The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Monday Live Blog – February 21, 2022


It’s a special Monday edition of the live blog as those of us in the US have a day off to celebrate…muskets or teeth or something I don’t know. Which means MEETS. Four to be exact.

Schedule and links

First, Cal hosts Arizona. Cal still needs a road score to complete is NQS picture, and road scores will be the main focus for the team in the coming weeks because those road scores are still in the 196s. But, there’s also a 196.3 home score hanging around that can be dropped today to help keep Cal up around the Minnesotas of the world once Cal does enter the NQS rankings. Meanwhile, Arizona will have an NQS after today’s meet and since Arizona is in its now-typical position of borderline-maybe regionals qualifier, every single score is critical. Arizona already has two 196s, but two is not going to be enough 196s. You need four at least, so a chance to get one of them today.

BYU, Boise State, and Sacramento State visit Stanford, and some of the big issues at play there include Boise State trying to catch up after all of those canceled meets to start the season. Boise State has two usable scores, which means four good scores are left to get in the remaining five meets, four of which are away. Stanford also currently sits just a smidge behind UCLA after UCLA’s debacle yesterday and you know how thrilled they would be to finish ahead of UCLA this season. It would take only 195.650 today for Stanford to move ahead of UCLA in the in-progress rankings, but you know Stanford is looking for a fifth 196 of the season just to ensure that any regionals qualification questions can be put to bed early.

Later, West Virginia hosts George Washington and William and Mary. West Virginia’s score situation is getting surprisingly urgent with a lot of high 195s but just one 196 so far and five meets to go. I’m not sure that 195.7s and 195.9s are going to be all that helpful this year, so WVU needs some scores.

In the late action, Utah goes to Washington. Utah is currently a touch behind the Michigan-Oklahoma-Florida contingent so will be looking to get rid of a 197.1 road score, but Utah is also, you know, in a perfectly fine place with scores. Washington is currently ALL OVER THE PLACE. Are you 196.8 or are you 194? Who can say. Those couple 196s on the slate do put Washington at least in position to make a move.


In lineup news, Clausi returns for Cal today, and Perea remains in the bars lineup.

Stanford allegedly has working live scores today through statbroadcast. I don’t even know what to do with that information. The pigs, they’ve flown.

Cal said RAINBOWWWSSSSSSS

Rotation 1

Cal VT 1 – Bordas – good amplitude on her yfull, minor hop back. 9.850

Arizona UB 1 – Mueller – toe on, good height on tkatchev, misses next cast hs – bail, some leg break – solid final cast hs – DLO, holds landing well. 9.725

Cal VT 2 – Williams – lands short on her yfull, hop forward. 9.750

Arizona UB 2 – Linton – tkatchev is quite close to the bar, works through it, nearly scraped – bail, solid vertical and toe point – hits final cast hs – DLO, small hop. Nice after her release. 9.650.

Cal VT 3 – Li – yfull, good one, also a hop back, like Bordas – good distance. 9.850

Gutierrez hits her 1.5 on vault for Stanford today.

Arizona UB 3 – Deets – giant full, late into tkatchev, hit – bail, good vertical position – DLO, legs together, sticks it, nice. 9.875

Cal VT 4 – Schank – great open position on her yfull, comes in chest forward today though with a hop forward. 9.850.

Good yfull for Bryant for Stanford, hop in place.

Arizona UB 4 – McCabe – hecht mount – solid first hs – blind to piked jaeger – giant full, a little late in bail, solid – short final cast hs – DLO, bounce back. 9.725

Cal VT 5 – DeSouza – nearly finds the landing control on her Y1.5 but has to slide back – leg separation on the block – some better knee position in that vault today. 9.900

Arizona UB 5 – Fears – lovely first hs – tkatchev, has the amplitude – clean hs – clear hip with an arch, pulls it back, to bail, short of vertical there – DLO, holds stick with a little lean and stagger. Great style. 9.750.

Cal VT 6 – Clausi – only the yfull today coming back into the lineup but it’s solid, only a little rebound in place – a little more pike in hers than Li or Schank. 9.850

Arizona UB 6 – Hargrove – short first hs – giant full, a little crooked into tkatchev, hits – bail is quite nice – strong final cast hs – FTDT, bounce back. Nice second half, may have given it away with vertical positions in the first half. 9.725

Cal goes 49.300 on vault to Arizona’s 48.800 on bars.

