January 24, 2014

Friday Meets – Georgia @ Florida Live Blog

A quick programming note: because of preposterous weather, the Auburn and LSU meet has been moved to tomorrow at 1pm CT.

Friday – 1/24/14
6:30 ET/3:30 PT – Brown @ [18] Rutgers
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [6] Georgia @ [3] Florida (Scores) (Video - school subscription)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [22] Kent State @ Western Michigan
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [25] Cal @ [23] Arizona State (Scores) (Video)
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [20] Kentucky @ Missouri (Scores) (Video - all-access)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [9] Nebraska @ Iowa (Video - all-access)
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – [10] Arkansas @ [7] Alabama (Scores) (Video)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Southern Utah @ [15] Boise State (Scores)
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [21] Washington @ Seattle Pacific (Scores) (Video)

Current top 10:

Check in beginning at 7:00 ET/4:00 PT for the anticipated Georgia and Florida clash.

Until then, talk amongst yourselves regarding whether the 10.000 barrier will fall this weekend.We have some prime candidates.

Of note, Macko is back in the floor lineup for Florida instead of Colussi-Pelaez, who competed last week. Georgia's lineup remains intact from last weekend's meets.

Kaylan Earls is a senior? Heavens. When did that happen? Florida's intros happening now. There are some mascots and some signs and some children, so sit back. It'll be a while. I'm excited for some huge gymnastics and am equally excited to see what the judges do with that huge gymnastics.

Judges are taking control of their events now (finally).

Rotation 1: Florida on vault, Georgia on bars
Florida vault:
1. B Caquatto - yfull, good power, small hop back, a little down - but just a very little bit. 9.875. 
2. Spicer - yfull, not the power/height of Caquatto and a larger bounce back. A little piking as well. OK. 9.825. 
3. M Caquatto - Fine yfull but not her best, didn't get quite the pop and distance I think she can, bounce back. 9.825. 
4. Johnson - Same for Alaina, looked like she didn't get her usual power and came in short in the landing with a step forward. 9.775. 
5. Sloan - That's a bit more like it. Strong yfull, but she did step back, and we know she can stick this vault. 9.925. 
6. Hunter -Her 1.5 is excellent as always, but she does land a little short this time with a hop back, so it won't be her best score either. 9.900.

Georgia bars:
1. Jay - Overbalances first handstand a tad and saves, a few bits of leg form here and there, markelov is solid, stuck tuck full. Started a little sloppy but the end was nice. 9.850.
2. Hires -good first hs, clean piked jaeger, perhaps a little short in bail handstand but it's tough from the angle, excellent stick on DLO. Pretty. 9.850.
3. Brown -Tkatchev is brilliant, hits pak, still a lot of handstands in the composition of this routine, but she mostly hits them, a little low chested on dismount with a step. 9.875
4. Cheek -Good tkatchev, clean in the handstands, pretty routine and a stuck DLO. From this perspective, looks like she should easily keep up the 9.9 streak. 9.975. Well now, it was good, but wow. 
5. Rogers -Pretty stalder and stalder tkatchev, just holds onto the stick on her tuck full dismount, leans over to save it. Looked very clean from this angle in the routine itself. 9.950. 
6. Davis - Tkatchev is pretty as always, hits bail well, this looks identical to last Monday's routine in every way, including the stuck DLO. Let's see what the judges do with that one. 9.950.

Well, I was wondering about the scores. The answer is that they are crazy humongous, and humongous for both teams. Florida did not have a particularly strong vault rotation and is lucky to escape with a 49.350. Both Macko and Johnson did not get the power and distance on their vaults we would expect, with Alaina landing pretty short. Sloan and Hunter both vaulted well but both can land much better than that. Georgia looked very good on bars. The scores were willing to go into the stratosphere for them when they didn't have to, certainly, and it's a bit tough to judge handstands from this angle so I'll leave that topic, but the dismounts and almost all of the releases looked excellent. They're setting it up for some big Florida scores if the Gators hit bars as well as they can.

After 1: Georgia 49.600, Florida 49.350. 

