|Thursday, April 1
|3:00pm ET/12:00pm PT – Georgia Play-in
 NC State vs.  Western Michigan
|3:00pm ET/12:00pm PT – West Virginia Play-in
 Penn State vs.  West Virginia
|4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT – Alabama Play-in
 Eastern Michigan vs.  Maryland
So here we are. The first day of elimination meets in the 2021 season, where we find out who…gets to put a postseason victory on their record before getting eliminated tomorrow.
The first batch of meets will be NC State/WMU and Penn St/West Virginia. The NC State/Western meet looks like it has two different stream options, an ESPN3 link and a Georgia streaming link. I put the Georgia streaming link in here because sometimes WatchESPN gets pissy if you have too many streams open because they think you’re sharing a password or something. So having a Georgia streaming link might help in a sort of triage situation.
NC State is probably the biggest favorite in any of the play-ins—because they shouldn’t have had to participate in these meets in the first place—having gone 196 in five of the last six meets, while Western Michigan has been stuck in the 194s at the last three competitions. It would be a big surprise if Western gets through this one.
The one I’m most eager to see is Penn State/West Virginia. Penn State is ranked better but has also been stuck in the mid-195s most of the year because of vault and floor struggles. The team finally got those events to a better scoring place at Big Tens, only to count a mistake on beam for a 195.4. If they put it all together, we could see a 196. But then we have West Virginia, the home team, finally starting to turn it on in the last couple meets of the season to get the scores required to make regionals at all. West Virginia’s 195.7 from Big 12s also included a counting mistake on beam, better than Penn State’s score for a similar kind of meet.
Eastern Michigan and Maryland start an hour later and are ranked basically identically. Maryland probably has the higher scoring potential but is also missing several important injured athletes, which we’ve seen manifest in some declining bars and beam scores the last couple weeks. Both teams struggled on beam at conference championships (a theme!), but it will be especially important for EMU to hit a secure beam rotation to undermine the advantage Maryland should have on other pieces, particularly vault, where we’ve seen some higher 9.8s for Maryland’s Yfulls.
In an surprise, Temple comes into the meet against Arizona as a numerical favorite after that massive 196.500 from the conference championship. Until the month of March, Temple was a 194 team, so the question is whether this sudden and dramatic upswing can be maintained against a team with a few more expected 9.850-9.900 scores. And whether Arizona can bring the security in the Yfulls and the middle bars lineup to stay in this thing early and then hand it to people like Jessica Castles on the final events.
In Western Michigan’s good meets, bars has been closer to the 48.8 zone, while in the low scores, it has been more like 48.2 or 48.0, so look out for how the first rotation shapes up in that regard to see whether WMU is in this.
Also I added the ESPN3 link for the Athens regional in case the Georgia stream is a jerk. Which it is right now.
Abarca – UB – WVU – solid gienger to bail, a very snall bit of looseness in bail – giant full to double tuck, bounce back. 9.775
Johnston – VT – Penn St – hits a full, bounce back, chest down. 9.675
Western Michigan with a big struggle in that first UB dismount, DLO with a near knee down, if not a knee down.
Sorry that was Johnston vaulting first for Penn St. Bladon is up second.
NC State has a large bounce back on yfull in second spot from Jordan. 9.625
Combs – UB – WVU – maloney to pak, large leg break – 1/2 turn on low, late of vertical – solid final cast – giant full to double tuck, good stick. Nice second half. 9.800
Bladon – VT – Penn St – sticks her landing on the full, a lot better for her – lots of piking and some leg form but has the landing. 9.700
Why do we have the audio of a Nia Dennis interview happening right now?
WMU had just 8.950 in the first bars spot.
Strong round of 1/2 on front tuck for NC State from Benson. Near stick. small hop. 9.800
Cross – VT – Penn St – medium hop back on full, better height, small amount of piking. 9.750
Hornung – UB – WVU – catches close on jaeger but works through – legs together on bail – strong final cast hs – 1/2, late into front giant 1/2 to double tuck, lunge back. 9.800
We have a Jaeger fall in the third spot for Western Michigan, so it will be a counting miss in that bars rotation.
