Alright, before the season started, who looked at this meet and thought that Arizona State would be the higher ranked team by the time it rolled around? I certainly didn’t, like I assume most others didn’t as well. However, the Sun Devils are on a surge to start the season having posted the program’s first score above 197 since 2006, while the Golden Bears have gotten off to a slower start like many of the California schools have due to state lockdowns amid the pandemic. Should each teams’ streaks continue, we’re about to watch Arizona State overcome a California team who had (has?) legitimate nationals hopes in 2021.
Last weekend against Utah, nearly everything went right for Arizona State as it nearly pulled off the upset victory, which is a reflection as to how things have been going all season for the Sun Devils. Senior Cairo Leonard-Baker appears to be back at full strength, and sophomore Hannah Scharf has emerged as the team’s leading all arounder. What has really been helping out Arizona State is the contributions from freshmen Emily White and Sarah Clark, who are putting up big numbers on several events. The Sun Devils are currently ranked sixth in the country on bars, so look for them to try and establish an early lead behind the strength of Leonard-Baker, Scharf, Clark, and White who all feature along Juliette Boyer in that lineup.
With the experience the Golden Bears have, many people had them as an upset pick for a nationals birth, but things haven’t gone to plan so far this season. California doesn’t look bad, the lack of preseason training is just very evident. The potential for a postseason run is still there, but the Golden Bears are going to need to pick it up quickly to start bringing in the big scores to move up in the rankings. Kyana George and Nevaeh DeSouza have both done well in the all around as expected, and with last week’s bars hit, freshman Andi Li is finally showing her promise as well. California has had good moments, but is going to need to turn good moments into meets if it wants to make waves come championship season.
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We’ve already got tentative lineups from Cal!
Today's tentative lineups as we #DefendOurHaas against ASU. pic.twitter.com/Nch2UToL1c
— Cal Gymnastics (@CalWGym) February 14, 2021
Rotation 1: California Vault, Arizona State Bars
Schank (Cal): Gets the meet going with a Yfull. Vaulted with her mask on! Good form, just a hop back. 9.800
Reeves (ASU): Giant half to jager, nice distance, good handstand, toe-on, bail with lots of form errors, dismounts with a double layout and gets the stick. 9.750
Bordas (Cal): Another Yfull. Slide back on the landing, not as big as Schank’s. 9.850
Taking a long time to get Reeves’ score. Must be some sort of judges conference. We can’t see however, they’re giving us a blue screen with the Arizona State logo.
Scharf (ASU): Maloney to pak, great legs in the air, nice half pirouette, hop to high bar, stuck FTDT dismount. Two for two on landings! 9.875
Clausi (Cal): Yfull. Lineup switch and not her one and a half. Hop on the landing. 9.800
Boyer (ASU): Toe on to Maloney to pak, half pirouette, everything spot on so far, good final handstand, FTDT dismount and a hop forward and a little to the right. 9.825
DeSouza (Cal): Stuck Y1.5! A little soft knees in the air. 9.900
White (ASU): Toe on shaposh half, some flexed feet, nice half pirouette to bail, a little off balance, double layout dismount with a step back. 9.850
George (Cal): Huge Yfull as usual, small slide back. 9.850
Clark (ASU): Mounts to the high bar, giant half, jager, good height, pak with some leg separation, nailed the half pirouette as all the Sun Devils have, double layout dismount with soft everything in the air and a hop. 9.775
Solari (Cal): Handspring front pike half! So good to finally see her in the lineup. A hop sideways on the landing and some piking down. 9.750
Leonard-Baker (ASU): Maloney to bail, piked toe shoot to high bar and accidentally grabs with her feet touching the bar as well! Covers decently but will get deducted on the extra swing, FTDT dismount with a hop. Strange, fluke-y mistake there! 9.350
Rotation 1: California 49.200, Arizona State 49.075
New season high for the Golden Bears on vault. Finally back to scoring in the range they’re used to, and should be at for how good they’re capable of being. Arizona State gave a few tenths away with that miss in the anchor spot, but put itself in a good position where it wasn’t relying on a hit. Bars is the Sun Devils best event, however, so not capitalizing on it could be a factor in the final result and score.
Rotation Two: Arizona State Vault, California Bars
I spy former Cal gymnast Toni-Ann Williams amongst the cardboard cutouts they’re showing between events!
No Reeves on vault again for the Sun Devils today, leaving freshman Anaya Smith with the lone 10.0 start value.
