Thoughts on Classic

While apparently there was some gymnastics performed on Saturday, focus is solely on this month’s USAG Lifetime Original Movie called The Denial of Chellsie Memmel. You’ll probably cry. While I feel bad for Chellsie because she should have Qualifier Emeritus status at this point and there’s no legitimate reason to prevent her from going, I also live for all of the commotion this has caused. That part of me now wants to see Shawn Johnson skip Nationals and be granted a petition to Trials just to see what would happen.

Most of the controversy of the petition denial has centered around the arbitrary 14.000 one-event qualifying score that Martha apparently established without telling anyone. She has said that Chellsie could not be granted a petition because she did not meet that score. This is a red herring. The entire point of the petition is that it can be granted to a gymnast who doesn’t meet the qualifying criterion and yet deserves to go anyway. So the argument that a petition cannot be granted to a gymnast who failed to reach a qualifying standard is ridiculous. That’s why petitions exist, and it certainly could have been granted if they wanted to do it. They didn’t want to.

Chellsie Memmel was never going to make this Olympic team, but neither is Brianna Brown, so let’s not pretend that advancing to Nationals is all about who is in contention to make the Olympic team.

In the rest of the competition, we learned little from our top competitors. Aly Raisman is sturdy and will not fall. We already knew this. Martha loves her consistency. She will be on the team to do probably three events in Team Finals, so we should all just get used to it. Gabby Douglas will make the team because of bars, and beam is still scary. This we also already knew.

Jordyn Wieber’s bars issues won’t become a problem until Trials, but keep an eye on them. While Jordyn will be on the team regardless, if she proves unusable on bars in Team Finals, that will inform the selection of the rest of the team. If they can’t use Jordyn on bars, Raisman and Maroney can’t both be on the team. Maroney desperately needs Wieber to prove solid on bars, while Kyla Ross would be fine with it if she doesn’t.

Nastia Liukin stole the show with an adequate beam routine. Like I mentioned in the Classic preview, if she makes the team for bars, she can also be used on beam in TF with little loss of score compared to the rest of the team. But now we turn our attention to bars. At Nationals, I need to see a hit 6.7+ routine. That’s asking a lot, but it needs to happen for her to be anything but a “what if.”

Rebecca Bross hit her best bars routine of the year. As Martha mentioned after the meet, this is meaningless without a beam routine. Her Patterson dismount wasn’t close again, and she can’t hope to make the team until she figures out a consistent dismount. I’m not hopeful.

Sarah Finnegan and Elizabeth Price are the dark horses du jour. Price has an Amanar and inconsistency, and if anyone makes the team just to do an Amanar, it will be Maroney. I don’t know what to make of Finnegan. She is very pleasant to watch and potentially useful on a couple events. It seems like she should have more of a chance than she does. Beam and floor stand out, while she’s not so useful on bars, so she’s like the bizzaro Aly Raisman. There’s only room for one on this planet.

Anna Li fell again on bars, and Kennedy Baker has a 6.4 D-Score. Sit with these things.

Sabrina Vega and the rest are here on Gilligan’s Isle.

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Classic Podium Training

Very little can be gleaned from podium training, and it’s silly to analyze the routines or read too much into them . . . is what a sane person would say. With that out of the way, let’s begin.

As per Blythe, Bridget Sloan pulled out due to Marvin Sharp issues. She’ll be competing at Nationals. Hopefully the problem is not serious. Bridget, Alicia, and Shawn? holding off until Nationals makes it like we’re not opening all our presents at one competition. We’ll still have new things to look forward to in two weeks.

http://www.gymnastike.org/embed/MzQzNjM2NzU2?related=1
Watch more video of 2012 Secret US Classic on gymnastike.org
Nastia is looking very fit, and this routine is mostly fine. The composition is exactly what was expected. However, she’s throwing and wishing on the switch half and the switch ring right now, and those will need to improve in the coming weeks, as will her speed of connection. All those connections were a bit shaky today, so we could see this routine going anywhere from 5.8-6.3. She needs to be getting in that 6.2-6.3 range every time.


