Tag Archives: LSU

Super Six Live Blog

The final day has arrived, the day we crown a champion. We entered nationals weekend with Oklahoma and LSU, and it’s still Oklahoma and LSU (with a soupcon of Florida thrown in if they keep competing like that ridic vault rotation during the semifinal). The big question now is whether the LSU we met in the semifinal is going to show up again and make a real challenge against Oklahoma.

Here’s the rotation order:
Rotation 1 – UCLA vault, Alabama bars, Florida beam, Utah floor
Rotation 2 – Utah vault, Oklahoma bars, Alabama beam, LSU floor
Rotation 3 – LSU vault, UCLA bars, Oklahoma beam, Florida floor
Rotation 4 – Florida vault, Utah bars, UCLA beam, Alabama floor
Rotation 5 – Alabama vault, LSU bars, Utah beam, Oklahoma floor
Rotation 6 – Oklahoma vault, Florida bars, LSU beam, UCLA floor

Warmups are currently underway. We’re heading into the second rotation now. There’s not so much lineup suspense since we saw all of these teams yesterday, but I’ll let you know if something abnormal happens.

(“Abnormal for gymnastics, or abnormal for ordinary people?” you say here.)

Utah had Rowe do a little bit on vault but it looked like she may not be going?

As is typical, the warmup period day-of is 87% dancing, 11% practicing celebrating, 1% gymnastics, and 1%…bowling I think Florida?

Alex McMurtry basically has to warm up floor covered in couch cushions because her back is so not-even-having-a-back.

Rowe is in Utah’s released lineup for vault, so perhaps just taking it easy for the warmup. Alabama also has McNeer back in the third spot on beam, as originally announced yesterday before the swap.

UCLA also has Meraz in the floor lineup instead of Ross today. We’ll see if it lasts. Meraz is also in the beam lineup instead of Mossett. Mossett’s knee heavily taped.

Warmup is over, so we’ll be in a waiting period before intros now.

Intros beginning. Appropriate amount of flamethrowers. Understated, not Glasgow, but a good solid amount. Classy flamethrowers.

Rotation 1 – UCLA vault, Alabama bars, Florida beam, Utah floor

Here we go.

Baker – BB – hits series, major issue is a check on the split 1/2 but nothing else, sticks dismount.

Brannan – UB – catches jaeger, a little ebnt elbows – angle on the bail – slow gfinal handstand but hit vertically – small hop DLO

Roberts finishes 1.5 to layout to stag on floor, looked fine. 9.850s up for Baker. 9.825 for Brannan.

Mahoney a little short on a handstand and on her dismount, hop forward.

McLaughlin hits side aerial well – hop back gainer full.

Stumble backward from Reinstadler on opening floor pass, stays in but a coupel steps. Three judges went 9.850. Oh dear.

McNeer – UB – nice tkatchev – a little floppy in the bail – short final handstand – great stick on DLO.

hop forward 1.5 from Hall for UCLA.

Hundley – BB – secure loso with knee form – hits switch side – tight full turn but gets it – side aerial to full – not a super clean routine in form but secure.

Jetter falls on tkatcehv –

Lewis bounces back and OOB on floor. So…9.850? Chest way down final pass –

Kyla sticks full. Well, one Bruin showed up tonight.

Winston major hesitation on the low bar, has to improvise and recast with a very short handstand. Alabama will have to count the score. Not good news.

Gowey sticks gainer full.

Preston – VT – very short full with a lunge forward. She hasn’t been happy with her vaults all weekend and won’t be happy with that.

Merrell – OOB on piked full in – they already have a 9.6 from Lewis and cannot afford that.

One judge went 9.850 for Winston, which is criminal. No. What did you even watch? Nothing? Others are int he 9.4s and 9.5s that I’ve seen.

Saw the end from Gowey but missed a fall. 9.225. The end looked pretty….?

Boren – hits kickover front – secure loso series – very solid in this routine – she’s calm – one very small wave on the gainer loso is all – hits –

Bailey also has to take an extra swing on bars – a smaller error than Winston’s but Alabama imploded early – hop forward full out –

Utah counting a 9.6 on floor.

Rowe – FX – solid double pike – feet on split leap – secure second pass, a little ragged in leg form –

McMurtry – BB – excellent high kickover front – check on loso series – switch to hip circle – high 2/1 hop in place.

