Lots of scores to watch tonight. Follow along with all my jibber jabber after the jump.
It seems like all eyes are on Florida tonight, with a huge meet at home against Arkansas. I have a feeling that this meet will do a lot to shape the narrative about both of these teams for the rest of the season. If Florida has a poor meet, there will be “a lot to overcome” and “a controversial strategy,” but if they win or score very well, then we will be on “Rhonda’s a genius” watch. For Arkansas, they are not one of the perennial powers, so people will always be looking for an opportunity to dismiss them and say, “they weren’t really one of the great teams, anyway,” but if they have another great meet, they will force people to expand the conversation about the top teams to include them.
Oklahoma, Alabama, Utah, and UCLA are also in action throughout the evening. We’ll have a lot to watch. Expect Utah to score very well at home, and expect UCLA to struggle a little bit without their top lineup out there. If UCLA can hit in the 196s, they’re fine, but the danger of putting out a B-team is that they could really drop in the rankings and lose confidence with a bad score that counts falls. They really don’t need to reopen the Westwood Roller Coaster this year (every car is shaped like Miss Val Eyes, “experience the death-defying 400-foot drop…in the rankings!”).
Poor Michigan. Poor, depleted Michigan. They were doing alright (though they could only send up 5 vaulters) through vault and bars with some steady 9.8 scores, but beam destroyed them for 47.675. After three rotations, Illinois (who had their own problems on vault) leads 146.675
Strong scores from Joannides, Weinstein, and See on floor. They’re just missing that depth in the early rotations.
We’re underway in Florida. No more Shisler in the vault lineup (no surprise). Ellis with a low 9.725, but Johnson puts up a strong 9.850. If they can have her consistently in the 3rd position, they’re in great shape. She can regularly go 9.9. Arkansas starts with a pair of 9.825s on bars.
Grable goes 9.850 (which is almost a disappointment for her this season), and Dickerson goes 9.825, which is too low for her capabilities, but she always does need time to find her stick.
Kytra goes 9.850 and King goes 9.875 (good to see she’s finally finding her scores – though the vault has been solid since the beginning). Florida goes 49.175, Arkansas is sitting in 9.8 land on bars.
Michigan has started strong on floor after the first two gymnasts, and Illinois is having a meltdown on beam. This meet could switch right now.
Big 9.925 from Salmon on bars to jump over Florida on the first rotation with their best worker still to come. Howdeshell goes “only” 9.875, but it’s a great start away from home for the Razorbacks.
After one rotation, advantage Arkansas. ARK 49.300, UF 49.175. We know that Grable and Pisani are going to lead the way on the upcoming events, but let’s keep an eye on how the 3rd and 4th gymnasts are scoring. That will be a major factor in keeping pace come championships time. Every top team has great 9.9s at the end, but the championship teams have them in 3rd and 4th spots as well.
Michigan is desperately trying to avoid counting a fall from Colbert on floor (will Nagle have to compete?), but Illinois is giving the meet away on beam with three disasters. Illinois has to count an 8.650 on beam, and they finish with a somber total of 193.700. Michigan will win the meet, so it’s a step. Nagle did compete for the first time for Michigan, but scored 8.200 on floor, so Michigan does end up counting three falls in this meet for a total score of 194.225. Well…it’s better than last week. It’s going to be such a battle for this team this year. Valiant effort, but even making championships is looking more and more unlikely.
I have a question: Ashanee Dickerson scored 9.925 on bars…? Big start for Florida here. A fall from Kytra. Crunch time for Caquatto and Dickerson…King goes 9.925 as well. I’m going to need to see these routines…If Ashanee gets a 9.925, then shouldn’t Johnson get like a 12?
Ok…Johnson goes 9.925 and Caquatto goes 9.950. Those scores are more believable, but they give Florida a preposterous 49.625 on bars. Aren’t home meets fun? Meanwhile Arkansas is starting a little slowly (especially by comparison) on beam. Big pressure on Grable to hit after a fall from Kelci Lewis. Florida will be the big leader at the halfway point. Grable saves Arkansas for a fine 49.050 on beam — they got through it.
After two rotations – UF 98.800, ARK 98.350. As expected, except for getting Caquatto back on all her events, it looks like Florida is putting up their ideal/postseason lineup tonight. Two extremely important rotations coming up – floor has been the weakness so far and beam is beam is beam.
Solid starts from both teams in rotation 3, putting up 9.800-9.850. Rachel Spicer seems to have carved herself out a spot in Florida’s beam lineup. For all the talk of experimenting with lineups, especially on beam, Florida has put up the same six competitive routines in every meet so far. I don’t expect to see experimentation here, but I would like to see it at some point.
Florida taking the advantage on the third routines, Johnson goes 9.925 while Salsberg goes 9.750. We haven’t seen many beam scores higher than Johnson’s this season.
Lots going on right now: for Alabama, Sledge has started bars off well with a 9.850, and for Oklahoma, Mooring and Spears lead their vault rotation with 9.850s as well.
Oklahoma has started vault with a solid 49.200, Arkansas is getting solid mid-high 9.8s on floor, while Florida is going into the 9.9s on beam. Watch out for these scores. UCLA’s season-leading mark might be in danger.
Too many 9.7s for Alabama on bars – Alexin, Clark, and Milliner. Missing a 6th score for Florida on beam, but Arkansas has put up another strong score of 49.250 on floor.
Ashley Priess saves Alabama on bars with a 9.925, and they earn a lackluster but acceptable 48.975. The lack of Stack-Eaton today will test the depth. Without her on bars, they are Sledge, Priess, and Question Mark.
Official score for Marissa King is 9.950, so Florida goes 49.475 on beam. They need a 49.300 on floor to equal UCLA’s score from last week.
After 3 rotations, UF 148.275, ARK 147.600
Final rotation for Florida and Arkansas, Florida starts with more big scores on floor and Arkansas is hovering around 9.8 on vault. Arkansas should still put up a great score tonight, but they will not be able to catch this Florida team.
Final score for Arkansas: 196.700. Great result away. They are setting themselves up to make quite the run.
Florida has two scores on 9.875 on floor from Stageberg and Johnson to lead the rotation so far. They are in strong position to break that 197.575 number.
9.950 from Dickerson. Like I said, these teams (and judges) are just going to keep one-upping each other until we get to insane 198 scores. Don’t be surprised to see them sooner rather than later. Two 9.950s from Florida’s floor rotation for a final score of 197.775. Bets on when the first 198 happens?
Good recovery from Alabama to put up a strong 49.325 on vault, led by Sledge’s 9.925. Oklahoma is at 98.250 after two rotations. One 9.9 from them so far, Sara Stone on vault. Auburn has a strong bar rotation for 49.250, and they are within two tenths of Alabama at halfway.
In contrast to Florida’s colossal score at home, Oklahoma is motoring right along on low 196 pace at home, and that continues on beam with some 9.825s from Stone and Nowak.
Oklahoma finishes with a 49.075 on beam. Frost just scored a9.625 on floor for Alabama, so pressure on Priess and company to keep the scoring high. So interesting to me that we’ve seen Kayla Williams on only vault all season so far.
Alabama started so well on floor, but they’ll struggling now – very uncharacteristic. We expect it on bars, but now it’s a 9.625 from Frost, a 9.725 from Gutierrez, and a 9.650 from Milliner.
Honestly, after getting through bars relatively unscathed, I expected Alabama to roll through the rest of the meet for a highish 196 score. They just recorded 48.825 on floor and are only .150 ahead of Auburn going into the last rotation, where they are on beam. Watch this space.
Over in Utah, as expected the Utes are going to try to put a run on Florida’s score. Kailah Delaney just went 9.950 on vault. Good for her, her vault can be very pretty. They went 49.300 on vault, could have been higher, but they got a 9.8 from the anchor Robarts.
Score change for Alabama on beam, Milliner’s 9.825 becomes a 9.750.
Ouchie. Ashley Sledge goes 8.700 on beam. Bad news for Bama, but this is the kind of situation that tests possible postseason mettle. Let’s see how they react.
Final score alert: Oklahoma 196.475, NC State 194.075. Fine, unremarkable score for Oklahoma. The story will be Florida this week.
Alabama solid so far after the fall with 9.825 from Gutierrez and 9.800 from Demeo. They won’t be too happy with the final score regardless, but a hit from Priess should put them in low 196s for another week. Florida v. Alabama will be fascinating.
Utah went huge on bars for 49.450. Beers went 9.900, so…
Priess hits big for 9.925 to salvage the meet for Alabama at a 196.275. Not anything to write home about compared to these other teams. Valiant effort from Auburn (love that they are keeping these meets competitive within the conference) with a 9.925 from Guy to finish just .025 behind Alabama with a 196.250. Good score for them. They should move up from #16.
This post is getting a bit unwieldy, so I’m going to make a new one for the start of UCLA/Washington.