Live Blog: Norman Regional Round Two: Session Two

Featuring: No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 16 Arizona State, No. 18 Arkansas, No. 31 West Virginia/No. 32 Arizona

Today’s second session aka entire second meet in Norman will be the regional debut of top ranked Oklahoma as it takes on Arizona State, Arkansas, and West Virginia/Arizona for two spots in this weekend’s regional final. The Sooners enter as heavy favorites in front of their home crowd and after notching the highest NQS in NCAA history.

Oklahoma’s scoring potential is insane this season, with eight gymnasts with at least one event with a season-high of 9.975 or better. That’s insane on its own, and doesn’t even factor in gymnasts like Ragan Smith, Katherine LeVasseur, and Jordan Bowers who have done so on multiple events. Those three plus Audrey Davis are an incredible quartet that have been a big reason why the Sooners ended the season ranked first. Far from a good performance from Oklahoma (by its standards) should be enough to push it through to the regional final, meaning we could possibly see some routines rested today.

The Sun Devils begin their quest for nationals ultra motivated after missing out by just a few tenths last season. Hannah Scharf went on to compete as an individual in 2021, and is back this season leading the way at Arizona State’s leading all arounder and one of the most steady and consistent gymnasts in the country. Emily White has upped her level of gymnastics significantly this season and has been a key contributor on bars and beam, while freshman Alex Theodorou’s Yurchenko half-on tuck half has given the vault lineup some much needed difficulty. On occasion this season the Sun Devils fell flat without any routines warranting 9.9s, and cannot afford that today with a tough Arkansas team in the draw.

Arkansas had a rather inconsistent season and fell just short of nabbing a seeded spot at regionals, but was fortunate in its draw as it’s firmly in contention to advance today. Having yet to “have it all come together” this season makes the Razorbacks very dangerous in this situation. Injuries have been an issue for Arkansas all season long, with a new injury to Makenzie Sedlacek taking away the vault difficulty advantage over the Sun Devils. Leaders Kennedy Hambrick and Bailey Lovett will absolutely need to be at their best today.

The Wildcats enter today as massive underdogs after surviving West Virginia in the play-in meet, but anything can happen, especially with Arizona already with four events at regionals under its belt. In terms of individuals, the Illinois State duo of Alana Laster and returning NCAA qualifier Angelica Labat both have a solid shot to advance. Outside of projected team qualifiers Oklahoma and Minnesota, this regional is weak on vault, and a stuck Yurchenko one and a half from either Redbird could land them in the NCAA field.

Rotating in Olympic order, Arizona State will lead off on vault, Arkansas begins on bars, West Virginia/Arizona opens on beam, and Oklahoma will start on floor.

Follow along with scores and video! (ESPN+)

Rotation One: Arizona State Vault, Arkansas Bars, West Virginia/Arizona Beam, Oklahoma Floor

Smith (Ark): Maloney to bail, good body position, short on handstand on high bar, dismounts double layout, big hop back. 9.800

Jaslow (ASU): Yfull. Piked through the air, hop back. 9.675

Johnson (OU): Big cheers from the crowd as she takes the floor. Opens with a front layout to Rudi, nice landing, easy double tuck second pass, cleanly through her leap series. 9.900

Reeves (ASU): Y1.5 tucked. Closed shoulders in the block, comes in low, big squat and lunge to the side. 9.400

Jones (Ark): Starts on the high bar with a good handstand, giant half to piked Jager, nice toe point, good form in the pak, slightly over on the half pirouette but not on the final handstand, dismounts double layout and gets the stick! 9.900

Mangahas (ASU): Yfull. Clean in the air and flaired it out, slides back. 9.800

Scharf (ASU): Yfull. Great in the air, tiny slide back. 9.825

Shaffer (Ark): Great Maloney to bail, awesome handstands, dismounts double layout and sticks! 9.950

