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Saturday Live Blog – January 6, 2018

Saturday, January 6 Scores Stream
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Illinois State @ Central Michigan LINK CSN($)
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [25] Eastern Michigan @ Penn State LINK FREE
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – UW-Eau Claire @ Gustavus Adolphus LINK
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – [14] Auburn, [20] Iowa, Iowa State @ Arizona State LINK P12+
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – [8] Denver @ Arizona LINK P12+
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Hamline @ UW-Oshkosh FREE
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Maryland, New Hampshire, Temple @ Towson
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Minnesota Intrasquad LINK BTN+
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – UW-La Crosse @ Air Force FREE
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [22] Ohio State @ [6] UCLA LINK P12N

#25 Eastern Michigan @ Penn State

Today’s offerings will begin with Battle Sarah Shire Brown as her team of this season faces off against her team of last season. After Penn State’s…recent unpleasantness…there is “fresh start”-style optimism around the team’s potential results this season, especially with a freshman class expected to be rather legit.

Eastern Michigan could be in the same fresh start-y boat, but after seasons and seasons of upheaval (head coaches getting snatched every year, two of the top gymnasts transferring), how much is EMU going to be left with? It would be a lot for any team to deal with.

Before we get started at Penn State, Central Michigan has already recorded the third-highest score of the weekend with 196.375 at home against Illinois State.

First rotation – Penn State vault, Eastern Michigan bars

LaGuardia – VT – hop back on full – 9.700

Dobronics – UB – good amplitude on Tkatchev, hop on DLO – 9.550. Tight score for that.

Garcia – VT – step back on full, some piking – 9.700

Hultgren – UB – Jaeger to overshoot – giant full to double tuck, very late full, will get hit for leg breaks and late positions 9.600

Bonsall – VT – big height on full, pace backward – 9.800

Clark – UB – fall on Gienger. 8.700.

Chinnery – VT – high full, nice dynamics, but a larger pace backward and some piking in the air. 9.725.

Bezold – UB – Gienger, caught – lost her leg form in an overshoot and had a very late full that will take down the score. 9.450.

Bridgens – VT – sticks quite a clean full. Nice debut. The scoring on vault has been relatively tight, but wise because the judges allowed themselves room to adequately reward Bridgens’ superior vault while still deducting for both direction and shape. 9.825.

Valentin – UB – pause on high bar and works through it exceptionally well, staying vertical and finishing the full. The rest is typical cleanliness, short landing on ftdt with a hop forward. 9.750.

Tsang – VT – 1.5 with pace forward, some knee form. 9.825.

Rubin – UB – very clean on her piked Jaeger and Pak. Best of the bunch by far. Sticks double tuck out of giant full. 9.850.

Hosek does exhibition for PSU, hop back on full, was stronger than LaGuardia’s lineup vault so could make it in for next week.

Rondeau does exhibiton for EMU – hits Jaeger, has form on her bail that may keep her out of the lineup for now, but sticks DLO, so maybe not. Watch out for that one.

After 1: Penn State 48.875, Eastern Michigan 48.200

I would describe this as relatively tightly scored, not because I think it’s harsh, but because I think it’s good. Penn State debuted three freshmen in the vault lineup, all successfully, and then ended with the 1.5 from Tsang as always.

EMU had too many mistakes there, with the fall, the struggle from Bezold, and then Valentin—who was fine, but the team counts on her to be 9.9, excellent. Rubin was very clean, and that leadoff from Dobronics would have gone 9.700 at a lot of meets.

Rotation 2 – EMU on vault, PSU on bars

Schwartz – VT – full with hop back, will get deducted for leg form and separations and piking, so won’t be a high score. 9.625

McCracken – UB – Hit Tkatchev, a little flat. Does stalder + double tuck dismount, pauses in the stalder as many do, larger hop forward. 9.600.

Smith – VT – really late twisting technique on her full, but gets it around, better shape and control. 9.625. I would have had that higher than the first one.

Politz – UB – pretty Jaeger, a bit too much body pike in the overshoot, double front with largish lunge forward. Some late verticals toward the end. 9.200. Must not have received full SV.

Hultgren – VT – best dynamics so far on Y1/2, and basically sticks it. Good. 9.775.

