January 19, 2014
 Oregon State @  UCLA Live Blog
UCLA home meets used to be on Sundays at 2, but now with the advantage of live TV broadcasts, we have to get accustomed to Saturday and Sunday night meets. I'm absolutely in favor. The meets feel like more of an event this way, bookending the weekend. In the past, meet weekends would start with a bang with all the competitions on Friday night, and then sort of putter to a finish with a smattering of occasional live streams. Now, there's a second bang.
Plus, it seems to be helping UCLA's attendance. Last season's one live Saturday night meet brought by far the Bruins' highest attendance of the year, and last weekend's night meet against Florida had 5265 fans, a significant improvement on last year's season average of just over 4000.
It has been an interesting/strange weekend so far. After Oklahoma's opening 197.700 heard round the gymternet, it seemed inevitable that scores would continue to skyrocket, but all the top teams have struggled to put together four complete events this weekend. Even Georgia, the Week 2 leader with 197.175, had a ragged beam rotation. Florida also broke 197, but Alaina Johnson got a 9.725 on bars, so what are we even supposed to do with that? Utah was well on the way to the best score of the weekend until a beam fall in the final routine brought them back to the 196s, and Alabama was a walking 9.7 yesterday. None of the top teams have managed a complete meet so far this weekend. January.
Let's see what UCLA and Oregon State can do about that. The meet begins at 9 ET, 6 PT on the Pac-12 Network. Or, if you don't get the Pac-12 Network, you can always just get out some crayons and parchment and draw a picture of what you think might have happened. Or a dragon. Whatever.
Scores are here. Your sanity is not. I'm not liking the clock situation on this women's basketball game that's on before the meet. No way this ends in time. Although, I do like this coach for Colorado. She's so pissed. That's something we don't see enough of in coverage of NCAA gym, coaches cartoonishly screaming at everything, including clipboards.
No Peszek on vault this week for UCLA, as mentioned in the above video. We'll get to see Pinches debut instead. Well, I say see. We've got some basketball delaying nonsense instead. Stay tuned. Oh god, the fouling. This in interminable. This is why people hate basketball. They do, don't they?
I'll let you know when this basketball finally ends, but it looks like we'll miss the whole first rotation. Lots of 9.7s happening in the scores, though. The whole point of the meet starting immediately at 6 PT is TV, so why wouldn't they hold it back for a few minutes if the TV broadcast wouldn't be able to show it?
Pinches goes 9.625 in debut on vault, so UCLA will be counting a 9.750 so far. As will Oregon State.
DOH! Of course I can watch it online! Ugh, me. Just saw Sawa stick another vault. We're in action now.
Casey on bars now for OSU. Late on her giant full and crazy legs on the gienger, misses her final hs, and a step back on the DLO. Tim Daggett is pretending he doesn't know where the deductions come from.
Sawa got a 10 from one of the judges. So that happened. Well, she stuck, but come on. Bynum does a Y1/2, better than last week but a large lunge out of it, and gets a 9.9. OK. So that's the way it is tonight. We're now back on TV as well. Finally.
Courtney does a yfull, and given the scores we've seen for the last couple, it would have been a 10 had she stuck, but a step back for her. Nearly stuck it.
Aufiero finishing for Oregon State on bars. Very clean but she clips her foot on the bar on her tkatchev. Shame. Keeps going pretty well and everything else was lovely. Nice stick on the DLO.
UCLA finishes the first rotation with a 49.325, with a couple really enthusiastic scores from the judges on a couple of the vaults I saw. Oregon State gets a 48.700 on bars, Aufiero with a 9.625 after hitting her foot. A weird start missing the beginning of the meet, but we're on track now.
Tim is asking us to tell him where the deductions were in Sawa's vault. Well, she landed low, so we'll start with that. It wasn't a problem, but it wasn't a 10. Tim, underscoring is not the problem in NCAA.
Rotation 2: UCLA on bars, Oregon State on vault
1. Francis - nice first hs, hits the shaposh to bail well, similar to last week, a little late on her gaint full at the end, but a hop on dismount this time, so probably slightly lower than last week. Or 9.850 again.
2. Craddock -Good opening handstand, but really misses her handstand after the tkatchev, got really close to the bar on her double back dismount, and there were handstands and some legs in that routine. 9.775
3. Mossett -Nice stalder shoot, leg break and pause on her change, but the releases look very nice, bent elbows on her stalder and a couple hops on her double back. 9.750.
4. DeJesus - Good giant full, legs are getting better on the gienger but they still flop apart, sticks her tuck full with head fairly low, but a stick nonetheless. Best for the team so far by a long way and one of the better bars routines she has done. 9.950. Heavens.
