The day has arrived, when twelve become six and you become vaguely emotionally unhinged again.
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)
 LSU (bye before floor)
 Florida (vault)
 Alabama (floor)
 Michigan (bye before bars)
 Georgia (beam)
 Nebraska (bars)
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 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
And so we arrive at the last, the infamous 6, 7, 18 regional. This regional has a reputation of being the easiest and least interesting of all because it contains the weakest of the #3 teams and therefore should provide the most straightforward qualification road for the #1 and #2 teams. This reputation exists for a reason. The #6 and #7 teams had advanced every single time since 2004…until last year, when Stanford came in as the #18 team and upset everything.
April 1, 4:00 ET/1:00 PT
Teams (starting event)
 Alabama (bars)
 Michigan (vault)
 Southern Utah (bye before floor)
 George Washington (bye before bars)
 West Virginia (beam)
 Kent State (floor)
Majesta Valentine, West Chester (AA)
Lyanda Dudley, Cornell (AA)
Caroline Morant, Brown (AA)
Libby Groden, Rutgers (AA)
Tracey Person, Pittsburgh (VT)
Kimberly Stewart, Birdgeport (VT)
Taylor Laymon, Pittsburgh (UB)
Daisy Todd, Temple (UB)
Brianna Comport, Bridgeport (BB, FX)
Kaitlin Green, Cornell (BB)
Maya Reimers, Bridgeport (FX)
The favorites – Alabama and Michigan
Alabama and Michigan are supposed to qualify here, and with hit meets, they will. The high score on the road for any of the other teams in the meet is 196.725, a number that Michigan has bested in five consecutive meets and Alabama has bested in seven consecutive. We’ve seen both teams have struggle-bus meets this year, Alabama with that weekend of 195s and Michigan with some early road debacles, but those were centuries ago. It’s the kind of situation where you hear people use optimistic yet baseless cliches like, “we’ve put those mistakes behind us,” which is true right up until it isn’t.
Still, qualification is in the hands of the top two seeds, and both would have to mimic those struggle-bus meets and count a fall in order to throw this chance away. That statement will provide Michigan with panic flashbacks as the case was exactly the same last year, then Michigan counted a fall on beam and still missed nationals by only .050 in what otherwise would have been a smooth and relaxed qualification journey at home.
For Alabama, SECs proved a fine yet somewhat disheartening experience because they hit a solid 197.400 and didn’t count a mistake, yet still ended up 0.675 behind LSU. Not all that encouraging in terms of title prospects. Alabama needs to perform a little closer to the leading teams during regionals and should be able to improve on an SEC performance that featured a couple dropped falls and weak floor landings. We’ll also need to watch the McNeer situation. She was fitted with her robo-wrist in time to return on beam at SECs, but a best-level Alabama would have her on more than one event. They’ve reconstructed that bars lineup quite a lot recently, the latest move being to take out Sims in favor of Guerra, a solid call, but ideally McNeer would have that spot. Continue reading West Virginia Regional Preview
|Saturday, March 11
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Brown, Cortland, Rhode Island @ Springfield||FREE|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Ursinus @ West Chester|
|2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Northern Illinois @ Central Michigan||LINK||FREE|
|3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Big Ten Qualifier:  Nebraska,  Ohio State, Michigan State, Maryland @  Illinois||LINK||BTN|
|4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Big Ten Qualifier:  Michigan, Minnesota, Penn State, Rutgers @  Iowa||LINK||BTN|
|4:00 ET/1:00 PT –  Utah @  Georgia||LINK||SEC+|
|4:00 ET/1:00 PT – SEMO @ Western Michigan||LINK|
|5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Illinois-Chicago @  Oregon State||LINK||FREE|
|5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Hamline @ UW-Whitewater||LINK||FREE|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Bowling Green @  Eastern Michigan||LINK||EMU|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Seattle Pacific @  Washington||LINK||FREE|
Yesterday’s action did not provide too much new clarity for the postseason picture, but I don’t expect today to follow in its footsteps. In particular, the scores from Minnesota, Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Penn State, and Michigan State will tell us a ton about the race for the top 36. Those teams currently sit in spots 35-39 in the in-progress rankings and, barring anything untoward, are the most likely contenders for the final two regionals spots.
