Tag Archives: Oklahoma

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.


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.

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.


National Semifinals Live Blog

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

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 1: Western Semifinal

By the magic of the draw (and by magic, I of course mean trash), the semifinals have been divided by conference and geography, with the eastern-ish teams from the SEC and Big Ten placed in the evening session and the western-ish teams from the Pac-12 and Big 12 placed in the afternoon session. It’s pretty racist.

We’re a little more than a week away from nationals now, so to begin preparing, here’s a preview of the race to qualify to Super Six from the first semifinal, the one that appears the more straightforward of the two but is certainly not open-and-shut.

April 14, 12:00 CT

Teams (starting event)
[1] Oklahoma (bye before floor)
[2] Utah (vault)
[3] UCLA (bye before bars)
[4] Oregon State (floor)
[5] Denver (beam)
[6] Washington (bars)

Jessica Yamzon, Arkansas, AA (rotating w/ Utah)
Alexis Mattern, Ohio State, AA (rotating w/ UCLA)
Shani Remme, Boise State, AA (rotating w/ Washington)
Angel Metcalf, Iowa, AA (rotating w/ Denver)
Katie Becker, Auburn, AA (rotating w/ Oklahoma)
Haylee Young, Iowa State, AA (rotating w/ Oregon State)
Braie Speed, Arkansas, VT (rotating w/Oklahoma)
Samantha Cerio, Auburn, UB (rotating w/ Utah)
Clair Kaji, Iowa, BB (rotating w/ Utah)

As much as a sure thing to qualify to Super Six exists, Oklahoma is it. Oklahoma’s score from regionals was nearly a point better than any other team in this semifinal and was .625 better than any other team in the country. The margin for error the top teams usually have heading into regionals is what Oklahoma has in the semifinal. Counting a fall would be fine, and that’s pretty rare for nationals.

My primary areas to watch at regionals were vault, where Oklahoma responded with basically-almost sticks from Dowell, Jackson, and Nichols for 49.575, and the Maggie Nichols AA, which she did and scored 39.750. So, I’d say both of those were a check mark. A dose of floor landings was the only knock on Oklahoma’s regionals performance, which would serve them very well if replicated at nationals. I’ll get into the title race in more detail in a later preview, but it would be quite the ridiculous shock if Oklahoma were not to advance to Super Six somehow. Continue reading National Championship Preview Part 1: Western Semifinal

Washington Regional Preview

It’s time to get rid of some people! Phew. None too soon. After enduring eleven weeks of not being allowed to care who wins and who loses because we’re all just one big happy family that’s learning life lessons together, we have finally entered the elimination round.

Elimination round. Add that to the list of names that would be better than “regionals.” Knockout stage. National quarterfinals. Potluck hoedown. The end of days. Of course, it’s not a true knockout stage because half the teams that advance will have lost their meets. But you know…progress?

Let’s begin the previews with the top-seed Oklahoma Sooners and their trip to the long-anticipated, inevitably contentious Washington regional.

April 1, 2017, 7:00 ET/4:00 PT

Teams (starting event)
[1] Oklahoma (bars)
[12] Kentucky (vault)
[13] Washington (bye before floor)
[24] Utah State (bye before bars)
[32] Stanford (beam)
[34] BYU (floor)

Alexis Brown, UC Davis (AA)
Caitlin Soliwoda, Sacramento State (AA)
Lauren Rice, Sacramento State (AA)
Kaitlin Won, San Jose State (AA)
Ariana Harger, Seattle Pacific (VT, FX)
Julia Konner, Sacremanto State (VT)
Yonni Michovska, UC Davis (UB)
Rachel Heinl, San Jose State (UB)
Yasmine Yektaparast, UC Davis (BB)
Taylor Chan, San Jose St (BB, FX)

The favorite – Oklahoma
While we should still expect the Washington regional to fulfill the ancient prophesy of excitement and competitiveness when it comes to Washington and Kentucky (and…Stanford…?) competing for the second spot, Oklahoma will be about a point better than any other losers in this competition and should run away with it. It would take Oklahoma counting two falls to start getting interesting, but there are nonetheless aspects of Oklahoma’s performance that will be telling moving toward nationals.

Keep an eye on vault. That’s the one event where Oklahoma is not currently ranked #1, and it is a potential vulnerability in the title chase with LSU, a team with equivalent ability, one extra 10.0 start, and superior stickitude displayed over the last couple weeks. Oklahoma needs to begin getting sticks out of Dowell and Jackson more regularly because even a hop forward for 9.875-9.900 may mean losing ground at nationals. On the other hand, if Nichols, Dowell, and Jackson are all going 9.950, that minimizes or eliminates any advantage LSU might gain because of vault and would put less onus on OU’s bars to create a margin of victory. Things to keep in mind for next month.

It’s also imperative that Nichols get back to the AA for Oklahoma truly to be at title strength. The staff has been conservative with her on the leg events this month because of a sore knee, but clearly she showed no rust in her return to vault at Big 12s. You know, a 10, NBD. She’ll come back on floor at regionals, and similar lack of rust will need to be shown to give Oklahoma the full complement of competitive 9.9+ routines. Continue reading Washington Regional Preview

Sunday Live Blog – March 12, 2017

Sunday, March 12
Scores Watch
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Penn, Southern Connecticut, Ithaca @ Temple FREE
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Stanford, NC State, Yale @ [18] George Washington LINK GW $
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Cornell, Brockport @ Towson LINK FREE
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – North Carolina @ [4] UCLA LINK P12
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [1] Oklahoma @ [17] Cal LINK P12

While UNC is the lowest ranked and least heralded among this batch of teams, today is significantly more important for North Carolina than it is for any other team competing today. It’s sort of all about UNC because of what happened yesterday.

Many of the bubble-ranked Michigan teams did their jobs yesterday, meaning that North Carolina has dropped from 33rd in Monday’s rankings to 38th in the in-progress rankings, outside regional-qualifying territory. It’s critical for UNC to get a good score today to be situated to qualify after EAGLs. Continue reading Sunday Live Blog – March 12, 2017

Saturday Live Blog – March 4, 2017

Saturday, March 4
Scores Watch
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 – [1] Oklahoma @ [11] Michigan LINK FREE
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Iowa State @ [14] Iowa LINK BTN
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – BYU @ Minnesota LINK BTN+
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [25] Ohio State @ [7] 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.

Rotation 1:
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.

Rotation 2:
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?

Rotation 3:
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.

Rotation 4:
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.