Week 2 Rankings and Notes

Top 25 Rankings – (GymInfo)
1. Oklahoma – 197.188
Week 2: 196.675
Week 2 leaders: AA – Brewer 39.425; VT – Scaman, Kmieciak 9.900; UB – Spears, Scaman, Wofford 9.850; BB – Brewer 9.825; FX – Albright 9.900

The Sooners fell back to the pack rather significantly after the quick start in Week 1, this week putting together a strong vault score before seeing a Kmieciak calamity leading off on bars followed by a tepid final three events. It’s the lowest team score for Oklahoma since the opening meet of last season against Georgia, but the 197.700 from last week still gives them a fairly comfortable advantage going into Week 3. 

2. LSU – 197.038
Week 2: 196.875
Week 2 leaders: AA – Courville, Jordan 39.375; VT – Morrison 9.925; UB – Courville 9.900; BB – Courville 9.875; FX – Savona 9.900

LSU also dropped off in scoring somewhat from last week, but like Oklahoma, their ranking remains intact because no other team did well enough to leap ahead of them. There were flashes of strength for the Tigers throughout this week’s meet with one or two strong performances per event, but a wobbly beam and uncharacteristically insecure series of floor mounts put them under 197 and under Georgia. 

3. Florida – 196.863
Week 2: 197.075
Week 2 leaders: AA – Sloan 39.700; VT – Sloan 9.950; UB – Sloan 9.925; BB – M Caquatto 9.950; FX – Sloan, Hunter 9.900

Florida jumped a spot from last week on the strength of joining the 197 club, led primarily by Bridget Sloan’s 39.700, the highest AA score in the nation so far this year and already the fifth time in her career already she has broken the 39.7 plateau, which is sufficiently ridiculous. Lots of 9.7s in the meet for Florida, but Macko and Sloan were the class of the team, as they will need to be, for no sub-9.9 scores across 7 routines.

4. Utah – 196.763
Week 2: 196.875
Week 2 leaders: AA – Wilson 39.450; VT – Wilson 9.975; UB – Dabritz, Lothrop 9.900; BB – Delaney 9.850; FX – Dabritz 9.950

Here’s the thing. Utah would be #1 in the country right now if not for this counting falls business. The back three on vault are proving as formidable as they seemed, and the floor numbers have been astronomical, good enough for #2 in the nation. Next week the Utes host UCLA, and expect nothing about the scoring trend for either team to change in that meet. It’s just this small matter of the beam still. Utah is the only team in the top 10 yet to break 9.850 on the event. 

5. Michigan – 196.663
Week 2: 196.800
Week 2 leaders: AA – Sampson 39.625; VT – Sheppard 9.925; UB – Sampson 9.925; BB – Sampson 9.875; FX – Sampson 9.950

Michigan quietly leapfrogged a few teams with this week’s 196.800 in which Sampson recovered from a couple iffy events in the first meet to begin to deliver the 39.6s we’ve come to expect and help erase some of the lower scores on a couple events. Ditto the small matter of the beam, though, as has become tradition for Michigan these days. Fun fact of the week: Since the start of 2013, just two teams have scored better than 196.500 in every single meet—Florida and Michigan.    

6. Georgia – 196.608
Week 2: 197.175
Week 2 leaders: AA – Rogers 38.925; VT – Cheek, Davis 9.900; UB – Davis 9.975; BB – Cheek 9.875; FX – Jay, Reynolds 9.900

For reference, NCAA gymnastics weeks officially end on Sundays and begin on Mondays, but if today’s 197.400 were included in the rankings, Georgia would have a 196.806 and would currently be in 4th. With that score, the Gym Dogs currently boast two of the top four scores recorded in the nation so far this year and have followed up a respectable run of away meets in the first weekend with a very strong run of home meets in the second. Lindsay Cheek is having quite the season so far, scoring under 9.875 just once in 12 routines. 

7. Alabama – 196.600
Week 2: 196.050
Week 2 leaders: AA – Bailey 39.150; VT – Beers 9.950; UB – Clark 9.875; BB – Sims 9.825; FX – Sims – 9.800

The Tide found itself without Diandra Milliner and without 9.8s this week in a loss to Nebraska, dropping from 3rd to 7th in the rankings. There were a number of scores we would never expect to see (like Kim Jacob going under 9.8 on both beam and floor because nothing in the world makes sense) in what turned out to be Alabama’s lowest team score since a 196.000 against Kentucky on February 10th, 2012. 

8. UCLA – 196.525
Week 2: 196.425
Week 2 leaders: AA – None; VT – Sawa 9.950; UB – DeJesus 9.950; BB – Francis 9.925; FX – Sawa 9.975

The Bruins would be right up toward the top of the rankings if this were a three-event sport, but unfortunately for them, beam is a thing. The absence of Larson is really showing there, and a lack of Peszek as well this week made the rotation just one Danusia away from horrifying. UCLA was the only team this week to have at least one routine go 9.925 or better on every event (welcome to the scoring decisions from that meet) and across two meets, the Bruins have received four 10s from individual judges but have yet to get it from both judges at the same time.

9. Nebraska – 195.438
Week 2: 196.250
Week 2 leaders: AA – Wong 39.550; VT – Wong, Stephens, DeZiel 9.875; UB – Wong 9.875; BB – J Lauer 9.925; FX – Wong 9.950 

In spite of a rough bars rotation, Nebraska was able to knock off Alabama this week, which has to be a huge mental boost. Yet, they do drop several places in the rankings because of that UB 48.650 that brought down what otherwise could have been something 196.8ish. Wong has been the scoring queen, surprising no one, and she currently sits at level second in the nation with Courville, just a smidgen behind Grable. She’ll be right in that hunt come Nationals. 

10. Arkansas – 196.125
Week 2: 196.050
Week 2 leaders: AA – Grable 39.525; VT – Grable 9.900; UB – Salmon 9.875; BB – Grable 9.875; FX – Grable 9.900

Speak of the Grable, here she is. She is the only member of the AA pack yet to score under 9.850 on any routine so far this year. I’m excited to see how she fares in Alabama next week. Let’s see how long she can keep that up. Arkansas had a few more sub-9.8 performances this week than last week but still managed to stay above 196, which remains good enough to be part of the top 10 as most of the other contenders for this spot are taking a little longer to get their sea legs. And by sea legs I mean beam legs.

11. Illinois – 195.750
12. Stanford – 195.692
13. Minnesota – 195.600
14. Auburn – 195.550
15. Boise State – 195.500
16. Oregon State – 195.413
17. Arizona – 195.300
T18. Denver – 195.200
T18. Rutgers – 195.200
20. Kentucky – 195.000
21. Washington – 194.925
22. Kent State – 194.867
T23. Ohio State – 194.763
T23. Arizona State – 194.763
25. Cal – 194.717 

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[14] Oregon State @ [6] UCLA Live Blog

UCLA home meets used to be on Sundays at 2, but now with the advantage of live TV broadcasts, we have to get accustomed to Saturday and Sunday night meets. I’m absolutely in favor. The meets feel like more of an event this way, bookending the weekend. In the past, meet weekends would start with a bang with all the competitions on Friday night, and then sort of putter to a finish with a smattering of occasional live streams. Now, there’s a second bang.

Plus, it seems to be helping UCLA’s attendance. Last season’s one live Saturday night meet brought by far the Bruins’ highest attendance of the year, and last weekend’s night meet against Florida had 5265 fans, a significant improvement on last year’s season average of just over 4000.

It has been an interesting/strange weekend so far. After Oklahoma’s opening 197.700 heard round the gymternet, it seemed inevitable that scores would continue to skyrocket, but all the top teams have struggled to put together four complete events this weekend. Even Georgia, the Week 2 leader with 197.175, had a ragged beam rotation. Florida also broke 197, but Alaina Johnson got a 9.725 on bars, so what are we even supposed to do with that? Utah was well on the way to the best score of the weekend until a beam fall in the final routine brought them back to the 196s, and Alabama was a walking 9.7 yesterday. None of the top teams have managed a complete meet so far this weekend. January.

Let’s see what UCLA and Oregon State can do about that. The meet begins at 9 ET, 6 PT on the Pac-12 Network. Or, if you don’t get the Pac-12 Network, you can always just get out some crayons and parchment and draw a picture of what you think might have happened. Or a dragon. Whatever.


Scores are here. Your sanity is not. I’m not liking the clock situation on this women’s basketball game that’s on before the meet. No way this ends in time. Although, I do like this coach for Colorado. She’s so pissed. That’s something we don’t see enough of in coverage of NCAA gym, coaches cartoonishly screaming at everything, including clipboards.

No Peszek on vault this week for UCLA, as mentioned in the above video. We’ll get to see Pinches debut instead. Well, I say see. We’ve got some basketball delaying nonsense instead. Stay tuned. Oh god, the fouling. This in interminable. This is why people hate basketball. They do, don’t they? 

