March 1, 2014
 Arkansas @  Georgia Live Blog
The American Cup is now behind us, which means it's time to turn our attention back to NCAA, and sit back and relax with some better-executed Yurchenko fulls.
I had an enjoyable American Cup viewing experience overall, and I especially appreciated that USAG kept the original live stream going throughout the meet. I'm surprised they were able to do that. I would think NBC would have some sort of "YOU MUST WATCH OUR BROADCAST!" clause, but it was great. All the routines. No Trautwig. What more could we want? If they could that for Nationals, we would all be in heaven.
Of course, I had to have the NBC broadcast on as well, just so I could continue to keep track of the gems. The best of the day was Trautwig's statement about Ebee: "She wants the Brazilian good stuff." I can't . . .
As for the competition, Sam Mikulak did as much Sam Mikulaking as we could ever want him to, Fabian Hambuechen was a delightful little square of German chocolate who made multiple mistakes, and Elizabeth Price made the Worlds team. You know, the usual. But like most American Cups, basically everyone fell and wasn't really in form because it's March 1st.
But now, we are refreshed by being graced with the likes of Katherine Grable, Brittany Rogers, Chelsea Davis, and Lindsey Cheek. Phew.
The meet will begin at 4:00 ET/1:00 PT and is available here with an all-access subscription.
No one on either of these teams has received a 10.000 so far in this year of the 10. Do we see that continuing?
All the alumni ever being trotted out for Georgia right now before the meet.
Georgia is far enough back of the very top teams in the RQS race that it will be a challenge to advance [except that's a lie, turns out], but with a strong 197, they could cut into the lead a bit. Arkansas has a whole bunch of low 196s and could use something like a 197.000 to get closer to the top 10. They really shouldn't be down at #13 and would be frightening as a #3 seed in a Regional.
Arkansas starting on bars with Ellsworth, Freier, Wellick, Grable, Salmon, and Glover. They've been competing just five bars workers several times this season as long as the first five hit, so we'll see what they do today. There's very little bars depth on this team, so they need some early 9.775-9.800s from the first two so that the Wellick, Grable, Salmon group can get those 9.850-9.875s and give them a reasonably competitive bars score.
Rotation 1- Georgia on vault, Arkansas on bars
Davis - VT - her usual strong yfull - good form - hop back this time. 9.825
Ellsworth - UB - A pirouette-heavy routine from her - a couple late turns and a missed handstand on the bail to the low bar. Double tuck to her knees as dismount, so that's the opposite of the hit they needed, so there's pressure on this depleted lineup now. 9.175
Johnson - VT - well, she got a huge block on her yfull - popped way up in the air - but no control on the landing - big bounce back. They'll want to drop this. 9.675
Freier - UB - Clean shaposh and stronger handstands early - also perhaps a little short on her bail but closer than the last routine. Step back on the DLO. A couple short handstands later on but a solid hit. 9.750.
Hires - VT - Good yfull - they'll take that one - Solid form and a controlled landing, one step back. 9.875
Wellick - UB - Nice amplitude on her straddled jaeger, which is the showpiece of the routine, and only a small hop on the double front dismount. Once again a couple handstands, but a solid hit and usable score overall. 9.825.
Rogers - VT - Exceptional 1.5 in the air, but a pretty large hop forward out of it that will take the score down a bit. 9.825.
Grable - UB - Big piked jaeger, once again that bail handstand is short - which can hapen to her, but her double front half out is profoundly amazing and stuck. She had a an issue or two in that routine - the bail handstand is the one concern she has across four events. It's really the only problem. 9.900 still.
Cheek - VT - Wow. Yfull - and the amazing vault parade continues for her. High, opens out of it, pristine form throughout, and sticks. Nothing more to say. Great. 9.975.
Salmon - UB - Another strong piked jaeger, and just a little shuffle on the DLO dismount. There's not a ton of content in these routines (jaeger, overshoot, back up to high bar, and dismount is basically the trend), but she hit it cleanly and comfortably.
