LIVE BLOG: SEC Championship Session One

Hello live from Duluth!

Scoring in the afternoon session is notoriously stingy compared to the evening session, so this afternoon’s teams and gymnasts will need to be at their absolute best if they hope to challenge any of tonight’s competitors.

That said, there is precedent: Missouri won the first session last year, and ultimately finished ahead of second session team LSU.

On paper, 12th-ranked Auburn is the heavy favorite over the rest of the afternoon session teams who are ranked in the lower teens. Rankings and regular season win-loss records matter, of course, but they paint an incomplete picture.

Exhibit A, here’s a look at scores from the past two weeks:

Missouri has been on a hot streak, while Auburn has lost a bit of momentum, averaging just 196.500 at its two most recent away meets (a full point lower than its most recent home meets). Further complicating things for Auburn is the apparent loss of its star sophomore Sunisa Lee. Similarly, Arkansas is in a state of flux after the unexpected (and controversial) retirement of Bailey Lovett.

All that’s to say, this is an outstanding field and there are a lot of variables at play. Anything can (and frequently does) happen at SEC championships.

You can watch along at home on ESPN and follow scores here.

Full disclosure: My view of bars is excellent! My view of vault is OK. My view of floor and beam are not great.

Rotation One: Auburn vault, Arkansas bars, Missouri beam, Georgia floor

Leonard (Aub): Big Y full with the slightest pike and hop back. Score’s taking a while… Not sure what they could possibly be discussing unless there was a SV issue… 9.800

Groth(Aub): Y full very high in the air, but not a ton of distance and somewhat underrotated. Had a big lean forward and eventual hop. 9.675

Hubbard(Aub): Powerful Y 1.5 with soft knees but a stick! 9.875

Hollingsworth(Aub): Y 1.5 pretty far back on the table and has to take a large cross step out of it. 9.800

Stevens(Aub): Y 1.5 with her usual form, but another definitive stick. 9.950

Gobourne(Aub): Another big Y 1.5, clean in the air. Quick hop and salute out. 9.875


Swaney (Ark): Lovely extension on her straddled Jaeger. Floaty DLO, stuck. Excellent lead-off. 9.825 seems a little low.

Scalzo(Ark): Blind change to straddled Jaeger a hair close on the regrasp. Pretty DLO in the air, college stick back out of it. 9.850

Drotar(Ark): Toe hand, nice. Lovely Maloney to a tight handstand. Another stuck DLO for the Hogs. 9.850

Jones(Ark): Pretty close on her piked Jaeger and has to close the angle on her Pak. DLO pretty low with her chest downand college salutes her way out of it. 9.775

Pratt(Ark): Really pretty Tkatchev. Oh no, basically lands face first on the bar on her Pak and comes off, but she seems OK. DLO with a small readjustment. 9.100

Flatley(Ark): Super close on her straddled Jaeger. Lovely bail, good control. Gorgeous DLO with a college stick. Clutch routine for the grad student. 9.875


Lawrence (Mizz): Front aerial with a hint of a correction. Definitively stuck RO back 1.5. 9.850

Schaffer(Mizz): ROCK SOLID bhs loso series. Switch leap to split jump, nice height and extension. Full turn landed deep, but no wobble. RO back 1.5 with a small hop. Fantastic routine (her first in competition this year, I believe). 9.800

Davis(Mizz): Bhs loso with a leg-up heck and comes off. Too bad. Front toss with another leg-up check. Switch leap to a gorgeous bhs side gainer full with a hop. 9.000

Sheremeta(Mizz): Bhs loso, absolute perfection. One of the most underrated gymnasts in the SEC. Full turn with free leg, no problem. Tucked gainer full, stuck. Fabulous routine. 9.875

Hu(Mizz): Beautiful mount. Flawless front aerial to one foot to front aerial. Leaps, perfectly extended and 180. She’s showing off every skill. Bhs side gainer full with maybe a small adjustment (Literally couldn’t see her feet). That was a superlative routine; if the dismount was stuck, give her a 10. 9.950

Schreiber(Mizz): Full turn on releve kicked out. Bhs loso with a minor shoulder readjustment. Switch half and split jump are on point today. Stuck side gainer full. Maybe her best routine of the year. 9.900 seems low, but I may very well have missed something.


