The Weekend Ahead – February 20th-22nd

It’s a showdown weekend. Across two days, we have five different meets featuring perennial Nationals qualifiers facing off with each other, so expect some sparks to fly…is what I would be saying if wins and losses mattered. As it is, expect a lot of simultaneous high-quality gymnastics (no flipping to another meet for half the routines) as all the teams iterate that they’re only focused on themselves and don’t really care what anyone else is doing. 

In the rankings, we’ll see the biggest shakeup of the season on Monday once the new RQS standings debut. Feel free to check out my RQS breakdown to see where teams are likely to end up and what ugly scores they still need to drop. Oklahoma is guaranteed to retain the #1 ranking for at least another week, as neither Florida nor LSU can get within a tenth of a point of them after this weekend’s competition. The Sooners have a bit of a lead. Utah has a chance to move up as high as #2 with a solid 197, but they would also need Florida/LSU to be a bit of a splatfest, so that seems less likely. The introduction of RQS is the best news for Georgia and Stanford as both teams look primed to jump in the rankings even if they have poor meets this weekend.

Alabama is visiting Georgia, and Dana Duckworth has been having sugarplum dreams of a delicious victory over the old arch-nemesis all week. Alabama is on the upswing after last week’s result, while Georgia is still sort of all over the place. It looked like the Gym Dogs were pulling things together, but then last week’s performance featured a beam fall and a whole royal court of 9.7s. Having to count a Mary Beth Box fall on beam is a blip, but the 9.7s are the real concern. Those are still way too likely to show up on both beam and floor, with tenativeness on beam and flatness on floor, and they need to turn back into 9.825-9.850s this weekend. The good news for Georgia is that they still have a weak 195 on their RQS, so even an average performance is going to look pretty good in the rankings.

Simultaneously, Oklahoma will be visiting Michigan. The meet will be tape delayed on the Big Ten Network but shown live on BTNPlus. BTNPlus and I are in a fight right now (heads up, trying to cancel a BTNPlus subscription is harder than climbing Everest), so you gallant heroes who watch it can keep the rest of us posted in the comments if you feel like it. Oklahoma doesn’t really have to worry about scores now, but they had a little bit of a meh last week on beam—the only event where they’re not #1 in the country—so point a discerning eye at the security of that rotation this week. There all still some consistency issues on both bars and beam (not major issues, more random 9.7s here and there issues) that they’ll need to iron out over the next month.

Michigan is also coming off an OK. Lindsay Williams had a random poor meet, so watch to make sure that’s not a snowball situation, but the major routines of interest will be Nicole Artz on floor and Austin Sheppard on vault. Artz has gone OOB two weeks in a row, and they rely on her for Sampson-esque scores, and Sheppard finally came on vault last week but just did a Yhalf tucked, so let’s hope we get another step forward this week.

Later on, the feature meet will be Florida against LSU. While Alabama and Oklahoma come in as the relative favorites in their meets, there isn’t a favorite in this one. It’s all to play for. Bars is going to be really interesting, partially because of how much variation we’ve seen in the landing quality from these two teams and how much influence that should have in the result, but mostly because we’re allegedly going to see the triumphant return of Bridget Sloan. I know that it will have been 7 weeks since her injury (and we were originally told she would be out six weeks), but doesn’t it still seem super fast? For all the chatter about the significance of her injury, she has come back in about a millisecond. The bars rotation is where they need her the most, and even if she’s very much in “I”m still fragile” mode (as I would expect), she makes that lineup look so much better. Discussion question: Who would you take out? And, scandalously, is it Kennedy Baker?

On vault, Florida has been the better team so far this year, but LSU has the talent for equivalent scores (though they miss that second 10-potential vault that Florida has in the Hunter/McMurtry duo). If LSU gets the landings from last week, there shouldn’t be much difference in the scores at all/a slight advantage to LSU. Similarly, the two teams have tended to be pretty evenly match on floor. I would say that, at its ideal, LSU is the stronger floor team 1-6, but Florida is more likely to get hugely huge numbers from Baker and Hunter to lift the overall rotation score. LSU should get about the same scores from Courville/Hall, but haven’t often enough this year. Last weekend was a good example.

In the LSU column, the main advantage event should be beam. Florida is coming off a huge beam score last weekend, but overall, LSU has more likely 9.9s in that lineup, which Florida has a couple more just-fine 9.825-9.850 routines in there. Beam is always a question because it’s beam, but to come out with a win, LSU needs to take advantage of how much pretty they have. It will be very tough to beat Florida if they’re counting wobbles for 9.8s. What I’m saying is, this should be a good one.

On Saturday, UCLA hosts Nebraska in an essential meet for both teams. Nebraska is suddenly in fairly urgent need of a strong road score and can’t waste this opportunity to get one if they’re going to maintain a solid ranking through the rest of the season, while UCLA kind of needs to put together a complete meet. That means no random 9.6s on bars, no beam falls, and bringing the landings on vault and floor. UCLA can be a mid 197 team at home if they do that, but we haven’t seen it yet.

Utah also hosts Stanford in a meet that is much more important for the Cardinal than the Utes. Sure, Utah would love to get back to its home, high 197, 10 parade ways, but Stanford needs a score. Like now. They have just four meets left before Regionals, are already counting a mid 196 road score, and can’t afford to throw in another beautiful disaster. Just keep the beautiful part.

As always, the full schedule is available at the top.

Top 25 Schedule
Friday, February 20

7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [5] Alabama @ [11] Georgia
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [1] Oklahoma @ [6] Michigan

7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [14] Arkansas @ [24] Kentucky
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [15] Boise State @ [23] Ohio State
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [19] Minnesota @ Iowa State
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Michigan State @ [13] Illinois 
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – [2] Florida @ [3] LSU
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [8] Auburn @ Missouri
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [10] Oregon State @ Arizona State
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [22] Southern Utah @ Utah State
Saturday, February 21
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – [12] Penn State @ Pittsburgh
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [7] Nebraska, Sacramento State, Bridgeport @ [9] UCLA
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Iowa, BYU @ [17] Denver  
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [16] Stanford @ [4] Utah
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [18] Cal, Seattle Pacific @ [21] Washington
Sunday, February 22
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – [25] New Hampshire, Maryland, Rutgers @ West Virginia
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Hamline, Winona State, Gustavus Adolphus @ [19] Minnesota
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Week 6 Rankings and RQS Outlook

Over the weekend, Florida recovered from their average road performance a week ago to record the season’s highest total so far, 198.225, which means the Gators jump right back up into their cozy little trio with Oklahoma and LSU. Ah, home meets. It’s a wonder what home+Baker+Hunter hitting can do for scores. 

In 10-land, the pace dropped off a little bit this week with just one 10.0 instead of the usual 6,000. The one 10.0 came from Toni-Ann Williams, Her Ladyship Duchess of Berkeley, on vault. It’s particularly significant because it’s the first 10.0 for Cal on vault ever. We also had several more 9.975s on bars, including Ivana Hong, because obviously, as well as Mary Jane Horth once again. 

If you haven’t had a chance to watch the LSU/Auburn meet from Friday yet, you really should. High-quality gymnastics in a competitive meet that went down to the final routine and was not defined by judging insanity (almost entirely). It was a good reminder of what’s fun about college gymnastics. I have to think that if Caitlin Atkinson had been in on floor, Auburn would have won. Scores were going in Auburn’s favor through that final rotation, but Hlawek had to perform in the final spot and just doesn’t have that 9.900 routine they needed.

In the comment of the live blog, a few people mentioned that it would be interesting if Auburn keeps this up and knocks Georgia out of the top-seeded session at SECs (it really would be). But, Georgia is the de facto host of SECs, and do we know if the SEC is mimicking the rules of the Pac-12, where the host school’s session goes in the evening regardless of seeding? Last year, if you recall, the Pac-12 Championship was at Cal. Since Cal was not in the top four in the conference, the top four seeds went in the afternoon and then the bottom four seeds went in the evening, and it was weird. 

That’s among the reasons I was pleased to hear that the Pac-12 Championship has been moved from ASU to Utah this year. We know Utah is going to be one of the top four seeds. Plus, they’ll put on a good event. But also, come on people. Planning! Shouldn’t this have been worked out, maybe, 8 months ago?

Moving onto the rankings, we’re just one week out of RQS kicking in, so I’ve included the current RQS picture for each team along with their season average ranking.  

Refresher: RQS stands for Regional Qualifying Score. It determines which 36 teams will advance to the Regional Championships and is calculated by taking a team’s top six scores, of which at least three must be road scores, removing the highest score, and averaging the remaining five.

Week 6 Rankings – (GymInfo)
1. Oklahoma – 197.536
Week 6: 197.275
Week 6 leaders: AA – None; VT – Capps 9.950; UB – Wofford 9.925; BB – Capps, Clark 9.850; FX – Scaman, Jackson 9.925

Current RQS: 197.620
Road Score 1: 198.150
Road Score 2: 197.700
Road Score 3: 197.650
Road/Home Score 1: 197.850
Road/Home Score 2: 197.625
Road/Home Score 3: 197.275

*Scores in bold are guaranteed to be part of the six RQS scores.

In spite of a, perhaps, unexpectedly meh showing over the weekend in which the Sooners were forced to look at the scoreboard and see all these weird 9.8-looking shapes that they didn’t recognize, Oklahoma is already set for the postseason when it comes to scores. There aren’t really any weak scores that need to be dropped, though they’ll surely get rid of that lowly 197 at some point (or every point) over the next five weeks, which will put them in a solid position to eclipse their RQS total from last season of 197.775. The problem is going to be catching them. Florida and LSU basically have to go mid-197 in every remaining meet to have a chance to see the year-end #1. An almost five-tenths advantage in RQS is tough to make up.

2. Florida – 197.325
Week 6: 198.225
Week 6 leaders: AA – Hunter 39.750; VT – Hunter, McMurtry 9.950; UB – Dancose-Giambattisto 9.950; BB – Hunter, Boyce 9.950; FX – Baker 9.975

Current RQS: 197.145
Road Score 1: 197.200
Road Score 2: 196.925
Road Score 3: 196.800
Road/Home Score 1: 198.225
Road/Home Score 2: 197.600
Road/Home Score 3: 197.200

There’s still some work to do on those road scores. That’s where Oklahoma’s advantage is the most extreme. Florida still has three road meets left, but the meet this weekend at LSU takes on slightly more significance since ideally they wouldn’t be counting any of the road scores they have put up so far. Of course, it doesn’t really matter if they finish the regular season #1, #2, #3, etc., but it’s a bragging rights thing, and perhaps there’s an argument for receiving “pre-ordained winner” scoring once Nationals comes along. The Sloan comeback talk is starting to ramp up, and if she is able to get back on a couple events relatively soon, don’t expect that 198 to be lonely for long.

3. LSU – 197.321
Week 6: 197.350
Week 6 leaders: AA – Gnat 39.550; VT – Courville 9.950; UB – Courville 9.925; BB – Jordan 9.925; FX – Gnat 9.950

Current RQS: 197.170
Road Score 1: 197.425
Road Score 2: 197.350
Road Score 3: 196.600
Road/Home Score 1: 198.075
Road/Home Score 2: 197.350
Road/Home Score 3: 197.125

In spite of falling behind Florida in average, LSU retains a slight lead in the RQS race. They have the advantage on Florida when it comes to those all-important road scores, and they’ll look to get rid of that straggling 196.600 when they go on the road to Alabama on the 27th, so expect the Tigers to start closing the Oklahoma gap with a hit meet. They could pick up a couple tenths with a mid-197. Over the weekend, LSU put up a good performance, even though we’ve come to think of lowish 197s as just average scores for top teams, lowish 197s are not all created equal, and this was a solid one. Still, they certainly let Auburn into the meet, which they probably shouldn’t have done. The main culprit was mistakes on floor, with Hall, Courville, and Savona all having some unexpected landing issues to put them in pedestrian 49.250 territory. 