Jay - VT - And she sticks the 1.5. Great vault and a controlled landing - not as dynamic if we're comparing it to 1.5s like Kytra's (hard standard), but very well done. 9.875.
Glover - UB - This is the question routine since she hasn't been in the lineup and they need a hit from her. Her straddled jaeger is good and she shows a clean bail to handstand - one of the more precise on the team. She had a few trouble cast to handstands there, and then a hop back on the double back, but she got the hit they needed.
After 1: Georgia 49.375, Arkansas 49.225
Arkansas stayed competitive on bars, which is what they needed to do. That Glover hit was very important and should give them a little more freedom in this lineup if she can continue to hit that way. Salmon and Wellick gave them solid hits, and even though Grable can be better in her routine, her double front half out is just a preposterous piece of gymnastics. A 49.2 isn't a big rotation score in the grand scheme, but especially after the rough start to the rotation, that's mission accomplished for Arkansas.
For Georgia, they needed a few more sticks early in that lineup to get a much bigger score. Cheek was phenomenal, Jay did very well, and Hires almost got the stick, but they could have used a couple more controlled landings to really bring that score up and establish more of a lead. Not getting the landings on the three of the first four vaults meant they couldn't build up those higher 9.8s in the early half of the group.
Rotation 2 - Georgia on bars, Arkansas on vault
Elswick - VT - Good distance on her yfull, didn't maintain the clean form that Georgia's vaulters did, and a medium step back.
Jay - UB - Hits her shaposh and bail handstand is clearly to handstand. Khorkina looks strong, finishes with a stuck full out. Great routine. I saw one missed handstand in there and a leg break on the shaposh, but not much to take at all. 9.900
Zumwalde - yfull - fairly controlled landing with just a step to the side, but she gets not much amplitude on the block compared to the others, which will significantly hurt her score.
Hires - UB - Looked like she caught a little close on the piked jaeger, but the handstands are clean and hit, good bail, and a stuck DLO. The landings make a serious difference, and we're seeing that reflected in the high scores so far. 9.925.
Williams - VT - Clean yhalf in the air, but she lands a little low and squatty with a lunge forward.
Brown - UB - That tkatchev that we've come to expect from her, and she keeps her leg form solid on the pak, which we don't often see in NCAA. Great handstands, but she'll incur some deduction on the dismount, larger step back on the tuck full. OK, the judges are getting fancy. 9.900.
Wellick - VT - Comfortable yfull with solid power and distance, step back. Best of the team so far.
Cheek - UB - Excellent first handstand and another colossal tkatchev, clean form and handstand position in the bail, another great handstand, and a stuck DLO. Great routine. 9.950. One judge gave a 10 and one gave a 9.900.
Grable - VT - Magnificent as always on her pike half vault, great power and everything, one small step but another excellent showing. 9.925.
Rogers - UB - Beautiful stalder work as she does, strong bail handstand, I saw one short handstand there toward the end, but another stuck landing. Tuck full and a comfortable stick. They're hitting like crazy in this rotation. 9.950.
Ryder - VT - yfull - pretty low landing and step forward, so they may want to drop that one depending on how it compares to Zumwalde.
Davis - UB - Excellent tkatchev, secure and crisp on the bail handstand, and she sticks the DLO. Kevin Copp is so hilarious when he gets excited. It makes Georgia meets the most fun to listen to. The judges have shown a willingness to go high. 9.950.
Wow. Georgia goes 49.675 on bars, which is insane. The judges were definitely eager to give high scores in this rotation, but Georgia, especially early on, allowed them to go higher in the scores because of the stuck landings, which we haven't seen from enough teams this year.
I think the judges pushed themselves into a corner in this rotation after giving the first three routines high scores but at the same time were still a little wary of giving 10s, so I would say that there is not enough separation between the scores for these 6 routines based on quality. All of those routines were not of the exact same quality, but that's what the scores indicate more or less. Still, this is what happens when you stick your bars dismounts cold. Scores go up, up, and away. Cheek, Rogers, and Davis were exceptionally good, especially in the handstands and maintaining straight legs together throughout the routine. So pretty and clean.
