2023 National Semifinal #1 – Live Blog

Thursday, April 13SCORESSTREAM
3:00pm ET/
12:00pm PT
National Semifinal 1
[2] Florida
[6] LSU
[7] Cal

[13] Denver

The first national semifinal is now upon us, the semifinal of opportunity.

In podium training yesterday, we saw Trinity Thomas do bars in her typical position in the lineup, once doing the interior and twice performing the second half of her routine including the DLO dismount. Today in the warmup, she stuck a DLO. So, um, she’s running? We also saw some bars and beam from McCallum for Utah in PT, so put a pin in that for the second semifinal.

In the final rotation of warmups, we just saw Trinity work out on vault, ending with a Y1.5 attempt that was very short and sat down. I can’t imagine they’re going to try to have her vault a 1.5 today, but……it seemed more of a “keep the door open for Saturday” kind of thing.

Warmups are over, now everyone is getting into their show costumes for the pre-meet catwalk.

The judges are practicing showing their 10.0s. Not sure I’m seeing a lot of these disastrous young judges I was warned about.

The in-arena host has a real Joan Callamezzo energy.

Yesterday at podium training they had all these kids here to celebrate that they could read, and then Carly Patterson introduced Clifford the Big Red Dog, so that’s something I’ve seen happen now.

A solid 14 people are here. They tested out the flame throwers, which go right up to the people at the bar. I’ve heard fire and alcohol don’t mix, but TBD. 

Introductions guy was doing a pretty good job until he met the hurtle that was Natalie Sadighi.

Also, she’s not going to be in the lineup, but we saw Morgan Hurd do the best bars she’s ever done for Florida in the warmup earlier today.

Rotation 1

Blakely – UB – Florida – falls immediately on her maloney

Arenas – BB – LSU – bhs series, hit – kocker, deep but holds it – full turn, hit – switch 1/2, under but secure – 1.5 dismoutn, step forward.

DeSouza finishes floor with a controlled back 1.5 to front full.

Mabanta – VT – Denver – yfull, ok height, pikes it down some, shuffle back. She follows 9.850 for Brusch.

I’m seeing some 9.7s comes up for Arenas on beam.

Hutchinson – VT – Dnever – solid landing on y1.5, medium hop forward, leg separation on block.

Shchennikova – BB – LSU – full turn, good – aerial, small pause before bhs bhs but will get it – good switch to split – side aerial with a lean correction – sticks gainer full.

Hits bars from Nguyen in the second spot for Florida. 9.825

Brown – VT – Denver – nice stick on her y1.5, good height, a bit better distance than regionals

DiCello – UB – Florida – good first hs – Ray, nice feet – pak, hit, good leg position – solid hs – toe on to van leeuwen, celan, borderline cast hs on high – FTDT, looked like small movement. Nice hit.

Jeffrey – BB – LSU – cat leap to switch side, secure – bhs loso series is secure – front tuck is solid, just a little deep – 1.5 dismount, off direction but stuck.

Thomas – UB – Florida – hits first hs – maloney is good into pak, clean – toe on to van leeuwen – hits hs on high – DLO, stuck landing. Of course she did.

Good control on Y1.5 landing for Blackson in the individual spot. I see a bunch of 9.950s for Trinity

Li – FX – Cal – front 2/1 with slide forward – front full to front lay is solid – pretty switch to ring 1/2

Stuck DLO from Wong on bars, a little lean. Florida looking in control now but needing another hit.

Beam judges have been willing to give 9.7s so far. Interesting to see what they do with Ballard’s leaps on a hit with a balance check in there. 9.8125

Range from a couple 9.900s to a 10.0 for Wong.

49.225 vault for Denver. They’ll take it.

McCusker – UB – Florida – just a bit shy on her final cast handstand and the arm form on her stalder, but a nice hit.

Lauzon – FX – Cal – controlled landing from front 2/1 to front tuck – pretty leap positions – back 1.5 to front full, controls the step.

Bryant sticks rudi dismount on beam. LSU will need this to rbing up the scores. I saw a waver on her front, but otherwise not much. Mostly 9.950s for her. 9.9375 for both Bryant and Lauzon.

Finnegan – BB – LSU – candle 1/2 mount is good – bhs loso loso, good secure landing despire being ever so slightly off line – swithc to split is good – aerial, smooth – gainer full, nice stick.

Frazier – FX – Cal – Nice control on DLO – switch and split positions, nice – front tuck through to double tuck, controls the front foot, a little chest position.

