The Weekend Ahead – March 13th-15th

It’s the last weekend of normal meets, people. Fortunately, we’ve been presented with a worthy slate of action and a few top-10 clashes to mark this not-very-momentous-but-whatever occasion. There’s still a lot of jockeying for Regionals placements to do this week, in addition to a couple meets where the winner is actually sort of in doubt (!), but one of the most interesting side stories this weekend will be the solidifying of final lineups. It’s like an extreme sport, expect with a lot fewer motorcycles and a lot more columns drawn on pieces of paper. My kind of extreme sport. 

While there may still be some pre-championships strategic resting going on, especially for teams that have been loading in the big meets this month, most teams prefer to get their final lineups set by the time championship season arrives. That way, all the competitors have time to develop some level of comfort in their positions before it really matters. So, some of the lineups in which we’ve seen quite a bit of flux (Alabama’s bars and floor, LSU’s vault, UCLA’s everything, a couple of the Florida lineups where Bridget Sloan has returned to shake things up) will be worth watching this weekend to see who’s really in favor and who isn’t. (I MEAN EVERYONE’S IN FAVOR BECAUSE THEY’RE ALL A TEAM OF SISTERS.)

In the rankings, Oklahoma is sitting pretty at #1, but Florida, LSU, and Utah are all extremely tightly bunched in the race for #2. Florida is currently in the lead position, but the Gators also have the highest score to drop with a 197.600, meaning they can gain the least. LSU is right behind with a 197.350 to drop, while Utah is in fourth but still has a 196.900 to drop. What this means is, for instance, if all three teams were to score a 198.000 this weekend (not outside the realm of possibility), Florida would come out with a 197.770 RQS, to LSU’s 197.760, to Utah’s 197.750. Couldn’t really be much closer. Though all these teams are quite safe in the ever-important top-6 race to clinch a #1 seed at Regionals.

The current top 6 (Oklahoma, Florida, LSU, Utah, Alabama, Michigan) are probably safe this weekend, though UCLA does have a shot at supplanting Michigan if the Wolverines score under 196.975 and the Bruins go 197.450+ at Arkansas. Possible. Of course, if Michigan does break 197 in Minnesota, then the required score for UCLA increases.

Because when you think of UCLA scoring a 197.450, you think of Peng.

In the hunt for those crucial top-18 seeded spots, all the teams from 17-20 (Arizona, Denver, Cal, Minnesota) are fairly close together and all have a mid-195 to get rid of this weekend. They’re all more than capable of that score, so be on 196-watch for all those teams. Those who do it will be on the inside track to seedhood.

Now, let’s talk meets. Friday’s action begins with Florida hosting Texas Woman’s University on senior night, so get your 10 banners out. It’s Kytra Hunter’s senior night. If she doesn’t get at least two 10s, she will burn the vaulting table to the ground. Later on, UCLA heads to Arkansas. Doesn’t it seem like UCLA is perpetually in Arkansas? Whenever Arkansas hosts a Regional, UCLA is in it, and now they’re back. The Bruins should be able to win this one comfortably given their current form, but as was the case in Arkansas’s face-off with Georgia last weekend, this meet will be within a fall of becoming a thing, especially since we’re in Arkansas. The Bruins do appear to have finally hit upon a bars lineup that won’t need to count 9.6s and a fairly trustworthy beam lineup, as far as UCLA beam goes, helped by the discovery of Sonya Meraz’s sturdiness in the leadoff spot. As long as they have Sam Peszek’s leap series worked out now (hint: switch leap + switch leap = no me gusta).

But the real star of Friday will be Oklahoma heading to Alabama. I’m all about this meet. Delectable. We’ve got Alabama, eager to recover from the streak-breaking home loss to LSU, going up against the undefeated #1 Sooners. While Oklahoma comes in as the definite favorite, the luster isn’t completely off Alabama at home. It’s not suddenly an easy win. Oklahoma is ranked better on every event, though unsurprisingly their biggest margin comes on beam. The Sooners were basically tripping over all the 9.9s they got on beam at their last meet, while Alabama has too often become stuck in 9.850 land. I was pleased to see Kayla Williams restored to the #3 spot in the lineup last weekend because she is one of their most likely 9.9ers. Williams was moved to the leadoff spot after the early-season troubles, but that position was inhibiting her scoring and keeping her stuck at 9.825. They need more from her, along with Clark and Aja Sims, this time around. If Alabama is going to pull this off, they’ll also need to get the full, real, best floor six into the lineup (that includes Katie Bailey if possible and I think Aja Sims as well). They’ll also need to be able to use Clark on bars and stick some more vaults. They haven’t done all of those things in the same meet yet, but that’s what it will take.

As for the Sooners, they need to continue doing exactly what they’ve been doing. Though as I mentioned last week, perfect landings from Dowell and Jackson on vault are going to be essential if they want to be the best vault school in addition to the best school at every other event. This team has done pretty well overall absorbing the parade of injuries that Maile Kanewa has suffered this year, but they do still look like they’re missing 2014 Kanewa on vault and floor. To make up for her absence, they need those landings from Dowell and Jackson, and they need Chayse Capps to hit her floor tumbling with the level of perfection she brings to her every move.

Now, let’s talk about Saturday. Here’s the deal with the Big Ten Five Meets (can we not call them that please?). These meets will be used to determine the session placement at Big Ten Championships, with the top three teams from each meet this weekend competing in the later session (which will have two bye rotations just like Super Six) and the bottom two teams from each meet competing in the earlier session (which will have a normal quad meet format). Michigan, Penn State, and Minnesota will be expected to emerge from their meet and make it to the big-girl session, though be warned that Iowa could challenge if Minnesota is having one of their “we only have five bars workers and one of them got a 3” kind of days.

In the other Big Ten meet, the seeds tell us that Nebraska, Illinois, and Michigan State should take the three evening spots, but I would say it’s just as likely that Maryland or Ohio State could get in. The fight for that third spot will be something to watch. It’s strange seeing Ohio State as the lowest-ranked team of those five. It wasn’t that long ago that Ohio State was the upstart new contender making it to Nationals, but the Buckeyes lost a ton of vital talent after last season. Freshman Taylor Harrison is supposed to be their new standout, and she’s starting to put things together now (39.300 AA in the most recent meet with a 9.875 on BB).

But that’s not all! Highlighting Saturday action is Utah’s trip to Georgia, and you better believe I’ll be here to blog that one. It’s going to be a treat.

Georgia has lost to so many peer teams this year, that one last win over Utah before we head into the various championships would go a long way toward righting the ship. As in the Oklahoma/Alabama clash, Utah is ranked better on every event, though Georgia should be the stronger bars team if everyone hits. That will be key. The Gym Dogs have plenty of people who are capable of getting Dabritz-level scores. Rogers, certainly. Brown, ideally. Davis, absolutely. Chelsea Davis does not have a 10 on bars in her career, peaking at multiple dozens of 9.9+ scores, and it’s senior day. Is it her time? If Georgia is going to win this meet, winning bars is a must. Utah is the stronger team on vault, and we know Georgia’s history of problems in the second half of meets, so if the Gym Dogs don’t use bars to keep things close at halfway, they’re in trouble. They need to be near enough to Utah going to the last rotation that they can use a big, final shower of senior day 9.9s on floor to take it.

Top 25 Schedule
Friday, March 13

7:00 ET/4:00 PT – TWU @ [2] Florida
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Pittsburgh, Ball State @ [24] Kentucky
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [3] LSU @ Centenary
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [8] UCLA @ [16] Arkansas
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – North Carolina @ [7] Auburn
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – [1] Oklahoma @ [5] Alabama
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [15] Boise State, [19] Cal @ [21] Southern Utah
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [21] Washington @ UC Davis
Saturday, March 14
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Big Ten Five Meet @ Nebraska ([9] Nebraska, [13] Illinois, [25] Michigan State, Maryland, Ohio State)
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [4] Utah @ [10] Georgia
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Big Ten Five Meet @ Minnesota ([6] Michigan, [12] Penn State, [20] Minnesota, [25] Iowa, Rutgers) 
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – [18] Denver @ [17] Arizona
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – San Jose State, Lindenwood, Seattle Pacific @ [14] Oregon State 

Sunday, March 15

2:00 ET/11:00 PT – [23] Central Michigan @ Western Michigan

Week 9 Rankings and RQS Update

Remember back in ancient times last week when the pace of 10s had started to slow down? Me neither. There were a billion of them over the weekend. Welcome to senior night scoring. Expect more of the same this coming week. It’s a little frustrating because when you’re giving out 10s for vaults that aren’t stuck just because it’s a senior’s last home meet, it cheapens the 10. It shouldn’t just be a gesture. But it’s also sort of hilarious. Not ha-ha hilarious, but more am-I-having-a-mental-collapse, is-this-even-a-real-sport hilarious.

Oklahoma won the weekend with a 198.500, which isn’t quite at the level of the 198.8s that were being thrown out in 2004, but it is the highest score we’ve seen in a while in a meet featuring a downright alarming number of 9.9s for both sides. In all, four teams broke the 198 barrier this week, and UCLA came just short of making it five. These kids today with their 198s. Back in my time, if you wanted a 198, you had to get out the checkbook and buy it yourself. You know, the good old days.

Senior night scoring sure makes everyone seem amazing and ready for the postseason. That’s not necessarily true, but the level of hitting does make me ready for championship season to see how it all plays out in less fanciful and creative circumstances. Hopefully, everything will come down to earth once we get to four judges, if for no other reason than the beautiful number of passive aggressive coach interviews we’ll get whining about 9.850s. The best. 

For now, let’s look at where everyone stands with one week of regular meets remaining before conference championships, with particular emphasis on possible ranking and RQS scenarios. The biggest news for now is that Georgia will not be able to pass Auburn before SEC Championships in Duluth, meaning that Auburn will be in the evening session and Georgia will be in the day session. A coup. I just hope that means there isn’t a mass exodus of Georgia fans after the first session.

Week 9 Rankings (GymInfo)
1. Oklahoma – 197.845
Week 9: 198.500
Week 9 leaders: AA – None; VT – Scaman 9.950; UB – Dowell 9.950; BB – Brewer 10.000; FX – Scaman 10.000

Road Score 1: 198.150
Road Score 2: 197.875
Road Score 3: 197.700
Road/Home Score 1: 198.500
Road/Home Score 2: 197.850
Road/Home Score 3: 197.650

The Sooners have comfortably eclipsed their final RQS from 2014, which was 197.775, and can now set their sights on beating Florida’s top RQS from last season, 197.895. They can do it with a 197.925 away at Alabama on Friday. Judging by last Friday’s result and the presumed scoring situation we’ll have in Alabama, that seems doable. The RQS record is UCLA’s 198.055 from 2004, which is potentially within reach, but it would take a couple more 198s in the final two meets. Possible but tough. I’m excited for that Alabama meet. While the Sooners have had plenty of road meets, they haven’t had any big-crowd, tough-environment road meets yet. And because their conference championship is relatively low key, and their Regional will be at home, this meet is a necessary hurdle before Nationals. 

2. Florida – 197.690
Week 9: 198.100
Week 9 leaders: AA – Hunter 39.750; VT – McMurtry 9.975; UB – Sloan 9.975; BB – Hunter 9.975; FX – Hunter, Caquatto 9.925

Road Score 1: 198.100
Road Score 2: 197.425
Road Score 3: 197.200
Road/Home Score 1: 198.225
Road/Home Score 2: 198.125
Road/Home Score 3: 197.600

In spite of that disastrously terrible garbage 198.100 in the loss to Oklahoma, the Gators used their several billion 9.975s to jump ahead of LSU for the moment and become the only team with three 198s so far this year. It’s difficult to approach this meet from the perspective of what Florida needs to do improve on the loss because they got a 198. Um, stick more everything? Stop getting those hideous 9.875s. Bridget Sloan came back on beam, and everyone feels safer because of it. More 9.9s! She was in for Boyce this time, but I’m interested to see how some of these Boyce, Baker, Fassbender spots play out in the beam and bars lineups as we head toward SECs. It’s not that usual to see Florida playing with lineups this late, but I like it. I’m always in favor of playing with lineups until the end rather than settling on what worked in February and assuming it will be the same. 

Florida will not be able to catch Oklahoma this week, but they do still have a 197.200 to get rid of at SECs, which should allow them to make a bit more of a challenge if they get two big results in a row. Expect senior night to be very senior night.

3. LSU – 197.630
Week 9: 198.375
Week 9 leaders: AA – Gnat 39.725; VT – Courville, Jordan 10.000; UB – Courville 9.925; BB – Gnat 9.925; FX – Hall 10.000

Road Score 1: 197.425
Road Score 2: 197.350
Road Score 3: 197.350
Road/Home Score 1: 198.375
Road/Home Score 2: 198.075
Road/Home Score 3: 197.950

That thing where you get a 198.375 and fall in the rankings. Because Florida was able to record a big road score and the Tigers were at home while holding three solid home scores already, they could not gain much ground. LSU is still lacking that huge road score to rely on, so this weekend they’ll need to do exactly what Florida did against Oklahoma if they’re to find a way to regain the #2 ranking, though a meet at Centenary doesn’t really have that same rah-rah, big-team 9.975 atmosphere.

Courville sat out on beam and floor again this week, which was fine because LSU has enough depth on those events to survive comfortably, but I do think the bars lineup is a bit of a question. It was the weakest event on Friday, clearly feeling the lack of Wyrick and perhaps Ranzy. Ranzy is back on vault now, but if it’s at all possible for her to get back on bars, it needs to happen. Gnat and Savona have made great strides, but are they part of the best six? 

4. Utah – 197.530
Week 9: 198.250
Week 9 leaders: AA – Dabritz 39.700; VT – Delaney, Wilson, Lee 9.925; UB – Dabritz 10.000; BB – Lee 9.975; FX – Dabritz, Wilson 9.950

Road Score 1: 197.850
Road Score 2: 197.025
Road Score 3: 196.900
Road/Home Score 1: 198.250
Road/Home Score 2: 198.050
Road/Home Score 3: 197.825

Utah used its own 198 to gain back a little bit of ground on the top 3 after falling the week before. The Utes are in good shape in RQS right now because they still have that 196.900 road score to get rid of and are heading to Georgia on Saturday. It’s such a juicy road score opportunity that catching LSU and Florida this weekend isn’t unrealistic, though of course it will take some help in the form of a sluggish result from either.

Senior night really reinforced how much Utah needs to have a big year this year, with all three of their big AAers in Dabritz, Lothrop, and Wilson about to skip town. Sure, we can expect bigger contribution from this talented group of current freshmen next year, but before the big guns leave, this is the year for Utah to make a statement.

5. Alabama – 197.390
Week 9 A: 197.350
Week 9 A leaders: AA – Beers 39.500; VT – C Sims 9.925; UB – Clark 9.950; BB – Beers, Clark 9.900; FX – Beers 9.925

Week 9 B: 197.200
Week 9 B leaders: AA – Beers 39.450; VT – Clark 9.900; UB – Bailey, Winston 9.925; BB – Clark, Williams 9.875; FX – Beers 9.950

Road Score 1: 197.675
Road Score 2: 197.350
Road Score 3: 197.200
Road/Home Score 1: 197.800
Road/Home Score 2: 197.400
Road/Home Score 3: 197.325 

As expected, Alabama used two road meets over the weekend to get rid of some poor scores and make a big jump in RQS, but it was not as big a jump as it could have been. When the top teams in the country are getting 198s, albeit with some senior night fancy times, scores on the lower side of 197 are not going to make an impact comparatively. Alabama has proven the capability to get big results, but a couple of these lineups are still uncertain, especially as Katie Bailey works her way back, and a couple of these composition choices still needed to be considered. Is it really pragmatic to have Beers vaulting the 1.5? Alabama will be one of the most interesting teams to watch over the next two weeks to see how those issues unfold.

Coming back home to face Oklahoma, Alabama will not be able to make a big move in RQS this weekend and cannot move any higher than 5th. But more importantly, they are facing the challenge of losing their most recent home meet and now hosting the top team in the country. Tough days. 

6. Michigan – 197.180
Week 9: 197.675
Week 9 leaders: AA – Artz, Brown 39.550; VT – Sheppard, Sugiyama 9.900; UB – Artz, Brown 9.950; BB – Chiarelli 9.975; FX – Sugiyama 9.925

Road Score 1: 197.675
Road Score 2: 197.125
Road Score 3: 196.975
Road/Home Score 1: 197.300
Road/Home Score 2: 197.250
Road/Home Score 3: 197.250

Even though the Wolverines lost and fell in the rankings, this was a big result and an important score, their highest of the season so far. They just didn’t have much room to improve RQS since all the previous counting scores have been so similar. Michigan goes on the road again this weekend for one of the Big Ten pre-championships meets, but regardless of the score they will not be able to catch Alabama for the time being. The bigger concern is the teams ranked below. They’re probably safe for now (though not definitely), but the top six teams have enjoyed a comfortable cushion for a long time that is dissipating now that the challengers are starting to get rid of their poor scores and close the gap. Is Michigan going to look like a Super Six team once we head into Regionals/Nationals? More 197.675s would help.

7. Auburn – 197.020
Week 9 A: 196.325
Week 9 A leaders: AA – Atkinson 39.575; VT – Atkinson, Demers 9.900; UB – Atkinson 9.850; BB – Atkinson 9.875; FX – Atkinson 9.950

Week 9 B: 197.025
Week 9 B leaders: AA – Atkinson 39.750; VT – Atkinson 9.950; UB – Atkinson 9.975; BB – Walker 9.925; FX – Atkinson 9.925

Road Score 1: 197.025
Road Score 2: 196.875
Road Score 3: 196.825
Road/Home Score 1: 197.750
Road/Home Score 2: 197.300
Road/Home Score 3: 197.075 

Quite similarly to Alabama, Auburn was able to use two road meets to drop a yucky score and zoom up the rankings, but it was not quite the result it could have been. Especially coming off the high of a 197.750 at home against Georgia, these scores were a bit of a letdown, counting a beam fall in one meet and counting a beam struggle in the other meet. And beam is supposed to be a strength for this group. While the Tigers were just able to sneak to the top of the challenging pack in 7th, those scores will not allow them to challenge for a higher ranking this weekend and have left them a little too close for comfort with UCLA and Nebraska.

Still, it was a big weekend for Caitlin Atkinson, who very nearly led her team on every event and in the AA for two meets in the same weekend, just missing Walker’s beam score in the second meet by .025.  

8. UCLA – 196.895
Week 9: 197.950
Week 9 leaders: AA – Peszek, Williams 9.950; UB – Peszek 9.900; BB – Francis, Lee 9.950; FX – Bynum 9.975

Road Score 1: 197.350
Road Score 2: 197.075
Road Score 3: 196.000
Road/Home Score 1: 197.950
Road/Home Score 2: 197.050
Road/Home Score 3: 197.000

This was a significant senior day result for the Bruins, recording by far their best result and performing by far their best meet of the season. They needed it. They’re better than all these 197 flats they’ve been getting, and while there’s still cleaning up to do on every even to turn this into a Super Six team, that’s starting to seem at least possible. I still worry about the first half of the lineups and some really 9.825 routines that are being thrown up, but is this team capable of challenging Utah, Alabama, Michigan, etc? Yes. While many of the teams seem relatively set with their RQS positions right now, UCLA is typically leaving it right to the end and still has that 196.000 to get rid of this weekend. They’ll be heading to Arkansas and, with a strong 197, can realistically challenge Auburn and could potentially threaten Michigan as well.