Here’s the setup as we have it now for the remaining spots.
|Team||Current RQS||Max Monday RQS
|#34 North Carolina||195.210||195.525|
|#36 Central Michigan||195.085||195.370|
|#37 Western Michigan||195.035||195.290|
|#38 Penn State||195.020||195.610|
|#39 Michigan State||194.915||195.230|
|#40 UC Davis||194.885||194.885|
|#41 Ball State||194.870||194.870|
|#42 Arizona State||194.740||194.740|
|#44 NC State||194.600||195.085|
Davis and Ball State are already done for the weekend and likely didn’t do enough to help themselves. Minnesota and Penn State have the biggest upsides and really should move to a safer position with anything resembling a hit today. If they both get good scores and North Carolina gets something useful at UCLA tomorrow, it will make life very difficult for the Michigan teams. But if one of those things doesn’t happen… Continue reading Saturday Live Blog – March 11, 2017
|Saturday, March 4
|12:00 ET/9:00 PT – Ithaca @ Cortland||FREE|
|2:00 ET/11:00 PT – UW-Oshkosh @ Hamline|
|3:00 ET/12:00 PT – North Carolina @ William & Mary||LINK||FB|
|3:30 ET/12:30 PT – Temple @ Cornell||Ivy $|
|4:00 ET/1:00 PT –  Oklahoma @  Michigan||LINK||FREE|
|5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Iowa State @  Iowa||LINK||BTN|
|5:00 ET/2:00 PT – BYU @ Minnesota||LINK||BTN+|
|8:00 ET/5:00 PT –  Ohio State @  Denver||LINK||DU $|
|10:00 ET/7:00 PT – UC Davis, Seattle Pacific @ Sacramento State||LINK||FREE|
American Cup is not a role model. I repeat, not a role model. Neither in terms of performance nor crazy scoring. (Are we just not going to talk about how McCusker finished fifth even though she fell a billion times and didn’t even have a beam dismount?)
So yeah, that was super bleak on the women’s side. Just a big old mess. Let NCAA keep us warm.
Nichols on only bars today for Oklahoma. DeGouveia vaulting, Jackson on beam, Turner on floor.
Artz and Chiarelli are already seniors, you guys. That’s a lot of scores. Good thing the Michigans did so well at the NLC last night, but there’s a year in between Artz and Chiarelli leaving and when they arrive. This year’s freshman class has shown some solid contributions but will be called upon for a lot more routines next year.
The stream is up. Be sure to refresh if you opened it before the broadcast started. Touch starting now.
Funk – VT – lunge back on the full, good distance, normal, lunge a little large, though. 9.750.
Capps – UB – good giant full finish – tkatchev OK – hits cast – tiny tiny bit of legs in the bail – pretty precise – flings out tuck full somewhat this time with a step back. 9.850.
Zaziski – VT – nearly gets the stick on her full but ends up with a hop forward, so won’t be a big total. A little piked as well. 9.775.
Catour – UB – strong Ray – toe on to bail, clean legs together, arches the bail but holds it – sticks DLO. Good one, arch on the bail wasn’t too bad but a clear deduction. 9.850.
Artz – VT – lunge back on the full, similar to Funk, but a bit farther and straighter. 9.825.
Dowell – UB – Excellent counter on her Ray – toe on to bail, pikes that a little in the air – sticks DLO cold. Good cast handstands as well, expect a step up in scores from the first two. 9.900
Chiarelli – VT – still with the full – too piked in the air and a small hop – I like her 1.5 better. 9.825.
