[7] Utah @ [8] Georgia Live Blog

It’s senior day in Athens. This class has been quite the little journey for us all. When Jay Clark is an old man in a rocking chair shouting at kids to get off his lawn and bemoaning the state of the world today (if that’s not already the case), he’ll have whole patches of gray hairs named “Shayla” and “Christa.” Maybe he’ll try dying the Christa patch red. To Danna Durante’s credit, she has both of them competing the best gymnastics of their collegiate careers this year.

Shayla was recruited to get 9.9s on three events every week. That hasn’t happened, not remotely, which is why her career will largely be remembered as a missed opportunity and she will be seen as the star that could have been. To some extent, those expectations were too high. With her injury history, floor was always going to be an “if her legs can handle it” event, and on bars, the elite code masked significant weaknesses like the dismount. She was never able to master an NCAA-ready dismount, and that has been an ongoing saga. Even though consistency will never be a thing with Shayla, beam has been the bright spot lately and the most likely place for a 9.9. Might we see a senior 10 today?

This has been a big year for Tanella. She’s finally in shape and in form enough to get those 9.850s that should have always come naturally for her. I had certainly given up on seeing anything more than borderline-lineup 9.775s, and the change in coaching staff has obviously been a necessary progression for her. Noel Couch will not be competing, but as much as she gets knocked for her form (by me), she has been the sturdy Romanian for this team for years. Imagine how many 195s they would have recorded without her.

The meet will get underway at 6:00 ET/3:00 PT. Expect the numbers to go rather large, and be sure to procure some kind of medication or Temple Grandin hugging machine for the beam rotations because they will make us all feel very unsafe. I give Georgia the edge here based on home advantage and higher scoring ceiling. Overall, I think these teams are very similar in terms of having two strong events and two weak events.

If you turn on the broadcast right now, you can listen to Kevin Copp practicing his counting.The sights and sounds of Georgia gymnastics. There are not too many people there today.

Utah has switched Lofgren and Dabritz at the back of the beam lineup in an attempt to protect Dabritz a bit more. We’ll see if it works. Her beam routine is the most important gymnastics for Utah today.

In other news, Ohio State just had a home win with 196.850, which is of importance to the two teams competing right now because either or both could end up going to that Regional. An upset is quite possible there given the scoring that we’ve seen. Penn State also just recorded a 196.975. This has become the season where a 196.800 is bad.

The audio for the broadcast is wonky. Let’s hope they work that out.
Georgia has been a little low in the vault scoring the last few weeks, so they need something in the 49.4s this week.

Rotation 1:
Georgia vault
1. Davis – Good stick, similar to LSU vault, which was 9.900. This goes 9.875.
2. Persinger -A little piked and a large step back in her yfull with a slide of the front foot as well. 9.850 – Davis’s vault was more than .025 better than that.
3. Hires -yfull with a step back, looked like the body position was better than at the middle of the season, not as piked as in February. 9.900.
4. Rogers -Stuck Y1.5, excellent, probably best she has done. Still a little direction but much better in that respect as well. 9.950. Fair score in a vacuum, but not reflective of trend from earlier scores, which is the problem with going high early. She was at least a tenth better than Hires.
5. Cheek -Good height, nice stick as well from her, a little low body position. 9.950
6. Jay -Y1.5, some crossed legs in the air and a hop forward, so she won’t go as high as the others. 9.850.

Utah bars
1. Wilson -Some sloppy legs throughout from Wilson, sticks her tuck full, may have hit her feet on the mat? 9.700.
2. Hughes – Good tkatchev, nice line, bail hs looks clean, minor step on tuck full, some borderline handstands but otherwise strong. 9.800.
3. Hansen -I thought she was going to have some trouble out of her jaeger but she worked out of it well. Step and a bouncy salute on dismount. As usual, the only real issue  on the bars was that 1/2 turn on the low bar. 9.775.
4. Lopez -good height on tkatchev, floaty DLO but came in a little short and hopped forward. 9.850. Perhaps a touch high for me.
5. Damianova – catches shaposh well, she has improved these handstands, minor struggle out of the tkatchev catch, stuck double back. 9.900.
6. Dabritz – clean jaeger, nice handstands, stuck tuck full, class of the rotation. Well done to put this rotation together after it looked troublesome early. 9.900
Exo – Lofgren – some leg separations, hop forward on DLO. She could potentially come in for Wilson, but it’s not too different in general. It would have scored higher today, though.  

Rotation 1 scores: Georgia 49.525, Utah 49.225
As much as could have been hoped for or expected for both teams. Georgia looked very nice on vault overall, with Rogers showing the best vault I’ve seen from her. A couple of the scores went high, but the landings as a whole were excellent and much improved. Utah got through one of the weaker events for them because of strong dismounts from the final two. I would have liked to see some separation between Dabritz and Damianova because Dabritz’s routine is stronger. Lopez and Hansen needed to get their dismounts, though.

Rotation 2:
Georgia bars
1. Cheek -great high tkatchev, handstands are hit well, overrotated DLO and took a big step back. She had something great going before that. 9.825.
2. Tanella – as usual, the kchs are good, the pirouetting is a little late, stuck double back, one of her better routines. 9.925.
3. Jay -a litlte over on first hs but holds on, muscles a hs, khorkina is strong, small stumble on dismount. Fine, but not what she can do. 9.825.
4. Worley -she misses both of her handstands from kip casts, tkatchev is good, fine DLO by her standards, step back. She’ll get hit for those handstands. 9.800.
5. Rogers -great stalder tkatchev, great toe point, misses on handstand, sticks tuck full. Strong routine, would have been great other than the one hs. 9.850.
6. Davis -wonderful tkatchev, extremely clean, hop back on salute, can’t say that’s a stick. 9.950. She’s been better than that for 9.950s before.
Exo – Unick – struggles on her pak with a big bend in the knees but stays on, sits the dismount.

Utah vault
1. Allex -yfull, a little lacking in height and distance, hop back. 9.800.
2. Del Priore -yfull, hop back, some leg form.9.825.
3. Lofgren -gets good distance but not the height, down a little bit, small hop back. 9.825.
4. Damianova – hop back on yfull, similar to Lofgren in landing position and height. 9.850.
5. Dabritz – Better position on her yfull but another hop back. They’re not getting these landings. 9.900.
6. Wilson -Obviously the best landing on the team. Piked in the air. She gets a ton of height, so next year they should really focus on getting rid of that pike. 9.950.
Exo – Tutka goes similar to Allex and Del Priore, also carbon copy. Lange also goes, hs pike half with a pretty strong landing, hop forward, good vault.  

Rotation 2 scores: Georgia 98.900, Utak 98.575 (Rotation 2: Georgia 49.375, Utah 49.350)
Utah will need to improve the landings on vault. We’ve seen both teams received 9.9s for landings with noticeable hops back. You can’t always expect those performances to go 9.9. Utah lacked a little height in most of these vaults, so the landings become that much more important to hope to go over 9.850 at some point. Georgia was fine on bars, but Tanella was the only one who put together a highlight reel performance for her, and she got her senior night score. Everyone else has been better and had at least one significant mistake that needed to go away. Some stumbly dismounts and some clearly missed handstands. Through two, good not great from both teams.

It’s beam time for Georgia. Breazeal is in for Couch once again, and Persinger leads off again as well.

Rotation 3:
Georgia beam
1. Persinger – good L turn, strong aerial, huge balance check on her series adjusting after landing, does well to stay on, very minor correction on front toss, sticks 1.5 dismount. Strong other than the big mistake on the series. 9.725.
2. Breazeal – huge break on her loso series as well but she can’t hand on. Fall. This is it, Georgia. This is what you have to do. Wobbles throughout, a little short on switch split, step on layout full. 9.075.
3. Cheek – first good loso series we have seen, good amplitude on swtich side, hits all her leaps, pikes a little to hand onto gainer full. Good routine. 9.875.
4. Rogers – good switch leap, bhs 3/4 to double stag is very nice, only very slightly wibbly on her Lturn, excellent bhs 1/1, sticks layout full dismount. Quite possibly her best on this event as well. Great meet for her so far. 9.875.
5. Worley -good sheep jump, hits loso series, big wobble on bhs 1/1 that she totally saves by pretending she did it to scale, nice cover, shuffle on gainer full. OK. 9.875.
6. Earls -Three great routines in a row, but she still needs a big hit to save the event, two losos and excellent, big pause before the dismount, and big step out of double tuck. Strong routine overall. 9.875.

Utah floor
1. Lofgren -good double pike to open, pikes down a little at the end of her whip 2/1 but it’s a controlled landing, dance elements look good, strong rudi to loso. Good start. 9.850.
2. Del Priore – somewhat smushed down on her tuck full landing and hops to the side, just does stay in bounds, second pass is strong, illusion is a little off to the side, very squatty in her double back dismount. Not near what she has been doing. 9.750.
3. Wilson – drilled that DLO landing, confident tumbling overall, bounces back out of her double tuck, needed a bit more control there but a fine routine. 9.825 
4. Dabritz – A little squat on her pike full landing with a hop to the side, similar to what we saw from Del Priore, whip 2/1 is stuck, minor lack of control on the 3/1, fine routine but she’s been much better. 9.775
5. Damianova -a little bounce out of her double back, they’re having more trouble with these floor landings than I’ve seen so far this season, bounces out of the double pike as well. 9.875.
6. Tutka -pretty good tuck full to start, uses that leap to punch front combo well in that middle pass, good double tuck. By far the strongest routine for Utah. 9.900.
Exo – Lange – a little low in her mount with a large step forward, significant lack of control in landings, very low in double tuck as well.

Christa Tanella’s mom: “You’re hair looks awesome!” into the mic. This is what is happening. Was she talking to Cassidy?

Rotation 3 scores: Georgia 148.125, Utah 147.800 (Georgia 49.225, Utah 49.225)
Utah got out of that rotation with a fine score, but they probably wanted something better going into beam. Most had trouble finding their landings, a lot of squatty, low tumbling that I would not have expected. They’re still on solid 197 pace, but they need a good beam rotation to get there. Georgia got through beam after the fall with four strong routines at the end, but it still doesn’t give me a great deal of confidence in this group as we move toward the very end of the season.Fine work in the third rotation as a whole, but seeing only one 9.900 in this rotation from either team is telling. Little mistake adding up was the theme.

We’re getting a photo retrospective of the seniors, most of which appear to have been taken when they were freshmen and behaving very freshman. I think everyone looks back at photos from their freshman year of college and thinks, “Gasp! What are these appearance and behavioral choices? Burn all of this instantly.”

