Friday Night Heights is BACK!
Welcome to the second meet of tonight’s SEC Network double header, brought to you by a last-minute programming change that brought this meet over to the main network from SECN+. Tonight’s interesting non-conference matchup brings the Ohio State Buckeyes to Fayetteville to compete against Arkansas. We should be in for a good one—don’t let the preseason ranking difference fool you.
Arkansas enters the season with high expectations after a record-breaking 2021 season—and rightfully so. With a strong set of returners and the fourth-ranked freshman class, the Razorbacks are poised for more success this season. Watch for the anticipated debut of former four-star recruits Leah Smith and Makenzie Sedlacek, but don’t sleep on the rest of their classmates either—though Frankie Price is notably out for the season with an injury. Maggie O’Hara and Sarah Shaffer also return for their sixth years and will be looking for continued success and potentially elusive perfect 10s.
Ohio State ended 2021 ranked at No. 16, its highest finish since 2012 and 11 places better than its final regular season ranking. None of the Buckeyes’ 2021 seniors returned for COVID years, so there’s some big shoes to fill. Hannah Oliveros returns from her Achilles tear and will look to make a mark in her first full season of college gymnastics. Tory Vetter is the big name freshman here and is expected to make an impact; her classmate, Jenna Hlavach, sports a unique Yurchenko full-on back layout on vault.
UPDATE: Leah Smith is notably missing from Arkansas’ tentative lineups; the same goes for Tory Vetter and Stephanie Berger at Ohio State. Arkansas is only slated to compete two freshmen, Sedlacek and Maddie Jones. These are tentative lineups and subject to change. It’s definitely something to keep an eye on, but don’t get too alarmed either with how COVID has been running rampant through the NCAA gym world this week.
Follow along on SEC Network and with live stats here (link to come!).
Rotation 1: Ark VT, Ohio State UB
Sorry, technical difficulties. Checking in now.
Pennese (Ark): nice full.
Edwards (tOSU): kchs. Mal to pak pretty. Blind full double tuck nearly stuck. Good.
Elswick (Ark): yfull, good positions, small hop. 9.85
Hlavach (tOSU): nice releases and hs. Missed part. Step on dismount.
Sedlacek (Ark): 1.5 slightly short and hop back. 9.7
Miller (tOSU): good first hs. Mal to bail, anddd my feed froze. Dlo small step.
Hambrick (Ark): 1.5 short, large step back. 9.825
Grimes (tOSU): good first handstand. Tkatchev lots of air but completely misses. Rest of the set is good. Bouncy dlo.
AFTER 1: Ark 49.075, tOSU 48.175
Not the start Ohio State wanted, but a good one for Arkansas. That vault lineup should only get better when everyone is able to compete.
Rotation 2: Ark UB, Ohio State VT
Miller (tOSU): yfull, tiny form but a good leadoff.
Kelley (Ark): great first hs. Mal with some leg sep to bail hs solid. Good final hs. ftdt large hop back with a step as well. 9.65
Grimes (tOSU): wowww, awesome camera work there…a fine yfull. 9.725
Gianfagna (Ark): good first hs; straddled Tkatchev to immediate bail nice. Good final hs. ftdt normal sized hop back. 9.775
Jennings (tOSU): yfull, pretty form with a flare, small hop back. 9.775
Scalzo (Ark): straddled jaeger to bail, collapses and comes off the bar. Finishes strong. 9.15
Hlavach (tOSU): yfull on pike, large hop back. yeah, she’s definitely capable of the layout.
Hambrick (Ark): solid first hs; piked jaeger to bail good. hits final hs. ftdt STUCK. Nice rebound routine for Arkansas. 9.85
Edwards (tOSU): nice yfull, small shuffle forward. 9.875
Shaffer (Ark): pretty first hs; mal can’t make the connection and comes off. now Arkansas is counting a fall. Remounts, tries the Maloney again and falls again; DLO step forward. Not the routine she wanted. 8.1
Pike (tOSU): yfull, some pike – guess she’s living up to her name, hop. 9.675
O’Hara (Ark): only doing bars tonight. maybe slightly short first hs; straddled jaeger good, pulls in next hs; good bail; dlo, tiniest movement with one foot. 9.8
AFTER 2: Ark 97.3, tOSU 97.15
Bars was just not it for either team today, with each counting at least one fall. Definitely a ways to go there. Those bars mishaps by Arkansas closed the gap between Ohio State and Arkansas to just 0.15 at the halfway point of the meet.
Rotation 3: Ark BB, Ohio State FX
Gianfagna (Ark): Bhs loso solid; cat leap front toss, slightly deep squat but secure; solid leaps; ro 1.5 stuck. Great leadoff, just what you want, especially on beam! 9.775
Gonzalez (tOSU): Paulicivic says this has been the hardest event to train with COVID, but that it should be the Buckeyes’ best event. double pike, clean and controlled; lay lay full, good; don’t know if that fall out of her wolf turn was expected or choreographed 😅 ro 1.5 to lay with a hoppy step. 9.325
Lovett (Ark): front aerial small lean to bhs, we’ll see if the connection counts…solid leaps; side aerial lay full, tiniest of hops back. 9.25, so no credit for the connection.
graphic just flashed Vetter and nearly gave me a heart attack. It’s still Warga.
Warga (tOSU): back 2.5 to punch front lovely. Think I missed her leaps. fhs front double full to close, slightly large crossy step.
Hambrick (Ark): Bhs loso secure. switch switch half good; another leap series, good; cartwheel gainer full stuck. 9.825
Gagliardi (tOSU): front lay Rudi solid; switch side popa good; good double pike. Either I missed something or something’s missing. 9.85
Elswick (Ark): Bhs loso, secure; split split 3/4 solid; front aerial, pretty; bhs lay 1.5 small hop forward. 9.825
Hlavach (tOSU): piked full in, GREAT. We’ve got some Britney Spears music going. Good combo pass. Very lovely leaps. Solid double tuck to close. 9.875
Shaffer (Ark): Looking to rebound from bars; good so far. Secure Bhs loso. front aerial, small check. cat leap side aerial tuck full, hop back. 9.8
Edwards (tOSU): huge double pike, scotch back out of lunge. ro 1.5 to lay good; switch side popa lovely; double tuck, good control, questionably low chest. 9.85
Sedlacek (Ark): bhs lo with some pike, small food adjustment. Side somi, secure; bhs lay 1.5 hop forward. 9.825
Hankins (tOSU): ftdt, hop step forward; lay lay half straddle, good; solid leaps; closes with a good double tuck.
AFTER 3: Ark 146.350, tOSU 146.125
Solid rotation overall for both teams. Some little hiccups to fix, but that’s pretty good for an opening beam/floor lineup. Really impressed with the quality of Arkansas’ dismount landings for the first meet; same goes for Ohio State’s endurance overall.
Rotation 4: Ark FX, Ohio State BB
Pritchard (tOSU): Missed beginning; switch leap straddle 1/4, comes off; cat leap side aerial lay full small step. Not the ideal start. 9.2
Kelley (Ark): very twisty opening pass – ro 1.5 to full. Solid leaps. short double tuck, hands down. Arkansas and Ohio State trading falls to open the final rotation. 9.05
Miller (tOSU): Bhs loso secure; hitch kick side aerial beat, good; split straddle 1/4, small bobble; gainer tuck full, step to salute. 9.8
Pennese (Ark): fhs double full, step back; ro 1.5 lay good; switch side popa solid; ro double tuck, great. Good rebound. 9.775
Schweitzer (tOSU): front aerial beat jump fine; Bhs loso, small check; side aerial lay full small hop. 9.825
Hickey (Ark): solid double pike; nice leaps; double pike solid. Might have missed something, I zoned out for a second there. 9.8
Hankins (tOSU): Bhs loso, small check/hip bend; front toss beat jump solid; switch split 1/4, secure; ro double twist, small hop. 9.8
Jones (Ark): first collegiate routine; fhs double full good; ro 1.5 to lay nice; switch ring switch half, good; fhs Rudi split jump, gets a lot of height on the jump.
Hodges (tOSU): switch straddle 3/4, good; Bhs loso secure; gainer loso tiniest of checks; ro 1.5 with the “bring your heels together” stick. 9.875
Hambrick (Ark): good double tuck to open with good height; fhs Rudi lo stag jump, great! Saw leap series out of the corner of my eye while typing; closing double pike stuck, slightly low chest. 9.85
Oliveros (tOSU): she’s back! Pretty hs mount. side aerial bhs, secure; switch leap small check split jump good; front aerial beat jump solid; side aerial lay full small hop. Ohio State escapes the leadoff fall!
Lovett (Ark): DLO, STUCK. we’re tied with her routine to go. If she hits, this meet is Arkansas’! Great double tuck; solid leaps; lay lay full good. That’ll do it. 9.875
FINAL: Ark 195.450, tOSU 195.025
Ohio State not counting below a 9.8 on beam despite the fall and an impressive floor rotation for Arkansas minus Kelley’s hands down. Lots of positives to take away for each team, but neither was perfect by any means — definitely a good amount of kinks to work out also, and the COVID situation didn’t help on Arkansas’ end.
VT: Edwards (tOSU), 9.875
UB: Miller (tOSU), 9.875
BB: Hodges (tOSU), 9.875
FX: Lovett (Ark), Hlavach (tOSU), 9.875
AA: Hambrick (Ark), 39.350 – the only AA competitor
Live blog by Tara Graeve
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