We’re doing a relatively short throwback this week, jumping back a decade to the 2008 Pac-10 Championship at Washington. Ten years is an interesting length of time in gymnastics: It’s recent enough that we might recognize some of the leotards, but far back enough that teams really shouldn’t be wearing the same leotards.
Let’s dive in!
UCLA is the defending champion, but Stanford and Oregon State are both ranked higher. If memory serves, UCLA had some kind of awful injury odyssey this year, and introductory B-roll definitely features some crutches. Jim Watson and Amanda Borden on commentary, thank you universe.
First of all, UW is my alma mater. I spent five entire years on this campus, and I’ve never seen this sign. Maybe they got rid of it before I got there? Maybe it’s a secret hidden sign that only athletes get to see?
Yuki Lamb starting Oregon State off on the vault, with a respectable leotard and a little bit of concentration-induced RBF.
Opens with a strong Yurchenko Arabian, limited amplitude but a great landing.
Pop quiz time! Which current NCAA head coach is Yuki high fiving in this GIF?
It’s Lindenwood HC Jen Llewellyn (née Kesler). She competed all around at this meet, but we won’t see any routine time from her in the broadcast because reasons.
All around star Jami Lanz is next up for the Beavers, vaulting a Yurchenko full.
Again with the amplitude, iffy landing. This is a very 2008 hairstyle, isn’t it?
Tasha Smith up next because apparently gymnastics doesn’t matter if it’s not vault.
Significantly better block than the last couple and finishes the twist early! I was starting to wonder if it was just a bad vault year. Hard to tell sometimes.
Oh, here’s someone we know!
Mandi frequently live tweets for the Beavers these days. Great Yurchenko full for her, and definitely the best celebration so far with Smith. Bring back chest bumps please.
Exciting, it’s time for another team!! Ashlee Hinkle for Arizona State.
This carpet has not improved with age. This reduced saturation thing is actually flattering for it. We need to GoFundMe UW a new floor carpet. P.S. You can see someone’s crutch in the top left there. Some things never change.
Kind of loving the diagonal strappy back on this leotard. Unfortunately the front is plain black with ASU in rhinestone letters. I have FEELINGS about large words on leotards.
(I’m the most annoying person to do leotard rankings with. Everyone will be excited about the ombre or the sparkles and my review will just be DID YOU THINK WE WERE GOING TO FORGET WHO YOU WERE IF YOU DIDN’T WRITE YOUR NAME REALLY BIG ON YOURSELF THIS ISN’T KINDERGARTEN. Sorry guys <3)
Rotation break! Some teams that don’t matter did some gymnastics we don’t get to see. What we did get was Jim and Amanda chatting about Amanda’s new baby, which was adorable. By the way, that baby is now 11 years old and a very competitive level 8 gymnast.
Here’s a significantly easier round of Guess the NCAA Head Coach. Also, didn’t we see this leotard on social media recently? It’s not a good one, either way.
Let’s also talk about the video quality of this broadcast. It is not 1978. It is 2008. This meet took place just months before the Beijing Olympics. Did we watch Deng Linlin stick that legendary vault in washed-out 360px?? No, we did not. There’s no excuse for this.
Meanwhile, UCLA’s warming up bars. Miss Val is here. Miss Val is gone.
I’ve seen UCLA do this recently actually, looks like they use numbers to communicate the mat configuration they want with the teammates at the landing area.
I’m trying to read Miss V’s lips. All I’m getting is “leverage point.” Jordan is quite clearly saying “Okay, I have too much! Floor.”
Big sister Tasha Schwikert is struggling with a sore Achilles, which is a downer. Stanford is struggling with consistency, which is just life.
Here comes Jordan, much nicer block than most of the Oregon States. Apparently UCLA leads the field on this event, which might be the last time that happened.
Let’s talk about little baby child Manfred Christopher Waller coming to high five her.
Pretty sure UCLA still wears this leotard, also.
Over to bars where Carly Janiga is starting off for Stanford.
Throwback to Stanford hitting handstands on bars.
Kristina Comforte is up on vault for the Bruins! She works for Jill Hicks Consulting these days.
Now THAT is a Yurchenko vault. Pulled it out even with her hand slipping a bit. She’s back after a bone bruise kept her out for a month in midseason. Tasha Schwikert also hit a good vault despite a sore Achilles.
Some kind of judging conversation happening here; no information yet on what it is.
Defending Pac-10 champ up on bars is Liz Tricase of Stanford!
The clear hip shap and then A MARKELOV and a stuck DLO. 9.95 there, spectacular.
Karin Wurm is anchoring floor for Arizona. Arizona’s at this meet? Cool.
Whoopsie! I think she’s doing floor to a Rolling Stones medley. Awesome double-twisting cat leap, which more people should do.
Jim keeps sharing gymnasts’ career goals with us—broadcasting, law, politics—and I’m looking them up on LinkedIn, and they all ended up working in finance or marketing. It’s kind of bumming me out.
We’re doing an interview with a representative from U.S. Bank, which is sponsoring the event. It’s odd.
OK, rotation three! We don’t have any scores or sensible things like that.
Whitney Watson starting Oregon State off on bars. She does the same jaeger-overshoot, full turn-double back that every gymnast still does in 2018. Amanda is trying to tease an upcoming fluff piece and Jim keeps making her wait…
Oh, the big reveal—she’s Jim’s niece! That makes total sense.
Laura-Ann Chong up next doing some fantastic bars just as we’re being told that Oregon State super sucks at bars.
I’ve never been able to verify this, but I believe Laura-Ann is Oregon State’s first ever international gymnast! A pretty cool legacy to have started. Double front and keeps her knees together and a fairy gets its wings.
