The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Monday Live Blog – January 15, 2018

Monday, January 15 Scores Stream
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Oklahoma @ Georgia LINK SEC+
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Lindenwood @ SEMO LINK

Oklahoma finally gets in on this whole “NCAA gymnastics season” nonsense with a visit to Georgia. Oklahoma needs to score 197.225 to move into 1st place in the rankings. Last season, Oklahoma opened with a 197.725.

And Georgia, let me talk to you for a second. We’re all worried about you. Following the injury to Gigi Marino on Friday, Georgia is planning on putting up only five on vault, bars, and floor today. So, that’s not a great place to be.

Can we discuss how the SEC Network is replaying Georgia/Alabama right now, while the actual Oklahoma/Georgia meet is about to begin? If you’d like to complain about conference-specific TV deals, this would be a place to start.

Kevin’s like, “Yeah, it’s gonna be ROUGH.”


Kevin confirms it’s an Achilles injury for Gigi Marino. Yikers.

Jackson going on bars for Oklahoma again this season. No Showers. No Nichols on vault today.

Vega – VT – so glad the camera angle is behind the vault? Full, knee form, hop back, hit. How many times are we going to say this is Sabrina’s first vault in 17 years?

Jackson – UB – Hits piked jaeger – bail – full out dismount with hop back. A little tighter in the handstands, with some feet, more than we’ll see from the rest of the lineup, but solid.

Oakley – VT – Looked like good shape on full – we can’t see landings at all from this camera angle – but we get a good angle on the replay, so they actually have it…?

Webb – UB – nice first hs – lovely Pak, legs together – Toe shap 1/2, good, small leg break – 1/2 turn to double front, not much cowboy, step back.

Dickson – VT – Slide back on a full. Nice open.

Catour – UB – arches first handstand but pulls it back – Tkatchev – bail, very clean – muscles up final cast handstand – sticks strong DLO.

Johnson – VT – best dynamics of the group so far, hop back, some leg form.

Dowell – UB – Strong Ray – shortish handstand – bail, a little floppiness in the air but good vertical – some hip angles in here, strong DLO, stuck.

Snead – VT – lovely height and shape on the full – hop back, a little bigger hop. Well, they got through five hits, but nothing that’s going to be a big score. They won’t be able to expect 9.850s for fulls with medium hops back as we go.

Lehrmann – UB – 1.2 turn to very high Jaeger, nice – hitting handstands – very good vertical position on bail – one iffy hs toward the end, FTDT, great toe point and stick. Yeah, this is a good rotation.

Nichols – UB – Church, excellent – Pak to toe on, very smooth – legs together right through Shap 1/2 – holds the stick on a DLO, chest forward but keeps it with a lean.

Marks is doing exhibition on bars – annnnnnnd she started with a cast handstand and then was in a heap on the ground? Annnnnd can’t do it again, comes off, and they’re just like, “You’re off the team forever. Just salute and go sit in the corner.”

After 1: Oklahoma 49.425, Georgia 49.050

Oklahoma starting the season as prepared as we would expect, good dismounts, showing very nice and precise vertical bail handstand positions, which separates the lineup from other teams we’ve seen so far this season. A couple handstands in some of the early routines especially, which will be resolved as we go. Good start.

Kevin: “They’ll be back in the top 25, you expect” on Georgia. How expectations change.


Showers – VT – small hop on a full – good shape and height – not the most distance we’ll see. Hop to the side.

Johnson – UB – clear hip to Gienger, legs – foot cross in bail – some leg breaks – handstands look a little better than Friday, but a lunge back on DLO.

Lehrmann – VT – Clean full, our first stick of the day on vault – comes in with a smallest of pikes, maintained throughout much of the vault – medium distance and height.

Oakley – UB – Toe Shap to Pak, good shape on Pak – tentative 1/2 turn handstand on low but holds it with good vertical – sticks double tuck. Pretty. Also improved over Friday. 9.725.

DeGouveia – VT – Y1.5 – a medium-sized bound forward on landing – not her strongest but fine –

Vaculik – UB – giant full to Vaculik Gienger – excellent shape – small body angle in the bail – usual FTDT, step back.

Dowell – VT – Sticks a Y1.5 You know, like you do. Will be a huge score. Knees, but not much else to take there.

Snead – UB – clear hip to tkatchev, caught – nice handstand line and extended feet – one iffy hs – small slide back on DLO. Good.

Webb – VT – Omelianchik – good shape on her pike – hop forward, but nice. Just tucks slightly at the very end.

Dickson – UB – Ray, hit – clean bail – tight final hs from her as well – pretty shape on DLO, hop back.

So Georgia got through the first two events of five gymnasts.

Jackson – VT – big 1.5 as always, best distance of the bunch, small hop forward.

AFTER 2: Oklahoma 98.875, Georgia 98.125

Oklahoma puts up four 10.0 starts, all realistic. They’ll have 5 when Nichols is in. We did not see the 1.5 from Schoepfer, who seemed to be struggling with it a little in training. As expected, Oklahoma looking comically more prepared than any other team at this early point in the season.

Georgia getting through with low 49s in the first two rotations, which is as good as could be expected. Some charity on some of these scores, but a reasonable rotation.


Georgia has six people on beam! But also it’s beam!