Stanford went 49.200 on vault, and the remaining teams are finishing their rotations. Looks like BYU is working against a 5.000 on bars, which would indicate a stopped routine.

Lopez sticks her bhs 1.5 beam dismount as Boise State is trying to drop an early 9.600.

BYU got 9.900 from Alvarado and 9.825 from Pitou to end bars with five hits and a 49.150.

Rotation 2

Arizona VT 1 – Fears – hits yfull, small bounce back, chest down and some leg position in the air. 9.800

Cal UB 1 – DeSouza – good first hs – blind to piked jaeger to overshoot, good amplitude – solid final cast hs – FTDT, bounce back. Solid start. 9.850

Arizona VT 2 – Herry – yfull, again a small shuffle back, not the most amplitude. 9.750

Boise State went 49.275 on beam to take the lead in Stanford after 1.

Cal UB 2 – Schank – somewhat short on first hs – blind to piked jaeger to overshoot, very clean – better final cast hs – DLO, larger bounce back. 9.850

Arizona VT 3 – Larusso – hits her yfull, medium bounce back, a bit larger than the last two, again likely risking chest down and dynamics deductions. 9.725

Cal UB 3 – Li – good first hs, high pak – strong cast hs on low – toe on to van leeuwen, legs together throughout – borderline final hs – giant full to double tuck, stuck. Nice. 9.925

Arizona VT 4 – Mueller – very good stick on yfull, just some pike and not the most distance, but great landing. 9.800

Cal UB 4 – Williams – maloney to pak, great form – 1/2 turn on low, pretty solid vertical – hits final cast hs very well – DLO, small hop back. Another useful routine. 9.875

Arizona VT 5 – Nosek – by far the best amplitude of the yfulls so far, hop back, a little bit of pike. 9.800

Cal UB 5 – Bordas – good first hs – blind to jaeger to overshoot, huge – borderline cast hs, I’d say short – giant full finish position was very good, into double tuck, stuck. Ideal finish. 9.950

Arizona VT 6 – Hargrove – yfull (had posted a 1.5) – short landing with the chest down, hop forward. 9.700

Cal UB 6 – Perea – good first hs – pak, pretty – toe on to van leeuwen, good – DLO, pikes it a little at the end, hop forward. I like the slow molasses speed of her cast handstands, but she’s beginning to swing for her next element before completing bringing her legs together for the handstand. 9.850

Cal goes 49.450 on bars, Arizona 48.875 on vault. Looks like the whole Cal bars lineup would have been in the 9.9s if they had stuck.

After 2: Cal 98.750, Arizona 97.675

Stanford is now working against a fall from Waguespack in the first spot on bars. BYU also had an opening fall on beam.

Neault is up in the 4th spot for Stanford – a bit short on first hs – maloney to pak, nicely done – 1/2 turn on low, clear vertical – toe full, a bit late and some legs, into double tuck, stuck. Good.

Who is coaching Arizona and wearing a rain slicker?

Cal BB 1 – DeSouza – cat leap to aerial, smooth, does well to hold it, one foot was a little off – bhs loso series – secure sheep jump – sissone, nice and clear – 1.5 dismount, slide-salute forward. A couple near checks there, did well not to give away wobbles. 9.875

Kyla Bryant falls on bars, Stanford counting a miss now.

Arizona FX 1 – Orman – front lay to rudi, good height, crossed legs in twist – switch side to popa, good switch side, back leg a little low in popa – double pike, slide back. 9.775

Cal BB 2 – Williams – wolf double, crisp – bhs loso, check, lean to the side, good toe point – switch to split, shows clear 180s – cat leap to side aerial to tuck full, stuck. 9.875

Arizona FX 2 – Mueller – double pike, good control, chest down – switch side to popa is good – 1.5 to layout to stag, the layout doesn’t rise from the 1.5 but she did show a clear layout shape – double tuck, short, step. 9.725

Cal BB 3 – Clausi – kickover to beat, solid connection – bhs loso, some foot position, secure – full turn, with a hesitation – switch to switch, gets her back leg up there – side aerial to tuck full, stuck, little quiver of control to hold it. Strong finish. 9.900

