I’m back in Pauley Pavilion for the third big meet of the 2019 season! Are we exhausted yet? It’s been a fairly serious two hours since season started.
We got a good look at the UCLA Bruins at their intrasquad last month where they scored a moderately legitimate, low 197 (in a modified format) with several critical routines sitting out. Today they’ll hope to bring Kyla Ross and Katelyn Ohashi back to the beam lineup and debut Margzetta Frazier’s double twisting Yurchenko on vault to pad that total a little. There are other possibilities too—Grace Glenn is in routine shape on bars and could finally make her long-awaited debut there, for one—but don’t expect the Bruins to stray too far from the routines that won nationals, as Nebraska is the only real challenge of their very straightforward home meet lineup.
Nebraska also had a strong intrasquad and has looked steady and polished through preseason, but it has had a tumultuous few months between the sudden retirement of former head coach Dan Kendig and two long term injuries to Kynsee Roby and Catelyn Orel. (Orel hopes to return for postseason while Roby is expected to redshirt.) The Huskers still have plenty to work with—they bring in a strong freshman class, and junior Taylor Houchin should return to the all around with a bang. But they haven’t scored over 196.000 in a season opener since 2014, so they’ll have to overcome old habits as well as injuries to put pressure on UCLA today.
— College Gym News (@collegegymnews_) January 5, 2019
Okay, I watched a lot of warm ups. Here are the highlights:
- In tentative lineups, Grace Glenn is in the same vault/bars/beam spot that her sister usually occupies, while Anna Glenn is only up on bars.
- Margzetta Frazier is only up on bars but warmed up with a vengeance on floor, I would be aggressively unshocked to see a late change there.
- Taylor Houchin is BACK on floor and joins Crouse and Schweihofer in the all around. All three showed off some pretty monstrous tumbling.
- Macy Toronjo looks like the first alt on bars, Madison Kocian on beam, Norah Flatley on floor for the Bruins.
- Sienna Crouse had some struggles landing her Yurchenko one and a half. We’ll see how it goes in comp.
Just got handed a new lineup sheet for UCLA. Gracie Kramer is out of vault, Kendal Poston goes in.
— Rebecca Scally (@rebeccakscally) January 5, 2019
Gonna go ahead and stick my own tweet in here and pretend I’m being multimedia.
— Nebraska Women's Gym (@HuskersWGym) January 5, 2019
Tonight's UCLA lineup for the 2019 season opener vs. Nebraska.
— UCLA Gymnastics (@uclagymnastics) January 5, 2019
I’m not totally over Grace vaulting but she is wearing tiger paws that say “Grace Glenn” so who am I to argue?
ROTATION 1: UCLA VAULT, NEBRASKA BARS
DENNIS – UCLA: Yurchenko one and a half, way forward, just barely avoids putting a knee down. Two big steps will hurt that score, overrotation aside.
HARGROVE – NEBRASKA: First handstand just a touch short, great Ray. Missing the handstands. Stalder, late and has to push back up, to beautiful Pak. Another slow Stalder to double back with a step forward. Good start.
G. GLENN – UCLA: Pretty full, solid amplitude, I think two big steps back. Really exciting debut for her!
VERCELES CARR – NEBRASKA: Waaay short on a HB handstand, pretty pike Jaeger. Blind full to double back, chest a touch down and hop forward.
TRATZ – UCLA: FTY high and flared, hop straight back. Definitely one of the better ones I’ve seen her do.
Um wait, something’s happening with the UCLA coaches. Could be wrong but I think Poston is being pulled in favor of Flatley, presumably to avoid counting a fall.
I completely missed Adnerys De Jesus’s collegiate debut in the middle of a very intense conference between all three UCLA coaches and what I assume is the head judge. I hear the change they’re trying to make isn’t super allowed? Very interesting. UCLA’s dancing while they sort it all out. De Jesus got a 9.725, I caught a really good double Arabian dismount at the end.
Norah just noticed herself on the megatron and screeched “IT’S ME” and started waving. So she’s not overly stressed by the delay.
FLATLEY – UCLA: Solid FTY. Nothing special with a skitter back but does the job and isn’t a fall.
