This meet’s narratives are likely to be more exciting than the actual contest, given that UCLA’s season low score is still higher than Utah’s average. (The fact that that can be true given they’re ranked only two spots apart really hammers in just how much better the top three teams are compared to the rest of the field this year.)
That said, Utah is INCREDIBLY consistent this year, with only a three tenth scoring range across all eight meets while UCLA might be due for a meltdown. These Utes are a far better squad than the one that defeated UCLA in Pauley last February after UCLA forgot where the lines were on floor. In fact, the last time UCLA defeated Utah in a dual meet was in 2016, and that was only a matter of a quarter tenth.
We’re bound to get some good rivalry fluff out of this meet, and we’ll also be watching the behavior of the sometimes-feisty Utah crowd that booed UCLA memorably in 2017. We’ll also be watching MyKayla Skinner’s vault scores since there have been some Feelings about those recently, not least from Skinner herself.
Tratz in for Dennis on UCLA floor, Toronjo in for Dennis on bars.
ROTATION 1: UTAH VAULT, UCLA BARS
LEE – UTAH: Soft on the table on her full, solid in the air with a big hop back. 9.8
FRAZIER – UCLA: Maloney to Pak, catches a little close, I can’t tell anything about her handstands. Van Leeuwen great, double lay STUCK. 9.875
ROBERTS – UTAH: Nice full, piked down a touch, smaller hop back but more amplitude than Lee. 9.825
HANO – UCLA: Ray to overshoot, think that’s the best I’ve seen from her, still a leg flicker but catches at the right distance on both. Blind full, loses form a touch in the handstand, to double back with a small hop. 9.8
BURCH – UTAH: Low off the table with leg split, but stuck dead. Nice. 9.85
TORONJO – UCLA: Toe to Ray, way close as usual, solid bail. Double lay with a hop back. Again, can’t see handstands but wouldn’t be a shock if there were some there. 9.85
MERRELL-GILES – UTAH: Blocks so far back she almost falls off the table but HUGE with a little knees at the end and a stick. 9.95
FLATLEY – UCLA: Eagle to Jaeger, could have caught it a little cleaner, toe on to bail. Think that handstand was short, double lay with a tiny hop. Really pretty. 9.925
SKINNER – UTAH: Twisting on hard as usual, low but twists ridiculously fast. Hop back. 9.925. Good, I’d have been mad if that went over MMG.
KOCIAN – UCLA: Nailed the first handstand, Chow to Pak, keeping her leg form tidy today, no leg splits. FTDB STUCK, up on her toes. 9.95 is about right.
TESSEN – UTAH: Going for the one and a half and it’s good. Not absolutely massive but technically solid, lands with legs wide as usual with a step back.
ROSS – UCLA: Maloney to bail to toe shoot, the usual, double lay stuck. I should probably just start copying and pasting my descriptions of this routine, it’s ridiculous. 10!!!
UCLA 49.550 – UTAH 49.450
DEAD silence from the SLC crowd after that 10 from Ross. Great back halfs from both teams, but the Bruins were cleaner. This should be fascinating.
That said, UCLA needs to sort out its top half on bars. Love Hano and Toronjo but neither of them should be there by post, and Kooyman isn’t the answer either. I’d take two of Dennis Glenn Glenn… but who knows who will be ready.
UCLA vault seems to be the event that’s making the difference. If it gets through this rotation clean, it’s hard to imagine Utah having a chance in the back half.
ROTATION 2: UCLA VAULT, UTAH BARS
OHASHI – UCLA: Nice full, step back. Thought she was going to stick it for a second. It’s good, but not extraordinary. 9.8
LEE – UTAH: Great first handstand, blind to pike Jaeger to overshoot fantastic. Blind to half to double back and a hop forward. Really solid start. 9.825
HANO – UCLA: One and a half, one of her cleaner ones in terms of knees, stuck-ish with a pull-heels-together shift. 9.95
DULA – UTAH: Blind to Jaeger, bit of knees, her toe point is great but handstands can be problematic, not that I can actually see from here. Stalder feels late to double back stuck. 9.85
WRIGHT – UCLA: Ooh, tucked pretty heavily, that’s not usual for her. Cross step back. 9.85
TESSEN – UTAH: Jaeger solid, catches it late as usual, good bail, FTDB dismount with a step back. Really solid. 9.875
DENNIS – UCLA: Happy birthday! Goes for the stick on her full, has to take a little step back and you can see her go AWWWW. It’s just crazy though, best full in the country in my book. 9.85
MERRELL-GILES – UTAH: Whoa, overrotates her Deltchev and catches it half sideways. Super wild. Swings out of it fine, bail, FTDB with a big step back. 9.875
ROSS – UCLA: Splits on the table a little bit, not her usual style, quick hop back. 9.925 probably a touch high.
REINSTADTLER – UTAH: Toe blind, half sideways, Jaeger. FTDB WILD in the air with two steps back. 9.85
Everyone’s doing uncharacteristic form things today. Super weird.
TRATZ – UCLA: The camera cut away from her as she landed what?? Really pretty full, very close to a stick but slightly forward, hops to salute. 9.85
SKINNER – UTAH: Ray, elbows a little bent, good bail. Short on a handstand, FTDB with flexed feet and pops onto her toes to hold the stick. 9.95
UCLA 98.975 – UTAH 98.850
Fascinating. Utah’s keeping this close. Lots of uncharacteristic flickers there—MMG’s Deltchev was wild, Reinstadtler’s dismount, Ross’ leg split on her block, Wright losing her leg form. Scoring’s starting to waver as well but the overall standing is still correct.
ROTATION 3: UTAH BEAM, UCLA FLOOR
LEE – UTAH: Still not over that cartwheel over the beam, I just love it. BHS LOSO good, switch straddle quarter. Hitch kick side aerial back full stuck! Fantastic start. 9.825 is loooow. Pause deduction 🙁
FRAZIER – UCLA: Full in, lands staggered, hops to lunge okay. Sekai Wright is still the sideline dancing GOAT. Whip thru double back fantastic, double pike landed slightly awkwardly. 9.85
Ooooh they’re playing the “Please respect all participants” reminder after that.
LOL Jim tried the death drop once at home on his bed.
BURCH – UTAH: BHS LOSO, missed her leaps,knee bend on her front aerial. Gainer full stuck. Looks PSYCHED to have survived that. 9.875 is high.
KRAMER – UCLA: Front double full punch front FANTASTIC. Love watching her hair fall apart as this routines goes on. One and a half front lay solid, switch side Popa, Rudi to arch jump. One of her best, but I feel like I say that every week now. 9.9
SOLOSKI – UTAH: Girl WHAT is your choreo? Front to back series, nailed it. Switch half is WAY short, full turn, switch split short of splits again. Front full with a hop. 9.825
TRATZ – UCLA: Full in, a little under, step forward. One and a half front full great, almost stuck. Double back, feel like her chest’s a little low but the lunge is fine. 9.875
RANDALL – UTAH: Full turn, BHS LOSO with knees and it’s tentative. Beat to sheep, doesn’t look like it’s close enough and legs way apart. switch to split short of splits AGAIN. Rulfova, catches it short of rotation and looks like it hurts. Double full dismount stuck. 9.875
ROSS – UCLA: Whip double back, that pass is just massive, TV doesn’t do it justice. One and a half front lay, switch half Popa to shush. LOVE the hip pop before her last pass. Double pike great. Ohashi rocking out in the corner behind her. One of her best. 9.9
MERRELL-GILES – UTAH: Switch split, thank goodness, we’ve got someone who can do a split. BHS BHS LOSO with a touch of knees, foot shift to hang on, front aerial with another little adjustment. Full turn, weird moment on her choreo, one and a half twist with a big hop. 9.85
HANO – UCLA: Double lay, hop to lunge, making the managers wait to move the mat out from under her, one and a half Barani. The swim is just so cute. Tour jete half wolf full, double pike solid. Really good. 9.9
SKINNER – UTAH: BHS LOSO with craaaazy legs even by her standards. Side aerial to sissone, full turn, switch to straddle. Double back stuck. Really solid. 9.95
“I like to make one big mistake every broadcast to keep that live feel.” LOVE YOU JIM.
