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Friday Live Blog – Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Utah, and Everyone

Friday, February 27

7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Kentucky @ Florida (Scores) (ESPN3)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Northern Illinois @ Ball State (Scores) (Stream)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Rutgers, Michigan State, Yale @ Towson (Scores) (Stream)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Southern Connecticut, Ursinus @ West Chester
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Oklahoma @ Illinois (Scores)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Georgia @ Auburn (Scores) (ESPN3)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Missouri @ Arkansas (ESPN3)   
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – LSU @ Alabama (Scores) (ESPN3)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Denver, Utah State @ Southern Utah (Scores) (Stream)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – BYU @ Boise State (Scores) (Stream)
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Utah @ Oregon State (Scores) (Pac-12 Network)
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Central Michigan, Iowa, Sacramento State @ UC Davis (Scores)
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Air Force @ Seattle Pacific
11:00 ET/8:00 PT – Centenary @ Alaska (Scores) (Stream)
Week 7 rankings:
Action starts at 7:00 ET/4:00 PT. Stay tuned.
And while we’re waiting, place your bets on who takes the high score on the day.

We’ll get started with Florida and Kentucky in a few minutes. Florida’s vault lineup will be the usual. They got a great stick from McMurtry last week, but most of the people in the middle of the lineup were bouncing all over the place, so I’m looking for more landing control this time around.

We’re with B Team, Melissa and Kupets, for the Florida meet, as expected. We’re getting the Florida blooper reel for some reason. Here are all the mistakes, guys! They really need to work on their landings *Bridgey doing 2/3 of a Yurchenko*. Suri has been tasked with interviewing Rachel Spicer’s mom, who has breast cancer. She’s a gem.

Here we go, Rotation 1: Florida on vault, Kentucky on bars
Caqautto – VT – solid y full – hop back and off to the side, but looked to get a better block than some of her bad ones this year. Distance was fine.

Roemmele – UB – straddle back is clean, the handstands are clearly missed, but she has a nice stick on the full in – if not for handstands, this routine would be a thing.

Spicer – VT – the direction and control on the landing were pretty good this time, a little pike – fine.

Carlisle – UB – stronger on the handstands for her – but takes two small hops on the full twisting double back –  which will take her down.

I love the description “9.700 or less: Needs work.” 9.700 or less: Sort of sucky, amiright?

Wang – VT – better control on her yfull than most of her vaults this season – no huge bounce, just a small hop in place.

Waltz – UB – very high tkatchev but catches pretty close, a little short on her bail handstand, nice final handstand and full into a high double back with a small shuffle that should have been a stick. Pulled it together after a sloppy-ish start.

Baker – VT – Great vault, strongest on the team so far – nice block, good direction, stays straight, and basically sticks. 9.950.

Harlety – UB – a little late on giant full – another huge tkatchev that falls a littel close to the bar – bail – finishes with a whippy DLO with some piking and a hop forward.

Hunter – VT – The usual 1.5 from her, great distance maybe even more than usual, but a fairly significant hop forward – though that’s the only deduction they’ll take I’m sure.

Rechenmacher – UB – pretty jaeger – solid hs – clean enough on the baiul and hits the hs – very precise on the full – small step on double tuck – nice work.

Just saw the comment that one judge gave Bridgey a 9.950. Um……

McMurtry – VT – here we go – beautiful in the air as always, but a medium hop back this time – and a little off to the side.

Beucler – UB – “That jaeger is HUGE” was my internal monologue, and that’s the problem – way far away from the bar – misses a handstand later, step forward on full twisting double tuck.

Florida goes 49.575 on vault because of course they did. It was an improvement, but really only Baker vaulted to her potential. We’ll expect more control in the landings from both Hunter and McMurtry because they gave away a bit of their score there. But McMurtry still got a 9.950, which one judge gave her last week for her stick, so whatever. Improvements in control of landings from the first three in the lineup this week.
Kentucky 48.775
Some nice work in there. Rechenmacher’s routine is quite pretty. Love the height on those tkatchevs as always, but they do come down right on top of the bar and catch with bent arms. A bunch of almost sticks, small shuffles and steps that they’ll need to turn into sticks by Regionals if they want to make anyone remotely nervous.

Florida opens on that pace for a 100,000, as expected. They’ll set the mark to beat.

Rotation 2: Florida on bars, Kentucky on vault
Furuyama – VT – pikes down on her yfull with a hop.

McMurtry – UB – She has been all over this lineup this year – clean work – late on giant full turn – solid bail but short on a handstand on the low bar – fantastic dismount as always with a stick, but she gave away more on the bars this time than usual.

Beucler – VT – That was a little unnerving yfull – “They’re still improving” is Kupets’ assessment. Very little block with lots of piking and a large lunge back.

Fassbender – UB – Waiting on the McMurtry score – good first hs – solid tkatchev, some good counter rotation – clean bail – trying to be precise and slow on these handstands – double arabian dismount with a step back. Pretty strong.

Hartley – VT – Better block than her teammates, still some real piking and a large step back, but better height distance and direction.

BDG – UB – toe on to a strong shaposh – clean bail – step up to high bar – nice final hs – pikes down the second salto of her DLO with a hop forward. Was probably going to get a 20 before that dismount.

Mitchell – VT – front handspring, handspring front pike vault – with a step forward. Tough to get much distance on that, but well done. Every time a front handspring vault is done, the commentator will tell us that she’s never seen anuything like it. It’s a rule.

Hunter – UB – Great hindorff – lost her handstand a little after – short – clean on bail – sticks the full twisting double back – but everything looked pretty strong except that one short handstand after the release. 

Hilton – VT – More refinement in that full than the others have shown – tries to open out of it a little bit and give it some flair – off to the side, and a step, but potential to be pretty.

Caquatto – UB – Strong ray and solid hs afterward, hits her hs position on the bail – precise on all hs – and sticks the DLO. Strong work. One of her more precise bars routines.

Watlz – VT – Good height and finds the stick well – strong vault – not the distance of the Florida vaulters and pikes for it, but holds onto the landing – confident vault.

Sloan – UB – Let’s see what she does after last week – Great Ray – handstands look good – legs together on the bail this time – sticks the DLO. That was a very last year routine. And I’m happy to see the legs together on the bail, which doesn’t always happen. Good performance. 9.975. Almost there. 

Florida is still on 198 pace with 99.025 at the halfway point. Caquatto and Sloan both put up very strong routines in the final two spots to give that rotation a competitive score. It could have been better. Each of the first four performers had some unnecessary errors to keep them down in the 9.8s in a looser scoring environment, but they were saved by the last two. Once again, this lineup looks so much better with Sloan in it.
Kentucky 97.825, after breaking 49 on vault.  Waltz had that nice stick, Hilton had good form, and the rest kept them close enough to be competitive. Vault has been a problem for a number of seasons, and I was worried about it this year without Cunningham, but that was OK. Those last two vaults will carry them, just as those last two bars routines carried Florida.

Courtney is giving us the keys on beam and floor, and they really are milking this footage of Courtney doing beam. Every week? She could walk out there right now and get a 10. That would only be half-based on reputation.

Rotation 3: Florida on beam, Kentucky on floor:
Fassbender – BB – clean on the aerial to bhs – check after the bhs that she probably didn’t need – that sheep jump really isn’t close enough to be a true sheep or anything – great side aerial to stuck full, though.

Hilton – FX – WHOA. What was that? She went into a great, high double pike, but then lost herself in the air and slammed down onto her face. She’s down on the ground now, I was hoping she just got the wind knocked out of her, but they need to go through concussion protocols etc right now because she landed on her head. So we’re in a hold.

She’s still down, which is a worry, but she slammed down near her head, so they have to be very careful with this.

I’m thinking I’m going to switch primarily to Georgia/Auburn when that gets going, but keep an eye on this one. Georgia/Auburn should be the much closer and more interesting meet.

Hilton being loaded onto the gurney now. This is bad. Such a shame. I did not think it was that bad on first view. She even started to continue the routine and then realized something was very wrong. She’s now out of the arena and being taken to the hospital. No big deal, rest of the Kentucky gymnasts. Just go do all your double pikes now. Does Kentucky have meets without scary injuries?

They’re getting a touch warmup now, as Georgia and Auburn gets close.

Spicer – BB – solid loso series to start – full turn – secure gainer loso – no wobbles in here so far, the switch is always a question mark in her routine, it seems like they’re working on rigor-mortis arms a little bit – stuck gainer full. Solid work.

Phipps – FX – Double tuck is secure but legs apart – clean on the front full to layout middle pass – switch side to wolf full – rudi is a little undertwisted and piked – but a solid comeback hit – no landing errors.

Baker – BB –  Wolf turn is OUT. Aerial to bhs is strong – split jump and split jump 1/2 are not 180 and are now the biggest issues in this routine since the wolf turn is gone – double tuck is landed pretty low but secure – small hop.

Carlisle – FX – split jumps to open – also with a solid double back – she’s loading in the leaps because that’s her strength in this routine – hits them – whip 1.5 to front tuck is hit as well – they’re hitting to potential in the next couple routines.

Boyce – BB – aerial – huge break and can’t pull it back and comes off the beam. Eeeeenteresting. It didn’t even look like she was that far off. She just sort of started bending, and then more, and then more – does it again well – everything else is clean – but then a check on choreography – hesitation after her switch – sticks gainer full.

Auburn underway – strong full from Webster with good dynamics but a larger bounce back.
 
Jay – UGA – UB – good hip to very strong Ray – clean on the bail and precise hs – a little short on final hs – hops the legs together on the DLO – solid start.

Kopec – Auburn – VT – they wait to twist on these vaults – also solid form in the air on her full with a large bounce. Missing the control so far.

Vaculik – UB – nice half turn to excellent jaeger – a little rushed in some handstands – bail looked OK from this angle – nice final cast hs – but overdoes her tuck full a bit with a lunge back.
McMurtry – BB – UF – excellent punch front  to start – clean work – secure loso series – into the 2.5 – just slightly undertwisted with a hop forward – 

Guy – VT – Auburn – Excellent power – good direction – sticks landing – that’s the Guy vault we expect to see – loses her leg form a little early in the vault – maybe a slide on landing?

Persinger – UB – strong first hs – half turn to a hit jaerger – precise on the bail – handstand work is strong – late on the giant full and then a hop back on the double tuck – gave away too much at the very end, though but a nice start.

Kluz – VT – Strong 1.5 – it never looks like she’s going to do one and then she pulls around that other half turn fully – hop forward –

Hunter – BB – Huge series as always – takes it right to the end of the beam with a smaller check – finishes with a stuck double tuck. Just that.
Brown – UB – UGA – The tkatchev and pak are beautiful as always – still not wild about hte hald turn on the low bar – but the hs look close enough – tuck full is strong with a small hop in place – better.

Atkinson – VT – Very nice on the 1.5 – Good power, clearly fully completed, small hop – should be a very strong score.

Davis – UB – good first hs – excellent tkatchev as always – high and counter rotation – hits bail – good height on shoot to high bar – small steps on tuck full – good work as well. this is closer to the late-lineup hits they should be getting.

Rott – VT – Excellent stick on her full. They are getting these vaults. Shame that we didn’t see Demers vault today, but Rott’s stick will help. 9.975. Hello, enthusiasm.

Rogers – UB – very precise first hs – Ricna is great – clean hs – strong bail to stalder shoot – DLO with a step back that was pretty big – perfection until the dismount.

Rounding things up: Kentucky did very well to recover after Hilton’s injury. They has one uncontrolled double pike and almost OOB, but they easily broke 49. Florida came back from Boyce’s fall on beam to get some very fancy scores and a 49.375. They’ve fallen off the 198 pace for now, but they still have a home floor rotation to go.

Auburn vaulted very well for 49.375. Strong work from Atkinson and Rott for some of their better vaults, needed more control on a couple of the early vaults, but that rotation is coming along well and they should be pleased with that performance.

Georgia went 49.325 on bars to stay close, but behind, Auburn after the first rotation, which they didn’t need. They need a lead at halfway. A lot of good work on the bars there, but a few people gave away tenths on landings that they shouldn’t have been giving away, which keeps them under 49.4. They need to be getting 49.4s regardless of venue. Interesting that Davis hasn’t really been getting the scores this season because her routines look the same as they always did for 9.950s in the past, though she did not stick that landing.

Oklahoma jsut went 49.400 on bars, led by Scaman’s 9.925, which is one of her better scores on her 3rd-best event.

Roemmele – UK – BB – way way short on her loso series and comes off the beam. More pressure routines coming from Kentucky. Sheep jump is better than Fassbender’s, though. 

Strong start for Vaculik on VT for Heorgis in the landing department with a stick. Still has some crazy legs going on, but she worked that landing.

Guy – UB – arches her his hs a little but holds it – just looks a little rushed and ragged so far, but is hitting her position – strong tkatcehv, nice full, and a stuck double back – got better as it went –

One of Boyce’s stronger floor routines to start them off

Roberts – VT – Came onto the table CRAZY high and CRAZY crooked and went way off to the side – almost vaulted off the mat entirely, which would have been something.

Kopec – UB – hits her jaeger but very flexed feet – overshoot – short on final hs – clean DLO in the air but a small step and then another step to salute –

Davis – VT – Very nice distance and form, but not her usual landing – shuffle back – also came in a little lower than usual –

Milliet – UB – Good Ray with nice flare of the legs – hits pak with a little leg separation – half turn on low bar – short on a couple handstand position late – nice double tuck – she’s comiong along here, which they desperately need.

Broussard – VT – Not the stick for 9.975 from last week, but a similar vault in many ways – good form and direction – slide back this time.

Kluz – UB – Good tkatchev with nice swing out of it into the bext handstand – hits bail – not much on the shoot to high bar – catches close and has to muscle up the next hs – good DLO dismount.

Rogers – VT – Came in short on her 1.5 this time with a larger step back and more knee bend than usual. They’re not getting the landings from last week at all.

Florida is hitting, hitting this floor rotation, so watch out for the scores when we get to the end. Wang’s best final pass landing of the year as well – no shortness this time –

Walker – UB – good form and hs – hits her tkatchev – clean pak – very short on half turn on low bar and never really went through hs – great DLO with a stiuck – shame about the low bar work because the rest was excellent. 

Jay – VT -She also doesn’t have her best landing, pretty large bounce forward on the 1.5. They needed to bring the sticks today, and no one but Vaculik did. Just a 49.100 for UGA on vault, almsot entirely because ogf landings.

Atkinson – UB  – very precise bail but collapses her elbows a little working out of hit – nice tkatchev – a couple questionable hs – but a great stickon the dismount. They hit this rotation for the most part – a few unnecessary errors, but this should be a good score overall.

Baker – FX – UF – Good landing on the piked double arabian that time – just a small step but I would consider it controlled this time – not short on the double pike this time either – the scores have been going high so far, so what do they do with this – hits her leaps – 1.5 to half to straddle jump – definitely travels on that straddle jump in the air but keeps it under control. Very strong routine. 9.950. Well done. A 10 and a 9.900 from the two judges.

Auburn is on it. Easy 197 pace after two events. They’re getting the benefit of the scores in there, but they’re not giving away the mistakes that Georgia is. Georgia is, once gaain, on high 196 pace, but they needed more from vault. Because now the pressure is way on those floor and beam rotations, which is scary.

