The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Friday Live Blog – January 7, 2022

Season openers for Auburn, Florida, LSU and more

There’s far too much happening today right at the beginning to focus on a single whole meet—imagine if this were a sport where winning mattered or something—so, not even going to bother with that.

The Plan: Emphasis on this here live blog will be on the elites making their much-anticipated college debuts today in the first chunk with Auburn, Florida, and LSU all starting at the same time, then I’ll see what else is happening for a bit until 7pm Pacific, when I’ll be hopping on the GymCastic #1 Good Time Postgame Show Happy Hour (open for everyone, not just members, this week) to have hot takes about what we’ve all just seen.

7:00pm ET
4:00pm PT
Rutgers
NIU
TWU
@ [2] Florida
ScoresSEC+
7:00pm ET
4:00pm PT
[14] Auburn
BGSU
@ UNC
ScoresYT
UNC
7:00pm ET
4:00pm PT
Centenary
@ [5] LSU
ScoresSECN
7:00pm ET
4:00pm PT
Penn St
Penn
@ Temple
ScoresESPN+
7:00pm ET
4:00pm PT
Gustavus
Adolphus
@ La Crosse
Free
7:30pm ET
4:30pm PT
Nebraska
@ [20] Iowa St
ScoresESPN+
8:00pm ET
5:00pm PT
Ball St
Illinois St
@[16] Missouri
ScoresSEC+
Quad
8:30pm ET
5:30pm PT
[22] Ohio St
@[11] Arkansas
ScoresSECN
9:00pm ET
6:00pm PT
[4] Utah
[19] BYU
[25] SUU
Utah St
ScoresBYUTV

The first bit of news of the day is that Morgan Hurd is out for Florida (and cannot even be introduced because of some amateurism nonsense), and Aleah Finnegan is not in the LSU lineup sheet. We also know Suni Lee is slated to do only bars and beam for Auburn today—the first two rotations of the meet. Per the release she’s not in the anchor position on either, which I wholeheartedly endorse because…if anyone doesn’t need to be in the anchor position to get a 10…

TWU is not listed on the live scores for the Florida quad meet as of yet. This being 2022, that could either mean that college live scores are a disaster or COVID, and it’s about 50-50.

LSU will open on vault with Rivers, KJ Johnson, Shchennikova, Edwards, K Johnson, and Bryant. No Arenas being the only semi-noteworthy absence there, but not necessarily a surprise. Differentiating between Kiya Johnson and KJ Johnson is going to be a live blogging nightmare this year, so assume if I just say Johnson, I’m talking about Kiya Johnson because she got there first.

Gonna be interesting if this is our only view for the UNC tri meet… OK looks like we have real cameras and Christina there. Christina, we’re counting on you.

Nothing has started yet, and it’s already too much.

Chloi Clark and Bri Edwards both in the vault lineup for Florida. No Wong or Schoenherr or Richards. So that’s a different approach to the start of the season.

Skaggs – VT – Florida – nearrrly sold the landing on her Yfull but came in short and did have to take a lunge forward in the end.

Live scores not functioning at UNC.

Rivers VT – LSU – really strong Yfull to begin, nice open – holds the stick, just a little bit of direction and not the most distance. 9.875

Chloi Clark goes 9.825 for a Yfull for Florida, no bad.

KJ Johnson – VT – LSU – Strong yfull, similar to Riberts, great amplitude, has the open, smalllll movement with one foot, some direction. 9.900

Edwards – VT – Florida – Yfull good amplitude, solid distance, little movement backward. Nice. 9.825

Reed – VT – Florida – the big girls have arrived now, very good Y1.5, great distance, little shuffle forward. 9.900.

Thomas – VT – Florida – NAILED landing on her Y1.5. Excellent start to the season. 9.950

Shchennikova VT – LSU – gets deep on her Y1.5 landing with a pretty large lunge forward, (a .200 lunge for me) pretty in the air. Still gets 9.825, which is high for the lunge.

Helpful camera work meant we missed Blakely’s debut vault for Florida, but the….team reaction was special?

Brusch – UB – Auburn – maloney to bail, legs together on both – a bit short on cast hs on high bar – DLO, bounce back.

Edwards – VT – LSU – also a large lunge forward on her Y1.5, better landing upright than Shchennikova, but that would be another .2 lunge for me. 9.825 again. So they’re saying these are .1 lunges. Which is kind.

