Pac-12 Chalk Chatter: Breaking down Arizona vs Cal

No.19 Cal at No. 21 Arizona

Rotation 1

Arizona – The meet got off to a rough start for the Wildcats as senior Laura Leigh Horton ran into some issues in the leadoff spot on vault. On Horton’s Yurchenko layout full, she didn’t get her hands back to the vault table fast enough to get a good block. Because of that, she didn’t have enough height or speed on the final flip and twist to get her body turned over to her feet. She had to bend her legs, which was a deduction, and also landed short on her knees. Because of her fall, this turned the intensity up for the rest of the Wildcats in the vault lineup. 

Freshman Caroline Herry was up next on vault, where she posted a 9.65 on another yurchenko layout full, but had her chest down and took a step back on the landing. Malia Hargrove, with the same vault, put up a 9.775 following a small hop back on the landing. Danielle Nosek and Jessica Castles had a pair of 9.725s, and a 9.5 from Libby Orman in the anchor spot on a yurchenko layout half to round out the rotation.

Vault Total: Arizona drops Horton’s score to count the remaining five, totaling a 48.375

Cal – Meanwhile for the Golden Bears, Neveah De Souza opened up the lineup with a solid routine, hitting a beautiful piked jaeger to a bail shoot over before finishing the routine off with a stuck full-in to give Cal a 9.825 to open things up. Andi Li matched that with a 9.825 of herself, before Maya Green’s 9.775 and a 9.750 from Kyana George. 

However, a fall from Nina Schank on a jaeger resulted in an 8.825, turning up the intensity for Maya Bordas in the anchor position. Bordas handled it well, though, hitting a clean routine and a huge stuck landing for a 9.825 to round things out for Cal on bars. 

Bars total: Cal drops Geroge’s 9.750 for a 49.000

Rotation 2

Cal – The Golden Bears moved on to vault, where they opened things up with a big Yurchenko layout-full from Nina Schank for a 9.8. Natalie Sadighi and Andi Li went second and third respectively, each posting a 9.675 after struggling to control their landings on their Yurchenko fulls, as well. De Souza brought a much-needed lift to the lineup with an enormous, stuck Yurchenko full and a half for a 9.925. George followed up with a clean Yurchenko full for a 9.85, before Milan Clausi went in the anchor spot. Clausi didn’t get enough block off the vault and was crunch on the table, causing her to not have enough momentum to finish the flip. On a Yurchenko tucked one and a half, Clausi was too far back on her heels, resulting in her sitting down on the landing for a 9.050. 

Vault total: Cal drops Clausi’s 9.050 for a 48.925 on Vault

Running total after two events: 97.925

Arizona – Troubles continued for the Wildcats on bars. Sirena Linton started things off for UofA with a 9.675 before Makinzie Kane, who led the team in scoring on the event, posted a 9.775. Things got bumpy when Hargrove hit her foot on the bar while attempting to catch her Tkatchev and fell over on the kip to handstand following. Hargrove attempted to finish strong, but also had some issues with finding the landing on her full-in dismount, taking a couple steps back before falling for an 8.2.

Taylor Raskin followed Hargrove, knowing the pressure was on. Raskin had some issues on her dismount, hitting the low bar right before, scoring a 9.525. Bailey McCabe followed with a hit routine, but because of some missed handstands and late turns, deductions left her sitting at a 9.650. Elena Deets rounded the rotation out for the Wildcats, but because of missed handstands, posted only a 9.675. 

Bars total: Arizona drops Hargrove’s 8.2 for a 48.300 total

Running total after two events: 96.675

Rotation 3

Arizona – Arizona’s strongest event is beam, so this was the Wildcats’ chance to regroup for the second half of the meet. UofA posted three consecutive 9.8’s to start the rotation off from Avery Stauffacher, Herry and Deets. Mackenzie Barile and Castles both posted 9.875s in the middle of the line up, giving Linton the opportunity to go all out with five solid scores to count. Unfortunately, Linton wasn’t able to control the landing of her triple-series on beam, losing balance on the last part of her back handspring, back handspring to layout stepout. Linton closed out the remainder of the routine strong for a 9.1 to close out the rotation. 

Beam total: Arizona drops Linton’s 9.1 for a 49.150

Total after three events: 145.825

Cal – The Golden Bears continued to keep the energy on floor despite the lack of fans. De Souza opened the rotation for the bears with a solid 9.75 to start things off. Cal continued to build from there, with Grace Quinn posting a 9.775 followed by Clausi’s 9.8. Bordas then went next, putting up a 9.85 before George took the floor for an explosive performance to score a 9.9. Shank rounded things out for the Bears with a clean routine and nice landings for a 9.825.

Floor total: Cal drops De Souza’s 9.75 for a total of 49.150

Total after three events: 147.075

Rotation Four

Cal – Finishing on beam can sometimes be a challenge, but Cal didn’t seem to have any struggles with it at all. Clausi opened things up with a 9.75 and a hit routine. De Souza went second, posting a 9.8, followed by a gorgeous routine from Li resulting in a career high 9.875. 

Bordas had a big balance error fighting to stay on the beam on her aerial, resulting in only a 9.7. George followed with a 9.75, followed up with a solid performance in the anchor spot by Emi Waterson for a 9.825. 

Beam Total: Cal drops Bordas 9.7 for a 49.000 total

Event total: 196.075

Arizona – Following a solid performance on beam, the Wildcats brought the same energy with them to floor in an attempt to close out the meet strong. Horton opened things up for the Wildcats with a 9.75. Nosek went second, posting a 9.775 followed by Orman’s 9.850 and Deets’ 9.825. Hargrove accidentally stepped out of bounds on her opening pass, a roundoff back handspring tucked full-in, resulting in only a 9.675. In the anchor position, Castles put up a huge performance for a 9.85 to round things out for the night. 

Floor Total: Arizona drops Hargrove’s 9.675 for a 49.050

Event total: 194.875

Recap and takeaways

While it was a decent meet for Cal, both teams showed areas where slight improvements could be made to help work on improving their team scores. 

Arizona’s vault score can easily be improved by at least five tenths if you don’t count the fall from Horton in the lead-off spot. Her flukey-type of mistake is uncharacteristic and isn’t something they’ll likely have to deal with in weeks to come. However, something little every gymnast can be working on for the vault lineup is cleaning up their landings. Judges are taking deductions because of their chest being down, or because of lack of ability to control the vault at the end. Get those landings cleaned up and the score will also see a two-to-three tenth boost, minimum. 

Bars, the Wildcats’ weakest event, is where they’re going to have to work the hardest to improve. Things like missed handstands, turning too late on a pirouette or a blind-change full, leg separations on release moves, and stuck landings are just some of the little things the Wildcats can do to help improve outside of the fall. 

In only Cal’s second meet of the season, and it’s first on the road, the Golden Bears had a solid showing. It’s not uncommon to see some mistakes and falls this early on in the season,  and the bears can easily boost their scores more by cleaning up their landings on vault and tightening up their finishes on beam. 

What’s next for both teams

Arizona – The Wildcats are sidelined until February 20th after their competition against Oregon State set for Saturday got postponed. The GymCats will take on Washington at home beginning at 1 p.m. (M.T.) on the Pac-12 Live Stream. 

Cal – The Golden Bears will host the flamin’ hot Sun Devils at home on Sunday, Feb 14 at 3:00 (M.T.). 

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