Rotation 4:
Georgia floor
1. Earls – good double pike, some crossed legs on the 1.5 second pass but the landing is strong, pretty good double tuck. Nice opening. 9.875.
2. Tanella – also very slightly low on her mount but the landing was secure, strong rudi to finish out. Her usual performance overall except for slightly weaker on the mount, taking a little moment on the floor. 9.875.
3. Persinger -punch front through to slightly low double back, secure double pike landing, dance elements look strong. Very composed. 9.900.
4. Rogers – This is a big routine for her. Hits the double arabian, a little low but contained and overall strong, hops forward a little out of the layout, a little low on the double pike but a stick. By far her best floor routine. Great day for her. 9.900. The 9.950 from one judge was way too high.
5. Worley -Finishing out her senior night with a big double pike, hits the front 2/1 as well, finishes with a very strong rudi. Nice routine. 9.950.
6. Jay – A little low on tuck full out, it’s a massive floor score for the first time this year regardless of how Jay does, bounces back out of her double tuck dismount. 9.900

Utah beam
1. Tutka – short in both of her dance elements, very minor correction on loso series, large waist wobble on side aerial, another huge wobble on stag jump, step on gainer full after landing between mats. Not her best. 9.700. Could have been worse, I would have gone in the 9.6s.
2. Hughes – very secure in her landings of all elements. I’d like to see a little more amplitude overall but a very good routine, hop on dismount. 9.875.
3. Wilson – hits her layouts well, surprised herself with a little wobble – funny facial expression, hop forward on 1.5. Steady overall but not a big score because of some breaks here and there. 9.750.
4. Lopez -has to take a step back to secure her series, hits punch front, a little short of 180 on her split full, good 2/1 dismount, one of her better beam routines lately. 9.875.
5. Lofgren – good strong series. Cassidy thinks this is Georgia Dabritz, step back on gainer full, but this is a strong routine. A big accomplishment for Utah with this beam performance. 9.900.
6. Dabritz -Shouldn’t be a ton of pressure in this position with nothing under a 9.7 counting, a coulple of wobbles so far, still quite tentative in these skills. Stuck 2/1. It’s a hit, but she still took a number of wobbles. Progress. 9.775.

Final scores: Georgia 197.650, Utah 196.975 (Rotation 4: Georgia 49.525, Utah 49.175)
It was the strongest floor performance from Georgia this year by a long way. They can still get better in these landings, a few low ones here a little lack of control there. It’s a big step, though, especially the hit from Rogers. It wasn’t the most brilliant performance from the Gymdogs, but it’s a big score and overall a step forward even though there were the mistakes here and there and the fall on beam.

Utah is at an interesting place. Yes, they hit all the events, which is important and was the goal a few weeks ago, but now we look toward whether this team is going to contend in the postseason. To do so, getting through beam with three scores in the 9.7s must stop seeming like a victory. They were still tentative and wobbly there. Also, because vault and floor are the strengths, they can’t afford days like today where the landings aren’t secure. I expect vault and floor to be in better order next week at home against Florida, but it will be a good comparison to see where Utah still needs to go.

Back here tomorrow for UCLA/Michigan at 5:00 ET/2:00 PT.


Friday Scores – Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Oklahoma

Friday – 3/8/13
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Bowling Green @ [20] Kentucky Scores Video(subscription)
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [19] Illinois @ Missouri Scores Video(subscription)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [16] Arizona @ [2] Oklahoma Scores
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [5] Alabama @ [4] LSU Scores
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Lindenwood @ [11] Auburn Scores Video(subscription)
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [23] Boise State, Davis, Seattle Pacific @ San Jose State Scores

Alabama’s lineups are slightly different today (now that they have been fixed).
Sledge is back in on vault and the order has been jumbled up again. Clark is back to the leadoff position even though she was the highest scorer last week. Floor is also different, but I think good-different with Jacob anchoring. Sledge is still off floor, though, in favor of Beers. While Kayla Williams was first listed as anchoring bars, that has been changed to better reflect the actual universe.

For LSU some changes have been made, obviously with consistency in mind (especially the first two). Hall is in on bars for Jordan, Garcia is back on beam for Ranzy, and Taylor is in on floor for Jordan.

Not much going on until 8 ET, but in addition to the big names in action, it will be important to follow Auburn’s progress. They are #11 in the country now, ranked ahead of Nebraska, so the era of the condescending “Look, Auburn got a 196! Awww, great for them!” has passed. It’s now about how they compare with the best teams. The standard is higher.

I’m keeping an eye on Kentucky since that’s the only thing to keep an eye on right now. Kentucky’s vault landings have improved noticeably since the last time I saw them – a crunched stick from Hedges and another stick from Cunningham. 49.100.
Checking in on Missouri and Illinois. Missouri is currently 37th in the country, so they have a big of unexpected Regionals panic going on. I do expect them to make it, but they have yet to get even into the 195s this year. I like the double kip jaegers from See. Some 9.7y bars work from Illinois. Missouri trying to salvage that much from these early Yfulls after just a layout Yurchenko is the first spot.

Nice amplitude in the tkatchev and DLO in the third spot for Illinois from O’Connor. I like the composition of these routines, but they are giving away a lot on handstands and leg form that is keeping them from 9.850s. Amplitude on releases is nice, though. Sunny Kato is an awesome name. Too bad that pak was not awesome. That should be the dropped score. Weinstein anchors well, similarly good amplitude but will get dinged for leg separations. 

Missouri has a fall in the anchor position on vault, just a 48.625 there. Illinois goes 49.025 on bars after a 9.900 from Weinstein.
After 2 rotations: Kentucky 98.125, Bowling Green 97.650. This is on the way to being a very important score for both teams. Bowling Green is on low 195s pace (with a season high in the mid 194s).
Color me wrong about Oklahoma’s lineups. I thought we would see some resting at this the first of two weekend meets, but they are going with full strength and Spears and Olson both in the AA. Also note that Alabama’s lineups have been fixed and Priess is competing bars. Phew.

OK, let’s get going with the good stuff. I’m attempting the Alabama audio/Auburn video double, so we’ll see how that works out.

Missouri is counting a fall on bars now, and the Tigers may very well be fighting for that Regionals spot right up through SECs.

LSU has been getting those sticks for 49.5s on vault, and Dickson begins with a stuck Yfull. Sledge goes on bars, sounds like a strong routine as usual for her. A 9.925 in the leadoff position tells us a lot about both LSU’s vaulting and the way the scoring can go tonight. Taylor hops in the second position. 9.900 for Sledge. Big start. 9.950 from one judge and a 9.850 from the other.

Alexin with a 9.850 in the second position. Jacob missing her handstands, which has been the trend for her. 9.900 and 9.875 for LSU on vault before Lau goes with a couple of steps apparently, but it’s a 9.925. Interesting that Jacob goes 9.800 because it sounded worse that that and has often gone lower than that this year, Clark also apparently struggling with handstands before a strong dismount. 

If Alabama can get through these middle routines with strong scores, they will be in excellent shape. 9.850 for Clark. They’re setting it up for LSU to get major scores on bars if Alabama is getting 9.8s for handstand problems. Also sounds like DeMeo is struggling.

Courville has a minor hop on her vault, but LSU hardly needed it because they will go well over 49.500 yet again. Audio announcers tell us that Priess hit her DLO, which is like the sun has finally come out for her. She goes into the 9.9s, which is new.

LSU goes 49.600 on vault. We know they can be great, but it sounds like they had a few steps that could have been deducted but weren’t. 49.350 for Alabama which is a big victory after all the low scores on that event (though it also sounds like they got a couple gifts in the middle).
Auburn hasn’t quite gotten the landings so far on vault, Bri Guy up now, great power on her yfull as always with a hop in place – very minor.

Obviously it’s going to be a work in progress for Lindenwood, and those first bars routine were roughsville, but I just saw something quite nice in the fifth position. Good for them. Two bars routines that should be solidly 9.7 in the final two positions. Arkinson finishes for Auburn with her 1.5, bent knees and a pretty sizable hop to the side.

Note: Oklahoma 49.500 on vault. 198 watch at home again?
Clark has a step on her yfull for Alabama, but she usually sticks, so that’s a big of an under-performance. Hall goes on bars, has handstand issues which she always does and then sounds to have had an awkward landing. Sledge also hops on her vault, which can happen. She has more trouble controlling her power.

9.850 and 9.875 for Alabama in the first two, good scores for missed landings. Ranzy also had handstand problems with a step on dismount. Williams sticks yfull. How high can that go? 9.975. Stick for 10s, that appears to be the rule today.

Dickson falls on her jaeger, so they’ll be counting Hall’s 9.700. It won’t be that major bars score again. The scores have been covering up some weaknesses this year, even though LSU is much improved on bars.

Step from Sims on her yfull. Courville on bars, she usually has a very clean routine except for her shoot to the high bar, which is often a struggle. Sounds like a strong routine. 9.925 – same score as Priess. Beers also took a step for 9.925. One stick for Alabama so far, but a huge score coming. Milliner also takes a step on her 1.5. She has to work out that stick for this lineup to score well in the postseason. They need a 9.950 from her.

The final three routines for LSU save the bars rotation, so this will be a big score even counting the 9.700 from Hall. Alabama vaults a 49.525 after Milliner’s 9.875. Both teams are looking to go well into the 197s today. It’s extremely likely that Alabama passes LSU in the rankings now if they hit these last two rotations for 9.875s and the like.

LSU gets a 49.300 on bars, so at the halfway point we have LSU 98.900, Alabama 98.875
Walker now for Auburn on bars is clean, some legs and a latish pirouette but a great stick on the DLO.

First final of the day: Kentucky 196.375, Bowling Green 192.700. Big score for Kentucky’s RQS. Low 49s on every event.

Like Walker, Atkinson is mostly clean, a couple of rushed handstands but a nice stick on the dismount. Petrina finishing for Auburn, love the difficulty in the pirouetting and transitions but she will get docked for being late – step on the double tuck. Solid routines in those last few spots.
Frost leads off floor for Alabama today instead of Priess, has some lack of control on her DLO.
Wyrick has been added to the beam lineup at the last minute for LSU, sounds like a strong stick. Two scores over 9.8 in the first two positions is rather a big deal for LSU. Priess goes clean in the second position. 9.875.

Taylor having a struggle on beam, issue on full turn and major bend on straddle quarter. They’re messing with the lineup a bit, which is necessary given the recent struggles. 

Beers now on floor for Alabama. She has struggled in her routines so far this year and is the smart money choice to come out when Sledge comes back, but she does have stronger difficulty and will be useful if she gets the consistency down. Dismount – double back instead of double tuck, step but stays up. 9.875.

A few balance issues for Hall and a step on dismount. They’ve taken Dickson off beam, and the commentators said she looked pained after her bars fall. Was DeMeo’s routine called “so polished” “so solid” or “so college”? I couldn’t tell, and any of them could fit.