9. Nebraska – 196.865
Week 9: 197.225
Week 9 leaders: AA – DeZiel 39.500; VT – DeZiel 9.975; UB – DeZiel 9.900; BB – J Lauer 9.900; FX – Blanske 9.925

Road Score 1: 197.075
Road Score 2: 196.650
Road Score 3: 196.250
Road/Home Score 1: 197.325
Road/Home Score 2: 197.225
Road/Home Score 3: 197.125

The Huskers managed a solid home result featuring vault excellence once again this week. Those home results are all pretty bunched together, so they couldn’t do any RQS damage with Saturday’s meet and will be in the same situation this weekend while hosting the other Big Ten pre-championship. Even with a season high, things won’t change much. It’s all about that low 196 road score, so the pressure to get a significant score will be on. The good news is that the top 10 teams have opened up a pretty nice margin for themselves, so they’re not in danger of falling too hard.

Interestingly, there are some really dangerous teams hanging around the 16-20 spots right now, so those 6/7/18 and 5/8/17 Regionals that are usually easy may not be quite as cushy this year.

10. Georgia – 196.835
Week 9: 196.775
Week 9 leaders: AA – None; VT – Davis 9.950; UB – Rogers 9.950; BB – Rogers 9.925; FX – Marino, Box 9.950

Road Score 1: 196.950
Road Score 2: 196.850
Road Score 3: 196.775
Road/Home Score 1: 196.975
Road/Home Score 2: 196.825
Road/Home Score 3: 196.775

Another week, another 196.775. The same old song. This time, the culprit was a beam fall that kept Georgia out of what would have been yet another easy 197. It’s always something, but this one stings a bit more because, as mentioned, Georgia now does not have a chance to pass Auburn before SECs. Still, there’s time to pick it up. For the sake of confidence if nothing else. The Gym Dogs will be hosting Utah for senior day on Saturday and will not have a better opportunity to finally get a 197. Or just pass 197 altogether and go straight to 198, which would not be that surprising.

One of the issues for Georgia right now is that there’s such a large variation in performance from meet to meet. And not just on the trouble events. Even on vault, it’s 49.250, then 49.550, then 49.100, then 49.275, as everyone is so erratic with the landings. On bars, it’s the same thing. A stuck dismount one week, a giant leap the next week, and then back to a stuck dismount. No one’s performance is at all regular, consistent, or predictable. So they’re keeping it interesting, I’ll say that.

11. Stanford – 196.530
Week 9: 196.625
Week 9 leaders: AA – Rice 39.350; VT – Price 9.950; UB – Shapiro 9.875; BB – Hong 9.925; FX – Vaculik 9.900

Road Score 1: 196.625
Road Score 2: 196.525
Road Score 3: 196.275
Road/Home Score 1: 197.525
Road/Home Score 2: 197.000
Road/Home Score 3: 196.225

MAX RQS: 196.790

Stanford has no meet this coming weekend and, with just Pac-12s left, cannot move any higher than the current ranking of #11 before Regionals.   

12. Penn State – 196.430
Week 9: 196.750
Week 9 leaders: AA – Tsang 39.475; VT – Sibson, Tsang 9.850; UB – Welsh 9.950; BB – Welsh 9.875; FX – Sibson 9.950

Road Score 1: 196.750
Road Score 2: 196.175
Road Score 3: 196.025
Road/Home Score 1: 197.025
Road/Home Score 2: 196.650
Road/Home Score 3: 196.550

13. Illinois – 196.355
Week 9: 196.275
Week 9 leaders: AA – Horth 39.350; VT – O’Connor 9.850; UB – Kato 9.900; BB – Kato 9.900; FX – Horth 9.825

Road Score 1: 196.975
Road Score 2: 196.425
Road Score 3: 196.275
Road/Home Score 1: 196.500
Road/Home Score 2: 196.400
Road/Home Score 3: 196.175

14. Oregon State – 196.330
Week 9: 196.700
Week 9 leaders: AA – Gardiner 39.450; VT – Keeker 9.825; UB – Gardiner, McMillan 9.875; BB – Gardiner 9.925; FX – Tang 9.900

Road Score 1: 197.250
Road Score 2: 196.700
Road Score 3: 196.450
Road/Home Score 1: 196.275
Road/Home Score 2: 196.250
Road/Home Score 3: 195.975

15. Boise State – 196.325
Week 9: 196.800
Week 9 leaders: AA – Morris 38.875; VT – Perkins 9.900; UB – Perkins 9.975; BB – Jacobsen 9.900; FX – Morris 9.900

Road Score 1: 196.625
Road Score 2: 196.025
Road Score 3: 195.975
Road/Home Score 1: 196.800
Road/Home Score 2: 196.725
Road/Home Score 3: 196.275

16. Arkansas – 196.260
Week 9: 196.650
Week 9 leaders: AA – Wellick 39.500; VT – Elswick, Wellick 9.900; UB – Freier, Wellick, Zaziski 9.825; BB – Dillard 9.900; FX – Wellick 9.900

Road Score 1: 196.650
Road Score 2: 196.250
Road Score 3: 196.250
Road/Home Score 1: 196.650
Road/Home Score 2: 196.325
Road/Home Score 3: 195.825

Arkansas is one of those dangerous #3 seeds hanging around this part of the rankings. We saw once again over the weekend, when Arkansas seriously threatened a fall-counting Georgia, that this team can make top teams pay for counting falls, especially if they’re given a neutral venue. If the season ended today, Arkansas would be drawn with Utah and Nebraska and would be no fun as a third seed. They’ll have a chance to move up this weekend (even a 196.325 could put them as high as #13 if the higher-ranked teams don’t step on it as well), and I can think of a few teams hoping that they do. The question is, which of these #3 seeds would you rather have?

17. Arizona – 196.195
Week 9 A: 195.450
Week 9 leaders: AA – Flores 39.225; VT – Edwards 9.900; UB – Felix-Terrazas, Howard 9.825; BB – Cindric, Edwards, Flores 9.825; FX – Flores, Sisler 9.850

Week 9 B: 197.125
Week 9 B leaders: AA – None; VT – Edwards 9.875; UB – Felix-Terrazas, Flores 9.875; BB – Mills, Sisler 9.950; FX – Sisler 9.875 

Road Score 1: 197.125
Road Score 2: 196.050
Road Score 3: 195.450
Road/Home Score 1: 196.625
Road/Home Score 2: 196.475
Road/Home Score 3: 196.375

18. Denver – 196.100
Week 9: 196.925
Week 9 leaders: AA – McGee 39.625; VT – Fielitz 9.950; UB – McGee 9.875; BB – Ross 9.925; FX – McGee 9.975

Road Score 1: 196.150
Road Score 2: 196.100
Road Score 3: 195.500
Road/Home Score 1: 196.925
Road/Home Score 2: 196.725
Road/Home Score 3: 196.025

19. Cal – 196.050
Week 9: 197.325
Week 9 leaders: AA – Williams 39.625; VT – Williams 10.000; UB – Williams, Owens 9.950; BB – Palomares, Paz 9.800; FX – Williams 9.975

Road Score 1: 196.600
Road Score 2: 196.100
Road Score 3: 195.425
Road/Home Score 1: 197.325
Road/Home Score 2: 196.225
Road/Home Score 3: 195.900

If there’s cause for concern about some of those #3 seeds, there’s really cause for concern about an unseeded Cal, the new darling of the NCAA, hosting a Regional. If these rankings hold, that Cal meet will be the Regional no one wants, especially if Cal’s home 197.325 on senior day is any indication. Imagine if you had a Florida/Stanford/Oregon State/Cal Regional at Cal, which could happen as of now. The good news is Cal still has a mid 195 to drop, and if current form tells us anything, that should be easy to do this weekend.

20. Minnesota – 196.035
Week 9: 195.450
Week 9 leaders: AA – Mable 39.375; VT – Covers 9.850; UB – Mable 9.875; BB – Mable 9.850; FX – Mable 9.875

Road Score 1: 196.875
Road Score 2: 196.350
Road Score 3: 195.450
Road/Home Score 1: 196.675
Road/Home Score 2: 196.325
Road/Home Score 3: 195.375

Missed opportunity for Minnesota over the weekend at LSU. They have no more margin if they want to be a seeded team and must get 196s at the remaining two meets. 

21. Washington – 195.810
Week 9: 195.775
Week 9 leaders: AA – Northey 39.325; VT – Burleson 9.875; UB – Northey 9.850; BB – McCartin, Fechter 9.800; FX – Northey 9.900

Road Score 1: 196.300
Road Score 2: 196.125
Road Score 3: 195.550
Road/Home Score 1: 195.950
Road/Home Score 2: 195.775
Road/Home Score 3: 195.650 

21. Southern Utah – 195.810
Week 9: 195.925
Week 9 leaders: AA – None; VT – Webb 9.850; UB – Armijo, Ramirez 9.900; BB – Jaworski 9.850; FX – Webb 9.875

Road Score 1: 196.225
Road Score 2: 195.750
Road Score 3: 195.500
Road/Home Score 1: 196.475
Road/Home Score 2: 195.925
Road/Home Score 3: 195.650

23. Central Michigan – 195.695
Week 9: 196.150
Week 9 leaders: AA – None; VT – Teet 9.875; UB – Fagan 9.850; BB – Noonan 9.900; FX – Bolender 9.875

Road Score 1: 196.400
Road Score 2: 196.175
Road Score 3: 196.150
Road/Home Score 1: 196.125
Road/Home Score 2: 195.875
Road/Home Score 3: 194.150

Watch out for Central Michigan. It’s been a bit surprising this year that Central Michigan hasn’t been ranked higher, but they’re finally starting to get rid of the low 194s that have been plaguing their RQS. If they’re able to get rid of that last one, they can easily challenge for a seeded spot as well. 

24. Kentucky – 195.625
Week 9: 196.575
Week 9 leaders: AA – Waltz 39.325; VT – Mitchell, Phipps 9.875; UB – Rechenmacher 9.825; BB – Mitchell 9.925; FX – Phipps 9.875

Road Score 1: 195.950
Road Score 2: 195.825
Road Score 3: 194.975
Road/Home Score 1: 196.575
Road/Home Score 2: 195.750
Road/Home Score 3: 195.625
25. Michigan State – 195.550
Week 9: 194.350
Week 9 leaders: AA – Burt 38.575; VT – Cartwright 9.950; UB – Burt 9.900; BB – Westney 9.850; FX – Lagoski 9.900

Road Score 1: 196.325
Road Score 2: 196.275
Road Score 3: 195.625
Road/Home Score 1: 195.750
Road/Home Score 2: 195.150
Road/Home Score 3: 194.950

25. Iowa – 195.550
Week 9: 195.775
Week 9 leaders: AA – Metcalf 39.325; VT – Glover, Metcalf 9.825; UB – Sotillo 9.900; BB – Sotillo 9.850; FX – Hoerr 9.925

Road Score 1: 195.850
Road Score 2: 195.225
Road Score 3: 195.175
Road/Home Score 1: 196.375
Road/Home Score 2: 195.775
Road/Home Score 3: 195.725

Down at the bottom of the Regionals rankings, George Washington and Utah State are beginning to pull away for those last few spots, but NC State is still challenging in 37th. NC State has a few lower 194s and with one big meet, could upset things. 

Saturday Live Blog – UCLA, Stanford, Georgia, Arkansas

Now that everyone has recovered from the American Cup, where Simone Biles won by a million points, everyone got eaten by the pommel horse, dear sweet Oleg stole our hearts, Mykayla Skinner enjoyed some fancy execution scores, and Sam Mikulak continued being every boy you had a crush on when you were 15 in spite of falling twice, it’s time to turn our attention back to NCAA for an interesting little Saturday of meets.

Georgia is at home, and it’s time for the Gym Dogs to break out with a big 197. They have the gymnastics, at least on 3.5 of the events. They just need to bring it. Now or never. Well, now or next week. Or the week after. Or the week after that. Whatever. Arkansas is so good at getting that solid 196.3 (perhaps higher at a Georgia meet) that can destroy you if you’re not on point through all four events.

It’s Senior afternoon for Sam Peszek at Pauley, so if last night’s senior-night enthusiasm is any indication, she will get a 40.000. Do the back with a full.

Flashback to “Samantha Pessik”

Both UCLA and Stanford appear to be rounding into form now that it’s March, as they often do, but neither team should feel very comfortable with the current RQS standard. They’ll need to keep up the not-bad today. No excuse for scoring under 197, right? I don’t think there is.

Georgia/Arkansas begins at 6:00 ET/3:00 PT, with UCLA/Stanford an hour later. At the same time, Oregon State is visiting Nebraska in another meet with vital RQS implications.

Georgia, UCLA, and Nebraska are all currently chasing Auburn, who jumped ahead of them into a provisional ranking of #7 with yesterday’s score. UCLA and Nebraska both have a chance to jump just ahead of them for the time being with 197.3s today (Georgia would come up just short even with a season high), but Auburn will look to solidify that #7 ranking with a solid score tomorrow to drop yesterday’s 196.3 and keep the rest of the challengers at bay.

I also haven’t talked about Arizona State only putting up half a gymnast yesterday for a 162. A 162. Dear dear dear. It’s just sad now. They were without Allex and Sundby and so had nobody to go. I can’t remember the last time a DI program was this much of a shambles. A score in the 160s, you guys. It’s not as though the program was in great shape going into this year, Rene was basically left with a skeleton of former glory, but basically the entire roster either left or is looking to cash in some frequent ambulance miles.

Melissa and Kupets are showing us an Arkansas beam disaster-reel.

Kupets is almost sputtering with frustration about Georgia’s lack of 197s.You know she can barely keep herself from jumping up on that beam and getting a 10.

Can we please invite Suzanne onto the broadcast? I really want to hear some thoughts.

OH GOD. Brandie Jay has an ankle injury and is out of the meet. Like Georgia needed that.

Rotation 1: Georgia on vault, Arkansas on bars
Vaculik – VT – good distance but not as much control on her full – one step back and then another to salute.

Glover – UB – half turn to jaeger – good height just a little loose in the legs – clean on the bail – final handstand short – nice distance on double back with a stick – 

Roberts – VT – Someone is sitting behind Georgia’s vault rotation praying. I understand. One of her better vaults in the form and distance department – some piking – but a gigantic seven million mile bounce on the landing.

Elswick – UB – opens with a solid jaeger – very short of vertical on her bail handstand with a leg break – full into a double back – way close to the bar but does stick with a leg separation. 

Marino – VT – Still doing the 1.5 and has improved since early in the year – larger lunge forward and still some knee bend.

Freier – UB – Love this one. Always hope she hits to her best – opens with a shaposh – great handstands – a little floppy in the bail but fine – almost sticks the DLO – leans forward with a step to salute, but still a good one.

Davis – VT – There it is, girl! The usual Chelsea Davis stick. Good height, excellent control on the landing. Gets a 9.950. You can argue some landing position and distance, but it was a good one. And it’s Georgia at home. 

Canizaro – solid shaposh to bail combo to start – also hitting her handstands – hits that Ray with some real toe point action – just holds onto her final handstand with a little arch – step back on DLO.

Broussard – VT – Also trouble controlling her landing – Good position and power but a pretty big bounce back.

Wellick – UB – Good hip shaposh but also WAY short on her bail handstand – misses the hs before her tkatchev – hits her double front this time but a number of short handstands in that one, so not her best showing –

Rogers – VT – Solid on the 1.5 – a small step or two back and some crazy legs on the block – but should still be a good score –

Zaziski – UB – nice opening hs – good finish on the full turn – solid tkatchev – a little floppy on the bail but OK – short final hs – small step on DLO and then another step to salute – good rhythm and general form, though.

After 1: Georgia 49.275, Arkansas 49.075
Not a great first rotation for either team. Georgia was saved by Davis’s excellent stick for a big score, and Rogers was also solid enough, though there were certainly areas to take there. The rest did not have enough control on their landings, but I was pleased to see Marino get another look in. They need Jay. Get Brandie in there and this rotation is probably a 49.4, which is much more what we expect from Georgia on vault at home.

Arkansas did what they needed to do, but everyone had small errors. A few people had serious handstand problems, an arched handstand here, a leg break there, and they didn’t stick enough dismounts to squeeze a big score out of that one. No major breaks, but a lot of 9.825ish work.

Suri is interviewing Suzanne. She’s talking about relationships with the athletes. Ask her about who should be getting 9.9s but isn’t.

Um, that RQS graphic was not right.

Rotation 2:
Nelson – VT – yfull – fine distance, chest down on landing and a bounce back.

Vaculik – UB – good halt turn to her huge jaeger – short on handstand – solid bail with a slight leg break – fine final hs – very low chest on her tuck full dismount – barely around with a lunge forward – shame about that dismount.

Canizaro – VT – late twist on her full – also a bit low in the chest and with some piking – pretty big bounce back as well.

Persinger – UB – good first hs – nice half turn to big jaeger – hitting handstands – clean bail – excellent extended hold on handstands – lateish on final full turn – and sticks the double back – best bars routine she has done? – quite nice.

Elswick – VT – yfull – smaller bounce than the first two but still a bounce – a bit of piking and not the biggest vault we’ll see in the meet, but should be a good score improvement. 9.900. Well now.

Brown – UB – hits her huge tkatchev as always – strong pak – hitting handstands well – does the tuck full dismount this time – two steps back. Would have been a huge score if not for the dismount.

Zaziski – VT – Good body position on her full – not much distance and another bounce back.

Kupets is becoming much more comfortable giving criticisms.

Davis – UB – Also great on the tkatchev and excellent rhythm out of it – clean on her bail and shoot to high bar – hitting hs – small hop on tuck full dismount, but great on the bars.

Wellick – VT – Best vault of the team so far in the distance and dynamics department – maintains good body position and a smaller hop back.

Rogers – UB – Did PA guy just introduce her as “Mrs. Brittany Rogers?” Oh “This is Brittany Rogers.” I see – Ricna – yes yes yes – pretty bail and stalder shoot – precise on hs – sticks DLO. There you go. Best of the rotation. Very pretty and very clean.

Arkansas won’t vault a 6th. Finishes 49.275 on vault, which they’ll take any day.

Sanders – UB – OH YEAH. Coming in for Jay. short on first hs – high piked jaeger and well done – a little arch on hs afterward and basically sideways on her bail – a couple short handstands and almost sticks – a lean and a step on the double back. Not bad. Won’t make the lineup but potential for next year. This is her event.

Danna is telling everyone how much better they need to land.

After 2: Georgia 98.550, Arkansas 98.350
Georgia is on that 197 pace but still has beam and floor to come, so scary. Some solid bars routines from the usual suspects there. Rogers was phenomenal, and Davis and Brown were both strong until the dismount, and Persinger did one of her best. Once again missing Jay. They had two sloppier performances and had to count Vaculik’s score, which brought them down.

Arkansas will be happy with that 49.275 on vault, which was the same score Georgia got. Wellick was excellent, but the rest need more control on those landings going forward to really put pressure on other teams once Regionals comes around. Well, Wellick needs more control too since she bounced like the rest, but the vault was strong enough to withstand it.

Rotation 3 – Georgia on HORRORBEAM, Arkansas on floor
Vaculik – BB – good switch and split 1/4 – always her strength on beam – tight but solid on loso series – check on the aerial – full turn – side aerial but off line into layout full – and then a hop to the side as well.

Canizaro – FX – double pike – chest down with a bounce – wolf jump full – also bounce back (nearly OOB) on the double tuck – switch ring is slightly college – 1.5 to layout is fine – but needed more control on those opening passes. 