Hunter – FX – Great DLO as always and good control this time – no question there – 1.5 to layout to front pike this time – changes the pass and I actually prefer it to the other one – more dynamic – or maybe I’m just tired of the other one – good straddles – open double back – looked like a clear slide back on that last pass, but the rest was great. 9.950.

Mitchell – BB – UK – I’ve loved this routien for a while so I’m glad she’s getting the scores. So many times over the last couple of years she has been great at home and then gets a 9.750 for some reason. Strong on the aerial to bhs and the side somi – secure on the tuck jump full as well – just the dismount left – front full and a stick – well done – 

Caquatto to finish for Florida as always – It’s a YOU GET A 9.950 AND YOU GET A 9.950 rotation – front double full to front tuck is nice this time – rudi to split jump is clean as well – the leap combination is the strongest part of her routine – secure double pike – hit routine – one of her better routines of the year. 9.975. A case of scoring the rotation order rather than the routines there. 49.65- for Florida.

Florida 198.150, Kentucky 195.950. 
Good score for Kentucky by the way, but Florida got what they needed with those floor scores. I think you can anticipate by lack of separation feelings. Baker was amazing and Kytra was almost amazing.

Back to Auburn and Georgia, Auburn has started well on beam, Persinger had a low double pike with a slide on floor.

Milliet – UB – strong on loso series – pulls around her full turn with minimal correction – solid aerial that might have been under but she stayed with it not to wobble – long pause pre-dismount – 1.5 with step forward. Nice.

Reynolds – FX – They’ve had a little changing of the guard here after last week’s disaster – fine double pike to start – low but secure – switch side to popa are both hit – clean rudi to loso – 1.5 to layout finish is hit – it’s not a big routine, but none of them have been so far this year, and it’s a reliable, regular hit, which they needed.

Demers – BB – My obsession with this routine grows by the day – clean loso series – she moves swiftly and confidently – the switch is an issue but the sheep is actually real and good – side aerial to full – off to the side with a twitch on landing, but another real hit.

Marino – FX – Solid on the double tuck mount this time – split full and popa positions are both hit – 1.5 to layout is clean – this is a recovery performance – much better endurance and chest position – pulls around the double pike this time – low chest but not the lowness of last week.

Do those guys just have SPORT written on their chests? How feeble.

Guy – BB – aggressive on the full turn – almsot too aggressive with a check – switch side is OK – clean on the loso series – the switch is iffy as is the theme of the day, but this is secure enough work – solid aerial – gainer pike with a twitch – not quite stuck.

Babalis – FX – round off double tuck – large step, too large – but does keep her front foot planted – better than last week – hits her leaps – half turn to 1.5 loses her knees in there and lands squatty – had to tuck to pull it around – lands low on double pike and bounces to the side, but this is a recovery. 9.825. Is that LOWER than she got for her big bounce last week?

Walker – BB – kickover front is fine – strong on loso series as well – secure work – full turn – big break on her sheep jump as the leg flies up, so this won’t be another 9.9, sticks gainer full – just the one major error there.

Box – FX – a little overcooks her double pike this week with a slide back – 1.5 to layout is very clean – hits leaps – very squatty on her doubel tuck this time with a large slide back – just does keep in in bounds – she’s not getting the routine she did earlier in the season suddenly. These last two weeks she has looked very January.

Atkinson – BB – Great full turn – loso series is hit – pretty aerial – switch to a real pike jump – just the 1.5 this time – hop forward. Great hit beam rotation for Auburn to pull way away from Georgia going into the last event.

Jay – FX – Low chest on the mount this time as well – with a lunge forward – so they’re still not earning the scores – middle pass was solid – switch to wolf-ish to cat leap – double pike is solid but she also finishes with 9.800.

After 3: Auburn 148.200, Georgia 147.425
Didn’t expect Auburn to have this kind of lead going to the last event. They are definitely getting the benefit that Georgia isn’t getting so far tonight, but while Georgia improved on floor, they gave a bunch away again. Same on vault. Auburn has been the stronger team so far.

I think I’m going to stay with this one to see how it turns out and then head to Alabama and LSU, but we’ll see. But now I’m bored during this rotation break, so maybe I lied.

Kayla Williams had a great 1.5 in the air but no stick this week – larger step forward.

Wyrick – UB – back goes archy on the full turn, but she keeps it over the bar – clean legs on the bail – one shorter hs – very nice DLO with a stick.

Jordan – UB -short first hs – she often rushes the beginning of this routine – great jaeger – arches on the bail a little – small step on DLO –

Beers – VT – Upgrading to the 1.5 – excellent form in the air throughout – great distance and direction, just a small hop. That can be a 10 when she sticks.

Vaculik is having a couple small check for UGA on beam but hitting.

Courville – UB – good first hs – clean on the bail as well – short on final handstand and past on the full twisting double back – lunge forward – great early, lost the endurance at the end it appeared.

Alabama didn’t have the big scores early but pulled it together for a solid score with the last two vaults. They maintain a slight lead over LSU, who got 9.875s from Gnat, Jordan, and Courville, and the Jordan and Courville ones seemed friendly. Courville had real errors at the end there.

A few errors from Walker on that floor routine – a chest-down slide and short on a final front tuck with a step back. 9.825.

Brown – BB – She’s getting another chance, which I like – bends in the hips on her loso series but keeps it together this time – solid leaps – clean and secure on side aerial – finishes with a stuck gainer pike. Pulled it back after the early issue for a recovery hit.

Hlawek – FX – secure double pike – she’s back to #2 since Atkinson it back – 1.5 to back tuck is fine as well – solid split full to tuck jump – this is the routine she did last week for 9.8s in the last spot – whips around an arched layout at the end of her last pass, but another usable showing. They’re rolling now.

Georgia is definitely getting the beam benefit that LSU did. 9.900 for Brown with that bend on the series.

Babalis – BB – high loso series – slight check on the pike jump after the split – I’m sad they got rid of the switch 1/2 – good kickover front – big wobble on the aerial – GIRL! – fine dismount -shuffle
Hall just a near-stick on vault for LSU – and McNeer sticks her DLO on bars –

Savona – VT – high and clean full – small bounce back – she should have been able to break this vault lineup from the beginnign, but I’m glad she’s finally getting a chance – a little piking –

Jetter – UB – good first hs – clean on the tkatchev – looked short on the bail – nice shoot to high bar – MLT would be happy with these handstands – and one of her good dismounts with a stick – She’s as happy as that MLT dog right now with that routine. Sophie? Yappy? What’s the dog’s name?

Rogers – BB – GIRL you did not just almost fall on a straddle jump. What is this? Almost collapses on her bhs 3/4 but gets it this time. sticks dimsount.
Nice stick from Jordan on vault – she’s rounding into form – well done – Brannan looks very precise on bars, but they are all just short of vertical on these bails – which is often true of Alabama early in the year – pikes her DLO a little with a step.

Hambrick – VT – I luuuurrrve this vault – sticks it – maintains good form – not much you can take from that – lovely –

C Sims – UB – good full turn – good height but ragged feet on that tkatchev – hits the bail – ful turn -huge double tuck with a step she probably didn’t need to take, but she’s very close to being great on this event – just bits of form everywhere.

Auburn has this meet tied up and is about to get an amazing score.

Gnat – VT – Just the full this time, and they should really stick to the DTY because that landing was less controlled with a slide back.

A Sims – UB – Weiler – bail and a toe shoot back to high bar – they’re trying to get rid of some of the skills that show off her leg separations, but you can still see it so clearly on her giants and dismount.

Courville – VT – She still hasn’t homed in on the landing yet this season – slide back.

Beers – UB – Good shaposh – to pak – finishes her half turn well but then turned crazy and lost herself on the low bar – tried to save it by circling around but had to come off the bar. She was stepping up to the high bar and fell, you guys. On a circle up to the high bar. step forward on double front.

Georgia finishing with Box on beam. They’re getting good scores, but they’ll be nowhere close to Auburn’s Florida-level score.

LSU has gained the lead at the halfway point, 98.675 to 98.600. LSU didn’t really have the vault landings at the end, but Hambrick’s vault was a real treasure. Jetter had a good hit, but everyone else had moments of sloppiness for Alabama on bars.

Georgia finishes with a 196.775, another of their usual scores, but they still won’t be happy with that meet. Auburn crushed it with a program high. We’ll see what it ends up being. Scores went way fancy for Auburn at the end for a 197.750, you guys. Almost a 10 for Atkinson on floor. Everyone’s on the Auburn bandwagon now.

Oklahoma is on solid mid-high 197 pace going to beam, but not getting the big 49.5s. It’s a 49.4 of a meet today, which will work.

Is it time to panic for Georgia? They still look like a Nationals team, but they still look far away from a Super Six team, regardless of the scoring issues today.

Alabama to beam, LSU to floor
Williams – BB – Solid on the front tuck this time – long pause before the loso series – just the smallest flinch on landing – pulls the popa around well – holds her leg up as she finishes the full turn – step on 1.5.

Savona – FX – 1.5 to double back – really wanted that stick and just steps a little – full in middle pass with a controlled step – nailing the tumbling so far – fine split and good popa – finishes with a secure double pike – the Savona landing special.

McNeer – BB – precise aerial to bhs – check on the loso series but minimizes the damage – switch to split is fine but just a little more tentative than other weeks – off to the side on her 1.5 with a hop.

Ewing – FX – front double full with a solid landing – front full to a slightly arched layout but it has been clean so far – they utilize the safer switch side to popa dance combinations well for the gymnasts who need them – buckles a little on the double pike with a hop to the side but not bad.

Guerrero – BB – Finally getting to see her – solid bhs loso series – switch side is hit – full turn is pretty – secure side aerial – swtich to straddle jump – not everything is lovely and precise, but it’s all secure, and that’s what she advertised – another hop on 1.5 dismount.

Wyrick – FX – full in mount – and lands it well – it’s funny to me that she’s now getting in on floor because WHAT ABOUT BEAM. It still should be her best event. I swear. She was so good in JO.  Problematic middle pass – just pulls around her layout but will lose ground for form – very low chest on double back but hit.

Beers – BB – Good splits – the side somi looked award going into hit but she hit it securely – loso series with too much of a wobble – bends at the hips as she tries to correct – they’ve worked on prettying up these full turns and I appreciate it – sheep is solid and secure – sticks the 1.5 dismount.

Jordan – FX – Very strong double pike – and a clean 1.5 to layout as well – she could do a more difficult dance combination than the switch side popa but it certainly works for her. She nailed that routine. Should be a great score. Great twisting form and secure landings.

Clark – BB – solid loso series – hits the sheep – clean full turn – nice kickover front – this is their most confident routine so far – 1.5 with a large step. They would be winning this meet if they had picked up those beam landings.

Oklahoma hit a massive beam to finish 197.875. That’s the beam rotation we’ve been waiting for.

Gnat – FX – big DLO and a very nice landing – changing to that pass is the best decision they could have made – 2.5 to front tuck is nailed as well. This is starting to be a postseason level floor rotation from a couple of these people later in the lineup. The split full is good. I would like to see the front leg higher on the switch ring – Comes in a little low and locked on her double pike and bounces, so it won’t be an amazing score – still solid.

A Sims – BB – Alabama is trailing and needs a big hit from her – they home streak is really on the line now – wobble on the aerial – solid loso series – switch and straddle are great – switch side is excellent as well – her routine should be all leaps – full turn – a little short on her double tuck with a step. Too many giveaways on those landings is this rotation.

Hall – FX – a lot of taping on her knee today – bounces a little on her DLO this time – another with the switch side popa combination – front full to a whipped, arched layout but a little sloppier than usual as well – alos a little slide on the double tuck. One of her less confident routines this year.

LSU leads 148.150-147.825. Alabama needs ones of those home floor rotations right about now.
Note that Utah/Oregon State is just getting underway as well. Utah getting normal human bars scores in this road meet. Are they killing a bull in this DISHNET commercial?

Courville update – sick, not doing any more events tonight. Scarlett Williams will replace her on beam.

Rotation 4:
Ewing – BB – layotu 2ft series is secure – high switch side – still looks a little crooked but hit – standing loso with smallest check – 1.5 dismount small step. Nice.

Kathy, the “BIG E” club is not that.

Frost – FX – She’s back in the lineup – slightly crunched in the DLO landing but nice – good popa to wolf full – front full to front tuck – off and just pulled it around – another small bounce on doubel pike – fine – but not the routine she was doing at the beginning of the month –

Hall – BB – Lots of adjustments to the beam lineup today – switch side with a lean – secure on loso series with messier legs – good full turn – switch to straddle 1/4 – form issues but not wobble issues so far in the routine – sticks the double tuck. There you are.

Jetter – FX – flexed feet on double arabian with a step forward – leaps look OK – 1.5 to front full with another slide that was just a little too much to be controlled, but she’s hitting comfortably – solid 1.5 to layout.

49.350 on bars for Utah – got big numbers from Lopez, Lothrop, and Dabritz of course. 9.950 for Dabritz.

Macadaeg – BB – she always looks a little tight on her full turn and then amazing after that – great leaps as always – just slightly tentative on these skills but still lovely – aerial as well – wobble on loso series and again on choreography – steps on gainer pike –

Dennis – FX – solid on the double pike – splits looked not bad but a little short – layout to front full with a bounce – solid double pike as well – not a big routine but minimized what she gave away. Alabama surging.

Gnat – BB – Now the pressure is on LSU to get the big scores because their lead is gone and they’re counting a 9.7 already – nice turn and aerial – switch to straddle 1/4 – just slightly tentative corrections here – nice switch side – it’s huge – secure loso series – sticks or near-sticks the double full – started tight but was great by the end.

C Sims – FX – The usual DLO – high and lands with a lower chest – front full to front pike looked fine – secure enough on the landing – switch side to split jump 3/4 – hits double pike as well. If the others were getting 9.9s…

Williams – BB – Now this is interesting. I loved her beam for Arkansas, but it wasn’t always the biggest score – nice full turn – high switch and straddle jump – nice aerial pause into back pike but she hit both – smallest correction on the pike – strong sheep jump – can you stay in this lineup? – dismount combo into full – smallest shuffle. Great.

Clark – FX – Alabama starting to move into a comfortable position – Such a high double pike – shuffles a little bit toward the line – 1.5 to layout a little bouncy as well but I love how high her passes are – short on the double back dismount with a lunge forward. Interesting. They had a chance to move up with that one, but maybe not now. Still got a 9.850.

Jordan – BB – They need her life routine – great side somi – secure on loso series – perfection – switch and straddle 1/4 are great – holds the full turn – excellent aerial – sticks the 1.5 AMAZING routine.Still just a 9.900. Pssh.

Beers – FX – Needs basically a 10 doesn’t she? I’m not putting it past them, but… – Excellent DLO – Needs a 9.975 to tie, 10 to win. Botches her middle pass and doesn’t even do it – HUH? – Dana Duckworth is sacrificing so many lambs right now, but it’s too late dear. Just a layout to layout half final pass. What happened there?Dana doing some emotional damage control. DD is owning the world right now.

What if Beers just got a 10 for that routine? SEC.
No, a 9.400. That’s more appropriate.

LSU 197.350, Alabama 197.225
What are we going to talk about for LSU home meets now? Didn’t really come down to Beers in the end because she needed a 10. Neither team was that great tonight. Fine, but not their best. LSU had a sloppy bars rotation and too many wobbles early on beam. Alabama almost the same. Sloppy moments on bars and too many hops on beam landings, just LSU’s problems were smaller. Odd scoring, in that there were some really charitable moments for LSU (bars) and some harsher moments (some of those beam scores).