Snead – BB – bhs loso bhs series, nice extension – cat leap to swtich to back tuck, tight on the switch, otherwise solid – full turn – front tuck with a check but saves it – 2/1 hop back.

Showers – FX – very high double pike, good shape, just a little shuffle landing it – front full to front lay, good height – switch ring, excellent extension, the Ferrari afterward is still a Ferrari and never looks good on anyone – back 1/2 to front full – controlled dancing out of landings.

Oakley – BB – wolf turn – switch leap, low back leg and a check, leg up – split to split ring jump – bhs loso, hit it and then another check working out of it – cat leap to aerial to split jump, lean correction – gainer full –

Dowell – FX – double front to stag, fab – back 1.5 to layout to “I stepped on a bee” choreography – split leap full to popa, not the most extended split full – front lay front full, nailed her landings.

Vaculik – BB – cat leap to side aerial to wolf jump, hit, slow in combination but hit, credit? – bhs loso series, hit – switch to straddle 1/4 with a check – full turn – 1.5 to hop forward

Webb – FX – front 2/1, a little bounce out of it – 1.5 to front full, good height, keeps the back leg down – bouncy travel on leap combination, good extension – rudi with a bounce back and slide. Solid, not the most secure landings.

Long score wait for Vaculik. 9.675.


Babalis – BB – aerial to layout stepout combo, no check but slowish – switch to split to back tuck, nice extension in those leaps – full turn – piked kickover front to beat jump, also a little lean in between the combo – front full with hop. 9.900. So they gave her all those connections.

DeGouveia – FX – opened with a rudi? May have intended a front 2/1, did not have her landing and falls, way too high to turn that into a rudi so she just had to flop to the ground – double pike with a large bounce back – back 1.5 to layout, lunge –

Dickson – BB – aerial to switch to straddle 1/4, clean – bhs loso with step back to save a wobble – switch to split, tightish positions – bhs 1.5 with hop forward.

Nichols – FX – just a double tuck, she’s like “what’s a double tuck” a little bounce – front full to front layout stepout to dance out – swtich ring and split leap 1/1, great extended positions, even without the most height she has gotten – double pike, a little stagger step/hop.

Vega – BB – switch ring, small correction – loso series, smooth, comfortable – full turn – cat leap to aerial to beat jump, small hesitation – switch to split 1/4 – side aerial to full, short with a hop.

Jackson – FX – open full in, like she can do, bounce back – layout 1/2 to front full, dances out of it, they do a lot of dance-covers on landings, but they still can be taken – amazing amplitude on her leaps – nailed double pike, good control

49.325 for Georgia on beam. Some charitable judging again in several places, but an important hit.

Arnold in exhibition on beam. Those leaps look better than at the First Look. Becoming a more real option here. Not going to make the best-case lineup, but she could go if needed.

Schoepfer doing exo for OU. Bouncy on a double pike, good height second pass, short on double tuck, hands down.

AFTER 3: Oklahoma 148.250, Georgia 147.450


Catour – BB – full turn – loso series, hit – switch to straddle 1/4, leg-up wobble, a little tight and ruskhed perhaps – cat leap to aerial, smooth – gainer pike, hop back

Arnold – FX – double pike, secure – double tuck, same, chest down but controlling the landing – dance elements not quite to 180 – 1.5 to layout – hit

Showers – BB – full turn – loso series, very secure, could be a little more extended – switch leap straight hop 1/1 to Korbut, LOVEEEE – kickover front to beat, a little deep in kickover but works into the combination well – hop in place on gainer full. 9.900.

Babalis – FX – whip double tuck, deep squat, near-buckle in landing but held it – front full, solid – split leap 1.5 to split full – double pike bounce backward

Jackson – BB – full turn – hits loso series, low body with some leg form but secure – switch side, lean to hold it – pike jump to loso and falls – good 1.5 dismount

Snead – FX – whip through to double tuck, controls landing – rudi to straddle shushunova, good position on that straddle – a touch deep on double pike landing but works it out

Lehrmann – BB – Love that mount – full turn – aerial with a leg-up wobble – cat leap to switch side, strong extension – hits solid loso series – switch to korbut, elegant – slide back on gainer full

Dickson – FX – double pike, good control on landing, chest downish – back 1.5 to front lay, very straight position and controlled – switch side to popa, good finishing positions and hits her 180s – double tuck – really nice routine

Webb – BB – full turn, lovely flair – bhs loso, good amplitude – cat leap to aerial, small lean correction – switch to split jump, great – side aerial to full, hop back

Vega – FX – double pike, small bounce but good height and chest position finish – 1.5 to layout – switch ring to split leap 1/1 – tries the split leap 1.5, not the strongest part of the set, it’s a little short of split and risking not being all the way around – double tuck, small slide

196.600 for Georgia

Important hit meet. These depleted lineups are unsustainable, but they got through one.

Nichols – BB – aerial to beat to split ring jump, check – bhs loso series, another lean – switch to split, great extension – sticks 1.5. A couple small leans, overall lovely execution of elements, don’t love split ring jumps on beam (hard to make them look right if you’re not Chinese), but will be a great score.

197.550 for Oklahoma ties Michigan for the top score in the nation this year and will put Oklahoma into #1 in the rankings.

About what we’d expect for Oklahoma, save those couple falls. That beam lineup still needs Natalie Brown. But they have a lot of people who can go in that they can play around with. Most prepared first-meet team, as is typically the case.




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