This part of the routine is very close and is an encouraging sign that she might get something near the old routine back eventually (but how far away is eventually?). We won’t really know that much about her overall bars relevancy, though, until we see what state the dismount is in.


We live in hope, but the judges are going to destroy that hop 1.5. Still, I’m excited to see what her overall routine looks like and how well she scores compared those those who have lower difficulties.

http://www.gymnastike.org/embed/NjI3NjM2NzYw?related=1

Chellsie looks pretty close to how she looked when we saw her begin competing last year, so that’s a solid start. Bars will be telling, but if she can pull a few good events out tomorrow, she may not easily disappear from the conversation. Reports were that beam was a little shaky, but she’s Chellsie Memmel. Expect that shakiness to go away through the weeks as she gets more numbers.

Georgia Notes

Now that Georgia has made it official and told us all what we already know, it’s time for a few thoughts.

In some respects, Danna Durante is walking into unprecedented territory. Georgia, Utah, and Alabama are unmatched in terms of fan support and expectations, both for results and for the attitude of the program, and Utah and Alabama have not experienced coaching changes. Even Jay’s ascension at Georgia was originally part of a smooth transition where he was already part of the family. This is the first outside hire quite of this magnitude (you could compare it to Rhonda coming in at Florida, but they’ve never won championships, so it’s different), so it will be fascinating to watch how the fans react to Danna. Also, she should know that it’s very difficult for me to pronounce her name like Dana since it has a double n. For now, she’s Danna, rhymes with Hannah.

Durante’s every action in the first season will be scrutinized, and she will have even less benefit of the doubt than Jay did because she is a newcomer. From the beginning, it will be important for her to go out of her way to develop relationships with the boosters and make it clear that she has championship expectations for this team immediately. They will not accept any less.

In another interview, she said that it’s unrealistic for someone to win every year and that this team is capable of getting back to Super Six. The problem with that statement is that it’s true. For a team and a fan base with those championship expectations, she needs to sound a bit more enthusiastic about the prospects for the team, even if it’s a lie. If you’re expecting to finish fifth, you’re going to finish fifth at best. That wouldn’t be an immediate problem for her job security since it would be an improvement over Jay, but it would wear thin very quickly for this school. Georgia wants to be told that the team is going to win.

We’ve also heard news that she has removed Doug McAvinn from his position. This is perfectly natural and expected for an outside coach, but it will still sting Georgia fans and will hurt the team’s vaulting in the short run. Through the upheaval of the last few years, McAvinn was the constant, and the fans are very attached to him. Those who were willing to throw support behind Durante’s regime may have taken one small step back. Will she be able to find a vault coach with comparable skills right now? It’s doubtful. 

In all, I don’t expect much change in results from Jay’s tenure right away. It will take a few seasons for this new coaching staff to find its place and get the team together, but Durante is just as capable of being successful as any other new head coach (even though she’s had one year at Cal, she’s essentially a rookie, especially on this stage). It will be interesting to watch how the Georgia gymnastics community reacts to her over the course of the year and whether she can keep that attendance level, or even bring it back up.

Nastia Liukin and the Classic of Secrets

I have been a bit remiss in providing updates since the end of the NCAA season because not much has been happening besides rumors and a trickle of partial routine videos from USA Gymnastics. I’ve also been spending a fiar bit of time working on my word and language blog, The Dictionary Eyes. So feel free to check that out and tell your friends if you’re the type of person who has friends.

On to gymnastics, I was waiting to talk about UGA hiring Danna Durante until we got some kind of official confirmation, but they are taking forever with that. I would say I have a lot of thoughts, but I don’t. This is a very middle-of-the-road, shrug-of-the-shoulders choice. I have strong opinions about everything, and yet I have almost no opinion at all about this, which is telling. Georgia would have loved to get someone with a strong pedigree or big name, but why would a big name take this job? That was one of my main criticisms of the Jay Clark firing. Who else is going to be better?

We’ll have plenty of time to dissect Durante’s every word during the NCAA preseason, but for now let’s turn our attention to the elites and the upcoming Secret Classic.