Florida endures beam.

49.000 for UCLA
48.8875 for Alabama and it could have been worse. Three mistakes in that rotation.

Skinner – FX – double double, Keeps front foot down – close your mouth please, MyKayla, we are not a codfish – not to 180 on split leap – 1.5 through to 2/1, smallest little bounce – small slide on tuck full as well, but best of the rotation by about 1000%. Still gets three 9.950s.

Florida 49.300
Utah 49.0625
UCLA 49.000
Alabama 48.8875

Florida did the job by getting through beam with a pretty reasonable score, but the other three did nothing to help their upset bids. Oklahoma and LSU will not be worried by anything that happened in that first rotation. They’ll enter the meet now.

Rotation 2 – Utah on vault, Oklahoma on bars, Alabama on beam, LSU on floor

And yes, Dana Duckworth is wearing a cape. Because of course she is. DD is wearing Tiger #34B.

Ewing – FX – small slide forward on front 2/1 but keeps back foot down – front full to layout – step back on double pike, stumbles around to try to keep herself in bounds but couldn’t save it in the end. OOB.

Capps – UB – good full position and usual tkatchev – just a touch of angle in the air on that bail – maybe a little tight starting the meet but only a little on that last handstand – sticks tuck full, good start.

Roberts a little short on her full with a step forward.

Catour – UB – strong Ray – solid bail as well – muscles up final hs a tad – sticks the DLO, just a small lean to keep the stick.

Zamardi – FX – bounce forward on double arabian but stays in – a bounce/stumble on her double pike

Breaking news: Aja Sims can leap –

Dowell – UB – great Ray – precise hs – a little angle on bail – better final hs it appeared from this angle – PERFECT double layout dismount – great shape and stuck –

Utah not getting the landings on vault.

It’s a fall from McNeer on beam. She looked off from the start.

Hambrick – FX – DLO, usual second salto but controls it, small bounce – great leaps, extended and completely finished – slide back on double pike – better, but LSU not as good as yesterday on floor.

Great extension from Lehrmann on her jaeger – sticks tuck full – tremendous routine – befitting a national champ, so little to take.

Skinner’s DTY – a bit larger on the bounce back than she has been lately –

Small amount of bent elbows from Wofford on her jaeger – angle on the bail and short final hadnstand – another great tuck full, but not her most precise on the bars. Scores have still been exactly what Oklahoma wants.

Large check for Desch on beam and a fall. Alabama counting a beam fall now. NOT Alabama’s day, nearly from the start.

Finnegan – GORGEOUS opening pass to 2.5, just I can’t even – very secure double tuck as well, you could say a little deep? just very very little – strong double pike – that’s more like it for LSU.

Nichols – UB – strong Ray – lovely pak to toe to toe shap, nailed – I see one handstand but nothing else, stuck DLO. Oklahoma is here.

9.9500 for Nichols. Advantage OU. LSU needs at LEAST 9.925 from Kelley and Gnat now.

Kelley – FX – good DLo, chest a touch low but only a touch – nails open full in, pretty much ideal – split leap, usual but gets the tuck jump around completely – front tuck through to double back, with a slide, dances out to avoid anything more than a slide.

YOU GUYS. MCKENNA KELLEY IS MARY LOU’S DAUGHTER.

Kelley gets three 9.950s and three 9.850s. 9.950 though? LEAPS DON’T EXIST.

Gnat – FX – fab DLO as always, did bounce just a touch – 2.5 to front tuck, strong and excellent – short on double pike with a lunge forward – WHAT – very un-Gnat. Basically the weakest double pike she’s done in maybe three years.

DEAD that a judge went 9.950 for that. DEAD.

After 2:
Utah 98.1250
Alabama 97.5125
Oklahoma 49.5875
LSU 49.3250
Florida 49.3000
UCLA 49.0000

Advantage Oklahoma after one event. I thought that Oklahoma bars rotation was actually a little weaker than yesterday’s, but still excellent and crisp. Lehrmann, you guys. LSU struggled at the beginning of that floor lineup, and I would say Finnegan is really the onely one who truly shone. Kelley was also solid, but Gnat missed a landing short, which is ridiculous, and we had some landing and OOB issues at the beginning. They need to pick up some ground on their best event now, but can’t vault with the idea of making up tenths. That’s where weak landings come from.

