Here is a belated recap of week 4!
1. UCLA 197.750; Arizona State 196.125. It was an exciting competition between UCLA and Arizona State (highlights here) on Monday, despite the wild score-bug creeping around. The Bruins stunned with a huuuuge 49.700 total score on bars, including junior Madison Kocian‘s second perfect 10.0 of her career, and a 49.650 on floor. Among the highlights, freshman Sekai Wright debuted on vault for a 9.875 and junior Nia Dennis scored a ‘perfect’ 9.950 also on vault, after returning to her very solid FTY. Arizona State also did not disappoint. Their star sophomore Cairo Leonard-Baker posted a huge 9.975 on bars, while senior Justine Callis was rewarded on beam with a 9.925 to win the event. The only disappointing factor during the competition was scoring. No one denies that UCLA is a fun, lovable and super talented team with a great fan base, but if scores get too wild, all that is good is ruined, including excellent performances. So, please, judges, when a gymnast steps out of bounds or misses a handstands, acknowledge it. It doesn’t take anything away from the greatness of the gymnast. It just adds more to it the next time when she hits!
2. Georgia 197.000; Iowa State 195.900. At Georgia on Monday night the queen of the competition was the beam, that broke under the pressure of Sabrina Vega’s majesty and had to leave the arena and get replaced. It will be remembered as one of the top-moments of the 2019 season! Competition-wise, the Gymdogs (highlights here) impressed scoring the first 197.00 of the season. They still cannot hit five routines of 9.8 or above on all apparatuses, but at least four of them are there, and time and experience will give them also the fifth (and the sixth). Freshman Rachael Lukacs impressed with a 9.900 on vault and a 9.925 on floor, sophomore Marissa Oakley was back at her best on bars with a 9.925 and senior Sydney Snead continued her consistent streak of 9.9+ on vault with a 9.925s. Iowa State had a solid competition of their own, breaking into the 49s on floor for a strong rotation. Grace Woolfolk scored a big 9.925 on the ‘new’ beam to win the event, while Meaghan Sievers impressed on bars with a 9.900 and on vault and floor with two 9.875s.
3. California 196.575; Stanford 196.125. If there are two underrated teams, they are California and Stanford. You hear little about them, they don’t make the news, you can hardly watch them, and yet they have excellent gymnasts, they produce superb gymnastics and post big scores. Both teams shone on floor, where Cal freshman Milan Clausi and Stanford sophomore Kyla Bryant posted two big 9.925s. Cal senior Toni-Ann Williams impressed on beam with a 9.900, and teammate Nina Schank was the queen of the uneven bars with another 9.900. Impressive was also Stanford sophomore Taylor Lawson, who performed a standing Arabian on beam.
4. LSU 197.450; Alabama 196.850. It was a thrilling competition between LSU and Alabama. The latter had to replace sophomore Lexie Graber on all four apparatuses, after she tweaked her ankle in warmups, but the team stepped up and had a fine competition against all odds – they are growing! The Tigers (highlights here) finally shone on vault, with four stuck vaults, including two big Yurchenkos 1.5 by juniors Ruby Harrold (9.900) and Kennedi Edney (9.925). The Crimson Tide struggled a bit on floor, but shone on beam, where they posted five scores of 9.800 or better, including a career-high 9.925 for junior Wynter Childers and a gorgeous routine by freshman Emily Gaskins (9.875).
5. Florida 197.675; Kentucky 196.650. It was a season-high scoring competition for both Florida and Kentucky and for the Wildcats the first over 196+, which rendered even more special by the fact that it happened on the road! The Gators (highlights here) without Nya Reed (she’s fine as far as I know) had a superb competition, which started a bit shakily on vault but gained huge momentum on bars, where all scores were 9.900 or better, including a 9.975 by freshman star Trinity Thomas. Trinity had a spectacular competition and ended up winning the all around title with a big 39.700. On floor, I liked the contrast between senior Alicia Boren‘s super fun routine and junior Rachel Gowey‘s elegance – diversity is what makes gymnastics great! Kentucky also had a great competition, not much different from last week’s honestly, which leaves me wondering a lot about scores around the country. Among their highlights, Katie Stuart landed a big Yurchenko 1.5 on vault, junior Mollie Korth hit her floor routine for a 9.925 and senior Alex Hyland performed a beautiful beam set (9.875).
