Week 8 Rankings and Notes

Sirs and madams, we have arrived in the land of RQS.

1. Oklahoma – 197.410
Week 8: 198.375
Week 8 leaders: AA – Olson 39.700; VT – Kmieciak, Kanewa, Olson 9.925; UB – Kmieciak, Olson, Spears 9.925; BB – Brewer 9.950; FX – Scaman 9.975

After the colossal score over the weekend, Oklahoma has become the prettiest, most popular girl at the county fair. Like all prettiest girls at the county fair, though, the real test will come when she tries to make it in LA. Because the Sooners already are (essentially) guaranteed the top seed at their own Regional and have a massive RQS, they are kind of done with this regular-season nonsense. They could get 194s for the rest of the year. Expect them to use this opportunity (especially the double home weekend on the 8th and 10th) to rest the most fragile to stay as healthy as possible. It’s a difficult balance, though, because there are still a number of refinements to be made on routines. They can’t stay at this level.

2. Florida – 197.280 
Week 8: 196.975
Week 8 leaders: AA – None; VT – Hunter 9.975; UB – Sloan 9.975; BB – Dickerson, Stageberg 9.875; FX – King 9.950

Oklahoma taking over the lead is the best thing that could have happened to Florida. Nobody likes a preordained champion, and the Gators were starting to fall into the very strange position of being the boring choice to win even though they’ve never won before. Now, a little of the attention is off them for a week or two. (Watch, they’ll get a 210 next week.)

There was some degree of experimentation with Florida’s lineup over the weekend, so I wouldn’t read too much into the low scores from the likes of Bridgey Caquatto (though it is a shame because it doesn’t really make a case for her staying in these lineups), but the beam performance raises some flags with two low scores coming after a fall. This team hasn’t been that unstoppable on beam even when they hit, but previously they had been very controlled and strong performing after mistakes. Don’t let this be a 2011, Gators.

3. Michigan – 196.975
Week 8: 196.925
Week 8 leaders: AA – None; VT – Zurales 9.925; UB – Sampson 9.875; BB – Zurales 9.925; FX – Sampson 9.950

This meet was not pristine for the Wolverines. They counted a mistake on bars, which was unexpected and knocked them out of the 197s. Bars has been the go-to event for this team for most of the season, yet occasionally on the road it has not been as strong. That’s normal, but it will be something to watch going into this weekend’s meet at Michigan State. The team did well to hit beam coming right off of that weak bars rotation, but the prevalence of low 9.8s and scarcity of 9.9s on beam will become an issue moving into the final third of the season. No team has been great on beam this season besides Oklahoma, so the ones that develop those 9.9s in March will have a leg up and gain extra value from that.

4. Alabama – 196.810
Week 8: 197.100
Week 8 leaders: AA – None; VT – Gutierrez 9.950; UB – DeMeo 9.900; BB – Priess, DeMeo, Milliner 9.900; FX – Jacob 9.900

It’s not a surprise that Alabama still has a number of areas to improve as February closes. That’s normal, as is a 197.100 road score. Last season, Alabama didn’t score above the 197.1s on the road until Championships, when the high 197s started flowing. The biggest concern right now is Marissa Gutierrez, who took a nasty fall on floor and whose status is currently undetermined. She’s an integral part on vault and floor, and while the vaulting group is deep, she’s the only one who has been hitting to capability the last couple weeks. In other news, how do you solve a problem like these bars routines?

5. LSU – 196.770
Week 8: 196.975
Week 8 leaders: AA – Courville 39.475; VT – Lau, Mathis, Taylor 9.925; UB – Morrison 9.950; BB – Dickson 9.850; FX – Courville, Mathis 9.900

While I wasn’t looking, LSU became better than UCLA, at least according to the rankings. Note that the Tigers have a strong chance to move up again next week with one more low score still lurking in the RQS picture. This is a bit misleading because it will still be an uphill battle for LSU to make Super Six. The team often has to rely on the one big routine to save both bars and beam from being mediocre. This time, Morrison’s 9.950 did the job on bars, but Courville had a major wobble on beam, meaning that her normally tremendous routine could not save the event score. The success or lack thereof in a rotation hinging on one routine is a risky game.

6. UCLA – 196.720 
Week 8: 197.200
Week 8 leaders: AA – Zamarripa 39.650; VT – Zamarripa, Courtney 9.900; UB – Zamarripa 9.950; BB – Larson 9.900; FX – Zamarripa 9.950

Because this is the first week of RQS, we saw a lot of teams have strong performances and drop in the rankings, with UCLA being one of the leaders in that category. This was quite obviously the best UCLA performance since week 2 and a necessary recovery from the previous week’s stinker. Encouraging developments were Larson winning beam and the overall ability to overcome mistakes. The negative, and the reason the Bruins are still not in the top conversation, remains a lack of depth. Floor should be endurable when Courtney comes in for Bynum (and possibly Wong comes in as well). Bars is not exactly ideal (can MDLT come back from her recurred labrum issue?), but save for a Peng ex machina, this is probably what we’re stuck with. Vault is the biggest issue because it is the farthest behind the top teams. Someone who can get at least a 9.850 has to get healthy this second and throw us a Yurchenko full.

7. Georgia – 196.595
Week 8: 196.825
Week 8 leaders: AA – Rogers 38.600; VT – Jay 9.900; UB – Davis 9.950; BB – Worley 9.950; FX – Couch 9.925

I agree with the insightful rogue, me from Friday, who noted that the beam rotation against Missouri might very well be a turning point for Georgia. A fall in the first position after two straight weeks of being “the team that can’t hit beam” could have been devastating. The fact that they endured it speaks to a previously reclusive ability to handle this event. The next step is to, you know, hit six beam routines in the same meet. In spite of the mental victory, beam and floor were still 49.1s over the weekend, and that’s not so much a competitive thing. Earls definitely needs to come back on floor, but overall these landings have been rather January and need to improve at a faster-than-normal rate to catch up with the 49.4s from other teams. 

8. Utah – 196.375
Week 8: 197.300
Week 8 leaders: AA – Wilson 39.425; VT – Wilson 9.950; UB – Dabritz 9.925; BB – Lofgren 9.900; FX – Del Priore 10.000

Like Georgia, Utah will take joy from not succumbing to a weeks-long weakness. The Utes didn’t have to count a fall anywhere and broke 49 on both bars and beam. While it’s probably not great that breaking 49 counts as a victory right now, that’s where we are. The vault score is misleading, and those landings have to improve for this event to be nationally competitive. Beam remains woefully nerve-wracking. The current group has to be the final lineup given the roster, so they have to discover a way for Dabritz not to be so, so tight during her routine. Her score is necessary.

9. Oregon State – 196.370
Week 8: 196.925
Week 8 leaders: AA – Tang 39.400; VT – Blalock 9.950; UB – Stambaugh 9.900; BB – Jones 9.850; FX – Stambaugh 9.950
 
Look at you, Oregon State, all 9th in the nation. I didn’t see that coming based on preseason expectations and early performances. A couple of lower road scores (with only one road meet remaining) makes it pretty unlikely that the Beavers will get into the top 8 for the postseason, but we’ve seen a few solid, high 196 performances these last few weeks. A team can go quite far by maintaining that scoring level. Still, I don’t see enough depth in these lineups overall, with beam a total nail biter. Vault is also very unlikely to keep up the high 49.3s we saw over the weekend.

10. Nebraska – 196.365
Week 8: 197.050
Week 8 leaders: AA – Wong 39.600; VT – Giblin 9.875; UB – Wong 9.925; BB – Wong, Lauer 9.900; FX – Wong 9.925

Nebraska keeps hanging around. Every time it seems that a low score will start to do them in, they come back with a 197. The Huskers should be a much better vaulting team than they have shown the last few weeks, so keep an eye on potential improvement in those landings. They’re currently only #14 in the nation on vault, which is far too low for them to accept. Jessie DeZiel’s RQS should not be in the low 9.8s. The biggest strength for Nebraska is the epically excellent back half of the bars rotation, so look for all three of those routines to begin receiving 9.9s every week soon. With beam, if they just get through it, I’ll take it.

11. Auburn – 196.270
12. Stanford – 196.235
13. Denver – 195.990
14. Minnesota – 195.775
15. Arizona – 195.640
16. West Virginia – 195.560
17. Washington – 195.520
18. Ohio State – 195.495
19. Illinois – 195.480
19. Kent State – 195.480
21. Kentucky – 195.445
22. Penn State – 195.415
23. Maryland – 195.340
24. Iowa – 195.265
25. Arkansas – 195.260

Full rankings

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[10] Stanford @ [7] Utah Live Blog

The meet will get underway at 10:00 ET/7:00 PT on the Pac-12 Network. Enjoy!

