Category Archives: Live Blog

Utah @ Arizona State – Live Blog

Watch Live from 4:00 ET / 1:00 PT [NOTE CORRECT TIME – I had it wrong before]

Though Florida put up a tremendous score this week, it looks like all Utah has to do at this meet to retain the #1 ranking is score over 196.  That should be no problem for them, but that also should not be the concern for them.  With Pac-12s and Regionals both in Salt Lake City, this team will have few opportunities to become accustomed to competing on the road (and scoring on the road) before Nationals, so this meet takes on added importance both for eventual seeding and for road experience.  It will be important for Utah to get the freshmen Dabritz, Delaney, and Lopez in the lineup significantly over the next two weeks so they can be ready for a Nationals atmosphere.

The gymnast I’ll be paying the most attention to in this meet is Corrie Lothrop.  At least through the first month and a half of the season, she has made the successful transition out of the 9.825 territory with strong performances late in the beam and floor lineups.  She has been quite solid in landing her acro elements and appears to be performing with more confidence.  However, I do still have questions about her amplitude and landing positions.  Those questions were not shared by the judges at home, but how she scores on those events at an away meet will be very telling.

Commentary after the jump when the meet begins:

Is watching flames on a loop a form of hypnosis?

We got a little intro from our commentators for this meet, which was followed by the woman saying “I didn’t like that one.”  Love it.  I actually thought they were fine.  The male anchor seems more knowledgeable and engaged than they usually are.

Not a fan of these Arizona State leos with the ASU on the back.

First vaulter from ASU pikes slightly on her Yfull and lands to the side, and Lopez hits her DLO dismount for Utah on bars, but we didn’t see the rest of the routine.

Price for ASU sticks a nice Yfull. (9.850)

Hansen in for Utah on bars – a little close on jaeger and a leg separation on the pak.  Good tuck full dismount with a step – good to get her in the lineup, but I don’t see her staying there, though she has nice line. (9.750)

Sundby has good distance on her yfull but pikes down a bit with a step. (9.775)

Beers – she’s cleaned up this routine but a little leg sep and a late handstand on the low bar.  Just an inch backward on the DLO. (9.800)

Seaman – ASU – a little low on her YFull, but a pretty controlled landing.  It’s not national-class, but this is a solid vault rotation with nice difficulty. (9.775)

Jones – ASU has good power on her Yfull (9.875)

It looks like Dabritz is having trouble on her bar routine with her swing – couldn’t exactly see what it was, and then she had a broken handstand, but she hits her dismount well.  I hope she finds her consistency because she’s their best bar worker. (9.500)

Lothrop – hits both jaegers well and had nice position on her bail hs, step forward on the DLO.  I don’t think she hit a couple of her handstands quite vertically, but that was the biggest issue in the routine. (9.825)

ASU will send up only 5 vaulters, but they put up a very nice 49.000, led by Jones with a 9.875.

McAllister – long wait before this routine.  I don’t think there should be any problem with Lothrop’s start value – it seems very straightforward.  Here we go, a little close on the gienger, hits weiler and bail hs, good stick on the tuck full dismount. (9.875)

Damianova did an exhibition for Utah, and after one rotation we have a surprising tie score, each team at 49.000 on the first event.  Lofgren also exhibitioned on bars and showed off her nice line but had a few form breaks in her legs.

Rotation 2: Utah on vault, ASU on bars
Kahoku Palafox – quite possibly my favorite name in NCAA

Rew starts on bars for ASU and has a fall on her shaposh – she wasn’t really close to catching.

Good Yfull from McAllister – proper direction with a hop back.  Didn’t see Lothrop’s routine to start.

Strong stick on the YFull for Utah (they said it was Beers, but it wasn’t.  Tori Wilson, right?)

Jones hits a Shaposh but misses the handstand on the bail and has a big lunge forward on her DLO.  Looks like we missed Dabritz on vault for Utah.  Thanks.

Delaney – great height and distance on her Yfull – hop back.

Palafox dismounts with a DLO with a step forward – a bit of leg form several times throughout the routine.

A bit for leg form and a hop back on the latest Yfull from Utah. I believe it was an exhibition from Del Priore(?)

Good pak from Gades on bars, and stuck a cowboyed double front.  That’s their strongest routine so far.

Damianova exhibitions for Utah and sticks her Yfull very well.  This angle from behind is not the best for judging deductions.

Hangartner has a few issues on her bar routine, with a step forward on the double front.  Seaman catches her gienger extremely close and has to come off the bars – so ASU will be counting a fall and will drop way back after this rotation.  An injury appears to have happened there, but it was difficult to see.  Not sure what happened there, exactly.  Commentators say it may be a neck issue but that she is smiling.

On vault, Utah scores a 49.300, so they will be at 98.300 after 2, and it looks like ASU will be at 96.850.  If Utah wants to hit 197 this week, they will need to go 49.350 on each of the last two events.  197 is not completely necessary, and anything over 196.600 is a fine score for this meet, but 197 looks within reach.

Rotation 3: ASU on beam, Utah on floor
Jones – ASU – hits loso series right on the beam, solid punch front as well – hit start for ASU.

Tutka – Utah – tuck full mount, dance elements aren’t quite there but good body position on acro.  We can’t hear the floor music really at all – pet peeve alert! (9.800)

Robarts – Utah – good Dbl Arabian landing and high body position on the double pike.  This routine has notably improved since the beginning of the season. (9.850)

ASU is scoring well so far on beam – Gentile is next and hits her loso series and her double full dismount – this is a much stronger event for them than bars – much more confidence.

Delaney – Utah – a bit staggered on an otherwise strong tuck full, huge stumble on her second pass – a layout + layout full – they’ll hope to drop this score because that was several tenths right there, finishes with a double tuck with a slight slide to the side. (9.700)

Palafox – ASU – confident three series, weakness is the split positions and a stumble on a switch split – this will be their lowest so far.  Surprised she didn’t add in another leap after she broke her leap connection.

Dabritz – Utah – had no chance of controlling her pike full and fell back – very surprising mistakes from Utah here, so they will be counting Delaney’s score – a big stumble out of her 3/1 dismount as well.

