The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Saturday Live Blog – February 27, 2021

Saturday, February 27
Scores Stream
8:00am ET/5:00am PT – Winter Cup – Junior (and select seniors) Women’s Podium Training N/A FLO
12:30pm ET/9:30am PT – Winter Cup – Senior Women LINK NBC
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT – Oregon State @ [13] UCLA LINK P12N
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT – Big Five ([12] Iowa, Penn State, Michigan State, Rutgers @ [5] Michigan) LINK BTN+
3:00pm ET/12:00pm PT – Kent State @ Northern Illinois LINK NIU($)
3:00pm ET/12:00pm PT – San Jose State @ Stanford    
4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT – North Carolina, Temple @ [25] NC State   ACCN
5:00pm ET/2:00pm PT – Winona State @ UW-Whitewater LINK FREE
5:00pm ET/2:00pm PT – UW-Oshkosh @ UW-La Crosse   FREE
5:00pm ET/2:00pm PT – Winter Cup – Elite Team Cup (Junior Men) LINK FLO
8:00pm ET/5:00pm PT – [16] Southern Utah @ [20] Boise State LINK FREE

It’s an elite/NCAA combo live blog today as a couple NCAA meets I want to follow will be commingling with the end of the senior women’s Winter Cup session. How progressive of them.

Senior women’s start list is as follows:

VT – Jones, McCusker, Carely, E Lee
UB – Rosen, McClain, Blakely, Torrez, Malabuyo, Barros
BB – Kratzer, S Lee, Fatta, Alipio, Frazier, Saltness
FX – Drayton, Miller, Chiles, Hernandez, Greaves, German

Doesn’t mean everyone is doing all the events (or is still competing because that bars group has already had an injury apocalypse in warmup), but these are their assigned groups and starting events. Faith Torrez has officially scratched the meet now per the live scores after her vault warmup injury, as well as Katelyn Rosen after her beam injury. We’re all surprised it wasn’t the Texas Dreams athletes. Although live scores also say Malabuyo and Barros have zeros on bars.

Can’t wait to see what gems Tim and Nastia have in store for us today. We’re literally watching them get ready on the stream right now. Nastia is NOT HAPPY with this turtleneck situation. FIX IT. The third injury of training: Nastia’s turtleneck.

Road to Tokyo. Tokyo Tokyo Tokyo. Laurie Hernandez “and others.” I mean…

Laurie is watering down floor because her Jenny just wants her to have fun. I’m so here for every subtweet of The Haney.

Terry telling us that they will have more on Geddert after the first rotation. GOODY.


Rotation 1

Jones – VT – “future Florida Gator” is she though? Because she keeps not signing – solid enough DTY, not her most control, larger bounce back, some leg crossing, solid, chest up, pretty comfortable for her. 14.550.

McCusker – VT – “…coaching change…” – pulls around a DTY, a little deep, has some better amplitude, but still a lower landing. They’re really talking up the change. I mean it was a little better, but not like a WOW change. 14.050

Carey – VT – hits a solid Cheng, medium bounce back, chest well up on landing, easily completed, typical leg crossing but she looks ready with that vault. 14.800. 9.100 E and .3 ND.

Tim is trying to explain the +2 Olympic spots.

Emily Lee got 14.350 for her DTY.

Suni standing looking at the beam for 15 months.

S Lee – BB – wolf triple, good extension, loses a little rhythm toward the end – wolf double, hit – aerial to split jump to bhs – switch ring to split ring leap, split ring leap a little two-part ish, a dangerous composition choice – switch to switch 1/2 to switch ring jump, small check – side aerial to loso loso, very solid, confident – no dmt, just a layout.

Really solid beam work for Lee. She was a bit tight at the beginning but really only one small check. A couple ring position deductions. No dismount. But nice. On track. 14.250

Chiles – FX – didn’t quite her triple wolf around, definitely didn’t get double wolf around – more like a double and a single with some added spin – DLO 1/1 is excellent, very solid landing – DLO, some chest down, minor slide – switch ring to split leap 1.5, not quite all the way around on 1.5 – front 2/1 to front full, hit, a bit short – split full – double pike, a bit more bouncy.