Blakely went 9.775 on vault, s o Florida is done on 49.275, which they’ll take for the composition of the lineup today, but not a world beating score.

Suni Lee – Ub – Auburn – here we go – holds first hs position – blind to piked jaeger, clean – possible rushed second hs – pak is pretty – good cast on low – hits van leeuwen – solid final cast hs – FTDT, stuck landing. Lovely. great. Obviously. Edited to note that apparently she hit the low bar with her feet.

Scores not updating for Auburn right now.

Kiya Johnson – VT – LSU – nice DTY as usual, a clear bounce back this time which will be a .100. The smalllest leg crossing in the air, but very good of course. 9.875. Seems like one judge took for feet and one didn’t, which is fair.

Gobourne – UB – Auburn – hits big tkatchev to pak, flexed feet on tkatchev – good cast hs on high bar – FTDT, holds the stick, a little control waver.

Bryant – VT – LSU – handspring pike 1/2, what a star, nothing to say about the vault in the air, medium hop back for .100, but it should go 9.900. Goes 9.925.

LSU at 49.400 for vault, which they’ll definitely take because the landings weren’t there yet and I would have been harsher on a couple of them. Normal January landings. On track.

Lots of absences in that Florida vault lineup will be the story from this first rotation. Still got a good score, but nothing near the lineup they’ll hope to put up. Wong the most interesting absence for me because she had looked ready in training videos. Would seem to indicate either injury or COVID?

Sounds like Suni hit the low bar with her feet, which I did not hear because I didn’t have the sound on. Wish we had scores for it…….

Johnson starting for LSU on bars in rotation two, shap to bail is clean, legs together, good final cast hs, DLO, small hop back. Nicely done. 9.825.

Rivers – UB – LSU – toe on a bit late to Maloney to bail, legs together just slightly loose in back – strong final cast hs – tkatchev, high – good casts on high bar – DLO, little shuffle. Nice work again. She’s back. 9.875.

Dunne – UB – LSU – good first hs, nice toes in tkatchev into pak, pretty – small hesitation in cast 1/2 on low – strong final cast hs – DLO gets loose in form but found the landing, nearly sold the stick but a college salute. Such pretty handstands. 9.925 is high for me given the dismount, where I had .100 alone.

Bryant – UB – LSU – good first hs – blind to jaeger, high, kind of tight position – very nice crisp position on bail – 1/2 to double front 1/2 out, stuck landing. Excellent. 9.925. Would have liked to see more separation there from Dunne’s score.

LSU’s handstands look really good so far.

Centenary gets a good Ytucked full out of Huff.

Shchennikova – UB – LSU – Ray, some feet but strong, into pak, legs together – a little shy of vertical on cast 1/2 on low – the usual DLO position, finds the stick with a little lean to hold it. One of her better dismounts. 9.950 is…

Durante – UB – LSU – good first hs – blind to jaeger, good – slightly rushed cast hs pon high – pak is clean but cannot cast out of it and appears to have jammed her thumb badddd. That sucks.

We finally got the score for Suni Lee’s bars routine, which was 9.775. Hit on apparatus is a flat .2, which means that it would have been 9.975 otherwise? Just for watching out on how this is going to go.

Skaggs up 2nd for Florida on bars, good DLO and a stick but I did see a form struggle on 1/2 turn on the low bar. She’s following a leadoff 9.825 from Blakely. Still goes 9.850.

It’s going to be 49.500 for LSU on bars. A charitable score, but they look in very good shape with those handstands. LSU at 98.900 after 2 events, the same place Michigan was after 2 yesterday.

McCusker bars alert – super pretty shap and shap 1/2 work. Let’s right together. Ohhh double front 1/2 out is in her college routine and it’s deep with a lunge forward. Great until the dismount.

She snuck up on me and I literally had a “who’s this lovely bars worker I’ve never heard of” moment. Oh, it’s Riley McCusker you idiot.

9.825 for McCusker. I had .200 on dismount, so I feel like the judges were pretty into it. Florida and LSU getting some bars charity today. But the rest really was lovely.

Schoenherr – UB – Florida – ncie to see her in on bars if not vault – toe 1/2 to jaeger, lovely the cut away to an empty vault – a little hip angle on bail catch – 1/2 turn to double front 1/2 out, smallish bounce back. The handstand positions were not her best today, but solid. 9.875

Thomas – UB – shap to pak, pristine, good cast hs on low – toe on to Shap 1/2, legs right together, hitting her cast positions – DLO is a littttle close to the bar, finds the stick. Another great one. 9.850? Not sure what happened there. Was this another sound-off problem?

