LIVE BLOG: NCAA Nationals Semifinal One With No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 LSU, No. 5 Utah and No. 6 Michigan

GUYS IT’S HAPPENING. This is the third-to-last time we’re all going to sit down and watch gymnastics for the 2019 season, which is a little frightening.

Mathematically, this semifinal might be the most interesting . Having No. 5 and No. 6 in the same half of the draw was a totally predictable twist to the new postseason format, but it does mean that this meet could get very interesting. That said, it could also… just not. UCLA and LSU cruising to high 197s while the other two never really contend is a real possibility. I mention this because I really WANT it to be interesting, but I feel that expecting it is just tempting fate.

UCLA and LSU both start on events that can get scary, so I expect we’ll know within the first 20 minutes whether we’ve got a fight on our hands.

Here are our rotations.

Session One
Vault Bars Beam Floor
Rotation One UCLA

Alex Hyland (UK)


Sabrina Garcia (PSU)


Brooke Kelly (Miz)


Sienna Crouse (Neb)

Rotation Two Utah

Sienna Crouse (Neb)


Alex Hyland (UK)


Jessie Bastardi (PSU)


Sidney Dukes (UK)

Rotation Three LSU

Milan Clausi (Cal)


Sienna Crouse (Neb)


Alex Hyland (UK)


Abby Armbrecht (Ala)

Rotation Four Michigan

Taylor Houchin (Neb)


Cally Nixon (UK)


Sienna Crouse (Neb)


Alex Hyland (UK)


UCLA, Penn State and LSU all in new leotards. UCLA’s is… a blue version of an OU leotard, basically. TOO MUCH. LSU looks like it’s wearing a long sleeved version of its warm up, with a gold criss cross back and “LSU” in large text on the front. Penn State is blue ombre and looks great.

DENNIS – UCLA: Normal full, hop back. 9.80

WRIGHT – UCLA: Great one a half, stretched in the air, midsize step forward. 9.7625

TRATZ – UCLA: Nailed the FTY, ROAR from the UCLA section. 9.85

HANO – UCLA: One and a half, couldn’t see the landing but the fans were very into it. 9.875

ROSS – UCLA: One and a half, pulls her heels together, ten hands from half the arena. 9.95

KRAMER – UCLA: One and a half with a big cross step. About as good as that one’s getting. 9.8125

HYLAND – UK: Full stuck DEAD. Amazing. 9.8625

HEISKELL – UM: Tkachev, a bit low, gorgeous pak to switch kip. Her Pak is one of the abbsolute greats. 1/1 to double back, little hop back. 9.800

MARIANI – UM: Clear hip to Tkachev, huge, not quite enough counter but it’s fine. Solid bail, FTDB stuck-ish. 9.8625

BRENNER – UM: Blind to Jaeger, not the best position, bail good. DLO with a tiny hop in place. 9.85

KARAS – UM: Toe to Maloney to bail, great. Hitting handstands, DLO stuck-ish. 9.9!

WOJCIK – UM: Toe blind to pike Jaeger, a touch close, great bail. DLO with a small hop. 9.8375

MAXIM – UM: Toe on to Tkachev, huge, Brenner is LIVING for every skill, bail, DLO with a tiny scoot back. 9.85

GARCIA – PSU: Blind to piked Jaeger, struggles to get over on her half turn, to half to bail, was that a cover? Reaching for the handstands, DLO absolutely dead on the mat. 9.8125

DESIDERIO – LSU: Front aerial split, a bit short, lost the rest of the routine but there might have been a mistake. Taking FOREVER over the score. 9.1125

DEAN – LSU: Hard for the underclassman to follow a mistake. BHS LOSO, knees, switch split 1/4 solid. Double full dismount solid with a hop. 9.775

DURANTE – LSU: Joining halfway, BHS LOSO ok. Switch straddle 1/4, couldn’t see the dismount but LSU fans liked it. 9.8375

EDNEY – LSU: BHS LOSO, Michigan’s in the way right now. Kickover front with a check, one and a half twist stuck. 9.8125

CAMPBELL – LSU: Saw something to a sissone, switch switch half, double full with an awkward little bounce because she wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was. 9.825

FINNEGAN – LSU: Acro series looked good, side somi, side aerial back full with a scoot back. 9.9375

KELLY – MIZ: Jump on to sissone, forgot to write anything else down but looked clean and I LOVE the leotard. 9.7625

ROBERTS – UU: Rudi ok, bigger lunge, double pike good. One and a half front lay. 9.8375

LEE – UU: Two and a half twist, switch ring half, good middle pass, double full LOSO great to close. I’ll miss that pass, one of my faves. 9.825

RANDALL – UU: Hit the full in, pulled her front foot. One and a half front lay, hit dismount. Double back with a stumble back, I didn’t see a flag but it looked very likely to be OOB. 9.7125 I guess not.

SOLOSKI – UU: DLO, a little too much gas and pulls her arms down hard to avoid running back. Double full, lots of time to spot but also to split her legs visibly, good last pass. 9.8375

MERRELL-GILES – UU: PFI, might have been an extra step, couldn’t really see.Switch ring tour jete half. Great combo pass, Rudi to split. 9.875

SKINNER – UU: Double double, awkward struggle to keep herself in bounds… flung weight onto the back foot and had an arm swing or two. One and a half thru double full is good, full in with crazy legs and lands staggered. 9.9375 L O L N O.

CROUSE – UNL: Front double full front lay, airy and beautiful. Rudi to LOSO, rock solid, Michigan is cheering from across the arena. 9.875

UU 49.3125, UM 49.300, UCLA 49.2875, LSU 49.1875

Oh I see how this is going to be.

Suffice to say that Utah shouldn’t be in the lead. Hopefully it won’t end up mattering. Michigan was fantastic in its first rotation, while LSU had a very listless start.


Missed the ifrst couple Utah vaults SORRY UTAH.

BURCH – UU: Really solid full. 9.8125

MERRELL-GILES – UU: One and a half fantastic. A bit more distance between her feet than Ross, that’s all I could see from here. 9.900

SKINNER – UU: Usual DTY, closer to stuck than usual. 9.925

TESSEN – UU: Sat her one and a half. There’s always a chance of that but the Utes can drop it. 9.225

FRAZIER – UCLA: Maloney to Pak, van Leeuwen, DLO stuck spectacularly. She’s getting a 10 for that someday. 9.9

DENNIS – UCLA:  Maloney to bail, dead on the handstand, DLO stuck again. Almost second guesses it and pops up on her toes but stays there. 9.9

HANO – UCLA: Ray to overshoot, slightly chaotic as usual but not the worst, blind full double back and stuck again. OK Bruins. 9.85

FLATLEY – UCLA: Blind to eagle, almost misses a hand and has to re-place it on the fly, Jaeger a bit close, bail. Way short on the dismount with a dive forward. 9.7375

KOCIAN – UCLA: Chow to Pak great, half turn, squat on, FTDB with a hop. 9.9

ROSS – UCLA: Maloney to bail to toe shoot, DLO underrotated with a step forward. What?? That doesn’t happen. 9.8625

HYLAND – UK: Good Tkachev, splits her legs out before catching her bail, FTDB with a hop. 9.7125

FARLEY – UM:  She’s been jump roping all through bars to stay warm. BHS LOSO, check disguised as dance, clean through the rest. 9.725

OSMAN – UM: Good acro series, front tuck to beat, something to wolf full. Gainer full good. 9.85

KARAS – UM: Couldn’t get many skills because of everything else happening but looked really solid. 9.875

MARIANI – UM:  switch switch side, BHS LOSO, ugh it’s so hard to watch beam from here. 9.8125

FUNK – UM: BHS LOSO with an arm swing. Side aerial back full stuck-ish. 9.85

WOJCIK – UM: Pretty pretty, switch split, BHS LOSO nailed. Cat leap side aerial, one and a half stuck. Hey, I just figured out where the UM fan section is. 9.95!!

BASTARDI – PSU: Full turn, front aerial BHS with a small check. Kickover front ? to beat, side aerial back full great. 9.7875

HARROLD – LSU: Front double full, double pike, lunging a little big but that’s fairly norma. One and a half front lay I think. 9.85

DESIDERIO – LSU: Double lay, comes in low with a deep lunge as usual. Double back with her chest way down, something odd on her third pass too. 9.6375

PRIESSMAN – LSU: Oh this is a lineup change. Double pike good, tour jete half Popa, double back. 9.900

EDNEY – LSU: I guess a good landing on the double Arabian, Tim Garrison was standing in the way. Nailed double back. 9.9125

FINNEGAN – LSU: One and a half through two and a half, awkward landing, big step back. Double back looked good. 9.875

KELLEY – LSU: Good DLO, front lay front full, double back with a little rebound. 9.925

DUKES – UK: Double pike, big bound back. Front full front lay great, really fun to watch, double back looks a little underrotated. 9.8125

UCLA 98.700, MICHIGAN 98.6375, LSU 98.625, UTAH 98.5375

Michigan is RIGHT in it. Less than two tenths in the meet at this point, which is mildly ridiculous.


