Things Are Happening – December 8, 2017

A. NCAA training

LSU unveiled its vault secret weapon, Sarah Edwards, who only had a full last time we saw any videos of her gymnastics.

Last week, we got into a discussion of Georgia’s current lineups (because Georgia, we’re not mad at you, we’re worried about you), and Emily has us covered with the latest.

Alabama showing bits and pieces:

If you read the Washington preview, I noted the importance of Evanni Roberson to the team this year. Here she is with a front 2/1.

Flo has a bunch of videos from the Michigan v. EMU exhibition. The top score was 9.925 for Brianna Brown on bars.

Alma Kuc adding in a piked Jaeger:

And Cal’s vault lineup:

Auburn’s preview highlights:

B. Preseason showcases

Because you’re desperate for a hit of sweet, sweet NCAA gymnastics—even if it doesn’t count—a few teams will be holding preseason exhibition/intrasquad events this weekend-ish that you can WATCH. On your COMPUTERS. Because THE FUTURE.

On Saturday, Georgia will be holding a first look at 4:00 ET on SEC+, which will partially overlap with UCLA’s Meet the Bruins event,  scheduled for 2:00 PT on the Pac-12 Network—as long as everything hasn’t burned down by then. UCLA’s choice of guest judges for the event is [stereotypical Italian chef kissing fingers].

Then, on Monday, LSU will be holding its annual Gymnastics 101, also on SEC+ at 6:30 CT.

Be sure to take notes so we can compare.

C. Khorkina is still a cuckoo clock

You may have heard that Russia is “banned” from the Winter Olympics. Except not really because the non-caught athletes will still most likely be able to compete, and to do so as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” which is..the same. Am I the only one who didn’t really get the whole “WOW HUGE BRAVE STEP FROM IOC RUSSIA BANNED” talk?

Anyway, Khorkina still had thoughts about it because INSULT TO RUSSIA and NO FLAG. Of course she did. Very Khorkina thoughts.

Thoughts that include:

How are we going to live from now on?

To break the great nation of Russia?! No, they won’t be able to.

This country – RUSSIA in all capital letters – has the army, nuclear power, and great people!


There are weird people there who think they’re better than everyone else.

We’ve won over everyone a long time ago.

Let’s get back to Earth

Won’t you, though?

These ladies and gents lost their sense of smell.

They’re just the service personnel. They shouldn’t be seen at all.

Fans don’t come to watch the officials who place their butts into big chairs.
Or do they…

Thanks as always to Luba for letting us into this cuckoo clock.

D. 60 years

This Is Survival

As we begin to lock the monster in unbreakable chains, increased attention shifts to MSU and USAG and…what’s that USAG? You have not a great look you want to share?

E. Toyota International

This weekend, your competition to follow is the Toyota International, which typically features a pretty solid slate of international competitors in addition to the top Japanese gymnasts (except for Kohei, who thought he might return for this competition but isn’t ready yet).

The international contingent is expected to include both Weverseseses, Eremina, Black, Boyer, DJDS, and Bossu. Also of note, Australia is getting Kiara Munteanu back into competition here, which is an important step in shoring up what has been a very depleted national team slate in recent meets.

F. GymCastic

This week, we check in on the latest updates from Simone and break down the recent competitions, with very special attention paid to all the most shirtless and Ponoriest moments from the Mexican Open gala. #noregrets

G. Beam routine of the week

This week’s beam routine belongs to another member of the golden age of Chinese beam, though one less heralded than our beloved Yang Bo. That would be Chen Cuiting—inventor of the Chen flic, the Korbut swingdown but with tucking and then stretching of hips in the flight phase. Yet another skill that was removed from the code for unexplained reasons (though the piked version, the Rueda, remains).

Earlier in the 80s, Hope Spivey performed a sort of a tucked Korbut thing, but Chen’s has a tuck, followed by a clear stretch, before reaching the beam. It’s so high that it gets wonk-a-doo here, and I barely even care. It’s not the prettiest skill, but it’s so weird and cool.

Let’s also talk about the height on that layout stepout, the position on that double tuck dismount, and how every movement looks like it’s being done while encased in a ball of very thin molasses.


