|Saturday, March 6
|1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – North Carolina @ William & Mary||LINK||FREE|
|2:00pm ET/11:00am PT –  Illinois @  Iowa||LINK||BTN+|
|4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT – NC State @ New Hampshire||LINK||FREE|
|5:00pm ET/2:00pm PT –  UCLA @  Cal||LINK||FREE|
|6:00pm ET/3:00pm PT – Arizona @  Arizona State||LINK||FREE|
The main thing we learned about the code yesterday is that controlled landings are no longer required if your first pass is a full-in, so I expect that to be maintained throughout every meet today. All that matters is that you did it and we’re so proud of you for trying, so we want to give you a 10 to make us all feel warm and gooey. Who cares if someone else is doing the exact same thing for 9.875? She’s not in front of us right now and therefore does not exist.
Onward and upward to Illinois and Iowa. I mentioned in the rankings post this week that Iowa’s score-scape could really use some similar drugs right now because the solid 196s that got the team into the top 10 a few weeks ago are now basically garbage scores because anyone who’s anyone gets a 197 for every cough. Though it will be tough to improve the current setup this week because Iowa already has two strong home scores of 196.800 and 196.775. So today would have to be better than that to count. Illinois, meanwhile, has a 196.075 to get rid of and could even pass Iowa in the rankings with a huge score today.
Current pace: this meet will be starting in the year 2046.
Tolan – VT – Iowa – good control on her Yfull landing, pikes down some to find the landing, some dynamics deductions – 9.750
Borden – UB – Illinois – jaeger to overshoot, hit, leg break on overshoot catch – short cast hs – blind to front 1.5, hop back, small. Solid, some verticals, some leg breaks. 9.750
Greenwald – VT – Iowa – medium hop back on yfull, better distance than Tolan and less piking, still not the hightest vaults. 9.750
Biondi – UB – Illinois – short first hs – blind to jaeger, hit – bail, good vertical – shorter on her cast handstands – DLO, good control chest down. 9.825
Kenlin – VT – Iowa – large bounce back on her yfull, best height and layout position so far. 9.825
O’Donnell – UB – Illinois – blind to jaeger, hit, good toes – better vertical positions here – small looseness in bail catch, hits vertical – giant full, late, into double tuck, stuck. 9.900
Guerin – VT – Iowa – they did not cut to her vault in time – good control on her full, small piking. 9.800
Takekawa – UB – Illinois – blind to piked jaeger, low but caught – bail, good vertical position – some hip angle in final cast – DLO, pikes a little, step back. 9.775
Killian – VT – Iowa – bounce back similar size to Kenlin, good amplitude and distance, biggest full of the group. 9.800
Ewald – UB – Illinois – short first hs – blind to jaeger, hit – pak, nice height there – late 1/2 turn on low bar – some short casts FTDT, step back, maybe another small step to meet it. 9.825
Henderson – VT – Iowa – medium bounce back on her yfull today – the rest of it is excellent – elegant layout position, great power. 9.875
Mizuki – UB – Illinois – blind to piked jaeger and falls. Damn. That piked jaeger was so lovely in the air. Took it too far.
So we’ll have Illinois at 49.075 to Iowa’s 49.050 after the first rotation.
Iowa had a fine collection of fulls, though the ones with the best form and dynamics didn’t stick, while the flatter vaults had good control, so everyone was sort of stuck in the same range. Illinois no major issues to count on bars, routines pretty clean, but a lot of short and borderline cast handstands that can take those scores down.
Amelia Knight did exhibition bars, a very viable routine that probably would have outscored some of the counters in the lineup.
Scores now say Illinois bars at 49.150. Not sure whose score got raised, or if they accidentally counted Knight’s exhibition score. Ah ha ha.
Waight – VT – Illinois – y1/2, lands short, fairly large lunge back. 9.600
Tolan – UB – Iowa – jaeger to overshoot is hit – giant full to double tuck, struggles on double tuck, large bounce back. 9.650
Mueller – VT – Illinois – hits a full, bounces back, knees throughout, slightly flight, fine. I enjoy that they’re all announcing her as Takekawa. Like, look at her. 9.775
Greenwald – UB – Iowa – tkatchev, catches, some loose form – nice pak, legs together – 1/2 turn on low, a bit late – good final cast hs – DLO, stuck landing. 9.775
Biondi – VT – illinois – another Y1/2, hit but another large lunge forward – better form and distance than Waight though. 9.800
They’re doubling down on Mueller actually being Takekawa. OK. Good.
