LIVE BLOG: No. 3 Utah at No. 2 UCLA

I’m on site at Pauley Pavilion to cover the latest installment of the fiercest rivalry in the Pac-12! UCLA leads the pair in both average and high scores this season and carries a good deal of momentum into the meet—and like any dual between these two teams, home floor advantage can be a formidable asset. However, this competition means a great deal to both teams, so a Utah surge and UCLA nerve-induced struggles on the first two events are both completely possible scenarios. That said, if the Utes reach the midpoint without a significant advantage, it’s hard to see them coming back; they close on beam, which has been tight in recent weeks, and the Bruins have been performing almost unbeatably on beam and floor.

Also watch for the all around match up between Kyla Ross and Mykayla Skinner; while Skinner’s previous results and consistency give her the edge, Ross hasn’t scored below a 9.800 on any event this season and is always great at home. Neither gymnast has scored a 10 yet, and there’s a strong possibility that will change soon.


Both Glenn sisters warmed up beam for UCLA, one (I want to say Anna? but I wouldn’t stake my life on it) warmed up bars. Mercedez Sanchez also warmed bars.

Maddie Kocian did significant floor! I saw two different passes of good looking tumbling and a dance through, plus some timers.

For Utah, Alexia Burch was throwing respectable FTYs on vault, and Macey Roberts jumped in at the end too. Lauren Wong is listed as alternate on bars, but I’m not certain I saw her warm it – could be wrong. Sydney Soloski did warm up beam.

Macy Toronjo is on the floor, but not suited that I could tell.

These are the lineups that I was handed, but I was assured that they are EXTREMELY tentative and it’s UCLA so I don’t doubt it.

This also is a thing, though I haven’t seen her yet.

Kyla Ross in the all around for UCLA. Utah is putting up four – Kari Lee, Makenna Merrell-Giles, Missy Reinstadtler, and MyKayla Skinner.


In leo for UCLA vault: lineup six, plus Anna Glenn.

UCLA is wearing the birthday cake leo, Utah is wearing the Ute tribal one for the pink meet.

Or, “pink teardrop,” whatever.

Ross jut stuck a FTY in warmup and the roar was fairly magnificent. Wong definitely warmed bars for the Utes.

UCLA – DENNIS: Big FTY, great dynamics and college stick. Perfect 9.95 off the top! Utah fans in the crowd booing.

UTAH – LEWIS: Little shy on first handstand. Good Tkachev with feet, good bail. Double layout to a stick?! I think.

UCLA – TRATZ: Ok now THAT was a stick. All right guys.

UTAH – MMG: Toe on to Deltchev, great. Lovely bail, hitting the handstands. Stalder to double back, another stick.

UCLA – ROSS: The usual FTY, hop back to salute.

Taking this opportunity to say that Brielle Nguyen’s blue eyeliner is stellar.

UTAH – REINSTADTLER: Toe 1/2 to Jaeger, great. Maybe a little shy on a handstand or two? Full in dismount with a hop back.

UCLA – HALL: Y1.5… tries to stick it and sits. It was as good in the air as it ever is.

UTAH – LEE: Pike Jaeger with feet to overshoot, great handstands throughout here. 1/2 to 1/2 to double back, couple steps back.

UCLA – HANO: Y1.5, hangs on for a couple seconds before she jumps into the salute. It might be enough.

UTAH – TESSEN: Good release series, almost loses her balance standing on low bar, crowd gasps. Full in dismount is deep but I think she held the stick? It’s really hard to see from here.

UCLA – GLENN: Val swapped her in when Pua fell. Beautiful in the air, hop forward and a big smile.

UTAH – SKINNER: Over on a handstand on LB…. works through it. Toe on to full in dismount, leg sep but stuck and flings her head way back.

Kramer in exo for UCLA is great, tuck 3/2 with a hop forward.

Wong in exo for Utah: full turn with a foot flicker to Tkachev, lovely bail. Full in dismount with a hop.

UCLA 49.450 vs UTAH 49.3

Landing errors told the story there for Utah. Good rotation, but not great.

Scores were a little wobbly for UCLA – obviously Dennis’ was a bit generous when Tratz had a better landing, and Glenn’s is always scored a little tightly by my eye. It’s easy to see a hop forward and think underrotated, but that’s not really what’s going on – getting bigger scores out of that one might be down to teaching her to hop back instead of forward, instead of changing the substance of the vault


UTAH – REINSTADTLER: Good FTY, flared with a hop back. She has such a pretty one.

UCLA – DENNIS: Great Maloney to bail, straight to handstand there. DLO, pulled her heels together to salute but feet didn’t move. Good one!

UTAH – LEE: FTY, not the most amplitude but great dynamics. Up on her toes but holds it.

UCLA – OHASHI: Great handstands especially on bail, typical low Tkachev, good double layout with a small hop.

UTAH – LEWIS: Good FTY, hands up immediately but leans back and steps out of it.

UCLA – HONEST: Sitting in these handstands all day. Usual Tkachev, blind to straddle back is great. Full in dismount, hops straight into salute and runs away before anyone can question it.

UTAH – TESSEN: Y1.5, not quite the pop she usually gets… stumbles back and sits.

UCLA – LEE: Maybe a liiiittle bit low on a handstand on LB? We all know this routine by now and this is a good one. Deep on DLO with a step forward.

UTAH – MMG: Y1.5, great body position, off direction and takes two side steps.

UCLA – ROSS: Maloney to bail to toe shoot is great, sits in a handstand on HB and gets a shout from the team, DLO stuck-ish with an arm swing. She may have shifted one heel?

UTAH – SKINNER: DTY, stuck. Little crazy trying to get that one around but she did it.

UCLA – MERAZ: Toe on to Ray, waaaay too far and sails over the bar. BYE SONYA SEE YOU IN SPACE

Burch in exo for Utah on vault. Chest down with steps forward.

Anna Glenn exo bars! Didn’t notice until halfway, it was unannounced. Great toe full to double back with a foot shuffle.

UCLA 98.75 – UTAH 98.6

Well that wasn’t stellar for either team. Utah is still with the landings. UCLA desperately needs more bars options… there’s just too much eh in that lineup that when Peng and Kyla aren’t at their absolute best the whole thing is pretty lukewarm. Anna Glenn could be a thing, though. What I saw of that one was lovely.

Miss Val over near the beam judges with a piece of paper… and having serious chats with Nia. Is she going into beam?

Anna Glenn also warming beam.


UCLA – NGUYEN: Front aerial – loso is pretty! Tenuous connection but nobody is gonna take that. Nice switch split, side split 1/2 is great, front full dismount with a little hop into salute.

UTAH – LEWIS: Good double pike. FHS front lay front 1/1 got a little crazy in the air but nice control in the landing… oh no, I remember this, the music turns into the hand clap song in the middle. Leap series was fine, double back with a scoot back.

UCLA – KOCIAN: Switch to sheep with a little adustment, flic loso is good. Overcooks her full turn a little but it’s fine. Front aerial – just a little tentative. Double full dismount is GOOD, up on her toes but never in question.

UTAH – LEE: The Sail routine. 2.5 twist with a quick step forward. Switch 1/2 ring didn’t really hit position, great second pass. Front full front lay is good!

UCLA – G. GLENN: Visualizing with her eyes closed while Lee competes, Kocian waits for her to be done before going to give her a hug. Love the opening choreo, flic loso is stellar. Front aerial with a Risa Perez-style leg up check that’s somehow super pretty. Switch switch is great, full turn step to front scale hold. Flic to gainer full dismount, good.

UTAH – REINSTADTLER: Intense and creepy and beautiful. Great double back first pass, switch ring thru tour jete 1/2 is great. Front pass with a step into arabesque, great double pike to close. Definitely my favorite of this lineup.

UCLA – OHASHI: Handstand mount choreo is still the best thing. Tiniest bit off on full turn, front aerial flic loso is perfect. Little lean on switch ring. Switch split is great, flic-loso-back full dismount stuck.

UTAH -SOLOSKI: Anyone who does an attitude turn on beam is my fave. Double layout is beautiful in the air, just a bit deep. Extra difficulty on leaps, think that was a switch full? Could be wrong, it was behind people. Double full pass is beautiful, closes with a 3/2 to front lay and misses the punch, sits it.

UCLA – ROSS: Flic loso is so airy, big smile. Switch ring to beat jump – one of her best so far. No question on full turn and smiling throughout. Front aerial is there…  If she lands this dismount we’re going  10. Awkward landing with a step forward I JINXED HER.

UTAH – MMG: Roar from the Utah fans as she lands the first pass, not great control out of her combo pass but it’s so pretty in the air. Rudi to straddle jump, just barely holds it on her toes.

UCLA – LEE: Homma gets a huge roar from the crowd. Step out of the pikeout… big check on I think the double turn?? Retries it, clean. Side aerial back full dismount stuck, she’s laughing.