4. Utah – 197.167
Week 6: 197.025
Week 6 leaders: AA – Wilson 39.375; VT – Delaney 9.950; UB – Dabritz 9.925; BB – Lothrop, Stover 9.875; FX – Dabritz 9.900

Current RQS: 197.030
Road Score 1: 197.850
Road Score 2: 197.025
Road Score 3: 196.900
Road/Home Score 1: 197.825
Road/Home Score 2: 196.725
Road/Home Score 3: 196.675

Utah remains competitive in RQS, just a notch behind the top three, which is how the rankings have looked pretty much the whole season so far. The Utes went on the road to Washington over the weekend and met with a monstrous villain named realistic scoring, which exposed some of the weaknesses in those lineups (as did the re-emergence of beam issues that had been kept under wraps so far). Well, not weaknesses, but 9.825s that do put them behind the teams ranked above.

Utah’s RQS picture has changed slightly this week now that they’re hosting Pac-12s. It means they have just two road meets left instead of three. It’s not much of an issue because their two lowest scores right now are home scores, but if they are of a mind to challenge the top three, they’ll have to make both of those remaining road meets count for, say it with me now, mid 197s. Everything is about mid 197s now. Mid 197 or bust.

5. Alabama – 196.938
Week 6: 197.800
Week 6 leaders: AA – Beers 39.650; VT – Bailey 9.925; UB – Bailey 9.950; BB – Beers 9.950; FX – Clark, Dennis, C Sims 9.900

Current RQS: N/A
Road Score 1: 196.700
Road Score 2: 196.175
Road Score 3: X
Road/Home Score 1: 197.800
Road/Home Score 2: 197.400
Road/Home Score 3: 197.325

Alabama doesn’t have an RQS yet because they don’t have three road meets yet. Which is weird. In my head, they’ve already had 20. The rest of the season schedule is very road-heavy, with four more away meets, so they have plenty of opportunities to boost the numbers there. But since they probably don’t want to count either of the road scores they have so far (that 196.175 needs to go), they’ll have to make them count. The Tide has not looked great on the road so far, but they’ll have a chance to turn that around on Friday at Georgia.

The outlook is positive because at home against Boise State over the weekend, Alabama put together their best meet of the season by a wide margin to move up a spot in the rankings. No missed performances, and most importantly, those bars routines (and dismounts in particular) were much improved. Katie Bailey nailed that meet, especially on vault and bars. Neither has looked better. 

6. Michigan – 196.929
Week 6: 196.725
Week 6 leaders: AA – Sugiyama 39.550; VT – Sugiyama 9.900; UB – Brown 9.950; BB – Artz 9.925; FX – Sugiyama, Chiarelli 9.900

Current RQS: 196.855
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: 196.850
Road/Home Score 3: 196.600

The Wolverines are hosting conference championships this year, which means that like Utah, they have just two road meets remaining and are already guaranteed to count that 197.125. That’s a fine score, and Michigan’s consistency so far this year means that they don’t have any problem scores lurking around. This is a comfortably mid-top 10 RQS picture. They’ll want to throw in a couple more 197s as lower-ranked teams like Auburn start to do the same, just to make sure they stay afloat in either the 5/8/17 or 6/7/18 Regional where they’d be favored to advance comfortably. I’m already talking Regionals scenarios. Too early!

This weekend’s performance at Michigan State was just OK, with struggles on vault landings and another counting OOB from Artz on floor bringing the total down out of the 197s.

7. Nebraska – 196.492
Week 6: 197.075
Week 6 leaders: AA – DeZiel 39.550; VT – DeZiel 9.925; UB – DeZiel 9.900; BB – J Lauer 9.925; FX – Blanske, DeZiel 9.875

Current RQS: 196.325
Road Score 1: 197.075
Road Score 2: 196.250
Road Score 3: 195.875
Road/Home Score 1: 197.325
Road/Home Score 2: 197.125
Road/Home Score 3: 195.300

With Nebraska, we start to see an RQS picture that is a little more precarious if they are looking to retain this kind of ranking. The Huskers have just two road meets left, and two road scores that they’ll want to drop to be sure to stay in the top 10. That road outlook is why getting four relatively consistently hit rotations for a 197 over the weekend at Minnesota was critical, and it’s why it’s also critical that no beamtastrophes are allowed to creep in this weekend at UCLA.

8. Auburn – 196.271
Week 6: 197.300
Week 6 leaders: AA – None; VT – Demers, Rott 9.950; UB – Atkinson 9.875; BB – Walker 9.925; FX – Rott 9.900

Current RQS: 196.065
Road Score 1: 196.825
Road Score 2: 195.650
Road Score 3: 194.150
Road/Home Score 1: 197.300
Road/Home Score 2: 197.075
Road/Home Score 3: 196.625

Yes, those road scores are scary. Auburn started the season with two poor road meets, but they have been comfortably entrenched at home for nearly all the meets since, and have used that comfort to find their form. Like Alabama, they still have four road meets remaining, so they have ample time and talent to get rid of those nasties and zoom up the rankings even higher. Just a note: Auburn had the 4th-best score in the country over the weekend, and it was the top score in program history, which surprised me. They’ve never broken 197.3 before?

9. UCLA – 196.263
Week 6: 197.075
Week 6 leaders: AA – None; VT – Peszek 9.900; UB – Francis 9.875; BB – Francis 9.875; FX – Bynum 9.925

Current RQS: 196.100
Road Score 1: 197.075
Road Score 2: 196.000
Road Score 3: 194.725
Road/Home Score 1: 197.000
Road/Home Score 2: 196.800
Road/Home Score 3: 195.975

Like most of the other teams in this ranking section, UCLA needs to go work to get rid of some of those road scores and bolster that picture with a few more competitive scores in the high 196s, at least. We’ll probably see a big jump for UCLA after the meet at Arizona State on the 27th, at which point they can get rid of that 194. The problem for UCLA is that they don’t have any big scores to rely on. Every meet has had a problem, either big or small, including the season-high 197.075 on Saturday, which had a woeful lack of Peng, an off-ish 9.8 of a meet for Peszek, and a tucked bail handstand from DeJesus when they really needed one of her 9.9s.

10. Oregon State – 196.196
Week 6: 197.250
Week 6 leaders: AA – None; VT – Aufiero 9.925; UB – Aufiero 9.925; BB – Perez 9.875; FX – Everyone 9.925

Current RQS: 195.985
Road Score 1: 197.250
Road Score 2: 196.450
Road Score 3: 195.975
Road/Home Score 1: 196.250
Road/Home Score 2: 195.800
Road/Home Score 3: 195.450

Oregon State managed a huge 197.250 over the weekend at Cal, which featured a totally random 49.600 on floor in which every single person got a 9.925. That helps. The trouble for the Beavs in RQS is that they don’t have many competitive scores other than this new 197. They have five meets remaining in the regular season and three 195s that they must get rid of. Top 10 teams don’t count 195s in RQS. If they don’t start putting up 196.500-196.800 scores each week, at minimum, they’re one of the teams most vulnerable to getting stuck in those dreaded 1/12/13 and 2/11/14 Regionals again this year. 

11. Georgia – 196.096
Week 6: 196.200
Week 6 leaders: AA – None; VT – Rogers, Broussard 9.900; UB – Davis 9.925; BB – Rogers 9.900; FX – Box 9.875

Current RQS: 196.280
Road Score 1: 196.950
Road Score 2: 196.850
Road Score 3: 196.200
Road/Home Score 1: 196.975
Road/Home Score 2: 195.800
Road/Home Score 3: 195.600

Oh, Georgia. Why are you 11th? The good news for Georgia is that RQS makes them look so much better than season average does. RQS allows them to get rid of all those disaster meets and currently puts them right in contention with #7 Nebraska. Those road scores are much healthier than most of the teams ranked above, which helps a ton. Once again this week, Georgia started off looking OK. They got some solid vaults and bars hits (Vaculik! Finally!), but then a counting fall on beam destroyed the score. Now that Michigan has transformed into a safe beam team, Georgia is taking over the mantle of most frustratingly disastrous, underperforming beam team. Well, no, Stanford. Always and perpetually. But Georgia is there too.

Can we also discuss the sudden no-AAers trend? Five of the top 11 teams went without AAers this weekend. In truth, the biggest reason for that is injuries and resting rather than some big trend. You’d have Rogers, Peszek, Atkinson, and Tang/Gardiner in the AA under normal circumstances. But it’s still interesting to see. Oklahoma is the only exception to that. They’re the true “no-AA” team and have been for years. 

12. Penn State – 196.025
Week 6: 196.275
Week 6 leaders: AA – Sanabria-Robles 39.375; VT – Sibson 9.825; UB – Sanabria-Robles 9.875; BB – Sanabria-Robles 9.850; FX – Tsang 9.925

Current RQS: N/A
Road Score 1: 196.025
Road Score 2: 195.600
Road Score 3: X
Road/Home Score 1: 197.025
Road/Home Score 2: 196.550
Road/Home Score 3: 196.275

13. Illinois – 195.996
Week 6: 196.975
Week 6 leaders: AA – O’Connor 39.600; VT – O’Connor 9.950; UB – Horth 9.975; BB – Horth, Kato 9.900; FX – O’Connor 9.925

Current RQS: 195.800
Road Score 1: 196.975
Road Score 2: 195.475
Road Score 3: 195.175
Road/Home Score 1: 196.400
Road/Home Score 2: 196.175
Road/Home Score 3: 195.775

14. Arkansas – 195.958
Week 6: 196.650
Week 6 leaders: AA – Wellick 39.425; VT – Wellick 9.950; UB – Canizaro 9.875; BB – Dillard, Nelson 9.825; FX – Wellick 9.925

Current RQS: 195.820
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: 195.375

15. Boise State – 195.871
Week 6 A: 195.450
Week 6 A leaders: AA – Morris 39.275; VT – Perkins 9.900; UB – Perkins 9.950; BB – Jacobsen, Mejia 9.850; FX – Bennion, Krentz, Morris 9.825

Week 6 B: 195.925
Week 6 B leaders: AA – Morris 39.325; VT – Perkins 9.925; UB – Perkins 9.900; BB – Mejia 9.825; FX – Morris 9.875

Current RQS: 195.700
Road Score 1: 196.625
Road Score 2: 195.975
Road Score 3: 195.450
Road/Home Score 1: 196.725
Road/Home Score 2: 195.925
Road/Home Score 3: 194.525

16. Stanford – 195.821
Week 6: 196.225
Week 6 leaders: AA – None; VT – Rice 9.900; UB – Hong 9.975; BB – Rice 9.850; FX – Rice, Spector 9.925 

Current RQS: 196.060
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: 195.325

RQS is such a gift to Stanford every season. It makes the bad not happen. They’re suddenly ahead of Oregon State and right there with Auburn and UCLA.

17. Denver – 195.479
Week 6: 195.425
Week 6 leaders: AA – Menhinick 38.875; VT – McGee 9.875; UB – McGee 9.850; BB – Ross 9.800; FX – McGee 9.875

Current RQS: 195.540
Road Score 1: 196.150
Road Score 2: 195.500
Road Score 3: 195.425
Road/Home Score 1: 196.025
Road/Home Score 2: 195.900
Road/Home Score 3: 194.850

18. Cal – 195.436
Week 6: 196.225
Week 6 leaders: AA – Williams 39.700; VT – Williams 10.000, UB – Williams 9.875; BB – Palomares 9.900; FX – Williams 9.950

Current RQS: 195.390
Road Score 1: 195.425
Road Score 2: 195.175
Road Score 3: 194.875
Road/Home Score 1: 196.225
Road/Home Score 2: 195.900
Road/Home Score 3: 195.575

19. Minnesota – 195.432
Week 6: 196.675
Week 6 leaders: AA – Mable 39.675; VT – Mable 9.900; UB – Mable 9.875; BB – Mable 9.925; FX – Mable 9.975 (SWEEP!)

