Tag Archives: Utah

Saturday Live Blog – February 25, 2017

Saturday, February 25
Scores Watch
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Brown, Cornell, Penn @ Yale Ivy $
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – [21] Arkansas @ Michigan State LINK BTN+
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Lindenwood @ Centenary LINK FREE
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Arizona @ [6] UCLA LINK P12
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Pitt @ Penn State LINK FREE
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [5] Utah @ Arizona State LINK P12
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [19] Cal, [24] Utah State, SEMO @ [15] Nebraska LINK FREE
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [16] George Washington, Kent State @ NC State LINK ACC

The Pac-12 moves to the forefront today, and Alabama’s inability to reach 197 yesterday has presented the opportunity for both Utah and UCLA to move  ahead.

In-progress RQS rankings are as follows:
screen-shot-2017-02-25-at-11-28-30-am

UCLA needs 196.650 to move ahead of Alabama.
Utah needs 197.150 to move ahead of Alabama.
UCLA needs 197.400 to guarantee passing Utah. Continue reading Saturday Live Blog – February 25, 2017

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Saturday Live Blog – February 18, 2017

Saturday, February 18
Scores Watch
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – West Chester @ Cornell Ivy $
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Stanford @ Arizona State LINK P12
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [24] West Virginia @ [19] Ohio State LINK OSU $
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Ball State @ Bowling Green LINK FB
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – UW-Oshkosh @ UW-Whitewater LINK FREE
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [12] Oregon State @ [18] Cal LINK P12
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Minnesota @ [11] Denver LINK
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – San Jose State @ Air Force FREE
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [4] UCLA @ [5] Utah LINK ESPNU

Saturday means it’s the Pac-12’s turn. The number to beat is 198.350. AH HA HA HA STAB.

The big showdown with UCLA/Utah is later, but before that, we have Stanford’s visit to Arizona State, which is interesting for a number of reasons. And by interesting, I mean harrowing. Stanford has three road meets remaining, and its current road scores are 194.175, 194.150 and 193.800. None of those can be allowed to count, so we’re into the land of urgency starting today. Today really needs to be at least in the 195s. That should be asking nothing of this team (Price! The McNairs!), but we know from experience this year that it’s asking a lot.

Meanwhile, Arizona State got a season-high 195.100 last week, and the scores do appear to be on the upswing. The team-high during the reign of Rene the Impaler was 195.375, so while ASU’s numbers aren’t high enough for regionals contention at this point, beating that score seems an attainable short-term goal. Continue reading Saturday Live Blog – February 18, 2017

Saturday Live Blog – February 11, 2017

Saturday, February 11
Scores Watch
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Bridgeport, Ithaca, Brockport @ Cornell Ivy $
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Springfield @ West Chester
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – [7] Michigan @ Michigan State LINK BTN+
2:30 ET/11:30 PT – New Hampshire @ Bowling Green LINK FB
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [19] Nebraska @ Minnesota LINK BTN
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [18] Ohio State @ Penn State LINK FREE
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Stanford @ [5] UCLA LINK P12
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [4] Utah @ [11] Oregon State LINK P12
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [21] Illinois, UIC @ [22] Iowa LINK? BTN+
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Arizona State @ [17] Washington LINK P12
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Maryland, Yale, Penn @ Rutgers LINK
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – BYU, Centenary @ TWU LINK FREE
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [8] Boise State @ [12] Denver LINK DU $
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – UC Davis, Seattle Pacific @ Air Force FREE

It’s Pac-12 day! The other top teams did not keep their 9.9s to themselves like proper children last night (but we’re so sickkkkk, we have pollliioooo), so there’s a lot of crazy 197 work to do for the others to keep pace today. When you’re giving out 18 scores of 9.950-10.000 in a single day, the standard of evaluation just isn’t strict enough. Continue reading Saturday Live Blog – February 11, 2017

Saturday Live Blog – February 4, 2017

Saturday, February 4
Scores Watch
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Pitt, West Chester, Ursinus @ Temple FREE
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Brown @ Yale Ivy $
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Ithaca @ Brockport FREE
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Bridgeport @ Southern Connecticut FREE
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – [25] West Virginia @ Kent State LINK FREE
3:30 ET/12:30 PT – [15] Cal @ [4] Utah LINK P12
3:30 ET/12:30 PT – [5] UCLA @ Arizona State LINK P12
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Michigan State @ Penn State LINK FREE
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Rutgers @ [19] Ohio State LINK OSU $
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [23] Minnesota @ [21] Illinois LINK BTN+
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [14] Oregon State @ Arizona P12
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Air Force @ Seattle Pacific LINK FREE

Today’s action features Cal and Utah facing off in a tribute to the walking wounded as Utah goes on without Schwab and Tessen and Cal attempts to go on in the wake of Toni-Ann Williams’ torn Achilles. It’s hard to see how the floor lineup remains competitive without Williams. Continue reading Saturday Live Blog – February 4, 2017

Saturday Live Blog – January 28, 2017

Saturday, January 28
Scores Watch
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Penn @ West Chester
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Springfield @ Brockport FREE
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [12] Nebraska @ [10] Michigan LINK FREE
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Bridgeport, Southern Connecticut, Rhode Island @ Yale Ivy
4:30 ET/1:30 PT – [4] Utah @ [19] Washington LINK P12
4:30 ET/1:30 PT – [8] UCLA @ [17] Oregon State LINK P12
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [20] 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 ([18] George Washington, Central Michigan, Bowling Green, San Jose State) FLOG
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Arizona State @ [15] 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 Live Blog – January 7, 2017

Saturday, January 7
Scores Watch
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 @ [23] Penn State LINK FREE
6:30 ET/3:30 PT – Ohio State @ Pitt LINK ACCN
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [7] Michigan @ [6] Utah LINK P12
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [17] Arkansas @ [4] UCLA LINK P12
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [25] George Washington v. Yale (@ Boston, MA)
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [14] Denver @ [16] 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

Utah 2017

Following last night’s Red Rocks Preview, we understand a lot more about what Utah is planning to say for itself in 2017, so this seems an ideal time to preview lineups and expectations.

UTAH ROSTER 2017
Seniors
Baely Rowe
  • Contributed top UB, BB routines in 2015, 2016
  • Will provide lineup-ready VT and FX as needed
  • 2016 RQS: UB – 9.905, BB – 9.880, VT – 9.835
  • 2016 avg: FX – 9.848
Juniors
Tiffani Lewis
  • Competed VT, UB, FX every week in 2016
  • 2016 RQS: FX – 9.900, UB – 9.845, VT – 9.845
Maddy Stover
  • BB anchor and team-high score in 2016
  • Occasional backup FX in 2016
  • 2016 RQS: BB – 9.900, FX – 9.575
Sophomores
Kari Lee
(redshirt)
  • Torn Achilles in January 2016
  • Weekly VT, BB, FX in 2015
  • 2015 RQS: VT – 9.910, BB – 9.900, FX – 9.890
Shannon McNatt
  • Did not show a competition routine in 2016
Makenna Merrell
  • Frequent FX contributor in 2016
  • Provided occasional VT, BB routines
  • 2016 RQS: FX – 9.850, BB – 9.550
  • 2016 avg: VT – 9.750
Erika Muhaw
  • Competed one VT in 2016 for 9.800
Macey Roberts
  • Transfer from Maryland
  • Contributed VT, FX for Terps in 2016
  • 2016 RQS: FX – 9.840, VT – 9.770
Sabrina Schwab
  • Among top UB, FX routines in freshman season
  • 2016 RQS: FX – 9.910, UB – 9.875
Freshmen
Missy Reinstadtler
  • North Stars
  • Preseason stress fracture, foot
  • 2016 JO Nationals UB champion, 7th AA
  • 2016 Nastia Cup 2nd AA
Mykayla Skinner
  • Desert Lights
  • 2016 Olympic Trials 4th AA
  • 2014 World Championship team
Kim Tessen
  • All-American
  • 2016 JO Nationals UB champion, 2nd AA

Recent History
2016 – 9th
2015 – 2nd
2014 – 7th
2013 – 9th
2012 – 5th
2011 – 5th
2010 – 6th

This slate of recent results seems fine enough, but aside from 2015’s dramatic second-place finish in the Marsden curtain call, Utah has missed Super Six three of the last four years. That’s a first for the program and one that is far from satisfying. Those 9th-place results in 2016 and 2013 are equal for Utah’s weakest finish in the NCAA era, and while that can be attributed to improvements from other teams as much as anything else, that’s cold comfort for a team like Utah. Utah doesn’t finish 9th.

The Utes have the roster in 2017 to restore how everyone felt a year ago after that 2nd place when THE GOLDEN AGE IS BACK AGAIN HURRAH. At least, Utah should expect to return to Super Six this year. That’s not saying it will be simple. Most top teams are adding routines of the same caliber (it’s the year after the Olympics), but among the teams in that turbid mixture called Borderline Super Six, Utah seems the most likely bet. Continue reading Utah 2017

2017 Freshman Preview: Utah

You didn’t expect me to resist the opportunity to use “stab a boob, take a selfie” one more time did you?

Returning Routines – Utah
VAULT
Lewis – 9.845
Rowe – 9.835
Muhaw – 9.800
Lee – 9.750
Merrell – 9.750
BARS
Rowe – 9.905
Schwab – 9.875
Lewis – 9.845
Lee – 9.792
BEAM
Stover – 9.900
Rowe – 9.880
Lee – 9.825
Merrell – 9.592
FLOOR
Schwab – 9.910
Lewis – 9.900
Merrell – 9.850
Rowe – 9.848
Stover – 9.575
Lee – 9.392

Utah’s granary of routines has been mightily depleted after last season’s graduations and the retirement of Samantha Partyka, but there’s also good news for the Utes: all three of this year’s freshmen are legitimate all-arounders from whom we should expect a significant and plentiful harvest. I don’t have trouble coming up with 6+ viable routines on each event.

The most prominent member of Utah’s accomplished freshman trio is, of course, Photoshop Olympian, Twitter cautionary tale, and interpretive vault pioneer, MyKayla Skinner.

Much has been made of the idea that Skinner won’t be as successful in NCAA because of the built-in form deductions in her gymnastics, but I’m not so sure about that. We’ve seen plenty of people thrive in NCAA with less-than-Pavlovian splits, and frankly her form isn’t all that different from many of the JO gymnasts I’ve been watching these last few weeks. Plus, “tweets dumb things” isn’t a deduction in the code of points, so that doesn’t really have anything to do with what scores she should get.

The composition in NCAA will allow Skinner to get rid of her worst skills, with the added bonus of being able to rely on the old “blind them with difficulty” strategy. Of course, all routines starting from 10.0 are supposed to be evaluated equally…and once you stop laughing we can continue with the rest of the preview.

Blinded By Difficulty absolutely needs to be the approach for Skinner. Her success has always been based on her ability to chuck extremely difficult skills, and downgrading significantly—the way many elites do in NCAA—would only expose problems rather than get her higher scores. As we learned from that “Bali, Mali, Chile, Malawi…it’s a simple do the dance (?)” commercial, Skinner’s DTY is cleaner than her Yurchenko timer. That’s insane, but it’s also true. She needs to retain the big skills, and if she does, I see no reason why she won’t get some of the highest scores in the country, particularly on vault and floor.

So I say vault that DTY.

I’d opt for the DTY over the Yurchenko 1/2-on vaults, purely so that we avoid any and all “DID SHE USE BOTH HANDS?” issues and never have to talk about Skinner being the first gymnast to do an Ono on the vaulting table ever again. It would just be a public service. But we’ll see. Continue reading 2017 Freshman Preview: Utah

Comings and Goings

Oklahoma won the national title six whole days ago, which is like a thousand years ago. Sorry, Oklahoma. We’re moving on. What have you done for us lately? Basically nothing? That’s what I thought.

The 2017 season is just around the corner, as long as that corner is really, really far away. We don’t know anything real about 2017 yet, but we do know which valuable gems and enthusiastic leaders in the training gym we won’t see next year, along with which bright new lights full of possibilities and undiagnosed shin problems will be joining the teams in their place.

Detailed looks at each team and roster will come much later, when the season approaches and I actually vaguely know who these JO gymnasts are, but let’s call this a preliminary glance at who’s coming and who’s going on each team now that the 2016 season is closed and locked away forever and the traditional eight-month moratorium has been placed on the terms “parity,” “yurchenko arabian,” “confident leadoff,” and “life lessons.” I’ve placed the top teams into various categories based on the current outlook and added the RQSs for the routines they will lose after 2016.

This is, of course, assuming that people do what they’re supposed to and don’t suddenly turn pro or run off to join a traveling circus or whatever.

Smooth sailing

LSU
Out: Jessica Savona, Randii Wyrick, Michelle Gauthier
In: Ruby Harrold, Kennedi Edney, Ashlyn Kirby

Savona – VT – 9.820 avg; UB – 9.840; FX – 9.902 avg
Wyrick – UB – 9.810; FX – 9.905

The Tigers certainly lose a few critical routines, the most important being Savona’s floor, though they already gained some experience with life after Savona’s vault and floor when she was out early this season (and life after Wyrick’s bars when she didn’t compete in the postseason). They survived, for the most part. Several of these openings should be filled by people already on the roster, and while I don’t think we can have any expectations for Priessman at this point because any week she’s healthy enough to compete is just a bonus, Kelley should do more next year. Add to that this freshman class, and I think there’s every reason to expect LSU 2017 to be stronger than LSU 2016.

ALABAMA
Out: Lauren Beers, Carley Sims
In: Maddie Desch, Wynter Childers, Shea Mahoney

Beers – VT – 9.905; UB – 9.690; FX – 9.915
Sims – FX – 9.868

Alabama is in a similar position to LSU in terms of not losing that many routines, though Alabama’s losses carry a bit more significance, especially on floor with the team’s two strongest floories departing. They’ll need some of the upperclassmen like Brannan to step up and be a little more Beersy on those events and a little less middle-of-the-lineupy, but with increased contribution from a potential star like Ari Guerra who didn’t figure at all by the end of the season and the introduction of Maddie Desch and Wynter Childers, Alabama’s first-ever recruit who’s also a citizen of District 1, I’m not too worried about the look of Alabama’s future roster.
Continue reading Comings and Goings

National Championships Preview Part 2: Deja Vu in Spoilertown

Every year. Every year it’s the same. One semifinal looks like it’s going to be close and exciting and weird and controversial, and the other looks like a straightforward stroll through the local meadow in a world made only of springtime. Except, it never really works out that way. Take last year’s second semifinal, when Oklahoma, LSU, and Alabama squared off against Auburn, Nebraska, and Oregon State. “Ah ha ha,” we said. “Bring me another glass of port. Oklahoma, LSU, and Alabama will surely advance.”

Nope. The infamous freshman-lost-her-mind heard ’round the world saw Auburn qualify instead of LSU. Nebraska managed to produce a similar complication the year before, against many of the same teams we see gathered this year. Almost all of them. I know. The straightforward semifinal tends to have a way of getting our attention, so how confident do we feel that Oklahoma, Alabama, and Utah will emerge from this session? What tricks do the Bruins have planned for us? Whom will they exhume to perform a surprise routine this time?

Competing teams (starting event)
[1] Oklahoma (bye before floor)
[4] Alabama (bye before bars)
[5] Utah (vault)
[8] UCLA (bars)
[10] Cal (beam)
[12] Nebraska (floor)

Competing individuals
All-around – Maddie Gardiner, Oregon State; Nina McGee, Denver; Amanda Wellick, Arkansas; Brianna Brown, Michigan; Mollie Drenth, Iowa; Lisa Burt, Michigan State

Vault – Taylor Allex, Arizona State
Beam – Risa Perez, Oregon State; Shani Remme, Boise State
Floor – Lizzy Leduc, Illinois; Rachel Slocum, Eastern Michigan

Though three clear favorites have established themselves in this group, it’s not quite as meadow-like as some of the “easy” semifinals have been in past years. Alabama and Utah did not perform overwhelmingly at regionals, and UCLA absolutely possesses the talent to advance on a good day. Something I hadn’t realized until now: Since the advent of Super Six, UCLA has never gone three straight seasons without qualifying. Having missed out on Super Six the last two years, the Bruins are in line to make an unfortunate piece of history if they don’t secure the upset this time around. #saveuskyla

Let’s get to it.

OKLAHOMA
The Sooners have begun to separate themselves from the rest of the teams in recent weeks, not showing the same variations in performance, blips, and inconsistencies of the other top contenders. Oklahoma’s regionals score was the highest in the country by a pretty solid margin and the performance was by far the cleanest.

Oklahoma must be the title favorite at this point but far from a prohibitive one. Several areas have emerged, from security of vault landings to floor difficulty, that may be cause for concern in a Super Six context when needing to defeat the likes of Florida, but for now, Oklahoma is the safest pick. If the Sooners were to lose it at the semifinal stage, it would be the biggest upset of any of the teams. Oklahoma hasn’t had a single fall in a competition routine since February 7th and hasn’t seen two actual falls in the same rotation all season long. That’s a rather remarkable feat, so while we can question some of the details, Oklahoma would have to count a fall to fail to emerge from this semifinal. And that would be a first.

I’ll go into detail in the Super Six preview, but a critical area I’ll be watching in the semifinal is how those early-lineup floor routines are evaluated, especially with the Sooners starting on that event. At regionals, Brown and Capps pretty much nailed their routines and got 9.850s (and Jones performed somewhat near her normal for a 9.800), but Oklahoma is going to need higher scores for those routines to reach a national-championship-winning total. The last four winners (counting Florida and Oklahoma in 2014 as two different winners) have all scored over 49.6 on floor in Super Six. Given the evaluation of floor this season, I imagine that will be the standard once again.
Continue reading National Championships Preview Part 2: Deja Vu in Spoilertown