And this is also a competition. Welcome to our annual "Oh yeah, there's more?" day. If you haven't used up your supply of outrage yet, the event finals are usually good for some solid, concentrated WTF. Or, if you don't feel outraged, you can just play the "Who's going to cry the most?" game. The answer is everybody.
As for last night, I can't complain about seeing another exciting finish. Four straight years of pretty close races. It's the norm now, but it wasn't always that way. So yay for that.
But didn't you think it was going to end in another tie? After McMurtry went on bars, I was sure she was going to get 9.900 and we would have a tie again, and I would have been furious. One year, I could forgive. But not two. That would be just too adorable and too inconclusive. So I'm glad someone won outright. There has been a whole heap of angry about the McMurtry 9.950 on bars to clinch the meet for Florida, which is understandable. Especially when you start making comparisons to Ivana Hong also getting a 9.950. Or Sami Shapiro getting a 9.900. It's basically the exact same thing that happened last year for Bridgey's creative 9.950 at the end of the floor lineup. At the same time, the meet is not about one routine, and you can make just as many overscore arguments about Utah as about Florida, if not more. Especially because the bars scoring in Super Six was generally insane. Stanford should have been 60 points ahead of all the other teams in a just world with a sensible COP.
So, Florida makes it three in a row. Utah should be incredibly proud of that performance, though. No one had them finishing second this year. In the preseason, I had them fifth, and even before Super Six started, I was thinking they would finish 4th. That was a tremendous day and a big rebound for a program that hadn't had a really great result in a while. It was difficult to see Oklahoma come up short, but they let themselves down on floor. With normal routines from Dowell and Jackson with no OOB, the Sooners would have been level with Florida and Utah. Can you imagine if it had been a three-way race at the end?
But now we turn to event finals. Here is the draw.
It's so bizarre to see a normal amount of people in vault finals. It wouldn't even be a problem this year if they still had to do two vaults. There were definitely some frustrating vault scores in semifinals, but it seemed the judges were making a concerted effort to keep the scores down to avoid a million 9.900s making EFs, and they succeeded. So I applaud that.
On vault, I would love to see the people who are capable of upgrading throw a little bit more (cough, Ebee, cough). Although she probably is the favorite if she sticks to her full. It's easier to win with a full because it's easier to land with a full, so it will be interesting to see what the people like Price and Scaman decide to do. Scaman stuck to the full in EF last year. Also if anyone wants to pull an Anna Li, I would have no problem with it because her 1.5 is still my favorite all-time EF moment.
Bars is going to be a good one, even though we're missing some of the best. Let's see if any of the judges have the guts not to give Dabritz a 10. I know my complaints about her routine are issues that are never deducted for in anyone's routine during the regular season, but in event finals there should be a higher standard for things like toe point (which is why it's frustrating that Hong and Shapiro didn't qualify). That goes for Sloan's tkatchev as well. I think I'm on the Brittany Rogers wagon for this one.
Beam. Ivana Hong. Her routine yesterday was perfection, and I need her to win this today. Also keep an eye on Peszek, especially if she throws the full as she usually does in these circumstances. It will be her last routine ever, so there's nothing to save those glass feet for anymore.
There are a million people in the floor final, so it's tough to make a call, but Kytra probably comes in as the favorite. Nina McGee is right there. And Kennedy Baker has a piked double arabian, so she's automatically in the hunt.
The finals will begin at 3:00 ET/12:00 PT. The finals will conclude sometime in June.
Coverage starting - shot of Ivana Hong laughing about how the beam judges wouldn't give her a 10. Never forget the injustice.
Introducing Dowell. "She competed in the 2013 World Championships." Well...not so much.
Dowell - UB - nice hhs - small leg breaks on the shaposh - strong Church - excellent on all her cast handstands - legs together on bail - hop back on DLO 1/1 will cost her because the winners will stick, but all her handstands were perfect.
Lee - VT - Not one of her best fulls - comes in a little short this time with a small hop forward -
Bailey - UB - good half - nice jaeger and good legs - has to balance a handstand a little - solid bail - and excellent stick on her full out - one of the best she has done that full out - easy peasy stick.
Hambrick - VT - Also not one of her good ones - pretty large bounce back out of her full -
Aufiero - UB - a little tight on firs hs - strong tkatchev with good rhythm, but she is missing her handstands - clean legs on the bail - a little low-chested on the DLO with a small hop forward -
Are scores not a thing in this competition again?
