The University of Florida dominated their meet against the University of Alabama with an ass-kicking by two points. The Gators' win was impressive due to their score (197.550) and the fact that the stars of the meet were Macko Caquatto, Marissa King and Maranda Smith. Despite flat performances by Alaina Johnson and Ashanee Dickerson, the squad was able to perform slightly better than last week. Home scores are always a bit high, but their level of performance was top notch. Rhonda Faehn told the media that they will have Macko and Alaina do the All-Around again next week before they rest them a bit for two meets before revving up for the bigger meets that will close out this season for the team. Rhonda seems to be concerned with managing the team and capturing wins, while also preventing them from peaking too early.
A link to Marissa King's energizing 9.975 on floor exercise. Don't you just hate it when people disable embedding? Humorless bitches.
One team that faces a problem is the University of Georgia, which faces the Gators at home next Saturday. The Gym Dogs counted two falls and suffered a loss at Arkansas by four tenths. Meets at Arkansas are always a bitch for top teams, as they expect to win and don't always perform at their sharpest. Arkansas has upset many teams at home by coming out with force. Kat Ding and Cassidy McComb are two of the gymnasts who suffered falls.
Jay really needs to turn the team's attention to their level of performance, as they are unlikely to defeat Florida at home. This team's score has slipped in recent weeks and they desperately need to get some momentum going. Their mid-season struggles are certainly worthy of concern, as they should've beaten Arkansas. It is unclear what the team's potential is. They are a team that is on the bubble in many ways. A return to the Super Six could be a tall order if they don't have Ding and Worley at full strength.
UGA has yet to have Ding back on vault. Gina Nuccio continues to be a question mark. If one watches the Gym Dog show, they'll see that Shayla Worley could certainly be in better shape. Shayla had a strong floor routine in pre-season (Front Double Full, Double Pike, Front Layout+Rudi), but she hasn't been performing full difficulty after the holidays and bouts with illness. Shayla risked injury by underrotating her twisting passes at Kentucky last week. She could certainly be in better shape. Hilary mauro is dealing with an achilles flare-up and a rapidly maturing body, but she adjusted her first pass on floor and is opening with a double front instead of the double layout. McComb has yet to unleash her 1 1/2 Twisting Yurchenko.
Christa Tanella has delivered on beam, but remains a bit flat on the other events.
UCLA has a week off this week. Sam Peszek is desperately needed by this team. While they finally recorded a true win this season, they are lacking the focus and intensity that they had last season. The quality of gymnastics is also not the same. Some of that is due to recruiting, as Olivia Courtney's form is never going to be 9.9+ worthy. Last season, Anna Li really served as the team leader, while Va Zam was the team star. They have no had a true leader this season and it shows. A true leader is most effective when they also lead by example on the competition floor. McCullough is starting to get it together in terms of her performance, but she has not been as bright of a star as of yet. She is a gymnast who is a star on floor exercise and quite average on three events. They rely on her name for a boost in scoring. It would help UCLA if McCullough performed her 1 1/2 Twisting Yurchenko on vault, as her Yurchenko Full doesn't have the form or the amplitude to be a top-notch score. If you don't have the execution, you must go for the big scores by unleashing difficulty.
UCLA also needs to find a better beam leadoff. They've inserted Aisha Gerber in the opening slot, but they are shooting themselves in the foot. Aisha is someone who would score much higher than McCullough if she performed later in the lineup. McCullough may score decently during the regular season, but she won't during the post season. Miss Val really needs someone like Niki Tom to step it up in the leadoff role.