It's DAY 2 of the (real) NCAA gymnastics season, and we've got a good one. Well, I shouldn't say that yet. It may be a terrible one, but it will be interesting if nothing else. The Georgia/Michigan showdown is a fixture in NCAA gymnastics, and I'm glad it's back after a two-year hiatus. While Georgia has traditionally won because Georgia, the last few meetings have been more competitive, with Michigan taking two of the last three. Remember in 2010 when there was all that controversial Michigan scoring going on and Georgia didn't break 196 and was super upset about it? We'll always have these memories of people being super upset about things.
The teams are already chasing a high standard set by Oklahoma last night with a 197.625, but LSU's 197.125 was also impressive considering they had a pretty weak floor rotation and still broke 197. We did see some struggles yesterday as well. Alabama debuted with mistakes in the fairly lackluster 196.225, and Nebraska had a very rough start with a low 195.
As for Georgia and Michigan, I'm eager to see what we get from them out of the gate. Georgia should do well. They have enough of a core of strong routines returning that there's no excuse for a flop. They should at least be in that solid 196 zone. For Michigan, I have lower expectations starting out because it's a brand-new team with reinvented lineups, so much like with Alabama yesterday, I would not be surprised or particularly concerned if a few mistakes creep in. There will be an adjustment period for some of these newbies, or oldbies thrown in on new events, but that's not an excuse for disaster. They still have strong returning routines and a freshman with a lot of potential in Brianna Brown, so there's no need for something like what Stanford did last weekend.
[Post-meet edit: I love when I make proclamations like this at the beginning of the meet. It helps to go back later and remember what the expectations were. Georgia did not meet expectations today, and Michigan exceeded them.]
Let's get to it.
The meet begins at 4:00 ET/1:00 PT. Stay tuned! As will be the case with all streamed SEC meets this season, you can watch here if you have access.
Vault – Persinger, Vaculik, Roberts, Marino, Broussard, Jay
Bars – Jay, Vaculik, Schick, Brown, Rogers, Davis
Beam – Box, Vaculik, Persinger, Broussard, Babalis, Brown
Floor – Brown, Persinger, Box, Broussard, Babalis, Jay
Beth Roberts in on vault is interesting. Don't expect peak scores from that vault lineup until Rogers and Davis are able to get back in, so we may see a slightly slower start there. Watch out for Babalis on beam. That routine could be a thing. No Gigi Marino on floor yet.
Vault – Casanova, Parker, Brown, Chiarelli, Artz, Sugiyama
Bars – Casanova, Williams, Christopherson, Artz, Sugiyama, Brown
Beam – Sugiyama, Williams, Brown, Artz, Chiarelli, Parker
Floor – Williams, Brown, Parker, Sugiyama, Chiarelli, Artz
Christopherson just joined, but she's in on bars, which is her best event. I'm optimistic about that routine. As expected, Sugiyama, Artz, and Brown are in the all-around. Watch what kind of scores the team is getting in the early parts of the vault and floor lineups.
Also keep in mind that Penn State is hosting a meet, streamed for CSL subscribers, that will be running simultaneous to this one.
Elizabeth Grimsley just said on twitter that Casanova is out of the beam lineup and Parker is replacing her. Michigan beam. Grab your prayer shawls and your statuettes of the goddess Athena.
Broadcast starting. We're going to have to get used to watching Georgia gymnastics without Kevin Copp. I won't be able to. Cat Hires is the new recent-graduate co-commentator.
Warmups and cheerleader wiggling going on now.
Rotation 1: Georgia vault, Michigan bars
1. Persinger - Excited to see her vault after all this time off on this event. Yfull - pretty good height, had some piking down at the end, and then a hop back on the landing. 9.800.
2. Vaculik - Vaculik alert! Fine yfull - a bit more distance than persinger - also some piking at the end, and a small bounce back. No, Cat, that was not stuck. 9.825.
3. Roberts -Yfull - it's a little bit of a pike fest so far for Georgia - lower chest and a hop back. Similar issues to the first two, but the weakest of the three. Less distance and more piking. 9.725.
4. Marino - Showed her power on that yfull, but bounced back about 16 feet out of it. Will lose multiple tenths for that landing. 9.725.
5. Broussard - Probably had the best mix of height and distance so far on her yfull, but also bounced 16 feet and took multiple steps after that. They do not have these landings. 9.725.
