The last day of the NCAA Championships have rolled into Pauley Pavilion. It’s a sad day for NCAA fans, as it marks the end of the season. But I bring the Danusia Francis fans good news: The Brit has warmed up both her aerial cartwheel sideways on the beam AND an aerial front walkover into her BHS LOSO full off. We shall see if her fellow competitors up their game, as well.
While we wait for the action to start, feel free to check out the start list on the UCLA site. I would copy and paste for you, my dear reader, but the list of vaulters is far too long.
Oh, Bridget Sloan is warming up on bars, and sadly, she is only doing a Ray–no Church release. Slacker! The gym gods have died.
The Cirque acrobats have taken to the floor. They are performing to Cold Play’s “Paradise.” All I can say is, one-handed handstands are pretty much the best thing in the entire world. It’s even better than the sticky bun waffle that I had this morning on Sunset Blvd at Waffle.
Spotted: Ivana Hong is in the stands on crutches, chatting with Sam Peszek. Like I said, the gym gods have died. If they hadn’t, Ivana would be in this beam final.
Fun fact, courtesy of the NCAA: The team starting NCAA Super Six competition on balance beam has won the NCAA title only three times (Utah 1995, Georgia 2005 and Florida 2013) in the 21-year history of the Super Six format.
The gymnasts are marching in… A small village of vaulters just stepped onto the floor. Alaina Johnson and Bridget Sloan walk in doing the GATOR CHOMP during the beam announcement. Danusia Francis walks in to a HUGE applause, as it should be, as Spanny would say.
Former gymnast Kyle Khou sings a frilly version of the National Anthem–lots of runs and falsetto.
Georgia Dabritz just warmed up a Comaneci on bars! #ThingsYouNeverSeeInNCAA Ooo! She’s bringing it today! I wonder what Bart Conner will say about it on air… Will he mention that he’s married to Nadia?
Olivia Courtney of UCLA: Nice, high Yurchenko full. Sticks it cold. Feet are only slightly apart on the landing. 9.9167
Rheagan Courville of LSU: Yurchenko full. Feet slightly apart coming onto the table. Little hop back. 9.9250
Alaina Johnson of Florida: Feet an itsy bit straddled onto the table. Chest up on landing, but kind of drives her knees forward on the landing. I don’t know how the judges are going to differentiate between all these Yurchenko fulls… 9.8250
Kytra Hunter of Florida: AMANAR!
Psych! Yurchenko 1.5. A little off to the side and bounces off to the side. Knees not as extended as they could be on the twist, but most gymnasts doing more than a Yurchenko full have some form problems. 9.8500
Kaitlyn Clark of Alabama: A bit of leg separation onto the horse, and doesn’t absorb the landing on her Yurchenko full. 9.8750
My word! Someone needs to chuck a squat through! STAT! We need something new!
Lindsay Mable of Minnesota: Nice arms onto the table. Very clean in the air. Just a little bit of bounce on the landing. 9.9000
Brandie Jay of Georgia: Biggest V-ed legs thus far coming onto the table. Yurchenko 1.5. Shuffle on the landing. 9.8083
Chelsea Davis of Georgia: Another decent Yurchenko full. Chest a little forward on the landing and bounces forward on the landing. 9.7500
Dang, the judges are not playing around today! Chelsea’s vault would have been at least a 9.85 yesterday!
Leader after flight 1: Rheagan Courville of LSU: 9.9250
Kaelie Baer of UCLA: Another full-twisting Yurchenko. Little bit of straddle coming onto the horse. Lands with her feet closer than usual–still apart, but closer. Little bit of bounce on the landing, and hips were slightly turned. It shouldn’t top Rheagan Courville. 9.9083
Moriah Martin of Denver: Another full-twisting Yurchenko. Is someone keeping track of the number of FTYs? She’s leaning to one side coming onto the table. Lands a little short and quickly turns to the judges. 9.8250
Ashanee Dickerson of Florida: Another full-twisting Yurchenko. Straddled legs, as always. Sticks her vault and has her feet together. Chest a little bent over. 9.9000
Joanna Sampson of Michigan: Another full-twisting Yurchenko. She hulls it down the vault runway! These Michigan girls are QUICK! Good pop off table. Step back on the landing. 9.8583
Maliah Mathis of LSU: Yurchenko 1/2. A little hop forward. Decent, but nothing spectacular. If you are going to win with that vault, it needs to go 20 feet in the air and be DRILLED into the ground. 9.8667
Sarie Morrison of LSU: Another Yurchenko full. Legs together coming onto the table–which is nice to see. Doesn’t have the block that other gymnasts have. 9.8917
Diandra Milliner of Alabama: A good Yurchenko 1.5. Small stop on the landing, but once again, legs = not as cute as they could be in the air. 9.9250
Leaders after 2 flights: Diandra Milliner of Alabama and Rheagan Courville of LSU: 9.9250
Nicole Dayton of Stanford: Yurchenko 1/2. Small hop on the landing. Again, it’s going to be hard to win with that vault. It needs to be gymnastics unicorn good… 9.8583
Lauren Beers of Alabama: Yet another Yurchenko-full. Slight bend on the table. Small hop on the landing. Chest was up, though. 9.8750
Vanessa Zamarripa of UCLA: A lovely Yurchenko-full, but a hop on the landing. Vanessa finishes her routine by waving to the crowd. A beautiful senior moment. I hope the photographers got that! 9.9000
Lindsey Cheek of Georgia: Yet another Yurchenko-full. Step on the landing. 9.8250
Madison Mooring of Oklahoma: STICKS her Yurchenko half. But it’s also off to the side. Should be interesting to see what the judges do with that. 9.7917
Lichelle Wong of UCLA: Yurchenko full. Legs apart coming onto the table. Head at table height when coming into the landing and has to pike down. 9.7833
Tory Wilson of Utah: Slight leg separation coming onto the table and a bounce back on the landing. 9.8917
Emily Wong of Nebraska: HUGE pop off the table on her Yurchenko. Sticks the landing–feet a little bit apart, though. Probably best pop off the table. 9.8833
1T. Diandra Milliner: 9.9250
1T. Rheagan Courville 9.9250
3. Olivia Courtney 9.9167
Georgia Dabritz of Utah: Catches her Comaneci! Yeah! I live for the upgrades in event finals! A little short on her next handstand. Little past a 1/2 turn on her blind change. Last handstand before dismount is good. Sticks her full-twisting double tuck. 9.8917
Nansy Damianova of Utah: Short on her first handstand. Feet come a little apart on her back swing from her Maloney. A decent Tkatchev. We should see higher ones. Short of handstand on her kip cast before her dismount. Double tuck to a small hop. 9.8125
Sarie Morrison of LSU: Lots of push on her hecht mount. Little separation of her legs on her Jaeger. Hits her bail to handstand. Full-twisting double tuck and a small step on the landing. 9.8250
I feel like it’s the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. I can hear Elfi and Tim saying, “You gotta stick those landings.” If you stick your bar dismount, you very well could be on the podium.
Leader after flight 1: Georgia Dabritz of Georgia: 9.8917
Bridget Sloan of Florida: Really sends her Ray release out there. So much POWAAAAA! Really has to hold her toes out to make her kip cast after the release–gets to a nice handstand before her bail to handstand. Sticks her double layout. With that stick, she should move into first.… Yup, 9.9000
Erica Brewer of Oklahoma: A little arch on her toe-on to handstand. One handstand was a bit short. Sticks her double layout dismount. It’s a good routine, but nothing really stood out. Oklahoma, like Romania, has pretty standard bar routines, but the Sooners definitely swing bars better than the Romanians. 9.8875
Mackenzie Caquatto of Florida: Her Maloney isn’t really smooth to the high bar–very whip-lashy. The rest was good until the dismount–Big step back on her full-twisting double tuck. In order to win, she needed to stick and maybe throw her Jaeger or her Church… 9.8875
Leaders after 2 flights: Bridget Sloan of Florida and Georgia Dabritz of Utah: 9.9000
For some reason, Georgia Dabritz’s score changed online between flights…
Alaina Johnson of Florida: Good opening handstand. Another BIG Ray release for a Gator. A little short on her kip cast handstand. Double layout dismount to a stick. Compared to Bridget, her routine was a little sharper, a little more dynamic. Alaina also hasn’t competed as much as Bridget… 9.9125
P.S. Yes, Alaina Johnson and Bridget Sloan pretty much did the same routine in finals. That’s like wearing the same dress as another girl to prom.