Henderson – UB – Iowa – toe on to maloney to bail, some leg breaks there – overbalances handstand on high bar and has to recorrect and recast and add some extra swings – good FTDT, hop back. Her overcast made Larissa do a little frustration twirl. 9.100
Townes – VT – Illinois – hits a very good Y1.5 – small shuffle back and some knees. 9.825. Accurate score. Would have been 9.925 last night.
Steffensmeier – UB – Iowa – good first hs – blind to jaeger piked, clean – pak, nice amplitude there – struggles on 1/2 turn on low bar, has to recast to get her 1/2 turn and then it was a little late – giant full to double tuck, chest down, hop.
Iowa giving this one away on bars.
Oh 9.750 for Steffensmeier is a gift for that mistake. Basically getting the same score as the hits.
O’Donnell – VT – Illinois – very large bounce back on yfull. 9.700
Kaji – UB – Iowa – blind to jaeger, hit – pak, good legs together, quite archy – solid final cast hs, earlier had a short one – DLO, slide back. Good. 9.800
Powe – VT – Illinois – has to pike down her yfull more than the others – gets a little soft on the vault – good height. 9.750
Kenlin – UB – Iowa – toe on to maloney to pak, great form, legs together – toe full to double tuck, stuck landing. Toe full was actually pretty solidly finished in vertical, better than most giant fulls we see. 9.875
48.850 for Illinois on vault. Some great work from Townes but the rest of the lineup was pretty flat with some large lunges.
Iowa does the same on bars, which is a daring escape as they had a fall from Henderson, a 9.650 from Tolan and a re-cast error from Steffensmeier. Still very much in the meet, though the hopes for a high score are dwindling.
After 2: Illinois 97.925, Iowa 97.900
Henderson – BB – Iowa – good full turn – bhs loso series, leg-up check, pulls it back – cat leap to switch side, a little crooked on switch position – double tuck dismount, hit it, chest down with a hop forward. 9.700
Ewald -FX – Illinois – rudi to loso, control, some leg crossing in rudi – wolf jump 1.5 – split leap full to jump full, well short of 180 – front full to layout, just a tad short with a small slide – good control on tumbling, main thing will be dance element positions. 9.725
Castle – BB – Iowa – bhs loso, hit, small arm wave choreo to cover any checking – front tuck, deep landing but works through it into beat jump – cat hop to switch side, short switch side but major credit for actually trying on the element into it – 1.5 dismount, stuck. 9.725
Noonan – FX – Illinois – front 2/1, solid, legs slightly crossed – rudi, hit secure but a little shifty with that front foot – switch ring to split leap full, solid positions – back 1.5 to layout, hit but got quite flat on the layout. 9.800
Nick – BB – Iowa – bhs loso series, secure, good height, soft position on bhs though – cat leap to aerial to beat, smooth extended aerial – swtich to split, gets a little low on those – 1.5, stuck. Very solid work. 9.825
Biondi – FX – Illinois – double pike, show strong control – front lay to front full, slide forward out of it, some knees – switch side to wolf jump full, again good positions shown there – double tuck, chest farther down on that one but controlled. 9.825
Killian – BB – Iowa – bhs loso series, large break, bend at the hips to keep it on – front tuck, secure, higher landing position – switch to switch, gets a little low on second switch position, check – 2/1, small movement. 9.750
Townes – FX – Illinois – front 2/1, good height, crossover step but keeps it small – wolf jump 1.5, gets it around – 1.5 to front full, again shows the amplitude necessary to do it, some legs – split leap full to popa, nice rise on that popa, split leap a little short. Strong work. 9.825
Kaji – BB – Iowa – bhs loso, nailed, strong form – cat leap to side aerial, hit – split jump to split jump 3/4, arm wave correction – bhs gainer full. Good work. 9.900. I like that there was enough room to reward her superior form despite the balance check, while still taking for it.
Timothee Chalamet doing the timing behind beam with the shaky legs is making me tense.