Rotation 2: Florida on bars, Georgia on vault
Florida bars:
1. BDG -Nice shaposh, clean bail,definitely hitting this routine, big DLO with a pretty large step back and the splayed legs in the second salto.
2. Hunter - missed beginning, hitting strong handstands at the end and sticks her tuck full. 9.900.
3. B Caquatto - Amazing toe-on tkatchev, the handstand on the bail is well done - maybe some leg break on it in flight though, sticks DLO. Excellent routine. 9.950. 
4. Sloan - Another great toe-on tkatchev, bail is lovely, she was probably in line for something close to a 10 for this routine but has to land her DLO short and take a step forward. 9.875. 
5. M Caquatto - Excellent shaposh (with legs actually together, unlike most NCAA gymnasts) bail and tkatchev are excellent, and ditto Bridget Sloan with the great routine going until the step on the dismount. 9.875.
6. Johnson - Best of the crop of amazing Rays on this team, small leg break on bail handstand which is all I see so far, and then pretty flingy on her DLO and a step back. They had to stick more of these dismounts to get the bars score they needed. Come on, final three! 9.850.

Georgia vault:
1. Davis - yfull is excellent and stuck, as it usually is, even looked to be a bit more distance this week, but it's often relative to angle and stadium. 9.875.
2. Broussard - yfull looked fine in the air, but she bounced out of it quite a ways. 9.800.
3. Hires - Pretty low and crunched in her yfull landing, which we saw a few times in her mid-season vaults last year. Not her strongest. 9.800.
4. Jay - She also lands her yfull a little short, just like Florida was doing. What's up with this vault today? Not her best. 9.800 
5. Cheek - Didn't stick her yfull this time with a step, so neither team vaulting quite like we have seen so far today. 9.925
6. Rogers - Probably the best landing of this back half of the rotation, just a small hop for her. Great power. 9.900.

After 2: Georgia 98.900, Florida 98.800.
Anyone's game at this point. Neither team vaulted particularly well. I saw a lot of short landings for both teams and not as many sticks as we have been seeing. The scores are fine, of course, but I expected to see a crop of more powerful vaults, even if the landings were a little January. It could have been better.

Florida looked just as strong as, perhaps a bit stronger than, Georgia did on the bars themselves, but the lack of sticks from Sloan, Macko, and Johnson account for the difference in the team scores right now. All three could easily have been in the 9.9s, and the team needs them to be.

Rotation 3: Florida on beam, Georgia on floor
Moment of truth for Georgia in this rotation. If they can keep pace after floor, then they really are in this meet.

Florida beam:
1. Spicer - missed. 9.500.
2. Johnson - Just a minor correction in the middle of her walkover + bhs series but keeps it going, leaps look excellent, full turn, sticks her side aerial to layout full. Strong routine. 9.825. Hm, I thought it was very nice.
3. Boyce - connects walkover to bhs well. It's a perfectly fine, solid routine, as it has been for a few weeks, switch leap could have some questions asked about it, step back on the gainer full. 9.800. 
4. Hunter - Small correction on the punch front mount, wobble on her loso that almost looked like shades of Super Six. I don't like when she wobbles on that skill because I want to compliment its impressive amplitude. Gets it together for the dismount with a stick on the double back. 9.900. Hm, she had a small wobble on the mount and a fairly significant one on the series, but sticking a double back will do that for you.
5. Sloan - Excellent opening bhs + loso, good control in her aerial to scale, making it look not as teetering as when most perform it. Leaps are excellent, as is full turn, side aerial has a small correction, hops her feet together on the double full. Nice. 9.900.
6. M Caquatto - Oh, Macko. Wobbling on choreography is a big no no. Strong loso, another who has to make a small adjustment on her series, in between the aerial and swingdown, it's just a little unexpectedly tight and tentative, but nothing major here. Stuck gainer full. 9.950. Or that. OK. Would they have given her a 10 if not for a wobble on her dance? 

Georgia floor:
1. Earls - Rudi + bhs + loso mount is hit, low on the double pike with a lunge back, didn't get a ton of height on that, secure double back with that low chest monster again. 9.825. 
2. Hires - Small lack of control on her double pike mount but fine overall, second straddle jump looked slightly wonky, pulls around her front layout after the front full, double back dismount looked like she might struggle to get it around to her feet but she did, low chest landing. 9.850.
3. Reynolds - Hits rudi + loso, low in the double pike with a step forward, straddle jumps, 1.5 + layout is the dismount (possible stumble - ill-timed buffer there). 9.775.
4. Box - Strong double pike to start, wolf jump to straddle, a little squatted in her double tuck landing, 1.5 to layout to finish. Places to take deductions but strongest floor routine for them so far. 9.900.
5. Rogers - This routine is choreographically my bread and butter, large lunge out of 2.5 mount, holds  onto her 1.5 + layout that looked like it might have been short but she doesn't budge. Low chest in the double pike dismount. 9.875.
6. Jay - Double tuck to open is fine - no complaints, wolf full + straddle full, 1.5+layout+ stag is executed well, this is their best floor routine, so let's watch where the score goes after Box got a 9.900. Secure double pike. Good routine. 9.900 as well. OK. 

