A. NCAA training
Utah heard our concerns and made sure to affirm that there actually are more than four people on the team this year. At least five or six. Good to know. Of particular importance in these videos is the 1.5 from Kim Tessen.
Alabama montage. If Nickie Guerrero is full-time incorporating that one-leg flourish out of her final layout stepout, I’m on board.
Denver is dismounting bars. And providing today’s NCAA code lesson.
Bars dismounts of C value, like the double tuck, only fulfill the up-to-level requirement (up-to-level = 0.1 off if “choice of skills is not up to the competitive level”) if they are included in a bonus-earning connection. In C+C connections, both skills have to show turn or flight to receive bonus. Because the Stalder circle is a D in NCAA (as opposed to a C in L10), it can earn bonus in a dismount combination with a double tuck even without featuring turning. D+C is a 0.1 bonus without caveats, which is how the first dismount in this video fulfills up-to-level.
Georgia is dismounting beam. The team’s theme this year is “reflect greatness,” which I’m going to enjoy (making fun of). Reflect greatness. You mean by holding up a mirror to the team you’re competing against?
Oh, I love team themes so much. They’re always so dumb and weird. Remember nationals last year when Bev wore that shirt that said #keeppounding? Me neither. It’s all I ever think about.
Stanford’s beam dismounts. Three double saltos. Look at you.
Kentucky is showing a hefty supply of Y1/1 options, and Korth with the 1.5.
Toni Ann is working her standing front tuck to layout stepout series. If you’re going to do a front-to-back series, it better be that hard.
Cassidy Keelen’s straddle jump 1/2.
B. NCAA preseason previews
We’ve arrived at the time of year when schools hold their annual open-to-the-public intrasquad-style showcases to get you all excited for the season, or whatever. These days, a select few of them are even available to watch online, which are noted and linked. For the rest, you’d have to be there. Regardless, here’s a composite schedule of the various teams’ preseason performances/competitions, beginning today.
Friday, November 17
6:00pm ET – Michigan State “Green and White” Intrasquad
6:00pm CT – Nebraska Intrasquad
Saturday, November 18
12:00pm CT – Northern Illinois “Red and Black” Intrasquad
Friday, December 1
6:00pm CT – UW-La Crosse @ Winona State Exhibition
Saturday, December 2
10:00am CT – Iowa “Black and Gold” Intrasquad
Sunday, December 3
2:00pm ET – Eastern Michigan @ Michigan Exhibition (FloG)
2:00pm ET – New Hampshire Meet the Team
2:00pm CT – TWU Holiday Spectacular
TBD – Illinois-Chicago Mixed Pairs Intrasquad
Monday, December 4
10:00am PT – Washington “Purple and Gold” Intrasquad
Tuesday, December 5
TBD – Arizona Intrasquad
Friday, December 8
6:30pm ET – William and Mary “Green and Gold” Intrasquad
7:00pm ET – Maryland “Red and Black” Intrasquad
7:00pm PT – Sacramento State Flip Fest
Saturday, December 9
1:00pm ET – Rhode Island College “Maroon and Gold” Intrasquad
4:00pm ET – Georgia First Look
3:00pm CT – Missouri “Black and Gold” Intrasquad
4:00pm ET – Kent State “Blue and Gold” Intrasquad
2:00pm PT – UCLA Meet the Bruins (Pac-12 Network)
2:00pm AKT – Alaska “Green and Gold” Intrasquad
Sunday, December 10
2:00pm ET – Kentucky “Blue-White” Meet
Monday, December 11
6:30pm CT – LSU Gymnastics 101 (SECN+)
Friday, December 15
6:30pm MT – Arizona State “Maroon and Gold” Intrasquad
7:00pm MT – Utah Red Rocks Preview (Probably, it always is)
7:00pm MT – BYU “Blue and White” intrasquad
7:00pm PT – Oregon State “Orange and Black” Exhibition
Saturday, December 16
12:00pm ET – Ohio State “Scarlet and Gray” Intrasquad
2:00pm ET – Michigan State “Meet the Spartans”
6:00pm MT – Denver “Crimson and Gold” Intrasquad
Sunday, December 17
2:00pm ET – NC State “Red and White” Intrasquad
5:00pm CT – Arkansas “Holidays with the Hogs” Intrasquad
Saturday, January 6
6:30pm CT – Minnesota Intrasquad
C. Upcoming meets
This weekend, we have the annual Elite Gym Massilia in France. Competition is broken up into several divisions with vaguely unhelpful names like “Open” and “Masters” and “Top.” Basically, the Masters is the main competition, which will be held on Saturday. Germany, Russia, Canada, Italy, Belgium, and France have sent teams to compete in the Masters division.
The Open competition allows just any old random to compete even without a national team. That part of the meet wrapped up earlier today with Ana Padurariu taking the victory by a comfortable margin over Louise Vanhille and Celia Serber. Padurariu had the highest scores on bars, beam, and floor.
The following weekend, while those of us in America are thanking gives or whatever we’re supposed to be doing, the rest of the world will be gathering in either Cottbus or Mexico City for the Cottbus World Cup and the Mexican Open. There is an actual gymnastics competition at the Mexican Open, but it’s mostly about the crazy gala.
At Cottbus, of course Germany is sending the strongest overall group with Pauline Schaefer and Elisabeth Seitz, but it’s a deep field that also includes Maria Kharenkova getting released from the Valentina Astoria Hotel (a.k.a., prison) to try to show how real her beam and floor scores might be at an actual meet. We’ll also see Chuso, Sanne, Simm, Methuen, Akhaimova, and the remaining Chinese seniors who are expected to pick up the slack now that the worlds team is over it.
D. NLI round-up
We’re basically done with the early signing period in NLI land, escaping without too, too many surprises. The one question that arose was over Norah Flatley not signing with UCLA, though she stated on Twitter that she still plans to sign in the spring period. Presumably based on the assumption that she’s finally healthy enough to do gymnastics for the first time in 1700 years.
Technically, the fall signing period is the “early” period, and the spring signing period is the “regular” period when you’re supposed to sign, but most everyone signs during the early period.
LSU has not signed anyone, the one verbal for this class being Christina Desiderio who decided to arrive early for this coming season.
It’s another double episode this week, beginning with a commission for PART 2 of Myths, Legends, and Unexpected Moments in gymnastics history, which includes discussions of flying tampons, devious saliva, SCAMerican Cup, Hong Su Jong’s age, Bela calling people communist cows, and much more.
After that, we have an episode about Aly Raisman and her 60 Minutes appearance, Kerry Perry, USAG, and Safesport. Buckle up.
Heads up: Next week we’ll be having a coffee klatch about Aly’s book, so get that read if you want to join the book club.
F. Beam routine of the week
It’s back to basics this week with one of the all-time great routines, an old standard, one of the masterpieces, the Olga Mostepanova beam routine from the 1984 alternate Olympics.
This is beam. Even that little kick when she’s basically just walking to the other end of the beam at the end, so casual but confident, displays an understanding that beam is intended to be a continuous passage of movement in order to display complete body-control mastery over even the narrowest of surfaces. Note the way she raises her arms before the layout stepout series. There’s a slow crescendo up to the wrists and them SNAP-BAM she’s into the series. That should be a lesson for modern elites on how to “pause” without pausing.