Lehrmann – UB – hecht mount – 1/2 turn to jaeger, excellent toes and height – hitting her casts – a little angled coming into that bail it appeared from this angle – sticks the tuck full. They’re on with these dismounts today. 9.900.
Karas – VT – exceptional height on that 1.5, just ideal dynamics – a larger lunge forward to control this time, and they can also take for crossed legs in the twist. 9.875
Wofford – UB – great full turn to half turn to jaeger – vertical and pointed toes throughout – clean through the bail – shortish final handstand and then a small step on the tuck full, though, so she won’t make the 10 a trend. Just lost her perfection juice at the very end. 9.875
McLean – VT – good 1.5, smaller lunge forward than Karas had, just a normal step, so expect a higher score. Some mushy knees in hers as well.
Nichols – UB – strong Ray, caught a little bent it appeared from her but no trouble – great leg form through the bail and shap 1/2 – sticks DLO. I say one questionable handstand in there but not much else. And it’s a 10.000. One routine up, business done. It wasn’t her 10iest bars this year. She has been more precise.
So now Nichols has a 10 on every event. Usually, you know, the pinnacle of a career.
After 1: Oklahoma 49.525, Michigan 49.200
Oklahoma got those handstands and those dismounts today for a huge score. I would have had Nichols at 9.950, but otherwise I thought the scores were pretty appropriate in that rotation. Michigan will need to get some more control on the majority of those landings to get a competitive total in the postseason, but 49.200 is perfectly fine. Oklahoma is pretty much ready. Just an arch here and there and a couple handstands. Catour and Wofford can go cleaner, and they still broke 49.5.
Jones – VT – good full, small hop back – stays pretty well extended throughout. 9.875.
Funk – UB – that giant tkatchev where you think she gets lost in Narnia halfway through but catches – short on her bail, which will hurt – sticks DLO – other than the bail, quite a strong set, but that will take the score down. 9.800.
Marks – VT – just a little short on her FTY this time with a step forward. 9.800
Karas – UB – toe on to shap, leg break but not too extreme – very strong vertical on bail – a little whippy on her DLO but a great stick. Expect a high score on that. 9.925
Capps – VT – small slide back on her DLO – this angle emphasizes the leg separation at the end, but it rarely shows up to the side, maybe bigger this time. 9.800
Marinez – UB – arches in several handstands, once somewhat significantly, flings out her DLO with a larger bound forward. Good toes in her tkatchev but I sometimes worry she’s not going to clear the bar. 9.775.
DeGouveia – VT – she has brought in the 1.5 the last couple weeks – good clean legs for the most part in the air, just loses them at the very end, and then a fairly sizable hop forward. That’s a nice development for the lineup, though. 9.825.
Shchennikova – UB – shap to pak is pretty, maintains her legs better than most – giant full to a basically stuck double tuck – one of her good ones. 9.900.
Dowell – VT – nearly looked like she was going to hold the stick on her 1.5 but a hop forward this time. 9.900.
Artz – UB – 1/2 turn to piked jaeger, solid – a short cast handstand after that, which is rare for her and you could tell she was off – things went crazy on the bail and she doesn’t catch. Shame. Sticks DLO obviously. 9.225.
Jackson – VT – small small hop to the side on her 1.5 but among her more controlled landings. Great in the air. 9.900.
Zaziski – UB – giant full to giant Tkatchev, great height – good extended body throughout the bail – I saw a short cast at the end and rushed on that first giant full, step back on DLO. 9.925 seems high in there.
Lehrmann stucks her exhibition full it appeared. Still challenging for lineup.
Brianna Brown is a person again! Doing exhibition on bars – she looks pretty much there with the routine we expect from her, near stick on the DLO. Should come into the lineup for the postseason.
After 2: Oklahoma 98.825, Michigan 98.525
I’m actually legitimately pleased with the scoring in this meet. So weird. I don’t understand this emotion. Things got a little high at the end of bars for Zaziski, but otherwise not too too crazy. Karas was the highlight of bars for Michigan for me. Her bail is so crisp and vertical. Polina also had a good one.