Mangahas (ASU): Yfull. Great height! Small hop back and piking down. 9.775
DeSouza (Cal): Giant half to pike jager to overshoot, all done well, jumps to high bar, dismounts with a stuck FTDT! Good to get that first landing. 9.900
White (ASU): Yfull. Stream only showed the landing, decent sized hop in place. 9.825
Li (Cal): Second time performing her new routine. Nice pak, toe on shaposh half, keeps the legs together, giant full to stuck double tuck! Just a bit past handstand in the last pirouette. 9.925
Barbanente (ASU): Another Yfull. Big hop back, some bent knees on the block as well. 9.775
Bar judges going big here all of a sudden.
George (Cal): Another lineup switch. Nice tkatchev, good handstand, nice bail, toe on to STUCK FTDT. 9.900
Scharf (ASU): Stream missed her vault. The cheers sounded promising! On replay we see why, she stuck it! 9.875
Schank (Cal): Ached to save the first handstand, cleanly through the giant half to jager to overshoot, dismounts with a double layout, small hop back. 9.800
Leonard-Baker (ASU): Yfull. Looked like she slid a little on her block so didn’t get the height, but only a tiny hop on the landing. 9.800
Bordas (Cal): Giant half to jager to overshoot, done well just like her teammates before her, nice final handstand, giant full to double tuck, small shuffle back. 9.800
Smith (ASU): Y1.5, nearly stuck but a small hop to the side. 9.925
Watterson (Cal): Goes for broke on the first handstand and breaks, arches and eventually falls over and hops off. Remounts, hits her pak, toe on, shaposh half, gorgeous, FTDT dismount, stuck but chest very low. 9.275
Maya Green with an exhibition bars for California. Was in the lineup that was tweeted pre-meet, but was taken out to put Watterson in the anchor spot. It was Watterson’s first appearance on bars this season.
Rotation 2: Arizona State 49.200, California 49.325
After 2: California 9.525, Arizona State 98.275
Another strong rotation for both teams, and still a close meet as well! Arizona State didn’t get the sticks like it did last week, but hung around and nearly maxed out on all it could with five Yurchenko fulls. Although she didn’t hit, it was good to see Watterson back on bars for the Golden Bears, who will be thrilled with those early lineup 9.9+ routines. Now the back half of the lineup just needs to stick to cash in on those big scores.
Rotation Three: California Beam, Arizona State Floor
Clausi (Cal): Front toss to sissone, small check, BHS LOSO, no problems, cat leap to switch side, easy full turn, headstand pose for her low beam choreo, side aerial to tucked full, stuck! 9.850
Reeves (ASU): Were missing her opening choreo to see beam replays, RO bhs 2.5 twist to open, decent landing control, RO whip half to front full, a bit whipped, switch leap to switch ring half, a little short of 180, closes with a nice Rudi. 9.725
DeSouza (Cal): Some Jonas Brothers beam music going on, front aerial, BHS LOSO, straddle jump to sheep jump, everything done with a little bit of nerves, no big checks though, full turn, RO 1.5 dismount, sticks it! 9.900
Clark (ASU): Mounts with a double pike, good landing, Double tuck second pass, great landing on that one, a bit hoppy out of the leap series, finishes with a RO 1.5 to front layout, gorgeous form in the layout and a nice landing as well. 9.825
Li (Cal): Front aerial to beat jump, BHS LOSO, a little crooked but keeps it on without a major check, clean full turn, split jump to ring jump to beat jump, gainer pike, tiny step with the right foot. 9.850
Boyer (ASU): Great front layout to rudi to open, double pike second pass, great landing, tour jete half to wolf full, cleanly around, ends with a sky high RO 1.5 to front layout, small step sideways but well controlled. 9.875
George (Cal): Front aerial to back tuck, small check, some flexed feet as well, easy double wolf turn, switch leap to split leap to beat jump, great positions, stuck gainer full dismount, did have to do a lean to keep it. 9.825
Mangahas (ASU): Gets going with a full-in, a bit under-rotated so lands with chest down and a step forward, front tuck through to double tuck, a little chest low again but better control on the landing, switch half to wolf full wolf full, a little short of rotation. 9.825
Bordas (Cal): Begins with a hitch kick to front aerial to split jump, confident, BHS LOSO, easy, switch leap to split jump, full turn, BHS gainer full dismount, little slide back. 9.825
Scharf (ASU): Mounts with a front tuck through to double tuck, great height so easy landing, front layout full to front tuck, nice control, switch half to wolf full, cleanly around, maybe a bit sort of 180 on the split, ends with a double pike, another controlled landing! 9.900
Watterson (Cal): Wolf 1.5 to open, bailed out of a double, small wobbles associated as well, BHS LOSO, clean but then a wobble from walking, switch leap to split leap, cat leap to side aerial to layout full, big hop back. 9.500
Leonard-Baker (ASU): Starts off with a RO 1.5 to front full, effortless landing, a little low and off balance through her leaps, ends with a double pike, low on the landing. 9.900
Freshman Gabby Perea with an exhibition for California after a judges conference over Watterson’s score. It was a hit!
