The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Sunday Live Blog – February 23, 2020

Sunday, February 23
Scores Stream
11:00am ET/8:00am PT – Yale, Brown, Penn @ Cornell   ESPN+
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – North Carolina @ New Hampshire LINK ESPN+
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – Western Michigan, Bowling Green, Towson @ West Virginia LINK FREE
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – NC State, Northern Illinois, Temple @ George Washington LINK FREE
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – Kent State @ Ball State LINK ESPN3
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – West Chester @ William & Mary LINK FREE
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – Rhode Island @ Springfield    
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT – [25] Stanford @ [22] Arizona LINK P12N
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT – UW-Stout @ Lindenwood LINK FREE
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT – Brockport, Ursinus @ Ithaca    
3:00pm ET/12:00pm PT – Air Force @ TWU LINK FREE
4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT – [13] Washington @ Arizona State LINK P12N
6:00pm ET/3:00pm PT – [3] Utah @ [3] UCLA LINK ESPN2

In the earlier Pac-12 action, Arizona broke 196 while Stanford had a 2nd-meet-of-the-weekend nightmare on vault to end up with a fairly unhelpful 195.225, which will not be enough to stay in the top 25 on Monday.

In the second meet, we had a close one with no working live scores (FUN!) in which a 9.900 from Leonard-Baker in the final spot for Arizona State on floor clinched a tie with Washington, both teams on 196.875.

Now on to the big one.

In terms of goal scores for Utah and UCLA, it’s…you know…8 billion. As long as the scoring of this meet matches expectations. UCLA needs only beat the 197 mark to make sure the team stays in third place ahead of LSU and Utah (regardless of what Utah scores here), though actual expectations will be much higher than that. UCLA is looking for a new season high, which is currently 197.675.

Utah also has a bare minimum hope of 196.950 here, which would get Utah back ahead of Denver, Cal, and Michigan and at least to fifth place. The next goal is a 197.400, which would ensure Utah goes back ahead of LSU and is at least 4th in the rankings on Monday. But, really, Utah is also aiming for that season high, which is currently 197.550.

Marz Frazier still out of all lineups for UCLA. A problem for them.

Comforte’s Pants Alert. Dom’s Pants Alert.

Rotation 1

Dennis – VT – UCLA – huge full obviously, great position, a slide back, a bit bigger than her usual slide but not large. 9.850

O’Keefe – UB – Utah – toe on to maloney to pak, small legs on pak – a bit short on cast 1/2 on low – strong cast on high – holds the stick on her double arabian, very good. 9.925. It begins.

Kramer – VT – UCLA – Y1.5 – a lock-legged landing but ended up being one of her most controlled landings, a step to the side, the usual bent knees. 9.850

LaBlanc – UB – Utah – blind is a bit late – jaeger, pretty, caught with some close elbows – borderline cast – DLO, stuck landing. Not as strong as O’Keefe’s but a solid hit. 9.900 is quittttee high.

Poston – VT – UCLA – handspring pike 1/2, good improvement, a bounce back but had her chest up way better. 9.850

Isa – UB – Utah – Ray, another close catch with bent elbows – clean bail position – giant full, right on top, to immediate DLO, good landing. 9.925. The second half was truly glorious but they’re not appropriately evaluating these close catches.

Tratz – VT – UCLA – strong secure landing on her full, smallll slide, not her best distance and has a chest-down position on landing. 9.775, that’s more conservative than I expected from this meet, I’ll be honest. Not mad at it.

Paulson – UB – Utah – maloney to pak, some legs on both – giant full, later than Isa’s, double tuck, lunge back. Opened the door for the judges to go lower for this one with a no-stick. Or not. 9.850.

Hano – VT – UCLA – a larger bound forward on her Y1.5 this week – good position – deep in the knees and causing the bound. 9.875 is more the kind of high score I was expecting from this meet.

Reinstadtler – UB – Utah – toe 1/2 , a bit late, lovely jaeger – bail, little leg break, good toe point – final cast is solid – FTDT, bounce back. 9.900

What is happening? She had minimum a tenth on the dismount landing alone.

Ross – VT – UCLA – nailed the landing on her Y1.5 – her best of the season, very strong. That was an “I guess I have to do it all myself” vault.

Tessen – Ub – Utah – strong piked jaeger, solid bail, just a bit of feet – FTDT, stuck landing, good. I mean, it’s a normal good pretty routine, but since every little thing is a 9.9…

9.950 for Tessen

After 1: Utah 49.600, UCLA 49.375

Utah with some very strong landings in that bars rotation to establish a lead early, definitely their best bars of the year, the scores are also truly bonkers there. UCLA basically scored as well as it could have expected on vault given the landing control issues, but Ross saved the score with a very strong one. Her best of the year.

Rotation 2

Soloski – VT – Utah – secure landing on her full, not assss open as we’ve seen sometimes, chest forward, good control. 9.825. Vault def tighter than bars today.

