Monday, February 28, 2011
If there is one emerging coach in the NCAA, it is KJ Kindler. I've never had the pleasure of meeting KJ, but I admire her for being a fierce coach. Oklahoma is not the flashiest team in the country, but they are fit and consistent. KJ is also taking risks as a choreographer. I'm not sure what to make of her choreography. It is a bit squatty in general. There was one squatty move in Vise's amazing routine last year where she squatted and it made me go "hmmm, questionable choice." Overall, I respect KJ and that man she's married to as a fierce coaching duo. Here is a woman who had the jutzpah to tell World Champion Hollie Vise, "I don't care that Steve said you could do beam, you're going to get in shape and do all four events. I don't care that you can't vault."
When I workout, I like to imagine myself being thin and on the KJ diet. I must wonder if all of the squats in her choreography come from a subconscious love of sending her team to the weight room. One thing about Ms. KJ is that works with what she has and draws out the talent of her team. She lost as many, if not more, top routines than UGA from 2010 to 2011, but we don't hear her bitching about it. I'd be sitting shivah for the graduation of Hollie Vise, but Ms. KJ is working her girls up to be top six on each event. She has girls who can do all four events, but forces them to be top six. Senior Natalie Ratcliff had some rough outings on beam and vault and is MIA after a solid NCAA career. If KJ had Georgia's lineup, I think we'd see a few of their gymnasts being much fitter and competitive on all events.
Kayla Novak made her way into the AA. She has been a 9.85-9.9 force this entire season. Taylor Spears continues to emerge and not bomb her freshman year like most former WOGA girls who get off the Black Swan Diet. The Boomer Sooners don't blow you away this year, but they are a consistent force. Given the blah nature of this NCAA season, consistent with good form is all that is needed. For an added bonus, KJ let us know that she is also a leap Nazi.
Michigan always has low scores at home, but their gymnasts are solid and strong. Some of them defy physics and make me think, "hey, big girls have dreams too." One thing about Bev, her team is already ready for Big 10s. Kylee Botterman leads the nation in the All-Around and is quite formidable. Trish Wilson is back on bars, but her ability to do handstands was missing at this weekend's meet.
The Gators received a wake-up call losing to Arkansas. It was not an attractive performance. The lineup was not in its usual order and the girls didn't respond well. It is likely a needed kick in the ass. Macko is pulling a Jamie Dantzscher. After being an inconsistent elite, she makes one major team and competes successfully and is now rocking each and every week in the NCAA with newly found confidence.
UCLA had a 'flat' performance yesterday. Miss Val's inner bitch emerge. Oh how we'd missed it. EHH was majorly gifted on bars and won the AA. They still aren't emerging out of the 9.75-9.85 hell. McCullough finally delivered a 9.900 on floor after struggling for several meets. Sambam Peszek was gifted with a 9.925 on bars. One of the meet's most ridiculous scores was Niki Tom's 9.875 on floor. On paper, it should've been another one of their 9.8-9.85 routines, but one of the judges actually threw on 9.95. The two judges were barely in range, but the UCLA press release still lauded the 9.95 received from the one ridiculous judge.