We're seeing some exos now, BDG on beam - has to redo her series, she has some pretty qualities on beam but I don't see this coming into the lineup. Are we ever going to see Colussi-Pelaez in this lineup? Persinger is exoing on floor with some Parkettes hair. Get into my life immediately, Sarah Persinger. Punch front into a short double back. She's not quite ready yet in all this tumbling. 

Scores were forgiving for both teams in that rotation.
After 3: Georgia 148.250, Florida 148.175
Anything can happen still. Eeek. This is exciting, people. In a close meet, the edge always goes to the home team ending on floor.

I thought Florida looked tentative in that beam rotation, wobbles where we don't expect to see wobbles, corrections here and there. Scores gave them the benefit. It was a perfectly nice rotation, nothing problematic by any means, but not what we will expect to see moving forward. Georgia also got some benefit of the doubt in those floor routines, especially in terms of the chest position, which I don't think was taken as much as it could have been. Also a couple landing issues in the front half of the lineup.

Rotation 4: Florida on floor, Georgia on beam
Florida floor:
1. Boyce - front double full mount, a little stumbly out of it?, just stays in bounds on her 1.5 + layout, short on the landing of it but holds on with a small correction, rudi is OK to finish, but there were issues. 9.875.
2. M Caquatto - OK, let's make sure this isn't as scary as last time. A little under on the front double full landing but just a tiny adjustment corrects it, front full + front pike is very good, music is a little too big for the choreo, 1.5 to layout dismount is hit. She's not quite there on the tumbling yet, but it's a big improvement, obviously. 9.950. Oh, heavens. 
3. Spicer - Hits pike full mount, it's a staggered landing but well done. Hit front full + pike comfortably, a little short on her split full 180, low chest on the double pike but a hit routine. 9.975. We'll need to discuss this.
4. Sloan - Sticks her front double full, very minor argument on the split full for her as well, but it obviously won't matter, slightly low in double pike, 1.5 to front layout is excellent to finish in a very well-performed routine. Let's see what they do with it. Probably a 12. 10.000. Well, we saw it coming. She has done better floor routines. Better than Macko's and Spicer's, so where else to go?
5. Hunter - Double layout is tremendous as we would all expect, as is the middle pass, hits her straddles, let's see if she can get this dismount, pretty strong open double back but a small slide back out of it. If she doesn't get a 10 but Bridget does, she'll be pissed. 10.000. I am actually kind of thrilled because of how much uproar there will be about this. It's like Christmas to me. Oh, the beautiful outrage.
6. B Caquatto - front double full mount to front tuck, hits her rudi to split jump, it's a lovely routine but that's kind of academic now, sticks the double pike dismount. A really nice routine for her that will get overlooked. 9.950.

Georgia beam:
1. Broussard - Way short on her loso and she comes off the beam, no way to save that one. The rest of the routine was quite nice, as often happens, but they'll have to fight to stay in this now. 9.150.
2. Reynolds - Just saves her front tuck, one foot was off and she stumbles but hangs on, cannot hang onto the loso after it though, so this score will be even lower than Broussard's. Georgia not handling this tight road position so far in this rotation.
3. Box - Wobbles on her loso series but stays on, otherwise looks secure through the switch and the straddle 3/4, clean aerial, low on her 1.5 dismount with a hop, but at least it's a hit. 9.800. 
4. Rogers - lovely splits, small adjustment on her loso series it looked like she didn't have to take. Can't hang onto her bhs 3/4 to stag and falls onto the beam, but gets right back up. Uh oh. Bhs 1/1 into dismount is solid. 9.800. -Note to those asking, she covered it really well, so you'd have to know her routine to know that she basically fell because she just rested with her chest on the beam for a second and then got back up.
5. Cheek - Does an excellent loso during the 10 celebration. Well done on the focus there. Big wobble on her side aerial, but otherwise a strong showing. Hangs onto the stick on her gainer full. 9.800
6. Earls - Hits her two layouts series, switch to straddle 1/4 is good, small correction on side aerial, but this is their best beam routine of the rotation. Sticks her double back. Oh, at least give Georgia a bone at this point. 