5. Courtney -Strong shaposh, looked perhaps a little short on her bail handstand, flings out her tuck full about six miles and steps forward. 9.850.
6. Sawa - Coming in for Peszek. We'll see if she does beam. Nice Ray, legs on the bail handstand and it looked short, hop back on the double pike dismount, some breaks in the leg form in places, but OK. 9.850.
Oregon State vault:
1. Wright - just a handspring front pike, and a large step out of it. 9.675
2. Tang - Yfull, chest fairly far down, with a hop back, and not a ton of amplitude. 9.800
3. Aufiero - OK amplitude on her Yfull, but has to crunch in the knees on her landing, so very low, with a step back. 9.725.
4. Keeker - Sticks her Y1/2, lands with legs apart and didn't have a ton of distance, but best vault for the team so far. Good stick. 9.900.
5. Blalock - Yfull, she usually does this better by the postseason, but it was OK. Definite pike and a step back. 9.800.
6. Witherby - Tsuk full, pretty piked and a bounce out of it. Oregon State did not have the landings on this rotation except for Keeker, who was the clear class of the rotation. 9.750.
The scores are going consistently high, so just have that in mind when looking through them after the meet. UCLA has form issues to work through on bars, leg separations on skills, and both teams struggled to get very many landings in that rotation.
After 2: UCLA 98.600, Oregon State 97.675
Yay, Pinches interview. She's a delight.
Rotation 3: UCLA to beam, OSU to floor.
1. DeJesus - just held onto her walkover but a huge wobble, hits loso series but another significant wobble on her side aerial. It's happening again. Small hop on dismount, but they'll need to drop that score. 9.550.
2. Cipra - Excited to see her on beam for the first time this year. Oh dear. Completely off on her loso series, didn't make either foot on the beam and just landed on the ground. Full turn, split half, large wobble on the side aerial, her switch split is very nice, hop on the double full.
3. Mossett - Full turn, she still looks tight in all these elements but a little bit better than last week. It seems like she's getting there. Her walkover to bhs is strong, and she controls the side aerial giving away the minimum in wobbles, step back on dismount. 9.850.
4. Craddock - Pretty full turn to start, free walkover to front handspring is much better than last week with just a small correction, fairly large wobble on the side aerial. She looked stiff during the routine, but perhaps an improvement for her? Maybe. Maybe not. 9.725.
5. Courtney - UCLA needed Peszek in this rotation. She saved them last week, and they need saving now. Comes off almost instantly on her front toss. Oh, UCLA. Loso series is OK. Very low on her double back with a step forward. Val looks like she has been turned to stone. 9.325.
6. Francis - Short interview with her about how awesome she is. You know, no big deal. Please save everyone with this routine, Danusia. Hits walkover to bhs well. Dance elements look good. Pinches' commentary is the best thing that could have happened to this broadcast. Cheek Danusia. Y spin is solid. Here comes the dismount. Nailed it again. She was the only thing standing between this rotation and disaster. OK, it was still a disaster, but at least we'll have this memory. 9.925.
Oregon State floor:
1. Witherby -Tuck full mount, chest low and small bounce, 1/5 to layout middle pass, straddles in dance elements, a little short on some of her tumbling, finishes with a double pike. 9.700.
2. Wright - Double pike mount, she stumbles a little out of her layout on the middle pass but controls it without being a problem. She doesn't get a ton of amplitude on her tumbling, which shows in the low chest landings. Tim: "Those are called gorgeous gymnastics hands." Oh Tim, I don't know how to react when I agree with you. 9.725.
3. Turner - Pretty good double arabian to open, a bit cleaner in everything than the first two. Pretty long pause before that dismount, double pike. Strongest so far. Still some landing position to discuss. 9.825.
4. Tang - punch rudi to start, clean, switch ring looks OK, Brittany Harris looked like she was having a minor seizure in the background, just a little one though. Short on her double back middle pass with a large step forward, otherwise strong landings. 9.700.
5. McMillan - Tuck full mount is a hit. There is an old sea captain taking pictures in one corner of the floor. Nice splits, best of the team so far in that department. She hasn't had big scores yet for this team, but I still think we can expect a lot from her. A little stumble in her front double full (but points for doing it as a dismount). 9.825.
6. Blalock - Love her kind of sarcastic smile about having the wrong music. High double back to open, and hits the rudi to loso to follow. They haven't had a big score yet in this rotation, but this is the best routine they've had until the 2.5 dismount, she lands short and puts her hand down. Oh, Kelsi! Sadness.