Sloan - VT - Strong full - not a stick, just a small movement of the feet - but good height and good legs -
Kmieciak - UB - stronng tkatchev - holds onto her bail after coming in a little strong - and sticks her tuck full - one iffy hs, but strong.
Williams - VT - Does the 1.5 - solid - just a bit short and with a small step back -
Price - UB - good shaposh - great Church to her immediate bail - everything is huge and perfect except and small leg break in the bail - does hop forward on the DLO though -
Rogers - UB - goof hadnstands - strong stalder and Ricna - Kathy says Ricna was close - nice rhythm but is definitely short on final handstand - holds onto the stick on her DLO with the smallest lean - good but she did give a bit away.
Still gets a 9.950. Scores are a little loose for an event final so far today on bars. Sloan leads vault with 9.925.
Courville - UB - good height and distance on her jaeger - solid on the bail and the shoot - hitting handstands - low chest on tuck full but otherwise a very solid showing.
Price - VT - If she doesn't do a yurchenko double pike, it's basically a disappointment - just the full - i guess she gets the "you've been injured recently" excuse for not doing more difficulty - hop back.
Dabritz - UB - one last time...NO GRIPS YOU GUYS - strong on the comaneci and jaeger - excellent bail - basically sticks her dismount - steps, but stepping her legs together as she's supposed to.
Jackson - VT - hops pretty far forward out of her 1.5 - not the strong landings from the team competition -
Zamardi - UB - strong shaposh to pak - glad to see her in finals - one short hs in here - Khorkina is strong - a couple small steps on double arabian.
Scaman - VT - No one sticking today - her usual open form and excellent vault, but a small hop as well.
Does Bart forget this is live?
Sloan - UB - strong ray (but feet obviously) - keeps her legs together on the bail and good position - nice rhythm and counter rotation on her shoot - sticks the DLO - also excellent.
Jay - VT - also a large step forward on her 1.5. An accomplished group, but not a strong vault final. No sticks. Looks like Ebee will win, mostly because her height is so superior to everyone else's.
Wyrick - UB -Taking a million hours to get Sloan's score, just behind Dabritz - Wyrick is over on a handstand - first mistake of the day - same issue as at SECs -hits that tkachev - solid bail - good handstands now - sticks DLO -
Wofford - UB - Good, let's show as many closeups of her spitting into her hands as possible. solid first hs - looked a little past on that giant full - jaeger is huge and excellent in form - just the smallest step on her tuck full dismount - good work -
So, our first two champions are Elizabeth Price on vault and Georgia Dabritz on bars. Sloan is second on both events.
Kathy is taking us through the yin and yang of balance beam. OK.
Rice - FX - If anyone is going to treat event finals with the attitude it requires - no DLO that she was training this week - bounces and slides on the double pike - 1/2 to front full with another little stumble - but she understands the rule that when you screw up your landings, you better dance 10 times harder - low on double tuck landing -
Capps - BB -strong loso series - strong full turn and comfrotable in aerial to scale - I would be fine with it if they nixed the "squatty rock" for next season - sticks her gainer full but doesn't really bring those legs together until very late.
Peszek - FX - big DLO - small slide out of it - solid full to layout - another small slide on the double pike - strong routine - solid tumbling - just a few areas there - Sloan and Peszek moment afterward - because 2008 feels -
Williams - BB -Very good straddle jump full - off on her punch front - looked like she would be able to control with a check, but then overcorrected and came off - good loso - nice full turn - step on the 1.5.
Sugiyama - FX - nails her piked full in - good switch side and wolf full - front full to layout with a bouncy slide out of it - how is she a senior? She's three. - slides on the double pike -
Chiarelli - BB - strong loso series - confident and secure straddle 1/2 - wobble on the side aerial - step forward on double tuck dismount. A few breaks there but fine.
Caquatto - FX - front 2/1 to punch front is fine this time - rudi to split jump is solid, doesn't travel like last time - the leaps are the strong point of the routine, over 180, sits down her double pike. She has certainly had a weird floor year.
McMurtry - BB - good punch front - small check on her series - switch to swingdown - split is medium-ish quality - underrotated 2.5 with a large step to the side.
Gnat - FX - Excellent DLO to start - over on the 2.5 and had to pull around the front tuck - did get it around and complete but will get hit for that, and a step back - bounce on double pike -
Gardiner - BB - solid on her wolf turn - very nice split jump - pretty aerial - Bart is praising her Saadi-ness - hits her loso series well - small check on her side somi but does well to control - sticks gainer full -
Dabritz - FX - strong and secure landing on pike full in - hits her rudi+loso perfectly as well - split is a little not, but the tumbling is on today - steps back on the 3/1, though.
