LIVE BLOG: Elevate the Stage (Reno)

The second Sunday of NCAA season brings us the first meet in the Elevate the Stage series. This collection of four collegiate meets will feature competitive match-ups competing on a podium in cities that don’t typically see collegiate gymnastics action; the first one takes place in Reno, and features a Pac-12 face-off between Utah, UCLA, Washington and Stanford.

For Utah, the goal is to repeat last weekend’s excellent performance—the Utes looked steady and prepared in their season debut for a 197.000. The only change from last week in Utah’s prospective lineups is on vault: Macey Roberts will be sitting out, allowing Kari Lee to make her season debut. Missy Reinstadtler will be leading off.

The UCLA Bruins counted a fall on vault and were uncharacteristically shaky on beam in their season opener. However, they showed a great deal of promise, particularly on floor. Head coach Valorie Kondos-Field is healthy and on the floor in Reno after having to sit out last week with the flu. She’ll be hoping that her presence helps to settle her team; last week’s nerves aside, it looked much closer to good form than in previous Januarys. It seems as though Macy Toronjo didn’t travel to Reno, and we’re uncertain what’s going on with her. In other injury news, Nia Dennis seems to have dislocated her shoulder over the weekend but has been doing basics and bearing weight on both arms during warm-up.

Washington had an offseason filled with turmoil, with injury concerns for almost every gymnast on the team at some point. Given the concerns about depth, the Huskies looked strong—if a bit scattered—in Sacramento on Friday, with Hailey Burleson returning to full form and Evanni Roberson making her all around debut. The big routine to watch for tonight is the floor anchor; after vaulting on Friday, it’s possible that Kristyn Hoffa will make her return from last season’s ACL tear there tonight.

Stanford showed great improvement at Monday’s Norcal Classic, though it suffered a bit from tight scoring. The biggest concern for the Cardinal is bars. After a slew of preseason injuries, it can only field five routines there, and two of the four freshmen in the lineup fell on Monday. That said, the mid-lineup routines on most pieces are great improvements from the last few years, and if those gymnasts can get through their routines successfully to allow senior star Elizabeth Price to shine in the anchor role, the Cardinal could walk away with a very competitive total.

Meet us back here at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT to catch all the action!

So, they’re showing each team’s intro video, but we don’t get to see it, just the lineups. This is great fun. Amazing.

Somehow everyone at Utah is almost exactly the same height.

Into touch. Ohashi and Ross looking strong on beam, most of the Utes sticking bar dismounts. Big bounds out of vaults for Washington.

Ouch, Peng Peng just missed a foot on her layout and came off.


I can only get three streams to work at a time so we’ll sit out floor until vault is over.

UW – COPIAK: Big FTY, hop back.

UCLA – NGUYEN: Super secure, lovely full turn, ooh split 1/2 from side position? front 1/1 dismount with a hop in place.

Utah had some springboard drama.

UTAH – LEWIS: Great handstands, feet on her tkachev. Stuck double layout!

UW – RILEY: Usual y arabian, step forward. She’s gotten much better at not landing this lock-legged.

UCLA – DENNIS: Great double wolf, easy on the series. She waited a while in the bhs prep and I had arabian flashbacks. Switch switch 1/2 fantastic. I think that was a stick on the 1 1/2 dismount?

UW – ROY: Tsuk 1/2, deep but nearly stuck, eventual step back.

UTAH – MERRELL-GILES: Deltchev amazing as always, stick on the double back. On fire on these landings.

UW – BURLESON: Beautiful airy FTY, step back.

UTAH – REINSTADTLER: Toe 1/2 to Jaeger, agh beautiful. Great bail with the tiniest leg sep. Easy full in with a hop.

UW – ROBERSON: I totally missed it. Sorry Ev.

UCLA – GLENN: BHS-LOSO, exquisite. Switch to split with clear oversplit. Full turn to life changing leg up choreo. Great gainer dismount!

UTAH – LEE: Great legs as usual, stick on the dismount. I’ve always thought she should be better than she is on bars, and that one was what she can be.

UW – HOFFA: Ms. ACL comeback! This means SO much to her. Awesome dynamic FTY with a bounce back.

UCLA – ROSS: Usual series, tiniest leg up. Switch ring with a bit of a lean. Full turn. Front aerial. Switch to split.

UTAH – TESSEN: Great cast up to immediate Jaeger, full in dismount deep with a step back. She tried to hold it. It’s so great to see her at her potential.

STANFORD – FLAM: Dropped in just in time to see her nail her closing double pike.

UCLA – OHASHI: Sat out last week to rest her ankle. New press handstand double stag mount series is amazing. Front aerial – BHS. Step out of the switch ring into the beat jump – probably still countable as a series but worth watching.

UTAH – SKINNER: Stick on the full in dismount.

STANFORD – BRYANT: DLO, phenomenal. Front tuck through double pike. Destroying these landings, she will anchor once Ebee graduates and we will worship her. She’s such a compelling dancer too! Open double back. Oh, my heart. Ten hands from the team, I wouldn’t be mad.

UCLA – LEE: Homma, the usual. Aggressive on the layout, leans but holds it. Double turn to beat to split! Leg up but fixes it quickly. Side aerial back full, airy and stuck. Not her best but very good.

STANFORD – PRICE: Doing what she does, awesome DLO. Landing close to the edge and keeping her steps back small. Great closing double pike. This is the most compellingly performed floor routine I’ve ever seen from her. Team yelling for a ten again, hahaha I love them.

UCLA – HANO: Ths must be an exo. Great switch ring, lean on her side aerial. 3/2 dismount stuck cold!

My livescore’s not working. Send help.

This should not happen.


UCLA – KRAMER: Front 2/1 punch front, phenomenal. Back 3/2 front lay. So much air on her straddle leap series.

STANFORD – LAWSON: Crunchy on the block FTY, stick it but it’s low.

UTAH – MCNATT: Beat to ugly sheep jump. Front aerial to bhs. Nice side scale choreo. Tidy dismount.

STANFORD – COLE: FTY with leg sep, bounce.

UW – NELSON: Clean through, full turn to double back with a hop.

UCLA – ROSS: Could have stuck her double back, here she is! UGH THE FERRARI. 3/2 to front lay, great. Double pike. Easily the best floor of her college career!

STANFORD – NAVARRO: Legit thought she was Tessen for a second. A little better than the other two FTYs, not life changing..

UW – ROBERSON: Flings her DLO out a bit too far, step back but she’s fine. After all the injury drama last year, how great is she now?

STANFORD – MMG: Clean through, nice double twist dismount.

UCLA – OHASHI: DLO is so great! Clean thru combo pass. Looked a little under on her third pass.

Coach Jo is wearing insane bell bottom black pants. Obsessed.

STANFORD – BRYANT: Clean, airy, big hop. FTY duh.

UW – WASHINGTON: Full turn to one of the best Giengers in the NCAA and I won’t shut up about it ever. Full turn to double back, controlled step.


STANFORD – PRICE: Like twice as high as the others and stuck dead. TEN TEN TEN I mean… oh whatever.

UW – GOINGS: Didn’t bars on Friday. I’m obsessed with her straddle back. Deep on the full in dismount, tries to hold it but has to step back. Basically the usual.

UCLA – DENNIS: Big step on her double arabian, has lots of extra energy. Great on the punch front thru double back. Double back third pass stuck DEAD. Wow.

STANFORD – FLAM: Bounds out of the Omelianchik. This vault used to be so good…

UW – COPIAK: Slightly over on first handstand, great Church to overshoot. Stuck full in dismount. Such a good one!

UW – BURLESON: Beautiful beautiful. Just over on one handstand. Full turn to double back is life changing.

UTAH – STOVER: Kickover is awesome, big smile. Hey you’re my header pic! Switch to straddle, slight adjustment. “Stick” on the gainer full dismount.

UCLA – HANO: The alien routine was my life when Sawa did it and I love it just as much on Fish. Great landings, great face.

Cute chat between Rowe and Reinstadtler before beam.

UCLA – TRATZ: Oh she is such a legend on floor. Full in, might have hit the line with her back foot… we’ll see. 3/2 to front full, great. Ever so slightly under on her double back but it’s fine.

