December 10, 2012

Intrasquad Explosion

A hearty batch of intrasquads and fake intrasquads (UCLA) took place over the weekend. Here's the roundup. 

UCLA hosted its annual Meet the Floor Routines event. Disappointingly, there were no costumes this year. What's the point of you, then? Also, Val is verging on copyright infringement by establishing a ranking system for the quality of people's eyes, which I patented in 2007. You'll be hearing from my lawyers.

The ones to watch so far are Danusia Francis, Sophina DeJesus, and Mattie Larson, so no surprises.

Mattie's routine needs more time and refinement, but she moves so well that there is always potential. I'm not blown away, but I'm pleased. I love the beginning of Danusia's routine and the grabbing of the hair. Sophina's is exactly what we would expect (and I appreciate the change of pace in the second half, otherwise it would have been too much/too one-note), but can she tumble to match?

Also watch for Danusia's free cartwheel in side position at the end of this beam video.

Utah competed in the Red Rocks Preview, and I was struck by a lack of depth compared to previous years. Taylor Allex and Kailah Delaney will be out until midseason, which will hurt on vault, but usually Utah has multiple 9.750s to spare that they trot out at this event. They can put together lineups, certainly, but some rotations will be grasping for tenths.  Bars is going to be rough, where even a couple of the stronger routines have issues (Lothrop: amplitude, Hansen: legs).

Lothrop's Omelianchik has improved from what we saw last year, and Hughes should be a definite on bars once she is in full health with a dismount. Floor is very far along and will probably be competitively 49.325 this year.

Florida held the Orange and Blue Intrasquad, which we know because there is all this graffiti everywhere that is upsetting my delicate sensibilities. The Gators look good.

Vault is just a few landings away from being ready, which is not necessarily a December concern. The amplitude of gymnasts like Johnson, Hunter, and Sloan is supreme, and Marissa King's vault is still my heaven. 

On bars, King looked sloppy and Dickerson had her usual deductions, but Macko, Sloan, and Johnson are all looking excellent. One deduction here or there (and Sloan needs to work out the leg separation on the bail), but if they were to perform those exact routines on January 4th at home against Ball State, they would gets 9.9s. Sloan did fall on beam (what is it, day one of Nationals?), but she is about a month of refinement away from being a top AAer. It is difficult to evaluate the floor routines until we see them in their complete forms, but everything looks better than on track. 

Not to be outdone, Oklahoma held an intrasquad without a fancy name. Anyone else already excited for Oklahoma/Georgia on the first weekend? I'm interested to see how the vault and floor lineups work out for Oklahoma, especially vault. Scaman will be a boost, but who are going to be those first few routines that have to score minimum 9.875s? There's no room for a 9.800 at the beginning of the lineup anymore. With Scaman and Kmieciak, I appreciate that Oklahoma has recruited for its weaknesses, which we don't see enough teams able to do. Good awareness.

Michigan hosted an exhibition with Michigan State. I love that the scoring for Michigan at a preseason exo is still stricter than most other places. Vault looks good. Don't count this team out. Nothing from Morgan Smith?

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