Scores can’t figure out that Trinity got put in the anchor position so they still have Florida in the 48s, but they’ll move way up once everything is filled in.

9.9125 fro Finnegan on beam, 9.9375 for Frazier on floor.

Cal goes 49.4375 on floor, LSU 49.275 on beam.

Widner – BB – Stanford – lovely  switch and split positions – bhs loso series is right on – aerial to split jump, well connected – gainer full, shows amplitude, nice stick. Good one.

McCusker’s 9.900 is in, so Florida goes 49.4875 on bars.

After 1:
Florida 49.4875
Cal 49.4375
LSU 49.275
Denver 49.225

Florida survives the early terror. Neither Florida nor Cal will be super thrilled with the number, but given how things have been so far, 49.4 is the new 49.5, so they’ll take it. LSU down early but through beam with a score.

Also the scoreboard in the arena has Casali on 9.950 for bars, an event she has not competed yet. So that’s an accomplishment.

Widner’s beam did go 9.950, so she’s in the lead there, ahead of LSU’s lineup.

Rotation 2

Andi Li hits a yfull for Cal, small hop back.

Ballard – FX – LSU -kind of short on her DLO today, chest forward and a step – back 1.5 to front lay, does a pretty good job trying to sell the landing but did take a step back. 9.800

Blakely opens Florida’s beam with a hit. Williams 2nd on vault for Cal, shows more control than Li on her yfull, so scores should go up from that 9.825.

Casali with a solid stick on DLO for Denver.

Some people are taking pictures with the fucking Gator right in front of my view, and you know how that thrills me.

Hop forward for DeSouza on vault. Shchennikova finishes floor with rudi to straddle jump and some travel back. Good height from Lauzon on y1.5, little hop forward.

DiCello – BB – Florida – good candle mount – wolf wolf double, hit, little arms – switch to split is solid – bhs loso series, holds it – aerial – sticks gainer full

Frazier – VT – Cal – pretty nice control on her DTY, small hop back.

We have a fall for Brock on her final pass on floor.

Brown does well to pull back a near overbalance handstand on bars, DLO is good, holds onto the landing with a little lean.

49.350 vault for Cal.

Wong – BB – Florida – switch to split, lovely – bhs loso, large break, leg up owbble, heeps it on – aerial to beat, hit – hop back on 2/1.

Johnson – FX – LSU – open FTDT, good control on landing – back 1.5 to lay, some legs, controls the step – switch to switch 1/2ish sideish –

Wong still goes 9.800.

McCusker – BB – Florida – hits wolf double – aerial is very short, step back, another step abd lean to the side, keeps it on – loso series, another large break, leg up to horizontal – switch to split leap, check – gainer full, step back. So…she stayed on?

Finnegan – FX – LSU – double arabian, hesitates before stag jump, should be no combo but will get it – nice back 1.5 to front tuck. switch ring to split full, nice – switch, good

Denver 49.3625 on bars. Gains a smidge back on Cal.

9.6125 for McCusker. Now Richards will anchor – full turn with check – bhs loso, leg up break – switch 1/2, another very large break, leg up – switch to straddle jump to straddle jump – 1.5 dismount, hop.

Well Florida will have to count either that of McCusker, which will not be great.

Bryant – FX – LSU – excellent double front – front lay to rudi, good control

9.950 for Bryant takes LSU to 49.475 on floor, slightly above what Cal did there.

Conference on Richards score. I saw one judge as low as 9.2.

Widner – FX – Stanford – DLO, chest down on landing, hop forward – front tuck through to double pike, sits it down OOB.

Still no score for Richardes but I imagine at this point it won’t be a counter anyway. God, six judges trying to work together to resolve a score. Nightmare.

Cal will have a slight lead on LSU after 2 events for first place. Unless something changes with Richards score, Florida will be in last heading to floor and vault. Events where they CAN score well, but those were the issues at regionals.

9.275 for Richards. Florida goes 49.0875 on beam.

After 2:
Cal – 98.7875
LSU – 98.750
Denver – 98.5875
Florida – 98.575

Florida is very much going to need a floor landing day now, as will LSU on vault. Cal moving to its best scores now with the lead, but will have to hit and get the scores, which aren’t always the same things. Denver staying close, and should have a good event with beam.

Jenny talking to the floor judges now. Wonder if we have a lineup change.

Rotation 3

DeSouza – UB – Cal – good amplitude on piked jaeger to overshoot – a bit shy on final cast hs – FTDT looked super close but stuck.