Once Visa Championships and Olympic Trials start, we will be spending most of our time talking about potential teams and the likes of Jordyn Wieber, Gabby Douglas, and Aly Raisman. The Classic this year isn’t really about them. All the major Olympic contenders will be competing at least one event, but their Classic results will be mostly irrelevant. We’ve seen enough from them already this year to know that they are on track. A fall from one of them would probably send the internet into a tizzy, but it would do little to derail anyone’s momentum. No, this year’s Classic is all about veterans and comebacks.


To be more specific, it’s all about Nastia Liukin. She’ll be competing balance beam at this event with a doubtful question mark next to bars. A bars routine needs to come along very soon for this comeback to be relevant at all, but she could save that for Visa Championships and be fine. Technically, I believe she would need a two-event qualifying score at Classic to make Championships, but come on. All qualification rules magically disappear when names are involved. It should be of concern to the younger gymnasts that even the very concept of Nastia competing is the most interesting thing to happen in US gymnastics this year. Reputation, personality, and presence go a long way.

While a bar routine with something around a 7.0 D-Score would be her golden ticket to London, let’s not discount beam. She won’t be able to muster the huge difficulty in the 6.5-6.7 range that we’ll see from some others in London because she doesn’t have any E+ acro skills, but she will be capable of a  very clean routine with low-6s difficulty, which would be useful in Team Finals. Kyla Ross needs to watch out for Nastia because if Nastia proves more useful on bars and beam, we could be looking at a situation where Ross is not top three on any event come Trials (especially because I’m not sold on the landing of that Amanar), and that’s a very dangerous position for a five-member team. Nastia could shake up a lot of people’s chances if she proves usable on beam at Classic.


Speaking of bars workers, let’s take a moment to talk about Anna Li. As an NCAA fan, I will always root for Anna, but her potential route to the Olympic team will be more difficult than Nastia’s (if Nastia is healthy and fit, of course) because she does not have another usable event and does not have the experience or reputation. Even at Classic, it is crucial that Anna hit her bars routine. She cannot afford a fall because everyone doubts her consistency and she is not a Martha favorite. It’s very difficult to become a Martha favorite unless Martha feels like she raised you in a Miss Havisham/Estella kind of way. In this parallel, the ranch is Satis House, Pip is calories, and Bela is that rotten wedding cake on the table.

In the video above, Anna is performing an alleged hop 1.5. It’s the kind of difficulty she needs in order to have a competitive routine, but the judges will be free to give her total Chinese team E-scores because of the finishing position of some of those pirouettes. She must prove the ability to score in the mid-15s to put her name in as a bars specialist. 


Let’s also consider Rebecca Bross. She will be training only bars and beam this year, which puts her in direct competition for that specialist spot with all the other people with wicker legs who’ve dropped vault and floor. It appears as though she is going for a 6.4 D-score on bars, which may not be enough to stand out. Wieber will be going for a similar routine, and she’s a lock, so that hurts Bross’s argument. Her beam difficulty is a strong 6.5, but if she can’t land that nail-biter of a double arabian dismount, none of it matters. She absolutely must prove consistency at Classic and will probably need to hope for some comebacks not to pan out. She certainly can make the team, but she is in a precarious position where a number of people can pass her by.


Bridget Sloan will also be returning from the dead at this event. We’ve seen her on and off over the past few years, but she hasn’t been healthy since 2009, which gives us nearly as many question marks about her as we have about Nastia. It will be in Bridget’s best interest to focus on being a bars and floor specialist for this team with a prelims-usable vault if necessary. She’s always had glorious potential on bars with a few standout skills (like her excellent inbar stalder from 2008), but she has yet to get out of that low 6 D-score purgatory. Her bizarre low bar composition in 2010-2011 didn’t do much to help her seem stable on the event, so she needs total reconstruction to be useful there. I’d very much like to see her make a run, but I wonder whether her heart is really in it this time.


