The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Sunday Live Blog – February 4, 2018


Sunday, February 4 Scores Stream
12:00 ET/9:00 PT – Bridgeport, Rhode Island @ Brown
12:00 ET/9:00 PT – Cortland @ Springfield FREE
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Penn State @ Michigan State LINK BTN
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Kent State, William & Mary, UW-Oshkosh @ [25] George Washington LINK GW
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Ithaca @ Brockport FREE
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Maryland @ [7] Michigan LINK BTN+
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – TWU @ Centenary LINK CC($)
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [1] Oklahoma @ [4] UCLA LINK ESPN
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [19] Arizona @ Cal LINK
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Lindenwood, Winona State @ Illinois State

Before today’s main event, Michigan has just wrapped things up against Maryland with a 196.875 to Maryland’s 195.050. Michigan was comfortably on 197 pace heading to floor before a bit of a disaster, having to count OOBs from both Zaziski and Townsend for 9.6s because Karas went down with another injury-scare floor fall.

Vault – Ohashi, Tratz, Dennis, Ross, Hall, Hano
Bars – Honest, Dennis, Meraz, Ohashi, Ross, Lee
Beam – Nguyen, Kocian, G Glenn, Ohashi, Ross, Lee
Floor – Kramer, Dennis, Ross, Hano, Ohashi, Tratz

Vault – Showers, Lehrmann, Dowell, Webb, Jackson, Nichols
Bars – Jackson, Webb, Catour, Dowell, Lehrmann, Nichols
Beam – Catour, Showers, Woodard, Lehrmann, Webb, Nichols
Floor – Showers, Dowell, Schoepfer, Webb, Jackson, Nichols


Ohashi – VT – solid height on her full but a little too amped, pretty big bounce up in place and a little awkward coming down. 9.775.

Jackson – UB – Solid piked Jaeger, hitting hs – nice vertical on the bail – final hs a little shorter – good shape on FTDT, small hop

Tratz – VT – great distance on her full, maintains a straight position, medium-sized slide back, probably giving away a tenth on the landing there. 9.850. Yeah, that kind of day.

Webb – UB – Gorgeous floaty Pak – Toe Shap 1/2, small leg break – rather late on the 1/2 turn into the double front, hop forward on landing – really clean until the end, pretty good handstands. 9.800.

Dennis – VT – strong stick on her Yfull, just a little chest forward, not a ton else to take, pretty much exactly what you want. 9.925.

Catour – UB – Good Ray – a bit muscled on a handstand – very clean bail, prefectly vertical – slow final cast handstand but pulled it back very well – excellent DLO as well, stuck. The bail and DLO are major highlights of that routine, will get hit perhaps for a handstand arch in there but saved it well. 9.875

Ross – VT – small slide back on her full, otherwise great position and her usual. 9.900.

Dowell – UB – Great Ray – a tight handstand afterward – strong bail as typical – DLO, good height and stuck. Not her best day in the cast handstand department, maybe a little tentative, but the rest was excellent. 9.900.

Hall – VT – Holds the stick on her 1.5. She has improved her consistency a TON on that vault this season – still the knees but not quite as bad as it used to be, and a little lean on the stick. But also probably the best I’ve seen her do that vault. 9.950. (One of the judges went 10, y’all…)

Lehrmann – UB – Jaeger, fab as always, great toe point – super clean bail – hitting handstands pretty precisely – FTDT, perfectly stuck with ideal form. That’s a remarkable routine. 9.950.

Hano – VT – 1.5 – hop forward on her 1.5 and also a little bouncy on the salute – great power and distance, will still be a strong score – a little bit of knees

Nichols – UB – Church, excellent – hitting hs – Pak, lovely – Strong Shap 1/2, small amount of legs – also sticks her DLO with the usual Maggie stagger, but a great routine. (*whsipers* Lehrmann’s was better… *end whisper*) 9.950 for her as well.

AFTER 1: UCLA 49.500, Oklahoma 49.475

Some home-ing for UCLA there, surely, but the vault was quite strong for having only the 2 10.0 starts. Those Yfulls from Ross and Dennis still merit scoring pretty high. I’m impressed by Hall’s improvement. Oklahoma a little hoppy and short on a couple handstands (surprisingly) in the first half of the lineup, but the end was pretty remarkable with Lehrmann and Nichols. 9.950 is a huge score, but sometimes I feel like Lehrmann gets phantom “we’re waiting for Maggie” deductions.

FEELS INTERLUDE. About “Together We Rise” and Bart and Kathy in 84.


Showers – VT – very clean full in the air, a little large bounce back than Ross, but a solid vault.

Honest – UB – usual big Tkatchev, not so much counter and the feet – great straddle back (and the feet are better there) – sticks her FTDT this time, typically her score comes down to the dismount, and that was a stronger landing.

Lehrmann – VT – good full from her as well – clean shape – holds the stick with some chest forward, similar to Dennis, perhaps a little off line.

Dennis – UB – Good Shap to bail combination – clean legs – hitting vertical – borderline final handstand – a little whippy on the DLO, college-stick-salutes the landing. 9.800.

Dowell – VT – Fantastic 1.5, stuck! Her third stick of the year. This was a stronger 1.5 than Hall’s, which went 9.950, so let’s see…

10.000! Compared to the other scores, that’s the right number.

Meraz – UB – small hesitation on her toe on – hits Tkatchev to overshoot, a little crooked, works through it – good final handstand – DLO with large lunge back

Webb – VT – Omelianchik, sits it down. Didn’t have the block to get it around.

Ohashi – UB – good vertical on bail, very small leg break – short handstand on high and then falls on her WOGAtchev. She’s struggling coming back to the bars lineup this year. Struggles on DLO dismount as well.

Jackson – VT – 1.5, a little shorter than her usual with a lunge back and to the side to save it – typically she bounds forward because she has so much power. Not her strongest. 9.850.

Lee – UB – Good Ray , hitting handstands, fab on the Bhardwaj – catches her Shap 1/2 – tries to hold the stick on the DLO but totally college-salutes as well. Otherwise one of her usual strong ones – hitting handstands, great leg form. Good set. 9.900.

Nichols – VT – SHE sticks her 1.5 as well! Fantastic. Legs together, holds the stick, another great one.

Ross – UB – Good Shap to bail combination – very crisp throughout – nails DLO. Yep, Kyla bars. It’s such a simple routine for her, but there’s so little to take. Maybe an arch in the final cast handstand.

And it’s a 9.975 for Maggie. I mean, great score and you can definitely argue 9.950 for this especially because of the leg stagger compared to Brenna, but also…? The judge who gave 9.950 also gave 10 to Hall. So that was weird.

After 2: Oklahoma 99.050, UCLA 98.750

Oklahoma takes the lead, performing stronger than UCLA on vault with those two stuck 1.5s and three hit 10.0 starts versus two for UCLA, despite having the fall from Webb. UCLA had the fall from Ohashi and was a little blah in a few of those early bars routines, accounting for the deficit (though it’s not a huge deficit so UCLA will take it at the halfway point). Honest and Meraz have improved a lot on bars, but they’re never going to be at the same level of Oklahoma’s lineup in the feet and precision and refinement.


Nguyen – BB – aerial to bhs series, small correction in between the two, which will be interesting, also a check working out of it – pretty switch position – split jump 1/2 from side position, solid – front layout 1/1, holds the stick with a lean. 9.900 is WAY HIGH for that.

“well, you said that Val was in the judges’ faces…” LOLLLL TOO CLOSE TO HOME.

Showers – FX – good high double pike, slide back – front full to front lay, keeps her leg shape well – switch to Ferrari, a little floppy on the Ferrari because obvi – solid final pass, good opening. 9.825.

Kocian – BB – switch ring, small check and loses her back foot – aerial through to bhs series, smooth enough – switch to sheep, another check, still a little tentative on those switch and split leaps right now because we know she can hit those positions well at her best. 1.5 dismount, short and a step back. 9.850. Mmmm. Mhmmm. Sure.

Dowell – FX – double front, good – small slide forward – 1.5 to layout to step up, fantastic, very well laid out – split leap full to popa, great popa, maybe a little short on the split leap – front lay to front full, great, maybe a little too much movement on the back foot but showed enough control. 9.900.

Glenn – BB – strong loso series – switch and switch series, the only person who should be allowed to do it – aerial with a leg-up wobble – full turn – beat jump to perfect split jump – hop back on gainer full. 9.750.

Schoepfer – FX – double tuck, large bounce back and OOB – 1.5 to layout is well controlled – switch ring to wolf hop full – double pike, solid, a little forward. 9.675.

Ohashi – BB – aerial to bhs, individually well executed – switch ring to beat jump, kind of keeps it moving, a little two-part in the switch ring – bhs loso to layout full, small slide back, very strong routine overall. Will get a 50, I’m sure.

Webb – FX – front 2/1, maybe a little too much of a crossover step lunge – back 1.5 to front full, another OOB! Was just a little off line and ended up closer to the line than she thought she was. FAB leaps – rudi, solid, a little bounce up. 9.700. Will have to count.

Ross – BB – nailed loso well – switch ring to beat jump, both skills were so pretty and actually connected, but then she had a lean wobble at the hips working out of it – smooth aerial, good – side aerial to layout full and then a small step, plus an adjustment to the side. Mostly pretty, oddly off in a few places.

Jackson – FX – open full in, too excellent, YOU’RE A MONSTER – whip 1/2 to front full, dances out but covers well enough – amazing amplitude in her leaps as always – double pike, comes in short with a lunge forward, very weird error from her on that. Kathy says she’s having an ankle issue, and I believe it with some of those non-Jackson landings today.

Lee – BB – three flares, excellent obviously – great bhs to lay-pike series, right on this time – no trouble on double turn to beat to split jump, pristine in all of them. side aerial to full, stuck. Well, this was clearly stronger than the routine she got a 10 for last week, so there’s that…

And it is a 10! This one is a more legitimate 10 than that one last week, though you can certainly argue that wasn’t a stuck landing. There’s also the lay-pike, but you can’t take for it because it is a separate and legitimate skill in NCAA.

Nichols – FX – double tuck, fantastic, controlled – front full to front layout stepout, dance out – great leaps – great control on double pike as well. The best routine in this lineup certainly, the one who really controlled all her landings. 9.975. Hahaha two 9.975s for Nichols so far today…

After 3: UCLA 148.275, Oklahoma 148.275

Well look how that worked out. A good beam rotation from UCLA (but can we talk about those first two scores…?), threw in a couple small errors that they would like to eradicate, but Peng with one of her best beams there to bring the rotation score up into the stratosphere. Nichols strong on floor, but worries about OU’s competitiveness on floor this year will not abate after that performance with the two OOBs and Jackson struggling on her final pass to give up the lead.


Catour – BB – full turn, smooth – bhs loso series, very precise – cat leap to switch side, good – strong aerial as well, this is a very controlled and secure routine – gainer tuck full off the end, stuck. Well now. 9.950. At least they’re consistent…?

Kramer – FX – front 2/1 to front tuck, hop forward this time but stays in – 1.5 to layout, good laid out shape – switch side to popa, lands switch side with a stagger but good extension – rudi to straddle, comes in a little short but is able to cover it into the straddle

Showers – BB – loso series, very secure from her as well – switch to straight 1/1 to Korbut, got it perfectly this time – kickover front to beat jump, nailed – gainer full, stuck. Strong.

9.975! Oh judges, you’ve painted yourselves into a corner here. What are you going to do next?

Dennis – FX – huge double Arabian but a large bounce and lunge forward out of it – front full to front layout, knee bend in the layout – split leap 1/1 to split jump full were excellent, very well extended and distinct landing positions – good double tuck, control. 9.875. Mmm. Mmmhmm. Sure.

Woodard – BB – kickover front, large break with a leg-up wobble, but at least she always just took it to a needle scale. Tries to redo the skill, makes the same mistake again and falls – does it a third time and gets the connection – switch to split to beat, struggled with a wobble to try to get into the beat, not really a beat jump – side aerial to full.

Ross – FX – whip to double tuck, nailed landing (a little scrunched down but one of the best she has done that pass, you can get away with that one) – switch ring to a Ferrari (eh…..) – 1.5 to layout, solid – double pike, more deep than the double tuck, you can’t get away with that one, but held it with no step deductions. 9.875.

Lehrmann – BB – aerial with a wobble, a little tight – cat leap to switch side, perfect – bhs loso series, another leg-up wobble, not usual from her – switch to Korbut, pretty – gainer full, pretends like she stuck, probably held it long enough to get credit before step-salute

Hano – FX – big DLO, controls the step back well and keeps her front foot down, good chest up landing – front full to half to running man – split leap full to wolf jump full – double pike, very well controlled as well – her version of this routine isn’t quite as active or sold as Sawa’s, but very very good tumbling.

10. Hmmm. Great routine? But I wouldn’t have gone 10 there.

Webb – BB – good full turn – very smooth loso series – cat leap to aerial, right on – switch to split, hits her 180s, some feet – side aerial to stuck full. great routine.

10.000. OK, guys, just relax now. These are great routines, but not EVERYTHING is a 10. Ugh.

Ohashi – FX – Does the DLO after they had Holly Rowe do a whole piece about how she wasn’t going to do the DLO. Strong middle pass – switch ring is good, second leap a little bailed out of full split this time – front full to half to switch drop split, which I love. Probably another 10 right? Lord. I just can’t. Not everything is a 10.

10.000. Of course.

This meet, you guys.

Nichols – BB – aerial to split jump, very strong, perfectly executed – bhs loso, very secure – switch to split, strong. 1.5, super high and stuck.

Well, we’ve had three 10s in a row, and that was the 10iest of any of them, so…

10.000 for Nichols. Of course. That’s the one I wouldn’t argue, but coming after the rest…

Tratz – FX – full in, OK but hops forward – NO 10 FOR YOU DISAPPOINTMENT – 1.5 to front full, around, has to tuck the legs on the front full at the end – double tuck, stuck, chest low.

9.925. Which is basically like a 1 in this rotation.

FINAL: Oklahoma 198.050, UCLA 197.950

We’ll get lost in the scores (I didn’t think they were completely crazy at the beginning, but they lost their minds at the end), but also an important performance, especially for UCLA to show that they can keep it close with the best teams once again, since the score is kind of one we throw out. UCLA was close enough in level to Oklahoma to be encouraged quite a bit by this one. Oklahoma strong on three pieces, about at the level we’ve seen in previous meets, though floor (and Jackson not seeming at full strength) kept this one close.

Val and KJ doing a presentation about the power and strength of women, video tribute to the army of women.

Well now how are we supposed to be all salty and sarcastic about the scores?!?! UNFAIR.







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