Good yfull from Arenas, small slide back. Nguyen hits front 2/1 to sissone on floor, switch ring to switch 1/2 is excellent – back 1.5 to front lay, slide forward. 

Shchehnnikova pulls out the landing on her y1.5, deep but saved it without too much movement.

Frazier – UB – Cal – a bit shy on first hs – maloney to pak, hit, some looke body position  on 1/2 turn on low – DLO is a struggle, chest down, hop forward.

Brock – VT – LSU – overcooks her y1.5 this time but in a solid way, lunge forward.

Brown goes 9.9125 on beam in the leadoff spot. Denver making the move.

Mabanta falls in the second spot on beam for Denver, a score they really wanted.

Blakely pulls out a double pike final pass on floor, chest down with step. No double arabian for her.

Drama for Cal now as Perea peels off, which means they’ll have to count a 9.7 from Frazier. Not part of their plan.

9.850 for Blakely on floor.

Wilson – VT – LSU – nice distance on yfull, only small movement.

Baumann – FX – Florida – wolf double, good – back 1.5 to front full is under control – switch side to straddle jump, nice – lands a bit short on final pass with a step

Bryant – VT – LSU – not her best handspring pike 1/2, chest down, which basically never happens, and a landing rebound.

Li  – UB – Cal – good pak and shap 1/2, a little tight on cast hs – good finish on giant full into stuck double tuck.

9.8625 for Bryant, LSU goes 49.2625 on vault, which is lower than they wanted. Florida loves it.

Richards – FX – Florida – DLO, controls the landing – switch side, overturns some into popa – back 1.5 to front full,mostly controls the crossover step, some knees

Williams – UB – Cal – maloney to pak, nice – 1/2 turn on low, good finish position – hits vertical on final cast hs – DLO, holds onto the landing, a little bit of arms.

9.925 for Richards is a big help for Florida. We have Denver counting a fall on beam now. 9.875 for Williams on bars.

Wong – FX – Florida – piked double arabian, one of her better landing positions, connects to a low stag jump – switch to popa, good – back 1/2 to front full, good stick

Cesario – UB – Cal – a bit tight on first hs – jaeger to overshoot, misses her hand and now Cal and Denver are both counting falls in this rotation. You’re welcome, Florida.

OK, who had Cal counting a fall on bars in the pool. Two judges go 10 for Wong. 9.9625.

DiCello – FX – Florida – front 2/1 is a bit of a struggle, crossed legs, step to the side – good wolf double – back 1.5 to front lay, solid –

Shoutout to the judges who went 9.4 for Cesario.

Hutchinson finishes beam for Denver with a solid kickover front, hit full turn, gainer full, little movement.

Harris on floor for Ohio State, hits double pike – switch side, overturned some into popa – front 2/1, secure landing – front full to front lay, stuck.

9.925 for Hutchinson puts Denver on 48.550 for that rotation, Cal on 48.700.

After 3:
Florida 148.100
LSU 148.000
Cal 147.4875
Denver 147.1375

Counting falls defined that rotation, as now Florida and LSU are well out in front and basically just need to stay on their feet.

Rotation 4

Wong – VT – Florida –

Jeffrey – Ub – LSU – hits firs ths – maloney is smooth into pak, leg separation – 1/2 turn on low, hit – very deep landing on FTDT with lunge forward.

Wong ro 1/2 on pike half, bounce back, solid.

Richards – VT – Florida – pulls out the landing on y1.5 with a step to the side, some knees

9.775 for Jeffrey.

Cown on bars 0hits  aray with feet, connects to overshoot, his hs on high, DLO, step back.

Blakely – VT – Florida – y1.5, hits it, large bound forward today. Florida and LSU just doing safe enough to survive gymnastics now in the final rotation.

Tatum – UB – LSU – hits ray with some feet, connects to pak – 1/2 turn on low is solid – hit hs on high – FTDT, a bit staggered, holds onto landing.

Thomas – VT – Florida – so she’ssssss vaulting – and she stayed on her feet like a magician, short landing, hop back. Judges were like weeeee love you so much, 9.900 for a short landing with a hop baccckkkk.

Good stuck landing for Finnegan on bars to clinch advancing for LSU, and Nguyen hits a y1.5 on vault with a lunge forward to bring Florida through.

No one here is, um, making anyone in the second semifinal nervous with these performances.

Florida 49.300 on vault for a 197.400.