Don’t expect any changes to the Utah lineups, with Wilson and Dabritz remaining as the AAers. Utah could really use hit bars and beam rotations tonight. All of the top teams have showed high 196s this weekend (at least), so Utah and Stanford will both hope to keep pace with that.

If I know anything about basketball (it’s the one with icing right?), the fact that there are still 5 minutes left in this game currently airing on the Pac-12 Network does not bode well for its finishing in 9 minutes. We may be in a holding pattern. Stanford’s basketball team is not playing super awesome (nice air ball). Kristina Vaculik needs to give them a talking to, I think.

1:45 left in this boring basketball game. Patience? Never. Timeouts shouldn’t be allowed. That’s like cheating. What if you could take a timeout in the middle of your beam routine and reassess? Psssh. Some of these players really need to spend more time working on their posture and elegance. It’s like they’ve never even heard of performance quality. Phew, it’s finally over.

Lofgren vaults a very piked yfull with a low landing and a major step forward. Not her best at all. She went after a couple of big scores for Utah, though. 9.825? What?

Hong – UB – ST – wonderful handstands, tkatchev is her tkatchev, bail is wonderful, a little under on the DLO and has to take two hops forward into salute. That’s a shame. 9.725.

Damianova – VT – UT – pikes down on yfull and hops back. Just OK. 9.900 – what?

Vaculik – UB – ST – awesome high gienger, good bail hs, a little short on final hs, whips her DLO a little bit with a hop back and some separated legs in the second salto.

Dabritz – VT – UT – piked a little bit but less than Damianova, hop back. 9.900

Shapiro – UB – ST – very nice handstands, great high jaeger, looked so floaty in her pak but missed and hand and came off. She was looking great before that. Ruh-roh. Pikes a little on DLO with a hop forward.

Wilson – VT – UT – They’ve been setting her up for a 13 based on these scores so far. She sticks her yfull but pikes a little in the air and bends to hang on. It shouldn’t be a 10 because of that. 9.950.

Archer – UB – ST – clean gienger, good line and handstands, also has to pike her DLO a little and takes a step back. She has been better. 

After rotation 1: Utah 49.500, Stanford 49.050
Utah didn’t look particularly strong in the vaults that we saw. Several of them had trouble maintaining the straight shape, and everyone but Wilson should have incurred a tenth on the landing. They need Delaney to come in at some point and be the third star with Dabritz and Wilson because the other vaulters will probably be very 9.825 in a postseason context.

Stanford can be better than that on bars as well. Shapiro’s fall was an odd one I don’t expect to be a thing, but they gave away too much on the dismounts, piking their DLOs and taking at step, giving away what otherwise would have been 9.9s because of clean skills on the bars.

Rotation 2: 
A number of gymnastics commentators enjoy the word bugaboo, Jim Watson and Kevin Copp most of all.

AMorgan – VT – ST – Yhalf, looked a little underrotated but held onto the landing well. Needs a bit more amplitude and distance. 9.875.

Wilson – UB – UT – very late on her giant full, floppy legs on gienger and bail, the tuck full is nice and high but she takes a step back on it. Lots to take, but she got through it. 9.775.

Rice – VT – ST – A bit flat on her yfull with a major hop back, piked a bit. 9.800.

Hughes – UB – UT – a little flat and close on her tkatchev but got through it, tuck full is almost to her knees and she may have brushed a knee on the mat. Three tenths? Probably. She got through the tkatchev earlier, but it looked like she released late. 9.525.

Vaculik – VT – ST – Omelianchik – love to see it – low landing and had to squat for it, so it won’t be a big score. 9.775

Hansen – UB – UT – misses first hs, hits jaeger, good pak, she looked a little tight at the beginning but got through it, sticks tuck full, one of her better routines this year. 9.850.

Hong – VT – ST – yfull, not quite as clean as usual with her and a major hop back. Pretty good overall, though. 9.825. I see no difference between her vault and Damianova’s, though.

Lopez – UB – UT – good height on tkatchev, clean through the bail hs, hop back on DLO. I haven’t been too impressed by the landings from either team on either event so far. Very little sticking. 9.850.

Dayton – VT -ST – sticks her yhalf cold. Best vault landing of the day so far, but I don’t love her legs on her block. 9.950.

Damianova – UB – UT – a little leg break on her shaposh, these handstands are judgment calls, might be close enough to forgive, but a tough judging panel would take for a couple of them (similar to what we’ve seen from Jacob for Alabama this year) sticks double tuck. Fine routine. 9.850.

Hanset – VT – ST – handspring pike half, low chest as always with a controlled hop back. Solid. 9.875.

Dabritz – UB – UT – great comaneci, jaeger is hit, clean bail hs, best routine of the group by far, sticks tuck full. They will desperately need this routine when we get into the business part of the season.  9.925

Rotation 2 scores: Utah 98.750, Stanford 98.375
On vault, Dayton was excellent for Stanford, but the landings can be improved for almost everyone else. Many of them gave away tenths from big hops or squatty landings. Utah’s bars rotation remains a concern because of how 9.8 the rotation is besides Dabritz. The 49.250 works for today, but it’s hard to see the team going much higher than that number in a road context. Landings, landings, landings. It’s important for Dabritz to hit as well as she did, though, so that’s a plus. Great routine from her. 

Rotation 3:
Tutka – BB – UT -hits her dance series, significant wobble on her series but she pulls it back, minor check on side aerial, sticks gainer full. Hit. 9.775.

Dayton – FX – ST – bounces out of a high double pike, front layouts as her middle pass, hitting her dance well, a little low on the double tuck and has to shift a little. 9.825.

Hughes – BB – UT – lands pretty short on her loso series but does well to be secure, looked like she didn’t get any lift out of her bhs, otherwise very strong, 2/1 dismount with a hop to the side. She’s been better but another hit.  9.825.

Rice – FX – ST – Also bounces out of her high double pike, front layout front tuck full second pass with a large lunge forward, hits double tuck dismount well. Just OK. 9.850.

Wilson – BB – UT – good loso loso opening with the slightest of corrections, and another slight correction on straddle, hop forward on 1.5. A few corrections, but otherwise solid and fine. She’s turning into an efficient early lineup beamer. 9.850.

SMorgan – FX – ST – Pretty strong double tuck with a slight slide, a leg separation in her 1.5 + layout middle pass, hits double pike. Better than I’ve seen from her so far this year. 9.900.

Lopez – BB – UT – hits opening dance combo, minor balance check on loso series, again on the punch front. Major bend in her straddle 3/4 and has to touch the beam. Front tuck 1/1 dismount with a major hop forward. They’ll need to drop this. 9.350.

Hanset – FX – ST – whip 2.5 + punch front, looked like a fall for sure but she held onto her punch somehow and even kept it in bounds, a definite deduction, though. Hits double pike to finish. 9.750.

Dabritz – BB – UT – Pressure routine for her to drop that score from Lopez, lovely full turn, huge huge wobble on her loso series but she stayed on the beam, so so tentative, again on her side aerial, she had it and then readjusted for a major wobble, wonderful 2/1 dismount. Nervy routine that will have to count. 9.675.

AMorgan – FX – ST – doubel arabian opening with a major lunge out of it, layouts middle pass, double tuck is fine to finish. Not her best because of the uncontrolled mount. 9.850.

Lofgren – BB – UT – a must-hit, significant adjustment on her side somi, hits loso but these last three workers have been tight, Lofgren working it out after the first wobble and sticks her gainer full. Well done to get back on track after a big wobble early. 9.900.

Vaculik – FX – ST – punch front to double tuck, very short with a lunge forward, finishes with a low double pike with a major step back. She can be better.

After 3 rotations: Utah 147.775, Stanford 147.600
I suppose Utah can take this beam rotation as a victory because it means they have officially endured both bars and beam without counting a fall, but Lopez and Dabritz both struggled. They need Dabritz on this event, so they can’t afford her to be so tentative, but the fact that they need her so much probably makes her more tentative. Jury is still out on if this rotation can be nationally competitive.

Stanford closed during that rotation witha 49.225 on floor, but they can be much better than what we saw in terms of keeping those landings in control. They weren’t going out of bounds, but they were not showing the dainty, controlled steps they need to. Those were lunges and will need to be cut out over the next month.

Rotation 4:
SMorgan – BB – ST – Getting a pep talk from Wing. Is she definitely out for the whole season? Good aerial to start, only the very smallest correction on her loso series, very confident work, wobble on side aerial, side somi, lots of acro difficulty in this routine, hop on double full. Solid start. 9.875.