Arizona FX 3 – Nosek – double pike, hops to present, chest down – double tuck, bounce back OOB – split leap full to popa to split jump full, struggled to keep control on the final elements and didn’t quite get up to split – front lay to full, more control. 9.600

Cal BB 4 – Bordas – aerial to split jump, smooth work – bhs loso, very nice, secure and shows the toe point – switch to split, good – bhs gainer full, stuck. Very confident one, watch out for the score because Clausi went 9.900 with a couple or three things. 9.950

Arizona FX 4 – Fears – double tuck, good height, drops into it – switch side to popa, nice popa, good split and finish position – 2.5 with a controlled step forward – 1.5 to front full, hit it – she’s been a real highlight for Arizona today. 9.900

Meanwhile the Stanford scoreboard was doing so well and is now like, BYU did three beam routines goodbye.

Turns out BYU had a counting fall and a 9.975 on beam.

Cal BB 5 – Li – aerial, keeps moving into split jump, a little hesitant – bhs loso series, very solid – beat to sheep jump, arm wave correction – gainer full, stuck with another bend to hold it. 9.875

Arizona FX 5 – Herry – double tuck, slide back – switch 1/2 to popa, good elevation – 1.5 to layout, straight layout position – double pike, controls that one. 9.925, floor scores rising here.

Boise State leads the quad meet after two with 98.350. No one has two 49 rotations so far.

And now Stanford is starting beam with a fall.

Cal BB 6 – Watterson – attempts the wolf double and falls – bhs loso, secure, some knees – switch to split – cat leap to side aerial to full, stuck

Arizona FX 6 – Hargrove – good full in – 1/2 to front full, covers control by keeping her back foot down – switch ring to split full, front leg down in that switch ring – double tuck, bounce back. 9.925

Big ending routines for Arizona to get them to 49.250 (watch out for the Cal scores there if they’re already going 9.9s and 9.925s). Cal goes 49.475 on beam, a strong number for a secure rotation overall, very few checks. Cal on pace for a high 197 here.

After 3: Cal 148.225, Arizona 146.925

Jim tells us that we’re celebrating diversity and all members of the community. I believe studies have shown that if they say the word gay on the Pac-12 Network, it explodes. These rainbows are incidental, everyone.

Rotation 4

Arizona BB 1 – Fears – bhs loso series, check – nice presence on full turn – side aerial to sissone – switch, check, breaks connection into straddle 1/4 – 1.5, stuck. 9.750

Cal FX 1 – Schank – double tuck, smalll movement, chest up – double pike, good control, again clean position – switch side to popa to popa, switch side looked under rotated but they also cut in the middle of her dance series – 1.5 to layout, layout gets low, she pulls it out. 9.850

Arizona BB 2 – Deets – bhs loso, check – hitch kick to switch side, pretty solid amplitude on switch side but a check afterward – cat leap to kickover, arm wave – switch to gaienr full, stuck. 9.750

Cal FX 2 – DeSouza – double pike, bounce back, just keeps it in bounds – switch side to wolf full, clear positions – 1.5 to front full, bounce forward – rudi, slide back, a little ragged. Fine, not her best landing control. 9.900 is high for me.

It’s 9.975 for Bryant on beam for Stanford after sticking her double back to get them to 49.250.

Arizona BB 3 – Herry – full turn, wobble – bhs loso series, very nice – side somi, arm wave – straddle jump to split 1/2, good lift – bhs 1.5, stuck. Strong one. 9.800

Cal FX 3 – Bordas – double tuck, short landing with a step forward – 1.5 to layout, arches the layout a bit – switch to switch ring 1/2 – rudi, small bounce, pretty form. 9.825

Arizona BB 4 – Hargrove – bhs loso loso series, great amplitude – full turn, check – split to sheep jump, not enough closure in the sheep jump – 1.5, good landing. 9.900

You know what I love, when everyone dismounts out of shot. PROB NOT IMPORTANT.

