LIVE BLOG: No. 25 Oregon State at No. 2 Utah

Oregon State travels to Utah on Friday night for its 2018 conference opener after a challenging road meet at Pitt last weekend. While the team only suffered one fall, it also only produced four scores of 9.8+. It’s a challenging season for the Beavers, who graduated nearly all of their standout routines from 2017, but the scoring standard at Utah should be significantly higher than at Pitt. We’re really interested to see OSU keep working freshmen and new-to-lineup sophomores in—Niya Mack might make her lineup debut in floor tonight after a great exhibition at Pitt, among others.

As much as anything else, Utah’s consistency makes it a heavy favorite in this meet; the Utes have only had one fall in their two opening meets and produced final scores only 0.025 apart. Expect standout sophomore Mykayla Skinner to score high at home and even threaten for 10s for strong routines. Also keep an eye out for freshmen Alexia Burch, who showed exhibition routines on three events last weekend, and Lauren Wong, a J.O. standout who was committed for the 2019 season but graduated early and joined the team last week.

While Utah (atypically) hasn’t published prospective lineups for tonight yet, the change we’d be least surprised to see is the beam leadoff. Shannon McNatt has contributed weak routines in that spot two weeks running, and with strong routines available elsewhere on the team (from Burch and Kim Tessen, among others), it might be time to swap her out and try something new.

The Utes will be wearing this new leotard. It is some kind of a thing.

All right, two minutes to go and no sign of lineups or anything. But on the bright side, we do have this very ambiguous boomerang gif.

Oh hey a lineup!

Peszek on commentary. The new Utah leotard is extremely, unmistakably hot pink.


UTAH – REINSTADTLER: Normal FTY, small step with one foot back. Great opening.

OSU – KHAMEDOOST: Toe on to Maloney with leg sep to great bail. A little over on a handstand, DLO with leg sep and the tiniest hop. Good start.

UTAH – LEE: FTY, flared out with a small hop to the side.

OSU – MCP: Arena announcer takes three tries to get thru the surname. Good Jaeger, really nice bail. Awesome DLO to stick. Peszek says it’s her best bar routine in her college career and I believe it.

UTAH – LEWIS: FTY, bigger than the others but a little crunchier, leg split at the end and a big hop back.

OSU – SINGLEY: Full turn with feet to great Tkachev. Awesome handstands. Full turn to double back, zero distance, tiny side step. Seriously stepping up in this rotation.

UTAH – TESSEN: Same 3/2, coach was standing in the way so we didn’t see the landing… oh there, small hop back! Still the big leg sep, she won’t get 10s until she fixes that but it scores big anyway.

OSU – MINYARD: Gets a little stuck in a cast with grip change. Jaeger in combination, solid… double layout released too early, never had enough height and lands with hands down.

UTAH – MMG: Why are we learning the name of her husband? Y3/2, great with a hop to the side and a little bit of knees.

OSU – JACOBSEN: Has done the most career routines of anyone on the team, huh. Big Tkachev with a bit of feet to overshoot, half turn to double front with a step back. Cowboyed in the second salto, it was so pretty to start with.

UTAH – SKINNER: Bent elbows on the DTY block, has to wrap it around very fast. A little underrotated but hangs on for just a tiny hop on landing. 9.95, cute.

OSU – GILL: Toe on to Maloney to Pak, tiniest leg sep at the end. Double layout, arm flare at the end with a little hop back.

You sort of get the feeling that this team lives and dies by what Sabrina can produce.

UTAH 49.475 – OSU 49.075

Definitely a couple of excitement scores on those last two vaults, but a good rotation anyway.

OSU did what they needed to do, some great handstands. A 196 today would be a definite success.


Routine to watch is Dessaints on vault. We know she’s capable of a Y3/2, but she’s only been doing a 1/2 so far this year.

OSU – KHAMEDOOST: FTY, a bit crunchy with a hop back.

UTAH – LEWIS:  Nice full turn, slightly over to Tkachev with feet, bail. Double layout with leg sep and a stick.

Apparently papa Peszek always called a Tkachev a Tchaikovsky. So now we all get to participate in Sam’s childhood embarrassment.

OSU – SINGLEY: FTY, low with slightly uneven block but good body position, step back.

UTAH – MMG: Toe on to Deltchev. Nice bail, slightly off to one side, stalder to double back with small step back.

OSU – GILL: Quick vault, not much height but okay distance, hop back.

Working a 3/2… I really don’t know how that’s gonna work out for her.

UTAH – REINSTADTLER: Great first hadnstand, half turn to Jaeger. Off line on bail, leg sep and a little short. Crazy legs into full in dismount, overrotates a little but keeps it under control with a hop.

OSU – YANISH: Big amplitude on FTY, hop back. Also working a 3/2, that one I believe.

UTAH – LEE: Great first handstand, half turn to close Jaeger to overshoot… super weird, loses her rhythm.  Basically gets stuck in a L hang and has to really work to get her kip. They’ll want to drop that.

OSU – DESSAINTS: There’s the 3/2!! Step back, not her best distance, but it’s there.

UTAH – TESSEN:  Hop change to nice Jaeger, was that handstand short? Okay bail, a tiny arch. Full in dismount, stuck and great.

OSU – JACOBSEN: Great tsuk 1/1, big distance, hop back.

UTAH – SKINNER: Maloney with usual leg sep, slight arch on bail. Arch in a handstand, crazy legs into full in dismount but stuck. Borderline whether legs are close enough on landing to not be deductible. Commentator says he can’t find any deductions there… okay. 9.975 OKAY GUYS RELAX.

Someone I don’t recognize is prepping for a vault exo for OSU.

Oh gosh, they’re doing the whole “SO WHERE WERE THE DEDUCTIONS THAT MADE THIS NOT A TEN? I DON’T SEE THE DEDUCTIONS” thing. Guys. Please.

UTAH 98.7 – OSU 98.2

Middling rotation for Utah, I expect them right around the 197 mark they’ve shown the first few weeks. OSU sticking much closer than I expected through two – good for them!


Lineup change for Utah, Stover in the lead off! Who called it? That’s right. You’re welcome. Burch goes in in I think the third spot for her college debut.

UTAH – STOVER: Clean through aerial-bhs acro series. Great beat jump ring jump combo. Front toss, off line and fights to save it. Cartwheel – gainer layout 1/1 dismount, good landing.

OSU – JACOBSEN: Irish dance-sounding music. Great double pike! Segues into techno Swan Lake? What in the world. Great leap series, Punch Rudi. Fun turning leaps and we’re back into Swan Lake. So bizarre. Cool.

UTAH – MMG: Switch to split, good. Great triple series. Front aerial, slow to settle into it – did she mean to connect out of that? Good full turn, just a little tentative throughout. 2/1 twist, hop back.

OSU – GILL: Dramatic and fun. Double pike, scoot back into her lunge. 3/2 to front layout, perfect. Switch ring to low switch 1/2. I love watching her, the detail work is fantastic. Great double tuck. Her uneven arms on salute are my life – reminds me of Giulia Steingruber’s.

UTAH – BURCH: Collegiate debut! Rolled her ankle a couple weeks ago, did three exhibitions at Elevate last week, so we’ve known this was coming. Flic loso with feet but solid through. Cat leap to front aerial, little check. Switch leap. That might have been an intended leap series… split to straddle 1/4, there it is. 3/2 dismount with stick! A little tentative but good first routine, and she’s thrilled.

OSU – SINGLEY: Front tuck through double back. Double pike, big scoot back. Split positions questionable on her leap series. Punch Rudi, good! This music is super dramatic, and she’s growing into a performer.

UTAH – LEE: The awesome kickover beam mount thing. Flic loso, beautiful. Beat jump to side aerial. Switch leap to straddle 1/4. She’s so beautiful. Double twist, shuffled one foot but good one.

OSU – LOWERY: Oh this is so much fun. Bounce back out of her double back, narrowly avoided OOB on second pass. Crowd is into this, which is not a thing that happens for away teams at Utah much. Front layout front full, cross step. Great! 9.675… did I miss something or were they very tough on those landings?

UTAH – REINSTADTLER: Front aerial, uncertain landing and misses connection out. Flic loso, great. Side somi. Full turn, awkward but fine. Straddle 1/4 is exquisite… Cartwheel to gainer full dismount stuck.

OSU – YANISH: Double layout, life changing. Front full front lay. Switch side to Popa was fab. Super convincing performance for a freshie in her second meet. Double back, clean through. Good one!

So imagine Lowery-Yanish-Carey as the 4-5-6 on floor. You’re welcome.

Commentators said that “one online gymnastics service” said that Yanish was the most anticipated freshman floor routine of the season…. THAT’S US! I believe that was Emily Howell-Forbes’ wording, can confirm that she’s a Yanish superfan but also very correct.

UTAH – SKINNER: Normal, typical iffy tuck back in the new series. Slightly short on the double back dismount with a step forward.

OSU – FORCE: Great landing on the double pike. Front lay front full, super controlled. A little bit of Bridgeying going on here, but this is a great routine. Double back, too slow in the air… way short and lands on her knees, OUCH.

UTAH 147.9 – OSU 147.275

Great great meet for OSU so far! Should be a 196 barring beam meltdown, which is exactly what they were looking for.

Utah pre-floor hype chant is moderately adorable. Apparently there are some leaders of the Ute tribe in attendance – so cool!


OSU – SINGLEY: Split to double stag, nice! Flic loso, smooth, great handstand choreo. Apparently only her third beam routine in her college career! Great front kickover. Fun Y scale choreo… and great gainer layout 1/1 dismount.

UTAH – LEWIS: I’m always pleasantly surprised by her performance quality. Oh no, and the hand clap song, there it goes. Tumbling is good though! Good double back to close.

OSU – DAVIS: College debut, I think? Front aerial. Flic loso, lean but good. Beat to switch 1/2, imperfect split but respectable. Wolf jump, imagine that was supposed to be connected. Forward gainer 1/1 off the end, great!

Apparently before the meet Sam asked Tanya Chaplin who was competing beam and she said “I dunno, we’ll see after beam warmups…” which is my favorite coaching philosophy.

UTAH – ROBERTS: Short and crunchy on double pike, ouch. Almost drops a knee. Front lay to Rudi, good! Doesn’t seem too hampered by that landing. Wonky wolf full, rolls out of it into choreo… reminds me of that time at worlds that Yao Jinnan was short on a tumbling pass and did a forward roll out into her end pose.

OSU – MINYARD: Breaks connection out of switch leap – seen that a lot tonight. Split to straddle so she’s fine. Front aerial to BHS. Hitch kick to switch side, great. Side aerial, layout full stuck! How far she’s come from not even traveling with the team last year.

UTAH – REINSTADTLER: Love the performance quality in this one. Open double back, a little overpowered with step back but she’s good. 3/2 to layout, step forward into arabesque, Hailey Burleson does that too and it’s my fave. Double pike, great. Hit AA!

OSU – YANISH: She was OSU’s one fall last week, will hope to fix it tonight. Flic loso, tiny bit off line but she’s fine. Switch-loso, FAB. Full turn, tiny check. So stylish. Split – straddle 3/4, lovely. Front aerial… I think? Sam said handspring but that doesn’t make sense. Gainer layout 1/1. A little unsteady but hit’s a hit!

UTAH – SOLOSKI: Double lay, fab. Much less whippy than the first time I saw it in comp. Switch 1/1. Double twist, little bounce. 3/2 front lay, great!

Apparently the first week she was only in because Kari was pulled that week, but did so great that she’s become a fixture.

OSU – GILL: Every time someone does a squat over beam mount I get excited that it might be a Russian lever. It never is but Sabrina is pretty anyway. Split to double stag. Has a great performance quality on beam, chin up no facial expressions, almost imperious. Between the beam mount and the death stares, I’m getting Mustafina vibes. Front aerial bhs. Switch 1/2 to beat, I don’t even hate it. Gainer 1/1 dismount!

UTAH – MMG: Pike full in, chest down but makes it work. Switch ring to tour jete 1/2, questionable split position on that. Bounce out of the combo pass. Not the most convincing dancer. FHS Rudi to straddle jump, BIG bounce back in that, it’s like that thing on Trinity’s double layout… 9.925 hahaha I love it.

OSU – DESSAINTS: Little check on her series. Switch – double stag – beat jump. Love all the double stags <3 Kickover front to beat jump, fierce smirk. Bhs – gainer 1/1 off the side, stick.

UTAH – SKINNER: Can we just get the 10 and go home? Shuffle back out of the double double. Dance is what it’s always been. 3/2 thru double twist… whoa, she lost momentum in the middle there and had to really fight to keep it going. Low on the double twist but could have been much worse. She always hops out of her punch front that’s only there to meet code requirements… I don’t genuinely expect it to be deducted but it’s funny. Another shuffle back on the full in.

Crowd apparently mad about the score. Oh, Utah fans. Never change. 9.875 is a gift, take it and go home.

Burch is going to exhibition

FINAL: UTAH 197.45 – OSU 196.3

Good one for Utah, maybe not that good. I thought that was pretty similar to their previous two performances. Skinner’s save on floor was super impressive but it wasn’t a zero-deductions thing like the judges seemed to think. But the Utes’ consistency remains incredibly compelling. Based on today if there’s a vulnerability it’s probably bars… but it’s really hard to see how you beat them unless you’re one of the typical top three teams or apparently an absolutely peaking Michigan.

OSU did exactly what they needed to after an uncertain start to the season at Pitt last week. It’s so exciting to see the youngsters start to work into lineups, and Yanish is such an asset. This team hinges on 9.8s from Gill, Singley, and Jacobsen; the steadiness of those three is what gives the rest of the team margin to experiment, and if one has an off day the team is in trouble. But this was expected to be a rebuilding year between losing last year’s standout senior class and gaining Jade Carey, and scoring 196’s so early in the season is above and beyond what we expected.


Vault: Merrell-Giles / Skinner 9.95

Bars: Skinner 9.975

Beam: Skinner 9.925

Floor: Lewis / Soloski / Merrell-Giles 9.925

AA: Skinner 39.725



Live blog by Rebecca Scally

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