Brown – BB – pretty full turn – clean on her two loso series, definitely her best since she has returned to the lineup – a little short on her split – fine on straddle 1/4 – and then completely off on her side aerial – fall. And just when I returned you to my fantasy gym lineup! Hop on gainer pike. Trouble for Georgia now. 

Dillard – FX – starts with a clean rudi – switch ring is better – nice front full to layout – simple routine but one of the more precise ones on the team – random aerial – 1.5 to layout – clean hit.

Babalis – BB – Solid on her loso series – and clean on the aerial – switch to pike jump with a check – a little tight on full turn – solid kickover front to beat jump – sticks front full dismount – one of her more solid beam routines this year.

Zaziski – FX – solid opening double pike – very short on that double tuck middle pass (no height) and lunges forward – fine switch side and a little short on her wolf jump position – crazy leg separation on her front layout and then goes off line on her front full with a hop.

Rogers – BB – switch to straddle – still not quite hitting that switch – pretty in the air on her loso series – perhaps a slight adjustment but basically nothing – nice full turn – hits her bhs 3/4  well this time – bhs 1/1 to layout full – stuck. One of her solidest beam routine of the year. Or solidest. Well done.

Nelson – FX – another with a large bounce on her double pike – solid on the straddles – clean on the 1.5 to layout – that’s well done – another slide on her double back – just looked like she got that around.

UCLA/Stanford getting underway soon but still in pre-meet mode.

Broussard – BB – UGH! One-armed bhs and then off on her loso. Kupets is as exasperated as I am. And now they’re counting a fall again. BYE 197! The rest of the work is solid so far. Check on side aerial – hops her feet together on the gainer full. Maybe they’ll get their first 197 at Regionals?

Elswick – FX – Nice double pike – good chest position and height – switch side to wolf full – 1.5 to front tuck with a large lunge – didn’t get much on that pass but got it around – “Front tuck is still an element” says Kupets. Solid landing on double tuck – lowish chest.

UCLA starts with Honest on vault with mushy legs and a big bounce back.

Wing on bars – (as Box goes on beam) – and Wing misses her shaposh. UGH. Pressure on the rest (Rice) now.

Box rescuing Georgia as much as she can with a hit beam – clean and secure acro. The rest of Wing’s routine was lovely as always. Box ALMOST sat that dismount. Just held on but squatty.

Irvin – VT – comes in a little short this time with a hop forward.

Wellick – FX – Nice high double pike – good chest position and perhaps just a little bouncy nothing – hitting her leaps well. Another small slide on double tuck but good position.
McNair – UB – nice height on piked jaeger – clean and hit bail – a little close on shoot – great stick on tuck full. Strong routine. 

Bynum – VT – Looked to be one of her nicer halfs in the air, but ended up taking a couple small steps forward on landing.

Rice – UB – good first hs – nice height on shoot to high bar – a little close? – strong jaeger – pretty pak as well – nice half turn on low bar – full turn was OK – hop forward on double tuck – fine. 

Lee – VT – OK, UCLA needs some real vaults now. Because those first three were not landed well enough. Lovely. Good form and direction – smallest twitch of the legs on landing, opens out of it – yes.

Shapiro – UB – Good toe shoot – handstands are excellent obviously – hugely high jaeger – pretty on the pak – and sticks the DLO. Massive routine. Very well done.

Peszek – VT – Almost a stick? Looks like she hopped her legs together a little landing that but otherwise magnificent.

Vaculik – UB – nice first hs – Vaculik gienger is Vaculik gienger – some moments of small leg issues but lovely work – one iffy giant in there – flops out her legs in the second salto of her DLO and pikes a bit but sticks it – 

Williams – VT – Nice vault – Lot quite as laid out the whole way as Lee or Peszek – but she has power and maintains the direction – also just the smallest movement on the landing like Peszek.

Hong – UB -clean bail and shoot back to high bar – hitting hs – low landing on her DLO and a hop forward.

Scores went big there for UCLA for those last few routines, but they last three did well to control their landings giving away almost nothing. 49.475. Stanford was very pretty on bars, overcame the fall for a 49.200. Seems like a couple of those scores could have been higher. Shapiro was just lovely, but a few did give away too much on dismounts.

Freier hitting a pretty beam for Arkansas right now in the final rotation. Georgia must recover from that beam on an even that has been a real problem and now is without Jay. Hop back on gainer full for Freier.

Persinger – FX – tuck to double back – did she land right on the microphone? – solid landing – the switch ring looked good – the switch full less so, but her dance elements are usually a strength – nice solid landing on double pike as well – not giving away anything on those landings today so far – rudi with just a small bounce but a strong opening.

Wellick – BB – nice switch to straddle 1/4 – hits aerial to straddle jump – secure on loso series and full turn – some areas of mushy knees but not too bad – holds onto her side somi well with just a swing of the arms – sticks 2/1 dismount. Good work.

Reynolds – FX – Slides back on double pike – it has been the day of the sliding pass – good switch side to popa – rudi to loso is solid – clean 1.5 to layout.

Hanset – VT – handpring pike half – chest down because it’s a handspring pike – step back.

Francis – UB – nice first hs – solid form on shaposh and clean into bail – nice shoot to high bar – good full turn and sticks the double pike once again. Every time now! If this were Florida, she would be anchoring for 9.950.

McNair – VT – Good form on the full – just a hop back –
Zaziski hitting a solid beam so far for Arkansas –

Meraz – UB –  toe on – floppy legs in bail – hits her shoot well – short on hs and a little flat on the tkatchev – DLO with leg break and piking – bends and bends and bends to hold onto the stick

Rice – VT – Lands a little more piked over on her full this time – a step back and then another slide to salute. Not the distance of the later UCLA vaults.

DeJesus – UB – good full turn – usual legs on the gienger – clean on the bail and shoot back to high bar – one iffy handstand in there – trying for better chest position on that dismount, which she gets, but takes a big hop back –

N McNair – VT – Good height on her vault, not much distance but just the smallest shuffle back – nice work.

Brown came back into the floor lineup for Georgia and hit.

Mossett – UB – high jaeger and nice catch – pretty pak and not as close as it has been this year many time – hitting her hs – tuck full dismount with a step – one of her most composed routines this year. No major errors this time. 

Price – VT – Magical on the full. Hugely huge. Looked like a stick to me but she may have twitched a bit there? No, I’m calling that a stick. Great vault. Let’s see what the score is. 9.950.

Peszek – UB -excellent full – great gienger as wlays – hitting hs – clean bail – not that high on the shoot to high bar but fine – smallest bounce on the DLO. Nice routine but they’re going to be itching to give her 10s and she’s not getting them yet.

Vaculik – VT -She’s getting there – a little knee bend on the full and comes in a bit short with a step, but closer to her usual level.

Lee – Great Bahrdwaj – hits her shaposh 1/2 as well – nice hs – way short on the DLO with a lunge forward. Would have been a great score until that.

Missed Marino on floor for Georgia, but she got a 9.950. Big wobble for Ellswoarth on beam now.

Babalis – FX – bounces a bit on her double tuck – buit nice in the air – half to front full isn’t big but fairly secure – very solid double pike. Good work.

Craddock hits an exhibition beam.

Dillard – BB – Really need this routine because Ellsworth lost some SV – clean aerial to bhs loso series – stag – just some small twitches of correction but nothing major – side aerial to side position is hit – switch to wolf is OK – solid side aerial to split – sticks the 1/5 Needed that routine.

Teams are tied at 196.650 going into the final routine from Box for Georgia, which should give them what she needs if she hits her usual.

Box – Great high double pike as always and pretty good control – 1.5 to layout is also big – dance-runs a little bit out of it – switch side is good, popa is fine – solid and secure double back. Good routine. 9.950

Final: Georgia 196.775 to Arkansas 196.650  
Georgia just squeaks through with a victory in spite of counting a fall on beam. But still, it’s another of those high 196s and not the 197 they were looking for. What are we going to do about this. They NEED Brandie. But that wasn’t the problem on beam. Arkansas will certainly take that road score for a relatively well-hit meet.

UCLA leads Stanford 98.850 to 98.350 after two, though the quality of performances haven’t been that different, especially on bars where Stanford was quite good. UCLA was the stronger team on vault, which three great vaults to Stanford’s one.

Rotation 3 – UCLA on beam, Stanford on floor
Meraz – BB – solid front – secure on loso series as well – she is a good find for this lineup – it’s not the cleanest or most extended, but it’s solid – has to pause a bit in her dance combination so that will be interesting – sticks 1.5 dismount. No wobbles in there.

Frowein – FX – Back in the lineup this week – solid double pike – a little low chest but high and secure on landing – front full to front pike is right to the edge but she keeps it in – Note: I don’t need an aerial view. L turn – struggles with leaps – switch ring was not – solid landing on the 1.5 to pike – holds onto it after it looked like she would be short.

Williams – BB -solid on bhs loso series – hits straddle 3/4 as well – calm and precise so far – full turn – kickover front to wolf is nice – keep her in this lineup? – Dom is so happy about it – gainer full with a step. Very unusual to see a UCLA gymnast with a gainer full unless that’s the only option.

Rice – FX – Taylor is barely taller than that low table. Good double pike – better making it rain – half to front full is solid – also right to the edge but it – legs a bit ragged but nbd – switch ring is iffy switch side is fine – hits double tuck – goes a little off to the side, but a worthy hit.

DeJesus – BB – small check/hesitation on her aerial to bhs – switch to split – fine kickover to best jump – solid on full turn – the moonwalk is getting better, but it’s still a moonwalk. Sticks front full dismount. Solid work, but she needs to work on moving faster in between the skills on her combinations.

Hanset – FX – 2.5 to front tuck is strong – made sure to keep her back leg planted on the tuck – WOW – can’t believe she kept that middle combination to her feet – got one inch of air to do that tuck but pulled it around and may have kept it in bounds as well – doesn’t on the double pike, though – stumbles back and goes OOB. They’ll need to drop that.

Francis – BB – good side aerial – clean on aerial to bhs as well – good switch to split – always hits those 180s perfectly – y spin – no errors yet – into dismount – sticks it but did have some pause in between the elements this time. I think it should be fine. 9.950. So yes, fine.  

Spector – FX – She has the cash register sound effects? Not Taylor? High double pike with a slide – switch side to a slightly crooked popa – front layout to front full –  secure on double back – not big work but solid enough work.

Lee – BB – Peszek going last this time as is appropriate. Let’s hope Peng hits so Sam has the freedom of composition. Wonderful flares as always – lovely switch and split jump – excellent and stuck on the 2ft layout this time as well – right on with the punch front as well. This is one of her solidest routines so far – strong on double turn. She really packs in the risk, and I appreciate that so much. One step on 2/1 dismount. Well done. This is already a great rotation score. They’re starting to find their beam greatness. Another 9.950. Would have been a 10 with a stick.

Vaculik – FX – Nice high, easy, and clean double tuck to start – solid 1.5 to layout to stag as well – short in her split 1/2  – so glad she’s back on this event, though. They need her in the AA almost as much as they need Price in as many events as possible. Low chest on double pike with a bounce.

Peszek – BB – good aerial to back tuck – switch + switch leap and splits the beam and comes off. Shame. Also I HATE that dance element combo for her. It’s not 180, and makes her look so much worse than she is – and clearly a problem since she has fallen on it twice, and it’s dance elements. Goes again and does a straddle as the second element and it’s a million times better already. Combo into the full dismount and stuck. They didn’t need the score, so it’s fine, but still should not be happening.

Daum – FX – No Price today. So what’s the point of anything? A little low on her double pike – 1.5 to layout. Squatty on the final double tuck and steps OOB. Too much trouble on that floor rotation for Stanford, still. It looked very January.

Mossett doing exhibition on beam – nice on her leaps – hits her loso series as well and solid on the side somi this time. She’s an option but probably not among the most reliable 6 for this team – steps on gainer pike dismount. Craddock next because senior day. Has an acro series now – it’s aerial to bhs again, and it’s fine but slow – switch to split – Randy thinks it’s just OK – side aerial to full and hits.

After 3: UCLA 148.325, Stanford 147.425
Great beam from UCLA until Peszek. The first three did the solid work they need to (though I would like to see a little more rhythm in combinations), and then Peng and Francis were brilliant as always. They need to get Peszek’s composition worked out yesterday. UCLA on track for a good mid-197 with a hit floor. Stanford can still pull a solid mid-high 196 out of this if they hit beam the way they should.

In other news, Nebraska is nailing it so far on good 197 pace (9.975 for Deziel on vault), while Oregon State is overcoming a poor vault score to get back on mid 196 pace with beam still to come.

Rotation 4:
Wing – BB – Nice bhs full – clean aerial to bhs loso – very pretty full turn – switch to a correct sissone and then a stuck gainer full – lovely work. I’ve always been a fan of this one.

Gerber – FX -Fine double tuck – a little slide – 1.5 to what was supposed to be a front layout – had to pike it to get it around – her dance combination has some 3/4 elements that are a little cheated around but the positions look fine enough – low chest on double pike to finish. Pinches still out?

N McNair – BB – steps back on loso series and bends at the waist but stays on – side somi and side aerial are nice though – good switch to straddle 1/4 – the rest was nice – shame about the early mistake.

Mossett – FX – Opens double back steps and near OOB – layouts to front handspring middle pass – I like her headstand choreography in the middle and the leaps are well done – looked a little short on double pike?

Rice – BB – straddle jump to sheep – more making it rain – important element in the routine – secure on the front as well as the loso series – she has turned into more of a beamer from being a nervous one earlier in her career – gainer full.

Francis – FX – whip to double tuck is fine – a little low but held onto the landing – has the usual slightly awkward stepover on the 2.5 landing, but it is under control and solidly landed – same on the double pike. Very nice routine, controlled and secure, but she does land with a very low chest on some of those passes.

Hanset – BB – solid loso series – switch to straddle 1/4 – aerial to wolf is fine as well – they have to get rid of a 9.700, but everyone since has been solid – including Hanset, just the larger step forward on the dismount.

Cipra – FX – Starting just the double back this time – nice enough – could have been a little higher on landing but not a major issue – 1.5 to layout is well done – switch ring is good – I wasn’t that into this routine when she first performed it (preferred last year’s), but it has grown on me a lot. Holds double pike. Have I mentioned that I really hate this overhead view? How are we supposed to see anything? Squats a little in the final pass but holds the landing.

Vaculik – BB – Just slightly off line on her rulfova but pulls it back centrally well – check at the hips on her loso series – nice switch and wolf jump – comfortable full turn – 2/1 dismount with steps. OK.

Bynum – FX – Really nice on the DLO this time – one of her better ones – secure on the front tuck through to double back as well – split full to wolf jump full – Another double back as last pass – minus a million for repeated elements, but some of her most controlled tumbling landings. 9.975. OK now.

Hong – BB – Lovely on the mount as always – and on the onodi to bhs – we’ve seen so few onodis this year – even fewer than usual – high and excellent on the loso series – split to sheep – sticks gainer pike – magnificent routine. They needed that one.

Peszek – FX – How much do they want to give her a 10? I feel like I haven’t seen this routine at all. Because I haven’t. Nice DLO – does a Peszek bounce on it but a controlled one and keeps her plant leg down – 1.5 to layout – has to pull around the layout a little with a leg break – nice switch to a rushed split full – bounces on the double pike. She can be better, but it’s important to have this routine back. The lineup needs it. GROUP HUG FOR SENIORS. Peszek gets a 9.950 anyway. UCLA just missed joining the 198 club.

Elsewhere, Nebraska and Oregon State both hit well in their final rotations for a final score of Nebraska 197.225, Oregon State 196.700. A score both needed.

Ellette Craddock is doing a floor routine. I didn’t know she even did floor. She doesn’t really, but SENIOR NIGHT. 

Final: UCLA 197.950, Stanford 196.625.
Big result for UCLA that will likely be their dropped high score, but once again they’re starting to put it together. That beam is beginning to fire, and getting Peszek back on floor was huge. Obviously some senior night scores in there, but probably UCLA’s most complete meet of the year. It’s also Stanford’s highest road score of the year, and they will certainly take that one, though they didn’t look quite their best. Floor is flat right now, the vault landings weren’t as strong as last week, and there were too many wobbles on beam. We know this Stanford team can be top 5 on both bars and beam when confident. No question. But they need full, healthy vault and floor lineups to make that mean something.

Friday Live Blog – Michigan, Utah, Alabama, Auburn, LSU

Friday, March 6

6:00 ET/3:00 PT – Arizona, Eastern Michigan @ Michigan State (Scores) (CSL)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Auburn @ Kentucky (Scores) (SECN)
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Alabama @ Missouri (Scores) (SECN)
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Centenary @ SEMO (Scores)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Florida @ Oklahoma (Scores)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Iowa State @ Iowa 
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – Minnesota @ LSU (Scores) (SECN)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Michigan @ Utah (Scores) (Pac-12)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Alaska @ Boise State (Scores) (Stream)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Central Michigan @ BYU (Scores)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Arizona State @ Southern Utah (Scores)
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – NC State @ Washington (Scores) (Pac-12)

A glance at Minnesota before the Gophers take on LSU tonight:

Lots of senior nights tonight, so if you’re a fan of people bursting into tears at the end of their floor routines, this is like your Christmas. I’ll be here from 7:00 ET/4:00 PT.

The big question, which meet is going to have the craziest scoring? We’ve got some solid nominees tonight.

A rough start already for Arizona, counting a fall on bars for a 48.275. They’re currently in 19th and looked in great shape to make a move up into the seeded spots with a 195.100 road score to drop, but this doesn’t help. That much. They can still beat a 195.100 because that is a garbage score for a team like Arizona.

Random thoughts of the day: Shuffle always seems like a much better idea than it really is. I’m just not in a “Pirelli’s Miracle Elixir” kind of mood, iTunes! I expect you to anticipate these things.

Auburn will be getting underway soon. In spite of having two meets this weekend and a bigger showcase against Alabama on Sunday, the tentative lineup for Auburn features pretty much all the big guns, including Atkinson in the AA. Demers is still limited to just beam, however.

Michigan State is on it this year. Top 25 currently, and hovering close to 196 pace after two events tonight. Five tenths lead on Arizona now. Bowling Green actually in second, which is an accomplishment because I didn’t even know they were at that meet.

Warmups now with Kentucky and Auburn. Audio?
Yessssss. Please tell me you saw all those cheerleaders trying to do full twisting back tucks and face-planting. Props to the boys. Theirs were way better than the women’s.

Still no audio, but Furuyama of Kentucky just did a fine yfull, some mushy knees and a step back, but OK start.

Guy – UB – starting mid-routine, solid tkatchev – flings out her double tuck dismount a little but easily finishes it because it’s an easy dismount for her, small hop back.

They’re struggling a bit with this feed so we’re missing some routines as well, but Kopec waiting to go on bars.

Kopec – UB -first handstand was short – hits jaeger to overshoot – some toe issues in here and a couple borderline handstands – solid DLO but a medium hop back.
Hartley did a solid yfull with a medium step back – better on height and form.

Milliet – UB – becoming a very nice bars worker – strong ray and pak – finishes her half turn right on top of the low bar – hit handstands – step on double tuck dismount. They need these sticks. If you’re doing a double tuck, you need to stick.

Mitchell – VT – STICKS her front handspring, handspring, front pike. Best I’ve seen her do it.

Kluz – UB – good first hs – nice height on tkatchev – one short hs in there – strong straddle back – looked a little close on shoot back to high bar but OK – hop back on DLO. Still not sticking.

