No free streams today, so we’ll be following scores from Florida @ Kentucky (7:00/4:00), Nebraska @ Iowa State (7:30/4:30), and the Arkansas and Georgia meets (8:00/5:00).
Florida has been steady, scoring in the low 196s for the first two meets, though they did have an unfortunate floor rotation last week and should have scored higher. They’re still missing key members (Caquatto, half an Alaina Johnson), and I don’t expect them to reach the heights of performance (though they can still score hugely at home without them) until they return. Florida is still scoring well enough for January, so confidence should be pretty high even though they haven’t put up the big numbers. Confidence could become an issue, though, if they continue having to count falls. 24 for 24 should be the goal tonight, and if the score is still low 196s, then so be it.
For Nebraska, in the long term they have to find a way to sustain the performance level that put them at #1. But for today, that’s not the biggest concern. They won’t score that well every week, especially on the road, so a lower score today should not be seen as a loss. It is much more important for them to build up a team that can perform well for months on end, meaning that they need to get 24 usable performances into the lineup immediately. Even if they wouldn’t necessarily want those gymnasts performing in postseason, they have to start building the depth. Plan A is obviously Jessie DeZiel, but what’s Plan B?
Notes on scores after the jump from 7:00 ET.
Nicole Ellis leads off Florida with a 9.800, solid opening, but they may not want to have to use this score again this year if people like Spicer and Wang can solidify their routines and score higher.
Kentucky hanging around the 9.8 area on vault. They have improved this event in 2012 by being able to send up 6 routines in competition. They were competing only five at the end of last year.
Dickerson goes 9.725…not a strong score for her. She has form break and won’t ever deserve a massive score, but they need her to go big on releases and tread water in the 9.8 area.
Kytra Hunter goes 9.875 to make up for Ashanee’s lower score. She never had great bars in elite, and Martha even encouraged her to stop training them, but maybe with NCAA composition she’ll be able to make Kelli Hill proud.
Nice to see Marissa King in the lineup going 9.875 as well. She has real talent on bars, but hasn’t always warranted making the lineup in the past. It doesn’t seem to come as naturally to her as the other events.
Kentucky has some rough scores (9.425 and 9.575) at the end of the lineup to score 48.750 on vault. They would have hope for higher.
Caquatto is back in the lineup on bars (great sign for Florida that she’s back on at least one event already) and goes 9.775. Fine score for her first routine of the year. She’ll get there.
Johnson finished for Florida with a 9.850. It’s not a bad score, but they really rely on her for 9.9+, so a rotation with great potential ends up with a solid/unspectacular 49.175. So they ended up scoring better last week even though they had a stronger lineup this week. Still, it’s a good step to get a (close to) ideal lineup in for competition right now.
Second rotation for Florida/Kentucky:
Jamie Shisler goes 9.775 on vault. I still don’t buy this lineup decision because it’s such a January routine, but it is January, so…
Ellis goes 9.850 again and could legitimately make the lineup for this team. I wouldn’t have picked that in preseason. Note that we have seen none of Wang and Spicer so far.
Marissa King goes 9.700. Granted, I didn’t see the routine, but I’m crying foul anyway. Her vault makes me too happy to get a 9.700. She should get Tsukahara bonus points or something.
Johnson’s in on vault (another great sign of progress) and goes 9.825 (9.90/9.75…hmmm…)
Ashanee goes 9.900. Becoming expected for her. She’s powerful enough to go higher, but needs to get those legs together on landing if she wants to challenge for those 10s we’ve been seeing.
Kytra follows with a 9.925 on her vault. That’s a great 1-2 punch at the end of the vault lineup (something they’ll want to see from Caquatto and Johnson on bars), and if they can get King and Johnson scoring up to capability and Caquatto into the lineup, they will have the opportunity to keep pace with UCLA and Alabama.
Kentucky has a family of 9.6s on bars to score 48.425 for a total of 97.175. Florida ends up with 49.275 on vault for a total of 98.450. It’ll be tough for them to go 197, but I can see very high 196s if they hit from here on out.
Meanwhile up in Iowa, Nebraska has started with a 9.750 and 9.775 on bars, followed by a 9.800 from Jessie DeZiel. These are closer to the kind of scores I expected so far. Brittany Skinner goes 8.700…ouch. Janelle Giblin settles the rotation and reaches closer to last week with a 9.900, and Evenstad finishes with 9.875 for a team score of 49.100. Not bad after all. They got two excellent scores and were able to drop the disaster.
Back in Kentucky, Stageberg starts on floor with a 9.725. Not a strong score, but I like her starting this rotation. At her strongest, she has 9.850-9.875 potential in that leadoff position, which will put them on a great track. Ferguson follows with a 9.750. They’re leaving work for Dickerson, King, and Hunter at the end.
Nebraska gets a 9.800 on vault from freshman Jennifer Lauer (that’s the kind of new routine to add depth I was talking about, good sign) to follow a 9.700 from Barmore.
Florida has a 9.525 from Wang on floor, meaning they are counting two scores in the 9.7s at least. I have not been convinced by Wang’s tumbling at all yet. She has really nice presentation and perhaps the best routine of the group choreographically, but she can’t hit it right now.
Hunter goes 9.825, which is the best score of the rotation so far but not her best. Her ability is such that she should be walking through a field of 9.9s come the second half of the season.
Nebraska gets 9.875 and 9.850 from Wong and Evenstad on vault…now this rotation is keeping pace with last week as long as they can drop Barmore’s score.
King goes 9.850, which still gives Florida hope to potentially salvage a 49 from this rotation.
Nebraska finished vault with another set of 9.850 and 9.875, so no one went 9.9, but they got some great, solid vaults to score 49.250 and a total after two events of 98.350. It’s not like last week, but they should be happy with this performance so far.
Ashanee finishes floor for Florida with a 9.850 to give them 49.000 exactly and a three-event total of 147.450. They are still on track for their best score of the season, which is encouraging because they can do so much better than this.
More to follow: Georgia v. Auburn and Arkansas v. LSU are about to get underway.
Georgia: Chelsea Davis starts on bars with 9.775. It sort of hurts me that she’s not going 4th or 5th and getting 9.9s, but we have to think it will come. She is very talented on that event. Noel Couch follows her with a 9.700. Do Kat Ding and Gina Nuccio have to do everything around here?
LSU: Ohhh, Lainie Fleming starts on bars with a 8.450. Sadness.
Georgia: Tanella goes 9.825 (which is about on form for her), and Shayla goes 9.850. We need to get her up to a 9.9. 9.850 is only fine… Nuccio scores 9.825. This is their event. The scores will need to improve. 9.8s aren’t going to cut it.
Georgia: Nooooo! Kat Ding goes 9.525. There is no justice. And Georgia goes 48.975 on bars for a poor start. They are just .050 ahead of Auburn after one rotation.
Arkansas: Sweet heavens, they keep it up with a 49.400 on vault, led by Katherine Grable’s 9.950. This team is surprising everybody so far, and not just on one event or at one meet…
Florida: More 9.7s (their 7th and 8th of the night) as Stageberg and Spicer start beam with 9.750, 9.725.
LSU: Good recovery from the start to go 49 on bars. Morrison and Hall score 9.850. Morrison is only on one event this week, but they need her back, so it’s a start.
Nebraska: Two 9.650s from J. Lauer and Schleppenbach (spelled it on my first try!) on floor. At least they should have 6 routines this week.
Florida: More trouble on the beam with a 9.775 from Johnson and a 9.650 from Dickerson (Ashanee throws in a few of those – or more – every season, which keeps her from being the beamer she can be). This is a another struggle for Florida.
Nebraska: Wong puts up 9.850 and DeZiel goes 9.825 to help make up for that 9.650 they’ll have to count. They are in a similar situation to Florida right now, trying to recover from some lower scores at the beginning of the floor lineup.
Georgia: Davis and Couch open vault with 9.775, 9.825. It looks like a very 9.825 kind of night for Georgia so far.
FINAL: Florida 196.250, Kentucky 194.075 — Florida keeps improving by about a tenth every week, and they still are in the mode where it’s okay to be sloppy (they didn’t count a fall this week) because of their delayed training schedule and new approach. As we head toward February and get all the routines back, there will be fewer allowances. Starting now, they need to begin purging those 9.7s and turning those 9.8s into 9.9s. They scored only two 9.9s today, and this team is too talented for that, even in January.
Arkansas: I can’t…9.9 from Grable and 9.950 from Pisani on bars. What is in the water over there. We might have to put them on highest score of the season so far watch tonight.
LSU: countering Arkansas with their own huge rotation on vault – 9.950 from Ashley Lee in the second position.
Georgia: Kat Ding recovers to get a 9.900 on vault and give the team 49.175. Total of 98.150 after two rotations. This is putting more pressure on a questionable floor lineup. (Auburn is close with 97.850)
Huge Scores Alert: Arkansas goes 49.450 on bars while LSU goes 49.500 on vault. They’re both on ridiculous pace so far.
Nebraska: It appears they may have gone with 5 floor workers again as the scores haven’t changed in a while. 48.875 so far on floor.
OK, that’s it for me for tonight on the scoring. I may come back later with finals and wrap-ups. Enjoy the scores.
Nebraska 195.775, Iowa State 193.925
Georgia 195.975, Auburn 195.600
Arkansas 197.225, LSU 196.325
Georgia and Nebraska both underperformed compared to previous results, Nebraska having to count a fall on the beam and Georgia putting up way too many scores in the 9.725-9.825 range. But the story of the night is Arkansas, who put up a huge 197.225, including Katherine Grable’s crazy AA score of 39.725 (and Pisani went 39.575). Right now they are the best scoring duo in NCAA, and the team is getting enough mid-9.8s from the rest of the team to make it work. I still have some concerns over beam and depth (they are very reliant on Grable and Pisani for the big scores on every event, which may hurt them later if there is a problem), but they are making the SEC a four-way race again, which is exciting.