Snowden – ASU – bend in the hips on her series, a slight wobble on choreo as well –

Lothrop – missed her first pass, solid on second pass – just a little stumble out of it and a bounce back on her double pike, should score well, but it’s not the 9.950 from last week. (9.900 – that’s still a little high for me, but precedent is a wonderful thing)

Steigerwalt – ASU – slight stumble back on ring jump – extremely low and off on her loso, no chance to save it, so they will be counting a 9.525 from Palafox, and another fall here, uh oh.

McAllister – She was completely off on her loso connection and had to put her hands down just at the end of the routine.  I never would have thought Utah would be counting a fall on floor, but they have to keep it together and show their usual consistency on beam now.

So Utah has their worst floor performance of the season to score a 48.550 on floor.  Now it’s about fighting to go positive on beam and get into the 196s.  They need to go 49.175 to break into the 196s for this meet, which should not be a problem for them if they hit to capability, but now it’s about mental recovery.

After three events, Utah 146.850, ASU 145.550

Rotation 4: Utah on beam, ASU on floor

Lopez – Utah – extremely tentative on her layout stepout series and comes off.  Utah did not count a fall on beam all of last season, they will be putting that to the test for the next five routines here.  Absolute must hits for them if they want to hold onto their position.  Hits a very nice double full dismount.

Seaman – ASU – she has returned from her injury on the bars, so that’s a great positive – can’t have been too serious.  Odd that the commentators were mentioning that she doesn’t watch her teammates routines – very un-NCAA.

McAllister – Utah – great on her three series, slight wobble on dance, hits double full dismount with a small slide back – very confident recovery.

Sundby – ASU – really fun mount – 2.5 + layout + shushunova, good height on her double back with a minor, minor slide of the front foot and a nice double pike to finish.

Lofgren – Utah – she is right on as well for this routine so far, no break in confidence so far after the Lopez fall,

Steigerwalt – ASU – a little low on double pike, same with the double tuck with a slide back as she came out of it – low again on dismount with slight stumble to the side.

Lothrop – Utah – small stumble on her aerial cartwheel but hits the loso series, sticks the double back dismount but still iwth a low chest.

Snowden – ASU – she has been showing a nice line on her events today – front double + front tuck – a little low on her second, they will need to work on these low landings to contend, we’ve seen a lot of them.  A little piked on her dismount, but a hit routine.

Beers – Utah – biggest deduction in this routine was a slide back on the gainer full – very solid on her acro – just a little sluggish in some of her movements for my taste – maybe a little deliberateness that comes across as tentativeness in some of these skills – she doesn’t attack the routine.

Jones – ASU – has an unfortunate fall on her double pike dismount – they can’t afford that from a gymnast of her calibre on floor.

Once again, Utah is able to avoid counting a fall on beam by putting up five strong routines that gave little away – only minor stumbles here and there – the scores should be strong and put Utah well over that 196 mark.  It will not be the score they hoped for, but a good recovery on the last event with a 49.300 to match their score on vault. (Good hit from Delaney in her beam exhibition as well.)

Odd from ASU on the last floor routine, they moved the sting mat out from under Gades and she had to put hands down in the middle of her choreography.

So that will do it here.  Utah will win the meet easily, but the score of 196.150 is much lower than what we expected and puts more pressure on their final two away meets.  They will have to count this 196.150 as one of their six scores for RQS.  The biggest issues in this meet for me were missed handstands and leg separations on bars and unexpected uncertainty on the floor tumbling, though McAllister’s fall did look to be a total fluke.  This will be a motivator for Utah on the road next week.  Dabritz is one of their top workers, and they cannot afford her to miss two of three routines – even when they are able to drop the score, it’s a potential 9.9 lost.

No competitive routines from Damianova today, but she did a few exhibitions and I expect to see her in a few lineups moving forward.

FINAL SCORE: Utah 196.150, ASU 194.000

The Friday Scores

Lots of important meets to follow tonight.  I’m giving the edge for highest score of the week to Florida right now, since they are rapidly improving and are at home against SEC opposition.  At this point, it’s almost like I’m rooting for crazy scores just so we can see how high they’ll go.  You know they’re hoping for 198. You might be too.

In addition to our usual meets, Oklahoma will be competing in the Perfect 10 Challenge (like the judges do every week this year) and UCLA will be taking on BSU, Missouri, and Illinois at IGI Chicago Style. Oklahoma will be providing live scores as usual for their meet, but we’ll probably have to follow Chicago Style via telegram or something.  “Dear Val – Stop.  Don’t stop!” Last year, gymnastike did a live broadcast of the NCAA meet at Chicago Style.  They’ve never tried again.

In the news, Brianna Brown of CGA has verballed to Georgia.  This is not a surprise given the discussion a while back about Jay getting himself on board the CGA train in a big old way.  Since Whitcomb, Jetter, and Williams were already spoken for, it was assumed he would be courting Brown and Hundley. Priessman is in a different boat since elite success in the next quad may alter her NCAA trajectory.

Follow after the break as we start with the Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Arkansas meets.

For Alabama, Lindsey Fowler is coming in for Lora Frost on floor, meaning that they are showing only two routines from freshmen (Kaitlyn Clark on VT and UB).  Priess will not be competing floor, and Sledge will be anchoring that rotation.

Sledge starts Alabama with 9.800 on bars – for me it’s the 2nd best routine in the rotation usually.

Alexin scores 9.775 – we’ll be looking for who can get those 9.85s leading into the fianl two routines.  They’ll need them eventually, but Clark goes 9.750 and Demeo follows with a fall – meaning Stack-Eaton and Priess will have pressure to go 9.9s to put up a solid rotation score.

Stack-Eaton goes 9.850 and Priess has a slight issue on her dismount – so this will not be a huge score.  Well, we won’t see another 197.7 this week from them – unless they go, what, 49.550 the rest of the way.  Who knows this year…

After rotation 1: Kentucky goes 48.775 to trail Alabama’s 49.000.

Over in Florida, Marissa King got a 9.725 on vault, so there’s no point to continue living.  Alaina Johnson goes 9.950, so they’ll manage to get along somehow…They end up dropping King’s score and counting a 9.800 from Spicer.  Everyone else is 9.875+ to give Florida 49.400 – putting them on pace for 197.600 if it continues, how pedestrian…LSU should be pleased by a 49.150 on bars – when they go positive on events other than vault, it’s a good day.