Courville hits her Arabian, has a wobble on her aerial, otherwise hit. The earlier scores were setting up for a huge score for Courville.
Oklahoma will be fighting against a beam fall from Alexander. It’s a shame that she’s struggling lately because it’s such a fun routine with the flexibility in the center.
Milliner has a major floor routine in the tumbling area. Balance checks from Jordan on beam but nothing major happening there. Hit beam rotation from LSU, which is very significant. Jacob finishes floor for Alabama. Sounds like Alabama has its strongest event of the day on floor, which was the case last week as well. 9.950 from Jacob, which gives Alabama a 49.500 – lower score than vault but that doesn’t always reflect quality.

After 3: Alabama 148.375, LSU 148.150
Walker up fifth for Auburn on beam, wobble on front toss, again on the series, a little low on dismount with a step. A bit of a struggle but nothing major. They’re trying to drop a 9.675 on beam, and this will certainly score higher than that.

Final: Illinois 196.200, Missouri 194.125. Missouri can’t get out of that scoring funk, this time because of bars where they showed five routines, two of which were falls.

Atkinson for Auburn finishing up with a fair shot at making this the strongest event of the day so far. Clean through her acro skills but is well short on her double pike and falls. No major problem, though, and the rotation will skill go over 49.
Milliner on beam has one check and a step on dismount. Wyrick in again for LSU and for Dickson, this time on floor – she was supposed to compete one event and is now competing three. Not completely controlled in the tumbling but a hit.

Big wobble for Clark on her sheep jump, otherwise hits with a step on the dismount. 9.800. Sounds like either a fall or a brush for Taylor in the second position for LSU, but she scores a 9.775 – so what happened there?

In Oklahoma, the Sooners got through beam after the fall with a 49.300, but it’s the lowest scoring event for them so far. The 198 is now quite unlikely, but the high 197 is still very likely.

Back in Louisiana, in our non-fall routines so far tonight, we’ve seen just two scores under 9.8, both 9.775s. Wobble for Kayla Williams on an under-done popa – step on 1.5 landing.

Mathis hits until a step and OOB on floor, not LSU’s day on floor, which is unexpected.9.625, so they’ll be counting two 9.775s so far. Alabama has been giving away wobbles on their routines, and now DeMeo had a great routine going until a fall on her dismount. 9.300.

Savona lacks a little control on her mount but otherwise hits. Jacob gets things back on track for Alabama with solid acro, hop on 1.5 dismount.

Must hits in the final positions for both teams, Courville does the job for 9.900, and now Priess on beam – ensures that DeMeo’s fall goes away and that the beam score will be strong and that both teams will go over 197. Jacob and Priess finish with 9.925 and 9.950. That ensures the Alabama victory.

All I can hear is screaming, so I assume Hall’s floor routine was a hit. Another home 10 for her. There wasn’t really a doubt if she hit given how the scoring was going tonight. The next challenge for her will be getting that kind of score on the road.

Final: Alabama 197.725, LSU 197.500
Season highs for both teams, which means that Alabama will move ahead of LSU in the rankings now that the Tide can count the previous 197.650. Alabama also moves ahead of Michigan for the time being, but Michigan is yet to compete this weekend.
Bri Guy finishing fo Auburn on floor. They have a 9.650 here they’d like to drop. The DLO was very high to start and she controlled it well enough. Hit routine for her, so they will drop that low score and go into the mid 196s. Lindenwood finishes at 190.450, which is higher than their current RQS.

Oklahoma manages a 49.600 on floor with a 9.9 festival. (I cannot remember seeing this many high scores on floor in a season. Scores have been high all year on all events in all places, but floor stands out to me the most.) Oklahoma finishes with 197.875, their second-highest score of the season. Arizona will also go over 196.

Still waiting on that last score for Guy, but that does it for the day. I’ll be back tomorrow for the Georgia/Utah meet at 6:00 ET/3:00 PT. It should be a great one.

Auburn finishes with 196.400 after Guy’s 9.850.


The Weekend Ahead – March 8–10

Apparently competing on Friday isn’t the cool thing to do anymore as just three of the top-ten teams will be in action. The most important meet is Alabama/LSU, and I don’t think many would have predicted Alabama coming to LSU in March as the lower-ranked team. Bars will be the primary event to keep an eye on since LSU has been overperforming there and Alabama has been underperforming. Alabama has a fairly good shot at passing LSU in the rankings with a win at this meet (guaranteed if the Tide score 197.300).

Saturday is a bit more of the place to be, particularly because of the Utah/Georgia meet, which I will obviously be blogging. I thought Georgia was a little hard done by with the result at LSU, but it has become too easy to dismiss the Gymdogs since there always seems to be something wrong. They could use a home 197. Beam will unsurprisingly be the event to watch, but keep an eye on all of Georgia Dabritz’s performances for Utah. The Utes will not ultimately be successful unless she is their top AA gymnast for at least 39.5s every week. 

On Sunday, UCLA hosts Michigan and some other teams, but mostly Michigan. I’m just as interested in this meet as I am in Georgia/Utah and frankly, UCLA could use the benefit of a little home scoring with all these low 196s going around. Who knows with UCLA’s lineups, but Mattie may be coming in on vault, which is all kinds of necessary. If MDLT is healthy, she should be coming in on vault and bars as well. These are the kinds of personnel changes UCLA needs to compete with the likes of Michigan, a team that seems solidly 197 at this point. Zamarripa and Sampson are the top AAers in the country (because Hunter and Sloan don’t have RQS), so that should be an interesting individual contest as well. 

It’s going to be a good weekend. This is the time when teams have to start polishing those final lineups, and we should get a clearer sense of how they will perform over the next month+.

Top 25 Schedule

Friday – 3/8/13
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Bowling Green @ [20] Kentucky
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [19] Illinois @ Missouri
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [16] Arizona @ [2] Oklahoma
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [5] Alabama @ [4] LSU
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Lindenwood @ [11] Auburn
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [23] Boise State, Davis, Seattle Pacific @ San Jose State

Saturday – 3/9/13
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – [17] Kent State, Air Force, Alaska @ Eastern Michigan
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – New Hampshire, Penn, Temple @ [15] Penn State
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Bridgeport @ [18] Ohio State
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – [7] Utah @ [8] Georgia
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [12] Nebraska, [24] Arkansas, Centenary @ [14] Minnesota
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Arizona State, Illinois State @ [13] Denver
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [22] Washington, Sacramento State @ [10] Oregon State

Sunday – 3/10/13 
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – [21] West Virginia @ George Washington
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Ball State, Illinois-Chicago @ [19] Illinois
3:30 ET/12:30 PT – [9] Stanford, North Carolina @ [2] Oklahoma
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [3] Michigan, Cal, Iowa State @ [6] UCLA
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Central Michigan, Yale @ [24] Maryland

Ideal Performance and RQS Update

My primary complaint with RQS as a ranking barometer is that it reduces the season to such a small sample size of six meets that it ends up measuring ideal team performance rather than providing a comprehensive look at the whole season, highs and lows. Teams are essentially able to yell, “Takeover!” on all their bad meets as long as they have six good ones. As a result, mercurial teams usually end up over-ranked and consistent ones end up under-ranked. In the postseason, it is often only a few teams that meet or exceed RQS. The majority of teams underperform this number.

Of course, the winners do beat their RQS (and everyone else’s). Ideal performance, while maybe not the most illuminating way to rank teams after a season of performances, does give us a sense of what a team is capable of doing at Championships and what it will have to strive to beat in order to win. So let’s take it a step further and look at the ideal performances for each top 12 team as recorded so far this season (season highs on each event).

Since home scores can usually get a little imaginative, take this with a necessary shaker of salt. This is not a predictor of postseason scoring but a guide to team potential. As a reference point, over the last few years, the national champion has ended up with a Super Six score somewhere between two and five tenths lower than the season ideal. Teams almost never exceed their season ideals in the postseason, so also take this as a potential indicator of postseason ceiling (with, of course, a few weeks left to improve these numbers). Next week, I’ll come down off this cloud and look at road scores. 

Team ideal performances – (season high scores on each apparatus)

1. Florida
Vault: 49.625
Bars: 49.675
Beam: 49.600
Floor: 49.700
Total: 198.600 (Rank: 1)

2. Oklahoma
Vault: 49.525
Bars: 49.575
Beam: 49.600
Floor: 49.675
Total: 198.375 (Rank: 2)
(Hmm, that number looks familiar.)

3. Michigan
Vault: 49.400
Bars: 49.375
Beam: 49.275
Floor: 49.625
Total: 197.675 (Rank: 8)
The lower scoring ceiling may be a concern for the Wolverines as we head to the final weeks.

4. LSU
Vault: 49.550
Bars: 49.450
Beam: 49.275
Floor: 49.525
Total: 197.800 (Rank: T3)
(As I mentioned on Monday, LSU does quite well in the ideal world. It’s whether they can hit beam to make it to the ideal world that is cause for concern.)

5. Alabama
Vault: 49.475
Bars: 49.400
Beam: 49.425
Floor: 49.500
Total: 197.800 (Rank: T3)

Vault: 49.350
Bars: 49.300
Beam: 49.300
Floor: 49.550
Total: 197.500 (Rank: 11)
(This is why people are worried about you, UCLA.)

7. Utah
Vault: 49.500
Bars: 49.300
Beam: 49.325
Floor: 49.575
Total: 197.700 (Rank: 7)

8. Georgia
Vault: 49.550
Bars: 49.450
Beam: 49.425
Floor: 49.375
Total: 197.800 (Rank: T3)

9. Stanford
Vault: 49.425
Bars: 49.400
Beam: 49.475
Floor: 49.500
Total: 197.800 (Rank: T3)

10. Oregon State
Vault: 49.425
Bars: 49.450
Beam: 49.175
Floor: 49.325
Total: 197.375 (Rank: 12)

11. Auburn
Vault: 49.300
Bars: 49.275
Beam: 49.425
Floor: 49.525
Total: 197.525 (Rank: T9)

12. Nebraska
Vault: 49.375
Bars: 49.450
Beam: 49.325
Floor: 49.375
Total: 197.525 (Rank: T9)
(Nebraska’s number goes higher if we include Monday’s meet, but that is not officially part of the rankings yet.)

As we see from these ideals, most teams besides Florida and Oklahoma are at a very similar level when they hit to current potential, which should make for a very exciting Semifinal day.  
And now, the RQS picture. As before, bold scores cannot be dropped.