The tumbling looked great. The main thing that will get her is dance element completion there. “Some of Simone’s tumbling is rubbing off on her.” She was good at that before WCC… 13.600

Hernandez – FX – taking out the full in that she showed in PT – double arabian, hit, lunge forward, she sat that down in the touch – double tuck, solid – switch ring to switch full, good – hits double pike, just a tad short – split leap 1.5, bounces around to cover up whether she got it around or not – split jump full – only a layout final pass.

Put up a progress point hit. All elements she did looked comfortable for her. But not a lot of difficulty in there yet. She’s like, “yo I have actual rhythm” 12.050 with a 4.2 D score.

And let’s pan past Olivia Greaves’ floor as we go to commercial…

So, like, did no one even do bars in this rotation?

They’re doing the same piece they did during the Nastia Cup. I’m really sick of looking at Geddert. Twitter’s still like – “DID YOU HEAR ABOUT GEDDERT” every two seconds. Yes. Yes I did.

We’re talking about Konnor McClain now being age eligible. But just shots of her walking. She wasn’t on the list to do bars on the original list I saw, though she did train it yesterday. But maybe that was just to get out there and she wasn’t planning on actually competing it.

So, um, Jade is winning. The leading non-vault score is 14.250 from Sunisa, but she’s not doing AA today. Top non-vault score from an AAer is 13.600.

Every text from Simone in that shot they just showed is in ALL CAPS. That tracks.

Now Terry gets to ready the words about Maggie Haney. This sport is fine. “A couple miserable years of training where she came from before.”

McCusker – UB – toe full to maloney, good height, into tkatchev, hit, a bit low – Downie is hit – Ricna to Pak, hit, was a little close on Pak – Van Leeuwen, good – small arch on cast on high – doubel front 1/2 out, a bit deep today with a lunge forward.

Good one. Tim and Nastia talking about now connecting the Pak to VL, but I also didn’t see her get that connection once in PT. May not be the plan yet. Some tight things, a hesitation or two. But strong work.

Chiles – VT – easssy peasy DTY, chest well up, great form, medium slide back. Good.

14.650 fro McCusker with a 6.2. Would go up to 6.4 if she connects the VL.

Carey – UB – Church, hit, a little close but fine – Yezhova, solid legs – small arch on low bar – maloney to bhardwaj, actual good legs – van leeuwen, solid – very short cast hs on high – clear hip, some form – giant full, legs apart, to FTDT, step back.

So she can kind of do some bars now. It’s not WHOA BARS, but she has bars at a level where it’s better than an Aly bars or a Skinner bars or something.

Emma Malabuyo’s beam we didn’t see but she got 13.900 for it, which is strong.

Skye Blakely – BB – hits wolf – back tuck full, secure – fhs to front tuck, leg-up check – switch to switch 1/2 to back tuck, connected, her switch is actually shorter than the switch 1/2 – side aerial, step back – aerial to split to straddle – double tuck, step back

13.700 for Carey on bars.

Alipio – FX – double pike, good chest up position, step – double tuck, chest more down there, slide back – double Y, leaning out of it – switch ring to switch 1/2, nice switch 1/2 position – back 1.5 to front full, pretty secure landing – split leap 1.5, around – 2/1 final pass is the only real struggle there, deep landing with some knees and a bounce to the side. 12.700

Biggg 14.500 for Skye Blakely on beam.

McClain – BB – back tuck full, very strong, doesn’t connect into wolf but great positions on all her A and B jumps – bhs bhs layout, super floaty, hit – onodi, hit – switch to switch 1/2, hits her 180 positions – aerial, arm wave before split and split ring – leg-up check and a wobble on split ring – bhs bhs double pike, lunge back.

A couple wobbles but also a triumph.

“So a lot of people can’t do this pass” on Konnor’s layout. Hmm.

14.000 with a 5.7 D score for McClain. It’s so relaxing not to have to feel the need to be outraged. But also I’m outraged. She did break a number of connections there.

We didn’t see Shilese Jones on bars but she went 14.400 which is a massive score for her there.

Kratzer – FX – front 2/1, some knees, crossover step – double tuck, bounce back – split leap full is somewhat short of split – a little bouncy on combo front tuck – double L turn pretty close to around – switch 1/2, short – double pike, well short with a stumble forward

Anyway, it has been two rotations and Shilese Jones leads the AA, followed by McCusker, then Chiles and Carey. They’re the ones in the AA hunt at this point, but McCusker is not competing floor, so it’s actually just the other three.

