February 14, 2014
Friday Live Blog - Florida, Arkansas, Alabama, Auburn
Friday – 2/14/14
7:00 ET/4:00 PT –  Arkansas @  Florida (Scores) (Video - school subscription)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT –  Michigan @  Nebraska (Scores) - (btn2go.com - with Big Ten Network TV subscription)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT –  Alabama @  Auburn (Scores) (Video - all-access)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT –  Ohio State @ Iowa (Scores) (Video - all-access)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT –  Denver @ Southern Utah (Scores)
Current top 10:
Okay, time to place your bets. How many 10s will we see in the Arkansas/Florida meet, and who will get them?
Both Kytra and Macko will be out of floor for Florida today, but otherwise these lineups resemble what we have been seeing. Colussi-Pelaez is getting another shot at floor in place of one of them, and Johnson is in again as well. Johnson has been in the last two weeks while Macko is off, but it will be interesting to see how the lineup plays out when no one is resting. Is Boyce the odd woman out? Macko? Johnson? Rachel "9.975" Spicer?
Warmups underway for Florida and Arkansas right now.
Rotation 1: Florida on vault, Arkansas on bars:
1. Spicer - strong landing on the yfull, a little pike in the air but fairly controlled landing.
2. B Caquatto - clean yfull in the air, but a large bounce back on it.
3. M Caquatto - opens out of her yfull beautifully, good height and distance, small hop back
4. Johnson - similar strength to Macko, good height and distance, pretty clean in the air, hop back.
5. Sloan - Gorgeous yfull with a stuck landing - she is becoming so consistent with this vault - I'd give her the stick on that - she kind of leaned back to step into the salute, but I'd call it stuck. 9.950.
6. Hunter - Sticks her 1.5, so let's see what happens here. No question about the stick on that vault. She nailed it, and it looked good in the air from this angle. 10.000. She did stick with legs fairly far apart - so that's where the arguments may come from, but it's a 1.5. She has been in line for a 10 for a long time here because her vault is all the kinds of excellent.
1. Ellsworth - good giant full, a pirouette heavy routine - much cleaner line than the videos from preseason we saw - not to handstand on the bail if it was intended to be to handstand - cowboy on the double back dismount but controlled landing.
2. Freier - hits shaposh, clean bail, looks about 11 feet tall on bars - not a ton of content in this routine - very low landing on DLO dismount with a large step forward.
3. Canizaro - shaposh and Ray look pretty good, but had some trouble on the handstand part of her bail handstand - splayed second salto on the DLO but stuck.
4. Wellick - Big jaeger, the most powerful of the bars workers so far, missed a handstand toward the end of the routine but stuck the double front.
5. Grable - Excellent piked jaeger, clean in the leg form throughout - sticks her double front half out so well - that seemed like it might be trouble earlier in the year, but that was excellent.
6. Salmon - Nice height and style on her piked jaeger, small step back on dismount but she was overshadowed during this by Kytra's 10 and all the screaming.
After 1: Florida 49.500, Arkansas 48.950
The highlights of that rotation were Sloan and Hunter with their excellent sticks on vault. The vaults leading up to it weren't anything to be too thrilled about because the landings still need to get a bit more controlled - especially Bridgey who could be the #3 vaulter on the team if she controlled that bounce, but it was a solid rotation to start. Arkansas has some form issues in those first few spots with legs flying apart and bails not being hit, so those scores can't get all too high even when hit, but there's strength in the final three.
Rotation 2 - Florida on bars, Arkansas on vault
1. BDG - Catches shaposh and bail with good leg form - handstands look clean - hop back on landing on the DLO.
2. Hunter - Big hindorff and controls it well into the next hs, bail is clean and strong - low landing on the tuck full dismount with a lunge out of it - was looking excellent until then.
3. B Caquatto - Great ray, small leg break in the air on her bail, but hs look strong, another hop on the DLO - small - but good routine.
4. Sloan - The Ray sisters are all on track tonight - bail looked very nice this time as well - looked like she might have to take a step forward on her DLO but she holds onto it.
5. M Caquatto - clean shaposh and bail combo, a couple borderline handstands at the end of this routine, which we don't usually see from her, but she sticks her dismount this week with no question, so we're moving up in the world.
6. Johnson - Another of the great Rays, possible leg break on the bail but she's hitting her handstands well. The form on the DLO is the weakest part of her routine, it's whippy and the legs fly apart, but sticking helps a lot, as she did here.
1. Elswick - off to the side on her yfull with some piking and a step forward/sideward
2. Zumwalde - not a big block on the yfull, so not a lot of distance and lands short
3. Canizaro - piked on her yfull and another short landing with a hop forward to control it
4. Williams - Pretty yhalf with a stick - best vault on the team by a long way
5. Wellick - Good power and height on her yfull - lands a little squatty and takes a step to the side
6. Grable - ohhhh, hops forward on her ro 1/2 on, pike 1/2, I was hoping for the stick and the huge score, but not her best landing, still an excellent vault, and she still gets a 9.900 for it.