Williams (UGA): Fhs front full to front lay, well-controlled. 9.575

Howard(UGA): Floaty front tuck through to double back with feet, but nice control. Switch full to wolf full series, good height. Big double pike to close. 9.800

Elsadek(UGA): Bouncy FTDT. Switch leap to wolf full looked a little low, but again, my angle isn’t the best. 9.575

Cashman(UGA): Couldn’t see most of her routine, but she closed with a tidy double tuck with a clean landing. 9.850

De Jong(UGA): Back Rudi to loso with a little scoot back. Got the triple full all the way around, tight, clean form in the air and basically stuck! 9.850

Hawthorne(UGA): WOW, big DLO to open. Just slightly forward, but finessed it well. Very precise on her switch full comb (I could actually see it, lol). Front lay to Rudi with some leg form to a well-controlled split jump. Fantastic routine to close out the rotation. 9.900

AFTER ONE ROTATION: Missouri 49.375, Auburn 49.300, Arkansas 49.175, Georgia 49.125

Rotation Two: Georgia vault, Auburn bars, Arkansas beam, Missouri floor

De Jong (UGA): Tidy Y full, just slightly underrotated with a college stick. 9.800

Finnegan (UGA): Couldn’t see a thing. Sigh. 9.775

Angeny (UGA): Y full pretty messy in the air. 9.750

Cashman (UGA): Best Y full of the bunch, just a touch of pike down. 9.800

Howard (UGA): Lovely, high Y full. I think stuck? If not, very insignificant adjustment. 9.850

Hawthorne (UGA): Very tidy Y full with a hop back to finish. 9.825


Hollingsworth (Aub): Lovely tension in her bail. Stuck FTDT. 9.825

McLaughlin (Aub): Truly beautiful Maloney to Pak. Great position on her final handstand. Late pirouette to a stuck double tuck. 9.825

Groth(Aub): Good first handstand to Tkatchev. Way too far over on her Pak and comes off. 9.150

Brusch(Aub): Beautiful Maloney to bail to handstand. Such crisp form throughout. Not a bent elbow or closed shoulder to be seen! STUCK DLO! 9.900

Stevens(Aub): Massive Ray, slightly close on the regrasp. Bail is fine. Shy final handstand, but another stuck DLO. Stevens just never misses. 9.900

Gobourne(Aub): Slightly shy on her first handstand but a great Tkatchev to Pak. Rushes the half pirouette on the low bar. Sky high FTDT, more or less stuck! 9.900


Gamiao (Ark): Gorgeous RO back 1.5, stuck. 9.850

Gianfagna(Ark): Big check on her front toss. Didn’t quite hit her positions on her leaps, but another stuck RO back 1.5. 9.525

Swaney(Ark): Taking a long time for her to start. Not sure if it’s a TV thing or a judging issue. Front walkover mount, great. Switch leap to split jump, back foot a touch low on the jump. Bhs 1.5 with a small hop. 9.850

Weaver(Ark): Notes say Hambrick, but that doesn’t look like her to me… Bhs loso loso with a large hip bend, but stays on. RO back 1.5 with a hop forward. 9.650

Hambrick(Ark): Stuck side gainer full and a big smile. 9.875

Flatley (Ark): Bhs loso, lovely but a small shoulder drop. 9.825


Schreiber (Mizz): Big Rudi to back lay to split, perfect control. Front full to front pike to stag. 9.775 is low.

Kratzer(Mizz): Opening double tuck with chest forward. Good extension on her Popa series. Dabs on ’em! Very nicely done back 1.5 to front full. Double pike landed pretty deep, but good control on the landing. 9.800

McCrary(Mizz): Front lay to Rudi with some foot form. Strong double pike to close. Mizzou fans are on their feet. 9.850

Sheremeta(Mizz): Fhs to front double full, beautiful. Switch side to Popa, a little forward on the landing but great positions. Fhs Rudi to floaty loso. 9.900

Moore(Mizz): Massive DLO, super control. Switch full to Popa series, a little crooked but definitely 180. Excellent front tuck through to double back. 9.900

Celestine(Mizz): Big FTDT with a definitive Fhs front full with a small stutter step, I think. HUGE double tuck, maybe had to hop forward. Great routine overall. 9.875

AFTER TWO ROTATIONS: Missouri 98.800, Auburn 98.650, Arkansas 98.225, Georgia 98.125

Missouri has given itself a nice buffer heading into its two weakest events, but Auburn can certainly close that gap with hit rotations. No total meltdowns from either UGA or Arkansas, but it’s going to be an uphill battle for them to catch either of the Tigers at this point.