Lofgren – FX – UT – pretty low on double pike mount with a step forward, whip + double full looks fine, rudi + loso looks good to finish. 9.825.

AMorgan – BB – ST – large wobble on her loso series to open, very strong punch front, just a step on the doubel back dismount. Good routine after the first pass. 9.850.

Del Priore – FX – UT – Solid tuck full mount, hits 1.5 layout middle pass, this is much stronger than I’ve seen from her in the past, rather long pause in the corner, a little low on the double tuck but hit. 10.000? What? What? Yeah, I can’t believe it either, Lia. I’m not a huge fan of the relationship between music and movement in this routine. The choreography doesn’t exactly live up to the dramatic music selection. That’s the kind of thing that becomes a topic when a routine gets a 10.

Hong – BB – ST – wobble on the loso out of her aerial-bhs-loso, sticks gainer pike dismount. Very strong other than the wobble on the early series. Still, she can be so great, and she’s not there yet. 9.900.

Wilson – FX – UT – DLO is strong, a little low, hits front layout to front full, a little slide out of the double tuck dismount. It’s another perfectly acceptable hit routine, so I don’t know what to think about the score. 9.850.

Spinner – BB – ST – excellent loso series to start, good gainer loso, 2/1 dismount is strong. Very good routine for her, very little to take there. 9.950.

Dabritz – FX – UT – minor adjustment out of the pike full – shuffle to the side, hits whip double full, off to the side a little on her 3/1 with an adjustment. Not her best but fine. 9.850.

Vaculik – BB – ST – great switch split to back tuck, rulfova is excellent, secure loso series, this is very nice so far, hop on 2/1, but otherwise this was near pristine. Another great routine from Stanford. 9.900.

Damianova – FX – UT – a little short on her double tuck mount with a tiny hop, slides significantly out of her double pike. A strong routine but not quite as contained in the tumbling landing as some of her teammates. 9.925. Does anyone else get the feeling that 9.925 is the new 9.850?

Rice – BB – ST – anchoring over Hanset, adjustment on her punch front, another significant wobble on her loso series, sticks gainer full, a fine routine but not as impressive as what we saw from the rest of the rotation. It was a beautiful beam rotation overall from Stanford, though. 9.825.

Tutka – FX – UT – good tuck full, stumbles a little on her front 1.5 in the middle pass-comes in low and pops to the side, good double tuck dismount. 9.900

Final Score: Utah 197.300, Stanford 197.075 
Season high for Utah.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

UCLA @ Oklahoma in Review

A free replay of the UCLA/Oklahoma meet is available HERE. Excellent. What wonderful service you have here. I’ll be making notes about the meet as I go along as if it were a live blog. I’m very interested to see how I feel about this scoring and the quality of the teams. By all accounts it was the best meet for both teams this season.


I love hearing KJ talk. She has a way of speaking that’s very deliberate and confident but calming, which is a great quality in a coach. Although, someone should have provided Zamarripa pronunciation lessons to everyone. She’s prominent enough that there’s really no excuse for not caring enough to pronounce it properly.   

Rotation 1:
Oklahoma vault
1. Spears – Good height on yfull, pretty significant shoulder angle on the block, pikes noticeably to finish, sizable hop back. Fine start. 9.800. No Kelly Garrison, that was not stuck.
2. Mooring – Just a replay of the yhalf from the forward angle, minor hop forward. 9.900.
3. Kmieciak – Nice yfull, lands lowish, sort of crunched in the knees, but doesn’t step. 9.925.
4. Kanewa – Debut vault, good vault for her introduction, also comes in a little low like Kmieciak, hops in place. 9.925.
5. Olson – Very difficult to tell anything from this forward angle, but her vault appeared to have a bit more power than the last two with a higher chest on landing. Potentially a hop in place? I couldn’t tell. 9.925.
6. Scaman – Y1.5 that looked powerful, bent knees, a major bound out of it on landing. 9.850.

UCLA bars
1. Francis – Good shaposh form from this angle, clean bail handstand, hs before the bling full was a little short, but the blind full was more precise, stuck double pike, her best routine of the year. 9.800.
2. Courtney – Shaposh was clean, but she missed the connection into the bail, had to kch and it was very short, good stuck tuck full. She’s getting there. 9.825.
3. Larson – This high camera angle is awful. Nice first handstand, a little legs in the bail, tkatchev as usual. Misses last handstand, DLO to her knees. 9.150.
4. DeJesus – The gienger was a little close, but from this perspective (similar to the judges’ perspective) the crazy legs looked improved, nice bail, short last handstand, stuck tuck full. Very strong. 9.850.
5. Wong – Wonderful jaeger, bail is excellent, misses last handstand again, fine DLO – slightly piked, to stuck landing. Very good routine. 9.825.
6. Zamarripa – That was the best routine she has done this year. One judge originally went low, so I’m not surprised there was an issue that caused a Val protest. That absolutely would have been a 10 at UCLA and certainly could have been here as well. Crazy gorgeous. 9.950. This shot of Val going “Oh my God! Oh my God!” about the score is perfection.
A fine routine from Kaelie in exo until she fell on the tkatchev, but it won’t go into the lineup now that Danusia has improved.

Rotation 1 score: Oklahoma 49.525, UCLA 49.250
Oklahoma’s vault rotation was very good. It wasn’t 49.5 good, but that shouldn’t necessarily take away from the improvements the Sooners have made through the power and skill level of these freshmen. There is still work to be done, however, because they will lose out to teams like Florida and Alabama with the dynamics of the vaults, which often manifests in the finishing chest position. Those are the .050 differences that make championships.

UCLA gave away too much on some of those final handstands before the giants, so there’s work to be done there. Other than Mattie’s fall, however, this was the best bars rotation in terms of landings and precision since that second week against Utah. Well done.

Rotation 2:
Oklahoma bars
1. Clark – Nice shaposh, good line, misses one handstand but the full is precise, stuck double back. 9.900.
2. Scaman – She works bars like a power gymnast, which shows in her nice high jaeger, perhaps a little close. Another one who missed her last handstand, minor step on dismount. 9.875. 
3. Kmieiciak – Extremely close on her tkatchev, but does well to pull out the handstand afterward, which is always a challenge, clean bail hs, small hop-salute on the tuck full. 9.925, which is too high.
4. Brewer – Very nice tkatchev, hits bail hs very securely, nice high DLO but has a bend and then a hop trying to hang onto the stick. 9.900. Really good work. This routine was stronger than Kmieciak’s.
5. Olson – Short on first handstand, deltchev between the bars is well executed. Even though deltchevs sometimes look sloppy, there’s nothing technically wrong with hers. DLO full with a step back. That is close to the bar but no problem. 9.925.
6. Spears – Nice high jaeger, right there on the bail hs, hop forward on double arabian. Very strong finish and very strong routine. 9.925. All of these routines are getting the same score, but they’re not of the same quality.

UCLA vault
1. McDonald – Fine yfull, a little piked, hop back. Almost identical to Spears. 9.800.
2. Wong – So much better than last week. Sometimes she comes off a little flat but not this time as much. I’d still like more distance, a little pike, notable hop back. The deductions are there, but it’s an improvement. 9.825.
3. Pritchett – What has become her usual on vault, not the height, bent knees, major step back. She has been forced into this position because of injury, but this vault isn’t competition level. 9.725.
4. Baer – Good power, and I give her credit for working on having those legs together throughout the vault. It’s getting better – iffy whether you call that a stick or not, she held it for a second before step-salute. 9.875.
5. Courtney – Good power, wonderful distance, step back. She can stick that for 9.950s (or more even). 9.900.
6. Zamarripa – Bends to try to hang onto the stick and a hop back. 9.900. One of her weaker yfulls of the year because of the bend, but it’s still a 9.900 because she’s Zam.

Rotation 2 score: Oklahoma 99.100, UCLA 98.550 (Rotation 2: Oklahoma 49.575, UCLA 49.300)

Rotation 3:
Oklahoma beam
1. Kmieciak – All we see is a very strong stuck double back dismount. 9.900.
2. Alexander – So precise in all her movements, clear wobble after front aerial but I’d give her the connection to the bhs, she has some deduction-erasing flexibility in the middle of this routine, sticks gainer back pike. 9.875.
3. Olson – Lovely full turn, wobble on front aerial, side aerial + layout dismount is good. I’d give the stick on that one. She showed control. 9.900. These routines are quite short and work the code to its deduction-minimizing capability.
4. Brewer – Perfect on her bhs and two layouts, efficient and secure through her split and straddle elements, step on the double back. 9.950.
5. Mooring – Very nice loso series, clean with a good line, wobble on front aerial, major hop forward on the 1.5 dismount. 9.825.
6. Spears – Great rhythm in her onodi+swing down connection – those connections are often very pause-y but hers is not, nice aerial, sticks gainer full dismount. She’s on a different level. 9.925.