Kayla Williams actually came in on vault for Ashley Priess – she wasn’t on the original lineup because of a wrist injury.  Clark and Williams both start with 9.750s – you know when you’re away from home. Sledge and Gutierrez go closer to what we usually expect from them – 9.850 and 9.900 respectively.  If they want to go 197, they have to keep up those 9.9s for the final two.

(Okay, we have to talk about Ashanee Dickerson going into the 9.9s on bars for the second time in a row at home…)

Milliner doesn’t get the kind of score she got last week, so only Gutierrez goes into the 9.9s, and they total 49.100.  They’ll have the clear lead, but they will have to step up the performance on the last two to be nationally competitive this week or to have a hope of hanging onto #2.  Even away, 49.100 on their best event is not a great sign.  After 2: Alabama 98.100, Kentucky 97.525.

Florida gets four 9.900s to go 49.475 on bars (what, only?)  I might have been wrong, they’ll have to go around 49.550 to get to 198.  Still, 197.5+ should be very doable with hit routines.  LSU has a two event total of a very strong 98.450.

Over in Georgia, Sarah Persinger has a 9.850 on vault, which is the top score I can recall from her this year.  Grable has a lower 9.750 on bars for Arkansas – it’s their most difficult event to score well, so they’ll just hope to get some positive scores at the end of the lineup so they can move on to stronger pastures.

Georgia records a strong 49.275 on vault, led by Ding’s 9.900.  This is the pace they need to go over 197 this week (which should be the goal), but they will hope to go higher on bars, where they have a little more 9.9 potential.  Arkansas has no gymnasts go higher than 9.800 on bars, this is the chink in their armor – 48.900.

Alabama starts with a 9.600 from Fowler on floor followed by a slightly below-par routine from Jacob with a struggle on the dismount, so she scores 9.700. (They are showing a lot of depth – 11 competitors today so far).  Millner – 9.800, Gutierrez – 9.825.  Just the one 9.9 routine for them so far tonight, Gutierrez on vault.  REALLY important for them that Stack-Eaton has come back on floor.

Sledge gets the highest score for Alabama on floor with a 9.875, so they continue the trend and score 49.050 on floor.  They will need a strong beam rotation to break 196.500, which is the bare minimum they will need to keep pace.  With all the tightly packed teams, they could fall as low as probably 6th if they don’t record a good beam score.

Florida’s beam rotation is led by Kytra Hunter’s 9.925, so they maintain their significantly more astronomical pace, at 148.225.  That means they would need a 49.550 to tie their national-leading score, which probably won’t happen, but they will be in line for best score of the week.

Over in Oklahoma City, Sara Stone leads the Sooners to 49.275.

Ack – Shayla has another issue on bars for Georgia (it’s always something), meaning they will count Tanella’s 9.750 – opening the door for Arkansas who scored 49.300 on vault.  Kat Ding saves the day, so Georgia scores a respectable 49.175 and maintain the lead over Arkansas by .250.

Milliner hits solidly for 9.800, but Sledge has a wobble-factory routine for 9.650 — that’s exactly what we didn’t see from them last week, but Kim Jacob hits well for 9.850.  That should provide necessary momentum.  No wait, momentum halted (kind of) – Gutierrez has a big bend and scores 9.750, which will have to count.

Oklahoma scores 49.125 on bars, led by 9.850s from Olson and Ward.  They are at 98.400 after two rotations.

The 9.700 from Demeo will also have to count, so Priess has to go 9.750 to make sure the team hits 196.  She didn’t do it after an error on her full Korbut gave her 9.625.  Alabama’s final score is 195.900 to Kentucky’s 194.700.  A very disappointing road score for the Tide – they are yet to record a big one – and will likely see them fall in the rankings.

Insane score watch: Florida is already at 49.500 on floor with Hunter still to go.  They will score at least 197.725 this week, and they will break their own record if Hunter goes 9.925.

AH! Hunter goes 9.975 (and breaks 9.9 on all three of her events)- so Florida scores 49.625 on floor and ends with a new season record of 197.850.  We’re getting closer!  And Florida still has home meets against Georgia and Utah still to come, so expect the scores to get even louder. LSU also records an excellent 196.750, their season high by far.

Over at Chicago Style, Zamarripa will not be competing vault because of the hard surface at this kind of meet.  A prudent, if disappointing, decision.

Georgia effectively avoids counting a disaster from Davis on beam and gets Shayla to recover for a 9.900.  Their total is another 49.175.  They would need to be excellent on floor (not a given) to break 197.  Arkansas is not having their best meet after Grable had an uncharacteristic 9.400 on floor.  They will need to hit beam for 9.8s to stay above 196.

Without Zamarripa, UCLA goes just 49.275 on vault, which is quite low for them this year.  MDLT will be returning to the bars lineup this week, which is an important step as she should be one of their 6 best.  No Wong, and Whitcomb is still not coming into the lineup.  (Also, you’ll be shocked to know, no Frattone or Baer either.)

While the 49.275 is low for UCLA, I would put my goal for them this meet around 196.700+ (enough to be their highest road score), and they are certainly on pace for that.

Over at Georgia, Kat Ding came in for the AA tonight (yay!) and scored a 9.750 on floor, which is sort of a mixed feelings score.  It’s great that she came in (and scored 39.450 in the AA), but they need higher scores than that.  For Arkansas, their oddly off night continues when Pisani has a 9.350 on beam.  Florida will feel confident about moving up to #2.

Oklahoma avoids counting a fall on beam and scores an excellent 49.350 – Three event total is 147.750

Like Alabama, Arkansas has faltered on the road with a total of 195.875, going below 49 on three events.  For having what seemed the whole time like an off meet, Georgia scores a respectable 196.725 with consistent performances on each event.  (Kat Ding wins the All-Around with 39.450!)

Thankfully, we do have live scoring for Chicago Style.  We won’t need those carrier pigeons after all.  UCLA has another OK, but not so great rotation, scoring 49.175 on bars and falling back to the pack a little bit.  They have no business making this meet close.  Peszek has had two lower scores and probably won’t win the AA for the first time this season.