Oh, this is the time when you need to interview D-D. But props to Jessie Jordan for that beam routine, which was stellar, so I guess she gets the interview. That was the routine of the meet.

Utah had a strong vault rotation in spite of not having one of Dabritz’s strong vaults – on mid 197 pace after two events. Oregon State’s bars…that was Regionals 2013 again. 48.000.

Now the D-D interview – Now one is telling her the score and she’s pissed about that. It’s 197.350, D-D!

Alright, time for Utah and Oregon State now.
Rowe on floor now – high 1.5 to layout to finish. So far Utah is getting another of those road scores they have needed.

Witherby – BB – small correction on aerial into the attempted bhs connection – switch side – a little tight on all her skills – Tanya making a lot of notes – stumbles back with a fall on her double pike dismount. The troubles continue.

Lee – FX – a small bounce on a lovely triple full – sure, there’s some crossed legs (not too bad) but it’s NCAA. It’s not Wong-good, but it’s good – a little too much of a slide on the middle pass – strong double tuck – good chest position and secure – will miss a little for the middle pass, but a good hit.

McMillan – BB – good kickover front to bhs – tight full turn – front handspring one handed to her knees – nice and original – switch pause to straddle 1/4 – this is better – bounce on gainer full and some broken connections but nice. 

Wilson – FX – way too much on her DLO and goes OOB with both feet and a hundred steps. Switch side and popa work for her. Seat drop doesn’t. Layout to full with a larger slide – nice double back to finish though but they’ll need to drop that. How did she still get a 9.700?

Perez – BB – Enjoy her mount – wobble on aerial – holds onto her loso series without having to give away a check – very strong and fluid full turn – check on her switch side 1/4 – sheep is hit – small bounce in place on gainer full.

Tutka – FX – Strong full in – solid on the middle pass as well – popa to wolf full – switch and stag – Double tuck with a larger lunge back – looked like she was right on the line, and did just slide OOB.

Tang – BB – very strong kickover front to bhs – high on her standing loso – does a wolf turn that we’ll have to forgive – it was a little shaky – switch to straddle 1/4 is quite well done – bhs to a stuck gainer full – her usual secure routine. They are pulling it back together on beam, which is new for OSU.

Utah counting the 9.750 from Tutka now.

Lothrop – FX – Chest down on tuck full mount but solid landing – 1.5 to half to split jump which is smart composition for her – straddles are hit – also low chest on the double pike but hit landings. I’m sure they’ll love this in the scores – she didn’t do a dance out of bounds like Wilson, so it has to be 8 tenths higher than that.

Gardiner – BB – her wolf turn isn’t that bad as far as wolf turns go – keeps her aerial together with just a tentative minor check – nice loso series – strong side somi as well – they have looked very good in these final four beam routines – awkward gainer full with a step back.
Other Amanda thinks every skill and every routine is very nice.

Dabritz – FX – Strong landing on the piked full in – good security – rudi to a high loso – splits and wolf look good as well – finishes 3/1 with a shuffle and slide, but that was the only big issue. Solid routine. Still gets a 9.925 even with the landing error. So would have been flirting with a 10 with her usual landing.

Oregon State 49.275 on beam, which is great for them. Utah 49.325 on floor, so they’re well over 197 pace but will be well short of 198 as well. Still in line for a big road score if they hit beam. But they still need a strong and confident hit to get to that 197.5 marker that would keep them in very comfortable stead as far as road scores for RQS go.

For Oregon State, this is a lost meet because of that bars score. They will hurt in the rankings, especially depending on what Penn State and Minnesota are able to do this weekend.

Megan Marsden is giving HUGE side eye to ASU not being able to host Pac-12s. “Thankfully, our administration…” LOL.Well done, Megan. Best performance of the day for Utah.

One more rotation to go…fading…fading…fading…
Utah on beam, OSU on floor

Wilson – BB – WHOA. She was way off her her two layouts series – off line on her first one, went for the second one anyway and slammed her ankle into the beam. Amazed that she isn’t hurt. Keeps going – small hop to the side on 1.5.”You can tell in her face that she’s disappointed” as she’s grinning.

Turner – FX – nice double arabian in the air – lands a little squatty with a step but stays in – nice layout stuck out of her middle pass – hits switch side to wolf full – slide back on final pass, but an opening hit –

Delaney – BB – This will be interesting – nice loso series – secure – straddle jump to tuck jump full with check – she has the potential to be lovely here but has always been so nervous – nice loso to wolf jump – round off gainer full with a hop forward.

Witherby – FX – strong tuck full mount- also lands low but controlled step and comfortably in bounds – high 1.5 to layout – almost too high but she got a solid layout out of it – also switch side to popa – a little bounce back on double pike.

The Pac-12 commentators are SOOO obsessed over whether everyone is smiling or not.

Stover – BB – aerial – checks a little and stops herself – loso series – another moment of tightness with a small correction – again on the full turn – just a bit nervous here – nice switch to straddle – kickover front with several steps forward and a wobble – sticks gainer full but things to take on every skill.  9.850? OK?

Tang – FX – Strong double pike to start – leaps aren’t huge but they’re hit – “It’s almost ballet music” – that means it has violins in it – strong and high 1.5 to layout – secure – rudi dismount with a bounce up – could have controlled that more, but otherwise a great routine.

Lee – BB – full turn – goes for her loso series and completely slipped off the beam. That one looked like it hurt as well and she’s a little more shaken – split the beam and slid along it – ouchie – couting a fall now, first time for Utah this year. What is it, last year? Finishes well with a stuck double full.

That’s a shame for Utah. They were on track for a great road score. Not so much anymore. Missed opportunity to move up in RQS.

Perez – FX – hips a little back on that double pike with a slide. I make a point of hating happy routines, but even I don’t hate this one. front full to half to shushunova – is able to cover any errors on that pass by moving right into shushunova – 1.5 to a piked half at the end. Nice routine but small errors in each one.

Rowe – BB – Now she needs to stop the damage – full turn – switch to straddle 1/4 are hit – wobble with bend at the hips on her loso series – everyone is having issues today – does a great job to save her kickover front – still a step and another bend but it looked like she would come off – hop to the side on 1.5 dismount. Some major, major breaks in there.  9.800. Sure. Fine.

McMillan – FX – clean front double full with a pretty big step out but not too much lack of control – nice leaps – split and straddle – very well hit and pretty – clean 1.5 to layout as well. I’m so glad she’s been able to come back on floor finally. I hope we get to see her on vault at some point since she had an amazing vault in JO. Love that back spin. punch rudi with a bounce similar to Tang. Good work.

Lothrop – BB – swims a little on her switch side 1/2 but holds it – solid loso series – very short of position on the switch side – fluid full turn – switch and straddle 1/4 are fine – 1.5 dismount with a step together. Their best routine of the rotation but still a couple small errors.

Gardiner – FX – 2.5 with a small stumble but does well to keep it controlled and not travel with her back leg much – nice middle pass into straddle jump – twisting is her strength – a little low on the double pike dismount but hit. Two good rotations to finish for Oregon State, but there was no coming back from that bars.

Final: Utah 196.875, Oregon State 195.750
Missed opportunity there for Utah. The scores were here to be taken, and they took advantage of it early, but lost it at the end with a couple OOBs on floor and then a very unsteady beam rotation with two falls and two other routines with errors throughout. That beam rotation was shades of last season. It’s not a thing yet, because it has only happened once, but it starts to put the doubt in that this could end up being another last year. 

Note: If Oregon State had gone just 49.150 on bars, they would have won this meet. Oregon State beat Utah on both beam and floor.

To all a good night!

The Weekend Ahead – February 27th-March 2nd

Red alert. There are just three weeks left in the regular season. How does this always happen? The preseason is a million centuries long. Fortunately, in these last three weeks until conference championships, the meets are packing in an acceptable amount of value. Especially this Friday, with another juicy slate of SEC meets and an interloping Pac-12 match-up between Utah and Oregon State that’s particularly interesting as Oregon State tries to position itself for Regionals. As we move into this part of the season, the meets involving the teams ranked 11-14 become some of the most important as those teams try to claw over each other to avoid a bad Regional placement. 1/12/13 is the death Regional, the most likely Regional for a team to hit the meet and not advance, as Oregon State did—relatively—last year (196.525) and Auburn did the year before (196.700).

In the rankings, Oklahoma is set at #1 for another week, but LSU can get pretty close with a great showing. Oklahoma’s ranking lead has been very, very safe for a number of weeks, but they’ll have to start turning things up now to make sure it stays that way. LSU has a 196.600 road score to get rid of, so they should be able to remain out of the reach of Florida and Utah in the #2 spot with a hit meet. With a 196.725 still to be dropped, Utah is in a similarly solid position to jump up in RQS, but to do it, they have to prove they can get the road scores. They have just the one great road score so far (@ Arizona) and will need several more to challenge the big girls. It will be a little harder for Florida to move up, but they’re at home, so you never know. If the Gators get another one of those home 198s, they can shake things up if LSU and Utah are just OK tomorrow.

Alabama, Michigan, and Auburn are all at home and all unlikely to change their RQS significantly, but Auburn’s position is the most vulnerable right now. With three solid home scores already, Auburn will not be able to increase RQS too much even with a great meet. However the trailing teams—Nebraska, Georgia, and UCLA—all have sub-196 scores (sub-195 in the case of UCLA) that they’re itching to get rid of this weekend. All three have to potential to jump ahead of Auburn with regular, solid performances. The bottom half of the top 10 may be the area of greatest flux this weekend. 

Friday’s action begins with Florida going after that massive home score against Kentucky, but the two most interesting meets of the day will be Georgia/Auburn and LSU/Alabama. Auburn has been getting the scores and zooming up the rankings the last few weeks, but are they really ready to jump into the top half of the SEC and unseat a perennial (the perennial) power? We’ll find out. As with all Georgia meets this year, beam and floor will be the deciders. While I favor Georgia on both vault and bars—if Georgia doesn’t have a healthy lead at the halfway point, it’s bad news—Auburn has been the stronger beam team over the last month. Megan Walker has quietly emerged as one of the best beamers in the country, and she has a family of supporting 9.875s behind her from Atkinson, Demers, and Guy. Beam is the event where they can pounce. Georgia has its own crop of exceptionally talented beam workers, but the wobble goblins are a bigger worry. Even during last week’s season high, they had one really great hit from Box (and solid work from Babalis), but it was not a confident or clean rotation overall.

But really, this meet for Georgia is all about the floor. They have to recover from that garbage rotation last week. If they don’t, none of the other apparatuses will matter. That Georgia floor is the rotation I’m most excited for this weekend. The time to work through problems has already run out. We’re going into March now, the month to perfect details, not learn how to hit.

Overlapping that meet will be the LSU/Alabama clash, which is more important for Alabama than it is for LSU. Sure, LSU would love to pick up a juicy score and put the pressure on Oklahoma in the rankings, but right now the Tigers are in a fairly comfortable position both numerically and qualitatively. Alabama has been making a lot of progress over the last couple weeks to get those competitive 197s. They’re up to a season-high ranking now, but they’re still on the outside of that top flight of teams. A win over LSU, coupled with a win over Florida earlier this year, would mean they should be in the title conversation, not just the Super Six conversation. Of course, both of those meets are at home (March 6th in Missouri should be a good opportunity to gauge how Alabama looks at a less enthusiastic, more conservatively judged road meet), but another win would still be significant. There’s also the matter of the home winning streak to deal with, and all.

The issue for Alabama in this meet is that, so far this season, the two teams have showed similar strengths with LSU just a tad better in each department. If Alabama is going to win in a hit meet from both teams, they’ll need to stick more vault landings than LSU (and more than they did in Georgia) and be more precise with the bars landings as well. LSU looked very nice on bars last week, but they were shuffling and stepping and twitching just ever so slightly. If Alabama brings those blamo Alabama bars sticks from years past, they may pick up ground. It would also help if LSU has one of those bad floor landings meets, but they seemed to exorcise that demon last week. Almost entirely.

As mentioned, a few of the Pac-12 teams have some important scores to get, not just Oregon State and UCLA, but Stanford as well. With few meets left, Stanford has some 195s they have to get rid of now. Price and Vaculik are working their way back at just the right time to help the team put together some real meets, which is very much the Stanford way of going about things. You don’t have to get 196s until March. Also keep an eye on Minnesota. They’re moving on up. They had a beamtastrophe in their most recent meet (and that event remains a worry), but they’re starting to put consistent 49 rotations together on the other piece. With even a regular lower-midish 196 this weekend, they can start to put pressure on Stanford, Oregon State and Penn State and make the 11-14 zone just that much more threatening.

Top 25 Schedule
Friday, February 27

7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [25] Kentucky @ [3] Florida
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [1] Oklahoma @ [16] Illinois
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [9] Georgia @ [7] Auburn
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [23] Missouri @ [17] Arkansas   
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [2] LSU @ [5] Alabama
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [18] Denver, Utah State @ [21] Southern Utah
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – BYU @ [15] Boise State
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [4] Utah @ [12] Oregon State
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [24] Iowa, Central Michigan, Sacramento State @ UC Davis
Saturday, February 28
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – [10] UCLA @ Arizona State
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – NC State @ [6] Michigan
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Iowa State, Penn, Brockport @ [13] Penn State
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – New Hampshire @ [14] Minnesota
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [19] Cal @ [20] Arizona
Sunday, March 1
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – [16] Illinois, San Jose @ [8] Nebraska
Monday, March 2
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [22] Washington @ [11] Stanford

Week 7 Rankings and RQS Update

The big news of the week came in the land of commitments with Kyla Ross announcing that she is going to UCLA. This is an upset. We so rarely get upsets. Until very recently, all we had heard for years was “Stanford, Stanford, Stanford, Stanford.” Looks like Miss Val went to work. Next mission: Let’s work on not throwing up all those sloppy 9.6s on bars.

UCLA is shaping up to have something on the verge of a post-2000 class after the 2016 Olympics. There will be a couple years where Biles, Ross, Ohashi, Dennis, and Kocian will all be on the team at the same time (and in 2017, we could see a beam lineup with Peng, Ross, Biles, and Ohashi all together, stop thinking about it, stop thinking about it, stop jinxing it). The judges will be exploding in a shower of confetti over how many 10s they want to give them. Time to start getting everyone fitted for bubble-wrap body suits. No UCLA injury parades, please.

In actual competition this week, Utah returned to its home ways, winning the weekend with a 198.050, the fourth-best score in team history, featuring another 10 on bars for Georgia Dabritz. It’s funny that bars has turned out to be Dabritz’s 10 event, because I still sort of think it’s her third-best event. I prefer watching her on vault and floor, though the comaneci makes it so much better. A couple other routines I saw this weekend could realistically have received 10s and I only would have complained about it a medium amount, notably both Kayla Williams and Alex McMurtry on vault, especially compared to the other scores given out at those meets.

Interestingly, the scores are going very high, especially in the big-name meets with all kinds of 9.950s flying out of every orifice. But at the same time, the 10 pace has fallen off a little bit, as though there’s some timidity about giving out ALL THE 10s creeping in, but not about giving everyone 9.950s.

And now to the rankings.

