The No. 1 Gymnastics Podcast in the Galaxy

Quick Hits: Podium Training at the 2013 NCAA Nationals

Los Angeles, CA–Los Angeles traffic tsuks, but I have made it to Pauley Pavilion–just in time to see the start of Training Session 1.

Lloimincia Hall is on beam. Strugggles to square her hips on her layout stepout. She does another–same problem again.

Rheagan Courville is a little crooked on her standing Arabian, but the rest of her routine looked lovely. Her split position on her jumps is impeccable.

Kytra Hunter‘s double layout on floor is incredible. Chest up on the landing. The same with Bridget Sloan’s double pike.

Emily Wong looks focused and determined. She means business in Pauley Pavilion. She nails her series: BHS LOSO LOSO. We don’t see enough of those. Coach Heather Brink is not satisfied with Emily’s shoulders on her Popa, though. More leap series for Wong.

At the last minute, Lloimincia Hall hits her series and lands a lovely double tuck dismount.

Rotation 2

Between rotations, LSU coach Jay Clark is goofing around, doing the Night at the Roxbury head thrusts.

Jessica Savona does a run through to her Michael Jackson music. Throws her 1.5 through to double tuck.

Generally speaking, LSU looks strong on floor, which is to be expected.

Marissa King doesn’t quite get her feet up quick enough on her Tsuk 1.5 and goes around to the side, but still makes it to her feet. Her second attempt is much better.

Kytra Hunter does a huge Yurchenko 1.5 to her feet. She has room to spare on the landing. (Wouldn’t be awesome if she learned an Amanar?) She has the smallest of steps on her second attempt.

Ashanee Dickerson does a high Yurchenko full. Form going onto the table and runs out of the landing.

Mackenzie Caquatto‘s vault looks much improved. Nice rise off the table.

Coach Stephenson gives Lindsay Mable correction on her acro series (BHS BHS LOSO)–problems with squaring her hips. No problem the next time she jumps up on the beam.

Jessie DeZiel of Nebraska has done roughly 7 layout stepouts. Really struggling to get her hips square today and to get the right amount of height and rotation. But in her last time up on the beam, she nails her acro series.

LSU chooses to spend their last minutes on floor dancing around and goofing around. They look relaxed today.

Rotation 3

Over on bars, Florida is sticking the heck out of their dismounts. Mackenzie Caquatto‘s routine, though short, really is beautiful. You can see that her toes are completely pointed from across the arena.

Marissa King‘s Markelov/Khorkina looks much higher than usual. Khorkina would approve.

Jessie DeZiel appears to be having an off day. (Good thing it’s today–not tomorrow). Lots of form on her full-twisting double pike on floor and mighty close to the line.

Like Wong, Alina Weinstein of Illinois looks focused. Really trying to stick those landings on beam. Needs a little more split in her jumps.

With 3 minutes left in the rotation, Ashanee Dickerson misses her release and belly flops. Gets up and finishes the rest of her routine. Other than that, Florida looked really strong on bars–as expected. The next rotation (beam) will be telling.

Rotation 4

Rachel Spicer starts the beam rotation. Has her elbow wrapped.

As Spanny said, Bridget Sloan is like butter on the beam. Her tumbling is so smooth and confident. A few wobbles from time to time.

Ashanee Dickerson missed a one-handed BHS LOSO, but she gets up and nails it during her second time up. She lands her leap series rather flat footed.

Kytra Hunter is a little wobbly on her punch front onto the beam. She does NOT look happy about it. Next time up, she nails her mount cold. A little wobble on her BHS LOSO. Again, NOT happy. Kytra clearly came here to win.

Britney Ranzy of LSU just seems so light on the bars. Her bail to handstand floats in the air, and her toe on to handstand just kinds of pops up into the air.

Jessie Jordan does a lovely straddle Jaeger but biffs her toe shoot to high bar, ending in a belly flop.

Emily Wong is nailing her handstands on bars. Again, she looks like she is looking ready to compete.

Marissa King drills her layout to two feet on beam, but has a wobble on full turn. During her next turn, she sticks her double full. She also warmed up her laid out kickover. She looked a little surprised–like the ground sneaked up on her.

With 3 minutes left to go, Minnesota and Illinois are stretching. LSU and Florida are still training on bars and beam, respectively.

Training Session 2

Rotation 1

Georgia will be starting on vault. Alabama will be starting on bars. Stanford will be starting on floor. And Utah will be starting on beam.