Kelly Fee is over at beam showing off Stanford’s deeply bizarre leotard while we got a tiny peek at a Washington gymnast in the background!! Wow!!!
Pretty standard but very elegant and precise. The leotard is just so weird though. I think above that shiny strip it’s velvet, but I can’t say for sure. Finishes with a double back, very nice!
Back to Jami Lanz from OSU on bars.
Second Markelov of the meet! I’m so mad those are out of style. Next season I’m going to stand next to bars with a ladder, and every time someone goes for a Jaeger I’ll just shove them over the top.
A familiar face over on beam, future head coach Tabitha Yim.
Her skills were strong, but I had to show you her opening choreo to convey how aggressively and how FAST she moves on beam. It’s almost scary. She was almost ready to start tumbling by the time they’d caught up enough to put her name graphic up. 9.925 is the highest score I’ve seen this meet on beam!
Important facts: Hec Ed has a disco ball hanging over the floor for this meet. What??? Every Washington gymnast in the last decade has been robbed of this experience.
Oh hey, Washington actually has gymnasts whaddya know. This is Canadian Ashley Houghting.
PIKE FULL-IN, AND IT’S GLORIOUS. She just floats. Another 9.925 there!
Hold up, is this what the Oregon State logo used to look like? It looks kind of rabid.
Looks like Stanford’s leading Oregon State by about half a point after three, and UCLA is on the struggle bus.
Tasha Schwikert leading the Bruins off on bars.
Another true Shap, I’ve seen a couple of these today, and I want more. Maloneys are so blasé.
Anna Li FLIES like usual.
Jim feels she was scored a little loosely, but cmon. The judges probably jarred their necks watching the Tkatchev and couldn’t look back down in time for the dismount.
Cal is also a team that exists! Kind of loving this leotard honestly, they’ve really been disavowing the yellow recently. Avery Gee here.
Her choreography is actually just shimmies but she’s smiling so much it works.
UCLA’s Ariana Berlin leads us into rotation five! She’s led all three events so far.
Lots of difficulty on beam; lands her double full dismount in a dead stick with her arms already up.
I’ll be honest, it’s odd to see a whole lineup of open-back UCLA leotards with no visible cupping marks. Jordan Schwikert is following Berlin here.
Oh, so that’s what a side somi is supposed to look like.
We’ve gotten to see a couple of great UW vaults, this one from Ashley Houghting.
What they wouldn’t have given for a few more fulls like this at basically any point in the last five years.
Tabitha Yim is doing floor to an acoustic of Apologize by OneRepublic. D E A D.
Apparently Stanford always has great choreography done by coach Smyth. I’m not sure about that. This one is definitely something, though.
Anna Li up on beam!
She’s as beautiful as expected, though there are some seriously fudged connections. That score means UCLA can drop an early fall.
After five, Stanford is juuuust ahead of UCLA. The gap between the top teams and the others is so huge in the Pac-10 at this point. ASU is vaguely in the same playing field as the top three, but the bottom three are having a rough ride.
Jami Lanz takes the Beavers to floor, opening with some seriously odd choreography.
Her power is tangible in the noise from the floor when she takes off. I can also report that no less than three Washington gymnasts in large knee braces were visible in the background.
Cal had to throw a Yurchenko layout, ruh roh.
Mandi Rodriguez is mysterious and elegant on floor, love this routine.
Tasha Smith follows with We Will Rock You music, in ridiculous contrast.
LOOK AT THE AIR ON THAT. And then she plays some air guitar, which is a huge hit. Actually getting 10 chants; it’s hard to argue with that tumbling. Only a 9.95 today, but gets a hug from a UCLA girl. I really tried to find out which one but it wasn’t to be.
After six, Oregon State is done, with Stanford and UCLA in position to catch. ASU is finished with a 191, and Washington is heading rapidly in that direction too.
Ashley Jenkins is a surprise addition to UCLA’s floor lineup, but she’s a beautiful dancer.
I’m dead serious about the twisting cat leaps, by the way. Learn one and take out your stupid Popa! Lands short on her third pass and puts her hands down. Limping off a bit. That can’t have felt good.
Oh dear, Stanford’s Allyse Ishino looks injured. Landed a solid Yurchenko full, saluted, stepped out and her knee collapsed under her. She needs to be carried off. 9.8 for the vault though, so that’s good I guess…?
Back to UCLA on floor, Jordan Schwikert is trying to help the Bruins keep pace with Stanford on vault. She’s a really gorgeous dancer.
That’s a 9.9 there.
Meanwhile, Stanford is fighting hard to stay ahead on vault. This is Nicole Ourada.
Beautiful technique, but got hit for the chest position.
Anna Li is in her first floor lineup for months after Tasha Schwikert couldn’t compete due to her ankle.
She’s 100% out of bounds on her first pass but doesn’t get called for it, and then flies out on her combo pass. Waller and Kondos-Field having serious talks in the corner as she finishes—they can’t afford the error. I’m not sure what exactly they want to do about it apart from de-injure Tasha.
Yim of Stanford poised to take advantage of the opening.
That’ll do it. 9.875! Tricase follows with a very similar vault, and that should win it for Stanford. Yim also picked up the all around title with a very grown up score of 39.55.
All of the post-meet chatter is profoundly boring. We don’t want to listen to Smyth, honestly.
Just one good line, from Tabitha on her elite days: “When I competed in international, it was just me, so I didn’t really worry if something happened. I mean, it sucks for me.”
We’ll see you next Thursday for even more throwback nonsense. Bye!
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