Week 7 Rankings – (GymInfo)

1. Oklahoma – 197.640
Week 7: 197.375
Week 7 leaders: AA – None; VT – Scaman, Capps 9.900; UB – Wofford 9.950; BB – Capps 9.900; FX – Scaman 9.950

RQS
Road Score 1: 198.150
Road Score 2: 197.700
Road Score 3: 197.650
Road/Home Score 1: 197.850
Road/Home Score 2: 197.625
Road/Home Score 3: 197.375  

Oklahoma just escaped Michigan over the weekend. Just. That would have been a bit of a wake-up call, wouldn’t it? Lower-than-expected scores on both beam and floor accounted for Oklahoma spending a second straight week in the lower half of the 197s, after it seemed like they would never deign to score under a 197.500 given the early-season performances. 197.3 is what peasants score. Floor hasn’t been a problem for most of the year (Kara Lovan had a 9.450 disaster this time but is pretty much always a clean little broomstick of twisting for 9.900), but once again beam was the lowest-scoring event. It will be fine, and will be beautiful, but it’s definitely true that they have not been able to replace the Spears and Mooring routines with as reliable work.

In spite of the big scores from LSU and Utah over the weekend, Oklahoma’s RQS lead is still quite comfortable. It should remain comfortable in the near future given the road score advantage they maintain over all the other teams, as long as they can get rid of this 197.3 with a juicy 197.800 soon. 

2. LSU – 197.335
Week 7: 197.950
Week 7 leaders: AA – Courville 39.625; VT – Courville, Ewing 9.900; UB – Courville 9.950; BB – Jordan 9.925; FX – Hall 9.975
 
RQS
Road Score 1: 197.425
Road Score 2: 197.350
Road Score 3: 196.600
Road/Home Score 1: 198.075
Road/Home Score 2: 197.950
Road/Home Score 3: 197.350

This was a big home win over Florida. Very big. While LSU has been firmly in the title conversation since before the season started, they’ve been very clearly the third team in the hierarchy of the three big contenders. Victories like this (I struggle to call it an upset since they were at home, even though it was a ranking and reputation upset) help even the outlook. LSU hit a very composed and consistent meet and was the stronger team, but this was not their best gymnastics. Beam was more nervy than it has been in other meets, and the vault landings can be much more controlled. And Courville’s floor still has some random issue almost every time. Still, LSU confirmed that there is no real quality-of-gymnastics gap between them and the other title contenders. They are capable of beating a hit meet from any other team. They won’t necessarily need to hope for errors once Nationals come around.

The Tigers still trail Oklahoma by three tenths in the RQS battle, but they are going to Alabama next weekend with a golden chance to get rid of that mid-196 road score and pick up at least a couple tenths, which would put the pressure on the Sooners. They can’t catch Oklahoma yet, but they can make it competitive.

Of note, Ashleigh Gnat had verging on the best performances I’ve seen from her on all of her events.

3. Florida – 197.270
Week 7: 197.425
Week 7 leaders: AA – Hunter 39.450; VT – McMurtry 9.975; UB – Hunter 9.925; BB – Boyce, Fassbender 9.875; FX – Baker 9.950

RQS
Road Score 1: 197.425
Road Score 2: 197.200
Road Score 3: 196.925
Road/Home Score 1: 198.225
Road/Home Score 2: 197.600
Road/Home Score 3: 197.200

This 197.425 is Florida’s best road score of the season and a very respectable number, but as has already been the case for the Gators a couple times this season, it won’t feel very positive at all. Toward the end of the meet, Florida was not so great. They gave away a bunch of tenths in those final two rotations, with Hunter’s front headspring + slide + confused look middle pass (no CV for confused look), followed by the Bridgey fall, and then the Baker leadoff beam fall (death to wolf turns). On the positive side, Sloan is back on bars, and that makes everything better. And it should be a kick in the pants for the rest of the team that she has been out with an ankle disaster for 7 weeks and yet still landed her bars dismount better than anyone else in the rotation. Step to that.

Florida is definitely counting this 197.425 for RQS, which is considerably lower than the bold scores for Oklahoma and LSU, so they’ll have the most work to do in upcoming meets to stay competitive. They haven’t yet nailed a road meet and will desperately need to rectify that in Oklahoma on the 6th, otherwise they’ll be looking at three losses on the regular season, which would be fairly weird.

4. Utah – 197.265
Week 7: 198.050
Week 7 leaders: AA – Wilson 39.550; VT – Delaney 9.975; UB – Dabritz 10.000; BB – Lee 9.950; FX – Lothrop 9.925

RQS
Road Score 1: 197.850
Road Score 2: 197.025
Road Score 3: 196.900
Road/Home Score 1: 198.050
Road/Home Score 2: 197.825
Road/Home Score 3: 196.725

With the 198 over the weekend, Utah very nearly did the unexpected and caught up with Florida. The Utes should feel confident in their ability to rack up more points in the coming weeks with a couple 196s still hanging around that they will be expected to dismiss. 

Utah’s highest score over the weekend came on vault, which is unsurprising. That should always be their biggest asset. They’ve had the benefit of Dabritz, Delaney, Wilson for a while now, but now that Partyka and Lee are in the mix performing at a relatively similar quality, this group can out-vault any team. Watch how the landings look over the next month. They’re solid now, but these last few years, Utah’s vault landings have tended to peak at the end of February and then deteriorate to the point where they’re rolling into the postseason with 49.3s instead of the 49.5s they should be getting. They need to maintain what they’re doing at this moment.

5. Alabama – 197.055
Week 7: 197.675
Week 7 leaders: AA – Clark 39.625; VT – Williams 9.950; UB – Beers 9.950; BB – Clark 9.950; FX – Beers, Clark 9.950

RQS
Road Score 1: 197.675
Road Score 2: 196.700
Road Score 3: 196.175
Road/Home Score 1: 197.800
Road/Home Score 2: 197.400
Road/Home Score 3: 197.325

Alabama put up its first good road performance of the season to put themselves over the 197 hump in RQS. With five more meets remaining, and three on the road, we should expect Alabama to get rid of both of those other 196s and remain solidly entrenched in the top 5. The 197.675 over the weekend was a big step. Not so much because of the score, since this meet was basically a lifetime achievement award for the 9.950, but because they were able to absorb the absence of the clean, consistent AA presence of Katie Bailey without seeming worse for it. They have the depth to get by without a major AAer and still put up routines that will score at least 9.825.

I do squint about how competitive these floor 9.950s are really going to be when put up against the 9.950s from the top three, but it’s clear at this point that reports of Alabama’s demise this season were premature. They’re still a very competitive group and certainly look like a comfortable Super Six bet right now. In particular, I’m pleased to see Kaitlyn Clark in the AA this season after years of looking like she was going to be in the floor lineup during preseason and then never seeing the light of day. She’s certainly good enough to be there. Also, Keely McNeer’s beam routine is a dream. 

6. Michigan – 196.985
Week 7: 197.250
Week 7 leaders: AA – Artz 39.600; VT – Sugiyama 9.900; UB – Brown 9.925; BB – Artz 9.950; FX – Artz 9.925

RQS
Road Score 1: 197.125
Road Score 2: 196.975
Road Score 3: 196.725
Road/Home Score 1: 197.300
Road/Home Score 2: 197.250
Road/Home Score 3: 196.850

Getting this close to beating Oklahoma was a big result. In spite of Michigan’s strong start to the season, they have seemed like they’d be one of those teams that starts the season very competitively but falls away once everyone else starts rounding into form, finishing much farther from Super Six than their early ranking would have suggested. There’s at least one every year, but keeping pace with a very likely Super Six team at the end of February goes a long way to making the case that Michigan really is a top-6 team.

They came home and recovered well from last week’s OK performance, fulfilling all of the missions I set for them before this meet. Lindsay Williams pulled it back together, Austin Sheppard got a 9.850 on vault (so if she continues this trend and improves .150 every week, it’s a 10 next weekend, right?), and Nicole Artz stayed in bounds on floor to return to the 9.925s. Vault landings and early 9.775-9.825s remain questions, but while many of the other possible contenders still have sloppy rotations, Michigan is showing that the ability to come back from meh and subdue the slop beast is a significant asset.

7. Auburn – 196.610
Week 7: 196.875
Week 7 leaders: AA – None; VT – Atkinson, Rott 9.875; UB – Atkinson, Walker 9.875; BB – Walker 9.900; FX Demers 9.875

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.875
Road Score 2: 196.825
Road Score 3: 195.650
Road/Home Score 1: 197.300
Road/Home Score 2: 197.075
Road/Home Score 3: 196.625

With another high 196 on the road, Auburn made the leap ahead of Nebraska and into yet another surprisingly high new ranking position. I think most people who have watched this team develop knew Auburn was going to be very good this year and would challenge some perennial powers, but I didn’t think they would be quite this competitive right now. #7 is a legit ranking. Plus, the consistency is starting to develop, which is something we haven’t seen from this team before. Auburn hasn’t thrown a 48 rotation since the second week of the season, which not that many teams can claim.

Next week’s meet in Georgia should be fascinating, with Auburn coming in as the higher-ranked team (gasp!) in this showdown between the two schools who appear to be fighting it out for that final evening-session spot at SECs. Given the scoring at Georgia this past weekend, and that Auburn still has a 195 road score to get rid of, a solid showing would help Auburn put some serious pressure on Michigan at #6.

8. Nebraska – 196.595
Week 7: 196.650
Week 7 leaders: AA – Williams 39.250; VT – Stephens 9.900; UB – DeZiel 9.900; BB – J Lauer 9.900; FX – Lambert 9.950

RQS
Road Score 1: 197.075
Road Score 2: 196.650
Road Score 3: 196.250
Road/Home Score 1: 197.325
Road/Home Score 2: 197.125
Road/Home Score 3: 195.875

Nebraska desperately needed a road score this week with just one road meet remaining on the season. This 196.650 gets the job done, but it’s still a slightly missed opportunity. The Huskers recorded 10 routines under 9.800, which undermined much of the advantage they could have gained. This meet had 197 written all over it. When Jessie DeZiel gets a 9.675 on vault, you know you’ve left some tenths on the table.

While the weaker vault scores are an unexpected blip and should revert back to their usual monster-time state before we know it, the lower bars scores are a concern. Nebraska has struggled to get out of the low 49s in every meet this year and haven’t yet nailed a bars rotation. Way more 9.7s than I would have expected coming into the season. 

9. Georgia – 196.525
Week 7: 196.825
Week 7 leaders: AA – None; VT – Broussard 9.975; UB – Persinger 9.900; BB – Box 9.950; FX – Persinger 9.875

Current RQS: 196.280
Road Score 1: 196.950
Road Score 2: 196.850
Road Score 3: 196.200
Road/Home Score 1: 196.975
Road/Home Score 2: 196.825
Road/Home Score 3: 195.800

Ah, the wonders of NCAA scoring and RQS. Georgia had what would be considered by anyone watching the meet, and by anyone on the team, a very disappointing performance, and yet they still recorded a high 196, increased their RQS by multiple tenths, and shot up in the rankings. Hooray! But you’re not fooling me. It started well, too. Vault was great, with Davis coming back and Broussard and Rogers both showing season-best performances, but then it went to sloppy town, culminating in a disastrous floor rotation with two falls from the two people who are supposed to be upgrading to DLOs (not happening at this rate), and a couple other major landing errors that still managed to sneak 9.8s somehow. It was not good. It needs to be fixed two weeks ago. And yet, Georgia is still quite competitive in the rankings with a 195 still to get rid of next week.

But the meet against Auburn is even more important for Georgia than for Auburn. In both the score and the pride departments. Georgia has already fallen to Florida, LSU, and Alabama this season. They can’t lose to Auburn as well and still make a case that they’re one of the top-four teams in the SEC.

In other news, Sarah Persinger won two events for the team! It begins.

10. UCLA – 196.315
Week 7: 197.050
Week 7 leaders: AA – Peszek 39.625; VT – Williams 9.950; UB – Lee 9.950; BB – Lee 9.975; FX – Francis 9.950

RQS
Road Score 1: 197.075
Road Score 2: 196.000
Road Score 3: 194.725
Road/Home Score 1: 197.050
Road/Home Score 2: 197.000
Road/Home Score 3: 196.800

UCLA recorded another fine, acceptable performance over the weekend, but they still have yet to put together a truly hit meet. In the good column, we started to see what can happen on beam when Peszek, Lee, and Francis all hit at the same time. While a couple other teams have stronger lineups 1-6, the Peszek, Lee, Francis group is the most formidable beam trio in the country. As long as they get 9.8s from the others, they’re exceptional. But then, UCLA continued the trend of having 9.6s on bars every week with three poor dismounts, and also ended up counting a 9.6 from DeJesus on floor coming in for the woefully absent Cipra. Even on vault, which ended up being a fine score, they did not stick enough landings. Given the opportunity for 9.950s that was presented on a throne this week, UCLA really should have come away with at least a mid 197. We’re waiting. It won’t happen until Regionals, knowing this team.

The good news for the Bruins is that they still have a chance to get rid of all their sub-197 scores for RQS, which Georgia and Nebraska cannot say. They’ll barely have to do anything on the road at Arizona State next week to zoom up. Even a mid-196 makes them very competitive with Auburn, Nebraska, and Georgia.