Bridgens – UB – Shap to bail to shoot are all clean. She missed her foot on opening Shap and had to add an extra cast handstand at the very start, but after that quite clean. Loads of potential. 9.800.

Dobronics – VT – full, small hop. 9.700.

Garcia – UB – usual excellent piked Jaeger, very straight body shape on bail. Two short handstands in there and a hop back on the DLO. 9.675. I’m closer to the 9.750 judge there than the 9.600 judge.

Gresham – VT – whoooooooaaa. Came in sooooo high on the table, barely even got hands on it, and just had to do a tuck back. 9.025.

Bonsall – UB – Tkatchev to overshoot, good amplitude, some wonky body in overshoot. Attempts to show stick on DLO but it wasn’t. Small hop. Good routine. 9.775.

Valentin – VT – far superior dynamics on the Yfull to her teammates. Hop back.  9.775.

Tsang – UB – Jaeger to overshoot. DLO, similar attempt to hold the stick as Bonsall and doesn’t, large bound forward. Some legs throughout. Good set. 9.750.

HS front pike exhibition from Hardin.

Verdeflor is doing bars exhibition for PSU. Gorgeous toes in that routine. Everything was right on the edge, so you can see why maybe she’s not in the lineup yet (nail-biter), but it’s worth working that into lineup form because it can be lovely.

After 2: Penn State 97.475, EMU 96.700

Rotation 3 – Penn State beam, EMU floor

McCracken – BB – connection-breaking check on aerial twice in a row, both with large wobbles. Break on side aerial. Everything but falls on a double stag. Everything bad that can happen in a routine except falling. “It happens,” says Sarah. It does. 8.550.

Hultgren – FX – Double pike. 1.5 to front pike. Switch side + popa + popa. Double tuck. Secure landings. Amplitude, leg form in twisting and not hitting the 180 popas will be the main thing. 9.625

Bonsall – BB – Check on her bhs loso series. Small hesitation on full turn. Larger double wobble on side aerial. Front lay 1/1. Tight beam debut but tons of potential on every event. She’s going to be a thing. 9.625.

Rondeau – FX – Double tuck. 1.5 to layout (arch). Rudi with some legs. 9.775.

Bridgens – BB – Kickover front. Bhs loso series is solid. Check on gainer loso. 1.5 with step back. Most secure of the three so far. 9.700.

Benzie – FX – Double pike. Switch ring to split full (short). Front 1/1 + front lay (loses legs in front lay with arch as well). Double tuck (short, two lunges forward to save). 9.400.

Garcia – BB – Switch side with check. Very short aerial with multiple paces back, somehow stays on the beam. Nice extension on loso series, step back. College stick gainer full. 9.625.

Marino – FX – Front 2/1 (lunge forward, stays in). Front lay + front half + straddle + front tuck (secure, very short of 180 on straddle). Straddle and wolf (well completed). Rudi.

Tsang – BB – Standing loso loso series (love). Switch side (small check). Side somi (small check). Full turn (larger break). Bhs 1/1 + layout 1/1 (stuck). 9.825.

Long discussion about Marino’s score. 9.625.

Dobronics – FX – Double pike (quite nice). Switch side + popa (short of 180). Front lay + front 1/1 (knees and lunge). Double tuck (strong). 9.800.

Hosek – BB – Side aerial (small check). bhs loso (very secure). switch to straddle 1/4. Aerial (large break, may have grabbed beam). Gainer full (slide salute). 9.600.

Gresham – FX – Double pike (very high, landed somewhat short). Switch side popa (not split). Front lay front 1/1 (slide). Double tuck (short, step forward). 9.650.

Schuller stays on beam in exhibition. Will be an option. Same for Smith for EMU on floor. A twister, would score competitively with most in the lineup.

After 3: Penn State 145.850, Eastern Michigan 145.175

Rotation 4 – EMU beam, PSU floor

Hultgren – BB – Aerial (small hesitation). Bhs loso (lean correction). Split to sheep (NCAA sheep, check). Side aerial + full (hop back). 9.600.

McCraken – FX – 1.5 + lay (arch). 1.5 + front pike (step, very near line). Switch ring to split 1/1 (short). Rudi. 9.625.