Cal FX 4 – Clausi – double pike, holds the landing, chest down – switch side to wolf full, good – 1.5 to front lay to double stag – double tuck, solid, chest down again. 9.850

Arizona BB 5 – Mueller – side aerial to loso, hit, small lean adjustment – switch to split, good switch, split got a little low – 1.5, hop forward. 9.800

Cal FX 5 – Li – front 2/1 and overcooks it, can’t connect into her front tuck, falls – 1.5 to front lay is hit

Arizona BB 6 – Linton – wolf double, smooth – bhs bhs loso, pretends like she was doing some side choreography instead of her check – switch to split, hit – side aerial to full, hit. 9.850

Cal Fx 6 – Quinn – front lay to rudi, keeps front foot down – switch side to popa to wolf jump, very clear positions, nice – double pike, hit, chest just a bit forward. Better landing control from her.

Linton’s beam score gets Arizona over 196 for 196.025.

9.925 for Quinn takes Cal to a 197.575 total, which is the high for the season for them. Beam looked really nice today, very comfortable. Floor looked a little depleted in the landing department.

BYU is done with a 196.575 despite counting a fall on beam, so that number would have been very high. Boise State is a bars hit away from clinching this one, and Stanford is getting big numbers on floor, though Hoang did just fall on a DLO.

Boise State goes 49.425 on bars to hit the 197.000 mark.

Bryant finishes floor with 9.925 as Stanford, like BYU, ends up with 196.575 despite counting a fall.


On to Utah against Washington

A 197.700 today would put Utah ahead of Florida in the in-progress NQS rankings, and a 197.750 would be enough to go ahead of Oklahoma.

Rotation 1

Washington VT 1 – Blum – very large bounce back on her yfull, and then an extra sheepish arm wave to try to gain control. You saw nothing. What are you saying about. 9.600

Utah UB 1 – Morgan – maloney to bhardwaj, just that little foot cross at the end – strong final cast hs – giant full, good finish position – double tuck, stuck. 9.900

Washington VT 2 – Brooks – Y1/2 is solid, medium hop forward, just a little bit of pike. 9.775

Utah UB 2 – McCallum – small arch in first hs, pulls it back – maloney to pak is solid – van leeuwen, very small foot crossing – FTDT, good stick. 9.900

Washington VT 3 – Navarro – Y1.5, really well done, just a small hop in place, good form, not the biggest. 9.900

Utah UB 3 – Paulson – good first hs – maloney to pak, solid positions – giant full gets pretty crooked and late, double tuck dismount with a lunge back. 9.800

Washington VT 4 – SKW – dynamic yfull, bounce back – solid layout. 9.850

Utah UB 4 – Thompson – “9.925, most people thought it should have been a quarter tenth higher” who are these people and who said that who doesn’t know how ncaa scores work – pak, nice – maloney to gienger inbar, hit, didn’t quite have the momentum so had to muscle up a handstand that came a little short – DLO, good form, holds the stick with a lean control. 9.850

Washington VT 5- Thompson – nailed her yfull again – has the height – you can take for distance – extended, and a real stick. 9.925.

One judge went perfect 9.950. I’m typically on 9.900 for this because of distance.

Utah UB 5 – O’Keefe – good first hs – maloney to pak, good – 1/2 turn on low is late – double Arabian with a step back. 9.825. Thought it would be higher since I had it at 9.850 and I always assume scores will be higher than I am.

Washington VT 6 – Cunningham – another very good yfull, great block, small slide back. 9.875

Utah UB 6 – Isa – Ray, solid – hits next hs – bail, slight elbows on catch – giant full, arches but pulls it back to connect to DLO, stuck, good fight. 9.875

Big 49.325 for Washington on vault, just behind Utah on 49.350. Not a bad rotation for Utah at all, but, you know. 49.350 is also a strong score, just this year it’s 198 or failure.

Rotation 2

Utah VT 1 – Thompson – hits her yfull, medium hop back, some pike at the end. 9.775

Washington UB 1 – Moody – toe on to maloney to pak, small leg break – hesitations on cast hs on low bar and has to recast to do her 1/2 turn – solid final cast hs – FTDT, small slide back, chest down. 9.625

Utah VT 2 – Hall – Y1.5, same problem as she had on friday but wasn’t able to save the landing as well, very short landing, large lunge back and an extra lunge. Will have to drop that. 9.425

Washington UB 2 – Russon – blind to jaeger to overshoot, lovely tow point – giant full, solid vertical, into double tuck, short with a lunge forward. Good toe point. Like Perea earlier in the day, she’s showing the concept of great handstands but moving out of them a little too quickly. 9.800

Utah VT 3 – Stanhope – hits her y1.5 but it’s somewhat lock legged today with a step back. 9.875

Washington UB 3 – Brooks – shortish first hs – shaposh to clear hip to bail, loose back and some legs in the combination but through it – giant full, late, into double tuck, stuck. 9.850 seems high.