11. Stanford – 196.175
Week 7: 195.900
Week 7 leaders: AA – Rice 39.425; VT – Price 9.925; UB – Shapiro 9.900; BB – Rice 9.900; FX – Daum, Shapiro 9.875

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.525
Road Score 2: 196.275
Road Score 3: 195.950
Road/Home Score 1: 197.000
Road/Home Score 2: 196.225
Road/Home Score 3: 195.900

12. Oregon State – 196.150
Week 7: 196.275
Week 7 leaders: AA – None; VT – Keeker 9.900; UB – Keeker, McMillan 9.850; BB – Gardiner 9.875; FX – Gardiner 9.900

RQS
Road Score 1: 197.250
Road Score 2: 196.450
Road Score 3: 196.275
Road/Home Score 1: 196.250
Road/Home Score 2: 195.975
Road/Home Score 3: 195.800

13. Penn State – 196.125
Week 7: 196.175
Week 7 leaders: AA – Sanabria-Robles 39.225; VT – Tsang 9.875; UB – Sanabria-Robles 9.825; BB – Medvitz 9.850; FX – Tsang 9.875

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.175
Road Score 2: 196.025
Road Score 3: 195.600
Road/Home Score 1: 197.025
Road/Home Score 2: 196.550
Road/Home Score 3: 196.275
 
14. Minnesota – 196.010
Week 7 A: 196.350
Week 7 A leaders: AA – Mable 39.625; VT – Mable 9.950; UB – Mable, Tomson 9.900; BB – Mable 9.925; FX – Tomson 9.875

Week 7 B: 195.325
Week 7 B leaders: AA – Mable 39.425; VT – Mable 9.925; UB – Mable, Hanley 9.850; BB – Haines 9.750; FX – Mable 9.925

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.875
Road Score 2: 196.350
Road Score 3: 195.375
Road/Home Score 1: 196.675
Road/Home Score 2: 196.325
Road/Home Score 3: 195.325

15. Boise State – 196.000
Week 7: 196.025
Week 7 leaders: AA – Morris 39.450; VT – Morris 9.900; UB – Jacobsen 9.875; BB – Jacobsen 9.850; FX – Morris 9.900

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.625
Road Score 2: 196.025
Road Score 3: 195.975
Road/Home Score 1: 196.725
Road/Home Score 2: 195.925
Road/Home Score 3: 195.450

16. Illinois – 195.945
Week 7: 196.500
Week 7 leaders: AA – O’Connor 39.450; VT – Buchanan 9.875; UB – O’Connor 9.850; BB – Kato 9.900; FX – O’Connor 9.900

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.975
Road Score 2: 195.475
Road Score 3: 195.175
Road/Home Score 1: 196.500
Road/Home Score 2: 196.400
Road/Home Score 3: 196.175

17. Arkansas – 195.820
Week 7: 194.825
Week 7 leaders: AA – Wellick 39.375; VT – Wellick 9.925; UB – Zaziski 9.850; BB – Dillard 9.875; FX – Elswick, Nelson 9.850

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.250
Road Score 2: 196.250
Road Score 3: 194.900
Road/Home Score 1: 196.650
Road/Home Score 2: 196.325
Road/Home Score 3: 195.375

18. Denver – 195.800
Week 7: 196.725
Week 7 leaders: AA – McGee 39.450; VT – Ross 9.900; UB – McGee 9.875; BB – Fielitz, Lomonte 9.825; FX – McGee 9.975

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.150
Road Score 2: 195.500
Road Score 3: 195.425
Road/Home Score 1: 196.725
Road/Home Score 2: 196.025
Road/Home Score 3: 195.900

19. Cal – 195.660
Week 7: 196.600
Week 7 leaders: AA – Williams 39.375; VT – Williams 9.900; UB – Ho, Owens 9.850; BB – Palomares 9.900; FX – Williams 9.950

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.600
Road Score 2: 195.425
Road Score 3: 195.175
Road/Home Score 1: 196.225
Road/Home Score 2: 195.900
Road/Home Score 3: 195.575

20. Arizona – 195.615
Week 7: 196.625
Week 7 leaders: AA – Flores 39.350; VT – Edwards 9.875; UB – Ortiz 9.900; BB – Cindric, Flores, Fox 9.850; FX – Flores, Sisler 9.875

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.050
Road Score 2: 195.300
Road Score 3: 195.100
Road/Home Score 1: 196.625
Road/Home Score 2: 196.375
Road/Home Score 3: 195.250

21. Southern Utah – 195.555
Week 7: 196.225
Week 7 leaders: AA – None; VT – Blake, Webb 9.825; UB – Armijo, Yee 9.900; BB – Bozzuto, Ramirez 9.875; FX – Webb 9.900

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.225
Road Score 2: 195.750
Road Score 3: 195.500
Road/Home Score 1: 195.650
Road/Home Score 2: 195.500
Road/Home Score 3: 195.375

22. Washington – 195.395
Week 7: 195.325
Week 7 leaders: AA – Northey 38.850; VT – Burleson 9.925; UB – McKenzie 9.700; BB – McCartin 9.900; FX – Janik, Northey 9.875

RQS
Road Score 1: 196.300
Road Score 2: 195.550
Road Score 3: 194.500
Road/Home Score 1: 195.950
Road/Home Score 2: 195.650
Road/Home Score 3: 195.325

23. Missouri – 195.315
Week 7: 195.800
Week 7 leaders: AA – Schugel 39.025; VT – Miller 9.975; UB – Johnson, Miller 9.825; BB – Kappler 9.875; FX – Kappler 9.850

RQS
Road Score 1: 195.975
Road Score 2: 195.850
Road Score 3: 195.225
Road/Home Score 1: 195.800
Road/Home Score 2: 195.150
Road/Home Score 3: 194.550

24. Iowa – 195.280
Week 7: 195.850
Week 7 leaders: AA – Metcalf 39.175; VT – Metcalf 9.850; UB – Drenth 9.825; BB – Metcalf 9.825; FX – Hoerr 9.875

RQS
Road Score 1: 195.850
Road Score 2: 195.225
Road Score 3: 195.175
Road/Home Score 1: 196.375
Road/Home Score 2: 195.725
Road/Home Score 3: 194.425 

25. Kentucky – 195.275
Week 7: 195.750
Week 7 leaders: AA – None; VT – Waltz 9.900; UB – Beucler 9.800; BB – Mitchell 9.900; FX – Puryear 9.850

RQS
Road Score 1: 195.825
Road Score 2: 194.975
Road Score 3: 194.425
Road/Home Score 1: 195.750
Road/Home Score 2: 195.625
Road/Home Score 3: 195.600

Friday Live Blog – Alabama, Georgia, Florida, LSU

Friday, February 20

7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Alabama @ Georgia (Scores) (ESPN3)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Oklahoma @ Michigan (Scores) (BTN2GO)

7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Arkansas @ Kentucky (Scores) (ESPN3)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Boise State @ Ohio State (Scores) (CSL)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Eastern Michigan @ Western Michigan
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Kent State, North Carolina, Rutgers @ NC State (Scores) (CSL – free)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – George Washington, Towson,  William & Mary @ Maryland (Scores) (BTNPlus)
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Minnesota @ Iowa State
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Northern Illinois @ SEMO (Scores)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Michigan State @ Illinois (Scores) (CSL
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Air Force @ Illinois State
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – Florida @ LSU (Scores) (ESPN3)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Auburn @ Missouri (Scores) (ESPN3)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Oregon State @ Arizona State (Scores) (Stream)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Southern Utah @ Utah State (Scores) (Stream)
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – UC Davis @ San Jose State (Scores) (Stream)

Week 6 rankings.

It’s a big day in the SEC. Place your bets now on the high score of the day. I’m going with 207.650. Kytra Hunter is definitely getting a 13 on floor tonight.

I’ll be here live blogging starting at 7:00 ET/4:00 PT.

Some significant lineup developments for both Georgia and Alabama. In the bad column, no Katie Bailey tonight for Alabama, which means we’ll be seeing a little more Mackenzie Brannan than we have been, as well as the long-lost Dominique Pegg on vault. In the better column, Nickie Guerrero is finally back and ready to beam. My pre-Alabama impression of her was that she was rock solid on beam, so let’s see how that plays out.

For Georgia, Chelsea Davis is finally back on vault. They’ve needed this vault. Interestingly, GiGi Marino has come out of the lineup. Kiera Brown is also getting another chance on beam in place of Reynolds/Persinger. Good. She’s had her skill issues and consistency issues, but it’s important that they work her back into the lineup because they’ll need her quality in the postseason.

How times have changed. It’s Alabama/Georgia, and that’s not the most important SEC meet of the day.

And just as I mention Guerrero, Carley Sims has been subbed in for her on beam. You teases! Another interesting lineup choice, though. There’s suddenly a little bit of impromptu depth spelunking for Alabama tonight.

I feel like baldy baldington who’s always on the SEC Network before gymnastics is a significant figure in my life now given how much time I spend staring at his gob every Friday. This is depressing.

Dana is giving a team speech. “WE ARE.” BREATHE. “RELENTLESS.” This is why I could never be on an NCAA gymnastics team. I would be constantly giggling in the corner.

Oh hey, B and K. They don’t need names. They’re B and K. The athletes can taste the atmosphere, is the revelation of the day. That sounds sweaty.

Oooh, someone broke out the “Special Occasion” temp tattoos tonight!

Flashback videos. Sarah and Suzanne…fading away to Dana and Danna. OMG YOU GUYS THEIR NAMES ARE ALMOST THE SAME.

Other Amanda lets us know that Katie Bailey has back spasms and didn’t travel. Everyone cry a single tear. I swear some of these Georgia cheerleaders are 38.

Rotation 1 – Georgia on vault, Alabama on bars
Vaculik – VT – UGA – yfull – solid, clean yfull, small hop back, leg separation on the block, but fine. 9.875. So the judges are feeling good so far.

McNeer – UB – Bama – good first hs, strong tkatchev, legs together throughout – crooked on bail handstand – OK DLO – a little flat and a hop. 9.825

Roberts – VT – UGA – yfull – pretty far off to the side – not a great amount of distance either, but fine enough form. 9.800.

Jetter – UB – Bama – solid opening hs – solid ray – a little close? – also looked a little short on her bail – short final hs – stumble back on double front dismount again, a couple steps. That has been a problem this year. 9.750. 

Davis – VT – UGA – We’re obsessed with her mom for some reason – GREAT – the usual vault we’ve seen from her for four years – right down the middle, great leg form – small hop a little chest down. They’ve needed this. 9.900

Brannan – UB – Bama – toe half to jaeger – nice toe point – very slow but precise handstands – bail a slightly awkward catch with an arch – DLO was pretty good with a small hop. 9.900

Broussard – VT – UGA – Good power  on the yfull – stuck the landing – good form in the air – bends a little to hang onto the stick and a small amount of gotta-pee legs. 9.975. Oh heavens. It’s a Georgia/Alabama meet.

Clark – UB – Bama – Great height on tkatchev – toe on – clean on the bail but all of their bails could be more vertical – solid final handstands – very floaty DLO with a stick. Strong routine. 9.900 

Rogers – VT – UGA – Her best 1.5 of the year so far – excellent stick – I would say that vault was better than Broussard’s (?) but there are things to take if the judges feel like doing their job – some knee bend, off to the side, etc. 9.950.

Sims – UB – Bama – Comaneci is very nice – leg break on the weiler and the bail as well – and every skill – DLO with a medium step back. Solid hit but the usual form breaks – 9.800.

Jay – VT – UGA – they already have an epic vault score, so let’s see what happens here. she really tries for the stick on that 1.5. She had major 10 dreams there. Short landing and a hop back – the usual foot cross on the block. 9.850.

Beers – UB – Bama – strong first hs – into shaposh to pak transition (legs on the shaposh but not too bad) – OK on the half turn on the low bar – most precise routine of the rotation so far – sticks the double front. 9.950.

After 1: Georgia 49.550, Alabama 49.375.
Welcome to Alabama/Georgia with some of these scores. Still, Georgia had a strong vault rotation that could have been a huge vault rotation had Jay hit with her usual ability. Great work from Broussard and Rogers in there, and an important comeback vault from Davis. She makes that rotation much more competitive. 

Alabama was OK on bars. They also got a couple friendly scores in the middle of that lineup, but they gave away too much – Sims with the form breaks, Jetter with the dismount etc. Beers has become a sturdy German for their bars lineup this season, and that was another example. It’s a composed routine, not rushed.

It was essential that Georgia start with a lead, and they did. Now they need to have one of their good bars days.

Oklahoma has opened up a lead on Michigan after nailing bars while Michigan was a little 9.800 on vault. Sheppard got a 9.850 this week, but more of those troublesome 9.775s that we’ve been worried about crept in.

Rotation 2 – Alabama on vault, Georgia on bars
McNeer – VT – Bama – clean in the air on the yfull – pikes a little, lands low, and tries to bend to hold onto the stick with a step forward – 9.750

Jay – UB – UGA – clear hip – did a humongous ray but slipped off the bars on the catch. Uh oh Georgia – resumes with a solid bail, short final hs, sticks a strong DLO. Oh Brandie.

C Sims – VT – Bama – very clean yfull – one of her better vaults – good direction, maintained her form, stuck landing. Nice. 9.900.  

Vaculik – UB – UGA – short first hs – half turn to very nice jaeger – lovely toe point etc – leg break on bail – full twisting double back – step back – solid.

Pegg – VT – Bama – ah, the missing woman is back – good power on her yfull – maintained her stick well, some direction issue – didn’t have much height but pulled it around –

Persinger – UB – UGA – good first hs, strong half turn – pretty jaeger – clean on the bail as well – she’s going very well in this routine – short on her giant full into double tuck – small hop. Started great, finished OK, but clean. 9.900.

Williams – VT – Bama – Nailed it – excellent y1.5 – her reaction is that she just won all the lotteries – very nice stick – brought her legs together on the stick – great direction. Very, very strong. 9.950.

Brown – UB – UGA – perfection tkatchev, but short on the next handstand – pretty pak – half turn on low bar – borderline final hs – flung her DLO out – pretty big hop forward – that’s a shame, should have been a big score. 9.825.

Clark – VT – Bama – Excellent yfull as she usually does – but overdoes it a little with a medium step back – good form and landing position, though, but she’ll be disappointed in the landing.  9/825.

Davis – UB – UGA – strong first hs – great tkatchev with the counter rotation – hitting all her handstands – clean bail – way close on the shoot back and has to muscle up – small hop on tuck full dismount. A few errors there, but OK. 9.850 

Beers – VT – Bama – Goes for the 1.5 – another strong one – but hops to the side – so won’t get a huge score. 9.900.

Rogers – UB – UGA – pretty stalders as always – Ricna is great – almost arched her next handstand but held it – pretty clean throughout – small hop on DLO – they’re not sticking these dismounts the way they need to be. 9.875.

After 2: Georgia 98.850, Alabama 98.800
Question: If you’re giving Broussard a 10 for her vault, how are you not giving Williams one for her vault? This is why gymnastics fans are so crazy. Pretty good vault rotation for Alabama, though like Georgia, it could have been better. Williams was excellent, and Sims did perhaps the best vault I’ve seen from her, but both Clark and Beers gave away scores with their landings. Georgia was the stronger vault team today.

Georgia needed to land those dismounts much better than they did. They should be thrilled to escape that rotation with a 49.300. They recovered well from the Jay fall, and I thought Persinger was quite pretty in the first half of her routine, but Brown gave away a ton on that dismount, Davis had to muscle a handstand, and Rogers didn’t stick either. I thought Rogers’ score still should have been pretty high compared to the other scores we’ve seen, but the small errors were there. Georgia still with a slight lead, but now they’re going to the trouble events.

Michigan was able to keep pace with Oklahoma in the second rotation after a series of 9.9s on bars. That’s more what we expect. Oklahoma had some lowish scores early on vault, but recovered for 9.875-9.900. Though not the 9.950s that have been earning them those massive team scores so far. Peaking out a 9.900. But because of the huge bars score, Oklahoma remains just under 198 pace after 2, while Michigan is hovering around 197 pace.

Rotation 3 – Georgia on beam, Alabama on floor
We’re hearing about Brown’s confidence issues.

Vaculik – BB – UGA – strong switch to split 1/4 – the leaps are always her best part – great height on loso series just a small small check/correction – clean and solid aerial – full turn – side aerial to full with small hop – one of her more secure beam routines this year. Good progress. 9.825.

Dennis – FX – Bama – big double pike with a bounce back – split leap full to split jump full not a 180 situation but around – arched layout to front full – double back with a slide, more control than the first but still needed to hold onto it a bit more. 9.825.

Brown – BB – UGA – this is a big routine for her – fluid full turn, big break on her loso loso series and comes off the beam after a stumble. That’s a shame. She needed a hit, but you could see that coming. She paused for 1500 minutes before that series. Another big break on side aerial – gainer pike with a hop forward.

Jetter – FX – Bama – sticks the opening double arabian, some cowboy, leaps look solid enough – 1.5 to front full – slight stumble on the landing but tiny – side aerial – 1.5 to a somewhat arched layout. OK, but some small awkwardness on those last two passes. 9.900.

Babalis – BB – UGA – high loso series (flexed feet but a solid acro series) – hit switch to pike jump – full turn – piked kickover front with a step forward – long pause before aerial to front full – OK – some errors but should be a solid score. 9.850. 