1. Florida (Current RQS: 197.440)
Road Score 1: 197.575
Road Score 2: 197.300
Road Score 3: 196.575
Road/Home Score 1: 198.425
Road Home Score 2: 198.100
Road/Home Score 3: 197.650

2. Oklahoma (Current RQS: 197.410)
Road Score 1: 197.625
Road Score 2: 197.450
Road Score 3: 197.375
Road/Home Score 1: 198.375
Road/Home Score 2: 197.325
Road/Home Score 3: 197.275

With Florida on a bye and Oklahoma with two home meets, the Sooners are in strong shape to move back up to #1, needing a 197.450 at one of the meets to pass Florida.

3. Michigan (Current RQS: 197.080)
Road Score 1: 197.300
Road Score 2: 196.925
Road Score 3: 196.925
Road/Home Score 1: 197.375
Road/Home Score 2: 197.350
Road/Home Score 3: 196.900

4. LSU (Current RQS: 196.965)
Road Score 1: 197.275
Road Score 2: 197.100
Road Score 3: 196.975
Road/Home Score 1: 197.050
Road/Home Score 2: 196.875
Road/Home Score 3: 196.825

5. Alabama (Current RQS: 196.910)
Road Score 1: 197.100
Road Score 2: 196.950
Road Score 3: 196.850
Road/Home Score 1: 197.650
Road/Home Score 2: 197.075
Road/Home Score 3: 196.575

6. UCLA (Current RQS: 196.765)
Road Score 1: 197.200
Road Score 2: 196.925
Road Score 3: 196.375
Road/Home Score 1: 197.425
Road/Home Score 2: 196.950
Road/Home Score 3: 196.375

7. Utah (Current RQS: 196.740)
Road Score 1: 197.125
Road Score 2: 196.600
Road Score 3: 195.975
Road/Home Score 1: 197.300
Road/Home Score 2: 197.050
Road/Home Score 3: 196.950

8. Georgia (Current RQS: 196.725)
Road Score 1: 196.825
Road Score 2: 196.825
Road Score 3: 196.775
Road/Home Score 1: 197.500
Road/Home Score 2: 197.000
Road/Home Score 3: 196.200

9. Stanford (Current RQS: 196.590)
Road Score 1: 197.075
Road Score 2: 196.450
Road Score 3: 196.025
Road/Home Score 1: 197.275
Road/Home Score 2: 197.200
Road/Home Score 3: 196.200

10. Oregon State (Current RQS: 196.565)
Road Score 1: 197.175
Road Score 2: 196.825
Road Score 3: 196.300
Road/Home Score 1: 196.925
Road/Home Score 2: 196.725
Road/Home Score 3: 196.050

11. Auburn (Current RQS: 196.495)
Road Score 1: 196.725
Road Score 2: 196.575
Road Score 3: 196.025
Road/Home Score 1: 197.175
Road/Home Score 2: 196.825
Road/Home Score 3: 196.325

12. Nebraska (Current RQS: 196.365)
Road Score 1: 196.300
Road Score 2: 196.150
Road Score 3: 195.625
Road/Home Score 1: 197.175
Road/Home Score 2: 197.050
Road/Home Score 3: 196.700
(Nebraska’s RQS is 196.460 if we include Monday’s score of 197.675, but they have three road meets remaining and three road scores that need dropping to get that ranking up.)

13. Denver (Current RQS: 196.150)
Road Score 1: 196.800
Road Score 2: 196.400
Road Score 3: 195.850
Road/Home Score 1: 196.600
Road/Home Score 2: 196.050
Road/Home Score 3: 195.850

14. Minnesota (Current RQS: 196.130)
Road Score 1: 197.175
Road Score 2: 195.550
Road Score 3: 195.525
Road/Home Score 1: 196.800
Road/Home Score 2: 196.775
Road/Home Score 3: 196.000

15. Penn State (Current RQS: 195.845)
Road Score 1: 196.700
Road Score 2: 196.300
Road Score 3: 195.150
Road/Home Score 1: 196.700
Road/Home Score 2: 195.575
Road/Home Score 3: 195.500

16. Arizona (Current RQS: 195.775)
Road Score 1: 195.950
Road Score 2: 195.800
Road Score 3: 195.200
Road/Home Score 1: 196.500
Road/Home Score 2: 196.075
Road/Home Score 3: 195.850

17. Kent State (Current RQS: 195.755)
Road Score 1: 195.800
Road Score 2: 195.800
Road Score 3: 195.450
Road/Home Score 1: 196.250
Road/Home Score 2: 196.050
Road/Home Score 3: 195.675

18. Ohio State (Current RQS: 195.750)
Road Score 1: 195.950
Road Score 2: 195.575
Road Score 3: 195.000
Road/Home Score 1: 196.300
Road/Home Score 2: 196.250
Road/Home Score 3: 195.975

19. Illinois (Current RQS: 195.685)
Road Score 1: 196.350
Road Score 2: 195.450
Road Score 3: 195.100
Road/Home Score 1: 196.125
Road/Home Score 2: 195.975
Road/Home Score 3: 195.775

20. Kentucky (Current RQS: 195.635)
Road Score 1: 196.500
Road Score 2: 196.075
Road Score 3: 195.525
Road/Home Score 1: 195.825
Road/Home Score 2: 195.500
Road/Home Score 3: 195.250

21. West Virginia (Current RQS: 195.625)
Road Score 1: 195.775
Road Score 2: 195.150
Road Score 3: 194.675
Road/Home Score 1: 196.550
Road/Home Score 2: 196.375
Road/Home Score 3: 196.150

22. Washington (Current RQS: 195.520)
Road Score 1: 196.000
Road Score 2: 195.950
Road Score 3: 194.875
Road/Home Score 1: 196.025
Road/Home Score 2: 195.975
Road/Home Score 3: 194.800

23. Boise State (Current RQS: 195.485)
Road Score 1: 195.575
Road Score 2: 194.700
Road Score 3: 194.525
Road/Home Score 1: 196.575
Road/Home Score 2: 196.325
Road/Home Score 3: 196.300

24. Maryland (Current RQS: 195.435)
Road Score 1: 195.975
Road Score 2: 195.300
Road Score 3: 195.000
Road/Home Score 1: 196.175
Road/Home Score 2: 195.600
Road/Home Score 3: 195.300

25. Arkansas (Current RQS: 195.435)
Road Score 1: 195.650
Road Score 2: 195.625
Road Score 3: 193.075
Road/Home Score 1: 197.100
Road/Home Score 2: 196.650
Road/Home Score 3: 196.175
(Watch out for Arkansas once that 193 goes away this weekend.)

Week 9 Rankings and Notes

Into the final quarter of the year we head, and the era of solidifying lineups and cleaning routines begins.

1. Florida – 197.440
Week 9: 198.425
Week 9 leaders: AA – Hunter 39.800; VT – Hunter 9.975; UB – M Caquatto 9.975; BB – Sloan 9.975; FX – King 9.975.

So much for everything I said last week about the #2 ranking being the ideal position for the Gators so as to slightly lessen their status as the expected champion. As was true with Oklahoma last week, the score itself is irrelevant and won’t be maintained to this degree away from home. What’s more important is that the people who will be counted on in the postseason recovered while the lower (relative term) scores in the meet came from those who won’t remain in the lineup. Florida is on a well-timed bye this week, but watch those lineups the next week to see how the leadoff spots are being handled (i.e., get rid of anything under a 9.825) along with the status of Alaina Johnson.

2. Oklahoma – 197.410
Week 9: 197.275
Week 9 leaders: AA – Brewer 39.300; VT – Olson 9.975; UB – Olson 9.900; BB – Spears 9.950; FX – Olson, Albright 9.900

There was always going to be a letdown from last week. Through the first two events, the Sooners’ performance did not waver significantly from the home 198, but the landings were not as precise, which ended up accounting for some of the depression in scores and meant that those 9.925s became 9.850s. If Oklahoma is to contend for the title, that contention will be built on sticking almost every landing. A fall and some 9.7s marred the beam rotation, but otherwise the issues appeared minor and very March-like. The Sooners have two home meets over the weekend, so expect some backups and some resting (especially in the first meet since the second is senior night). 

3. Michigan – 197.080
Week 9: 197.300
Week 9 leaders: AA – Sampson 39.650; VT – Sampson 9.950; UB – Sampson, Gies 9.900; BB – Gies 9.925; FX – Sampson 9.950

The Wolverines have not faltered in the way that one might have expected them to, given that the team is relatively unheralded and that the expectations going into the season were along the lines of “It has to be better than last year, right?” It’s encouraging that they didn’t really have a full-strength lineup or hit to potential on any event and yet scored in the 197s. What we’re going to need to see next, however, is how well this team can score when it does hit to potential. The best teams won’t be counting any scores under 9.850, and Michigan still needs to weed out those early 9.800s.

4. LSU – 196.965
Week 9: 197.050
Week 9 leaders: AA – Courville 39.450; VT – Courville 9.925; UB – Wyrick, Morrison 9.925; BB – Jordan 9.875; FX – Hall – 9.950

How do we feel about LSU being #4 in the country? This is one of the features of RQS, that teams are able to drop the meets in which they do not look championship caliber and are ranked based more on ideal performance than total performance. Ranked by average, LSU would be #6, which I think better accounts for the concerns I have about the beam rotation. Once again last week, the Tigers just got through it, and that’s likely what we’ll see each week. The result of which is that LSU’s total ceiling is lower. If we assume a 49.000 for a hit beam rotation, then the Tigers are going to top out in the low-mid 197s (if they get #1-quality performances on vault and floor, which is common for them) and likely won’t be in control of their own fate when we get down to the end of Championships. If we’re playing the silver lining game, though, they are really accustomed to competing after falls.

5. Alabama – 196.910
Week 9: 197.075
Week 9 leaders: AA – Jacob 39.425; VT – Clark 9.900; UB – Sledge 9.850; BB – Priess 9.925; FX – Milliner, Jacob 9.950

Alabama looked . . . fine against UCLA. Beam was probably the most convincing event and even without Gutierrez on floor, that rotation should be solid enough if Sledge comes back in. Vault was certainly understaffed at that meet, but at this point in the season I would not have expected to be still talking about vault as a problem area for the Tide. I fully anticipate that the landings will come together, but a lack of Gutierrez makes that Milliner stick for 9.950 all the more important. As for bars, what is there to say at this point? Alabama cannot compete with Florida without significant changes.

6. UCLA – 196.765
Week 9: 196.375
Week 9 leaders: AA – Zamarripa 38.825; VT – Zamarripa 9.950; UB – Zamarripa 9.900; BB – Larson 9.900; FX – Courtney 9.875

If there was ever evidence how much this team relies on Zamarripa, it was this meet. Consider that if Zamarripa had hit to the level we expect of her on floor and beam, the team score would have been in the high 196s, and the narrative would be completely different. I don’t expect a repeat of that performance from her, but this meet was still a step back for the Bruins because of the nature of the mistakes we saw from the team as a whole: falls, severely missed handstands, and significantly under-rotated tumbling. At this meet, I counted three good routines per event (two on floor), and that’s not enough. A team as injured as this one needs to squeeze every possible .050 out of all the backups who are being forced to compete. Wong was supposed to come in on floor at this meet and didn’t. She desperately needs to.