Mueller – FX – Illinois – double pike, secure landing – front lay to front full, solid control shown, slightly soft – switch 1/2 to wolf full, nice positions there – double tuck, bounce back. 9.825
Kenlin – BB – Iowa – bhs loso series, strong work – switch to split, great 180s – cat leap to aerial to beat, good leg extension on aerial, smallllll lean adjustment – bhs bhs 1.5, rises up on toes to hold it. 9.925
Scott – FX – Illinois – front 2/1, crossover step – switch ring to split leap full, clear split and finishing positions shown on that full, very satisfying – 1.5 to layout, hit – rudi, controlled, some leg crossing. 9.850
Iowa and Illinois both go 49.125 in the third rotation to keep this thing very close. Pretty work from Kaji and Kenlin there, though Iowa did have some shakier routines earlier to keep the score from being huge.
Illinois leads 147.050 to 147.025 going to the final event, though major edge to Iowa now because Iowa’s final event is floor.
Meanwhile, North Carolina went just 194.875 today, which does not help the regionals qualification picture.
So apparently this meet also doesn’t count toward the Big Ten standings for some reason. What is this life?
Townes – BB – Illinois – switch to straddle 1/4, short back leg on switch, arm wave on landing – kickover, another little arm wave – bhs loso series, small squeeze lean – cat leap to sdei aerial to tuck full, stuck. 9.800
Killian – FX – Iowa – “tall and bouncy” OK? – 3/1, some knees, controls the step – front full to front tuck – switch side to popa, a little tight on popa position – double tuck, chest up, controlled landing. 9.800
Borden – BB – Illinois – aerial to fhs to straddle 1/4, a small pause after the aerial today – full turn, nice – beat to sheep – punch front lay full dismount, short with a bounce back. 9.800
Castle – FX – Iowa – double pike, large bounce back right into the corner – wolf hop full to switch side to wolf full, under on some of those positions – rudi, control there – 1.5 to layout, hit. 9.750
Biondi – BB – Illinois – bhs loso series, secure, solid layout position – switch to stag ring, great actual ring positions shown there – side aerial, step back to control the landing – 1.5, a bit short, step back. 9.875
Greenwald – FX – Iowa – full-in, strong landing, keeps front foot down (he subtweets) – switch side to popa, a little short of position on her popa – 2.5 to front tuck, hit, some leg crossing in 2.5. Good. 9.875
Noonan – BB – Illinois – bhs loso series, hit, good toe point – full turn, overturned some with a small check – switch to gainer loso, sall check, good switch position – beat to stag ring, another check – none large but adding up – gainer full, stuck. 9.800
Kaji – FX – Iowa – 1.5 through to double tuck, secure landing – double pike, also solid landing, some foot flexing there – switch 1/2 to split full, nicely done – strong routine. 9.925
Takekawa – BB – Illinois – side aerial to bhs, smoothly done – switch, small hesitation into loso, good positions – full turn – bhs gainer full, shuffle back. 9.900
Henderson – FX – Iowa – full in, bounce back – switch side to popa to straddle, nice positions, good lift into them – front tuck through to double tuck, good control, chest up, nice. Good routine. 9.925.
Scott – BB – Illinois – kickover with a small check into bhs, a check afterward, a combination decision to make there – switch, another larger check, bend and arm wave – cat leap to aerial, good extension on aerial – switch to split to try to get her dance combo, another larger check – gainer full, stuck. Got through it but enough wobbles that that will be the drop score.
Guerin – FX – Iowa – full in, great height, controls landing – switch side to popa to straddle, clear finishing positions – front tuck through to double tuck, keeps front foot down. Good work. 9.900.
I’m not saying Henderson and Guerin’s routines were better than the 10s and 9.975s we saw last night but yes I am saying that.
FINAL: Iowa 196.450, Illinois 196.225.
Iowa won’t count that home score. That number will improve Illinois’s NQS by a smidge, enough to get into a tie with Missouri after this week.
There were a couple scores here and there where I went “huh?” which is normal, but if I could bottle that judging and apply it to every meet, everything would be so much better. Those scores made sense within the NCAA scoring construct that we’re allegedly supposed to be working.
Lineups: Cal has Watterson in the bars group instead of George and has Li on as floor anchor. UCLA is returning Wright to the vault lineup.
I hadn’t seen these family introductions for Cal.
The pronunciations of Schank and Byun are blowing my mind.
Kristen Smyth sighting.
