This is the most exciting meet of the weekend to me. I’m so amped!
Western Michigan and Arizona both had absolutely fabulous opening weekends, hinting at capability far beyond what they have shown in recent years. Either could sneak this meet over favorite Iowa State, and even if not, the performances of impact specialists like Christina Berg and Amelia Mohler will keep us watching.
Iowa State has a great deal of raw material this year, with 10 newcomers including five internationals. Front triple twist queen Andrea Maldonado will likely be making her college debut this weekend and could bring in big scores alongside Aussie Jade Vella-Wright, Brit Laura (called Flossie, if you’re into that sort of thing) Cooke and Canadian Loulou Vezina. Sydney Converse also looks geared up for an impactful senior season.
Rutgers had the lowest lows and the highest highs in 2019, so what we’re looking for this season is stability. Head coach Umme Salim-Beasley’s first recruiting class in New Brunswick is talented and deep, and lineups are among the most mysterious of all of Division I. Rutgers can do a lot this year, and proving it can put up a fight against the other three teams in its meet would be a very positive indication.
March ins started SIGNIFICANTLY before the hour in Tucson, which I’m thrilled about. Timeliness is appreciated in these non-network meets that can drag on for so long.
Rotation 1: Arizona vault, Western Michigan bars, Rutgers beam, Iowa State floor
Leung (Arizona): Solid Yurchenko full, slightly soft form, medium hop. 9.775
Oh no, this looks like one of those meets where you have to look at the school logo whenever the home team isn’t competing. So frustrating.
Nosek (Arizona): Slightly more open FTY, similar landing. 9.65
Swanson (Arizona): FTY noticeably higher than the others. 9.75
Davis (Arizona): FTY clean in the air and very strong landing but not much distance. 9.8
Leydin (Arizona): Big FTY, leg split and big bounce back but lots of amplitude. She can definitely get her one and a half back. 9.75
Hargrove (Arizona): Big with a big hop back, cleaner form than Leydin. 9.775
Libby Orman has the scariest Yurchenko block I’ve ever seen. She usually tries a Yurchenko arabian, but today her head almost touched the table and she mercifully bailed to a Yurchenko tuck. Arizona, no more of that please. That’s a strip it back to basics and try again next year type of vault.
Olivier?? (WMU): Clear hip to Gienger, bail, blind full double back stuck. Great, so clean!
Diab (ISU): Front double full punch layout, super impressive, she’s AROUND and then her feet slipped and she falls. Tour jete half Popa, front lay front full stag jump, cut away.
Doherty-Herwitz (RU): Front aerial side aerial on the slow side but clean. Switch switch, a little shy on splits, full turn, beat jump. Cut away for an Arizona team chant, YAY.
Diaz (ISU): Took their sweet time over Diab’s score. Double back, scoots the front foot a little, switch side Popa clean. Front lay front full, missed the end.
Huang (RU): Beat split 3/4, spotted the end of the beam. Double full dismount STUCK.
Harrison (WMU): Blind to Jaeger, flexed feet, overshoot a little funky. FTDLO noticeably piked with a step sideways.
Palacios (ISU): Double pike, well done, front lay front full RIGHT into the corner with a little tiny hop to one side and avoids an OOB. Tour jete half split full, I appreciate her dance ability a lot. Illusion turn, Rudi with chest down.
Joyner (RU): Full turn, if they cut away now I’ll kill them. BHS LOSO a beauty, switch switch half SO good, aggressive splits. Side aerial back full.
Converse (ISU): Double arabian, great, one and a half through double full, really impressive. Great performance quality! Tour jete half Popa, two and a half twist around but she looks a bit surprised by the landing.
McLachlan (RU): BHS LOSO with a check, full turn, toe point and dance skills are lovely. Tuck 3/2 twist dismount is good with a step.
Maldonado (ISU): RANDI first pass, hot damn. Front double twist punch front, lands fully OOB on that. Performance quality is high again, double pike lovely.
After 1: Arizona 48.850, Iowa State 48.600, Rutgers 48.550, Western Michigan 47.800
Pretty close! That’s a really strong vault rotation for Arizona, which struggles on this event regularly. Joyner could have a strong case for conference freshman of the week if she keeps this up.
Rotation 2: Iowa State vault, Arizona bars, Western Michigan beam, Rutgers floor
Converse (ISU): Great Yurchenko full in the lead off, little hop back. 9.85
Swanson (Arizona): Blind full Tkachev, fell onto her knees. Messy Pak, switch kip, double lay with position issues and a step. 8.95
Spence (WMU): Split split 3/4, that’s all we saw!! 8.85
Williams (RU): Missed her first pass, whip half front lay, switch side Popa very clean. 9.775
Kane (Arizona): Blind change to Jaeger to overshoot, late handstand, blind double front with a step back. 9.725
Binstock (WMU): Switch half to wolf, one and a half twist with a small hop. 9.5
Leydin (Arizona): Maloney to Pak, whippy and flat with leg split. Good Markelov, blind full double back stuck-ish. 9.775
Maxwell (ISU): Really closed shoulders on the table, low and piked FTY with a big step back. 9.45
Betancourt (RU): Whip double pike overrotated and FLIES OOB into the group of gymnasts waiting. Stayed on her feet, good leaps, FHS front lay front 1/2 with messy legs. 9.3
Hendrickson (Arizona): Blind change, stalls for a second, Jaeger to overshoot is fine. Double lay very slightly overrotated with a step back. 9.725
Tishkoff (WMU): BHS LOSO, smaller bend check and arm swim. Split split 3/4, full turn, side aerial, cut away. 9.125
Brovedani (Arizona): Blind to pike Jaeger, lovely, toe on to Pak very airy. double layout clean and fights to stick even though she’s a touch short. Hops in the end but still a strong routine. 9.875
Atienza (RU): Double tuck, adjustment on the landing. Front full front full! 9.7
Berg (Arizona): Blind change pike Jaeger to overshoot, FTDB dismount with a little hop back. I can’t tell anything about handstands from here but nothing was badly off, anyway.
Carles? (WMU): Hitch kick side aerial with an arm swing, BHS LOSO knees gave a bit on the landing, which is odd, but works through it. Split split 3/4 just a little short of splits, one and a half dismount with a cross step.
Duffield (RU): Whip double pike, step back. Double back looks like it’s going way OOB but she pulls it in and hops forward to keep it in. 9.75
Mohler (WMU): BHS BHS LOSO slow, looks controlled, falls and rolls onto her back somehow. Full turn, BHS step to knee? gainer pike with a foot shift. 8.975
Huang (RU): Front double twist, big step forward. FHS Rudi LOSO lovely. Pretty leaps, she’s just so fun to watch, polished and sparkly. Rudi to finish, nice and clean. 9.8!
Farrell in the exhibition for Rutgers shuffled out of bound on a punch front. Apparently this is a Hamilton routine.
After 2: Arizona 97.825, Iowa State 97.525, Rutgers 97.225, WMU 94.750
Rutgers really is holding pace with the top two teams, which is so impressive. Arizona is having a clean day and showing again that it can push close to 196.
Rotation 3: Rutgers vault, Iowa State bars, Arizona beam, Western Michigan floor
Davis (Arizona): Beautiful back flexibility on her mount, BHS BHS LOSO using the last inch of the beam but landed well. Lovely leaps, really aggressive straddle, full turn, one and a half twist. 9.825
Diaz (ISU): Blind to Jaeger, fingertip catch, one soft foot. OK bail, one iffy handstand, really lovely stuck-ish DLO. 9.825
Stauchaffer (Arizona): Love this freshman, so stylish. She was undaunted making her debut at LSU on beam and she’s undaunted today. BHS LOSO great. Beat split 3/4, front aerial split, full turn with a slight adjustment, cartwheel gainer full stuck. Wow. 9.8
Palacios? (ISU): Blind Jaeger great, over on a handstand, stays on and casts out. Bail a little funky, double layout with some form but stuck. 9.8
Leung (Arizona): BHS LOSO, a little off line and pops one hip out to hold it. Pretty leaps, full turn, switch half a little short. Cat leap side aerial back full aaaalmost stuck.
Brovedani (Arizona): Russian lever!! Beat jump sissone, front aerial back tuck. Switch half split, one and a half twist with a big step forward. 9.825
We keep getting fragments of other routines but not more than a few skills at a time.
Cowles (Arizona): Every time I see this girl she’s more taped. Cat leap front aerial, arm swing, split. That connection shouldn’t be given. Full turn, BHS LOSO great. Switch split, gainer front full stuck. She’s really, really good at that dismount, which can be a little treacherous. 9.875
Hendrickson (Arizona): Clean leaps, BHS LOSO with leg form but got it done. Full turn, cat leap side aerial a little off but works through. Switch Korbut, off line, cartwheel gainer full well done. 9.775
This is a GOOD freaking beam rotation from Arizona. The event where they’ve improved most from last year to me, there’s just an energy here that there wasn’t before.
Harrison (WMU): Joining partway after my stream lost video for a few seconds to see a really nice double pike.
Took a ridiculous amount of time for the judges to score that.
Tishkoff (WMU): Double pike clean. One and a half front lay, switch side Popa. Good finish after a long, long wait.
After 3: Arizona 146.950, Iowa State 146.650, Rutgers 145.625, Western Michigan 143.350
Not WMU’s day at all, but vault to go. Rutgers got through a weakness on vault and is still looking ready to put up a strong score. Cracking 194 in a season opener would be a big deal. Iowa State has some shockingly beautiful beam and Arizona could crack 196!
Rotation 4: Western Michigan vault, Rutgers bars, Iowa State beam, Arizona floor
Cowles (Arizona): Double tuck, step forward but not a serious rotation issue. Difficult leaps, lots of energy. Two and a half twist with a scoot forward.
Turner (ISU): Switch straddle quarter, full turn, side somi great. Gainer pike a bit straddled but decent.
Orman (Arizona): Front lay to Rudi, very strong dance. Double pike with soft knees, good routine.
Russ (ISU): BHS LOSO a bit tentative, cat leap side aerial, something to straddle half, good gainer full dismount.
Davis (Arizona): Front double twist, Rudi with a scoot back. Tour jete half Popa. One and a half front layout.
Sorry, I keep missing passes because I’m desperately trying to identify who I saw from ISU on beam earlier and I honestly have no idea. She had bangs and no one has bangs in their roster photo!! I think it’s Phoebe Turner? Sorry if not.
Saw some nice leaps for Converse on beam and a great bar dismount from Joyner.
Swanson (Arizona): Front tuck through front double full. Back double full punch front, switch half split full. Double tuck, step forward.
Berg (Arizona): Front double twist, a little off axis but well done. switch to split full wolf full. One and a half front pike is great, Rudi to split and hops with a half turn for some reason.
Final: Arizona 195.950, Iowa State 195.750, Rutgers 194.250, Western Michigan 191.800
Arizona squeaking in JUST below the 196 mark, but so much to be proud of today. Iowa State and Rutgers both with massive opening scores, while Western Michigan slipped a little without the help of Payton Murphy, who was AWOL today.
VT – Sophia Steinmeyer (ISU) 9.875
UB – Zaza Brovedani, Christina Berg (UA) 9.875
BB – Hannah Joyner (RU) 9.900
FX – Maddi Leydin (UA) 9.900
AA: Belle Huang, Hannah Joyner (RU) 38.900
Live blog by Rebecca Scally
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