Arkansas got close to a 49 there but once again just doesn't have the six full routines to contend. Williams can be very strong here even though she didn't vault at her best this time, Wellick vaulted pretty well, and Grable is Grable, but that can't recover from some of the other vaults that bring the score down.
After 2: Georgia 99.050, Arkansas 98.175
Georgia on pace for a 198. That won't happen because they're going to beam and floor, but they have enough of a margin that they could come up with a competitively high 197 in this meet.
Rotation 3 - Georgia on beam, Arkansas on floor
Box - BB -Tuck full turn is secure and just around. Loso series is right on. Secure opening routine overall. Hits her aerial to beat jump, a little under on her 1.5 dismount and has to hop back on it, but a pretty solid opening.
Nelson - FX - Fine double pike, a little short with a step forward, 1.5 to front layout is fine. They've had some leadoff problems in the first two rotation that have brought the scores down early, but this is a usable routine. Also short on her double back dismount with a step forward. 9.750.
Persinger - BB - Starts with that excellent L turn to full turn combo. It's like what the elites were trying to do in 2012, except a good version of it. The front aerial looked good, but she was way short and off on her subsequent loso series and falls off the beam. Bleh. Front toss with a wobble. Small hop on the 1.5 dismount, but this is the first break of the day.
Dillard - FX - Clean rudi to open. Well executed but it's still a rudi as a mount. The switch ring looked solid, and a very secure front full to front layout as her second pass. Finishes with a 1.5 to layout.N ot much big content there but she has a clean look to her gymnastics.
Rogers - BB - The opening switch lead was good, but her split 1/4 caused a wobble and a bend to hold onto it. Everything else looks excellent - solid on her bhs 3/4 and the bhs 1/1 to layout full with a small shuffle. She recovered well from the early mistake. 9.775.
Zumwalde - FX - Whip to double pike is pretty strong, and does a 1.5 to layout as a second pass with a hop. The leaps will bring her score down a little since she doesn't hit the position, but the tumbling was more comfortable than I have seen it early in the season, with a higher landing position - more easily completed. Rudi dismount.
Brown - BB - Check on her opening full turn, clean loso series without a budge, switch split is fine, straddle 1/4 looked a little wonky and angled, but Kevin and Katie were impressed by how much above 180 it was. Hop to the side on the 1.5 dismount, but a strong routine. Very secure.
Wellick - FX - Good power on the double pike mount, perhaps a little slide, but she stands out from the first three with her amplitude, hits her front full - gets it around - and another secure landing on her double back dismount. Secure and solid in that 9.8ish kind of way, which they needed.
Cheek - BB - Hits her loso, great splits on her switch side, and a secure side aerial with proper leg form. She hits her splits well and maintains her legs throughout the routine. Sticks her gainer full. Another great routine of the day for her. 9.950.
Grable - FX - That mount. I just can't. Double arabian half out with a super high chest on landing and superior control, like she was doing nothing at all. 1.5 to front full to half stepout, another excellent pass. Combine this tumbling with the dance elements, and how can you not love it? Nailed it again. 9.925. Who is this 9.900 judge, and what is her deal? Psssh. Grable needs a 10 before the end of the year. It's not up for debate.
Earls - BB - Strong two layouts series, and hits her 180 on her switch and straddle 1/4, and sticks her double back. Georgia managing to end just an OK rotation with two very strong routines that will bring this score up into the applaudable territory. 9.950.
Elswick - FX - Lack of control on the double tuck mount with a lunge back, hits her 1.5 to layout well. They use Grable fifth here to bump up her score, but she gave away a little on that mount, so it probably won't help get this rotation too far above a 49.
After 3: Georgia 148.400, Arkansas 147.225
Georgia gets a 49.350 on the backs of Cheek and Earls, who had no mistakes in their routines, and the pace looks very good for a high 197 if they can get floor, which is still a question. I still have some concerns about this beam lineup since there were some issues early on and some breaks, but the last two saved it. Arkansas, except for Grable, is hurt by not having the huge difficulty on floor, so they need more amplitude, control, and precision in the tumbling if they're not going to have the difficulty. Otherwise it's just a 9.750 of a rotation. Really, that rotation was all about Grable.