23 thoughts on “Things Are Happening – December 8, 2017”

  1. Wow. Georgia’s transparency is impressive. Acknowledging where there are gaps hopefully shows that they’ve already prepared the girls in their alternative lineups in addition to creating strategies that will compensate what’s lacking to the best of their ability. It also shows that they’re not planning on working the gymnasts they do have in a way that could result in even more injuries. I think Courtzanne has a good mind to mend what has been broken the past few years as well as how to be competitive at tough meets from both a coach’s and gymnasts’ points of view. I’m not going to lie, I’m extremely nervous for them but I’m really rooting for them to have a great fresh start.

    Also, LSU always has so many hidden weapons it’s insane! This really could be their year. The potential for so many teams that have been slowly moving up is also really exciting. I’m hoping to see at least one upset in Super Six!

    1. IA about UGA. If they can put out competitive or semi-competitive lineups for most of the season I think, based on the honesty about the injury situation, most fans will just enjoy the season for the gymnastics and accept it if it’s a short postseason.

      Of course, even if UGA struggles during the regular season, they have some talented gymnasts sidelined, if some of them get healthy enough to compete just one or two events and the rest of the roster peaks at the right time, well UGA could pull off a surprise or two in postseason.

      I’m calling for UGA to enter the postseason as a 3rd seed (13-18) and if they get put into the “right” Regional group prove to be a very dangerous opponent. Otherwise it’ll be a great learning/growth experience for the younger gymnasts to use in 2019 when an even stronger (and possibly more healthy) freshman class starts.

      I’d say the balancing act for UGA is just to get the 2018 freshmen healthy so they’ll be ready to go full-force the following year.

      Unlike the previous two coaching regimes, I think everyone will be more forgiving of Kupets if UGA were to miss Nationals or finish sixth at SEC championship.

      Right now at the SEC championship I already envision a super-competitive afternoon session between Missouri, Arkansas, UGA and Auburn – where any of them could end up “winning” and, if the judges don’t hold the scores down, put up low-197s to put some real pressure on the top four seeds (Florida, LSU, Alabama, Kentucky) so if any of them stumble they could end up fifth or sixth. I don’t believe the afternoon teams will win, but I think it’ll be more competitive than usually – as long as the judging doesn’t hold the scores down.

  2. Is there a link to watch the UCLA meet the bruins or the georgia first look events?

  3. FYI to everyone who has a hard time watching Oklahoma on a regional fox station carried basically nowhere — ESPN is in negotiations (or already has) to buy several Fox Sports stations, including all regional fox stations. I would assume those stations would get folded into the watch ESPN app, making OU meets much more accessible! It likely won’t happen until next season, but still good news for gym fans!

    1. Yaaaas! At least in the meantime, OU has a few meets at SEC and Pac10 schools, so we can see a little of them during the regular season.

    2. As someone who already gets most of the OU meets on a Fox network, dare I hope that this news would also mean no more Kelly Garrison-Funderburk? That would be the best part for me. Because as much as I love OU, watching their meets means listening to her and I don’t love that.

  4. Re: Preseason showcase

    UCLA’s televised preseason “intrasquad” was rather thin in that each side (Blue vs Gold) had only three competing athletes per apparatus. Only three per side is a bit disappointing considering that this team has over 20 athletes. This year’s team poster is huge so that each athlete could be included.

    As expected, freshmen Nia Dennis (AA) and Pauline Tratz (three events) appeared, but it was surprising to see walk-on freshman Savannah Kooyman appear in three events.

    On the injury front, Grace Glenn was sidelined with crutches–apparently she tweaked(?) something recently? (Anna Glenn competed, so no “twinjury” at this time.) 6th year Christine Peng Peng Lee didn’t compete due to knee(?) soreness. Stella Savvidou didn’t compete after having wrist(?) surgery a few months ago? Rechelle Dennis was announced as out for the entire season with a torn achilles, but she may return for a 5th year.

    Madison Kocian (out indefinitely after labrum surgery) was a sideline reporter for the TV broadcast. Madison Preston took a medical retirement. Any health-conscious recruits named Madison may want to consider going elsewhere.

    As usual for UCLA, it would have been nice to see even more 10.0 starting value vaults (Insert broken record sound here).

    Meet results link:

  5. After watching Meet the Bruins, I was left thinking the following.

    1) I am here for Nia Nation. She performed like it’s her 4th year on the team.

    2) Felicia Hano came in hot as well. Would love to see her crack a few lineups regularly… especially loving that aliens legacy floor routine.