Bonsall – VT – Penn St – larger lunge back on her full, better shape in the air than the first three but a large landing issue. 9.725
Kayla Yancey – UB – WVU – short first hs – 1/2 turn to jaeger, flexed feet into overshoot, hit – short final cast hs – front giant 1/2 to double tuck, step back. Some more form issues in that one. 9.700
Hit full from Negrete for NC State – hop to the side, some feet. 9.825
Rushlow – VT – Penn St – better full, small hop back – good height. 9.800
Kianna Yancey – UB – WVU – short first hs – toe on to maloney to pak, this is the cleanest so far but short on her final cast hs – DLO, small slide back. Solid. 9.800
NC State is done on vault with a 48.775, not what they were looking for but plenty because WMU is having bars problems.
Holmes-Hackerd – Ub – WVU – blind to piked jaeger to ovshoot, good jaeger, some legs and angle on overshoot – hits final cast hs – giant full to double tuck, chest down with a step forward.
West Virginia will have the lead after the first rotation with 48.975. Still waiting on the final vault score for Penn State.
Ayers went 9.800 in the last spot, so Penn State is at 48.775.
That’s one of West Virginia’s better bars scores, so they’ll take that. Penn State would have hoped for a tenth or two higher from that vault rotation and will need to pick things up on bars, which should be a strength for them.
Western Michigan got through the final few routines with hits on bars, so it won’t be the worst ever score, but it’s not what they were looking for from the first rotation.
48.400 for WMU. So better than the last couple meets at least. Only .375 back.
West Virginia 48.975, Penn State 48.775
NC State 48.775, Western Michigan 48.400
I’m all for meet efficiency, but…you can go one at a time at a dual meet. We’re all fine with it.
Johnston – Ub – Penn State – maloney to bail, hits vertical, small leg break – somewhat short final cst – giant full to double tuck, big issue on dismount, large lunge. 9.625
Bounce back on leadoff fall for Yancey on WVU. 9.750.
Hornung – VT – WVU – larger bounce back on her yfull, little pike, big distance. 9.700
Cross – Ub – Penn St – blind to jaeger, good height – short cast hs – bail, some angle, legs together – giant full, some legs to double tuck, stuck. 9.800
Solid DLO on NC State’s bars leadoff Jordan, small hop. 9.825
Kayla Yancey – VT – WVU – pace back on her yfull but not large, good control but a lot of piking and not much distance. 9.650.
Rushlow – UB – Penn St – good first hs – blind to jaeger, a little crooked into overshoot – solid – nearly overarches cast hs but pulls it back – giant full to double tuck, hop.
Waldron – WVU – with a large bounce back on her yfull and some flexed feet
Lewis – VT – WVU – slide back on yfull but good amplitude, chest just down at the end. 9.800
Verdeflor catches really close on her jaeger but muscles the handstand out of it – the rest of it was lovely, with crisp hs positions, stuck double tuck. We’ll see how much the jaeger costs them.
Western Michigan showing competitive power on vault, but the NC State 9.8+ scores are distancing them.
Pierson – VT – WVU – better amplitude on her full – just a little pike at the end and a hop back. 9.800
9.850 for Verdeflor – the score they needed.
Bonsall – UB – Penn St – maloney to bail, good legs together positions – toe on to giants and DLO, step back – solid handstands, should be a useful score. Another 9.850.
48.700 on vault for West Virginia.
Romagnano – UB – Penn St – good first hs on low – maloney to pak, some legs breaks – a little late on 1/2 turn on low – toe on to stalder to double tuck, small shuffle back – some some elbow bends and leg position hesitation but should be a counter.
NC State has Cox go 9.900 on bars to mean the rotation total is at least 49.250 with still Shepard to go – clean jaeger, good toe point, a little short on one cast – nice legs together on pak – smooth work – FTDT, small hop – should be another big one. 9.900
Romagnano another 9.850 on bars for Penn State to get Penn State to 49.125 on bars. Not quite the bars score they can do, but because WVU was just 48.700 on vault, it keeps Penn State ahead.