UCLA floor
1. McDonald – A little low in her double pike mount, this routine is growing on me, her legs are a little sloppy in places, but this is a confident, competent opening. 9.825. Is Kelly trying to start an It Gets Better campaign for parents of compulsory gymnasts?
2. Bynum – Good double pike, one of her better ones, pops way up on her layout and overrotates it and falls on the full. It’s something every week. Low on double back but fine on that one this week. 9.150. Once Courtney is back, she will be out of the lineup. Wong can also come in.
3. DeJesus – Sticks double pike – low chest but nice landing, exactly the same on the double back. 9.875. This would be really excellent if she landed a little higher on her tumbling.
4. Pritchett – Good tuck full, her tumbling is more precise this season and she gets good bounce into her dance elements to help her complete them, low on the double pike landing but secure. 9.900.
5. Zamarripa – Good double pike, I wonder if they will decide to upgrade or not, the scoring hasn’t indicated that she needs it, rudi + loso is perfect, hits rudi. Great routine, but I would love to see a compositional upgrade. 9.950.
6. Francis – A little low on the double pike, layouts middle pass, I love this routine. Kelly just said this routine reminded her of a “Chinese circus.” Big stumble out of her double back dismount. 9.800.

Rotation 3 score: Oklahoma  148.650, UCLA 147.900 (Rotation 3: Oklahoma 49.550, UCLA 49.350)

Rotation 4:
Oklahoma floor
1. Albright – Watch KJ shoulder dancing to this routine. I like this routine better now than when I saw it the first time. I would say slightly out of control on the rudi dismount but fine start. 9.900.
2. Kmieciak – Good high double pike but a noticeable stumble/wobble to stay in bounds, otherwise very strong. 9.900.
3. Brewer – Bounces out of double back, same on front layout front full, needs more control in her tumbling landings, very low on her double pike dismount. 9.875 – that’s crazy too high and makes the stronger routines around it seem worse because there is no separation or reward for them.
4. Spears – Front double is nice, a slight lack of control I would say, good form on her twisting elements – legs right together with no bend – that’s the best part of this routine. 9.950.
5. Olson – Good double pike mount, most secure landings on the team so far, strong routine. 9.950.
6. Scaman – Good high DLO, these are very strong final routines, but the score for Brewer bumped up the scoring a little bit. 9.975.

UCLA beam
1. Baer – Really strong routine for her – now that her side somi is more consistent than it used to be, she’s the ideal leadoff because I have more faith in her hitting ability than anyone else on the team besides Zam. 9.800
2. Wong – Wonderful leaps, very secure in aerial + bhs, keeps the switch side in control when it could have been a wobble, sticks 1.5 dismount. One of her best beam routines. Lovely. 9.875.
3. DeJesus – Aerial + bhs loso is strong, good front toss, slightly low on her tuck 1.5 dismount with a hop, otherwise nearly perfect. 9.875.
4. Larson – Boy does this girl need a hit, lovely flexibility and dance elements, I like the aerial aerial bhs combination even though it ends in a bhs, sticks gainer back pike, one of her strongest of the season. Good for her. 9.900.
5. Zamarripa – Strong onodi, hits aerial, has to correct slightly on her loso which is surprising, wonderful stuck double full. The only thing you can take is that wobble on the series, really. 9.850.
6. Francis – Huge wobble on her switch split to open, nice aerial + bhs series, hop back on layout dismount, strong routine other than the opening wobble. 9.625.

Final scores: Oklahoma 198.375, UCLA 197.200 (Rotation 4: Oklahoma 49.675, UCLA 49.300)
Unfortunately, the story for this meet becomes about the scoring, but I’m going to try to forget about that because it’s not so relevant won’t be maintained. One of the positives of Oklahoma getting this kind of high score, though, is that it improves national reputation, and the more teams that are seen as realistic championship contenders, the better.

Oklahoma looks quite good, especially Taylor Spears who was excellent on three events at this meet. All these routines are very well composed and very well drilled. There are still areas to improve and areas where the Sooners will have to improve to compete for the title. Nothing was absolutely pristine. There were wobbles here and missed handstands there and uncontrolled landings there, little things that can be resolved over the next month. They can be better than this.

I am so much more encouraged by UCLA than I was after last week. In particular, DeJesus came back and had a very good performance, which got some of these 9.7s out of the lineups. Beam was very close to being brilliant. This should be lineup. It will always be nerve-wracking, but it is full of very pretty, refined gymnastics. Floor and vault still have too many routines that shouldn’t be in or aren’t ready, which remains the major concern for the Bruins. They need a few more options, otherwise they will fall behind significantly on those events.

Overall, this meet made me more excited for the postseason than I have been. These teams perform exceptionally well, have very thoughtful routines, and are joys to watch. I hope they’re both contending in Super Six because that will make it a great meet.

All the Gymnastics Ever – Friday Live Blog

Friday – 2/22/13
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [23] Kentucky @ [1] Florida Scores
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Iowa State @ [9] Nebraska Scores Video(free)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Pittsburgh, Bridgeport, George Washington @ [17] Maryland Scores
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [8] Georgia @ Missouri Scores  Video(free)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [5] UCLA @ [2] Oklahoma Scores
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [4] Alabama @ [19] Arkansas Scores
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [6] LSU @ [14] Auburn Score Video(paid)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [12] Minnesota @ Iowa
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [22] Washington @ Arizona State Scores Video(free)
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [15] Arizona, Seattle Pacific @ [11] Oregon State Scores Video(free)

We’re about to get underway with a very busy Friday of meets, featuring seven of the top ten teams and eleven of the top fifteen.

Apparently the Oklahoma/UCLA meet is supposed to be broadcast on TV, but it’s on channels that no one has ever received or heard of and may be fictional. Fox College Sports – Central? You made that up. It might as well be on Unicorn Fancyman Network – South Hogwarts.

The first meets will feature Florida and Nebraska, Nebraska hoping to recover from a 195 last week and Florida hoping to provide no reason for the dominance narrative to shift. There is big room for ranking improvement for the Huskers this week with a 195.750 home score they are looking to drop. For the Gators, it would take a score over 197.300 to improve on their RQS at all, which provides a sliver of an opening for Oklahoma.

Nebraska is underway, and Giblin leads off with a strong, high stuck Yfull with some bent knees in the air. Nice opening. Stephens follows without quite the height and with a hop back, but it’s a perfectly fine vault, especially for early lineup.

I like this camera angle on bars, on the floor but offset slightly in front of the high bar – take note other places. Leg breaks and late pirouettes early for Iowa State.
Wong vaults third for Nebraska with another nice block, good height, twists a little late and has to pike a bit to finish, hop in place – I wouldn’t score it quite as high as I would have gone for Giblin. Skinner has floppy legs on her block, is off to the side a little bit, and has to bend to hold on to the landing. Not terrible, but not the 9.9s she has been getting.

A fall on a double front dismount for Iowa State, it looked good in the air but landed underrotated.
Blanske’s vault is similar to Stephens’ in height and form, but the landing was a bit better. DeZiel shows her usual strong height and power, best distance on the team, but has to take a sizable hop. Giblin’s leadoff was the strongest vault in the rotation and would have gone 9.900 minimum later on in the order, I expect. 49.175 for Nebraska on vault. The landings were the biggest contributor to that score being lower than it could be.  
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Over in the land of Florida, Stageberg is back in the vault lineup instead of Dickerson. The vaulting seems characteristically strong, featuring a 9.925 for Macko and a 9.950 for Sloan so far. 9.975 for Hunter as anchor. It will happen one of these days. It has to. 49.550 on vault for the Gators. Last week, this team did not have the landings on vault, so scores in the mid-high 9.9s seems to indicate they have it more together today so far.

Kentucky overcomes a fall on bars for 48.950, and high 48 events is their usual this year when they’re hitting.
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Lauer is opening on bars for Nebraska now, the handstands need a bit more refinement, finishes with a pikey DLO and a step. A fine routine, but she’s better on beam, certainly. We never see anything from the other Lauer, do we? Iowa State had something tucked as the first vault, and the second vault was a serviceable yfull with a step. Blanske was going well on bars before a majorly missed handstand going into her dismount (near horizontal), which was stuck. They have improved these landings.