LSU starting rotation 3 with Desiderio on beam. Good switch, little pause before switch 1/2, but solid positions on both – bhs loso, small lean correction – aerial, small arm wave issue – cat leap to gainer full, stuck, slight pike. 9.850

Now looks like we have an injury for UNC on bars but I didn’t see it.

Wong – UB – Floirida – shap to pak, small leg break on pak – holds the hs on low for forever – shap 1/2, tucks the legs some on catch – DLO – tries to hold the stick but ends up leaning far forward. Some things, but also some expected pretty. Still gets 9.875, which is kind of some Wong scoring.

Update: A casual 915 of the Arkansas gymnasts aren’t available today, including Leah Smith.

Shchennikova – BB – LSU – candle mount, a little over but OK I think – full turn – aerial works into beat jump – bhs loso series, secure – switch, small pause before split jump – gainer full dismount is a bit of a struggle, larrrge lean forward to hold the landing, but on the beam that’s the most confident we’ve seen her. 9.800

Florida went 49.275 on bars as well as vault.

Suni Lee – BB – Auburn – wolf single, good, but also why Suni why – aerial, pretty into bhs, keeps it going quick enough for credit – switch to switch 1/2, lovely legs – so looks like they ended up ditching the side aerial business – bhs gainer full, hop back. Well, that’s a verrrrrrry easy routine for her, but it’s lovely. Just the dismount hop. The switch 1/2 is an E in college, which fulfills up to level for her. 9.875. Most of that was dismount.

Campbell – BB – LSU – a surprising early lineup position for her – aerial to bhs, confident – switch to switch 1/2, doesn’t quite complete it with a bend forward at the hips, flat .20 – 2/1 dismount, small amount of leg crossing but a good landing. 9.750

Kiya Johnson – BB – LSU – full turn, hit – bhs loso and another large break, bend at the hips again – this is a less confident rotation than the first two, recalling some of the issues from last season – good switch series – nailed kickover front, excellent – 1.5 dismount, small slide back. The rest was pretty strong. Still gets 9.800 with a flat .20 deduction and a non-stick.

Rotation 3 starting in Florida. Skaggs – BB – switch to split, good extension – bhs loso, smallll amount of feet, secure landing – aerial, a small control movement – cat leap to switch side, good side position, again loses the feet a tad – sdie aerial to full, small movement. 9.850

Dean has a fall for LSU on beam, side aerial to bhs gets her. Way off line, none of the bhs hit the beam.

Blakely – BB – Florida – aerial to bhs, strong, good aerial extension – switch to switch 1/2, bad camera angle for it but it seemed fine – side somi, little quiver – side aerial to full, stuck landing. Confident debut beam. 9.950 is a lot. It was confident and secure, but there were some things.

Richards – BB – Florida – bhs loso loso is securely landed, some knee bending to take on each – bhs 1.5 dismount, little hop. 9.875

We had a near head landing for Centenary on floor but it looked like she just missed terror.

Bryant – BB – LSU – aerial to bhs, another very good aerial, borderline correction movement at the end – switch to straddle 1/4, a bit tight – punch front, step forward and a lean to the side but really important save, good presence – full turn, eh – punch rudi dismount, stuck. Shouldn’t be a big score, but for someone who needs to evolve into a beam leader for LSU this year, the fight and calm there were encouraging. Still goes 9.875

Baumann does usual Baumann things for Florida on beam for 9.925.

Wong – BB – Florida – ohhhh she wasn’t in the announced beam lineup – switch split to a split leap and it’s real – bhs loso, no trouble, well extended – full turn, good – aerial, just a little short, covers a step forward with an arm wave but it was a control moment – side aerial is verrrrrry low, great save but that was all over the place – and a side somi, very full routine – 2/1, bounce back. Well, college beam under her belt, but a large error in there. 9.700.

No Lazzari or Thomas today on beam for Florida.

LSU escapes that beam rotation with 49.075. Won’t be happy with that performance though. Aleah Finnegan is when?

Nice to see Lali Dekanoidze starting with 9.825 and 9.875 on vault and bars for UNC today.

Clapper – BB – Florida – bhs loso loso, solid landing, small amount of hip angle – swtich to split, hit – side aerial to full, holds the stick. The secure routine we expect from her, just some foot and leg stuff. Still gets 9.950.

Florida 49.550 on beam. They were like, “Judges, don’t you know this is a FLORIDA HOME MEET. We have a reputation to uphold.”

Suddenly, Florida’s scoring pace has gone ahead of LSU’s after three events. Though it would take…something…on floor for them to catch Michigan’s opening performance. So far, Michigan has looked the most postseasony of the top teams to compete.

Missouri opened with 49.000 on vault. Amari Celestine on 9.875.

Penn State got a 49.225 on bars. But if Dallas is coaching there anymore, does it make a sound? Hopefully I am appropriately confusing and scaring off any new readers to the live blogs.

Also UNC might beat Auburn red alert.

WHY IS HALEIGH BRYANT SITTING ON THE SIDELINE LOOKING NOT HERE. ANKLE PROBLEM? DO NOT ACCEPT.

Edwards – FX – LSU – front 2/1, nice control – front full in combination, a little steppy on landing but keeps it in bounds – great leap amplitude – double tuck, bounce back. 9.825

Culton with a few more checks than is characteristic on her season opening beam for UNC but lovely form

Seriously if LSU has to deal with injuries to Bryant and Durante from today, that is baddddddddddd.

Ballard – FX – LSU – DLO is very low, lunge forward – 1.5 to layout to stag, good control – switch ring to switch 1/2, a little short of position – double pike, controlled step, keeps it in bounds. 9.750

Gobourne – FX – Auburn – the only one we trust. And Auburn needs the score. open double tuck, controls the step back – switch side to popa, good extension – there’s no part of this routine where she isn’t putting on a crown – front full to front layout, covers the steps, conrttrols it, really nice extension on layout – double pike, forward landing with step. Some things, but that will be a usable score. 9.875

Arenas – FX – LSU – front 2/1 is strong, controlled landing, a small amount of leg crossing – front lay to front full, knees – switch 1/2 and wolf full are nicely done – double pike is somewhat short, step forward. OK. 9.775

Skaggs – FX – Florida – wolf double – rudi to stag jump, good control – split leap 1.5ish to split jump 1/2 ish, good extension positions though – 1.5 to layout, controls step, slight leg separation – good. 9.950 wait what? I mean, it was pretty but…

Alert: North Carolina and Auburn tied at 146.900 going to final rotation. UNC on floor, Auburn on vault.

KJ Johnson – FX – LSU – excited for this one – that full in is so satisfying, bounce back though – 1.5 to layout, a bit of legs in the 1.5 but nice rise into the layout – switch side to popa, slightly off line on popa – double tuck, bounce back. Some landing control but this will be a starring routine. 9.900.

Who just did that gorgeous Jaeger on bars for NIU?

Blakely – FX – Florida – double Arabian first pass, step forward, just does keep it in bounds – doesn’t get the intended set on her double tuck but pulls it around, a little short with a step – 1.5 to layout, lowish on the layout with a step back. 9.900. These scores are very high.

Did Shchennikova just trip in the middle of her leap combination? That could be score significant because you need a passage of dance for a .2 composition requirement, and the trip breaks the passage . 9.725

LSU going with just five on floor because Bryant is out and presumably there’s no one else they want to risk. It’s just the first meet.

LSU done on 196.950, a tale of two meets there. Good start, I had scoring questions of course, but it was a strong performance, then beam kind of fell apart and then floor looked quite depleted, nowhere near the intended lineup, which is not a problem as long as whatever happened to Bryant in the warmup is not serious.

Well, during Shchennikova’s leap combination moment I guess I missed Baumann going 9.975 on floor for Florida.

Wong – FX – Florida – 3/1 first pass, steps back and OOB – good height, some leg crossing – split leap full to split jump full, looked around – back 1/2 to front full to a fully crazy stag jump attempt that I’m obsessed with – double pike, mostly controls the step – 9.800, sure, why not

Wong OK on debut. Some ragged moments, which is sort of surprising, but it will be great.

Reed will finish up for Florida on floor. No Thomas here either.

Elswick with a Y1.5 attempt for Arkansas, short with a step back and still goes 9.850. Arkansas, you’re a real Florida now.

Reed – FX – Florida – DLO, bounce back, keeps it in bounds – front lay to rudi, good form and power, little slide back – double pike, opens out of it nicely at the end to control chest forward with no movement.

Really good Y1.5 from Watson for Auburn.

Long wait for the Reed floor score to finish out the scored routines for Florida. 9.950 with two obvious lack of control passes for a 49.575 floor total.

What to even do with this Florida meet? That was basically a UCLA level of drama and confusion and how did it turn out great for 197.675? The lineups were nowhere near full strength expectations, a lot fo the routines were all over the place, and also it was great?

OK got Ohio State/Arkansas going and also the Utah meet it starting soon.

Saw the Arkansas graphic before commercial long enough for the Felicia Hano erasure on the coaching staff of Wieber/Brooks/Ross.

Important 49.350 on vault for Auburn will get them the win, but this is also close to being a critical score fro North Carolina, which has found countable NQS numbers too hard to come by in recent seasons.

So one of the news elements for Arkansas is Emma Kelley being a person this season. She leads off on bars – shap to bail, some leg separations on both – FTDT with a large bound back and another extra hop. BUT IS SHE MARY LOU’S DAUGHTER. 9.650

The scores don’t work, because we wouldn’t need to know, but it was a routine, and that’s all that counts.

Gianfagna – UB – Arkansas – Ray is solid into overshoot, some pike – FTDT, bounce back. 9.775

Auburn is done on 196.300, UNC on 195.700. That would have been UNC’s #2 score of the whole season last year.

A fall from Scalzo in the third spot for Arkansas on bars. Missed her hand on her overshoot.

Hlavach for Ohio State vaults a roundoff full on back pike, a large bounce back but really impressive distance and chest position for a full-on vault.

Hambrick steadies the bars rotation for Arkansas with a really strong piked jaeger to overshoot and a stuck FTDT. Yes. Excellent. 9.850 is a little tight for me for that one actually.

And it’s a fall for Shaffer on her Shap for Arkansas, so it will be a very low bars score.

Apparently Amelie Morgan started on beam with a 9.875 for Utah, which we didn’t see.

McCallum – BB – hits vertical on candle mount – wolf double, solid – side aerial to loso, goes right up into the loso, but good work, secure, little arm wave – switch to stag jump, not a common connection – side aerial to full, stuck. Good debut. 9.875

Eaker – BB – switch mount – full turn – side aerial to loso is secure, pretty work – switch to beat jump to korbut, good speed in connection, pretty elements – split leap to side aerial tuck full, out of frame (fun) but seemed stuck. Great opening beam routine for her.

Missouri just went 49.400 on floor, which is only .100 shy of the program record.

Still waiting on the score for Eaker. Also 9.875. I thought that was stronger than McCallum’s and would have had it a touch higher.

Isa – BB – Utah – hit vertical on candle mount – bhs loso loso with a little shiver of a correction – beat jump to straddle 1/4, good elevation – bhs gainer full, pretty stick. Nice.

Paulson – BB – Utah – side aerial to loso, a little short, has to bring the front foot back on – switch to sissone, somewhat off line, covers well but a little control deduction – split leap to side aerial to full, stuck landing but more to take in that one.  9.425 tells me there was composition and that they didn’t give her the leap combination for that lean in between. Or she just fell onto the beam. RUSTY today.

O’Keefe – BB – Utah – side aerial to loso, excellent, right on – switch to split leap, good – lonnnnnng pause before beat to side aerial to full, bounce back. 9.850. An exxxtennnnnded lowering and raising and lowering and raising of the U before dismount is a time-honored time waster.

Utah 49.375 on beam. Good rotation. Could have been a huge score but didn’t have it in the final routines. Will be a huge score plenty of times.

Paulson leads off floor for Utah in the second rotation – front tuck through to 2.5, controls the step out, a tad deep – front lay to front full, solid – split leap full to sissone, good amplitude – 1.5 to layout, clean. 9.875

Classic college gymnastics moment with Sedlacek anchoring beam for Arkansas with a hit, good lay-pike series, forgets to salute. Did present after the routine, so fine, but didn’t specifically salute the judges.

Did I miss McCallum’s floor while getting food, or did they not show it?

Eaker – FX – Utah – 3/1, pretty nice in the air, she lands a little hunched over but a nice one overall. She beat Wong in the battle of the Gage 3/1s today – switch ring, you know, switch 1/2, nice – 1.5 to front full, that one was underrotated with a hop around – 9.800

OK, time to prep for GymCastic, starting in a few minutes. Join us?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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