After 2: Florida 99.025, Arkansas 97.950
Florida is currently on 198 pace, and with floor still to come, don't doubt it happening. Florida's bars rotation started out by missing the sticks, but came around at the end with a Sloan 9.925 and Macko and Johnson with 9.950s. I thought Sloan's was the strongest routine of the three, but they were all solid. The judges probably didn't have a problem with Macko's two borderline handstands, accounting for the 9.950. Arkansas opened that rotation with three struggle vaults, but once again the rotation's back three are competitive with the top 10 teams. They're just giving too much away at the beginning with very short yfulls.
In other lands, Nebraska is maintaining a small lead over Michigan at the halfway point, 98.475-98.300. No one bringing in shockingly high scores. Even Sheppard had "just" a 9.875 on vault. Sampson's vault 9.925 and DeZiel's vault 9.900 and Wong's bars 9.900 lead their teams so far. Artz in on vault this week instead of Parker or Zakharia. Beilstein is also back for Michigan, which should provide a bit of a boost.
Rotation 3 - Florida on beam, Arkansas on floor
1. Spicer - controlled loso series, wobble on the gainer loso as the leg flies up a little - everything else looks like the usual 9.8y type work, small step on gainer full.
2. Johnson - Big break on her walkover - bends at the waist and nearly comes off, tentative on her switch - didn't get that back leg up, small step on her side aerial + full, but they'll want to drop this.
3. Boyce - solid aerial to bhs, secure loso - she is emerging as someone who can be relied on for scores in that 9.8 land because of her lack of wobbles - switch split was short of 180, though, and a hop back on the gainer full - which shouldn't happen. 9.875 - Rule: you're not allowed to give a 9.9 to anyone who does a gainer full dismount and doesn't stick. This is my code.
4. Hunter - excellent on the punch front mount, big wobble on the bhs + loso and comes off the beam. That has become a struggle skill for her since Super Six last year. It's so high but not consistent. They'll be counting Johnson's score now. Sticks the double back dismount, which she often does after she has had a mistake.
5. Sloan - Coming off the 10 from last week - strong loso series, struggles slightly to control her aerial to scale this time so a wobble there (it's why I don't like this skill, if you're even slightly off it looks so messy and inelegant) - hits side aerial and sticks the double full dismount.
6. M Caquatto - Strong loso series, and - while a little slow in connection - hits her walkover to swingdown series as well. Switch is excellent - struggles to hang onto the stick on her gainer full and bends, but does it.
1. Nelson - bounces a little on the double pike - but secure on the 1.5 + layout - another slide back on the double tuck dismount. It's not a big routine in amplitude or difficulty, but it's a hit. 9.775.
2. Dillard - front 1.5 with a slide back - switch ring looks fine - front full front layout for the second pass - back 1.5 to finish - another without the difficulty to stand out, so it has to be perfectly clean and there were areas to take. 9.750
3. Zumwalde - lands low on her whip + double pike, 1.5 + layout middle pass lands short and controls with a step back - dance elements looked like a possible struggle - long pause in the corner before the dismount - slightly low on 1.5 dismount.
4. Elswick - More secure on her double pike than the previous competitors have been, 1.5 + layout is solid as well - dance elements again weren't quite there, but she's giving away less than her teammates did on the landings, maybe a small slide on the double back - but strong.
5. Wellick - Good height on her double pike and controls the landing - let's talk about the 180 situation again because they're opening the door to take for that, slides forward on her front full, but a comfortable double tuck dismount. Problem - there's no major difficulty in this rotation aside from Grable.
6. Grable - Arabian half out and a great landing on it as well. Damn, girl. Keeps it in bounds too even though she takes it right to the edge. Leaps are strong in this one as well. 1.5 + front full + layout stepout is excellent as well. Controlled on the double pike as well. Nailed it. Don't you dare give this anything less than a 9.950. 9.950.
SCP falls in beam exhibition.
Arkansas cuts into the lead slightly after the third rotation as Florida must count the 9.550 from Johnson. The Gators out of the 198 fight now, but very much in the mid 197s fight still.
After 3: Florida 148.025, Arkansas 147.125
Not a great beam rotation for Florida. They got just enough to hit the 49 barrier, but two routines had major mistakes and everyone had at least small problems that brought their scores down. For Arkansas, that rotation is a little blah, but then Grable makes everything better. At the beginning of that lineup, they're not precise enough to get away without big tumbling. They're really missing Borsellino and Lewis there this year.
Nebraska has given away the lead with some beam problems, a fall from Stephens and 9.6s from DeZiel and Lauer, while Michigan hit floor with 9.9s from Artz and Sampson.
Arkansas looks to be in line for yet another low 196, but a strong beam rotation could bump them up a little bit.
Rotation 4 - Florida on floor, Arkansas on beam
1. Boyce - front double full mount is fine enough, 1.5 to front pike is hit and finishes with the rudi. No significant issues there. Not a big routine, but there and fine. Very traditional 9.8ish leadoff.
2. SCP - secure whip through to double back - her splits are nice - short on her 1.5 + layout with a hop back to hold onto it - strong double pike to finish. Good progress for her.