Oklahoma continues their extremely solid 9.875 of a meet, and they will definitely break 197.  With Ferguson’s 9.95 on floor, they will score 197.200.  So they are set for road scores (the only team in that position) and need to focus on a few more good home scores.

Still no Courtney on balance beam for UCLA, which is a shame since she was the only one hitting that well tonight.  Wong and Baer still in the lineup, no Zamarripa here either.

Final update: Similarly to Georgia, UCLA appears to have an average meet by their standards, but they score well, recording a 196.850, which is a very helpful road score for them and is progress toward removing that 194.600 from memory.

What’s a Super Bowl? UCLA/Stanford Live Blog

Stanford @ UCLA: Watch Live

UCLA has scheduled today’s meet at 12:30pm local time as a way of giving us something to enjoy before I begin my annual exercise in complaining about how the rules of football are stupid.

[tangent] Okay, so a guy gets tackled, and then he just flings the “ball” (it’s a prolate spheroid, goobers) anywhere, and then the referee collects it and places it at some random spot where he assumes it landed. And then they get out those chains and measure for a first down, and he says, “Oopsie, you missed it by two millimeters,” even though he just set it down where he thought it stopped using the scientific measurement of pointing to the grass with his toe.  And everyone just thinks it’s fine and treats the spot like it’s inarguably accurate.  That would be like us not questioning any of the cracked out scores we see in gymnastics. What is happening? [/tangent]

Through three meets, Stanford has revealed that they are truly a lackluster team without Hong and Shapiro, and I don’t expect them to be relevant in the national conversation until they get both back competing regularly on many events (so…never).  UCLA needs to be in full recovery mode after last week.  I expect any “disciplinary issues” to be magically resolved so that the best possible lineup can be in on each event.  The judges will also have made note of the scoring of Alabama’s vault rotation on Friday, and may view this as an “anything you can score, I can score higher” opportunity.  Watch the score on Kaelie Baer’s opening vault as a helpful barometer of what we’ll need to laugh about for the rest of the week.  If UCLA can manage to hit five routines on each event, I would be surprised if they don’t go over 197.  Just like with Alabama’s beam dismounts, we’ll need to watch UCLA’s bar routines to see if some of those same-bar releases are getting in.  These shaposhnikovas aren’t doing it for me.

Follow along after the jump for live commentary.

UCLA’s Super Action Hero Super Bowl (don’t worry, I don’t either…) meet is soon to get underway, and we’ll also be following the scores of Arkansas/Oklahoma, each in their second meet of the weekend.  Oklahoma needs to pick up the scoring from Friday if they are going to resist a drop in the rankings.

Over in Arkansas, Grable and Pisani lead the way on vault, giving the team a 49.325 to open.  Oklahoma looks consistently 9.85 on bars for 49.275.  This could be pretty close all the way to the end.  Pay attention to these scores instead of the off-off-off-off-Broadway production of Urinetown that’s happening at the UCLA meet right now.  It’s 12:30 and we’re not even close to lineups, so take your time.

Oh god, they roped Stanford into doing the superhero thing, too?  I apologize to everyone on behalf of everyone.  And UCLA didn’t even wear the capes?  UCLA is getting outshone on their own theme.  MDLT is carrying a dog for no reason.  Can it hit beam?

80’s a cappella featuring Overenthusiastic Yellow Pants Girl is back to sing the national anthem.

(Note that Oklahoma just scored 49.525 on vault.  Oklahoma leads 98.800 to 98.550)

Uh oh for UCLA, Gerber has an ankle sprain and Courtney is sick.  This beam rotation will be interesting…maybe not the scoring expectation overall that we had coming in.

Yuck, Joe Morgan is in the crowd.  It’s cheating.  He’ll egotistically bore everyone to death.

Rotation 1

Baer – UCLA – solid start with leg form on the horse and a hop back. (9.825)

Wing – ST – a little iffy in the legs to start – looked good in the tuck dismount but took a big hop back. (9.750)

Larson – UCLA – good form and direction, it was difficult to judge the landing because of the camera angle, but it should score more than Baer’s 9.825. (9.875)

Dayton – ST – sloppy legs and a little bit of a WOGA tkatchev, stuck the DLO but had to swim for it, so it will incur deductions. (9.725)

Wong – UCLA – slightly under on her Yfull as usual, and a little piked in it – I’ve never really seen why she’s in the lineup sometimes on vault. (9.850 – high)

Shapiro – ST – interested to see this routine.  How are the handstand?  This is a solid, clean routine from her overall.  Remember when she was the great bars hope as a junior? (9.875)

Peszek – UCLA – hop back on a vault that she’s been sticking most of the year, but good power and direction.  Needs a little more distance for me, though. (9.900)

S. Morgan – ST – she does the distracting one foot at a time thing, but good line in this routine. (9.875)

Frattone – UCLA – hop forward – like Peszek she needs to be sticking – and then a larger step to salute after the small hop.  This isn’t the 49.500 level rotation that we’ve been seeing. (9.900)

A Moregan – ST – Kristen has been hyping this routine this year.  It’s too sloppy for me and her DLO had a big hop back. (9.725)

Zam – UCLA – A little hop in place and a lean forward to hold onto the landing.  Judges can take a full tenth for this if they want to. (9.950)

Pechanec – ST – good original composition and a stuck DLO, their best routine of the rotation by far.  She’s much cleaner and more confident than the rest of the team. It’s a question of depth when they are sending up a routine like Ashley Morgan fifth. (9.900)

After Rotation 1: UCLA 49.475, Stanford 49.125
UCLA probably needed a bigger boost from the rotation even more than their large 49.475.  It’s a big score, but there is concern about the other events especially with Gerber and Courtney out.  They’ve vaulted much better than that this year.  It’s a fine score for Stanford, but Wing and Dayton just aren’t quite there – too much sloppiness in the legs to put up usable routines.

Rotation 2

Frattone is in the lineup for UCLA on bars…nail biting time. (Hong is vaulting!)