Brannan – FX – Bama – double arabian lacks a litlte control with a step forward – short on her switch ring and her split full – def not 180 – I love that Kathy points this out – secure double pike middle pass – 1.5 to layout dismount. They’re just looking a little 9.8 so far, but hitting. 9.825.

Rogers – BB – UGA – she has been iffy in the back leg on her switch lately, which is weird coming from her – pulled it back on the loso series with a tiny check – great cover on her bhs 3/4 – she was way off but corrected into a sit on the beam that should be legitimately OK, shouldn’t it? – solid bhs 1/1 into layout full – interested to see what they do with the correction on the bhs 3/4. Judges conferring, she hit it but she slumped almost immediately out of the stag position down onto the beam. 9.800.

C Sims – FX – Bama – big DLO as always – squatted the landing a little but secure – a little too much of a lunge out of that middle pass – good switch side and split jump full – strong double pike to finish – good chest position – Bart’s word of the day is “Whohahhhhh.” 9.900.

Broussard – BB – UGA – one-armed bhs to a very strong layout but steps back – solid switch and a very nice straddle 1/4 – pretty full turn – another step back on her side aerial – she’s hitting these elements and then giving away bits correcting her landings – sticks gainer full. Good routine except for those two steps. 9.825. 

Clark – FX – Bama – high double pike, slide back – 1.5 to layout is clean in the air – a little bouncy as she dances out of it – Kathy is good with it but I think it shows some lack of control – sticks a very good double tuck – nice routine. She has become a floor worker.9.950

Box – BB – UGA – must come back from her fall last week, they’re on the verge of surviving this rotation with 9.8s. tuck jump full -a bit of a swim correction on that loso series – switch to straddle 3/4 is fine – pretty full turn – moonwalk – Georgia is allowed but no one else – confident on the aerial (one of the few really CONFIDENT skills in this rotation so far) – sticks 1.5 – some squat but a good and necessary hit. 9.950. Well now. But it was their best routine, and a good one, but they hadn’t had a chance to give some big crazy Georgia scores yet, so we’re bursting for it.

 Beers – FX – Bama – strong DLO but also slides back a little – not as secure as it could be – layout to front full is solid, could be bigger, but it’s solid – split full was good, switch ring had a low front leg – very comfortable double tuck. A strong routine. I’m pointing out a few things I see that surely won’t get taken, but that was a strong hit. 9.950. Also these scores, though. 

After 3: Alabama 148.325, Georgia 148.100
Alabama pulled away in that rotation with some big tumbling and overall powerful, relatively controlled (though they can cut out some of those slides) work. The first few routines were a little iffy, but the final three were significant routines hit without major issue. Also note that we’re a little 9.950 happy today, so we’ll see how that plays out on Georgia’s floor.

It’s a February miracle that Georgia escaped that rotation with a 49.250, and now it’s going to look like one of their better beam rotations of the year. Box had a strong, necessary hit at the end, but everyone else had mistakes that they shouldn’t have. They escaped. Note that Babalis’s score was raised from a 9.800 to a 9.850. I approve of that change because there wasn’t much wrong there at all. 9.800 seemed unexpectedly contained for these judges tonight. Georgia gave away the lead there, but managed to keep themselves in it going to the last event, hoping to get some nice, warm, home floor scoring while Alabama goes to the stress of beam.

This is close enough that I think I’m going to keep watching this one until its conclusion and then switch over to Florida/LSU. Just as a programming note.

Michigan did well on beam to continue to keep pace with Oklahoma after giving up a bit too much in the opening rotation. Each team had a mistake to overcome, and each got a major 9.950 from an important player. Oklahoma has a four-tenth lead going into the last event. With a hit floor, Michigan should be able to get back into the 197s.

Rotation 4 – Georgia on floor, Alabama on beam
Williams – BB – Bama – excellent and huge switch side as always – a little squatty on punch front but pulled it out – very clean loso series in the air, but tentative working out of it with a step back and a check – good straddle full – full turn – strong stick on 1.5. Very nice routine, just the one error on the series. 9.850.

Persinger – FX – UGA – “If they listen closely, they can hear opportunity knocking.” OH KATHY. tuck to double back, secure with knee-chest, solid switch ring to split full, hits double pike – hop back, rudi is OK. Fine, regular. So 26.250? 9.875. Yeah, basically.

McNeer – BB – Bama – pretty aerial and a fluid connection to bhs – strong full turn – loso series has good leg form, just a small check – this is a pretty routine – switch to split – 1.5 dismount is a little short with a small step back. 9.925. Why not?

Broussard – FX – UGA – Oh Ashlyn, large large lunge out of double tuck – the dance elements are good but I’m still too broken but that double tuck landing – front layout to a slightly piked rudi – way way short on her double pike and falls. Buh. That was a 1.125 pike. No hope of getting it around.

Beers – BB – Bama – hits side somi with good control – large wobble on loso series, leg goes way up – the bad is catching a little bit suddenly – full turn – straddled sheep jump but OK – 1.5 dismount with small step.

Marino – FX – UGA – double tuck with a small slide – nice split full to straddle jump full – clean 1.5 to layout – good leg form – lacking some amp on it perhaps but hit securely – GOOD LORD GEORGIA. Falls on her double pike – carbon copy of Broussard.

C Sims – BB – Bama – full turn a little tentative but no check – love her gigantic leaps – eight miles high – kickover front, perhaps a small check as she holds her landing – wobble on loso series with some serious flexed feet – what is with the loso problems today? sticks gainer full legs apart. “Such an easy dismount.” I love you, Kathy. “The arms kind of went spastic.” Kathy is on fire tonight.

Babalis – FX – bounces 100,000 miles out of her double tuck – because of course – her splits are lovely and fully 180, at least – 1.5 to front layout with a little too much slide. Strong double pike at least, stuck that one. It’s a comparative hit, but that first pass…

Clark – BB – Bama – strong switch to split – solid on loso series – sort of a non-check correction but nothing real – hits her sheep with legs together – full turn – kickover front with not a twitch – 1.5 is stuck. Should be a big score, based on what we’ve seen. Nice routine.

Box – FX – UGA – Now that’s how you do a mount – strong double pike, not her best stickiest, but a nice recovery – high 1.5 to layout – switch side to straddle full – stumble on her dismount – UGH – bounces back – everyone is having problems –

Sorry, I had a panic attack that I might miss Bridget Sloan’s bars so I’m switching over and trying to keep an eye on both. Missed a
Jay finishing up for Georgia with one of her better landings on her mount. Good chest position. They’ve needed this hit, but they got some charity on the last two floor routines anyway after the falls. Everyone’s dismount is an issue. Everyone. Georgia, what’s your deal?

Strong hit bars for McMurtry. Not her cleanest on the bars, but a great dismount.

Jordan on vault, lovely in the air, large bounce back though – great to see her in the rotation again, but didn’t go for the stick there.

BDG – UB – UF – strong shaposh – clean bail – hit handstand before dismount – high DLO – step back and the usual leg separation.

Final for Alabama is 197.675 to Georgia 196.825.  

Hambrick – VT – LSU – didn’t get quite the block and height that she has gotten some weeks, hop back. Missing a few of these landings early on today.

Hunter – UB – close on hindorff with bent elbows, clean bail, borderline final handstand, great stick on tuck full dismount.

Scores are going way high.

Gnat – VT – LSU – Does the DTY this week – small hop back, but great. Love that we’re seeing it – and the form and direction are good – leg cross on the block but otherwise –

Caquatto – UB – UF – Strong ray with good form – misses handstand afterward – leg break on bail – step back on pretty DLO – OK but not her best.

Courville – LSU – VT – the usual FTY from her – but a medium hop back this time, she hasn’t had the stick yet this year. “Her body in the air, twists all together.” OK.

Sloan – UB – UF – Heere we go – strong first hs – the usual ray – a little iffy on the following handstand – slightly crooked on the bail – sticks DLO and bends to hold onto it – Great work from her – some errors in there, but they’re her usual errors, just perhaps bigger versions of them. She’s back. 11? 9.900.

Florida leads 49.450 to 49.425 after 1.
Fine first rotations from both teams, but they can be better. LSU gave away some serious landings there in those middle routines and could have recorded some huge scores. Good vaults, but a bit of a missed opportunity. Florida was pretty on bars from what I saw, but everyone had some small issues. The scores are definitely enthusiastic here (as well) and ready to give out big ones if they’re remotely close to being earned.

Wrapping some other things up, Oklahoma only ended up beating Michigan by slightly over a tenth. Big result for Michigan, closing the gap on floor while Oklahoma continued to be a little un-Oklahoma on beam. It’s something to watch. Another week of just an OK score in the lower half of the 197s, but Michigan will take that result any day even if it’s a loss.

As for Georgia, that was just a poor floor rotation, and they gave it away. They even got some gifts with some of those scores for hit routines after the falls, but that floor rotation is a real problem.

In other news, Arkansas had a beam disaster to fall to Kentucky.

Suri is screaming at us. Over 10,000 in attendance.

Rotation 2- Florida on vault, LSU on bars
Caquatto – VT – solid vault – small hop back – could be a little bigger, but no issue. “The game we call…THE STICKING GAME.” My god. This life.

Savona – UB -solid shaposh into bail – a little arched – finish on giant full is pretty good – tkatchev is still flat but eh not a problem I suppose – hop in place on DLO. Good.

Spicer – VT – lands just somewhat short on her full with a hop forward –

Gnat – UB – solid first hs – giant ful – strong gienger with slightly better legs – nice handstand – twitch in the legs on the bail – small hop on DLO. These aren’t sticks, commentators. They’re not. One of her better routines, though.

Wang – VT – she has struggled to control this vault – gigantic bounce back followed by a couple more bounce-around steps to salute. Did she ever gain control of that vault?

Zamardi – UB – shaposh to pak – half turn on low bar – small issues in leg breaks but she doesn’t give away anything major – strong markelov and then sticks the double arabian – strong.

Baker – VT – She also still needs to get that vault under control – it’s hugely huge, great forma nd direction, but she’s bouncing back every time.

Wyrick – UB – I do love her handstands when she hits them – tkatchev isn’t the strongest part of the routine – could be bigger – just the feet issues here and there – pretty bail – final hs is solid – step-salute on the DLO. 

Hunter – VT – They need some big scores from the last two to keep pace – Very strong 1.5 as always – hop forward, but everything else was great. God, I hate the front-on view for vault. Why would anyone think that’s a good angle?

Jordan – UB – good hs on high bar – great half turn – hits jaeger – very clean on bail – close on her shoot and muscles up handstand – short on DLO with a step forward – lost it at the end a little but the beginning was strong.

McMurtry – VT – BRILLIANT – lovely – sticks – legs together – pretty much identical to the vault that got a 10. Not really anything to critique there. 9.975.

Courville – UB – Very nice jaeger – hits hs – good legs on the bail – fluid on the shoot back – hs look good – and hop back on the tuck full dismount – strong routine, best of the rotation.

After 2: LSU 98.925, Florida 98.875
This is going to be a good one people. Rhonda is telling us how awesome the team is. Florida didn’t vault as well as they needed to until McMurtry. Those landings have to be more controlled to beat LSU. I thought LSU was very solid on bars but got some charity. They needed to stick more of those dismounts (actual sticks, not commentator sticks) to get that kind of score, though pretty on the bars. There were some errors in those 9.875 routines.

Rotation 3 – LSU on beam, Florida on floor
Both teams going to an even that should be an asset. Florida will need a lead after this rotation, but this LSU beam lineup has the capacity to make sure that doesn’t happen, especially at home,

Ewing – BB – secure on layout 2ft – no check – switch side is hit –  clean full turn – leg form on bhs is an issue – straddle 1/4 is nice – sticks 1.5. Good start.

Boyce – FX – front 2/1 with some coptering – 1.5 to front pike is pretty, with step-dance out but looked controlled – split full to straddle full – a bit more laid out on her rudi dismount than earlier in the season. Improvement.

Hambrick – BB – drops on the L turn a little at the end, which is a shame because it’s usually lovely – side aerial is solid – tentative on the switch to straddle 1/4 – break on the loso series with a bend at the hips – lovely flexibility, but this is one of her issue routines – small hop on 2/1 dismount.

Spicer – FX – very secure on the piked full in, still staggered but not too extreme this time and one of her better landings on that skill that I’ve seen from her – 1.5 to front pike – got to stick that front pike though it looked like she would come in short – the split and wolf are not as horizontal as they needed to be. Double pike with a step – looked like she went out but no flag? Because why not?

Macadaeg – BB – full turn – excellent switch and did well not to wobble after her switch half into the beat jump – just slightly off – another minor bend after her aerial – nothing big at all, but small checks here – just tentative a bit – same on loso series – sticks gainer pike, but small blips on everything. I love when DD Breaux dresses like she should be playing the slots. Still a 9.900.

Wang – FX – One of her stronger DLOs – layout to front 1/2 to split looks good – I’ve noticed a lot of “close-up on gymnasts face during dance elements” today and it’s a bit squint-worthy – short on the double pike as usual –  large lunge forward. Bridget’s face agrees with me. 9.875 anyway.

Gnat – BB – aerial is fine – nice full turn – switch to straddle 1/4 are hit – Courtney just gave us the works beam like she’s on the floor comment – high switch side – she’s on today – secure loso series with some floppy legs – strong 2/1 with a shuffle. 

Baker – FX – Please tell me you’re watching this floor judge. WHAT ARE THESE FACES?! ARE YOU A SILENT FILM ACTRESS IN 1919? Step to the side on the piked double arabian this time – not her best control – short on duble pike with a smaller lunge forward – switch and split full were good – great 1.5 to half to straddle final passes. Finished with excellence but some issues on the first two passes. But 9.950 because sure.

Courville – BB – solid L turn – maybe dropped a little early but not an issue, Arabian – great one, strong and clean loso series – solid sheep – great switch and split – aerial small pause to sissone to gainer full with a slide. 9.900

Hunter – FX – Strong DLO as always and good control this time it appeared – Botched her middle pass – overdid her front layout and couldn’t finish it as she usually does – and then just sort of slid around at the end – when you’re Kytra Hunter, you can just slide around as your middle pass and it’s OK – some bounce on double tuck. They needed a big hit from her and didn’t get it.

Jordan – BB – check on side somi but pulls it back – pretty loso series – switch to straddle 1/4 – just a couple tentative moments and pauses but nice on the aerial – step on the 1.5. Good routine.

Caquatto – FX – CRAZY front double full to a fall on the punch front – she was crooked on her landing of the 2/1 and had no business going for that front tuck – seat drops it. Florida was getting some fancy scores (as both teams have been) in this floor rotation to allow them to keep pace with just iffy performances, but they gave it away with these last two routines. Hits the rest of the routine.

After 3: LSU 148.375, Florida 148.200 
Frankly Florida is lucky to still be within two tenths going to the final event. It’s going to be very tough for Florida now after those floor issues, with LSU going to floor now. LSU didn’t have a great beam either, at least not as strong as it can be or has been, but they got the scores and did enough to stay ahead of Florida’s issues. Neither team had an ideal rotation there. Florida needs one of those “Claire Boyce suddenly gets a 9.950” kinds of beam rotations right now, and hope that LSU has one of those “Rheagan, what was that pass” kinds of floor rotations.

I love that DD told us that Ashleigh Gnat isn’t a great bars worker in her interview. This is why people like DD.