Current RQS: 195.335
Road Score 1: 196.875
Road Score 2: 195.375
Road Score 3: 193.350
Road/Home Score 1: 196.675
Road/Home Score 2: 196.325
Road/Home Score 3: 194.950

20. Arizona – 195.408
Week 6: Monday meet

Current RQS: 195.215
Road Score 1: 196.050
Road Score 2: 195.300
Road Score 3: 195.100
Road/Home Score 1: 196.375
Road/Home Score 2: 195.250
Road/Home Score 3: 194.375

21. Washington – 195.379
Week 6: 195.650
Week 6 leaders: AA – Northey 39.475; VT – Northey 9.875; UB – Northey 9.900; BB – Northey 9.900; FX – Northey, Stowe 9.800 (SWEEP #2!)

Current RQS: 195.195
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: 194.325

22. Southern Utah – 195.214
Week 6: 195.500
Week 6 leaders: AA – None; VT – Webb 9.825; UB – Armijo, Ramirez 9.850; BB – Trejo 9.875; FX – Trejo 9.775

Current RQS: 195.365
Road Score 1: 195.750
Road Score 2: 195.500
Road Score 3: 195.500
Road/Home Score 1: 195.650
Road/Home Score 2: 195.375
Road/Home Score 3: 194.800

23. Ohio State – 195.168
Week 6: 195.200
Week 6 leaders: AA – Funches 39.000; VT – Burns 9.850; UB – Funches 9.825; BB – Grady 9.850; FX – Mattern, Merkle 9.825

Current RQS: 195.085
Road Score 1: 195.650
Road Score 2: 195.200
Road Score 3: 194.675
Road/Home Score 1: 196.200
Road/Home Score 2: 195.025
Road/Home Score 3: 194.875

24. Kentucky – 195.113
Week 6: 194.425
Week 6 leaders: AA – None; VT – Mitchell, Waltz 9.775; UB – Rechenmacher 9.850; BB – Waltz 9.875; FX – Puryear 9.775

Current RQS: 194.970
Road Score 1: 195.825
Road Score 2: 194.975
Road Score 3: 194.425
Road/Home Score 1: 195.625
Road/Home Score 2: 195.600
Road/Home Score 3: 194.225

25. New Hampshire – 195.095
Week 6: Monday meet

Current RQS: N/A
Road Score 1: 193.450
Road Score 2: X
Road Score 3: X
Road/Home Score 1: 196.525
Road/Home Score 2: 195.900
Road/Home Score 3: 195.450

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

Friday, February 13

6:00 ET/3:00 PT – Michigan @ Michigan State (Scores) (CSL)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Missouri @ Florida (Scores) (ESPN3)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Denver @ West Virginia (Scores) (Stream)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Western Michigan @ Ball State (Stream)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Perfect 10 Challenge (Oklahoma, Kentucky)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – LSU @ Auburn (Scores) (ESPN3)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – SEMO, Illinois State @ Arkansas (Scores)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – TWU, Centenary @ Lindenwood (Scores)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Alaska, Winona State @ UW-Whitewater
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – Boise State @ Alabama (Scores) (ESPN3)
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – Chicago Style (Iowa State, Northern Illinois, Yale)   
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Southern Utah @ BYU (Scores) (BYUtv)
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Oregon State @ Cal (Scores)
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – San Jose State @ Sacramento State (Scores) (Stream)
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Seattle Pacific @ UC Davis (Scores)

Week 5 rankings:

Oklahoma’s RQS is already 197.465, with a good chance to go much higher today since that RQS includes a 196.500. I love that they could just put up the football team on every event for the rest of the regular season and still be a #1 seed at Regionals. And by love, I mean think that’s maybe a problem. It’s almost that time of year where I get to start my usual ranting about how RQS should include more meets.

We’re underway in the first rotation between Michigan and Michigan State now. Scores slow updating but it’s a 9.875 for Sugiyama on bars, and an exceptionally clean hit for Brown to follow. They’re trying to overcome a fall from Williams at the beginning.

Sheppard’s tkatchev is huge as always and her straddle back is precise, handstands look solid – only major error was a large lunge forward on her double front, which is still causing her issues. They’ll have to count that score because of Williams’ error.

Michigan State has been getting solid distance on these yfulls, but they’re much more piked than we see on the vaults from the top teams, which is mostly accounting for the later ones staying in the 9.7s.

Parker finishes for Michigan – takes her jaeger way way far and just fingertip catches it – a couple late turns (minorly late) and also a lunge forward on her double front, not as large as from Sheppard, but they’re struggling with those so far. They didn’t get nailed for them in the scores quite as much as I would expect, so it’s still a respectable 49.200 for Michigan. Given a fall and two struggle dismounts, they’ll be thrilled with that score. MSU gets a 48.675 on vault.

Brooke Parker starts for Michigan on vault, and it’s not one of her better ones – some piking and a larger bounce back. More control from Brown to follow, though less distance than Parker – and some looser leg form. Michigan State has a little bit of start-from-a-dead-hang-itis on bars –
Chiarelli up third for Michigan – great distance and height but also bounces back pretty far. These aren’t their best vaults so far.
Nice line from Gamelo on bars for MSU – but close on the straddle jaeger and a missed handstand right after – and then gets 1 centimeter off the ground on her double pike and falls.

Artz brings the best vault for Michigan so far – nice form and just the one medium step back. Still not the controlled landings, though.

Cartwright for MSU – pretty shaposh – solid bail – one missed handstand in there and a couple moments where the legs separated, but sticks the double tuck. Nice routine – step up from the previous ones clearly.

Strong 1.5 from Sugiyama – small step forward. She’s on top of that vault this season.

Smith for MSU did a bigly big piked gienger – nice – but will get hit for a very late full turn. 

Hmmm – Sheppard finally came in on vault this week (!), but just did a yurchenko tucked half. Intentional? She looked grumpy afterward, so I’m guessing not the plan?

Burt finishes for MSU – also a big gienger but some sloppier legs – leg break on the bail and just hangs onto the handstand for it with an arch. It’s piked gienger central for MSU, with another in exhibition. I’m not mad about it. Very typical of teams ranked around MSU is to have big releases on bars but lose the scores on handstands, feet, and legs form, and that’s true here as well.

Michigan ends with a 49.075 on vault, which is low for them and almost entirely a product of uncontrolled landings. No sticks, and only Sugiyama with what I would consider a small step.  
After 2: Michigan 98.275, Michigan State 97.650 

It has been an off-ish day for Michigan so far. Not terrible, but not what they have been showing. Will be interesting to see how that translates to beam later on.

-Dynamic round off layout stepout from MSU on beam. More people should do that. MSU looking pretty secure in these first two beam routines – feet are an issue but wobbles aren’t.

Williams starting for Michigan on floor – less control on the opening double pike than she has been showing – and then sits her middle pass. What is up with you today Michigan? She has been so solid this year, but a bad day for her so far with two falls.

Brown for Michigan – opens with a comfortable and controlled double pike – 1.5 to layout is OK – a little loose in the knees – leaps are solid from this angle – lowish chest on double tuck dismount. Our commentator needs us to know how hard it is to finish with a double tuck. 

Lagoski on beam gets great lift on her series – very nice – pretty big wobble after it, though – and then off the beam on her punch front – shame – the amplitude on her opening series was a highlight.

Parker opens with a strong double arabian – small slide on it but mostly controlled – split full and wolf full are OK – whoa went right up to the line on her 1.5 stepout to front full – basically finished on the side of the floor she was so off line – but stayed in – bounce back on double pike.

Double turn from MSU on beam from Westney – wobble – and a y spin right after – her leaps and spins are strong – definitely break connection between split and sissone – gainer layout dismount with a step – she’s a turner and a leaper – and is good at it –

Sugiyama on floor now – just starts with a double tuck this week – it’s great but that’s a downgrade – front full to an arched front layout – strong double pike to finish – good control on that one – should be a solid score but I wonder why they brought her back to the double tuck -gets a 9.900, so equivalent score to what she has been getting.

Florida is starting soon but not underway yet.

Ryan on beam now for MSU – falls on her layout 2ft – so they’re counting a fall now – high-interest moments in this rotation, though – especially from the people who have had mistakes.

Chiarelli – FX – great stick on the full in – right to the corner but nailed – 1.5 to layout also shows acceptable form and control – switch side and straddle full are both hit easily – solid double pike – low chest ish, but not majorly – very comfortable and secure hit.

Burt will finish on beam for MSU – small check on aerial – hits loso – very strong double full dismount with a stick. Best of the rotation.

Spicer for FL just a bounce in place on yfull –

Artz – FX – steps OOB on her piked full in – what was happened to you Nicole? You were all about the 9.950s at the beginning of the year! – layout to front full with a little bounce to pose – looks like she landed a little gingerly on her left foot on the double pike, but no issue – secure landing and she seems to feel fine.

Wang – FL – small shuffle back on yful. Also, Missouri is pretty legit in this bars rotation so far. Not the issues from the last time I saw them against LSU.

Return of Kennedy Baker on vault. I feel so much better. Great power and distance – small hop back.

Johnson for Missouri on bars keeps the trend going – clean work – it’s a shame about the extremity of her college arch on landing her dismount because it thrust her back a million feet.

Kytra on vault – That’s better than that ridiculous fall last week – not her best with a small hop to the side – maybe a little sloppier than the legs this time as well – but her height remains unreal.

Miller – Missouri – UB – slightly close on piked jaeger – and then arches a handstand after and has to come off – sadness – what’s the point of anything? “She really needs to make sure she finishes this routine.” Because there was a chance she wouldn’t. Lovely DLO to finish.  

Everyone is getting 9.9s for Florida today because why not? McMurtry would have had a 10 with a stick, but a small hop back. Everything perfect except the landing.

Conkle – Missouri UB – good form on her gienger and a clean bail – a couple handstands were iffy – and a hop back on a clean DLO.

Michigan went 49.150 on floor after counting the OOB from Artz. Reflective of how the whole day has gone, but they should still be in the running for a mid 196 with a hit beam.

49.550 for Florida on vault. It’s good to be home.They were flat last week, but have come out well so far. No sticks in that rotation, though, yes? I missed the first couple. Given the way the scores are going, they probably could have stuck for 49.7.

Michigan got a helpful score from Casanova in the first spot on beam for 9.800. Caught the end, which looked confidently hit.

Sugiyama – BB – good height on loso series, small check – a little crooked on the switch side – pike jump to back tuck is hit – very strong 2.5 dismount with a step – “really unique”

Second rotation getting underway for Florida and Missouri –  Baker back to leadoff on bars – big gymnastics – huge ray and pretty clean until the dismount – double front with a major cowboy and a hop forward equivalent to some of the Michigan double fronts. Today is not a great day for double fronts so far.

Lindsay Williams on BB – nice stag jump – secure and hit position – leg goes up on side aerial with a medium wobble – strong split full with hit position – secure loso series – she had the one wobble but she’s saving her meet here – pretty big step on 1.5 dismount.

Back to McMurtry now on bars for Florida – NO LONGER ANCHORING – my stars! – looked slightly late on giant full – clean bail handstand – and the routine is already over after 1 skill – huge, excellent full in with a stick. Great dismount. 9.925.

Kappler – VT – higher landing than the previous yfulls for Missouri, but a bounce back.

BDG – UB – a little tight on her first handstand – shaposh to bail combo – just some questionable hs in here – sticks the DLO with the usual Alaina Johnson legs. Kupets just compared sticking to the contagiousness of a yawn. Suzanne? Is that you? That was classic Yoculan. 9.950. Because sure.