Rotation Three: Missouri vault, Georgia bars, Auburn beam, Arkansas floor

Sorry, had some technical issues and missed most of the first routines!

Burns(Mizz): 9.650

McCrary(Mizz): Big amplitude on her Y full, but a bit of pike throughout. Micro adjustment on the landing. 9.850

Schreiber(Mizz): Majorly underrotated Y full, big bound forward. 9.525

Celestine(Mizz): Lovely Y 1.5 in the air. One footed step and back. 9.900

Moore(Mizz): WOW. Y 1.5, no movement. Straight down the center. I’m fine with a 10 for that, but I doubt the judges will do it. Booo… 9.950

Davis(Mizz): Super underrotated Y 1.5 but managed to keep it on her feet with a stagger back. 9.550


Cashman (UGA): 9.800

Angeny (UGA): Major foot and knee form on her straddled Jaeger. Clean DLO, stuck. 9.850

Howard (UGA): Immediately comes off on her Church. Repeats and it’s perfect. Final handstand a bit short and late full pirouette to double tuck with a hop. 9.225

Scott (UGA): Maloney to Pak, very clean. Half pirouette a touch late and finesses the final handstand. Beautiful DLO, basically stuck. 9.825

Finnegan (UGA): Huge Ray. Pak a little wonky. Stuck DLO. 9.875

De Jong (UGA): Maloney to bail, very clean. Great final handstand. Stuck DLO. One of her best routines of the year. 9.900


Hollingsworth (Aub): 9.750

Hagle.(Aub): Front aerial with a wave. Wolf turn with another lean. Bhs 1.5 with a hop. 9.425

Brusch(Aub): Front aerial to split jump, great extension. Side gainer full with a hop. 9.800

Groth(Aub): Bhs loso bhs, excellent. Back 1.5, stuckish. 9.875

Stevens(Aub): Bhs loso loso with loose form and a hip wave. Double stag, good amplitude. RO back 1.5 and yet another stick for Stevens. 9.900

McLaughlin(Aub): Exquisite switch leap to bhs loso. Pretty full turn. Piked gainer with a microhop and she goes nuts, haha. As she should, that was wonderful. 9.900


Jones (Ark): Final Rudi a touch wild, but she covered it well. 9.800

Hickey (Ark): Back 1.5 to front full with a little leg form. Strong double back to finish. 9.800

Gamiao(Ark): Pretty double pike. Ryan Roberts is blocking my view, sorry! 9.775

Flatley (Ark): Back 2.5, lovely. Back 1.5 to front lay, nicely done. Beautiful position on her switch half. 9.900

Williams(Ark): Textbook back 1.5 to front lay. Nice position on her leaps. Tidy double tuck to close. That was excellent! 9.900

Price(Ark): Fabulous DLO with a great controlled lunge. Switch sides lacked some control, but had a ton of height. Back 1.5 to floaty front lay, great. Pretty double pike in the air, but hung on too late and landed pretty forward. 9.775

AFTER THREE ROTATIONS: Auburn 147.875, Missouri 147.600, Arkansas 147.400, Georgia 147.375

A missed opportunity on vault for Mizzou, allowing Auburn to close the gap and then some. On the flipside, this meet just got a lot more interesting with Arkansas and Georgia doing exactly what they needed to do to hang in this.

Rotation Four: Arkansas vault, Missouri bars, Georgia beam, Auburn floor 

Weaver(Ark): Y full with a significant arm bend on the block, but stuck. 9.900 is incredibly generous.