Good height and distance from Waltz on vault with a step back.

Walker – UB – strong opening – toe on – nice toe point on tkatcehv – hitting handstands, clean on pak but misses her handstand on the half turn on the low bar – very short on that turn – great DLO with a stick. Shame about the turn because otherwise that was their best so far.

Phipps – VT – BUH DAMN distance on her handspring tuck half – way way down the mat – step back.

Atkinson – UB – starting toward the end – shortish on a couple of these handstands but nice tkatchev – did the coach touch her? I’m sure not – and excellent on the full twisting double back with a small hop in place.

Interesting: After 1, Kentucky leads 49.125 to 48.975. Ah, being away from home. What a difference it makes. Auburn was fine on bars, little mistakes here and there and they really needed to stick some of those dismounts, but they didn’t get any benefit of the doubt there on some of those early 9.7s. Work to do to get a good score now. They must nail these upcoming rotations.

Michigan State counting a fall on beam now.

Into rotation two now, featuring all the Kentucky gymnasts on crutches in the background. It’s the whole team.

So glad we got to see Bri Guy’s run on vault. They’re having issues with this broadcast, and it’s kind of making my day. Sorry. But it’s probably a good sign that it’s time to switch to Bama and Missouri, don’t you think?

Bri Guy’s run got a 9.825 by the way.

Oh Bart and Kathy. I already feel so much better. The Duckworth word of the week is “united.” Is someone trying to get some free flights? In that case, my word of the week is “whiskey.”

Phew that Demers is back on vault. 9.900. These are the scores Auburn needed after bars. Still not going to be another big 197, but they’ll be back on track with this. 49.275. Still can squeeze a high 196 out of this, which would be enough to move up in RQS.

Missouri’s goal is 22 fist pumps? Should we score meets in fist pumps now? The answer is no.

Rotation 1:
Kern – MU – VT – yhalf – not bad at all – hop – but nice height and body position.

McNeer – UB – good first hs – strong Ray – very clean work early – hits bail well – pretty short on final handstand – sticks DLO. One poor handstand in there, but a really strong performance otherwise.

Harris – VT – Good height and distance, some foot form and such – hop back – also solid, though.

C Sims – UB – good finish on full turn – high tkatchev – hitting her hs – better bails this week than last week – short on a late handstand – strong stick on double back. Kathy was rightfully unhappy with her lack of toe point throughout.

Kappler – VT – large bounce back on her yfull this time – looked like it was going to be good – clean form, just a little piking at the end, but then the bounce.

Winston – UB – A little bit of a B team for Alabama today, but that means we’re getting to see Winston again! toe on – high Ray with great counter rotation – very clean on the pak as well – a couple borderline handstands – and then a very short final one – strong DLO with a hop back. So much potential in there. It’s worth it to get her back into the lineup, I think, but not much time left now. 9.900!

Trevino – VT – Nice yhalf – good body form and direction – step back, just came in a little short and had to take the step.

A Sims – UB – Weiler half – to bail – the usual strong elements with the leg separations on pretty much everything, DLO with a step back.

Schugel – VT – Nice height on that yfull! Best so far in that department, a little bounce and step back and some late piking as all the Missouri gymnasts have.

Beers – UB – solid shaposh to pak combo this time – half turn and step up are OK – one iffy handstand? – hesitation on half turn but fine – then CLOSE on her double front but manages to hold onto that stick – strength. Hit routine. No major breaks there.

Clark – UB – No 6th vaulter for Missouri. So glad Clark is back here – toe on – toe shaposh is quite nice – goog leg form – clean bail – hugely high DLO and stuck. Great work. Best in the rotation so far. They all need to work on really hitting their final handstands before the dismounts. I think all six of them were short? But otherwise this was clean work, and they’re getting the scores for it, too, even though they’re away.

Looks like Bailey is getting ready to exhibition. Yesssss. Another one they need back.

Bailey – UB – nice full turn to a clean bail – great toe shoot back to high bar – same final handstand issue – stuck the full out. Great. Why wasn’t she in the lineup. Get back.

Well now, 49.475 for Alabama on bars. That’ll do. A bit of a scoring benefit for some of them. Was Beers really a 9.925? But happy with the clean routine from Winston, and efficient, solid work from Clark. No Jetter today, and they were fine with it.They’ll have plenty of options, though with this six plus Bailey, Jetter, and Brannan. Not really sure what the best six is, though, but I hope we see more of Winston because her peak ability is easily among the top six.

Arizona ended up winning the meet with a 195.450, which is better than that 195.100 they wanted to drop, but not by enough to help make a real assault on the top 18. Pressure on their performance next week now.

Auburn starting with solid 9.8s on floor. Alabama moving to vault now, looking to keep up this almost 198 pace. We’ll see Sanders on vault today, who I forgot was on this team.

Rotation 2:
McNeer – VT – Almost stuck the yfull – step back and to the side, but everything else was fine. She’s becoming almost the Chelsea Davis of this vault lineup – that early, clean stick – but not this time. 9.775. Could have been higher.

Trevino – UB – a little late on the full turn – and Sophina legs on her gienger – short final handstand – whips out DLO, pikes the second salto – sits it. Rough.

Brannan – VT – Good height, a little piking, medium hop back.

Johnson – UB – a little better on the full turn and much better legs on the gienger – cery nice – hitting handstands – a little late on both her giant fulls – sticks double tuck – good work overall.

Sanders – VT – Her first competition routine. Not bad. A little more piking than the other Alabama options, leg separation and a step back.

Kappler – UB – strong full turn to bail – not much on her shoot up to high bar, but great full twisting double tuck – another stick. Two strong routines in a row.

C Sims – VT – Gooooooood vault. Sticks her yfull, good dynamics and direction. Best she has done.

Conkle – UB – good full turn – the #2 ranked gienger in this rotation so far – better than the first but worse than the second – short on final handstand – small steps on the DLO.

Dennis – VT – Also a newbie to the vault lineup – yhalf – great power and distance but off to the side and a large step forward – also a little tucking the knees at the end.

Miller – UB – strong piked jaeger and bail – hitting the handstands – good rhythm – high DLO and stuck. Great work. Best of the rotation.

Beers – VT – Big height – going for the 1.5 again – but a large lunge and stumble forward – we may see the full come back before too long.

P.S. Alicia Boren just finished floor with a full in at the Nastia. Powerful. Great. Yeah, have fun at Florida. That floor lineup won’t be hurting.

Fall from Schugel for Missouri, they’re counting a fall on bars now.

49.150 for Alabama on vault. A function of being without some of their very best workers, including Clark and Williams today, and having to sub in some B teamers. Also didn’t get the benefit they did on bars. Tighter scoring there. Career best vault from Sims, though. Nice to see her stick.

Scores coming in from Florida and Oklahoma. Advantage Oklahoma so far with a couple 9.900s on vault in the early routines. Too much happening right now! Now Florida is getting the 9.9s as well, both Caquatto and Hunter.

Auburn got a 49.375 on floor, featuring a 9.950 from Atkinson. That’s more like it. With a big beam, they may still be able to sneak a 197, which is more than enough for them from this meet. Kentucky staying close though and on track for a huge score for them. Another big beam score for Mitchell. So deserved.

9.950 for Scaman, 9.975 for Sloan. It’s going to be that kind of score and that kind of day. Multiple 9.975s for Sloan now this year. It’s the season of the 9.975.

Alex McMurtry returns to the bars anchor position for Florida. I know people are going to hate that, but it’s smart. It’s just the smart lineup decision. You don’t need Sloan anchoring. She can get 10s anywhere.

After 1: Florida 49.550, Oklahoma 49.525. YEP.

Meanwhile, I’m watching Missouri do beam. CURSE YOU TELEVISION DECISIONS!
Olivia Karas just stuck a 1.5 at the Nastia. Can you head to Michigan, like, now? They need you tonight. Excited for that for next year.

Rotation 3:
A Sims – FX – solid opening and then exceptional on her straddle jumps as always – clean middle pass landing – controlled step out of the layout – didn’t look like she would have enough height on that double tuck, but it was perfect. Stuck landing. Strong start. 

Kappler – BB – good and solid three series ending in loso – confident – full turn – switch side – Kathy wants her to make bigger pictures – sticks gainer full. They’ll certainly take that.

Valentin – FX – double front – large lunge out of it but keeps it in bounds. She’s one of Bart’s gymnasts, and Kathy is criticizing her feet. Oh, it’s on now. That’s their version of a throwdown. Drops down into that double pike landing. High. Also a 9.9? Sims’ routine was stronger.

Albritten – BB – nice aerial – small hesitation into bhs – solid leaps – switch to split – hits her 180s – check on full turn – kickover front is solid – larger step on gainer full.

Frost – FX – Fine DLO – a little slide back but didn’t come in short like most people – gets around her straddles and her wolf jump full – front full to layout is hit – stalling in the corner – double pike – secure landing – some chestishness?

Auburn will have to overcome a beam fall from Milliet now. Pressure moments.

Martin – BB – hits loso series – bent knees but secure – check on full turn from her as well – nice side aerial – straddle jump 3/4 is hit – sticks gainer full. This is a nice beam rotation so far from Missouri. Shame about bars.

Dennis – FX – small bounce on double pike – good opening split leap but short on the connected split jump – layout to layout full – archy first layout and then a stumble on the full, which will bring her score down – hits double tuck. Still 9.875. High scores on floor today.

Auburn counting a 9.350 on beam now. Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Hunter 9.950 on vault for FL, but they’ll need a big one from McMurtry to keep pace with Oklahoma’s vaulting.

Conkle – BB – Hits loso series – clean full turn – check after a solid switch split – Kathy jinxed her – really struggles on straddle jumps combination – pause after the first and then off on the second – no chance – Punch 1.5 dismount is stuck.

9.975 for McMurtry. More 9.975s! 9.950 for Dowell on bars. Slight edge for Florida.

Winston – FX – So excited to see her here. Nice leaps to start – well done – hugely huge bounce back on her opening double tuck – just layouts as the middle pass but they’re clean – niiiiice switch ring. That’s what I’m talking about. Just not quite ready yet – a little short in double pike. Next season, this will be amazing.

Kathy just invented the word “meticular.”

Schugel – BB –  “She is long and willowy on this event” – nice loso series – don’t love that leap series – really tough to keep the second split up to the level as the first – and a check – hits gainer full. No counting fall. Wait. Why did she get a 9.2? SV issues?

Kentucky will defeat Auburn!

Beers – FX – A little short on the DLO – layout to front full is hit this time – switch ring is OK – a small bounce on the double tuck as well – hit routine this week – though a few landing issues that are a bit abnormal. 

I think it’s time to check in on Minnesota and LSU for a bit now before Utah and Michigan start.

Jordan – VT – very clean yfull – small twitch of the legs on the landing, but the usual Jordan vault – Should be a good score.

10.000? Well now. She has done that exact vault about 20-30 times in her career. Happy senior night!

C Gardner – UB – leg separation on half turn – crazy legs on the jaeger – bits the bail – some leg breaks her and there – lunge forward on double front. Going up following two mistakes.

Hambrick – VT – Obsessed with Hambrick’s vault in the air – so clean – just a shuffle back on the landing.

 Minnesota starting to pull it together on bars – still some issues in the Covers routine with leg breaks and a lunge forward, but they’re hitting now.

Gnat – VT – Does the full this time, but her best landing of the year. So it may pay off to do the full. 9.975. What is the total in this rotation going to be? A million?

Mable – UB – leg separation on her gienger – pretty pretty pak – sticks her full twisting double back – she saves every rotation every day.

Courville – VT – Small hop on yfull. The usual everything else. 10? WHAAAAA? OH SCORING. You didn’t stick.

I can’t even with this. 49.825 for LSU on vault. When was the last time a team scored that well on vault? Solid hit from Tomson at the end on bars for Minnesota. She and Mable saved it for 48.700, but not what Minnesota needed.

Oklahoma with ALL THE 9.9s on beam so far. Getting back into the lead momentarily against Florida in the third rotation.

Alabama on track for a solid 197 in this meet with a hit beam.That’s all they needed in this meet.

Auburn finished with a 196.325 after the beam fall, losing to Kentucky’s 196.575. HUGE score for Kentucky.

Oklahoma is destroying beam. Sorensen gets a 10 from one judge. So glad she has made this lineup.

After 1 rotation, LSU leads 978.999 to 48.700

Rotation 2 – LSU to bars, Minnesota on vault
C Gardner – VT – yfull – pretty big pike – low landing – hopw forward to salute and pretends it’s a stick

Savona – UB – a little short on opening hs but clean on shaposh and bail – nice hs – good full turn – hits tkatchev – lower DLO with a small hop.

B Gardner – VT – full – also a little short with a step forward –

10.000 for Brewer on beam for Oklahoma. ALL THE 10s TODAY. 49.750 on beam for the Sooners. This day. Open up a two-tenth lead on Florida with one rotation to go. First 10 of the season on beam.

Gnat – UB – a little late on full turn – hits gienger with some crazy legs – nice bail – strong final hs – larger hop back on DLO. Some issues there. Not her strongest.

Nice vault for Haines but large bounce back. Good height.

Zamardi – UB – very clean on shaposh and pak – hitting hs well – khorkina is solid – double arabian just on the edge of the mat with a couple steps – wonderful but gave away a bit on that landing –

Tomson – VT – handspring pike half with a medium step –

Hambrick – UB – Nice Ray – clean handstands – hits bail – small small issues but nothing real – small step back on full twisting double tuck – good clean work – nice routine –

Covers – VT – good stick – some bending to hold onto the stick but very nice. Should boost these scores a lot.

Jordan – UB – good early hs – nice half turn to lovely jaeger – hits the bail – shoot back to high bar – larger step back on DLO. Another fine, solid showing.

Mable – VT – HUH? Did you just tuck your full? WHAT? Oh, Lindsay. Lands it well, but no…They needed a big score from her.

Courville – UB -Close on the jaerger but nice form – clean on the bail – shoot is strong – solid landing on dismount with a small shuffle to bring the legs together.

A pretty normal score from LSU comparatively on bars for 49.375. Still some gifts in there (Gnat?) but they all had some small issues. Need some more sticks to expect any bigger scores.

Utah and Michigan still in introductions. Florida and Oklahoma both on pace for 198s tonight. Did we expect any different. Three 10s so far tonight. There had been a lull but not anymore. Let’s be honest, Hall has already received a 10 on floor and she hasn’t even gone yet.

Looks like Alabama overcame a fall from Guerrero on beam to hit the rotation and finish with a 197.350. Solid score. Exactly what they needed. And done without a lot of major contributors. They definitely got the benefit of the doubt on some scores there, but it’s a hit meet and they were able to pull a Miss Val and “explore depth” without sacrificing scores. Missouri goes 195.275.

 Let’s see if I can watch LSU/Minn and Utah/Michigan at the same time.

Utah is playing “Good Riddance (Time of your life)” over everyone recounting their favorite memories. Oh dear.

Ewing – LSU – BB – nice on the layout 2ft – very crooked on her switch side – Ranzy agrees with me – a little tentative on her full turn – layout stepout to straddle 1/4 is fine – Nice stick on 1.5. Good hit.

Minnesota needs some serious scores in this floor rotation to have any hope of getting that necessary 196 that they must squeeze out of the huge scoring at this meet – good opening hit.

Hall – BB – small check on her switch side but better extension – another check on her loso series – also on the full turn – tight on everything – switch to straddle 1/4 – bounce back on double tuck –

Holst on floor for Minnesota now – solid opening pass – a little short on these leaps – layout half to layout full – pulls around her 1.5 to layout. This is better from Minnesota.

Anyone else lose the stream for Utah and Michigan? Also Oklahoma cruising now and on track for an epic score.

Macadaeg – BB – that full turn is always the weakest part of her routine – the only nervous moment – great switch and switch half – not huge on the aerial but clean and controlled – solid loso series with great legs – so weird to watch Macadaeg without Kathy drooling – too much of a hop forward for a gainer pike dismount.

C Gardner – FX –  double pike to start – some bent knees on the middle pass with a lunge – solid work on her straddle elements – 1.5 to layout is solid on the landing as well – just some leg form issues on her twisting passes –

Really a shame about the Utah stream. I’ve been looking forward to that meet.

Hambrick – BB – Lovely L turn as always – side aerial is very secure – good switch to straddle 1/4 – wobble on loso series and does well to hold onto it and not give away too much. Good stick on double full. That’s one of her most confident and strongest beam routines except for that check on the series. 

Bridget Sloan back on beam! 9.925. Hunter gets a 9.975! Florida goes 198.100! Scaman gets a 10.000 on floor! Oklahoma goes 198.500! 198.500 you guys. 198.500. I guess the championship race is on. I’ll have to look back to see the last time anyone scored that high. Anyone know?

Gnat – BB – solid full turn – hits her leaps – a little crooked on switch side but secure – excellent on her loso series – great stick on the double full – one of her good ones – 9.925.

Mable floor time – wonderfulness on her double pike – so clean and secure – she is lovely on floor – punch rudi to straddle jump to front tuck is very strong as well – finishes 1.5 to layout – the layout was the weakest part of the routine – a little arched with an almost stumble – still good –

Utah went a casual 49.550 on vault, but no 10s. What’s up with you judges?

Jordan – BB – wobble on side somi – what is this? – excellent as usual on the loso series – very pretty switch and straddle 1/4 – controlled full turn – lovely aerial – two very small steps on the 1.5 dismount – still fine but not the perfection we expect.

Michigan went 49.375 on bars, so trail a bit early, but still got a big 9.950 from Brown and 9.925 from Sugiyama. Also counting some 9.8s, though.

Fall from Minnesota in the last spot on floor, so they’ll stay with their first five and first 49 rotation of the day so far. Beam still to come, though. Scary times.

No Courville on beam tonight, which is interesting. We’re seing a really nice hit again from Williams, though in exhibition. LSU goes 49.475 on beam, which is solid. Will keep them close to 198 pace given that huge vault score and what we can expect on floor.

Utah and Michigan time now – lunge back from Parker on vault, and clean work from Lewis to lead off Utah on bars – small hop back on DLO.

Brown – VT – Mich – controlled landing – just a small hop – a little piking and not as much distance as some others will have.

Rowe – UB – Nice first hs – solid full turn – fine tkatchev – hits bail – she’s improving these hs – leg separation on the DLO but it looked like a stick from that terrible angle.

Artz – VT – Really strong distance on her full – small step back – not bad -they’ll need to start hitting these landings in the last three to contend, though.

Wilson – UB -good full turn – a little close on the gienger and then a leg break on the overshoot – a little short on final handstand – nice stick on dismount. A little sloppier than her other routines this year. That looked a little sophomore year from her. 9.925 anyway. Senior night.

Chiarelli – VT – Good power as always, but not controlled on the landing either, medium slide back.

Lopez – UB – late on full turn – hit tkatchev – a bit of toes on the bail but solid – hop back on DLO.

Sugiyama – VT – Good on the 1.5 in the air as always – strong direction and controlled landing, small hop forward. Still no sticks yet.

Lothrop – UB – good first hs – knees on the jaeger but solid – clean on the bail – hitting her hs very well – not much height on the DLO with a small slide back.

Sheppard – VT – Getting better on her full – nice height – just landed a little chest down with a step. She’s not back to last year level yet.

Dabritz – UB – HOW MANY 10s WILL SHE GET? Strong comaneci – good half turn to usual jaeger – hits the bail – good shoot to high bar – sticks dismount. 10.000 obviously. It was equivalent to her other 10s this year – and since it’s senior night, it was always going to happen. 