Rotation 4 – Florida on beam, LSU on floor
Baker – BB – OK, don’t mess up your wolf turn this week. Just a single turn this time and falls again. That’s three mistakes on that skill now this season. Kupets thinks it needs to go. I do too. The rest of the routine is secure, regular, short on the double tuck with a large lunge. PROBLEMS.

Savona – FX – solid on the 1.5 to double duck – shuffles forward a little but secure – tuck full is great, just a controlled step there – this is better than last week so far. Strong double pike as well. Secure. Powerful. Good.

Spicer – BB – wobble on loso series with a medium bend – gainer loso is good – short on her switch split – looks tentative after the fall – round off gainer full is a stick-salute. Fine, but some issues.

Wyrick – FX – big full in – but a large step back – her foot was completely parallel to the line but really and surprisingly didn’t look like it went over – her straddle elements are very strong – squatty on the double tuck with a lunge back on this one as well.

How many people are wearing gold jackets for LSU tonight.

Fassbender – BB – good and comfortable aerial to bhs – full turn – sheep that is pretty NCAA – side aerial to full with a hop back. She does negative 1 skills in that routine, but it’s a good hit. One of her better beam routines.

Jordan – FX – This is my favorite LSU floor routine this year 0 I just like watching Jordan move – Very strong double pike – high, good form, secure – front full to layout is strong as well – good straddles – 1.5 to front full and bounces forward out of it – only real issue in this routine is the bounce though.

Boyce – BB – aerial to bhs is slow in connection but solid – nice loso series – comfortable full turn – switch looked iffy into a fine split jump – sticks gainer full – one of her good ones – Are they giving this 10-HANDS out of spite because the crowd wants every LSU routine to be a 10? I only approve of 10-HANDS when they’re out of spite.

Gnat – FX – strong DLO in the air, bounces back out of it – 2.5 to front tuck is nice – switch ring was short on the front leg but the following split looked good – nice high double pike with a secure landing.

McMurtry – BB – check on her front tuck, but secure on her loso series – she’s a little rushed and all over the place at the beginning of this routine, but she hit it – full turn – very strong 2.5 dismount and does very well to hang onto the stick.

Courville – FX – bounces on the double arabian this time – does stay in but a clear lunge – another big bounce on her double pike – Oh, Rheagan – where are these passes still? – splits are nice obviously – tuck into double back is good, though. Still got a 9.875 because whatever at this point.

Hunter – BB – wobble on loso series this time – good full turn – another small check on switch side, also crooked – small hop on double tuck – good routine but a few small errors.

Florida finishes with a 197.425, which they’ll take given how many half-mistakes they had in this meet, especially on floor.

Hall – FX – DLO was fine but a little farther back on the landing than usual – straddles looked good – full to layout is hit – very strong double back to finish. THE JUDGE is over the moon about this. 9.975. It was a good performance but not one of her 10s in my book. Hmm, I wonder which judge gave her a 10.

The problem with a reacty judge is that I don’t trust them. I only trust stoicism.

FINAL: LSU 197.950, Florida 197.425 
OMG DD. “We’re going to come in on Sunday, do some yoga, and then I’m going to watch The Walking Dead.” Never be away from us.

That meet was very evenly matched for the first two rotations, but then LSU was just better on the final two. Because there’s so little between these teams, it was never going to come down to built-in things/general quality. It was going to come down to who hit better. Florida gave away too much on floor in those last two routines, and was just that little bit more wobbly on beam. But the major issue was floor. They can’t afford a botched pass and a fall in those last two routines. On the happy side, Sloan is back. It’s just one event, but she’s back.

Advantage LSU this weekend with Oklahoma also having a relatively meh-ish meet for a lower 197. Because that’s the way scores are now.

Auburn is going against Missouri on solid enough high 196 pace. Oregon State is underperforming a little (Erika Aufiero getting an 8 on bars?!?) but is still on 196 pace with beam to come. Arizona State had a disaster on beam, as usual.

Boise State came back from that performance against Alabama to break 196 again this week. 

The Weekend Ahead – February 20th-22nd

It’s a showdown weekend. Across two days, we have five different meets featuring perennial Nationals qualifiers facing off with each other, so expect some sparks to fly…is what I would be saying if wins and losses mattered. As it is, expect a lot of simultaneous high-quality gymnastics (no flipping to another meet for half the routines) as all the teams iterate that they’re only focused on themselves and don’t really care what anyone else is doing. 

In the rankings, we’ll see the biggest shakeup of the season on Monday once the new RQS standings debut. Feel free to check out my RQS breakdown to see where teams are likely to end up and what ugly scores they still need to drop. Oklahoma is guaranteed to retain the #1 ranking for at least another week, as neither Florida nor LSU can get within a tenth of a point of them after this weekend’s competition. The Sooners have a bit of a lead. Utah has a chance to move up as high as #2 with a solid 197, but they would also need Florida/LSU to be a bit of a splatfest, so that seems less likely. The introduction of RQS is the best news for Georgia and Stanford as both teams look primed to jump in the rankings even if they have poor meets this weekend.

Alabama is visiting Georgia, and Dana Duckworth has been having sugarplum dreams of a delicious victory over the old arch-nemesis all week. Alabama is on the upswing after last week’s result, while Georgia is still sort of all over the place. It looked like the Gym Dogs were pulling things together, but then last week’s performance featured a beam fall and a whole royal court of 9.7s. Having to count a Mary Beth Box fall on beam is a blip, but the 9.7s are the real concern. Those are still way too likely to show up on both beam and floor, with tenativeness on beam and flatness on floor, and they need to turn back into 9.825-9.850s this weekend. The good news for Georgia is that they still have a weak 195 on their RQS, so even an average performance is going to look pretty good in the rankings.

Simultaneously, Oklahoma will be visiting Michigan. The meet will be tape delayed on the Big Ten Network but shown live on BTNPlus. BTNPlus and I are in a fight right now (heads up, trying to cancel a BTNPlus subscription is harder than climbing Everest), so you gallant heroes who watch it can keep the rest of us posted in the comments if you feel like it. Oklahoma doesn’t really have to worry about scores now, but they had a little bit of a meh last week on beam—the only event where they’re not #1 in the country—so point a discerning eye at the security of that rotation this week. There all still some consistency issues on both bars and beam (not major issues, more random 9.7s here and there issues) that they’ll need to iron out over the next month.

Michigan is also coming off an OK. Lindsay Williams had a random poor meet, so watch to make sure that’s not a snowball situation, but the major routines of interest will be Nicole Artz on floor and Austin Sheppard on vault. Artz has gone OOB two weeks in a row, and they rely on her for Sampson-esque scores, and Sheppard finally came on vault last week but just did a Yhalf tucked, so let’s hope we get another step forward this week.

Later on, the feature meet will be Florida against LSU. While Alabama and Oklahoma come in as the relative favorites in their meets, there isn’t a favorite in this one. It’s all to play for. Bars is going to be really interesting, partially because of how much variation we’ve seen in the landing quality from these two teams and how much influence that should have in the result, but mostly because we’re allegedly going to see the triumphant return of Bridget Sloan. I know that it will have been 7 weeks since her injury (and we were originally told she would be out six weeks), but doesn’t it still seem super fast? For all the chatter about the significance of her injury, she has come back in about a millisecond. The bars rotation is where they need her the most, and even if she’s very much in “I”m still fragile” mode (as I would expect), she makes that lineup look so much better. Discussion question: Who would you take out? And, scandalously, is it Kennedy Baker?

On vault, Florida has been the better team so far this year, but LSU has the talent for equivalent scores (though they miss that second 10-potential vault that Florida has in the Hunter/McMurtry duo). If LSU gets the landings from last week, there shouldn’t be much difference in the scores at all/a slight advantage to LSU. Similarly, the two teams have tended to be pretty evenly match on floor. I would say that, at its ideal, LSU is the stronger floor team 1-6, but Florida is more likely to get hugely huge numbers from Baker and Hunter to lift the overall rotation score. LSU should get about the same scores from Courville/Hall, but haven’t often enough this year. Last weekend was a good example.

In the LSU column, the main advantage event should be beam. Florida is coming off a huge beam score last weekend, but overall, LSU has more likely 9.9s in that lineup, which Florida has a couple more just-fine 9.825-9.850 routines in there. Beam is always a question because it’s beam, but to come out with a win, LSU needs to take advantage of how much pretty they have. It will be very tough to beat Florida if they’re counting wobbles for 9.8s. What I’m saying is, this should be a good one.

On Saturday, UCLA hosts Nebraska in an essential meet for both teams. Nebraska is suddenly in fairly urgent need of a strong road score and can’t waste this opportunity to get one if they’re going to maintain a solid ranking through the rest of the season, while UCLA kind of needs to put together a complete meet. That means no random 9.6s on bars, no beam falls, and bringing the landings on vault and floor. UCLA can be a mid 197 team at home if they do that, but we haven’t seen it yet.

Utah also hosts Stanford in a meet that is much more important for the Cardinal than the Utes. Sure, Utah would love to get back to its home, high 197, 10 parade ways, but Stanford needs a score. Like now. They have just four meets left before Regionals, are already counting a mid 196 road score, and can’t afford to throw in another beautiful disaster. Just keep the beautiful part.

As always, the full schedule is available at the top.

Top 25 Schedule
Friday, February 20

7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [5] Alabama @ [11] Georgia
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [1] Oklahoma @ [6] Michigan

7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [14] Arkansas @ [24] Kentucky
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [15] Boise State @ [23] Ohio State
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [19] Minnesota @ Iowa State
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Michigan State @ [13] Illinois 
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – [2] Florida @ [3] LSU
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [8] Auburn @ Missouri
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [10] Oregon State @ Arizona State
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [22] Southern Utah @ Utah State
Saturday, February 21
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – [12] Penn State @ Pittsburgh
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [7] Nebraska, Sacramento State, Bridgeport @ [9] UCLA
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Iowa, BYU @ [17] Denver  
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [16] Stanford @ [4] Utah
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [18] Cal, Seattle Pacific @ [21] Washington
Sunday, February 22
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – [25] New Hampshire, Maryland, Rutgers @ West Virginia
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Hamline, Winona State, Gustavus Adolphus @ [19] Minnesota

Week 6 Rankings and RQS Outlook

Over the weekend, Florida recovered from their average road performance a week ago to record the season’s highest total so far, 198.225, which means the Gators jump right back up into their cozy little trio with Oklahoma and LSU. Ah, home meets. It’s a wonder what home+Baker+Hunter hitting can do for scores. 

In 10-land, the pace dropped off a little bit this week with just one 10.0 instead of the usual 6,000. The one 10.0 came from Toni-Ann Williams, Her Ladyship Duchess of Berkeley, on vault. It’s particularly significant because it’s the first 10.0 for Cal on vault ever. We also had several more 9.975s on bars, including Ivana Hong, because obviously, as well as Mary Jane Horth once again. 

If you haven’t had a chance to watch the LSU/Auburn meet from Friday yet, you really should. High-quality gymnastics in a competitive meet that went down to the final routine and was not defined by judging insanity (almost entirely). It was a good reminder of what’s fun about college gymnastics. I have to think that if Caitlin Atkinson had been in on floor, Auburn would have won. Scores were going in Auburn’s favor through that final rotation, but Hlawek had to perform in the final spot and just doesn’t have that 9.900 routine they needed.

In the comment of the live blog, a few people mentioned that it would be interesting if Auburn keeps this up and knocks Georgia out of the top-seeded session at SECs (it really would be). But, Georgia is the de facto host of SECs, and do we know if the SEC is mimicking the rules of the Pac-12, where the host school’s session goes in the evening regardless of seeding? Last year, if you recall, the Pac-12 Championship was at Cal. Since Cal was not in the top four in the conference, the top four seeds went in the afternoon and then the bottom four seeds went in the evening, and it was weird. 

That’s among the reasons I was pleased to hear that the Pac-12 Championship has been moved from ASU to Utah this year. We know Utah is going to be one of the top four seeds. Plus, they’ll put on a good event. But also, come on people. Planning! Shouldn’t this have been worked out, maybe, 8 months ago?

Moving onto the rankings, we’re just one week out of RQS kicking in, so I’ve included the current RQS picture for each team along with their season average ranking.  

Refresher: RQS stands for Regional Qualifying Score. It determines which 36 teams will advance to the Regional Championships and is calculated by taking a team’s top six scores, of which at least three must be road scores, removing the highest score, and averaging the remaining five.

Week 6 Rankings – (GymInfo)
1. Oklahoma – 197.536
Week 6: 197.275
Week 6 leaders: AA – None; VT – Capps 9.950; UB – Wofford 9.925; BB – Capps, Clark 9.850; FX – Scaman, Jackson 9.925

Current RQS: 197.620
Road Score 1: 198.150
Road Score 2: 197.700
Road Score 3: 197.650
Road/Home Score 1: 197.850
Road/Home Score 2: 197.625
Road/Home Score 3: 197.275

*Scores in bold are guaranteed to be part of the six RQS scores.

In spite of a, perhaps, unexpectedly meh showing over the weekend in which the Sooners were forced to look at the scoreboard and see all these weird 9.8-looking shapes that they didn’t recognize, Oklahoma is already set for the postseason when it comes to scores. There aren’t really any weak scores that need to be dropped, though they’ll surely get rid of that lowly 197 at some point (or every point) over the next five weeks, which will put them in a solid position to eclipse their RQS total from last season of 197.775. The problem is going to be catching them. Florida and LSU basically have to go mid-197 in every remaining meet to have a chance to see the year-end #1. An almost five-tenths advantage in RQS is tough to make up.

2. Florida – 197.325
Week 6: 198.225
Week 6 leaders: AA – Hunter 39.750; VT – Hunter, McMurtry 9.950; UB – Dancose-Giambattisto 9.950; BB – Hunter, Boyce 9.950; FX – Baker 9.975

Current RQS: 197.145
Road Score 1: 197.200
Road Score 2: 196.925
Road Score 3: 196.800
Road/Home Score 1: 198.225
Road/Home Score 2: 197.600
Road/Home Score 3: 197.200

There’s still some work to do on those road scores. That’s where Oklahoma’s advantage is the most extreme. Florida still has three road meets left, but the meet this weekend at LSU takes on slightly more significance since ideally they wouldn’t be counting any of the road scores they have put up so far. Of course, it doesn’t really matter if they finish the regular season #1, #2, #3, etc., but it’s a bragging rights thing, and perhaps there’s an argument for receiving “pre-ordained winner” scoring once Nationals comes along. The Sloan comeback talk is starting to ramp up, and if she is able to get back on a couple events relatively soon, don’t expect that 198 to be lonely for long.

3. LSU – 197.321
Week 6: 197.350
Week 6 leaders: AA – Gnat 39.550; VT – Courville 9.950; UB – Courville 9.925; BB – Jordan 9.925; FX – Gnat 9.950

Current RQS: 197.170
Road Score 1: 197.425
Road Score 2: 197.350
Road Score 3: 196.600
Road/Home Score 1: 198.075
Road/Home Score 2: 197.350
Road/Home Score 3: 197.125

In spite of falling behind Florida in average, LSU retains a slight lead in the RQS race. They have the advantage on Florida when it comes to those all-important road scores, and they’ll look to get rid of that straggling 196.600 when they go on the road to Alabama on the 27th, so expect the Tigers to start closing the Oklahoma gap with a hit meet. They could pick up a couple tenths with a mid-197. Over the weekend, LSU put up a good performance, even though we’ve come to think of lowish 197s as just average scores for top teams, lowish 197s are not all created equal, and this was a solid one. Still, they certainly let Auburn into the meet, which they probably shouldn’t have done. The main culprit was mistakes on floor, with Hall, Courville, and Savona all having some unexpected landing issues to put them in pedestrian 49.250 territory. 