Meyer – ST – handspring front pike with feet apart but stuck. (9.825)

Frattone – UCLA – hit the jaeger this week – the handstands were not there and a hop on the dismount – but a necessary hit. (9.775)

Hanset – ST – handspring front pike with 1/2, very low and a step forward – commendable originality, but a lot to deduct for. (9.800 – high)

Baer – UCLA – (this is nearly B team again this week) – big leg separation on her pirouettes and then she hits the bar.  Very low on the dismount.  Pressure to hit now. (9.200)

A Morgan – ST – Yhalf with a large hop forward and to the side – that’s the biggest risk on the Yhalf. (9.875)

Larson – UCLA – I don’t like this closeup angle on the bars – not a great tkatchev, but it’s good that she’s adding it.  Smaller stumble back on the dismount – not her best routine, but it’s important to get this composition into competition. (9.775)

Pechanec – ST – yfull (missed it)

Peszek – UCLA – very clean hit for her – one of her better routines with the stuck dismount (though flung out) – this will score well (9.875)

Dayton – ST – hits her Yhalf – it was better than Morgan’s.  How high will the judges go?

Wong – UCLA – this is a bit of a makeshift lineup today – by far her best bar routine of the year in that there were no major mistakes – a hop on the dismount and a little unclean in places, which is almost guaranteed with her composition. (9.800)

Hong – ST – great to see her in this lineup.  Hop back on her yfull.  Allison is pretending that Ivana was one of her WOGA teammates, like they were there at the same time. (9.900)

Zam – UCLA – a clear leg separation on her bail handstand and a hop back on the dismount.  Maybe her best of the season, but let’s step up the composition. (9.950 – that’s just ignoring what you see.  It’s a very clean routine, but there were two clear .05 deductions.)

Whitcomb is getting better every time she exhibitions, and they need to get her into this lineup soon.  The gienger still needs some work, but the handstands and bail have improved.

Zamarripa’s score saved UCLA’s overall pretty sloppy rotation.  Peszek and Zamarripa were the only ones who brought it.  Stanford enjoyed the consistent scoring on vault from the first rotation to put up a 49.300, and UCLA goes 49.175 on bars.

After 2 rotations: UCLA 98.650, Stanford 98.425
It’s not the kind of score UCLA needs on bars usually, but for having to put in Baer and Frattone, it’s a victory.  Where was MDLT?  She has good scoring potential here.  It’s very important for Stanford to get Hong into these lineups, but they’ll need to work on most of their landings in order to earn those 9.9s in the future.  The amplitude also isn’t yet competitive with the top teams.

Rotation 3:
UCLA scraped through bars without having to count anything bad, but we’ve got a Gerber-less beam rotation, and a (potentially) EHH, Gerber, Courntey-less floor.

Wong – UCLA – some wobbles here and there, but they’ll take wobbles if she stays on.  1.5 with a hop forward on dismount.  Clear deductions, but they can count this score. (9.775)

Dayton – ST – hands down on dbl pike after a stiff-legged landing.  It looked like she had it in the air, but she jammed into the mat and had to secure herself.  1.5 + front dismount was sloppy in the legs and low. (9.100)

Larson – UCLA – wobble on free walkover, but hits her series pretty well, weird wobble on her ring jump – I don’t like that skill on her anyway.  She still doesn’t look certain in this routine, but she never really did as an elite either.  Lowish on her double full with a hop forward. (9.800)

Wing – ST – effectively using bangs to seduce the judges – bit lunge back on double pike mount – this choreography is not making me feel safe – stumble on her front tuck out of the dismount.

Baer – UCLA – can she hit the dismount this week?  She was nice until the end last week.  Her split positions are excellent.  Hits the dismount this week with a small step.  She looked very nervous going into it, but she hit it.  Her back leg was a little off on the loso, but she saved it. (9.850) If she can keep doing that, a lineup spot may be hers over Wong, Frattone, or Courtney.

S Morgan – ST – opens with a dbl tuck, then does what I would refer to as a “side illusion turn” – that is not what it’s supposed to look like.  Her tumbling is more confident than the first two.  Nothing too impressive, but it was relatively clean. (9.700)

Zam – UCLA – beautiful full turn and onodi – big wobble on her loso – that’s a shame she was perfect until then – hop back and a little legs on the dismount.  Could have been a great score. (9.825)

Hanset – ST – solid 2.5 opening, a little low on the double pike – it may be because we can’t really hear the music, but these routines seem super boring. (9.850)

EHH – UCLA – important that she’s competing this week.  Hits her illusion this time (that’s what it’s supposed to look like).  Maybe a small step on her dismount, but few deductions in this routine.  Should be the biggest score of the rotation. (9.900)

Pechanec – ST – nice double tuck opening, her dance elements are far superior to the rest of the team.  A little out of control on her front full, but the best routine for them in my mind. (9.900)

Peszek – UCLA – only real deductions were a wobble on the loso and a hop on the dismount, but this routine is way too easy for her.  It’s hard to be impressed. (9.875)

Morgan – ST – way low on her DblA with a stumble forward – just layouts as the second pass – the first pass will keep her from scoring too well. (9.825)

Frattone stays on for her exhibition, but had a weird mistake on her switch split.  And a major mistake with OOB for Stanford on their floor exhibition.

UCLA slays the beam monster to an acceptable degree with a  49.250 to beat Stanford’s 49.000 on floor.  UCLA needs 49.100 on floor to make the 197 mark.

After 3 rotations: UCLA 147.900, Stanford 147.425
Stanford has struggled on beam so far this year, so this is a major hurdle if they are going to go into the 196s for the first time this year.  Interesting that UCLA has competed only 7 gymnasts through three rotations – how very un-UCLA.  [Score change – Larson goes to 9.800 from 9.725]

Rotation 4:
Important that EHH is in on floor (if she’s well) because they don’t have Gerber or Courtney.  Pressure will be on Wong and Pritchett to show they belong in this lineup.

Wing – ST – this is my favorite event for her, good line and deliberate style – a few wobbles and a little overall uncertainty in this routine , but this is a good necessary hit. (9.825)

Frattone – UCLA – hits her opening two passes well with good body position on landing – that’s improved since the first meet – now let’s watch this shushunova…I think she totally forgot her choreo for a moment – the shushunova was bad again. (9.800)

Pechanec – ST – even though it’s a total white knuckle rotation, I like Stanford’s gymnasts on this event. Another strong hit for them. (9.750 – did I miss something?)