Don’t forget about Chellsie Memmel. My instinct is that her revival this year will be just one comeback too many, like the plot of Multiplicity, where if you clone something too many times it stops resembling the original. She may not have enough this year to be Original Recipe Chellsie. One of the reasons is that, for the first time in what feels like a decade, she will actually need to upgrade bars to be competitive. Getting her usual skills back will not give her a competitive D-score. In fact, I don’t see her contending for the team without upgrades on all of her potential events, so keep an eye on her composition during Classic. If she’s too far behind the potential team members, she won’t have time to get there before the team is selected.  

A few other notes:
-In the non-veteran category, pay attention to Sarah Finnegan. With some of the top competitors surely not competing all the events, she could sneak in with a very nice AA placement. Her standout event is beam, which is a risky specialty. I don’t see her making the team, but an alternate position is possible.
-Also keep an eye on another NCAA favorite, Casey Jo Magee. She’s not doing this out of any kind of realistic hope to make an Olympic team, but let’s all root for her to finally hit that delightful beam routine.
-Alicia Sacramone and Shawn Johnson are not competing here, news that is hardly news. Johnson appears like she will never be able to adequately recover from her injuries, and Chow has been muttering about her missing Championships, which is the reddest of flags. Sacramone needs every day she can get to try to get those routines back, so it’s no surprise she’s missing out. I’ll be impressed if she can get her old routines back by Championships/Trials, but old routines don’t help people make Olympic teams.

Jay Clark Resigns

Link

I must admit that I did not see this coming, and I think it’s a real shame. While there have been rumblings ever since the 2010 Regionals disaster about Jay not living up to Suzanne, no coach coming into this program would have been able to replicate that success.

While there were areas he needed to work on as a coach, the team was improving each year under his leadership. Even though this year’s group had a disappointing finish at Nationals, they were the most cohesive team with the most potential for success of the three during his tenure, even if the raw talent level was higher in 2010. It was clear that he was starting to find his footing in this position. The expectation that championships would immediately follow after Suzanne left was unrealistic. This is a rash move by Georgia and one that will backfire when a new coach comes in who is similarly unable to deliver championships right away.

Success in NCAA gymnastics is so dependent on trust and emotion and everyone buying in to the process. It is probably unique among sports in that way. In other sports we hear a lot about how the concept of team chemistry is overrated, but it is essential in NCAA women’s gymnastics. Not understanding that is an error. It takes time to build that kind of trust and chemistry and attitude for a program. Georgia was starting to get on its way toward rebuilding the program, and short of coaxing Suzanne out of retirement, they will be right back at 2010 again with a new coach.

There will be all kinds of speculation about who will replace Jay, but the pool of qualified candidates with the experience necessary who also want the job is extremely small.

15 Thoughts

Now that’s it has been a week since Championships, it’s time to reflect on the season and beyond with some notes. I just have a lot of feelings.