3. Spicer - Solid pike full landing, front full + front pike - maybe a little short but does well to keep it in bounds - split full misses the split part - bounces on the double pike and just keeps her foot in bounds. She was flirting with the line throughout that routine.
4. Johnson - Hits the double arabian landing, and a very strong 1.5 + layout as a middle pass - splits look fine - strong double pike dismount it appeared from this terrible angle, but a good routine.
5. Sloan - Sticks her front double full as usual. The crosses legs take away from the look a little, I admit, but that doesn't get deducted in NCAA. Split full looked a little meh this week, but otherwise it's the same routine she has been nailing for huge scores for weeks. 9.975. Not a 10 for me, but an equivalent routine to the 10 she got few weeks ago.
6. B Caquatto - front double full is nice but she lands short on the front tuck and steps back to control it. Big double full with a nice high bounce into her split jump. Straddle skills are well executed. Hits her double pike. Good, not her best. 9.900.
1. Williams - switch and sheep to open - hit, travels about 16 feet on her front aerial and pauses before connecting it to the back pike, loso to 1.5 dismount with a step.
2. Freier - small step back on stag jump, another small wobble on loso, but she has nice form on this event. Strong side aerial and the splits are good. Hop back on gainer full.
3. Wellick - clean walkover to start, smallest check on the loso, very pretty full turn in attitude, hits side somi, she's not giving away the wobbles on the first two - and as I saw that she wobbles on choreo - double full dismount is landed slightly short but held onto the stick.
4. Dillard - small wobble after the walkover, bhs-loso series is good - clean side aerial to side position. Switch is hit, wobble on her side aerial - lands short on her 1.5 dismount but also does well to hang onto the stick. A couple wobbles but a lovely routine.
5. Nelson - Way under on her loso and never hand a chance to keep in on the beam - they'll drop this fall, but that means they're counting two scores in the 9.7s. The rest of the routine was well done - an efficient style with good form.
6. Grable - Smallest of corrections on her walkover and bhs loso series, but otherwise this routine is excellent as usual. Hop forward on her stag jump (Katherine!) - but sticks her double full dismount excellently. 9.875.
Final score: Florida 197.525, Arkansas 196.025
Arkansas breaks 196, but had a chance for more if they hadn't had to count some 9.7s on beam. No major, major problems on beam for them in the five counting routines, but far too many small wobbles on multiple skills in routines. Florida looked strong on floor, especially for a non-Kytra week. Some of those scores were too high, but they performed comfortably. The 197.525 should make it very challenging for anyone to pass them for #1. Oklahoma and LSU would have to score very high 197s or close in on a 198 to do it tomorrow at Metroplex.
In the lands of elsewhere, Michigan and Nebraska are getting close to finishing up, and Michigan looks to be riding into a comfortable road victory and a strong enough recovery from last week with a mid-ish, high-ish 196. Nebraska is looking to get rid of a 9.6 on floor from DeZiel, but they're already counting a 9.750.
Emily Wong just edges Sampson in that AA battle, 39.475 to 39.450. And Bridget Sloan takes our other AA battle over Grable 39.750-39.575.
Auburn and Alabama are neck and neck right now at the halfway point, Alabama with a .025 lead as a result of a 49.425 on vault. Both teams are currently on pace for 197s.
It's a shame about the Auburn feed not working. I was going to check in on that. That makes it a lot harder to stay in this for the long run.
We haven't gotten a sixth score from Nebraska on floor. Did they just show five routines? They have been known to do such things. If so, the final score is Michigan 196.650-Nebraska 196.125. That's enough for Michigan to jump back ahead in the rankings.
Alabama is extending the lead early in the third rotation on floor, going against Auburn's weak event, the beam. Aja Sims is in the floor lineup this week for 9.875.
We have the feed now for Auburn and Alabama. Seeing Katie Bailey's finishing pose. Bri Guy up now on beam: strong loso series, her straddle jump is strong, long pause before her double back - stuck landing. Good routine.
Demeo - FX - Amazing double arabian with a stuck landing. That's easy for her, time to upgrade to the piked version, right? Right? "Fun compilation of music" or "Horrifying auditory hellscape." Whichever you prefer. Strong 2.5 dismount. Excellent routine.
Walker - BB - Good front toss, very secure, hits loso - clean leg form. Not giving away much at all here. Sticks gainer full.
Milliner - FX - Just slightly under rotated on her double arabian with a hop back, clean and controlled front full in the second pass, strong double pike. Won't be her best score because of the mount, but there's not a ton to take.
Atkinson - BB - clean walkover, very small correction on loso series but otherwise strong. Hops back on the double pike, which is the only major deduction three. Three very strong beam routines to finish that rotation.
Jacob - FX - Has to slide back a little on her pike full in this week, but everything else in the routine is so comfortable for her, 1.5 to front full is strong. Again, like Milliner, not quite the quality on the mount we have seen, but everything else was strong. Judges still happy enough to give it a 9.950, though.
Alabama puts a little daylight out there after the third rotation, 148.175-147.900, but since Auburn is going to floor and Alabama to beam, this thing isn't decided yet.
That's it for me for tonight. I'll have to check in later to see how things turned out, but enjoy the rest of the meet if you're watching.