Artz - BB - pike jump to a very powerful and precise straddle - GIRL! breaks her connection out of her aerial with too big a wobble there. Great kickover front to bhs - front 1.5 dismount is stuck. Almost great, but a big wobble.
Hunter - FX - Perfect DLO again today. No bouncing for Kytra at this championship - 1.5 to layout to front pike is good, better than yesterday, but a little bouncy step out of it - good switch side and popa - nails the double back - excellent. Glad she nailed that DLO for the last time we'll see it.
Jordan - BB - wobble on opening side somi - secure and clean on the loso series - switch looks good - another small check on aerial - short on 1.5 with a step. Didn't end with her best. Sarah Finnegan, you have some shoes to fill.
Blanske - FX - Does the DLO - short on it, bounce forward - front layout to rudi to stag - travels a lot on the stag and only barely stays in bounds. Very strong double tuck.
Chiarelli - FX - Big tuck full and solid on the landing - 1.5 to layout - almost around on her popa, more than an opa this time, which she has improved throughout the year - slightly forward on her double pike, but good control on all landings -
Hunter - BB - wish they had brought back the front tuck mount for finals - small check on loso series this time - controls the switch side - almost wobbles just turning there - hop back on doubel tuck - solid - hit finish -
McGee - FX - did she stay in on her DLO landing? I think she did. She better have. Great height and everything - hits her leaps - front full to layout with a little slide - NAILS her double pike - great landing. Everyone is obsessed with her. Even Kennedy Baker had to come down from preparing for her routine to give props to that. Kytra's skills were stronger, though.
Hong - BB - HER HAIR. IT'S MY LIFE.beautiful onodi to bhs - does have a little check on her loso landing that we'll pretend never happened. Excellent splits and sheep obviously - sticks gainer pike.
Baker - FX - EXCELLENT piked double arabian, one of her more controlled landings of the season. Big bounce out of the double pike, does stay in, but large bounce - leaps looks strong - 1.5 to half to straddle is fine, but the middle pass will take her out of it.
Hong currently first on beam. As it should be.
Peszek - BB - FULL! Nailed it. Perfect. strong switch to straddle - excellent aerial to bhs - easy full turn - she laughs a little because she almost had a mistake on choreography there going down to the beam, but didn't - bounces a little on the dismount. Girl needed a stick there, but great routine and great on the full to finish. - MORE SLOAN PESZEK FEELS. AND HONG PESZEK FEELS.
Lee - FX - bounces a little again on the 3/1 - front layout to front full - had a pretty good one going but stumbles OOB on the dismount.
9.950 for Peszek puts her in first for the moment ahead of Hong.
Atkinson - BB - nice full turn - very solid loso series - clean aerial as well - holds onto her leap connection well - just the 1.5 dismount because of injury, hop forward. Solid.
Scaman - FX - just a little bit chest forward landing her DLO this time - she has one of my favorite floor losos in her middle pass - good straddles - nails the double back - strong routine, though not her best DLO landing.
Clark - BB - does well to avoid a check and connect her aerial into swingdown - a little tight on her full turn - small checks just moving along the beam here - good stick on the 1.5, though. Sharing a smile with KJ about it -
Dowell - FX - let's see if she can get the control today - double front to stag jump - controls it this time but goes a little bit the other way, pauses before jump instead of truly connecting it - much better control on the middle pass than either of the first two days - very secure front layout front full. Strong.
Besties Sam Peszek and Jay Clark?
Kmieciak - BB - very smooth loso series - straddle 1/2 is OK, and full turn - step forward on double tuck. Solid routine, but not exceptional. UCLA and Sloan celebration.
Box - FX - Very strong double pike, control height and control this time - 1.5 to layout with a dance out of it - That's why her hair's so big. It's full of 9.875s. - final skill of the NCAA season, and it's a secure double tuck. Appropriate. And there we go. 9.8875 this time. (You put an extra 8 in there judges.)
Our other two champions are Sam Peszek on beam and Kytra Hunter on floor.
Vault: Elizabeth Price
Bars: Georgia Dabritz
Beam: Sam Peszek
Floor: Kytra Hunter
So that does it for the season. Thanks for following along, everyone! (I'm sure I'll have plenty of season wrap-up thoughts soon.)