Rotation 3

Chiles – UB – blind to piked jaeger, hit – toe full to tkatchev, nice height – pike dtkatcehv, hit – pak, legs right together, good – maloney is low but she fingertipped it, connected into gienger – FTDT dismount, hop back. Good, right on today.

Carey – BB – aerial to split to straddle, a bit tight but hit securely – bhs loso loso, right to the end of the beam but solid – switch to switch 1/2, short of switch 1/2 position, breaks combo into back tuck – split leap, back foot, into side aerial – solid – switch side, tight but hit – split jump 1/2 from side – bhs bhs double tuck, nearly shows a full stick.

I mean there are lots of pauses and pretty much every split is short but another very secure routine. We talk a lot about bars, but she has improved a lot on beam as well.

14.050 on bars for Chiles.

Greaves – UB – stalder full, a bit late but connects into stalder shap – piked jaeger, hit – Piked Ricna into pak, some legs – van leeuwen, some legs agin – toe on to FTDT, added back her dismount from WOGA Classic, lunge forward.

Fine hit from her. Some more form things than her usual but fine.

13.550 on beam for Carey. 13.600 on bars for Greaves.

Malabuyo – FX – DLO, rather deep, has to bounce back – double arabian, short again but saves it with a step back – switch ring and split leap 1.5 look good – full in way short and falls, you could see that coming from the first two short landings – double wolf turn, hit – double pike, short again and a hand touch again. A rough one.

Jones – BB – sissone to full turn, leg up check – arabian, nailed – bhs bhs layout, also secure – side aerial, strong – split jump 1/2 from side to straddle 1/2 from side, hit them – front tuck, a little deep but holds it – double pike dismount, step to the side.

Shilese is looking a lot better. That was strong.

A montage of Simone eponymity.

McCusker – BB – she hit her triple wolf turn but then couldn’t get her double wolf turn, grabs the beam and has to push herself back up – bhs loso series, solid – switch and switch 1/2, hit – side aerial to split to back tuck – split jump 1/2 from side, well short of split, weird for her – bhs bhs double tuck, very short and hands down. So that was not ideal. Bars was good but that was less.

So, I’m getting the UCLA/Oregon State meet ready, but will be focusing on Winter Cup until it concludes, and then shifting to NCAA.

Chiles takes over in the AA lead after 3 events, .4 ahead of Jones and .6 ahead of Carey.

Blakely went 12.650 on floor.

Rotation 4

McClain – VT – two events today, beam and vault – very solid DTY, easily completed, small hop in place, not the most distance, good

Hernandez – BB – front pike, hit, small hop forward – bhs loso series, smoothly done – split jump 1/2 from side, nice split position – aerial to split to straddle jump – switch to switch 1/2, nice – side aerial, nailed – double pike dismount, hit, lunge forward. Well, that was excellent.

There were parts in the middle there where it was 2016.

I’m concerned about what may have happened with Frazier (the younger) on bars as she got a 4.100 with a 1.9 D score.

13.950 with a 5.5 D score for Hernandez. Definitely the event that’s the farthest along.

Jade Carey is now scratching floor, so then there were two.

Jones – FX – 1.5 twisting double tuck first pass, excellent, love that she’s bringing that back – DLO, small hop back – switch 1/2 – double arabian, a little short with a bounce back – double tuck was deeper, chest down, lunge forward. So perfectly fine, not her strongest landings, but a big day for her. The best she has been in the AA.

S Lee – UB – LITTLE KID ON A PLAYGROUND – Nabvieva to bhardwaj, hit – van leeuwen – blind to piked jaeger to pak to maloney to gienger – a different order of elements than she showed in PT – FTDT, small hop forward. Excellent. She showed the potential for a 6.8 D in podium training, and she didn’t do all of the combos here but did do all the elements.

12.950 for Jones on floor.

Doing a little self-stabbing about all this “don’t post it because the Russians might steal it” stuff. BUT WHAT IF THE RUSSIANS FIND OUT WHAT A NABIEVA IS.