Brown on beam for Michigan nailing her split elements and loso series – solid enough on the side somi – somewhat tentative on full turn – aerial –

Hunter – close on her hindorff but no problem out of it – a little crooked coming in on the bail – very strong tuck full this time with a stick – a couple early issues but a much better dismount.

Miller VT – Missouri – she can land – good enough form in the air – maybe a little more piking this time? – small hop back

Caquatto – UB – great Ray – clean bail with legs together – hitting hs – and a stuck DLO. Strong routine. No major issues – more like what she was showing last season.

Artz – BB – Michigan – seeing second half of it – secure on the front toss but a little squatty – finishes with a stuck front 1.5. It really is a sign of the times that beam has been by far Michigan’s best event tonight. Not really close. They’re goung to get a serious 196 now, regardless of what Chiarelli does –

Florida remains over 198 pace with a 49.525 on bars. 

Chiarelli – BB – finishing hte meet – secure loso series – wobble on straddle jump 1/2 – major break on side aerial – bend in the hips – they won’t count this score – sticks double tuck. Michigan will finish with a 196.725, which is not bad for an off meet, but won’t help them make up any ground in the rankings, especially given Florida’s 9.950 fest.

Kupets is showing us how to do a beam routine. Get out there, girl. We need you.

Florida will start with Baker on beam – falls onto herself on the beam on her wolf turn – blond-haried woman with the bade in the background was living that skill with her and died a little bit when she lost it – split jump was fine – next split was short, though – long pause before dismount – small hop forward on double tuck with another step to salute.

Kern – FX – fine double tuck – held onto it without a slide – legs on the middle pass – straddles are OK – finishes with a rudi –

They’ll need to drop Baker’s 9.550. Spicer hits her loso series – secure gainer loso – no major issues and a stuck gainer full – one of her usual hits –

Harris – FX – solid double tuck with a slide back – layout to front full with a step to the side and some messy legs – really good double tuck to finish.

Fassbender – BB – clean aeriala nd slow in connection to bhs but didn’t break it – full turn – sheep is pretty college but hit – side aerial to layout full with small bounce.

Kappler – FX – punch rudi to bhs to layout stepout mount – hm – 1.5 to layout middle pass – pulls around layout – who doesn’t use this music now? – It makes me feel seizures – secure double tuck dismount –

Boyce – BB – identical series to Fassbender – slow but not broken – strong bhs loso – right on – tentative on switch and did not hit 180 – good following split jump – sticks gainer full. 9.950. They are itching to give Florida a 198 tonight.

Conkle in on floor – 2.5 middle pass with a big crossover step to the side – hits rudi to finish –

McMurtry – BB -solid punch front – saves herself from a check well – loso series it hit – switch split was medium – almost a wobble on choreography there – 2.5 dismount with a hop back –

Schugel – FX – triple full with crossed legs but solid – crossed legs don’t get deducted as we have learned from much experience – double full as well – she’s a twister – every single pass –

Missed Kytra’s beam routine, but it looks like one of the good ones. We’re seeing a lot of 10-HANDS, though that means zero. 

Miller – FX – low on her double tuck with a large step but does stay in bounds -secure layout to full – 1.5 to layout was crazy from the start – suts it down and goes OOB. Bad day for her.

LSU and Auburn underway now – big hop forward from Webster on vault –
Savona – UB – good first hs and clean shposh – solid position on ail – shortish hs – the usual tkatchev – a couple borderline hs in here – bounce in place on DLO.

Florida is just going to have to be OK on floor to get the 198 tonight. Everyone is a 9.950.

Guy – VT – Amazing height as always – large bounce back on yfull – once the landing comes along…She’s like “damn it!”

Gnat – UB – ok position on giant full – leg break on the big gienger and floppy on the bail – also with a few iffy handstands – not a lot of lift on the DLO but hit with a minor shuffle nothing –

Kluz – VT – pretty clean on the 1.5 – large step forward – but solid direction and maintains good body position –

Kupets is wearing a tiara. So that happened.

Zamardi – UB – hit shapiosh with leg break – clean pak – half turn on low bar (my arch nemesis) – half turn to khorkina – hits last hs – best double arabian dismount she has done that I’ve seen this year. Well done and finished earlier than sometimes.

Demers – VT – FYI, I’m developing a slight obsession with her – EXCELLENT Yfull – it’s the me bump. stuck – great form and direction. Opens. Tremendous.  9.950.

Wyrick – UB – good first hs – strong full turn – hits tkatchev – clear hip – precise bail – last hs is short – step back on DLO – excellent start – a few issues creep in at the end – still should be a good score.

Atkinson – VT – Great 1.5 – great height and position – step forward, but the step is nearly all that will be taken from that vault.

Jordan – UB – half turn to high jaeger – good following hs – hits bail – dynamic shoot back to high bar – a couple short hs – small bounce back on DLO. The handstands are killing them so far in this rotation. Pretty much everyone has missed two.

Rott – VT – Another strong yfull – opens up – doesn’t stick – small bounce back – WHY are you shouting 10? – still great. Three exceptional vaults to finish for Auburn. Also a 9.950, though Demers was better.

Courville – UB – great jaeger with the toe point – clean on the bail – strong shoot back to high bar with good counter rotation – sticks tuck full – best of the rotation by a wide margin. One iffy handstand, but this routine is so much better than her freshman year.

49.500 for Auburn on vault. Every other team is on notice now. LSU 49.250. Needed more of those handstands to hope for any more. Courville saved the rotation there.

Missouri is hitting beam for far through 2. This is going to be a hugely important road score for Missouri if they keep it going. This is why everyone loves coming to Florida.

Florida on floor now. How many 10s?

Wang – FX – very strong DLO – nailed it – layout to layout half is solid – she’s had a few moments on floor this year but this looks solid so far – double pike was short as it looked from the behind angle – but not as short as it has been a few times this year.

Allbritten – BB – clean aerial to bhs – connection was similar to the Florida rotation – good splits – hits 180 – full turn – front toss secure – step back on gainer full – but good work before that –

Spicer – FX –  secure pike full in – the usual stagger – 1.5 to layout – steps back – short on split and wolf positions – secure double pike –

Hall – VT – clean yfull – medium hop back/to the side – small leg break in the air – 
Bri Guy shows off her huge tkatchev on bars – two steps back on the double tuck dismount though –

Ewing – VT – sticks the 1.5. Not much distance – but great form – looked like she was going to come in short but hung onto the stick.

Milliet – UB – toe on – Ray with great legs – strong pak looked like she would be close but she worked out of it – short on half turn on low bar – step back on double tuck – it’s getting there.

Baker – FX – not the stick on the piked double arabian this team but not the bounce either – step and keeps it in bounds –
Ranzy returns to vault for LSU – Great full – tries to hang onto the stick but a step forward – landed chest down – needs a little more time with it –
Baker got a 10 from one judge, which is high given the landing on the first pass. 

Kopec – UB – Auburn – high jaeger but flexed feet – strong DLO with a stick. 

So clean from Hambrick on the yfull with a stick – great vault – lovely work –
Lost internet for a while in there, but I’m back.

Gnat – VT – Just the full today – not the DTY – finishes 8000 miles above the table – pretty big bounce back – too easy for her. Huh? 9.925? Is there a “you’ve done a DTY before” bonus I didn’t know about?

Walker on bars now – very clean pak – a few people having issues with half turns on the low bar – great DLO dismount with a small twitch with one foot. 

Courville – VT – the usual with a small shuffle of the feet. 

In other news, Oklahoma nailed vault but had a couple issues on bars, so they’re on easy 197 pace so far but not 198 pace.
Atkinson had a few moments on handstands this time, but the dismount was excellent as usual. Not her cleanest, but solid.

Caquatto finishing for Florida on floor with a big bounce back on her double pike to end.

Let’s talk about what DD is wearing.
After 2: LSU 98.825, Auburn 98.700 
Alabama and Boise State are underway as well. Katie Bailey just stuck her yhalf very well.

Krentz – UB – BSU – finsihes full turn vertically – hit taktchev – clean bail – last handstand was borderline – ACK! Did you see that fall? – She  released for the dismount – hit her legs on the DLO and fell backward toward the low bar – thankfully her head missed the low bar and she’s fine. Scary moment, though.

C Sims – VT – strong enough yfull – feet – medium step back –

Morris up next on bars for BSU – very strong routine – good form throughout, small step on tuck full –

Clark – VT – medium step back on the full – not the usual stick we expect from her – but solid in the air – Bailey the class of this rotation so far.

Mejia – UB – BSU – good full turn – solid gienger though not huge – clean bail – hitting handstands – step back on tuck full – competitive – should be easily 9.8s.

Kadous – BB – Auburn – lovely switch to gainer loso in the middle here – hits loso series and sticks gainer full – nice
Beers – VT – Bama – very similar to Clark there – medium step back on an otherwise strong yfull –  better distance and leg form though

Jacobsen – UB – BSU – strong piked jaeger – a bit of an angle on the bail – clean final hs – small shuffle on the DLO but near stick –

Savona – FX – Johnny Pothead in the background loves this routine – solid 1.5 to double back mount – not sticking the way she often does but controlled steps – slide back on final pass –
Williams – VT – Bama – big height as always – still doing the 1.5 – small hop – loses the legs at the end a bit

That was a huge tuck full to finish from Boise State there from Perkins. Nailed. Also a great tkatchev in there with pointed toes.

Milliet – BB – Keeping up the Auburn trend of real sheep jumps -pretty big wobble on bhs loso series – bends at hips -short on aerial but holds onto it well without a serious check – 1.5 dismount with small step. Still a tight routine from her, but a hit.

Wrapping things up – Florida’s score was a 198.225, the highest on the season so far. Not surprising after the scores we saw flying.

Wyrick – FX – Fine double pike mount – half to layouts middle pass – not the full contingent on floor today for LSU – hits leaps – some low chest issues here – including on the double tuck – 

Demers – BB – good full turn – clean loso – short switch to sheep with a wobble and the leg flies up – side aerial to very short layout full with a lunge forward. Shame. She’s 9.900 capable on this event but not today.

Ewing – FX – solid front double full to start – full to layout middle pass – lands her passes securely – hits her straddles – and same with the double pike to finish – very controlled routine – just some small issues in the leg form etc.

Guy – BB – good full turn – hits switch side well this time – solid loso series as well – giving away nothing so far – switch to straddle jump – excellent aerial – sticks gainer pike – one of her good ones –

MCNeer – UB – Bama – clean start – looked short on the bail handstand – hitting her cast handstands and a stick/near-stick on DLO.

Gnat – FX – Big DLO with a very good landing – 2.5 to front tuck is great as well – stuck dismount as well “She took a stick pill before this competition.” Oh Kathy. One of her best routines.
Jetter for Alabama broke the double front curse a little bit with a solid one – just a medium step back – and the rest of the routine was nice.

Boise State giving things away on these uncontrolled vault landings.

Bailey on UB now – love her new composition and sticks the full out – she’s on it now – this has turned into a 9.9 level routine.
Strong hit from Walker on beam – squatty front, but the rest was excellent.

Courville – amazing stick on double arabian – no trouble there now – I still can’t with the iTunes vomit on this routine, couple steps back on the double pike middle pass – shame – strong landing on double back – held onto it –

Atkinson – BB – very strong loso series – secure – aerial is hit as well – nice switch to wolf – just the 1.5 dismount this time – they needed the big score from her so they played it safe – but she ended up taking a hop, which she doesn’t always do on double pike.

Hall – FX – very strong DLO – looked like she would stick it but bounced up a little on it – switch side to straddle jump 1/1 – 1/5 to stuck layout – bounces back on the double tuck but otherwise it was one of her usual good ones – did well to control the bounce and not go OOB though.