    3) I don’t understand the constant push for Kyla to do floor. I think she would be better served to shine on the other 3 events. Dennis, Tratz, Ohashi, Hano all showcased well and Toronjo, Honest, Kramer and Pua Hall have all looked solid in training clips. It just seems like all these attempts for Kyla to do floor could result in injury or mess with her mental game.

    4) Where was PENG!!!! I really hope this was just a minor pain and that we get plenty from her this season.

    1. I don’t think the push for Kyla to do floor is an effort to improve UCLA’s floor score. It seems unlikely that she’ll ever be much of a floor powerhouse, so she’s not going to really bump up their scoring potential. Rather, I think the push is more about getting her some AA titles. She’s so polished on the other 3 events (especially if she ever gets that Omelianchik into a meet) that she doesn’t really even need to be good at floor, she just needs to put up a decent score (i.e. 9.85 or something) and she’d probably take the AA title at a lot of meets.

  6. Watched “Meet the Bruins”. Dennis, Tratz, Hano look like the stars this year. My favs will always be Meraz and Honest – They are class acts. For all the hype about the number of Olympians, they don’t seem that strong. Don’t get me wrong, they are always good but I don’t think they will be National contenders this year. I am loving that so many teams are getting stronger – it makes competition more interesting. Looking forward to Ohio with their new coach – floor should be amazing with her choreography talent and Denver should be a fun watch. All in all, looking forward to the next few months. Does anyone know if Utah will televise their preview on Friday? Would love to watch and compare.

  7. Grace Glenn is not injured, just hurt. Same for Peng Peng. so excited for UCLA this year.

    Vault(no order yet):
    Tratz(hopefully soon with the 10.0 start), Ross (maaayyybe 10.0 start, supposedly training the dty again and the omelianchik), Hano (1.5), Kramer (1.5), Dennis, Pua(1.5).. With Ohashi and Honest maybe Kocian and healthy Peng as backups for postseason.

    Could go 49.35ish consistently

    Two of Ohashi/Savvidou/Honest/Meraz (I’d go Stella and Ohashi for form) Dennis, Kocian, Ross, Peng. The others can fill in until Madison is back.

    I’m thinking 49.55

    Beam. This is where it gets great

    Anna Glenn, Grace Glenn, Ohashi, Peng peng, Dennis, Ross, Kocian. That is 7 for real 9.9+ routines. Plus Meraz, Hano, Toronjo and Tratz as back ups.

    Should be easy 49.5+s every week.

    Floor: looking better

    Ohashi, Honest, Hall/Tratz, Hano, Toronjo, Dennis If they can get Madison in this line up for her consistent 9.85-9.925s thatd be great too but not necessary. Maybe Ross can pull something together. And always have Meraz for backup as well.

    Should be able to go 49.3-4

    That outs them right with Oklahoma, Florida, and LSU especially if they can go lights out on bars and beam. I also like that its not asking too much from anyone and the girls can focus on what they’re great at.

    1. Did they ever announce Grace’s issue? I watched the broadcast and they said she hurt her knee in warmups. She was in a full leg brace and crutches during the meet. It could have been precautionary, but seems extreme for a minor tweak of the knee.

    2. UCLA always looks good on paper. Its a question of whether they can stay healthy and bring it in competition. I’m happy to hear them say they have upped their conditioning, and focus on building endurance, which clearly has been lacking in previous years. I was pleasantly surprised to see some E passes on floor (what was it – Ohashi DLO and Tratz full-in tucked?).

      Janay Honest is one of my faves on the team. Her dance and performance quality are so strong. I would guess that Hallie Mosset choreographed her routine again this year? Anyone know?

      1. Hano also had a DLO, and Dennis had a double arabian. I think Hallie Mossett choreographed Honest’s floor routine based on some of their Snapchat stories earlier in the year.

  8. Anyone else concerned about Alabama’s vaulting? Other than Guerrero, has anyone shown a 10 SV vault in training? Guerra and Armbrecht look like they could upgrade, but Armbrecht was showing Y1.5s in training last year, and it never materialized in a meet. Alabama should at least have 4 10 SV vaults from Guerrero, Brannan, Dickson, and Graber, but we haven’t seen them yet. Vaulting was a clear weakness for the team last year. If that turns out to be the case again this year, perhaps the vault coaching should be scrutinized.

    1. Desch vaulted Y1.5 last season I believe. Is there a reason to think she wouldn’t have that back?

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