6. Jay - Does her 1.5 - Great form, strong direction - maintains a pretty straight position and just a small hop forward. Best of the rotation and it's not remotely close. 9.925.
1. Casanova - good position on the first hs, but fell on the gienger right away. Finishes with a floppy bail handstand that didn't really reach handstand, solid final hs and giant full, sticks the double tuck dismount. Rough start. 8.800.
2. Williams - Nice line, hits her jaeger, strong handstand to follow, OK bail, into the dismount, DLO with a step back. Good recovery. 9.750.
3. Christopherson -Ray to start - catches close and loses leg form, hits her bail well, tuck full dismount - lands slightly awkwardly with a medium step to the side. She can be cleaner than this, but it's not a problem routine. Lots of potential there. 9.800.
4. Artz - Great height and form on the piked jaeger, into bail (not hs) - finishes with a DLO - leg separation on that and a hop forward. 9.800.
5. Sugiyama -Good giant full - solid legs on the gienger, clean form on the pak as well, excellent last handstand, hop back on tuck full but the form was nice. "Check out this replay because her hands leave the bars." Um, it's a release? Just an area or two to deduct on that routine but the best for Mich so far. 9.825. Couldn't tell, but Cat did say she caught the gienger close so that may have brought the score lower.
6. Brown - Great line - clean early in the routine - excellent pak and she always has - does well to keep her cast 1/2 on top of the bar, flings her DLO out slightly with a step forward, but that was the only real issue. Good first college routine. 9.850.
After 1: Michigan 49.025, Georgia 49.000
That was a very "first meet of the year" rotation. Georgia's vault was a bit disappointing. A lot of piking early in the lineup, and then Broussard and Marino had gigantic bounds on landing. Jay was really the only one who showed up with a top-class vault. Marino and Broussard can be big here, but the landings weren't close.
A sluggish start with Michigan with the Casanova mistake, but they pulled it back after that. Everyone had some issues, though. A few releases were caught close, a few dismounts were awkward, but a fine first rotation of the season. Which gymnasts can bring 9.9s may be a question with this lineup, but Brown showed potential with that 9.850 and pretty work overall. Get the dismount together and that's a 9.9.
Rotation 2: Georgia bars, Michigan vault
1. Jay - Good first hs, Ray appeared to be a little close but fine - some loss of rhythm in the shoot to high bar - hop forward on DLO dismount with some leg break in teh air . Handstands looked good from this angle, though. 9.750.
2. Vaculik -Short first hs, Into a huge jaeger, clean bail - good hs, obviously great line and toe point - looked like she overcooked the tuck full slightly and had to take a pretty big step back, but that's the major issue there. I promise not to complain about the lack of gienger. After this. 9.775.
3. Schick - Debut routine for her as well. Piked jaeger to open is solid, way short on the following handstand, bail is OK - flings out her DLO - no lift on it and couldn't finish it - hands down. Fall. Shame, because the handstand potential is great there.
4. Brown - Good opening hs, THAT TKATCHEV, pretty pretty pak, cast half turn was way past
handstand and will be an issue, sticks a great DLO to finish. It's a
shame about the half turn on the low bar because the rest was glorious. 9.875. I guess they didn't mind so much.
5. Rogers - Those stalders, lovely, Ricna is perfection, clean bail, shoot back to high bar, excellent DLO and just a step back. Great work. So little to take other than the step on the dismount. Wonderful. 9.850. We're pretending Brown's routine was better? OK.
6. Davis -The Davis tkatchev obviously, some hip angle on the bail, but the rest is great, tuck full dismount and just a small shuffle. Some great hits to finish this lineup. 9.875.
1. Casanova -Yfull - lands with her chest low and steps back. 9.700. Similar to Roberts' vault but with a more pronounced pike on landing.
2. Parker -Good landing on the yfull - either a stuck or just a slide - Doesn't get a ton of height and a little piking - also legs apart in the air on replay - but good improvement for her on this vault. Nice landing. 9.850.
3. Brown - Good lift on the yfull - small amount of piking, slightly low on landing, and a hop back. That's an improvement from many of her yfulls over the last year or so. 9.850.
4. Chiarelli -Yfull - Good power and distance, starting to show some of that Brestyan's vaulting training - but did have a medium-sized hop back. 9.900. With that hop? OK.
5. Artz - Another strong yfull in the dynamics department - takes one medium step back and another step to salute. Great in the air, though. Another who just needs more control on the landing, then it will be great. 9.850.