Redmond (ASU): Good distance on the Yfull, slides back. 9.750

Hambrick (Ark): Begins with a nice handstand, giant half to piked Jager to overshoot, flexed feet throughout, dismounts FTDT, leans to hang on to the stick. 9.900

Griswold (Lindenwood): Y1.5. Great block and opens up so early, takes a step to her right and forward. 9.875

O’Hara (Ark): Opens on the high bar, good first handstand, toe half to Jager, caught close, bail, jumps to the high bar, great final handstand, dismounts double layout, hop back. 9.850

Castles (AZ): BHS LOSO, small wobble with loose legs, split leap split leap, front aerial to sissone, double wolf turn, smooth, RO 1.5 dismount, gets the stick. 9.800

Hargrove (AZ): Mounts and gets underway, BHS LOSO, wobbles and opens her hips to the side, side aerial, full turn, small check, split leap to sheep jump, shy of position in the jump, RO 1.5 and sticks. 9.900

Bowers (OU): Giant double pike, dropped from the skies, FHS front double full front tuck, right on the OOB line but flag stayed down, switch leap to switch half to wolf full. 9.950

Smith (OU): Begins her routine with a double tuck, slight slide back with the front foot, RO 1.5 front layout, great, switch side to wolf full, ends with a double pike, similar landing to the first pass, a little less control actually. 9.925

Linton (AZ): Opens with a double wolf turn, a little off balance, BHS BHS LOSO, lovely, switch leap split jump, side aerial layout full dismount, sticks! 9.925

Labat (Illinois State): BHS LOSO, great, full turn, switch leap switch half, slightly shy of the half and wobbles, BHS 1.5 dismount, sticks. 9.800

Rotation One: Oklahoma 49.525, Arkansas 49.450, Arizona 49.125, Arizona State 48.800

The Razorbacks got off to the start they needed on an event that had been giving them trouble all season but they had the potential to be great. Now, Arkansas needs to keep hitting to hang on, as top challenger Arizona State will only get better after a rough start on vault where it severely lacked difficulty. Oklahoma did what it’s known for on floor and put itself in a comfortable position to start off, while Arizona bounced back from a beam fall and actually lead its in-state rivals at the moment.

Rotation Two: Oklahoma Vault, Arizona State Bars, Arkansas Beam, West Virginia/Arizona Floor

Stern (OU): Y1.5. Nearly stuck, slightest step with her right foot, good in the air. 9.900

Gamiao (Ark): BHS LOSO, slight wobble, side somi, chest down and a check, switch leap split leap, RO 1.5, near stick but steps back. 9.775

LeVasseur (OU): Y1.5. Comes in a little under, a few steps back. 9.800

Samiley (ASU): Nice handstand, stalder, giant half to Jager to overshoot, lost her toe point in the Jager, short on final handstand, dismounts double layout, slides to the side. 9.800

Bowers (OU): Y1.5. Sticks it! 9.950

Smith (Ark): Switch leap straddle side, BHS LOSO, dismounts double tuck, chest low and a hop back. 9.675

Sievers (OU): Y1.5. Overrotates and takes a hop forward. 9.850

Trautman (OU): Y1.5. Opens nice and early, small hop forward. 9.900

White (ASU): Mounts to the low bar, nice handstand, Maloney half, great, giant half to bail, quick into a toe on, hops to the high bar, holds the final handstand, double layout, small hop in place. 9.850

Fletcher (OU): Y1.5. Good block and distance, just slides her feet together. 9.950

Scharf (ASU): Starts on the low bar with a nice handstand, Maloney to pak great, good half pirouette, short on final handstand, dismounts FTDT, short and hops forward. 9.850

Lovett (Ark): Starts with a full turn, front aerial to LOSO, clean, switch leap split jump beat jump, side aerial to layout full, actually takes the layout up to get the stick. 9.850

Clark (ASU): Giant half to high Jager, pak, good, dismounts double layout, soft knees and a hop. 9.775

Hambrick (Ark): BHS LOSO to get going, switch leap to switch half, lots of height in both, beat jump to straddle 3/4, no problems, full turn, dismounts cartwheel gainer full, slides back. 9.875

Bridgens (Penn State): Maloney to bail, great lines, toe shoot up to high bar, great final handstand, giant full double tuck, hops forward. 9.850

Elswick (Ark): Gets underway, BHS LOSO, very floaty, full turn, split jump to split 3/4, lean forward to save it, big bend at the hips, front aerial, lean to the side, BHS 1.5, hops forward.

