Monday, December 20, 2010

UCLA Intrasquad: Balance Beam

Talia- Well, let's just say the only time she'll ever possibly compete would be vs. CSUF.

Niki Tom- Her consistency on the event is of vital importance for UCLA with the absence of Zam and Anna Li.  Her new choreography slows her down and gives her a more mature look.  Val would be smart to make her the designated leadoff.

Aisha- I enjoy how her teammates say 'beautiful gymnastics' as though she will suddenly change after years of having style and form literally beaten into her.  I see many 9.9s and 9.85s in her future.

Sydney Sawa-  The routine is acceptable, but there is an overall sluggishness that should keep her out of the top six on the team.

Lichelle- She shows great technique but slight mental weakness that makes me question whether she'll ever be a 9.95-level star on any event.  Her gymnastics is lovely, but you just know that she is going to come off the beam in critical situations.

McCullough- Looks improved on beam, but is still not a natural beamer.  She will likely be given a few opportunities to prove herself, as one can see that Miss Val would LOVE for her to be an AA star this year.  Be prepared to hear all about her nursing course load, because she is going to be in the thick of things this season.

MDLT- Stable by not spectacular.

Tauny Frattone- Her lightness will make her an excellent addition to the lineup.  Her quality withstands the signature UCLA brand.

Olivia Courtney- She is healthy, fit and hitting.  OC isn't the cleanest of the bunch, but she is going to be competing a lot this season.  After years of toiling in the shadows, this could be her year to stand out.  Given Peszek's ankle issue, Olivia will see more AA-time.  She'd be good as a second person up in the beam lineup.

Sambam Peszek- Random fall on the Aerial.  She will certainly compete beam in the third or fourth position in the lineup.  The ankle looks to be an issue and we all know what makes ankle issues even worse...  Given how she has hid issues with several different body parts over the last few years (ankle, knee, shoulder, etc), it is unlikely that her body will allow her to do AA all the time.  They're going to need to pace her and add floor in later on.  Sam is driven and will want to compete and rack up the big scores, but it is going to take a great deal of management by the coaches to keep her healthy and available for the bigger meets and post season.  Overall, she isn't one to worry about on beam.  Sambam trains three different beam routines and still does her back full+back pike.  It may be smart to make it her combination later on in the year, as it will help keep her score in the 9.9+ level even if she has a slight step or balance check.  Beam is capable of being one of UCLA's best events and Sambam is someone who could really help them push 49.4+ in the post season.

EHH- Clearly the team's star on beam, she will make a great fifth-up or anchor in the lineup.  It all depends whether Sato is kept as the anchor.  Elyse looks the best on beam that she has since her World Bronze Medal.  Her confidence continues to grow and she now performs with a command and an ownership of the apparatus that she didn't have her freshman year and developed over the course of last season.

Mizuki Sato is coming back from surgery and will be in the lineup.  She suffered some inconsistency last season, but really performed well in the anchor position.


  1. As a Jew I'm offended by Talia's swatstika themed routine. Granted she wasn't the only bruin with bent knee layouts but Talia's were egregiously bad.

    As much as I love the inventiveness of Niki Tom's acro pass, it never fails to annoy me that she finished her Ariel to the sideways.

    I'd pick EHH over Sato for the beam anchor. Sato is very solid on beam but EHH's clearly the star with mount series, side ariel bh and illusion turn. I agree she is very much at home on the beam in a way these days.

    I imagine the line up will be something like Niki Tom, Aisha Gerber, Olivia Courtney, Mcullough/Frattone Sam when her ankles is okay/MLDT or Sawa when her ankle is bad and EHH to anchor.

  2. Frattone and EHH were great. Liv Courtney looked pretty good as well. Peszek is an outstanding beam worker, so hopefully her ankle gets better. Her full-back pike combo is still unreal to me.

  3. Holy taped ankles batman!!

  4. I said out loud "are you kidding me" when sam fell. Is this ankle injury something new since coming to UCLA? Or is this something old? This isn't the same ankle that was severely crunched at the Olympics is it? How is her shoulder? Is it 100%?

  5. Sam competed well on floor in 2009, so I'd think this is a new ankle injury.