Flatley(Ark): Gorgeous Y full. Not the highest, but very clean. 9.900

Price(Ark): Another big Y full, stuck. 9.900… Really, judges?

Sedlacek(Ark): Couldn’t see unfortunately, but got a big cheer! 9.825

Williams(Ark): Good height and distance on her Y 1.5, little soft in the knees and a hop forward. 9.900

Hambrick(Ark): Very crooked Y 1.5 with a side step, but puts it to her feet. 9.825


Celestine (Mizz): Loose form on her Maloney and Pak, but good rhythm. Beautiful VL and DRILLED the Celestine!

Schreiber(Mizz): Beautiful Maloney to bail to handstand. Slightly shy final handstand. DLO a little crunched with a small hop forward. 9.875

Sheremeta(Mizz): Blind change to straddled Jaeger, a bit close. Beautiful Rudi flyaway with a tiny hop back. 9.850

Moore(Mizz): Enormous Ray. A little wonky on her bail, but hit horizontal. High FTDT with a college stick. 9.875

Hu(Mizz): GORGEOUS Church to Pak. VL, great. Prefect final handstand, full pirouette to stuck double tuck. Again, wouldn’t be mad at a 10 for that. 9.950 (one judge DID go 10, so…)

Burns(Mizz): Blind change to straddled Jaeger, nicely done. A hair shy on that final handstand, but a STUCK stuck DLO. 9.850


Howard (UGA): Side aerial with a hip check. Bhs side gainer full, stuck. Nice rebound from that bars fall. 9.850

Hawthorne (UGA): Bhs loso with a big wave. Switch full series, rock solid. Front toss to wolf, good. RO back 1.5 with a big step forward. 9.750

Scott (UGA): Fhs to bhs loso, good. Pretty leap positions. Back 1.5, stuck. 9.875

Angeny (UGA): Bhs loso loso series, very steady. Bhs 1.5 with a small hop forward. 9.800

Deniz (UGA): Love her tick-tock series. Full turn kicked out. Side aerial to bhs, beautiful. Front aerial to beat, lovely. Switch leap to split jump. Tucked gainer full, torso adjustment, but stuck. 9.900

De Jong (UGA): Straddle quarter, nice and high. Front aerial with a big wave. Repeats and connects to her beat jump. Bhs loso, solid. RO back 1.5, stuck. 9.800


McLaughlin (Aub): A little overrotated on her double pike, but covered it nicely. 9.700

Brusch (Aub): Front tuck through to double back, excellent. Late set on her double pike and back foot came up. 9850

Groth (Aub): Front double full. Front full to a front tuck that was supposed to be a front lay. Fhs Rudi, just a hair underrotated. 9725

Hollingsworth (Aub): Giant, kicked out FTDT. Straddle, great. Couldn’t see a thing after that. 9.875

Stevens (Aub): Flat front lay, but pulled out the Rudi. The Stevens! Goegean to wolf full, a little wild in the air. Double tuck with chest down, but solid. 9.900

Gobourne (Aub): Auburn has a 196.925 heading into this routine looking to drop a 9.700. Beautiful open double tuck. Popa to wolf full, no problems. Fhs front full to front lay, a little stutter step on the landing. Double pike pretty underrotated and has to step forward, but she sold it. I *think* that’s going to do it for Auburn, but depends on how hard they ding her for the pike. 9.875

AFTER FOUR ROTATIONS: Auburn 197.100, Missouri 197.000, Arkansas 196.825, Georgia 196.600

VT: Cassie Stevens, Jocelyn Moore–9.950

UB: Helen Hu–9.950

BB: Helen Hu–9.950

FX: Norah Flatley, Lauren Williams, Cassie Stevens, Haley De Jong, Soraya Hawthorne, Alisa Sheremeta, Jocelyn Moore–9.900

AA: Cassie Stevens–39.650

You know how I’m always complaining about score separation? That 6-way tie for floor is why. All of those 9.900s were not created equal!

Also, shoutout to Cassie Stevens for winning the SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year Award!

Be sure to check back in for Session Two at 08:00 PM ET!

READ THIS NEXT: The Changing Hierarchy of SEC Gymnastics

Live blog by Claire Billman 

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