Hano – UB – UCLA – Ray, mistimed it and falls immediately. Was going to catch super close, but couldn’t end up catching at all – Redoes it into overshoot, fine – a bit shoer cast on high – giant full, late with some feet, double tuck, bounce back.

Hall – VT – Utah – struggles to control the landing on her Y1.5 today, deep sit with two lunges back. 9.650

Kooyman – UB – UCLA _ maloney with legs into pak, hit – cast 1/2 on low, not bad – very strong cast on high bar – DLO, good height, comes in just a little chest down, small hop. One of her best ever bars. Nice. 9.900. Higggggh.

Reinstadtler – VT – Utah – pretty full in the air, large bounce back as we’ve seen on most instances this year. 9.800 high.

Flatley – UB – UCLA – higgins to jaeger, beautiful – toe on with some arch into bail, toes are a dream – a bit short on final cast hs – does the DLO 1/1 today, chest forward and a step. She had been struggling to control the DLO but the full does seem to be inviting deductions. 9.825

Isa – VT – Utah – solid control on her full, small slide back, good chest up – maintains her layout position well. 9.800

Steele – UB – UCLA – maloney to pak, small leg breaks on both – cast 1/2 on low bar was OK – fab Zam-stand on the high bar – DLO, a bit whippy but stuck landing. She’s also coming along with that routine. Good. 9.925

Burch – VT – Utah – Y1.5 – tries to fake it on the landing control, but she rises up onto her toes and step-salutes – not bad form, a bit deep on landing. Good. 9.900

Kocian – UB – UCLA – stalder shap to pak, pretty pak position – strong cast 1/2 on low bar – I like that UCLA is paying better attention to those cast 1/2s on low than most teams – FTDT, ooooof large lunge back, barely saved that from being a fall. 9.750

Tessen – VT – Utah – somehow she always manages to find the landing here despite having zero amplitude – great landing, stuck – 9.900

Ross – UB – UCLA – maloney to bail, perfect – shoot to high, strong – great cast hs on high – DLO, hop back. She was obviously going to have a 10 if she stuck. 9.925

After 2: Utah 98.825, UCLA 98.700

Not great rotations from either team in the second. The high bars scores were there for UCLA, if they had snatched them, just like they were for Utah, but UCLA had that early fall and gave away some important ground on landings. Utah pretty bouncy on a couple important ones there in the middle. And vault judging not as loose as bars.

Rotation 3

Kathy had a BATTLE OF THE BEAMS thing all ready to go and Bart kept talking and she was basically like, “I HAVE A THING BUDDY.”

G Glenn – BB – UCLA – bhs loso series, secure, good extension – aerial to split jump, lovely as well and as always – switch to split, strong – bhs gainer full, stuck. Excellent and also her usual.

And she got a 10.000. If for nothing else, we get to stop talking about how there has never been a leadoff 10.

Pauson – FX – Utah – double pike, bounce back – frontlay to front full to stag, stag was an afterthought, solid series – switch full, around – back 1.5 to layout, strong. 9.800

Sakti – BB – UCLA – loso loso series with a check correction, a bit smaller than last week – switch 1/2 with check, breaks connection into beat, switch and split, arm wave – side aerial to full, stuck. Not quite as hesitant as last time but not as smooth as she can be. 9.800. (The 9.850 judge was feeeeling it there)

Isa – FX – Utah – double tuck, really strong, chest up – back 1.5 to layout, good lift – switch side to popa, overturns the switch side, finishes in the right place – double pike, no comedy this week, strong routine. 9.925

Flatley – BB – UCLA – aerial with a slight hesitation into back pike, so we’ll see, lovely individual element s- side aerial, smooth – L turn, excellent today – switch to split – bhs to 1.5, little hop. 9.825

Randall – FX – Utah – double tuck, some lack of control this time with a slide – switch side to popa to wolf jump full, also not quite showing a distinct finish position in each one – solid positions – double pike, crisp, nice – back 1.5 to layout, controlled fine but kind of low. 9.900

Shapiro – BB – UCLA – switch to switch combo, solid this week, good 180s – bhs bhs loso series, right on – full turn tight but fine – side aerial to full, holds the stick with a stagger. Well, that’s definitely the best routine Nicki Shapiro has ever competed. 9.900

Hoffman – FX – Utah – better DLO, controls the landing, just some chest down position – good split positions, again sort of in between elements when she lands – back 1.5 and got no punch out of it to connect to a layout, tried to tuck it but even that she couldn’t get around – fall.

Hano – BB – UCLA – bhs lay-pike series is secure today – switch 1/2, tight position and an arm wave correction – split jump 1/2 from side, hit – switch to split jump, back leg – 1.5, good height, solid landing. Some deduction moments but also a lot of improvements, i.e. the series. 9.825

O’Keefe – FX – Utah – double pike, hit, some chest position and a slide back – front lay to front full, strong – switch to split leap 1.5, around, great split positions – Is Kim Tessen holding a picture of a whale at her? – nearly had the same problem as Hoffman on her 1.5 to front, lost her knees and had some sliding in arching it around. 9.900 is way high. One judge went 9.950 for that. I have nothing.