Dobronics – BB – Three series to loso (check). Full turn (check). Pike jump + pike jump 3/4 (fall). 1.5 dmt (bound forward). 8.850.

Politz – FX – 2.5 (pretty in air, shuffle step to side). 1.5 + lay (clean and straight). Switch side + popa (bouncy, indistinct landings). 1.5 to front tuck (small adjustment off line.) Pretty. 9.625.

Marino – BB – bhs loso (hit). Full turn (overturns by a 1/4). Beat + straddle 3/4 (grabs calves to stay on). Kickover front (large break at hips). Gainer full (step). 9.500.

Bridgens – FX – Double tuck (high, good form, bounce back). Rudi + loso (clean).  Switch 1/2 + wolf 1/1. Front 1/1 + front lay (good amp, some form). 9.725.

Rondeau – BB – three series to loso (sturdy). Straddle 3/4. 1.5 (stuck). Good, solid set. Some legs, some amplitude, but secure. 9.750.

Bonsall – FX – Double pike (bounce back, just stays in). Switch 1/2 + popa (good). Back 1/2 + front 1/1 (a little flat, lunge). Double tuck (short, lunge forward). 9.550.

Rubin – BB – Three to loso (very secure, nice). Orphan round-off. Split + sheep (not bad). Gainer full (stuck). 9.775.

Garcia – FX – Double tuck (high, just stays in bounds but controlled step). Double pike (control, tad forward). Switch side + popa (OK). 1.5 + layout (quite arched in layout).

Valentin – BB – Three series to loso (fall). Cat leap switch 1/2. Gainer full (stuck).  9.100.

Tsang – FX – Piked full in (lunge way back, OOB with at least one foot). 1.5 + front 1/2 (comes in a little angled/short). Double pike (solid). 9.650.

FINAL: Penn State 194.275, Eastern Michigan 192.900

Inconsistencies from both teams, EMU counting that beam fall, some struggles on floor landings, but not as dire a performance from either team as the score might suggest.

On to the Arizonas!


#14 Auburn, #20 Iowa, Iowa State @ Arizona State

#8 Denver @ Arizona

Note that the live-stream link for Arizona State has changed. The new one is linked in the table at the top.

Warmups underway at Arizona state. Stream not yet available for Arizona.

Oh. Bless. Arizona State’s stream is going to be really West Virginia.

So proud of Anne Kuhm for making 2020 Olympic team! Such foresight!

Stream for Arizona Denver is now underway as well.

Leydin – VT – Arizona – Full, step back. OK dynamics.

Kern – UB – Denver – Jaeger, clean to bail – DLO, just a stagger in place. Solid.

If you’re interested in just hearing random background conversations, check out the Arizona stream.

Mattson – VT Arizona – Y1/2, hop back.

Glynn – UB Denver – Falls on what was going to be a lovely Gienger.

Ginn – VT Arizona State – Lunge back on Yfull, but we’re seeing 9.950 starts through lineup so far.

Leung – VT Arizona – Nice dynamics on her full this season, bounce back.

Kuhm with her debut on vault. Pretty in the air on the full, too large on the bounce back as a few of them have been so far.

Big dynamics from Leonard-Baker on vault.

Brown – UB Denver – Hits Shap to bail and Shap 1/2 – Sticks DLO. Secure set. Struggles with leg breaks in the early elements.

Swanson – VT Arizona – really struggles with full – very piked, very short landing.

Sundstrom – UB Denver – Clear hip to Tkatchev, fall. Freshmen struggling, Denver counting a fall on bars, but both fall releases have been very pretty, so potential there.

Day – UB – Auburn – sits double Arabian dismount.

Cindric – VT Arizona – Hop back on Yfull, some crossed leg form issues in the air.

Milliet – UB Auburn – Gorgeous Ray and Pak and then misses her hand placement on a giant full and has to reswing, isolated double tuck with step. I hate everything.

Bellows – VT Arizona – Just a full from her. She can do a 1.5. Hop. Fine.

Chesnok – UB Denver – giant full to Tkatchev, comfortable. Bail, small leg break. Ftdt dismount, pinged a little, got it around with a hop.

Karr – UB Denver – Strong Gienger. A short hs before Dmt. DLO stuck. Excellent set. That helps.