7. Utah – 196.740
Week 9: 197.126
Week 9 leaders: AA – Wilson 39.450; VT – Wilson 9.950; UB – Dabritz 9.900; BB – Wilson, Lofgren 9.875; FX – Tutka 9.925

Utah keeps plugging away, which is what they are going to have to do to have a shot at making Super Six this year. I have a bit more confidence in Utah’s beam than I do in LSU’s, but that is quite a little contest. We’re beginning to see a trend where the rotation starts out perfectly fine, then Lopez has an issue, which turns into a Dabritz issue, and the score falls apart. Next week at Georgia, that has to stop being a thing. It’s always a big meet at Georgia, and the lack of comfort the Utes will feel should be a good test of the progress of that beam rotation and how mentally sturdy it can be.

8. Georgia – 196.725
Week 9: 196.825
Week 9 leaders: AA – Rogers 39.225; VT – Davis 9.900; UB – Rogers, Davis 9.900; BB – Worley 9.900; FX – Tanella 9.875

Another injury to Noel Couch was the last thing this team needed, and she will be out for multiple weeks. Floor will miss her the most as Brittany Rogers has not been a solution in that fourth position. The Gymdogs are fighting against depth and losing on that particular event, and even though they should take pride in working out beam these last few weeks, a lack of Couch does not help that situation either. Of course it would be that once they get beam in order, they regress on the good events. This is the second straight week of some lackluster vaulting, and that has to be a 49.400-49.500 rotation for Georgia to succeed.

9. Stanford – 196.590
Week 9: 197.200
Week 9 leaders: AA – A Morgan 39.050; VT – Hanset 9.925; UB – A Morgan 9.925; BB – Hong 9.925; FX – A Morgan, S Morgan 9.925

Most important things first: Stand up and give a round of applause to Stanford for figuring out the live scoring. Now back to our regular issues. The scoring in last week’s meet was going into the stratosphere until a counting fall on beam brought the Cardinal number back into normal land. Consistency has to be a focus because if Stanford is going to make Super Six again, it will be because of beam, where they should be top three in the country. Don’t count Stanford out because there are so many potential 9.9s here, but this is the kind of team that will reduce your nails to stubs every week.

10. Oregon State – 196.565
Week 9: 197.175
Week 9 leaders: AA – Stambaugh 39.525; VT – Blalock 9.950; UB – Stambaugh 9.950; BB – Jones 9.875; FX – Jones, Stambaugh 9.950

Like Stanford, Oregon State lost the opportunity for a massive number at a high-scoring meet because of beam. But whereas Stanford should eventually excel because of beam, the Beavers will want just to get through it and live to compete on another event. For this team to be a contender in the postseason, Stambaugh must continue on the current level, and Jones must be winning floor and hitting beam. They won’t be able to rely on always getting the 9.875s and 9.900s from the supporting cast members that they got last week, but the stars can carry this team farther than it looked like it could go even a few weeks ago.

11. Auburn – 196.495
12. Nebraska – 196.365
13. Denver – 196.150
14. Minnesota – 196.130
15. Penn State – 195.845
16. Arizona – 195.775
17. Kent State – 195.755
18. Ohio State – 195.750
19. Illinois – 195.685
20. Kentucky – 195.635
21. West Virginia – 195.625
22. Washington – 195.520
23. Boise State – 195.485
24. Maryland – 195.435
24. Arkansas – 195.435

Full Rankings

The American Cup of America for Americans – Live Blog

The elites are here. I hope you’re not ready for it because I’m not either. The season after the Olympics is always a weird one featuring a heterogeneous mix of elite veterans hanging onto a series of broken limbs while they wait for NCAA or the sweet release of retirement who are bumping up against new seniors trying to prove that their talent is more interesting than that of the people we’ve already forgotten.

Four years ago, this is the event where a little pink-adorned Jordyn Wieber brought her Amanar to the world stage and beat Olympic team member Bridget Sloan. USAG was going for a similar dynamic this year by inviting the stick-around Olympian, this time Kyla Ross, to compete against the preordained star of the quad, Katelyn Ohashi. (That is, after Elizabeth Price pulled out.) Ross then also pulled out with a heel injury that did not prevent her from doing podium training, and she has been replaced by a muscle named Simone Biles who sports a Maroneyesque Yurchenko 2.5. Both can contend for the World team this year, but that is a premature conversation until we know who is going to pretend to compete this year and who isn’t even going to bother.

This competition will send a very important message:

Dear Everyone over the Age of 16,

You have been forgotten. You are elderly wrecks. Go sit in a rocking chair or dance with some stars or something. It’s time to meet the new crop.

Because this extravaganza is so well thought out every year, the competition will begin online here at 11:30 ET/8:30 PT with the first two rotations from the men and will switch to NBC at 1:00 ET/10:00 PT for the final three rotations from each gender. I know. I don’t either.
Start list

Our camera is fixed on a blurry image of the intro video being shown on the arena vision. Should we let them know they are already underperforming NCAA broadcasts?

Now the annual parade of the pop songs/flags. Just to make the tone of the competition clear, the US gets two flags and every other nation gets one. 

Seitz, Ferrari, and Teramoto are our veterans for the women. Everyone else is a first or second year senior. I approve of Maegan Chant already because her name is a sentence. Maegan, Chant. Let’s talk about this PA announcer’s pronunciation of “Ferrari” and “Italy.” Yeah, you’re Italian.

Dalton and Leyva get the biggest cheers for being recognizable and excellent.

Shannon and Jon Horton doing the web commentary. It tells you exactly how seriously everyone takes this competition that they couldn’t even wheel out a Daggett for the web stream. “The theme of ‘a new quad.'” That’s not a theme, that’s just a time period.

Rotation 1:
Sasaki opens floor with a double double tuck with a hop, sticks his double front. Very low on his front double pike and may have touched, so this will be a low score. Fall on dismount. Rough, rough routine. They could add some arena music during men’s floor, couldn’t they? It’s so static otherwise. 13.800.

Verniaiev also falls – his coming on a double double layout. Part of the story that rarely gets mentioned during the NBC broadcast each year is that this meet comes at a horrible time of year when people aren’t prepared. That’s part of the reason no one attends/looks very good. 14.333.

Jon mentions that he doesn’t want to talk about himself, then talks about how amazing his 2008 bar routine was. Actually, he hasn’t been bad so far, though.

Thomas from GBR – I love watching tall (not tall, tall for gymnastics) men working on the floor because the line is so excellent – Thomas, Shatilov – a few breaks here and there but his form is stronger than the others so far. He looks farther along and more prepared. 15.400. Execution scores are going high, which surprises all of no one.

Giraldo Lopez opens with a nice floaty double arabians, has a little lack of control on one pass and again on the dismount which will hurt his score, but he hit. 14.133.

Now we get the annual pretending about how prestigious this competition is – vamping during the mid-rotation warmup.

Ishikawa for Japan. I’ve never seen him before either, Jon. Good height on his tumbling, he has a little bit of bow legs which make his leg form look weaker than it is, a few hops on landings, but he has a Japanese level of precision. 14.866.

Danell now on floor, pretty low on his layout double double and OOB, arabian double layout is also very low. Shannon wants people to try Mannas in their living room. As if that’s a thing that people do. The two flat passes will hurt his score, and he just completely balked a pass and ran through. What? Danell, what? Just gets his DLO around. That was rough to watch and bizarre. 12.800.

Nguyen mounts with an excellent double double tuck, totally bounces out of a double full. Jon is more worried about his shorts than his routine. We all were. His routine would have been excellent if the landings had been a bit more secure.

Dalton finishes the rotation – he bounces out of his double arabian piked, but otherwise he had the most precise tumbling in both the landings and the form. Very strong job. I’m glad they can do only one Thomas skill now. 15.700.

Yes Shannon, they should add some music to men’s floor. Just background music. It lacks interest without that. We saw one camera angle during this event. One. I’m so glad they allotted those eleven dollars to the poor people who had to put together this broadcast.

Rotation 2:
Jon and Shannon are talking about babies. It’s good that Jon is identifying these skills for us. American fans so rarely get skill identification because of NBC. Verniaiev starts well with one little break early on horse. 15.033.

Thomas has a big break on a travel and a few leg breaks overall but he gets through it. Jon talking about how people did a good job on pommels is a little funny because getting through the routine upright is a good job for Jon. He’s proud of everyone who finishes. 14.033.

Giraldo Lopez has good contained form, had to muscle up a few things and had a leg break on a forward travel, but it was fine.

Danell has the flu, is the update we have received. Jon refers to “some junk still in his system.” I’m really missing our NBC trio because Jon and Shannon are just sort of there and unremarkable. They’re not saying preposterously hyperbolic and eye roll inducing. It’s a real shame for all of us who have come to expect that level of excellence. Ishikawa has excellent form throughout his horse routine. Extremely clean. 14.533. Not a ton of difficulty.

Something is happening with Macready and the Harlem Shake. This is everything I hate about everyone’s behavior. Stop wobbling. Is this fun? Is this what fun is? The worst. I don’t want to think about it anymore because of all the trauma.

Leyva working rather sluggishly again on horse, several leg breaks on his circles, pushes up the dismount, but he gets through it. 14.566.

Nguyen was going well until the dismount when he fell over and didn’t really finish the dismount and stepped. That’s a shame. He had a little bit of hip form in most places as well, so he will get hit on execution.13.033 – looks like they didn’t give him a dismount, perhaps? Dalton follows by Horton-ing through his sloppy routine.

We’ve finished the first two rotations for the men, and now the women will arrive to warm up on vault while the men move to rings. After two rotations, Thomas leads but barely. It should be an interesting final few rotations, especially since Leyva and Nguyen have fallen behind after early messes.

Rotation 3:
Seitz opens with a perfectly acceptable DTY, low landing with some staggered legs. Are they going to completely alternate routines, because this is going to take rather forever?

 Thomas sticks his full twisting DLO off rings, which should help him stay toward the front. Ohashi to vault now,pretty good DTY for her on a vault she has struggled with. Shannon expects her to upgrade to a 2.5. You do? She got good distance and landed with a fair bit of control. 14.900 for Ohashi. Really clean routine for Giraldo Lopez follows on rings with another stuck landing.

When Jon Horton calls someone tiny, you know she’s tiny. Is he over five feet? How much over? Teramoto does a Y1.5 with some tucking right away on the block. OK vault.14.000. Everyone’s execution on vault is in the high 8s or low 9s. Little separation so far. Sorry, my NCAA narrative is spilling over into elite.