  • E mounts don’t amount to much. We heard a lot of talk this season about who was mounting with E passes and who wasn’t, but this did not translate into the scores at any point in the season. The message is clear: be clean and start from a 10, nobody cares if it’s an E pass.
  • Separation is the watchword. Scores are always going to go crazy at points in the season. That’s never going to change, and any substantive effort to homogenize judging across the country will probably do more harm than good. The most egregious scoring issues we saw at Championships didn’t involve fundamental overscoring but did involve a lack of sufficient separation between good and great. Encouraging judges to be more aware of that separation should be the goal.
  • Pros and cons of Four on the Floor. Once again this season we had a team in the title race (UCLA) not competing during the last rotation. This is not good. On the other hand, ESPN’s live broadcast had trouble keeping up with two teams competing in the final rotation, and if there were three competing at the same time, it would have been a catastrophe. No solution is free of problems, and I’m beginning to feel one isn’t really better than another.
  • The good trio. Bart, Kathy, and Suzanne continue to be the best commentary team in US gymnastics. Even when Bart concocts a bizarre pronunciation of Vanessa Zamarripa, this team makes you confident that they know what they are talking about. Kathy and Suzanne strike an excellent balance of being accessible to non-experts without being too simple for the rest of us. They show that you can name and explain skills and the subtleties of routine evaluation without becoming too technical for a lay audience. 
  • Vault finals: a problem. Something must be done because once again this year, vault finals were a boring disaster. We need to have a list of pre-qualified eligible gymnasts who have proven they can perform two vaults at 10.0, and then the top four from each Semifinal who also appear on the list will advance to finals. How about we have gymnasts show their two 10.0 vaults to a representative judge during podium training to get placed on the list? They wouldn’t have to worry about a good landing, just show they can do the vaults. 
  • Boo to neutral sites. Championships should be on a relevant campus. No good comes from a neutral site.
  • Combination beam dismounts. I used to enjoy the bhs+loso+full dismount, but it seems everyone did it this year, and I’m getting tired of it. While the gymnasts who perform it can usually stick because it’s just a full, it’s very difficult to get any kind of amplitude out of the layout stepout, so we don’t get to see any impressive flight. The gymnasts just sort of trickle off the beam. I’m ready for that trend to be over.
  • Let’s talk about split positions and legs. I need to see more attention paid to these qualities, and it probably has to start with the judging because otherwise there is no incentive to improve upon them. We’re seeing so many cheated splits and bent knees, and everyone just seems fine with it. Let’s make a pact not to be fine with it.
  • Now let’s talk about same-bar releases. I like them. I need them in my life. I don’t want to see routines without them because they are flat and lack excitement and dynamic flight. Are nice, high same-bar releases with pointed toes too much to ask? Am I reaching for the stars here? Not really.
  • What are we going to do about Georgia? This makes three straight years of not making Super Six, once again going out on a really feeble performance. The Gymdogs can’t say that they lost to a better team. They gave it away and finished behind Ohio State. They will be nowhere next year without Kat Ding. They need Chelsea Davis to become the new Kat Ding.
  • Alabama needs Ashley Priess. We got the news this week that Priess has decided to stay on at Alabama for another year. Without Priess and Stack-Eaton next year, the Tide would have seriously struggled to make it three titles in a row. Now, they’re back in the conversation. I still question her ability to stay healthy, but she proved me wrong this year. Is it tempting fate to try again? 
  • Florida is on the right track. Even though the Gators once again failed to win the title, the performance in the postseason proved that Rhonda’s plan worked beautifully. A few adjustments so that they are a little more comfortable (and relaxed) with landings going into Championships and they should be in prime position again next year. The additions of Sloan and B. Caquatto won’t hurt either.
  • New Bruins in 2013. While it was weak performances from the seniors that cost UCLA the title last weekend, those gymnasts provided a ton of routines and were crucial to UCLA’s success. We will see a different team with a different mood next year, with new pressure on the young gymnasts. Larson will not be allowed to be the non-factor she was this year, and Lee will need to contribute significantly right away. 
  • Stanford is real. Stanford employed what amounted to an extreme version of the Florida strategy and peaked in the postseason this year. While losing Brown and Pechanec will be a blow, they can still be a factor next year with Hong and a potentially healthy Shapiro leading the way. Judges respond to the cleanliness of their gymnastics, and with a bit more dynamics on vault and floor, they could be a factor again.
  • So there’s our season. Just eight months until the next one. Before that, I’ll be popping in to talk about elite from time to time as we approach the Olympics. That should be a silly ride.

Event Finals Live Blog

The last competition from Nationals gets underway soon. It will take forever, as it always does, so buckle in. We don’t have that many vault qualifiers this year, though, because some of the best vaulters didn’t make finals. When you’re watching people flop out lame Yurchenko layouts, remember that we won’t see Vanessa Zamarripa because the rules are stupid. If you can’t do two 10.0 vaults, you shouldn’t be eligible for Event Finals.

Alabama is the National Champion for the second year in a row. I really feel for Florida because they did everything right this year and didn’t mentally implode at Nationals. Alabama landed their skills, and in a year when it was all about landings, that won them the title. It will take a little more time to reflect on what we saw and make some determinations, so on to Event Finals.