Really disappointed in how weak Alabama’s performance has been. Already eliminated themselves from contention a third of the way through the meet.

LSU got a usable score out of floor, but not as big as they would have hoped/expected, and after Utah’s opening OOBs, the curse of starting on floor in Super Six (for teams that aren’t Alabama) continues.

Rotation 3 – LSU vault, UCLA bars – Oklahoma beam, Florida floor

Hop back from Finnegan on vault – McLaughlin lands a touch short on front 2/1 but no biggie – split leap could be a little more split – better rudi landing – 1.5 to layout, very crisp.

Meraz falls on Ray. Jones hits beam –

Large stumble backward from Hambirck on her 1.5 – multiple steps. Shame. She was struggling more than yesterday during warmups as well.

Lerhmann – BB – pretty full turn – hits aerial – small adjustment on switch side – secure loso series – straddle 1/4, good – step on 1.5

Slocum had a couple very small slides landing two of her passes. Honest hits bars, one short handstand

Ewing – VT – two small steps back, a usable score but not as strong as her semifinal vault. Theme so far.

Catour – BB – second half – hits switch side – clean aerial, small adjustment – sticks gainer pike

Harrold – VT – awesome 1.5. She’s here today, one of her best this season, small step forward and some knees –

Hundley slides on whip double tuck – lunge forward out of second pass – nice leap amplitude on that straddle jump – secure, lowish double pike.

Edney – VT – a little short with a step back as well. So many of them performed better in the semi on these first two events.

I also see you, floor judge who gave Hundley 9.900.

Kocian – UB – stalder shap to pak, clean – usual leg breaks and a very short final handstand, weird, but makes it up by FINALLY sticking that dismount. 9.9375 is because Kocian and because stick. I guess.

Gnat – VT – bounce back on DTY, but better than yesterday.

McMurtry – FX – usual 3/1 – sticks front full second pass – a little indistinct on that wolf jump 1/1 landing, but it won’t be taken – strong high double tuck.

Ross very clean on bars, small step on DLO. Should be a strong total as well.

One judge gives McMurtry a 10. Four 9.950s and a 9.900. I’m with the 9.900 judge because of course I am, but it was a very strong routine.

Nichols – BB – aerial to beat jump, excellent – secure loso series, better than yesterday – great split jump – sticks double tuck – (no punch front today?) – superior routine, very little to take.

Boren hitting her usual floor routine, nails double tuck. Should be a strong score.

Peng was fantastic on bars until DLO, lands short and a lunge forward into salute.

Nichols gets a 10 on beam. Told you very little to take. First Super Six 10 since Zamarripa on vault I believe. (that’s right about Dabritz as well!)

Capps – BB – lovely loso series, even better than usual – full turn, smooth – great aerial to scale, nailed – switch to straddle 1/4, maybe the smallest of adjustments on that, maybe – sticks gainer full – excellent. One 10 for Capps. The rest 9.950s.

Baker – FX – strong Dos Santos – almost sticks the double tuck, thought she had but ends up a with a little bounce – fantastic final pass. Yes.

One 10 for Baker. Mostly 9.900s. Clearly, the floor judges are passing the crack because it’s a different one each time.

Oklahoma 99.2875
Florida 98.8000
LSU 98.6250
UCLA 98.4375
Utah 98.1250
Alabama 97.5125

LSU wasn’t poor on either vault or floor, but they did not perform nearly as well as yesterday on either and need a comeback on the remaining events. The judges have proven willingness to go into the 9.9s there. Kind of a lot. So it could happen. Strong start for Florida, but they’ll still need to vault as well as they did yesterday here.

Rotation 4 – Florida vault, Utah bars, UCLA beam, Alabama floor

Hundley – VT – good stick on her full – some legs and not the distance of others, but pretty much her peak full –

Skinner has a small handstand arch on her bail – a touch short on final hs – sticks dismount –

Alexander – VT – small hop back on full –

Gerber – BB – good wolf (I mean, relative…) – aerialt o split jump, clean, hits 180 – check on loso series –

reinstadtler a little short on early handstands, better later – hop forward on dismount.

Baker – VT – strong 1.5, hop back, some knees, but minor errors both.

