side aerial is good – 4th fall on switch 1/2 – 2.5 dismount crossover step.

So, uh, yes. This meet. That happened.

  1. Shchennikova 54.950
  2. Paulson 53.100
  3. Steele, Blanco 52.900

Chiles in 5th with 52.850. She could have won this thing.

Classic means nothing, but it sure is ridiculous fun. Oh, falling on beam dismounts.

Malabuyo won juniors with 56.750. So basically, she owned everybody.

Also, how did Gabby Perea still win bars for juniors? And almost seniors? Well, she had to count an A, but she doesn’t lose CR anymore, so her routine is still pretty difficult.

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