Watch Live

I sort of love Event Finals because the judging is often insane, but no one has much of a vested interest in the result, so we can all just laugh about it and enjoy the gymnastics.

Introductions starting now. I’m rooting for some Georgia and Oklahoma victories and for EHH to redeem herself from yesterday and win an event. Did someone just fall from the ceiling? What was that? They’re having people drop from the ceiling and then carry the signs? That’s just weird.

Marching to our events now. I hope we see people really go for it and pull out their big skills. DTY? Peszek’s standing full? I assume the latter would be a definite.

Vault and Bars:
Courville – VT – Low chest on Yfull with a step forward, that won’t do it. 9.800 is high for that. Second vault is just the layout, but stuck.

Zamarripa – UB – not quite as precise as Super Six and then the step on landing. Not her best.

Cheek – VT – good stick on the Yfull with a minorly low chest. Tucked Yfull, good for her for not doing the layout, but big steps back.

Olson – UB – nice deltchev, minor step back on the DLO dismount. Good routine, but I doubt it will stand up.

Gutierrez – VT – stuck Yfull, best so far. Layout second vault  – Alabama usually does this, but I assume Milliner will do a full later on.

Courtney – UB – surprise qualifier here, excellent dismount. She’s improving so much on this event, but I agree with Suzanne that she doesn’t have the appropriate level of difficulty. 9.8875, current leader.

Delaney – VT – fine Yfull with nice distance, but a hop back. Layout  with a big step back. At least we don’t have a thousand vaulters doing these weak vaults.

Ding – UB – lovely first ahndstand, missed her giant full handstand, beautiful stuck DLO. That should be in first place and I hope it wins again this year. The commentators told us it was a 10, but it’s not according to the scores. Still, she will win, but it would have been nice to see her finally get a 10. Sure she missed that handstand on the giant full, but who cares at this point? I would have expected to see a career 10 from all of them.

King – VT – defending champ – step back on her Tsuk 1.5, could have been better, a little uncertain on that landing. Low landing on Tsuk full. Two iffy landings, so her difficulty may not help her here. She goes in behind Gutierrez, so no repeat.

Warmups for the second group now. Hopefully we see some difficulty from Milliner and Hunter because our winner should not have a layout second vault.

Giblin – VT – very nice stick with good body position, similar to Gutierrez but maybe a bit less distance.  Tucked Yfull as second vault, hop in place. She will end up below Gutierrez.

Caquatto – UB – misses a handstand on the low bar and takes an odd step on her dismount. She almost never does that.

Ding – VT – beautiful in the air on the Yfull but had to take steps on her salute. Should have been a stick. Tuck full as well – they’re being critical about people just tucking their legs to do a second vault, but I’d rather see that than the layouts. Current leader.

Shapiro – UB – her handstands have improved at Stanford because they deteriorated during elite, close on dismount but a good stick.

Dabritz – VT – big hop back on landing the Yfull, which is a shame because she really does have those two vaults. I guess she didn’t. Same vault. She can do the 1.5, but didn’t here.

Gerber – UB – Handstands weren’t awesome, but she was lovely. Step back on the dismount. Great career. UCLA will need PPL to be their new elegant Canadian.

Milliner – VT – Starts with the full, step back with a little piking. Will probably still go ahead of Ding if she pulls out a good 1.5. Pretty good with a step back. Neither were awesome, but she’ll go into first surely.

Johnson – UB – Major issue at the start. I’ve never seen her miss this routine. That’s a shame. Ding is our winner, Shapiro 2nd, Courtney 3rd. Of the UCLA gymnasts in this, who would have thought Courtney would finish highest?

Hunter – VT – She starts with the stuck 1.5, best vault so far in the competition. Huge bounce back out of the Yfull. That could give it to Milliner. Florida looks spent.

We’re not getting updates on the scores for Milliner or Hunter (or Johnson but she had an error). Ding will win bars as we wait and move to our second two events. Scoring? Could we, please? Milliner goes 9.825 to move ahead for now. Hunter is our winner with 9.8750. Nice consolation for Florida.