Big bars rotation for Alabama. Their best landings of the season so far to open up a pretty big lead over Boise State. Bailey was the class of that rotation. That was excellent.

Missed opportunity for LSU on floor, with Hall and Courville each having one iffy pass. Auburn is in this thing.

LSU 148.075 to Auburn 147.975. Who had it this close? Auburn has to show up on floor this week, and LSU has to keep it going on beam. Usually when things are this close, you give it to the team on floor, but this LSU beam rotation…it’s formidable.

Is Oklahoma finally having on off meet? They still look good for an easy 197, much like Florida last week, but a lot of 9.7 and 9.800s creeping in on bars and beam, which we haven’t seen. Even Capps got just a 9.850 on beam.

We haven’t had very many exciting top-10 meets so far this year, so thank you LSU and Auburn. Jessie Jordan talks about “being able to sit out” – like it was a great experience. Oh NCAA. You can say you’re disappointed about something.

Elsewhere – Kayla Williams just had a big wobble on her punch front. Boo.

Ewing – BB – sticks bhs layout 2ft – long pause before but it was worth it – hits switch side – full turn is tight but fine – layout stepout to straddle 1/4 – slow work but hit – step forward on 1.5.

Walker – FX – low chest on double tuck with step forward – switch ring split full – whip to double full with a bounce – rudi to split jump – hit but issues –

Hambrick – BB – tentative on that L turn – uncharacteristically drops her leg before finish – tight side aerial with a small check – switch to straddle 1/4 – this is more nervous than she competed last week – very nice loso series – pretty – couple small steps on 2/1 dismount.

Webster – FX – solid piked full in – little nudge to the side on landing and the usual stagger – 1.5 to layout is clean – secure double tuck with low chest –

Boise State having a floor-tastrophe so far –

Macadaeg – BB – full turn – switch to switch half brilliant – aerial to straddle – slow connection with a check after the straddle – loso series was hit and a stuck gainer pike. Nice. Not as strong as last week but good.

Kluz – FX – high full in – large-ish step back but no slide there – layout to full is clean in the air – straddle jump full wolf jump full – solid double tuck – that should keep up the scoring pace –

Missed what happened at Alabama – but there’s a Boise State gymnast on the ground in tears. Anyone see what happened?

Gnat – BB – small check on aerial but managed to cover and connect into beat jump – switch to straddle 1/4 – she’s just having small small hesitations but it’s hit – switch side slightly crooked – very strong loso series – sticks the double full dismount – good stronger as the routine went on –

LSU just holding onto the lead for now –

Rott – FX – Sticks her DLO – very nice – split full to straddle jump full – just layouts to pike middle pass – very slightly low on double pike – and I’d like to see more difficulty in the middle pass, but that was the best of the rotation so far and very strong –

Courville time now – L turn is hit – Arabian time – NOOO – huge break but she stayed on – but that’s a major deduction – they’ll need to drop this now – wobble on loso as well – switch to split are both lovely small pause in connecting – excellent aerial to sissone – stuck gainer full –

Demers – FX – slides back on full in mount – both teams giving a little back in the fifth spot – wolf full and straddle full are excellent – layout to front full and dances out of it – another small bounce on double pike – great elements but did give away some bits on the landings – still advantage Auburn after the Courville mistake. 

Jordan – BB – All about the Jordan now – holds onto side somi well – excellent loso series – switch split to straddle 1.4 – she’s nailing this routine – clean aerial after long long pause – small twitch on 1.5 dismount – did what she could do.

That’s what LSU needed. Auburn needed Atkinson tonight. This must be KILLING her.

Hlawek – Auburn – FX – Need 9.875 for the tie 9.900 for the win.Big double arabian – keeps in in bounds with a step back – short on double pike middle pass with a lunge forward – shame – bounces landing her tuck jump as well but the splits were strong – front full to front tuck with a slide.Well done for her to hit.
If we’re being fair, that should not get the score.It doesn’t. 9.800.

FINAL: LSU 197.350, Auburn 197.300

Phew! I need to decompress. Most exciting meet of the season so far.

We still have one rotation to go with Alabama and Boise State. It’s not close after the BSU disaster on floor, but Albama is currently on pace for a very high 197, so watch out for that with this floor rotation.

Lora Leigh Frost is the Star Watch on this broadcast on floor, but isn’t she not in the lineup tonight? Oops.

Oklahoma finished with a 197.275 after a strong floor rotation.

Mejia – BB – BSU – strong side aerial to bhs – switch is OK – small check on side aerial to side position – 1.5 dismount with hop forward.

Dennis – FX – Bama – strong double pike and secure landing – “permanent smile plastered on her face” is that a compliment? – bounces landing her jumps – layout to front full – very strong double tuck with controlled landing – good opening and finish there –

Josbacher – BB – opens with the loso series – tuck jump full – some very minor checks early – switch to layout stepout – 1.5 dismount step forward – small issues of tightness throughout but no significant errors –

Bailey – FX – strong arabian with a controlled step forward – I like to see her do that pass – she has Milliner potential with it when she’s comfortable – layout to layout full – crossed legs rudi to finish – strong work –

Morris – BB – three series to loso is hit but mushy legs – full turn – straddle jump full doesn’t hit 180 – double full dismount step back – secure routine – some issues of form –

Jetter – FX – It’s good to see her on this event. She really should be doing more than one piece as a college gymnast – double arabian with a lunge forward – stays in – 1.5 to front full – she has been doing that pass for a thousand millennia – 1.5 to layout final pass –

Our commentators have no idea who is on beam now, but I can’t criticize because I don’t either – three series to loso with a wobble – full turn – leaps are certainly not a strength – she just did a Kim Kelly star jump 1/4 – front full dismount is fine with step forward –

C Sims – DLO to start – nice – better chest position this week – a little slide – front full front pike is solid – hits her straddle and split position well – strong double pike – shortish? Not majorly – the most comfortable she has looked with those passes so far –

Urquhart – BB – they all do three series to loso – and they all have knee issues – secure, though – iffy switch leap and split jump 1/2 – does well to not give away a check on the side aerial – pulls it back – 1.5 hop forward/sideward –

Clark – FX – Wrong music – that really happens way more often than it should – big double pike – good form – small, small slide – hits her leaps well – big 1.5 to layout – dances out of it – short on double tuck dismount with a step forward –

Jacobsen – nice stag handstand mount – bhs loso bhs series – best leg form on the team – solid – straddle jump to straddle 1/4 is hit – she’s certainly their beamer – full turn – switch to back pike – 1.5 dismount with a large, large lunge out of it – shame – would have been a good score –

Beers – FX – Alabama has already clinched the high 197 and a season high – short on the DLO with a lunge forward – unexpected from her but she only recently brought it back – clean layout to front full – switch ring and split full are solid this time out – solid double tuck to finish. Surely would have been a massive score if not for the landing on that DLO.

Boise State finishes with a 195.450, which is actually OK considering what a disaster that floor rotation was.

Beers gets a 9.875 for that routine anyway, because whatever, and Alabama ends with a 197.800. Their most complete meet of the year by far. Coming into tonight, they had just one 24-for-24 meet so far this season, so coming up with such a consistent meet was big. The only sub-9.800 score was the big break on the punch front from Kayla Williams on beam.

Alabama is back up in this to put some pressure on Michigan and move up the rankings.

I’ve hit my limit with the blogging, but just an update that Toni-Ann Williams got a 10 on vault. That’s the first ever 10 for Cal. I’m so proud. 

The Weekend Ahead – February 13th-16th

This weekend, we’ll have mostly the usual Friday hyper-saturation of meets with 7 of the top 10 teams in action, but at least they’re a little more spread out this time. So that’s something. This is more like how it should be.

But this time around, Saturday is also a pretty big day with Utah, UCLA, Stanford, Georgia, and Nebraska all in action. Hopefully there’s as little Valentine’s Day folderol as possible during those meets. Everyone already has a pink meet so that they can pat themselves on the back for raising awareness. We don’t need more opportunities for everyone to douse themselves in reds and pinks. You know someone is going to show up wearing 178 red bows with candy hearts tied to them and a box of chocolates hidden under her rat’s nest bun. You know it.  

In the rankings, don’t expect much action on top. Now that teams have several meets under their belts, but still before RQS kicks in (Feb 23), it’s much harder to manage a big jump in season average. If Oklahoma keeps doing what they’re doing and getting mid 197s, they’re safe at #1. Even LSU would need a 7 million to catch them. The top 7 teams have separated themselves from the pack a little bit, but once again this week the teams from #8-#13 could end up in any order because there’s such a small margin between them. Remember that UCLA is officially #13 but up to a provisional ranking of #8 after Monday’s 197, so they lead the peloton for the moment.  

On Friday, the action starts early with Michigan getting underway at a slightly Early Bird Discount time of 6:00 ET, so remember to make sure your brain is rested enough to be able to process lights and sounds earlier than it usually is on a Friday night. An hour later, Florida hosts Missouri and will be eager to erase the averageness from last week. Florida hasn’t had bad meets this year, but they’ve had a few just OK meets, including the recent 197.200 (which is a C+ kind of score for Florida, and frankly any team that hopes to make Super Six this year). Without Kennedy Baker, we started to see the tangible effect of all the injuries. The limits of their scoring potential were exposed, and we know now where the 9.850s run out.

Once everyone is back for Florida, expect a lot of talk about what a blessing these early-season injury issues were because they forced the team to explore depth, got tons of gymnasts comfortable competing in case they’re needed, and now they can face any challenge even an avalanche of hurricanes, etc. I’m just warning you now.

Auburn keeps challenging the good teams. They put up a legitimate fight against Alabama last week and will hope to do the same thing at home this week, though LSU is a step up from Alabama right now and will make it harder to keep pace. The Tigers scored a 198 last weekend and will receive the boost this week of having Jessie Jordan back on bars and beam. Plus, Britney Ranzy is slated to make her return on vault. They’ve been honestly fine on vault without her, but bars could really use those 9.875s she was getting last year when she’s able to get back fully. Savona is an acceptable replacement, but Ranzy’s potential is greater. Auburn, I’m watching your floor. There is too much big-tumbling talent there to peak at 9.800s. 

Boise State will be visiting Alabama a bit later, and I’m eager to check that one out because I almost never get to see Boise State compete and am always impressed by their bars when I do. So bring it. Alabama is ranked just 12th on bars and has had too many falls already this year, so it will be worth comparing that rotation to the 7th-ranked Boise State bars team. It’s unusual that Alabama would welcome a team like Boise State and look weaker on any event, and interested to see if it happens. Having Clark back there is a big boost to Alabama’s potential.

On Saturday, the Pac-12 is taking over Big 10 day. Utah is visiting Washington and trying to convince us that they are the best spoiler to the predetermined Big Three this year. They’ve had a few high-profile overscores for certain Tory Wilson vaults, which undermines them because it makes their competitiveness seem artificial. A quirk of judging instead of quality gymnastics. Let’s see how the big-scoring trend plays out on the road at Washington.

But I’m mostly excited for the UCLA/Stanford clash on Saturday, the Beautiful Disaster Rumble. Stanford is a big sack of worries right now, with Price’s growing injury list meaning that their tendency to Stanford a bunch of these lineups only increases. They’re still so lovely, but every single person has to hit every routine perfectly because there is less than no margin for error. Let’s just hope for as much Vaculik as possible. UCLA is starting to manage to pull out results and legitimate scores in spite of issues, which is the usual UCLA February story. They’ve got to work out that bars lineup. It doesn’t make me feel safe.

As always, the full weekend schedule is available at the link at the top.

Top 25 Schedule

Friday, February 13

6:00 ET/3:00 PT – [5] Michigan @ Michigan State
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Missouri @ [4] Florida
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [18] Denver @ West Virginia
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Perfect 10 Challenge ([1] Oklahoma, [21] Kentucky)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [2] LSU @ [9] Auburn
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – SEMO, Illinois State @ [14] Arkansas
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – [12] Boise State @ [6] Alabama
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [23] Southern Utah @ BYU
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [10] Oregon State @ [20] Cal
Saturday, February 14
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – [8] Georgia @ North Carolina
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [24] Ohio State @ [11] Penn State
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [15] Illinois @ Iowa 
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [13] UCLA @ [16] Stanford
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [3] Utah @ [17] Washington
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [7] Nebraska @ [22] Minnesota
Sunday, February 15
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – [25] New Hampshire, Bridgeport, Southern Connecticut @ Brown

Monday, February 16
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Arizona State @ [19] Arizona

Week 5 Rankings and Notes

The 198 barrier is a thing of the past. That’s what we learned this weekend. Remember in 2012 when UCLA hit 198 and it was a thing? People fainted with outrage about it. There was an epidemic of vapors. It was a different time. Mattie Larson got a 9.900 on bars at that meet, to illustrate what a different time it was.

This weekend, Oklahoma and LSU took 198’s fragile innocence, with a 198.150 from Oklahoma and a 198.075 from LSU. Not surprising that those two were the first to do it. What is more surprising is how close Utah has come the last couple weeks, and how high they have risen in the rankings.

Speaking of Utah’s scores, in spite of this being a huge-scoring weekend, we saw just two 10.0s, which is sort of low based on my expectations, both from Utah on vault. Once again, we saw lots more 10s from individual judges, including for this fab 9.975 from Mary Jane Horth.

As for the 10s, we need to have an honest conversation about how Tory Wilson didn’t stick that vault. Let’s just all acknowledge it and move on. After that score, Georgia Dabritz better get a 10 for sticking that excellent 1.5. If Wilson got a 10 and then Dabritz didn’t, just throw out the whole system.

And now to the rankings.

Week 5 Rankings – GymInfo

1. Oklahoma – 197.579
Week 5: 198.150
Week 5 leaders: AA – None; VT – Scaman, Capps 9.950; UB – Wofford 9.950; BB – Capps 9.950; FX – Dowell, Jackson 9.950

Oklahoma maintains a comfortable lead after recording the weekend’s highest score yet again. In the Friday live blog I mentioned that Oklahoma had the highest average ever recorded and that point in the season, and unsurprisingly after a 198, that is still true this week. When RQS officially debuts in two weeks, the Sooners have a pretty good shot of starting with a higher RQS than they finished last year. UCLA’s record RQS of 198.055 may still be a tough ask, but we’ll see.

This team is certainly capable of getting big scores from every spot in the lineup, including the first. Having that 9.925 from Clark in the first spot on bars, and starting with a 9.850 on beam, were critical in allowing Oklahoma to build from there and reach up into the 49.5s on those events, to match what they have been doing regularly on vault and floor. That big score from Clark meant Dowell could take an extra swing after Church, and no one even noticed. Sign of a championship team: your star makes a mistake, and you still get a 49.525.

2. LSU – 197.315
Week 5: 198.075
Week 5 leaders: AA – Courville 39.825; VT – Courville 9.950; UB – Courville 9.950; BB – Courville, Macadaeg, Gnat 9.950; FX – Courville 9.975

Not to be overshadowed, LSU was not too shabby this weekend either. It was clear that things got a little silly with the scoring for LSU in that meet, especially toward the end on floor, but the big story was the exceptional beam rotation. With the lovely work from Hambrick and Macadaeg introduced this year, LSU is capable of being anyone on beam now, even Oklahoma (gasp!), but until this week, they had not actually shown that in competition. On Friday, we finally saw it, which is especially remarkable because Jessie Jordan wasn’t available. Get back immediately. We’re nothing without Jessie Jordan. When that beam lineup is Ewing, Hambrick, Gnat, Macadaeg, Courville, Jordan…whew.

Rheagan Courville scored a 39.825 in the AA, which matches Sloan’s high from last year.

3. Utah – 197.195
Week 5: 197.825
Week 5 leaders: AA – Dabritz 39.675; VT – Dabritz, Wilson 10.000; UB – Dabritz 9.950; BB – Rowe 9.900; FX – Dabritz 9.950

As mentioned, there were some crazies happening at this meet, and I still need therapy about a few of those floor scores, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that this is Utah’s best team since 2010 or so. A healthy Lothrop, a career-best Dabritz, the introduction of Kari Lee, Baely Rowe starting to grow into the beam star she should be based on her JO career, even Wilson’s much-improved form on bars releases. They have the pieces on all events this time around. 

4. Florida – 197.145
Week 5: 197.200
Week 5 leaders: AA – Fassbender 39.375; VT – McMurtry 9.950; UB – Boyce, Caquatto, Fassbender 9.850; BB – Boyce, Spicer 9.875; FX – Hunter 9.925

Florida in 4th. What is happening? Answer: When Bridget Sloan is injured, Kennedy Baker has a concussion, and Kytra Hunter has probably the worst meet she’s ever had as a college gymnast (which still included a 9.925 on floor), it’s more a miracle that they were able to break 197 this week than anything else. That’s tough to do when missing basically 2.5 of your top 3 AAers. They certainly have backups, but it was more a 9.850-9.875 kind of meet than the 9.950 fests we have come to expect. The Gators are the most depleted of the top teams right now, but it would be short-sighted to declare them clearly behind Oklahoma and LSU. These are temporary issues, and I certainly don’t expect Florida to have another meet where Kytra splats her 1.5. I’ve decided that didn’t happen in real life, anyway. It was fictional.

5. Michigan – 196.970
Week 5: 197.125
Week 5 leaders: AA – Sugiyama 39.525; VT – Sugiyama, Artz, Chiarelli 9.875; UB – Sheppard 9.925; BB – Artz 9.925; FX – Sugiyama 9.925

The Wolverines stay safe at #5 with a pretty comfortable lead over Alabama. They did very well to break 197 again this weekend even without the benefit of some of the routines and big scores we would expect them to rely on. Chiarelli fell on beam and Artz had an OOB for 9.725 on floor, but they still remained comfortably over 49 on both events. In the lineups, Casanova was limited to just beam and Christopherson was out on bars, yet Brooke Parker stepped in to get a 9.900 on bars, which I never would have expected and is more evidence of what has made Michigan successful this year, people making the rare transition from backup to 9.900.

It is still a tenuous hold on big scores. They really don’t have the depth to afford any injuries to lineup, which we saw of evidence of this weekend when they Stanforded vault (to Stanford: to put up five competitors instead of six). That’s also evidence of how much they need Austin Sheppard back there. Wrap everyone up and swaddle them until meet time.

6. Alabama – 196.765
Week 5: 197.325
Week 5 leaders: AA – Beers 39.475; VT – Williams 9.900; UB – Bailey, Beers 9.900; BB – Beers, McNeer 9.900; FX – Beers, Clark, A Sims 9.900

7. Nebraska – 196.375
Week 5: 197.325
Week 5 leaders: AA – DeZiel 39.550; VT – Blanske, DeZiel, Lambert 9.925; UB – Laeng 9.900; BB – DeZiel 9.925; FX – Blanske 9.925

In this next portion of the rankings, we saw some solid, encouraging, not-problematic 197.325s from Alabama and Nebraska. Alabama still has areas to clean up (I expect this to be a slow-burn year for the Tide), but there are no egregious issues cropping up, only a lack of 9.950s to wonder about. Though some might consider any Alabama gymnast scoring below 9.800 on vault to be an egregious issue. Alabama doesn’t do that.

The weekend also saw an important result from Nebraska, breaking the 49.3s on both beam and floor to start moving out of one-event-team territory, which is how they had looked at a few previous meets. Recovering to hit a full beam rotation was necessary (in spite of not having Lambert in the lineup like I asked for, Nebraska), and most importantly, working Jessie DeZiel back up toward 9.9s on all four events is the most essential piece for this team as we move into February. There’s a lot on her shoulders this year without Wong.

8. Georgia – 196.079
Week 5: 196.850
Week 5 leaders: AA – None; VT – Jay 9.925; UB – Davis, Rogers 9.875; BB – Broussard 9.875; FX – Box 9.875

9. Auburn – 196.065
Week 5: 196.825
Week 5 leaders: AA – Atkinson – 39.475; VT – Demers 9.925; UB – Atkinson 9.875; BB – Atkinson, Demers, Walker 9.900; FX – Rott 9.825

Georgia and Auburn were the 196.8 twins over the weekend, both falling to stronger teams but still recording acceptable scores. Especially for Auburn, a team much less accustomed to high 196s. Georgia gave away too much on bars and beam with some landing issues on bars and tentative errors on beam, but they’re hanging close and should break 197 any minute now. Big progress was made on vault. Clear season bests from Vaculik and Marino were important to see, and will be necessary if Georgia is to make a legitimate assault on a Super Six spot.

Auburn continues to mess with the traditional powers and prove that they’re legitimately in the hunt and at the same level. Of note, in spite of losing to Alabama, they won both vault and beam, which should provide a confidence boost and illustrate their potential to everyone. Continuing to develop Abby Milliet’s comfort level on beam is vital, and hopefully we see more from her. Of note, Auburn has a lot of sheep jumps on beam, but get this: they’re not terrible. Some of them are almost real sheep jumps, so credit for that.

10. Oregon State – 195.985
Week 5: 196.250
Week 5 leaders: AA – Gardiner 39.275; VT – Keeker 9.900; UB – Aufiero 9.875; BB – Perez 9.850; FX – McMillan 9.875

Oregon State is still just managing to hold off Penn State (with a 197 over the weekend) and Boise State, though it’s a tenuous hold after a 49.050 kind of meet on Saturday. UCLA does not compete until tonight and can jump ahead of Oregon State for the time being with a 196.450. That should be doable, but you never know. Stanford lost the chance to move up after a Price-free, bars catastrophe of a meet on Sunday that saw them lose to arch-rival Cal. Oh, Stanford.

11. Penn State – 195.975

12. Boise State – 195.963

13. UCLA – 195.875

14. Arkansas – 195.820

15. Illinois – 195.800

16. Stanford – 195.754

17. Washington – 195.531

18. Denver – 195.488

19. Arizona – 195.408

20. Cal – 195.304

21. Kentucky – 195.250

22. Minnesota – 195.225

23. Southern Utah – 195.167

24. Ohio State – 195.163

25. New Hampshire – 195.095

Friday Live Blog – LSU, Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, and more

Friday, February 6

6:00 ET/3:00 PT – Ohio State @ Bowling Green (Scores)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – NC State @ Pittsburgh (Scores) (ESPN3)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Northern Illinois @ Central Michigan (Scores) (ESPN3
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Oklahoma @ Iowa State (Scores)
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Kentucky @ Missouri (Scores) (ESPN3)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Florida @ Arkansas (ESPN3)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Arizona State @ Utah (Pac-12 Network)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – SEMO @ Illinois State
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Georgia @ LSU (Scores) (ESPN3)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Auburn @ Alabama (Scores) (ESPN3)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – San Jose State @ Southern Utah (Scores)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Seattle Pacific @ Utah State
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – George Washington @ Sacramento State (Scores) (Stream)

We have a whirlwind ahead of us. In addition to the SEC meets I mentioned in the preview yesterday, Utah’s 40th anniversary meet will be happening at the exact same time, which should be enthusiastic.

The scoring this season has been remarkable in a few ways. Oklahoma’s average of 197.465 is the highest ever average at this point in the season, at least as far back as those records are kept and easily accessible, and the nine 10.0s so far easily eclipses last season’s pace, when we had four by the same point in the year. Still, we haven’t had a 198 yet. Does that change tonight?

