The Alabama Crimson Tide Gymnastics Team completed a three hour mock meet on all four events under the close scrutiny of two judges and the coaches this past Friday. Fifteen minute warm-ups were completed before the line-ups (six up plus one alternate/exhibit) were determined for what would simulate a dual road meet set-up (uneven bars, vault, floor and finishing on balance beam). The coaches have increased the number of intra-squads this year in the pre-season to benefit the freshmen, who will figure in key positions on every event right out of the chute on January 7, 2011.
Injury/Rehab Notes: Junior Ashley Priess was held out as she continues to rehab from off-season ankle surgery and Ria Domier (freshman) was also rehabbing and doing a light workout in lieu of competing on this date. Freshman Jordan Moore, just four weeks out from surgery to insert a rod for a stress fracture, was already back doing round off/back handspring reps on the tumbling track/into the pit and working her uneven bars routine in between rehab exercises. Coach also reported earlier in the week that Jordan is already doing dismounts off the uneven bars and is on track to compete early in the season if her progress continues at this rate. Freshman Hannah Toussaint was rehabbing in between workouts on balance beam, floor (double pike on soft mats with spotting from Coach Raschilla, 2 ½ twists off the tumbling track into the pit) and uneven bars (mainly giants and uprises and attempted a Comaneci release during one rep).
At the beginning of last week the Tide had a very rough uneven bars intrasquad that was also judged. So it was important to get off to a strong start during this follow-up mock meet on the same event. And the team was able to redeem itself with a 49.275 outing, highlighted by excellent routines from junior Geralen Stack-Eaton, senior Kayla Hoffman and sophomore Ashley Sledge, followed closely by solid routines from sophomore Jennifer “Becca” Alexin and freshmen Kimberly Jacob, and Sarah DeMeo. Freshman Lindsey Fowler had a pretty good routine going in the alternate/exhibition slot until she sat down her dismount.
Stack-Eaton has increased her difficulty with a new release (a Ray, which is a toe-on Tkatchev) and dismount (Arabian ½), while Jacob threw combination elements, including stalders, a Tkatchev release, toe on-toe off to handstand, and a giant 1/1 to double pike dismount (also is working a double layout). DeMeo and Fowler competed pike Jaeger releases and a double layout and double front dismount respectively. Hoffman threw a Tkatchev, giant 1/1 and a double layout dismount while Sledge competed a front giant ½ turn to Gienger release and stuck a super high double layout.
Even though Priess and Moore are expected to move back into the line-up once they have completed their rehab, the Tide is currently developing quality depth on this event to carry them through the season. This will likely include junior Rachel Terry (looking good in workouts with a hop ½ to hop full) and incoming freshman Diandra Milliner when she arrives in December (competes a straddle Jaeger, toe-shoot straddle from low to high bar, double front dismount). Freshman Olivia Carisella is training uneven bars as well but her routine is basically being rebuilt as she learns a Tkatchev release to increase her scoring potential. Along with bars, Carisella worked beam and vault on this date.
All seven vaults were thrown on the regular mats (with stinger mat down as needed) during this mock meet. Freshman Kim Jacob opened for the team (49.150) with a Yurchenko 1/1 (hop back on landing), followed by senior Megan Mashburn’s front pike ½ (good push off the table, excellent amplitude w/one foot check on the landing). Ashley Sledge hit a super high Y 1/1 with good distance but had a big hop back on landing, while sophomore Marissa Gutierrez followed with a Y 1/1 that had major amplitude as well but she piked it down a bit, resulting in a quick hop forward on landing. Stack-Eaton (9.90) – Y 1/1 – good form in the air but also popped the landing up and forward a bit. Hoffman finished with a terrific, stuck Y 1/1 for a 9.95 (deducted for a little pike down as well). Fifth-year senior, Alyssa Chapman, threw the Tsuk 1/1 in the seventh position but landed with stiff legs, chest and head down for a 9.70. DeMeo (Y 1/1), Priess (Y 1/1), Domier (front pike ½), Carisella (Y 1/1) and incoming freshman/JO Level 10 vault champion, Milliner (Y 1 1/2), will round out additional quality depth on this event for 2011.
As expected, Geralen Stack-Eaton (6th position – 9.90) and Kayla Hoffman (5th position – 9.90) anchored a strong floor effort (49.200) with opening E tumbling passes of an Arabian double front and pike full-in respectively. Both also tumbled second passes of a round off to 1 ½ twist to punch front layout (this is a new upgrade for Stack-Eaton), and both closed with strong double pikes. Along with Priess, these gymnasts have new music and dance on floor for 2011.
Ashley Sledge (4th position – 9.850) – the snazzy jazzy dynamic music at the beginning of her routine really suits her style of dance and soaring tumbling (front tuck through to a round off to double back tuck to open, which will be replaced with a double layout during the season). She closed with a double pike. The music, while very exciting along with the choreo at the beginning, shifts to a smoky melody in the middle when Ashley gets a chance to flirt with the crowd to engage them more directly in the routine.
Alyssa Chapman (3rd position – 9.750) opened with a solid double pike, followed by a double tuck and closed with a front layout-front 1/1 twist to a front layout. She showed some new, sassier dance moves and crisper tumbling landings but leaps still need more amplitude and toe point. Love how she’s holding her head high and quickly planting her feet on the tumbling landings. Staying confident and in bounds will be the keys for her in 2011 on this event.
Kimberly Jacob (2nd position – 9.800) opened with a pike full-in that was a little jammed on landing, followed by a round off 1 ½ twist to front 1/1 twist combination (step back on landing), and closed with a strong double pike. Nice switch ring leap to split jump 1/1.
Marissa Gutierrez (1st position – 9.600) opened with a double tuck (superior height, good position in the air, but stumbled back a few steps on landing that likely would have been out of bounds on the competition floor, hence the judges whacked her on the final score). This was followed by a front-front 1/1 to front layout and she closed with a double pike – again, excellent amplitude but a little deep knee landing and she was also off the dance/music at the end of her routine. Nice amplitude and extension on the ring leap to wolf 1/1.
Sarah DeMeo (alternate/exhibition = missed final score) – opened with a double pike, front tumbling sequence of a front handspring to two front layouts, closed with a super 2 ½ twist, stuck it! She may have been under the weather a bit on this date – she was held out of vaulting and put in this slot on floor, which is possibly why we saw the weaker middle pass on this date (she usually throws a front twisting combination of a front handspring-front layout to front 1/1 twist). Fans will love this routine – great dance, exciting rock/pop music and terrific presentation by the former junior elite.
Others gymnasts showcased their routines in between the other events, including junior Jocelyn Fowler (9.80 for really sharp tumbling on this date – double pike, double tuck, three front layouts), Rachel Terry (front through to a Rudi, double pike, double tuck), Lindsey Fowler (front through to a Rudi, front-front-front 1/1) and Becca Alexin (2 ½ twist, Rudi). During Ghosts vs. Goblins freshman Ria Domier threw a double front (tuck), double pike, and a round off 1 ½ twist to front layout.
The Tide stayed consistent in the second intrasquad of the week on this event, receiving another team score of 49.300 from the judges.
Once again Stack-Eaton (9.90) and Hoffman (9.90) helped lead the way in the 6th and 4th positions respectively, with freshman DeMeo (9.85) confidently sandwiching between them in the 5th spot.
Stack-Eaton has changed some of her element combinations – she is now throwing a front aerial to back handspring and a flutter jump to sheep jump. She retains the flight series (back handspring to layout step-out), switch split leap to switch split jump combination, Onodi, 1 ½ twist dismount. Hoffman’s routine is the same from 2010 (full turn with leg horizontal to switch split leap to straddle jump ¼ turn; front aerial to back handspring, flutter jump to gainer back layout step-out, hitch kick to gainer full twist dismount).
DeMeo showcased a McCool mount (front handspring layout) to a double stag leap, front aerial (supposed to connect this to an immediate leg scale but left out today – did complete this combination at Ghosts vs Goblins); flight series: back handspring to layout to 2-footed layout; shoulder handstand to pose – full turn – running switch split leap to split jump combo; gainer full twist dismount (dismounted with a double pike at Ghosts vs Goblins).
An excellent lead-off from Gutierrez (9.85) helped prepare the way for Sledge (9.80) and Jacob (9.80). Gutierrez also retains her routine from last year but her flexibility and amplitude have really improved in her leaps and her flow from one element to the next is smoother. Front aerial to flutter jump – back handspring to layout step-out, switch split leap to side straddle jump – full turn – running switch side straddle leap – gainer full twist dismount.
Sledge has mastered much of her power on this event in the past few months without sacrificing difficulty. She threw a back handspring to layout step-out, switch side straddle leap, hitch kick (bailed on connection to next two elements – front aerial kick-out to flutter jump – which were executed together); switch split leap to straddle jump (awesome flexibility and amplitude); dismounted with a round off to gainer full twist.
Jacob was impressive with a combination of leaps – running switch split ½ leap and a flutter jump to straddle jump 1/1; back handspring to layout step-out, side aerial (2 footed), double twist dismount (also has a double pike and a double tuck dismount).
Chapman (9.40), in the 7th alternate/exhibition position, completed her routine without a fall but the judges had her at a lower start value of 9.7 for either missing a required element or a connection. Routine included front punch tuck (shoulder drop on landing), switch split leap to pike jump, full turn, back handspring to layout step-out (nice), straddle jump to back tuck, dismounted with a back layout step-out to back handspring to layout (will upgrade to double twist out of this sequence during competition).