Hargrove (AZ): Mounts with a full-in, chest down but controls it, RO whip half front full, done well, switch ring to tour jete half, closes with a double tuck, great landing. 9.775

Rotation Two: Oklahoma 49.550, Arizona State 49.150, Arizona 49.500, Arkansas 49.075

Through Rotation Two: Oklahoma 99.075, Arizona 98.625, Arkansas 98.525, Arizona State 97.950

We’re on upset alert! The Sooners are leading as expected, but its the Wildcats who’ve slid up into second after a massive floor rotation. Arizona may not be able to keep it up through its best two events, but anything can happen in the postseason. Arkansas caught the wobbles on beam but still sits in a good spot just behind Arizona and has two higher-scoring events to go. Arizona State was able to bit into its deficit to Arkansas slightly there, but would’ve hoped for more on a strong event and now with its biggest rival surprisingly ahead of it.

Rotation Three: West Virginia/Arizona Vault, Oklahoma Bars, Arizona State Beam, Arkansas Floor

Herry (AZ): Yfull. A little piked but gets the stick! 9.825

Thompson (ASU): Mounts and gets started with a BHS BHS LOSO, great, cat leap to switch side, shy of 180 on the leaps, full turn, small check, side aerial layout full, chest down, hop forward. 9.775

Mueller (AZ): Yfull. Almost identical to Herry, a little more piked going for the landing. 9.800

LeVasseur (OU): Nice handstand to open, Tkatchev, smooth, bail, good final handstand, dismounts double layout, teeny hop back. 9.875

Jones (Ark): Begins with a front double full, cold stick and takes a controlled step out, RO 1.5 front layout, no issues, switch ring to switch half, bounces right out into dance, ends with a BHS Rudi, chest down. 9.900

Gutierrez (ASU): Opens with BHS LOSO, tiny correction, Rufolva, looked a little off but held on and covered well, full turn, front walkover, switch side, missed 180 in the split, RO 1.5, chest forward and steps forward. 9.750

Shaffer (Ark): Big double pike to open, nearly OOB but stays in, front layout front full, tour jete half Popa, closes with a double tuck, low and chest down, lunges forward. 9.800

Labat (Illinois State): Y1.5. Balks on her first run. Gathers herself. Great block, great distance, steps forward. 9.825

Davis (OU): Starts on the high bar, amazing first handstand, L grip to huge piked Jager, pak, great leg form, nice half pirouette, hits the handstand, giant half to double front half, sticks! 9.950

Clark (ASU): BHS LOSO to begin, split jump to ring jump, no problems, front aerial, secure, BHS 1.5, sticks it. 9.900

Scharf (ASU): Clean wolf turns, BHS LOSO, beautiful, side somi, issue free, switch leap to split jump, dismounts RO 1.5, big leg up check to the side and bend over but keeps the other foot in place. 9.825

Chemotti (Eastern Michigan): BHS LOSO LOSO, gorgeous, front aerial to switch leap, fun combo, BHS 1.5, soft knees but gets the stick. 9.900

Hambrick (Ark): Extremely long wait for her routine due to judges conferences. Opens with a double tuck, kicks out, slides back in the lunge a little, Rudi back layout to double stag, easy, switch half to Popa, spins out of it, double pike to close, chest a bit down. 9.900

Somehow missed what happened, but only a score in the 5’s for Smith (Ark).

Lovett (Ark): Huge starting double layout, nice landing to match, drops out of her double tuck second pass, switch half to Popa, finishes with front layout front full, issue free.