Savona – FX – opening double back is secure – and sticks the full in middle pass as always – good straddles. A little slide on last pass.

Finally seeing Gordon on vault for Michigan – in exhibition – yhalf with a hop to the side and some iffy legs – A bunch of bars exhibitons for Utah because it’s one of the last chances. That will be normal tonight.

Utah with another 49.550 in the second rotation, so they’re looking to challenge what Florida put up against Oklahoma. Or maybe even what Oklahoma put up. It’s the day of the 198s. Another very solid hit from Ewing on floor. So secure on her passes. Can LSU do it as well? WHO WILL BE THE 198-iest?

Minnesota having some wobbleburger issues on beam so far but avoiding the falls. B Gardner has some really lovely qaulities and small things like a pretty stag jump – but big bounce back on gainer full, which hurts.

Hambrick – FX – piked full in to start – gets it around – but barely and a lunge back – nice middle pass with a small bounce – just a little short on her first leap which should be a strength of her routine – very strong double pike at the end. She’s getting there on floor. One of her better showings, but still some iffy moments. 9.875 anyway.

Not bad from Tomson on beam – a little low on a front tuck and some leg form, but mostly solid acro – 9.750.

Jordan – FX – High double pike and great control – her usual double pike – clean front full to layout – looked like she would have a stumble on the landing but didn’t really – straddles are well hit – 1.5 to layout full takes it RIGHT to the edge but stays in – 9.925.

We’re seeing Casanova on floor for Michigan now this time – finishes with an OK rudi – not so big but a secure landing.

Dabritz back in the beam lineup for Utah. Hmmm. A senior night thing or an all-the-time thing? Pretty full turn – clean on her loso series – short on her switch 1/2 – I don’t know why they make her do that skill, it doesn’t work her her – solid side aeiral – hits switch – short on straddle 1/4 – small hop on double full. It’s a hit beam on senior night for her. Fitting.

Missed some of Gnat’s floor during that Dabritz routine, but P.S. she’s killing it – bounces back on double pike. Still gets a 9.975 because why the hell not? You can clearly bounce out of your double pike and still get a 10 tonight.

Mable – BB – Lovely three series to start – perfectly on and great form – wobbles on her aerial – good switch and small correction on straddle 1/4 – pretty full turn – side aerial to full dismount with a just a step. A couple smaller issues but nice work overall.

Time for Hall on floor. Here we go.

Hall – FX – Strong DLO – definitely keeps that one foot planted with a controlled step – switch side and popa are hit – front full to layout is hit as well – perhaps a small bounce on the double tuck, but it’s obviously getting a 10 and I don’t have much of a problem with it. The least debatable 10 of this meet so far. I love that the commentator is trying to act surprised about Hall getting a 10. She got it before she performed.  

LSU finishes 198.375, can’t quite catch Oklahoma’s number. 195.450 for Minnesota. They needed more than that.

Kari Lee finishing up her beam with some lovely work. She’s my favorite beamer on this team. Should be a big score based on precedent. 9.975. Obviously. This day.

Sugiyama – FX – a little low chest on the pike full mount but overall nicely done and glad it’s back – controlled landing – front full to layout is solid – she’s putting together a big day with two 9.9s so far – finishes with an excellent double pike. Great control and chest position.

Rowe – BB – good full turn – switch to straddle 1/4 is OK but could use more extension – loso series is right on – nice kickover front – one of her best ones – dismounted out of shot – 

Chiarelli – FX – lands the tuck full well – a small hop to the side on landing – strong 1.5 into layout but an uncontrolled lunge – a little more complete on the switch side into popa this time – more defined individual skills in the combination – secure double pike – another very strong showing.

Lotrhop – BB – didn’t get her switch side half all the way around this time – had to fudge the last 1/4 turn – hits loso series with some bent knees – secure switch side – good full turn – switch to straddle 1/4 – they’re all dismount out of shot. Is this so we don’t see the steps and can’t criticize the crazy scores?

Artz – FX – Good pike full this time – buckles slightly in the knees but good control – hits her split and straddle positions well – Of course, she does lose credit for using Grable’s music, but… – really strong stuck middle pass – short on her double pike with a bounce forward – was really strong until then –

Utah goes 49.500 on beam (just) and is still on pace for another senior night 198. We’ve had three already tonight, so why not four. You know they’re going to get huge floor scores.

While they’re not matching what Utah is scoring, Michigan is also putting together a great road score for themselves if they can endure beam. Just a regular 9.850 of a beam rotation, and they should be at a season high.

Heads up – Sugiyama is actually ahead of Dabritz in the AA right now. That’s unlikely to stay because Dabritz is going to floor and Sugiyama to beam, but it’s worth noting.

Wow. over 16,000 there tonight. I didn’t even know that was possible in there. How many fire codes are you breaking?

OK – how many 10s is Utah going to get on floor? It might be 6. Anchoring with Tutka tonight. Because 10s.

Rotation 4 – Utah on floor, Michigan on beam
Casanova – BB -Wait, we announce Casanova’s beam – and then the chicken dance starts? WHAT IS HAPPENING? Nice front tuck – very secure and good landing position – solid full turn – good leg extension on loso series – good switch side – straddle jump to back tuck – wobble – hop forward on gainer pike dismount.

Rowe – FX – short on double pike with a lunge forward – double full to layout stepout – fine on the split and straddle – 1.5 to layout is OK as well – a few moments of legs in those last two passes, but the main issue will be the short first pass.

Sugiyama – BB -hits loso series – her beam is always a little tentative and scary, but she’s hitting now most of the time – short of position on that switch side – pike jump to back tuck – does the 2.5 – off to the side this time with a step.

Lee – FX – just a tad short of rotation on her 3/1 this time – front layout to a solid full – switch ring to split half both look fine – lack of control on double back with too big a slide but fine hit.

Williams – BB – Stag jump – smallest correction on side aerial – precise but slow full turn – looks like she got the split jump full around this time – step back on loso series – step on 1.5 dismount –

Wilson – FX – solid DLO this time – one of her better ones so far this year – switch side was fine, popa short of 180 – a bit arched in layout into front full – low landing on her double tuck. Fine. She’s had a little trouble with this routine this year, so this was a solid showing. 9.950. Oh no, what are you going to give the next three routines then? They all should be stronger.

Brown – BB – lovely leg extension in loso series – good switch to split jump – definitely hitting those – a little off center on her side somi but pulls it back – pretty full turn – aerial is OK – sticks the double full – not bad at all.

Lothrop – FX – secure landing on tuck full – low chest – 1.5 to half to split jump middle pass – her switch side and straddle work does often look crooked but she got the elements around and it wasn’t too pronounced – slide back on double pike. 9.925.

Artz – BB – early wobble – she’ll have to pull it together – nice aerial to bhs – slower connection but kept moving – pretty individual skills – another check just on the full turn – tightness – holds onto her kickover front well and goes into the beat jump without giving up a wobble. A little short on her front 1.5 with a step. Just a tighter routine than her best ones. Still 9.900. Did they think she went to Utah?

Dabritz – FX  -solid on the pike full in – her usual – 1.5 to layout stepout is hit as well – Split half looked a little iffy to a fine wolf – solid on the triple full. Secure, all the way around, controlled step back.Solid work. Around one of her better ones. 9.950. She already got her 10 today, apparently. This is going to be another one of those rotation scores.

Chiarelli – BB – secure on loso series and side aerial – the legs are a little sloppier than some of her teammates, but she is a beamer these days and holds onto these skills well – sticks double tuck – low chest but great control. 9.975. 

Tutka – FX – strong full twisting double tuck – best chest position and control of the rotation so far – layout to 1.5 – the legs get a little ragged in that 1.5 – wonky popa to wolf – hits double tuck – let’s see what the standard for a 10 was for her today – hmm 9.925. A normal and fairly appropriate score for that routine. That’s a lot of self control for those judges not to give any 10s to that rotation. They even gave one to Michigan on beam.

P.S. Six people in this meet broke 39.500 in the AA.

Final: Utah 198.250, Michigan 197.675
Better than Florida, but weaker than LSU and Oklahoma because it’s just that kind of day. Oh senior night 198s. What are we going to do with you? I feel like I should be more outraged but can’t muster the energy right now. Maybe later. The scores tonight certainly were insane in so many places for so many teams. The vaults 10s for non-sticks are really getting out of control. It’s hard to make any conclusions about where we stand heading toward the postseason right now because the standard tonight was so enthusiastic. You can’t be giving all these routines 9.975 once we get to championship season. You can’t just. We have to wait for a little bit longer until the reals finally get separated from the non-reals.

What shouldn’t get lost in that meet is Michigan’s season high. They certainly got the residual Utah benefit, but that’s such a juicy road score for them in RQS. They did what they’ve been doing all season, hit a solid meet with no weak routines and no 9.7s. Well done.

I’m spent. See you tomorrow!

The Weekend Ahead – March 6th-9th

Elite and NCAA in the same weekend. Worlds colliding. It’s very disturbing. It’s like two groups of friends meeting for the first time.

That’s right, it’s American Cup time. So get ready to watch Simone Biles take some names (so she can follow them on instagram) and watch the men look fairly unready to compete the all-around because it’s March. Hooray! As always, the American Cup will be preceded by the annual Nastia Liukin NCAA Preview on Friday. The Nastia meet is always a useful glance at the gymnasts who are going to get 9.900s in a couple years, but as is tradition, it takes place at the exact same time as significant meets involving current, actual NCAA gymnasts. Sigh. Tomorrow is very much a multi-screen day. For our immediate purposes, a few of the Nastia competitors will be starting college next season, including Alicia Boren, who will be Florida’s new star, Olivia Karas and Emma McLean of Michigan, Macy Toronjo of UCLA, and Makenna Merrell of Utah, so keep an eye on them.

In the rankings, Oklahoma will remain safe at #1. LSU and Florida are quite close together and will be fighting it out for the #2 spot, with the Gators having a slight advantage since they have the weaker score still to drop. Utah has a chance to challenge for a higher ranking but would need at least a 197.700 and some help from either Florida or LSU to move any higher than 4th. Beyond that, with two meets this weekend and a 196.175 to get rid of, Alabama looks the most primed to make a surge toward the top 4, with Auburn in a similarly advantageous position. Both teams should move up with anything resembling normal performances in their meets this weekend. 

It’s also worth beginning to look at the top-36 Regionals cutoff. West Virginia is a little too close for comfort right now in 34th place, especially because they’re slated to host a Regional this year. It would be rough if they fail to make the top 36. WVU’s season high is just a 195.350, which doesn’t cut it. They’ll need something real against Penn State this Sunday. NC State and George Washington currently occupy the last two spots, with North Carolina, Utah State, and San Jose State all challenging, and we could still see some shifts among that group this weekend.

Friday begins with Auburn and Alabama on the road in what should be comfortable wins for both, but the meets still carry some significance. Auburn has a road 195 to get rid of and could jump right up to challenge #5 Michigan with a solid 197 performance. Alabama is coming off the kind of loss that makes Kayla Williams do Roza-Galieva-face and the whole team needs a mental recovery, not just with a win but with a big mid-197. In other action, LSU will take on Minnesota in a meet that is much more important for Minnesota than LSU. The Gophers are in desperate need of a road 196 to keep them solidly in the top 18 for seeding purposes.

But really, let’s get to the good stuff. Florida. At Oklahoma. Yessssss. Clash of the titans. Last year may have ended in a tie, but as far as I’m concerned, this is the tiebreaker. Sadly, it’s only available on one of those Fox Sports regional networks that I don’t get, but I’m excited about it nonetheless. The Gators still have to prove that those huge 198s are not just a home phenomenon, and they’ll probably need exactly that in order to beat Oklahoma in Oklahoma. Florida’s highest road score so far this year is a 197.425, and I doubt that’s going to get the job done this time.

The biggest progression for Oklahoma this year has been the introduction of Dowell and Jackson, especially on vault and floor, where they provide many more options for 9.9 realness. Those vault and floor routines are going to be the most important performances of the night for Oklahoma because Florida will bring the Baker/Hunter 1-2 punch on floor and the Hunter/McMurtry 1-2 punch on vault. It’s through those four routines that Florida is most likely to build an advantage (plus the inevitable Bridgey bump on floor), but if Dowell and Jackson are on it to join Scaman’s auto-9.9s, the Sooners can mitigate the advantage Florida gains from their best routines, keep things tight, and then take control of the meet on beam (a rotation that finally came out of hiding last weekend). Watch for which team lands those big vaults better. Both teams are very reliant on those big vaults for 9.925-9.950s, and neither team can afford to be bouncing around for even a 49.3 in a meet this close. It’s March. It’s time to stick. I’m looking at you Kytra.

Not to be outdone, there’s also the matter of Michigan heading to Utah, which should be equally interesting. The two teams are ranked similarly, but Utah has the much higher peak (having broken 198, while Michigan’s top score this year is a 197.300), which makes the Utes the favorite, especially at home. Utah’s biggest advantage in this meet comes on vault. They’re clearly the stronger vaulting team and can use a big score there in the first rotation to create a cushion, while Michigan will need the help of a 2014 Austin Sheppard vault to keep pace.

Vaulting will be significant because while Utah is ranked higher on both bars and floor, I would say that the two teams are qualitatively equal on floor and can be qualitatively equal on bars, though Michigan’s double fronts are a nerve-wracking problem. On beam, Michigan has been the stronger and steadier team, especially given last week’s performance from the Utes. Utah must recover with 6 hit routines this week so beam doesn’t become a thing again.

On Saturday, after all the American Cup action you can handle, I’ll be back to do a bunch of live blogging. First, Georgia hosts Arkansas and must stop the bleeding, get a win, and get a 197. At home, with a hit meet, that should be easy-peasy for Georgia, but it hasn’t happened yet. Then, Nebraska hosts Oregon State in a vital meet for the Beavs. OSU needs a high 196 to get out of that yucky #15 ranking. #15 puts you in a tough Regional. At the same time, we’ve got Beautiful Disaster Showdown Part Deux between UCLA and Stanford, which should be delectable. Actually, both teams are coming off pretty strong performances for season-high scores, so dare we hope it might not be a disaster after all? Nah. Don’t be silly.

Having Price on floor makes Stanford look so much better. It’s crazy what one routine can do. They’re suddenly relatively competitive there. They’re still not 100% on vault, continuing to keep Vaculik out when possible, so in spite of Price’s scores, UCLA should have the vault and floor advantage. They’ll be at home and do have more depth on both events if the landings make it to the arena. Stanford is so very lovely on bars and should be the better team there because, while UCLA has Lee, Peszek, and what has become a very reliable leadoff stick from Francis, the Bruins lose a bit of ground for a couple 9.825 routines (or 9.6 routines) in the middle of the lineup. Stanford won’t necessarily have to count scores like that. As for beam, it’s a treat from both. These are two of the most enjoyable beam teams in the country, but in spite of Ivana Hong being perfect in every way, it’s tough to beat the Francis, Lee, Peszek trio. 

Sunday features one more huge meet, with Alabama and Auburn heading to Birmingham for a podium competition and perhaps the most interesting meet those two schools have ever contested, considering Auburn’s quality over the last month and the fact that Auburn managed to win both vault and beam in the loss to Alabama earlier in the season. Sadly, no broadcast information is listed. What is this life?

Top 25 Schedule
Friday, March 6

6:00 ET/3:00 PT – [19] Arizona, Eastern Michigan @ [23] Michigan State
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [9] Auburn @ [22] Kentucky
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [6] Alabama @ [24] Missouri
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [3] Florida @ [1] Oklahoma
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Iowa State @ [25] Iowa 
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Nastia Liukin Has Two Fendi Purses and a Silver Lexus Cup
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – [16] Minnesota @ [2] LSU
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [5] Michigan @ [4] Utah
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Alaska @ [14] Boise State
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Arizona State @ [21] Southern Utah
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – NC State @ [25] Washington
Saturday, March 7
11:30 ET/8:30 ET – Simone Biles Already Won Cup
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – [18] Arkansas @ [10] Georgia
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [13] Stanford @ [8] UCLA
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [15] Oregon State @ [7] Nebraska
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Illinois Classic ([12] Illinois, UIC @ Northern Illinois)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Ohio State, Air Force @ [17] Denver
Sunday, March 8
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – [19] Arizona @ TWU
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – [11] Penn State @ West Virginia
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – UC Davis @ [20] Cal
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [6] Alabama vs. [9] Auburn (Birmingham, AL)
Monday, March 9
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [17] Denver, Alaska @ Air Force

Week 8 Rankings and RQS Update

In week 8, Florida returned home and managed to win the high-score championship for the second time in the last three weeks with another home 198. As is often the case, floor was where things got really enthusiastic as every competitor in the rotation broke 9.900, causing a bit of an uproar as Bridgey Caquatto got a 9.975 in the anchor position, riding the scores from the bigger routines from Baker and Hunter before her.

There’s sort of a traditional notion that rotation orders should culminate with the best routine (which would be Hunter’s…or Baker’s more and more), but Florida has been able to squeeze so many big scores out of Caquatto’s routine over the last several years because of the lineup position. I don’t know why more teams don’t take that cue and manipulate the lineup order to their advantage. Florida will consistently score better on floor finishing with Baker, Hunter, Caquatto than they would with Caquatto, Baker, Hunter. You don’t need Kytra in the anchor position because her routine is big, impressive, and famous enough that it doesn’t need to be 6th to get a 10.

Sam Peszek’s vault was another discussion topic, as she stuck a very strong vault and originally received a 9.925 for it, which is a normal score but was a little silly based on the scores given to the previous vaults in the lineup.

It was ultimately raised to an appropriate 9.950 after Miss Val performed one of her classic interpretive movement pieces entitled “Open Mouth, Silent Outrage, Tears of a Nation.” Peszek definitely did not obey the heels-together-post-stick guideline, leaving a pretty big foot separation as she held her stick, but it reinforces the frustration that if you’re going to impose stricter standards to the best vaults, you also have to impose the same strict standards to the weaker vaults, otherwise the scores end up being too similar, which happened in UCLA’s vault rotation.

In other news, we’re moving dangerously close to Regionals with every passing day, so for reference, here is what the Regional placements would look like if the season ended today. We have a lot of hosts this year who aren’t currently in the top 18 (Cal, Ohio State, Iowa State, West Virginia), which always makes things a little more interesting.

Regional 1: [1] Oklahoma (HOST), [12] Illinois, [13] Stanford
Regional 2: [2] LSU, [11] Penn State, [14] Boise State
Regional 3: [3] Florida, [10] Georgia, [15] Oregon State
Regional 4: [4] Utah, [9] Auburn (HOST), [16] Minnesota
Regional 5: [5] Michigan, [8] UCLA, [17] Denver
Regional 6: [6] Alabama, [7] Nebraska, [18] Arkansas

Week 8 Rankings – (GymInfo)
1. Oklahoma – 197.740
Week 8: 197.875
Week 8 leaders: AA – None; VT – Capps, Dowell, Scaman 9.925; UB – Scaman 9.925; BB – Capps, Clark, Sorensen 9.925; FX – Jackson, Scaman 9.925

Road Score 1: 198.150
Road Score 2: 197.875
Road Score 3: 197.700
Road/Home Score 1: 197.850
Road/Home Score 2: 197.650
Road/Home Score 3: 197.625

After a couple weeks of normal, Oklahoma jumped back up into the high 197s for the second-highest team score of the season, and did it mostly because of an epic final rotation on beam. That’s the beam rotation we’ve been missing the last few competitions. Things are about to get really interesting for the Sooners now. They’ve had a couple meets with top teams so far this season (LSU, Michigan) and have come out on top, but with Florida and home and Alabama away in the next two weeks, we’ll get a great sense of where they stand in the actual title race heading right into conference championships.

Oklahoma extended the lead over LSU with the performance this weekend, getting rid of a 197.3 and spiffing up the RQS outlook to the point where there aren’t really any scores to drop or worry about. It’s unlikely that they’ll reach a historic RQS this season, but with a 197.825 against Florida on Friday, they can eclipse their final RQS from last season with a couple weeks to spare.

2. LSU – 197.485
Week 8: 197.350
Week 8 leaders: AA – Jordan 39.575; VT – Hambrick 9.925; UB – Courville, Gnat, Jordan 9.875; BB – Jordan 9.900; FX – Jordan 9.925

Road Score 1: 197.425
Road Score 2: 197.350
Road Score 3: 197.350
Road/Home Score 1: 198.075
Road/Home Score 2: 197.950
Road/Home Score 3: 197.350

In spite of the score being 197.350 and relatively pedestrian compared to what we’ve come to expect from the top schools this season, this was a big win. If LSU needed a further statement that this team is ready to beat everybody, becoming the first team to beat Alabama at Alabama was it. It was not an ideal performance, but they delivered a very strong floor rotation when necessary, and even though the beam score was the lower rotation score on the day, that was a nailed rotation with the exception of a nervy, Kathy-Johnson-destroying routine from Macadaeg. Jessie Jordan’s beam routine was the best 9.900 beam routine you’ll see this year. I supposed that gets balanced out by some of the charitable bars scores for routines with clear errors.

The Tigers are home against Minnesota this weekend in their home finale, so they will not be able to challenge Oklahoma in the #1 spot even with a season high. It will be hard for LSU to move up from this #2 spot with that guaranteed-to-count 197.425 road score because Oklahoma’s current low RQS score is already two-tenths higher than that.

3. Florida – 197.455
Week 8: 198.125
Week 8 leaders: AA – Hunter 39.600; VT – McMurtry, Baker 9.950; UB – Sloan 9.975; BB – Baker, Hunter 9.900; FX – Caquatto 9.975

Road Score 1: 197.425
Road Score 2: 197.200
Road Score 3: 196.925
Road/Home Score 1: 198.225
Road/Home Score 2: 198.125
Road/Home Score 3: 197.600

With another strong home performance, the Gators became the country’s first double-198 team. So far this year, they’ve made a habit of being just meh on the road and then coming back home for a huge score where everybody gets a 9.900. They’re going to Oklahoma this weekend, so they will be under major pressure to cut out that streak and not have another letdown road performance like they did in the losses to LSU and Alabama. 

I was pleased to see the progress made on vault in this meet. Those were the most controlled landings they’ve had so far this year as a rotation. Much better than some of those bounce-fests they’ve had that still scored 49.4 because of magic.

Florida is closing in on LSU now. Both teams have a road 197.425 counting, but Florida’s bigger home scores give them an advantage in the bold-score department in spite of currently being ranked lower. With a 196 to get rid of, they’ll have the edge on LSU going into the weekend if both teams hit to capability. 

4. Utah – 197.295
Week 8: 196.875
Week 8 leaders: AA – Rowe 39.300; VT – Wilson 9.950; UB – Dabritz 9.950; BB – Lothrop 9.875; FX – Dabritz 9.925

Road Score 1: 197.850
Road Score 2: 197.025
Road Score 3: 196.900
Road/Home Score 1: 198.050
Road/Home Score 2: 197.825
Road/Home Score 3: 196.875

Utah missed an opportunity this weekend. The Utes were right with Florida and LSU going into competition, but they counted a fall on beam to score under 197 in a vital road meet, which means the gap between them and the top three teams has grown wider. Now they’re counting a 197.025 road score, which is a perfectly fine number, but is troublesome when trying to bust into the top echelon. Still, with a 196 home scores to get rid of this weekend and a meet against Michigan that should have some skyrocketing scores to rival to the Oklahoma/Florida meet, they can still put pressure on Florida and LSU with a big result.

As for this most recent meet, Utah hadn’t put up a yucky beam rotation to that point this season, which is commendable. But, because of previous issues, one poor showing sets off more red flags than it would otherwise. That’s especially the case because following the leadoff fall, nearly everyone performed much worse than they had been performing. They got tight and sloppy, and that’s something they’ll need to work through, not letting the fall affect the next people in the lineup.

5. Michigan – 197.065
Week 8: 197.250
Week 8 leaders: AA – Artz 39.525; VT – Sugiyama 9.900; UB – Brown 9.900; BB – Artz, Casanova, Chiarelli 9.900; FX – Chiarelli 9.975

Road Score 1: 197.125
Road Score 2: 196.975
Road Score 3: 196.725
Road/Home Score 1: 197.300
Road/Home Score 2: 197.250
Road/Home Score 3: 197.250

Going in, it didn’t look like Michigan would be able to make a jump in the rankings this weekend, but they took advantage of Alabama’s home loss and recorded yet another low 197 to sneak back up into the top 5. Michigan is the low 197 team this year. It’s every week now. The showing on beam was of particular importance because we all know the past troubles this group has had on beam, but unlike Utah, they were able to withstand the fall from Sugiyama in the second position and still come up with multiple 9.9s after that.

Michigan’s RQS picture reflects the performance so far this season, solid and even-keeled. Every team score this season has been from 196.600-197.300, which is a pretty small and consistent range. There hasn’t been a lot of variation from week to week, but that also means that there’s no low disaster score to get rid of to provoke a big ranking jump. The Wolverines can’t move up any higher than 5th regardless of their performance this weekend. They’re in hold mode.

6. Alabama – 197.055
Week 8: 197.225
Week 8 leaders: AA – Beers 38.400; VT – Beers, Clark 9.900; UB – Jetter 9.900; BB – Everyone 9.850; FX – Dennis, Jetter, C Sims 9.900

Road Score 1: 197.675
Road Score 2: 196.700
Road Score 3: 196.175
Road/Home Score 1: 197.800
Road/Home Score 2: 197.400
Road/Home Score 3: 197.325

Well, that happened. The symbolism of this performance, losing at home for the first time in over 6 years, is much greater than its actual significance. It’s just a low 197, but it still hurts. And it removes some of the luster from Alabama, perhaps unfairly reinforcing the idea that they have regressed without Sarah (but really, it’s more about being without Jacob, Milliner, and DeMeo). There were still a few highlights in this meet, including some very strong vaults, one of Amanda Jetter’s better meets, and some great work on beam that was lost in the scores because of significant hops on 1.5 dismounts. The highlights, however, could not overcome the trouble spots, the sloppy bars work (they need Clark in that lineup) and Lauren Beers having just a bizarre meet with ridiculous nonsense mistakes.

Alabama remains in healthy shape in RQS land, with two strong 197s and four remaining meets while most teams have just three left. The Tide will compete twice this weekend, first on the road against Missouri, and then “on the road” against Auburn in Birmingham. That’s going to be a meet. With two road 196s still to get rid of, Alabama can make a gigantic RQS jump after this weekend, but that means they’ll have to perform well on the road, which they haven’t really done so much this year. Mustering the energy to come back from this disappointment at a lower-key meet in Missouri will be essential.

7. Nebraska – 196.840
Week 8: 197.100
Week 8 leaders: AA – DeZiel 39.550; VT – DeZiel 9.925; UB – DeZiel 9.925; BB – J Lauer 9.900; FX – Blanske 9.925

Road Score 1: 197.075
Road Score 2: 196.650
Road Score 3: 196.250
Road/Home Score 1: 197.325
Road/Home Score 2: 197.125
Road/Home Score 3: 197.100

Nebraska is back to the 197s after finally getting the 9.9s they should be getting on bars. There was always going to be a lot of flux in the 7-10 area this weekend, but Nebraska did just enough to get rid of a nasty 195 and rise to the top. The Huskers have scores in the low 197s in three of the past four meets, which is the level of performance required to maintain this kind of ranking. Worryingly, beam was an issue again over the weekend with a couple counting 9.7s. It’s either a 48.9 or a 49.3 with this team, and who knows which one you’re going to get.

Nebraska has managed to close the gap to two tenths behind Alabama, but with home meets coming up now, they cannot jump any higher after next weekend’s competition and are unlikely to make any kind of real move until they can get rid of that 196.250 at conference championships. But really, staying at #7 would be a solid result for the regular season and put them in great position for the postseason. They need to work on fending off Auburn, UCLA, and Georgia.

8. UCLA – 196.785
Week 8: 197.350
Week 8 leaders: AA – None; VT – Peszek, Williams 9.950; UB – Lee 9.950; BB – Francis 9.950; FX – Cipra 9.875

Road Score 1: 197.350
Road Score 2: 197.075
Road Score 3: 196.000
Road/Home Score 1: 197.050
Road/Home Score 2: 197.000
Road/Home Score 3: 196.800

UCLA made some good progress this week with a season-high score of 197.350 and another brief glimpse of how formidable they can be when Peszek, Lee, and Francis are all firing at the same time. The Bruins have a higher ceiling than several of the teams ranked above them right now, it’s just a question of whether they will ever reach it. But, no 9.6s on bars this week was a welcome miracle. The only thing keeping them from a very impressive 197 was floor, where Val put up a bit of a B team this week, lacking Peszek, Pinches, and Gerber. Pretty much everyone had at least one weak landing to depress the rotation score.

The Bruins manages to make a big jump in RQS because this score allowed them to drop that Utah nonsense result. They’re at home against Stanford next Saturday in an American Cup after party, so they’re unlikely to make up too much ground but can challenge Nebraska if things fall their way. UCLA still has that road 196.000, so there is still potential for another jump when they head to Arkansas in a couple weeks.

9. Auburn – 196.745
Week 8: 197.750
Week 8 leaders: AA – Atkinson 39.675; VT – Rott 9.975; UB – Milliet 9.925; BB – Atkinson, Demers 9.900; FX – Atkinson 9.975

Road Score 1: 196.875
Road Score 2: 196.825
Road Score 3: 195.650
Road/Home Score 1: 197.750
Road/Home Score 2: 197.300
Road/Home Score 3: 197.075

RQS. That’s why Auburn can have the most important result and biggest score in team history and still fall two spots in the rankings. Gotta love it. Right? This win was a big deal for Auburn because, while there’s still a long way to go to be competitive with the Super Six teams, the fact that we’re even using Auburn and Super Six teams in the same sentence is new and revolutionary. They managed to defeat Georgia soundly, and paired with a competitive showing against LSU, that officially demonstrates that the SEC has expanded to a five-team race.

With two road meets coming up this weekend and a 195.650 still to get rid of, Auburn is in excellent shape to soar in the RQS race. They’ll jump ahead of both Nebraska and UCLA even with just a normal mid-196, and with a huge result in just one of the two meets, can put real pressure on Alabama and Michigan. But, Auburn does still need to prove that quality is not just a home thing. They certainly got the benefit of being at home over the weekend, which is a fun new phenomenon that comes along with being good. Still, having yet to break 197 on the road, there’s work to do to show that they can be a 197 team at championships.

10. Georgia – 196.720
Week 8: 196.775
Week 8 leaders: AA – None; VT – Jay 9.875; UB – Brown, Rogers 9.900; BB – Box 9.925; FX – Babalis 9.825

Road Score 1: 196.950
Road Score 2: 196.850
Road Score 3: 196.775
Road/Home Score 1: 196.975
Road/Home Score 2: 196.825
Road/Home Score 3: 196.200

Oh, Georgia. The Gym Dogs are still yet to break 197 this year, and it’s becoming a thing. Especially because of how many of these 196s they’re already having to count for RQS. Losing to Auburn is a problem because it means Georgia has now lost to Michigan, Denver, Florida, LSU, Alabama, and Auburn so far this year. 6 losses = no good. In spite of the fancy scoring, Georgia still looked like the weaker team over the weekend. But on the other hand, even though the final score was lower than last week’s disastrous home meet, the performance was noticeably better. Because gymnastics. Babalis got the same floor score in both meets, yet had a controlled hit this time and bounced a hundred miles on one of her passes last time. Apparently that doesn’t matter. But qualitatively, Georgia made strides. Floor was much more controlled, beam looked a little calmer, and the people who were supposed to nail bars did so. Still, the landings were a problem all over the place, especially on vault where they gave away a bunch of tenths they didn’t need to give away

In spite of losing, Georgia was able to get rid of a 195 and remain solid in the RQS race. They’re another team whose scores are very bunched at a similar level, but with a good hit at home against Arkansas this weekend, they also have a chance to get the jump on everyone ranked #7 or lower. They’re still in this.

11. Penn State – 196.200
Week 8: 196.650
Week 8 leaders: AA – Welsh 39.400; VT – Sibson, Welsh 9.925; UB – Li, Witt 9.800; BB – Sanabria-Robles 9.900; FX – Welsh 9.875

Road Score 1: 196.175
Road Score 2: 196.025
Road Score 3: 195.600
Road/Home Score 1: 197.025
Road/Home Score 2: 196.650
Road/Home Score 3: 196.550

Good home scores. All the rest of their meets are on the road, so they’ll have to prove they’re also a road team to keep up this ranking.

12. Illinois – 196.195
Week 8 A: 195.950
Week 8 A leaders: AA – O’Connor 39.425; VT – O’Connor 9.875; UB – Horth 9.850; BB – Kato 9.950; FX – O’Connor 9.925

Week 8 B: 196.425
Week 8 B leaders: AA – O’Connor 39.625; VT – O’Connor 9.900; UB – O’Connor 9.925; BB – Horth 9.875; FX – O’Connor 9.900

Road Score 1: 196.975
Road Score 2: 196.425
Road Score 3: 195.475
Road/Home Score 1: 196.500
Road/Home Score 2: 196.400
Road/Home Score 3: 196.175

13. Stanford – 196.175
Week 8: Monday meet

Road Score 1: 196.525
Road Score 2: 196.275
Road Score 3: 195.950
Road/Home Score 1: 197.000
Road/Home Score 2: 196.225
Road/Home Score 3: 195.900

14. Boise State – 196.165
Week 8: 196.275
Week 8 leaders: AA – Morris 39.450; VT – Perkins 9.950; UB – Perkins 9.900; BB – Jacobsen 9.875; FX – Morris 9.925

Road Score 1: 196.625
Road Score 2: 196.025
Road Score 3: 195.975
Road/Home Score 1: 196.725
Road/Home Score 2: 196.275
Road/Home Score 3: 195.925

15. Oregon State – 196.150
Week 8: 195.750
Week 8 leaders: AA – None; VT – Aufiero 9.850; UB – Tang 9.900; BB – Tang 9.925; FX – Gardiner 9.925

Road Score 1: 197.250
Road Score 2: 196.450
Road Score 3: 196.275
Road/Home Score 1: 196.250
Road/Home Score 2: 195.975
Road/Home Score 3: 195.800

Oregon State is currently achieving the rare feat of having their three best scores all be road meets. A bars-tastrophe and an unusable number this weekend did not help. The Beavs are in real danger of being a #3 Regionals seed now. That’s legitimately worrisome, especially for the better teams because OSU is still very dangerous and still 197 capable when they hit. Not a fun #3 seed to have. (Though it’s far from a guarantee—there’s little margin from 11-15 now).

16. Minnesota – 196.010
Week 8: 194.725
Week 8 leaders: AA – Mable 39.650; VT – Mable 9.900; UB – Mable 9.900; BB – Mable 9.900; FX – Mable 9.950

Road Score 1: 196.875
Road Score 2: 196.350
Road Score 3: 195.375
Road/Home Score 1: 196.675
Road/Home Score 2: 196.325
Road/Home Score 3: 195.325

The Lindsay Mable show was able to muster just five bars workers this week, featuring an 8.500. They still have multiple weak scores to get rid of and could be dangerous, but will they actually be able to get rid of them? I’m very interested to see how they fare in LSU next weekend. They need to take advantage of an SEC meet for a serious 196.

17. Denver – 195.935
Week 8: 196.100
Week 8 leaders: AA – Ross 39.375; VT – McGee 9.950; UB – McGee 9.850; BB – Barrett, Ross 9.800; FX – McGee 9.925

Road Score 1: 196.150
Road Score 2: 196.100
Road Score 3: 195.500
Road/Home Score 1: 196.725
Road/Home Score 2: 196.025
Road/Home Score 3: 195.900
18. Arkansas – 195.910
Week 8: 195.825
Week 8 leaders: AA – Zaziski 39.200; VT – Wellick 9.925; UB – Freier 9.900; BB – Freier 9.800; FX – Wellick 9.900

Road Score 1: 196.250
Road Score 2: 196.250
Road Score 3: 194.900
Road/Home Score 1: 196.650
Road/Home Score 2: 196.325
Road/Home Score 3: 195.825

19. Arizona – 195.860
Week 8: 196.475
Week 8 leaders: AA – Flores 39.100; VT – Edwards, Flores, Sisler 9.825; UB – Laub, Ortiz 9.900; BB – Edwards, Mills 9.850; FX – Mills 9.925

Road Score 1: 196.050
Road Score 2: 195.300
Road Score 3: 195.100
Road/Home Score 1: 196.625
Road/Home Score 2: 196.475
Road/Home Score 3: 196.375

20. Cal – 195.845
Week 8: 196.100
Week 8 leaders: AA – Williams 39.400; VT – Williams 9.900; UB – Ho, Owens, Richardson 9.825; BB – Williams 9.875; FX – Owens, Williams 9.850

Road Score 1: 196.600
Road Score 2: 196.100
Road Score 3: 195.425
Road/Home Score 1: 196.225
Road/Home Score 2: 195.900
Road/Home Score 3: 195.575

21. Southern Utah – 195.725
Week 8: 196.475
Week 8 leaders: AA – None; VT – Jensen 9.925; UB – Yee 9.875; BB – Webb 9.825; FX – Jensen 9.875

Road Score 1: 196.225
Road Score 2: 195.750
Road Score 3: 195.500
Road/Home Score 1: 196.475
Road/Home Score 2: 195.650
Road/Home Score 3: 195.500

22. Kentucky – 195.555
Week 8: 195.950
Week 8 leaders: AA – None; VT – Waltz 9.900; UB – Rechenmacher 9.800; BB – Mitchell 9.900; FX – Hartley, Mitchell, Puryear 9.850

Road Score 1: 195.950
Road Score 2: 195.825
Road Score 3: 194.975
Road/Home Score 1: 195.750
Road/Home Score 2: 195.625
Road/Home Score 3: 195.600

23. Michigan State – 195.550
Week 8: 196.275
Week 8 leaders: AA – Burt 39.325; VT – Cartwright 9.875; UB – Burt 9.875; BB – Burt 9.900; FX – Lagoski 9.950

Road Score 1: 196.325
Road Score 2: 196.275
Road Score 3: 195.625
Road/Home Score 1: 195.750
Road/Home Score 2: 195.150
Road/Home Score 3: 194.950

24. Missouri – 195.460
Week 8: 195.275
Week 8 leaders: AA – Schugel 39.100; VT – Kappler 9.825; UB – Conkle, Eubank, Schugel 9.800; BB – Conkle 9.825; FX – Harris 9.800

Road Score 1: 195.975
Road Score 2: 195.850
Road Score 3: 195.275
Road/Home Score 1: 195.800
Road/Home Score 2: 195.225
Road/Home Score 3: 195.150

25. Iowa – 195.395
Week 8: 195.000
Week 8 leaders: AA – Metcalf 39.325; VT – Metcalf 9.825; UB – Hoerr 9.925; BB – Metcalf 9.875; FX – Hoerr 9.900

Road Score 1: 195.850
Road Score 2: 195.225
Road Score 3: 195.175
Road/Home Score 1: 196.375
Road/Home Score 2: 195.725
Road/Home Score 3: 195.000

25. Washington – 195.395
Week 8: Monday meet

Road Score 1: 196.300
Road Score 2: 195.550
Road Score 3: 194.500
Road/Home Score 1: 195.950
Road/Home Score 2: 195.650
Road/Home Score 3: 195.325

Friday Live Blog – Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Utah, and Everyone

Friday, February 27

7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Kentucky @ Florida (Scores) (ESPN3)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Northern Illinois @ Ball State (Scores) (Stream)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Rutgers, Michigan State, Yale @ Towson (Scores) (Stream)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Southern Connecticut, Ursinus @ West Chester
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Oklahoma @ Illinois (Scores)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Georgia @ Auburn (Scores) (ESPN3)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Missouri @ Arkansas (ESPN3)   
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – LSU @ Alabama (Scores) (ESPN3)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Denver, Utah State @ Southern Utah (Scores) (Stream)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – BYU @ Boise State (Scores) (Stream)
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Utah @ Oregon State (Scores) (Pac-12 Network)
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Central Michigan, Iowa, Sacramento State @ UC Davis (Scores)
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Air Force @ Seattle Pacific
11:00 ET/8:00 PT – Centenary @ Alaska (Scores) (Stream)
Week 7 rankings:
Action starts at 7:00 ET/4:00 PT. Stay tuned.
And while we’re waiting, place your bets on who takes the high score on the day.

We’ll get started with Florida and Kentucky in a few minutes. Florida’s vault lineup will be the usual. They got a great stick from McMurtry last week, but most of the people in the middle of the lineup were bouncing all over the place, so I’m looking for more landing control this time around.

We’re with B Team, Melissa and Kupets, for the Florida meet, as expected. We’re getting the Florida blooper reel for some reason. Here are all the mistakes, guys! They really need to work on their landings *Bridgey doing 2/3 of a Yurchenko*. Suri has been tasked with interviewing Rachel Spicer’s mom, who has breast cancer. She’s a gem.

Here we go, Rotation 1: Florida on vault, Kentucky on bars
Caqautto – VT – solid y full – hop back and off to the side, but looked to get a better block than some of her bad ones this year. Distance was fine.

Roemmele – UB – straddle back is clean, the handstands are clearly missed, but she has a nice stick on the full in – if not for handstands, this routine would be a thing.

Spicer – VT – the direction and control on the landing were pretty good this time, a little pike – fine.

Carlisle – UB – stronger on the handstands for her – but takes two small hops on the full twisting double back –  which will take her down.

I love the description “9.700 or less: Needs work.” 9.700 or less: Sort of sucky, amiright?

Wang – VT – better control on her yfull than most of her vaults this season – no huge bounce, just a small hop in place.

Waltz – UB – very high tkatchev but catches pretty close, a little short on her bail handstand, nice final handstand and full into a high double back with a small shuffle that should have been a stick. Pulled it together after a sloppy-ish start.

Baker – VT – Great vault, strongest on the team so far – nice block, good direction, stays straight, and basically sticks. 9.950.

Harlety – UB – a little late on giant full – another huge tkatchev that falls a littel close to the bar – bail – finishes with a whippy DLO with some piking and a hop forward.

Hunter – VT – The usual 1.5 from her, great distance maybe even more than usual, but a fairly significant hop forward – though that’s the only deduction they’ll take I’m sure.

Rechenmacher – UB – pretty jaeger – solid hs – clean enough on the baiul and hits the hs – very precise on the full – small step on double tuck – nice work.

Just saw the comment that one judge gave Bridgey a 9.950. Um……

McMurtry – VT – here we go – beautiful in the air as always, but a medium hop back this time – and a little off to the side.

Beucler – UB – “That jaeger is HUGE” was my internal monologue, and that’s the problem – way far away from the bar – misses a handstand later, step forward on full twisting double tuck.

Florida goes 49.575 on vault because of course they did. It was an improvement, but really only Baker vaulted to her potential. We’ll expect more control in the landings from both Hunter and McMurtry because they gave away a bit of their score there. But McMurtry still got a 9.950, which one judge gave her last week for her stick, so whatever. Improvements in control of landings from the first three in the lineup this week.
Kentucky 48.775
Some nice work in there. Rechenmacher’s routine is quite pretty. Love the height on those tkatchevs as always, but they do come down right on top of the bar and catch with bent arms. A bunch of almost sticks, small shuffles and steps that they’ll need to turn into sticks by Regionals if they want to make anyone remotely nervous.

Florida opens on that pace for a 100,000, as expected. They’ll set the mark to beat.

Rotation 2: Florida on bars, Kentucky on vault
Furuyama – VT – pikes down on her yfull with a hop.

McMurtry – UB – She has been all over this lineup this year – clean work – late on giant full turn – solid bail but short on a handstand on the low bar – fantastic dismount as always with a stick, but she gave away more on the bars this time than usual.

Beucler – VT – That was a little unnerving yfull – “They’re still improving” is Kupets’ assessment. Very little block with lots of piking and a large lunge back.

Fassbender – UB – Waiting on the McMurtry score – good first hs – solid tkatchev, some good counter rotation – clean bail – trying to be precise and slow on these handstands – double arabian dismount with a step back. Pretty strong.

Hartley – VT – Better block than her teammates, still some real piking and a large step back, but better height distance and direction.

BDG – UB – toe on to a strong shaposh – clean bail – step up to high bar – nice final hs – pikes down the second salto of her DLO with a hop forward. Was probably going to get a 20 before that dismount.

Mitchell – VT – front handspring, handspring front pike vault – with a step forward. Tough to get much distance on that, but well done. Every time a front handspring vault is done, the commentator will tell us that she’s never seen anuything like it. It’s a rule.

Hunter – UB – Great hindorff – lost her handstand a little after – short – clean on bail – sticks the full twisting double back – but everything looked pretty strong except that one short handstand after the release. 

Hilton – VT – More refinement in that full than the others have shown – tries to open out of it a little bit and give it some flair – off to the side, and a step, but potential to be pretty.

Caquatto – UB – Strong ray and solid hs afterward, hits her hs position on the bail – precise on all hs – and sticks the DLO. Strong work. One of her more precise bars routines.

Watlz – VT – Good height and finds the stick well – strong vault – not the distance of the Florida vaulters and pikes for it, but holds onto the landing – confident vault.

Sloan – UB – Let’s see what she does after last week – Great Ray – handstands look good – legs together on the bail this time – sticks the DLO. That was a very last year routine. And I’m happy to see the legs together on the bail, which doesn’t always happen. Good performance. 9.975. Almost there. 

Florida is still on 198 pace with 99.025 at the halfway point. Caquatto and Sloan both put up very strong routines in the final two spots to give that rotation a competitive score. It could have been better. Each of the first four performers had some unnecessary errors to keep them down in the 9.8s in a looser scoring environment, but they were saved by the last two. Once again, this lineup looks so much better with Sloan in it.
Kentucky 97.825, after breaking 49 on vault.  Waltz had that nice stick, Hilton had good form, and the rest kept them close enough to be competitive. Vault has been a problem for a number of seasons, and I was worried about it this year without Cunningham, but that was OK. Those last two vaults will carry them, just as those last two bars routines carried Florida.

Courtney is giving us the keys on beam and floor, and they really are milking this footage of Courtney doing beam. Every week? She could walk out there right now and get a 10. That would only be half-based on reputation.

Rotation 3: Florida on beam, Kentucky on floor:
Fassbender – BB – clean on the aerial to bhs – check after the bhs that she probably didn’t need – that sheep jump really isn’t close enough to be a true sheep or anything – great side aerial to stuck full, though.

Hilton – FX – WHOA. What was that? She went into a great, high double pike, but then lost herself in the air and slammed down onto her face. She’s down on the ground now, I was hoping she just got the wind knocked out of her, but they need to go through concussion protocols etc right now because she landed on her head. So we’re in a hold.

She’s still down, which is a worry, but she slammed down near her head, so they have to be very careful with this.

I’m thinking I’m going to switch primarily to Georgia/Auburn when that gets going, but keep an eye on this one. Georgia/Auburn should be the much closer and more interesting meet.

Hilton being loaded onto the gurney now. This is bad. Such a shame. I did not think it was that bad on first view. She even started to continue the routine and then realized something was very wrong. She’s now out of the arena and being taken to the hospital. No big deal, rest of the Kentucky gymnasts. Just go do all your double pikes now. Does Kentucky have meets without scary injuries?

They’re getting a touch warmup now, as Georgia and Auburn gets close.

Spicer – BB – solid loso series to start – full turn – secure gainer loso – no wobbles in here so far, the switch is always a question mark in her routine, it seems like they’re working on rigor-mortis arms a little bit – stuck gainer full. Solid work.

Phipps – FX – Double tuck is secure but legs apart – clean on the front full to layout middle pass – switch side to wolf full – rudi is a little undertwisted and piked – but a solid comeback hit – no landing errors.

Baker – BB –  Wolf turn is OUT. Aerial to bhs is strong – split jump and split jump 1/2 are not 180 and are now the biggest issues in this routine since the wolf turn is gone – double tuck is landed pretty low but secure – small hop.

Carlisle – FX – split jumps to open – also with a solid double back – she’s loading in the leaps because that’s her strength in this routine – hits them – whip 1.5 to front tuck is hit as well – they’re hitting to potential in the next couple routines.

Boyce – BB – aerial – huge break and can’t pull it back and comes off the beam. Eeeeenteresting. It didn’t even look like she was that far off. She just sort of started bending, and then more, and then more – does it again well – everything else is clean – but then a check on choreography – hesitation after her switch – sticks gainer full.

Auburn underway – strong full from Webster with good dynamics but a larger bounce back.
Jay – UGA – UB – good hip to very strong Ray – clean on the bail and precise hs – a little short on final hs – hops the legs together on the DLO – solid start.

Kopec – Auburn – VT – they wait to twist on these vaults – also solid form in the air on her full with a large bounce. Missing the control so far.

Vaculik – UB – nice half turn to excellent jaeger – a little rushed in some handstands – bail looked OK from this angle – nice final cast hs – but overdoes her tuck full a bit with a lunge back.
McMurtry – BB – UF – excellent punch front  to start – clean work – secure loso series – into the 2.5 – just slightly undertwisted with a hop forward – 

Guy – VT – Auburn – Excellent power – good direction – sticks landing – that’s the Guy vault we expect to see – loses her leg form a little early in the vault – maybe a slide on landing?

Persinger – UB – strong first hs – half turn to a hit jaerger – precise on the bail – handstand work is strong – late on the giant full and then a hop back on the double tuck – gave away too much at the very end, though but a nice start.

Kluz – VT – Strong 1.5 – it never looks like she’s going to do one and then she pulls around that other half turn fully – hop forward –

Hunter – BB – Huge series as always – takes it right to the end of the beam with a smaller check – finishes with a stuck double tuck. Just that.
Brown – UB – UGA – The tkatchev and pak are beautiful as always – still not wild about hte hald turn on the low bar – but the hs look close enough – tuck full is strong with a small hop in place – better.

Atkinson – VT – Very nice on the 1.5 – Good power, clearly fully completed, small hop – should be a very strong score.

Davis – UB – good first hs – excellent tkatchev as always – high and counter rotation – hits bail – good height on shoot to high bar – small steps on tuck full – good work as well. this is closer to the late-lineup hits they should be getting.

Rott – VT – Excellent stick on her full. They are getting these vaults. Shame that we didn’t see Demers vault today, but Rott’s stick will help. 9.975. Hello, enthusiasm.

Rogers – UB – very precise first hs – Ricna is great – clean hs – strong bail to stalder shoot – DLO with a step back that was pretty big – perfection until the dismount.

Rounding things up: Kentucky did very well to recover after Hilton’s injury. They has one uncontrolled double pike and almost OOB, but they easily broke 49. Florida came back from Boyce’s fall on beam to get some very fancy scores and a 49.375. They’ve fallen off the 198 pace for now, but they still have a home floor rotation to go.

Auburn vaulted very well for 49.375. Strong work from Atkinson and Rott for some of their better vaults, needed more control on a couple of the early vaults, but that rotation is coming along well and they should be pleased with that performance.

Georgia went 49.325 on bars to stay close, but behind, Auburn after the first rotation, which they didn’t need. They need a lead at halfway. A lot of good work on the bars there, but a few people gave away tenths on landings that they shouldn’t have been giving away, which keeps them under 49.4. They need to be getting 49.4s regardless of venue. Interesting that Davis hasn’t really been getting the scores this season because her routines look the same as they always did for 9.950s in the past, though she did not stick that landing.

Oklahoma jsut went 49.400 on bars, led by Scaman’s 9.925, which is one of her better scores on her 3rd-best event.

Roemmele – UK – BB – way way short on her loso series and comes off the beam. More pressure routines coming from Kentucky. Sheep jump is better than Fassbender’s, though. 

Strong start for Vaculik on VT for Heorgis in the landing department with a stick. Still has some crazy legs going on, but she worked that landing.

Guy – UB – arches her his hs a little but holds it – just looks a little rushed and ragged so far, but is hitting her position – strong tkatcehv, nice full, and a stuck double back – got better as it went –

One of Boyce’s stronger floor routines to start them off

Roberts – VT – Came onto the table CRAZY high and CRAZY crooked and went way off to the side – almost vaulted off the mat entirely, which would have been something.

Kopec – UB – hits her jaeger but very flexed feet – overshoot – short on final hs – clean DLO in the air but a small step and then another step to salute –

Davis – VT – Very nice distance and form, but not her usual landing – shuffle back – also came in a little lower than usual –

Milliet – UB – Good Ray with nice flare of the legs – hits pak with a little leg separation – half turn on low bar – short on a couple handstand position late – nice double tuck – she’s comiong along here, which they desperately need.

Broussard – VT – Not the stick for 9.975 from last week, but a similar vault in many ways – good form and direction – slide back this time.

Kluz – UB – Good tkatchev with nice swing out of it into the bext handstand – hits bail – not much on the shoot to high bar – catches close and has to muscle up the next hs – good DLO dismount.

Rogers – VT – Came in short on her 1.5 this time with a larger step back and more knee bend than usual. They’re not getting the landings from last week at all.

Florida is hitting, hitting this floor rotation, so watch out for the scores when we get to the end. Wang’s best final pass landing of the year as well – no shortness this time –

Walker – UB – good form and hs – hits her tkatchev – clean pak – very short on half turn on low bar and never really went through hs – great DLO with a stiuck – shame about the low bar work because the rest was excellent. 

Jay – VT -She also doesn’t have her best landing, pretty large bounce forward on the 1.5. They needed to bring the sticks today, and no one but Vaculik did. Just a 49.100 for UGA on vault, almsot entirely because ogf landings.

Atkinson – UB  – very precise bail but collapses her elbows a little working out of hit – nice tkatchev – a couple questionable hs – but a great stickon the dismount. They hit this rotation for the most part – a few unnecessary errors, but this should be a good score overall.

Baker – FX – UF – Good landing on the piked double arabian that time – just a small step but I would consider it controlled this time – not short on the double pike this time either – the scores have been going high so far, so what do they do with this – hits her leaps – 1.5 to half to straddle jump – definitely travels on that straddle jump in the air but keeps it under control. Very strong routine. 9.950. Well done. A 10 and a 9.900 from the two judges.

Auburn is on it. Easy 197 pace after two events. They’re getting the benefit of the scores in there, but they’re not giving away the mistakes that Georgia is. Georgia is, once gaain, on high 196 pace, but they needed more from vault. Because now the pressure is way on those floor and beam rotations, which is scary.

Hunter – FX – Great DLO as always and good control this time – no question there – 1.5 to layout to front pike this time – changes the pass and I actually prefer it to the other one – more dynamic – or maybe I’m just tired of the other one – good straddles – open double back – looked like a clear slide back on that last pass, but the rest was great. 9.950.

Mitchell – BB – UK – I’ve loved this routien for a while so I’m glad she’s getting the scores. So many times over the last couple of years she has been great at home and then gets a 9.750 for some reason. Strong on the aerial to bhs and the side somi – secure on the tuck jump full as well – just the dismount left – front full and a stick – well done – 

Caquatto to finish for Florida as always – It’s a YOU GET A 9.950 AND YOU GET A 9.950 rotation – front double full to front tuck is nice this time – rudi to split jump is clean as well – the leap combination is the strongest part of her routine – secure double pike – hit routine – one of her better routines of the year. 9.975. A case of scoring the rotation order rather than the routines there. 49.65- for Florida.

Florida 198.150, Kentucky 195.950. 
Good score for Kentucky by the way, but Florida got what they needed with those floor scores. I think you can anticipate by lack of separation feelings. Baker was amazing and Kytra was almost amazing.

Back to Auburn and Georgia, Auburn has started well on beam, Persinger had a low double pike with a slide on floor.

Milliet – UB – strong on loso series – pulls around her full turn with minimal correction – solid aerial that might have been under but she stayed with it not to wobble – long pause pre-dismount – 1.5 with step forward. Nice.

Reynolds – FX – They’ve had a little changing of the guard here after last week’s disaster – fine double pike to start – low but secure – switch side to popa are both hit – clean rudi to loso – 1.5 to layout finish is hit – it’s not a big routine, but none of them have been so far this year, and it’s a reliable, regular hit, which they needed.

Demers – BB – My obsession with this routine grows by the day – clean loso series – she moves swiftly and confidently – the switch is an issue but the sheep is actually real and good – side aerial to full – off to the side with a twitch on landing, but another real hit.

Marino – FX – Solid on the double tuck mount this time – split full and popa positions are both hit – 1.5 to layout is clean – this is a recovery performance – much better endurance and chest position – pulls around the double pike this time – low chest but not the lowness of last week.

Do those guys just have SPORT written on their chests? How feeble.

Guy – BB – aggressive on the full turn – almsot too aggressive with a check – switch side is OK – clean on the loso series – the switch is iffy as is the theme of the day, but this is secure enough work – solid aerial – gainer pike with a twitch – not quite stuck.

Babalis – FX – round off double tuck – large step, too large – but does keep her front foot planted – better than last week – hits her leaps – half turn to 1.5 loses her knees in there and lands squatty – had to tuck to pull it around – lands low on double pike and bounces to the side, but this is a recovery. 9.825. Is that LOWER than she got for her big bounce last week?

Walker – BB – kickover front is fine – strong on loso series as well – secure work – full turn – big break on her sheep jump as the leg flies up, so this won’t be another 9.9, sticks gainer full – just the one major error there.

Box – FX – a little overcooks her double pike this week with a slide back – 1.5 to layout is very clean – hits leaps – very squatty on her doubel tuck this time with a large slide back – just does keep in in bounds – she’s not getting the routine she did earlier in the season suddenly. These last two weeks she has looked very January.

Atkinson – BB – Great full turn – loso series is hit – pretty aerial – switch to a real pike jump – just the 1.5 this time – hop forward. Great hit beam rotation for Auburn to pull way away from Georgia going into the last event.

Jay – FX – Low chest on the mount this time as well – with a lunge forward – so they’re still not earning the scores – middle pass was solid – switch to wolf-ish to cat leap – double pike is solid but she also finishes with 9.800.