Fashion Alert Alabama is wearing pastel pink t-shirts for warmups. New school color? I wonder how the football team would feel about that…

Greg Marsden is not in sight as the second training session starts.

Hey! There’s Kristen Maloney! She’s trying to work Shealy into Georgia’s vault rotation.

Ashley Sledge is the first gymnast to really hit a routine for Alabama. Becca Alexin is next on bars. She’s a little short on several handstands. Also a little over on her half pirouette on the low bar, and the same with her giant full on the high bar into her double tuck. The first 3/4 of her giant full is on top of the bar, but as she shifts her weight to her second hand, she moves past vertical.

Alabama is going to need to perform better if they hope to win the meet.

Brandie Jay and Ashanee Dickerson of Florida have similar Yurchenko technique. Straddled onto the vault and kick their legs together to generate twist.

Stanford has not really shown much tumbling. Dance throughs for Nicole Dayton, Taylor Rice, Ivana Hong, Sami Shapiro, Ashley Morgan, and Kristina Vaculik. Looks like Stanford is not concerned with the bounciness of the floor on podium.

Rotation 2

Fashion Note: Alabama’s leotardsThe front has a light pink A. The back is hot pink and black checker pattern in the form of an X. It’s definitely a mullet leotard–business in the front and party in the back.

Lauren Beers of Alabama lands her punch front really low and is off.

Sarah DeMeo has a few problems during her first turn on beam. Wobbles on her aerial front walkover and doesn’t square her hips before her dismount timer. That’s something to watch in the next few days. Her double pike has a tendency to rotate sideways because of her sometimes crooked roundoff technique.

Kim Jacob nails the heck out of her BHS LOSO LOSO series. No movement whatsoever.

Christa Tanella‘s Higgins turn on bars is looking divine as always. Just needs to hit the last handstand before her dismount.

Sarah DeMeo‘s first double pike looked square. Glad to see the improvement!

With 10 minutes to go, Stanford is done on vault. Just a few standing layouts/fulls off the vault.

Lauren Beers falls on her two-foot layout. Gets up and does it again. Nails it the second time around.

At first, it seemed like Kayla Williams was having a terrible, no good, very bad day during beam. First time, fell on her BHS LOSO. Then, she fell on her punch front. Later on, she hit both skills. Must feel like a relief!

Georgia is handing its bar rotation with a complex of kip cast handstands. Both Shayla Worley‘s and Christa Tanella‘s were on top of the bar.

Brittany Rogers is having a few problems today. Her steps were off during vault warmups. Now, she caught her Ricna a little close to the bar. Then, she almost missed the high bar on her shoot, and as she was going for her dismount, she banged her foot on the low bar. Ouchies!

LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem came on, and Christa Tanella is dancing up a storm. WERK, GIRL! WERK! Of all the competitors, she looks the most relaxed.

Kayla Williams is back on beam with one minute remaining. She fell on her punch front. She doesn’t look happy. She does another one. Her feet are turned in on her landing, but she saves it. The same with her BHS LOSO. And yet another punch front from Williams with a step on the landing. She looks nervous.

Rotation 3

Ashley Priess’s whistles during her floor music are deafening. Sarah Persinger of Georgia is on beam doesn’t seem fazed.

Noel Couch does a BHS stepout BHS RIGHT next to Brittany Rogers on the landing mats. I thought there was going to be a collision. Brittany did not blink.

Like Mackenzie Caquatto, Ivana Hong and Sami Shapiro have gorgeous lines on bars. Their toe point is phenomenal. We shall see if Sami can place second on bars like she did last year.

Alabama is throwing some big tumbling passes on floor, but all of them–Lora Frost on her double layout, Lauren Beers on her double layout, and Kim Jacob on her full-twisting double pike–are landing with their chests a little low.

Stanford is performing full bar routines. Seriously, Kristina Vaculik‘s Gienger needs its own Twitter handle. It’s that good. Unfortunately, from my vantage point, I cannot see bar dismounts to see if Stanford is sticking them. Looks like Sami Shapiro just did one–piked it down and landed short.

Danna Durante is talking to Brittany Rogers, trying to calm her down. She retreats to the end of the podium and visualizes her routine with the chalk.

Lora Frost just did a double layout with a spot. Much improved–chest up much higher.

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” just came on. I thought I’d see more enthusiasm from the ‘Bama girls, but they are rather subdued.

Sami Shapiro does another double layout, which she pikes down and takes a step. Looks like the timing is just slightly off. Releasing a little too soon. Ivana Hong does the same thing.… Alex Archer is the last gymnast warming up. She sticks her double layout, and Stanford lets out a cheer. It seems that Stanford knows that they need to stick if they are going to advance to the Super Six.

Rotation 4

We’re only 3 minutes into this rotation, but Stanford is looking sharp on beam. Shona Morgan, Ivana Hong, and Kristina Vaculik have nailed their BHS LOSO. The sticking streak ends when Taylor Rice comes off on her acro series.

So far, Alabama looks good on vault. Arms are straight and extended coming onto the table during their timers. Only Lauren Beers was a little crunchy/headspringy coming onto the table.

Nansy Damianova of Utah is lovely on bars, but her handstands are always a smidge short. A little form on the full-twisting double back. No Grips Dabritz, on the other hand, was hitting her handstands. I have no clue how she swings bars without grips. All in all, Utah is looking a lot stronger on bars. Much improved during the season.

Now that Alabama is throwing their competition vaults, minor technical errors are showing up. A few of the girls are twisting while their hands are still on the table. Lauren Beers just did a vault, and she did a better job of separating the block from the twist. It doesn’t look like Alabama is trying to stick their vaults today.

Amanda Spinner of Stanford is ON today. NO movement on her BHS LOSO. A little cover-up on her gainer LOSO. She’s probably hoping to make it to finals on beam again. Kristina Vaculik‘s Rulfova looked quite square. Sometimes she is slightly off, but not today!

Kayla Williams is the last gymnast vaulting for Alabama. Nice, vertical block. She could easily stick that in a meet.

Georgia is ending its floor rotation by doing abs. Badass.

WERK, KRISTEN MALONEY! WERK! Wiz Khalifa’s “Work Hard, Play Hard” came on, and she just started krumping or something.

Becky Wing of Stanford is doing beam. I don’t think that she will bein Stanford’s lineup, but she’s warming it up just in case. Her beat jump to double-stag ring was lovely. Her head was back, and her hips were nice and open.

Session 3

Rotation 1

UCLA’s Peng Peng Lee and Vanessa Zamarripa are having a dance off to B.O.B’s “Magic.” Meanwhile, Oklahoma is doing hollow body rocks in synch. Oh, and Miss Val just did a few go-go dance moves to LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem.

Warmup Fashion Statement: Danusia Francis and Monique de la Torre are wearing baby blue leg warmers. (It is cold in the Pavilion today.)

UCLA will start on beam. Arkansas will start on vault. Michigan will start on bars. And Oklahoma will start on floor.

Haley Scaman on floor: Her double layout makes me smile. Chest up. Legs glued together. Couldn’t ask for more.

Early in the beam training session, UCLA is getting out their nerves. Sydney Sawa has little balance checks on her leaps. Kaelie Baer breaks on her side somi.

Shelby Gies of Michigan has a little arch during her giant full and then sits down her double tuck. I think she could have saved it; it was her first full turn.

UCLA clears off the podium, and the girls do full beam routines with 12 minutes remaining. Lichelle Wong is a little slow on her aerial walkover to BHS connection. Small hop on her back 1.5. Vanessa Zamarripa almost comes off on her Onodi. Pulls a Leyva and bails on her leap pass and laughs. Danusia Francis practices EVERYTHING in training. All those smiles at the judges are present. Small hop on her BHS LOSO to full dismount.

Right now, Michigan is kind of a mixed bag on bars. Brittnee Martinez of Michigan does her giant full right on top of the bar. A little of bent knees going into the Tkatchev. Sachi Sugiyama had her legs glued together on her Gienger, but has a few problems on her Pak salto. Natalie Beilstein misses her Gienger. Katie Zurales has to streeeeeeeeetch it out to catch her Deltchev. As Tim Daggett would say, “finger-tip control.” Then, she’s over on a cast handstand.…

Natalie Beilstein catches her next Gienger, and legit sticks her full-twisting double tuck. Nice! Next turn, Zurales‘s Deltchev looks much better, but she’s over on her bail to handstand. The next gymnast (cannot see who it is) tries to finish her giant full in handstand, but she’s over. Sugiyama does two more Pak saltos–both are much better.

Vanessa Zamarripa is back up on the beam and hits her Onodi. Her BHS LOSO is spot on. Randy Lane is yelling, “Spectacular! Oh my gawd!”

The UCLA trainers are BUSY between rotations! Gotta tape up Danusia Francis, Vanessa Zamarripa, and Olivia Courtney.


Rotation 2

Oklahoma does an interesting vault warmup. The coaches hold an 8-inch about a foot above the table and the girls do a timer onto their feet, and as the gymnast’s body falls to the ground, the coaches let go of the mat.

Michigan is having minor problems on beam. Brittnee Martinez is looking slightly off on beam. Wobble on her aerial cartwheel and takes a big step off to the side on her 1.5 dismount. Joanna Sampson does a lovely aerial cartwheel to a Sissone. Katie Zurales is struggling to throw her aerial carthweel to BHS. Finally does it and nails it. Briley Casanova is a little slow to connect her punch front to beat. The punch front was spot on, though.

Katherine Grable did a spectacular piked Jaeger, but was short on her handstand on her shootover. Missed her handstand on her blind change to her double front. Nearly sticks her double front. I bet that she hits it in competition.

I’m loving the number of double pikes we’re going to see off beam. Annette Miele‘s was nice and high. Pulled a little too hard and had to take a few steps back.

Danusia Francis is warming up floor–complete with all her smiles. Almost sits down her front tumbling pass. Finishes with a smile, though.

The injury is not inhibiting Vanessa Zamarripa‘s tumbling. With both ankles taped, Vanessa just did her Rudi to LOSO without problem.

Rotation 3

We’re seeing some big gymnastics this rotation. Brie Olson just warmed up her full-twisting double layout off bars. Joanna Sampson‘s double pike on floor might be the biggest one I’ve seen all day. Chest nice and high.

Oklahoma is looking strong on bars. Their mistakes, for the most part, have been rather minor. Rebecca Clark, for instance, missed a handstand and was a little archy on her toe-full. Erica Brewer also had a fantastic routine with one handstand that was just a smidge short. Brie Olson tried to be too perfect on her straddle back to handstand and had to come off. That’s been their biggest mistake so far. Oh, and during next turn, she HIT her straddle back to handstand! Then, she tried to be too perfect on her handstand on high bar and went over. And again! Oh noes!

But the Oklahoma girls are really going for the stick. We’ve seen a couple so far. Keeley Kmieciak has been a STICKING machine on her full-twisting double tucks.

Reema Zakharia just stuck her running punch double front on floor.

Rotation 4

Danusia Francis starts UCLA off on bars, and our Twitter follower Madison Mooring starts off Oklahoma on beam.

A skill to watch: Lauren Alexander‘s scale on beam. It’s so unusual in NCAA and so pretty.

Right now, Oklahoma is looking like they are ready to challenge on beam. Rebecca Clark just did a lovely, continuous aerial front walkover to Korbut, and Taylor Spears just did an Onodi to a Korbut (backhandspring swing down). KJ Kindler is fun to watch. She’s so in the zone. She’s sticking the landings with her girl, bending her knees as Rebecca Clark lands.

Vanessa Zamarripa is the epitome of control on bars. Her bail to handstand makes me want to yell, “Whee!” because it just kind of floats down to the low bar. The UCLA girls are back to cheering. Danusia Francis just stuck a double pike, and they let out a little cheer. Sophina DeJesus also stuck her full-twisting double tuck. If I saw correctly, Olivia Courtney unfortunately broke the sticking streak.

If the title comes down to a battle between Oklahoma and Florida, as some think, this could come down to a battle of sticking double tucks on beam. Right now, Keeley Kmieciak has thrown one and over-rotated it. Erica Brewer has done two. A little shaking in the legs on the first one, but the second one was better with a little step.

Brie Olson hits her roundoff layout with 2 minutes left. Almost sticks her dismount–aerial to full off.

Monique de la Torre has a little form on her hop full and way past vertical, but she nails her double layout dismount. UCLA cheers again. Actually, strike that, it’s not UCLA cheering. It’s just Randy Lane. He’s definitely the team cheerleader.

2 seconds left, and Brie Olson is taking her last turns on beam–wants to make sure those hips are square coming out of her roundoff going into her two-foot layout.

And thus concludeth podium training. Arkansas has quite the gathering of fans. They end training with a “Go hogs!”

Related Links:
Episode 29: Vanessa Zamarripa and Danusia Francis
9 Quotes from Today’s NCAA Press Conference
Episode 23: Lloimincia Hall
Episode 18: Bridget Sloan
Episode 12: Miss Val-Part 2
Episode 11: Miss Val-Part 1
Episode 10: Greg Marsden


Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Other episodes

Join the club!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x