Category Archives: Meet Preview

Pan American Games Preview

Welcome to the most interest you’ve ever had in the Pan American Games! The competition begins tomorrow (Saturday), with the session-by-session schedule found below.

For US viewers, every session will be streamed on ESPN3 in Spanish, so you should be able to watch every moment. There will also be some TV broadcasts (i.e., the US women’s team session on Saturday is slated to be included in the ESPN2 window), though the TV coverage windows are listed as multi-sport, so you might want to have the web coverage on standby just in case. The TV coverage will have Bart and Kathy on the call, and here’s a live shot of me learning about that just yesterday.

July 27
4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT – Women’s Qualification/TF Subdivision 1 –
Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Jamaica, Dom Rep, Cayman Is

6:20pm ET/3:20pm PT – Women’s Qualification/TF Subdivision 2 – Chile, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Colombia, Guatemala, Venezuela, Panama

9:30pm ET/6:30pm PT – Women’s Qualification/TF Subdivision 3 –
USA, Brazil, Peru, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Uruguay, Bolivia

July 28
5:30pm ET/2:30pm PT – Men’s Qualification/TF Subdivision 1 – Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, Ecuador, Dom Rep, Uruguay, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Bolivia

9:30pm ET/6:30pm PT – Men’s Qualification/TF Subdivision 2 – USA, Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela, Peru, Jamaica, T & T, Costa Rica

July 29
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT – Women’s All-Around Final
7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT – Men’s All-Around Final

July 30
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT – Event Finals Day 1

July 31
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT – Event Finals Day 2


In the women’s team competition, expect the US to take the gold medal, nothing new there. Canada is sending an exceptionally strong team that could have made a legitimate run at gold if this were one of the years (like, every other time) when the US sent a fully B-squad group to the Pan American competition. But with the near-A-team level of the US squad this year, it’s unlikely that they can be caught by the Canadians, especially a Canadian team that will now be without Ana Padurariu because the world is stupid and I hate everything. Padurariu has been replaced by Isabela Onyshko, who can of course do the job but not with the bars and beam scores we expect of Padurariu.

For reference, if we do a “domestic scoring” comparison between the US Classic and Canadian Nationals (caveat, that was in May), this US group would go 173.300 compared to the Canadian team at 167.665, so the US should have some margin for error. Continue reading Pan American Games Preview

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This Week: University Games and Man Classic

The site (i.e., me) will be taking a short break for the rest of the week, but here’s a look at what to watch follow, if’n you’re so inclined.

The University Games (aka the Universiade) begins Wednesday. It’s a biennial multi-sport competition of…people who have looked at a school before or something. The first two days of competition will be men’s qualification—which also serves as a team final—followed by women’s qualification on Friday—same—then all-around finals on Saturday and event finals on Sunday.

The competition is scheduled to stream on the Olympic Channel, and also at FISU.tv, which has some suspicious “free to subscribe” language that I do not trust.

Wednesday, July 3
4:00am ET/1:00am PT – Men’s Team/Qualification

Thursday, July 4
3:30am ET/12:30am PT – Men’s Team/Qualification

Friday, July 5
4:00am ET/1:00am PT – Women’s Team/Qualification

Saturday, July 6
8:00am ET/5:00am PT – Men’s All-Around
12:30pm ET/9:30am PT – Women’s All-Around

Sunday, July 7
5:00am ET/2:00am PT – Event Finals Part 1
10:00am ET/7:00am PT – Event Finals Part 2 Continue reading This Week: University Games and Man Classic

American Classic Rosters

We’re just 10 days away from the US elite summer season getting underway again with the BUM BUM BUM…American Classic?

The American Classic: Mattering since 2018.

I guess. We’ve decided.

The meet that used to take place at the ranch over 4th of July (#NeverForget) is now an actual public competition instead of a secret secret made of secrets. We even have a roster release and everything. Rosters are also out for the Hopes Classic which takes place the day before, but I don’t care about that, you’re too young. Go watch the Frozen trailer with Kylie C.

So here’s a quick breakdown of what’s going on with the field for juniors and the field for seniors (such as it is).

Juniors

Olivia Ahern (River City)
Ciena Alipio (West Valley)
Love Birt (First State)
Skye Blakely (WOGA)
Charlotte Booth (Brandy Johnson’s)
Sophia Butler (Discover)
Kailin Chio (Gymcats)
Addison Fatta (Prestige)
eMjae Frazier (Parkettes)
Elizabeth Gantner (JPAC)
Karis German (WCC)
Emily Golden (EVO)
Mia Heather (San Mateo)
Levi Jung-Ruivivar (Paramount)
Lauren Little (Everest)
Nola Matthews (Airborne)
Zoe Miller (WCC)
Sydney Morris (First State)
Annalise Newman-Achee (Chelsea Piers)
Sophie Parenti (San Mateo)
Anya Pilgrim (Hill’s)
Ariel Posen (MG Elite)
Joscelyn Roberson (NE Texas)
Sienna Robinson (Brown’s)
Katelyn Rosen (Mavericks)
Lyden Saltness (Midwest)
Jamison Sears (World Class)
Chavala Shepard (Hopes and Dreams)
Ava Siegfeldt (World Class)
Mya Witte (Genie’s)
Jamie Wright (World Class)
Eva Volpe (Pearland)
Ella Zirbes (Flips)

American Classic conflicts with Junior Worlds in Hungary, so we won’t see those who ultimately make the J-worlds team (Spencer, stop trying to make J-worlds happen, it’s not going to happen). Of the nominative group—DiCello, McClain, Greaves, Blakely—only Blakely is even on the preliminary roster here, though she’ll pull out of this competition if she makes the team. Continue reading American Classic Rosters

Conference Championships Preview – Part 2

See Part 1


SEC Championship

Afternoon: Alabama, Auburn, Missouri, Arkansas
Evening: LSU, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky

The LSU v. Florida show in the evening session of the SEC Championship is the headlining clash across all the conference championships, with neither the #3 team nor the #4 team in the country truly claiming favored status. You know. Because 3 and 4. Early in the season, the SEC title looked to be Florida’s to run away with, Florida as the deeper team with more solidified lineups of 9.9s compared to an LSU team that lost starring routines from last season, had to develop some backups on several events, and suffered multiple conference losses, including to Florida at home. Recent scores, however, have leveled the picture, even allowing LSU to jump ahead of Florida in the rankings this past weekend.

Where I see this thing hinging more than anything else is in the vault landings. Florida’s nemesis this season has been controlling those 1.5s, which has allowed LSU to develop a comparative advantage as it built four reliable 10.0 starts into its own lineup—plus a full from Finnegan that gets overlooked because it doesn’t have the difficulty but provides a solid .075-.10 advantage over fulls from Florida depending on the day. Florida ends this competition on vault, and hopping forward on Y1.5s for 9.825 while LSU is simultaneously on floor is a recipe for losing. Even Trinity Thomas probably can’t expect to hop into the gulf on her 1.5 and still get 9.900 at SECs. Florida is going to need to stick a couple, and keep those hops at .05 size on the rest.

That last rotation will be a thrilling (potentially triggering) comparison because even though floor is floor, LSU’s floor isn’t necessarily the on-lock scoring machine it was in previous seasons. It seems that Edney has worked out her early season landing troubles, but we still don’t really know who the sixth member of the lineup will be (Campbell, Dean…Priessman? [cross yourself]), and there’s some roll-the-dice landing control issues for people like Desiderio early on. That’s why Florida has developed a tenth of an advantage over LSU in floor NQS, an advantage Florida will expect to come through in this meet.

It’s also why those troublesome vault landings are so important for Florida. Because the other events are there. Florida has what should be the more complete lineups on bars and beam, particularly through the middle where LSU has a couple routines they’re hoping to get through for 9.850 without too many form deductions being noticed before getting to the 9.950 sisters at the end, while Florida will view anything lower than 9.9 for any routine in those lineups as an off performance. Continue reading Conference Championships Preview – Part 2

Conference Championships Preview – Part 1

Behold! The part that sort of matters before the part that really matters!

That’s right, the conference championships are upon us once again, our first tentative toe dipped into the waters of the championship season, with trophies on the line and four-judge panels back to try to weed out the most erratic of Carols, but without losers getting eliminated just yet.

With a dozen separate college championships being contested this weekend, I’ve split the preview up into two parts. Let’s begin with Part 1: Some of them! (The theme of part 2 will also be some of them.)


Pac-12 Championship

Afternoon: Washington, Arizona State, Stanford, Arizona
Evening: UCLA, Utah, Oregon State, Cal

The typical dynamic of the Pac-12 Championship is skewed to some degree this year. Rather than the usual “Utah or UCLA? Where she stops nobody knows!” outlook, we have a true favorite for the Pac-12 title this season in UCLA. The Bruins outrank the Utes on three of the four events, defeated Utah (in Utah) at their dual meet this season, and lead by more than a fall in NQS. Now, I don’t think UCLA can actually count a fall and still win this meet in real life, but that’s what the rankings tell us.

UCLA’s biggest asset compared to Utah will come on beam, where UCLA has the potential to put together a lineup that begins in the 9.9s and stays there, while Utah is more likely to remain in the 9.8s for most of the lineup apart from the bookends. Add that to the Flatley-Kocian-Ross trio on bars, and what at this point is just an auto-10 from Ohashi on floor, and UCLA will have several areas in which to build up the scoring advantage against Utah.

The concern for UCLA is if the performance at Vallapalooza was more than just an emotional one-off, because that performance was not good enough to win Pac-12s. In the meet against Utah State, we saw how reliant UCLA has become on Ross hitting vault because once she missed, suddenly some uncontrolled landings on other Y1.5s had to count, and UCLA barely broke 49. That’s not going to cut it compared to a Utah team that has the more reliable landings on its big-difficulty vaults from Skinner and MMG.

What Utah has been able to create this season is four lineups that should start from 9.850 and go from there. When Lee sticks, when Roberts does her usual cleanest routine in the lineup work on floor (fight me), they’re establishing a pretty high baseline. That’s a main reason we haven’t seen Utah fall below 197 this season, because the lineups are almost never fighting against that lead-off 9.775. There’s always something very usable to count. It’s still going to make Utah vulnerable to a team with lineups that start at 9.900 like UCLA can put up on a few events, but it’s also why Utah shouldn’t have much trouble finishing top 2 here with a hit meet. Continue reading Conference Championships Preview – Part 1

Week 11 Preview

Full schedule and links

Marquee meets

[6] Utah @ [8] Georgia
Saturday, 4:00 ET, SECN+

We’re getting the band back together! The old classic is upon us again, and this year’s edition should provide a telling comparison at a critical moment as both teams start to ask “Are we top 8? Are we top 4?” questions of themselves.

Utah will certainly have hopes of making the top 4 and competing on the final day of nationals—and beating Georgia on the road is exactly the kind of thing a top-4 team needs to be able to do. Meanwhile, Georgia will absolutely see itself as a nationals-qualifying team, but it’s right on the cusp right now at #8. A win over Utah would tell us that Georgia is closer to the good side than the bad side when it comes to dividing 8 from the rest.

Under neutral circumstances, Utah is your favorite here, but the meet taking place in Georgia pretty much levels things. How level? The total of Georgia’s three counting home scores for NQS is exactly identical to the total of Utah’s three counting road scores.

Of course, all eyes will be on beam since it has been a “U OK?” event for both teams this season. Georgia likely has the higher peak potential score on beam because of built-in execution, at least when gymnasts like Oakley and Baumann are on (plus that thing where the judges ignore grabbing the beam sometimes), yet Georgia has also proven at this point to be the more terrifying of the two beam lineups. Much will depend on whether Georgia can cut out the leg-up, seasickness wobbles that seem to plague the lineup most weeks. Continue reading Week 11 Preview

NCAA Week 10 Preview

Full schedule and links

Marquee meets

[1] Oklahoma @ [7] Michigan
Saturday, 12:00 ET, BTN

The big-ranking clash of the weekend pits Oklahoma against Michigan, and most interestingly of all, the meet is in Michigan. I say most interestingly because this weekend we’ll have to reconcile the narrative of Michigan not enjoying the same spoils of super-high home scoring that other top teams receive (often true, but not exclusively this season) with the narrative that Oklahoma gets 9.950s showered upon it anywhere the team goes. Tight or loose, what will it be? On senior day, with Oklahoma coming to town, it’s hard to imagine Carol laying off the clear alcohols, but it might happen…

While Oklahoma’s performance last weekend against UCLA was not ideal (mostly because of beam), it was still a victory over the most compelling title challenger this season and continues to set Oklahoma up as the one to beat heading to nationals. This season, however, is a little different. In recent years, we’ve seen what has looked like an impervious Oklahoma team, one that seems ready for the postseason by about mid-February—with little for us to focus on in those late-season meets other than whether the scores are going to be high enough to set a new RQS record. That’s not the case this season. Oklahoma has done exceptionally well, of course, but we haven’t yet seen a “that will win the title” performance (even in that bonkers meet against Florida), nor have we seen the 24 best-case-scenario routines all compete at the same time.

There remains a sense of uncertainty around Oklahoma’s lineups because of the absences from meet to meet. Bre Showers is out for the season, Nichols hasn’t done floor in two months, Trautman was out on beam last week—we’re seeing depth imbalances in lineups, and as long as we’re seeing those, Oklahoma can look vulnerable. It’s going to be worth watching, then, how Oklahoma manages a Saturday-Monday turnaround this weekend without a ton of bonus routines and with several gymnasts who need to be managed.

For Michigan, this one is a little bit more about the score since Oklahoma comes in as the major favorite. Some straggling mid-196s are currently keeping Michigan on the cusp, in danger of falling down to an unbecoming regionals seeding. Those scores need to be removed in the coming weeks, and Michigan will be looking for at least something in the 197.3s here to keep its ranking the same for another week. Unlike some of the teams about to be discussed, Michigan would be pretty pleased if the season ended exactly as it is now—UCLA, Minnesota, and Cal coming to town as the seeded teams for regionals. Among the potential options, that one isn’t too bad.

Elevate the Stage
[8] Georgia, [10] Minnesota, [20] Arkansas, Michigan State
Friday, 7:00 CT, Flogymnastics

How legit is Minnesota? That’s the question this Friday’s session of Elevate the Stage in Birmingham can answer. A host of high 196s (and last week’s massive 197.500) has allowed Minnesota to make an aggressive assault on the rankings in the last few weeks to get up to the top 10, just two spots below Georgia. That 197.500 means that Minnesota actually has the higher peak score than Georgia this season, and if things go just right here, Minnesota can pass Georgia in the rankings come Monday. Continue reading NCAA Week 10 Preview