I love that Arizona State has given up on audio and the closeup for this floor routine. A tiny little pea appears to have done a gymnastics. Good double pike for Iowa State. Could be leading after 1? Not quite.

After 1: Arizona 48.825, Denver 48.225

Even though Denver counted a fall for a very low score, I’m less worried about bars this year than I was before seeing that rotation. Glynn and Sundstrom will be lovely.

After 1: Arizona State 48.725, Iowa State 48.650, Auburn 48.425, Iowa 48.300

Chesnok – VT Denver – OK full, some mushiness, hop, we will see farther. 9.800.

Schneider – UB Arizona – Gienger, hit. Bail, comfortable. DLO stuck. Good start. 9.775.

Sundstrom – VT Denver – full, she’s going to be the under-the-radar AAer among the new Denver three. 9.800.

Hendrickson – UB Arizona – Jaeger to overshoot, nice height on Jaeger. Whips out DLO but holds onto the stick. A handstand in there but should score well.

Addison – VT Denver – biggest Yfull so far, good open out of it, step back. 9.800. (It was better than the others.)

Spencer – UB – Arizona – Great amplitude for Gienger, solid bail – DLO, small step.

Brown – VT Denver – Strong Y1.5, as promised, hop forward but small.

Cindric on bars for Arizona finishes with a nice and tight double front with small hop.

Karr – VT Denver – Sticks her 1.5. That’s what we know she can do. Brown got 9.900 and this was better. 9.925.

Ortiz – UB Arizona – Clear hip to very high tkatchev to overshoot, a little body angle in that overshoot – late giant full – double tuck with hop.

Denver went with five on vault (how very 2017 of you), but they didn’t need more with a 49.225.

Lovely leaps from Sullivan on floor for Iowa.

Slappey – BB Auburn – loso series hit – lovely switch, a little short on switch 1/2

Kuhm – UB – Shap and Jaeger are clean – nice bail – good content, a short handstand at the end – larger pace backward on DLO.

After 2: Arizona 97.850, Denver 97.450

Kaitlyn Szafranski is a gymnast you guys! Exhibition on bars. Ray, tentative but hit. Crazy legs on a bail. Loses legs again on giant full, step on double tuck.

Krippner – BB Auburn – lovely switch to split – big loso series with a check – 1.5 with a hop forward and then a crazy-lunge salute out of it. Following a fall from Milliet, she stayed on but won’t be a big score for her. 9.750.

Sylvia is doing exhibition for Auburn – a couple tentative checks but also lovely extension in aerial. Work with this. Split jump sheep jump not really there, and a check to the side. Gainer full, step.

Kaji finishes floor with very secure double tuck.

After 2: Iowa State 97.625, ASU 97.575, Iowa 97.225, Auburn 97.150

Schneider – BB Arizona – full turn with a check – kickover front to bhs, a little slow in connection and then knees in the bhs – switch to split jump – beat jump to sheep – front full dismount with step back.

Schou – FX Denver – front 2/1, crossed legs – 1.5 to layout, fine – switch ring to switch side, a little flat – rudi, small slide.

Hendrickson – BB Arizona – split jump 3/4 , pretty – bhs loso series, secure but leg form – switch to split 1/4, solid – side aerial, very short and falls. No chance to save. Gainer full.

Glynn – FX Denver – very pretty double pike – it’s not the open full in we wanted, but it was nice – front full to front lay second pass, has to arch around the front lay quite a lot. Double tuck.

Leung – BB Arizona – loso series, good extension – switch switch series which I usually hate because they never really hit the split in the second one, but hers is OK – side aerial, smooth, smallest correction – 1.5 dismount, bound forward and legs in the air.

Karr – FX Denver – Double pike, controlled step back – 1.5 to lay full, so floaty and nice, what a combo pass should look like. Split leap full to wolf full, well completed. Rudi, high, just a little slide.

Leydin – BB Arizona – wolf turn full – switch to split, clean – bhs loso series, high and comfortable – side somi, hit. Pike jump to back tuck, short on back tuck with a correction step. 1.5 dismount, huge bound forward and legs in the air.

Brown – FX Denver – Huge DLO, so high, just the smallest slide on it – 1.5 to layout to split jump, very easy pass for her to complete and make look nice. Double pike. Strong beginning of her floor career. Will get some big scores in the next four years.