UTAH – REINSTADTLER: Deep breaths, fell last week and looks nervous now. BHS-LOSO, easy and lovely. Switch to straddle 1/4. Way under on the gainer 1/1, big hop forward.

UTAH – SKINNER: Usual bits of knees on the acro. The switch – straddle – back tuck that every commentator thinks is the most difficult thing ever done, shaky. Step forward on double back, great.

UCLA – HONEST: Exhibition. Shuffles back out of double back. Oh, this is the Talk Dirty routine… front lay to front full, okay. Switch side to Popa, best part of the routine.

Beam judges are CRAWLING.

UTAH – LEE: Love the beam mount. Big adjustment on her acro series, beat jump to side aerial is so much fin. Switch to straddle 1/4. Double twist dismount, pulls the heels in and holds the stick.

Coach Baely hanging around with a hand on the beam, looks like she’s considering doing a routine herself.

UTAH – BURCH: I think it’s her, anyway. Exo on beam looks solid, nice stick on the 3/2 dismount.

Okay, this is Coach Jo’s outfit. I know you were all waiting to find out.


Some very straddled Pak work from Stanford. Roberson, Goings, and Burleson looking aggressive on beam for Washington.

Burleson missed a bunch of preseason – she had a blood clot removal procedure in October-ish that meant that one of her ribs had to be removed. So, yeah.

WASHINGTON – SCHAEFER: Secure and lovely. Easy stick on the 3/2 dismount.

My streams are breaking up, sorry if I miss things.

UCLA – HALL: Looked like a stick on the 1.5!

Okay, everything crashed and died.

Aaaand back!

WASHINGTON – GOINGS: Triple series, aggressive. She fell on Friday and she is a very serious perfectionist so that is not a tolerable thing.

UCLA – KRAMER: Wasn’t originally scheduled. Tuck 1.5, great with a step forward!

Sounds like everyone hit for UCLA, including all three 1.5s. Yay!

UTAH – REINSTADTLER: Clean in the part that I saw, such a lovely dancer.

STANFORD – PRICE: Just short in one handstand on high bar, the usual flexed feet on dismount with a step back.

UTAH – SOLOSKI: Misses her feet on double layout and stumbles out of bounds I think. Fantastic double twist. Confident on last pass.

UW – COPIAK: Slight check on series. Switch 1/2 to split, phenomenal. Step forward on 3/2 dismount. Good one!

UTAH – MMG: Sounds like Lindsey Stirling floor music. Great pike full in. 3/2 – front lay – front pike. Hop out of last pass but great!

UW – ROBERSON: Fantastic leap series, the amplitude is wild. Good full turn. LOSO-LOSO series! Cartwheel – gainer full dismount, hop forward.

UTAH – SKINNER: A tiniest bit bouncy on landings but basically the usual.  Chants of 10, I doubt that guys

UW – BURLESON: Check on front aerial. Redoes it into BHS. Side aerial to switch direct, that’s a new combo I think and pretty magical. Straddle – straddle 1/4. Full turn. Side aerial – full twist dismount, stuck.

UTAH – BURCH: Presumably exhibition. Fun choreo!

UW – RILEY: Probably also exhibition. Riley’s leg form is nerve-dependent so we’ll see how this goes… Yeah, bent front knee on the triple series but through. Beat to straddle 1/4. Split to LOSO, better legs. 3/2 dismount, tiniest hop.

Card counting a fall, but better than the two last week.

SCORES: UCLA 147.825, UTAH 147.55, UW 146.7, STANFORD 146.325

Sounds like beam judges are being grouchy to everyone.


Kristyn Hoffa is tumbling double backs and double pikes. We’re back, baby.

UW – SCHAEFER: Didn’t see if she did her E first pass. Rest looked good.

UCLA – HONEST: Usual feet early but cleaned up later. Precise and gorgeous double back.

UTAH – LEE: FTY, flared and stuck.

UW – ROY: Double pike, a bit too much power. Front full front lay, great.

UCLA – DENNIS: Great, near stuck DLO.

UTAH – LEWIS: FTY, flared. hop back.

UTAH – TESSEN: Good 1.5, hop forward.

UCLA – MERAZ: Great ray to overshoot, better DLO than usual with a hop back.

UTAH – MMG: Great 1.5, small hop forward.

UW – ROBERSON: This routine is so fun. Bound out of front 2/1, super powerful. Bounce out of double back. Hopefully that can be the drop score, but she’ll get there. Too much oomph on a last pass is a good problem to have.

UTAH – SKINNER: Double twist, usual with a very fake stick.

UCLA – OHASHI: Still not certain why she’s in this lineup. Great bail, okay tkachev – and straight off, hands not all the way over the bar. Lucky she didn’t land on the low bar. DLO with a step back, the air she gets on that is unbelievable.

UCLA – ROSS: Kylaing, tiniest arch on her bail but it’s nothing. Dead stick. on the DLO.

UW – WASHINGTON: Fab double back. Straddle positions life changing as per usual. Good one!

STANFORD – FITZGERALD: Are they still warming up? What’s going on here?

UCLA – LEE: Huge air on the Ray. Great Bhardwaj, van Leeuwen, arguable stick on the DLO. Phenomenal. I think that should win this. What a day for UCLA!

Janay has a BUNCH of ice on her shoulder.

UW – BURLESON: Great double pike. 3/2 thru double twist?? Is this new or is my brain broken? Cross step back on the 2.5 but a good hit.

STANFORD – NAVARRO: I think?? Great leap positions, step back on the double back.

UW – HOFFA: Okay guys I’m already crying. Bound back out of double pike but WHO CARES. Front lay front full. Tour jete 1/2 to wolf 1/1… this is what she tore her ACL on, held my breath but she’s fine. Awkward landing on the double back but SHE DID IT SHE’S BACK.

STANFORD – BRYANT: Lean on full turn. Great aggressive bhs-loso. Beat to ring. Fake stick on the double back.

STANFORD – FLAM: Concentrated and steady. A bit of legs on the BHS into layout but solid. Only thing going on in the arena because the beam judges are just chilling. Great leap series, punch front full dismount with a step back.


Really solid from all four today, a lot to be proud of and room to grow!

It’s so great to see UCLA acting like one of the best in the country in the second week. The Bruins seem really serious this year, which will make their RQS situation much comfier in coming weeks. I’d love to see some variation in the bars lineup… replacing one of Ohashi and Honest would make things a lot comfier there, but I’m not sure who or when is the best choice.

Utah looked very similar to last week overall. Great day for Skinner (though not as good as the judges seemed to think, to me) and for Missy Reinstadtler, who’s quietly becoming a top all arounder. It’s also exciting to see Burch exhibition in three events. My only comment here is that McNatt in the beam lead-off doesn’t seem to be working too well. I’d love to see Tessen give it a try… or maybe Burch or Soloski…

For Washington it’s all about getting the brokens back into lineups, and it’s going great so far. Its home opener is on Saturday vs Cal, and hopefully in more normal meet circumstances and out of the two-meet-weekend craziness it can clean up some landings and handstands. There will be plenty of lineup experiments before things are settled, but this weekend has given me so much more faith that the Huskies can return to 197 form this season.

Stanford just needs a sixth gymnast on bars, and I don’t know where it’s going to get one. That said, having Price healthy and back in the all around for her senior season is such a gift, and the freshmen are doing as much as it’s reasonable to expect to carry the team while the entire sophomore and junior classes break. Kyla Bryant is especially valuable – her confidence and poise on the floor outstrips most of the upperclassmen.

I’ve sat here writing for like fifteen minutes and the entire UCLA squad has been having a dance party on the floor the whole time. A handful of girls from other teams are dropping in and out too. All right, guys <3

What a quality meet! That’s all from me this weekend, but meet us back here tomorrow for a liveblog of Oklahoma at Georgia!

Live blog by Rebecca Scally

One comment

  1. Very impressive debut from Nguyen to post a 9.825 from the leadoff spot and for it to hold up for a tie for second.

    Does anyone know the circumstances around her transfer? She competed last year, so I take it that means she was granted a release from her letter of intent, but details have been elusive so far.

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