Oklahoma didn’t have the best landings this week on vault with Dowell and Jackson having hops to give away the big, big numbers, and then Nichols wasn’t there so the score wasn’t as high as it could have been. DeGouveia’s 1.5 is a significant development as a 4th 10.0 start. It won’t score the same as the other three 1.5s but it looks comfortable enough for her and good enough to be in the lineup because of the SV. It makes for a legit question about what they do with this lineup when Nichols is in it. Who comes out? Probably Marks?
Karas – BB – great chest up when she lands her punch front – works into the beat jump quickly to cover any lack of control on landing – high leaps – bhs loso with a balance check – punch rudi, stuck – excellent first routine. 9.850.
Jones – FX – 2.5 to front tuck, securely landing and finishes easily – 1.5 to layout, maybe a little bouncy – loses her feet in her split leap – solid double pike, borderline chest down but not a thing. 9.825.
Zaziski – BB – cat leap to switch side, a tad crooked – lean correction on loso series – switch to straddle 1/4, excellent 180s shown there – check on full turn, girl what is this January – strong kickover front – OMG SHE’S DOING THE MOONWALK LET’S DEFINITELY MAKE THAT A THING THAT WE TALK ABOUT A LOT – gainer full. A couple checks but overall positive execution. 9.875.
Brown – FX – rudi to start this time instead of the front 2/1 – front lay to another rudi – loso side pass, as pretty as ever – hits her split and straddle shapes very well – another rudi – Just a big ol’ rudi fest? Why?
Funk – BB – secure on her opening loso series – switch and split, strong – hitting comfortable leaps – this is what her preseason showcase routine looked like when she was basically the best one in the rotation – step on dismount. 9.900.
We don’t have a score for Brown yet. I think the judges were like, “Wait, did she just do three rudis?” too.
Dowell – FX – short on double front this time with two pretty large steps back to save it – 1.5 to layout, well extended, high, controlled – no trouble on the landings of her final two passes, just that first one coming in short. 9.775.
Artz – BB – pike jump to straddle 3/4, no trouble – aerial to bhs, smooth and comfortable – full turn – nails kickover front to beat – hop to the side on punch rudi dismount. Really the only issue, though, expect a high score.
Tuner – FX – good height on double pike, step back, I’m fine with it because she kept her front leg down but a little far for a controlled step – slight stumble landing the layout on her middle pass – slide on double tuck. Fine, but this won’t be a normal Oklahoma floor rotation total.
Marinez – BB – check on aerial – strong bhs loso to split jump, extended and secure – side aerial – beat jump to double stag – quite strong after the initial break on the aerial – pretends she stuck her 2/1 and that bouncy around was just extreme excitement, but she didn’t really stick that.
Capps – FX – slide back on double pike – front full to layout, comfortable – excellent height and extension on straddles – final pass magic spell tutting (thanks, Melanie!) – chest down a bit on rudi but fine –
Chiarelli – BB – Speaking of magic tricks, somehow she stayed on the beam for her series but a massive break that will mean this is the dropped score regardless – sticks double tuck. Of course she would this time.
Jackson – FX – open fill in, excellent – also tremendous height and extension on her straddles – maybe a little slide forward on the middle pass – strong double pike, controlled landing – excellent set. 9.950.
Brianna Brown doing exo on beam as well. Has a big wobble but her execution is as it was. Will be an option for the lineup but not a given based on that.
After 3: Oklahoma 148.125, Michigan 147.900
Closer than a lot of us expected through three. Oklahoma won’t be happy with that floor rotation. A couple good routines but Dowell had a pass error and then Brown with the SV issue. Scores started to go a little high there on the beam rotation for my taste, but only minor checks until Chiarelli. She could have come close to catching Oklahoma with a hit.
Jones – BB – loso series, solid – kickover front to beat jump – switch to split – hitting comfortably, no balance checks – small step on 1.5. Good one.
Funk – FX – powerful double pike – gets amplitude on her switch side and popa – very deep landing on double tuck with a lunge back, kept it to her feet but it was touch and go there – solid otherwise.
Lehrmann – BB – aerial, smooth – cat leap to switch side – large check on loso series, leg flies up – sticks 1.5 cold.
Marinez – FX – front layout to rudi – whips the front layout somewhat, twists very quickly – switch to split jump full to wolf full, some indistinct landing positions – double pike, secure chest down –
Catour – BB – smallest wiggle correction on her series but basically nothing – cat leap to switch side – aerial, comfortable – hop forward on gainer pike, she took that really high, maybe surprised herself.
McLean – FX – slide-ish on landing on double pike – otherwise strong, hitting her 180s, Paise Zaziski’s background facial expressions are artistry – excellent double back, high and controlled, that was the highlight.
Brown – BB – aerial to two bhs series – beat jump to straddle 3/4, a touch under and then scoots the last 1/8th around – full turn and lovely leaps – sticks gainer full.
Karas – FX – controlled double arabian landing, some cowboy, not extreme, as usual – super height on that wolf jump, now that’s a wolf jump – front lay front full – high double pike, slide back.
After we ban the switch side + popa combo on floor, I would like to see fewer front lay front full middle passes.
Jackson – BB – bhs loso with a fairly significant wobble, correction and then a second correction – good position on switch side, squats to avoid a real wobbles – straddle jump to loso – sticks 1.5.
Chiarelli – FX – nails double tuck, controlled, chest up – 1.5 to layout to front tuck, I like the idea of the pass, too arched around on that layout though – hits leaps – strong control on double pike as well, chest down.
Capps – BB – strong control on loso series – easy and fluid on the full turn – aerial and does it to scale this time, keeps moving pretty well through it as well – switch to straddle 1/4 – gainer full. One of her good ones. Will make it tough on Artz to get the necessary score. 10.000. Well now. Such a pretty routine. Beam scores were also on the high side today.
Artz – FX – strong piked full in, good control – hits her leaps very well – perhaps arching over a layout on the middle pass – and maybe a little slide on the double pike, but pretty much her usual floor – she didn’t open the door too much in case the judges want to give her a senior day 10. One did. 9.975.
FINAL: Oklahoma 197.575, Michigan 197.525
Came down right to it there. I love that Oklahoma got a 197.575 with two 10.0s and we’re like, “WHY DID YOU SUCK SO MUCH?” In some respects it was an off meet for OU, mostly due to a couple floor errors and not having the landings on vault. And not having Nichols on three events. Still nothing to worry about, though. When we talked to KJ on Gymcastic, she mentioned peaking and dropping multiple times throughout the season, and this looks like one of those little drops. Nothing to worry about but not a postseason showing.
Also, Kara Lovan just hit a “shades of 2015” beam routine in exhibition.
Good showing from Michigan. They’ll be happy with this. Scoring started normally, went a little high toward the end of the meet with some beam scores and then a home floor 9.9 fest that was very strong and well controlled but wouldn’t get as many 9.9s in a neutral context. Still, nearly beat Oklahoma and certainly proved competitiveness and danger when it comes to the postseason.
YIKES. Zaziski was doing exhibition on floor, totally tripped mid-pass or botched a punch or something and then basically did an improvised side somi/wild frog leap. She’s fine, though.
Big day of meets tomorrow! Rest up.
|Sunday, February 26
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Southern Utah @  Michigan||LINK||FREE|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT –  Iowa State, Maryland @ West Virginia||LINK||FREE|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Bowling Green @ Central Michigan||LINK||ESPN3|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Air Force @ Bridgeport|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Ursinus, Brockport, Rhode Island @ Ithaca||FREE|
|3:00 ET/12:00 PT –  Oklahoma @ TWU||LINK||FLOG|
|3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Winona State, Hamline, Gustavus Adolphus @ Minnesota||LINK||BTN+|
|3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Western Michigan @ Illinois-Chicago||LINK|
|4:00 ET/1:00 PT –  Illinois, Illinois State @  Denver||LINK||DU $|
Today’s fun little factoid is that if the season ended right this minute, regional #1 would contain Oklahoma, Michigan, and Nebraska, in Nebraska. CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR #1. Continue reading Sunday Live Blog – February 26, 2017
|Saturday, January 28
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Penn @ West Chester|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Springfield @ Brockport||FREE|
|4:00 ET/1:00 PT –  Nebraska @  Michigan||LINK||FREE|
|4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Bridgeport, Southern Connecticut, Rhode Island @ Yale||Ivy|
|4:30 ET/1:30 PT –  Utah @  Washington||LINK||P12|
|4:30 ET/1:30 PT –  UCLA @  Oregon State||LINK||P12|
|5:00 ET/2:00 PT –  Ohio State @ Minnesota||LINK||BTN+|
|5:00 ET/2:00 PT – UW-La Crosse, Winona State @ Lindenwood||LINK||FREE|
|5:00 ET/2:00 PT – UW-Eau Claire @ UW-Whitewater||LINK||FREE|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Michigan State, Cornell, Ursinus @ Rutgers||LINK||FacePlace|
|7:45 ET/4:45 PT – Metroplex Challenge ( George Washington, Central Michigan, Bowling Green, San Jose State)||FLOG|
|9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Arizona State @  Cal||LINK||P12|
Another day, another barrage of meets. Get your streams ready. I’ll be trying my best to get through Nebraska/Michigan, Utah/Washington, and UCLA/Oregon State all at the same time. So it’ll be fun. If that’s what fun is.
First, a few thoughts on some of the major scores from yesterday. In a good reminder of how critical angle of viewing is when evaluating scores, the first time I saw Alex McMurtry’s DTY yesterday was in the reverse-angle slow motion replay, which is the least flattering angle for that vault where it definitely doesn’t look like a stick. I would have been a total pill about it if that vault had received a 10 last night. In watching the vault again, however, the real-time forward angle absolutely does make it look like a stick. Given the loose tone of the scoring through the rest of that meet, I’m actually pretty shocked she didn’t get a 10. I think 9.950 is the right score, but that was better than any of the 10 or 9.975 vaults we’ve seen so far this season. Continue reading Saturday Live Blog – January 28, 2017
|Saturday, January 7
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – New Hampshire, Bridgeport, William & Mary @ Rutgers||LINK|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Southern Connecticut @ Towson||LINK||FREE|
|3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Gustavus Adolphus @ UW-Oshkosh|
|4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Bowling Green, BYU, Temple @  Penn State||LINK||FREE|
|6:30 ET/3:30 PT – Ohio State @ Pitt||LINK||ACCN|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT –  Michigan @  Utah||LINK||P12|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT –  Arkansas @  UCLA||LINK||P12|
|7:30 ET/4:30 PT –  George Washington v. Yale (@ Boston, MA)|
|7:30 ET/4:30 PT –  Denver @  Minnesota||LINK||BTN+|
|8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Winona State @ Air Force||FREE|
Today’s live blogging will be focused on the simultaneous Pac-12 meets hosted by Utah and UCLA (thanks, Pac-12 Network), but I’ll include some notes on action I’m seeing earlier in the day.
-Brianna Comport of Bridgeport started with a 9.850 on beam and a 9.825 on floor.