49.325 for NC State on bars to develop a lead of more than a point on Western Michigan
Penn State 97.900, West Virginia 97.675
NC State 98.100, Western Michigan 97.050
Kianna Yancey – FX – WVU – double pike, chest down but pretty secure – switch ring to split leap full – 1.5 to 1/2 to double stag, well controlled – double tuck, bounce back, stays in. 9.800
Romagnano for Penn St opens with bhs bhs loso, secure – split to double stag – -did she redo that combination or the the stream fake us out? – side aerialt o tuck full, tuck full goes way off to the side and looked a little scrappy but she held the landing. 9.725
Verdeflor – BB – Penn St – wolf turn, tight but hit – aerial, kept moving to should get credit into swingdown, but slow – side aerial, comfortable – split to stag ring with a leg-up check – side somi and can’t connect into her dismount with a check and lean forward, will have to redo – connects this time, hop to the side on tuck full. 9.525
Linnen – FX – WVU – finishes with a front 2/1, solid control, some knees. 9.825
NC State opens beam with 9.775. I have an acro series connection question in the second spot, so that will be interesting.
Ayers – BB – Penn St – aerial, keeps moving to avoid check into loso, small adjustment – switch to straddle 1/4, pretty solid split positions – hitch kick to aerial, check – side aerial to full, hop back. A tentative routine but through it. 9.675
Holmes Hackerd – FX – WVU – solid double back, small slide – good lift into straddle elements – front lay to front full – double pike, controls the landing, chest down. 9.850
Long delay to figure out that second beam score for NC State. WMU getting solid scores so far on floor.
Johnston – BB – Penn St – bhs loso, secure, slightly mushy – side aerial, very good – fake stick on 1.5 dismount, step-salute. 9.775
Lewis – FX – WVU – rudi to loso, very clean – very slightly out of control on leap combo but good flexibility – double tuck, overdoes it a little with a deeper landing, but fine. 9.875
NC State has an 8.875 from that second beam routine. Gets a hit out of the third spot.
Cross – BB – Penn St – press handstand into bhs loso, very solid, some knees – controlled well – split jump to sheep, hit – kickover is a bit deep but connects into beat jump – 1.5 dismount, short with a lunge back. 9.750
Combs – FX – WVU – front tuck through to double pike, controls the step back – switch side to wolf full to popa, excellent height – double tuck, chest a bit forward but another controlled step. 9.900
Rushlow – BB – Penn St – beat to split jump 3/4 with a large break, leg-up check – bhs loso series, secure – switch to split is nice – side aerial, another larger break – bend to the side – 1.5, stuck.
A very shaky beam rotation from Penn State will put them well behind WVU after three events.
Pierson – FX – WVU – DLO, solid landing, chest forward – front lay to front full, lunge out, some knee bending – double tuck, good height and chest position. Nice.
Just 48.550 for Penn State on beam.
Long delays beam WVU is going to be done on floor with a big score while NC State still has two more beam routines.
49.350 on floor for West Virginia means WVU now has a .575 lead going to the last event. Penn State will need West Virginia to have mistakes on beam now.
Western Michigan goes 49.175 on floor. We’ll see if that’s able to make a dent. It will be down to whether Webb hits beam following a good one from Negrete in the 5th spot.
Eastern Michigan/Maryland about to begin.
Negrete goes 9.850. Webb anchoring – bhs loso, well done – switch to split, secure work – sheep is hit, some legs apart but secure – ends up with 9.850 to help NC State preserve its point lead (basically) on WVU.
Alert – looks like we have a link change for Tuscaloosa. Check the top of the post.
EMU and Maryland have started. Looks like a nice Yfull from Parris for EMU in the 4th spot – solid height, some piking, slide back
Osterhout on bars for Maryland – good height on jaeger to overshoot – some crazy form on double front dismount but pulls out the landing.
Roberts – VT – EMU – larger bounce back on her full but good distance again
Looks like some technical difficulties on the Morgantown stream.
Eastern Michigan anchors vault with Crossen – takes her full much closer to the table but hits it, bounce back. 9.800
Glauber – UB – maryland – taktchev, hit, a little floppy but hit – bail, good legs together – some angle – strong cast hs on high,, DLO, clean work.
48.825 for Eastern Michigan on vault.
West Virginia has a fall in the second position on beam, sits on the beam on a kickover front attempt – but at the same second Bladon botches a pass on floor for Penn State – so probably a wash there.
Barber – UB – Maryland – clear hip to hindorff to overshoot, huge and hit – large arch on cast hs on high bar but pulls it back – DLO, holds the stick.
Bladon does get out fo floor with 9.500, but that’s two 9.5s in the first couple routines for Penn State, so not the scores that could take advantage of a fall.
Looks like Maryland will scratch the final bars routine, so both Maryland and EMU will be in with a 48.825 first rotation score.
Pierson hits her difficulty on beam for West Virginia for 9.750 to get them back on the necessary pace to win. Rushlow does get 9.850 for Penn State.
Combs – BB – WVU – aerial to back tuck, solidly done – cat leap to switch side, crooked angle but solid – kickover, small check – front tuck full, large lunge. A hit. 9.800
Allen – FX – Penn St – good secure DLO, nicely done – swithc side to popa to tuck full, short on initial switch side position, the second two were stronger – front tuck through to double tuck, chest down but pulls it out.
Lewis – BB – WVU – split jump to split 3/4, nice initial split position – kickover to bhs, some crazy legs on bhs but hit – gainer pike, stuck. 9.800
Bonsall – FX – Penn St – double tuck, slide back – 1/2 to front full, another step, keeps it in – switch 1/2 to wolf full, pretty work there – double pike, short with a step forward.
Asper – BB – WVU – bhs loso loso, secure landing, flexed feet but no check – L turn, short of horizontal, credit full turn – swithc to split 1/2 – 1.5 dismount, holds the stick, just a bit deep. That will be enough to clinch it.
Meanwhile, NC State is cruising on floor and not providing the major opening WMU would need.
2nd rotation for Maryland and Emu has started. Gilbert vaulting for Maryland with hit Y1/2, step forward.
FINAL: West Virginia 195.950, Penn State 195.325.
Cool, now the alternate Tuscaloosa stream crapped out and we’re back to the original link.
An odd landing on her full for Collea Burgess – chest down and kind of a stagger backward.
Barber VT – Maryland – another one not showing her best vaulting, a large bounce back and uncontrolled landing despite being pretty in the air.
Eastern Michigan has to work against a 9.425 in the first spot on bars. 9.650 second.
Boris – UB – EMU – piked jaeger, hit, just a little close – good legs together on bail, slightly short of hs – FTDT, holds landing with an arm wave. 9.800
Shepard goes 9.900 on floor for NC State to clinch the win before Negrete even goes.
Maryland did get a 9.900 from Rubio in the last spot to escape vault with 48.950. Thank their lucky stars for that because there were some problem vaults in there.
Parris – UB – EMU – arches first hs, pulls it back – hit gienger, low though – bail, somewhat short of vertical – DLO, good stick. 9.700
FINAL: NC State 196.425, Western Michigan 195.075
EMU falling behind here and needs some big ones in the last two bars spots.
Rondeau – UB – EMU – short first hs – blind, late into jaeger to overshoot, good height on jaeger there – better final cast hs – DLO, good distance and height, small slide back. 9.850
Bezold – UB – EMU – shortish first hs – giant full, late into gienger, keeps leg together well, into overshoot – short final cast hs – DLO 1/1 dismount, nice open in second salto but a lunge forward
9.825 for Bezold gives EMU 48.825 to keep it close.
After 2: Maryland 97.775, Eastern Michigan 97.650
OK. Our first breath in a second. NC State beat Western Michigan as expected. WMU had to count that early miss on bars and couldn’t recover from that despite ending up with a better score than the last few meets. NC State was a big favorite even if WMU had hit.
Because Penn State didn’t have the depth on vault and floor this season, they needed bars and beam to be perfect, and beam was very shaky, tentative work, lots of wobbles, which made the difference.
Anyway, I was busy watching the meets and missed that Temple had to withdraw for COVID. JUST THAT NUGGET. But they’re still having individual competitors later in the competition. OK?
Does this still count as Temple making regionals for the first time in 29 years?
EMU has a hit in its first beam routine and McClure leads off for Maryland on floor – double tuck, secure landing – front lay to rudi, chest down, but another comfortable landing – somewhat out of control on leaps – front lay to front full atempt, has to tuck it majorly to get it around and nearly sits it down. That will need to drop. 9.525
Stuckey goes 9.750 to lead off EMU.
Parris – BB – EMU – switch to switch side, some feet but hit – bhs loso, lean to the side but held – side aerial, check – 1.5 dismount, hop forward. 9.750
Rubio – FX – Maryland – double pike, front leg lifts way up on step back – has to arch around that layout some on her combination pass – switch side to popa, around, slightly tight – double tuck, chest forward, small step. 9.700
Price – BB – EMU – has a large break on her wolf jump 3/4 attempt, short of position and a bend over – does have an illusion turn there and overall non boring composition. 9.675
Rouse – FX – Maryland – double pike, a bounce back, good height, stays in – back 1/5 to layout – a little off kilter on popa – double tuck wayyyy short, falls, lands on hands and knees. Maryland letting EMU in.
Stellar beam routine from Crossen in the 4th spot for EMU. Very secure, great amplitude.
Burgess – FX – Maryland – 3/1, nicely done, around and controled – front lay to front full, some net knees but comfortable landing. 9.850
Rondeau – BB – EMU – good full turn – bhs loso loso, very comfortable – beat to split jump 3/4, short of split but lands without a wobble – 1.5 dismount, kinnddd of holds the stick? Good. 9.875
Satler – BB – EMU – bhs bhs loso series, major break, bend at the hips, stays on – pike jump 1/2 is a nice addition but does provoke another break – stuck dismount. 9.750
Barber – hits full in comfortably – lunge forward on combo pass – double tuck, solid landing. 9.825
Eastern Michigan goes 48.975 on beam, but that will be a win since Maryland is already counting 9.525 and 9.700 on floor.
LeBlanc – FX – Maryland – double pike, bounce back and additional step to try to control – switch to wolf jump 1.5, short on switch but nice wolf 1.5 position – front full to layout, has to tuck the full, hits the layout. 9.800. That ended up pretty forgiving…
Maryland goes 48.700 on floor to stay in this. But advantage to Eastern Michigan now going to floor while Maryland does beam.
After 3: Eastern Michigan 146.625, Maryland 146.475
Kosanovich – FX – EMU – double pike, some bounce back – hit combo pass to layout – double tuck, nice tight position, keeps front foot down. 9.825
Burgess – BB – Maryland – kickover, slightly slow into bhs but connects it, large break on bhs, bend over at the hips – side somi, small arm wave but holds it – hits dismount with step-salute. 9.650
Gregory – FX – EMU – double pike, hits landing well, flexed feet – split leap full to juimp full, around – 1.5 to layout, takes 1.5 too far and has to land the layout OOB – nice double tuck though. 9.700
LeBlanc – BB – Maryland – bhs loso series, hit, bent knees – gainer full, stuck. 9.750
Boris – FX – EMU – full in, hit, chest well down but controlled – 1.5 to layout is low, hit – double tuck, solid landing. 9.750
Weir – BB – Maryland – bhs loso, hit, good height – loso, check and some knees but hit – hit leap combo – switch side, a bit tight but fine – bhs 1.5, holds the stick. 9.800
Rouse – BB – Maryland – full turn, good – solid loso – hits loso series, small adjustment – short on straddle 3/4 position but secure – 1.5, good landing. Really strong work. 9.800. Thought it would be a touch higher.
Crossen – FX – EMU – double pike, short landing, lunge forward – front lay to front full, soft knees, slide forward – double tuck, a bit deep, slide back. 9.675
Who can drop their 9.6?
McClure – BB – Maryland – aerial, lean but turns it into a connection into bhs – switch to straddle 1/4, good – kickover, nice height into split jump – gainer 1.5, small hop to the side – 9.800
Roberts – FX – EMU – double pike, short landing, pretty large lunge – 1.5 to layout, hit – rudi, attempts to connect to split jump but split jump was pretty low. 9.725
Will be determined by final routines.
Barber – BB – Maryland – aerial, step forward and turns it into choreography – bhs loso series, strong work – kickover to beat, well done – good job not betraying her checks here – switch to split, looked a little tight from this angle – 2/1 dismount, stuck. She stepped up when they needed it.
Rondeau – FX – EMU – double tuck, bounce back – nice secure layout out of her 1.5 – switch side to split full, good split – rudi to straddle jump is nice, pretty solid control.
9.900 for Barber. Rondeau needs the same. That wasn’t a 9.900 for me with the first pass.
9.850 for Rondeau. EMU will come up a half tenth short. YIKES THAT GOT FUN.
FINAL: Maryland 195.525, Eastern Michigan 195.475
Well, we’re supposed to have another gymnastics going on right now, but Temple withdrew, giving Arizona a walkover to tomorrow.
So…that was that?
The good stuff tomorrow is all early, so be ready.