Cool to see the v sits from Ishikawa on rings, wibbly wobbly burgers on his handstands and some big stepping on the dismount. That will be a lower score.

Excited to see Biles on vault now, Jon mentions her training a triple, great form on her 2.5, but she has been more contained on the landing before, big hop forward. Still gets a 9.433 execution score. I’m not yet used to the 2.5 being 6.3 difficulty instead of 6.5, but it is a good change. The problem is that the code also lowered the value of the top handspring and roundoff half vaults, which reduces the point. 15.733 for Biles.

Leyva gets through his rings, not quite as secure in the holds and handstands as he can be, and a step on the dismount. He’s getting through it after the bizarreness on floor.

Chant to go on vault now for Canada, this is NCAA recruiting catnip right now. Handspring layout half, which is unusual for a Canadian, a little piked but they’ll probably give her credit for the vault. A little stiff on landing. Fine vault. Good line, though, that’s already obvious. 14.133.

Nguyen begins with excellent, secure, contained work, good swings, like many of them so far he has a bit of wobbling and wonkiness in his holds, but strong routine.

Ferrari still rocking the lack of shoulders, if we can call that rocking, which I don’t. Y1.5 with some bent knees and a hop forward. Has her style changed throughout the years, Shannon? Dalton shows excellent strength on rings, I wasn’t super happy with the length of some of his holds, but otherwise it was good.

Moors to vault now, did anyone else lose the broadcast? Oh well. Missed that one.14.900 for her DTY. Same as Ohashi. We’ll finish vault with Jupp of GBR, who is a new one. Yfull with little distance and a hop in place. I would say British vaulting but her yurchenko form wasn’t terrible. Who was the last British woman to do a strong Yurchenko vault?

Verniaev doesn’t have the strength of some of the other competitors, which shows in some of the hold positions, rough dismount with a very low landing and possibly a knee brushing.

Switching to NBC now. Do we dare hope for more than one camera having to zoom across the arean to see the events?

Rotation 4:
Simone Biles with a hefty lead after the first event, which is as it should be. Bars has never been the strength, but she has upped the difficulty and worked on the execution there, so this performance will be telling. Also watch for Ohashi’s form in her Lgrip pirouetting, which will largely dictate her score.

Al’s here. Let the competition really begin. How patriotic are their leotards, Al? Does the floor music represent their international heritage, and is that relevant? I’ve missed you, Trautwig.

Our intro surprises no one by invoking the 2012 team. Their legacy will open every broadcast for the next four years.”The most important annual international event in American gymnastics.” This is what I’ve missed from you, NBC. Nastia is here instead of Elfi, and she has become quite good as a commentator lately.

Biles on bars now, Tim calls a Wieler kip “Jordyn Wieber’s move,” Biles gets through her routine quite well. She has form breaks, a handstand here and there, a leg separation on her Shaposh, but a near stick on the dismount. She hit it. It’s the weakness, but it’s not a Raisman/Maroney weakness. 14.800 with 8.700 execution.

Leyva vaulting with excellent form and just a step back. The execution score should be quite strong, especially because it is men’s vaulting. He breaks 15. It’s not a difficult vault for him, so the execution should be that good. 

Seriously, NBC is continuing with the color-coded shapes system? Didn’t they get enough negative feedback from me about that? It doesn’t make anything easier to understand. Al: “We’ll be trying to figure out what these scores mean.” The title of his autobiography?

Nguyen does the same vault as Leyva, slightly more ragged with a step forward instead of back. A tenth lower on execution than Leyva.

Ferrari on bars, Hits her l pirouettering into a pretty nice jarger, the shoot back to high bar was a little rough, lock legs on landing but just a minor step.

They’re really trying to push the importance of this event once again. It kick starts everything, you know. Moors has a nice shaposh half, hits the jaeger, a little late on her toe full, just a minor hop on her original dismount. Got through it pretty well.  

Dalton vaulting the Tsuk triple, very nice form, small hop forward. Good vault. Sasaki attempts the double front half but wasn’t close to securing that landing and puts his hands down.

Jupp on bars – pretty clean form on this bars routine, nice line, far away on her jaeger but she caught it, missing a few of these handstands and finishing the pirouetting late, but another fine hit. Not a ton of British gymnasts do NCAA, but the coaches should get on people like Jupp and Tunney because they could be excellent.

Verniaiev does the same vault as Sasaki but finishes it much earlier and lands quite well.

Are they still trying to pretend like there was something untoward about having the money for the protest at the Olympics? Those are the rules. You have to pay for the protest. They weren’t bribing anyone, Al.

Of all the people on bars, we’re skipping Seitz? The most interesting one? Thomas couldn’t complete his double front and has a fall as well.

Oh, poor Bross. They’ve just whited her name out of the WOGA narrative. Now it’s Carly, Nastia, Katelyn. Ohashi looked pretty strong until her L pirouetting which was so late and had the leg separations and will get destroyed by any international judging panel. A few breaks otherwise and a hop on the dismount, but she got through it.

Because of the deductions on bars, Ohashi scored under Biles and is well behind right now. Seitz in third just back of Ohashi, and Moors in fourth. Dalton has a minor lead over Verniaiev, but they have a large margin over the rest.

Rotation 5:
The women are on to beam and the men go to Pbars. A retrospective on the sights and sounds of the post Olympic tour. Aly tells us that she and Gabby are best friends. Nastia’s asking her least favorite question, when are you coming back? Normal, fake, post-Olympic answers. Gabby gives a specific date to return training – May, Aly talks about DWTS. Does anyone else think that Dancing with the Stars has always sounded like a euphemism for death? Oh, she’s dancing with the stars now. . .

They held Leyva for quite a while on PB so they could finish the interview. Not the cleanliness in the legs and the handstands and the everything that we have come to expect. I like that he’s doing a double front now, but he barely got that around.

Moors on beam, looking very secure through the punch front and side aerial, not a ton of connections in this rooutine, so she’ll lose a bit on difficulty but very secure through it all. They’re talking about eliminating fake connections as if it is a bad thing. That’s a very good thing. Fine double pike with just a step back. Good job. 14.000.

Nguyen starts nearly as sloppily as Leyva but he pulls it together and gets precise and contained as the routine goes. Dalton follows and has a number of breaks as well in his skills, leg separations and missing handstands, sticks the double pike dismount, but it will be difficult to recover from the beginning. Verniaiev has an opening here. 

Jupp apparently showed quite strong difficulty on beam (6.3) but we did not see the routine. She has the highest beam score so far.

Ohashi to beam now, opens with a strong arabian to split – pretty strong in her layout full series, just a minor wobble and it perhaps looked a little less piked than it has in the past. Wobble on the sheep jump. Am I going to get tired of the walkover walkover series? I love it now, and I don’t want to be sick of it. Step forward on the double pike. Didn’t get all of her connections, but of course she didn’t. 15.333 with a 6.8 D score.

Dalton ended up getting a higher score than I expect on pbars, American Cup, Verniaiev still has a bit of an opening here but is also incurring breaks on pbars, and has done amazingly well to hang on twice in this routine, but it will be an exceptionally low score. Thomas was rather sluggish in his routine through every skill, but he endured it without the major breaks we have seen from many others. 

Biles to beam – pretty significant wobble on the walkover, secure through the punch front. Was totally short on her bhs to layout series and came off – never had a chance once she landed that layout. That’s a shame. She finishes that tuck full dismount so early, but a hop back.

Ohashi now has a lead of over a point going into the final event while Dalton has extended his lead significantly over Verniaiev. It’s always difficult when a competition becomes the person who hits four events wins. Unfortunately, that is often the case at this event because of the field and timing. It feels like a flat, lackluster event because no one is pushing each other.

Rotation 6:
Did we even see Maegan Chant on the NBC broadcast? They pretended Chant and Teramoto didn’t exist. Leyva on hbar, like many of this events today, he just looked a little off from the beginning. It seemed like he was pushing through and showing his usually impressive gymnastics, comes off on the layout tkathev, competition to forget for him, fall in the dismount. Bad day.

Ohashi, Biles, and Dalton are all in the second group of this rotation, so expect them to get a lot of commercials in during the first group. Routine – commercial – routine – commercial.

Giraldo doesn’t have the difficult of some of the others in this routine, and he is having mistake after mistake until a fall on the dismount. Two rough bar routines to start this rotation.

Jupp on floor now, Tim is talking up her choreography, which seems just sort of regular elite to me. She moves well, though. Good double arabian, short on the tuck full landing and bounces awkwardly, her dance elements are pretty close, good clean routine, and I do appreciate the lack of significant pausing before tumbling. I’d definitely want to see her in NCAA. Someone get on the phone.

Rough day for Thomas today, but I hope he can pull it together on his last event.Wonderful height on his release skills, over on a handstand and takes an extra swing, no one is hitting. American Cup. Very low on the dismount.

“It’s a showdown of the two Americans.” Um yes. It’s American Cup. Isn’t that the whole plan. 

We’ve finally decided that Seitz exists, a little low on the pike full and just stays in bounds, floppy legs in her twisting skills, falls out of the triple turn slightly, bounces back out of the double pike, not quite in form at this point in the year, finishes with a good double back, though.

Al’s not happy with the choreography. Neither am I, but it’s hardly surprising or different than the others we see. Verniaiev has some leg and bent arms early in her bar routine, good straddle position on his releases, but just a few too many breaks with pauses and leg form. Just holds onto the stick on the dismount.

This is a much better orutien for Ohashi than her last one, love combinations that get more difficult on the second pass like a 1.5 to front double. She’s secure in the landing of all this tumbling, just a minor step that will get deducted (after the first instance now), but it’s not major. Hit routine. She’ll be the winner. Fine day and four hit routines, which she needed.

Tim has dediced that Biles is the most powerful gymnast he’s ever seen. Don’t accuse him of overstatement. Biles may very well be on that pro track, but you know Sarah Patterson’s eyes turn houndstooth every time she sees her. They’re right that she is tremendously powerful, but she is incurring major deductions bouncing out of these landings. This is a good choreographic strategy: move exceptionally quickly so that no one notices your movements are all arms. Another huge stumble back, and another bounce out of the 2.5 dismount. The landings are a little Dos Santos in that she will get hugely deducted for all of them in spite of the power.

Dalton to finish now, and really does just have to finish to win, like Ohashi, he has shown breaks but is farther along in his training and more consistent than anyone else on the day. Great routine, once again the cleanest gymnastics of the day.

Biles goes 14.000, so Ohashi will win by a point and a half. Moors still to finish on floor, and I’m eager to see this routine. Great tuck full to start, she has very confident landings and nice twisting form, and those two things don’t often go together. Great routine, love it. Go to UCLA.

Last routine of the competition is Nguyen on bar, once again not the cleanliness we’ve come to expect from him, but he hits and that’s our American Cup.

Final Scores – Women:
1. Ohashi – 59.199
2. Biles – 57.666
3. Moors – 57.066
4. Seitz – 56.698
5. Ferrari – 56.098
6. Jupp – 55.665
7. Teramoto – 54.266
8. Chant – 51.399

Ohashi is getting more comfortable in these interviews. We’ve seen much more nerves from usual first-year seniors. Good for her.

Final Scores – Men: 
1. Dalton – 89.398
2. Verniaiev – 87.298
3. Nguyen – 87.031
4. Ishikawa – 86.531
5. Thomas – 85.831
6. Leyva – 85.265
7. Sasaki – 83.232
8. Giraldo Lopez – 82.298

All Kinds of Friday Action – Florida, Oklahoma, Georgia, LSU, UCLA, Alabama

Friday – 3/1/13
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [14] Minnesota @ [2] Florida Scores
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Ball State @ [19] Kent State
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Nastia’s Pink Leotard Jamboree Scores
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [1] Oklahoma @ Texas Woman’s Scores Video
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [7] Georgia @ [5] LSU Scores
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [23] Maryland @ [11] Auburn Scores Video(all access)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Missouri, Centenary, Lindenwood @ [25] Arkansas Scores
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – [6] UCLA @ [4] Alabama Scores Video(free)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [8] Utah, NC State @ BYU Scores
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [9] Oregon State, Cal @ [12] Stanford

Today’s action features eight of the top ten teams and ten of the top twelve, so basically today is all you’ve ever needed.

No Noel Couch in the lineup for Georgia against LSU. Persinger in on vault, Breazeal in on beam, and Earls back in on floor.

Still waiting for Florida’s meet to get going, but at the Nastiastravaganza, Oregon State verbal Katyianna McMillan already has a 9.900 on vault. Can they fly her to Stanford in the next few hours?

It’s senior night for Florida already. How does this happen so quickly. There will be plenty of time later and going into next season to discuss how much Florida will miss the likes of King, Dickerson, and Stageberg, but it will be a lot. The team will be less sturdy and more reliant on often-injured gymnasts next year.

Florida starts vault with a Shisler 9.800 and a Stageberg 9.775. Rhonda mentioned stopping with the lineup experimentation in the above video, but this is not the top, ideal vault lineup. Even without Johnson, I would have Wang and Macko in over those two if possible. Although, I don’t at all begrudge resting Macko on vault as much as possible. Sloan follows with a 9.900, then King with a 9.850. Dickerson and Hunter can still bring the rotation into “great” territory, but this is a little average by Florida’s home standards so far.

Dickerson 9.925. Is it time for Hunter’s 10, this being the last regular season home meet of the season? 9.975. When will it happen? I can’t remember someone getting so many 9.975s on the same event. I see a fairly good chance of a 10 at Utah for her because she’ll be going on vault after Wilson. If Wilson sticks for a 10, Hunter would have to get a 10 as well for a stick.

So Florida manages a perfectly strong 49.450 on vault. We know how high those last few can go and how vault scoring has been going around the country, so a score under 49.500 becomes fine instead of excellent. Those first two scores didn’t add anything, which stunted the potential massiveness.

At the Nastia Cup, future LSU gymnast Ashleigh Gnat matched McMillan’s 9.900 on vault. Just what LSU needs, another vaulter. Future Alabama gymnast Mack Brannan got a 9.500 on floor.

Florida had Dali Lemezan vault exhibition for senior night. Confession: I forgot she was still on the team. I thought she had graduated. It’s a shame for these perfectly fine 9.825ers Florida has because we will never see them.

The scores are finally working for Florida. Minnesota went 48.975 on bars. Lineups are out for UCLA/Alabama. No Gutierrez as we already knew. Clark has moved all the way to 5th up on vault. UCLA has Courtney and Wong in on floor and no Bynum. Upgrade. Still Pritchett on vault, but what is the other option?

Florida starts on bars with a 9.775 from Dickerson, which is unusually contained for Florida’s home scoring. Next two are 9.900s for BDG and King. Nice to see King getting going on bars. 9.950 for Hunter. These are more the scores I was expecting for Florida tonight in the last regular-season home meet. They should be back on secure 198 pace after this event.

Florida finishes with measly little 9.950 for Sloan and 9.975 for Macko. These are the kinds of scores everyone expected for Florida on bars, but we also expected Johnson to be a big part of that. 49.675. Bah! I called a home 49.700 this year in the season previews and we haven’t seen it yet. So close!

Minnesota is going very well on vault, their best event by far, which should help them toward that necessary 196. Mable and Covers with 9.925s. 49.425 on vault, just a quater tenth back of Florida on that event.

The time of the seven million meets is upon us. Georgia/LSU and Oklahoma/TWU (along with Auburn and Arkansas) are getting underway now, and then UCLA/Alabama will follow in 30 minutes (meaning 47 minutes).

No Sarie Morrison on vault tonight for LSU. Florida starts beam with a Stageberg 9.875. That smells improvement-y to me. Is anyone listening to the Georgia/LSU meet with news about Couch? Two 9.9s to start for LSU on vault. This is where we are.

Oklahoma getting underway against TWU right now.
Clark on bars – handstands looked strong, shuffle on the landing of the double back. It’s a safely composed routine, but she did well. 9.825.
Scaman – good jaeger, maybe a little short on one handstand, hop back on tuck full. 9.825
Sloan 9.975 on beam. Nothing under 9.900 so far for her.
Kmieciak – nice tkatchev – maybe a little close – hard to tell – muscles up after shoot to high bar but it’s fine, large-ish hop forward on tuck full. Fine, but they’re not quite on with these dismounts. 9.850.
Brewer – good high tkatchev, strong DLO as well with perhaps a small step – strongest routine for Oklahoma – efficient and clean. 9.875.
Olson – a little short on first handstand, good deltchev and straddle back, step back on DLO full. Only notable deductions came at the very beginning and very end.  9.900.
Spears – good jaeger, excellent, clean in the handstands, larger step forward on the double arabian. A strong rotation for Oklahoma, not quite as strong as last week, certainly won’t score as well, and they missed it a bit on the landings. 9.875.
Georgia drops a 9.425 from Jay on bars, but counts a couple 9.825s. 9.900s from Rogers and Davis. Fine scores but they can both be better 49.250. Georgia needed a better score on this event. LSU gets a 9.9 parade for 49.500 on vault. Pretty big lead since both teams were competing on their strength. Georgia should make it up on the next event, though.
Florida goes massive on the beam this week, nothing under a 9.850, 49.600. Slim outside shot at reaching Oklahoma’s number from last week, but a 198 is doable if not extremely likely. Oklahoma, you have your assignment, and you are currently well under that pace.
49.100 for Auburn on vault. They can be better than that.
Oklahoma goes 49.325 on bars. Vault soon to start for the Sooners.
Brewer on vault – Yfull that needed a bit more oomph, but the big deduction was the massive bounce back. Not her best by a long way. 9.725.
Mooring – Very nice yhalf – perhaps a small hop in place but minor, a little off to the side, excellent vault overall. 9.850.
Kmieciak – Similarly low landing to last week but with a hop forward this time. OK but deductions to be taken. 9.825.
Georgia not getting the scores on vault other than Davis’s 9.900. LSU trying to recover froma Jordan leadoff fall.
Kanewa – A yfull that looked good in the air and finished early but had another massive bounce back like Brewer. They’re not hitting these vaults. 9.850 – I don’t see that what with the massive bounce back.

Lost the feed from TWU, but I was about to switch over to the Alabama feed anyway, so it’s fine. Apparently I missed a lot because Brie Olson just got a 9.975 on vault. I saw her stick the warmup. Scaman follows with 9.900. 49.400 on vault – mid-197 pace after two. 
Newsflash: Up is down. LSU just got a 49.300 on bars and Georgia got a 49.200 on vault. This is absolutely not what Georgia needed from the good events. Let’s have an honest discussion about Jay’s facial expression now that LSU has outscored Georgia on bars again. 
Florida will want to drop the 9.600 from Shisler leading off floor. Stageberg goes 9.900. That will do it. 9.925 from Sloan. The Oklahoma score is still within reach if this continues.
Zamarripa will be anchoring every event for UCLA. Didn’t Val have a problem with that early in the season?

Rotation 1:

Williams – AL – VT – good high yfull with one step back. Nice.  
Courtney leading off bars now – small step on tuck full dismount.
Beers – AL – VT – slightly low with a hop in place. Good.
Larson – UCLA – UB -good first hs, hits bail, misses handstand majorly, low tkatchev, hop in place on DLO. It was a strong routine in places but she will get knocked for that handstand.
Jacob – AL – VT – Went for the 1.5 – crazy legs, fine landing but maybe she should stick to the full? They don’t need her doing a 1.5 with not the best form. 9.775.
Francis – UCLA – UB – Why is she third? Good shaposh, hits bail, late blind full and a step on dismount. They’re not hitting that well so far.
Sims – AL – VT -Good height on yfull, nice chest up on landing, major step back. Just OK overall. 9.800.
Wong – UCLA – UB – good handstands, lovely jaeger, a bit floppy in the bail hs, DLO to her knees. You could see that coming in her giants. I don’t know why, you just could. Bad so far for UCLA.
Clark – AL – VT – That’s an awful lot of screaming, I thought there was a hop in that yfull but they’re acting like it was a stick.
DeJesus – UCLA – UB – must hit this routine, sticks tuck full. 9.850.
Milliner – AL – VT – Usual 1.5, this time with a step back. Strong but she needs to be sticking for 9.950s come the postseason.
Zam – UCLA – UB – Everything she has ever done is heaven. I didn’t think the handstands were quite as crisp this time, but it’s a high standard. Maybe a little tight going after a fall. Sticks DLO with a coy little slide into the salute. 9.900 

Alabama goes 49.275 on vault, which is fine, but they need to be doing better. This rotiation missed Gutierrez. They likely would have been into the 49.4s with her in the lineup. The landings still need some work. UCLA was off on bars and is pretty lucky to escape with a score over 49 and a deficit of just over two tenths. Even Zam didn’t score as well as she needs to be. I wonder what the reasoning was with putting Francis third.