Merrell hits deltchev well, one of her better ones on the season – muscles up final hs, small hop on double tuck, but solid overall –

Boren lands very short on 1.5 – a stumble back with a couple steps, just like Hambrick. Uncharacteristic for Boren.

UCLA deciding that Mossett has one more beam routine in those legs after all, and it pays off with a hit.

Slocum a hop back on vault but not too too big. She stuck hers in the warmup and it was tremendous.

McMurtry – VT – small hop on the DTY this time, but otherwise as fantastic as always. But, Florida needed to vault as well as yesterday and did not –

Baely Rowe awfully clean on bars, one of her stronger sets.

Kocian – BBB – aerial to sheep, small adjustment out of sheep but good shapes – hits loso series – tentative on full turn, I’d call that a check – switch and split, strong – bounce back on 2/1. I’d call Kocians beam work this year fragile, and that one fit the theme. One judge still went 9.9. K.

In better news for Alabama, Ktie Bailey’s double arabian was excellent –

Kari Lee short on final bars handstand and just barely stands up her dismount with a couple lunges back.

Ross – BB – nails loso series, elite career style – large check on switch ring and does not connect to beat – aerial, clean – switch to split to get her leaps, split a little eh – side aerial to stuck full. One judge goes 9.900.

Good one from Aja Sims. Her opening double pike was quite secure.

Peng – BB – magical flares – leaps, pristine and perfection – nails bhs layout – very controlled on the double turn as well! – side aerial to an alllllmost stuck full. A little slide. Now we don’t have to complain about a Peng bonus! That deserves all the bonus. OK, well maybe we complain a little. Another 10. She didn’t really stick that dismount, but on the beam, there was nothing to take.

Winston – FX – excellent doulbe lay – maybe a little slide on second pass but not much if any, nails double tuck. Where was this routine quality two rotations ago?

Ohashi – BB – aerial to bhs, secure and smooth – a pragmatic choice enforced by injury but one that will get the scores – hits her leaps – comfortable full turn – bhs loso to stuck full. Another completely secure set. Very little to take again. The Bruins were a little eh, but Peng and Ohashi were far from eh.

Only one judge goes 10 for this one. 9.950s from the rest. Used them up on Peng?

After 3:
Florida 148.1625
UCLA – 147.9250
Utah 147.4375
Alabama 146.8375
Oklahoma 99.2875
LSU 98.6250

UCLA will be very happy with the way this meet is going. Florida gave up a little too much ground with that vault rotation. 49.3s is still strong, but like LSU, it’s a “wish it had been yesterday’s rotation” situation.

Rotation 5 – Alabama vault, LSU bars, Utah beam, Oklahoma floor

Childers – VT – near stick, just a lean, good full

Zamardi – UB – one shortish hs early – solid on shap and pak – step forward double front – good, but not her most precise in the hs

Jones – FX – 2.5 to punch front comfortable – 15 to layout, just a small bounce in place – some feet and bounciness on leaps, down to choreo – solid double pike. 9.900s are a little enthusiastic for that, but that’s what landing control will do for you.

Strong vault from armbrecht

Hambrick – UB – excellent opening hs to Ray – giant full a little rushed, great vertical in her bail – hop back tuck full.

Hop back from Winston on vault, great amplitude

Merrell with a check on an aerial –

Brown – FX – just a bounce in place on the front 2/1 – strong second – her side-long loso continues to be what dreams are made of – excellent rudi, stuck, legs together.

Harrold – UB – toe shap 1/2 good – one arches hs but saved it – close catch on jaeger – step back double front – good – a couple places to take.

Edney – UB – hindorff to fingertips but good catch – clean bail – one shortish hs – step back DLO. Again, good but not perfect, and that’s where they’re losing out to Oklahoma tonight.

hop forward for Guerrero on 1.5.

Dowell – FX – a little short landing her double front but does well to save it into a stag – much better on the leaps than she was earlier in the season – solid landings overall on remaining passes.

Finnegan – gorgeous on the Rayu and bail – shoot up to high – good DLO – a thing here and there, but Finnegan delivers another event –

McNeer 15 with a hop forward. Her last routine, and this is when the tears begin. And now everyone on the team is crying.

Priessman tkatche vto bail – her usual, where you’re like “how are you hitting this but you are” leg break on the pak and a hop back on the DLO. They haven’t stuck these dismounts and needed to.