After 3: Auburn 148.200, Georgia 147.425
Didn’t expect Auburn to have this kind of lead going to the last event. They are definitely getting the benefit that Georgia isn’t getting so far tonight, but while Georgia improved on floor, they gave a bunch away again. Same on vault. Auburn has been the stronger team so far.

I think I’m going to stay with this one to see how it turns out and then head to Alabama and LSU, but we’ll see. But now I’m bored during this rotation break, so maybe I lied.

Kayla Williams had a great 1.5 in the air but no stick this week – larger step forward.

Wyrick – UB – back goes archy on the full turn, but she keeps it over the bar – clean legs on the bail – one shorter hs – very nice DLO with a stick.

Jordan – UB -short first hs – she often rushes the beginning of this routine – great jaeger – arches on the bail a little – small step on DLO –

Beers – VT – Upgrading to the 1.5 – excellent form in the air throughout – great distance and direction, just a small hop. That can be a 10 when she sticks.

Vaculik is having a couple small check for UGA on beam but hitting.

Courville – UB – good first hs – clean on the bail as well – short on final handstand and past on the full twisting double back – lunge forward – great early, lost the endurance at the end it appeared.

Alabama didn’t have the big scores early but pulled it together for a solid score with the last two vaults. They maintain a slight lead over LSU, who got 9.875s from Gnat, Jordan, and Courville, and the Jordan and Courville ones seemed friendly. Courville had real errors at the end there.

A few errors from Walker on that floor routine – a chest-down slide and short on a final front tuck with a step back. 9.825.

Brown – BB – She’s getting another chance, which I like – bends in the hips on her loso series but keeps it together this time – solid leaps – clean and secure on side aerial – finishes with a stuck gainer pike. Pulled it back after the early issue for a recovery hit.

Hlawek – FX – secure double pike – she’s back to #2 since Atkinson it back – 1.5 to back tuck is fine as well – solid split full to tuck jump – this is the routine she did last week for 9.8s in the last spot – whips around an arched layout at the end of her last pass, but another usable showing. They’re rolling now.

Georgia is definitely getting the beam benefit that LSU did. 9.900 for Brown with that bend on the series.

Babalis – BB – high loso series – slight check on the pike jump after the split – I’m sad they got rid of the switch 1/2 – good kickover front – big wobble on the aerial – GIRL! – fine dismount -shuffle
Hall just a near-stick on vault for LSU – and McNeer sticks her DLO on bars –

Savona – VT – high and clean full – small bounce back – she should have been able to break this vault lineup from the beginnign, but I’m glad she’s finally getting a chance – a little piking –

Jetter – UB – good first hs – clean on the tkatchev – looked short on the bail – nice shoot to high bar – MLT would be happy with these handstands – and one of her good dismounts with a stick – She’s as happy as that MLT dog right now with that routine. Sophie? Yappy? What’s the dog’s name?

Rogers – BB – GIRL you did not just almost fall on a straddle jump. What is this? Almost collapses on her bhs 3/4 but gets it this time. sticks dimsount.
Nice stick from Jordan on vault – she’s rounding into form – well done – Brannan looks very precise on bars, but they are all just short of vertical on these bails – which is often true of Alabama early in the year – pikes her DLO a little with a step.

Hambrick – VT – I luuuurrrve this vault – sticks it – maintains good form – not much you can take from that – lovely –

C Sims – UB – good full turn – good height but ragged feet on that tkatchev – hits the bail – ful turn -huge double tuck with a step she probably didn’t need to take, but she’s very close to being great on this event – just bits of form everywhere.

Auburn has this meet tied up and is about to get an amazing score.

Gnat – VT – Just the full this time, and they should really stick to the DTY because that landing was less controlled with a slide back.

A Sims – UB – Weiler – bail and a toe shoot back to high bar – they’re trying to get rid of some of the skills that show off her leg separations, but you can still see it so clearly on her giants and dismount.

Courville – VT – She still hasn’t homed in on the landing yet this season – slide back.

Beers – UB – Good shaposh – to pak – finishes her half turn well but then turned crazy and lost herself on the low bar – tried to save it by circling around but had to come off the bar. She was stepping up to the high bar and fell, you guys. On a circle up to the high bar. step forward on double front.

Georgia finishing with Box on beam. They’re getting good scores, but they’ll be nowhere close to Auburn’s Florida-level score.

LSU has gained the lead at the halfway point, 98.675 to 98.600. LSU didn’t really have the vault landings at the end, but Hambrick’s vault was a real treasure. Jetter had a good hit, but everyone else had moments of sloppiness for Alabama on bars.

Georgia finishes with a 196.775, another of their usual scores, but they still won’t be happy with that meet. Auburn crushed it with a program high. We’ll see what it ends up being. Scores went way fancy for Auburn at the end for a 197.750, you guys. Almost a 10 for Atkinson on floor. Everyone’s on the Auburn bandwagon now.

Oklahoma is on solid mid-high 197 pace going to beam, but not getting the big 49.5s. It’s a 49.4 of a meet today, which will work.

Is it time to panic for Georgia? They still look like a Nationals team, but they still look far away from a Super Six team, regardless of the scoring issues today.

Alabama to beam, LSU to floor
Williams – BB – Solid on the front tuck this time – long pause before the loso series – just the smallest flinch on landing – pulls the popa around well – holds her leg up as she finishes the full turn – step on 1.5.

Savona – FX – 1.5 to double back – really wanted that stick and just steps a little – full in middle pass with a controlled step – nailing the tumbling so far – fine split and good popa – finishes with a secure double pike – the Savona landing special.

McNeer – BB – precise aerial to bhs – check on the loso series but minimizes the damage – switch to split is fine but just a little more tentative than other weeks – off to the side on her 1.5 with a hop.

Ewing – FX – front double full with a solid landing – front full to a slightly arched layout but it has been clean so far – they utilize the safer switch side to popa dance combinations well for the gymnasts who need them – buckles a little on the double pike with a hop to the side but not bad.

Guerrero – BB – Finally getting to see her – solid bhs loso series – switch side is hit – full turn is pretty – secure side aerial – swtich to straddle jump – not everything is lovely and precise, but it’s all secure, and that’s what she advertised – another hop on 1.5 dismount.

Wyrick – FX – full in mount – and lands it well – it’s funny to me that she’s now getting in on floor because WHAT ABOUT BEAM. It still should be her best event. I swear. She was so good in JO.  Problematic middle pass – just pulls around her layout but will lose ground for form – very low chest on double back but hit.

Beers – BB – Good splits – the side somi looked award going into hit but she hit it securely – loso series with too much of a wobble – bends at the hips as she tries to correct – they’ve worked on prettying up these full turns and I appreciate it – sheep is solid and secure – sticks the 1.5 dismount.

Jordan – FX – Very strong double pike – and a clean 1.5 to layout as well – she could do a more difficult dance combination than the switch side popa but it certainly works for her. She nailed that routine. Should be a great score. Great twisting form and secure landings.

Clark – BB – solid loso series – hits the sheep – clean full turn – nice kickover front – this is their most confident routine so far – 1.5 with a large step. They would be winning this meet if they had picked up those beam landings.

Oklahoma hit a massive beam to finish 197.875. That’s the beam rotation we’ve been waiting for.

Gnat – FX – big DLO and a very nice landing – changing to that pass is the best decision they could have made – 2.5 to front tuck is nailed as well. This is starting to be a postseason level floor rotation from a couple of these people later in the lineup. The split full is good. I would like to see the front leg higher on the switch ring – Comes in a little low and locked on her double pike and bounces, so it won’t be an amazing score – still solid.

A Sims – BB – Alabama is trailing and needs a big hit from her – they home streak is really on the line now – wobble on the aerial – solid loso series – switch and straddle are great – switch side is excellent as well – her routine should be all leaps – full turn – a little short on her double tuck with a step. Too many giveaways on those landings is this rotation.

Hall – FX – a lot of taping on her knee today – bounces a little on her DLO this time – another with the switch side popa combination – front full to a whipped, arched layout but a little sloppier than usual as well – alos a little slide on the double tuck. One of her less confident routines this year.

LSU leads 148.150-147.825. Alabama needs ones of those home floor rotations right about now.
Note that Utah/Oregon State is just getting underway as well. Utah getting normal human bars scores in this road meet. Are they killing a bull in this DISHNET commercial?

Courville update – sick, not doing any more events tonight. Scarlett Williams will replace her on beam.

Rotation 4:
Ewing – BB – layotu 2ft series is secure – high switch side – still looks a little crooked but hit – standing loso with smallest check – 1.5 dismount small step. Nice.

Kathy, the “BIG E” club is not that.

Frost – FX – She’s back in the lineup – slightly crunched in the DLO landing but nice – good popa to wolf full – front full to front tuck – off and just pulled it around – another small bounce on doubel pike – fine – but not the routine she was doing at the beginning of the month –

Hall – BB – Lots of adjustments to the beam lineup today – switch side with a lean – secure on loso series with messier legs – good full turn – switch to straddle 1/4 – form issues but not wobble issues so far in the routine – sticks the double tuck. There you are.

Jetter – FX – flexed feet on double arabian with a step forward – leaps look OK – 1.5 to front full with another slide that was just a little too much to be controlled, but she’s hitting comfortably – solid 1.5 to layout.

49.350 on bars for Utah – got big numbers from Lopez, Lothrop, and Dabritz of course. 9.950 for Dabritz.

Macadaeg – BB – she always looks a little tight on her full turn and then amazing after that – great leaps as always – just slightly tentative on these skills but still lovely – aerial as well – wobble on loso series and again on choreography – steps on gainer pike –

Dennis – FX – solid on the double pike – splits looked not bad but a little short – layout to front full with a bounce – solid double pike as well – not a big routine but minimized what she gave away. Alabama surging.

Gnat – BB – Now the pressure is on LSU to get the big scores because their lead is gone and they’re counting a 9.7 already – nice turn and aerial – switch to straddle 1/4 – just slightly tentative corrections here – nice switch side – it’s huge – secure loso series – sticks or near-sticks the double full – started tight but was great by the end.

C Sims – FX – The usual DLO – high and lands with a lower chest – front full to front pike looked fine – secure enough on the landing – switch side to split jump 3/4 – hits double pike as well. If the others were getting 9.9s…

Williams – BB – Now this is interesting. I loved her beam for Arkansas, but it wasn’t always the biggest score – nice full turn – high switch and straddle jump – nice aerial pause into back pike but she hit both – smallest correction on the pike – strong sheep jump – can you stay in this lineup? – dismount combo into full – smallest shuffle. Great.

Clark – FX – Alabama starting to move into a comfortable position – Such a high double pike – shuffles a little bit toward the line – 1.5 to layout a little bouncy as well but I love how high her passes are – short on the double back dismount with a lunge forward. Interesting. They had a chance to move up with that one, but maybe not now. Still got a 9.850.

Jordan – BB – They need her life routine – great side somi – secure on loso series – perfection – switch and straddle 1/4 are great – holds the full turn – excellent aerial – sticks the 1.5 AMAZING routine.Still just a 9.900. Pssh.

Beers – FX – Needs basically a 10 doesn’t she? I’m not putting it past them, but… – Excellent DLO – Needs a 9.975 to tie, 10 to win. Botches her middle pass and doesn’t even do it – HUH? – Dana Duckworth is sacrificing so many lambs right now, but it’s too late dear. Just a layout to layout half final pass. What happened there?Dana doing some emotional damage control. DD is owning the world right now.

What if Beers just got a 10 for that routine? SEC.
No, a 9.400. That’s more appropriate.

LSU 197.350, Alabama 197.225
What are we going to talk about for LSU home meets now? Didn’t really come down to Beers in the end because she needed a 10. Neither team was that great tonight. Fine, but not their best. LSU had a sloppy bars rotation and too many wobbles early on beam. Alabama almost the same. Sloppy moments on bars and too many hops on beam landings, just LSU’s problems were smaller. Odd scoring, in that there were some really charitable moments for LSU (bars) and some harsher moments (some of those beam scores).

Oh, this is the time when you need to interview D-D. But props to Jessie Jordan for that beam routine, which was stellar, so I guess she gets the interview. That was the routine of the meet.

Utah had a strong vault rotation in spite of not having one of Dabritz’s strong vaults – on mid 197 pace after two events. Oregon State’s bars…that was Regionals 2013 again. 48.000.

Now the D-D interview – Now one is telling her the score and she’s pissed about that. It’s 197.350, D-D!

Alright, time for Utah and Oregon State now.
Rowe on floor now – high 1.5 to layout to finish. So far Utah is getting another of those road scores they have needed.

Witherby – BB – small correction on aerial into the attempted bhs connection – switch side – a little tight on all her skills – Tanya making a lot of notes – stumbles back with a fall on her double pike dismount. The troubles continue.

Lee – FX – a small bounce on a lovely triple full – sure, there’s some crossed legs (not too bad) but it’s NCAA. It’s not Wong-good, but it’s good – a little too much of a slide on the middle pass – strong double tuck – good chest position and secure – will miss a little for the middle pass, but a good hit.

McMillan – BB – good kickover front to bhs – tight full turn – front handspring one handed to her knees – nice and original – switch pause to straddle 1/4 – this is better – bounce on gainer full and some broken connections but nice. 

Wilson – FX – way too much on her DLO and goes OOB with both feet and a hundred steps. Switch side and popa work for her. Seat drop doesn’t. Layout to full with a larger slide – nice double back to finish though but they’ll need to drop that. How did she still get a 9.700?

Perez – BB – Enjoy her mount – wobble on aerial – holds onto her loso series without having to give away a check – very strong and fluid full turn – check on her switch side 1/4 – sheep is hit – small bounce in place on gainer full.

Tutka – FX – Strong full in – solid on the middle pass as well – popa to wolf full – switch and stag – Double tuck with a larger lunge back – looked like she was right on the line, and did just slide OOB.

Tang – BB – very strong kickover front to bhs – high on her standing loso – does a wolf turn that we’ll have to forgive – it was a little shaky – switch to straddle 1/4 is quite well done – bhs to a stuck gainer full – her usual secure routine. They are pulling it back together on beam, which is new for OSU.

Utah counting the 9.750 from Tutka now.

Lothrop – FX – Chest down on tuck full mount but solid landing – 1.5 to half to split jump which is smart composition for her – straddles are hit – also low chest on the double pike but hit landings. I’m sure they’ll love this in the scores – she didn’t do a dance out of bounds like Wilson, so it has to be 8 tenths higher than that.

Gardiner – BB – her wolf turn isn’t that bad as far as wolf turns go – keeps her aerial together with just a tentative minor check – nice loso series – strong side somi as well – they have looked very good in these final four beam routines – awkward gainer full with a step back.
Other Amanda thinks every skill and every routine is very nice.

Dabritz – FX – Strong landing on the piked full in – good security – rudi to a high loso – splits and wolf look good as well – finishes 3/1 with a shuffle and slide, but that was the only big issue. Solid routine. Still gets a 9.925 even with the landing error. So would have been flirting with a 10 with her usual landing.

Oregon State 49.275 on beam, which is great for them. Utah 49.325 on floor, so they’re well over 197 pace but will be well short of 198 as well. Still in line for a big road score if they hit beam. But they still need a strong and confident hit to get to that 197.5 marker that would keep them in very comfortable stead as far as road scores for RQS go.

For Oregon State, this is a lost meet because of that bars score. They will hurt in the rankings, especially depending on what Penn State and Minnesota are able to do this weekend.

Megan Marsden is giving HUGE side eye to ASU not being able to host Pac-12s. “Thankfully, our administration…” LOL.Well done, Megan. Best performance of the day for Utah.

One more rotation to go…fading…fading…fading…
Utah on beam, OSU on floor

Wilson – BB – WHOA. She was way off her her two layouts series – off line on her first one, went for the second one anyway and slammed her ankle into the beam. Amazed that she isn’t hurt. Keeps going – small hop to the side on 1.5.”You can tell in her face that she’s disappointed” as she’s grinning.

Turner – FX – nice double arabian in the air – lands a little squatty with a step but stays in – nice layout stuck out of her middle pass – hits switch side to wolf full – slide back on final pass, but an opening hit –

Delaney – BB – This will be interesting – nice loso series – secure – straddle jump to tuck jump full with check – she has the potential to be lovely here but has always been so nervous – nice loso to wolf jump – round off gainer full with a hop forward.

Witherby – FX – strong tuck full mount- also lands low but controlled step and comfortably in bounds – high 1.5 to layout – almost too high but she got a solid layout out of it – also switch side to popa – a little bounce back on double pike.

The Pac-12 commentators are SOOO obsessed over whether everyone is smiling or not.

Stover – BB – aerial – checks a little and stops herself – loso series – another moment of tightness with a small correction – again on the full turn – just a bit nervous here – nice switch to straddle – kickover front with several steps forward and a wobble – sticks gainer full but things to take on every skill.  9.850? OK?

Tang – FX – Strong double pike to start – leaps aren’t huge but they’re hit – “It’s almost ballet music” – that means it has violins in it – strong and high 1.5 to layout – secure – rudi dismount with a bounce up – could have controlled that more, but otherwise a great routine.

Lee – BB – full turn – goes for her loso series and completely slipped off the beam. That one looked like it hurt as well and she’s a little more shaken – split the beam and slid along it – ouchie – couting a fall now, first time for Utah this year. What is it, last year? Finishes well with a stuck double full.

That’s a shame for Utah. They were on track for a great road score. Not so much anymore. Missed opportunity to move up in RQS.

Perez – FX – hips a little back on that double pike with a slide. I make a point of hating happy routines, but even I don’t hate this one. front full to half to shushunova – is able to cover any errors on that pass by moving right into shushunova – 1.5 to a piked half at the end. Nice routine but small errors in each one.

Rowe – BB – Now she needs to stop the damage – full turn – switch to straddle 1/4 are hit – wobble with bend at the hips on her loso series – everyone is having issues today – does a great job to save her kickover front – still a step and another bend but it looked like she would come off – hop to the side on 1.5 dismount. Some major, major breaks in there.  9.800. Sure. Fine.

McMillan – FX – clean front double full with a pretty big step out but not too much lack of control – nice leaps – split and straddle – very well hit and pretty – clean 1.5 to layout as well. I’m so glad she’s been able to come back on floor finally. I hope we get to see her on vault at some point since she had an amazing vault in JO. Love that back spin. punch rudi with a bounce similar to Tang. Good work.

Lothrop – BB – swims a little on her switch side 1/2 but holds it – solid loso series – very short of position on the switch side – fluid full turn – switch and straddle 1/4 are fine – 1.5 dismount with a step together. Their best routine of the rotation but still a couple small errors.

Gardiner – FX – 2.5 with a small stumble but does well to keep it controlled and not travel with her back leg much – nice middle pass into straddle jump – twisting is her strength – a little low on the double pike dismount but hit. Two good rotations to finish for Oregon State, but there was no coming back from that bars.

Final: Utah 196.875, Oregon State 195.750
Missed opportunity there for Utah. The scores were here to be taken, and they took advantage of it early, but lost it at the end with a couple OOBs on floor and then a very unsteady beam rotation with two falls and two other routines with errors throughout. That beam rotation was shades of last season. It’s not a thing yet, because it has only happened once, but it starts to put the doubt in that this could end up being another last year. 

Note: If Oregon State had gone just 49.150 on bars, they would have won this meet. Oregon State beat Utah on both beam and floor.

To all a good night!

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama