LIVE BLOG: No. 9 California and No.19 NorCal United at No. 1 Stanford

The second installment of the seven-part California and Stanford regular season series is here, and NorCal United will be joining the fun today too. Stanford had a huge season opening meet last weekend, taking a win over California in Berkley and posting the top score in the country.

The Cardinal will be looking to post another big score at home to try and maintain its No. 1 ranking. Senior Grant Breckenridge led the way last week with an all around performance that has him ranked second in the country, and a trio of freshmen—Ian Gunther, Brody Malone and Blake Wilson—all shined in their freshman debuts. Junior Connor Lewis is also the NCAA’s top floor worker coming into week three. Stanford is ranked first on floor and top four on every event except pommel horse, so watch for horse as a place where Stanford can improve on its opening meet total.

While California scored nearly two points higher last weekend than its 2018 season opening score, it will be looking to increase its score this weekend to stay in contention with the other top teams. Senior Aaron Mah’s high bar routine was California’s highlight from week one while his fellow Canadian teammate, Darren Wong, impressed in the all around in his Golden Bear’s debut. Like Stanford, California’s lowest scoring event last weekend was pommel horse. Look for both teams to push for hit sets and cleaner execution on that event tonight.

NorCal United had a strong start to its second season as a program two weeks ago. Will Ryan led the team of four gymnasts to a strong first meet, with Ryan competing the all around and the team putting up at least two routines on each event except vault, an improvement from last season. Two of the gymnasts on the team are new to the program, so hopefully we will see more routines out of them to help increase NorCal’s team score.

This meet is just one session of the Stanford Open, which includes multiple competitions with different levels of J.O. meets all weekend. On the schedule it says this session includes other elite and “qualifying level 10s” in addition to the NCAA programs, so hopefully we’ll get to see some routines from future collegiate stars on the stream as well!

You can watch along on the stream and hopefully (fingers crossed) we will get some live scores tonight.

Rotation 1: Stanford Floor, California Parallel Bars

Joining midway through the rotation due to some issues with the video stream… But I’m good to go now!

BITNER (Stan): front full to double full stuck, double front small slide back, back 2.5 to punch layout very floaty, solid through the handstands, double full stuck chest down a tad though, triple full dismount a little short on the twists but gets the green flag for the stick bonus

Malone (Stan): double front, double double and puts his hands down, front double full to front full and sits it down, 2.5 to rudi small step to the side, nice wide arm handstand, 1.5 to layout half side pass stuck, dismounts with a high triple full and a step back. Two falls early but rebounded well to finish.

Akash Modi on Vault: kaz 1.5 small step forward. Glad we get to see him compete tonight!

Wang (Cal): many hand adjustments on a handstand, cuts to floor…

Perla (Stan): nice double double, 2.5 to rudi stuck, 1.5 to front full tiny hop, stuck double full side pass, stuck triple full dismount. Good routine to get the Cardinal back on track

Malone scored a 12.000 on floor. I’ll update you all with scores as I get them since the live scores aren’t working for me currently…

Perez (Stan): mounts with a whip half to nice double full, front full to double front small hop, stuck back 2.5 to rudi, double arabian half out stuck but chest low, nice handstand work, side pass is a stuck double full, manwipes to gain some energy, another stuck triple full. Stanford’s got those triple full dismounts down!

Perla 14.700, Bitner, 14.100, Breckenridge 12.550. Live scores are working!

Mah (Cal): we catch the end of his routine. Nice double front dismount that is stuck and fires up his team!

Lewis (Stan): double front pike small hop, 1.5 twisting double back and sits it, front double full to front full small adjustment on the landing, stuck double full side pass, wide arm handstand with some tiny wobbling, 1.5 to stuck front half, stuck 2.5 dismount. Not the triple full but another stuck dismount.