I’ll let you know when this basketball finally ends, but it looks like we’ll miss the whole first rotation. Lots of 9.7s happening in the scores, though. The whole point of the meet starting immediately at 6 PT is TV, so why wouldn’t they hold it back for a few minutes if the TV broadcast wouldn’t be able to show it? 

Pinches goes 9.625 in debut on vault, so UCLA will be counting a 9.750 so far. As will Oregon State.

DOH! Of course I can watch it online! Ugh, me. Just saw Sawa stick another vault. We’re in action now.

Casey on bars now for OSU. Late on her giant full and crazy legs on the gienger, misses her final hs, and a step back on the DLO. Tim Daggett is pretending he doesn’t know where the deductions come from.

Sawa got a 10 from one of the judges. So that happened. Well, she stuck, but come on. Bynum does a Y1/2, better than last week but a large lunge out of it, and gets a 9.9. OK. So that’s the way it is tonight. We’re now back on TV as well. Finally.

Courtney does a yfull, and given the scores we’ve seen for the last couple, it would have been a 10 had she stuck, but a step back for her. Nearly stuck it.

Aufiero finishing for Oregon State on bars. Very clean but she clips her foot on the bar on her tkatchev. Shame. Keeps going pretty well and everything else was lovely. Nice stick on the DLO.

UCLA finishes the first rotation with a 49.325, with a couple really enthusiastic scores from the judges on a couple of the vaults I saw. Oregon State gets a 48.700 on bars, Aufiero with a 9.625 after hitting her foot. A weird start missing the beginning of the meet, but we’re on track now.

Tim is asking us to tell him where the deductions were in Sawa’s vault. Well, she landed low, so we’ll start with that. It wasn’t a problem, but it wasn’t a 10. Tim, underscoring is not the problem in NCAA.

Rotation 2: UCLA on bars, Oregon State on vault

UCLA bars:
1. Francis – nice first hs, hits the shaposh to bail well, similar to last week, a little late on her gaint full at the end, but a hop on dismount this time, so probably slightly lower than last week. Or 9.850 again.
2. Craddock -Good opening handstand, but really misses her handstand after the tkatchev, got really close to the bar on her double back dismount, and there were handstands and some legs in that routine. 9.775 
3. Mossett -Nice stalder shoot, leg break and pause on her change, but the releases look very nice, bent elbows on her stalder and a couple hops on her double back. 9.750.
4. DeJesus – Good giant full, legs are getting better on the gienger but they still flop apart, sticks her tuck full with head fairly low, but a stick nonetheless. Best for the team so far by a long way and one of the better bars routines she has done. 9.950. Heavens.
5. Courtney -Strong shaposh, looked perhaps a little short on her bail handstand, flings out her tuck full about six miles and steps forward. 9.850.
6. Sawa – Coming in for Peszek. We’ll see if she does beam. Nice Ray, legs on the bail handstand and it looked short, hop back on the double pike dismount, some breaks in the leg form in places, but OK. 9.850. 

Oregon State vault:
1. Wright – just a handspring front pike, and a large step out of it. 9.675
2. Tang – Yfull, chest fairly far down, with a hop back, and not a ton of amplitude. 9.800
3. Aufiero – OK amplitude on her Yfull, but has to crunch in the knees on her landing, so very low, with a step back. 9.725.
4. Keeker – Sticks her Y1/2, lands with legs apart and didn’t have a ton of distance, but best vault for the team so far. Good stick. 9.900.
5. Blalock – Yfull, she usually does this better by the postseason, but it was OK. Definite pike and a step back. 9.800.
6. Witherby – Tsuk full, pretty piked and a bounce out of it. Oregon State did not have the landings on this rotation except for Keeker, who was the clear class of the rotation. 9.750.

The scores are going consistently high, so just have that in mind when looking through them after the meet. UCLA has form issues to work through on bars, leg separations on skills, and both teams struggled to get very many landings in that rotation.

After 2: UCLA 98.600, Oregon State 97.675

Yay, Pinches interview. She’s a delight.

Rotation 3: UCLA to beam, OSU to floor.

UCLA beam:
1. DeJesus – just held onto her walkover but a huge wobble, hits loso series but another significant wobble on her side aerial. It’s happening again. Small hop on dismount, but they’ll need to drop that score. 9.550.
2. Cipra – Excited to see her on beam for the first time this year. Oh dear. Completely off on her loso series, didn’t make either foot on the beam and just landed on the ground. Full turn, split half, large wobble on the side aerial, her switch split is very nice, hop on the double full.
3. Mossett – Full turn, she still looks tight in all these elements but a little bit better than last week. It seems like she’s getting there. Her walkover to bhs is strong, and she controls the side aerial giving away the minimum in wobbles, step back on dismount. 9.850.
4. Craddock – Pretty full turn to start, free walkover to front handspring is much better than last week with just a small correction, fairly large wobble on the side aerial. She looked stiff during the routine, but perhaps an improvement for her? Maybe. Maybe not. 9.725.
5. Courtney – UCLA needed Peszek in this rotation. She saved them last week, and they need saving now. Comes off almost instantly on her front toss. Oh, UCLA. Loso series is OK. Very low on her double back with a step forward. Val looks like she has been turned to stone. 9.325.
6. Francis – Short interview with her about how awesome she is. You know, no big deal. Please save everyone with this routine, Danusia. Hits walkover to bhs well. Dance elements look good. Pinches’ commentary is the best thing that could have happened to this broadcast. Cheek Danusia. Y spin is solid. Here comes the dismount. Nailed it again. She was the only thing standing between this rotation and disaster. OK, it was still a disaster, but at least we’ll have this memory. 9.925.       

Oregon State floor:
1. Witherby -Tuck full mount, chest low and small bounce, 1/5 to layout middle pass, straddles in dance elements, a little short on some of her tumbling, finishes with a double pike. 9.700.
2. Wright – Double pike mount, she stumbles a little out of her layout on the middle pass but controls it without being a problem. She doesn’t get a ton of amplitude on her tumbling, which shows in the low chest landings. Tim: “Those are called gorgeous gymnastics hands.” Oh Tim, I don’t know how to react when I agree with you. 9.725. 
3. Turner – Pretty good double arabian to open, a bit cleaner in everything than the first two. Pretty long pause before that dismount, double pike. Strongest so far. Still some landing position to discuss. 9.825.
4. Tang – punch rudi to start, clean, switch ring looks OK, Brittany Harris looked like she was having a minor seizure in the background, just a little one though. Short on her double back middle pass with a large step forward, otherwise strong landings. 9.700.
5. McMillan – Tuck full mount is a hit. There is an old sea captain taking pictures in one corner of the floor. Nice splits, best of the team so far in that department. She hasn’t had big scores yet for this team, but I still think we can expect a lot from her. A little stumble in her front double full (but points for doing it as a dismount). 9.825.
6. Blalock – Love her kind of sarcastic smile about having the wrong music. High double back to open, and hits the rudi to loso to follow. They haven’t had a big score yet in this rotation, but this is the best routine they’ve had until the 2.5 dismount, she lands short and puts her hand down. Oh, Kelsi! Sadness. 

Third rotation: Oregon State 48.775, UCLA 48.375, and that’s pretty much what we saw. UCLA was even weaker than last week on beam because of counting a fall this time, not just a bunch of near falls. It was an extremely right performance. A Peszek routine probably could have saved it, but her stress reaction is keeping her out. With all the people out of these lineups now, they can’t afford to be without Peszek for long. Oregon State had a lot of chest position problems in that floor rotation, which brought the scores down out of the possible 9.8s.

After 3: UCLA 146.975, Oregon State 146.450 

We say goodbye to Pinches now, so there’s barely reason to keep watching, especially with all these 9.7s around. British people are always so much more composed on camera and so much better spoken. It’s not just the accent, either. What are they doing right that we’re doing wrong? Besides everything.