Over at UCLA, Marz Frazier stuck her yfull today. Near stick for Nia Dennis, small movement, one judge gave her a perfect 9.950. Aren’t we glad we’re at Winter Cup instead?

15.050 for Suni. Is it good?

Nastia’s FUN GIGGLE about Chellsie’s 2005 win was worth this price of admission.

Miller – BB – candle mount – side aerial to loso series and falls – switch to switch 1/2, a little short on 1/2 turn – split jump 1/2 from side is solid – also straight jump full from side – aerial to split jump to bhs, nice – sissone position is pretty – double pike, jarred landing, step back.

“I used to get mad.” Tim’s multi-decade therapy sesh continues.

Chiles – BB – side aerial to loso to loso, hit – aerial to straddle to bhs, also comfortabel and secure – side somi, secure landing – switch to switch 1/2, some feet flexing but again hit – straddle 1/2 from side, a lean – ups to her full in dismount, hit, hop. She had an excellent day.


Chiles goes 14.500 on beam (hello) to finish with 57.050 AA. That’s a score.

Second place to Shilese Jones with 55.100, also a solid result for her. Emily Lee finishes 3rd with 53.400.

Oh I’m not done yet. Let’s watch some NCAA.

After 1 UCLA goes 49.225 on vault to Oregon State’s 48.825 on bars, which is a good bars result for them.

At the Big Four, they’re still retaining the byes, which is super weird, so Michigan hasn’t started yet. Penn State with a significant 49.225 on beam. Iowa avoided counting a fall for 49.000 on bars. Rutgers 48.650 on floor.

While we wait in rotation breaks, I think the significant developments from Winter Cup were Jordan Chiles putting herself back in the mix, and Konnor McClain and Skye Blakely showing good beam, though we didn’t see enough events from them quite yet to make a DETERMINATION about contention. And Sunisa Lee’s bars difficulty. Laurie Hernandez, a pleasure to see her back, and beam was really nice. Does she have enough time? Carey on track. McCusker probably on track as well, but she did miss beam. We’ll have to wait and see about floor.

Rotation 2

Bird – VT – Oregon St – good control on yfull, small slide back – some pike. 9.825

Campbell – UB – UCLA – maloney to bail, small leg breaks, good vertical – blind to double front, cowboy, small step back. Solid hit. 9.850

Peterson – VT – Oregon St – round off full on back tuck, stuck landing. Definitely the best she has done that vault. 9.850

Kooyman – UB – UCLA – maloney to pak, legs on both – 1/2 turn on low bar a little late but better – hits final cast hs – DLO, stuck landing. A couple improvements there. Stuck landing and some better verticals. 9.850

Yanish – VT – Oregon St – huge yfull as always – medium bounce back – great layout position. 9.850

Michigan has Gugino leading off floor, finishes with a short rudi, hop to the side.

Ulias – UB – UCLA – toe 1/2 to jaeger, lovely – good cast – toe on to bail, nice legs together – hitting her cast hs – stalder, small hesitation into double tuck, stuck. That’s her best bars of the season thus far as well. 9.925. Tremendous.

S Gonzales – VT – Oregon St – round off full on back pike, struggles on direction, goes off line and has a large lunge back and onto an additional mat. 9.750 is…really high for that?

Iowa has falls from the first two beam routines.

Esparza – UB – UCLA – good first hs – maloney to pak, nice legs – can leeuwen, legs together – hits final cast hs – DLO, legs apart, large bounce back. Her theme so far this season has been great routines until dismount problems. 9.875

L Dagen – VT – Oregon St – hit yfull, small bounce back, just a little pike. 9.900.

Dennis – Ub – UCLA – maloney to bail, very solid, legs together – solid final cast on high – DLO, small bounce to absorb landing. Good. 9.950 ok now hi.

M Dagen – VT – Oregon St – back to hitting her Y1.5 – small hop forward – Janay that is absolutely not the best one she’s done this year she stuck it in the first three meets. 9.900

Frazier – UB – UCLA – good first hs – maloney to pak, legs on maloney, great pak – strong cast hs on low – van leeuwen – good legs together – DLO, small hop in place. 9.950

After 2: UCLA 98.775 Oregon State 98.150

So these scores are…uh…high. Like really high. Some clear improvements for UCLA on bars though. Better handstands more control on dismount. And it’s fun when you can go 9.950 without a stick.