Florida just got a 49.875 on floor. A 49.875 PEOPLE. 
Final score: Florida 198.050, Georgia 196.700

I probably should be switching over to the Alabama meet like a good fan, but I need to compose some thoughts about this. The scoring was sort of playfully high before the final rotation, but that floor score was pretty frustrating. And here's why: those were some excellent floor routines. Beautiful routines that deserve high scores, 9.9s certainly for Sloan, Hunter, and Bridgey. But now we're not talking about how beautiful and well-executed those routines were; we are picking them apart because the scores were too enthusiastic. It's a case of the judges taking the attention away from the gymnasts and bringing it onto themselves, when the attention should be paid to the gymnasts. No one should notice the judges. They should disappear. And here they clearly haven't.

This has been coming for a couple weekends. The scores have been high, high, high. This was a very good floor rotation for Florida, but they can do better. Everyone in this floor rotation can perform a stronger routine than they just did. The judges have not allowed them room to do any better, which is the problem. We've peaked in January in terms of score, and now there's nowhere left to go.

OK, I'll probably have more thoughts later, but I'll turn my attention to Alabama and Arkansas. Alabama has a pretty big lead after the first rotation with a 49.300 on vault. Milliner is back, but Demeo led the scoring with a 9.925.

We're now seeing Demeo on bars, I saw one missed handstand and a strong DLO to finish, and Arkansas had a low yfull with a large step.

Bailey - UB - pretty jaeger, has to muscle up her handstand after the shoot to high bar, but sticks her double back in a strong routine.

Canizaro - VT - Stronger than I've seen from her most of the time, low chest in yfull landing and a small step.

Sims - UB - leg separation in her clear hip, and on the DLO with a step. That may be just how her legs go because the calves were apart throughout.

Williams - VT - Good distance on her yhalf, step forward and a little crunched in the knees on landing

Jacob - UB - Nice Ray, and her final handstand looked better than it has in the past - an area where she has had problems. Best I've seen from her this year on bars. 9.900

Wellick - VT - Great power on her yfull -stick or a near-stick.  Really strong vault. 9.875.

Jetter - UB - Hits Ray, clean bail and stalder shoot, hops forward on her double front, but pretty good. Could have been in 9.9 contention with a stick.

Grable - VT - Marry me. Round off 1/2 on pike half and a stick to go with it. Excellent vault. 9.950. Deserved 

Clark takes a fall on her tkatchev. Wasn't expecting that one, but they won't need her score since they already have a 49.300, which is all they really need at this point. Grable sends Arkansas to a 49.175 on vault to erase counting a lower score in the first position. Beers performs a good exhibition on bars with a step back on her double front that should be in contention for the lineup.

After 2: Alabama 98.600, Arkansas 97.925 
Watching the people in the crowd dance. It's just so upsetting.

Rotation 3: Alabama on beam, Arkansas on floor
Milliner - BB - Clean walkover, switch split looks good, right on with the loso series, she has turned into a very reliable leadoff. Hits front toss, maybe off to the side a little on double full but stuck. Very good routine.  9.875.

Zumwalde - FX - Very low on whip to double pike mount with a lunge forward. Love that we're seeing a whip to double pike though. Just pulls around the layout on her middle pass, not quite there on her straddle 1/2, rudi dismount is low with a hop to the side. Won't be a big score.

DeMeo - BB - GAGE front handspring mount is good, hits walkover and whipped layout, definitely solid on her acro this week, splits are excellent, just the dismount left, small hop on the double pike. Another really strong routine. 9.900  

Dillard - FX - Pulls around double pike mount but low with a lunge back, 1.5 + layout middle pass is solid, and other than the mount it was a pretty clean routine. They'll be fine counting that.

Bailey - BB - Haven't we outlawed being "this girl is on fire" on beam yet? Hits her loso series and side aerial, a little tighter than Milliner or Demeo, but she didn't give away much until her tuck jump 1/1, with a pretty big wobble. Hop on double full dismount.

Nelson - FX - Pretty good double pike to open, small staggery stumble, this is the first gymnastics I've seen from her in NCAA competition, and she has potential. I'm liking what I'm seeing. Controlled double back dismount.

Sims - BB - Fine walkover to split jump to open, good clean knees in her loso series - like to see that. Switch split hits 180. Lots of talent on beam, but does windmill on her straddle 1/4 so gives away a bit more than she might have, and then a short double back dismount with a large lunge - but still, the potential is there in heaps.

Elswick - FX - Strong, high double pike to start, and hits her 1.5 + layout, that wolf full looked a little under wolfy. That was like a wolf cub. Low chest on the double back dismount, but a good routine.

Clark - BB - A little under on her loso series but does well to not give away a wobble, front toss. Strong full turn. Really nice and high on the 1.5 dismount with a stick. Good finish.