Capps – FX – does the DLO and it’s excellent, chest up and landing secure – I’m going to miss her floors – is it OK if I start Keely McNeering now? – 1.5 to layout, stuck – controls rudi. Excellent floor.

Baely Rowe falls on her loso series on beam.

Nichols – FX – strong landing on piked full in – keeps front foot down on 2/1 – switch ring to split leap full, showing people how to hit 180 – small slide back on double pike, but another big hit. One 10, the rest 9.950. Honestly fine with 9.950 for that one.

McNatt – BB – check on sheep jump – leg up wobble on aerial – redoing the skill, gets the connection this time. Check on y spin – chalk blow – sticks dismount very well –

Jackson – FX – open full in and bounces out of it again today like yesterday – front full, dances a little – excellent amplitude on straddle – opens out of her double pike, you know like you do – small slide. Still gets a bunch of 9.950s. Like, is bouncing out of a pass not even a thing now? Or just we love her choreography so much that deductions don’t exist? OK.

After 5:
Utah 196.5875
Alabama 196.0000
Oklahoma 148.9000
Florida 148.1625
LSU 148.0125
UCLA 147.9250

Oklahoma. The end. With a lead of over 7 tenths heading to the final rotation over the closest contender. Oklahoma barely even has to be meh.

Rotation 6 – Oklahoma vault, Florida bars, LSU beam, UCLA floor

We though this rotation was going to be the big fight between Oklahoma and LSU didn’t we?

Boren – UB – good tkatchev and following hs – leg break in the bail – one short hs hop forward on DLO

Only the smallest bounce in place on the Marks vault. Remember that time I though Lehrmann should be in the lineup over her? Ooops.

Good thing ESPN is showing Macadaeg on beam, otherwise we wouldn’t know what to do – good switch leaps – hits loso series, stuck gainer full. Macadaeg things.

Capps a hop back on vault and a touch off line, not as strong as yesterday.

Chant falls on tkatchev.

DeGouveia – VT – hop forward on 1.5 – good direction – some knees.

Gowey – Ub – good Ray – clean pak – a little short on half turn on low – sticks DLO, strong routine –

Hambrick hitting beam, maybe one check – sticks 2/1

Small hop forward fro Dowell on vault. Good 1.5.

Ohashi lands final double pike quite short with a lunge forward.

Baker – UB – good ray – clean bail, legs together and vertical – hop back on double front but hit

Jackson – VT – very good 1.5, quite a small hop on landing – excellent height and direction. It’s a 9.950 too.

Ewing sticks 1.5 with a lean after another beam hit.

Nichols – VT – sticks a 1.5. Pretty excellent way to clinch the championship – and if they gave Jackson 9.950…….Only two 10s. The rest 9.950s. Only two 10s. Like a loser.

Hundley clean on bars until a final short handstand – leans to hold stick on tuck full.

Oklahoma done and made entirely of tears.

Scores going ridic on pretty much all the events right now. The judges are tooooo excited.

Cipra finishes strong double pike.

McMurtry – Ub – great Ray, one of her good ones – clean bail, very precise – sticks tuck full – excellent routine. Will be another big score.

EVERYONE gives a 10 to McMurtry because McMurtry feelings. Edney gets all the 9.950s even though, leap? That straddle?

It’s almost like the beam judges aren’t even aware that the meet is already over and are trying to make themselves the story anyway.

Finnegan – BB – good loso series – switch to switch 1/2 – hits side somi – please do gymnastics for the rest of my life – side aerial to stuck full. Well, if you were giving out the 9.950s like candy already… 10s from some of the judges. 9.975 total.

Kocian – FX – front 2/1, a little under this time but not bad – finishes with a good double pike, chest down.

Gnat – BB – nailing her acro – switch to straddle 1/4 good – switch side, secure – hits loso series – hop back 2/1. Excellent.

Ross – FX – excellent double tuck – only the smallest lside on the a double pike – switch side to straddle, better than whatever she did yesterday… – struggles on final pass, just gets it around –

Scratch that about Mossett! Good! I thought we were one routine farther than we were. Mossett still to go to finish the meet.

LSU uses Gnat’s 9.950 to move just ahead of Florida after 49.725 on beam (the beam scores today, you guys…….) and the fans are celebrating that like it was a title.

