The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

US Nationals – Senior Women Day 2 Live Blog

What I’m thinking, pre-competition:

1) As we enter the second day, my primary debate topic remains the same as it was before the first day (Ragan Smith Question Mark), but the tone of that question has become much darker. As in…is she OK? We’ll see. Today, she has to show that it was worth choosing to compete at this meet.

2) Who is the second AAer? That question was answered with a pretty emphatic HURD on the first day. We’ll see if that keeps up or if Riley McCusker can make a move and remove that one-point lead Hurd currently enjoys. Overall, it was a strong first day for both, who should both feel comfortable with their places in the grand scheme and in Simone’s royal court.

3) The Chiles-manar. The most significant development of day 1 was the hit, excellent Amanar displayed by Jordan Chiles, a far cry from the misses we saw in podium training. She’ll need to do it again, but that vault is vital because the highest-scoring team of five using the numbers from the first day would (suddenly) include Jordan Chiles.

4) It would also include Jade Carey—even though the two would seem to overlap roles on a worlds team, that’s OK if Biles, Hurd, and McCusker are comfortably handling bars and beam. Which they can. Right now, Carey’s place would not come because of vault, where she showed a perfectly fine DTY (yet one that many others can mimic), but because of floor, where her upgraded tumbling has put her in near-Biles difficulty territory. If she’s staying with the DTY on day 2, then Carey needs to remain the clear silver medalist on floor to keep making what is basically a one-event argument right now, much like Chiles.

5) Pan Ams spots. Grace McCallum and Shilese Jones made excellent arguments for themselves on day 1, as did Trinity Thomas of course, if she elects to put herself up for that assignment. If she’s available, Thomas should go. With the injuries to so many of those first-year seniors now, my “first year seniors only” plan is probably out the window, which is good news for someone like Shchennikova, who remains in the mix for that assignment. Based on day 1, McCallum, Jones, and Eaker seem clear choices, but they’ll have to keep it up. There are lots of other piranhas circling and remaining spots open to be won.

6) Can Simone beat 60.100? She will be aiming to since she had a million tenths of OOB en route to that 60 on day 1.

You know it’s time when Macready is making mandatory dancing happen.

Oh, they’re pulling out the tears reel again. Must be serious.

Announcing the wrong names for the intro. Excellent start.

The 2008 Olympics have to be interviewed by Macready. Haven’t they been through enough?

Pre-meet update: Simone is good. #analysis


McCusker – FX – DLO, pikes this down a little this time but stays in, a hop – nice split leap 1/1 – frotn 2/1 to front tuck, also better than day 1 – struggles in wolf double attempt, gets two around but it’s awkward – double pike, hop back – switch ring – no trouble with the leaps – double tuck, another little bounce. Problems with the wolf turns but otherwise fine.

Eaker – UB – lovely Shap – tkatchev to Pak, nice – great toes – shap 1/2 – clear hip 1/1, quite late – good piked jaeger – DLO, pikes down with a little hop back

Hurd with another bounce back on her DTY, which she’s been doing lately, but solid. Same score as first day.

Davis – BB – switch ring – double pike dismount, hop back

McCallum – VT – REALLY good DTY, small hop in place, just a touch of legs. Very good.

Biles – UB – weiler 1/2 to Shap , small leg break – connects to tkatchev – good – toe full to piked tkatchev to Pak, solid again – legs were a bit crazy on the Shap 1/2 this time – double double tuck, a little short with a hop. Some more form problems than the first day but still obviously a great score coming.

Pace back from Frazier on her DTY, solid

Gilstrap front tuck to switch to wolf is lovely again. We should talk about how nice she is on beam more. Strong switch ring – did well to pull out a 2/1 dismount after missing her foot a little.

14.550 for Biles. .3 lower than first day, and you can justify at least that.

Dunne – UB – toe full – stalder shap is excellent, connected to pak – toe shap 1/2 also with some crazy legs – toe 1/2, large break at the hips but keeps going – piked jaeger – tkatchev – goes over and has to recast and correct – the individual skills lovely, just looks like she needs more time

McCallum moves ahead of McCusker (because she just did vault), otherwise samesies at the top.

Carey – UB – Ray, hit with flexed feet – blind change to yezhova, hit – toe shap to pak, nice pak – toe shoot, close, short on hs out of it – giant full pretty late – good FTDT. That’s about what she can do on bars. Good one.

SMith – FX – DLO, solid, nearly stuck – 1.5 through to triple full, well short and a hand down, could be viewed as a brush though? – side-winds her double arabian as usual but gets it, just a little short – double pike with shuffle back. Still not her gymnastics.

It’s a 12.600 on floor, so they did take a fall for that, which I’m glad about because her hand did touch the ground

Shchennikova – BB – starts with THE BEAST, hit – bhs loso loso, hit – aerial – split to sissone – onodi with a check – side aerial, another check – switch – side somi, good – bhs bhs double tuck, large cowboy with a hop back. Got through.

Soza – FX – full in with a couple-step shuffle back – 1.5 to front tuck, little hop – switch ring – split leap 1.5, questionable about getting the full 1.5 – double L to illusion – double tuck – lovely leap positions, though, even if she won’t get all of them – double pike, short with a hop

Chiles – BB – oooooooh tried to Wolfkino her wolf turn to save it but falls – some checks after that but finishes with a secure double pike landing

Blanco – BB – side roll points – switch ring, good – bhs loso series, small check, good extension – aerial to split ring jump with wobble – side aerial – switch to switch 1/2, love her toe point maintained in that combination – side somi – L turn like buttah – 2/1 stuck, good one.

After 1, Simone is winning. So there’s that. We’ll see if McCallum can keep up this lead over McCusker as we go. McCusker goes to higher-scoring pieces now, and can certainly improve on her day 1 bars.

Andrea is interviewing KP. “What’s the single most important change you’ve made?” Really getting to the heart of the matter there, Andrea.

Macready just did something horrible involving Bridget Sloan. Pretend it never happened.


Jones – she just did a HUGE DTY with a large bounce back, not a controlled landing – make it an Amanar.

Biles – BB – wobbles her way through a triple wolf but hits it – solid on barani with a little hesitation – no issue on bhs loso loso series – switch to switch 1/2 to back pike, leg-up wobble. May not get combo into back pike – front pike, very solid – aerial to split – bhs bhs full in, good, small step. A couple issues but like bars, obviously going to be a big number.

Gilstrap is pretty secure on a double arabian landing on floor – front 2/1 with crossover step – lovely switch ring as she shows on beam – double pike, small slide – some indistinct landing positions – wolf double – double tuck, solid

Smith – VT – fine DTY, a little over with a hop – the usual legs on block

Hurd – UB – inbar shap to stalder full to tkatchev, nice – Ricna to pak, a little low on Pak but worked it out – stalder shoot – inbar 1/2, a touch late – inabr 1/1 late to FTDT, close, with a step – a couple verticals there but fine overall.

Soza – VT – clean full with pace back –

Dunne – BB – hits front tuck – finishes with no dismount like on the first day

McCusker – VT – DTY with a hop back. It looks like she has become comfortab le with this vault, which is significant for her. She lands a little staggered, a little under, but the landing control is good

Artistic people can’t vault, starring Timothy Daggett

Carey – BB – wolf turn 1.5 – split leap to side aerial, hit – Side America, solid – bhs loso lay-pike, hit – switch to switch 1/2, short – to back tuck – aerial to split to straddle – bhs bhs double pike, lunge back

McCallum goes 13.650 on bars, gives some ground back to McCusker.

Shchennikova – FX – front layout double front to I BURNED MY FEET that will not get credit as a stag – double pike, staggered with a small step – switch ring – switch 1/2, nice extension – back 1.5 to front full with a sideward shuffle, two steps – wolf triple, precise finish position – at least she does an arm wave in between her BEAST on floor? Grasping at straws – double tuck, holds landing

Kenlin – BB – side aerial, nice – aerial with a pause through to split leap split jump, won’t get the combo but no trouble on the skills – side america, hit – drops L turn a little early – split leap 1/1 wasn’t there, won’t get full credit – falls on layout – just pulls aorund double pike with lunge

Thomas – UB – toe on – toe shap to clear hip 1/1, late – tkatchev to pak with straddle – toe on – toe shap 1/2, hit – DLO with hop. Not as clean as she can be but OK

13.950 on bars for Frazier is quite an improvement over the fall on day 1. You know.

