The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Sunday Live Blog – February 18, 2018

8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [3] Utah @ [2] UCLA SCORES P12N

Game on, people.

Can’t stop 10ing; won’t stop 10ing.

Vault – Reinstadtler, Lee, Lewis, Tessen, Merrell-Giles, Skinner
Bars – Lewis, Merrell-Giles, Reinstadtler, Lee, Tessen, Skinner
Beam – Stover, Merrell-Giles, Burch, Lee, Reinstadtler, Skinner
Floor – Lewis, Lee, Reinstadtler, Soloski, Merrell-Giles, Skinner

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

I am living for Meraz in the anchor spot on bars for UCLA. We’ll see if it comes through, but it’s a strategic play to potential crazy scores today.

Jim: Teams, we love you all the same, except not as much as UCLA and Utah. They’re our favorites.


Dennis – VT – full – gigantic height on her full, solid vault, a small hop and then a little bounce saute, some chest on landing. 9.950?!??! DA FUQ???


Lewis – UB – giant full to tkatchev, hit, not much counter on her tkatchev, solid bail – I saw two short hs in there – nice DLO. 9.850.

Tratz – VT – Fabbbbbbbb full. Well now what do you do with that? Because it was better than Nia’s definitely not stuck vault. 9.925. So, but, I mean, was that worse than Nia’s?

MMG – UB – strong deltchev – solid bail – a little muscle on final hs and some bent elbows on stalder but good stick on double tuck. Solid casts. 9.900.

Ross – VT – hops back on her full but otherwise her typical vault, good form and direction, quite clean. So obvious 10 I guess? 9.850. Oh, like a real score.

Reinstadtler – UB – 1/2 turn to jaeger, good jaeger, a little late on 1/2 turn – leg break in bail and a shortish final cast hs – hop back on FTDT. Solid, not quite as crisp as MMG’s to me. 9.825.

Hall – VT – 1.5 – sits it – hmmmmmmm – just when we thought she had figured this vault out. 9.300.

Lee – UB – 1/2 turn to piked jaeger to overshoot, nice height on Jaeger, that has improved a lot in her college career – almost had a really good one going until a large bounce back on double tuck and then another step.

Hano – VT – 1.5 – some of her best control on the landing with a smaller hop forward, though she did land it a little deep. 9.925.

Tessen – UB – hits Jaeger, solid casts and vertical on her bail – a swim stooping up to high – FTDT, good stick.

Ooooooh, Anna Glenn coming into the lineup because they don’t trust Kramer to hit when they need one after Hall’s fall.

Glenn – VT – short on the full, with a hop forward. The big thing will be landing short with the low chest position. Still 9.800.

Skinner – UB – arches her first handstand! Saves it – Shap to bail, close to vertical but a little more angled than usual – better on her loose back handstands – sticks FTDT legs apart. We’ll see what they do with that handstand since it should be a significant deduction. 9.775.

After 1: UCLA 49.450, Utah 49.300

Well, are you not entertained? I’ve basically still not recovered from Dennis getting a 9.950 in the first spot for a full that she didn’t even stick and I thought was going 9.850 at MOST. The vault scores kind of settled as the rotation went, in that they were just normal-cracky instead of literal insanity, but UCLA squandered the chance at a bigger total with the fall from Hall and then playing it safe with the lower-quality full from Glenn.

A fine bars rotation from Utah, but they too will feel like they could have done better with a few not getting their landings and then the arch mistake from Skinner. MMG and Tessen solid. Important for Tessen because she can be the question in that lineup sometimes.


Reinstadtler – VT – smooth Yfull, hop back, not the mosssst dynamic vault we’ve seen or will see – but good straight shape. Soo….10! 10! 10! 10! 9.800 is not consistent with the UCLA scores.

Dennis – UB – Shap, strong to bail, good legs, solid vertical position – nice final hs – sticks DLO. One of her strongest routines. 9.925.

Lee – VT – good full. Very strong stick. Nice open and form. The only difference between her and Tratz will be that Tratz had the big distance, and Lee’s distance was just kind of normal. 9.900 for that is more consistent with the other scores. Except Dennis because that was just nothing.

Ohashi – UB – toe on to bail, small leg break on that – close final handstand – hits WOGAtchev – flings out DLO but saves the landing with a fairly small hop forward after coming in a bit short. 9.900. Cool. Fun.

Lewis – VT – good open on her full, better height than the first two in the lineup, small slide with one foot and a little college-salutey on landing. 9.875.

Honest – UB – big tkatchev, also can use more counter – elbows collapse a little on straddle back this time but did well to save without an adjustment – hop back on FTDT. 9.800. The judges saw the flexed feet then. So at least they’re not indiscriminately cracky.

Tessen – VT – 1.5 – she sits it down too! It’s the day of short 1.5s for falls. Hers is the most inconsistent of the Utah vaults, but she had been hitting it lately.

Peng – UB – Hits Ray well – strong hs – gorgeous Bharwaj as always – toe on to Shap 1/2, very well done – hitting all hs – DLO, comes in SUPPPPPER deep with a large lunge forward. That’s the only thing, but it will be a significant deduction. 9.800.

MMG – VT – 1.5 – oooooh, saved it. She came in a little short on her 1.5 too but pulled it out to avoid disaster, rather squatty with a hop to the side

Ross – UB – Good Shap to bail as always – very clean – nice counter on toe shoot – DLO can’t hold the stick, a swim and then a lunge back. 9.875.

Skinner – VT – DTY – stuck! That’s the best DTY she’s done this season, probably in college. Best landing. We’ll see if they take for feet or a little pike, like one of the judges did for Price last night (or maybe direction). 9.950. If you ask the judges where they came up with the score, they can find deductions to show you in the feet and the body position (but very slight), but if you ask them to reconcile the consistency of that 9.950 with the Dennis 9.950…that would be an interesting little conversation. Because there’s no answer. It’s just not consistent. If that’s a 9.950, then no one else in the vault competition should have been more than 9.875.

Meraz – UB – toe on to Ray – fall. UCLA started well but was kind of poor in the second half of the rotation.

After 2: UCLA 98.750, Utah 98.600

Not really very good rotations from either there. Utah as expected with the fulls, but then both Tessen and MMG struggled on their 1.5s, taking away the chance for a strong score. And then there’s the Skinner score, which we’ll obviously hear a lot about. And there’s justification there.

UCLA started very cleanly on bars and it looked like another 9.9 parade was in the making, though Lee and Ross both screwed up their dismounts, which UCLA could not afford from scores it really needed.


Nguyen – BB – full turn – aerial to standing loso, a little slow in combo but not a fake combo like last week – switch to split, good positions – split jump 1/2 from side position – front layout full with a small hop. Good. Methodical routine but very pretty individual elements. 9.825 is reasonable for that.

Lewis – FX – double pike, good control, chest up – front lay to front full, fine – switch side to split jump 1/1 – double tuck, a little over, which resulted in the small slide. 9.825. Also reasonable. Did the judges get a note at the halfway point?

Kocian – BB – switch to sheep with a small lean – bhs loso, better, saved it from a wobble – full turn, overturned a little – aerial, another very small correction, a little tentative, also just so fragile looking that sometimes the wind causes her to take a balance check – 2/1, stuck. 9.900.

Lee – FX – 2.5, controls the step out, good twisting form – switch leap to switch ring 1/2, fine for a turning ring – 2/1 to loso, good extension – front lay to front full, a little flat on that layout, but solid. 9.900.

G Glenn – BB – smooth and pretty loso series – aerial to split jump, leg-up wobble – switch to switch series, also lovely – full turn – sticks gainer full. Good routine. That leg-up wobble is the thing you can take, but little else there. 9.875.

Reinstadtler – FX – double tuck, good chest up (almost a little too up) but kept from foot down – very nice switch ring and split leap 1/1, hitting 180s and crisp finish position – 1.5 to layout, fine – solid double pike too. Very composed floor routines so far. 9.925. Uh oh. Here we go.

Ohashi – BB – almost a check on her full turn to start – aerial to bhs loso series, perfect throughout – switch ring with a check – switch to split – bhs loso layout full dismount, stuck. Really strong moments in there, a couple checks. 9.925. I would have gone 9.900, so kind of high but not unreasonable.

Soloski – FX – attitude turn, nice – DLO, came in a little squattier than usual with a lunge back – split leap 1/1, back leg slightly short – 2/1, comfortable – aerial – 1.5 to layout, overflipped the layout so got no punch into her layout and couldn’t get it around – fall. Breaks the score building a little. 9.175.

Ross – BB – very smooth loso series, quite precise – switch ring to beat jump, hits it and gets the necessary combination – full turn, a little off balance but saved a check – aerial, no trouble – side aerial to full, weirdly under on dismount with a crossover step. UCLA making weird dismount errors today. 9.875. Would have thought dismount was a tenth and a half.

MMG – FX – pike full in – good, small slide back – switch ring to split leap 1/1, has to finish the split leap 1/1 after landing, scooting the feet a little – 1.5 to layout to pike, better shape on the layout this time around – rudi to straddle with a little more of a travel back this time. 9.925. I had 9.850, for reference.

Peng – BB – 3 flares, very comfortable as always – bhs to lay-pike, may have held that long enough to not get docked for the step back – double spin, huge break with a lean at the hips – repeats into beat jump split jump, good – side aerial to stuck full. We’ll see what they do with the double turn because that can be an up-to-three-tenths deduction, but sometimes we see as low as a tenth taken for that. 9.800. So a compromise.

Skinner – FX – L hop 1/1 – double double, small slide back – split leap 1.5, not quite all the way around that time – 1.5 through to 2/1, she’s sliding a little on these landings, small but not quite the crispness she usually has – front tuck – full in, same as the other landings, with the smallest little shuffle back. 9.975. LOL OK. Floor is getting…interesting. You want to see that front foot stay down when she steps back on the landing to show that it’s a controlled step and the momentum has been stopped rather than continuing to carry you backward.

After 3: UCLA 148.150, Utah 148.150

Well at least it’s tied! Exciting.

Do you think UCLA makes Jim talk about how many twitter followers they have every meet?


Stover – BB – check working out of the aerial and no combination, will redo – aerial to bhs, slow but got it the second time around – full turn, good – beat jump to split ring jump, secure – kickover front with a check – a little tight today – switch to straddle, good – gainer full, stuck. A nervous routine but endured. 9.775.

Kramer – FX – front 2/1 to front tuck and takes it OOB this time, she’s always close but OOB this time – 1.5 to layout, strong, good form – switch side to popa, nice extension and height – rudi to straddle, off balance coming down to land with a small correction. 9.675.

MMG – BB – switch to split jump, no trouble – bhs bhs loso, secure – aerial, balance check – full turn – 2/1, holds the stick. Better, still looked tight and had that check. 9.925. Well now.

Dennis – FX – double Arabian, that same problem as always, huge lunge forward and OOB, pretty much every time – front 1/2 to layout second pass, perfect – good positions on leaps, nice height – double tuck, large lunge back. 9.625.

Burch – BB – full turn – bhs loso series, secure, some feet – cat leap to aerial to beat jump, no trouble – switch to straddle 1/4, arm wave swim to save a wobble – a little deep on 1.5 with a step back.

Ross – FX – whip to double tuck, controls landing but chest well down – switch leap to Ferrari – 1.5 to layout, bouncy out of landing – double pike, shortish with a hop forward. 9.875. Hmmm.

Lee – BB – full turn – loso series, hit – beat jump to side aerial, hit – switch to straddle 1/4, good – 2/1 with a little hop back. Clean routine.

Tratz – FX – strong landing on her full in, just a touch short but one of her better ones – back 1.5 to front full, also secure – switch ring to split leap 1/1, close-ish? – double tuck, steps back and OOB. Oh, UCLA. You have no one to blame but yourself for this floor rotation.

Reinstadtler – BB – aerial with a little check moving into split jump, and then another small lean afterward – another check on loso series – they’re competing nervous but hanging on – switch to straddle 1/4, better – gainer full with a hop. 9.825.

Hano – FX – sticks DLO, very nice – 1.5 to 1/2 to running man jump, she’s selling that more now so that it doesn’t look quite like the mistake it used to when she first did this routine – split leap 1/1 to wolf jump 1/1, a little bouncy – a little knees in her double pike but controls the landing. Well, someone showed up for floor today. 9.975.

Skinner – BB – hits loso, usual loose leg form – side aerial to sissone, tight sissone – full turn, dropped the L turn from her routine this time, which she doesn’t need anyway and I kind of feel like is superfluous to her set – switch to straddle to back tuck, fine – double tuck, a hair short but saved it with a small slide forward.

Ohashi – FX – DLO, looked like a little slide on her landing but chest up well – travels a little more than she wanted on that middle pass but controls the landings – switch ring to switch 1/2, good – front full to 1/2 to switch split jump sit split, love that final pass.

The fact that the scores stopped updating is definitely my jam.

We don’t have a final score, but we know that Utah won. UCLA had the result for themselves, and the attention will be on throwing it away with those OOBs on floor, though I think the Bruins were trying too hard quite a bit through the meet, like with some of those bars landings and odd beam checks on otherwise exceptional routines. They didn’t need to make those mistakes. I don’t feel like they really competed with calm confidence today, you guys.

FINAL: Utah 197.550, UCLA 197.425


%d bloggers like this: