We’re getting close to the start of another big Friday, and we’ll begin with Georgia visiting Florida, where I expect the scores to start flying. Then, a whole bunch of other teams are in action including Alabama, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, and we’ll be finishing things off for the night with a live blog of the Stanford @ Utah meet from 9:00 ET / 6:00 PT.
To prepare, here’s a look at what Greg Marsden called Utah’s best bar rotation of the year. Agree?
Thoughts coming soon and commentary after the break
Soon to get underway with Georgia and Florida. The first rotation provides an interesting dynamic because of Georgia’s strength on bars. They have to stay even or close after the first rotation because they will likely lose ground on the final two events.
Florida is leading off with Spicer on vault. She is more likely for that position than Shisler, but she’s still almost an automatic drop with Johnson, Dickerson, King, and Hunter who can (and should) all go 9.9+
We’ve added another chapter to the saga of Shayla (it’s an epic miniseries at this point, HBO should option it–thoughts on what it should be called?) as she scores a 9.200 on bars. When was the last time she hit all her events in a meet? It can’t have happened more than once or twice this year, can it? This was supposed to be the year of the Shayla. Georgia should be thanking their lucky stars it’s become the year of the Ding instead.
P.S. Aren’t Florida’s live scores the worst? You would think they could pull it together, but it’s awful every week. Plus, they don’t give us the judge’s individual scores, just the final.
Florida actually goes surprisingly low on vault with respect to expectations with a 49.375 (low…hah!), but my 198 prediction may be in jeopardy! Georgia is able to withstand the fall from Shayla and score 49.225 to at least stay within striking distance, though I think they needed to be a bit closer. Highlight scores for each team on the first rotation were Hunter’s 9.950 and Couch and Davis on 9.875 for Georgia. Not a good sign when Couch is tied for top bars score. Kat Ding went surprisingly low at 9.825. If she doesn’t get a 10 this season, I will through a fit. Georgia has UCLA at home next week, though, so expect big scores.
Checking the stats, I was a little wrong about Shayla. She hit 3/3 in her first three meets, but has had a fall in 5 consecutive meets now. As of right now, her hit percentage is 76% this year.
On our usual Ashanee-Home-Bars-Score Watch, she gets a 9.875, which is a bit lower than it has been this year but still too high given her form breaks. If she hit to her capabilities, though, it’s not a completely ridiculous score for a home meet. (What has become of me? I do like the confidence with which she sticks landings, even if she needs to get those legs together.) I’ve noticed at Florida this season that they seem to score the top routines pretty accurately, but the weaker routines are scored too high so that there’s not enough separation.
Important for Georgia that Kaylan Earls is back tonight with a 9.850 on vault. That’s exactly the kind of score they need her to be getting in that 4th position.
I’ve been pretty impressed with Marissa King’s ability to take control of that #4 position for Florida on bars. This routine works for her with pretty minimal deductions.
Georgia is scoring very well, and can count themselves in 197 contention, but they’re just not keeping pace with Florida. Ding and Hires lead their vault rotation to a 49.250, but big scores from King and Johnson put Florida at 49.400 to extend the lead.
After 2: Florida 98.775, Georgia 98.475. Advantage Florida on the final two events. I trust them to hit beam just a bit more, and they have much higher scoring potential on floor.
No Shayla on floor for Georgia, but Earls is back in the lineup here as well. Florida starts us with two 9.850s on beam. In fact, each of the first four competitors for each team have scored somewhere in the 9.8 range. Ding gets a very nice 9.875 on floor to help make up for her bars score in the AA.
Georgia is the first team to break the solid score momentum with Nuccio’s 9.650. Because of having to manage her injuries and numbers, she’s not going to be the gymnast you can rely on to hit 9.850+ every single time. But they are able to drop her score and score another 49.225.
Florida finishes beam with 9.9-level scores from Hunter and King to record their best event so far, a 49.450 on beam. They are on pace to break 197.500 easily and could go toward 197.700. This is a big result for Florida because they are trying to drop a 196.175 home score for RQS. They will shoot up and force Oklahoma to match. (Speaking of which, they are getting underway soon.)
After 3: Florida 148.225, Georgia 147.700. That means Georgia needs a 49.300 on beam to go 197. Doable but by no means a guarantee.
As we wait for the 4th rotation, a little update that Alabama has gone 9.8, 9.8, 9.8, and 9.725 on bars to start their weakest event. It’s a two gymnast rotation for them, essentially. And around the nation we have a lot of dueling scores. Alabama and LSU are level at 49.150 after one event, and Arkansas and Oklahoma have both scored 49.375 at home on vault.
Stageberg goes a bit low for Florida on floor (but a little low means 9.775), but they appear to be in charge of this meet and this enormous score. Actually surprising that the scores on floor are not higher, though, with a 9.750 for Johnson and a 9.800 for King. Ding and King are currently tied for the AA lead, but Dickerson and Hunter both look primed to surpass that number. It’s a big meet for Kaylan Earls as well as she goes in the 9.8s on her three events
Going into the last competitor on each event, Georgia needs a big score from Shayla to go 197, and Florida needs a big score from Hunter to go 197.500.
Oh sweet Shayla, she’s done it again. 9.300 on beam. There’s not really much to say anymore. She’s fully capable of nailing that beam routine every time. Lack of confidence compounding itself time and again. Kytra, however, converts what was required from her to help Florida go 49.300 on floor even with some below par scores.
FINAL: Florida 197.525, Georgia 196.825. Is it bad that I was just about to say this score is lower than expected? Of course, it’s a really nice number for both teams. Florida should be in good shape to catch Oklahoma on RQS, and Georgia should be putting the pressure on UCLA as well.
Stanford and Utah beginning the warmups momentarily. Stanford has yet to record a big score this year, but this could be the meet for them. The first rotation will be critical because they can actually pick up some ground on bars. Pechanec has been performing well so far.
The 93 minute touch seems particularly endless.
Rotation 1: Utah on vault, Stanford on bars
Lothrop – UT – good landing on the yfull, but needs a ton more amplitude. That’s why she’s leading off.
Wing – ST – nice clean routine with a stuck double back dismount. Clean but a bit simple.
McAllister – UT – better height than Lothrop, but at least a tenth on the hop back on landing plus some piking in the air.
Peter – ST – a little labored on the shoot to HB and a little low on the jaeger, but a clean hit.
Lopez – UT – humongous leap back on her yfull. Not her best.
Shapiro – ST – very clean and right on on most handstands. Just a little late on her last giant full and low on her double tuck. Not a lot of difficulty here from Stanford.
Wilson – UT – Their best so far, fine height and just an inch back. Still probably should be 9.850. (But it went 9.900)
S Morgan – ST – had a nice routine going until a major stumble on her double front which will spoil the score.
Dabritz – UT – just the yfull, about the same kind of leap as Lopez. Another underperformance.
A Morgan – ST – she really has improved on this event (though still not what I’d want going 5th) but their best hit so far.
Robarts – UT – Absolutely the best vault for Utah from Robarts. 9.975. I would have gone 9.950, so I’m fine with that.
Pechanec – ST – love that she performs a hip gienger. The stuck landing should help salvage a solid score for Stanford here.
(Damianova in exhibition is the third one to FLY backward on landing)
Utah goes 49.300, which is a little odd for having three weak vaults in the lineup, but it’s not exactly high given the scores this season, so I suppose it makes sense. They lead Stanford by three tenths after one rotation, 49.300 – 49.000. Stanford did not have enough difficulty, amplitude, or flair in those routines to expect any more than that. Morgan is clean and Pechanec is the class, but other than that they need Shapiro stepping up the difficulty and the ability to hit a double back dismount.
Another 9.975 alert, Ferguson achieves the score for Oklahoma on beam. Oklahoma, Alabama, and Nebraska are on 197 watch right now. Arkansas is struggling.
Rotation 2: Stanford on vault, Utah on bars
Lofgren – UT – she has sloppy legs on the giants, which takes you out of the routine a bit, but she hits to capabilities, so it’s a solid leadoff, I suppose. She was also very close on her tkatchev.
Hanset – ST – hs front pike half with a bit of a low body and a hop back.
Lopez – UT – unfortunate angle for this routine, but she had a nice high tkatchev and just a hop back on the DLO.
Pechanec – ST – another huge spring back on a yfull. What is happening tonight?
Hansen – UT – was miles away on her jaeger and never had a chance. Hits the tuck full dismount with a hop. So they’re counting a low score from Lofgren.
A Morgan – ST – I still don’t think she has shown control on that landing, and she’s currently back with the rest of her team. Probably should get knocked for a couple steps on the Yhalf.
Beers – UT – Her form was slightly less erratic than usual and she hit the dismount well. She’s still not what they’ll want in the 4th.
Hong – ST – love seeing her out here, but that Yfull needs more height, and we know she’s capable of it. Step on landing.
Dabritz – UT – she was a little lower on the jaeger than I’m used to seeing, but it’s a solid hit. She’s capable of being much more impressive than solid hit, though.
Brown – ST – Good height and stuck landing, but VERY low in the knees.
McAllister – UT – had a really nice routine going until an oddly low dismount with a big step to the side. They just don’t look quite on as a team tonight. They’re not far off, just not on.
Dayton – ST – perfectly stuck Yhalf. Needs a bit more amplitude/distance, but it’s extremely clean.
Damianova exhibitions bars with a cowboyed double front dismount with a big step forward.
Because of Utah’s struggles on bars, after two rotations the scores are: Stanford 98.175, Utah 98.100
Final scores around the country:
Alabama 197.025, LSU 196.575
Nebraska 197.000, Arkansas 196.300
Oklahoma 197.225, Michigan 196.300, TWU 194.650
Rotation 3: Utah on beam, Stanford on floor
Lopez – UT – a little sloppy and low on the punch front but she hit this time.
S Morgan – ST – clean double tuck to mount, stuck double pike, fine 1.5 with a little less control than I’d like to see. Solid leadoff.
McAllister – UT – major wobble on dance element, but she stays on. That was the primary deduction in the routine – well done on landing the dismount, just a little crossed legs.
Hong – ST – Yay to seeing Ivana on floor – she basically has a diaper around her knee – ooh takes a fall on her double pike middle pass. Low on her front layout front full dismount. The routine itself shows off her beautiful movement style but it lacks a little dynamism. Not that it needs to be fast paced, but just a little more interesting. Nice to see her in this lineup, all that said.
Lofgren – UT – hit routine, a little wonky on her gainer dismount with a step.
Hanset – ST – she tumbles very confidently. Good hit to get Stanford back in this rotation. Not sure about the 9.675 score. It’s very possible I missed something.
Lothrop – UT – was just a little bit off line on her loso series. It looked for a moment like she could save it, but she takes an unexpected fall (after she was interestingly out of the bars lineup).
Pechanec – ST – this is a routine more capable of showing off command of a performance, even if the movement is a little weird. Steps OOB on her dismount. It’s just not there on floor today.
Beers – UT – She was right on acrobatically, but took what seemed to be an unecessarily large step on her gainer full dismount.
A Morgan – ST – delivers a hit routine, just a little bounce back on the dismount. But for someone with her tumbling talent, I’d like to see a bit more than front layouts as a second pass and a double tuck dismount.
Robarts – UT – Good hit routine so that they can drop Lothrop’s fall. Still a great streak they have going for not counting a fall on beam. Was a stronger routine than Beers, who got 9.850.
Wing – ST – Ensures that Stanford will be able to drop Hong’s score, but they will still be counting a couple 9.6s. This routine was stronger than that score certainly, but it’s not an anchor routine.
Dabritz hits very well in exhibition for Utah. I’d like to see her in this lineup.
After 3: Utah 147.250, Stanford 146.925
Rotation 4: Stanford on beam, Utah on floor
Wilson – UT – hits the DLO and the double pike dismount solidly. It’s a very leadoff routine.
Wing – ST – lovely presence on this event, she’s been just ever so slightly off on her acro elements but has pulled them back without deduction – and then she goes and wobbles on her wolf jump – a bit of a silly mistake but the rest of the routine was nice.
Damianova – UT – really nice, tight form in the double tuck mount, a little bounce back on the double pike dismount. She’ll need to get full difficulty back on the mount if Utah is going to continue talking about E mounts.
Hong – ST – enjoy that they’ve kept her lovely mount, we’re seeing some shades of her beam form from the old days, but a wobble on the side somi and just a gainer pike dismount.
Robarts – UT – adequate double arabian with a little cowboying. It’s an acceptable routine, but I can see her getting hit for these little form breaks and dance elements when we get down to it.
S Morgan – ST – solid on acro series, has to swing a leg out on side aerial but gains control again quickly. Excellent stick on double full dismount.
Dabritz – UT – holds onto pike full mount in the knees after a lowish landing, and slightly stumbly out of her triple full. It’s unlikely to get them out of the 9.800 area.
Spinner – ST – she looks so much younger than the rest of the team, hit routine – she’s very pleased by the stuck dismount to say the least.
Tutka – UT – dance elements are not there, she’s missed each one, the tumbling is pretty solid though, especially the double tuck dismount.
Brown – ST – a couple minor wobbles on acro and connections, but she has very clean form. Just a gainer full dismount with a little body pike.
(I’m assuming something happened to Lothrop, since she was taken out of bars and floor and looked a little off on beam)
McAllister finishes things off for Utah and could get them out of the 9.825 funk. Interesting that it goes 9.675, I thought it was not much different than the other 9.825 routines we’ve seen.
Ashley Morgan is Stanford’s anchor on beam, and has a fall on her series amidst a series of boos for the posted score for McAllister. They will not have to count Morgan’s score. See, this is what happens when you give people 9.950s for routine with mistakes, you set up unrealistic expectations and then the audience gets all upset. Though, I would also like to hear about why it was 9.675. Either I missed something or there was a composition issue again. My missing something is likely.
FINAL: Utah 196.300, Stanford 196.100
Well, thus ends a night of particularly lackluster gymnastics from all sides. This was a very sloppy meet with no impressive performances aside from Robarts on vault. This is also the tightest the judges at Utah have been this season. Utah will not be able to move up in the RQS standings, but more importantly there were just too many 9.825-quality routines tonight. The gymnastics they showed tonight will not keep them competitive with the likes of Florida.