4. Utah – 197.167
Week 6: 197.025
Week 6 leaders: AA – Wilson 39.375; VT – Delaney 9.950; UB – Dabritz 9.925; BB – Lothrop, Stover 9.875; FX – Dabritz 9.900

Current RQS: 197.030
Road Score 1: 197.850
Road Score 2: 197.025
Road Score 3: 196.900
Road/Home Score 1: 197.825
Road/Home Score 2: 196.725
Road/Home Score 3: 196.675

Utah remains competitive in RQS, just a notch behind the top three, which is how the rankings have looked pretty much the whole season so far. The Utes went on the road to Washington over the weekend and met with a monstrous villain named realistic scoring, which exposed some of the weaknesses in those lineups (as did the re-emergence of beam issues that had been kept under wraps so far). Well, not weaknesses, but 9.825s that do put them behind the teams ranked above.

Utah’s RQS picture has changed slightly this week now that they’re hosting Pac-12s. It means they have just two road meets left instead of three. It’s not much of an issue because their two lowest scores right now are home scores, but if they are of a mind to challenge the top three, they’ll have to make both of those remaining road meets count for, say it with me now, mid 197s. Everything is about mid 197s now. Mid 197 or bust.

5. Alabama – 196.938
Week 6: 197.800
Week 6 leaders: AA – Beers 39.650; VT – Bailey 9.925; UB – Bailey 9.950; BB – Beers 9.950; FX – Clark, Dennis, C Sims 9.900

Current RQS: N/A
Road Score 1: 196.700
Road Score 2: 196.175
Road Score 3: X
Road/Home Score 1: 197.800
Road/Home Score 2: 197.400
Road/Home Score 3: 197.325

Alabama doesn’t have an RQS yet because they don’t have three road meets yet. Which is weird. In my head, they’ve already had 20. The rest of the season schedule is very road-heavy, with four more away meets, so they have plenty of opportunities to boost the numbers there. But since they probably don’t want to count either of the road scores they have so far (that 196.175 needs to go), they’ll have to make them count. The Tide has not looked great on the road so far, but they’ll have a chance to turn that around on Friday at Georgia.

The outlook is positive because at home against Boise State over the weekend, Alabama put together their best meet of the season by a wide margin to move up a spot in the rankings. No missed performances, and most importantly, those bars routines (and dismounts in particular) were much improved. Katie Bailey nailed that meet, especially on vault and bars. Neither has looked better. 

6. Michigan – 196.929
Week 6: 196.725
Week 6 leaders: AA – Sugiyama 39.550; VT – Sugiyama 9.900; UB – Brown 9.950; BB – Artz 9.925; FX – Sugiyama, Chiarelli 9.900

Current RQS: 196.855
Road Score 1: 197.125
Road Score 2: 196.975
Road Score 3: 196.725
Road/Home Score 1: 197.300
Road/Home Score 2: 196.850
Road/Home Score 3: 196.600

The Wolverines are hosting conference championships this year, which means that like Utah, they have just two road meets remaining and are already guaranteed to count that 197.125. That’s a fine score, and Michigan’s consistency so far this year means that they don’t have any problem scores lurking around. This is a comfortably mid-top 10 RQS picture. They’ll want to throw in a couple more 197s as lower-ranked teams like Auburn start to do the same, just to make sure they stay afloat in either the 5/8/17 or 6/7/18 Regional where they’d be favored to advance comfortably. I’m already talking Regionals scenarios. Too early!

This weekend’s performance at Michigan State was just OK, with struggles on vault landings and another counting OOB from Artz on floor bringing the total down out of the 197s.

7. Nebraska – 196.492
Week 6: 197.075
Week 6 leaders: AA – DeZiel 39.550; VT – DeZiel 9.925; UB – DeZiel 9.900; BB – J Lauer 9.925; FX – Blanske, DeZiel 9.875

Current RQS: 196.325
Road Score 1: 197.075
Road Score 2: 196.250
Road Score 3: 195.875
Road/Home Score 1: 197.325
Road/Home Score 2: 197.125
Road/Home Score 3: 195.300

With Nebraska, we start to see an RQS picture that is a little more precarious if they are looking to retain this kind of ranking. The Huskers have just two road meets left, and two road scores that they’ll want to drop to be sure to stay in the top 10. That road outlook is why getting four relatively consistently hit rotations for a 197 over the weekend at Minnesota was critical, and it’s why it’s also critical that no beamtastrophes are allowed to creep in this weekend at UCLA.

8. Auburn – 196.271
Week 6: 197.300
Week 6 leaders: AA – None; VT – Demers, Rott 9.950; UB – Atkinson 9.875; BB – Walker 9.925; FX – Rott 9.900

Current RQS: 196.065
Road Score 1: 196.825
Road Score 2: 195.650
Road Score 3: 194.150
Road/Home Score 1: 197.300
Road/Home Score 2: 197.075
Road/Home Score 3: 196.625

Yes, those road scores are scary. Auburn started the season with two poor road meets, but they have been comfortably entrenched at home for nearly all the meets since, and have used that comfort to find their form. Like Alabama, they still have four road meets remaining, so they have ample time and talent to get rid of those nasties and zoom up the rankings even higher. Just a note: Auburn had the 4th-best score in the country over the weekend, and it was the top score in program history, which surprised me. They’ve never broken 197.3 before?

9. UCLA – 196.263
Week 6: 197.075
Week 6 leaders: AA – None; VT – Peszek 9.900; UB – Francis 9.875; BB – Francis 9.875; FX – Bynum 9.925

Current RQS: 196.100
Road Score 1: 197.075
Road Score 2: 196.000
Road Score 3: 194.725
Road/Home Score 1: 197.000
Road/Home Score 2: 196.800
Road/Home Score 3: 195.975

Like most of the other teams in this ranking section, UCLA needs to go work to get rid of some of those road scores and bolster that picture with a few more competitive scores in the high 196s, at least. We’ll probably see a big jump for UCLA after the meet at Arizona State on the 27th, at which point they can get rid of that 194. The problem for UCLA is that they don’t have any big scores to rely on. Every meet has had a problem, either big or small, including the season-high 197.075 on Saturday, which had a woeful lack of Peng, an off-ish 9.8 of a meet for Peszek, and a tucked bail handstand from DeJesus when they really needed one of her 9.9s.

10. Oregon State – 196.196
Week 6: 197.250
Week 6 leaders: AA – None; VT – Aufiero 9.925; UB – Aufiero 9.925; BB – Perez 9.875; FX – Everyone 9.925

Current RQS: 195.985
Road Score 1: 197.250
Road Score 2: 196.450
Road Score 3: 195.975
Road/Home Score 1: 196.250
Road/Home Score 2: 195.800
Road/Home Score 3: 195.450

Oregon State managed a huge 197.250 over the weekend at Cal, which featured a totally random 49.600 on floor in which every single person got a 9.925. That helps. The trouble for the Beavs in RQS is that they don’t have many competitive scores other than this new 197. They have five meets remaining in the regular season and three 195s that they must get rid of. Top 10 teams don’t count 195s in RQS. If they don’t start putting up 196.500-196.800 scores each week, at minimum, they’re one of the teams most vulnerable to getting stuck in those dreaded 1/12/13 and 2/11/14 Regionals again this year. 

11. Georgia – 196.096
Week 6: 196.200
Week 6 leaders: AA – None; VT – Rogers, Broussard 9.900; UB – Davis 9.925; BB – Rogers 9.900; FX – Box 9.875

Current RQS: 196.280
Road Score 1: 196.950
Road Score 2: 196.850
Road Score 3: 196.200
Road/Home Score 1: 196.975
Road/Home Score 2: 195.800
Road/Home Score 3: 195.600

Oh, Georgia. Why are you 11th? The good news for Georgia is that RQS makes them look so much better than season average does. RQS allows them to get rid of all those disaster meets and currently puts them right in contention with #7 Nebraska. Those road scores are much healthier than most of the teams ranked above, which helps a ton. Once again this week, Georgia started off looking OK. They got some solid vaults and bars hits (Vaculik! Finally!), but then a counting fall on beam destroyed the score. Now that Michigan has transformed into a safe beam team, Georgia is taking over the mantle of most frustratingly disastrous, underperforming beam team. Well, no, Stanford. Always and perpetually. But Georgia is there too.

Can we also discuss the sudden no-AAers trend? Five of the top 11 teams went without AAers this weekend. In truth, the biggest reason for that is injuries and resting rather than some big trend. You’d have Rogers, Peszek, Atkinson, and Tang/Gardiner in the AA under normal circumstances. But it’s still interesting to see. Oklahoma is the only exception to that. They’re the true “no-AA” team and have been for years. 

12. Penn State – 196.025
Week 6: 196.275
Week 6 leaders: AA – Sanabria-Robles 39.375; VT – Sibson 9.825; UB – Sanabria-Robles 9.875; BB – Sanabria-Robles 9.850; FX – Tsang 9.925

Current RQS: N/A
Road Score 1: 196.025
Road Score 2: 195.600
Road Score 3: X
Road/Home Score 1: 197.025
Road/Home Score 2: 196.550
Road/Home Score 3: 196.275

13. Illinois – 195.996
Week 6: 196.975
Week 6 leaders: AA – O’Connor 39.600; VT – O’Connor 9.950; UB – Horth 9.975; BB – Horth, Kato 9.900; FX – O’Connor 9.925

Current RQS: 195.800
Road Score 1: 196.975
Road Score 2: 195.475
Road Score 3: 195.175
Road/Home Score 1: 196.400
Road/Home Score 2: 196.175
Road/Home Score 3: 195.775

14. Arkansas – 195.958
Week 6: 196.650
Week 6 leaders: AA – Wellick 39.425; VT – Wellick 9.950; UB – Canizaro 9.875; BB – Dillard, Nelson 9.825; FX – Wellick 9.925

Current RQS: 195.820
Road Score 1: 196.250
Road Score 2: 196.250
Road Score 3: 194.900
Road/Home Score 1: 196.650
Road/Home Score 2: 196.325
Road/Home Score 3: 195.375

15. Boise State – 195.871
Week 6 A: 195.450
Week 6 A leaders: AA – Morris 39.275; VT – Perkins 9.900; UB – Perkins 9.950; BB – Jacobsen, Mejia 9.850; FX – Bennion, Krentz, Morris 9.825

Week 6 B: 195.925
Week 6 B leaders: AA – Morris 39.325; VT – Perkins 9.925; UB – Perkins 9.900; BB – Mejia 9.825; FX – Morris 9.875

Current RQS: 195.700
Road Score 1: 196.625
Road Score 2: 195.975
Road Score 3: 195.450
Road/Home Score 1: 196.725
Road/Home Score 2: 195.925
Road/Home Score 3: 194.525

16. Stanford – 195.821
Week 6: 196.225
Week 6 leaders: AA – None; VT – Rice 9.900; UB – Hong 9.975; BB – Rice 9.850; FX – Rice, Spector 9.925 

Current RQS: 196.060
Road Score 1: 196.525
Road Score 2: 196.275
Road Score 3: 195.950
Road/Home Score 1: 197.000
Road/Home Score 2: 196.225
Road/Home Score 3: 195.325

RQS is such a gift to Stanford every season. It makes the bad not happen. They’re suddenly ahead of Oregon State and right there with Auburn and UCLA.

17. Denver – 195.479
Week 6: 195.425
Week 6 leaders: AA – Menhinick 38.875; VT – McGee 9.875; UB – McGee 9.850; BB – Ross 9.800; FX – McGee 9.875

Current RQS: 195.540
Road Score 1: 196.150
Road Score 2: 195.500
Road Score 3: 195.425
Road/Home Score 1: 196.025
Road/Home Score 2: 195.900
Road/Home Score 3: 194.850

18. Cal – 195.436
Week 6: 196.225
Week 6 leaders: AA – Williams 39.700; VT – Williams 10.000, UB – Williams 9.875; BB – Palomares 9.900; FX – Williams 9.950

Current RQS: 195.390
Road Score 1: 195.425
Road Score 2: 195.175
Road Score 3: 194.875
Road/Home Score 1: 196.225
Road/Home Score 2: 195.900
Road/Home Score 3: 195.575

19. Minnesota – 195.432
Week 6: 196.675
Week 6 leaders: AA – Mable 39.675; VT – Mable 9.900; UB – Mable 9.875; BB – Mable 9.925; FX – Mable 9.975 (SWEEP!)

Current RQS: 195.335
Road Score 1: 196.875
Road Score 2: 195.375
Road Score 3: 193.350
Road/Home Score 1: 196.675
Road/Home Score 2: 196.325
Road/Home Score 3: 194.950

20. Arizona – 195.408
Week 6: Monday meet

Current RQS: 195.215
Road Score 1: 196.050
Road Score 2: 195.300
Road Score 3: 195.100
Road/Home Score 1: 196.375
Road/Home Score 2: 195.250
Road/Home Score 3: 194.375

21. Washington – 195.379
Week 6: 195.650
Week 6 leaders: AA – Northey 39.475; VT – Northey 9.875; UB – Northey 9.900; BB – Northey 9.900; FX – Northey, Stowe 9.800 (SWEEP #2!)

Current RQS: 195.195
Road Score 1: 196.300
Road Score 2: 195.550
Road Score 3: 194.500
Road/Home Score 1: 195.950
Road/Home Score 2: 195.650
Road/Home Score 3: 194.325

22. Southern Utah – 195.214
Week 6: 195.500
Week 6 leaders: AA – None; VT – Webb 9.825; UB – Armijo, Ramirez 9.850; BB – Trejo 9.875; FX – Trejo 9.775

Current RQS: 195.365
Road Score 1: 195.750
Road Score 2: 195.500
Road Score 3: 195.500
Road/Home Score 1: 195.650
Road/Home Score 2: 195.375
Road/Home Score 3: 194.800

23. Ohio State – 195.168
Week 6: 195.200
Week 6 leaders: AA – Funches 39.000; VT – Burns 9.850; UB – Funches 9.825; BB – Grady 9.850; FX – Mattern, Merkle 9.825

Current RQS: 195.085
Road Score 1: 195.650
Road Score 2: 195.200
Road Score 3: 194.675
Road/Home Score 1: 196.200
Road/Home Score 2: 195.025
Road/Home Score 3: 194.875

24. Kentucky – 195.113
Week 6: 194.425
Week 6 leaders: AA – None; VT – Mitchell, Waltz 9.775; UB – Rechenmacher 9.850; BB – Waltz 9.875; FX – Puryear 9.775

Current RQS: 194.970
Road Score 1: 195.825
Road Score 2: 194.975
Road Score 3: 194.425
Road/Home Score 1: 195.625
Road/Home Score 2: 195.600
Road/Home Score 3: 194.225

25. New Hampshire – 195.095
Week 6: Monday meet

Current RQS: N/A
Road Score 1: 193.450
Road Score 2: X
Road Score 3: X
Road/Home Score 1: 196.525
Road/Home Score 2: 195.900
Road/Home Score 3: 195.450