Pritchett – UCLA – hits her tuck full quite well, maybe a little low chest – dances out of her second pass well to cover the lunge forward – another low chest on the double pike, but it’s a solid hit routine that should be in the 9.8 range. (9.875)

AMorgan – ST – really confident routine with a stuck double back dismount – this is an overall improvement for this team. (9.875)

Wong – UCLA – a tiny bounce back on the double pike, but she’s hitting really well in the AA today – hits dbl tuck dismount with good body position. (9.900)

SMorgan – ST – great landing on her series – this is a necessary confidence meet for Stanford – very strong on her acro and a stuck dismount – very strong. (9.875)

Larson – UCLA – she HAS to hit this week – stumbles a little out of her front 2/1 – great form on her second pass  and hits her triple turn – huge lunge out of her 2.5, but it finally counts as a hit routine.  Maybe she can move onward and upward from here. (9.875 – okay…)

Great hit from Stanford (Alyssa Brown?) with few mistakes. (9.700 – Hm?)

Peszek – UCLA – only a minor bounce out of her nice DLO, and a bigger bounce out of her dbl pike – that’s been her biggest deduction on floor all season, bouncing out of all her tumbling passes.

Hong – ST – a little wobble on loso – leans way forward to save her side somi, but hits her sheep jump very well.  Back pike dismount – not a great routine, but great to get her into the lineup. (9.700)

EHH – UCLA – still doing that double tuck mount, but at least she does it perfectly.  Huge bounce out of her dbl pike with an OOB, so they’ll drop this score, but they already had 5 countable routines. (9.750 – that’s still too high)

Overall, not UCLA’s best gymnastics, so they will be happy to get out of it with a very solid 197.250 (which, based on the rest of the country this season, isn’t even a huge score).  It’s enough to help them keep pace with the rest of the top 7, and is commendable without Gerber and Courtney.  They will not fall in the rankings.

It’s not a great score in the long run for Stanford, but it is good progress for them to get into the 196s.  They need to build on this performance.

FINAL: UCLA 197.250, Stanford 196.450

Other final: Oklahoma 197.425, Arkansas 196.175.  The first real break we’ve seen from Arkansas this season, they had to count some 9.7s on beam and a fall on floor.  The 9.9s were falling all over the place for Oklahoma.  Watch out for Oklahoma’s road RQS.  This marks the second time they’ve broken 197.4 on the road.

Massive Friday Live Blog – Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Utah

Follow along after the jump from 8:00 ET/5:00 PT for live commentary on Florida @ Alabama and other national scores.

Florida/Alabama: Watch Live
Georgia/Utah: Watch Live

Of these four major teams competing tonight, Alabama is under the most pressure.  Remember, they are the defending champions.  Somehow, it’s easy to forget that.  If any of the other three bomb out, they still have at least one big score to fall back on.  If Alabama does, they will really suffer with confidence and rankings.  The performance against Auburn exposed the need for Stack-Eaton to be in that lineup for them to be truly successful.  Priess can’t carry them alone.  These freshmen need to start being more effective contributors, and the sophomores need to break out of their 9.800-9.850 range.

Utah is the #1 team in the country.  It’s been a while.  In contrast to some of the other teams and gymnasts (with Kytra Hunter the notable exception), Utah stands out because their freshmen have really stepped up to contribute big scores and lead rotations.  Georgia put together a good meet last week, but they still have a few more holes in their lineups than Utah does, which, combined with the influence of home advantage, makes me favor Utah.  Georgia and Florida are in similar situations where they both need to prove that last week is the rule not the exception.

Stuff and nonsense here:

Popping in with an update—beleaguered Michigan, with their 2 ¼ healthy gymnasts, scraped along to a languid 194.650 against West Virginia’s 194.000.  If they even had six bar routines, they could have managed at least a 195, but Zurales did only vault and floor.  If they had even a little depth, they would be a top 10 team.

If you ever want evidence that win-loss record is meaningless and should never be used to evaluate anything in college gym, know that Michigan is undefeated on the season.

We’re “thirty” minutes out from Alabama/Florida, but Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska should be getting underway “soon”—though remember that everything in NCAA gym happens 18 minutes late.  According to the lineups, Arkansas will be sending up only five gymnasts on floor.  This is troubling, but Grable and Pisani have been worth 1.5 routines this year anyway, so they may not notice.  On the other hand, Nebraska is finally fielding six floor workers, so it’s a February miracle.

Turned on the Alabama broadcast.  The cheerleaders are trying to tumble on floor.  Oh sweet heavens the form and the falls.  This is some Becky Cameron nonsense out there on the floor right now.

Oh good.  More dance contests.  Aren’t we having fun?  This is why I have trouble with some SEC meets.  It’s like they don’t trust the crowd to enjoy the gymnastics.

In tolerable news, Oklahoma and Nebraska are level at 49.225 after one rotation.

We had a tolerable vault with a good landing and just a little form to start from Clark to start for Alabama.

Priess is vaulting.  Hmmm, unexpected.

Ashanee had wonky handstands and toes as always.  Remember that time she got a 9.925 last week?  Didn’t stick the dismount, and she needs that to make the judges forget.

Good distance from Sledge on vault, but a low chest and hop back.  She can do better.

Kytra was pretty clean throughout her routine, one of her better ones.  Tried to hold on to the stick on her tuck full dismount.

Gutierrez sticks with a minor leg sepraration.  It will be telling what the judges do.

The DLOs aren’t quite in place for Florida tonight.  King a little short.

Really important that Stack-Eaton is back for Alabama.  Good vault with a slide back, a little body position that I didn’t like – but she had that on her 10 as well, so…

Macko is getting her bars back.  The handstands still aren’t quite there, but it will come.

Milliner sticks an excellent Y1.5, one of the best I’ve seen her do.  I could see 9.95 here.  The judges go 10, but she didn’t quite have the legs for it for me – it’s sort of like when Tauny Frattone sticks.  The judges judged themselves into a corner here after the 9.950 for Gutierrez, for me the vaults were essentially equivalent, but Milliner’s was more difficult.

Johnson performs her usual beautiful routine, but had to struggle to hold on to the landing, and that will hurt her.

I wasn’t paying attention to the scores until now that we’re in exhibition territory.  Alabama goes 49.600 on vault, which is colossal.  Across the board I think everyone was about .05 high, which is to be expected at home.  It was a very nice rotation that can get better.  Where do you go from 49.600?  Judging on bars appeared to be mostly appropriate, but Florida seem just a bit tight in those handstands, which prevented them from going higher.