SCHWEIHOFER – NEBRASKA: Blind change to pike Jaeger, the good kind with the arms flung back, to either a very high overshoot or a very short bail. Double layout is piked in the first salto but stuck. Best one yet.
ROSS – UCLA: Would kind of expect her to go back to her full to reduce risk here. We’ll see. NO ONE AND A HALF AND STUCK FREAKING DEAD OH MY GOD. A bunch of 10.0 signs materialized in the crown. One judge did go 10 and I totally thought the other one did too but apparently not. Oh well still. Poor Sienna doing bars as the arena explodes.
CROUSE – NEBRASKA: Clear hip to Gienger to weird overshoot thing. It really bugs me when they go to 135 like that… Good dismount.
HANO – UCLA: One and a half with a medium pace forward, her normal. 9.9 is fine.
HOUCHIN – NEBRASKA: I literally can’t see over UCLA jumping up and down. Nailed the handstands. There was other stuff that happened and I definitely believe the 9.925 that just went up, but I couldn’t see it.
Kramer in exhibition for UCLA. Goes for the tuck one and a half, soft elbows onto the table and sits it. Who’s surprised?
UCLA 49.175 – NEBRASKA 49.05
Solid start for both teams. Nebraska had some handstand issues off the top but the Schwei-Houchin-Crouse power trio is just so beast. UCLA… uhh yeah. It’s a mystery to me too.
Really excited for Nebraska on vault, we’ve seen a massive amount of potential in preseason. UCLA on bars is its own thing. I can tell you Macy Toronjo is in grips, if she does end up exhibitioning I’ll try and catch it for the insta story.
ROTATION 2: NEBRASKA VAULT, UCLA BARS
VERCELES CARR – NEBRASKA: Coach Brink started the team rhythmically clapping to encourage her which might work or might be unnerving. A little flat off the table, lands an FTY low with a step forward. Solid start.
FRAZIER – UCLA: Maloney to Pak, gorgeous. Right on top of her handstands, well maybe a bit shy on that one. Double layout is great, pops forward onto her toes to hold onto the stick. Fantastic collegiate debut!
QUINN – NEBRASKA: Much better full. Quick, big pop off the table and stunning in the air with a hop straight back. Lots of promise in that one.
A. GLENN – UCLA: Blind to Jaeger, lovely as always. Touch shy on one handstand, great Pak, cast half turn, blind full turn a little late to double back stuck dead.
DE JESUS – NEBRASKA: Let me actually watch her do gymnastics this time haha. Yurchenko one and a half, knees ever so slightly soft and feels off line from this angle but it’s hard to tell. Really secure landing though with a hop forward.
FLATLEY – UCLA: Weird construction still… giant to blind to Jaeger. Toe on to bail is nice, missed another handstand on the high bar, double layout gorgeous in the air with a little step forward. Nice settled routine after the chaos of her first routine as a Bruin.
SCHWEIHOFER – NEBRASKA: Yurchenko full, twisted onto the table, lands with the utmost drama and tries to hold onto the stick but her weight is forward.
G. GLENN – UCLA: This routine is massively anticipated. Blind to Jaeger, turnover on the release is like nothing else currently in the NCAA. Pak and… she must have missed a hand, peels off as she tries to kip out of it. She’s smiling. Might have missed a skill when she remounted… double layout is beautiful with a few quick steps back.
CROUSE – NEBRASKA: Oh, you tricky thing. All that struggle in meet warm ups and she basically sticks it here. Stunner of a vault.
ADDENDUM: I later saw that the score of this was 9.8 so something untoward must have happened, it looked fine from here haha
KOCIAN – UCLA: Just feels a little off her rhythm… handstands not quite there, I saw some feet in her Pak, but great stick on the dismount. Ten hands going up but it ain’t happening.
HOUCHIN – NEBRASKA: Yurchenko double is MASSIVE, off to one side with a side step but really can’t overstate the amplitude on that.
ROSS – UCLA: I know this routine so well that I watch it with a checklist of things that could potentially go wrong. Today the bail is fine, no leg split on the Maloney, the tiniest step back on her double lay.
Johnston in exhibition for Nebraska on vault. It’s okay, a Yurchenko full with major straddle onto the table but she lands it.
Toronjo had some handstand stuff on bars, it’s not quite lineup ready but I appreciate seeing her.
UCLA 98.375 – NEBRASKA 97.85
The fall from Glenn there is a huge bummer but she had a great start anyway. UCLA also struggling just a touch on the handstands, and Kocian not quite herself today. Glad that the judges knew what to do with that, as much as I like home tens. Nebraska was okay not amazing on vault, but it’s not letting the Bruins run away with this.
ROTATION 3: UCLA BEAM, NEBRASKA FLOOR
G. GLENN – UCLA: Flic loso, the usual. Front aerial to split ain’t no thing, I love that she has an attitude half turn in there. Switch split, full turn to front scale, tiny hop on dismount.
JOHNSTON – NEBRASKA: Missed the first pass, whip half front full with a big step. The choreo is adorable. Switch half to Popa, double back stuck dead to close.
NGUYEN – UCLA: Full turn, front aerial to LOSO is a touch slow but I don’t think it will get discredited. Switch split fine, split 3/4. I find her really relaxing to watch. Front full dismount and hops her heels together.
DE JESUS – NEBRASKA: This routine is ultra quirky. There are some odd “uh” sounds in the beginnint that it took me a while to wor out were intentional… Triple twist?! with crossed legs. Again, it’s actually a guy saying “uh.” She’s got great presence, winked at the team. Double pike is loooow with a step forward. She’s having a fantastic first meet as a Husker, though.
FLATLEY – UCLA: Hit acro series, good side aerial and shows off her control on the landing. She was missing that in meet warm up, glad it came out clean today. Switch ring to beat jump nailed, bhs to 3/2 dismount gorgeous with a hop forward.
HASSEL – NEBRASKA: Front double twist, seems startled by the landing but figured it out. One and a half punch front tuck, deep… kinda think that was meant to be something else and she missed the punch. Switch half wolf full and backward rolls straight into choreo. Rudi to huge straddle jump. Really nice!
DENNIS – UCLA: I can’t see anything and they’re not putting it on the megatron. Oh, check on the front aerial… has to take a step out of the series. Thank you, megatron. Her switch half is just so good. Double twist not quite a stick but she pretends really hard.
SCHWEIHOFER – NEBRASKA: Full in, just a little back on that whole pass and steps forward but it wasn’t a disaster. Front lay to Rudi and a hop to lunge. Hit leap series, double back rebounds forward. Just needs a bit more energy throughout… she looks gassed, I wonder if she has the same cold I do.
ROSS – UCLA: Flic loso, pulls her front foot up off the beam but gets it back under control easily. Switch split is airy, full turn in a baby arabesque which I LOVE. Aerial to beat is great, side aerial back full stuck. Really strong one.
I love that moment when a team is watching their opponent and they all realize at the same time that they’re not supposed to do that and there’s a random burst of “GO ___” into the silence.
CROUSE – NEBRASKA: Front double full to “just” layout today, the front full she’s been training looked great in warm up but I understand not taking the risk. One and a half to Barani, jumps straight up, kinda feels like she was supposed to do something in the air there. Switch side Popa starts strong and fades a little in the middle. Rudi to LOSO and the landing is pitch perfect. Good one!
OHASHI – UCLA: Full turn, two bhs to a layout that can’t decide if it’s a step out or two foot. Great choreography, though. Front aerial to … bhs loso back full? All the acro in a row there.
HOUCHIN – NEBRASKA: Pike full in is glorious in the air, steps out of bounds. The gasps in this floor music are spectacular. One and a half front lay to stag… stag jumps out of tumbling passes are so underrotated. Switch ring to tour jete half, double pike a touch under with a step forward.
Madison Kocian and Sarah Hargrove in exhibition.
UCLA 147.7 – NEBRASKA 146.725
UCLA pulling away with a UCLA-okay beam routine. Nebraska had an awful lot of underrotations there… could be underconditioning, more likely first meet nerves. That’s how it goes sometimes.