UCLA on track for a season high here. Oregon State also set right up for a 196.

Yeeesh. Natalie Wojcik just fell on floor on a front 2/1 to front tuck combo.

And that’s following a 6.050 for Abby brenner that I did not see. What happened there?

Went back and checked out Brenner, she went down on her full in first pass, grabbing her ankle.

Even Sierra Brooks had trouble on a double pike, deep, lunge forward.

So, I’ve seen nothing at all posted about Stanford’s meet. They haven’t tweeted, no video, no live scores? Are they doing it? Or doing it and pretending it’s not happening?

Iowa got 9.900 from Kenlin and 9.950 from Kaji on beam to go 48.575 despite the counting fall.

Oh no and now Gabby Wilson just fall on her double back final pass. It looked fine in the air and then she just keeled over backward. Well that was a tragic rotation.

Rotation 3

Poston – BB – beat to split jump 3/4, secure – bhs bhs loso, nailed – finishes 1.5, stuck landing. OK very solid. 9.775

So it was a 47.500 for Michigan on floor. ;alksdjfhaks;jdfhlkajsdhf.

Mack – FX – OSU – front lay to rudi, solid, just a bit soft in the air – switch sdie to popa, very nice, has the height and positions – doubel pike, large lunge back, just kept it in bounds but out of control – 9.725

Sakti – BB – UCLA – standing loso loso, great height, solid landing – switch to split, hit – small hesitation on full turn – side somi, comfortable – side aerial to full, holds the stick long enough. Good. 9.900

Bird – FX – OSU – front lay to rudi to straddle jump, control on straddle, some leg crossing on rudi – 2.5, good height, small slide out. 9.825

Frazier – BB – UCLA – switch to switch – aerial to back tuck, small lean after aerial, sells it into back tuck – side aerial, hit – front gainer full, secure landing. She’s getting more comfortable there. 9.900

Michigan trying to save itself on vault, got a good Y1.5 stick from Wojcik. Wilson follows with a small hop forward on hers. Morrison a larger bound forward on hers.

Peterson finishes FX for Oregon State with a secure double pike landing.

Shapiro – BB – UCLA – bhs bhs loso series and falls this time – resumes with a nice switch to switch – oooooh that there’s a fall on some choreography –

Great stick on her Y1.5 to finish the lineup for Sierra Brooks. 9.975 for her. Well, it’s a 49.525 vault rotation.

8.35 for Shapiro. Apologies for missing Force’s floor routine, but there was a typo on the Michigan meet broadcast, and you know how I can’t leave that be.

Esparza – BB – UCLA – full turn, small hesitation – bhs loso series, hit well – switch to straddle 1/4, good position, little arm wave – aerial to beat – side aerial to full, small movement. Much better dismount from her today though. 9.875

Force went 9.850

M Dagen – FX – OSU – punch front 2/1, holds the landing well despite coming in a sliver short – switch 1/2 to popa looks nice – front lay to front full, well done – double pike, possible OOB, looked out to me. But not. 9.875

Campbell – BB – UCLA – wolf double, hit – bhs loso series, large break with a bend at the hips, stays on – switch 1/2, a little short of split – split to beat – gainer full, nearly holds the stick.

Yanish – FX – OSU – DLO, hit, but a bounce back this week – front full to layout, under control, just a bit low – double tuck, also a bounce back this week. Not her most landing control.

I enjoyed Erynne Allen’s balance check to try to stay in bounds on floor there.

Yanish finishes 9.800 so Oregon State 49.200 on floor. Waiting on Campbell’s final beam score.

Campbell ended up with 9.425, which means they also didn’t give SV, which is like…what sport am I in? Campbell had an arm wave pause in between her dance series, which means they actually didn’t give her a dance combo, 0.2 off. It’s a brand new world of judging.

UCLA 48.925 on beam.

