The real SEC title that matters will be determined here, with LSU unquestionably the strongest contender. The Tigers have continually had the edge on an inconsistent Florida and a haphazard Alabama in 2018, but don’t make the mistake of assuming it’ll be an easy win based on RQS differential. The potential of both those teams is immense; it’s just a question of putting everything together when it counts. Kentucky has been one of the most consistent teams in the country this year; if things go well for the other three it might not have the scoring ceiling to contend, but don’t lose sight of the Wildcats if other teams start making mistakes.
The scores to beat from Session 1 are:
Team: #1 Arkansas 196.425, #2 Georgia 196.35, #3 Misssouri 196.1.
AA: #1 Sydney Snead 39.425, #2 Amanda Wellick 39.25, #3 Rachel Dickson 39.225
Vault: #1 Drew Watson, Gracie Day 9.925, #3 Sydney Snead 9.90
Bars: #1 Amanda Wellick, Braie Speed, Hailey Garner, Samantha Cerio, Sydney Snead, Rachel Dickson 9.85
Beam: #1 Hailey Garner 9.925, #2 Britney Ward 9.90, #3 Brooke Kelly, Sydney Snead, Vivi Babalis
Floor: #1 Sophia Carter 9.875, #2 Aspen Tucker, Sarah Shaffer 9.85
Took me a hot second to find the right stream – it looks like softball is still ongoing on ESPN2 so the commentary feed isn’t going up there until later. But the all around feed is pretty sick.
ROTATION 1: LSU VAULT, UF BARS, BAMA BEAM, UK FLOOR
HERE WE GO!
— Kentucky Gymnastics (@UKGymnastics) March 24, 2018
FINNEGAN – LSU: FTY with a hop.
BOREN – UF: Ooh I love this leo, many ombre and no orange. Clear hip to bail, double layout and a stick.
ARMBRECHT – BAMA: Beat to split is good, step on dismount – didn’t catch what it was. I’ve been spoiled by Pac-12 alternating. Don’t worry, I’ll get it together soon.
EDWARDS – LSU: 3/2 with a big pace forward.
DESCH – BAMA: Check on kickover front. Flic loso with a leg up check, another one on I think a side somi – not her day. Fourth check on I don’t even know what, falls this time.
WARREN – UK: Good 2.5 twist. Really fun dramatic music, good Rudi-LOSO. Didn’t catch the last pass.
SKAGGS – UF: Toe to Tkachev to Pak is great, DLO with leg sep and a hop forward.
HARROLD – LSU: 3/2, twisting onto the table, one foot a little behind her and sits it.
CANNAMELA – LSU: FTY I think stuck?!
HUNDLEY – UF: Maloney to Pak, good van Leeuwen, half in half out stuck.
HAMBRICK – LSU: 3/2 with two little steps forward.
ERNST – BAMA: Pretty mount choreo, secure on flic loso. Nice switch split, good front aerial.
GOWEY – UF: Great Ray, toe to Pak is just beautiful, double layout stuck with maybe a tiny foot shuffle. The Gators mean business here.
RECHENMACHER – UK: Great leap series, lovely attitude turn. A random five seconds of Beatles there, great double pike.
EDNEY – LSU: A little crunched in the air on 3/2, hits the ground hard but makes it work with a step forward.
FOBERG – UF: Over on first handstand, saves it, low on one on HB. Not great amplitude on the Maloney-Gienger series, foot shuffle on dismount.
HYLAND – UK: Rebound back on double pike, I love her choreo though, tour jete 1/2 wolf 3/2?? I think.
MCMURTRY – UF: Good bail to toe shoot, missed the release unfortunately, full in dismount and pulls her heels together.
GRABER – BAMA: Pretty full turn, flic loso is good, Liukin a bit slow but works through it. Double twist with legs a bit messy but a solid landing.
WINSTON – BAMA:
Important news, Dana is wearing an olive green off-shoulder romper. Split straddle 1/2 is the best thing ever, front aerial bhs so pretty. Double stag handstand choreo, yes good, full turn, STUCK DOUBLE BACK.
DUKES – UK: Double pike, a little bounce into the lunge. Switch ring switch 1/2, 3/2 front layout is beautiful, hello illusion turn. Double back cowboyed but good landing.
KORTH – UK: Missed the first pass obsessing over Kiana, Rudi LOSO is lovely. Double pike comes in a little deep, but makes it work.
GUERRERO – BAMA: Triple series right to the end of the beam, landed perfectly. Switch to straddle, full turn is great, beautiful side aerial. Stick on 3/2.
ALABAMA 49.45, FLORIDA 49.4, LSU 49.4, UK 49.275
Oh, that whole rotation was SO BAMA. Equal parts nervy and terrifying, nuclear meltdown, and absolute inarguable perfection. 9.95 was as high as it’s fair to expect them to go in rotation 5, but I would have taken a ten for either Winston or Guerrero there.
Three event #1s have changed hands – McMurtry leads bars, Winston and Guerrero lead beam, and Dukes floor. The Watson-Day T-1 on bars from Session 1 stands, with Kentucky heading there next – Korth has a shot at that.
ROTATION 2: UK VAULT, LSU BARS, UF BEAM, LSU FLOOR
DUKES – UK: DEAD stick on Y arabian.
DURANTE – LSU: High Jaeger, good Pak. Bit of an arch in a half turn on LB, full out dismount stuck.
HUNDLEY – UF: Front aerial sissone to the clap thing that I just love so much. Great flic loso, switch side in combo is great. Nice full turn, stick on 3/2 dismount, pops up onto her toes to hold it.
KWAN – UK: Stick on Y full. Hi, I didn’t know you could do that.
HAMBRICK – LSU: Ray, catches a tad close. Good bail to toe shoot, full in dismount stuck. These dismounts are rocking today.
SKAGGS – UF: Side split mount, nice double wolf. Switch split beautiful, missed some stuff in the middle, side aerial back full with a hop in place.
DAVIS – UK: FTY, a little crunchy with a hop back.
GUERRA – BAMA: Double back, may have shuffled her front foot. Switch side Popa is great, beautiful 3/2 front lay – she can be so airy
HARROLD – LSU: Zuchold is a little wonky but not bad, nice Jaeger. Cast over double front with a step forward.
BOREN – UF: Nailed the gainer kickover, beautiful flic loso. Switch straddle is beautiful, gainer full stuck-ish. Good one!
EDNEY – LSU: Hindorff with a bit of feet, okay bail. Double layout, stuck! Bars landings are rocking today.
DESCH – BAMA: Lands deep on double back.
HYLAND – UK: FTY, twisting onto the table a bit but stuck.
Missed Korth, unfortunately 🙁
PRIESSMAN – LSU: Tkachev to Pak, little leg flutter. Good hadnstand on HB, double layout with a bounce on her toes. Good one!
GOWEY – UF: Great switch to split, flic loso is there but just doesn’t quite trust it and adjusts slightly. Front aerial to sissone is great, missed the dismount.
GRABER – BAMA: Full in with slightly messy legs but landed well. Front lay front full is beautiful.
FINNEGAN – LSU: A little short on first handstand I think? Good Ray, squiffy on bail. Double layout with a little hop back. Not quite her best, just some direction and rhythm things, but I’m not sure how much is really deductible.
BAUMANN – UF: Flic loso is stunning, switch split good, good front aerial, pretty on full turn. 3/2 absolutely dead stick.
WINSTON – BAMA: I always get a kick out of the random Taylor Swift in here. Good double pike,tour jete 1/2 Popa a bit underrotated, front lay front full is solid, double back is the most decisive landing of the three.
MCMURTRY – UF: Nailed cat leap kickover, flic loso nice and steady. Switch side to Yurchenko loop beautiful as always, double full with a little hop.
GUERRERO – BAMA: Good double pike, this routine is so much fun. Great leap series. Rudi a little low, big lunge out.
FLORIDA 98.95, LSU 98.8, ALABAMA 98.725, KENTUCKY 98.575
Well well well, we have a meet. LSU has just been slightly off the mark and Florida apparently remembered how to Florida. Floor could be the decider for the Gators… Also really interested to see if Bama can hold as close as they are on vault.
Time to bow down to Alyssa Baumann because we're not worthy.
Also shoutout to these bars judges for being ON POINT with LSU, finally.
— Lauren Hopkins (@LaurenHopkins96) March 24, 2018
This is basically my feelings about this.
ROTATION 3: ALABAMA VAULT, UK BARS, LSU BEAM, UF FLOOR
ARMBRECHT – BAMA: Full with a hop forward, great direction.
MACADAEG – LSU: Switch switch 1/2 beat with two little checks. Pretty acro series, hop out of gainer full dismount.
HUNDLEY – UF: This is up there with my favorite floors of the season. Front thru double back, step out…. might have been OOB? Really hard to see.
MAHONEY – BAMA: Rebound up out of FTY, but she’s alive.
SKAGGS – UF: Under on double back, stumbles forward. Crashes double pike, ouch.
GUERRA – BAMA: 1/2 on tuck 1/2 off with a stick-ish.
HAMBRICK – LSU: Y turn is good, hitch kick side aerial solid, switch straddle 1/4 good.
DESCH – BAMA: FTY, really nicely controlled, has to hop back in the end.
EDNEY – LSU: Midsize check on aerial. Flic loso is nice, switch straddle 1/4 good. Nice open kickover, stuck on 3/2 dismount.
So we’re just trading mistakes at this point.
GRABER – BAMA: 3/2 with a big lunge forward.
MCMURTRY – UF: Step forward out of triple, a tad underrotated. Nice on front pass, runs back out of double back and sits it.
Florida was in such a good position and just threw it away.
DESIDERIO – LSU: Front aerial sissone, a bit short of split, Good flic loso, I assume a stick on dismount because they gave her the crown but didn’t see it.
GUERRERO – BAMA: Tiny hop forward on 3/2, good one.
KORTH – UK: Just caught her land the FTDLO with a hop. So pretty!
CAMPBELL – LSU: front aerial – bhs really good. Nice full turn, back tuck to split is great. Switch switch 1/2 a bit short of splits, underrotated on 2/1 dismount with a big step forward.
SLOCUM – UF: Step forward on DLO. Front full front pike is good, Rudi to jump solid. Not the best landings, but at this point it sort of feels like it doesn’t matter.
FINNEGAN – LSU: Good on wolf turn, nice flic loso. Switch switch 1/2 stellar as usual, great side somi. Side aerial back full, stuck.
BOREN – UF: Double layout big with a step back. 3/2 front lay is great, switch 1/2 wolf 1/1.
BAUMANN – UF: 3/2 front 1/1 with a jump forward, switch 1/2 to Popa is stunning. Double pike with a little scoot back.
LSU 148.1, ALABAMA 148.025, KENTUCKY 147.675, UF 147.35
Florida sort of stopped trying after Alex went down – landings just a little sloppy for everyone. Floor has been bouncy all day, I think if anyone can deal with that it’s LSU… but Bama is holding far closer than anyone guessed.
Actually, I’m seriously not sure how Bama is doing that. Where did this day come from? It’s magic. Helped by a fairly lukewarm day from LSU, of course, but still.
ROTATION 4: UF VAULT, ALABAMA BARS, UK BEAM, LSU FLOOR
HUNDLEY – UF: Twisting onto the table and a bit of body position, but a stick.
GUERRA – BAMA: Stick on double layout dismount.
KIRBY – LSU: Front Lay to Rudi, solid, lands staggered. Really nice double back landing, almost a stick. Front lay front full is beautful, good start!
GOWEY – UF: FTY, dead stick.
CHILDERS – BAMA: Toe to Maloney, great bail. Maybe a touch short on a handstand, blind change to half in double back, messy legs with a hop.
DESIDERIO – LSU: Double layout, a touch deep. Front through double back, also a bit deep on landing but steps out okay. Switch ring to tour jete 1/2, double pike.
RECHENMACHER – UK: Great sheep jump, nice front aerial. Tentative on flic loso,
FOBERG – UF: FTY, dynamic with great bod position, little hop back.
BOREN – UF: 3/2, slightly off idrection with two steps out.
MAHONEY – BAMA: Not particularly close to catching her Maloney, reaches and falls. Lovely bail, full in dismount stuck dead.
SLOCUM – UF: Front pike 1/2, beautiful in the air, little hop back that might just be from saluting too hard.
PRIESSMAN – LSU: Full in, messy legs in the air but landed well. 3/2 front lay, controlled step out. Not 100% sure what’s happening in her choreography.
MCMURTRY – UF: Double twist, holy…. looks like she flips an ankle as she lands but manages to hold onto the stick. Super bizarre.
GRABER – BAMA: Really nice Gienger, missed the rest.
KORTH – UK: 1-hand BHS to LOSO, a bit off line but saves it. Cat leap switch, switch back tuck is good. Chest low on 2/1 dismount but holds onto the stick.
EDNEY – LSU: Double arabian, flexed feet but good controlled landing. Awkward stumble on double back but stays in bounds.
WINSTON – BAMA: Toe on to Maloney, shy on handstands, Pak is what dreams are made of. Feed is now on the struggle bus but let’s assume she stuck the DLO and got a 10.
FINNEGAN – LSU: 3/2 thru 5/2 is good, quick step out. Good landing on whatever the second pass was, great switch ring switch 1/2, double pike just a tiny bit awkward but lunges out of it well.
DUKES – UK: Fall on I think acro series. Front aerial, looks like she meant to connect out but didn’t. 3/2 dismount stuck.
HAMBRICK – LSU: OOB on the double pikeout, rebound forward on her double pike.
SEC CHAMPION: LSU 197.400
It wasn’t the most decisive finish in the world, but LSU picks up its second consecutive SEC title by managing to be okay on a day when the field was Really Not Okay. There were wobbles and steps that the Tigers will need to clean up if they want a shot at nationals, but today it was enough, and not being dragged down on such an iffy day is an accomplishment in itself. Lauren Li got to hold the trophy for five seconds, so that’s her day. I think Finney is crying.
ALABAMA 196.975, FLORIDA 196.825, KENTUCKY 196.55
Well, Florida had three very good rotations and then we won’t talk about floor. Bama also had a great day, but will be a bit bummed that it gave up the LSU chase on bars – though realistically it couldn’t have won. Kentucky has forgotten how to beam recently and somehow still gets exactly the same scores as before. Consistency, man.
SEC INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONS:
VAULT: Alex McMurtry 9.975
BARS: Alex McMurtry 9.95
BEAM: Alyssa Baumann 9.975 (I typed Rachel the first time. Help me.)
FLOOR: Ariana Guerra, Alicia Boren, Sidney Dukes 9.90
ALL AROUND: Sarah Finnegan 39.500
Live blog by Rebecca Scally