Ross – BB – UCLA – bhs loso series, right on – switch ring to beat, great – aerial to beat is smoothly done – side aerial to a stuck full. Great one. 9.975 for her.

Soloski – FX – Utah – DLO, secure landing today – front lay to front full, tucks her knees on the layout – 1.5 to layout, good height, a little slidey. 9.950 with a 10 from one judge with a tucked layout and a slide on the final pass. UCLA’s floor rotation scores are going to be special.

UCLA 49.525 on beam, Utah 49.475 on floor.

After 3: Utah 148.300, UCLA 148.225

So. So so so. How many 49.8s in this last rotation?

Also, check out the scoring ranges on Utah’s floor routines. What is even happening with this sport? One judge had that rotation at 49.350 and the other at 49.600. Those are…very different rotations that you two saw. Almost like we need a code of points to get this stuff in order.

Rotation 4

LeBlanc – BB – Utah – switch to split 1/4, strong – bhs loso series with an arm wave check and some knees – aerial to a high split jump – 1,5 dismount, step. 9.800

Flatley – FX – UCLA – front lay to rudi, good height and control, a tad soft in layout – front 2/1, gets it around with a hop to present – switch ring to switch 1/2, pretty shapes – back 1.5 to a good straight layout. Very nice start. Let’s watch the score. 9.925

Burch – BB – Utah – smooth full turn – hits her loso series comfortably – split to stag ring, secure – cat leap to aerial, smoothly done – I think some of her choreography is pulling one of those magician scarves out and I’ll allow it – gainer full, very small adjustment. Good one. 9.950 is….a lot. One judge gave it a 10.

I don’t know what I’m watching.

Lashbrooke – FX – UCLA – double tuck, chest a bit forward there – back 1.5 to layout, solidly around, a bit loose – double pike, secure landing as well but chest well down. 9.900. Sigh. Quite high. No separation from Flatley either, who had the superior routine.

O’Keefe – BB – Utah – side aerial to loso with a leg-up check correction this week – switch to split, very nice extension – side aerial to full, stuck landing. The rest was fab.

9.900 with that leg-up check.

Dennis – FX – UCLA – front loso through to double tuck, a little slide this time, good chest up position – split leap full to split jump full to straight jump, better clearly defined landing positions this week, of course the actual split positions are great – front full to layout, nailed the landing – rudi to split jump with some travel back.

Nia miming dying, which is a treat.

The 9.975 with a slide back on the first pass and travel on the last pass is less of a treat. We have gone beyond and are in a mirror universe. Leave me behind please.

Isa – BB – Utah – candle, strong – kickover to beat, solid – bhs loso loso, little arm wave check, minimizes it well – stuck bhs gainer full. Nice job. 9.950 with a check.

Kramer – FX – UCLA – front 2/1 to front pike, a tad bouncy this time – back 1.5 to layout to shush is perfect this week – switch side to popa, good splits, slightly ill-defined landing position – rudi to stretch jump, good. I think is one was stronger than Dennis’s, so…

LOL. I’m hearing the telltale 9.975 boos…

Randall – BB – Utah – full turn, good – bhs loso series, solid and secure – bea tto sheep, nice sheep position, secure landing – sissone – hits rulfova well – 1.5, nearly stuck it but couldn’t hold it with a slide back.

9.975 with a non-stuck dismount. More coolness.

Hano – FX – UCLA – DLO, solid landing but chest forward – front full to 1/2 to Hano stag – split leap full to wolf jump full, solidly around – double pike, maybe the smallest movement of the front foot, when was the last time that mattered

Only a 9.950?!?!?! Did she die during her routine?!?!?!

Paulson – BB – Utah – side aerial to loso, solidly hit – switch with a small hesitation into split jump – beat to side aerial to full, stuck. Good. If she gets a 10, Utah will have the win.

And she does. Nothing matters.

198.075 for Utah.

Ross – FX – UCLA _ whip to double tuck, very strong – back 1.5 to layout, a little out of control – double pike, controls it.

49.775 is a Utah beam record.

Waiting on the 10 for Ross now. I mean score. Waiting on the score.

Oh, a 9.975 for Ross. A shock.

FINAL: Utah 198.075, UCLA 198.025

49.800 for UCLA on floor is actually not a program record. Because 2004.

That final rotation was so inappropriate, you guys. Honestly one of the worst displays of unprofessional judging. It doesn’t matter that it benefited both teams equally. Those are not the rules. You ignored all of them. All of those scores were too high. And not debatable too high, like obviously more than a tenth too high on each instance.

I hereby pledge to replace “SEC scoring” with “Utah/UCLA scoring” for the rest of the season. Because this was the worst one.

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