Wellick - FX - A little bouncy on her double pike mount but it was nice and high. A little slide on her front full in the middle pass but stays in bounds, low on the double tuck dismount with a lunge forward. Won't be a big score, but a solid performance.

Jacob - BB - Looked like perhaps the smallest of corrections after her switch, layouts were excellent. Her barani is her barani. Love it. Holds onto the stick on the 1.5 with a little arm wiggle. 9.925.

Grable - FX - She basically goes completely out of frame on her mount. It was so good we didn't see any of it except for a secure landing. Her loso on the middle pass gets me every time. Strong double pike. Barely needs to be said that it was the best floor routine for the team.

Alright, I can't stick around for the final rotation, so that's it for me, but I hope you enjoy it as well as talking about all the days 10s. See you back here tomorrow!  


  1. those last three for the gators on bars were quite disappointing on the landings! especially sloan and caquatto!

  2. Your commentary is very well done and much appreciated. Are/were you a (former) gymnast?

  3. Florida deserves to win with UGA's beam set, but these floor scores for Florida are at absolute joke.

  4. Perfect time to switch to Bama/Arkansas. I was totally rooting for Georgia!

  5. How do you get a 9.8 falling onto the beam?

  6. It was like how people used to do with the back dive 1/4 in the 90s, when they'd do it and then go to front support on the beam (think about Milosovici and Gogean).

  7. oh, the humanity! - markey

  8. I feel like Georgia, Bama, and Utah always get the "home cooking" critics, but I've noticed that this year and last year it appears that Florida, UCLA, and OU have gotten the biggest "questionable" scores at home.

    In no way was UF's performance 198+ worthy tonight. Were they good? Yes. But not 198+ good.

    BTW, Cheek has been absolutely on fire this year. So far, she's 10/10 on VT and UB and all scores have been over 9.9. Ridiculous!

  9. Really? If I could peg any teams as being known for home cooking it would be Florida, Oklahoma, Georgia. But I think the schools that get pegged for home cooking are also typically the best performing at the time.

    Bama scores have always seemed pretty reasonable from what I've observed.

  10. The judges who judge meets at Alabama do not differ significantly from those who are assigned to Florida and Georgia.

  11. PS it sucks for athletes like Grable (V) who are earning their high scores. I'm sure they're not worried about it. It's not okay that trusted critics like you, BBS, are needed to say that 9.950 on vault was real. And when Grable is third behind whomever because she earned scores in the real world, how is that fair? - Markey

    1. Not sure why my previous response was deleted. So if this somehow posts twice, I apologize. I don't remember it word for word, so this will be the shortened version.

      Grable is currently ranked 1st in the AA in the country. She is being rewarded for her performances. I think it's more an athlete's name than the school that gives them the benefit of the doubt. The Sloans, Caquattos, Hunters, Peszeks, Kupets, Postells, Zams, etc. will always get the benefit of the doubt. Part of it is that they have proven themselves. Is it always fair? No. But I also see it with the heavy hitters at "smaller" programs -- the Courvilles, Sampsons, DeZiels, Grables, Pisanis, etc. also receive the benefit of the doubt sometimes. It's not every meet and it may only be a .025 or .05 bump, but it's still there.

  12. Grable did a double Arabian half-out on floor! It was stunning:)

  13. The issue I have with the high-score critics is that it only seems to garner attention when an athlete goes 9.95+. The problem is if judges give a 9.7 routine a 9.8, and then a 9.8 routine a 9.9, where else can they go but up? Those big name girls are often performing much cleaner routines; thus, when a leadoff goes 9.875, it's reasonable to think the anchor could go 10 with a clean routine. I don't have a problem with it when the leadoff deserves the 9.875, but I find that is rarely the case.

    I've also watched several meets of teams ranked 10-25 and there are questionable scores thrown out in those meets as well. Scores that should probably be 9.6 are given 9.7 or 9.75, but you don't hear people complaining about it. Overscoring is everywhere and not just at the big name schools and top 10 programs. In fact, if "overscoring" has become so normal, maybe now, it's just "scoring". Maybe we have a new normal.

  14. Florida Gymnast

    step on first pass, bounce on second, low on the third

    Gainseville Scoring: 9.975
    Tuscaloosa/Athens/Baton Rouge Scoring: 9.800
    Nationals Scoring: 9.750

  15. Last year it was Utah, this year Florida. What would an NCAA season be without a laughably over-scored meet?! As a fan of the sport & no affiliation to a particular team, I too love the drama =P