Mossett – FX – appropriate final routine to be the only one going to finish the meet – fitting – whip to double tuck – strong landing – the OU team is really getting into Mossett’s routine, which is easy to do when you’ve just won – phenomenal leaps – smallest slide on double pike, but great.

Oklahoma getting trophy now – they’re kind of happy. But just a little. A touch.

FINAL:
1. Oklahoma 198.3875 (record)
2. LSU 197.7375
3. Florida 197.7000
4. UCLA 197.2625
5. Utah 196.5875
6. Alabama 196.000

Damn, I almost got the placement of the top six right in my preseason rankings. I just had Alabama ahead of Utah.

Teams finishing 1, 3, and 4 will be pretty happy with their performances. UCLA wasn’t really ever going to do better than 4th until they get some vaults. Florida started extremely well, and will rue not vaulting as well as yesterday, but still a very strong meet. No one was going to catch Oklahoma the way Oklahoma competed tonight. LSU could have come the closest, but they didn’t get the vault and floor landings from yesterday.

Honestly, biggest surprise to me was Alabama’s implosion.

Oklahoma was just ridiculous tonight. Their best meet of the season, and they’ve had some good ones.

Trophy presentations now. Or well, little buttons? Or whatever the fifth and sixth teams get? Thank you for your service?

Nice moments between the UCLA fans and the Oklahoma team. They’re like, “We get each other.”

The top four teams get mini-trophies. No buttons or whatever.

Oh goody, now we’re all covered in confetti. Imagine how much this thrills me.

McKenzie Wofford dropped the trophy. We see you.

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National Semifinals Live Blog

The day has arrived, when twelve become six and you become vaguely emotionally unhinged again.

LIVE SCORES – SEMIFINAL 1
LIVE SCORES – SEMIFINAL 2
LIVE STREAMS Continue reading National Semifinals Live Blog

National Championship Preview Part 4: Super Six

I always hesitate to do a Super Six preview at this point because…well…we don’t actually know who’s going to be competing in Super Six or what sort of catastrophes may transpire in the semifinal to alter our view of what might happen, but as it stands, I don’t think the setup is dramatically different than we thought it would be heading into the season.

The first-tier favorites are Oklahoma and LSU. Oklahoma’s route to victory is through superior scores on bars (the Sooners’ 0.160 edge over LSU in the bars rankings is the largest for either team on any event) and the overall control and pristine execution of dance elements on beam and floor. Both teams are excellent on beam and floor, but it has been the Sooners’ precision that has put them ahead of LSU in the rankings on both events for most of the season.

If LSU were to win, it would be far from a major upset, but I still would characterize it as an upset. If it happens, it begins on vault. LSU has a giant collection of 1.5s, but the strength of the lineup is not just the 1.5s (even though they garner the most attention). LSU’s early-lineup fulls are the most stick-likely fulls in the competition, which can be just as much of an asset. In fact, LSU’s early-lineup scores are a critical potential advantage across most of the events, where they’ll hope to be rewarded for bigger floor routines to start the rotation and where no other team can match the quality of their first two beam routines. Oklahoma has the edge in the later-lineup beam routines, so LSU will need to gain a scoring advantage on those early routines and also use them to drive up the scores of the later sets. Continue reading National Championship Preview Part 4: Super Six

National Championship Preview Part 2: Eastern Semifinal

The evening semifinal is shaping up to be the juicier and more uncertain of the two. While the first semifinal has three favorites and three challengers waiting to see if it’s a sloppy meet (which it will be), the second semifinal defies classification when it comes to the middle seeds. Really only the qualification of Nebraska, the most mid-196y of the teams in this semifinal, would constitute a true surprise or upset.