Rotation 4: UCLA on floor, Oregon State on beam

UCLA floor:
1. Mossett – She’s competing a watered-down routine at this point in the year because she’s still recovering from injury. Opens with a y spin, bounces back out of her double tuck mount, dance elements look good, just front layouts as her middle pass – so yes it’s watered down – A little low on her double pike landing but secure. We needed to hear more music and less talking, but it seems like that routine has potential. 9.875.
2. Francis – Low on her double pike landing with a large lunge forward, but the performance helps a little bit in forgetting that. I’m all about it, and she’s improving on that 2.5 dismount. Some landing position for her as well, but the major deduction was the mount. Not quite as strong as last week. Or a 9.900. So whatever. Don’t listen to me. One of the judges gave it a 9.950, which I just don’t remotely see. 
3. Bynum – Lower on her DLO landing than last week with a step forward. Sadiqua is playing a Jamaican goddess in her routine. Oh, Val. What would we do without your stories? Strongest double back she’s done in the middle pass. Short again on double pike dismount with a step forward. 9.750.
4. Cipra – Good control on the double tuck mount. She’s not having as strong a meet as last week as of yet, but this floor routine looks great so far, both in tumbling and choreo, secure double pike. I think that was stronger than Danusia’s routine, so we’ll see what happens in the score. 9.950. One judge – the same one that gave Danusia a 9.950 – gave it a 10. I mean it was lovely, but . . . let’s have some perspective. A 10 assumes it can’t be done better or with fewer deductions. It can.
5. DeJesus – Takes her double pike too far and goes well OOB. Low double back with a lunge forward. They’ll need to drop this, but they can still get a good score for the rotation if Courtney hits. Pulls around her front tuck in the dismount (looked like she might be short), but there were many, things to take there. 9.475.
6. Sawa – So no Courtney? OK. This is her “fighting an alien” routine. I thought she was just fighting her own hand, like one of her hands had been possessed, and she was like, “Get out of here, hand.” Really high on her tumbling and hits her landings, but the chest positions can still get better, as they can for everyone on both teams. Given what we’ve seen, I’m sure that will score very, very high. 9.975. It’s just a 10 party.   

Oregon State beam:
1. Blalock – front toss is fine, she was off line on her loso series from the beginning. You could see it from the bhs. So they’re working against a fall already, in a UCLA redux. Small wobble on a split jump full. Stuck gainer full. Rough day.
2. Harris – pauses on her front toss to bhs series but it was secure, places of leg form in places, but a strong bhs, bhs, full dismount. So they’ll take that hit. 9.825.
3. Ohlrich – Hits her loso series, she looks a little short on some of her acro but she is holding onto it well without giving up wobbles, sticks gainer full.
4. McMillan – Front is excellent to open, connected to bhs, love that front handspring to her knees – a very Oklahomaish choice, a little short on her switch split here, small adjustment on her gainer full but hit. 9.825.
5. Gardiner – First we’ve seen of her today. Wolf turn to split is excellent. Give wolf turn lessons to everyone, please. Turns her wobble on her walkover into choreography well, side somi, good legs on her loso and no wobbles there. This is excellent so far. Hop on double full, but quite nice overall. 9.850.
6. Tang – This is her best event, and you can see that in the security of her acro skills – not giving away wobbles, wolf turn is OK. This is clean so far. Nicely done. 9.875.

Final Score: UCLA 196.425, Oregon State 195.625

Well, it could have been a big score for UCLA if not for beam, which is the exact same story we saw last week. So much needs to improve about that rotation. It’s just so fragile. Don’t pay attention to the scoring, which was fanciful, but the floor rotation did look strong for at least a couple of the people. It was clearly the best rotation of the day for the Bruins. UCLA had a couple strong routines on each event, but a lot of errors as well that need to come out of these routines. They can and need to get much better than this. Oregon State had more and bigger mistakes, especially compared to UCLA on floor, which made up much of the difference in the scores, but they really lost the meet because they don’t have those big 9.9s that can come in and save the rotation, at least not yet. At this point, the anchors aren’t yet in contention for those 9.950s that can erase the low scores.

Thoughts on the meet?    

A Fine Friday Frenzy – LSU, Georgia, Oklahoma, Florida, Michigan

Friday – 1/17/14
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [8] Michigan, North Carolina, Towson @ NC State (Video – free) (Scores)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [16] Rutgers, Eastern Michigan, George Washington @ [21] Kent State
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – William & Mary @ [22] Central Michigan (Scores)
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [2] LSU @ [9] Georgia (Video – all access) (Scores)
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [10] Arkansas @ Missouri (Video – all access) (Scores)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Iowa State @ [1] Oklahoma (Scores)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [4] Florida @ [18] Auburn (Video – all access) (Scores)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [14] Denver, [23] BYU @ [11] Boise State
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [4] Utah @ Cal (Scores)

The top 10 entering the weekend: 

We have seven of our top ten teams in action today, beginning with Michigan and company visiting NC State at 7:00 ET/4:00 PT, and turning immediately to the LSU and Georgia clash.

As we wait, do you think that any team this weekend can come close to topping the Oklahoma number?

I’m hoping that we’ll be able to see a whole rotation from the NC State/Michigan meet before it comes time to switch to LSU and Georgia. Anyone else also keeping an eye on the Australian Open at the same time as gymnastics, because you might get some random tennis updates as the evening goes on depending on how much Maria can screw this up against Cornet. So just know that.

Did they just introduce “Kim Chiarelli” for Michigan? Kim?  

I have a lot of important routines for fantasy gymnastics coming up in the next couple hours since basically my entire team is LSU and Michigan. I got a 197.375 last week, which was much better than expected, though I was cautious on Angi Cipra, which cost me a 197.4. She has been promoted this week.

Michigan underperformed on bars last week with a 49.050, with a few surprising mishaps, so I would expect something stronger this week in the first rotation, probably multi-tenths stronger if they’re performing close to the level we expect. And Austin Sheppard just warmed up her glorious piked tkatchev.

No Miele in the bars lineup for Michigan after she had that twinge during her routine last week. Nicole Artz is coming in instead.

We saw a 9.7ish opening vault from Fallanca on vault, yfull with a large step back, and Towson has a fall on floor. Ellen Marion barely got her yhalf finished with a large squat and lunge forward. UNC just took a fall on beam on a loso that didn’t touch the beam, she basically completed the loso solidly, just happened to land it on the floor instead of the beam. It was like a loso dismount.

Artz and Sugiyama have opened with 9.850s on bars for Michigan, so it’s already an encouraging start. We’ll see Sheppard now, and the piked tkatchev is excellent, she was a little late on her giant full and super cowboyed her double front dismount with a step back, but otherwise strong. NC State gets its first vault stick from Watkins, UNC has a fall on a beam dismount, and Sampson on bars misses her last handstand pretty significantly but sticks her DLO beautifully. We’ll assume the rest of the routine was perfect besides that handstand because she got a 9.925.

Ouellette had the best amplitude for NC State so far on vault, with a small step back. Ham finishes with another fairly strong yfull – some deductions like a low chest and a small hop. UNC is having an utter beamtastrophe so far. We haven’t gotten any of the scores, but we’ve seen at least three falls.

Brooke Parker does exhibition for Michigan on bars, has a pretty large step forward on her piked layout.

Beilstein just a 9.800 this week after the 9.900 last week, but Michigan gets a 49.275, to step up from last week by multiple tenths, just like they needed. Of course, the dreaded beam is still to come next. NC State trails with a 48.850 from vault, but that will put them into second for the moment.

Off to Georgia we go! Notable applause for Jay Clark on his introduction. Georgia’s intro video is much better than last year, with a lot less committing to the G. This year’s slogan appears to be “Fight for more,” which as far as NCAA team slogans go, is solid. At least it doesn’t involve regrets or being all in things.

No real surprises in the lineups for either team. Gauthier is in on beam for LSU instead of Ewing.

UGA VT: Davis, Broussard, Hires, Jay, Cheek, Rogers
UGA UB: Jay, Hires, Brown, Cheek, Rogers, Davis
UGA BB: Broussard, Reynolds, Box, Rogers, Cheek, Earls
UGA FX: Earls, Hires, Reynolds, Box, Rogers, Jay

LSU VT: Dickson, Jordan, Ranzy, Gnat, Morrison, Courville
LSU UB: Savona, Dickson, Jordan, Ranzy, Courville, Morrison
LSU BB: Gauthier, Savona, Hall, Gnat, Courville, Jordan
LSU FX: Mathis, Jordan, Gnat, Savona, Courville, Hall

Oh hey, Kevin Copp. We missed you.

Rotation 1: Georgia on vault, LSU on bars
Given various strengths and weaknesses on events to come, Georgia needs a lead after this event.

Georgia vault
1. Davis – The yfull we expect from her, missing the distance and nothing else, very nice stick. 9.900
2. Broussard – Great distance on this one, hop back. 9.800
3. Hires – Good height but a large bounce back out of her yfull. 9.850
4. Jay – Finished her yfull so early, but does bounce pretty far on the landing, doesn’t lack for power but needs to find that landing. 9.850
5. Cheek – Glorious height, form, and distance but took at least one step on the landing and looked to take another one on the salute, but otherwise very nice. 9.900.
6. Rogers – She has also downgraded her 1.5 to a full and struggles to control the landing with a hop back but little else to take from that. 9.875.