Ortiz – BB Arizona – Bhs loso series, larger check, bend at hips – switch with a check – beat to double stag, check – side aerial to a stuck full.

Addison – FX Denver – Putting 88 mats on every corner of the floor. Fab DLO, good control – 1.5 to lay, also high, some legs – double pike, floats down into it well.

Anne Kuhm had started so well, but she’s way off on this beam routine (her event!) with a large wobble and then a fall. Aerial is better. Switch to sheep. Sticks 2/1. Great second 1/2.

Day – FX Auburn – Front full to front 1/2 to a “maybe I’ll do it” stag – double tuck – YEOUCH! Those ankles just buckled completely and she fell right on top of them. I’m impressed she’s OK.

Cindric – BB Arizona – hits loso series – very strong side aerial – split to double stag with a check. Sticks gainer pike. Will be useful score.

Ashley Szafranski is really lovely on beam, as we know. And also does a huge amount of difficulty, including a Rulfova.

Sundstrom – FX Denver – double tuck OOB, toes pointed but not a huge pass – front lay front full, step to the side – efficient little splitter –

Milliet – FX Auburn – front lay to rudi, pretty, controlled – switch ring and switch 1/2, lovely shape on switch ring – double pike, just a touch short – back 1.5 to front tuck, solid. Good set after a rough comeback day.

After 3 – Denver 146.600, Arizona 146.400

After 3 – Iowa State 146.150, Arizona State 145.950, Iowa 145.950, Auburn 145.125

Addison – BB Denver – full turn, very smooth – bhs loso, smallest lean, good amp – sissone – straddle jump straddle 3/4, secure, a little slow in connection – side aerial, large break, leg up, pulls it back – gainer pike, stuck. 9.750

Leydin – FX Arizona – front tuck through to double tuck, very secure – switch side to split 1/2 – oooh two leap combos, looks like someone won’t do three passes – Double pike slide back. 9.825

Chesnok – BB Denver – split jump + sheep, not bad – loso series, check hesitation – aerial with a balance check series (check, leg-up wobble, check) gaienr full, hop back. 9.675

Bellows – FX Arizona – double tuck, slide back and OOB – front lay to front full – switch ring to wolf hop full – double pike, a little short, step. 9.625

Brown – BB Denver – aerial to kickover front to bhs – solid – out-turn full – switch to split is tentative with a check and some legs – long pause before gainer full, step.

Berg – FX Arizona – Double pike, a touch short with a step. “This is a really fun beat.” K. Front 1/1 + front pike, fine. rudi to split jump, traveled on that and ragged in the rudi.

Sundstrom – BB Denver – switch to switch half, kind of a large wobble on that switch 1/2 but also lovely position – side aerial to sissone, clean – full turn – bhs loso, secure, a little leg tentative but OK – gainer pike, stuck. 9.825.

Cindric – FX Arizona – double pike, controlled step – 1.5 to layout, comfortable – switch leap + wolf jump 1/1 + wolf jump 1/1, finds those finishing positions pretty well – double tuck, good toe point and control.

Karr – BB Denver – side aerial to loso, strong – full turn – side aerial to side position, clean – beat jump to split jump 1/1, actually gets it all the way around in the air – stuck 1.5. Excellent set. 9.900.

Mattson – FX Arizona – double pike, slides back too far out of that one but stays in bounds – 1.5 to layout, short on landing that layout with a step – switch side to popa, not all the way rotated on popa – double tuck, shortish with step forward.

Schou – BB Denver – aerial to bhs loso like it’s 2012 again, very strong – switch leap – beat jump to sheep, quite nice, good height – gainer full, hop back. 9.875

Schneider – FX Arizona – double pike, comfortable but small slide – front lay to front full – double tuck, controlled. Good routine.

Iowa State 195.125, Arizona State 193.950, Auburn 193.950, Iowa 193.000

Denver 195.775, Arizona 195.425

The score won’t be news for Denver, but it would have been if not for counting a fall on beam. This team should live up to its ranking again this season. There are some very good routines in here.

Meet back here for UCLA? Cool.

#22 Ohio State @ #6 UCLA

Jim and Sam with us. UCLA’s profiled gymnasts are Nia Dennis and Pauline Tratz. Ohio State’s profiled gymnast is…Meredith Paulicivic?

UCLA will vault Dennis, Kramer, Ross, Tratz, Hall, Hano. Miss Val is out sick. Well then what’s the point of anything?

Rotation 1 – UCLA on vault, Ohio State on bars

Dennis – VT – giant full amplitude and a near-stick. Good vault, small slide. Excellent height. Chest down at the end. 9.775. A little tight scoring but also going first.

Merkle – UB – OMG I love a judging delay before the routines even start! blind change to Jaeger, fine – bail with a leg break – some loose knees throughout – short final cast hs – OK finish on giant full – double tuck dismount, step back. 9.750.

Kramer – VT – sits tucked Y1.5. “Had some issues with consistency last year but seems to have…oh.” Change of shape, result the same. 9.150.

Hinterberger – UB – short first hs – Jaeger, hit – arch in handstand – short of vertical on bail handstand – missed final handstand, and then missed her hand on a giant full and collapses onto the bars. Tires to do it again, still can’t. And saultes. 8.000

Ross – VT – Yfull, hop back, not a good landing by her standards with a bounce back but not huge and a great shape in the air. 9.800.

This judge’s facial expression is my spirit animal.

Adamski – UB – Tkatchev, fine – clear hip, goes over on a handstand and must reswing and recast – bail is fine – flings DLO a little, step forward. 9.000

Sam kind of accidentally said, “Cast handshit” there and it was appropriate.

Tratz – VT – Big full and stuck. Quite nice. It’s not her 10.0 start but will score like it if she can stick like that. Some ankle separation in the air and a slight pike at the end, but should get a 9.850. At least that’s what I would give it. Judges too. 9.850.

Mattern – UB – Jaeger, hit to overshoot – closer to vertical on her hs – slide back on full in. That helps. 9.825

Hall – VT – Sits 1.5. And UCLA will be counting a vault fall. We’re not that surprised with these vaults.

Aepli – UB – peels off immediately on Shap. Ohio State counting two falls (fall equivalents), UCLA just the one so far. Legs collapse on bail handstand on resumption. Solid dmt. 8.950.

“It’s been a really interesting meet so far.”

Hano – VT – Hits her 1.5. Not her strongest possible vault, but very high, hop forward. Good. Necessary.

I like that the live scores just stopped updated. They were like…we’re out.

Swartzentruber – UB – toe shap to pak, strong – hits Shap 1/2 – pings the DLO a little with a step forward. Pretty ability there.

Well, that was awful. Ohio State had three major misses on bars, UCLA with two falls on vault.

After 1: UCLA 48.500, Ohio State 47.275

The story on UCLA’s vault remains the same to a large degree. They must have 1.5s, but they don’t have them. Yes, they can downgrade to fulls and be fine, but those fulls aren’t going to stand up at the end of the year, even if they’re quite strong as Tratz’s was today. It’s still just a 9.850.

Rotation 2 – Ohio State on vault, UCLA on bars

Merkle – VT – Yfull, OK, soft knees throughout and then a hop back.

Honest – UB – clear hip to tkatchev, high and caught – half to straddle back, clean – vertical final hs – pings ftdt dismount with lunge back. It’s just still the feet. On every skill. The feet. If you cut them off, it would be quite a nice bars routine. 9.825

Swartzentruber – VT – Just a Yurchenko tuck back, got zero block. Oh… Ohio State…this is not going well.

Ross – UB – Toe Shap to bail, clean, excellent – toe shoot, smooth, good vertical final handstand – just goes with the DLO (THANK YOU) and sticks it. That was excellent and clean. She can get huge scores for it. Why upgrade to the DLO 1/1 until they make you do more difficulty than this? 9.900. Could have been higher, really.

Lowe – VT – full, a little better than the first vault, bounce back, a little flat. 9.775. The problem with score building is now that vault got the same score as Dennis’s, which is a no.

Meraz – UB – toe on, Ray to overshoot (it was kind of in-between an overshoot and a bail handstand and could really get hit if they think she was trying for a handstand), DLO with larger lunge back. Not a great one for her. 9.750.

Aepli – VT – Solid stick on her full – a small pike throughout, but best so far. 9.825.

Ohashi – UB – toe on – bail, short and a leg break – short handstand on high – Tkatchev, rather WOGA-tchev – hop forward on DLO. Did not have her handstands in that one. 9.775.

Stone – VT – just does hold the stick on the Y1/2, leans forward and bends at the hips to hold it, so it will be a deduction, the same as a small step, really. Maybe more than. 9.650.

Dennis – UB – Toe Shap to bail, excellent – DLO with hop back, a little too archy in that DLO, and then the hop. But very clean in the rest of the set. Simple routine from her as well. 9.825

Mattern – VT – handspring front pike 1/2, her usual powerful vault, large bounce back this time.

Peng – UB – Ray, strong – Bhardwaj, usual excellent – toe on toe Shap 1/2, catches – hitting handstands – sticks DLO. Very good one. Final cast handstand was borderline. 9.975. Highest score of the season so far. I probably would have gone 9.950 for it compared to what else we’ve seen, so fine with it.

After 2: UCLA 97.800, Ohio State 96.025

Up and down there for UCLA. Two great sets from Lee and Ross, some wonky sets from Meraz and Ohashi (and that’s why Ross is in the second spot, to build up those scores for the weaker gymnasts going after her—it kind of worked, but it will really work if Meraz and Ohashi hit as they can). Still one judge gave Meraz a 9.800, which she never gets for that routine in the first spot without backing.

Ohio State OK on vault. They’ll need a better landing from Mattern to get their best possible score, and then they had that botched one from Swartzentruber.

Rotation 3: UCLA on beam, Ohio State on floor

This is the second time this season Jim has said Washington made Super Six. Nope.

Dennis – BB – wolf turn 2.5 to open – bhs loso, pulls those hands back quickly to avoid a check – switch and switch 1/2 with a pause in between, great execution on the individual skills, but pauses in between – hits side somi – 1.5 with a step forward. I wouldn’t give a dance combo to this routine, but we’ll see. 9.750, so she got the combo but did have some pauses.

Swartzentruber – FX – 2.5 to front tuck, gets that 2.5 around – solid lift into splits – wolf turn double – double pike, throws herself right OOB and falls. 9.100

Meraz – BB – three series to loso, very secure – switch 1/2, tentative on it that time and a large break – switch leap, check – full turn – switch to straddle jump, does a leap combo – 1.5 dismount, off line and short with a step back. Not one of her good ones. 9.525.

McLelland – FX – double pike, step back a little too far – switch side to popa, a little short of 180 – front full front lay with a little bounce out – “she’s inviting everyone to her party” while looking miserable. Double tuck. 9.775.

Hano – BB – switch ring to beat jump combo, just does get the combo, a little leany afterward – loso series – full turn – switch to split jump – side aerial with a check – 1.5, stuck with a lean to hold it at the hips. 9.675.

Aepli – FX – Double pike, good – 1.5 to layout, archhhhhed – split full popa, a little crooked on popa – double tuck. 9.650.

G Glenn – BB – basically almost has a check on her split on the beam mount – loso series, just holds with a small lean – two switches, small pause into split jump – lovely split positions – aerial with a check – lots of pretty potential here – weak gainer full, piked with a step back. 9.725.

Stone – FX – double pike, short with a lunge forward – 2.5 to front tuck, just pulls that front tuck around to her feet, step back – 2.5 final pass with stagger step. 9.800

Ross – BB – smooth and high loso series. Ah, my beamer! switch ring to beat jump, perfection – full turn, nice – aerial, just a lean out of it which she didn’t need. Sam literally went, “UGH!” side aerial to layout full, stuck. Good one. 9.900.

I really respect how hard Sam is trying to find appropriate ways to express the feeling, “UGH. BE BETTER TRY HARDER.”

Merkle – FX – full in, hits it, chest way down – switch 1/2 to wolf full, very nice amplitude and finish position on that – 2/1 to loso. This is stronger. double tuck, just a hair short. Good one overall. 9.825.

Peng – BB – three flairs (it’s important when she does three rather than two because three gets bonus and two does not) – bhs to layout-pike down, secure – double turn, smooth and nice – a lean working out of a leap nothing just like Kyla. side aerial to layout full, close to the beam but stuck. (She has done this dismount before.)

Mattern – FX – nice DLO, chest just a hair forward but secure – split leap full to popa, good lift – front lay to front full, good position, very straight – double pike, some rebound there but their best floor routine. 9.900.

After 3: UCLA 146.775, Ohio State 144.975

UCLA dropped back to meh in that beam rotation except for Ross and Lee, which were excellent. Far too tentative. Far too many checks. Ohio State’s strongest rotation of the meet so far was floor, some more competitive sets there, and just the one fall. They can score with some top-15 teams with that floor, just not from what we’ve seen on the other events so far.

Where would UCLA be without Peng and Kyla tonight? Nowhere.

Meredith is going full “we’re going to learn a lot of lessons” from this meet.

Rotation 4 – Ohio State on beam, UCLA on floor


Swartzentruber – BB – wolf turn – bhs loso, extended and clean – cat leap kickover front beat jump combination, solid – switch to split, small pause correction afterward – gainer full, stuck. 9.800.

Kramer – FX – front 2/1 to front tuck, nice and jussssst gets it into the corner – 1.5 to layout, very straight – good height on jumps but not the most extended – rudi to straddle jump. That was nice! Girl, you’re a floor specialist, not a vault specialist now. 9.900.

Mattern – BB – full turn – falls on loso series, off line, couldn’t save herself. kickover front with a check – cat leap switch side, quite nice – sticks gainer full. 9.175.

Ross – FX – whip double tuck, still cowboyed but solid enough on landing – they’ve given her another routine where she’s mostly laying on the ground – Ferrari doesn’t need to be here because it’s a clear deduction – 1.5 to layout is solid – double pike, crunched down but lands it. 9.900. Oh judges. Oh. That’s a combination of home floor and name and score building, and all those juicy things.

Aepli – BB – kickover front, large break but stays on – small check on loso series – full turn – switch to straddle 3/4, tight on positions with a small wobble – gainer full, step back. 9.575.

Ohashi – FX – DLO, very good, just slides back out of it which she maybe didn’t need but protecting the ankle – quite solid second pass – nice switch ring and switch 1/2 positions, very well hit – double tuck, just short there, stagger bounce on landing. 9.875. Sure. Why not.

Lowe – BB – very long pause before loso sereis but hit it – switch to split jump, good 180s – small check just moving there – side aerial is solid, split jump – too long in combination but her individual skill execution is quite crisp – 1.5 with hop. 9.725

Dennis – FX – Double Arabian opening pass, step forward but pretty well under control and stays in – front lay stepout through to double tuck, takes it too far and OOB – great split positions, just travels a little in that combination – double tuck, larger slide back. 9.700.

Stone – BB – loso series clean – full turn – switch side, short of full split on that – 2.5 dismount, nice to see, good routine overall. 9.800.

Hano – FX – DLO, well controlled landing – front full to front 1/2 to double stag to front tuck – split full and wolf jump full, another well done combo in the skills, just a travel that they’ll need to keep under control. Very strong double pike. Good set. 9.875.

Merkle – BB – full turn small adjustment – loso series, off right from the back handspring and falls. Ohio State counting a fall here as well. Yikers of a meet. cat leap and aerial and beat jump, solid. switch side, good. gainer pike, shuffle slide.

Tratz – FX – strong full in, controlled step back, stays in bounds – back 1/5 to front full, very solid – split leap 1/1 to split jump 1/1, well executed – double tuck, chest down, keeps that step from getting too large. Nice. She had a good first day.

FINAL: UCLA 196.250, Ohio State 193.200

That was a positive finish for UCLA. I’m not used to floor looking the most prepared to start a season, but it certainly was today. It didn’t just have to rely on Peng and Kyla to save the score like bars and beam did. It was actually strong throughout, with more E passes and comfortably landed tumbling than last season. Now, if vault could just take the same step, UCLA would become a real title contender. Because it’s still trouble.

We know bars and beam will be fine most meets. UCLA has the people (we didn’t see Ohashi on beam this time), and if they get Kocian back at the end on those two pieces, that will make it even better. We don’t know that vault will be fine and don’t know if UCLA has the people there.

Ohio State, that was not a good performance. At all. It’s a concern. The potential is there on about an event and a half to be a top-20 team, but is it there on all four? Not sold.

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