LIVE BLOG: Denver Regional Round One

It’s finally that time of year, the postseason is finally here! The weekend will kick off with the play-in round, and here in Denver we’ll be looking at Arizona and North Carolina. Arizona is coming in ranked 28th nationally and North Carolina is sitting at 35th. While those numbers don’t exactly look promising for the Tar Heels, this meet could be closer than you think.

Arizona is coming off of a 196.375 at the PAC-12 championships, which included a 49.4 on beam. Sirena Linton and Caroline Herry both scored a 9.900, and if the Wildcats can bring their A-game, they should have a spot in the second round of regionals. 

North Carolina scored a 196.350 at the EAGL championships, which is noticeably close to Arizona’s score from conference championship weekend. It won’t be easy, but if UNC’s stars like Lali Dekanoidze, Elizabeth Culton and Julia Knower can put up some big scores, the Tar Heels may have a chance at upsetting Arizona and earning a spot in round two. 

The spot I’m sitting in may not have the best angles to see handstands on bars or split positions on beam, but I’ll try my best!

Rotation 1: Arizona VT, North Carolina UB

Herry (UA): Solid Yurchenko full, nice body position and a tiny hop in place on the landing. 9.775

Shearer (UNC): Nice first handstand, blind into a Jaeger. Shootover was a little past handstand. Double layout with some leg separation and a hop back. 9.675

Mueller (UA): Yurchenko full, slightly piked at the end and a hop back. 9.7

Knower (UNC): Nice Geinger to start out. Shootover almost went the wrong way but she saved it. Short on the last handstand, but then sticks the full in dismount! 9.75

Linton (UA): Yurchenko full, also a little piked and hops backward. 9.675

Fink (UNC): Solid handstand to start, blind into a nice Jaeger. Nice shootover. Sticks the double layout but has some leg separation. 9.8

Hargrove (UA): Yurchenko 1.5, very nice in the air but hops forward on the landing. 9.825

Schaefer (UNC): Beautiful handstand to start. Nice blind into a nice high Jaeger. Nice shootover. Finishes with a full in and takes a hop back. 9.775

Castles (UA): Yurchenko full, nice position in the air but takes a pretty big hop back. 9.7

Dekanoidze (UNC): Beautiful Maloney to shootover combination. Nails the last handstand and sticks the double layout! That should be a really good score, she nailed all of her handstands! 9.9 honestly seems a little low.

LaRusso (UA): Another good Yurchenko full, maybe just a hop in place. 9.8

Schulze (UNC): Blind into a piked Jaeger and she misses it. That means UNC will have to count the 9.675 from Shearer. She gets back up and does a nice shootover. Nice blind into a stuck double tuck. It’s a shame she fell, the rest of the routine was solid. 8.775

After 1: North Carolina 48.9, Arizona 48.8

Overall, this was a good rotation for both teams. Even though North Carolina had to count a 9.675 on bars, it still leads Arizona by a tenth. Arizona couldn’t seem to find the landings on vault, so the Wildcats will need to get some sticks before North Carolina extends its lead!

Rotation 2: North Carolina VT, Arizona VT

Schaefer (UNC): Tucked Yurchenko full, pretty nice just a small hop back. 9.725

Mueller (UA): Starts with a SUPER high Tkatchev. Nice shootover, just a little past handstand. Nails the last handstand and sticks the double layout! Great leadoff! 9.825

Fink (UNC): Solid Yurchenko full with a hop back. 9.775

LaRusso (UA): Blind into a Jaeger. Nice shootover. A little short on her last handstand, but sticks her full in dismount! Now they’ve got the sticks! 9.7

Prejean (UNC): Nice Yurchenko full, she flairs it out at the end but still hops back. 9.65

Fears (UA): Almost casts over on her first handstand but saves it. Nice Tkatchev and a really nice shootover too. Nice high double layout, just some leg separation and a hop back. 9.7

Knower (UNC): Solid Yurchenko full, great position in the air but takes a hop on the landing. 9.8

McCabe (UA): Nice handstand to start out. Blind into a pretty piked Jaeger. Good shootover. Nails the last handstand. Sticks the double layout! 9.85

Forbes (UNC): Yurchenko 1.5, some bent legs in the air and takes a few big steps back on the landing. 9.525

Raskin (UA): Really high Jaeger to start out. Nice shootver. Sticks the double layout, she just had some leg separation and a slight piked position at the end. 9.725

Dekanoidze (UNC): Awesome Yurchenko full! She flaired it out at the end and she stuck it! That should be a good score. 9.85

Linton (UA): Nice Malney to Pak combination. Hits and holds the last handstand and sticks her double layout. Another solid routine for Arizona! 9.825

After 2: Arizona 97.725, North Carolina 97.7

Another good rotation for both teams! Arizona was able to find the landings on bars and is pulling ahead in the meet, but just barely. North Carolina had to count a 9.65 on vault, and now it has a smaller gap between itself and the Wildcats. It’s a tight meet after two, don’t go away now!

