The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Alabama/Oklahoma Live Blog – January 9, 2022

Suddenly, right now and right now only, gymnastics is living its best COVID life as other-sport cancellations mean a change of time and channel for the Alabama/Oklahoma opener, now at 3:00pm ET on ESPN.

Scores
WatchESPN

Oklahoma will be aiming for a mid-high 197 today given how the peer teams have started, Michigan going 197.750 to lead the country and Florida still managing a 197.675 with some less-than-postseason lineups out of the gate. Eyes on whether we see Trautman, Sievers, and Linker, all of whom missed Oklahoma’s December preview. Alabama, meanwhile, will at least look at LSU putting up that 196.950 on Friday and view it as a very attainable mark to beat for the first meet. Alabama hasn’t started a season with a 197 since 2014.

Oklahoma’s lineups: No Trautman or Linker, Sievers is in on bars, Bowers in the AA with Davis. (Scores list Ragan Smith in the AA but she’s not in the vault lineup as of now.) Alabama going with Waligora and Adams in the AA.

Oh hey Kathy and Bart. I already feel safer.

Rotation 1

Oklahoma VT 1: Davis – Yfull, smallish hop back, some leg break on the block, solid amplitude, not the most distance. 9.775

Alabama UB 1: Gaskins – good first hs – Ray to pak, great position and counter on Ray, a little leg break on pak – 1/2 turn on low – solid cast hs on high – DLO, rather whippy but OK, small hop back. Really nice handstands, some form things. 9.825

Oklahoma VT 2: Ramsey – Yfull, solid debut, larger hop back than Davis, again some leg break. 9.775

Alabama UB 2: Waligora – good first hs – blind to jaeger to overshoot, good height, some foot form – hitting casts – DLO 1/1, hop back, loses her leg form some but not too bad for a DLO 1/1.

Oklahoma VT 3: Levasseur – that’s more like an Oklahoma vault – great stick on her Y1.5 – solid distance and direction, not the highest 1.5 we’ll see.

Alabama UB 3: Adams – good first hs – shap to pak, legs right together – hitting casts well – shapo 1/2 legs together again – toe full to double tuck, solid work.

OK well it’s a 10.000 for Levasseur. The season has officially started. Some possible height, coming in a little short, did well to hang on to the landing, so I wouldn’t have gone 10 but it was strong.

Oklahoma VT 4: Stern – Y1.5 – again very strong work…..nearrrrly sticks it, small movement.

Alabama UB 4: Machado – Shap to pak, good, not quite as tight as Adams – toe on to toe shap, that’s better than last season – toe full is very late but pulls out the double tuck, stuck landing. 9.875. I would have had her behind Adams with that very late toe full.

Andddd another 10 for Stern. Guys. Guys. These are great vaults, but there’s more than just a landing. And Stern even moved a little bit, don’t think hers was at the same level as Levasseur, who had an argument, but I wouldn’t have gone 10.

Oklahoma VT 5: Bowers – Y1.5 – oh she sat it down. Very short. 10? What a bonkers rotation.

Alabama UB 5: Blanco -shap to pak, slightly loose in back but good legs together – 1/2 turn on low, some feet – shortish cast hs – FTDT is good, stuck landing.

Oklahoma VT 6: Sullivan – does a Yfull, some pike throughout, body position on landing, and a .1 step back. 9.750

Alabama UB 6: Doggette – good first hs – tkatchev with great counter into pak, clean work – 1/2 turn on low is borderline – DLO, shuffle back. Great positions on the bars.

After 1: Oklahoma 49.300, Alabama 49.250

WELL HELLO HEART DISEASE

So, Oklahoma had four vaults that were not at Oklahoma level with three medium Yfulls for 9.7s and a fall from Bowers. But then got 10s from both Levasseur and Stern because STICKS ARE FUN. Would have been fine with 9.950 for both. If you’re really creating separation, 9.900 for Stern, but then you’d also have to be giving those Yfulls 9.5s-9.6s to create that separation because Stern’s is much stronger. Which I would be happy with, but it’s a pipe dream.