April 14, 7:00 CT

Teams (starting event)
[1] LSU (bye before floor)
[2] Florida (vault)
[3] Alabama (floor)
[4] Michigan (bye before bars)
[5] Georgia (beam)
[6] Nebraska (bars)

Individuals
Mollie Korth, Kentucky, AA (rotating w/ LSU)
Briannah Tsang, Penn State, AA (rotating w/ Florida)
Alex Hyland, Kentucky, AA (rotating w/ Michigan)
Zaakira Muhammad, West Virginia, AA (rotating w/ Alabama)
Sabrina Garcia, Penn State, AA (rotating w/ Georgia)
Cami Drouin-Allaire, George Washington, AA(rotating w/ Nebraska)
Denelle Pedrick, Central Michigan, VT (rotating w/ LSU)
Elizabeth Price, Stanford, UB (rotating w/ Florida)
Katy Clements, Central Michigan, BB (rotating w/ Michigan)
Chelsea Raineri, George Washington, VT (rotating w/ Georgia)
Desiree Palomares, Cal, BB, (rotating w/ Florida)

LSU
LSU enters the first day of competition as the Oklahoma of the second semifinal, the team that really should qualify to Super Six barring any kind of 2015-style “the freshman LOST HER MIND” moment. The Tigers did, however, score a low-for-them 197.450 at regionals without counting a fall—which is cause for some vague concern about what would happen if they did count a fall—but the overall scoring potential is too high to see LSU being vulnerable without multiple and significant mistakes. LSU would have to give qualification away. No one is going to take it from them.

A flew blips did crop up in that regionals 197.450, and fairly unexpected ones. Aside from a bit of a flopsy-daisy in the middle of the beam lineup, LSU did not perform as well on vault as we would expect, an event that must not only be an asset but a win at nationals if LSU is to take the championship. At regionals, Harrold didn’t go—Cannamela’s full replaced her—and LSU ended up counting a couple lowish 9.8s. That would be fine even if replicated in this semifinal (because Gnat, because Edney) but wouldn’t be enough to give LSU the necessary advantage in Super Six. Something to watch. Continue reading National Championship Preview Part 2: Eastern Semifinal

Nebraska Regional Preview

Next stop, Nebraska. Or, as it should more accurately be known, the Air Force Regional of Nebraska, starring Air Force.

Let’s just get through that nonsense so we can talk about the actual competition. Because of a geographical quirk, Air Force is the only (non-DIII) team in the North Central region that did not qualify a full team to regionals. That means Air Force was the only team eligible to receive individual spots here and qualified the whole competition roster, including a gymnast for beam who didn’t even make her own team’s postseason beam lineup but had an RQS from earlier in the year.

Meanwhile, gymnasts like Lindsay Lemke (Michigan State, 9.845 RQS on UB), Jordyn Penny (Ball State, 9.840 RQS on UB), India McPeak (Bowling Green, 9.825 RQS on BB), Kayla Rose (Bowling Green, 9.850 RQS on FX), Kaitlyn Menzione (Ball State, 9.850 RQS on FX), Katey Oswalt (Lindenwood, 9.825 RQS on FX), Erin Alderman (TWU, 9.845 RQS on FX), and Anna Martucci (Northern Illinois, 9.845 RQS on FX) didn’t qualify to regionals only because their schools are located close to other schools and for no reason related to gymnastics at all. Almost like this system should be fixed…

The NC region is always sparse, but typically either Iowa State doesn’t qualify and sends a bunch of individuals as well, or the DIII sides qualify people to mix things up. But this year, Iowa State is going as a team and DIII nationals conflicts with regionals (what is WRONG with everyone?), so the DIII schools can’t send anyone.

Anyway, rant over. To the competition.

April 1, 2017 – 5:00 ET/2:00 PT

Teams (starting event)
[2] LSU (bars)
[11] Boise State (vault)
[14] Nebraska (bye before floor)
[25] Arizona (bye before bars)
[29] Iowa State (beam)
[36] Minnesota (floor)

Individuals
Mariana Murphy, Air Force (AA)
Kara Witgen, Air Force (AA)
Anna Salamone, Air Force (VT, UB)
Riley Hill, Air Force (VT, BB)
Jamie Lewis, Air Force (VT, UB, FX)
Darby Germain, Air Force (UB, FX)
Brittney Reed, Air Force (UB, BB, FX)
Rita Koenigbauer, Air Force (BB)
Chelsea Grimison, Air Force (BB)
Casey Bell, Air Force (FX)

The favorite – LSU
LSU occupies an identical position as Oklahoma when it comes to regionals, placed in what should be a very competitive meet but so much stronger than the other teams that it’s going to be a cakewalk, barring a multiple-fall disaster. All things mirroring the regular season, LSU will expect to be about a point clear of the peloton.

Like Oklahoma’s vaulting, LSU’s bars is a strong lineup that nonetheless looks like it could give away valuable tenths in the title hunt, at least in its current state. It has also been LSU’s lowest event score the last four meets in a row, so stepping up the precision on the difficult landings (Zamardi, Harrold) and the form (Harrold, Priessman) will be a critical development looking toward nationals on an event that doesn’t have to be the biggest score but still needs to be over 49.4.

Floor should be right there with the other very top teams, but LSU is spoiled for choice and still has some decisions to make about that lineup. Do you go with the big routine from Edney or play the execution card with Finnegan? (Or go with Priessman if she’s OK again, but it’s unlikely to be worth the risk.) It’s one of those decisions where they’ll probably be fine either way, but it will be revealing about how risk-averse/risk-embracing they’re feeling. Continue reading Nebraska Regional Preview

SEC Championship Preview

The arrival of the conference championships marks the beginning of the onset of the opening of the first stage of an NCAA gymnastics season’s march toward maturity, like a disgusting larva transforming into a slightly less disgusting larva.

Results still don’t really matter, but this is the last time results won’t matter. And that’s something. Also blah blah blah, bragging rights. The SEC coaches are always eager to tell us that winning the SEC Championship is harder than winning the national championship, which is just blatantly false and dumb to say, but also…a trophy? Hooray! Winner and losers! Life is happening!

Here, I break down prospects for victory and what I’ll be watching at the SEC Championship for each of the teams.

The championship will be conducted in two sessions, the first at 2:00 ET and featuring Kentucky, Missouri, Auburn, and Arkansas, and the second at 6:00 ET and featuring LSU, Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. Teams will compete in seeded order in each session, so LSU and Kentucky begin on vault, Florida and Missouri on bars, Alabama and Auburn on beam, and Georgia and Arkansas on floor.

Session I – Kentucky, Missouri, Auburn, Arkansas
It’s not impossible to get a high score out of the first session. Last season, Georgia totaled 196.850 even with a mild beamtastrophe. Jay, Rogers, Box, and Schick all hit the 9.9 zone on at least one piece, and Jay scored high enough to finish third overall in the AA. So, there is precedent for a useful total.

At the same time, since the SEC went to a two-session format, no team has hit the 197 mark in the first group. With regional seeding and placements riding on how Kentucky and Missouri score in this meet, attempts to hold down the scores in the first session to leave room for the better teams in the second session (reasonable) will have implications for all the teams in the final season standings, not just the teams in this meet. Continue reading SEC Championship Preview

Friday Live Blog – March 10, 2017

Friday, March 10
Scores Watch
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [22] West Virginia @ [3] Florida LINK SEC+
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Towson @ NC State LINK ACC+
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Ball State @ Kent State LINK FREE
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Temple @ William & Mary LINK FB
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Winona State @ UW-Eau Claire LINK
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – UW-La Crosse @ Gustavus Adolphus LINK
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [12] Kentucky @ [15] Missouri LINK SEC+
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Pitt @ [20] Auburn LINK SEC+
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – San Jose State, Centenary @ Arkansas LINK
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Lindenwood @ Illinois State FREE
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – New Hampshire @ [2] LSU LINK SEC+
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – Iowa State @ [6] Alabama LINK SEC+
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [8] Denver @ [10] Boise State LINK FREE
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [21] Southern Utah @ [23] Utah State LINK FREE
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Arizona @ BYU LINK FREE
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Sacramento State, Bridgeport @ Arizona State LINK FREE
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Air Force @ UC Davis LINK FB

Today is made for bopping around from meet to meet as they become interesting (or the opposite of that). West Virginia/Florida is the primary meet starting off the slate, but keep an eye on the scores coming from Ball State and Towson as well. Both teams are teetering on the edge of falling out of regionals contention but could save themselves with mid-195s today and remain in  contention on the final weekend.

Here is our key group:

With those mid-195s, Towson and Ball State would move up to the 194.9 territory. It’s still out, but it’s at least within striking distance. Arizona State is in action later on and in a similar position, but what’s really hurting their chances is a low road score, which can’t be dropped until Pac-12s. To give themselves a chance at Pac-12s, though, they’ll need another good beating-Arizona-level 195 today. Continue reading Friday Live Blog – March 10, 2017