The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Saturday Live Blog – February 16, 2019

Saturday, February 16 Scores Stream
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Cortland @ Brockport FREE
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Rutgers @ Michigan State LINK BTN+
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [8] Michigan @ [24] Penn State LINK FREE
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [17] Nebraska @ [22] Ohio State LINK BTN+
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – North Carolina @ NC State LINK ACC+
5:30 ET/2:30 PT – [25] Arizona @ [3] UCLA LINK P12N
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Illinois @ Iowa LINK BTN
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Illinois State @ [6] Denver LINK DU($)

The Big Ten action today gives us a lot to hang onto. For instance, Nebraska’s vault. Where do we go from here with that six 1.5s thing? Michigan is actually all the way down in 12th in the in-progress RQS rankings after yesterday’s action, getting passed up by teams like Boise State and Minnesota, and could use a road score.

Michigan State has broken the 195 barrier in defeating Rutgers, which had to count a fall on beam for a sub-48 total there.

Intros underway at Michigan/Penn State. Penn State’s team has been forced to dress in some sort of one-color futuristic “bad child at Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory” jumpsuit for the intros, anticipating our future enslavement.

Touch warmups now underway at both meets.

Astarita – VT – PSU – quite short on full, just did get it to her feet, deep landing with a large lunge forward

Near stick on first Y1/2 for OSU, step forward into salute.

Mariani falls on her opening tkatchev for Michigan

Hargrove hits UB for Nebraska, bounce forward on double tuck. 9.750

Abanto – VT – OSU – y1/2, nice and high, step forward. 9.725

Bonsall – VT – PSU – bounce back on full, OK, some form

MVC – UB – Nebraska – 1/2 turn to piked jaeger, some knees, to overshoot – not quite there on some verticals, but a solid hit, hop forward on double tuck

Maxim – UB – Michigan – tight first hs and some loose back on toe on – hits tkatchev – bail vertical is pretty good but will get some cast hs position deductions, final one is better vertical but loose back – gorgeous DLO with a stick, that was the highlight. 9.800

De Jesus hits bars for Nebraska, big double arabian dismount with a little hop. Some close catching on release transitions and a couple form breaks

Aepli _ VT – OSU – nearly gets her stick, hop in place and a little forward in the chest position, some knees in the air

Crouse – UB – Nebraska – weiler 1/2 and goes over the wrong way, has to change direction and recast for a major deduction – excellent gienger, good legs together – FTDT, stuck

Strong hit for Farley on bars for Michigan, stuck double front. 9.875

Bridgens – VT – PSU – good full, must better dynamics, bounce back. 9.825

Karas – UB – Michigan – good first hs – toe on to toe shap, legs right together – a little rushed on bail position but solid enough, one issue hs – DLO, stuck, another excellent one. 9.850

Houchin – UB – Neb – good tkatchev – fantastic bail, great position and toes – hitting her casts – DLO, just a bit of legs and a small step back. The rotation highlight by far. 9.875

Hinterberger way short on vault for OSU with her full. Deep landing, possible hand down.

Chung – UB – Neb – 1/2 turn to jaeger, crooked in the air but caught – straddled pak but hit – toe circle step up to high – well short hs – DLO, straddle positon but good stick. 9.675

Brenner – UB – Michigan – 1/2 turn to big jaeger – bail, a bit short of vertical – rushing a couple of htese handstands – big DLO with a near-stick hop in place. 9.800

After 1: OSU 48.925, Nebraska 48.825

Wojcik – UB – Michigan – hecht mount, good, strong first hs – toe 1/2 to jaeger, clean – bail is a bit stronger, just a little floppy in the air – excellent final cast hs – DLO, flung that one out a bit and has to come in deep on the landing with a lunge forward, was gearing up for a big score before that, but should be at least .150 on dismount. Still gets 9.850, which is a bit high there.

After 1: Michigan 49.175, PSU 48.900

No monstrous events but no standouts in the first rotation for any of the four teams here. Nebraska had the mistake from Crouse on a routine they needed to count because Chung isn’t going to get out of the 9.6s for a hit, which she did here. Michigan did well to drop that opening fall, but no one was quite as crisp in the hs positions as they were last week.

Rotation 2

Heiskell _ VT – Michigan – full – better landing posiition than last week, chest up, hop back

MVC – VT – Nebraska – pulls out the stick on her opening 1.5 – some significant knees and a deep position but a big hit.

Allen hits UB for PSU – some hs positions – big DLO but overcooks it with a large lunge back

Maxim – VT – Michigan – good distance on her Tsuk 1/2, step forward.

Dujakovich – VT – Nebraska – short on her 1.5 with a fall – so going for all the 1.5s again, one fall so far.

Abanto sticks double tuck off bars.

DeJesus – VT – 1.5, hits it, a bit deeper than she has been the last couple weeks with a hop back

Stone – UB – OSU – 1/2 turn to hit jaeger to overshoot, a bit of pike position in that overshoot – one hs – giant full to double tuck, good form on double tuck, stuck

Crouse – VT – Nebraska – nailed her 1.5, stuck landing, great form, will be a giant score. 9.875 even a little tight for that

Fall from Bonsall on bars for PSU in the third position.

Brenner – VT – Michigan – larger lunge forward on her 1.5 this time, more than a tenth – a bit of knees, great power, distance, and direction as always

Fall from Aepli on bars for OSU.

Karas – VT – Michigan – brings out her 1.5 and sticks it. Some knees, but an excellent vault. Methinks that one won’t score 9.775 again

Just a full from Nebraska in the 6th position from Quinn today to get them through with a hit rotation rather than count a fall again this week.

Lost the stream for PSU/Michigan there, so couldn’t tell you what happened with Wojcik in the 6th position on vault, unfortunately. But it was 9.950.

Gagliardi going on bars for OSU in the final position with that excellent Yezhova, and a stuck DLO. Glad to see them working through that routine to get her into the lineup because she has some excellent qualities there.

After 2: Ohio State 98.000, Nebraska 97.975

Ohio State has to count a 9.625 on bars but gets big scores in the final three positions to go over 49 and maintain the lead on Nebraska. Nebraska went for five 1.5s and hit four of them this week, putting up a Yfull in the final position to get a hit so it’s a 49.150.

After 2: Michigan 98.575, Penn State 97.125

Big news for Michigan’s vault is Karas pulling out the 1.5 and sticking, providing a major upgrade there. Penn State had a bit of a nightmare on bars to fall well off the pace. They didn’t even get big scores from Bridgens and Garcia, who typically deliver them.

Here‘s Wojcik’s 9.950. I mean, it’s a stronger vault than any of the vaults that have received 10s so far this year. Probably not her strongest stick of the year. I would put it second or third on the Wojcik vault standings. Message from NCAA judges: “Be more Olympian.”

Rotation 3

Lowe leading off BB for OSU, a balance check on her series, 1.5 with a hop. “She’s just volunteering as tribute.” LOL.

Johnston – FX – Neb – double pike, some chest down, slide back – 1/2 to front full, a little bit of body position, solid control on landing – a little short on split position, popa was better – double tuck, solid. 9.800

Stone – BB – OSU – bhs loso series, large break with a bend at the hips, good extension – cat leap to switch side, well short of split position there – 2.5 dismount with a step forward

Orel – FX – Neb – hit double pike first pass – double tuck, a bit chest forward with a step – switch side to popa, popa pretty short, rushed around – 1.5 to 1/2 to stag, nice height in 1.5, a bit lower in the 1/2

Funk – FX – Michigan – double pike, right on, secure landing – front full to layout, some loose body position – solid punch rudi, good control overall on those passes

Aepli – BB – OSU – leg-up check on series, comes off on kickover front, so they’ll have to count Stone’s score in the 9.6s.

De Jesus – FX – Neb – 3/1, pretty well around, controlled, just some corkscrew legs – 1.5 to front layout stepout with that run out that drives me crazy because it’s a lack of control. I’d take a major landing deduction there. Good power on double pike, bounce back.

Osman – FX – Michigan – full-in, strong – good chest up – front tuck through to double pike, chest well up, bounce back out of it – punch rudi, solid height again but a larger bounce back out of it. She’s improving TONS on floor.

Interesting that Penn State has Hosek into the third position on beam now instead of usual anchor spot.

Schwei – FX – Neb – big full in, nice power as always, slide back – front lay to a super clean rudi, nice twisting form, controlled landing – switch 1/2 to wolf jump full, a bit of back leg – front lay to front full, controlled step – excellent work

Ohio State gets a necessary hit on beam from Swartzentruber after already counting two 9.6s so far in this beam rotation.

Hassel – FX – Neb – front 2/1 – solid twisting position, just a bit of lack of control – 1.5 to front tuck, was off on her punch on the 1.5, had to adjust to do a front tuck, landing in a super deep squat, major deduction – nice rudi to straddle, just a bit of travel

Michigan dealing with a fall from brenner in the third position on floor now.

McLean – FX – Michigan -second pass is  front lay to front full, solid control – finishes with her high double pike, just a little bounce

Crouse – FX – Nebraska – front 2/1 to layout, pretty – switch 1/2 to popa – 1.5 to 1/2 to stretch jump (stretch jump is SO IN this season, all the cool kids are doing it), travels back a bit – lovely rudi to loso. A hit they needed. 9.950

After 3: Nebraska 147.275, Ohio State 146.675

Wojcik – FX – Michigan – double pike, better control this week, hips moving back just a little – split leap full to wolf full, good finish positions and clear split shape shown – front 2/1 to layout, stuck landing – rudi to straddle, a little bounce on landing. Big hit.

Karas – FX – Michigan – double arabian, just does control that step out and keep the back foot down- switch 1/2 to wolf jump full, love the rise into the wolf, higher than her switch – secure middle pass – double pike with a bounce back out, does keep it in bounds, but that landing will be the largest deduction of the set

After 3: Michigan 147.725, PSU 145.900

It started slowly for Michigan on bars, but this should become a very usable road score with a hit beam. Nebraska should be able to pull out a solid 196 here, but it won’t be a huge number.

I think Curtis for Nebraska on beam was lowering into a squat wolf turn style and then kind of started to wobble and thought better and moved back out of it, and I wish that were every wolf turn.

We’re also just a few minutes out from the start of UCLA/Arizona.

By the way, I’m sorry, but if you’re going to do an LGBTQ meet, you have to say the words. Otherwise I’m not crediting the skill. “Promoting unity and inclusion” is a milquetoast, meaningless, nothing cop out.

Hargrove – BB – Nebraska – nice loso series, a little check just walking on the beam – aerial to beat jump, pretty – split jump to sheep is nice and high but a major break on the sheep jump, large leg-up wobble – OOOUCH, clipped her foot on the beam on her gainer pike dismount, falls.

Crouse – BB – Nebraska – aerial to bhs series, pretty quick, good form as expected – switch to straddle 1/4,  hit – kickover front with an arm wave – gainer pike full dismount with a little hop

UCLA and Arizona begins

This looks like a good crowd, but you can’t say “capacity crowd” when there’s literally an entirely empty tier.


Rotation 1

Ohashi – VT – UCLA – big height on her full, nice potential there, large bounce back. 9.775

Hendrickson – UB – a bit short on first hs – pretty jaeger, good toes, connected to overshoot – just some hs to take – DLO, some legs and a lunge back. 9.775

Hano – VT – UCLA – one of her better 1.5s ever. Really strong. Just a small adjustment on landing and a bit deep in landing. Will score well. 9.900

Swanson – UB – AZ – short first hs – giant full to tkatchev, hit – pak is solid, small leg break and some feet – Sam and I are not having these casts – DLO, piking down, hop back. 9.750

Wright – VT – UCLA – lunge forward on her 1.5, a bit bigger than her usual step, and the knees. 9.875

Kane – UB – AZ – 1/2 turn to jaeger, hit, good form on jaeger – 1/2 turn to straddle back, the 1/2 turn will get deduction destroyed – double front dismount, step. 9.775

Dennis – VT – UCLA – an awkward landing on her full this time – chest lean and a little hop, some knees in the air as well. 9.775

Leydin – UB – AZ – toe on to pak, straddle position there – 1/2 turn to khorkina, highlight of the routine – giant full late to double tuck, step. Same handstands to take on this one.

Ross – VT- UCLA – sticks her 1.5 again this week, and this one looked better than last week in the landing position, where the chest was a little back, this one higher up. Really strong.

10.000 for Ross. Less of a problem with this one. At least for now.

Spencer – UB – AZ – Ray, hit, close catch with some elbows – bail, clean, good vertical position – short final cast hs – DLO, bounce back. Cleaner overall than the first four. 9.800

Tratz – VT – UCLA – her big full, sticks the landing, just comes in deep with a knee bend and a bit of low chest. So still a couple things to take there.

Berg – UB – AZ – short first hs – 1/2 turn to huge piked jaeger to overshoot, strong amplitude – better final cast hs – FTDT, high and stuck, highlight of the rotation.

After 1: UCLA 49.425, Arizona 49.100

UCLA a pretty UCLA vault rotation, half bouncy or awkward landings and half excellent vaults. Kyla goes 10. Tratz and Hano pretty solid. Arizona close on bars, but the handstands are still breaking down the scores. Bars scores trending pretty high there, so it could get interesting when UCLA shows up.

FINAL: Nebraska 196.400, Ohio State 195.750

Not a huge score for Nebraska, but they’ll definitely take it as a road number. Ohio State recovers from some lower recent scores but not the 196s they were getting last month.

FINAL: Michigan 197.075, Penn State 194.750

Michigan needed another 197 today and got it. Bars and floor could both have been better, but vault showed improvements and beam finished cleanly.

Rotation 2

Kane – VT – AZ – Y tuck full, chest down, step to the side. 9.475

Dennis – UB – UCLA – toe shap, a bit of leg break in backswing – hits vertical bail hs, a little floppy in the air – excellent final cast hs – DLO, stuck landing. Very good. NECESSARY in this lineup. 9.900

Parks – VT – AZ – yfull, solid hit, medium hop back, some feet and knees in the air. 9.825

Frazier – UB – UCLA – toe shap,to excellent pak, some stronger legs together rhythm than Dennis, a little back shape – good shap 1/2 – DLO, stuck landing, a bit of legs apart in the air. Another really good hit. 9.950

Both very strong hits, but scores trending worryingly high.

Leung – VT – AZ – hop back on full, bit of a pike throughout.

Hano – UB – UCLA – didn’t Jim tell us that Ohashi was doing bars? No? short first hs – better Ray – high overshoot posiition, a bit of legs – she’s missed a couple cast handstands – giant full to double tuck, stuck. A better hit, but quite a few vertical deductions.

9.875 is too close to the other scores.

Cowles – VT – AZ – a bit farther on the bounce back on her full – some pike hips. 9.750

Flatley – UB – UCLA – higgins to jaeger, lovely toes – toe on to bail, a bit rushed there, some hip angle – a couple orderline cast hs, one def short – DLO, stuck, perfect dismount. 9.900

Swanson – VT – AZ – best height on her full and the smallest hop, just a little hop back and some pike position

“Twisting early off the table” is to Sam Peszek as “toes going into leap elements on floor” is to KJC.

Kocian – UB – stalders hap to pak, good legs today – 1/2 turn on low, quite vertical – smooth final cast hs, a bit borderline, I’d say short – FTDT, stuck. Another pretty routine. Not a 10 for me. We’ll see.

9.900. Impressed by their reasonableness. That’s like an accurate score.

Leydin – VT – AZ – tries to upgrade to the 1.5 but sits it down

Ross – UB – shap to bail to overshoot, super clean as always – nailed final cast hs – DLO, sticks the landing. Let’s see…

9.975 for Ross. No Lichey moment today.

Giving her a 9.950 instead of a 10 just to be a pill is a total me move.

After 2: UCLA 99.050, Arizona 97.725

Arizona had to count the 9.475 for the tuck full there after Leydin fell on the 1.5. A really strong bars rotation for UCLA there. Scores high for my taste of course, but clearly their best bars work of the year.

Rotation 3

G Glenn – BB – UCLA – bhs loso series, super clean extension – aerial to split jump, lovely – switch to another split jump, her leap ability is her highlight because she actually hits them – bhs gainer full, stuck. Great start. 9.875

Freidin – FX – AZ – closeup of a butt check over her first leap, fun – controlled double tuck, chest down – split leap 1/1 and can’t get off the floor for her popa attempt, doesn’t get it around or close to 180 and kind of stumbles on the landing as well – front lay to front full, a bit of loose legs in layout. 9.675

Nguyen – BB – UCLA – switch to split, hit well – aerial to loso combination, it’s still slow for my taste but she kept moving and will get it – hits her side position jump – front layout full, stuck. Another strong one. 9.825

Swanson – FX – AZ – front tuck through to 2.5, a bit of a lunge out but keeps it in bounds – double tuck, super secure landing – 2/1 to front tuck, a bit of adjustment on landing and some legs, but a countable hit. 9.800

Kocian – BB – UCLA – bhs loso “thinking about jumping through my feet” Ow? – very solid series – aerial to split, holds it well into combination despite coming in a little short – slightly overturns her full turn – switch to split – 2/1, bounce back. 9.800

Parks – FX – AZ – wolf jump 1.5, gets it around clearly – front layout to rudi, controlled step – switch to stag jump, not so high on that stag, a little afterthoughty – front lay to front full, control, some knees. 9.800

Flatley – BB – UCLA – aerial to loso series, super quick in combination, leg-up check on landing that she tries to cover – side aerial, super clean – L turn, leg held up well – switch and falls, off line and tried to save it with a leg-up wobble but it took her off balance – stuck 1.5

Cowles – FX – AZ – double tuck, chest up, small slide – balance check in the corner – front lay to front full, a bit too soft in the lay – switch ring to split leap full – 2.5 final pass, good control, some legs. Solidly done.

Ross – BB – UCLA – bhs loso series, very smooth, very solid – aerial to sissone, smooth – holds the full turn well and moves through it, nice choreo – switch to split jump with a little lean – side aerial to full, stuck. Strong one. Excellent.

Beam judges are like, “So glad one of us gave her bars a 9.950 so we don’t have to ignore that lean and give this a 10.”


Leydin – FX – AZ – front tuck through to double tuck, a bit of legs, good control – hitting her split positions – double pike, a bit of a bounce, good chest position. 9.900. The entire UCLA floor rotation just got 10s.

Ohashi – BB – UCLA – bhs bhs layout 2 feet, large break this time with a lean and a leg-up wobble – switch to split, hit – aerial with a check – bhs loso full, stuck. 9.800. Shout out to the judge who only took .1 on that giant wobble on the layout.

Berg – FX – AZ – front 2/1, a bit of a slide forward – 1.5 to layout, hit, not super high – rudi to split jump, hit, some ragged shape. 9.900

After 3: UCLA 148.275, Arizona 146.950

UCLA pretty blah on beam again, which is weird because it should be their best event by 80 miles. Mistakes from Flatley and Ohashi, a few wobbles elsewhere. Arizona goes 49.225 on floor to match UCLA’s beam number. Still an outside shot at a 196 with a big beam routine.

UCLA would need 49.725 on floor to hit a 198 here, and I would not be that surprised if it happens.

Rotation 4

Leydin – BB – AZ – wolf turn full, some arm waving – solid leap landings, a bit of back leg – bhs loos series, nice amplitude – side somi, small lean – pike jump to back tuck, holds it well, chest down but nice absorbing control – 1.5 with a lunge. 9.675

Frazier – FX – UCLA – full in, chest up, has obviously enough power for it – but a bounce back – whip through to double tuck, really secure landing. I like her in the leadoff spot for UCLA because it’s not the cleanest or most secure landing, but it’s big and impressive can snatch a high number and bump everyone else up. Double pike, solid.

Like that. 9.925. Now you have to go higher for the people who don’t have an obvious out of control error on their first passes.

Leung – BB – AZ – bhs loso, secure series, nice form – switch to switch combination, a struggle with a check, and will get deducted for not hitting split on second one – cat leap to side aerial, strong – 1.5 with a hop.

Kramer – FX – UCLA – front 2/1 to front pike, hit, keeps back foot down well on front pike, not her smoothest front pike but nothing obvious to take, 1.5 to layout, lovely, very secure landing – switch side to popa – rudi to extension jump. Nice. 9.925

Davis – BB – AZ – falls on bhs bhs loso series. Will have to count Leydin’s 9.675 now. Second fall on kickover front.

Ross – FX – UCLA – whip to double tuck, good, chest up – 1.5 to layout, also controlled on landing – switch 1/2 to popa, nice positions, she’s having quite the little day isn’t she. This is going to be the high AA score of the whole season the way things have been going – double pike, a little slide and chest, strong showing.

9.950 with a 10/9.900 split. So she got at least one 10 on three events.

Freidin – BB – AZ – loso series, hit, a bit of knees – switch to beat – fall on side aerial. It’s all coming apart now.

Dennis – FX – UCLA – piked full in, out of control on landing with two lunges back and a possible OOB. That looked out to me but we see no flag. Let’s see. front full to layout, stuck, very strong second pass – leap positions high and easy for her – double tuck, also controlled on the step back, chest up. Shame about first pass.

Did get docked for OOB for 9.750. Shout out to the judge who went 9.900 before the OOB.

Cowles – BB – AZ –  aerial to beat, smooth – bhs loso series, good, smallest lean – switch to split, hit – gainer front layout full dismount, stuck

Hano – FX – UCLA – DLO, good control on landing – front full to 1/2 to run, a little low on the 1/2, has the control overall – split leap full to wolf jump full, around well, hitting positions – double pike, lunge back, keeps this one in bounds

9.950 OH COOL FUN.

Hendrickson – BB – AZ – beat jump to split jump 3/4, a bit of back leg – bhs loso series, very secure, some feet – solid full turn – hits side aerial – switch to split 1/4, a bit of back leg there – gainer full, stuck.

Ohashi – FX – UCLA – split leg DLO, comes in a hair deep this time with a little adjustment – middle pass combination is as secure as always – switch ring to switch 1/2, smooth positions – 1.5 to 1/2 to drop split. Great routine. Not her very best first pass. Let’s see.

Oh look. A 10. I think that’s her third-best floor of the season for me.

FINAL: UCLA 198.025, Arizona 194.975

It fell apart on beam for AZ. UCLA with a few good rotations, bars was the highlight in this one. The best early-lineup routines of the season. Some nice moments in the second 1/2 of vault. Floor was normal, fine, good, solid, which of course means 49.750.


%d bloggers like this: