April 21, 2012

Super Six Live Blog

Watch Live - 4:00 ET
Rotation Order: Florida VT, Stanford Bye, Arkansas Bars, Utah Beam, Alabama Bye, UCLA Floor.

Super Six is always a blur. A few short routines and then it's over. You remember senses more than actual routines. We can only hope it's not a dud. We've been building to this for months. I want excitement, and I'm going to be sad when it's over.

We spend all this time and watch all these meets, and the end of all our discussion is to arrive right back where we began. In December, I said that the teams with a realistic shot at the title were Florida, UCLA, and Alabama. Now, hours before Super Six, I'm saying that the teams with a realistic shot at the title are Florida, UCLA, and Alabama.

After the performance in Semifinals, I've re-promoted Alabama to the top flight of contenders. However, I was not completely wowed by them on some events. With the scoring as it was, they should have gone much higher than 49.400 on vault by getting some sticks in the middle of the lineup. If Georgia is getting a 49.6, Alabama needs to be getting a 52. 

Florida looked mostly excellent and controlled, and they will be considered the favorites today, but they are not completely free of concerns. They looked shaky on floor at SECs, had two OOBs at Regionals, and had two OOBs (from the same people) in Semifinals. It's very difficult to correct trends for Super Six. Marissa King will be the one to watch. She has a history of broken brain in major competitions, and she was definitely off yesterday. They probably need to be dropping Wang-VT, Ellis-UB, Spicer-BB, and Ferguson/Stageberg-FX. They can't afford to drop a King score today.

UCLA scored lower than the other two in Semifinals, but they shouldn't be concerned about the scoring from yesterday because they were in the afternoon session and were kind of bad. They will need to hope for some happy scoring from the start today, though, as they need to be 49.400 on floor to be competitive. I don't expect to see repeats of the Zamarripa and Peszek mistakes, but watch out for Mattie. She's Mattie and she scored 9.775 on her two routines yesterday. No one was impressed.

As for the other teams, Utah will have to be very solid for 9.875s and hope for a sloppy competition. Arkansas and Stanford should be very proud of making it this far, but they will struggle to reach above their Semifinal scores, and it's going to take at least a 197.500 to win this (though I do expect the scoring to be more contained than it was last night).

Competition begins at 4 ET. Here we go!

Almost time now. Getting the stream connected to my TV so I can watch luxuriously, testing ESPN3 to make sure we have no hiccups.

Judges have switched events from yesterday. Vault and Beam switch, Bars and Floor switch.

Will we have the ESPN trio commentating? Or are they just doing the delayed TV broadcast? I suppose we'll find out soon enough.

Your event is about to begin. Please stand by. (Um, it's 1:00 . . .) (Um, it's 1:05 . . .)

Dear ESPN, this isn't football, where you can just leave us dangling and no one will care or notice. We're gymnastics fans. We're feisty, hungry, and judgmental. Don't tell us to stand by.

Here we go. Oh dears, everyone but Sam Peszek should not pursue a career on camera.

Really glad we're getting Bart, Kathy, and Suzanne. Kathy doesn't know if Alabama can get better from yesterday, but they better do it because some of those landings were not up to championship level.

Rotation 1:
They're starting us all of the sudden! Very little introduction at all. Lothrop looks fine but a little tentative. Hop on dismount. Spicer's vault is fine with a hop back.

Canizaro on bars, a few handstand issues and a hop back. McAllister on beam, nice three series. Kathy and Suzanne agree with me about the lack of separation yesterday. Hop back on dismount.

Waiting on Ashanee for vault. Spicer got a 9.850, which is a little high. Very minor hop in place (maybe?)

Olivia Courtney on floor - don't like these UCLA leos much. Courtney looks very nice in her tumbling. She has peaked at the right time. Really nice routine.

Beers on beam, she lacks amplitude in her elements and had an off split position. Pisani on bars, stuck dismount - very nice.

King was ever so slightly low on her vault, so not her best, but still excellent. Hunter has a huge leap forward, so Florida will be a little lower than yesterday.

Howdeshell on bars, trying to recover from yesterday's fall - good releases - let's watch the dismount - just a minor step.

Peszek on floor - strong DLO - big lunge out of double pike, but better than yesterday.

Lopez on beam, Utah is scoring very well here - just a wobble on the series, and another on a leap - so this won't be a great score.

EHH now on floor, just a minor hop out of double tuck, but I wish she had kept doing her 2010 routine because it was the best one. Bounces OOB so they won't count this score. Not an acceptable mistake for UCLA, so they'll be counting Pritchett's 9.825. Probably a tenth in overall score given away there, and you can't do that in Super Six.

Kathy's eating a potato chip. After one rotation, UCLA let Florida get away from them a little bit. I thought UCLA needed a 49.400, but they went 49.350. Not a problem, but they needed a bit better. Florida's 49.475 is less than yesterday on vault, but it's fine. Utah goes 49.350 on beam, which is a huge improvement for them from yesterday, and Arkansas trails with 49.175 on bars.

Rotation 2:
Florida and Utah go away while Stanford and Alabama come back in. It's an opportunity for Alabam to get some distance on UCLA after the first rotation. UCLA goes to vault, and they need probably a 49.500.

Beam for Arkansas to start - solid landings on her acro - a little bit of leg form, and totally came off the side of the beam for her dismount but landed it. 9.775 - scoring is high on beam.

Baer on vault - she has to stick to minimize those leg deductions. Hop in place - fine.

Shapiro on bars - just a step on the tuck full. Solidly clean routine with good form.

Kathy is in love with Sam Peszek. Great distance, needs a bit more amplitude, minor hop. Priess on floor, not quite controlled on her tumbling but clean enough.

Alabama is scoring very well on floor so far. On pace to outscore UCLA there. Tauny tried to stick and almost did it. Better than it has been. Arkansas is stepping it up a little bit on beam.

Zam now - Bart butchers her name "Zarripova?" - needs a stick. FINALLY sticks it when they needed. Should be a 9.950.

Why on Earth is Hong in on bars? Well they have certainly fixed her DLO. Note this, Valeri.

Pisani hitting beam well - maybe not quite the 9.950 from yesterday with a minor shuffle on the landing.

10 for Zamarripa and UCLA NEEDED it. Wow. A 10 in Super Six is big deal.

Gutierrez on floor, perhaps a bit sloppier on some of this tumbling than yesterday, but good stick on the double pike to finish, so we probably won't see it in the score.

Arkansas is not doing poorly, but they aren't getting the 9.9s to keep pace. Stack-Eaton on floor, they need a 9.9 from her. Very nice on her dbl Arabian. Hits excellently, so Alabama will outpace UCLA on floor. Vault will be very telling now.

Zamarripa's 10 has kept UCLA in this, but Florida and Alabama both started extremely well. Stanford and Utah are on pace with 49.350 rotations and Arkansas is falling a bit behind.

Rotation 3:
Florida to bars, where they need a 49.400, and Utah goes to floor where they will have to keep up with the previous teams. UCLA and Arkansas going on break. Alabama to vault, where they will probably need to match Florida's 49.475 and will certainly need to be better than yesterday. They must have sticks.

ESPN3 momentarily told us that our event had ended. Um, no. Florida needs a 49.400 to level UCLA and Alabama needs a 49.425, both attainable but they will have to be very clean. I expect to see all three of those teams within two tenths by the halfway point, and Stanford and Utah must stay within about the same margin to stay in it.

Suzanne and Val having a talk. Val is excited now. We'll see if it keeps up.

UCLA has bumped up the scores on vault, and Alabama may benefit. Shuffle from Kayla Williams.

Hong on beam, wobble on the walkover, otherwise very elegant and clean, hop back on dismount.

Dickerson fell on bars, which I think she also did in warmups. I'm assuming on her Hindorff. Four pressure routines now, but they'll be glad it's bars instead of beam. She's a little tight on some of her handstands, but nice hit.

Williams got a 9.900 on vault, which I think is a little high, so we can assume the scores have been bumped up. Watch out for Alabama if Florida has a mistake right now on bars. Geralen sticks and may get that same 10 that Zam did, except she's earlier in the lineup. 9.975.

Good stuck tumbling from Damianova, just a little low body position. Step back from Gutierrez on vault, not her best. 9.900 is high for that step.

Macko on bars now - sticks dismount. They shouldn't have to count a fall, but they are counting a few 9.850s, so not quite the highest possible score here for them.

Dabritz with a triple full dismount, well landed just with the usual crossed legs.

Stanford is staying right in this with some 9.900s on beam. Don't forget about them yet. Same with Utah.

Alabama goes 9.625 on vault, so they are .2 ahead of UCLA and will probably be the favorites right now at the halfway point.

Ashley Morgan on beam to finish - she hasn't always competed this event. They are changing these lineups around a lot for Super Six. Good hit routine. They'll be right there near UCLA.

Big bounce back for McAllister on mount, the flag went up, but it didn't look like she went OOB there, did it?

Robarts will be the last to go on floor for Utah. Good dbl Arabian mount. Slight bounce out of double pike, but good hit overall. Utah should go ahead of Stanford but be just behind UCLA.

1. Alabama - 99.075
2. Florida - 98.900
3. UCLA - 98.875
4. Utah - 98.675
4. Stanford - 98.675
6. Arkansas - 98.400

It's less than two tenths of a lead for Alabama, so this could still obviously go any direction, but you just get the sense that this will be Alabama's day, don't you. They have benefitted from this rotation order.

Rotation 4:
UCLA comes back in for bars, and they need to match yesterday's scoring. Alabama and Stanford are on break. Florida goes to beam in the unfamiliar position of trailing after vault and bars. How will the freshmen respond? Utah to vault - will they take advantage of the rising scores as well?

De La Torre getting ready on bars. I really think UCLA cant contend unless they get a 49.375 here, which is a stretch for this team regardless of how they did in Prelims. DE La Torre is very low on her DLO dismount. Not the start they needed because now they will have to count Larson.

Can't see much of beam from this angle. Can they please show us some of these routines? Stageberg starts beam with a 9.900.

Courtney sticks her dismount on bars to right things. Looks like Spicer hits beam as well. Putting pressure on Alabama.

Canizaro on floor and steps OOB and then falls. Johnson on beam - very solid on her series. A little too deliberate in this routine for my liking but clean. Peszek on bars wile Dickerson goes on beam. Peszek hits well, Dickerson must hit here and she looks confident, just a step back on dismount.

Perfect routine from Zamarripa. I know people have problems with her bars, but really, find the deduction. It may just be not enough though given how well Florida is scoring on beam. Hunter hits a similar routine to Dickerson, just a step on the dismount.

Gerber looking very nice on bars. Just a small hop on the dismount, so it won't be the 9.925 from yesterday, but will certainly be higher than MDLT.

Grable on floor - must hit for Arkansas. King finishes up a great beam routine for Florida, so they are still right in this, but it was not enough to make me think they will pass Alabama right now.

UCLA has improved by leaps and bounds on bars in the last month, and they got a 49.475 to stay just .025 behind Florida. That could go either way at the end. Alabama needs a 49.300 on bars to go level with Florida.

Arkansas finishing the rotation last with Pisani on floor. Arkansas isn't in this, but she's a joy to watch. A little bounce out of the mount and then a ridiculous fall punching out of her middle pass. That's such a shame and so unexpected.

Rotation 5:
UCLA will be finishing the meet in this rotation on beam and needs to be the best they've ever been to have a shot at reaching Alabama. Alabama goes to bars, where they will need those big 9.9 routines from Stack-Eaton and Priess, and they will need the first three to squeeze every bit of 9.850 life out of their routines.

Suzanne just said Florida's beam was the best they've ever had. What?

Gerber starting beam for UCLA but we don't get to see it finish, so that we can watch Arkansas wait. Why? Nice from Lewis.

Alabama has a mistake from Demeo to start on bars. Interesting. Pressure on the rest of them now. Jacob hits? Is this getting interesting? Dear ESPN, less Arkansas, more UCLA and Alabama right now.

It appears Aisha Gerber had a mistake on beam. Florida, are you seeing this?

Hong on floor, beautiful movement as always, but the tumbling isn't quite there yet.

Ugh, they think Mattie is Vanessa. How hard is it to recognize Mattie Larson? A little low on landing, but a good clean routine. 9.900, which is high but consistent with the rest of the competition.

Good vault from Pisani with just a minor slide back. Sledge on bars now, great gienger, and excellent DLO as always. They are recovering from DeMeo's mistake.

Great hit from Zamarripa on beam. That was better than Mattie's routine, so we'll see what happen.

Priess on bars, must hit - nice but a step on landing. They won't get those same 9.9s from yesterday, so Florida is in this.

EHH has a fall on beam - bad competition from her - so they are counting the 9.725 from Gerber and will be out of this. That's a shame, so it's down to Florida and Alabama now. EHH is crying now, such a shame. She knows they can't come back from that.

First final score - Arkansas at 196.300.

Waiting for Peszek on beam, she needs about an 11 to help UCLA here. Good hit, and UCLA will get an excellent score, but not quite good enough. They really were a good EHH day away from winning a national title.

The other big news, Alabama was not able to move ahead of Florida so they are within .025 going into the final rotation. This will be a great fight. Can't wait.

UCLA gets a 49.450 while counting a 9.725 on beam. Where would they have been otherwise? Florida will need a 49.375 on floor to tie UCLA. Alabama will need a 49.400 on beam to tie UCLA.  Even though it was not the best for the Bruins, 197.750 is not a Super Six score to be disappointed in.

Rotation 6:
UCLA and Arkansas are done. Florida is on floor and Alabama is on beam.

Jacob has started on beam, and it looks like Florida has started floor as well. So why are we seeing Utah?

Ferguson starts with 9.850 for Florida, Stageberg must stay in bounds. She did this time. Alabama's first two are hitting beam very well. This is going to be such a fight right now. Edge to Alabama on the first scores.

Johnson a little wonky on the dbl arabian, but fine - Williams a little wobble on beam - and hits overall, as does Johnson very well.

Now it's up to Dickerson and DeMeo - scores getting very big in this last rotation. Dickerson has huge step out of her dbl Arabian - it's the opening Alabama needs, but that was the only real deduction in the routine.

Major bend at the knees for DeMeo, she matches Dickerson in giving something away, minor step on double pike.

Marissa King time now, impromptu dbl Arabian - love her. A little low in her double pike, but it was solid.

Stack-Eaton now - hit routine that should confirm that they move ahead of UCLA and put some pressure on Florida after the King routine.

Final routine for Florida now - Hunter - beautiful DLO - she needs a 9.925 and should probably get it.  Going into the final pass now - must nail it though. And she did. It will probably be a 9.950.

Alabama can pass Florida, though, with a big routine from Priess - this is going to be within a tenth for the top three teams. Priess sticks her dismount, and I think that will be enough.

Florida passes UCLA by .025 and I think Alabama will pass them. They did.

That was all the excitement we could have asked for. Devastating for Florida. Alabama wins the second straight title. Top three teams were all within a tenth of each other. I felt UCLA and Alabama had places where they gave it away, but Florida really didn't (except for Ashanee on bars I suppose). Great job by all the top teams, but I have to admit I'm a little disappointed by this result. I thought Alabama was the beneficiary of a good rotation order in terms of building scores (going right after UCLA) and that Florida was the stronger team overall today. What more could they have done? Part of this is also that it would have been great to see a new Champion. Alabama did very well, so I don't want to be too hard on them, but this was Florida's year.

I haven't mentioned Stanford because they weren't really in this by the end, but a huge 197.500 is a great accomplishment for them as well. They never went away.

1. Alabama - 197.850
2. Florida - 197.775
3. UCLA - 197.750
4. Stanford - 197.500
5. Utah - 197.375
6. Arkansas - 196.300


  1. Agreed!! When is it going to start? They really like to make sure you never get to watch a second of warmups, that's for sure.

    1. I've been standing by (literally, I'm pacing) for over 5 minutes now.

  2. lets hope they got rid of the cameraman with a foot fetish

  3. this is making me nervous lol!

  4. I cannot make it through the super six on twitter feeds alone!

  5. I would rather watch the foot fetish angle than this because at least we knew the feed was working.

  6. Looks like floor and vault will be the high scoring events tonight, which makes sense as bars and beam were high yesterday and the judges switched. UCLA and Bama need to take advantage of that right off the bat.

  7. Alabama had a great vault set but I saw two 9.9s that weren't stuck and didn't have perfect form. Looks like the judges listened to all their whining after SECs about the vault judges being out to get them.

  8. How was Stephanie McAllister out of bounds??? They should challenge that.

  9. Stageberg had a clear .1 hop on her dismount and still went 9.9, when she typically is a 9.8-9.85. There needs to be a serious judging conference after this season. Judges are out of control everywhere!!

  10. With the scores Florida just got on beam, if UCLA and Bama hit, the scores may go through the roof. Florida has floor left and scores are high there as well. These last 2 rotations will be really interesting.

  11. Poor EHH. Not her best meet at all with a fall and an out of bounds.

  12. I don't know. Florida had the Olympic Order. If that's not a beneficial rotation, I don't know what is. They just had too many shuffles on landings.

  13. overall, uber exciting. thanks for the commentary. i had heart palpitations throughout. i think there are always disappointments, but the biggest is the lack of score differentiating. not everyone who stayed on the beam without a major wobble deserved a 9.9 and just because a girl struggles to keep her a feet in place for a moment before moving quickly to salute doesn't mean she's shown control.

  14. I'm with Anon@3:44 - I think Florida shuffled this one away. They just didn't STICK landings. Almost on every event. They were almost a bit too composed instead of their usual WOW! everywhere.