Skinner third on bars,we missed the beginning of her routine, but she showed better power and swing than the first two. Not quite solid in her DLO landing, hung onto it but incurred all her deductions there. Neither of her landings have been right on today. Iowa State improving as vault foes, but they don’t have the power or form of Nebraska, certainly. Wong looks very nice on bars, great line and handstands, looks a little close to the bar on her tuck full, but it’s fine and she sticks. Excellent.

I’ll be switching over to Georgia at the end of this rotation, but that meet is already underway. We see a stuck tuck full dismount from DeZiel. What we saw was very nice. Wong getting a 9.925 on bars. These final three routines are all class from Nebraska. Pretty good handspring tuck half for Iowa State on vault. Giblin finishes for Nebraska with a giant gienger and a stuck tuck full. She missed a handstand in there rather noticeably, but it was quite strong otherwise. She’s very precise in her pirouetting.  
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Vault is a rough one for Missouri this season, so I’m not surprised by these low scores to begin. Cheek opened bars with  an excellent 9.875 for Georgia. It appears Tanella had a fall in the second position. Brandie Jay shows her Khorkina/Markelov and sticks her tuck full. Missed a handstand and had a leg separation as usual on the shaposh, but it was fine.

Shayla in the fourth position for Georgia, handstands look good, hits tkatchev, it’s all about the dismount: usual, piked with a large step forward. Her routine is 9.9s without that. This is better from Missouri on vault. Strong yfull from Updike, stuck, following on OK yhalf from Howard – good landing but no height.

Brittany Rogers looked strong as well, good form as always, stuck dismount, maybe not quite as precise in the handstands as always, but this is a difficult angle for those high bar handstands. Missouri finishes with a handspring front pike, very low landing with a step. Davis finishes on bars for Georgia, her usual wonderful performance, best amplitude on the team and most consistent dismount – stuck. Very strong finish.

Overall, a good bars rotation from Georgia, but we’ve come to expect better than good and they’ve come to need it because of beam and floor. Rogers and Davis were quite strong (and Rogers’s handstands were apparently fine as well, so it must just have been the angle), which made up for Worley’s dismount and Tanella’s fall. 49.400.
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It’s a 49.325 for Nebraksa on bars. They can do better, but it seemed that everyone missed a handstand rather majorly. This dismounts are really coming along. Florida goes 49.475 on bars, led by a 9.975 from Sloan, the second 9.975 of the meet. They’re itching for those 10s. Bridget was so excellent last week on bars that this is no surprise. Kytra gets a career high 9.950 on bars, so there’s that. B. Caquatto had her first competition routine and fell, which seriously hurts her chances of being in the lineup when Johnson comes back. She came in instead of Macko, so they’re really not going for it with these lineups (no Dickerson on vault, no Macko on bars) by saving people and exploring depth. Good. 
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Oklahoma has the lineups up – question: Alyssa Pritchett on bars? Are we . . . Does . . . Is that a thing that happens even in training? This is a typo. That should be Mattie, and Mattie is actually not vaulting (sigh) and Pritchett will be. This can be the only explanation.
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Davis opens Georgia vault with her usual strong stuck yfull, great start. Some leg separations and a missed handstand for Ostad on bars.

Hires is now in the second position for Georgia since she hasn’t been getting the lift or the landing she has in the past. Same here. A little low in the landing with a step back, but better distance than Davis.

Note: Florida will have to count a 9.650 from Hunter on beam after a fall from Sloan.

Noel Couch is extremely low on her landing on the yfull, very near to a fall, very unexpected from her, especially because she looked like her old self last week. They will desperately need to drop that.

Is this the first time Georgia has been to Missouri since the 2010 unpleasantness? Rogers does her 1.5 but has to take a step back with some bent knees. Not as strong as last week, when she stuck. Eubank has a stronger routine for Missouri, really just a missed hs and a dismount step.

Cheek is also fine, but not as fine as usual. Lower landing and a step forward to salute. These vaults are just OK by Georgia’s standards and are putting more pressure on beam and floor.

Missouri could be 9.8-ing these bars routines with a bit more control on the landings. Lots of steps to the side. Jay saves the vault rotation a little bit, but her y1.5 was also not as strong as last week. A bit more bent in the knees and a pretend stick with a step-salute-twirl thing. 
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In dramatic news, Florida will be counting a fall on beam after Macko goes 9.200. We haven’t seen Florida with a rough event in over a month, since counting a fall at LSU. Now they will be counting a 9.350 and a 9.650, which removes all hope of a high 197, and puts even a mid 197 in doubt. Oklahoma, consider your door open. 9.900 for Mooring on vault.

Nebraska gets 9.900s from Lauer and Wong to go 49.175 on beam. They have an outside shot at 197 with a hit floor, but high 196s looks quite likely. 
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Georgia goes just 49.150 on vault, which is quite low for them. They are still on 197 pace, which they always are after the first two events. The landings were not good on vault, but hopefully that doesn’t translate to the floor rotation.
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Dickerson finishes beam with a 9.875, so that leads the rotation along with Stageberg’s identical score. Florida goes 48.525 on beam but can probably still salvage a 197 with a big finish on floor.
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The scores still say Alyssa Pritchett went on bars for UCLA. I don’t think that’s a thing. The score for that routine was 9.150, but unfortunately that would be believable for both Pritchett and Larson.

Oklahoma goes 49.525 on vault, which is colossal. A 9.925 from Kanewa, debuting in this meet. She was KJ’s secret-that-was-never-a-secret weapon. UCLA gets a 9.950 from Zamarripa to finish bars with 49.250, which is fine for them but still not up to capability.

Auburn vaulted 49.275, led by a 9.925 from Guy. 
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Georgia begsin on floor with Persinger, still no Earls leading off here. A little low in her tumbling. Is that Shayla shouting in what appears to be a snow suit? Rudi dismount looks strong. Some competent 9.7 gymnastics from Missouri in the first two routines.

Tanella now on floor, good high double pike to start, came on a little crooked on her layout .5 out of the 1.5, but punched out of it fine to stag. Also finishes with a fine rudi. Not quite as clean as some of her 9.875s, so I don’t necessarily expect that, but the judges go essentially the same. 9.850.

Fall in the third position for Missouri after Henderson splits the beam on her series.

Brittany Rogers went for her double arabian, was way way underrotated and could never keep it to her feet. The first two routines looked good, so they shouldn’t have any problem if the final three hit. I doubt she stays in the lineup with six more consistent options to use.

Much cleaner and more precise from Missouri in this fourth routine from Updike, but there’s a step on the gainer full which shouldn’t have happened.
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Florida getting the 9.875s from Stageberg and Wang on floor to help save the meet. Also showing a few of the backup routines here. This won’t be close to the postseason lineup.
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Jay 4th for Georgia on floor, lands very low in her tuck full, front double to punch front looks nice, keeps it in bounds, also a little low and stumbly on her double back dismount. Just OK. Georgia is not quite on today, and beam is yet to come. 9.800 for Jay.

Shayla time on floor, fine double pike, but she just went OOB, they really didn’t need that, dances out of her middle pass well to cover up a bit of lack of control, rudi is very slightly crunched but OK. Once again, not her best but not a disaster – the name of the game with Georgia today. It would have been strong if not for the OOB.

Missouri’s beam anchor comes off on her series, so they will be counting a fall.

Big routine needed from Couch here as Georgia is just on 49 pace without her routine, bounces a little out of her middle pass – she usually shows more control than that. Sticks double pike dismount, which was very usual for her. It will likely be the strongest score of the rotation. 9.925 to save a 49.125. 
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Final in Florida: Florida 196.975, Kentucky 196.075
Before we get to Florida, that is a really important score for Kentucky. Home scoring at Kentucky has been a little tight this season, so they probably enjoy going someplace like Florida. This will help their RQS significantly. Florida would have been in line for something in the high 197s if not for the beam rotation. What’s interesting about beam is that even though this meet saw some lineup experimentation elsewhere, it was the definite competitors (Sloan, Hunter, M Caquatto) who had the issues on beam. Bridgey Caquatto had a rough debut on her two events, which is a shame. neither of her scores counted.

Alabama got a 49.175 on bars at Arkansas, led by the 9.900 from Demeo. Sledge led off with a 9.825, so we knew the score would be a bit low since she has been the strongest worker so far. Arkansas scored a massive 49.425 on vault with three scores 9.9+. Grable led with a 9.925. Alabama righted things a little bit on vault by going 49.425 themselves.

