LIVE BLOG: No. 23 California at No. 13 Washington

The Cal Bears visit the Washington Huskies in the first weekend of Pac-12 dual meets, in a battle of Who Has The Sweetest Head Coach, I mean, gymnastics. After a disappointing performance in its upset loss at BYU last week, Cal will be looking to use its superior freshman power to get a clean meet and improve its conference record to 2-0. Washington recovered better than any of us predicted from an injury-strewn offseason, recording two scores in the 195’s in the opening weekend with more veteran routines still to add back in.

At this stage the teams’ scoring range is similar: an okay-but-not-perfect day will probably score in the mid- to upper-195 range, and both will be shooting to break the 196 mark for the first time this season. At this stage I give the edge to Washington, but it could go either way.

I just accidentally tagged this post “live blob” instead of “blog” and I want everyone to know that that is definitely accurate.

Notes from warm-up:

Cal had some struggles with bar releases but looked great on floor and beam. Nina Schank is doing floor to Panic at the Disco (I think it’s I Write Sins Not Tragedies) and it’s amazing. Malory Rose is suited and not braced, I didn’t see if she did any beam – I’d be shocked if she’s back this early but I also didn’t expect Hoffa back week one so what do I know. A few sat passes for Washington on floor, Cal looks fab on beam.

The theme of the new Washington intro video is outer space and also explosions.

National anthem was sung by an elementary school choir. It was of the quality you would expect but also life changingly adorable.


Washington’s vault lineup will be Copiak Riley Roy Hoffa Burleson Roberson.

Cal will be So. Seilnacht George Shu Williams Kuc Schank

UW – COPIAK: Big FTY, slight leg split on block, good landing with hop in place.

CAL – SO. SEILNACHT: Lovely half turn to pike Jaeger (little low) to overshoot, half turn to front 3/2 dismount, awesome as ever.

UW – RILEY: Y 1/2, as much amplitude as I’ve ever seen. Up onto her toes to hold the stick but she does it.

CAL – GEORGE: Something weird in her first cast up… tucks it and immediately jumps off. Nice Tkachev, okay bail – wiggles but holds it. Toe on to full out dismount, stuck!

Off to a seriously good landing start today.

UW – ROY: Tsuk 1/2, same landing as Riley – up on her toes but holds the stick. Coach Ray-Statz (still weird) very excited for that one.

CAL – SHU: Great first handstand, toe on to Ray to overshoot great. Misses a handstand on high bar, half in half out dismount flung way out and falls forward onto her hands. Counting a fall.

I wonder if it ever occurs to these girls that they’re doing a Ray in front of Elise Ray. I would be very frightened.

UW – HOFFA: First meet back at home since her ACL tear, big FTY with a step back.

CAL – WILLIAMS: Hindorff, slightly low on a handstand, clear hip to bail with tiniest leg sep in the air. Super aggressive on most of these handstands, airy DLO with a step forward.

UW – BURLESON: Miles of height on her FTY, same landing as Hoffa with a medium step back. Off to one side a bit.

CAL – SCHANK: Toe shoot, over on a handstand on high bar but holds it. Gorgeous pike Jaeger to overshoot. Double layout, great with a tiny hop in place. Best one so far.

UW – ROBERSON: Big FTY, very good direction with a hop straight back.

Alma Kuc is apparently out with some kind of leg situation? so Yuleen Sternberg is up. I didn’t catch this until a little late. Shy on some handstands, feet okay but imperfect, double front dismount way cowboyed and sits it. Counting two falls…

WASHINGTON 48.95 – CAL 47.9 

Cal, what is up with your bars? This is becoming a running thing.

I’m told that the commentary is awful. I’m very thankful to be missing it.

Gallarzo in exhibition is good, they’ll wish they could have put that instead. Hop in place on the double layout and coach Justin is happy.

Washington vault scores can go low and these were definitely not generous, but not offensive. I thought that Riley’s could have gone higher with a stick (though not a deduction-free one.


Whoa Robinson just missed her block on an Ilg timer. Everything is fine but she had to really pull to get that even close to around.

Evanni Roberson just stuck a flung out DLO dismount. The Copiak Church is huge and fabulous but her catch on the connected overshoot doesn’t look great.

Lineup for Cal: Gallarzo Keelen Mastrangelo George Williams Robinson, exh. Schank

Washington: Nelson Roberson Washington Riley Copiak Burleson, exh. Schaefer

CAL –  GALLARZO: Y 1/2, awkward bounce and sits it. I thought she had that…

WASHINGTON – NELSON: Half turn to Jaeger, a little low with some feet. She likes to split her legs and start to Great Pak! Full turn to beautiful double back, legs together toes pointed and stuck cold. Nice start.

CAL – GALLARZO: FTY, fairly average with a bounce back.

WASHINGTON – ROBERSON: Pike Jaeger to overshoot, this is basically the old Duranczyk routine and they’ve been working really hard to minimize the deductions because done well it’s an efficient way to get great scores. Beautiful DLO, little hop in place.

CAL – MASTRANGELO: Nice body position, little hop back.

WASHINGTON – WASHINGTON: (hehe) Full turn to Gienger ugh so good, I love that release. Best bail of anyone today.  Full turn to double back – that’s new! Quite open, she used to have trouble flinging her full out way too far out and not being able to control it so I like the change. Good good routine.

Okay come on judges, those three were not equally good. We don’t have to 9.825 everything.

CAL – GEORGE: Big FTY, shuffle back.

Serious talks look to be happening between the Howells.

WASHINGTON – RILEY: Tiny bit over on first handstand, maloney to bail great. Beautiful double layout, slight hop forward.

CAL – WILLIAMS: Literally shakes the floor when she runs. Great FTY and stuck!

By the way, the livescore is lying. It’s counting the exhibition score in the lineup. Score I posted was correct.

WASHINGTON – COPIAK: First handstand over, Church to overshoot great! Half in half out messy legs but stuck.

CAL – ROBINSON: Ilg, looked a little close to the table to me but a great stick.

WASHINGTON – BURLESON: Over 98 at the midpoint, this is all bonus. Usual exceptional extension in Tkachev, holds handstands forever on high bar and then in the great bail. Full turn to double back and a hop forward.

Just spotted Janae Janik, who’s on the floor as a UW team photographer.

Schank in exo – good FTY, tiniest shuffle.

Schaefer in exo – usual very low tkachev, nailing handstands. Great bail, great double layout with a hop. I know she’s aiming for the AA before she retires.

UW 98.05 – CAL 96.825

Hearing that Schaefer was originally in lineup over Riley, but went over on a few handstands and got subbed.


UW – SCHAEFER: Front aerial, little check. Flic-loso, great. Full turn. Split to double stag that every photographer loves. 3/2 dismount, obvious hop forward and the “STICK HUSKIES” chant goes up anyway. Oh, arena announcer..

9.7 for that is TIGHT.

CAL – SO. SEILNACHT: Front lay to Rudi, great. Illusion turn! Oh my heart.  3/2 to front 1/2 to punch front… oooh, that was very low in the middle, but she made it. Last pass great!

Coach Liz’ navy knit jacket has chalk marks on the back from gymnast hugs, which just makes me happy.

UW – WASHINGTON: Clean thru acro series, great side aerial. Switch side to straddle, amazing straddle positions as usual. Front full dismount, hop forward.

For some reason, the

CAL – SHU: Great double back, double pike, switch to switch full! Intense music and she’s committed to it. 3/2 to front pike to close, good one and she is EMOTIONAL about it.

UW – GOINGS: Ankle heavily taped. She had a boot for part of preseason that apparently was just precautionary… Triple series super secure. Beat to straddle 1/4. Full turn. Ooh… standing LOSO and her back foot slid, but she held it like nothing happened. I can just imagine how her stomach must have dropped out, though. Side aerial to back 1/1, that was GREAT.

CAL – ROBINSON: Double arabian, lower than I’ve seen but STUCK. 3/2 to front pike, super airy and flies forward, just stays in bounds. Switch side to straddle. Double pike, great. That could have been a 9.9 if not for that middle landing…

UW – COPIAK: Beam is a new addition this year for Maddie. Flic loso beautiful. Switch 1/2 to full split, thank you very MUCH. Side aerial to beat. She always looks so nervous on the floor, but she’s getting better and better about not letting it into her routines. 3/2 twist and another stick! Her foot was RIGHT on the end of the beam on that round off… 9.6… I think there was a SV problem. Not totally sure I saw a leap series.

CAL – KEELEN: Double pike. Switch ring to switch side wolf 1/1… I love more-than-bare-minimum dance difficulty on floor. FHS-Rudi to close, that was a good one.

UW – ROBERSON: Switch to straddle 1/4. She is SO assertive on beam. Full turn. Standing LOSO-LOSO series, a little knees but great. Cartwheel – gainer 1/1 dismount, stick.

Washington is getting killed on beam scores. These routines aren’t their absolute best but they’re not bad. Goings in particular feels low to me. But then, Cal is getting stuck at the 9.8 mark for some pretty good floor routines too.

CAL – GEORGE: Amazing front 2/1, front tuck fhs Rudi SO GOOD. The energy level that she has compared to the rest of the lineup is tangible. Short on closing double back, with a step forward.

UW – BURLESON: Adjustment on front to back series… on an incredibly mean day they could take that, but she kept it moving. Side aerial to switch leap direct is great! I always love seeing seniors add new things. Leap series lovely, side aerial to back full stuck and amazing.

CAL – WILLIAMS: DLO, lower than it could have been but great landing. Switch side – Popa. Dance in this one is so much fun. Front lay front full, controlled step out. Double pike, super solid. 9.925, oh THERE are the scores.

Nelson in exo on beam and a hit! Great, she had some acro problems in preseason but she could work her way into this lineup.

Schank on floor – doing floor to I Write Sins Not Tragedies, my hero. Low on Rudi, step back on double pike that could have been OOB but this is SO MUCH FUN.

WASHINGTON 146.9 – CAL 145.825

With home floor still to go, Washington most likely has this wrapped up. Some of the beam scores were a little tight, but that’s first home meet life. Cal recovered a lot on floor, some really high quality routines there.


CAL – SO. SEILNACHT: Doing beam to Someone Like You. Airy and secure on flic loso. Fall on I didn’t even see what. Great side aerial back full dismount.

UW – SCHAEFER: Lead off position tells me likely no full in tonight. Nope, good double pike though with a scoot back. 3/2 twist in combo, ooh a backspin in her choreo, love those. Switch ring to tour jete 1/2. Good closing double back!

CAL – SHU: Seems to be doing beam to the second half of Someone Like You. Front aerial to front support mount. Front aerial to BHS – slow connection. Hitch kick to switch 1/2 – incomplete split. Strong side somi. Side aerial back full, a little short with hop forward.

UW – ROY: This routine is super fun. Double pike, nailed it. Switch side wolf full. Front full front lay. Double back, a bit of a stumble back.

CAL – GEORGE: So poised, gorgeous splits and fun choreo. Near stick on her double back dismount – just a shuffle with one foot. 9.9 deserved for that.

UW – ROBERSON: Step out of her front 2/1, but holds on. I feel like we’ve already heard this music tonight. Great rudi-loso. Awkward landing on double back but a little adjustment is all she needs.

CAL – KEELEN: Flic loso, short and has to adjust. Split 1/2 jump to beat. Front aerial to split. 3/2 dismount, great dismount and a stick.

UW – HOFFA: Super amplitude on double pike. Front lay front full. Tour jete 1/2 to wolf full, no problem. Double back, slight adjustment but good.

CAL – GALLARZO: Full turn straight into choreo, fun. Front aerial to flic loso – a little slow in the connection but always a fun connection to see. Maybe a little tentative in some of her splits?

UW – WASHINGTON: Double back, one of the ones that seems to hang in the air for a few seconds before she starts dropping. Switch side to Popa, her straddle positions are everything. Front lay front full. Performance quality is growing as she settles in. Double pike, a little bounce up but good.

By the way, I don’t think it’s been announced anywhere so it could be related to the meet theme (which also hasn’t been announced) but UW is wearing teal hair ribbons today.

CAL – WILLIAMS: Just stag jump mount, probably good. Front tuck – loso combo, so great. Switch switch combo. Full turn. Gainer pike dismount, just an adjustment on one foot.

UW – BURLESON: The best opening pose ever to ever. Great double pike, straight back with a 3/2-ro-bhs-2/1. I think that’s a new pass this season and it’s great. 2.5, great control.

Riley in exhibition. Actually a great routine, I expect that to get some lineup time.

FINAL: WASHINGTON 196.325 – CAL 194.825

Unfortunate that early errors from Cal meant that this was never a real battle, but there were definite positive signs from the Bears, who walked away with all five individual titles. They had three very successful rotations, it’s just… bars. Really not sure what’s going on there, it’s not like the team lacks capable bar gymnasts.

Washington should be very pleased with its first 196 of the season, and the score could even have been a little higher – I thought beam scores were tight. To get back into the 197 range, the story is the same as last year – bars handstands and vault landings. That level looks much more attainable today than it did a month ago, which is a great sign.


Vault: Williams 9.9

Bars: Schank 9.925

Beam: George 9.9

Floor: Williams 9.925

AA: Williams 39.325


Live blog by Rebecca Scally

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