6. Auburn 196.775; Georgia 196.400. What a season the Auburn Tigers are having. Not only they are undefeated (4-0), but after beating LSU at home two weeks ago and Missouri on the road last week, this week they also took down Georgia! Auburn had a very solid competition from beginning to end, but gained momentum in the second half of the meet, hitting beam and ending beautifully on floor. On beam, all five counting scores were 9.800 or better, including a 9.875 by Meredith Sylvia, and on floor all counting scores were 9.825 or better, including a bit 9.950 by freshman star Derrian Gobourne. Georgia had a very strong second rotation on vault, which included three 9.900s (Dickson, Snead and Vega), but struggled on both bars and floor. They were probably a bit tired, being this their second competition of the week, but a shoutout to junior Sabrina Vega, who had a stellar meet, scoring a 9.900 on vault, and two 9.925s on beam and floor.
7. Nebraska 197.250; Illinois-Champaign 194.675. Nebraska was on fire this week, scoring their first 197+ of the season. The Huskers had a super strong competition, counting only one score in the 9.7s and counted at least one 9.900 on all apparatuses. Freshman Adnerys de Jesus scored a big 9.900 on vault, Megan Verceles-Carr and Taylor Houchin scored two 9.900s on bars, Sienna Crouse scored a 9.900 on beam, and on floor Sierra Hassel and Sienna Crouse scored two 9.925s and Taylor Houchin a 9.950. Illinois had a huuuuge rotation on bars, where the lowest counting score was a 9.850, and included a 9.900 by Karen Howell and a 9.925 by Rae Balthazor.
8. Minnesota 196.925; Penn State 196.775. OMG, Minnesota and Penn State, what a competition!!! Minnesota had an insanely good meet, finally rewarded by appropriate scores. Lexy Ramler had a fantastic competition, which included a 9.950 on beam and two 9.900s on vault and floor. Ivy Lu scored a 9.950 on bars and a 9.900 on beam in her first beam routine of the year. Paige Williams was amazing on floor and scored a 9.950. Penn State also had an exceptional competition. Lauren Bridgens impressed with two 9.900s on vault and bars, Sabrina Garcia scored a 9.900 on bars and Jessie Bastardi a 9.900 on beam. Penn State was also super solid on floor, scoring four 9.850s and a 9.875.
9. Oklahoma 197.975; Denver 196.350; Missouri 196.200; Arkansas 195.825. Oklahoma did their usual Oklahoma things once again in yet another quad meet, finishing just shy of a 198 for the second time in four meets. Among the highlights, Jade Degouveia scored a career-high 9.925 on floor, Brenna Dowell stuck her Yurchenko 1.5 for a 9.950 and Maggie Nichols was back on bars and beam, scoring a 9.925 and a 9.975 respectively. Denver struggled again a bit on beam and also a little bit on floor, but was excellent on vault and bars. Maddie Karr scored a big 9.950 on bars and a 9.900 on vault, Lynnzee Brown scored a 9.900 on vault and amazing freshman Alexis Vasquez scored a huge 9.950 on beam. Missouri had a very strong rotation on vault and Madeleine Huber impressed with a 9.900 on bars. Arkansas was solid on vault and floor, but a couple of gymnasts really impressed on beam: Michaela Burton scored a 9.900 and lead-off Jessica Yamzon scored a 9.875.
10. Utah 197.375; Arizona State 195.825. Utah posted their highest score of the season so far, which included a big 49.500 on bars. Missy Reinstadtler posted a career-high 9.950, followed by another 9.950 by Mykayla Skinner. Mykayla also finally broke into the 9.9s on beam and Sydney Soloski posted a big 9.925 on floor. Floor was won by Arizona State‘s Cairo Leonard-Baker with a big 9.950.
Highest scores of the week
Team: Oklahoma – 197.975
All around: Trinity Thomas (Florida) – 39.700
Vault: Brenna Dowell (Oklahoma) – 9.950
Bars: Madison Kocian (UCLA) – Perfect 10.0
Beam: Katelyn Ohashi (UCLA) and Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma) – 9.975
Floor: Katelyn Ohashi (UCLA) – 9.975
Madison Kocian (UCLA) – Uneven bars
Routine of the week
So rewarding to see Nicole Webb thrive at NC State!