Shchennikova hits ray into pak, feet – DLO, usual, finds the stick. OK, NOW they’ve clinched advancing.

Bryant – UB – LSU – jaeger, fingertipped but hit – blind to doubel front 1/2 out, small movement. Will be close between them and Florida for winning the session.

Lauzon – BB – Cal – wolf single, a little leany – bhs bhs loso, very good – switch to split, nice – 2/1, holds onto a good stick.

Brown finishes on floor with a stuck front tuck in combo.

9.9375 for Bryant on bars puts LSU ahead of Florida. Lookjs like 9.950 for Brown on floor. Seeing mostly 9.95s for Lauzon on beam.

Perea – BB – Cal – wolf double, hit – kickover, holds it with a little pause into back tuck – switch to split to beat – side somi to tuck 1.5 dismount, lunge back.

9.9375 for Edwards of Ohio State on floor will be up there. Lead on floor is 9.9625.

Gabi Stephen’s beam will finish out the first semifinal – aerial to two feet, large break, leg up, ties to style it into a scale – full turn, hit – bhs loso series, turn to the side with arm wave – 2/1, hop back.

LSU 197.475
Florida 197.400
Cal 196.9125
Denver 196.500

So not one we’re framing here. LSU and Florida will NEVER have thought that a 197.4 would have been good enough to advance out of the semifinal. Cal will spend the next 9 months kicking itself because they would have won the semifinal without that bars miss.

In individual land, Bryant has the lead after the first semifinal in the AA with 39.6875. Could hold up, but the leaders in the second semifinal will favor themselves to get that.

Brown and Blackson lead vault with 9.925, which I do not think will hold up. Thomas and Widner lead bars and beam with 9.950s, and then Wong and Finnegan are tied for the lead on floor with 9.9625.

Meet in a new post for the next semifinal. Do we think all four teams will beat 197.475?

18 thoughts on “2023 National Semifinal #1 – Live Blog”

  1. So I turned on TV at 12 CT to make sure that I could find semifinals later. I found ncaa meets on 2 versions of ESPN. So 2 xtra hourz of gymnastics for me! But…it was total surprise — and I’d been digging for info. Have they finally figuring out there is an audience?

  2. ESPN quad stream can’t keep scores up. At beginning of second rotation they still only have 3 FL bars scores. ESPN2 seems to be working, as is statsbroadcast.com.

  3. Wow at Florida. No Trinity AA is really hurting their chances. I guess this is a preview of next year when she’s graduated.

  4. Lol Florida! When are they going to fire Jenny Rowland?? How do you explain that year after year they have an outrageous number of top recruits, world champions and elite medalists; more than any other team and they have fallen so short in the post season? It’s gotta be the leader of the pack who is not worthy of leading this type of talent.

      1. You don’t get it. Those scores and the performance do not correspond with the profile of the gymnasts. This way below what they are capable of. Because of the contentment of the coaches with subpar performances is why Florida under Jenny Roland will never win a championship again.

    1. Couldn’t disagree more with this disgusting post. These young women, so many beat up from elites in every way (severe physical injuries, emotional abuse, disappointment of missing Olympics, etc) are thriving at UF. Morgan and Riley had potentially career-ending injuries in elite. The bad luck injury bug hit the team hard this year, with Savannah, Ellie, Leah and others very limited or out. The team has banded together and persevered. Yes, because of the injuries, the all-arounders have competed most every meet this season so are running on fumes. As for pure competition results, recruiting elites doesnt guarantee national titles – some excel as collegiate and some struggle to be perfect in every way. Im proud of this resilient Gator team and couldn’t be happier with these amazing, supportive, inclusive coaches. Grow up.

      1. To be clear, my remark is directed at the nasty comment about Jenny Rowland, not the live blog post. Thanks for the great recap of the event.

    1. AA: Bryant (LSU) 39.6875
      VT: Brown (DU) and Blackson (Boise) 9.925
      UB: Thomas (UF) 9.950
      BB: Widner (STAN) 9.950
      FX Wong (UF) and Finnegan (LSU) 9.9625

  5. HAHA! Can anyone elaborate on this?! “The in-arena host has a real Joan Callamezzo energy”. As a big Parks & Rec fan, I can’t help but be intrigued.

  6. A nice reminder that counting a fall seals your fate, as two teams had to do here. Unless you’re Oklahoma, of course, and you count a fall but get enough 9.975 home cooking scores to advance out of Regionals.

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