Auburn got a 9.950 from Yokay on bars for another 49.275 rotation. Do we need to be on 197 watch?

Final in Nebraska: Nebraska 197.050, Iowa State 194.850  
This is a major result for Nebraska to go 197 again. Emily Wong had the big meet, which seems to always be the case. This team can get better, but they are staying well entrenched in that top ten conversation.

Oklahoma is sure enjoying being at home, with all counting bars scores over 9.9 for a 49.575. We’re now on 198 watch for this team. UCLA gots 9.9s from Courtney and Zamarripa on vault (9.900 is an underperformance for Zam on vault) for a 49.300, which is fine. UCLA is currently well back of Oklahoma but still on 197 pace. The Bruins need a 197 this week.
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Moment of truth coming for Georgia on the beam. Talk this week has been all about the beam, so no matter how much they worked on it (and I’m sure they worked on it a lot), the pressure of that combined with the pressure of two lackluster rotations leading into it is a challenge to deal with. It’s a challenge they must meet.

Cheek starts with a good loso series, hits switch side, hips were totally off line on her side aerial and she comes off, uh oh, this is turning into a huge moment in Georgia’s season, these next five beam routines. If they hit them all, they can suddenly claim this meet as a big mental victory, but if they don’t, the pressure and lack of confidence on beam will only escalate to the point where their whole world becomes about the beam.

I was too busy being dramatic about Georgia to see Missouri’s floor opening, but it looked fine.

Persinger 2nd, she has been wobbly on occasion for 9.7s but usually stays on. Good L turn as always, hits from aerial, legs on her loso series but it’s right on the beam, saves a wobble on the front toss, Sticks/near sticks 1.5. Well done after a fall.

Aliceaacosta slides out of ber double pike opening and will get docked for her split positions, otherwise it was OK.

Couch third for Georgia, series is good this week, minor minor wobble on switch side, everything looks good. She looks very tense in this routine, but needing to hit will do that to you. Just a step on the double full dismount. Good recovery from last week as well as from the vault this week.

Lack of control on mounts has been the theme for Missouri so far on floor. Other than the fall on beam, however, this has been a very 9.775/mid 195s performance.

Rogers now on beam,minor wobbles on dance series, loses balance on her bhs 3/4 to double stag but does extremely well to lose her balance back onto the beam on her feet, major wobble though but no fall, after that everything was excellent with a stuck dismount. 

Big break from Eubank on floor for Missouri but she stays on her feet, this will be quite a low score though after another issue on the middle pass.
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In other news, scores are going exceptionally high in Oklahoma, with a 198 looking very likely for the Sooners today. Bynum has fallen on floor again for UCLA and Courtney is still out of the floor lineup for the moment. If Oklahoma hits floor, they will be in line for the highest team score in ages.
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Rogers got a 9.825, so no damage done after the odd bhs 3/4, Shayla up now. Good sheep jump, hits loso series well, bhs 1/1 is strong, sticks her piked gainer full. Hugely important hit for Shayla. Well done. 9.950.

Earls to finish for Georgia, hits series and added back her second layout this week, way off on her side aerial and does exceptionally well to stay on, but wobbles quite significantly and it will be the lowest score fo the rotation, step on double back dismount. Not the best, but they’ll take it. For Georgia to come back and hit those five routines after the fall is a big deal, and we’re looking at high 196s now.

Missouri has a fall on every pass in the final position and will be counting a 9.550 on floor for a 194.550 team score. Georgia records a 196.825, featuring the 49.400 on bars. This was an off meet for Georgia, but the final score is a good one and they will be able to largely move past the fact that they had a mistake in every rotation. They dropped the mistakes.
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49.550 for Oklahoma on beam, 49.350 for UCLA on floor. The story of this meet will be the humongous scores, but I’m also interested to see if the narrative changes re: Oklahoma and Florida. Florida is still the team to beat this season and I don’t see these meets today changing anything in the long run, but Oklahoma is a floor rotation away from the #1 ranking and a preposterously high score.

LSU went crazy on vault for 49.550, got through bars well enough, and hit floor for 49.350. Just the beam standing between the Tigers and a very high score. It also looks like another strong 196 for Auburn going into the final rotation.
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Thanks for the report about the Gutierrez injury on floor. Alabama had hit routines from the rest of the lineup, so still records a 49.200 on the event, featuring Jacob’s 9.900. With beam still to come, this is looking low 197, which is always respectable on the road. Surprisingly, Alabama leads Arkansas by just .050 going into the final rotation.
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Ranzy on beam for LSU is way off on her series and comes off the beam, following a 9.675 from Garcia in the first position. The beam strikes again. I don’t understand the 9.800 on the scoreboard because she definitely came off. That’s a mistake. Ah yes, it was an 8.800, much more realistic.

Dickson in the third positon on beam is a hit for LSU to keep things afloat. Yokay does well in her floor routine and  Garcia follows with much of the same. A little lack of control in some of the tumbling, especially a bounce of the double pike dismount. 9.900 is too high for that routine. Hall on beam now with several wobbles and some lack of hitting split positions, but she got through it.

Webster goes foruth for Auburn on floor, opens with an impressive pike full, but she lacks control and slides back. Stays in bounds but it’s a clear deduction.

Courville’s arabian is excellent but she has a major wobble on the loso series, split elements are perfect, hop on her gainer pike. Strong routine but she can be much better. She starts from a higher level than the rest of the team because there are no built-in dance element deductions.

Atkinson hits floor for Auburn, and LSU will finish beam with Jordan, who is a little wobbly on some of these elements and has to make some minor corrections, stuck dismount.

Guy will finish for Auburn on floor, looking for a huge score for this program. DLO is excellent, big hit for a big night. The scores went high in this last rotation to be sure, but this is a major accomplishment for Auburn’s program.

LSU will still have to count a 9.675 and a 9.750 on beam to finish just below 197, so Auburn will manage to win the meet by breaking 197.

Final: Auburn 197.175, LSU 196.975 

It looks like a 197.100 for Alabama, which is perfectly strong. An uncharacteristic 9.650 from Williams on beam will be dropped. Arkansas needs something in the low 9.8s from Grable on floor to take the meet. Regardless of what she scores, this is a major accomplishment for a team that has been struggling this year. She goes 9.575, so it looks like we will end in a tie. I’ll wait for confirmation.

Oklahoma gets a 49.675 on floor for an unspeakably large 198.375. UCLA loses by over a point but will absolutely take that 197.200 road score any day. It’s impossible to make a sound judgment about scoring at an event you haven’t seen, but when everyone on the home team gets a 9.875 at minimum, then an adjustment needs to be made. There is a difference in quality between these routines and there should be realistic separation. I’m sure there will be outrage about this score, and I’m really excited for it. My advice: It’s the regular season, so don’t get worked up. These things have a way of evening out once the postseason begins.

If Oklahoma really was this good tonight, then I’m excited for the battle between the Sooners and the Gators this year. My instinct is that Florida is still the better team in the amplitude department in particular, which often doesn’t get evaluated appropriately until all the top teams are in one place but can make champions. What we know now is that Oklahoma will make Florida work for it, which is very good for entertainment levels. I was worried this season might end up a little boring. I could see the rest of this season becoming a fight between these two teams where we have difficulty/amplitude in one corner (Florida) and precision/landings in another corner (Oklahoma), which could be a very fun and discussion-provoking dichotomy. 

I’m a little gymnasticsed-out (it took me three tries to spell gymnastics right just then), so I’m taking a pass on the Pac-12 meets. Enjoy if you have the stamina!

The Weekend Ahead – February 22-24

The most interesting meet of the weekend should be the Friday showdown of top 5 teams, Oklahoma and UCLA. Based on recent quality of performance, the Sooners will be expected to win. For UCLA, this meet is about recovering from last week’s drab performance and showing a bit more 9.900 gymnastics (if it can be mined in the course of a week). DeJesus will be returning to the lineup. Oklahoma could potentially use a big home score to jump up to #1 in the rankings.

I’ll be blogging the whole mess of action on Friday as usual, especially because nearly all of the top teams and best meets are happening at the exact same time (thanks, scheduling). Watch out for LSU on the road where the Tigers could ride another big road score to a serious RQS. On Saturday, Stanford and Utah will be featured in the Pac-12 Network evening meet. Also, don’t forget about Michigan competing early on Sunday. It’s often easy to forget about the Sunday meets.

There is some inclement weather happening this week, and it has already begun wreaking havoc on the schedule. Boise State has been forced to withdraw from the Nebraska meet, but Denver  charitably allowed them to join in on their Saturday meet instead. This is especially helpful since Boise State does not yet have an RQS and would have been off the rankings next week without an away meet this weekend.

Top 25 Schedule

Friday – 2/22/13
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [23] Kentucky @ [1] Florida
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Iowa State @ [9] Nebraska
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Pittsburgh, Bridgeport, George Washington @ [17] Maryland
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [8] Georgia @ Missouri
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [5] UCLA @ [2] Oklahoma
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [4] Alabama @ [19] Arkansas
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [6] LSU @ [14] Auburn
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [12] Minnesota @ Iowa
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [22] Washington @ Arizona State
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [15] Arizona, Seattle Pacific @ [11] Oregon State

Saturday – 2/23/13
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [18] Illinois @ [20] Ohio State
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – [21] Kent State @ Northern Illinois
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Michigan State @ [24] Penn State
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [16] Boise State, Utah State, Rutgers @ [13] Denver
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [10] Stanford @ [7] Utah

Sunday – 2/24/13
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – [3] Michigan, New Hampshire, Towson @ [25] West Virginia
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – [12] Minnesota @ Iowa State

Hall of 10s and RQS Update

Here are your five entries in the 2013 Hall of 10s after seven weeks of the season:

Mackenzie Caquatto – UB

Vanessa Zamarripa – VT

Tory Wilson – VT

Lloimincia Hall – FX

Sarie Morrison – VT

This season has already featured an ever-rare 10 on floor, yet it has failed to yield a 10 on beam. In fact, we haven’t had a beam 10 since that infamous UCLA/Georgia meet in 2010 when two were distributed (Hopfner-Hibbs and Taylor). The way the scores and 10s have been going this season, I think we’ll see one. Who is going to get the first beam 10? Oklahoma already has two 9.975s and is renowned for beam quality, so the Sooners seem the most likely team. I could also certainly see a Macko 10 or a Zamarripa 10.

We’re basically on a one-a-week with the 10s now, and I would not be surprised to see the ten 10s barrier broken this season. Who is your dark horse or sentimental pick for a 10 this season? I really want Marissa King to get a 10 for her Tsuk 1.5 before the end of the year, but it won’t happen because she vaults a Tsuk.

Updated RQS breakdown:

(Note: Teams are listed by their current national rankings based on team average, even though the RQS may differ.)

1. Florida (Current RQS: 197.280)
Road Score 1: 197.575
Road Score 2: 197.300
Road Score 3: 196.575
Road/Home Score 1: 198.100
Road Home Score 2: 197.650
Road/Home Score 3: 197.300

2. Oklahoma (Current RQS: 197.225)
Road Score 1: 197.625
Road Score 2: 197.450
Road Score 3: 197.375
Road/Home Score 1: 197.325
Road/Home Score 2: 197.275
Road/Home Score 3: 196.700

(Both Oklahoma and Florida are at home next week, which benefits the Sooners in the RQS race because they have a lower home score to drop. The Gators will have to keep that 196.575 for the next two weeks, so Oklahoma has an opening to pass Florida right now.)

3. Michigan (Current RQS: 196.905)
Road Score 1: 196.925
Road Score 2: 196.775
Road Score 3: 196.575
Road/Home Score 1: 197.375
Road/Home Score 2: 197.350
Road/Home Score 3: 196.900

4. Alabama (Current RQS: 196.680)
Road Score 1: 196.950
Road Score 2: 196.850
Road Score 3: 196.450
Road/Home Score 1: 197.650
Road/Home Score 2: 196.575
Road/Home Score 3: 196.575

5. UCLA (Current RQS: 196.495)
Road Score 1: 196.925
Road Score 2: 196.375
Road Score 3: 196.075
Road/Home Score 1: 197.425
Road/Home Score 2: 196.950
Road/Home Score 3: 196.150

6. LSU (Current RQS: 196.550)
Road Score 1: 197.275
Road Score 2: 197.100
Road Score 3: 195.875
Road/Home Score 1: 196.875
Road/Home Score 2: 196.825
Road/Home Score 3: 196.075

7. Utah (Current RQS: 196.250)
Road Score 1: 196.600
Road Score 2: 195.975
Road Score 3: 195.300
Road/Home Score 1: 197.050
Road/Home Score 2: 196.950
Road/Home Score 3: 196.425

8. Georgia (Current RQS: 196.395)
Road Score 1: 196.775
Road Score 2: 196.200
Road Score 3: 195.825 
Road/Home Score 1: 197.500
Road/Home Score 2: 197.000
Road/Home Score 3: 196.175

9. Nebraska (Current RQS: 196.105)
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: 196.700
Road/Home Score 3: 195.750

10. Stanford (Current RQS: 195.900)
Road Score 1: 196.450
Road Score 2: 196.025
Road Score 3: 195.400
Road/Home Score 1: 197.275
Road/Home Score 2: 196.200
Road/Home Score 3: 195.425

11. Oregon State (Current RQS: 196.080)
Road Score 1: 196.825
Road Score 2: 196.300
Road Score 3: 196.050
Road/Home Score 1: 196.725
Road/Home Score 2: 195.950
Road/Home Score 3: 195.375

12. Minnesota (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 195.525
Road Score 2: 194.325
Road Score 3: None
Road/Home Score 1: 196.800
Road/Home Score 2: 196.775
Road/Home Score 3: 196.000

13. Denver (Current RQS: 195.855)
Road Score 1: 196.400
Road Score 2: 195.850
Road Score 3: 195.850
Road/Home Score 1: 196.600
Road/Home Score 2: 196.050
Road/Home Score 3: 195.125

14. Auburn (Current RQS: 195.850)
Road Score 1: 196.725
Road Score 2: 196.575
Road Score 3: 196.025
Road/Home Score 1: 196.325
Road/Home Score 2: 195.700
Road/Home Score 3: 194.625

15. Arizona (Current RQS: 195.640)
Road Score 1: 195.950
Road Score 2: 195.800
Road Score 3: 195.200
Road/Home Score 1: 196.075
Road/Home Score 2: 195.850
Road/Home Score 3: 195.400

16. Boise State (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 195.575
Road Score 2: 194.700
Road Score 3: None
Road/Home Score 1: 196.325
Road/Home Score 2: 196.300
Road/Home Score 3: 194.875

17. Maryland (Current RQS: 195.240)
Road Score 1: 195.975
Road Score 2: 195.000
Road Score 3: 194.825
Road/Home Score 1: 196.175
Road/Home Score 2: 195.300
Road/Home Score 3: 195.100

18. Illinois (Current RQS: 195.140)
Road Score 1: 196.350
Road Score 2: 195.100
Road Score 3: 194.750
Road/Home Score 1: 196.125
Road/Home Score 2: 195.975
Road/Home Score 3: 193.750

19. Arkansas (Current RQS: 195.120)
Road Score 1: 195.650
Road Score 2: 195.625
Road Score 3: 193.075
Road/Home Score 1: 196.175
Road/Home Score 2: 195.775
Road/Home Score 3: 195.475

20. Ohio State (Current RQS: 195.230)
Road Score 1: 195.575
Road Score 2: 195.000
Road Score 3: 194.675
Road/Home Score 1: 196.250
Road/Home Score 2: 195.975
Road/Home Score 3: 194.925

21. Kent State (Current RQS: 195.035)
Road Score 1: 195.800
Road Score 2: 195.450
Road Score 3: 193.575
Road/Home Score 1: 196.050
Road/Home Score 2: 195.675
Road/Home Score 3: 194.675

22. Washington (Current RQS: 195.020)
Road Score 1: 195.950
Road Score 2: 194.875
Road Score 3: 193.500
Road/Home Score 1: 196.025
Road/Home Score 2: 195.975
Road/Home Score 3: 194.800

23. Kentucky (Current RQS: 195.240)
Road Score 1: 195.525
Road Score 2: 195.125
Road Score 3: 194.800
Road/Home Score 1: 195.825
Road/Home Score 2: 195.500
Road/Home Score 3: 195.250

24. Penn State (Current RQS: 194.935)
Road Score 1: 196.700
Road Score 2: 195.150
Road Score 3: 194.150
Road/Home Score 1: 195.575
Road/Home Score 2: 195.500
Road/Home Score 3: 194.300

25. West Virginia (Current RQS: 194.755)
Road Score 1: 195.775
Road Score 2: 195.150
Road Score 3: 194.675
Road/Home Score 1: 196.150
Road/Home Score 2: 196.050
Road/Home Score 3: 192.125

Week 7 Rankings and Notes


1. Florida – 197.296 (RQS: 197.280)
Week 7: 197.300
Week 7 leaders: AA – Sloan 39.600; VT – Hunter 9.950; UB – Sloan 9.950; BB – Hunter, M Caquatto, Sloan 9.875; FX – Dickerson 9.875

Florida looked perfectly strong but not unbeatable over the weekend. Obviously, there are brilliant routines on this team, especially on bars. Bridget Sloan’s UB routine from Friday contends for the best routine I’ve seen this season on any event. What also stood out, and may not be evident from the scores, was the lack of secure landings on both vault and floor. The Gators can be much better than they showed and will need to be (but we have a month). I’m becoming very interested in how these lineups will develop over the next few weeks, particularly regarding Johnson’s return and who competes bars and beam. 