UTAH – SKINNER: Double double with a cross step back, tour jete 1/1 is good. 3/2 thru double full is  well controlled. Good landing on the full in. Ten hands for herself.

Anna Glenn in exo for UCLA.  Side aerial-bhs is great! Beautiful switch split, love the choreo. Flic loso back full, same dismount series as Ohashi and she lands it! That was the best routine of the rotation…

Macey Roberts for Utah, under and steps forward on both of the first two passes.

UCLA 148.15 vs UTAH 148.15

Well, it’s tied. Advantage UCLA going into home floor versus Utah’s weakest event this season, but the Bruins could have brought it home there. It doesn’t really matter – not like they lack other chances for high RQS scores – but it’s not what it could have been.


UTAH – STOVER: Front aerial, check. Repeats it into bhs. Beat to ring jump is good. Solid through kickover, switch to straddle with a step. Cartwheel to gainer full stuck dead.

UCLA – KRAMER: 2/1 punch front, toes OOB. The crowd response to that was something I’m also right across from the impeccably choreographed student section. Rudi to straddle, struggles to hang on.

UTAH – MMG: Switch to split, flic flic loso is great, nice and steady. Unsteady on front aerial but works through it. Adjustment on full turn, good double full dismount!

UCLA – DENNIS: Runs out of bounds on the double arabian. 3/2 to front lay stuck dead. Shuffle back on double back… welllll things just got a little more interesting.

UTAH – BURCH: Nie full turn, good flic loso. Cat leap to front aerial to beat jump. Great switch to straddle 1/4, 3/2 dismount fights hard to hang onto the stick and has to step back.

UCLA – ROSS: Great whip to double back. Switch to Ferrari was lovely, 3/2 to front lay with controlled lunge. Double pike a bit deep, hops out of it. She stayed on the floor!!!

UTAH – LEE: Good acro series, nice side aerial, switch to split is good. Utes setting up one of the best beam rotations of the season. Double full dismount with a stagger foot hop back.

UCLA – TRATZ: Great full in, step forward. 3/2 to front full is great,, could have stuck it, takes a nice step forward instead. Great on leap pass, holds onto landing there. Double back, big lunge OOB


UTAH – REINSTADTLER: Front aerial to split, a little off momentum but works through it. Flic loso with a little check. Gainer full dismount with a hop back.

UCLA – HANO: Almost stuck that DLO, lunge back probably just out of habit. Front full front 1/2 with the cute little running jump. Tour jete 1/2 to wolf 1/1 is bouncy but good. Great double pike. Awesome routine, as good as the 10 two weeks ago.

UTAH – SKINNER: Flic loso with knees. Side aerial to split, a bit short. Split straddle back tuck, a tiny bit overpowered but makes it work. Double back, little hop forward.

UCLA – OHASHI: Game face on as Skinner finishes – super focused. DLO is great, momentum goes all over the place in the combo pass but she makes it work. Great leap series. Crowd is so into this. Front full front lay split drop, crowd deafening.

McNatt in exo for Utah. Always interesting Y turn, big check on a standing loso with hand down.

UTAH 197.55 – UTAH 197.425

“We lost. UH-gain.” – 8yo girl sitting behind me.

That scored closer than it felt, to be honest. We’re not gonna talk about what happened there. Instead, we’re going to talk about the INCREDIBLE SCENES on the floor here.

MISS VAL: It’s Alumni Night, yada yada, and I’m so pleased to share the floor with a NCAA alumna who won the all around on the floor here sometime in the 80s, Megan Marsden! Megan Marsden! Megan Marsden??? … She’s fallen asleep. Are you here? Where is she? Megan Marsden!

MEGAN: *…meanders to edge of floor… smiles vaguely…. doesn’t walk over to Val or acknowledge her*

MISS VAL: “She hasn’t changed a bit.”


VAULT: Dennis, Skinner 9.95

BARS: Dennis 9.925

BEAM: Ohashi, Skinner, Merrell-Giles 9.925

FLOOR: Hano, Ohashi, Skinner 9.975

AA: Skinner 39.625

Live blog by Rebecca Scally

One comment

  1. Craziest meet ever. Scores were all over the place. Athletes were stressed. Megan Marsden probably had no idea she was going to be called to the floor as she is habitually polite and classy (expect a media blitz tomorrow stating Miss Val was snubbed) No one was at their best My vote for the best performance is Alexia Burch. Not a perfect performance but she kept her head in the turmoil. Hard for a freshman. You Go Girl!!! She’s one to watch in the future.

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