Alabama looked pretty good on bars. Everyone gave away a couple things—and the routine with the largest error got the highest score ah ha ha ha—but realistic 9.8s in there.

Rotation 2

Alabama VT 1: Gaskins – struggles to control her landing on the Yfull with a large bounce back. 9.725

Oklahoma UB 1: Levasseur – good first hs – toe on to tkatchev, a little close to the bar but fine – bail, good toe point, sliggght hip angle – good vertical on high bar – DLO, fights to hold the landing, chest a little forward. Pretty work overall. 9.850

Alabama VT 2: Adams – Yfull, hits it with a hop back – piking and not a lot of distance, so a deduction for that as well. 9.800 is the highest Yfull so far, a little surprising to me.

Oklahoma UB 2: Sievers – maloney to pak, good legs together – 1/2 turn a little crooked on low – a bit short on final cast hs – FTDT, holds the stick. Good debut. A place for her in this lineup. 9.850

Alabama VT 3: Paradise – also a Yfull, capable of 1.5, hop back, again not the most distance there. 9.775

Oklahoma UB 3: Thomas – snaps legs together on first hs – jaeger, not her very highest but fine – hits hs position on bail – DLO, small pike there, solid work. The way the chalk flies when she brings her legs together on her straddle cast hs totally sells them. 9.875

Alabama VT 4: Waligora – jussssst saves her Y1.5 attempt, but it was well short with two lunges back so will be a low score. 9.625

Oklahoma UB 4: Smith – wait on the Thomas score. Pretty sure this already isn’t a fairly normal season. Ray is solid into pak, legs together – better 1/2 turn position on low – strong vertical hast on high bar – DLO, some legs apart, very little bounce back, but a good one. 9.900

Alabama VT 5: Doggette – just when I had given up seeing her Y1.5, we see it! A large lunge forward for her on landing, but it’s there. 9.850.

Scores have stopped updating in a fun way.

Oklahoma UB 5: Bowers – good hs – great Ray, strong counter potation and amplitude – toe on pak to legs together – clean hs on high – good vertical final cast – FTDT, step back. Pretty pretty routine. 9.900

Alabama VT 6: Graber – pulls around her Y1.5 but lands deep in the knee with another large lunge forward, Alabama not controlling these vaults and getting away with some scores. 9.800

Oklahoma UB 6: Davis – great first hs – higgins to piked jaeger, perfect – good hs, pak, legs together – 1/2 turn on low bar is OK – double front 1/2 out sticks the landing, flexed feet, some legs. That’s the best routine for Oklahoma so far today and we’ve seen two 10s, though the leg form on dismount is always there to be taken if they want. 9.950.

48.950 for Alabama on vault, lotttsss of large lunges there, which is fine for January, but the score could have even been lower. Only .100 taken for those Doggette and Graber lunges, which is also the deduction for a normal step.

Scores stopped updating for Oklahoma’s bars so not sure what we’re dealing with there, but tons of potential in that lineup with Bowers and Davis at the end there.

I’m counting 49.475 for Oklahoma on bars for a 98.775 total to Alabama’s 98.200

Rotation 3

Oklahoma BB 1: Dunn – PUNCH THAT BEAM – bhs bhs loso, secure – split jump to straddle 1/2, better extension for her – gainer full, stuck. Confident. 9.875

Alabama FX 1: Gaskins – steps off for music – TWICE – front tuck through to double tuck, large stagger backward, OOB, a couple bounces – switch ring to switch 1/2, good positions, a little bouncy on landing though – double pike, flexed feet, a little large on the lunge back – doesn’t really hold her finishing position. 9.575

Oklahoma BB 2: Bowers – bhs loso, good extension, solid – split leap to switch 1/2, adds a beat after because the combo was a little slow, some low back leg on the switch 1/2 – 2/1 dismount, slight crossed legs, step back. Will be great. Pretty solid here. 9.875

Alabama FX 2: Machado – first we’ve seen of her on floor – double pike, secure landing – wolf triple and it’s not bad – switch ring to switch 1/2, drops front leg on switch ring – 1.5 to intended front lay, has to tuck it completely, got nothing on the punch, looked like a butt scrape on the floor but not a full fall and she tried to save it. 9.150

Oklahoma BB 3: Davis – good rhythm – bhs loso, secure, good height, does give some soft knee in the bhs – split leap, pause, no connection, will redo it – split leap to aerial, gets the combo this time though the split leap wasn’t as extended as it was the first time – beat to split ring, OK position for NCAA, not for elite – 2/1, small movement. 9.875

Alabama FX 3: Adams – wolf double, comfortable – double pike, secure – split leap 1.5, looks like she got the rotation around – ohhhh attempted to go into a leap but balked on it and didn’t do a skill – now she has “oh crap how to fix?” face before her next pass – 1.5 to front layout is good – Good skills that she did, but there’s no passage of dance in there, so she’ll lose .2 in addition to any lost bonus. 9.450

A rougghhhh rotation so far.

Oklahoma BB 4: Thomas – cat leap to side somi, a huge break and a huge save, leaned back and then had to lean forward way a lot to save it, so the maximum deduction, with a large break followed by a .3 hip bend – but good save – bhs loso series, strong – swithc to straddle 1/4, good positions – side aerial to full, a bit short on full, lunge forward. 9.600 is high for that.

Alabama FX 4: Waligora – L turn attempt, not sure why, leg shy of horizontal – front lay to front 2/1, good rise into the second element – split leap full to wolf jump full, a little bouncy on landing – side aerial – 1.5 to lay, solid positions, a little large on the step out. First real hit. 9.825

Oklahoma BB 5: Woodard – smooth full turn – side aerial to bhs is hit, some knees on the bhs – kickover front is secure into beat jump – switch to split, great – side aerial to full, good extension on aerial as well, stuck landing. Best of the rotation so far. 9.950.

Alabama FX 5: Blanco – double pike, good height, has the form, small bounce back – switch ring to switch 1/2 to straddle full, a little unclear on finishing positions, good extension – double tuck, controls step back well to stay in bounds, some chest position. 1.5 to layout, straight body position. A couple small things. 9.875

Oklahoma BB 6: Smith – bhs loso is wayyy off line and falls, so they’ll have to count the 9.600 – aerial is hit – straddle 1/2 to korbut is great – bhs to a high gainer full, little hop in place.

Alabama FX 6: Graber – full in, pulls it around, a little forward with a step – popa, nice – passage of switch side through to wolf jump 1.5, which is unusual – front tuck through to double pike, better control – Alabama saved the rotation some with three solid final routines.

49.175 for Oklahoma on beam, which is not an Oklahoma score because they had two mistake routines, but you see the quality and potential in there. Still waiting on the Graber score, but this Alabama floor rotation will be well under 49. The first few looked unprepared to finish routines at this point in the season, and then Adams was like, what’s a leap series.

Oklahoma at 147.950 after 3, so should still be on pace to get a 197 here if they hit floor.

It was 48.575 for Alabama on floor, so sub-196 pace now going to beam. Which is not ideal. 146.775 thus far.

Rotation 4

Alabama BB 1: Burgess – back from injury – full turn, hit – bhs one bhs to loso, secure landing, soft knees on both – cat leap to switch side, good parallel position – switch to beat, hit – side aeiral to full, little bounce in place. Good. 9.850

Oklahoma FX 1: Davis – front 2/1 to stag jump, controls landing, some leg crossing – 1.5 to front layout, gets off direction there so her little shuffle forward take her OOB – switch to switch full attempt, but she doesn’t quite get it around – rudi is solid, bounce back. 9.725.

Alabama BB 2: Doggette – bhs loso series, secure, good positions – beat jump, a little pause into switch 1/2, difficult skills to connect and I would say that was not connected – Korbut has a little tuck in it, which is fine if it’s an intentional Chen – 1.5, step forward. Mostly confident, but some critical rhythm issues. 9.725

Oklahoma FX 2: Johnson – front lay to rudi, a little stagger of the feet on landing, good lay – double tuck, chest up, a bounce back – switch  to switch 1/2 to wolf full, a bit short on the switches – 9.900 seems high.

Alabama BB 3: Gaskins – hits candle mount – side aerial, small arm wave but keeps connection going into split jump – bhs loso series, hit, knees bent on bhs – switch, tentative with a short back leg, connects into straddle 1/4 – gainer full, bounce back. OK. 9.750

Kathy’s pause after Bart asked her about candle mounts was all of us.

Oklahoma FX 3: LaPinta – 3/1, nearly all the way around, steps it complete – front full to layout, solid height, a little soft in body position – split leap full to split jump full, doesn’t get up to 180 on the jump – double tuck, chest forward, covers with only a small step. 9.825

Alabama BB 4: Adams – aerial is excellent in its extension, no bent knees here – bhs loso series, nice – very strangle and kind of large wobble on choreography, so she’s having a weird day – wolf double, small correction at the end – switch, wobble breaks connection to split jump – bhs 1.5 dismount, small slide back.

Dance combination: 2
Shania Adams: 0

9.525 for Adams

Oklahoma FX 4: Woodard – punch front 2/1 is nice and high, but can’t quite control the lunge out – back 1/2 to front full, a little soft but solid – switch side to split jump 1/1 are quite good – front full to front lay, has to whip around the lay a little but gets there for a solid landing. 9.900

Alabama BB 5: Waligora – bhs loso series is hit, tight body position – side aerial is strong – split jump to tuck jump full, good height – 1.5, good stick. Nice work. 9.925, end of meetttt scorresss

Oklahoma FX 5: Bowers – huge double pike, great landing – “deliberately intense” yes please – front 2/1 to front tuck is also huge, little hop forward, goes OOB though – strong leap positions to finish. Will be a really delightful routine when she engages a little more facially, like imagine she’s eating a carcass, but I’m into the intent.  9.925 with an OOB is fun fun fun fun.

Alabama BB 6: Blanco – lovely aerial – bhs loso, good extension, very clean – switch, small pause to switch 1/2, small lean and arm wave after the second element – 2/1, pulls it around, a couple small steps. Not her best, but pretty work. 9.850

Oklahoma FX 6: Smith – double tuck, good height, bounce back – 1.5 to layout to front tuck, loses some shape on the layout, little bounce at the end again – switch side to wolf jump full is excellent – strong finish with double pike. 9.950.

So Oklahoma with a 49.450 on floor and a 197.400 total.

Oklahoma’s performance very similar to Florida’s first meet in that I have some questions about the completeness of the lineups right now and the loose scoring sure altered the total, but also plenty of strong moments. While beam was the lowest score, I’m not really worried about that or bars because the quality of the lineup looks there. 

Despite the 10s on vault, I have more questions about the completeness of the lineup currently. This is a lineup that intended to have Y1.5s from Trautman, Sievers, and Linker if she’s able, and without them is sparse. They’ll need to get a couple more 1.5s in there as we go to be competitive. Floor scored well here, but it does have some of those same concerns as last season in that…is there enough consistent NAILED work in this lineup? Or is it too much “good and clean for 9.900 at home 9.850 away.” Bowers will be a highlight though.

Alabama finishes on 195.875, which is not the score they would have been looking for. On the preparation meter, Alabama looks closer to the Georgia side than the Michigan side right now, especially on vault and floor, with a number of the landings still looking quite preseason. 

 

 

 

 

 

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