Chelsea Davis of Georgia: Great Tkatchev. A little tight on her handstands–not extending out as much as she could. A little archy on both her bail to handstand and her cast before her dismount–trying to compensate for the earlier handstands. Full-twisting double tuck. 9.8500
Randii Wyrick of LSU: Way past handstand on her giant full, and icky flexed feet on her Tkatchev. Big step back on her double layout. 9.8000
Rebecca Clark of Oklahoma: A decent routine until she moves back to the high bar after her bail to handstand. Short of handstand on her kip cast. A toe-full–nice to see that skill–very little pirouetting today. Small step on her double tuck landing. 9.8250
1. Alaina Johnson: 9.9125
2T. Bridget Sloan 9.9000
2T. Georgia Dabritz 9.9000
Beam: Flight 1
Kayla Williams of Alabama: Jumps onto the beam. Switch side–legs a little lopsided in the straddle. Punch front–better than yesterday, but lifts her left leg on the landing. BHS LOSO–dead on. Beat jump to Popa-ish. Feet made it around, but shoulders didn’t. Full-turn. Sticks her 1.5 with her feet apart. 9.8375
Hanna Nordquist of Minnesota: Cat leap to switch side. Bends over a little on the landing of her switch-side. Aerial cartwheel to LOSO–right on. Someone needs to get this girl an Elite Sportz Band–instead of that chunky back brace. Little bounce on her aerial cartwheel to full off. Feet a little apart, too. 9.8875
Mackenzie Caquatto of Florida: BHS LOSO–very minor adjustment. Aerial front walkover to Korbut–a little hesitant going into the Korbut. Simple full turn. Switch leap to split jump to beat jump–she looks super tight on the beam–not fluid. Sticks her double full, but lands with her chest down–fights to stay upright and not to put her hand down. 9.8500
Michelle Shealy of Iowa State: Aerial front walkover to LOSO–lacking a bit of amplitude. Looks a little nervous coming out of her full turn. Grimaces and bends over a bit on her jump series. Gainer LOSO–no problems there. Small hop on her back 1.5. 9.8375
Katie Zurales of Michigan: Her legs are quivering before her acro series. No problems on her aerial cartwheel to LOSO. Handstand-ish to swing down. (I wish that she hit a legit cross handstand before that swing down–it would set her apart more and raise her to an old Soviet level of awesomeness.) Sticks her double full off the beam. 9.8875
Leaders after Flight 1: Katie Zurales and Hanna Nordquist 9.8875
Floor: Flight 1
Marissa King of Florida: High double layout–chest up, drags front foot just a bit… And here we go, GATOR CHOMP! Front layout to front full–drags back foot just a bit on lunge. Gator fans are clapping along in the stands. Double pike–cleanest landing of the routine. 9.8875
Bridget Sloan of Florida: Praying for a piked full-in–it was her best skill ever. Front double full–a little short on rotation, but hops into her lunge. Gator fans clapping along. Double pike–mighty close to the corner, but stays in. Sticks her final pass, but it’s only a back 1.5 to front layout. She probably should have upgraded that. 9.9000 Alas, no piked full-in.
Kim Jacob of Alabama: Spot on for her full-twisting double pike. Her second pass is a double pike. Drags her front foot slightly. Cheats her switch side to popa slightly. Back 1.5 to a tucked Barani–definitely not planned. 9.8000
Diandra Milliner of Alabama: Sticks her Arabian double. No lunge needed. Front layout to front full–picks heel up on lunge. A little hairography before her final pass–“I whip my hair back and forth,” in the words of Willow Smith. Double pike could have been a little cleaner. 9.9250
Emily Wong of Nebraska: Sticks her triple twist. Steps back to accentuate it. Split is not quite high enough on her leap pass. Front full to front layout to a stag jump–not Vanessa Atler good, but definitely not an elite pass that lands, pauses, and then jumps… Finishes with a double full. 9.9125
She’s a little firecracker out there–with all her shimmies and stuff. Dan Kendig, good job recruiting this one!
Katherine Grable of Arkansas: Arabian double front with a some kind of crazy cowboying. Good landing, though. Good height on her leap series. Back 1.5 to front full to Barani stepout–Chest is low on her Barani step out. Double pike–tiniest of foot slides on the landing. 9.8875
Leader after flight 1: Diandra Milliner 9.9250
Beam: Flight 2
Erica Brewer of Oklahoma: A big gasp comes from the audience as Erica wobbles on her BHS LOSO LOSO. Arches back to save it on. Looks really scared going into her jump sequence–not enough split–and she’s off. Double tuck–chest was a little low on the landing, but good on her for doing the only double tuck in the beam competition. 9.275
Bridget Sloan of Florida: An adjustment on her BHS LOSO. Full turn is spot on. Aerial front walkover to BHS. Switch leap to split jump to beat jump–You could see that she was really pushing herself to hit those splits! Me likey! Aerial cartwheel is on. STICKS her double full dismount. Feet a bit apart, though. 9.9000
Marissa King of Florida: Stretched kickover. BHS layout to two feet. Huge wobble–leg up in the air. Bummer! Finishes strong with a double full. 9.7875
Danusia Francis of UCLA: The crowd ERUPTS for her sideways aerial! YESSSSSS!!!! Everyone–even the other teams–is cheering! THIS is what we want to see in event finals! OH, NO! She fell on her aerial front walkover. She was hoping to connect that to her dismount. Finishes with a BHS LOSO to a full off. 9.3250
Danusia receives a standing ovation from the Oklahoma crowd and the UCLA crowd! Well deserved! Gym fans admire the risk!
Beam Final Results:
1. Bridget Sloan 9.9000
2T. Katie Zurales 9.8875
2T. Hanna Nordquist 9.8875
Floor: Flight 2
Lindsay Mable of Minnesota: Double pike. Lovely pointed toes, but I’m not sure that the pass has enough difficulty to win. Though, Hollie Vise won with that pass a few years back… Rudi to a straddle jump to punch front–no problems there. Back 1.5 to front layout. Picks up her heel on the landing. 9.9000
Joanna Sampson of Michigan: Nice, high double layout. Front full to front layout. Big lift on her double pike. The tumbling was great! I’d like to see her move out of the big bass music and do something with more finesse. That said, what counts is the tumbling in event finals. It could be good enough to move her ahead… 9.9375
Nansy Damianova of Utah: Some great tango music–nice change of pace from the big bass music. Opens with a nice double tuck–knees together. Tries to stick it cold, but small shuffle on the landing. Back 1.5 to front layout. And to conclude, double pike. 9.8750
Nothing against any of these girls, but I think everyone’s waiting for some kind of surprise from these girls! These passes–back 1.5’s and Rudi’s and double pikes–have been rather compulsory… The fans in the stands want to see new tumbling! They want three HUGE tumbling passes! Where’s Jessica Savona?
Rheagan Courville of LSU: Cowboyed double Arabian and somewhat lopsided again. Big step forward on the landing. Front through to a double tuck–much better landing. Ends with a double pike. Her floor music, “Sail” by AWOLNATION, is so darn catchy; I’ll be humming this song for the rest of the day, and the lyrics are so, so, so deep… “I made it in my mind because / I blame it on my A.D.D. baby.” 9.8125
Alina Weinsten of Illinois: Lands a little short on her full-twisting double tuck and bounces on the landing. Rudi to a LOSO. Ends with a double tuck. Good landing. I LOVE the ending to this floor routine–the music is so dramatic, and the way she throws herself on the ground is almost Khorkina-esque. 9.7500
Olivia Courtney of UCLA: Her RO BHS is so light going into her Arabian double. Good landing. Back 1.5 punch Barani to LOSO. Lands short on her double pike, and there goes her chance of winning. But it was a lovely routine, nonetheless. 9.7750
Floor Final Results:
1. Joanna Sampson: 9.9375
2. Diandra Milliner 9.9250
3. Emily Wong 9.9125