OHASHI – UCLA: Touch under on her split leg DLO, hops to lunge and it’s okay but bit of an ankle sting. Nailed the first combo pass, Miss Val is already clapping on the beat to set her up. Switch ring switch half. One and a half Barani split drop. Solid. 9.925
UCLA 148.475 – UTAH 148.225
By far the most confident beam rotation of the year for the Utes. Still got some series knees and a lot of split positions to sort out, but improvement. UCLA had some pretty questionable landings on first passes but still pretty close to the rotation we’ve come to expect.
ROTATION 4: UCLA BEAM, UTAH FLOOR
G. GLENN – UCLA: BHS LOSO, one leg swings weirdly wide but hangs on. Oh my god the group of fans at the end of the beam all brought NEWSPAPERS to read while UCLA is on beam to really hammer in how little they care. Gainer full stuck.
ROBERTS – UTAH: Front layout to Rudi, big lunge, double pike, I’m sorry I’m still on the newspapers. 9.875
NGUYEN – UCLA: Switch split beat. Front aerial LOSO, maybe a touch tentative but gets through it, sideways split half fine. Really solid. 9.9!!
LEE – UTAH: Two and a half twist big and gorgeous. Switch switch half ring, front lay front full, think the landing was okay but what we’re actually looking at is Adrienne Randall’s shoulder so who really knows. The video has been pretty wacky today. Double full to LOSO solid. 9.9!
KOCIAN – UCLA: BHS LOSO, bit of knees, slight hip break. Front aerial, another hip break and off. Aerial to split, switch split really pretty, double full with a hop. 9.225
RANDALL – UTAH: Full in comes in LOW and hops back. Switch side Popa. One and a half front lay great, double pike also short OUCH her ankles. 9.775
FLATLEY – UCLA: Aerial LOSO, bit of knees and adjusts the back foot, side aerial and I looove how she milks that landing. L turn to two leaps, is that new? Running Rudi dismount YAS. So much better than the BHS one and a half that barely cleared the beam. Little hop. 9.9
SOLOSKI – UTAH: DLO, usual slight crunch in the air but great landing, switch half. Double full beauuuutiful, one and a half front lay solid. 9.925
ROSS – UTAH: Love that they’ve changed the camera angle so we can’t see the newspapers any more. BHS LOSO STUNNING, better than her usual I think, arms out like she’s flying. Aerial to sissone, full split which can be a sticking point, arabesque turn, side aerial back full with a slight lean. It was a 10 up until there. 9.95
MERRELL-GILES – UTAH: Pike full, DEEP and stepped out. Flag up. Pretty leaps, I’ll miss those next year on a team that can struggle with them. One and a half, missed the punch, got her front lay half tucked but couldn’t get the third salto. Rudi to split, flies. Good fight. 9.725
OHASHI – UCLA: Full turn, front aerial… misses it but she’s okay, front aerial BHS LOSO. I swear she does a different routine every week. Switch split, BHS LOSO back full with a small hop. That should finish it for the Bruins. Now it’s down to the AA…
SKINNER – UTAH: Double double, pulls the front foot, tour jete full underrotated. One and a half to double full. Resting clearly did her good. Full in, solid. 9.925.
FINAL: UCLA 198.025 – UTAH 197.625
Results were all mostly correct. Now we’re in for weeks of newspaper discourse. Have fun, guys.
VAULT: Merrell-Giles, Hano 9.950
BARS: Ross 10.000
BEAM: Skinner, Ross 9.950
FLOOR: Soloski, Skinner, Ohashi 9.925
AA: Ross 39.775
Live blog by Rebecca Scally
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