Rotation 4 - Georgia on floor, Arkansas on beam
Williams - BB - Opens well, and works to a clean front aerial into either a whipped layout or a back pike. Finishes by landing her dismount and stepping well to the side, way off the mat which results in a stumble, which will destroy her score. 9.600.
Reynolds - FX -Mounts with a rudi to a high loso, secure landing on the double pike - lowish but landed with control - stumbles on her 1.5 to layout dismount, which will bring her down a little, but a solid start. 9.800.
Freier - BB - Takes a step back on her opening jump, then does her loso - well off the beam and comes off - and then another fall on the side aerial. She can be really pretty on this event, with her great tall line and pretty form, but the consistency hasn't been there all year.
Hires - FX - Good double pike with a secure landing to start, straddles are OK, front full to front layout is probably fine - it was like a little stumble dance out of it that she can pretend is choreography, strong double tuck. There are things to take, but she has stepped up significantly over her floor tumbling last season. 9.850.
Wellick - BB - Wobble on her aerial to start but holds onto it, hits her loso series with a little adjustment, and then a nice attitude turn, secure side somi and a strong switch split position, so moving well after a wobbly start. Pretty big hop back on the 2/1 dismount. 9.775.
Rogers - FX - Double arabian with a huge lunge forward - it looked to me like she went OOB with one of her feet, but no flag. It was on the opposite side, away from the camera angle, so I couldn't really tell. Everything else looked pretty strong, including a stuck double pike dismount. 9.750
Dillard - BB - Opens with a loso series and wobble as her leg flies up, also has to hang onto her side aerial with a big lean. She was so solid competing after falls last season, but this is a struggle routine. Her leaps are very nice as they were on floor, and she ends with a stuck 1.5. Still, the early wobbles will bring her down.
Box - FX - Big and efficient double pike, finished high, good straddles. Great double tuck as well. 1.5 to layout finishes up. She is so tiny and gets so high on her passes that she is able to finish them exceptionally comfortably. Is it appropriate to say that she's better on floor than her sister?
Nelson - BB - Clean routine through the start, goes to a punch front and has to bounce forward out of it to hang onto it, but everything else was strong. Hop back on the double full.
Earls - FX - Moved back to 5th in the lineup, and performs the identical routine she usually performs at the beginning of the lineup for those 9.8ish scores, so this is a nice comparison of how lineup position actually affects a score, which we don't always get. Confident, pretty comfortable tumbling, no errors of control. 9.900. So that tells us something.
Grable - BB - Strong full turn, checks on her aerial and breaks the connection between her that and her strong loso series. Nice splits, and an excellent front toss to straddle jump. All these WOGA girls call that skill a chicken flip. Tries to hang onto the stick on her double full dismount but does step. 9.850.
Jay - FX - Tuck full mount is better than it has been many times this year. She lands it with a very low chest but the landing was secure. Does her rudi to a back tuck this week - usually a layout, right? A little short on the double pike dismount with a medium lunge forward, so she can still do better, but a fine showing. 9.800.
Final score: Georgia 197.650, Arkansas 195.975
Arkansas sticks around close to what they have been scoring, but a little lower, which will do them no good in RQS. Just a few too many mistakes in that final beam rotation, lots of people giving away wobbles and steps and breaks. Even Grable had a few moments in that routine, which we never expect to see from her.
A fine final rotation for Georgia on floor, Box performing a strong routine and Earls performing a comfortable one. It's still not a nationally competitive floor rotation, but it can be. Jay and Rogers should be the two standout scorers in this rotation, bu they have consistently had mistakes in their routines, and both did again today.
Still, it's a season high for Georgia, gained mostly on the strength of an excellent bars rotation and the final two on beam (and Lindsey Cheek's great day overall).
Georgia's RQS goes up to a 197.020, which actually pushes them just a hair above Utah's 197.015. I didn't think they were going to get this score, but after Utah had a tepid home result yesterday, the Utes won't move up at all. Big result for Georgia.