ROTATION 4 – NEBRASKA BEAM, UCLA FLOOR
CURTIS – NEBRASKA: Wolf jump punch front is really creative. Flic layout really pretty, thought she was going for a wolf turn adn then she didn’t so creds on that. Full turn, switch leap series and…. lands with her feet crossed and falls? What. One and a half dismount stuck-ish.
DENNIS – UCLA: NAILS the pike full in. She’s got a fair amount to prove this routine after being pulled for inconsistency at points in 2018 and then going 10 at Meet the Bruins. Hop and a step forward out of her combo pass, leaps are just absurdly massive. The faces in this routine are gold. Double back, almost rebounds, manages to keep it mostly under control. She’s still got to figure out what to do with some of that excess power but she’s doing a lot better.
VERCELES CARR – NEBRASKA: Beam music is Love on Top and she’s kind of rocking it. Leap series is really nice, full turn, flic loso with a step back but stays in line. Split to split 3/4 is a beauty. One and a half dismount with a little hop.
KRAMER – UCLA: This might be the strongest choreography of the year. Front double full front pike is great, little bounce into her lunge. One and a half front layout, same almost perfect landing. Rudi to arch jump, her closing choreo is extremely perfect.
CROUSE – NEBRASKA: Pretty pretty acro series, switch to straddle quarter super secure. Orphan beat jump into choreography, kickover front nailed. Gainer pike full with a little hop. Ultra steady throughout, which isn’t always her thing, so good for her.
ROSS – UCLA: This is a frontrunner for favorite floor music of the year. Whip double back just hangs in the air, one and a half front lay is gorgeous. The improvements in her tumbling since freshman year are ridiculous. Double pike, chest just a touuuuch low but it’s not a problem, back extension roll into ending pose. Love this routine already.
SCHWEIHOFER – NEBRASKA: bhs two foot layout is okay, step back. Switch switch half just short on splits. Double twist dismount flared out, spots and sticks it gloriously.
TRATZ – UCLA: This is also a strong floor music. She has a knack of landing her full in on her toes… a little funky but she gets it done. Last skill in her combo pass was half tucked, I think accidentally? Double back just a little cowboyed but good landing. Crowd is deeply in love with this one.
HOUCHIN – NEBRASKA: Side split mount is lovely, flic loso perfect. Front aerial nice and airy, she’s got some great funky choreography here. Cat leap side aerial great, floaty double twist dismount with a step back. One of the best routines of Nebraska’s meet.
HANO – UCLA: Double lay, cleaner than I’ve seen before. One and a half tuck barani to running jump, this choreo is wild and fascinating and so her. Tour jete 1/2 wolf 1/1 underrotated but honestly, who actually takes those on floor, double pike… looked fine in the air but rebounds forward onto her hands. That was odd.
HASSLER – NEBRASKA: Cool mount series. Flic loso really steady, front aerial with a flicker of a check but arrests it. Sheep jump is… not. One and a half dismount with a little step back.
OHASHI – UCLA: The big one, duh. Straight double layout, no split leg today, but it’s gorgeous. Massive combo pass that I couldn’t track. Ugh, this is so good. The faces alone. Switch ring switch half. Ends with the ending of her MJ routine last year.
Hargrove exhibitioned beam for Nebraska and fell. Flatley rocked it for UCLA. And Frazier up in second exhibition, lol. Scoot back on her second pass but otherwise really strong. She must have had a wild practice week, I can’t imagine how this ends up out of lineup otherwise.
That's UCLA's first time hitting 197 in a season opener since 2005.
— BalanceBeamSituation (@TheBBSituation) January 5, 2019
FINAL: UCLA 197.250 – Nebraska 195.700
AA: Kyla Ross 39.65
Vault: Kyla Ross 9.975
Bars: Taylor Houchin 9.925
Beam: Katelyn Ohashi 9.900
Floor: Kyla Ross, Gracie Kramer, Katelyn Ohashi 9.950
Okay, gotta run to press. Expect a wrap up tomorrow. Thanks for following along, and welcome to 2019 season!!
Live blog by Rebecca Scally
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