Third rotation: Oregon State 48.775, UCLA 48.375, and that's pretty much what we saw. UCLA was even weaker than last week on beam because of counting a fall this time, not just a bunch of near falls. It was an extremely right performance. A Peszek routine probably could have saved it, but her stress reaction is keeping her out. With all the people out of these lineups now, they can't afford to be without Peszek for long. Oregon State had a lot of chest position problems in that floor rotation, which brought the scores down out of the possible 9.8s.
After 3: UCLA 146.975, Oregon State 146.450
We say goodbye to Pinches now, so there's barely reason to keep watching, especially with all these 9.7s around. British people are always so much more composed on camera and so much better spoken. It's not just the accent, either. What are they doing right that we're doing wrong? Besides everything.
Rotation 4: UCLA on floor, Oregon State on beam
1. Mossett - She's competing a watered-down routine at this point in the year because she's still recovering from injury. Opens with a y spin, bounces back out of her double tuck mount, dance elements look good, just front layouts as her middle pass - so yes it's watered down - A little low on her double pike landing but secure. We needed to hear more music and less talking, but it seems like that routine has potential. 9.875.
2. Francis - Low on her double pike landing with a large lunge forward, but the performance helps a little bit in forgetting that. I'm all about it, and she's improving on that 2.5 dismount. Some landing position for her as well, but the major deduction was the mount. Not quite as strong as last week. Or a 9.900. So whatever. Don't listen to me. One of the judges gave it a 9.950, which I just don't remotely see.
3. Bynum - Lower on her DLO landing than last week with a step forward. Sadiqua is playing a Jamaican goddess in her routine. Oh, Val. What would we do without your stories? Strongest double back she's done in the middle pass. Short again on double pike dismount with a step forward. 9.750.
4. Cipra - Good control on the double tuck mount. She's not having as strong a meet as last week as of yet, but this floor routine looks great so far, both in tumbling and choreo, secure double pike. I think that was stronger than Danusia's routine, so we'll see what happens in the score. 9.950. One judge - the same one that gave Danusia a 9.950 - gave it a 10. I mean it was lovely, but . . . let's have some perspective. A 10 assumes it can't be done better or with fewer deductions. It can.
5. DeJesus - Takes her double pike too far and goes well OOB. Low double back with a lunge forward. They'll need to drop this, but they can still get a good score for the rotation if Courtney hits. Pulls around her front tuck in the dismount (looked like she might be short), but there were many, things to take there. 9.475.
6. Sawa - So no Courtney? OK. This is her "fighting an alien" routine. I thought she was just fighting her own hand, like one of her hands had been possessed, and she was like, "Get out of here, hand." Really high on her tumbling and hits her landings, but the chest positions can still get better, as they can for everyone on both teams. Given what we've seen, I'm sure that will score very, very high. 9.975. It's just a 10 party.
Oregon State beam:
1. Blalock - front toss is fine, she was off line on her loso series from the beginning. You could see it from the bhs. So they're working against a fall already, in a UCLA redux. Small wobble on a split jump full. Stuck gainer full. Rough day.
2. Harris - pauses on her front toss to bhs series but it was secure, places of leg form in places, but a strong bhs, bhs, full dismount. So they'll take that hit. 9.825.
3. Ohlrich - Hits her loso series, she looks a little short on some of her acro but she is holding onto it well without giving up wobbles, sticks gainer full.
4. McMillan - Front is excellent to open, connected to bhs, love that front handspring to her knees - a very Oklahomaish choice, a little short on her switch split here, small adjustment on her gainer full but hit. 9.825.
5. Gardiner - First we've seen of her today. Wolf turn to split is excellent. Give wolf turn lessons to everyone, please. Turns her wobble on her walkover into choreography well, side somi, good legs on her loso and no wobbles there. This is excellent so far. Hop on double full, but quite nice overall. 9.850.
6. Tang - This is her best event, and you can see that in the security of her acro skills - not giving away wobbles, wolf turn is OK. This is clean so far. Nicely done. 9.875.
Final Score: UCLA 196.425, Oregon State 195.625
Well, it could have been a big score for UCLA if not for beam, which is the exact same story we saw last week. So much needs to improve about that rotation. It's just so fragile. Don't pay attention to the scoring, which was fanciful, but the floor rotation did look strong for at least a couple of the people. It was clearly the best rotation of the day for the Bruins. UCLA had a couple strong routines on each event, but a lot of errors as well that need to come out of these routines. They can and need to get much better than this. Oregon State had more and bigger mistakes, especially compared to UCLA on floor, which made up much of the difference in the scores, but they really lost the meet because they don't have those big 9.9s that can come in and save the rotation, at least not yet. At this point, the anchors aren't yet in contention for those 9.950s that can erase the low scores.
Thoughts on the meet?