The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Sunday Live Blog – January 14, 2018

Sunday, January 14 Scores Stream
12:00 ET/9:00 PT – Brown @ Rhode Island  LINK
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – [14] Arizona State @ [16] West Virginia LINK FREE
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – [15] Ball State, Penn, Cornell @ [25] George Washington LINK GW($)
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Centenary @ Kent State  LINK
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Illinois-Chicago @ Western Michigan  LINK
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – [13] Temple, William & Mary @ [24] Towson LINK FREE
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – UW-Whitewater @ Hamline
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Air Force @ [8] Denver LINK DU($)
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [2] Utah, [4] UCLA, Washington, Stanford (@ Reno, NV)  LINK FLO
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – Cortland @ Alaska LINK FREE

It’s our first podium quad meet of the season! Apparently that’s worthy of an exclamation point! Starting now! Anyway, it’s happening!

Be forewarned that the only live scores link we’ve all been given is for meetscoresonline…so just preemptively pull your hair out now. And for those who don’t want to go with the FLO, I’m here for you.

While we wait, Denver counted a fall on bars (again) but is still on 196 pace after two events.

I’ll be watching the four events, rather than the commentary feed, to try to get a handle on as many routines as possible. If it ever begins. We’ll see.

We’re waiting…we’re waiting…

Still just in intros now, so you haven’t missed anything.

What is this ominous Star Wars music they’re using to introduce UCLA?

Today’s approximate attendance is 7.

Brielle Nguyen is here and in the beam lineup.

“Chris Walker.” Nope.

Remember when this meet was supposed to start 17 minutes ago? Well, we’ve started the national anthem now.

Warmups! Washington on vault, Utah on bars, UCLA on beam, Stanford on floor.

Note that Nguyen is leading off beam for UCLA after we’ve been told all preseason about how Nia is the PERFECT leadoff on beam and it’s HER SPOT.



Nguyen – BB – UCLA – aerial and loso, both smooth but very slow in intended combination – switch to split – split jump 1/2 from side position, better than most elites right now, a little right – front layout 1/1 with a hop. 9.825.

Copiak – VT – UW – full, some legs, hop back

Lewis – UB – Utah – Hits Tkatchev, a short handstand at the end – sticks DLO.

Riley – VT – UW – Y layout 1/2, lunge forward

MMG – UB – Utah – toe on to deltchev, high and caught – bail, some angle – stalder, some arch – to double tuck, a tad deep but holds the stick

Dennis – BB – UCLA – hits triple wolf turn with a check – looked like she baled on a back handspring but just repeated the loso series, fine – side somi, arm wave correction – back 1.5, near stick, high, small slide

Burleson – VT – UW – good high Yfull, some pike, step back

Lawson finishes floor with controlled double pike.

Reinstandtler – UB – Utah – hits Jaeger – small arch in cast handstand – leg break in the bail – shortish final hs – FTDT dismount with hop forward. Going for those handstand, just a little off on a couple skills, nothing major.

Roberson – VT – UW – GREAT amplitude on her full, stuck with legs apart. That’s the gymnast we expected to see

G Glenn – UCLA – BB – (No, not Gracie Kramer) – bhs loso series, extended, pretty – switch and split, nice – aerial to split jump with a check – full turn – gainer full. PRETTY work.

Lee sticks double tuck dismount on bars.

Navarro finishes floor with a double tuck, small shuffle on landing.

9.750 for Glenn.

Ross – BB – bhs loso, tentative with a leg up correction – switch ring, lean, no combination – looking tight – full turn – aerial – switch to split combination – side aerial to full, stuck. Worked it out at the end, but some unnecessary wobbles early.

Deep squat with a lung eback from Tessen on bars –

Flam – FX – Stanford – Double arabian, short with a step back – front pike through to double pike, short with a lunge forward – just struggling to get some things around – switch side to popa, good – double pike, lunge back

Skinner – UB – Utah – Toe shap to bail, leg breaks on toe shap, bail is clean – hitting handstands  sticks a staggered ftdt.

Ohashi – BB – UCLA – love this stag handstand mount – outturn – aerial to bhs, smooth, close enough to be connected – switch ring, not wild about front leg – bhs loso full dismount, hop in place. Good hit.

Bryant – FX – Stanford – gigantic DLO, just huge, controls the bounce – front tuck through to double pike, quite nice as well, chest up on all of this – switch side popa, the question on her routine, a little crooked – open double tuck, too much power and bounces back

Peng – BB – UCLA – three flares – bhs lay-pike, leg-up wobble but better than in the touch – double tuck to beat jump was excellent, but another leg-up check on the split jump – side aerial to full, stuck, a little off line.

Price – FX – Stanford – DLO, nailed, very strong – front tcuk through to double tuck, step back but controlled – good extension on dance elements – double pike, nailed, very good

Looks like Hano in exhibition on beam for UCLA. Hits loso series – check on a side aerial – sticks 1.5 with a lean.

Also, the live scores are garbage. Try to act surprised.

So, as we rotation to the second rotation, the leader is no one. And the sport is a mystery.


Lawson – VT – Stan – sticksish a yfull but crazy legs in the air and not a ton of distance

Kramer – FX _ UCLA – front 2/1 to front tuck, very nice again – back 1.5 to layout, small shuffle – good height and finish on switch side to popa – rudi to stradde, very good again this week. She is becoming a floor gymnast.

McNatt – BB – Utah – aerial with a check to bhs, we’ll see if they give it to her – a something turn, unclear shape – gainer loso, small check with bent knee form – sissone, low back leg – gainer full, stuck.

Ross – FX – UCLA – good control on double tuck – I wonder what the judges are doing with that Ferrari, but it seems unnecessarily sloppy for Ross to have in a routine – good straight shape and control on second pass – double pike, chest down but secure, some of her better tumbling for UCLA.

Navarro – VT- Stan – bounce back on yfull, a litlte whippy –

MMG – BB – Utah – switch to split, nice extension – bhs bhs loso, very smooth, comfortable – aerial to beat – full turn – 2/1, stuck. I’d like to see a little better rhythm in this routine, but that was very well executed.

Did she miss a SV issue and I didn’t notice? Score posted 9.650?

Bryant – VT – Stan – tooooo much power again on her full, large bounce back. 1.5 please?

Ohashi – FX – UCLA – DLO, lands just a hair squatty but solid – a little travel through middle pass but well executed –

Price – VT- Stan – the biggest Yfull in the world and stuck. I would have no problem with 9.950 for that. It’s the only full in gymnastics I see right now that actually warrants 9.950.

Flam – VT – Stan – Omelianchik with a huge bound forward again this week.

Dennis – FX – UCLA – double arabian, lunge forward, just stays in – strong leap positions – STICKS double tuck final pass cold

Copiak – UB – Wash – Great church to bail combo – did arch a handstand at the beginning, and again slightly at the end – sticks FTDT, just work out those handstands –

Burleson – UB – UW – half turn on high with an arch – good height on Tkatchev but feet – giant full to stuck double tuck.

Stover – BB – Utah – aerial to bhs series, keeps it moving – full turn, comfortable – beat jump to split ring jump, more confident than last week’s routine – kickover front hit – switch to straddle, smallest correction – gainer full, small slide. Good one.

Hano – FX – UCLA – DLO, good, controlled step back – LOLLLLL second pass looked good until the hilarious almost nothing jump out of it? What was that/what was it supposed to be? Rest was good – small slide out of double pike.

Tratz – FX – UCLA – full-in, lunge back, stays in bounds – back 1/5 to front full, controls the step, a little knees – bouncing on leap combo – double tuck, solid, a little deep.

Reinstadtler – BB – Utah – hits loso series – switch to straddle 1/4, good extension, ever so slightly tentative – oooooooh, nearly missed her foot on her gainer full but worked it out. Still landed dismount short with lunge forward but it could have been worse.

Honest – FX – UCLA – exhibition routine – bounce back on double pike – front lay to front full, some knees – I like the choreo the best on the team again, but the tumbling probably won’t get her into the lineup again this season.

Skinner – BB – Utah – bhs loso series, secure, knees in back handspring – side aerial with a balance check – L turn, another check, doesn’t connect to full turn – switch to straddle to back tuck is hit – double tuck, small step. Just small errors but a little more rattled than we usually see her on beam.

Lee – BB – Utah – full turn – bhs loso series, check with the leg up – beat jump to side aerial – switch to straddle 1/4, small lean – 2/1, good, stick.

I’m interested to see the real-life scores for this Utah beam rotation because the McNatt set is a SV nightmare and I don’t really know why it’s in the lineup, but that score for MMG seemed weird. I figured that routine would go 9.850-9.900, and then it was 9.650. Stover, I want to see SV because she is also playing with fire on connections.

Burch is doing exhibition on beam for Utah – full turn – high loso series, but knees and a little tentative – aerial to beat, solid – switch to straddle 1/4 – 1.5, near stick, step back. Option.

Beam scoring definitely tighter than the other three events.


UCLA 98.425
UTAH 98.100


Lawson – UB – Stan – Toe shap to bail, crazy legs and short of vertical – toe 1/2, hig hesitation and leg form, double tuck with large lunge –

Meraz – VT – UCLA – good, solid – hop back – medium distance, usual Meraz

Lewis – FX – Utah – double pike, good control – front lay front full, dance out of it – double tuck, landing caught her by surprise with a stumble –

Dennis – VT – UCLA – excellent height on full, too much of a bounce back.

Navarro – UB – Stan – very short hadnstand into tkatchev – really struggling on casts, about a tenth a piece – huge leg break on Pak – this is a real struggle – all of the cast handstands are at horizontal.

Hall – VT – UCLA – hits her 1.5 this time, hop forward, usual mushy knees throughout

Ross – VT – UCLA – good height on full – just a bounce up and down. It looks like Dennis went 9.850 for her one with the bounce, so Ross will be higher than that.

Flam – Ub – Stan – pasues in 1/2 turn but keeps it going into Jaeger – can’t work out of it and comes off. Another bars disaster for Stanford.

Tratz – VT – UCLA – Yfull, excellent distance – small step back and then it looked like another step to salute, but also will get a reward for better distance than Ross.

Reinstadtler – FX – Utah – double tuck – large bounce back, uncharacteristic – the rest is hit.

Hano – VT – UCLA – good 1/5, smallish hop forward, some knees but less knees than Hall.

Goings – BB – UW – secure on loso series, pulls it on the beam – beat jump to straddle 1/4, almost like the beat jump was higher than she expected but fine – gainer loso – step back on dismount –

Bryant hits bars for Stanford.

Kramer hits her tuck 1.5 on vault in exhibition.

Price – UB – Stan – Toe Shap to clear hip to Chruch to bail – perfect legs throughout, vertical – maybe a borderline hs this time, and then hops forward on DLO. No 10 but very good.

Soloski – FX – Utah – two step stumble-ish on DLO but keeps it in bounds – 2/1, smooth – 1.5 to layout, a little archy. Utah just uncertain on a couple tumbling passes so far.

Copiak with a check on loso series on beam but pulls it back – 1.5, step forward.

MMG – FX – Utah – pike full in, slide backward and some chest – switch ring to split full, short of position on her split full, sort of bailed out of that one – 1.5 to layout to pike, secure landing, I’d like to see a little straighter position on the layout – good rudi shape into straddle jump, a bit of travel. Solid. 9.950, a makeup score for beam?

Skinner – FX – Utah – L hop full – (they’ve fixed that from her elite days, when it was horizontal, the code says the leg needs to be above horizontal) – secure on double double tuck and middle pass – front tuck with a bounce forward – very secure full in. They throw in that random front tuck so that she fulfills the forward tumbling requirement, and it was the only landing she didn’t hit in the routine, a clear hop that will take away the 10. Still gets 9.975. Uh…K. Just because it’s not a tumbling line doesn’t mean you don’t have to control the landing.

Burleson – BB – UW – some large breaks early but works through a check on aerial into bhs – another correction on side aerial but she does a good job working through

Burch doing exhibition on floor as well – double pike, some bouncing out of middle pass. Straddled layout out of final pass.

Riley exhibition beam for UW – knees on loso and a check but hits it –


UCLA 147.825
UTAH 147.550
STANFORD 146.325


Reinstadtler – VT – Utah – full but didn’t have the landing, large bounce back

Honest – UB – UCLA – Tkatchev, FEET – 1/2 turn to straddle back, good vertical – FTDT dismount, stuck with a staggered legs

Lee – VT – Utah – clean full, hop in place, a little off to the side.

Lewis – VT – Utah – slide back on full –

Dennis – UB – UCLA – shap to bail to shoot to high, good legs – DLO, comes in short with a hop and then a slide salute.

Tessen – VT – Utah – Y 1.5, some knees, hop forward and then a slide salute from her as well. TWINSIES.

Meraz – UB – UCLA – Toe on to eRay to overshoot, good composition for her, just a leg break in overshoot – shrot final hs – whippy DLO with hop back.

MMG – VT – pretty clean 1.5. Hop forward, some knees, but stronger than Tessen’s.

Roberson with a big lunge out of front 2/1 on FX.

Skinner – VT – Utah – nearly sticks her DTY. Looks like a small slide, one of her better landings.

Ohashi – UB – UCLA – Fall

Burch in exhibition on vault for Utah. Actually has a nice open out of full, but has crazy legs on the block and lunged back.

Ross – UB – UCLA – Shap to bail -some arch in bail position – nice cast handstand – DLO, stuck, very pretty ending, just a little handstand moment early. Good set.

Price – BB – Stan – aerial, nice – bhs to lay-pike, very secure – just knees in the bhs – full turn – switch to split, good shape on split, probably a touch short on switch – awesome double pike dismount, stuck. Girl.

Peng – UB – UCLA – Ray close with bent elbows but caught – hit Bhardwaj – hits shap 1/2 – short hs in a couple places – a little squatty on DLO but hit. Not her strongest set, clearly tentative (probably because going after fall and knowing she needed hit) but she worked through it. LOL 9.925. K. Sure. Whatever you say.

Navarro – BB – Stan – good series – large lean break on aerial – nice double tuck, pace back.

Burleson lands double pike deep but securely –

UCLA finishes 197.200 to Utah’s 196.975. Stanford and Washington still to finish.

Bryant – BB – Stan – wobble on full turn but pulls it back – bhs loso is secure with knees – nice height on her split ring-ish? – excellent punch front – double tuck, nearly sells the stick. She’s a keeper, you guys.

Flam is in exhibition on beam for Stanford – some form in her bhs lay-pike series but very secure. Front tuck, solid. cat leap to switch side, hit. front full, deep with lunge back.

Who won? What are the final scores? It doesn’t matter apparently!

It was a close one between Utah and UCLA, not too much between the two teams, the main difference ultimately being beam, an event that was scored much tighter than the other three, but was fairly tight for all the team. No one was getting big scores and no one scored above a 9.850 all day. That’s still a problem because the standard needs to be equivalent across all the events, but it wasn’t unfair to any one team in particular. We’ll see if Utah goes back to the drawing board with some of these beam routines that are not getting 10.0 starts. Stover has a lot of connections she needs to get credit for (along with getting credit for the split ring jump), and similar is true for McNatt.

Stanford literally left before the awards because they have to catch a flight. This is a real sport!


  1. UCLA 197.200
  2. Utah 196.975
  3. Washington 195.725
  4. Stanford 195.350

We should also pause for a moment to talk about how good Stanford would be if they had more than two bars routines. It’s a real problem.


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