Sadighi (Cal): nice healy, small hand adjustments throughout, slight leg separation on a pirouette, cuts away to show the crowd… we get to see his double pike dismount with a small shuffle back

Gunther (Stan): cuts to the middle of his routine and some good flair work, 1.5 to front layout a little wonky, dismounts with a 2.5 and a large lunge to the side. I believe this is just a routine for his all around score and won’t count towards the floor total

Perez 14.600, Lewis 13.600, Mah 14.100

Looks like we’ll be seeing mostly Stanford on the stream with a sprinkling of Cal when Stanford routines aren’t going. With Oklahoma putting up some huge scores in Norman, Stanford is going to kill it from here on out with those few mistakes counting on floor.

Hopefully we’ll get to see NorCal at some point.

After 1: Stanford 69.550, Cal 66.750, NorCal 34.400

Rotation 2: Stanford Pommel Horse, California High Bar

Bitner (Stan): decent scissor work, swinging well, slight form in the press up to handstand but a solid routine

Allins (Cal): nice layout tkatchev, straddle tkatchev slightly has to work through the giant, nice weiler kip, dismounts with a full twisting double layout small hop forward

Jessen (Stan): nice swinging work, presses and does some pirouetting and falls, remounts and we cut to Modi on parallel bars

Modi: nice bhavsar, beautiful tippelt, full twisting double tuck dismount with a hop forward

Malone (Stan): cleanly through the scissors to swings, some slight leg separations, nice handstand into the dismount

Bitner 12.400, Jessen 12.550

Gunther (Stan): slight hesitation up to handstand, tiny pike in the hips in the swings, clips his leg on the horse and comes off, cut away and we didn’t get to see the finish

Sun (Stan): clean scissors to start, better line in the swinging elements, loses his legs and gets out of rhythm and falls off, remounts and hits a good dismount to finish

Rickard (Cal): dismounts high bar with a full twisting double layout with a small hop

Ringer (Stan): stars off with some scissor to swinging like the rest of the Cardinal, really good extension, falls trying to press to dismount

Crigger (Cal): nice tkatchev, slight form breaks on some pirouetting work, tiny hop back on a full twisting double layout

Breckenridge (Stan): this is for his AA not the team total, starting with swinging, nice extension in the hips, misplaces a hand and comes off, does a few swings into some scissor work, quick press to handstand

Malone 13.550, Gunther 12.550, Sun 12.400, Ringer 12.350

Perez (Stan): AA performance, good travels in his swings, slight leg break before moving into scissors, had to work to press to handstand dismount

Huge cheers in the background for Mah’s high bar routine. Would’ve been nice to see it…

After 2: Stanford 133.000, California 130.500, NorCal 90.200

Scoring only a 63.450 on pommel horse is going to bring down Stanford’s score big time. It was the event it struggled most on last week and it looks like it might be the same story this weekend.

In more positive updates, NorCal put up five scores on floor! Huge for that program!

Rotation 3: Stanford Rings, California Floor

Modi on high bar. Three tkatchevs in a row! And a fourth! Double twisting double layout dismount with a hop forward. Exciting routine!

Wong (Cal): midway through, stuck double full side pass, dismounts with a 2.5 tiny hop

Bitner (Stan): nice straddle planche, tucked yamawaki to piked to straddle sit, wobbly in the handstands, 1.5 twisting double back just a cross step to the side

(Cal): double arabian step forward, 1.5 to stuck double full, 2.5 to tucked front full, cuts to someone falling off high bar on a tkatchev… in the background I see him dismount with a stuck triple full

Malone (Stan): front giant super sturdy, 1.5 twisting double tuck over rotated and flys forward and puts his hands down

Former Cardinal Neff on high bar. Former NCAA champ on the event. Huge yamawaki to geinger, two tkatchev combo, layout tkatchev to mixed grip looks really easy, late on the tak half, small hop on the double twisting double layout dismount

Gunther (Stan): gorgeous straddle planche, super clean lines, nice front and back giants, hop back on the full twisting double layout dismount, easily my favorite event of his

Crigger (Cal): double double a bit low chest on landing, front full to double full some crazy steps at end, super high half in half out, 1.5 to rudi small shuffle, stuck double full side pass with some arm circles, a few arm bends on the press handstand, dismounts with a 2.5 and two steps forward, solid hit routine

Breckenridge (Stan): straddle planche, L-sit, tucked and piked yamawakis, slow press to handstand, tiniest of wobbles in the handstands, 1.5 twisting double tuck dismount small hop

Stanford seems to be getting back on track on rings

Mah (Cal): legs buckled on a double full punch into something and he musters around a front tuck, rebounds with a nice 1.5 to rudi, wide arm handstand done nicely, stuck double full, manwipes for strength, tiny hop on the 2.5 dismount

Lee (Stan): nice straight body planche, follows with an equally nice straddle planche, moves into an L-sit to handstand, slightest movements in the handstands, stuck full twisting double layout dismount, Stanford needed that

Gunther 14.000, Breckenridge 13.850, Bitner 13.500, Malone 12.700, Mah 13.750, Wong 14.300, Crigger 13.100

(Stan): AA performance, slightly crooked straddle planche, piked and tucked yamawakis, L-sit held solidly, stuck double double dismount

Lee 14.300

After 3: Stanford 202.100, Cal 198.600, NorCal 115.900

That was a big routine for Breckenridge to get back into a groove after two misses in his first two routines. As the senior leader for this team, if he’s hitting the team will likely follow, as demonstrated by those two hit routines on rings after his.

Cal put together a solid performance on floor. Even with the Mah’s slight mistake he still got a decent score and they were able to hit a 68.100 on the event.

Rotation 4: Stanford Vault, California Pommel Horse

Weiss (Stan): nice kaz full with a hop back

Breckenridge (Stan): yurchenko double, clean in the air just a hop back

Lewis (Stan): kaz 1.5, a little bit of knees in the air and just a hop forward, good hits so far for Stanford

Breckenridge 13.950, Weiss 13.900

Modi on floor. Double front pike, 2.5 to front full, front double full to layout half, he’s moving so so so quickly.

Malone (Stan): another kaz 1.5, hop to the side but just stays inside the lines

Modi double full side pass stuck, triple full dismount with a slide back.

Wong (Cal): beautiful pirouette and dismount on horse, looks super pleased

Perez (Stan): kaz 1.5, near stick just a tiny hop forward, slight legs in the air

Malone 14.550, Lewis 14.500

Perla (Stan): kaz 1.5 again, crooked on the takeoff and steps OOB on the landing, a bit of bent knees in the flight as well

Gunther (Stan): AA performance, kaz full, good form in the air, short on the landing and the mat moves a bit and causes an extra hop or two

Perez 14.200, Perla 14.100, Wong 13.650

Bitner (Stan): AA performance, kaz full, chest low on landing with a small adjustment

Stanford puts up a 71.300 on vault, a much improved performance than the first three rotations. A stuck landing or two would’ve been nice though and just elevated that score to the next level.

After 4: Stanford 273.400, California 261.200, NorCal 167.950

Wong was the highlight for the Golden Bears on horse but the 62.600 total on that event hurts.

NorCal put up five gymnasts on rings!

Rotation 5: Stanford Parallel Bars, California Rings

Malone (Stan): short on peach to handstand, slow uprise on the tippelt, nice healy, nice pirouettes, small hop on the double pike, solid hit first routine

Gunther (Stan): quick tippelt, cuts to Modi dismounting pommel horse, Gunther dismounts with a half-in double back out with a small hop, I like the unique dismount, much more interesting than the typical double pike

Malone 13.600

Bitner (Stan): nice swinging to open, off on the healy and hits his leg on the bar, regroups, slight bobble on the tippelt, double pike small hop, rebounded well from the early mistake

Gunther, 13.900, Bitner 12.350

Breckenridge (Stan): slightly short on the opening handstand, clean healy, short on the next handstand, swings through nicely to a L-sit, tiny hop on the double pike, looks like he knows he should’ve stuck that

Lee (Stan): muscles through the healy after being off direction, does two of the inbar back somersaults and does them well, double pike dismount and landed a bit on his heels and takes a big hop back

Breckenridge 14.200, Lee 13.300

Sun (Stan): beautiful healy, misses his hand on a pirouette and comes off just as the commentators praise him for being such a good parallel bars worker, the broadcasters jinx at its finest, repeats the skill, smooth work after, sticks the double pike, probably will be disappointed with that set

Sun 13.550

I guess we’re completely ignoring Cal on the stream now…

Perez (Stan): AA performance, nice pirouette into a Suarez, nice peach, another half in double back out dismount, chest a little low but bonus points from me for uniqueness

After 5: Stanford 341.950, California 327.850, NorCal 226.600

Five vaults from NorCal!

Plate comes up big for California breaking the 14.000 barrier for an otherwise average rotation.

If Stanford can get close to a 70.000 in this last rotation, beating its score from last week could happen. Unfortunately high bar isn’t known for its high scoring, but hopefully the gymnasts prove me wrong!

Rotation 6: Stanford High Bar, California Vault

Jessen (Stan): we cut to the routine in the middle of a full twising Kovacs which goes well, hitting most of his handstands, falls short on the full twisting double layout, not enough rotation

Bitner (Stan): good yamawaki, layout tkatchev, straddle tkatchev, both one nicely, clean stalder and endo work, dismounts with a stuck full twisting double layout, great routine to bounce back from Jessen’s fall

Gunther (Stan): opens with a front giant full, straddle tkatchev done well, repeats but catches in mixed grip, a few endos done well, stumbles back on his full twisting double layout dismount

Bitner 13.150, Jessen 12.350, Gunther 12.900

Perez (Stan): yamawaki to geinger combo to open, great one armed giant, straddle tkatchev caught a tad close, endo hits the handstand, double twisting double layout dismount with a small hop, he twists so fast

Malone (Stan): classic yamawaki to open, full twisting Kovacs done great but then falls on a layout tkatchev, too far from the bar, repeats it and is too far again and misses, doesn’t try a third time, good endo, good tak half, double twisting double layout dismount just a small hop

Breckenridge (Stan): giant yamawaki to geinger combo to open, layout tkatchev, straddle tkatchev caught in mixed grip, tak full and actually hits the handstand, legs separate on the tak half, full twisting double layout dismount, small hop, also a decent amount of piking

Barrett (Stan): exhibition performance, tak half and missed handstand, falls on a layout full twisting Kovacs, caught too close, continues to lay down and the staff goes over to tend to him, all the other events were finished so all the attention was on him, gets up and is chalking so I think we’ll get to see him finish, thankful he’s not injured! Does the tucked version and catches great, beautiful pirouetting work and sticks the full twisting double layout dismount. So great to see him not only healthy after that fall but also put together an impressive second half of that set!

Final Scores: Stanford 406.300, California 395.750, NorCal United 284.400

Surely not the performance Stanford wanted today, but showed how the guys will need to rebound after the inevitable missed routines. With the giant 418+ Oklahoma put up earlier today, Stanford will certainly lose its No. 1 ranking, but once Stanford is fully healthy and has all its guys back in the lineup the Cardinal will contend to be that team to upset the Sooners.

Having not gotten to watch much of California, especially the entire second half of its meet (live stream problems, sigh), I can’t fully comment on its season prospects. But, from the routines I did see it looked like mistakes were holding them back from getting the high scores. The talent is there. Once they start cleaning everything up as the season progresses, California’s scores will surely build.

Unfortunately we didn’t get to see any NorCal, but from the live scores I am very impressed! The team was able to put up almost a full meet of routines, which is a big improvement from not only two weeks ago but I’d bet it’s the most routines the program has ever put up. I’ll have to double check that last fact though, I’m possibly just a little hyped for NorCal United.

Thanks for staying up late with me!

The live scores aren’t working right now (of course), so to see full results including event winners, click here!

Live blog by Brandis Heffner

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