After 1: Alabama 49.275, UCLA 49.050
So, Florida gets the 49.700. It was just on floor. Can I still say I called it? Didn’t see the meet, but it’s pretty clear that this score was going to be just a touch higher than Oklahoma’s last week if the performance at all justified it. Low 198 is the new 197. Become accustomed to this. I’m not sure if I am. Also, Minnesota broke 197. This is what is happening and should tell us a lot about this meet.
LSU is getting through beam, but they’re fighting it all the way. This is the opening Georgia needed, but they will also have to get through Brittany Rogers’s floor score. They really do have only six competitors on this event (when Couch is in), so injuries are not an option.
Oklahoma will be attempting to overcome a mistake from Spears on floor, but that looks likely. Mid-high 9.8s from everyone else so far.
In a bit of a strange situation this season, we’re now going into the worst events for both UCLA and Alabama. The Bruins have no depth on this event, and Alabama has a little handstand trench in the middle of this lineup. They really hit Larson for that bad handstand in her routine, so let’s see what happens to the Tide. 

McDonald – UCLA – VT – Why do you buffer during the vault but never afterward?
Sledge – AL – UB – wonderful gienger as always, the final handstand was slightly muscled but that’s all I see in this routine. Stuck DLO.
Pritchett – UCLA – VT – Exactly the same 9.700 action as always.
Alexin – AL – UB – Sticks double back dismount, and the team goes wild. Fine routine. 
[Scene missing. Sorry about this. Saw Kim Jacob do one average handstand.]
Baer – UCLA – VT – pretty high yfull, her usual overall but with a controlled hop back. The landing can be better. 9.900. So, it’s nice to be on the road, I guess?
Clark – AL – UB – a little floppy legs in her shaposh, but the handstands looked a little nicer. Not sure what happened here, 9.725.
Courtney – UCLA – VT – They need something big to capitalize on what’s happening with Alabama. She fought for the stick on that yfull like no other. She’ll lose some for the bend and fight, but it was a good vault and should be a helpful score.
DeMeo – AL – UB -Overbalances her very first handstand and has to come off. They’ll be counting the 9.725 from Clark now. Another fall. Rough days. She’s usually the top non-Sledge, Priess worker. Now it’s up to Pries to make this a positive rotation.
Zam – UCLA – VT – 9.950. Missed, but I think we can assume.
Priess – AL – UB – the tkatchev into the pak has wonderful rhtyhm and power as always, everything looked strong until the dismount, which she still hasn’t worked out. Low with a big lunge forward. The lead will be all but gone after this.

Scores are a little wonky right now because they think Demeo got a 9.865 instead of an 8.650. Alabama goes just 49.000 on bars while UCLA goes 49.350 on vault. From what I saw of that rotation, which was admittedly little, Alabama still isn’t getting those crisp handstands and is missing the score from Sledge in the first position. I thought the routine could have been 9.900, but that’s what happens as a leadoff. It’s a good score for UCLA on vault, but it masks the problems in the early positions. Having Courtney hitting that landing is major though, and Baer has improved this season even if I think that 9.900 was too high.

After 2: UCLA 49.400, Alabama 49.275 
Georgia got through floor, where the highest score was Tanella’s 9.875 again and trimmed most of LSU’s lead away after the Tigers had to count three scores under 9.800 on the beam. I would be anyone’s game going into the final rotation, but LSU is going to floor and Georgia is going to beam.

Oklahoma remains on mid 197 pace after dropping the fall from Spears on floor. Surprisingly, the Sooners have started with two scores under 9.8 on beam.
Milliner – AL – BB – secure so far in the early going, a little wobble on the loso series, hop back on double full. Good start.
(This “You’re a winner” graphic makes me laugh. I only use that expression sarcastically. I didn’t know it was a serious thing sometimes. I’m not the audience for these meets, a lesson I learned long ago.)
McDonald – UCLA – FX – slightly low on the double pike mount, but it was her usual solid work, loso out of middle pass goes right up to the edge but stays in, potential deduction in that switch ring but it was hard to tell, a little bit of ragged legs on some of her twisting, but a strong routine.
Clark – AL – BB – swtich split is good, switch ring is just okay in the ring shape and there’s a minor wobble, another very slight correction out of the loso series, does well to avoid shwoing a wobble on the front – waves her arms and pretends it was choreo, step forward on 1.5. A little iffy but overall they’ll take it.
Bynum – UCLA – FX – She’s back in on floor. I thought Wong was going. What is this? Low double pike but secure, major stumble back on front layout front full, very low again on the double back but she hit this week, so that’s something.
Williams – AL – BB – solid punch front, big break on the loso series that it seemed like she didn’t have to take, should have stuck her 1.5 – it was so high – and basically did but corrected a little.
DeJesus – UCLA – FX – extremely low double pike mount with a large step forward – what is happening? – exactly the same on the double back. Won’t be a big score.
DeMeo – AL – BB – strong mount and walkover, hits loso series, there’s not a ton of amplitude in the skills on the beam, but she’s hitting them well, low on the double pike with a larger step forward.
Prtichett – UCLA – FX – The Bruins basically need three straight 9.9s to salvage anything from this event. A little bounce back on the tuck full, which is uncharacteristic, but it was quite small, gets the double pike around – similar slight lack of control – but by far the best routien for UCLA.
Jacob – AL – BB -very strong in the two layouts, excellent barani, hop forward on 1.5. Very strong routine.
Courtney – UCLA – FX – sticks double arabian very well – I was worried about that with her coming back into the lineup, good choice of middle pass with her ending in loso, strong double pike to finish – ever so slightly low, but very secure on every landing and should score quite well.
Priess – AL – BB – good walkover to swingdown, very precise, good leap series, controlled in the L turn, sticks gainer full, very strong routine. Very strong.
Zam – UCLA – FX – They decided to have her show the DLO, and she takes a fall. I kind of can’t believe Val would have her do that when the team has three lower scores they need to drop. That’s what you do when you’re fine counting the other five scores. They basically threw away a good score there. To be clear, I like the upgrade in theory, but this wasn’t the time.

After 3: Alabama 147.625, UCLA 147.225
In other worlds, Georgia got through beam, including having to put Breazeal in for Couch, for 49.225. LSU still won because of a stronger floor rotation – 49.375. Final score: LSU 197.050, Georgia 196.825. Georgia will take this, but they had no standout events in this meet. Everything was just fine, which when added together can still make a high 196. LSU will still need to work out this beam issue because it is a major concern. I was wrong about the team that won beam winning the meet. Sigh.

Oklahoma had a fall from Olson on beam so had to count two 9.7s for the lowest rotation score of the day. That’s the second time that has happened for Oklahoma in the last several weeks. The Sooners finish with a 197.275, which is good but feels like a 194 after last week.
Let’s see what UCLA can muster coming off that bad floor rotation. Courtney was very strong and Pritchett was usual, but nothing else was worth keeping in the memory banks about that rotation. It begs the question, where were Francis and Wong? I’m not saying they would be magical, but where were they. The decision to have Zam do the DLO will be talked about. It clearly shows that the result and the score are less important than prepping the team for the postseason routine composition, which is probably as it should be, but UCLA has just one road meet left and will still have a blah road score that still needs to go away.

Baer – BB – UCLA – comes off on her side somi. This meet is a total leap backward to two weeks ago. I wasn’t sure it would be amazing, but I thought it would be better than this.
Priess – FX – AL -good double back and completely clean through the whole routine. A little low on the double back dismount, but that’s all. That’s the kind of routine you want leading off.
Wong – UCLA  – BB -minor correction on her walkover into bhs, secure dance elements, hop to the side on the 1.5,. Good routine and good recovery from the leadoff.
Frost – FX – AL – DLO is very low with a step forward, otherwise hits realtively cleanly. It’s not as strong as Priess’s routine, so she’s probably the one who should come out if Gutierrez can come back.
DeJesus – UCLA – BB – excellent walkover to bhs loso combination with a very slight correction on the loso, front toss is excellent, odd little wobble after full turn, step on tuck 1.5.
DeMeo – FX – AL – strong double arabian and a minor slide out of the 2.5 dismount. Good difficulty in this routine, she’s way more excited about it than I was, but that usually happens.
Larson – UCLA – BB – lovely mount, notable wobble on her ring jump, the walkovers to bhs was absolutely lovely. Love that combination but probably won’t if it becomes an elite trend this quad, minor hop on gainer pike. A few little things but a good routine.
Jacob – FX – AL – secure pike full but she Noel Couches her legs a little bit. perfect landing on the double pike, similar strong in her dismount, expect that to score exceptionally well because it was right on. She’s such an efficient little gymnast.
Francis – UCLA – BB – wonderful flexibility and excellent walkover to bhs, sticks her layout full series, great routine for Danusia. They’ve picked up the quality in this rotation after the beginning.
Beers – FX – AL – Good DLO to start, much stronger than Frost’s, secure layout to layout full, now I see why she’s going fifth over Jacob. I was wondering about that. Honestly, I still think Jacob should be anchoring. Never mind what I said about getting it. Fall on the double back dismount. I jinxed that one.
Zam – UCLA – BB – must hit to salvage the meet, you wouldn’t want anyone else on the team in this position, wobble on onodi – why has that become a thing she does? – good bhs loso series, didn’t quite go for her switch split, had to do it again to get her dance series, weird. Steps on double full. Probably her worst beam routine of the year, but she hit it so they won’t have to count a fall.
Milliner – FX – AL – really strong double arabian, just a tad underrotated and had to adjust with her foot, otherwise she hit well. Not as strong as Jacob’s routine, but it will be a big score and will bring Alabama somewhere near 197, which didn’t look likely after bars. 9.950, which I don’t really see.

Final Score: Alabama 197.075, UCLA 196.375
Step back for UCLA at this meet – a lot of tight gymnastics and no improvement in the lineups. Every time it seemed like some momentum was being made, it would stall. On the last two events, this happened because of Zamarripa’s routines, which is very surprising. This lower 196 doesn’t do anything at this point in the season and will be disappointing. The performance wasn’t quite as bad as the one at Oregon State, but UCLA is one of the top teams that is farthest away from the form it will need to show in just a few weeks’ time.

Alabama is getting there. There’s not really much to be concerned about on the three leg events. They could use Gutierrez on vault, but it wouldn’t be a catastrophe without her. Bars is a problem now, and I wonder what the solution is. I don’t see those middle routines going much higher than the lowish 9.8s, so the main thing Alabama needs is for Priess to work out that dismount so that she can be the saving routine and keep the score up.

Here’s the rundown of the day:
Florida 198.425, Minnesota 197.175
Kent State 196.250, Ball State 192.100
Nastia Cup: Alex McMurtry 38.450
Oklahoma 197.275, TWU 195.300
LSU 197.050, Georgia 196.825
Auburn 196.825, Maryland 195.300
Arkansas 196.500, Missouri 194.300
Alabama 197.075, UCLA 196.375

Utah is currently in progress, trying to finish out a low 197 on the bars.
Scores are flying like crazy in the first rotation of Stanford and Oregon State.

Utah finishes with a 197.125.