FINNEGAN – LSU: Looked like a stick on the FTY. 9.8875

HARROLD – LSU: One and a half with a midsize step forward. 9.85

KELLEY – LSU: FHS pike 1/2, bit of legs and a hop back.  9.8375

CANNAMELA – LSU: In for Priessman. OK full, hop back. 9.875

EDNEY – LSU: Great one and a half. Everyone is vaulting so well today.  9.95

LEE – UU: Blind to pike Jaeger to overshoot, half to half to double back low-ish with a hop. 9.7875

DULA – UU: Tentative first handstand, blind to Jaeger close with bent elbows. Bail good, stalder short of handstand to double back stuck. 9.8375

TESSEN – UU: Blind to Jaeger, high and close as always, bail, FTDB with a quick stutter back. 9.8375

MERRELL-GILES – UU: Toe on to Deltchev, one of the best I’ve ever seen, bail great. FTDB stuck dead and throws up a chalk cloud celebrating. 9.875

REINSTADTLER – UU: Toe blind to Jaeger, good, short on a handstand, bail uncertain. FTDB stuck. 9.8675

SKINNER – UU: Ray, cheer from the team after missing it last time, great bail. Little arch on a HB handstand,  FTDB close but stuck. 9.9125

CROUSE – UNL: Huge gienger to overshoot, FTDB with a hop. 9.875

G.GLENN – UCLA: Acro series looked good, switch split, gainer full and pops onto her toes to hold the landing.

NGUYEN – UCLA: Switch split beat, front aerial LOSO. Punch front full dismount with a little scoot. 

KOCIAN – UCLA: BHS LOSO, front aerial to split. Good dismount. 

FLATLEY – UCLA: Front aerial LOSO, confident, side aerial with the arm swing choreo that is jsut the best, L turn to split to beat. Punch front full with a hop.

OHASHI – UCLA: Switch split, stuck landing on the megaseries. 

ROSS – UCLA: BHS LOSO great, front aerial sissone great. Switch split, side aerial gainer full stuck. 

HYLAND – UK: Switch split, front aerial BHS LOSO, 

HEISKELL – UM: Good first two passes, something wolf full, something front full WOW my attention span let me during the rotation break. 9.8375 

OSMAN – UM: Nailed the full in, good leaps. Double pike, bounce back and OOB, did she have a second OOB on her dance? double back looks fine 9.65 

FUNK – UM: Needs to have a good one if UM wants a chance. DOuble pike good. Front full front lay, scoot back on her Rudi. 

BRENNER – UM: Huge full in, great landing. Front thru two and a half twist, solid, double pike looked good. 

WOJCIK – UM: Hop out of the full in but no OOB, 2/1 front pike gorgeous.  9.9

KARAS – UM: Double arabian great! One and a half front half, good double back.

ARMBRECHT – UA: Loooove this Bama leotard. Double lay!!, one and a half front lay, got distracted from the dance but looked solid. 9.9125!!

LSU 148.075, UCLA 148.0625, MICHIGAN 148.0125, UTAH 147.8625



HEISKELL – UM: OK full, hop back.

MAXIM – UM: Tsuk half beautiful. Looked like a stick from here, could have hopped into salute a bit, really hard to tell.

MARIANI – UM: Good full, bit of leg sep onto the table.

BRENNER – UM: One and a half, little hop on top of herself but great.

KARAS – UM: One and a half, could not tell one goddamn thing about it from this distance.

WOJCIK – UM: One and a half, nope, people in front of the mat again. 

DURANTE – LSU: Looked like a messy transition of some kind in the middle there.

FERRER – LSU: Jaeger, bent knees, DLO with an awkward stagger back.

HARROLD – LSU: Zuchold super archy as usual, Jaeger close, double front SUPER close but stuck.

EDNEY – LSU: Hindorff, CH to bail, double lay stuck. LSU scores starting to spike. 

PRIESSMAN – LSU: Tkachev to Pak, super low and weird but I always think that, DLO pings off and takes two steps forward. 

FINNEGAN – LSU: Jaeger, toe on to bail, DLO whippy but stuck. 

NIXON – UK: Collapsed onto the bar on her blind full, but what a

MERRELL-GILES – UU: I checked out of Utah beam since it was the only team that seemed unlikely to make it based on the scores before, but whew, that was a weird fall off the end of the beam.

TRATZ – UCLA: Late switch into the lead off. Full in, one and a half front full, bigger lunges on both. Double back, step forward.

DENNIS – UCLA: PFI great. Solid twisting, looked like a bigger lunge on the double back.

ROSS – UCLA: Whip double back, great, one and a half front lay. Tour jet ehalf Popa to shush, double pike solid. 

OHASHI – UCLA: Short on the split leg DLO, step forward. Front full front half split drop to close, great. Applause across the arena. 

ADVANCING: UCLA 197.675, LSU 197.5125


VAULT: Kyla Ross, Kennedi Edney 9.950
BARS: Sarah Finnegan 9.950
BEAM: Natalie Wojcik 9.950
FLOOR: Kyla Ross 9.950
AA: Kyla Ross 39.6625

What a fight from Michigan.

Live blog by Rebecca Scally

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