Last Saturday the University of Washington played host to the Utah Utes in a dual meet and once again, my husband and I were there to catch the action. Here are my impressions of the competition, focusing mainly on Utah since I’ve blogged about UW in a previous post.

Annie DiLuzio of Utah

Utah…

  • It was wonderful to see Gael Mackie (Canada) compete for Utah on Bars. I have always wanted to see more of this gymnast and she did not disappoint. Her set was clean and confidant. I’m looking forward to seeing more of her.
  • Also impressive on Bars (and elsewhere) was Daria Bijak. I don’t remember being all that impressed with her performances as an international elite for Germany but she certainly seems to be thriving on the collegiate level. She may not be as well known as teammates, Ashley Postell & Kristina Baskett, but she is an incredible asset to the Utes. They are lucky to have her.
  • Utah didn’t have a single stick on Bars. All the routines were difficult and cleanly executed but without the stuck dismounts, they won’t challenge for an NCAA crown.
  • I was disappointed not to see Nina Kim in action at this meet. Hopefully she’ll be in the lineup at Pac 10s in March.
  • Annie DiLuzio was underscored on Vault. Her yurchenko full was sky high and her landing good but she only garnered a 9.725.
  • Ashley Postell, on the other hand, absolutely floated her yurchenko full (stuck) and tallied at 9.975. I thought it might be a ten. It was gorgeous.
  • The first four routines on Floor for Utah were definitely lacking in the choreography department, as mentioned on the Gymblog. Well, let me rephrase that. I don’t believe the choreography is actually the problem. The first four athletes simply failed to sell their routines. The choreography and dance was clean and well done but the gymnasts failed to make eye contact with the audience or smile, which we have come to expect at the collegiate level. My guess is that this will come with time. I hope so.
  • That said, Ashley Postell and Kristina Baskett were charming on Floor, as usual. They both look completely comfortable engaging the audience and really performing for the crowd.
  • And despite word on the street that Utah’s tumbling is lacking, I did not find this to be the case. In fact, their tumbling at this competition was spot on. A highlight would be Daria Bijak’s front handspring, front double tuck to immediate punch front.

UW…

  • Samantha Walior rocked a double arabian half out dismount off bars. She had a slight form deduction at the beginning of the skill but she stuck it cold. Impressive.
  • Ashley Houghting flew on her yurchenko full Vault. Definitely the best vaulter on the UW squad.
  • UW did not look as strong at this competition. Although they scored a season high as a team, I thought they had a far better outing against UCLA a few weeks ago. They struggling with their tumbling and looked to have a few near injuries on Beam. I did not feel this way last time I saw them compete so I’m guessing this was just a rough meet for the Huskies. But some of the skills I saw (particularly on Beam) looked to be too difficult for the abilities of the athletes and they appeared to risk injury in some places. I’m thinking mainly of a few dismounts. Like I said, I didn’t feel this way a few weeks ago so perhaps it was just a fluke?
  • It seems to me that the floor set up in the Bank of America Arena is unsafe. Does anyone else feel this way? Although I dig the purple floor, it has a very small surface area outside the 40×40 performance area. It drops off rather quickly and there does not appear to be adequate matting around the floor area. I have seen gymnasts land completely out of bounds before and if this happened on the UW floor, it could prove disastrous for an athlete. Take a look at this photo of Kristen Omori. She’s on Beam but you can see the Floor in the background. What do you think?

    UW Floor Set Up

So once again, those are my thoughts. What were your impressions?

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