Rotation 3: Arizona BB, North Carolina FX

Fears (UA): Nice split jump to start. Solid flic lay series. Cat leap to side aerial, just a tiny wobble. Beat jump to double stag jump, a bigger wobble after that one. Sticks the roundoff 1.5! Solid leadoff for Arizona! 9.8

Wozniak (UNC): Starts with a back 1.5 to front tuck, she fell, you could tell from the very beginning that it was off. I think that was a tour jete half next? I kind of missed it. Wolf full wolf full. Nice double pike for her next pass. 8.9

Herry (UA): Wobbles on the full turn. Gorgeous flic lay. Solid side Sumi. Straddle jump to straddle half, she tries to save it but she falls off. Finishes with a back handspring to back 1.5 and takes a tiny hop. Well, I didn’t think this meet could get more interesting but it is! 9.0

Nam (UNC): Starts with a nice controlled double pike. Wolf 1.5. Nice switch half to wolf full. Last pass is a back 1.5 to front full. Solid routine after a fall! 9.75

Linton (UA): Gorgeous double wolf turn. Flic flic lay, she had a pretty big wobble but she saved it. Switch leap to split jump. Sticks the roundoff 1.5, another good routine after a fall! 9.65

Fink (UNC): Nice double pike to open her routine. Nice switch leap to switch ring half. Next pass is a 2.5, she kind of bounces out of it. Finishes with a back 1.5 to front layout, she takes a big step but dances out of it. 9.775

Mueller (UA): Lots of pressure here, she’s following a fall and a 9.65, she needs to hit. Nice side aerial to layout series, she wobbled but just barely. Switch leap to straddle jump. Takes a tiny hop forward on the roundoff 1.5 dismount. 9.85

Greenlow (UNC): Double pike to start out, lands with bent legs and takes a big lunge back but doesn’t fall. Solid front tuck through to 2.5, nice control on the landing! Switch half to wolf full. Oh no, another fall on the back 1.5 to front tuck. Now they have to count a fall. 9.0

Hargrove (UA): Nice flic lay, just a small wobble. Cat leap to side aerial, another small wobble. You can tell Arizona’s a little nervous. Split jump to sheep jump. Stuck the roundoff 1.5! 9.875

Forbes (UNC): Awesome half in half out to start her routine! Solid front layout front full, great control on the landing. Tour jete half to Popa, a little unsure on the landing but covers it. Solid double tuck to finish it off! 9.825

Castles (UA): Beautiful flic lay, just the tiniest balance check. Almost falls on a split leap, but she saved it. Front aerial to a straight jump. I think it was supposed to be a different jump but she looked off balance after the aerial. Solid double wolf turn. Roundoff 1.5 dismount, just takes a tiny hop forward. Arizona leaves beam without counting a fall! 9.8

Knower (UNC): Really nice high double pike for her first pass, and she knew it was good! Beautiful front full front layout but she lands out of bounds, still on her feet though! Nice tour jete half to split full, great flexibility! Double tuck to finish off, lands with pretty bent legs and steps out of bounds.

After 3: Arizona 146.7, North Carolina 145.6

Well this was an unfortunate rotation for North Carolina. Two falls and some routines that went out of bounds. It’s a shame that that rotation went south for UNC, because the meet was pretty close heading into this rotation. But if floor can give UNC trouble, it could give Arizona trouble too. The meet isn’t over until it’s over!

Rotation 4: North Carolina BB, Arizona FX

Nam (UNC): Really nice flic lay to start her routine. Nice switch leap to straddle quarter. Nice cat leap to side aerial, just a small wobble. Takes a small hop forward on the roundoff 1.5. 9.825

LaRusso (UA): Awesome front double twist to start out! Cat leap to switch side to Popa. Nice back 1.5 to front layout next. Finishes with a solid Rudi.

Fink (UNC): Nice switch leap switch leap to a split jump. Flic lay series, wobbles but stays on. Front aerial, leg goes up on the wobble but she’s still on. Nice back handspring to 1.5 dismount, just hops forward. 9.7

Deets (UA): Nice ring jump full to start. First pass is a front layout front full, takes a pretty big lunge but covers it with dance. Tour jete half to Popa. Stuck double tuck for her last pass! 9.85

Thompson (UNC): Flic flic lay series, it looked a little crooked but she saved it. Switch leap to straddle quarter. Takes a small hop forward on the roundoff 1.5 dismount. 9.725

Fears (UA): First pass is a really high double tuck, she just looks unsure on her landing. Switch side to Popa. Nice Rudi next. Finishes with a beautiful back 1.5 to front full. 9.875

Shearer (UNC): Nice flic lay, just a little bit of bent legs. Cat leap to a front toss. Switch leap to straddle quarter, the straddle was a little shy of 180. One handed front handspring to a side gainer full! Nice combination and she stuck it! 9.825

Mueller (UA): Nice double pike to start out, good control on the landing. Switch side to Popa. Solid back 1.5 to front layout. Awesome double tuck to finish it out! She had great control on all of her landings, but especially that last one! 9.925, the team is super excited about that one!

Knower (UNC): Beautiful flic lay to open her routine. Good front toss. Nice switch leap to split three quarter, just a small wobble. Sticks the roundoff 1.5! 9.825

Herry (UA): Nice double tuck to open things up, good height and control. Switch half to Popa, great positions. Nice back 1.5 to front layout. Finishes with a solid double pike. If the last routine went 9.925, that one has to at least match it! Or not, 9.875

Schulze (UNC): Nice split full! Nice flic lay series. Switch leap to wolf jump. Side aerial to 1.5 dismount takes a sideways step on the landing.

Strom (UA): This was supposed to be Hargrove, I’m assuming they’re resting her for tomorrow. Nice front layout to Rudi for her first pass. Cat leap to switch leap to switch ring half. Nice back 1.5 to front full.

Final: Arizona 196.050, North Carolina 194.6

It was a close meet at the halfway point, but after a rough floor rotation for North Carolina, Arizona will advance to tomorrow’s meet! Arizona showed some great routines on every event, but it’ll have to do even better to challenge the top seeds in its session tomorrow.

Event Winners:

Vault: Dekanoidze, 9.850

Bars: Dekanoidze, 9.900

Beam: Hargrove, 9.875

Floor: Mueller, 9.925

All Around: Mueller, 39.300

READ THIS NEXT: 2023 Denver Regional Preview

Live blog by Emily Lockard

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