-Tyra McKellar of Towson has the biggest piked Jaeger you’ll see. Tons of other breaks in the routine, still somehow got 9.750 I think due to Jaeger respect because…that Jaeger. Continue reading Saturday Live Blog – January 7, 2017
Not to be outdone, Michigan conducted its own preseason exhibition last weekend—an actual exhibition meet against an actual opponent in EMU. It was, in many ways, a less-representative showing than the previews we’ve seen from Utah or LSU because two rather important gymnasts were missing in Karas and Zaziski (neither for what appear to be serious or long-term reasons), but it did still provide us with a solid-enough sense of how Michigan shapes up for 2017.
|MICHIGAN ROSTER 2017|
2016 – 13th
2015 – 7th
2014 – 10th
2013 – 7th
2012 – 13th
2011 – 6th
2010 – 10th
Michigan drew the beam short straw again last year, missing nationals after an implosion at what otherwise would have been a pleasure cruise of a regional. Ultimately, the 2016 Wolverines equaled the result of that wildly depleted 2012 side (when it was a miracle they finished as high as 13th), a placement unbecoming of a team that could have made Super Six.
Based on the roster and the number of essential routines returning from last year in Artz, Chiarelli, Karas, and Brown, there’s every reason to expect 2017 to go quite similarly to 2016 (except, they’ll hope, without the ending part). The slate of most likely competition routines is quite similar, though a critical difference may be an increased supply of options as more routines have come into the team than were lost. That should allow Michigan better opportunities to rest major contributors or drop inconsistent routines. Continue reading Michigan 2017
Yes, Michigan has not yet released its schedule for the 2017 season even though it’s mid-October. Normally, this would merit the time-honored punishment of refusing to acknowledge the existence of said team until the situation is rectified, but what can I say? I’m a charitable, forgiving, non-judgmental spirit.
So, let’s forge ahead with Michigan’s hearty band of five freshmen who will join junior transfer Paige Zaziski in an effort to fill out the following slate of returning routines.
|Returning Routines – Michigan|
Karas – 9.940
Chiarelli – 9.890
Artz – 9.815
McLean – 9.790
Brown – 9.775
Artz – 9.900
Brown – 9.890
Karas – 9.850
Artz – 9.910
Karas – 9.875
Chiarelli – 9.870
Marinez – 9.850
Brown – 9.845
Artz – 9.955
Karas – 9.935
Chiarelli – 9.910
Brown – 9.850
McLean – 9.815
What’s most encouraging about Michigan’s freshmen is just how many routines they’ll bring. They’re not all postseason-level sets by any means, but most of these routines are at least somewhat realistic and should provide a net boost to Michigan’s depth. We may even be looking at nine whole vaults to play around with instead of, you know, exactly six.
Let’s begin with the Polina Shchennikova situation because I’m fascinated. Polina started elite life being touted as the second coming of Our Lady of Nastia due to hair color and Russia. Also bars and flexibility. Ultimately, that was unfair and unrealistic, and then injuries popped out of the earth’s crust and went, “Mwahahahaha,” helping nothing. From back problems to, most recently, labrum surgery, Shchennikova ended up competing a 1/4 teaspoon of gymnastics over the last three years.
Polina is in recovery mode now, and just this week, Dave Kuzara shared a video of her doing giants again on bars. That’s where we are in the comeback process, so withhold any real expectations until we see a healthy gymnast who is legitimately back. Fingers crossed.
Still, bars. Bars has always been her event, though despite tremendous line and huge difficulty, Shchennikova’s elite scores were often undermined by all the falling, along with a tendency to pack in so much difficulty that her form turned 50 shades of cray in the middle of combinations. I do think her routine improved as time went on, and if she’s able to get herself actually healthy, this is going to make for a magical NCAA bars set.
Shchennikova always had those big 6.3+ bars Ds but coming up with elite difficulty on the other events was more of a slog. NCAA should suit her very well in that regard because it will free her of the need to chuck those troublesome acro skills and rough dismounts, allowing her to settle into a more comfortable composition that lets her flexibility and style shine. I’m wary of thinking about vault or floor simply because of her extreme fragility, but I certainly do hold out hope for a glorious beam set. Dear Michigan, Weverseseses are role models. Continue reading 2017 Freshman Preview: Michigan