2. Oklahoma – 197.171 (RQS: 197.225)
Week 7: 197.450
Week 7 leaders: AA – Olson 39.550; VT – Scaman 9.900; UB – Olson 9.950; BB – Brewer 9.950; FX – Spears 9.900

Interestingly enough, the biggest issue for Oklahoma this past week came on beam where the Sooners had a fall from Alexander and a 9.750 from Spears. That’s unusual and very unlikely to become a thing. Just pretend it didn’t happen. Eight 9.9s, while not as high as the ten 9.9s we saw last week, is a very good number for February. This team is on track but can still turn a few more of those vault and floor 9.850s into 9.900s, which will be necessary to stave off an Alabama surge. I’m already looking forward to that mid-March meet against the Tide, which should tell us a great deal going into postseason.

3. Michigan – 196.939 (RQS: 196.905)
Week 7: 197.375
Week 7 leaders: AA – Sampson 39.600; VT – Beilstein, Colbert, Sugiyama 9.875; UB – Martinez 9.950; BB – Martinez 9.900; FX – Sampson 9.975

It had been almost a month since Michigan showed a 197, so the Wolverines were due. The huge 49.625 floor score will be the focal point (we can’t declare the death of Crisler scoring because they didn’t compete in Crisler this week), but those kinds of scores don’t tend to hold up week to week. What’s more important is their overcoming problems on bars and beam. The bars rotation saw an issue from Beilstein and a lower-than-normal score with an odd judging spread from Zurales, who is usually among the strongest, but that (along with three scores under 9.8 on beam) was not reflected in the finals scores because the team erased it with other strong numbers. That’s a quality that several other high-profile teams did not display last weekend and will be crucial if maintained.

4. Alabama – 196.842 (RQS: 196.680)
Week 7: 197.650
Week 7 leaders: AA – None; VT – Gutierrez, Milliner 9.925; UB – Sledge 9.900; BB – Williams, DeMeo, Jacob 9.900; FX – Gutierrez 9.925

Alabama jumps up to #4 after finally breaking that non-197 streak in a big old way. We knew it was coming because only a random mistake here and there had 197-blocked them over the past few weeks. Priess came in on floor, which will be necessary at the end of the season, and while DeMeo might belong in that lineup over Frost if she’s hitting, the six who performed last weekend did well. Bars is beginning to move into concern territory primarily because of the handstand issues in the middle of the lineup but also because Priess is missing her dismount often enough to stunt the chance of a high anchor score. Sledge was far and away the top worker last weekend but will peak out at 9.900 in that leadoff position. Compared to Florida, this team is giving away a ton on bars.

5. UCLA – 196.650 (RQS: 196.495)
Week 7: 196.075
Week 7 leaders: AA – Zamarripa 39.525; VT – Zamarripa 9.900; UB – Wong, Zamarripa 9.900; BB – Francis, Wong, Zamarripa 9.850; FX – Zamarripa 9.875

While we can never make too much out of one performance, UCLA was dropped by the lead pack last weekend and has significant work to do in order to get back into the highest tier. Without Peszek and Lee (and with Larson not currently in a position to compete to her potential), the Bruins have been fighting the depth monster since the first week of the season. The injuries to Sawa and DeJesus exacerbated the situation, and now Courtney has an ankle issue and De La Torre has shoulder pain. What we saw on Saturday was Zamarripa, some 9.8s, and a hospital waiting room. UCLA won’t contend for a title without a mass recovery over the next month.  

6. LSU – 196.507 (RQS: 196.550)
Week 7: 196.825
Week 7 leaders: AA – Courville 39.525; VT – Morrison 10.000; UB – Morrison 9.900; BB – Dickson, Courville 9.825; FX – Hall 9.950

LSU is continuing to surge, and the 9.9s keep coming on vault and floor. Note that if RQS were in play this week, the Tigers would be #5 instead of #6. Beam kept them out of 197 territory this time  with three counting scores under 9.800. For many of the teams outside the top group, the inability to put together four excellent rotations in the same meet is the biggest knock against them. As we are now squarely in the second half of the season, the question remains as to how likely it is that LSU will stick both bars and beam in the same meet.

7. Utah – 196.383 (RQS: 196.250)
Week 7: 195.975
Week 7 leaders: AA – Dabritz 39.200; VT – Wilson 9.950; UB – Dabritz 9.825; BB – Wilson 9.875; FX – Tutka 9.900

Utah’s current lot is not dissimilar to LSU’s. Vault looks fine (if Delaney comes back in it will be better than fine), and there is enough on floor to get by even though Lofgren and Del Priore wouldn’t be the choices in an ideal world. This week, the problems showed themselves in the guise of a fall from Wilson and a balk from Lopez on bars. We’re seeing people thrust into positions where they are not ideal (Wilson is not a bars worker), and so the mistakes are far from surprising. The bigger question for me is how high they can score even when they do hit.

8. Georgia – 196.369 (RQS: 196.395)
Week 7: 196.175
Week 7 leaders: AA – None; VT – Jay 9.975; UB – Davis 9.950; BB – Cheek, Rogers 9.900; FX – Couch 9.900

Vault and bars are really quite strong for this team. Maintaining the current quality will be enough to succeed in the postseason, so let’s just get right to the beam. It’s now a full-fledged problem, one made more difficult because there is not one specific or consistent issue, like when Shayla was missing her double full every time. The event is marked by a general lack of stability and what now looks like a recurring tendency for problems to compound one another. I wonder if we’re going to see the traditional lineup shift after consecutive beam problems, but I don’t know how that would help in this case. What’s sure is that Shayla needs a hit next week after two straight falls.  

9. Nebraska – 196.283 (RQS: 196.105)
Week 7: 195.625
Week 7 leaders: AA – Wong 39.225; VT – Skinner 9.900; UB – Wong 9.825; BB – Nathe 9.850; FX – Blanske, Wong 9.825

Nebraska has been all kinds of under the radar this season. In what was apparently a low-scoring meet overall, the Huskers had just one 9.900 (Skinner’s vault). This team is a much better group on vault and bars than the scores from that meet reflected. Unfortunately, beam remains a problem. Even when there isn’t a fall, there is a 9.6 bringing the total down, which has been a trend for several seasons. They have the personnel to eradicate that trend this year, but it’s still a work in progress. Also, watch the floor landings over the coming weeks, that tumbling needs to be quite secure for this team to keep Super Six hopes alive.

10. Stanford – 196.129 (RQS: 195.900)
Week 7: 197.275
Week 7 leaders: AA – A Morgan 39.550; VT – Hong 9.900; UB – Vaculik 9.925; BB – Spinner 9.925; FX – A Morgan 9.950

Last weekend, Stanford recorded a 197.275 (which you would never know from the live stats; something must be done immediately), a tremendous score for this group at this point in the season. I still have some concerns about the depth of scoring on certain events in that there are a few great routines that have to make up for consistently lower scores. For instance, vault right now is Hong and Dayton and the hope that everyone else will just do OK enough. The 9.875 from Rice on floor was a major development because if she’s hitting like that, I feel much better about their stability on that event.

11. Oregon State – 195.832 (RQS: 196.080)
12. Minnesota – 195.829
13. Denver – 195.796 (RQS: 195.855)
14. Auburn – 195.746 (RQS: 195.850)
15. Arizona – 195.586 (RQS: 195.640)
16. Boise State – 195.555
17. Maryland – 195.396 (RQS: 195.240)
18. Illinois – 195.342 (RQS: 195.140)
19. Arkansas – 195.296 (RQS: 195.120)
20. Ohio State – 195.286 (RQS: 195.230)
21. Kent State – 195.204 (RQS: 195.035)
22. Washington – 195.188 (RQS: 195.020)
23. Kentucky – 195.182 (RQS: 195.240)
24. Penn State – 195.014 (RQS: 194.935)
25. West Virginia – 194.988 (RQS: 194.755)