6. Sugiyama -1.5 from her, good in the air, solid direction, and just a pretty small step forward. Distance is medium, but we saw Gnat get hit for that yesterday. Well done overall. 9.875.
Halfway: Michigan 98.350, Georgia 98.125
Michigan with the lead at halfway. I didn't expect that, and I'm impressed with what I've seen from them so far. They got rewarded on vault for better dynamics, less piking, and more control on the landings, even though that Chiarelli score seems a little creative. It was clearly stronger than Georgia's vaulting.
Georgia pulled it together in the final three positions on bars, and all those scores can get better as they work through the dismounts/not finishing 1/2 turns so late. I thought Rogers' score could have been higher. I didn't see much to take other than the dismount. Did you guys? 49.125 is not great for the talent in this bars lineup, but they'll be scoring much higher soon. The first three all seemed a little off/tentative.
Rotation 3 – Georgia on beam, Michigan on floor
1. Box -Tuck jump full with just the smallest correction, very clean on loso series, switch to straddle 3/4 is hit. "How difficult is this?" Um, seven. She has the moonwalk now. hits front aerial - slightly short on her 1.5 dismount landing with a hop in place. Hit. 9.850.
2. Vaculik -Good amplitude and position on switch split - wobbles after landing a dance element - GIRL! - floaty loso series but takes a step back out of it - wobbles again on front aerial - side aerial to full dismount - lands low with a hop. Frustrating! All the skills are so beautiful, but she had .100 mistakes on most of them. 9.550. (Spread was 9.650/9.450 - did the 9.450 judge have not a 10 SV?)
3. Persinger -Lovely L turn and poise and presentation - ownership of the beam - corrects slightly on front aerial with a pause to hold onto it - nice loso series - good switch to split 1/4 - hits 180 on both - showing her flexibility - front toss is hit - 1.5 dismount with a hop forward. She's back. 9.800.
4. Broussard -one-arm bhs to loso - steps back out of the loso - good switch - straddle 1/4 was a little crooked, slightly off line on side aerial - wobble and step - sticks gainer full. 9.750.
5. Babalis -Nice high loso to start, switch 1/2 she hits with a small adjustment - slightly awkward - secure front toss with no problems - long pause before unique front aerial to front full dismount - hop forward - good showing. 9.850.
6. Brown -Good full turn, loso series - doesn't do the second loso and a few steps back out of it to keep it on the beam, side aerial is strong, though - goes for the double tuck dismount now, large lunge back. She'll get hit for this routine, when they needed a big score to erase Vaculik's. 9.675.
1. Williams -Williams on floor, this is new. Clean double pike, comfortable landing - split leap full is fine - clean middle pass - this is going well so far - just somewhat low on the double tuck landing, but that's a solid hit for her. 9.825. No significant issues.
2. Brown -Another with a solid double pike with ideal height and form, 1.5 to layout middle pass - another showing a split leap full to split jump full that is close enough to 180 to be fine - lands double tuck quite low with a shuffle - going well until then and not a major problem. 9.775.
3. Parker - Good double arabian in the air and a controlled landing, Ro 1.5 to a ro 1.5 middle pass? Had to correct after landing awkwardly on her first 1.5 and adjusted into an improvised round off to another one. Strange. Good presence of mind, though. Bounces back on her double pike - would love to see the middle pass again to see what happened. 9.775. I guess she covered well enough that there wasn't much they could take on the middle pass.
4. Sugiyama -Just a double tuck for her to mount this time, but it's clean - easy pass for her - front full to layout - legs together on the layout which some of the others haven't shown - finishes very short on her double pike and lunge forward. A few Wolverines having final pass problems.9.725.
5. Chiarelli - (This male commentator doesn't know what a fall is. Bring back Kevin.) Big full in - just a small adjustment to the side, 1.5 to front tuck is secure as well. She just stuck her tongue out. Always an important part of choreography - Because her music stopped? No problems for her on the final pass - had enough endurance for a strong double pike. 9.875.
6. Artz - She is the new Michigan star on this event - big piked full in, just lands staggered a bit this time - good split full to straddle jump full - 180 with no question - layout to front full is solid with legs together - huge height on double pike. Best Michigan floor routine. 9.900.