Rotation Three: Arizona 48.950, Oklahoma 49.625, Arizona State 49.150, Arkansas 49.375

Through Rotation Three: Oklahoma 148.700, Arkansas 147.900, Arizona 147.575, Arizona State 147.100

Oklahoma continues to cruise and Arizona continues to make everybody nervous! The Sooners are doing exactly what they need to, and should have no problems making it to the final, even with a potential slight mishap. The Wildcats have taken yesterday’s momentum and carried it into today, but couldn’t withstand the power of the Razorbacks on floor. Arizona ends on a weaker event, meaning Arkansas just needs to land five good vaults to likely advance. Heading to its worst event, it’s looking like a long-shot for Arizona State to overcome Arizona and Arkansas to snag second, but a near flawless six routines and some help from its foes could give it a chance.

Rotation Four: Arkansas Vault, West Virginia/Arizona Bars, Oklahoma Beam, Arizona State Floor

Kelley (Ark): Yfull. Clean in the air, piked for the landing and slid back. 9.750

Mueller (AZ): Mounts to the high bar, toe on, Tkatchev, short on handstand, piked through her bail, good last handstand, dismounts double layout, sticks! 9.850

Pennese (Ark): Yfull. Block looked crunched but got good height and stuck! 9.800

Kane (AZ): Giant half to Jager to overshoot, great distance on every catch, labored last handstand, giant half to double front, sticks! 9.825

Trautman (OU): Gets going with a BHS LOSO, chest up slowly to control, cat leap to switch side, tiny adjustment, piked front toss to split jump, dismounts RO 1.5, sticks into her salute. 9.900

Shaffer (Ark): Nearly sticks the Yhalf, small slide back. 9.800

Hambrick (Ark): Y1.5. Good in the air, landing surprised her, small shuffle in place. 9.900

Clark (ASU): Mounts with a double pike, great landing, RO 1.5 front layout, finishes the twists so early, nice switch ring in her leap series, ends with a double tuck and another good landing. 9.900

Laster (Illinois State): Y1.5. Good distance but low, squat and a step to the side. 9.700

Fears (AZ): Starts on the high bar with a good handstand, Tkatchev, good distance, clear hip, bail, a little crooked, shoot to high bar, dismounts double layout, sticks! 9.850

White (ASU): Begins with a FHS front double full, controlled the landing, switch leap, RO LOSO, switch ring to switch ring half, closes with a FHS front full front pike, easy. 9.900

Hargrove (AZ): Great giant full to Tkatchev to open, awesome bail, dismounts with a stuck FTDT. 9.900

Woodard (OU): Choreo sequence to start off, side aerial BHS, lots of wobbles and steps but stays on, front toss, a bit low, switch leap to split jump, small arm check in between, side aerial layout full dismount, slide back. 9.750

Mangahas (ASU): Long wait after a conference over White’s score. Big full-in to open, lifted the front foot a tad, front tuck through to double tuck, low chest on the landing, good leap series. 9.900

Scharf (ASU): Front tuck to double tuck, slides back in the lunge, switch half to wolf full, finishes up with a double pike, great landing.

Mack (Illinois State): Mounts with a BIG piked full-in, good through the leaps, front tuck to double tuck, another great landing. 9.925

Rotation Four: Arkansas 49.075, Arizona 49.250, Oklahoma 49.475, Arizona State 49.450

Final: Oklahoma 198.175, Arkansas 196.975, Arizona 196.800, Arizona State 196.600

An upset! Oklahoma did what we expected, but it was Arkansas who was able to snag the second spot in the regional final from this session despite entering as an unseeded team. The Razorbacks were able to overcome a very slow start from seeded Arizona State that it was not able to come back from, and an Arizona team hot from a win yesterday to even be able to compete tonight. This was a fun one, and promises and exciting Regional Final on Saturday!

Live blog by Brandis Heffner

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