Stay tuned.

Just checking in with some of the meets right now. Offutt for Pittsburgh just vaulted a front handspring cannonball. It was awesome.

NC State’s first two bars workers were pretty nice – calm and fluid through their routines, late on some pirouettes and all, but those routines were solid. Knight of NC State fell on bars, but then no coach was there to help her back up to the high bar, and she was like, “Um…lil help?” Solid bars rotation from NC State all told. Woodford had some sloppy elements and Knight had the fall, but some nice lines and toe point happening in there.

Central Michigan broke 49 on vault in the opening rotation.

Oklahoma’s lineups are out, and it’s the same group from Metroplex. Not having Kanewa in lineups right now has not seemed to hurt them in the scores because they have depth, but she is certainly one of their best six on vault and floor when healthy. They’re just that much less 9.950 without her.

It’s so sad looking at Kentucky’s sideline competitors. It’s like a sea of crutches. Probably shouldn’t have more crutches than lineup members. Kentucky once again bringing it with those bars releases. Another strong stuck yfull from Miller of Missouri. That vault is legit.

We’re getting close to the 8:00/5:00 meets now. I’m going to try to do Georgia/LSU and Alabama/Auburn. Sorry Utah, Florida, Arkansas, and Arizona State. It’s a jungle out there.

The SEC Network is showing Sarah and Suzanne before tonight’s meet, which is much better than that stupid radio show they’ve had before. This production. More importantly, THESE PANTSUITS. And that time that guy compared Suzanne to Yoko Ono.

Oklahoma is already destroying everyone in the face on bars, as expected. A fall from Dowell and they still got a 49.525.

This broadcast actually started with a shot of an ACTUAL TIGER. I’m already in heaven. It’s time for our old friends, Bart and Kathy. ACK! Jessie Jordan has a “tweaked” trap muscle and is out for the meet.

Interesting that Georgia’s lineup says they’re anchoring vault with Beth Roberts. Is this a “if we get five vaults, we’ll stop” situation? Rachel Schick is out with a broken thumb, so Persinger will be doing bars today, and not vault. Schick is never not injured. She says she’s blessed that she gets to be on the sideline cheering on the girls. Oh, gotta love NCAA. 

And now Kennedy Baker is out today as well? Cancel gymnastics.
Is Auburn and Alabama going to get started?

 Rotation 1:
Hall – LSU – VT – a little bit of crazy legs early on her vault, medium sized hop back. 9.825

Vaculik – UGA – UB – nice early in the legs – strong jaeger with great toe point – precise bail – short on a couple hs – small step to the side on tuck full – not bad.

Oklahoma over 198 pace through two events.

Ewing – LSU – VT – strong form on the 1.5 in the air – just a small step forward – not a lot of distance as well – but very good.

Jay – UGA – UB – excellent releases as usual – solid bail – also a short hs or two – almost stuck the DLO but couldn’t hang onto it – hop forward.

Alabama/Auburn lost it’s chance – I’m switching to Florida/Arkansas instead.

Savona – LSU – VT – Good power on her full – higher landing in the chest than we’ve seen from her in the past on vault for LSU as well – hop back.

Brown – UGA – UB – Get it. strong fitrst hs, amazing tkatchev as always – clean pak – solid enough to vertical on the half turn – these hs look nice – pretty large hop forward on the DLO – would have been amazing with a stick.

Speaking of sticks, that what BDG just did on bars for Florida.

Hambrick – LSU – VT – Excellent body position and direction on her yfull – very nice – small step or two back on the landings, but great in the air.

Rogers – UGA – UB – Amazaing stalders and ricna as always – clean on bail – strong shoot to high bar – another with a couple iffy hs – just a very small hop on the DLO, but better than last week.

Florida is sticking these bars dismounts better than they have been.

Gnat – LSU – VT – DTY TIME – finishes so early and easily – hop back again this week – and has the leg break on the table, but it’s also a DTY.

Davis – UGA – UB – Amazing tkatchev to start – solid handstands – clean on the bail – very small step back on tuck full – one of her good one. Both Brown and Rogers gave away tenths, so they needed that one.

Kytra just had an insane landing on her bars dismount. Oopsie.

Courville – LSU – UB – the usual – Just buckles a little in the knees to hang onto the stick, but everything else is great as always – blah, blah blah the distance, you know the story.

McMurtry for UF just went clean on bars with a near-stuck landing on her tuck full and just a questionable handstand or two in there. Persinger is hitting coming into the bars lineup. Good substitute performance.

LSU with an early lead, which is exactly what Georgia didn’t need.  

After 1: LSU 49.450, Georgia 49.225
Good vaults for LSU. Courville had one of her better ones so far in the season, Hambrick was very clean, and Ewing had a strong 1.5. They’ll need to squeeze a few more of the landings out of that rotation as we go forward, but not bad at all. For Georgia, they did fine. Rogers gave away a handstand or two and Brown gave away too much on the dismount landing, but I thought Davis’s routine was very strong. Interesting that it got the same score as Rogers. 49.225 is not problematic in and of itself, but Georgia needed a huge bars score this week to make up for some other deficiencies compared to LSU.

In other news, Arkansas is beating Florida. 49.425 Arkansas, 49.200 Florida. I saw some of those Arkansas vaults, and those were solid, acceptable vaults, but those were some home vault scores in that rotation. To say it’s equivalent to LSU’s vault rotation is silly. Saw some good landings for Florida on bars, except for Kytra’s, but didn’t see a lot of routine interiors. Another meet of 9.850s on bars without anyone to save it with a 9.950. Fassbender stepped in well for Baker, though.


Kathy Johnson is giving us a Natalia Yurchenko history lesson.Yessss.

More 10 alerts. TWO for Utah on vault. TWO. Happy 40th birthday!

Rotation 2:
Vaculik – VT – her best landing of the season by far – stuck – very nice – stick has a leg break on the table and not the biggest dynamics, but strong start.

Savona – UB – god first hs – solid shaposh to bail combo as well with just the usual leg sep on the shaposh – efficient work – not a lot of amplitude on that tkatchev – small hop back on DLO. OK start.

Marino – VT – Better knees on the 1.5. Much better than the last couple weeks – Still a bend, though and crossed legs on the block – good landing as well,.

Hambrick – UB – Strong enough on the ray – a little bit short on her giant full, but not bad overall – small hop in place on tuck full dismount.

Broussard – VT – Great amplitude and good form in the air – did not have control on the landing, though, with a pretty big hop back.

Zamardi  – UB – Strong shaposh to pak combo – good leg form – finishes the 1/2 turn on low bar pretty well – comfortable on the khorkina – hit hs – just hangs onto the double arabian dismount with a twitch in her left leg – good work.

Rogers – VT – 1.5 again this week – hop forward on the landing and a little loose knees in the air, but fine.

A couple big hops back from Florida on vault, but they’re getting solid scores.

Wyrick – UB – good opening giant full – hits tkatchev but toes – solid bail with better toes – pretty DLO with another small steppy/shuffle thing on landing.

Jay – VT – Sticks the 1.5 very good – she still has the leg break on the block and the feet apart on landing.
KYTRA JUST SAT HER 1.5. WHA…???

Gnat – UB – good full turn – big gienger with a little bit of Sophina legs – but went over on her handstand and has to take extra swings – shame.

Roberts – VT – Does her full, which was actually pretty good. Clean enough body form – toes, off line, and a hop back.

Fortunately, MCMurtry got it back for Florida on vault. 

Courville – UB – Well done on her jaeger – clean on the bail – hits the shoot back to high bar – smallest shuffle on the tuck full – very clean work – one iffy hs – much improved.

Good vault score for Georgia with 49.425. I didn’t expect them to stay right with LSU there, but they got the great stick from Jay, and by far the season-best vaults from Vaculik and Marino. Much better from both of them. LSU got a big score from Courville to keep the edge.

After 2: LSU 98.825, Georgia 98.625

Oklahoma is still on 198 pace with just beam left. 
Arkansas didn’t have a strong bars rotation, so Florida has taken back the lead 98.650 to 98.300. Florida got a 49.450 on vault in spir of the Kytra mess because McMurtry did a McMurtry and because the scoring has been happy happy joy joy on vault.

Utah is also on 198 pace after two events with a 99.100. It’s one of those Utah home meets. You know the story. Apparently, Dabritz arched a hs and got a 9.950. Because sure.

Rotation 3:
Hall – BB – opens with a somewhat crooked switch side and a large wobble – secure on the loso series – fine switch – small check on straddle 1/4 – good double back dismount, small step.

Brown – FX – slide back on the double pike to start – short on her layout out of the 1.5 – very low with a break in form – magically didn’t fall on it – and then very short on double tuck with a lunge forward. Problems. 9..750 is very charitable for that.

Ewing – BB – just a small fight to hang onto her layout 2 ft – but good – secure landing on the switch side – loso to straddle 1/4 – the legs aren’t always ideal in this routine, but she’s hitting her elements with security – including the stuck 1.5.

Marino – FX – solid double tuck – small bounce – clean 1.5 to layout – and then a hit double pike – solid, regular.

Hambrick – BB – lovely L turn – solid on the side aerial – I could watch her on beam all day – slightly iffy after the switch before the straddle 1/4 but close enough to get hte connection? – clean bhs to loso series, confident – good landing on double full dismount off to the side –

Oklahoma still has one more beam routine to go but is already officially our first 198 of the season.

Box – FX – the usual high double pike with a very strong landing, 1.5 to layout is floaty and easy – switch side and straddle jump full looked fine – big and high on the double tuck as well – stuck – great routine. If Marino was 9.850 that should be easily  9.9. 9.875. Interesting.

Macadaeg – BB – tentative on first full turn with a check – exceptional switch split and switch 1/2 – really pretty – aerial and straddle jump are great – she’s lovely here – clean bhs loso series – gainer pike – stuck. Great routine. 9.950 – so just the check on the full turn there.

198.150 is the final score for Oklahoma.

Broussard – FX – clean double pike – control on landing – college switch ring – “what we call the E passes” – that’s what everyone calls them – layout to 1.5 with a little piking – and then hands down on the double tuck. Beh.

Gnat – BB – clean aerial – solid switch side and holds on without giving away a check – secure loso series – good 2/1 dismount with just a twitch in the foot – once Jordan is back, this is the quality this beam rotation can show.

Switching to see Kytra on floor now after her problems so far this meet – a little bit of a slide on the DLO more than she usually has but good – middle pass is comfortable – straddles are hit – secure landing on double back. She recovered.

Courville – BB – slow but controlled on L turn – arabian – perfection – one of her best ones – solid loso series – hits the sheep jump – good switch to split 1/4 – perfect position – long pause before aerial but hits it to sissone – sticks gainer full dismount with a bend. Let’s see what the judges do. Another 9.950. I’m fine with that score. 

Jay – FX – pretty low on her full out this time – large lunge forward – that does happen from time to time with her – middle pass is solid – she dances out of that wolf full really early. sticks the double pike dismount to recover.

Courville is going to get a crazy score in the AA today as long as her double arabian isn’t too bizarre this time.

In other news, Alabama finally started and has a couple tenth lead on Auburn at the halfway point, but Auburn is in this thing.

49.625 for LSU on beam. Damn. LSU 148.450, Georgia 147.725
Florida has a comfortable lead on Arkansas now after a beam disaster for the Hogs. Florida to beam now – Fassbender leading off and just a check or two so far – hop on dismount.

Kim Zmeskal is at the meet. “Sorry, I already gave all my piked double arabians to my BFF Rhonda. Deal with it bitches.” She’s at this meet on her birthday? God, Kim, go celebrate!

Rotation 4:
Vaculik – BB – solid switch and split 1/4 – beautiful height on loso series and checks after landing – she’s just still too tight to show her full level of loveliness in this routine – side aerial to full with a hop back. Fine but not the 9.9s of LSU.

Savona – FX – Kathy wants to see inside her bag of tricks. Save it for after the meet, Kathy. This judge is LOSING it with joy during this routine – 1.5 to double back is very secure  as always – sticks the tuck full again – she’s the stickiest gymnast in NCAA – agree? – nailed it.

Reynolds – BB – one foot was completely off the beam on her front toss but she kept it on with a major wobble – another break on loso series – nice switch side – hits side somi – short of rotation on double full dismount with a step.

Hambrick – FX – goes for the pike full in – huge stumble and OOB – she was doing so well – 2,5 to front tuck is quite good, though. Short on double pike with hands down. She was not ready to come into this lineup. Kathy doesn”t care about the fall. She’s in love. 

Grace McLaughlin is doing beam for Florida today. SHE’S ON THIS TEAM?

Rogers – BB – switch to straddle jump – not the ease and extension she had before injury but still better than most – hits loso series – nice full turn – bhs 3/4 to stag is great obviously – bhs full to full dismount with a small step. Solid.

Ewing – FX – she’s all over these lineups now – front double full is hit – clean and stuck on the 1.5 to layout – does the straddles, and they’re fine enough – not really a problem – pulls around the double pike with a step back and slide – I was concerned about her stamina, but no issues there.

Broussard – BB – solid bhs loso series – strong switch to straddle 1/4 – (McMurtry just had a pretty large wobble for Florida on beam) – very nice side aerial to split jump – hop back on gainer full, but good routine. She has improved so much here.

Gnat – FX – Sticks the opening DLO – solid in the air as well – very nice – good control on the 2.5 to front tuck as well – very solid and secure start – the switch ring wasn’t too college – secure on double pike as well – given the way today is going, that will be a huge score. And deserved.

Florida is in line for a fine lowish 197. Kytra will finish things off for them on beam, while Babalis goes for Georgia on beam – Babalis series on loso series – holds onto the switch half well – very secure front toss – Kytra is hitting her usual beam routine with the floaty series – small hop back on double back – Babablis takes a wobble on her aerial, which was the only real error. And then the camera ran into Cassidy McComb, just because.

Courville – FX – hits the double arabian, and it looked fine from this angle – small but controlled step – floats down into double pike with a small bounce – switch ring and split full are fine in terms of split position – front tuck to double back – secure. Huge AA day for Courville.

Box – BB – tuck jump full is strong – secure on bhs loso series – pretty tight on both her switch side and her straddle 3/4 – did not hit close to 180 on either – small check on aerial – small hop on 1.5 dismount. OK but not her best.

Hall – FX – 198 is realistic for LSU if she does her usual – great DLO – complete control – switch side to straddle jump full – hit – 1.5 to layout is strong – there’s some football references in this routine that seem to be a big deal, and I’m just like “………” – finishes with double back – perhaps a little more control needed there – but one of her strong ones – given the day, I wouldn’t be surprised by a 10 there even though it shouldn’t be – oooh 9.950, they were reasonably restrained for that compared to my expectations.

Final: LSU 198.075, Georgia 196.850

Alabama/Auburn still going on.Oklahoma just edges LSU today, but the 198 barrier is certainly just a memory now. Try as they might, Utah finished with a 197.825.

Alabama has a lead of .4+ going into the final rotation after building up a lead on beam while Auburn was stuck in the 9.8s on floor.

Rotation 4 – Alabama on floor, Auburn on beam
John R. This is a tonal adjustment.

Kadous – BB -full turn is nice – a little short on the back leg on the switch side – check on gainer loso – switch to pike jump – small check with the leg on loso series – stuck gainer full – legs apart.

Frost – FX – moving to the first spot, interesting – solid DLO, just a twitch up with her front foot – front full to layout is OK, could be a little higher – I love when people switch from anchor to leadoff because it’s great tangible evidence of the power of score building – solid double pike – 9.850. Would have been 9.925 in the anchor spot for the identical routine. 9.850 is more realistic.

Milliet – BB – great sheep jump – a real one – to start -secure loso series to follow – slight lack of control on full turn – a little under on her aerial but pulls it around without a check – big and easy 1.5 dismount with a stick – she’s coming into form on this event. Nice.

Dennis – FX – double pike with a bounce back to start – split full was strong, straddle jump full was iffy – front layout to front full with some bend – low double tuck with a lunge forward

Demers – BB – I like this one. Solid loso series – good switch to OK sheep – side aerial to layout full – a little piking on the layout but good stick on it – hit.

A Sims – FX – strong double pike – better control on the landing than Dennis – big straddles over 180 – “oh, working it” is Alicia’s contribution – 1.5 to layout with some crazy legs and pulls around her layout – not fully laid out the whole way – side back on double tuck –

Scores getting fancy for both teams in this last rotation, but that’s nothing new.

Guy – BB – confident full turn – swings that leg out like whoa – strong loso series – borderline check but not even – switch – wobbles on straddle jump – another small check on aerial – steps on gainer pike dismount.

This is the second time John has said “Alab-auburn” –

C Sims – FX – Pulls around that DLO – lands a little low but got it – she gets so high in the air that it seems like she shouldn’t be landing with as low a position as she does – finishes with a good double pike – no chest height problems there – Is Carley really 10 feet taller than all her teammates?

Walker – BB – front toss to beat jump is fine – hits loso series as well – confident and pretty strong form throughout – hits full turn – split jump to sheep – sticks gainer full – well done

Clark – FX – big double pike and very secure landing – split leap full to split jump full are OK – not great not barfy – 1.5 to layout goes right up to the line but she stays in – sticks double tuck – chest a little low – strong routine –

Atkinson – BB – excellent loso series – Auburn won’t win this but they have a good score going – clean on the aerial – switch to wolf jump – stikcs double pike dismount – there you go. Another great routine. 49.400 for Auburn on beam, 196.825. Big. That’s the most consistent beam I’ve seen from them.

Beers – FX –  She has added back the DLO – and it looks good – front layout to front full with a crossover step – switch ring to split full – ring is iffy but average – sticks the double tuck – solid work. As with most of the Alabama floor routines, they’re all performing somewhere between 9.850 and 9.900 work (based on the kind of scoring we expect, of course), and this is the same 9.900. The question will be once they have to compete with the teams getting 9.950s. There are still some wonky dance elements and uncontrolled landings in this lineup, that is noticeably missing Jacob and Milliner this year, in spite of being solid.

Alabama finishes 197.325 to Auburn’s 196.825.  
Florida and Alabama have some issues to go low 197s, but LSU and Oklahoma win the day with low 198s. Utah in between.

Fun with scores: Last year, Oklahoma finished with an RQS of 197.775. With a 198.075 next weekend, Oklahoma would already be ahead of that. 

The Weekend Ahead – February 6th-9th

I need to start this week’s preview with another memo to college gymnastics to pull it together. Once again this weekend, everything in the world is happening at the exact same time. The #1, #2, #3, #4, #6, #8, #9, and #11 teams in the country are all competing simultaneously on Friday, including anticipated meets like Georgia/LSU and Auburn/Alabama, which is a big rivalry thing because the state of Alabama doesn’t have real pro sports, so this matters to people or something. How are we supposed to pay attention to all of it at once? Disaster.

In the rankings, Oklahoma has a pretty comfortable 0.3 lead on Florida and LSU entering the weekend and should be able to hang onto that #1 spot with a relatively sane, relatively hit meet. Farther down the rankings, we should see some shakeups. All the teams from #8 to #13 are ranked within 0.100 of each other, so this is an opportunity for UCLA, Georgia, and Stanford to restore some order. Or, throw their rankings away again with a billion falls. Either way.

During the barrage of meets at 8:00 ET on Friday, we’re all going to be faced with a completely appropriate use of the expression Sophie’s choice as we try to decide which meets to pay attention to. Oklahoma against Iowa State requires a school-specific subscription, so that’s right out, but otherwise, it’s a conundrum. Georgia/LSU is the biggest clash and probably the most likely to be competitive (though LSU does come in as the clear favorite), so that’s my main focus. Georgia has righted the ship with back-to-back high 196s, but it gets real now. Hitting is not enough. They have to be actually good, even on beam. To win, or at least keep it sufficiently entertaining, Georgia will have to be much closer to postseason form than they have been so far, particularly on bars.

Bars is the one event of the four where Georgia should be the stronger team. They haven’t shown that strength consistently yet this year, but if Davis, Rogers, Brown, and Jay all show up, that’s an intimidating brigade of 9.9s and the best opportunity for Georgia to pick up a lead. If they don’t get into the 49.4s on bars, it’s going to be colossally difficult for the Gymdogs to win without LSU mistakes. They’ll certainly need to build up a lead in the first half of the meet, and get the benefit of one of Brittany Rogers’ good vaults to mitigate some of LSU’s advantage there, because the Tigers have the much bigger and more consistent gymnastics on floor and will have a clear edge at the end.

I’m also interested to see what Auburn shows this weekend. The last two weekends at home, Auburn has started to debut flashes of the quality of gymnastics that makes me think they have a real shot at nationals this year, but away against Alabama is a different animal. Are they suddenly looking really 9.750 again? Or is it finally time for Caitlin Atkinson and Bri Guy to prove that they have the same talent as the Alabama anchors?  

Fair warning now that I think Friday is the only live blogging I’ll be able to do this weekend, but Saturday is Big 10 day as usual. Expect Michigan and Nebraska to record comfortable wins. Getting that beam rotation in order and finding six hit routines will be the major focus for the Huskers (hint, hint Ashley Lambert). But Minnesota/Illinois could be an actual thing. Minnesota started the season abysmally, as could only be expected, but the 196s have started to drop as Lindsay Mable’s everything and Hanna Nordquist’s beam round into form. It’s still a partially formidable group, and if Illinois can’t pull together competitive vault and floor rotations that finally get out of the flat 9.725s, we could see the upset.

As much as I complain about the schedule, I do like that it’s mostly split up by conference. The SEC takes Friday, the Big 10 takes Saturday, and then the Pac-12 brings up the rear. It makes me feel organized and safe. In spite of the Price question mark, Stanford is gradually moving toward six actual competitive routines on each event, which shouldn’t be an accomplishment in February, but it is. The more Vaculik that’s happening, the better. For Cal, beam is becoming a real worry. They are legitimately competitive with the low 196 teams on three events and so exciting to watch in places, but if they can’t put together a hit beam rotation for even a high 48, then none of it really matters.

UCLA is in the Monday slot this week against a resurgent Washington. The Bruins looked thankfully OK last Sunday (99% because of Peng), but this time, hitting 18 floor passes without any landings that remind me of those bird things on people’s desks that drink the water, that would be nice. And bringing back the vaults from week 1 would be good too. But really, Peszek Calf-Gate 2015 is the main story. It’s painful how much weaker their rotations look without her. Be healthy, girl.

Top 25 Schedule

Friday, February 6

6:00 ET/3:00 PT – [22] Ohio State @ Bowling Green
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [1] Oklahoma @ Iowa State
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [23] Kentucky @ Missouri
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [2] Florida @ [8] Arkansas
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Arizona State @ [4] Utah 
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [9] Georgia @ [3] LSU
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [11] Auburn @ [6] Alabama
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – San Jose State @ [21] Southern Utah
Saturday, February 7
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – [15] Boise State, [19] Denver @ BYU
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [24] Michigan State @ [16] Penn State
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [25] Minnesota @ [14] Illinois
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [18] Arizona @ [10] Oregon State
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [5] Michigan @ Maryland
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Iowa @ [7] Nebraska 
Sunday, February 8
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Rutgers @ [22] Ohio State
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – [13] Stanford @ [20] Cal
Monday, February 9
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [17] Washington @ [11] UCLA

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama