Forget Carolina versus Duke, THIS is the ACC match-up I’m interested in! The North Carolina Tarheels are hosting in-state rival N.C. State Wolfpack in what could be the most competitive EAGL meet of the season.
The Wolfpack has been the EAGL team to beat for the last few years and are off to another strong start, nabbing a 196.025 last week. The floor rotation was especially impressive: All six gymnasts earned career highs, and the team’s 49.400 is the sixth-highest floor score in program history (for context, Arkansas’s 49.500 in Week 2 is the highest floor total of the season so far).
Despite showing flashes of brilliance, the Tar Heels’ struggles with consistency (particularly on bars) have landed them in the bottom half of the EAGL rankings for most of the past decade. After another slow start (and middle…) to the 2020 season, they bypassed the 195 mark altogether to earn 196-plus in three of their final four meets. That burst of momentum seems to have carried over into 2021—North Carolina kicked off its season with a program record 195.200 and is currently leading the conference. Oh, it’s also really good on bars now?
For my fellow leo watchers (which, let’s be honest, is basically all of us), N.C. State is wearing this beauty tonight:
Also really digging the Tarheels’ BLM shirts!
Rotation 1: North Carolina, vault; N.C. State bars
Shearer (UNC): Yurchenko tuck with a hop back. 9.650
Jordan (NCSU): Apologies, I missed the first half (working off four screens; still trying to get my bearings, lol). A little form on her Pak and a missed final handstand. DLO was clean in the air, and a small hop forward. 8.975… Guess I missed something important!
Silverstein (UNC): Y half waaay back on the table. OK height, but had to bend the legs at the end to land. Small step forward. 9.675
Diaz (NCSU): Blind half to straddled Jaeger, a bit close. A bit loose in her bail. Blind full to double tuck and a hop. 9.725
Greenlow (UNC): Y tucked full with a large hop back. Dynamic vault, though. 9.650
Nelson (NCSU): Nice first handstand. Big Tkatchev with some form. Stream hung up a bit in the middle, but we’ll assume everything went to plan! Blind full with a little leg sep to a lovely stuckish double tuck. 9.675
Aldridge (UNC): MASSIVE Y full. Great form in the air, just a small hop back to take. 9.775 is low for me
Cox (NCSU): Aggressive first handstand to Tkatchev with nice counterrotation. Bail to Hecht shoot, great. DLO with a little hop back. Great routine. 9.875
Summey (UNC): Another dynamic Y full. Not as clean as Aldridge’s, but a smaller hop. 9.750
Shepherd (NCSU): Blind full to beautiful straddled Jaeger. Floats her Pak. Half pirouette, good. Nice handstand positions throughout. GIANT FTDT, stuck. That was excellent. 9.900
Thompson (UNC): Y full to an 8 incher. Slight pike down and a small scoot because the mat shifted, lol. 9.825
Robinson (NCSU): Blind half to another nice straddled Jaeger, slight bent elbows on regrade. Pak also a little close. Shy on final handstand, but nails her blind full to double tuck. 9.875
AFTER ONE ROTATION: UNC 48.675, NCSU 49.050
Unsurprisingly, N.C. State leads after a solid bars rotation; the back half of that lineup is absolutely lethal, and the first three are capable of setting them up for even higher scores. Watch out for the Wolfpack, folks!
UNC made a strong showing on vault. What it does but is capped by SVs. I would have liked to see a little more differentiation between these scores, particularly the Yurchenko fulls. I’m fine with Thompson’s 9.825, but Aldridge’s should have scored at least that.
Rotation 2: North Carolina bars, N.C. State vault
Sorry, I missed Prati’s vault. 9.650
Thompson (UNC): Really close on her piked Deltchev. Bail was fine. Absolutely huge FTDT nearly stuck. 9.650
Jordan (NCSU): Not a ton of height on her Y full and has to pike down. Hop forward. 9.725
Silverstein (UNC): Stream glitched and I missed most of this. Saw her DLO land just out of frame, but looked good in the air. 9.775
Diaz (NCSU): High Y full, but not a ton of distance and has to pike it down. Low chest on the landing. 9.650
Shearer (UNC): Great first handstand. Blind half to big straddled Jaeger. Misses the handstand on the bail, but great final handstand position. Drills her DLO. 9.725
Benson (NCSU): RO half on, tuck off with a large step forward. Very cool vault, and she performs it really well. 9.725
Greene (UNC): Blind full to a low Tkatchev. Doesn’t quite hit the handstand on the bail. Nice final handstand and a lovely FTDT with a tiny sidestep. 9.675
Shepherd (NCSU): Gigantic Y full, beautiful in the air and basically stuck. 9.850
Greenlow (UNC): Stepout to Gienger. Bail with some leg sep. Love her aggressive handstands. Blind half to a double front with several stumbling steps forward. 9.650
Negrete (NCSU): Another very nice Y full with small hop. 9.800
Culton (UNC): Holds the first handstand forever. Lovely Tkatchev. Bail and final handstand positions were great (if a little rushed). FTDT with chest a slightly low and college sticks her way out of it. Probably won’t be a 9.950, but another great routine. 9.825
AFTER TWO ROTATIONS: UNC 97.325, NCSU 97.800
Impressive vault rotation from N.C. State. Glad to see a little more score differentiation from the judges in this rotation). Shepherd was the clear standout; I wouldn’t have been mad if she’d gone 9.9-plus, if I’m honest.
The Tar Heels weren’t as clean as we’ve seen them on bars in the past two meets, but can we take a beat to appreciate the luxury of getting to be nit-picky about a UNC bars rotation?
Rotation 3: North Carolina beam, N.C. State floor
Summey (UNC): Totally missed the beginning of her routine as there was no announcement, but that’s fine! Beat to straddle 3/4, chest low. Cat leap to side aerial with a large, leg up check and hip bend, but saved it. Stuck RO 1.5 dismount. 9.550
Jordan (NCSU): Double front landed pretty low. RO 1.5 to front lay, well done. Pretty switch full to split full (?). Rudi with a slide back to finish. Love the absolute drama of her routine. 9.750
Greenlow (UNC): Bhs loso with legs and slight hip check. Cat leap to side aerial, another well-covered check. Switch split to split jump, gorgeous. RO 1.5 doesn’t get a ton of rise, but a good landing. 9.825
Cox (NCSU): FHS Rudi, well done. Switch full to Popa, didn’t quite hit 180 on the former. Wolf full, great. Should be required on all of NC State’s FX. FHS full to a crunched pike, but holds onto the landing. Front full to front lay, very nice. 9.750
Shearer (UNC): Bhs loco with a leg up check. Looove Journey as the beam music. Cat leap to front toss, well done. Switch split to straddle quarter, absolutely gorgeous. Front walkover to gainer full with a hop. That’s a fun combo! 9.775
Webb (NCSU): Good double pike to open, chest down just a bit. Switch ring to wolf full, nice. FHS Rudi to double stag, excellent. Another wolf full to Popa, very nice position. RO 1.5 punch front basically to her butt. Ugh… So good up until then. 9.150
Thompson (UNC): Bhs bus loso, well done. Switch split to straddle quarter, a hair shy. Moderate check on her full turn. RO 1.5 with a hop forward. 9.825
Nelson (NCSU): RO 1.5, again falls on the punch front… Oh no, looks like she’s hurt. Limping off under her own power, but still. Hope she’s OK.
Nam (UNC): Fabulous bus loso. Switch split leap to straddle quarter, solid (maybe juuust low on the back leg?) Cat leap to side aerial with a well-finessed check. Stuck RO 1.5. Best routine so far. 9.800 is surprising in context
Shepherd (NCSU): Perfect double pike to open. Switch full to switch half, former is great but a low back leg on the latter. Front lay to front full, excellent. Big double tuck to finish, also excellent. 9.800
Culton (UNC): Floats her bus loso. Switch split to straddle quarter, absolutely nothing to take. Front aerial, great. Kicks out of her full turn, lovely. She’s truly beautiful to watch. A properly executed cat leap, thankyouverymuch. Stuck full dismount. Brava. 9.900
Negrete (NCSU): Big double pike with a hop back. Switch full to switch half, good. FHS full to stuck lay, gorgeous. Switch half to Popa, just a shade low. Double tuck, well done.
AFTER THREE ROTATIONS: UNC 146.450, NCSU 146.150
N.C. State opened the door an inch for UNC, and the Tar Heels took advantage. Really lovely beam rotation for them. I’m especially impressed by the quality of their leaps; those little details are really shining (and paying dividends in tight competitions like this).
Obviously a frustrating rotation for the Wolfpack, but they managed to finish strong. The variety of music, styles, and choreography in this lineup is fantastic.
Rotation 4: North Carolina floor, N.C. State beam
Gotta love a nail biter, especially when there are actual stakes involved (say, for example, top spot in the conference rankings). Because I’m a glutton for pain, I hope it comes down to the very last routine.
Oh, apparently we’ve started with no announcement. Sorry!
Foland (NCSU): Switch split to split, great amplitude. Slightly overrotates her full turn but covered well. Front aerial with a waist bend and foot up. Cartwheel 1.5 with a step. 9.700
Greene (UNC): Opening double pike, chest low and has to take a step forward. Switch half, wolf full, Popa; fun series, and she does it well. RO 1.5 to front lay, nice. 9.650
Shepherd (NCSU): Kicks out of the full turn. Switch split to straddle quarter with an overspilt, damn. Bus loso with a large leg up and she comes off. It was a very graceful fall, though! Barani, rock solid. Beat to straddle half, angry and aggressive, love it. RO 1.5 with a minor hop back. 9.275… I told you it was a pretty fall
Weil (UNC): Double tuck, chest a bit down but good landing. Punch front full to front tuck, so cool. Switch side, wolf full, Popa; cheats the position on all three. Double pike again with chest low but a good landing. 9.650
Cox (NCSU): Bhs loso, very solid. Switch split with a tuck 3/4, fun combo. Hitch kick, side aerial to beat; might not get the connection. Stuck gainer full. 9.775
St. Brice (UNC): Wolf full jump, interesting! RO 1.5 to front lay; a little off to the side, but good in the air. Switch half to Popa, fine. Pretty double pike to close. Well done. 9.625
Negrete (NCSU): Switch split to switch half to beat; a little slow. Transverse straddle half, good. RO 1.5 with a small hop. 9.850
Nam (UNC): Big ol’ double pike; rocks back on her heels a bit, but covers well. Pretty switch half series. RO 1.5 to front full, so good. 9.875
Webb (NCSU): Her low beam choreography is really cool and sassy. Pretty full turn. Flawless bus loso. Switch split series looked nice. Solid front aerial. Beat to sheep was a little iffy, but bonus points for variety. RO double full with a step forward. 9.800
Greenlow (UNC): Nice double pike to open, a little crunched on the landing. Switch full, wolf full, Popa, good position. Front tuck through to RO 2.5, very nice. Switch half to straddle half looked good. 9.875
Diaz (NCSU): Switch split to split jump, a little hesitation in between. Bhs loso, good. Front aerial with a minor foot up check. Switch half with some form to beat. Bhs 1.5 with a step forward. 9.700
Culton (UNC): Massive double tuck, maybe landed with a foot OOB? Switch ring to straddle half, lovely. Front lay to Rudi, no problem. Love the scorpion. Straddle half to Popa, great! 9.750
AFTER FOUR ROTATIONS: UNC 195.250, NCSU 195.025
Well, the Wolfpack won the quad battle last weekend, but the Tar Heels won the head-to-head war! Neither team had its best meet of the season, but both confirmed that they’re serious contenders to cause some postseason mischief. UNC will retain its standing atop the EAGL rankings… For now.
Live blog by Claire Billman
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