After Rotation 1: Alabama 49.600, Florida 49.225
Vault hasn’t been the problem for Alabama this season, so we’ll see where they go from here on bars.  Florida needs to find some competitive 1st and 2nd vaults.  They can’t be scoring in the 9.7s.

Rotation 2
Good distance from Spicer, some leg separation and perhaps a slide back.

Really aggressive, strong routine from Sledge with a gorgeous DLO.  Have I mentioned how this shouldn’t be first?

Ellis has a big step back on vault, but good enough form and direction.

Alexin rushes these handstands, which makes the routine look uncertain and sloppy.  No stick.

Ashanee’s usual vault with a big step back.  Important to have Johnson in this lineup with a nice vault, not her 2011 level yet, though.  The landing will come.

I’m not wild about the composition for Demeo at the beginning, but it’s an efficient routine with a hit jaeger.  Near stick on DLO.

Marissa King had a little hop on landing, and then did a major leap on her salute.  If they’re feeling picky, they could deduct for it, which would bring her way down.

Just a small step on the dbl arabian for Stack-Eaton – a good routine after missing last week with just one short hs.

Hunter has a Y1.5 with excellent form, a .1 hop forward on dismount.  The legs were better than Milliner, though.

Priess hits well to end things for Alabama, just a little piked on the DLO and a step back.

In all, this rotation was solid, but not the level of gymnastics from either team that we saw in the last one.  If Sledge were competing 5th, she probably would have gone 9.925.  They NEED those kind of scores in this rotation.

Both teams go 49.250 in this rotation, meaning our running total is Alabama 98.850, Florida 98.475
Alabama has the big guns in and they are going for that 197 mark.  I’m really interested to see who is the stronger floor team tonight.  That will be a big battle in April.

Rotation 3:
Great solid leadoff on beam from Jacob except for a seemingly unnecessary wobble on the popa and a step on dismount.

Ferguson leads off floor with a hit, energetic routine, very 9.800.

Milliner puts up another very strong beam routine, but she always looks scared to death when she competes beam, which takes you out of her routine.  Also, I hate that color lipstick, but mostly the scared to death thing.

Stageberg is a little low on her mount, but hits the second pass beautifully.  It’s good, clean, early-lineup gymnastics.  It’s not BIG, but it’s solid.

Sledge had some minor wobbles, and like Milliner, I’m not convinced that she believes on this event, but she hit well, so it’s a victory.

I’m not really feeling the dbl arabian for Marissa King, it’s a little low and looks like she stumbles out of it even when she doesn’t.  Poor second pass, low with a large step forward.  They’ll probably need to drop this.

Obviously a basic Miley Cyrus deduction during Gutierrez’s set on beam, but that was the biggest flaw in another hit routine.

Crazy cowboy and step back from Johnson on her dbl arabian, she did very well to even get that around to her feet.  She still has a little bit of elite disease where she only remembers to perform when she’s not doing a skill.

Thus far, Alabama looks like the better prepared team, which is accounting for the scores.  Another hit from Demeo (with another gainer full.  ugh, go away).  Even the gymnasts who look scared to death aren’t wobbling much.

Good secure tumbling from Dickerson, the most solid competitor so far.  We were never worried during her routine like some of the others earlier in the lineup.

Priess hitting beam.  Her L turn is very CGA.  And another hit from the gainer full sisters.  I have higher expectations for Alabama than that.  Is there any reason to?

Kytra just has another level of elevation, even more than power gymnasts like Dickerson.  When we talk about a distinctive quality – that’s it.  They’ve been working on her leaps.  Just a little low on her dismount.

In rotation 3, Alabama goes 49.425 and Florida goes 49.100.  Totals: Alabama 148.275, Florida 147.575. Both on a nice pace.  Alabama would have to go 49.500 on floor to match Florida’s season record to this point, which I don’t see happening, but they would need a notable mistake to prevent them breaking 197. Away from home, if Florida can go high 196s, that’s a very respectable score.  No shame in that even if they lose.  Alabama has a point to prove.  After this meet, I would like them to prove the difficult beam dismount point that they were trying to prove when they were training all those double pike dismounts.

Over in the land of Utah people, Georgia leads by a nose after the first rotation.  Highest scores are 9.925s from Dabritz on vault and Ding on bars – no surprise with either of those.

Rotation 4:
Stageberg hits to start.  The series+dismount combo is even more popular this year, but we’re seeing that it doesn’t quite work on everyone, just a little sloppy here.

Kim Jacob’s routine is very elite circa 2003, does anyone else get that feeling?  She usually leads off this rotation with a low 9.8, and this should be no different.

Florida getting in on the gainer full act with Spicer, this is what she was recruited for – solid early-rotation gymnastics and an ability to hit beam in all situations.

Good hit from Ashley Sledge, though I almost feel the same way about layout+layout middle passes as I do about gainer fulls.  Better than average double pike dismount.

Beam is still Johnson’s weak event, but she hits.  The team looks more confident than I’ve seen them lately on beam.  It’s not stellar, but it’s clear they’ve had more numbers.

Frost is low on her DLO mount but stands it up well enough.  She needs to commit to this routine a little bit more, it could be a fun one.  You could see that problem coming on the double tuck dismount, but she didn’t put a hand down.  It’s great that she has a DLO, but is this a lineup-worthy routine? (9.625 is high for a routine with those mistakes…)

Ashanee hits her dbl back dismount well (now that’s a beam dismount!) but still has a bit of sleepwalking disorder through her routine.

Milliner starts off with a very nice mount.  Good recovery routine, just a bit of an unexpected bounce back on the dismount, but she stayed in bounds.

Kytra’s loso series is floatier than most, she is really standing out as a star on a team of stars – I’m impressed so far, even if it’s not all there yet.  A big step back on her double back dismount, though, which will hurt the score.

Good hit from Gutierrez, she is performing confidently tonight in her landings.  Very tight form on her double pike dismount.

King had a wobble on her opening acro – I’m surprised at the lack of major wobble from both teams.  I guess I’ve been watching too much UCLA.  Spectacular double full dismount.  Even with the loss, this was a great night for Florida.