Oh, Jiani didn’t really get the assignment did she?
Schank – VT – Cal – good height and open on her full, medium slide back. 9.800
Campbell – UB – UCLA – maloney to bail, small leg breaks on both – solid final cast hs – blind to double front, cowboys it around, only a small hop. 9.875
Bordas – VT – Cal – bounce back on her full, larger bounce than Schank – some pike, good direction. 9.800
Kooyman – UB – UCLA – short first hs – maloney to pak, leg breaks – 1/2 turn on low bar, late turn this week – better final cast hs – DLO, a bit forward, hop. 9.825, pretty high
Clausi – VT – Cal – still going for the full, good one, clear layout position, small hop back. 9.800. I would have bumped that one a touch higher than the first two vaults.
Ulias – UB – UCLA – toe 1/2 to jaeger, lovely, some elbows on catch – hs look good – toe on – bail, gets to vertical – stalder to double tuck, good rhythm on stalder connection this week but double tuck was somewhat short with a hop forward. 9.875
George – VT – Cal – very strong control on her landing, smallest foot movement. 9.900
Esparza – UB – UCLA – maloney to pak, nice leg form – a little short on some of these casts – strong van leeuwen – DLO, tries to sell the landing but ends up with a pretty big hop back-salute. 9.850
DeSouza – VT – Cal – very solid landing on her Y1.5 – nearly shows the stick, hops out into salute, some knees. 9.925.
Dennis – UB – UCLA – good first hs – maloney to bail, gets to vertical on bail, a little pike in the process – cast positions best so far – DLO, a little flat this week, bounce back. 9.900
Li – VT – Cal – less control than the last couple times, pretty large bounce back and some piking. 9.800
Frazier – UB – UCLA – maloney to pak, pretty pak – good casts – van leeuwen, nice legs together – a little tight on final cast hs, lovely stick on DLO. Nice work. 9.950
After 1: UCLA 49.450, Cal 49.225
Cal had a couple strong vaults in there from DeSouza and George, didn’t really bring the landings on the remaining fulls to get them out of the 9.8 zone. A number of full tenth bounces there.
UCLA comes up with a big bars number, scoring there looks soft so far, especially for some of those early leg break and form issues. Handstands got better there toward the end of the lineup.
Steele falls on her dismount in exhibition, so not busting her way back into that lineup.
Tratz – VT – UCLA – good control this week, small hop back on full, some pike, good distance. 9.800. Every yfull is just 9.800 don’t worry.
DeSouza – UB – Cal – blidn to piked jaeger to overshoot, good height, nice final cast hs – FTDT, some legs, a bit chest forward with a slide-salute. 9.900. Softer bars than vault scoring trend looks to be continuing.
Poston – VT – UCLA – handspring pike 1/2, one of her better controlled landings, chest well down but solid, small movement. 9.875
Li – UB – small arch in first hs – pretty pak – great hs on low bar – van leeuwen, good legs – giant full to double tuck, stuck landing. VERY clean work. 9.925
Frazier – VT – UCLA – continues improving her control – smaller slide back on yfull – still clear piking throughout. 9.825
Schank – Ub – Cal – good first hs – blind to piked jaeger to overshoot, strong work – small arch on final cast, pulls it back – DLO, near stick, ends up with an arm wave and a little step. 9.950
It’s a 10.000/9.900 split. I think someone didn’t keep watching that dismount? Strategic jumping from Janelle to eclipse the judge? Because that was not a stick. Guys. Guys.
Wright – VT – UCLA – saves her Y1.5 – a short landing and a lunge back to control it – knee bending. 9.775
Bordas – UB – Cal – blind to jaeger to overshoot, huge – solid final cast hs – giant full to double tuck, stuck landing. Great. 9.975. Scores are a-flying todayyyy.
Dennis – VT – UCLA – greatttt yfull. Stuck landing. That’s the one. Leg form clearer from this angle, but nailed it. 9.925
Watterson – UB – Cal – pak, good, small leg break – good hs on low – toe on to van leeuwen, great leg positions – toe full to double tuck, stuck. Well, that was 80000x better than her touch warmup.
Campbell – VT – UCLA – FANTASTIC Yfull, huge, stuck. No problem with a 9.950 for that. (Which is why it’s a problem that one judge went 9.950 for Dennis because this one was better.) Yep. 9.950.
Celebrations lead me to believe that Watterson got a 10?
And she did. Well. So, I mean, these are really good routines, very clean, but these scores are also some fancyyyy times. I’m literally just sitting here cackling at this point. At least her 10 did not have an obvious landing deduction cough cough.
Kuc – UB – Cal – she’s back! Maloney to pak, good form – 1/2 turn on low, very precise – good cast hs on high – FTDT, stuck landing.
So basically, UCLA’s bar rotation was really softly evaluated, and then Cal did better, so they were like “HI I GUESS EVERY ROUTINE IS A 10”
Cal just did a very clean, well-executed, legitimate 49.5+ bars rotation with nailed handstands throughout. But it scored 49.775, so that was an experience.
After 2: Cal 99.050, UCLA 98.825
OK so everything is perfect. Although I have no problem with a perfect 9.950 for Campbell’s vault or scores over 9.9 for the bars routines from Li, Bordas, Watterson, and maybe Kuc. Really good stuff.
They’re re-showing Watterson’s 10. Yeah, it’s super clean. Vertical handstands. Great work. Best of the rotation. You also had to go 10 if you already gave Schank a 10 for a non-stick.
Ok now Cal’s bars score is 49.825 after Li got raised to 9.975. I CANNOT. That was one where I was like, “Yeah I can go with 9.925 for that…”
Oh there’s still more.
Clausi – BB – Cal – kickover to beat, solidly worked through, a little deep on kickover – bhs los, small lean correction – cat leap to switch side, somewhat crooked position – side aerial to tuck full, stuck. 9.850. Oh, we’re back to earth now?
Andres – FX – UCLA – 2.5 to front tuck, lunge out – double tuck is a struggle, short landing, large lunge forward – switch 1/2 to popa, popa not quitte around, a little hop on landing – switch leap, nice position. 9.775.
I’m concerned about what 9.8 judge is going to do for the rest of the meet.
DeSouza – BB – Cal – aerial, check, brings her foot back behind her – bhs loso series, secure – beat to sheep, small pause to straddle jump, not quite the closure on sheep jump – 1.5, near stick, small slide back. 9.900. Oh dear it’s starting again.
Wright – FX – UCLA – back 2.5, some better control, slightly soft knees – rudi to double stag, double stag travels wellll back toward the corner – split leap full to popa, clear finish positions – 1.5 to front layout, solid pass. 9.875. Uh oh. Nia just got a 50.
Li – BB – Cal – aerial to beat jump, clean, pretty extension – bhs loso series, secure landing, a touch of knees in bhs, good extended loso – full turn, nice – switch ring, not good, didn’t hit her ring position and a large break to keep herself on the beam – gainer pike, hop back. I’d give switch split instead of switch ring there, so we’ll see what happens. 9.625.
Tratz – FX – UCLA – double pike, secure landing – switch ring to split leap full – back 1.5 to layout, crisp extended layout shape there – double tuck, solid, chest just a bit down – 9.950 SURE WHY NOT.
George – BB – Cal – aerial to back tuck, pretty smoothly connected, some knees in aerial – wolf double, solid – hitch kick, good – beat to split ring jump, nice and solid, hit position – gainer full, can’t hold the stick, small step. But good one. 9.900
Frazier – FX – UCLA – whip through to double tuck, controls her step back – double pike, just a tad short, covers on landing – split leap full to popa to popa is still not my favorite composition choice because it makes her look like she’s bad at leaps. She’s not bad at them. Some short positions there. 9.925
Bordas – BB – Cal – hitch kick to aerial to split jump, small hesitation before split jump but probably close enough – bhs loso, small check – switch to split, nice 180 on split jump – bhs gainer full, a leannnnn-squeeze to try to hold that stick but looks like she does it. 9.900
Campbell – FX – UCLA – front 2/1, very solid control on that pass, unusual for a front 2/1, nice – split leap full to popa, good height – double tuck, pretty much under control, maybe small movement – front lay to front full, strong. Well, that was the best so far for me. 9.925. Alright?
Watterson – BB – Cal – wolf turn double, nice – bhs loso series, nicely done – switch to split leap, great back leg positions shown there – cat leap to side aerial to full, slide back. Really nice. Confident beam. She’s having a day. 9.950.
A 49.500 for Cal on beam. I’m beyond language.
Dennis – FX – UCLA – front loso through to double tuck, a little short, step – front lay to front full and a lunge forward OOB – NIAAAAA you were set up for that 10…. – You could see her trying to think of ways to fake control that landing but there was no way to avoiud the OOB – rudi to a straddle jump and travels. Not a strong one for her.
Dennis goes 9.625, so UCLA will be at 49.450 on floor to Cal’s 49.500 on beam.
After 3: Cal 148.550, UCLA 148.275
Current status: Cal needs to score 49.150 on floor to set an all-time program record.
Cal turned into Oklahoma so gradually we didn’t even notice
Poston – BB – UCLA – beat to straddle jump 3/4, solid – bhs loso loso and falls. Kendal didn’t get the memo that everyone’s supposed to get 199s today – 1.5, stuck. Good finish. 9.075
Quinn – FX – Cal – front lay to rudi, very well controlled landing, just some knees – switch side to popa, good straddles, overturns switch side position – double back, good, a little steppy. Solid. 9.900
Sakti – BB – UCLA – “Samantha Sekai” – nice loso loso combo today – leaps, solid 180 positions – side somi, holds it – side aerial to full, holds the stick with a somewhat deep squat. Nice work. 9.925
DeSouza – FX – Cal – double pike, controls front foot, chest somewhat down – switch side to popa, nice straddle positions – back 1.5 to front full, pretty solid leg positions – rudi, small slide back. 9.875
Esparza – BB – UCLA – full turn with a check – bhs loso series, solid, good leg positions – switch to straddle 1/4 – aerial and checks out of it, cannot connect into beat jump, huh, looked like she had it but then checked trying to beat – side aerial to full, low but stuck. I assume she needed that combo for SV. 9.675 will have to count.
Clausi – FX – Cal – double pike, a little deep, slide back – switch side to wolf full, to beat – 1.5 to layout, nice rise in layout – double tuck, hit under control, chest somewhat down. Secure routine, some chest position and knee things. 9.900
Dennis – BB – UCLA – bhs loso series and falls – oof, UCLA was going to have a strong road score today but has fallen apart on beam – lunge forward on 1.5 dismount. Still gets 9.350, because the judging of this meet had to keep up its reputation even with falls.
Bordas – FX – Cal – double tuck, very solid landing – 1.5 to front lay, whips aroudn the front lay a little with a slide – switch to ring 1/2 to wolf, pretty good – rudi, secure landing. 9.875
Frazier – BB – UCLA – switch to switch, hits her switch positions – aerial, leannn into back tuck but they’ll probably give her acro series because today and also college gymnastics – side aerial, hit – gainer front full, small hop. A hit. Frazier has evolved into someone who can get the beam rotation back on track, which wouldn’t have always been the case. 9.825
George – FX – Cal – front 2/1 to front tuck, keeps back foot down – switch ring to split leap full, very strong positions as always – rudi, another secure landing, chest a little forward – good work. 9.950. Obviously.
Campbell – BB – UCLA – wolf double, hit – bhs loso series, nice extension, hit – switch with a check before split jump, broken combination – switch 1/2 to beat, hit – gaienr full, stuck.
Cal will be over 198 with George’s score.
Li – Cal – FX – pike full in attempt and does it right to all fours and rolls around for a while afterward. That was a “WE ALREADY GOT A 198” anchor routine. Front full to layout.
Campbell’s 9.825 means UCLA goes to 196.875, and this will still be a counting score for them, though it should have been a season high based on how the everything was going.
FINAL: Cal 198.050, UCLA 196.875
A Nicki Shapiro beam exhibition is what I needed right now. And she hits her series and a lovely switch switch combination and dribbles a basketball in the middle of her routine. Side aerial with a large break.
Oh also Cal set a program record beam score. That got lost in all of this.
Basically, Cal had an excellent meet. We’ve also seen them do this same thing before (maybe not QUITE so strong on bars) for like a 197.2 or 197.3. The difference here was that they got famous-team scoring.
UCLA was doing pretty well through most fo the meet. Had some highlights like Campbell’s vault. Was enjoying the score-scape. And then beam happened, and it wasn’t good. Chalk UCLA up as a team that may end up as a #3 regionals seed that no one wants to have to be around because UCLA.