Utah VT 4 – Rucker – great amplitude on her y1.5 but a large lunge forward – will be a useful score but the landing will take away the huge. 9.850

Washington UB 4 – SKW – piked jaeger to overshoot is lovely, very extended elbows on catches – solid final cast hs – blind to front giant 1/2, hung up a little – into double tuck, hop forward. 9.875

Utah VT 5 – Burch – holds the landing on her Y1.5 for the stick, didn’t think she had the block for it but she found it – not the most distance and then an arm wave to try to hold the stick. 9.950

Washington UB 5 – Thompson – good first hs – blind to jaeger, solid – hits next hs – bail, shows extended position – short final cast hs – DLO, good position, just a little rebound in place. Very clean.

Utah VT 6 – McCallum – finds the stick on her Servente today, well done – just a bit of direction and foot flexing – 9.950

LOL at Alisa saying that Grace deserves a cerveza. It’s so the kind of thing I would say and then be like, “Is that OK? What’s the drinking age? It’s fine, right?”

Washington UB 6 – Bowles – giant full to deltchev to overshoot is hit, lovely giant full, some form on the deltchev and combination – DLO, hit, hop forward. 9.875

Utah goes 49.400 on vault after looking at the beginning of the rotation that this would be…a drop day. Good work from Burch and McCallum to save the score.

Washington goes 49.325 on bars to stay right with Utah. The bars scoring for Washington was definitely looser than I was expecting.

After 2: Utah 98.750, Washington 98.650

Only a tenth!

Rotation 3

Washington BB 1 – Brooks – kickover, small pause to bhs but kept the arms moving so no one will care – switch to split, good switch, just a bit shy on split – aerial to a high beat jump, just a bit of knees in aerial – stag, gainer full, holds the stick with a lean. 9.900

Utah FX 1 – Paulson – LOL the music didn’t start? Or did it? She thought it was starting and then suddenly wasn’t – anyway now here we go – front tuck through to 2.5, slide forward – front lay to front full, good position – switch 1/2 to sissone, good – 1.5 to layout, good height in second element. 9.900

Washington BB 2 – Thomas – kickover, connects to a bhs that was way off line but saves it with a wobble – switch to straddle 1/4, attention to back leg –  1.5, leans to hold the stick. 9.775

Utah FX 2 – Gilstrap – strong double tuck, chest up, controlled – front lay to rudi, bounce back, good twisting position – switch ring to split leap full, loverly – WAIT YOU’RE ALLOWED TO SAY PRIDE ON THE PAC-12 NETWORK AFTER ALL – front lay to front full, good control. 9.875

Washington BB 3 – Moody – bhs loso series, large break, leg up to horizontal – switch to split, short back leg – aerial, short, has to grab the beam and can’t hold it, falls – side aerial to full, slide back

Utah FX 3 – Randall – double tuck, chest up, control – L turn to full turn, attempted L double, I’d say it didn’t quite get two turns around – switch side to popa to wolf full, pretty solidly around – 1.5 to layout, holds landing. Nice. 9.900

Washington BB 4 – Navarro – bhs bhs loso, secure – beat jump that wasn’t really into a switch side, a little tight as a combination – ro 2/1 dismount, a little under, hop back. 9.875

Utah FX 4 – Stanhope – full in is short, deep into the knees and a step forward – switch side to wolf full – front tuck through to double tuck, chest down, hop forward. 9.500, ouchers.

Washington BB 5 – Bowles – side aerial, attempts to connect it into another side aerial but that was too slow, then a beat jump – split jump to wolf jump 3/4, holds it with a check, short of wolf position – hitch kick to gainer front full with a nice stick. She’ll need to hope for a gift from the gods that they give her acro series credit. 9.725 is VERY forgiving.

