LIVE BLOG: No. 10 BYU at No. 11 Arizona State

Tonight these two teams that are ranked neck and neck (week 2 things, am I right?) will fight for their first win of the 2021 season. BYU opened its competition season with a second place finish at the Best of Utah meet last Saturday while Arizona State fell to Oklahoma in a dual meet last Sunday. Though neither team claimed the top spot at their season openers, both had moments that they will want to recreate today.  

BYU’s Angel Zhong returned to competition for the first time since 2019 and contributed on three events. The bars and floor rotations were also highlights for the Cougars with both lineups only counting scores of 9.800 or better, including a 9.900 on floor from Abbey Miner-Alder. However, the meet wasn’t without nerves and flaws which particularly impacted the beam lineup. It will be interesting to see if the Cougars play with the lineup and we see routines from any of the freshmen or if they stick with similar contributors and hope for a less nervy rotation.

The Sun Devils had a similar outing in their season opener with a stellar first two rotations highlighted by a stuck Yurchenko one and a half from freshman Anaya Smith and two beautiful bar routines from freshmen Sarah Clark and Emily White. Smith, Clark and White were the top scorers of the day for Arizona State, all receiving 9.850s for their performances. The Sun Devils lost a bit of steam in the final two rotations where they seemed to struggle with endurance on floor and had to count a fall on beam. If they can work out some of these little issues, their team score could jump up quite a bit tonight.

Rotation 1: Arizona State VT, BYU UB

Boyer (ASU): FTY piked down with one large step

Zhong (BYU): hop + Jaeger + bail with some leg issues. double lay with the tiniest hop

Mangahas (ASU): lovely FTY with a large step.. great body position though!

Hunter (BYU): big Tkatchev, free hip + bail great, BEAUTIFUL stuck double lay.

Barbente (ASU): FTY chest down a bit with a small step

Beeston (BYU): free hip + Geinger + bail with just a bit of leg separation, double lay with some wonky body shape stuff but stuck.

Smith (ASU): Y 1.5 with some bendy legs and a step to the side

Alvarado (BYU): Maloney + pak so pretty! Half pirouette perfectly on top of the bar. Stuck double lay!

Scharf (ASU): STUCK FTY with chest up and great body shape throughout! Best vault of the day so far!

Pitou (BYU): Blind to massive Jaeger, bail with a teeny leg separation, full-in stuck. WOW BYU is crushing this bar rotation!

Leonard-Baker (ASU): FTY piked down with a small step to the side.

Boden-Stainton (BYU): Really aggressive blind + Jaeger + bail, full-in with a tiny slide of the foot.

Reeves (ASU): Exh — Y 1.5 tucked… squatty landing

Cyrenne (BYU): Exh — Maloney + bail with tiny leg separation in the Maloney, double lay with a hop back

After one: BYU 49.350, Arizona State 48.875

Wowza! I don’t usually follow these two teams much, but I just might have to start. BYU’s bar rotation was truly great. Arizona State didn’t start quite as strong as the Cougars, but once the Sun Devils control those landings it will be a good event for them.

Rotation 2: BYU VT, Arizona State UB

Zhong (BYU): FTY good body position, small hop back

Reeves (ASU): bit short on the first hs, big Jaeger with some feet issues, tiny leg separation on the bail, double lay with a step forward and chest a bit down

Pitou (BYU): FTY. Again, good body position but a hop back

White (ASU): Shaposh half with a small leg separation, clean transition to low bar, big double lay with a step

Bennett (BYU): Yurchenko full on + tuck off with a hop back

Scharf (ASU): Maloney + pak with some leg issues, half pirouette a little crazy, full-in stuck

Mason (BYU): FTY a littttttle pikey. One step back.

Clark (ASU): Blind + Jaeger great, good pak, double lay with a teeny hop forward

Miner-Alder (BYU): Stuck FTY. Very nice, open hip position throughout

Boyer (ASU): Maloney + pak, half pirouette on top of bar, full-in with a big step back

Miner (BYU): FTY good body position with a hop back

Leonard-Baker (ASU): Maloney + bail + piked toe shoot… some feet stuff. Stuck full-in!

Matthews (BYU): Exh — Y lay half with a big hop forward

Miller (ASU): Exh — blind + big Jaeger barely grabs the bar, good double lay almost stuck with a tiny foot slide

After two: BYU 98.300, Arizona State 98.000

Overall, not quite as exciting as the first rotation. However, the Sun Devils did come back stronger and put a little more pressure on BYU heading into the second half of this meet.

Rotation 3: Arizona State BB, BYU FX

Thompson (ASU): bhs + bhs + loso super solid, switch + straddle 1/4 nice, side aerial + back full a little piked down but stuck. Great lead-off after their struggles last week.

Bain-Heaton (BYU): Huge RO + double tuck! Nice Rudi. Front lay + front full + front tuck to her back–ouch.

White (ASU): bhs + loso beautiful, leg up turn with a big wobble, strong front aerial, double stag(ish), and another side aerial+back full with a step back.

