LIVE BLOG: Athens Regional Final

Well, this is it: Welcome to the Athens regional final! 

We’ve got three top ten teams vying for two national championship berths because #reasons. We’ve also got the No. 26 team here with nothing to lose and a major axe to grind. 

Florida’s the closest thing to a sure bet in this competition and even it isn’t invulnerable to an upset as evidenced by their unexpected third place finish at SEC championships. The Gators don’t have to be at their absolute best to advance, but they also can’t afford to count a fall (let alone multiple falls). 

Assuming Florida does its usual Florida thing, the battle for that second spot is going to be fierce. Both Minnesota and Denver have proven that when the stakes are high, they are ready and able to capitalize on mistakes from top teams. That said, the Gophers are definitely the frontrunner in today’s competition. They looked exceptional in round one, outscoring Denver by nearly a point. The Pioneers were especially shaky on their highest-ranked event, bars, yesterday and scored a season-low 48.975. Minnesota can’t bank on a repeat of that uncharacteristically off performance. 

There’s also scrappy Cinderella team N.C. State to consider. The Wolfpack has made the best of its controversial bracket draw, defeating Western Michigan in the play-in and upsetting Illinois in yesterday’s semifinal round with their best away meet of the season (take that, selection committee!). 

Looks like Emily Glynn is out for Denver. Sundstrum and Mundell will be in the vault and bars lineups and only five on floor. 

Rotation One:  Florida VT, Minnesota UB, Denver BB, N.C. State FX

 

 

VT

UB

BB

FX

Team

Florida

Minnesota

Denver

N.C. State

Round 2 Event Score

49.275

49.25

49.150

49.300

NQS

49.488

49.400

49.413

49.213

Foberg (UF): Nice Y full with a medium hop back. 9.775

Lazzari (UF): Y full with nice amplitude and  nearly stuck.. 9.825

Skaggs (UF): Excellent Y full. 9.900

Schoenherr (UF): BIG air on her Y 1.5. Not the cleanest, but a stick. 9.925

Reed (UF): Balked, but didn’t touch anything so NBD. And a second time. Third time’s the charm? Oh no, ended up just doing a timer and saluting… Glad she put safety first, but tough break for Florida. 7.950

Baumann (UF): Big Y full with a small hop back.  9.800

 

Remlinger (UM): Pretty handstand positions throughout. Stuck dismount. 9.850

Hooten (UM): Blind half to a lovely piked Jaeger. Nice, aggressive final handstand. Blind half to double front with a step. 9.800

Willmarth (UM): Blind full to a HIGH double tuck, stuck. 9.850

Loper (UM): Maloney to Pak, beautifully done. Full pirouette to double tuck, and another stick. 9.825

Sales (UM): Good position on the bail. Pretty, pretty Markelov. DLO more or less stuck. 

Ramler (UM): Gorgeous Van Leeuwen. FTDT landed deep with chest down, but a stick. 

 

Brown (DU): Front aerial to front toss, excellent. No issues on the dismount. 

Thompson (DU): Side aerial to loso with some form, but not a waver. Good position on split leap series. Nearly stuck full dismount. 

Ruiz (DU): Bhs loso with a large hip check. Slightly overrotates her full turn. Side aerial to split jump, great. Stuck pike gainer. 

Hutchinson (DU): Nice position on her leaps. Front aerial to wolf, great. Lovely full turn. Cartwheel to gainer; weird form in the air and landed a little off-kilter. 

Mabanta (DU): Bhs loso with a leg up and comes off. Too bad, very similar to yesterday. Side aerial to full a little crooked. 

Vasquez (DU): Front aerial bhs loso, fabulous. Leap series, wonderful. Hint of a balance check on the Y full turn. Sissone, lovely. Side aerial to a stuck full. Great redemption from yesterday. 

 

Jordan (NCSU): 1.5 to a low front lay. A little under on her Rudi and had to take a small step forward. 

Benson (NCSU): She’s getting the crowd on its feet before the routine even starts! Fantastic opening double pike. Nice Popa, a little shy on the wolf full. Gorgeous double tuck with a minor foot slide. Awesome routine. 

Nelson (NCSU): Back 2.5 to punch front. Some crossed legs, but nice rise. Back 1.5 to front pike, very nice. 

Shepard (NCSU): Front lay to HUGE front full. Nice double tuck to close. 

Negrete (NCSU): Great double pike with a minor foot slide. Love her switch ring. Fhs full to lay, well done. Her signature stuck double tuck. 

Webb (NCSU): Held on to her double pike a little late, deep landing. Fhs Rudi to double stage, well done. Wolf full a little low, but nice amplitude on the Popa. RO 1.5 to front pike, nice. Strong finish for N.C. State. 

AFTER ONE ROTATION: Denver 49.325, Minnesota 49.325, Florida 49.225, N.C. State 49.325

Well, I thought there was a non-zero chance that Denver and Minnesota would be tied after the first rotation, but I did not anticipate Florida and N.C. State being tied! 

I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a disaster for Florida, but it’s a frustrating start for sure and gives them much less room for error on the other events. 

Also, I’ve got to say, the energy in here is pretty electric even though Stegeman is at about a fifth of its capacity. These families are amped up and creating a true postseason atmosphere. 


Rotation Two:  N.C. State VT, Florida UB, Minnesota BB, Denver FX

 

 

VT

UB

BB

FX

Team

N.C. State

Florida

Minnesota

Denver

Round 2 Event Score

49.275

49.675

49.350

49.425

NQ

49.038

49.475

49.463

49.463

Prati (NCSU): Y tucked full with a small hop. 9.725

Jordan (NCSU): Y full with a pike down, but stuck. 9.775

Benson (NCSU): Y half on tuck off. Small hop forward. 9.825

Shepard (NCSU): Basically perfect Y full. 9.900

Negrete (NCSU): Second basically perfect Y full in a row for the Wolfpack. They really aren’t making this easy for the other teams. 9.900

Hunter (NCSU): Y half with some leg sep and a small hop forward. 9.825

 

Richards (UF): Stuck DLO. 9.800

Lazzari (UF): Soaring Tkatchev. Nice, patient half pirouette on LB. Stuck FTDT with minor leg sep in the air. 9.875

Skaggs (UF): Giant Tkatchev. DLO with significant leg sep, but a stick. 9.900

Schoenherr (UF): Piked Jaeger a little close. Nice bail. Double front half out, stuck. 9.825

Thomas (UF): Lovely Pak. Perfect Van Leeuwen. DLO with a small shuffle back. Gorgeous. 9.900

Gallentine (UF): Nice Maloney. Nailed her DLO. 9.950

 

Koch (UM): Floaty bhs loso series. Very low back leg on her switch 3/4. Front toss to scale, very nice. Great RO 1.5. 9.850

Montgomery (UM): Bhs loso with soft legs and a hip wave. Low legs on switch half. Nailed her RO 1.5. 9.850 is a bit high. 

Loper (UM): Bhs loso with a slight waver. Big check on her front toss. Jump series a little more tentative than usual. Stuck her dismount. 9.725

Sales (UM): Bhs bhs loso, very nice. Gainer pike with a definitive stick and a happy dance. 9.925

Korlin-Downs (UM): Bhs loso, gorgeous. Split jump to double stag; mid-air correction, but no problmes on the finish. Kicked out full turn. Side aerial to stuck full. Happy Birthday, that was phenomenal! 9.925

Ramler (UM): Flawless bhs loso. Front aerial, beautiful. Beat to ring and a big smile. Side aerial to stuck full. 9.950

 

Ruiz (DU): Pretty piked full-in. Front tuck through to double tuck, well done. 9.875

Casali (DU): Opening pass OOB. Excellent back 2.5 to punch front. 9.750

Thompson (DU): Strong double pike. Beautiful Popa series. Front lay to Rudi; doesn’t get a ton of rise, but nice form and landing. Triple slightly underrotated. 9.900

Hutchinson (DU): Fhs double full, great. Back 1.5 to floaty front lay. Rudi to straddle jump, well done. 9.950

Brown (DU): Big, lovely DLO. Fhs full to front lay, excellent. Wow, huge double pike even by her standards. 10.000

AFTER TWO ROTATIONS: Minnesota 98.825, Denver 98.800, Florida 98.700, N.C. State 98.550

Well, OK, Denver! If you’re only going to have five scores on floor, that’s how you want to do it! Minnesota continues to look sharp. Florida rebounded nicely on bars to the surprise of exactly no one. And N.C. State turned in its best vault total of the season, no big deal. 

Yeah, basically. 

Rotation Three: Denver VT, N.C. State UB, Florida BB, Minnesota FX

 

 

VT

UB

BB

FX

Team

Denver

N.C. State

Florida

Minnesota

Round 2 Event Score

49.150

49.325

49.625

49.500

NQS

49.200

49.125

49.656

49.444

Casali (DU): Y full with chest down and a hop forward. 9.750

Ruiz (DU): Bigger than her usual Y full, small hop back. 9.800

Hutchinson (DU): Usual pre-flight leg sep on her Y full, but absolutely stuck. 9.875

Brown (DU): Y 1.5 with a medium step back. 9.850

Sundstrum (DU): Nearly stuck Y full. 9.875

Mundell (DU): Stuck Y full to close out Denver’s vault rotation. 9.875

 

Jordan (NCSU): Gorgeous Pak. Maybe shy on the final handstand? Pretty DLO with a hop. 9.750

Nelson (NCSU): Good height on her Tkatchev. Great, deliberate handstands throughout. Full pirouette to a STUCK double tuck. 9.675

Kent (NCSU): Great piked Jaeger and another STUCK DLO. 9.775

Robinson (NCSU): Blind half to straddled Jaeger a big close. Fantastic Pak to half pirouette. Nice full pirouette to double tuck with a small hop back. 9.775

Cox(NCSU): Tkatchev well done. Awesome bail to handstand position. Stuck dismount. 9.850

Shepard (NCSU): Beautiful piked Jaeger. Hits her feet on her Pak, too bad. 9.550

 

Richards (UF): Pretty full turn. Some foot form on the triple series and a small hip check. Missed connection between jump combo. 9.525

Skaggs (UF): Nice position on split jump. Bhs loso with the smallest hint of a check. Stuck side aerial full. 9.875

Lazzari (UF): Bhs loso loso, flawless. Switch split leap to split jump, so good. Stuck dismount. 9.900

Baumann (UF): Bhs loso with a small awave. Fantastic leaps. Nailed the RO 1.5. 9.900

Clapper (UF): Bhs loso loso, lovely. Side aerial to stuck full. 9.950

Schoenherr (UF): Front aerial, solid. Bhs loso with a well-finessed hip check. Full turn kicked out. Side aerial full a little off center and takes a hop to the side. 

 

Koch (UM): Short on her punch front and has to stagger backwards out of it. Fhs Rudi, nice. 9.550

Nylin (UM): Big opening double pike. RO double tuck to finish, chest down slightly and has to step forward. 9.825

Leneave (UM): RO double pike, excellent. Really dynamic leaps. Fantastic double tuck. Can a double tuck have swagger? Because taht one totally did. 9.925

Ramler (UM): Slightly under on her double pike. Nice switch ring. RO 1.5 through to double, fantastic. Fhs front full to front lay, nice. 9.900

Hooten (UM): MASSIVE FTDT, IT’S SO GOOD. OK, there was a minor foot slide, but still. Switch half to Popa, nice. Fhs full to a floaty front pike. Schoenherr is dancing along, haha. Perfect double tuck. No lunge, just stuck. Not a 10, but darn close. 9.950

Loper (UM): Front lay to Rudi, excellent. Switch ring to switch full, good position. Back 2.5, lovely. Oh no! Fhs full and sits her punch front. So good up to that point. 

AFTER THREE ROTATIONS: Florida 148.150, Denver 148.075, Minnesota 147.975, N.C. State 147.375

So not an error-free rotation for any of the teams. Denver looked pretty great on vault even with the comparative misfire from Brown (which was still pretty darn good). Minnesota has a little pressure on, having to count a sub-9.6. I’m fully expected Loper to score an angry 10.0 on vault. I’m genuinely not sure what N.C. State’s bars scores are about… Admittedly, I’m trying to blog four simultaneous routines and don’t have a great vantage point to judge handstand positions, but the only obvious break I saw was Shepard’s Pak.  

Rotation Four: Minnesota VT, Denver UB, N.C. State BB, Florida FX

 

 

VT

UB

BB

FX

Team

Minnesota

Denver

N.C. State

Florida

Round 2 Event Score

49.525

48.975

49.075

49.375

NQS

49.381

49.500

49.144

49.544

Grotenhuis (UM): Y full with a small hop in place. Nice start. 9.850

Gerdes (UM): Big Y full with another small hop back. 9.850

Hooten (UM): WOW. Drilled her Y 1.5. 9.950

Ramler (UM): Another stuck Y 1.5. 9.900

Loper (UM): Big Y 1.5 with a small cross step back. 9.900

Quarles (UM): Y 1.5 with major distance and a large step. That should do it for Minnesota! 9.825

 

Ruiz (DU): Full pirouette, hit her foot on the bar in her Tkatchev. Stuck DLO. 9.675

Casali (DU): Maloney to bail, nice. Floaty DLO with a slide back. 9.850

Hutchinson (DU): Love her deliberate handstands. Gorgeous DLO, stuck. 9.825

Sundstrom (DU): Clear hip, Tkatchev. Oh no, peels off on the Pak. Stuck DLO. Glad to see her finish strong. 9.225

Mundell (DU): Big air on her Ray. Slightly off-center on her bail but swings right through it. Nice DLO with a small hop back. 9.850

Brown (DU): Floats her Pak. Excellent Van Leeuwen to handstand and a stuck DLO. Awesome. 10.000

 

Nelson (NCSU): Switch split to switch side, good. Stuck RO 1.5. 9.800

Foland (NCSU): Bhs loso with a small hip check. 9.750

Shepard (NCSU): Gorgeous full L turn. Switch split to switch half, great. Stuck RO 1.5 dismount. Truly lovely routine. 9.850

Cox (NCSU): Very nice bhs loso series. Hitch kick to side aerial and comes off, too bad. 9.00

Negrete (NCSU): Front aerial to bhs, beautifully done. Grabs the beam after her leaps, ugh. Flawless RO double full. Coach still gives it the double wolf sign. 9.525

Webb (NCSU): Nice full turn. Bhs loso with a hip check. Switch leap to split jump, good position. RO double twist, stuck. What a finish for N.C. State. 

 

Clapper (UF): Rudi to double stag, a little wild in the air but controlled the landing. Fhs full to stag, nice. 9.900

Skaggs (UF): Pretty switch half, front leg low on the switch full. Minor leg sep on fhs full to front lay, but pretty routine over all. 9.925 is generous. 

Lazzari (UF): Excellent opening double pike. Final double tuck landed a hair deep, but doesn’t matter. 9.925

Richards (UF): Looks like she’s in for Johnson-Scharpf. DLO slightly under, step forward. Big double tuck with a bound OOB. Fhs full to front lay. Strong finish. 9.650

Reed (UF): Fabulous DLO to open. Fhs front lay to Rudi, nice. Switch half to wolf full, solid. Perfect double pike. 9.950

Baumann (UF): Florida has the requisite 197.500 to advance, so this is just ceremonial. Double tuck with chest a bit down, step forward. Back 1.5 to full, beautiful. Pretty double pike with a little foot slide. 9.850

AFTER FOUR ROTATIONS: Florida 197.700, Minnesota 197.425, Denver 197.275, N.C. State 196.150

Scoring got a little wacky across the board in that final rotation, but what a finish for all of these teams! We knew this one was going to be close, and we knew it was going to be a heartbreaker, but this was a FIGHT right until the bitter end. Florida and Minnesota earned those tickets to Fort Worth, and what a performance by Denver! Things didn’t go their way today, but they showed a lot of heart and soul today and should be extraordinarily proud. AND N.C. FREAKING STATE. Three superb performances in a row, erasing doubt in anyone’s minds as to whether they can hang with the top tier teams. Well done all around. 


Live blog by Claire Billman

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