Utah FX 5 – McCallum – full in, very solid – split leap full to popa, clearly around – are we saying her semi ring split to the ground is an attempted element or choreography – front lay to rudi, solid – split leap. Good one – 9.950

Washington BB 6 – SKW – aerial, small check before bhs loso series – kickover, then beat jump, small lean – switch to split, hit – side aerial to 1.5, strong stick. 9.925

Utah FX 6 – Soloski – DLO, shows control on landing – switch side to split leap full, rushes the split leap full a little today – front lay to front full, solid – 1.5 to lay, just a tad under, crossover step.

Washington escapes under the portcullis just as it was closing in that beam rotation for a 49.200, though will lose a lot of ground to Utah here. 197 very much in play for Washington.

9.975 for Soloski, for me that wasn’t as strong as the routine she usually gets 9.925 for, because college gymnastics.

Utah 49.600 on floor to reignite the quest for a big number here. Now Utah needs 49.400 on beam to move into 2nd place in the rankings.

After 3: Utah 148.350, Washington 147.850

Rotation 4

Utah BB 1 – Morgan – bhs bhs loso, solid positions in the air – switch to split, better back leg – cat leap to side aerial to full, stuck. Strong start.

Alisa making my cat-leap-hating heart sing.

9.950 to start. You knew it had to be since it was the best one we’ve seen so far. Welcome to 50 tens.

Washington FX 1 – SKW – front 2/1, controls the step out, solid twisting form – switch to switch ring 1/2, gets her back leg up there – 1.5 to layout, a little bounce out. 9.900

Utah BB 2 – McCallum – candle mount, hit, a little past vertical – wolf double, smooth – bhs loso series, hit, knees – switch to stag jump, little hesitation – cat leap to side aerial to layout full. Good.

9.975 for her. I don’t see it, I had a couple things there.

Remember when we were young and stupid in the first rotation on bars and thought the scores were going to be tight today?

Washington FX 2 – Navarro – double tuck, a small lean back, looked like she kept the foot down – switch side to popa, a little short on popa – 1.5 to layout, secure – double pike, hit, chest down. 9.875

Utah BB 3 – Randall – bhs loso, solid – switch to straddle 1/4, secure – rulfova, right on – 1.5, stuck landing, some leg separation. Well, I thought that one was stronger than McCallum’s so we’ll see.

9.950. Who can say. Christ and a half.

Washington FX 3 – Blum – front tuck through to double tuck, bounce back – switch 1/2 to popa to popa, good foot extension on those – double pike, Ok, chest a little down. 9.900

Also these floor scores are quite high as well.

Utah BB 4 – Paulson – side aerial to loso with a check – BUT NOW HOW CAN WE 10 – switch to split is solid – beat jump to side aerial to layout full, stuck.

What are these random disembodied scores floating on the screens in the background?

Only a 9.875, which is a zero for this beam rotation.

Washington FX 4 – Thompson – whip through to double tuck, bounce back and OOB – switch to split leap 1.5, around – double pike, solid, chest up, slide back. 9.450

Utah BB 5 – Isa – LOT OF PERSONALITY ON BEAM – candle mount, good vertical – bhs loso loso, and leans back and suddenly finds herself with a balance check with her leg at horizontal – beat to straddle 1/4, nice – good gainer full. 9.850

We have a SV delay on Thompson’s routine? I had her at a 10 SV.

Washington FX 5 – Cunningham – front tuck throigh to double tuck, chest up, controls step back – switch 1/2 to wolf full to wolf full, a bit of feet but good height – double pike, strong. 9.925

Utah BB 6 – O’Keefe – side aerial to loso, looked like she had it but a large break working out of it, bend at the hips – lovely leaps – cat leap to side aerial to full, stuck.

Weirdly, Utah didn’t get a 10 in that rotation. It seemed inevitable after those first three scores. We sure went on a journey from O’Keefe’s 9.825 on bars to the scoring of this beam rotation. I’ve lived so many lives.

So it’s going to be another 49.600 for Utah on beam and a 197.950 total, which will move Utah to 2nd place.

Washington FX 6 – Weiss – double pike, stuck – 1.5 to layout, little rebound – split leap full to split jump full are short of split position – double tuck, short, step forward.

Weiss gets 9.825 to bring Washington to a 197.275 total, which is almost like what they were scoring in the early 2000s days of yore. Any resolution of Thompson’s score shouldn’t change that since it should be dropped anyway.

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