How about this for a vault solution? Gymnasts must show two different vaults during the season to be eligible for vault finals at Championships.


Beam and Floor:
Stone – BB – nice pass into the Korbut, two swing down skills, though. Hop forward on dismount. Suzanne mentions the crossed legs deduction on dismounts, which they never take anyway.

Ferguson – FX – good 3/1, complete. “This reminds me of a mime or something. It’s so fun-loving.” Oh Suzanne. Good punch out of double full. Nice routine, but I don’t think it will win.

Peszek – BB – wobble on standing full, which is a shame. She can do that much better. Punch front, that’s new and nice. They should consider adding that next year. She won’t win with these mistakes, but this is fun to see.

Hunter – FX – good high DLO, she’s performing very well and seems to be the only Gator who’s in this mentally today. 9.925 is very good but not unreachable.

Grable – BB – excellent loso series, but doesn’t have to difficulty to contend with this routine.

Updike – FX – huge bounce back out of a double pike mount and has to put her hands down. Huge height on her 2.5, but another fall on the punch layout.

Stack-Eaton – BB – good acro, has to hang on with her toes on the walkover, good sheep (as far as sheep jumps go), onodi is very nice, I’m glad she added it back. Sticks 1.5 dismount, and she will be the leader and be hard to beat.

Pisani – FX – let’s get this girl a title. Bounce out of her half in half out, but it was minor. A little low knees in the double pike, so I think this won’t be enough to pass Hunter.

Wong – BB – wobble on her two loso series, so she won’t be the leader. Good popa and a stuck double full dismount.

EHH – FX – Didn’t upgrade the mount, so she won’t have enough difficulty, but this is excellent. Beautiful hit routine. Can we give this to her? Performance-wise it was no contest, and that should count in EFs. She goes ahead of Hunter. Could we really see a win here? I’d love that.

Priess – BB – They have been right on on this event all weekend. That was a little wonky on the Rulfova, so I don’t think it should go ahead of Stack-Eaton. Good difficulty, and I’m glad they are throwing it in. Nice, but GSE was better.

Warmups now for the final routines of our season.

Ferguson – BB – this has been perfectly clean through most of the routine. Sheep is a little lacking, but good stick on the double full. Clean but may not go ahead of GSE.

Ding – FX – Good first pass with a straddle + punch, drills double pike middle pass, lovely landings on everything in this routine. Best she’s done? Probably. She goes ahead of EHH, which is not appropriate, but this day is all about Kat Ding, and it’s hard to argue with that. Kat Ding NCAA FX Champion?

Hong – BB – clean on her walkover + bhs loso elite series. Wobble on the side somi will take her out of it.

Dickerson – FX – perfectly stuck landings on all of her tumbling, but just something a little missing. I don’t think it will go into the lead.

Pisani – BB – misses her switch split in both position and wobbling, otherwise a clean, strong routine.

Jones – FX – Efficient tumbling, nice split positions, this is an overlooked routine that is pretty nice. I hadn’t seen it for a while. Kathy is making it clear she thinks EHH should be ahead of Ding.

Matusik – BB – Well done to her for making finals, just a few too many deductions in this routine. Gainer 1.5 dismount.

Zamarripa – FX – She’s getting a bit better as a performer, but this routine is not up to event final calibre.

EHH – BB – Just off on her side aerial + loso series, didn’t fall but had enough of a wobble that she will not win a title. Not her best routine.

GSE – FX – Good dbl Arabian as always, great double pike to end. This could challenge Ding.

Spinner – BB – Finishing up the competition for us on beam, she’s been consistently 9.9, but the lack of stick means she won’t do that today.

DeZiel – FX – Last on floor, good pike full but I’d like to see her land a little more legs together. Good clean routine, but I don’t think it will be the leader.

Titles:
Vault – Kytra Hunter
Bars – Kat Ding
Beam – Geralen Stack-Eaton
Floor – Kat Ding

The only result you can really argue with is floor. Ding? I don’t see it, but a fun competition with some nice beam upgrades that made that final the most interesting.