(Another sign I’ve been watching a lot of UCLA, I get mad at people for breaking character on floor.)

Priess finishes with another hit.  This was a very confident, efficient performance from both teams tonight.  They both accomplished the goals.  Florida had no letdown after the great score last week, and Alabama broke through with their own great score.  None of the gymnastics knocked anyone’s socks off, which is why the scores will probably go in the “Hrmmm” pile, but it’s very competent and going in a positive direction.

Yes, the scores definitely go in the “Hrmmm” pile.  Alabama records a humongous 197.725 for gymnastics that is great for February but will get better by April.  The theme of the season.

FINAL: Alabama 197.725, Florida 196.900

Now it’s time to check in with our dear friends Georgia and Utah.  Utah had a slight lead at the halfway point.  Apparently Shayla had an 8.600 on floor.  WHY did I miss that?

Nuccio coming up on floor.  Hits her DblA mount well.  Good hit to come back, but they’re not seeing the big scores on this event.

Lothrop anchors beam, and hits well.  Her biggest issue is that everything lacks a little amplitude.  Her dbl back dismount is nice in the air, but she lands low.  It’s 9.8 gymnastics that goes 9.9 because it’s last, it’s a savvy lineup order this year.

Couch anchors floor with her wonky-legged pike full, but a good hit overall.  You can see the relief from everyone that they don’t have to count Shayla’s latest work.  Georgia has their best rotation so far with a 49.300 after Noel Couch gets a…9.950…pardon?  I love judging.  It’s never boring.  She has enough built-in errors to make that impossible.

Utah is showing depth with two gymnasts hitting exos, but I don’t see Wilson in this lineup.  It’s not bad, just not there.

After 3 rotations: Georgia 147.750, Utah 147.650.  This is going to be good.

I like the way the PA announcer says “Timed Warmups Begin,” she sounds like a robot in some sort of sterilized health center in the dystopian future.

Good tuck full to start this routinefrom Tutka  – nice body position.  Unfortunate guitar miming in the choreo, and the 2nd pass was the weakest, but it should score well.  She tumbles confidently.

Couch did well to hit her series because she looked off just a bit in the air.  Slight slide on dismount.  This is what Couch does well – leading off with a hit – not getting a 9.950 anchoring floor.

Just a slight bit out of control from Damianova on her second pass, but this is another strong routine.  Stiff legged landing on the double pike with a shuffle was the biggest deduction in the set.

Not in love with Earls’s legs on her series, but she’s gaining her competition confidence.  Those legs are wild on the double tuck dismount, but it’s a hit.

Robarts cowboys her tuck position in the DblA but brings it around to land well if slightly low and has really flappy legs in the dismount, so this should score lower.  The double pike was nice. (9.875 is very high)

Kat Ding has a little wobble on a full turn and still looks a little uncertain even though this is her best beam season.  I’m starting to unlearn my instincts that she will fall on every skill.  Very close to sticking that dismount but she didn’t.  She wishes.

Dabritz is a little low on mount and steps to the side, but not a true error, but the second pass was short and she had a notable step forward – a larger error.  Impressive that she’s dismounting with a 3/1, but not her best work overall. (9.875 again, they’re getting the same charity that Couch did).

Wobble from Davis on her series – it’s so hard to hit that perfectly.  Another little issue on her aerial cartwheel and again on her front tuck.  Not major deduction on any, but she’s not confident with any of these acro skills yet.

Good landing on mount in terms of legs (I still have body position concerns) nice compact (well, it is Lothrop) dismount.  If the previous went 9.875, this should be clearly higher, though it’s not really that level of routine in the grand scheme.  (9.950 – can I write “See Me” on the judges’ papers?)

Persinger hits as well – Georgia won’t win this meet, but they should be pleased with their trajectory.  Some performers just need a little more refinement to get those 9,825s higher.

Good hit from McAllister – I do love a layout stepout out of a twisting pass.  I don’t even know what to expect from the judges anymore.  9.95 again.  What could they do after Lothrop?

Shayla recovery time?  Stumble on her sheep but stayed on.  A little wobble on the onodi and not quite a sick on the dismount – a solid routine but not her best.

So, Utah gets a humongous 49.500 for what was ultimately a solid but pedestrian rotation.  Everyone was between .050-.100 high.  They outstrip Georgia’s 49.200 on beam to take the meet.

FINAL: Utah 197.150, Georgia 196.950

Even though I’m griping about a lot of the scoring (what incentive is there to be special if everyone is special?), I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen tonight overall.  These teams are hitting very solid February gymnastics.  They don’t look nearly as far away from top form as they did in January, and it’s a very encouraging trajectory for some greatness at the end of the season.  What’s more, it’s not just coming from the big three that we expected.  We could have a legitimate eight really good teams by championships time.

I’m very interested to see how Utah fares the next time on the road – where Lothrop and McAllister won’t be getting 9.950 on floor, that’s for sure.  It will be a test.

Rounding up some other scores:
Oklahoma was on great pace until they had to count a fall on floor and scores 196.475 to lose to Nebraska’s 196.750.  Arkansas did end up throwing in a 6th gymnast on floor, which they needed, and went 196.800 to beat Auburn by a point.

No one is allowing room at the top this week, so even though 196.475 isn’t a bad score, Oklahoma looks to be the one to fall this week (with UCLA still to come – and who knows how that could go?).  Certainly Alabama will move ahead of them.  Because of the way the scoring has been going, teams HAVE to score in the 197s to feel confident of their ranking positions.

Around the rest of the country, we’re seeing a lot of high 195s, which is good for the rest of these teams to somehow try to keep pace.  Notably, LSU scored 196.125.  They seem to be able to go consistently into those low 196s when they hit, and that’s such a dangerous score come regionals time.  If a top team doesn’t hit, LSU will be ready to snatch up that spot.

In Washington, the Huskies are being very 9.750 about everything (and now they will be counting a fall on beam) and Oregon State is being more 9.800 about things.  Oregon State is putting up solid scores, but it won’t keep pace with the top group where 196.800 is considered low for the week.

Oregon State continued having their very 9.800 meet and finished with a 195.975, which will see them fall out of the Top 8 sorority.  Washington scored 194.675 after those falls on beam and a lot of 9.7s.