Welcome back to Fort Worth! Last session was a rollercoaster of a meet, for sure – I’m a little exhausted, to be honest. But even though Florida isn’t competing again until tomorrow, we wanted to bring you coverage of the second session as well to give a good picture of what Florida is up against tomorrow.
This session will feature the qualifiers from the Tuscaloosa and Salt Lake City regionals, so Oklahoma and Alabama, and Utah and LSU, respectively. Of these teams, the only one that has never won a national team title is LSU, though it’s been some time since the Utes or the Tide have done it.
The Sooners are the reigning champions, but have shown weak spots this season on beam and floor. They even lost the Big 12 Championship for the first time since Nebraska left the conference in 2011. Alabama has had itself a quietly successful season, putting the pieces together in time to steal the SEC title out from under Florida and LSU but definitely having struggles early on in the year. The Tigers have had an up and down season, but could have what it takes if they can put all the pieces together like they did against Florida earlier this year. And the Utes, like Michigan, seem to be peaking at the right time, putting together their best complete meet at regionals just two weeks ago.
Like the first semi, it’s really anybody’s game. Strap in for another bumpy ride – it’s gonna be a close one!
6:06pm: Here we gooooo
Gaskins, Bama VT: FTY, shuffle on the landing.
Trautman, OU UB: Looked clean, stuck her dismount!
Burch, Utah BB: Steady through her series. Stuck her gainer full!
Desiderio, LSU FX: DLO, one of her good ones! Combo pass is good. Dance series solid. Double tuck to finish, good landing there as well. A solid start for the Tigers!
6:08pm: Waligora, VT: Y1.5, little hop forward but pretty dang clean!
LeVasseur, UB: Maloney to bail, some flexed feet but otherwise fine. Good handstand work. DLO, slide back and piked down a little.
Olsen, VT: DTY! Huge difficulty there, we’ll see another later on as well. One of her better ones in terms of form, some crunching at the end and a slide back.
6:10pm: Draper, UB: Lovely handstands, piked Jaeger is solid. Pak is really wide-legged, oof. Last handstand good. Double front stuck!
Graber, VT: Y1.5, little step forward. A great one for her as well!
Isa, BB: Candle mount, love it. Bhs loso loso, a little knees but stays steady. Little correction on dance series. Stuck gainer full!
Webb, UB: Lovely floaty pak, Van leeuwen is solid. Double front half out, stuck! She cowboys it way more than I thought though, slow mo is very revealing.
6:14pm: Blanco, VT: Y1.5, a little short and has to step back pretty far to steady herself.
Paulson, BB: Side aerial loso, gorgeous. Switch to split, nice. Cat leap side aerial back full is STUCK COLD, wow. Utah bringing it on beam.
6:16pm: Dennis, UCLA individual VT: She pulls out a DTY???? YES NIA! She is done for the night, but what a way to go out. Wearing her BLM leo, rotating with her bestie Makarri Doggette, pulling out a skill she hasn’t competed in years. Good for her. ICYMI, she and her fellow Black teammates at UCLA were featured on the virtual cover of Essence Girls United magazine, very cool interview everyone should check out.
Oooh, Ragan Smith had a nasty fall on bars, hope she’s okay.
Randall, BB: Leap series very nice. Rulfova (full-twisting bhs swingdown), pretty clean. Step forward on the dismount.
Bryant, FX: Double front, sizeable lunge out. Front lay to Rudi, gorgeous. Front double full, another big step forward but I’d rather her overdo it than underdo it.
Davis, UB: WOW what a high release. Pak is gorgeous. Great pirouette there. Double front, step forward.
6:21pm: O’Keefe, BB: This routine is just GOLD. Watch this. Side aerial loso, dead on. Switch to split leap, lovely. Little bobble in the middle of her choreo, that’s odd, bummer. Cat leap to side aerial back full, sticks it. What a queen. Hopefully they qualify and she’ll have another chance at perfection.
Johnson, FX: Full in is fab, a little slide into the lunge but stays in bounds. 1.5 to front lay, really shows off the control as she steps out of that. Lovely extension and toe point despite all the tape on the ankles. Double pike, absolutely nails it. That’ll be a huge score.
6:25pm: Campbell, UCLA individual FX: Love how much LSU has embraced her this weekend. This is what this sport is all about. Here she goes. Front double full, super well controlled. Really going full out on the dance, get it! Dance series is excellent. She is SERVING this routine, I’m obsessed. Two foot stick on the double tuck!!!?? I am living for this right now. Front lay front full, fist in the air to finish. Obsessed. Easily the highlight of the day for me aside from the Gators qualifying.
AFTER ONE: LSU 49.5, OU 49.4, BAMA 49.2875, UTAH 49.25
Main broadcast didn’t show it, but Ark all-around individual Kennedy Hambrick just slayed her bar routine too.
Chae Campbell just had a nasty landing and fell in one-touch warmups on vault, and was helped off the floor. Hopefully she’ll be okay to continue.
6:36pm: Durante, VT: FTY, little shuffle.
Trautman, BB: What a solid leadoff performance, sticks her dismount like nobody’s business.
Shchennikova, VT: Y1.5, overcooked it a little so stepped forward quite a bit, but the leg form was clean this week it looked like.
Davis, BB: Lovely scale mount, showcasing that flexibility. Bhs loso, very steady. Leap series, wow. Punch Rudi dismount, hung onto that stick! Nice!
Arenas, VT: FTY, great amplitude! Little shuffle on the landing.
6:41pm: Edwards, VT: Y1.5, little hop forward. That’ll be the last routine of her career – don’t mind me, just crying over here.
Machado, UB: Maloney to pak, some leg sep in both. Low bar handstand work good. Van Leeuwen also had some leg sep. Off on that full pirouette but somehow got it around and stuck her double tuck?? That’s fight.
Johnson, VT: Here comes another DTY! The best one of the night easily, just a little hop in place. Spectacular.
Bryant, VT: FHS pike half STUCK COLD YES MA’AM! LSU peaking at the right time, holy cow.
6:46pm: Rucker, Utah FX: The first we’ve seen of them this rotation. First pass very nice, gorgeous height. Closed it out strong!
Campbell, UCLA individual VT: She’s okay! She’s going to go! Just an FTY, hop in place, but her whole bevy of coaches is surrounding her afterward to talk about something – maybe if she’s going to keep going.
6:48pm: Smith, BB: Series is solid. Front aerial, straight on. Straddle half straight to Korbut, she’s so quick! Wow! Great to see her recover after her bars mishap. Bhs gainer full stuck!
Doggette hits bars for Bama!
O’Keefe, FX: Front lay front full, gorgeous. I love this choreo, she is showing it off so well. 1.5 to front lay, great control. Great musicality through that whole middle section though.
Blanco, UB: Transitions good, had to adjust mid air but makes it work. Full in is stuck!
6:51pm: Webb, BB: She has some really lovely lines here. Bhs loso takes the full length of the beam, super steady. Switch switch, I don’t think she hits 180 on the second but Kathy disagrees with me.
Frazier, UCLA individual UB: Maloney to pak, gorgeous. Van leeuwen is great. Went a little aggressive on that handstand but got it back. DLO stuck!
Soloski, FX: DLO just gorgeous. Nice and precise in her dance series. Front lay front full, nice control. 1.5 to front lay to finish. A great anchor performance!
Hambrick, Ark individual BB: Series is gorgeous. Switch switch half, lovely. Beat Straddle 3/4, that’s the best one I’ve seen from anyone this season. Full turn, super sharp. Cartwheel gainer full STUCK! Well done.
6:55pm: Shepard, NCSU individual FX: Kathy calling a spade a spade and saying how unfair it was NCSU got put in the play in! Thank you! Double pike, super high, great control. Dance series is lovely, good extension. Front lay front full, might have been a little short but covered well. She’s so sharp in all her choreo, I love it. Double tuck, great amplitude again. Love seeing her get the nod here!
AFTER TWO: LSU 99.0125, OU 98.925, UTAH 98.85, BAMA 98.6
7:06PM: Johnson, LSU UB: Sticks her dismount, and her releases were solid too. Such a great leadoff.
Klopfer, Bama BB: Series is very nice. Sticks her dismount!
Draper, OU, FX: Double pike to open, solid. Combo pass is well controlled into the corner. Dance series is good, second element higher than the first. Front lay to Rudi to finish, nice!
Brock, UB: Tkachev is good. Handstand a little short, bail fine. Good last handstand. Full out is stuck!! Good for her.
Isa, Utah, VT: FTY, great in the air! Looked like a small adjustment but might have been stuck?
7:09pm: Dunne, UB: Good first handstand. Tkachev to pak is nice, one of her better paks. DLO is maybe her best all season? This team is peaking at the right time!
Gaskins, BB: Apparently some scoring wait for Olsen before her. Go time. Candle mount, a little trouble with it but figures it out. Side aerial split jump, lovely extension. Bhs loso, floaty but some knees.
Rucker, VT: Y1.5, little step back, underrotated.
LaPinta, FX: Triple twist, one of her better ones. Ribbons are in her face, oooops. Front full front lay, good control out of it. Double tuck to finish, has to pull it around but gets it fine.
Burch, VT: Y1.5, another underrotation but covered well, just a small step back.
7:14pm: Shchennikova, UB: Tkachev to pak, one of her better ones, legs glued together. Last handstand solid. DLO, still whippy but sticks it!
Dagen, Oregon St individual VT: Y1.5, little stutter step back. Lovely in the air though, great amplitude.
Durante, UB: Gorgeous first handstands. Jaeger, a little crooked but good amplitude. Pak, misses her hand, oooooh that hurts. Gets back up, full in is stuck. Jay Clark gives her a hug, she’ll recover.
7:18pm: Graber, BB: Bhs layout 2ft, and she’s off! Oh boy. Gets back up. A wobble on the dance series. Front aerial to scale is goooorgeous. Sticks her gainer full.
Webb, FX: Gorgeous so far. 1.5 to front full, lovely form. Back leg was short of 180 on both of those split, ooh. Rudi to straight jump to finish, another great one for the Sooners.
Blanco, BB: Bhs loso loso, super steady. Scale, shows off the flexibility there, very nice. Switch to beat, good connection and extension. Roundoff double full, bounce in place.
7:23pm: Trautman, FX: Love seeing her back in the lineup. DLO, very good control there. Straddle positions are good but the third, the split, looked short. Front lay front full to split jump, lovely. Plays up the choreo but the routine still feels empty to me at the end…
Hambrick, Ark individual FX: Huge double back to open, Great form in the air, good control. Rudi to back layout to double stag, good control there too. Dance series is good. Double pike to finish, great there too! That should be a great score.
AFTER THREE: OU 148.5625, LSU 148.3875, UTAH 148.0875, BAMA 147.9875
This is a phenomenon we need to talk about, not just in terms of nationals, but regionals and conference championships as well. Judges keep leaving themselves “room to grow” and end up throwing bigger scores in the later sessions, almost every single time. There’s no reason to do that – if a routine is stellar in the afternoon, throw the big score. If it’s rough in the night session, deduct it just as harshly as you did earlier routines.
7:36pm: Desiderio, LSU BB: Series was solid, nice. Front aerial, steady. Cat leap into the gainer full, stuck! A great start.
Stern, OU VT: Davis led with a full, 9.8875. Y1.5 for Stern, little hop to the side.
Sabado, Utah UB: Jaeger was lovely. Bail, solid. DLO stuck! Good for them, still fighting through this.
Bryant, BB: Front aerial to bhs, hate that series but she does okay with it. Switch to straddle 1/4, flexed feet but good 180s. Punch front, very nice. Split to beat, good extension there. Full turn well controlled. Punch Rudi dismount stuck!
Olsen, FX: Just the pike full-in today, probably for the best considering the Silivas hasn’t been great this season. Some feet in the dance series but hits her positions. Punch front to double tuck, cowboys it but pulls it around.
Webb, VT: Y1.5 STUCK! That’s huge. Slow mo shows some leg sep and knees soft toward the end.
7:41pm: Schoepfer, VT: Tucked Y1.5, big hop forward. Just overcooked it.
James, FX: Front lay to Rudi, a little bouncy. Dance series is solid. Double tuck to finish, good amplitude, good fight for the control.
Dean, BB: Side aerial bhs, very nice. Switch to split, second is definitely short of 180. Sticks her dismount!
Trautman, VT: Y1.5, goes big! But a bounce back.
O’Keefe, UB: Releases just floaty throughout, wow. Double arabian dismount stuck and she’s SCREAMING, so stoked for her.
7:47pm: Hambrick, Ark individual VT: Y1.5, crazy good amplitude, step forward.
Isa, UB: Ray is solid. Bail, straight on. Great pirouette, double lay just a scoot back.
Johnson, BB: Acro series super solid. Switch to switch half, patient with it. Front toss, lands so upright, love that. Roundoff double full, little slide.
Blanco, FX: Double pike to open, solid. Dance series lovely. Double tuck is suuuper high, wow. Combo pass to finish, great control into the arabesque. Another hit for Bama, who keeps on plugging.
7:51pm: Campbell, BB: Series is good, little check. Full turn, little check there too. Front aerial to sissone, some weirdness there too. Switch to switch half, fine there. Roundoff double full, little slide. Just little things here and there… could be the difference between qualifying and not. Crazy how close this is.
Graber, FX: Really giving it everything here, though some tiredness showing maybe toward the end. Front through to double pike to finish, good amplitude and control. And she comes off the floor, she’s crying, hugging her fellow senior Alonza Klopfer and coach Dana Duckworth.
FINAL: OU 198.0875, UTAH 197.6, BAMA 197.575, LSU 197.5625
Both teams that don’t qualify were less than HALF A TENTH from qualifying. Hot damn.
Oklahoma and Utah will advance! Awards presentation will be first, probably, and then press.
Award winners appear to be Webb for AA at 39.7875, Webb and Bryant for VT at 9.975, O’Keefe and Cal’s Bordas at 995 for UB, Blanco for BB at 9.9625, and Webb, Graber, and O’Keefe for FX at 9.9625.
Again, all but one of these are from the night session. Problematic.
But regardless, our qualifiers are Michigan, Florida, Oklahoma, and Utah, so let’s meet back here tomorrow, 3:30pm ET on ABC, for finals! See you then, and follow me on Twitter for live updates from the press conference!