Jordyn Jaslow with a floor exhibition for Arizona State.
Rotation 3: California 49.250, Arizona State 49.325
After 3: California 197.775 Arizona State 197.600
This is still a close meet! When Arizona State lost the upset bid against UCLA earlier this season it was because of floor, but these past few weeks, floor has been strong for the Sun Devils. California managed on beam, scores are higher than they have been the past few weeks, but the Golden Bears still have yet to hit their potential on this event. Which isn’t a bad thing especially considering they still went a respectable score.
Rotation Four: Arizona State Beam, California Floor
Thompson (ASU): Strong BHS BHS LOSO to open, switch leap to split side, didn’t quite hit 180 in the split, full turn, side aerial to layout full, small slide back. 9.800
Quinn (Cal): Gets the floor rotation started with a nice Rudi, switch 3/4 to straddle full, cleanly rotated, ends with a double pike, huge squat but only takes one step out of it, nice save there at the end. 9.850
Mangahas (ASU): Missed the start due to some floor replays, front toss, big lean to the side, BHS LOSO, easy, switch leap to split jump, inverse split half, a little low, side aerial to layout full, small shuffle and quite piked down at the end. 9.700
Bordas (Cal): Opens with a sky high double tuck, good landing, RO 1.5 to front layout, not as floaty as the ASU front layouts, switch half to switch ring half, rounds out her routine with an easily controlled Rudi. 9.775
Reeves (ASU): Switch leap to split jump, missed her opening part of the routine due to a late stream, full turn, front aerial to her back dropdown, RO 1.5 dismount, small slide forward. 9.750
DeSouza (Cal): Double pike to get things going, good control but chest down on the landing, switch side to straddle full, bouncy, RO 1.5 front full, came in a bit short but handled it well, great Rudi to close. 9.900
White (ASU): Missing mounts is becoming a theme here unfortunately, BHS LOSO, nearly off the end of the beam, front aerial, big break, full turn, clean, split jump to double stag, side aerial to layout full, finally gets the stick! 9.850
Schank (Cal): Double tuck to open, super high, a little early kicking out and the chest could’ve been higher, double pike, late on the kickout and flies backwards, I believe OOB as well, a tad short on the leap rotation, RO 1.5 front layout to close, finally an easy landing. 9.725
Clark (ASU): BHS LOSO LOSO, superb, switch leap to split jump, confident, front aerial, BHS 1.5 dismount, stuck! Could challenge for the event title. 9.950
Clausi (Cal): After some nice choreo, takes a big step back on a double pike, stays in bounds, switch side to straddle full, fully around, RO 1.5 to front layout, not a ton of height but cleanly done, great double tuck with an easy landing to end. 9.850
Scharf (ASU): Opens with a BHS LOSO, fights hard to stay on and does, but will be ample deductions, side somi with a check, switch leap to split jump, nice split positions, RO 1.5 dismount, slips on the punch and falls short on the dismount, something flew off her body as well. 9.025
George (Cal): Great front double full to front tuck to get things started, switch ring to tour jete half, very clean in the splits and rotation, RO LOSO BHS, a fun second pass that’s basically just choreography, closes out with a perfectly controlled Rudi. Should be a big score. 9.950
Rotation 4: Arizona State 49.050, California 49.325
Final: California 197.100, Arizona State 196.650
What a good meet! California was finally able to put a full meet together, hit 197, and post a season best by over a point, which was enough for the win today. The trio of George, DeSouza and Bordas in the all around helped the Golden Bears throughout a consistent performance with excellent contributions from the supporting cast as well. Arizona State was also strong, breaking 196 for the fourth time this season, and posting a new season best road score. The Sun Devils came into today as the higher ranked Pac-12 team, and they put up a good fight to continue to show the conference they belong in the top four.
Vault: Smith 9.925
Bars: Li 9.925
Beam: Clark 9.950
Floor: George 9.950
All Around: DeSouza 39.600
Live blog by Brandis Heffner
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