Matthews (BYU): GREAT controlled double pike, whip half + front full with some crazy legs, leaps get all the way around which is cool lol, double tuck with a bit of a slide back. Fun routine!

Boyer (ASU): bhs + loso big leg up… and a fall. whomp. Cat + front aerial + flutter jump–questionable connections. Switch + switch is lovely. And ANOTHER side aerial + back full… remember when that dismount was unique?!

Vitkauskas (BYU): aggressive front double full, back 1.5 + lay great form, leap connection is lovely, controlled Rudi to close

Clark (ASU): Floaty bhs + loso + loso with a bobble, switch + split nice, front aerial with a slight balance check, bhs + 1.5 with some knee stuff and a teeny hop

Miner-Alder (BYU): Huge double lay with a big lunge and front foot pops up a bit. Good leaps–love that they are getting these leaps all the way around. Back 1.5 + lay with a little too much power. Open double pike to close — whoops, steps oob on her lunge.

Reeves (ASU): bhs + bhs + loso with some soft knees but dang, ASU is full of triple series! Front aerial + bhs to back is cool. RO + 1.5 soft knees and a small step

Boden-Stainton (BYU): Open double pike nearly stuck but lunges out, back 1.5 + lay half + straddle is great! Leaps a little out of control because I jinxed them during the last routine of course. Double tuck to close.

Scharf (ASU): Wolf double turn isn’t as horrible as most. Lovely Bhs + loso. Solid side somi. Leaps are great. RO + 1.5 super floaty and stuck! That was a really good set.

Miner (BYU): Double lay with leg separation but a great landing shape. RO + 1.5 + front full barely makes it around but stays on her feet

After three: BYU 147.475, Arizona State 147.225

Both teams had a fall this rotation but managed to bounce back and finish their rotations really strong. BYU had some amazing and fun floor routines, and you can tell it really focuses on the little details. Arizona State also did well, especially considering it struggled on beam last weekend.

Rotation 4: BYU BB, Arizona State FX

Mather (BYU): Side aerial + split really nice. Bhs + loso got a little ahead of herself and landing with her hips turned out  but holds on. Nice leap connection. Cartwheel + gainer full with a teeny hop back.

Thompson (ASU): Double pike and lands with her chest down and lunges forward instead of back, leaps are a bit out of control, RO + 1.5 + front lay with some knee stuff

Zhong (BYU): Lovely stag handstand. Great oversplits in her leaps. BHS + loso wasn’t very aggressive and ends up having a big wobble. Good acro connection. RO + 1.5 a little flat and a small step to the side.

White (ASU): Really long wait before her set… hmm. Very clean double pike to open. Huge Rudi but just over powers it and bounces back. Front full + front tuck??? looks like maybe she was maybe supposed to lay that front tuck out.

Miner-Alder (BYU): Hitchkick + front toss with a wobble. Bhs + loso is a bit hesitant. Leap connection also a little hesitant. Closes with a lovely, stuck cartwheel + gainer full. Will be interested to see if she gets credit for some of those connections.

Boyer (ASU): Another longggg wait. Guessing there was a start value issue since White ended with the tuck instead of whatever it was supposed to be. Front lay + Rudi was HUGE just bounces back a little. Double pike ends with her chest down. Good leaps. RO + 1.5 + lay lovely!

Mason (BYU): Bhs + loso solid–best of the lineup! Very strong leap connection. Side aerial + split solid. RO + 1.5 floaty with a super tiny hop forward.

Mangahas (ASU): Big full-in but lands with her chest down. Front lay + front lay is fine. Leaps don’t quite get all the way around but she fakes it pretty well. Double pike superrrr crunchy but stays on her feet.

Rollins (BYU): Leaps a little low but looks confident. Front aerial balance check. Bhs + loso slides off the side–ouch! Lovely hitchkick + side aerial. Stuck dismount. Bummer about the fall because that was a nice set.

Scharf (ASU): Front through to double tuck really nice and controlled. Good bounding pass. Leaps okay but slides out of them. Double pike with her chest down and a hop.

Boden-Stainton (BYU): Hitchkick + front toss + bhs super nice! I love all these hitchkicks. Leaps with a slight bobble. Floaty RO + 1.5 stuck.

Clark (ASU): Double pike good. Floaty double tuck but doesn’t rotate quick so lands with her chest down a bit. Leaps were… not great. RO + 1.5 + lay is nice.

Final: Arizona State 196. 275, BYU 196.250

Well that was a close one. All in all, both teams showed quite a bit of improvement this week but a nervy beam rotation held back BYU from getting the win. According to the commentators, this is ASU’s first win over a top 10 team in 10 years. Bear in mind this is week two, but that is super impressive. It’s especially impressive considering Cairo Leonard-Baker didn’t compete beam or floor. Not sure why we didn’t see her on those events but hopefully it’s nothing serious.

AA – Scharf (ASU) 39.500

Vault – Smith (ASU) 9.850

Bars – Alvarado (BYU) 9.925

Beam – Scharf (ASU) 9.925

Floor – Scharf (ASU) 9.900

Live blog by Rachel Riesterer

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