Today we’ve got a matchup between the Denver Pioneers and the Arizona Wildcats! Originally a quad meet, weather conditions in the northeast prevented Rutgers and New Hampshire from traveling to Tucson for the meet. The Pioneers are coming off their best season in recent history, qualifying to the NCAA National Championships for the first time since 2008. The team sees the loss of Julia Ross, Rachel Fielitz and Sam Ogden; however, it brings in a strong class of freshmen including Lynnzee Brown and Mia Sundstrom and return the likes of sophomore Maddie Karr and senior Nikole Addison. The Wildcats suffer the loss of head coach Tabitha Yim to Stanford and will be operating under the guidance of interim head coach John Court. The team also loses Skyler Sheppard, who transferred to Auburn. Returning 11 of last year’s 15 competitors, the Wildcats add four freshmen, including Payton Bellows, who has a dynamic Yurchenko 1.5 on vault. The team also returns senior standouts Kennady Schneider and Madison Cindric.
Injury note: Claire Hammen was spotted on crutches at the Crimson and Gold intrasquad and was also seen sitting near crutches in a recent Instagram story.
Rotation 1: Arizona on vault, Denver on bars
Swanwon: FTY, form in the air, chest low on the landing and a step forward and to the side, 9.425
Cindric: FTY, good form, could use a touch more height, step on landing, 9.8
Bellows: FTY, a little piked in the air, step back and to the side, 9.725
Note: John Court isn’t wearing a funky sports coat so the meet’s cancelled, right?
Glynn: off on her release, 9.075
Brown: much anticipated collegiate debut, amazing routine and a stuck solid double lay dismount, 9.85
Sundstrom: big straddle Tkatchev but can’t hold onto it, does it again and makes it, nice shootover, great leg form in the air, double layout with just a hop, 9.125
Chesnok: giant full to straddle tkatchev, nice, shootover maybe a tad short, nice final handstand, ftdt, pointed toes and everything, hop to the side, good bounce back routine for Denver, 9.725
Karr: solid routine like she does, nearly stuck double lay, probably more of a college salute, 9.85
Not a terrible rotation for either team despite the mistakes—falls coming from Denver’s freshmen isn’t too much of a surprise in the first meet of the season. Arizona also looked solid on vault with just some form things here and there.
Arizona 48.825, Denver 48.225
Rotation 2: Denver on vault, Arizona on bars
Chesnok: FTY, small hop at the end, 9.8
Sundstrom: FTY, clean form like on bars, just a hop back, 9.8
Addison: FTY, tight twist in the air, small step back, the video is kind of glitching making her look like she was running SUPER slow, I’m giggling, 9.8
Brown: SO good, Y1.5 just the smallest little hop in place, 9.9!
Karr: STUCK Y1.5, her usual form and everything, so she’ll probably get a 9.875 like literally every vault last season… Nope! 9.925
Schneider: toe-on, gienger, hitting her handstands well, shootover, double layout stuck, she looks so good on the event even though she’s mostly known as a floor girl, 9.775
Henderson: straddle jaeger to immediate bail, clean form, double layout stuck, some flexed feet in the air but a good routine, 9.7
Spencer: nice handstand, tight, clean gienger, a tad short on the shootover, double layout, small leg sep and a step back, 9.85
Cindric: nice first handstand, blind to straddled jaeger, shootover to handstand, blind to double front with a small step back, 9.75
Ortiz: clear hip to GIANT straddle Tkatchev to immediate shootover, good handstands, giant full to double tuck, small hop, that’s a good one for Arizona, 9.775
Berg: blind to piked jaeger to immediate shootover, ftdt with some feet form in the air and a small hop, the announcer thinks these are all sticks, 9.875
Arizona 49.025, Denver 49.225
After two: Arizona 97.850, Denver 97.450
Nice comback for the Pioneers on vault only putting up 5! Arizona also looked nice on bars.
Rotation 3: Arizona on beam, Denver on floor
Schneider: Little wobble on full turn; front toss to bhs with a little knees; some spunky dance; good position on leaps; sheep jump with a tiny check; front full nearly stuck; nice leadoff set! 9.6
Hendrickson: beat jump to split 3/4 good; solid on acro with some knees; secure full turn; another secure leap series; and she’s off on the side aerial. her hips were just way off. Ends nicely with a stuck gainer full. 9.2
Leung: bhs-loso, little check; good on full turn; love her lines! split leap to switch leap, solid. little check on side aerial; ends with a back 1.5 with a step. Nice recovery. 9.725
Leydin: nice splits; bhs loso, her hips looked off to me but she’s secure on the landing; pike jump to back tuck with a correction step; takes 2 steps on her dismount. 9.7
Ortiz: wobble on bhs loso but stays on; good on full turn; split leap, looks like she broke a connection; beat jump to stag jump with a little check; cat leap to side aerial to full stuck. 9.675
Cindric: long wait for Ortiz’s score. gorgeous mount; nice bhs loso; nice and secure on all her elements; good split on split jump to double stag but has a check; stuck gainer pike to close. Good routine! 9.85
Schou: fhs to double full well controlled; front full front layout, good; she’s very much more of the twisty type; fun choreo, solid leaps; finishes with a fhs to rudi. Nice, clean. Good leadoff. 9.775
Glynn: huge double pike to open; GREAT extension on her leaps; rudi to layout, a little short but pulls it around; ok, weird wolfy choreo; she has a full in but opted to leave out the difficulty the first meet; ends with a nice double tuck! 9.775
Karr: nice double tuck to open; love the smiles! best performer of the bunch so far; rudi to front full, good; tour jete 1/2 to wolf full, good; fhs rudi to end; another good set! 9.825
Brown: this is a freshman to watch on floor; HUGE double layout to open; 1.5 to lay to split jump; love the energy! ring jump to split half, good; ends with a huge double pike. What a floor debut for the freshman! 9.9
Addison: another huge double lay to open; her choreo is dramatic yet fun and spunky at the same to; secure landing on middle pass; switch side to popa, nice splits; nice double pike to close! 9.875
Sundstrom: opens with double tuck–looks like she might’ve stepped out; fhs front full a little short but adjusts and lands cleanly; nice leap series; did I miss something? I think she only did 2 passes? or I just missed one; she did do another dance pass. 9.525. she definitely only did 2 floor passes. Which probably means a lower SV. She’s coming back from some kind of ankle injury–only did a dance through at their intrasquad and I saw her in a boot back in September–possibly still coming back.
After 3: Denver 146.6, Arizona 146.4
It continues to be a tight meet, especially with Arizona’s error’s on beam. That’s what allowed Denver to pull ahead by .2. It’s anyone’s meet to take at this point, let’s see who comes out on top!
Rotation 4: Denver beam, Arizona floor
Addison: nice full L turn; bhs loso, a little hip check; sissone, good; straddle to straddle 3/4, secure; big wobble on side aerial; sticks gainer pike. 9.75
Chesnok: spilt jump sheep jump very secure; bhs loso, small check; nice and confident on full turn; ooh she looked good on the front aerial but had a check; gainer full with a small hop. Wow, her first competitve beam routine since her freshman year. 9.675
Brown: front aerial front toss bhs wolf jump; such a unique connection for NCAA! switch leap split jump with a check; stuck gainer full to close. 9.775
Sundstrom: switch leap switch half with a check; good side aerial to sissone; a little tentative on her full turn but no major checks; bhs loso nice and secure; sticks gainer pike to close. overall nice set! 9.825
Karr: side aerial to bhs nice and solid; good full turn; hitch kick to side somi, interesting combo for NCAA; beat jump to split full good; sticks dismount. The Pioneers’ best routine yet! 9.9
Schou: front aerial to bhs to loso good–that’s how you combat the new rule change! nice leaps; beat jump to gorgeous sheep jump; bhs to gainer full, just a small foot shuffle. Beautiful! 9.875
Leydin: nice control on first pass; switch side to popa is good; double pike, nice; missed her middle pass evidently. 9.825
Bellows: double tuck oob to open. fhs front lay front full nice; ring jump to wolf full; nice and controlled double tuck to close; overall nice routine! 9.625
Berg: secure landing on double pike; nice leap series–pretty lines, great extension; good combo pass, would like maybe a little more control on the landing, it was kind of bouncy; fhs rudi, good, again a little bouncy on the landing. 9.7
Cindric: nice opening pass; fhs front lay front full good; good on leaps; double tuck. solid set! 9.85
Mattson: big double pike, almost has too much power–large lunge out of it; front lay front full, good; switch side popa, good; good double tuck to close.
Schneider: huge double pike to open; her choreo is always so fun and sassy; front lay front full good, adds some spunk with a kick right after; switch side popa, great extension! huge double tuck to close. Such a fun routine! 9.875
Final Score: Denver 195.775, Arizona 195.425
Beam for both teams got a little nervy in areas, but Denver gained the edge in the end! Arizona has some fun floor routines but in the end, the Pioneers had a stronger second half of the meet to come away with the win. It will be interesting to see how these teams develop over the season. With the first meet out of the way for the freshmen, the Pioneers can only go up from here and it will be exciting to see if Arizona exceeds expectations.
That wraps things up for this meet! Check back later for a live blog of UCLA vs Ohio State!
Live blog by Tara Graeve