After 3 - Michigan 147.500, Georgia 147.050
I'm happy with what I'm seeing from Michigan so far, but there's still beam to go so we'll hold off on any evaluations for now. There were some first-meet, final-pass issues in that floor rotation on a number of the routines, but I was impressed by how clean and composed Williams was in the first spot, and then Chiarelli and Artz looked great to finish. They can turn this lineup into something. If Michigan keeps this up on the final event, they get a round of applause from me.
Georgia was up and down there. No falls, but near-fall equivalent struggles from both Vaculik and Brown hurt the score. I was pleased by Babalis and Persinger, though, and Box was a solid leadoff. That rotation really needed a Lindsey Cheek, though, to save it with a 9.950. Everyone had small wobbles or dismount issues.
Rotation 4 – Georgia on floor, Michigan on beam
1. Brown - Solid enough double pike, low but good control on the landing - 1.5 to layout and dances out of it - split full to straddle full are completed - double tuck is fine - regular, solid, fine, 9.8y opening routine. 9.850.
2. Persinger -I've really missed her in these lineups - tuck through to double back - low chest times - switch ring is fine as far as college switch rings go - double pike looks lovely in the air - small slide of the front foot - finishes with a rudi - lands short - steps off to the side. 9.825.
3. Box -Strong high double pike as usual - controlled step - high 1.5 - overcooked her 1.5 and had to do a front tuck instead of layout out of it and lands it very squatty - had nothing left on dismount - falls on double tuck. 9.050.
4. Broussard -Short on her DLO - hands down. Rough floor rotation for Georgia. Layout to rudi middle pass is fine - low on double pike and lunges back. A struggle routine there. Will have to count. 9.275. Oh, Georgia.
5. Babalis -Georgia needs help now. High double tuck mount but a slide back. Hits her splits very well. 1/2 to front full middle pass - a little squatty on the landing there - another with struggles on the last pass - no fall but chest pretty low and just was able to get it around.
6. Jay -Full out mount - another low chest pass - Georgia! - front full + layout + pike is a nice recovery, though - good height and controlled landings on those - low chest double pike with a step. 9.825.
1. Sugiyama - I swear the guy just called her Soggy Sugiyama. Tentative on her loso but hits it with a minor check - switch side is somewhat crooked - Pike jump to back tuck is hit - Does a 2.5 dismount! step to the side and off line but well done for the difficulty. 9.700.
2. Williams -stag jump looks good, side aerial is fine, split jump full with a step - clean loso series to a well-performed split - travels a million miles on her 1.5 dismount - slightly off line with a step forward, but good work. 9.825.
3. Brown -lovely straight legs on the loso series , just a small adjustment - good switch to split - full 180 - wobble on front aerial - full turn - side somi is hit - somewhat tight in this performance with a couple small checks, but the talent is there - double full with a hop together salute. 9.775.
4. Artz -pike jump to straddle 3/4 is secure - aerial to bhs is fluid and calm with excellent form - front toss is hit - very composed performance - no wobbles here - front 1.5 dismount - slightly low chest and a hop. Great work, though. 9.900.
5. Chiarelli -starts with a loso series - a little tight but doesn't give away a wobble - straddle 1/2 is nice - clean and secure side aerial - she has become a beamer in the last year and I love to see it - sticks her double tuck dismount - low chest but nailed the landing -9.900
6. Parker -Coming into the lineup at the last minute, but it doesn't matter. Very happy with what I've seen from Michigan today - good pike jump - split half is short of 180 - punch front - looked like she could get it but hopped off the beam. They'll drop this, but it doesn't matter. Does another punch front and falls again. Falls on the side somi. Bev is like "Stop. Just stop." Don't worry about it.
FINAL: Michigan 196.600, Georgia 195.600.
Remember everything I said at the beginning of the meet. Opposite of that. Michigan should be quite happy with this mid-196 opening performance. They needed to find new 9.9s this season, and Artz and Chiarelli both showed up with them today. Some of these lineups are somewhat slapped together, but the biggest difference is that Michigan looked so much more prepared than Georgia today. And two 9.9s on beam was just the icing. Well done.
Georgia's floor was sort of a mess. So many low-chest landings and endurance issues in those passes, and then the falls. Trouble. Some tightness in a few of the beam routines also hurt, as did imprecise vault landings. You can see where the big scores are going to come from for Georgia, but they need some time to develop those routines and looked unprepared for this meet. Get Brittany Rogers back on all her events as soon as possible. No real excuse for this Georgia team starting with a 195.