LSU bars
1. Savona – a little floppy on her bail, slightly overarch a handstand, a scraper of a tkatchev and then a hop on the DLO. She’s stronger on power events, but it was OK. 9.800 – a tad charitable.
2. Dickson – a little close on her jaeger but OK, has to rekip, misses handstand on her bail, looked like she would stick her tuck full dismount but then took a couple steps. 9.525
3. Jordan – nice large jaeger, best routine on the team so far, big stick on the DLO and strong form throughout. 9.875.
4. Ranzy – Strong shaposh, hits bail, good amplitude on her shoot back to the high bar, arches over on a handstand, flings out her piked layout dismount and tries to hold onto the stick but steps. 9.750
5. Courville – Excellent jaeger as always, that toe shoot has improved much, and she sticks her tuck full dismount, very clean performance. Should be better than last week’s 9.850. 9.900 this time.
6. Morrison -piked jaeger is caught well, hitting her handstands, sticks her staggered tuck full landing and bounces around a little in salute but it’s fine. Pretty routine, Jay was celebrating the stick before she did it. 9.875.

After 1: Georgia 49.375, LSU 49.200. The Gym Dogs needed a lead after the first and they got it. Georgia needs to find the landings on those big vaults, but the sticks, and even the near sticks, were rewarded with big numbers. LSU looked a bit sloppy in places, especially with a couple people really trying to go for those handstands and going too far, but a couple people showed clean work to get that 49.200, and now they get to go to a great event for them.

In the land of elsewhere, the scores for the NC State meet are being a little erratic, so I have no idea what’s happening there. Now I see that Michigan got a 48.925 on beam, which is about in lineup with what we’ve come to expect. Dropped a 9.400 from Zakharia but counted a 9.550 from Miele coming back in. The leader was Sampson with a 9.875, and “Kim” Chiarelli went 9.850.

Rotation 2: LSU on vault, Georgia on bars

LSU vault
1. Dickson – yfull, a somewhat low landing with a hop back. 9.850 is higher than I would have thought, but scores are going high, so. . .
2. Jordan – high and far on the yfull, arches a little to hang onto the landing with just a hop in place. 9.825. Hm, thought hers was stronger than Dickson’s.
3. Ranzy – Powerful yfull, stuck and also arches a little to hang onto her stick, but a great vault. 9.875
4. Gnat – Great, high y1.5 and she drops into the landing on that one, small step. 9.900
5. Morrison – No question about that stick on her yfull. Best vault of the day so far for either team. 9.925.
6. Courville -Here we go. Ridiculous distance on her yfull, but she doesn’t stick, a fairly significant hop back again but otherwise there’s little to take. 9.875.

Georgia bars
1. Jay -Good shaposh, hitting handstand, that looks cleaner than much of what we saw last year from her, stick on her tuck full dismount. 9.875
2. Hires -Big piked jaeger, floppy legs on her bail handstand, a few form struggles, a little short in her DLO landing with a step back. 9.800
3. Brown – The enourmous tkatchev that is becoming her trademark, hits her pak, a lot of casting on the low bar (intended?), strong handstand, just overdoes her tuck full landing with a step back. 9.800
4. Cheek – Went so far on that tkatchev it looked like she might not catch but she did, has great form overall, one borderline handstand and one moment of legs, but sticks her DLO. 9.925.  
5. Rogers -lovely stalder work, one arched handstand after an excellent stalder tkatchev, stick or near stick on her full out dismount. Expect another big score. 9.900
6. Davis – Another brilliant tkatchev, takes it all the way through to a brilliant DLO dismount, very nice routine from what we saw, but the angle was difficult to judge the handstands on that one. 9.975. Still never gotten a 10, but she’s getting closer. Definitely nothing you could take on the tkatchev or DLO.

Scores are going high, but consistently and for both teams. Last weekend set the tone, and we’re seeing it continue, that a 197.000 this year will be an average score and that high 197s will be the norm, and we’re seeing that pace again so far. After 2: Georgia 98.850, LSU 98.625. Georgia is on pace for a 197.700 (although going to weaker events), and LSU is on pace for a 197.250.

We have a lot of scores to keep up on now. Oklahoma keeps it going from last week with a 49.400 on vault to open the meet. 9.900s from Kmieciak and Scaman. Florida starting with some pedestrian scores on bars against Auburn with the big three still to come (but Bri Guy got a 9.950 on vault), and Arkansas is currently on 196 pace against Missouri.

Rotation 3: Georgia on beam, LSU on floor 
This is where we can expect LSU to make up ground.

Georgia beam
1. Broussard – Clean loso series, hits switch split and straddle, strong full turn, side aerial to split jump is right on, sticks a gainer full dismount with legs apart. Good start. 9.775
2. Reynolds – Clean front tuck, only a very small adjustment on her series, a little angled on her switch side, low trail leg, side somi is hit, double full to finish with a small hop back. 9.800. Hm, I thought Broussard’s was a touch stronger, fewer wobbles.
3. Box – tuck full jump, large wobble on her loso series but holds on, small correction on her walkover, squatty landing on her 1.5 dismount with a hop forward. They’ll hope to drop it. 9.700. Tell me how that routine was only .075 lower than Broussard’s? Huh? 
4. Rogers -switch leap and a split 1/4 to open, bhs 1/1 to a bhs and she comes off the beam on her bhs. She struggled on beam to start the season last year as well. Still hits her bhs 3/4 to stag as always, sticks dismount. 9.300.
5. Cheek -Lovely full turn, clean loso series, nice amplitude on her switch side, some people just stay on level but she rises up into hers, clean side aerial and switch split, a little wonky on straddle 1/4, holds onto the stick on the gainer full. 9.875.
6. Earls -Very solid on her two layouts series, switch split to straddle 1/4 is hit, side aerial is clean, they desperately need this hit and she’s doing it, but this lineup still misses some Shayla even though Cheek and Earls both did well. Good double tuck dismount with a step back. 9.850.

LSU floor
1. Mathis -Very low on her DLO landing with a large lunge forward, unusual for her but she is still recovering from injury, front through to double back is good, straddle jumps are all the way completed, very low again on her double pike and hands down. Uh oh. Opening fall.
2. Jordan -Huge bounce out of her double pike mount, front 1/1 + layout is clean, pulled around the front full out of her dismount to stick it without giving away the step back she might have. Strong after the mount. 9.825.
3. Gnat -Huge pike full in mount but does bounce back out of it as well, they’re having a bit of control problems, 2.5 + punch front is clean, switch ring missed split a little bit, but excellent double pike dismount. 9.850.
4. Savona -1.5 to double back is secure, first one to really hit her mount, tuck full as a middle pass, huge difficulty in the middle of this lineup, split full looked under 180, a little low in the chest on the double pike dismount, but very secure routine in the landings. 9.900. 
5. Courville – Takes her big double arabian way far and steps OOB, also lacks some control on her double back landing, this is surprising from her becasue there are clear deductions here, strong double pike finish, but she has been much better. Um, apparently one judge gave her a 9.950, which is way off even not taking into account the OOB. One judge went 9.950 and another went 9.700. Oh brother. They figure it out a little for a 9.725 final. 
6. Hall -Here we go, Ridiculous DLO, but I see what people have been saying about her using the same choreography to different music this year, at least until the end. That’s probably not a great sign. Front full front layout is hit, slightly short on her double back and a step forward, so still not the huge score we will expect to see.  9.875

OK, woah. LSU disappointed on floor there, with multiple gymnasts really lacking control in their tumbling, which we see from them from time to time early in seasons but I wasn’t really expected. They have excellent difficulty, though, and seem unlikely to make this a regular thing. Mathis really struggled, but otherwise we’ll expect them to pull it multi-tenths higher in the coming weeks. A 49.175 isn’t even bad. Georgia goes 49.000 on beam after some weird wobbly stuff throughout the middle of the lineup, but Cheek and Earls looked strong.

After 3: Georgia 147.850, LSU 147.800. Still a tossup here, going to an event where both teams have had some issues in the past.   

Broussard’s beam has been raised to a 9.825. Good.

And in case you’re wondering Maria Sharapova was serving for the match and has screwed it up a couple times, surprising no one. Oh dear.

What elese do we have here, Michigan has one more vault to go from Sheppard, but it looking like high 196s will be the story of the day. Floor might have become a problem, but big scores from Sugyama, Zakharia, and Sampson saved a strong score. Sheppard vaults for 9.925, so Michigan finishes with 196.800, a solid improvement over last week.

In a bit of a back-to-earth surprise, Oklahoma got a 49.150 on bars, after Kmieciak had a disaster and no one else got into the 9.9s, and they’re already counting a 9.700 on beam. First crack in the #1’s veneer here. Which team can take advantage?

Florida got big scores from Macko and Sloan to save what could have been a weak bars rotation for 49.125 (Alaina Johnson 9.725 WHAT?) But Macko got it together on vault this week for a 9.925 and Sloan got a 9.950.

4th Rotation – (LSU on beam, Georgia on floor)

LSU Beam 
1. Gauthier – knees on a hit series, good switch split, wobble on tuck 3/4 jump, didn’t quite hit her split but gainer loso afterward is good, 1.5 dismount with a raised leg but no movement. 9.700.
2. Savona – hits loso series, could have a higher chest on some of these acro elements, and she will get hit on a couple splits, but in the giving away wobbles department, she has been strong, double pike dismount with a step back. 9.750.
3. Hall – Big pause before her series and did well to stay on just giving away a single wobble, could have slid right off the beam, hits her straddle dance elements securely, double back with a step. 9.800.
4. Gnat – They need scores from the big three now to win this one, lovely walkover, hits full turn, switch split and switch side are pretty, huge wobble on her loso series, lifts up her leg, sticks dismount, so really just that one big wobble to take, but it was a big one. 9.800.
5. Courville – Hits L turn, big wobble on her arabian, that’s a shame, she’s not having her best meet by any means. Small correction on her loso series, sheep jump, leaps are always the highlight for her and they are again, doesn’t connect her walkover + sissone but sticks her gainer full. 9.875 is a little charitable, but we’ll forgive the judges being forgiving on that arabian.
6. Jordan – Small wobble on walkover, good loso series, switch leap is strong but rushes that straddle 1/4 and doesn’t hit the full position, wobble on side somi, short on her 1.5 dismount with a step back. 9.850.   

Georgia Floor
1. Earls – Double pike is secure but with a low chest,  same chest on the double back but everything in this routine was hit and landed well. 9.825
2. Hires – Very high double pike but can’t control it, bounces back, gets the layout around on her front full + front layout, hits final double tuck, but there are things to take. 9.800 
3. Reynolds – Rudi to loso is nice, you know how I love a loso on floor, secure double pike but a very low chest, bounces a little on the front layout on her dismount, but a fine routine. 9.900.
4. Box – High double pike. Oh, are we changing rotations at Worlds already? That’s all I will ever think of with this song now. She also had some low chest time, a little under on her front layout on the dismount and had to bend her knees to get it.
5. Rogers -2.5 is lovely but she did slide forward out of it, hits her 1.5 + layout, somewhat low chested on her double pike but one of the better floor routines she has done for Georgia because she has had struggles from time to time. 9.850.
6. Jay – bounces back out of her double back mount, wolf full and popa, excellent rudi to back layout to stag, which is a combo we don’t see a lot, so points there, sticks double pike with a low chest to finish. 9.900 

So Georgia gets the win, which is an upset as much as we can have upsets in January.
Final scores: Georgia 197.175, LSU 196.875 

Georgia had some issues on every event and got the benefit of Stegeman scoring to keep them in 197 land, but it was an impressive meet in a number of places. Bars was the highest score and the best performance. LSU won vault and dropped a few tenths on bars as expected, both teams had issues on beam, but it was those floor landings that really cost them. It’s not too hard to make the argument that they gave away the whole .300 deficit on those floor mounts. I would certainly not have expected Georgia to win floor at this meet, and that made all the difference.

Moving on Arkansas needs a hit from Grable on beam to get 196 this week, so the chances are pretty good. Oklahoma had a rough beam for 48.875, so they will definitely come back to the pack this week. Very interesting. No 9.9s on either bars or beam. A good floor rotation can salvage a high 196, but 197 looks out of the picture now.

Colussi-Pelaez has come in for Florida on floor this week, but after a fall from Boyce, they’ll be counting two 9.7s. Oklahoma and Florida are both having their struggles this week. Hmmmmm. I say struggles for Florida, they could still get a 197, but relative to what we have been seeing and what we expect, that counts as a struggle now. Florida counting 4 scores in the 9.7s is uncharted territory. 

I think it’s about time to turn over to Florida and Auburn for that final rotation. Florida needs a 49.350 on beam to get that 197.

Arkansas does salvage a 196.050 after Grable hits beam, and Oklahoma is getting the scores to get that high 196 now on floor, counting a 9.900, 9.875, and 9.850 so far.

Florida on beam, Auburn on floor

Spicer – BB – Huge wobble on her opening loso, hits gainer loso securely, otherwise it’s similar to what we expect but did not stick her gainer full, small slide back. 9.750

Kluz – FX – Tuck full mount, solid landing chest in knees, misses her 180 on the split full, and the commentator even pointed it out, which is rare, double tuck dismount with a small slide.  9.775

Johnson – BB – lovely aerial, pretty enough that she is forgiven for putting the bhs after it and pretending that’s a series, only very minor pauses, hops back on her side aerial + full dismount. 9.850.

Webster – FX – pike full, another very low chest on landing, lacks some control on the 1.5+pike landing, but everything else has looked good until she completely overdoes her double back and lands it to her back.

Alert that Oklahoma had to count a 9.725 on floor after dropping a fall from Mooring, so they finish with a 196.675. The door is open for Alabama to become #1 with a big score tomorrow.

Boyce – BB – opens with a small correction on her walkover, hits her splits, sticks her gainer full, pretty similar to the 9.8y routine we saw last week at UCLA. 9.850. 

Demurs – FX – Really bringing the difficulty is Auburn, another pike full mount, that’s what you have to do, great tumbling but the theme so far has been low chests, a little under on her front full in the middle pass and has a stumble. Very low on her double pike and buckles slightly in the knees. 9.725.

Hunter – BB -Much better front tuck mount than last week, right on, high loso as always, this was one of her solid days on beam, small hop back on the double back dismount but very strong.  9.850.

Rott – FX – Really clean DLO to mount, again not quite there to 180 in the split. She has very clean form in her tumbles, and interestingly no twisting elements in this routine. Another double pike that lands a bit low with squatty knees.  9.800.

Sloan – BB – Excellent loso series, walkover to scale is hit again, now lets make sure she gets through the side aerial this time because everything else has been great, she hits it, and a stuck double full, well that was great. Should be in the 9.9s easily, potential for 9.950 with a happy judge. Gets a 9.925, which is fair for that. 

Atkinson – FX – Another pike full, best one so far in terms of chest, and stuck, good double pike as a dismount, bits here and here, but the best floor routine of the rotation by far. 9.875. 

M Caquatto – BB – Needs a 9.875 to get Florida a 197 here, layout is excellent, as is the walkover, so she’s on track for it, hits full turn, she’s right on today, stuck a gainer full. Good routine, let’s wait and see on the score. 9.950. 

Guy – FX – Big DLO to start, I like the way she walks out of her front handspring on the middle pass, it adds fluidity to the routine and is a different look from the usual, excellent double tuck to finish, nothing you can take on that one. That will help save a 196 for Auburn in this meet.

Final Score: Florida 197.075, Auburn 196.200
Both should be happy with their scores. Florida salvaged a 197 even with two rotations below what we would expect, so that’s an encouraging sign for them. Beam is all that I saw, but it looked very good this week. Sloan and Caquatto in particular were excellent, and Hunter was also much more secure than last week and would have been in the 9.9s if not for the dismount step.

In score watch, next week Florida will be at 196.863, LSU will be at 197.038, Georgia will be at 196.608, and Oklahoma will remain in the lead for the moment with 197.188. Alabama will need a 197.225 tomorrow to tie Oklahoma and a 197.250 to move ahead.

Well, that’s the end of action for me for the day, but be sure to keep an eye on the scores for Utah, just about to get underway. Thanks for following!

The Weekend Ahead – January 17th-20th

Oklahoma enters the weekend as the nation’s top-ranked team, and with a comfortable .500 advantage over everyone else, the Sooners look like a strong bet to stay #1. To make it competitive, they would probably have to drop back into the 196s this weekend to give LSU or Alabama a chance to pass, and even then it would large a huge score from either of those teams to do it. Oklahoma has a second-straight home meet this weekend against Iowa State, and all eyes will be on the score to see if they can keep up the pace set last Friday.


The headline meet this Friday, however, will be LSU visiting Georgia. That’s the one I’ll be watching most intently, and given the rosters these two teams have put together this year, the Tigers enter as the favorite. LSU beat Georgia about 160 times last season and look to continue the streak as Jay Clark returns to Stegeman for the first time since being loudly removed from Georgia’s head coach position in 2012. Bars is the one area where Georgia appears to hold an advantage over LSU, so if the Gym Dogs are going to win this one and avoid starting the year 0-3, they’ll need to build up a multi-tenth edge on bars and probably win beam as well because we can expect LSU to be quite a bit stronger on floor.

Also on Friday, Florida will be in action at Auburn, Michigan visits NC State, and Utah goes to Cal trying to show they can get some of those big homes scores from last weekend on the road, so don’t forget to watch those scores/meets as well. If you’re looking for free broadcast options this weekend, the Michigan/NC State meet is your choice. Saturday features Alabama, Nebraska, and Kentucky in the Flipfest tri-meet in Tennessee. Kentucky’s schedule says the meet is at 7:00 Eastern, Nebraska says 8:00 Central, and Alabama says 8:00 Eastern, so apparently it’s happening inside a time vortex.

I’ll be back on Sunday to blog the UCLA and Oregon State meet (on TV on the Pac-12 Network). The Bruins will need to work out what a tight mess that beam rotation was last weekend, so keep an eye on whether they can perform an acro series without turning to dust this time (and whether Angi Cipra gets in that lineup). The Beavs were under par in their opening meet on three events, recording just two 9.8s across vault, beam, and floor and receiving seven scores under 9.700. They can’t hope to beat UCLA (or many teams) if they’re continuing to get 9.6s and 9.7s on vault and floor, so we’ll need to see those landings begin to come into line.  

Enjoy the meets!

Top 25 Schedule

Friday – 1/17/14
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [8] Michigan, North Carolina, Towson @ NC State
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [16] Rutgers, Eastern Michigan, George Washington @ [21] Kent State
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – William & Mary @ [22] Central Michigan
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [2] LSU @ [9] Georgia
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [10] Arkansas @ Missouri
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Iowa State @ [1] Oklahoma
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [4] Florida @ [18] Auburn
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [14] Denver, [23] BYU @ [11] Boise State
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [4] Utah @ Cal

Saturday – 1/18/14
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Pittsburgh @ [25] Michigan State
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Centenary, UW-Eau Claire @ [13] Illinois
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [3] Alabama, [6] Nebraska, [17] Kentucky @ Ozone Classic, Tennessee

Sunday – 1/19/14
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – [24] Minnesota, Brown, Yale @ New Hampshire
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – [16] Rutgers @ [19] Ohio State
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – NC State @ [21] Kent State
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [19] Arizona, [23] BYU, Sacramento State @ [12] Stanford
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [14] Oregon State @ [6] UCLA

Monday – 1/20/14
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Iowa @ [9] Georgia

The Week in Videos

The meets of Week 2 will soon be upon us, so now is the time to get caught up on some of the major highlights from last weekend’s action.

UCLA – Interviews and highlights

Oklahoma – Highlights

Florida – Highlights

Alabama – Highlights

LSU – Interviews and highlights
http://www.lsusports.net/mediaPortal/embed.swf

Arkansas – Highlights
http://www.arkansasrazorbacks.com/mediaPortal/embed.swf

GeorgiaGym Dogs Show

UtahHighlights

Week 1 Rankings

Top 25 Rankings – (GymInfo)

1. Oklahoma – 197.700
It was a statement meet for the Sooners last weekend, opening up a big lead over the rest of the country. A team receiving a score like 197.700, especially in first meet, is always going to be cause for chatter and skepticism, especially when Haley Scaman goes “Full Zamarripa” and gets a 9.950 for a Yfull with a hop back. Congratulations, Sooners. You’ve arrived! Don’t be surprised if this seems like just a medium score for Oklahoma by the end of the year, though, because they have a very high-scoring schedule including road meets like the Bart and Nadia Challenge, Metroplex, and Florida.  

2. LSU – 197.200
Much like Oklahoma, LSU is eager to be part of the top conversation, and every score in the 197s helps keep them there. Unsurprisingly, the big numbers came from vault and floor, even taking into account an off floor performance from Hall, so they didn’t even meet scoring expectations there. Courville and Jordan delivered on beam as expected, but we’re still waiting who else will emerge to help that rotation be competitive. Ashleigh Gnat’s 9.850 was a very important start.

3. Alabama – 197.150
The loss of Kayla Williams soured an otherwise strong opening to the season. A couple of routines in each rotation were a bit of a struggle, which would have been expected regardless, but I do wonder how the vault lineup is going to fare without her. It will still be competitive because there are more than enough vaulters on this team, but losing a potential 9.950 is always tough to endure. There may be a couple more 9.850s than we are used to there. 
T4. Florida – 196.650
The nice part for the Gators is that they can have a pretty poor meet by their standards and still debut at #4. There were messy routines in that meet and some strange mistakes, like two people botching their vault blocks. Macko had a very rough go on two events, looking far from ready on vault and floor, so I’m interested to see if she does the AA again at Auburn next weekend. Everyone had at least one issue, but Sloan still looked strong on three events and Hunter looked ready on two events and rusty on two events. Expect both to be hitting the AA for 9.9s before too long.

T4. Utah – 196.650
Like Alabama, Utah suffered a warmups Achilles injury with Kassandra Lopez going down, so some shuffling had to take place in the lineups. The beam conversation has been the most challenging for Utah lately, and Lopez looked to be one of the clear starters, so we’ll have to keep an even fiercer eye on that lineup in the coming weeks. Dabritz also did not perform beam in the opening meet, and it was the only rotation for Utah not to feature a 9.9 score in a meet that would have gone well over 197 and could have seen the Utes debut at #2 if not for a counting fall on bars.   

T6. UCLA – 196.625
In some ways, UCLA looked better than anticipated, especially in terms of landing control on vault and floor, because of how much new blood there will be in these lineups. But in what is perhaps an unsurprising theme of the week, beam proved an area of concern with a number of ragged performances that had to be saved by the anchor two, and the bars rotation was also informed by a sloppiness that is not reflected in the 49.250 final score. Olivia Courtney was the clear star of the meet, earning 9.9s on her three events. She often starts seasons quite well, so it’s little surprise she was the top Bruin on all her apparatuses.  

T6. Nebraska – 196.625
Encouragingly for Nebraska, a number of new competitors came into the rotations in this meet, with Ariel Martin performing on two events and Jordyn Beck and Ashley Lambert each on one, and we could see their contributions increase as the season goes on. Ten competitors received scores for Nebraska in this meet, which may not seem like a lot, but after seasons of seven and eight taking on the whole burden, it’s a luxury to have options. In the opposite of a surprise, Wong and DeZiel led the scoring, each recording a 9.950.

8. Michigan – 196.525
The Wolverines are right there in the middle of the pack with a respectable mid-196 opening score, though judging by the quality in preseason, I expected a little bit stronger start. Annette Miele coming out after bars threw off a couple of the rotations, and there were scores like Sampson’s bars 9.700 that we wouldn’t expect to be a thing going forward. Of course, beam was beam, continuing a bit of the trend from last year where it was not a disaster by any means but also nothing that’s going to help the team either, with no individual scores over 9.825.

9. Georgia – 196.325
Georgia endured two meets over the weekend in what is a ridiculously packed 11-day stretch including four meets, and got through it with 196s, so half the marathon is already over. As I expect for most of the year, bars was a highlight, with Lindsay Cheek appearing to emerge as that necessary third big scorer alongside Rogers and Davis with her two 9.900s. Floor has been the event to watch for Georgia because that lineup just seems to be hanging on, and the 48.675 from the Stanford meet including just one 9.8 score raises the red flag. However, we can put a “wait and see” label on that one since it did come as the second meet in a travel weekend. 

10. Arkansas – 196.200
Arkansas has been overlooked this season by some people named me, so breaking 196 in the first week is a delightful sign, especially seeing that bars (an event I had some serious lineup concerns about) ended up as the highest scoring apparatus with a couple 9.875s. Katherine Grable was Katherine Grable of course, but one of the key Arkansas stories this season will be Amanda Wellick because she has the potential to step into that much-needed second AAer position. Her going 39.300 in the AA was perhaps the most important part of that meet for the team.

11. Boise State – 195.850
12. Stanford – 195.575
13. Illinois – 195.325
T14. Denver – 195.200
T14. Oregon State – 195.200
16. Rutgers – 195.075
17. Kentucky – 195.000
18. Auburn – 194.875
T19. Ohio State – 194.750
T19. Arizona – 194.750
21. Kent State – 194.725
22. Central Michigan – 194.625
23. BYU – 194.550
24. Minnesota – 194.425
25. Michigan State – 194.150

[1] Florida @ [4] UCLA Live Blog

We arrive at UCLA vs. Florida after what has already been a weekend of big. Any notion that we might have a slow, modest start to the season was obliterated when Oklahoma recorded a 197.700 yesterday, and LSU and Alabama weren’t far behind with a 197.200 and 197.150 respectively. Last year, across the first two weekends of the season, we saw just one team score in the 197s. That was a 197.425 from UCLA at home in a Saturday night meet, so keep an eye on what happens tonight because we probably aren’t done with the weekend’s high-flying scores.

Of course, the theme for this meet should have been “1992 Throwback” because . . .

but I understand that’s unrealistic. Still, let’s just think about it for a second.

For UCLA, the 2014 debut was always going to be interesting because they will be introducing a ton of new blood into these lineups and have a lot of scores to replace, but this was compounded by the Mattie departure. While I believe it will still be some time before we see Pinches because of her toe injury, how Hallie Mossett and Angi Cipra fare in their debuts is vital for UCLA. It will be tough for the Bruins to win the meet without a Florida mistake, but in terms of being on the right track, watch those two.

For Florida, as I mentioned in the weekend preview, we’re basically aware of what to expect from this team because the big scoring core of Sloan, Hunter, Johnson, and Macko are known entities, but Bridgey Caquatto will need to be the 5th member of that coven on three-four events to make up for some routines lost after last year. She’ll be expected to record fairly large scores on some events she hasn’t featured on in college, so she’s the Gator I’m watching most closely tonight.

The meet begins promptly at 10:00 ET/7:00 PT on the Pac-12 Network.

Score predictions?

I’m putting this post up a little early because I’ll be checking in on Utah a bit before the meet starts and may have some thoughts. You never know.

Nebraska has finished with a 196.625 to go slightly ahead of Georgia and Michigan in that second pack of teams, and Minnesota is currently struggling after a rough one on bars. That was always going to be the problem.

Utah finally getting underway. First three vaulters are Tutka, Del Priore, and Damianova, and they all have similar vaults in the air, not quite the amplitude we are going to see from the top teams, and a little piking in flight (Damianova was straightest in the body), and some small landing deductions with a low chest and some movement. All looked pretty 9.800ish and got 9.875s.

Delaney was stronger in the amplitude and with a slight hunched-over stickish type landing. Wilson piked in the air and hopped back, so not her usual stick, but it’s early. Dabritz finishes with a 1.5 (I admit I was sure they would drop her back to the full once the season started), with a step forward. Lange did exhibition with her handspring pike half with a small hop back – probably the best I’ve seen her do that vault.

Utah goes 49.425 with 9.900s for Dabritz and Delaney, 9.875 for the first three, and 9.825 for Wilson, which highlights the problem with giving 9.875s for the first three. Wilson’s 9.825 is justified because those deductions existed in her vault, but she still had the third best vault in that rotation all things – like power – considered, not the weakest, and Dabritz and Delaney were better than .025 stronger than those first three. That’s going to be a big three at the back of this lineup as the season continues. 

Lineups are out for UCLA and Florida:
UCLA VT: McDonald, Sawa, Cipra, Bynum, Peszek, Courtney
UCLA UB: Francis, DeJesus, Craddock, Mossett, Courtney, Peszek
UCLA BB: DeJesus, Sawa, Mossett, Craddock, Peszek, Francis
UCLA FX: DeJesus, Mossett, Francis, Bynum, Cipra, Courtney

Florida VT: Spicer, B Caquatto, M Caquatto, Johnson, Sloan, Hunter
Florida UB: BDG, Hunter, B Caquatto, Sloan, M Caquatto, Johnson
Florida BB: Spicer, Johnson, Boyce, Hunter, Sloan, M Caquatto
Florida FX: Boyce, M Caquatto, Spicer, B Caquatto, Sloan, Hunter

No Colussi-Pelaez in competition lineups. I’d expect she’ll exhibition, but it’s interesting. I thought she was in the running over Boyce for those beam and floor spots, but it’s the other way around.

No Peszek on floor at least for now. Also, Pinches will add some quality to most of these events when she is able to return. I’m already nervous about that UCLA beam lineup. Remember when we thought this season’s UCLA beam lineup could have been DeJesus, Gerber, Larson, Peszek, Lee, Francis? It seems like a different lifetime. 

Broadcast getting started now. Really milking that “Florida returning to the site of victory” ankle, surprising no one.

Shot of Zam. We miss you. Please come vault, or beam, or bars. I’ll take anything.
Rhonda loves that top. Is there some special significance to it? Or does she have a closet full of them like Superman?

Photo recap of Peszek and Sloan knowing each other. They’re getting the Kyla/McKayla treatment.  

Rotation 1: UCLA – VT, Florida – UB

UCLA Vault
1. McDonald – yfull, piked, not much movement on the landing, small shuffle. OK. 9.775.
2. Sawa – better height than McDonald and a big stick. Very reminiscent to the vault from national semis, still some piking and low chest, so there’s room to deduct. 9.900.
3. Cipra – strong yfull overall, good potential because of the form, some piking as well, big step back. Good for a debut, though. 9.850.
4. Bynum -yhalf, lands very short with a stumble back, that should be the dropped score. 9.725
5. Peszek – good yfull with a hop back, she’ll be there soon. Good lift and doesn’t pike the way the others have. Much better chest position. 9.850
6. Courtney – Awesome, awesome vault. Best height on the team and a clear stick on the yfull, like what she did in EF last year. If Sawa got a 9.900, that should be a 9.950. She gets our first 9.975 of the year. First judge to give a 10. As the commenter pointed out, her legs were pretty far apart on the landing.

Florida Bars 
1. Dancose-Giambattisto – nice shaposh, bad camera angle, but looks clean, gets huge height on her DLO but there is a leg break in the second salto, nice stick. 9.875
2. Hunter -good first hs, big tkatchev, perhaps short on her bail hs didn’t get her usual height on her tuck full dismount with a step forward. Fine but not her best. 9.800
3. B Caquatto – opening ray is strong, good bail, hitting handstands, sticks DLO, lovely routine. 9.900
4. Sloan – Great opening tkatchev, except for the usual toes but lovely still, she has that leg break in the bail and a hop forward on the DLO but otherwise strong and what we saw last year. 9.875
5. M Caquatto – very clean shaposh to bail, and I’m so pleased she’s added the tkatchev this year, step back on the tuck full. 9.875
6. Johnson -Another excellent tkatchev, swith those toes, maybe a tiny bit more ragged than we have seen from her in the past and some movement on the dismount, but very good routine. Great start to the season for Florida. 9.875

Florida leads 49.400 to 49.350 after the first rotation, so everyone is still in this. The camera angle on bars made it difficult to judge the handstands, especially on the bails, but they looked mostly clean. They will be better on this event, but those back three need to stick the dismounts. One judge gave each of them a 9.900 without a stick, so when they stick they’ll be going stratospheric.

Courtney saved that rotation for UCLA with an excellent vault, and Peszek is on the way. Cipra showed some good potential as well.

Rhonda is talking now about all her special memories from UCLA.

Rotation 2: UCLA – UB, Florida -VT

UCLA Bars
1. Francis -good first hs, small leg separation on the shaposh, looked a little late on her full, and then a stuck double pike. Fine start. 9.850
2. DeJesus – New hair? crazy legs on her gienger like at the beginning of last season, they came together later, tries to pretend she stuck her tuck full but she didn’t. Nice to see Mattie there cheering them on.
3. Craddock – Nice tkatchev, look at you Ellette, big leg break on the pak but nice line in handstands, hop back on her double back and enough form breaks to bring the score down. 9.775.
4. Mossett – good first hs, strong height on her jaeger, pak, a lot of handstands in this for an NCAA routine and it showed by the end with a struggle on her stalder circle, but sticks the double back dismount. Discussion about the SV, looks like she didn’t get that 10 SV. 9.650.
5. Courtney – Good opening shaposh, hits bail, still not doing a same-bar release, which I would have liked to see, but she does stick the tuck full even if she flung it out a bit. 9.900.
6. Peszek – Catches the gienger close and is also close on her shoot to the high bar, the handstands looked good, but she whipped her DLO a little and piked down and hopped back. Looks like she needs more time with this routine. 9.875. High. 

Florida Vault
1. Spicer – did not get much of a block at all on her yfull with no distance, barely hung onto the landing with a huge squat. 9.600.
2. B Caquatto – strong yfull, good height, hop back, but clean body form and a good addition to the lineup.
3. M Caquatto – Ack. She also didn’t get any kind of block at all, lands so very low, almost a little lock legged, and has to put her hand down. Bridget Sloan is miming how pissed she is.
4. Johnson – Alaina fixes what has been happening on vault, great leg form, a small, small movement on the landing, and perhaps some piking on replay.
5. Sloan – Gorgeous, gorgeous vault. If Courtney got a 9.975, this was just as good with better legs on the stick, perhaps less height, perhaps. Excellent vault. They needed that after two struggles. 9.925. Florida not getting the same kind of scoring UCLA got.
6. Hunter – Y1.5 is excellent, great body position and just the smallest of hops forward, not the stick, but a great vault. Sloan and Hunter saved this rotation score. 9.900

Hmm. Very interesting rotation. Scoring is all over the place. After 2 rotations, UCLA leads 98.600 to 98.375.

I am quite surprised to see Florida have two missed vaults like that from Macko and Spicer, which really hurt their score. Sloan and Hunter looked very good, and it would have been interesting to see what the judges would have done with a Hunter stick. The rest of the rotation needs to catch up with them.

UCLA had some formy formy moments in some of those bars routines with leg breaks and close catches in a number of the routines, so a very first meet showing from both teams in that rotation. Lots of cleaning to do, and I do wonder how competitive UCLA will be with this bars rotation eventually.

Rotation 3: UCLA – BB, Florida -FX

UCLA Beam
1. DeJesus – clean walkover, but takes a huge wobble on her loso and touches the beam, problem start, hop forward on the front full dismount. 9.475
2. Sawa -switch split, straddle 1/4 open, hits side aerial, not even close on her loso series and comes off before her second leg even touches. Ruh Roh. We knew it would be a journey for UCLA on beam, but the rest of the routine was OK. 9.250.
3. Mossett -Tentative full turn to start but fine, big wobble on stag jump, not a remotely fun posirion for a first collegiate beam routine going after two mistakes, but she hits – side somi is strong, gainer pike dismount. Really nervy routine but she hit. 9.775
4. Craddock – lovely full turn, walkover to front handspring, huge break at the waist, this is just a disaster rotation, has to redo her dance combo and doesn’t really hit those second splits, having to improvise, cool front layout dismount but a slight stumble landing. Rough. 9.575.
5. Peszek -They need a big Peszek of a routine right now, great walkover and gainer loso, switch split to straddle jump is right now. Bhs, loso, layout full, small shuffle on the landing, but thank you for showing up, Sam. First one who did on this rotation. 9.925
6. Francis -I’ve been looking forward to this for a while, solid walkover to bhs, does well to save her dance combination without taking a wobble, Y spin, here it comes, gets it done and sticks it as well. Transverse aerial to layout full. Team going wild. Ha. That’s fun to see. I was worried it would be a problem, but she pulls it out. 9.900. 

Florida Floor
1. Boyce – front double full mount, clean vody form in her twisting elements, not quite hitting 180 in these splits, rudi finish. Big music doesn’t really match the choreo, does it? 9.825
2. M Caquatto – Happy and surprised to see her doing floor from the first meet, stick front double full. Who used this music? Alicia? It’s just a whole mess of Sac tributes on this team. Ack, way, way over on her 1.5 in the middle pass and landed her front layout to her back. Gah, she almost hit her head on that layout. Scary. Exact same mistake on the front tuck on her dismount. Two falls. Poor girl. 8.400.
3. Spicer – solid landing on her pike full in but the chest is near her knees on that landing, front full front pike is secure, doesn’t quite hit the split full at 180, but good double pike to get them back on track. 9.825
4. B Caquatto – front double mount to front tuck, lands a little short on her front tuck but it’s fine, front 1.5 to split jump is very nicely done, she’s completing her dance elements well, very short landing on her double pike, low chest and a big hop, was going pretty well until then. 9.750
5. Sloan – I know some people aren’t into this routine, but I’m all about it. She needs to do for Florida what Peszek did on beam. Good front double full. Splits look better than in the December training videos, a little low on her double pike with a hop forward, huge breather before the dismount, pulls out the layout after her 1.5, it looked like she might not, but she did look tired at the end. 9.850.
6. Hunter – Excellent DLO as always, 1.5, front layout, front handsrping, shushunova middle pass is well executed, only slightly low on her double tuck dismount, but someone finally showed up for Florida’s floor rotation.

Well, that was a rough experience of a third rotation. UCLA was an utter mess on beam for the first four, but Peszek was her usual solid self, and Danusia hit a lovely routine. 48.650, and it could have been WAY worse after the quality of those first routines.

Florida had the Macko problem and some other average routines to open. This rotation really is the march of the front double fulls this year. Lots of short landings on tumbling passes throughout the group, even for the people who hit well. It wasn’t as much of a problem as UCLA’s beam, but work to be done here, and the final two had to save the score, much as UCLA’s final two did.

After 3: Florida 147.550, UCLA 147.250. 

Interviewing Jordyn Wieber now. She got back in the gym after London and then decided she wanted to leave and start college instead. Yep. Not committing to a comeback time frame, like a well media-trained girl.

Rotation 4: UCLA – FX, Florida – BB

UCLA Floor
1. McDonald – UCLA changes rotation order at the last minute. It would be a UCLA meet without it, pretty strong double pike, as last season it’s the dance elements that bring her score down, rudi to loso is on, some crossed legs on the rudi, then she just lies on the floor for a while breathing without even moving (TEH ARTISTRY!) a little low chest on the rudi dismount, but a good routine especially coming in at the last minute. 9.750 
2. Francis – The hairography is all I’ve ever needed, opens with the double pike (we figured the double arabian wouldn’t be ready) but it’s very strong, a little squatty in her whip double back landing but it was secure, we need her in the floor rotation every week. Good splits, stumbles a little out of her 2.5 but stays in. One of the better floor routines she has done for UCLA. 9.875
3. Bynum – Strong DLO mount, she needed that this year and her tumbling looks bigger than last season, much like McDonald, it’s the dance elements that aren’t quite up to the tumbling, that was choreography and not an attempt at a dance element, right? Right. Also a little low on the double pike dismount. 9.850. 
4. Cipra – Excited to see what she brings on the floor, high double back as a mount, small lack of countrol on her 1.5 + layout, squatty landing on her double pike, finishes with her dance elements, there’s potential in this routine. 9.850.
5. Courtney – One of those days when she lands the double arabian a little under and steps back. Oh, this music again. OK. 1.5 to front 1/2 to loso is very strong. Sticks double pike dismount. 9.900
6. Sawa – She wasn’t in the lineup originally, low chest on double back mount (if Florida’s floor was a tale of front double fulls, UCLA’s floor is about D double salto mounts), better on the double pike, strong. 1.5 to half to stag is done well. Macko’s beam was just enough for Florida to take the meet, but she did well enough to keep it close. 9.900  

Florida Beam
1. Spicer – looked almost like a wobble on choreo at the beginning, just a very slight adjustment on the loso series, hits gainer loso, just some pauses and tentativeness in this routine, hits gainer full dismount. Better start than UCLA. 9.825
2. Johnson – Good walkover to back handspring, wobbles on her split half, aerial to layout full dismount with a small hop. Deductions but another good hit to open the rotation. 9.800. 
3. Boyce – also does a walkover + bhs, but also does a bhs + loso series, both are hit, her low to beam choreo seemed a little awkward, hits gainer full. 9.850.
4. Hunter – Stumbles on her punch front mount but stays on, loso series is huge as always, small correction on switch side, huge lunge out of her double back dismount. Gave away tenths there on her big skills. 9.750
5. Sloan – Wonderful loso series, hits her walkover to scale, but it’s not my favorite elements because even when done well it isn’t the most secure of skills. It’s always just held onto. WOW. She wasn’t even close on her side aerial and just came off. I’m so surprised at that from her. Of all the people to fall. Not close on it. Weird. 9.225.
6. M Caquatto – Layout stepout series is strong, as is the walkover to swingdown. She’s getting them back on it just like at Super Six. Good switch split. A hit routine should be enough for the meet, but just barely. Hit gainer full. 9.875.

Well, that was not a particularly inspiring meet overall, which is normal for the first meet of the season, but I guess I expected better. We had a few individual highlights, a couple excellent vault from both teams and Danusia’s beam dismount, but a lot of sloppiness as well.

FINAL: Florida 196.650, UCLA 196.625

There were enough mistakes in this meet that both teams will feel fortunate to have received something in the mid 196s, which is a normal first meet score for this all-over-the-place performance. UCLA’s score got raised to 196.625 after the fact, so just .025 behind Florida, after Danusia’s floor score was bumped up. 

Rhonda is giving the team a speech to try to make them feel better by talking about this performance since they started the season on the road. Amanda is interviewing Peszek, and she talks about being “too amped” to start the meet. “Finally got it together” on beam. Good honesty, Sam.

For Florida, bars ended up being the strong event. They looked very good on the bars themselves, and just need the dismounts to come together to get excellent scores. On the other three, there were some lackluster routines, saved by some strong anchors. The landings aren’t there on vault and floor yet, and most of beam was flat. Bridget Sloan’s beam fall was just a freak thing, but she and Kytra looked about where they should be at this point in the year. Macko looked excellent on her good events, but vault and floor were scary.

UCLA got some charitable home scoring in several places, but I’m more interested in quality at this point in the season. It was a nervy meet for a number of the competitors, so we’ll have to watch how that progresses. Mossett and Craddock looked petrified. A couple of these lineups need Pinches. I’m encouraged about Cipra, though there’s room to improve the landings on both events she showed, and Danusia had one of her strongest meets including the best floor she has done. Peszek was just OK on vault and bars (her bars was one of the bigger overscores of the night), but she’ll be back soon.  

What did you think of the meet?