LIVE BLOG: No. 19 California at No. 21 Arizona

This could be a close meet, with California and Arizona posting almost identical scores in their opening meets of the season. On paper, the Golden Bears have an edge, but last week they revealed a lack of polish and endurance that only one more week of training may not be enough to solve. Last week the Wildcats competed for the second time this season and failed to match their debut score after counting a fall on bars. Both teams, then, can do better, and preparation could be the defining factor separating them on Saturday. 

Keep an eye on Arizona freshman Jessica Castles, who is already turning into a beam queen, as well as on California senior Kyana George, who started her year with a bang last week. Freshmen Andi Li and Gabby Perea will be the biggest question marks. Li struggled in her NCAA debut and will want to prove that it was only a fluke; Perea performed only an exhibition routine on beam. Will she make her official debut this week?

Hello, everyone, and welcome!

Here are Cal’s tentative lineups:

Rotation 1: Arizona vault, California bars

Horton (Arizona): tucked Yurchenko full, knees down and rebound way back. Weird… 8.100

DeSouza (Cal): piked Jaeger to bail, clean, good handstands, full-in dismount, stuck, chest slightly forward. 9.825

Herry (Arizona): Yurchenko full, big step back, but good vault. 9.650

Li (Cal): Pak salto, small leg separation, Van Leuween, short final handstand, blind full to double tuck dismount, stuck! Such an improvement from last week! 9.825

Nosek (Arizona): Yurchenko full, hop back, the best vault so far. 9.725

Green (Cal): Gieger, a little close, bail to handstand, full-in dismount, the tiniest step forward. 9.775

Hargrove (Arizona): Yurchenko full, small hop back, she flares it on landing, beautiful vault. 9.775

George (Cal): Tkatchev, overarched handstands, bail to handstand, excellent, full-in dismount, she bends her chest but sticks it. 9.750

Castles (Arizona): Yurchenko full, tiny step forward, she was looking for that stick, good vault. 9.725

Schank (Cal): piked Jaeger and unfortunately she falls. She’s back on, bail, good final handstand, double layout, hop forward, she won’t start from a 10.0 start value. 8.825

Orman (Arizona): Yurchenko half, a couple of step back, but she doesn’t fall. This was her vault debut. 9.500

Bordas (Cal): blind change to straddled Jaeger to bail, blind full to double tuck, a bit deep on landing but stuck. 9.825

Watterson (Cal, exh.): Maloney to Pak salto, beautiful, double tuck dismount in combination, a hop forward. Her knee is heavily wrapped.

EDIT: Unlike what the announcer said, I am pretty sure that Cal’s exhibition routine was Salem’s, not Watterson’s.

AFTER 1: California 49.000, Arizona 48.375

California will be happy with its bar rotation despite a fall, after failing to break into the 49s last week. Arizona, on the contrary, will be a bit disappointed, though the Wildcats recovered well after starting off the meet with a fall.

Rotation 2: California vault, Arizona bars

Schank (Cal): Yurchenko full, a lot of amplitude, hop back, good vault! 9.800

Linton (Arizona): Tkatchev, a bit low, bail to handstand, a tad short, good final handstand, double layout dismount, almost stuck. 9.675

Sadighi (Cal): Yurchenko full, big step back. 9.675

Kane (Arizona): good first handstand, blind change to Jaeger to bail, stuck double front dismount. Good routine, the main deduction was bent legs on her release move. 9.775

Li (Cal): Yurchenko full, good in the air but overrotated, with several steps on landing. This was her vault’s debut. 9.675

Hargrove (Arizona): cast to handstand, very good, blind full to Tkatchev, her foot gets stuck on the bar, she struggles, tries to stay on but goes over on the subsequent handstand and she’s off. She’s back on, bail to handstand, a bit wild, good final handstand, full-in dismount, big step back, she slips on the mat and falls again. 8.200

DeSouza (Cal): Yurchenko 1.5, STUCK! 9.925

Raskin (Arizona): cast to handstand, good, blind change to Jaeger, blind to handstand, good, very good final handstand, 1.5 twist dismount, hop forward and a bit out of control. 9.525

George (Cal): Yurchenko full, huge amplitude, just a small shuffle of the feet. Big vault. 9.850

McCabe (Arizona): cast to handstand, decent, blind change to piked Jaeger, very good, blind full to bail to handstand, small leg separation, double layout, leg separation and step back on landing. 9.650

Clausi (Cal.): tucked Yurchenko 1.5, fall. She should have gone for the full, it was solid last week… 9.050

Deets (Arizona): cast to handstand, excellent, blind full to Tkatchev, short handstand, bail to handstand, good final handstand, double layout dismount, hop back. She’s so good, she always has to deliver on bars under pressure, not easy to do for a freshman! 9.675

Castles (Arizona, exh.): cast to handstand, some feet issues, Maloney to bail to handstand, good final handstand, blind full to double tuck dismount, one of the best routines, they will wish they could count it!

AFTER 2: California 97.925, Arizona 96.675

California struggled a bit on vault, having to count Clausi’s fall and being imprecise on some landings. Arizona failed once again to compete six solid routines, but Castles’ strong exhibition routine is good news for the future.

Rotation 3: Arizona beam, California floor

Stauffacher (Arizona): BHS + LOSO, solid, beat jump to split jump 3/4, very solid again, front aerial to split jump, no problem, full turn, a touch overrotated, cartwheel to gainer full off the side of the beam, stuck, great lead-off routine! 9.800

DeSouza (Cal): double pike, good landing, good splits in straddle position, 1.5 twist to front full twist, good landing, Rudi, a tad overrotated. 9.750

Herry (Arizona): full turn, tiny balance check, BHS + LOSO, solid, side somi, good landing, straddle jump to straddle jump half, small hesitation in between, BHS to 1.5 twist dismount, stuck. 9.800

Quinn (Cal): front layout to Rudi, good landing, very good leaps, double pike, solid landing, she’s happy! 9.775

Deets (Arizona): BHS + LOSO, small balance check, full turn, another tiny hesitation, cat leap to straddle quarter, cat leap to front toss, a tad deep on landing, switch leap to gainer full off the side of the beam, stuck. Another solid routine! 9.800

Clausi (Cal): huge double pike, big step back, she has so much power, good splits, the second one a touch short, 1.5 twist to front layout, solid landing, double tuck, not super tight in the air, but solid landing. 9.800

Barile (Arizona): front aerial to BHS series, full turn with the leg held at 180 degrees, a bit overrotated but beautiful, cat leap to straddle jump half (I think, the camera was showing only her feet), side aerial to back full twist dismount. Another solid routine! 9.875

Bordas (Cal): double tuck, shuffle of her front feet back before she lounges, it was smart to leave out her full-in, 1.5 twist to front layout, solid landing, difficult splits in combination, including a switch ring half, Rudi, a touch overrotated. 9.850

Castles (Arizona): BHS + LOSO, solid, switch leap to split leap, she’s a little nervous but keeps them under control really well, front aerial to scissone, beautiful, triple wolf turn, big smile at the end, roundoff to 1.5 twist, stuck landing, what a beam queen! 9.875

George (Cal): front double twist to punch front, stuck, beautiful switch ring to switch leap full, Rudi, great landing. I love this choreography! 9.900

Linton (Arizona): double wolf turn, clean, BHS + BHS + LOSO, big wobble and she falls, switch leap to split jump, both a bit short, side aerial to back full twist, stuck, she’s disappointed. 9.100

Schank (Cal): double tuck, chest a little down on landing, double pike, a bit overrotated this time, good leaps, 1.5 twist to front layout, good landing. 9.825

AFTER 3: California 147.075, Arizona 145.825

California improved its opening score on floor from last week, as the Golden Bears showed off more secure landings. Arizona continued to impress on beam with another solid rotation. Jessica Castles was perhaps a touch underscored compared to other routines.

A big shoutout to Liz Crandall-Howell for some fantastic floor choreographies. She doesn’t get enough credit!

Rotation 4: California beam, Arizona floor

Clausi (Cal): She competes with her mask on. Front toss to scissone, hesitation in between, BHS + LOSO, solid, switch leap to straddle jump quarter, second leap a touch short, full turn, solid, headstand, beautiful as ever, side aerial to tuck full dismount, stuck. Not bad, but last week’s routine was better. 9.750

Horton (Arizona): 1.5 twist to front full, quite good landing, front full to front pike, an even better landing, switch leap to switch ring half, a bit short, Rudi, solid. 9.750

DeSouza (Cal): front aerial to scissone, solid, BHS + LOSO, good landing again, beat jump to sheep jump, secure, full turn, she’s so focused, roundoff to 1.5 twist dismount, small hop forward, great routine. 9.800

Nosek (Arizona): double pike, solid landing, front layout to front full, a bit overrotated but plenty of amplitude, beautiful leaps, double tuck, she hops as she lounges. 9.775

Li (Cal): elegant mount, front aerial to beat jump, BHS + LOSO, solid, full turn, split leap to split ring, front leg a bit low, piked gainer dismount, stuck. Everyone’s delighted! 9.875

Orman (Arizona): front layout to Rudi, good height on the second element, good leaps in a straddle position, double pike, good landing, she’s elated. 9.850

Bordas (Cal): cat leap to front aerial, balance check, BHS + LOSO, much better landing, split leap to leap jump, full turn, cat leap to side aerial, big balance check as she arches her back, gainer full off the side of the beam. Nervy routine but she stays on. 9.700

Deets (Arizona): double tuck, high and beautiful landing, good and difficult leap series, double pike, nearly stuck, front layout to front full, loses her balance a little bit as she fights to stay in bounds. Great routine, though, and beautiful choreography. 9.825

George (Cal): front aerial to back tuck, a little hesitation in between and balance check on the second element, double wolf turn, good landing, switch leap to leap jump. Gainer full off the side of the beam, stuck. Mask warrior! 9.750

Hargrove (Arizona): full-in, huge in the air but she steps OOB with one foot, whip half to front full twist, ok leaps, double tuck, great amplitude and landing. 9.650

Watterson (Cal): double wolf turn, solid, BHS + LOSO, solid, slight balance check on… nothing? Switch leap to leap jump, cat leap to side aerial to full twist dismount, hop to the side. 9.825

Castles (Arizona): 2.5 twist to punch front, great landing, 1.5 to double twist, a touch short on landing. This routine is already a classic! 9.850

Perea (Cal, exh.): back tuck to back pike series, solid, switch leap to switch leap half to beat jump, good again, side somi to back full tuck off the side of the beam, everyone’s delighted!

Barile (Arizona, exh.): 2.5 twist, overrotated, full turn with the leg at 180 degrees to Memmel, switch ring to switch leap half, front layout to front full, a little underrotated.

FINAL: California 196.075, Arizona 194.875

This was a more solid meet for California overall than last week, they will be pleased with having scored over 196, as well as to see Andi Li deliver two excellent performances. Arizona will be a bit disappointed after struggling a bit on vault and bars, but the Wildcats ended the meet strong, with excellent rotations on beam and floor.

AA: Nevaeh DeSouza, 39.300; VT: DeSouza, 9.925; UB: DeSouza, Andi Li and Maya Green, 9.825; Mackinzie Barile, Jessica Castles and Li, 9.875; Kyana George, 9.900

Live blog by Talitha Ilacqua

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