After 3: UCLA 147.700, Oregon State 147.350

Final rotation starting now

Peterson – BB – Oregon St – switch 1/2, hit, a bit short – bhs bhs loso, right to the end of the beam, very small hesitation – straddle 3/4 from side, secure landing – gainer pike, stuck landing. OK actually 9.850 that makes more sense

Andres – FX – UCLA – 2.5 to front tuck but takes it too far this time with a lunge OOB – double tuck, clean position in the air, chest up – switch 1/2 to popa, good 180, just pulls that popa around, a little hop at the end – 9.625

Bird – BB – OSU – kickover and another magical save from her – one leg totally off, large leg-up check but stays on – bhs loso, hit – a check on the switch 1/2 this week but no need for the magical save work there from last week. 9.675

Tratz – FX – UCLA – high double pike, only a small movement on landing – switch ring to split leap full, hit – 1.5 to layout, gets lower on the layout with some soft knees – double tuck, solid. 9.850

Young – BB – OSU – aerial, smooth, a little slow into back tuck but good elements – switch to split to stag ring, hit, some soft back knee moments – fainer gainer full, solid landing. Smooth work. 9.875

Wright – FX – UCLA – 2.5, high, slide forward on landing – rudi to a double stag – split leap 1.5 to straddle 1/2, a tad crooked on the initial leap – 1.5 to layout, better control there. 9.850

Domingo – BB – OSU – aerial to back tuck, small squeeze on landing – switch to split, a couple very small hesitations so far but fine – split 3/4, secure landing – gainer full, stuck. Nice. 9.825

Frazier – FX – UCLA – whip through to double tuck, larger bounce back today – double pike, secure landing – split leap full to popa to popa, short on split leap full position, higher popas. 9.850

Janet Jackson is still alive, so let’s talk about her in the present tense.

S Gonzales – BB – OSU – aerial, pretty – does the aerial again to try to connect into side aerial for her acro series, off line and falls. They’ll count the 9.675 now – side aerial to full dismount, step forward. 9.100

Campbell – FX – UCLA – front 2/1, controls the landing, a tad deep – split leap full to popa, awesome positions, just a little travel – double tuck, under control – front lay to front full, a little short with a crossover step. 9.925

M Dagen – BB – OSU – bhs loso series, nice extension, secure – switch to switch 1/2, small correction – side aerial to full, solid landing, nice work.

Dennis – FX – UCLA – front loso through to double tuck, a lunge back and a possible OOB but no flag – front full to layout, lovely extended shape – split leap 1.5 to split jump full to straight jump 1/2, looks like she got those around as intended – rudi to split jump, a little out of control

Dagen went 9.925 which will have Oregon State finish on 196.500, a big deal score for them.

9.850 for Dennis and UCLA finishes at 197.025. Another 197 but a lower result than last week.

One more rotation left at the Big Four, but I may have to leave early because we’re doing a live GymCastic about Winter Cup.

Carly bauman in leadoff for Michigan on beam has an arm wave correction on her piked side somi, sticks side aerial to full dismount.

Kenlin with her best full for Iowa, little rebound up in place.

Wilson second on beam for Michigan – high bhs loso, solid landing – switch side, nice – finishes double tuck, lunge back. 9.875

Farley – BB – Michigan – bhs loso loso, lean correction, bend at the hips – the rest was solid, stuck gainer pike . 9.800

Verdeflor – UB – Penn St – good first hs – blind to jaeger, lovely – bail, right to vertical – casts look solid – giant full, finishes right on top, double tuck, stuck. Nice. 9.950. Hello now.

Henderson – VT – Iowa – FABBBB Yfull. Stuck landing. Awesome. 9.925. Wouldn’t have minded 9.950 for that actually. A real stick.

Bonsall – UB – PSU – maloney to bail, good legs together – a couple shorter cast hs in here – DLO, stuck landing. Nice finish. Mighttt be making a GIF of Dallas jumping when she stuck.

Brooks finishes beam with a good double tuck, smallish hop back. 9.950 with a non stick.

Rushlow – Ub – Penn State – a tad close on catch on jaeger but works it into overshoot – giant full, a little late into double tuck, strong landing. Good bars and beam results from Penn State today, but the floor score probably means a 196 isn’t happening.

Wojcik – BB – Michigan – aerial to beat jump – switch to split, perfect – bhs bhs loso, check to the side – full turn, also just a little hesitant – stuck 1.5 dismount though.

So Michigan actually has a chance to win this meet if the final beam score is a 10, which is insane after that floor.

Annnnd the stream is like “EVENT HAD ENDED” before Hesikell anchors the beam rotation. COOL. BYE THEN.

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