Chiles – FX – 1.5 through to double arabian, took it RIGHT to the edge but stays in, little movement on landing – Dos Santos, steps OOB – switch ring – split leap 1.5  – DLO, short again with a stagger stumble – switch leap 1/1 is still back leggy – sits down her wolf turn this time, which should be a fall, really – double pike, pike, because of course it was.

13.500 for Thomas. Really low D today. Did she repeat a root?

Yes, just went back and looked at my own live blog that I didn’t remember, and she did too many toe on skills I believe.

12.500 for Chiles.

Eaker – split ring leap is her least awesome skill, not 180 at the same time – nice Y spin – aerial to split ring jump to bhs, – aerial to bhs loso, did very well to nail that series, collapsing on the bhs – split leap to side somi, well hit – switch ring to bhs scale, lovely – switch to switch side, swims, nice elements – 2.5 dismount with small hop. Should still be better than day 1.

McCallum – UB – weiler 1/2 with a hesitation to stalder shap t- tkatchev, hit – pak, leg break and some feet – hits shap 1/2 – toe full, quite late – FTDT, stuck

Davis – FX – pike full in, stagger – double pike, small slide – nice split leap 1/1 – wolf 1.5 and hand down to control it – front 2/1, little stagger step – double L, loses her heel toward the end but keeps the leg moving through two turns – double tuck, a little short iwht a hop.

So, after two, we have Hurd extending her margin in second place, McCallum currently .5 up on McCusker but McCusker is going to bars. Shilese Jones solidly in 5th after Thomas’s low score on bars.

14.450 for Eaker is a little better than day 1.

Andrea is talking to Aly. For balance or something. Asking Aly about how it felt when Jordyn missed the AA final in 2012 or something.

Macready has moved on to a game of “Put This In Your Mouth” so we’re all thrilled.


Hurd – BB – step back on bher back full this time but saves it – side aerial, hit – bhs loso, solid – aerial to split to straddle, some knees here and thetre but strong – switch – lean correction on side america, a little tentative – switch ring, good – double pike, solid one.

Just 13.550 though

Alyona – VT – DTY – one of her better ones, a little crunched over, but not too bad, small hop

Dunne with nice leaps on floor – front tuck through to double tuck, stuck, better

Smith – UB – inbar – inbar 1/1 a little late – and can’t catch Jaeger and comes off. It’s not getting better. “That should not have happened.” Well yeah. Piked stalder tkatchev and Ricna to pak are all hit. She’s hit the problem areas both nights – FTDT with hop

McCallum – BB – British mount – hits her BEAST – side aerial to loso, secure, foot form – front tuck, secure – switch to aerial to split jump, the knees will take her E down, but this is secure – double tuck, step back

Blanco – VT – FTY with hop back.

Apparently you “don’t get anything” for the candle mount. Um…false.

Carey – FX – Moors, exceptionally secure – DLO /1, also good, small hop – L hop full – switch full is around – double double tuck, short, lunge forward – doubel L turn, leg drop early so probably won’t get it – split leap 1/1 is fine – front tuck through to full in, shuffle back, but will be the next-to-simone score she needed

Frazier – BB – wolf double and stands up and leans, but holds it – aerial with a lean – split and straddle, fine – bhs los, check, feet – side america is solid – side somi, hit – side aerial, lean – split jump 1/2 – hits double pike

McCusker – UB – toe full to toe Shap, good legs – connected to tkatchev, a little close but fine – Ricna to Pak to stalder shap 1/2, hit – nearly sticks her dismount, small step – that was the best she has done that dismount “definite stick” Maggie says, which it wasn’t really.

Kenlin is good on front 2.5 – falls out of Memmel a little – front 2/1 to front tuck to stag, pretty – double L turn – switch ring – split leap 1/1, nice – double tuck, cowboy but around , lunge to the side- double pike, legs apart

Thomas – BB – switch to switch 1/2 to straddle – one-arm bhs loso, solid – aerial to split to tuck jump 1/2 – side somi – switch side to split jump 1/2 with a lean forward – side aerial – 2/1 with hop back

McCusker needed 14.900 to pass Simone for the bars title. She got 14.800.

Eaker – FX – 2.5 to front full, lovely, small hop – front lay to front 2/1, a little short with a hop back – gorgeous Memmel turn – 3/1, stuck – awesome – double pike, really forward with a lunge but exceptional to that point

McCusker will move ahead of McCallum after three events.

Some nice(ish, you know) wolf turns from Adams – bhs loso loso, solid – aerial to split – side somi with a swim – lean on side jump – 2/1 with a step – a couple leans late but a really nice routine overall –

Biles – FX – Moors with a slide back, keeps it in – front full through to full in – a little short iwht a hop – siwtch to split leap 1.5, will get it – Biles and OOB again on it, also steps out with second foot – wolf double, no trouble – double double, bounces back as well.

Obviously a big score. Still not really honed on those landings yet.

It’s 14.700 for Biles with just 0.1 ND for her OOB, even though that second foot went out.

So after three events, this weird thing has happened where Simone is winning. Hurd clearly in second, then McCusker and McCallum.


Smith – BB – does the wolf triple this time and gets it – bhs to layout, hit – tuck full, solid, just a touch of hesitation – front pike-tuck, small step – side traddle is good, the split is shorter but secure – aerial, small check – bhs bhs double pike, solid. She needed that.

McCallum – FX – double double tuck, secure – front lay to front 2/1 to front tuck is excellent – good 3/1 as well – she’s having quite a nationals – putting the pressure on McCusker to hit beam – double tuck, bounce back

We see Carey’s second vault, a step back on her Lopez

So apparently Chiles only did the DTY, and hit bars but is limping.

13.650 for Smith. She hit, and it’s like they finally decided to give her a real E score for the first time this summer.

McCusker – The Beast, hits – aerial to split, pretty but with a check – bhs loso loso, very solid – switch to switch 1/2 to Korbut – side aerial, good – bhs bhs double tuck, lunge back.

Great nationals for McCusker.

Biles – VT – small hop back on her Cheng, not quite as good as the first day, but still amazing

Biles – VT 2 – Amanar, small hop, very similar to night 1.

Davis – UB – toe on to Pak to Shap to Ricna – good connection – piked jaeger, hit – double front, small lean

Just a 59.750 for Simone tonight like a loser.

Thomas – FX – DLO, great – 2.5 through to double tuck, deep but hits it – wolf turn double, a little over turned – that’s how you sissone out of a pass – does hop OOB with both feet on double pike, though

Nice hitting from Johnston on beam, after recovering fron night 1 on bars as well – double tuck dismount with just a pace

Adams – FX – 2.5 to front tuck is solid – will get her split 1.5, close, nice split position though – also solid on her BEAST – but then double tuck and falls OOB

Ragan Smith will outscore Chiles, finishing in 10th.

Hurd – FX – double double tuck, good, hop back – DLO, small hop, that has improved since early in teh year – split leap 1.5, good – front lay to front 2/1, short on that with a hop back – strong leaps – double pike, hop. Good meet for her too.

Biles, Hurd, and McCusker will be very happy with their performances.

When they have to end the broadcast without the scores because it’s taking 55 years to get Hurd’s floor score for some reason.

They’ve moved on to awards, so apparently Morgan did well?

Coach and athlete of the year awards to Team Morgan. Sportsperson of the year to Riley McCusker.

Anyway, the automatic national team will be Biles, Hurd, McCusker, McCallum, Jones, and Carey. We’ll see if they add anyone immediately. They will have to soon for all the senior assignments.

We have the repeat 13.850 for Hurd on floor now, so she officially gets second, McCusker in third.

Biles won by 6.5 points, so that happened.

Also Simone won all the events. So this is going to be a really anticlimactic awards ceremony.


National team announced, and Eaker and Thomas have been added in addition to the automatic six. They’ll have to add more to make up a Pan Ams and worlds team, unless there’s a whole lot of overlap, which would be a shame.

Pure AA standings for these NT spots, both juniors and seniors. Won’t reflect the ultimate camp situation or national team situation because…you want Chiles’ Amanar as a choice.

McCusker got the second-highest score on day 2, gaining on most events, while Hurd lost some tenths on beam. Still going to be an interesting battle between the two.

The real issue for the US worlds team right now is that with Biles, Hurd, McCusker, and Carey…you’re fine. It’s tough to find someone who can add something to that team. That’s why Chiles is seriously in the mix with an Amanar, because it’s something to add. Eaker maybe has a beam argument, but it’s less than an Amanar and less of a sure thing because beam. Smith would potentially add on beam and floor if she were competing like last year, but she isn’t right now. McCallum is your “our team is set and we just need to add a Peszek” choice, slash excellent alternate who can fill in anywhere.

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