LIVE(ISH) BLOG: 2001 Big Ten Championships

Welcome to our first Throwback Thursday Live(ish) Blog of the offseason. We’ll be going back to some old meets to bring you all of the action. Like our in-season live blogs, we’ll include some coverage of what is going on, but to make it more fun, there will also be gifs and screencaps so you don’t need to watch the YouTube video if you don’t want to.

We kick things off with the 2001 Big Ten Championships, with No. 42 Illinois, No. 14 Iowa, No. 29 Michigan State, No. 16 Minnesota, No. 21 Ohio State and No. 10 Penn State at No. 7 Michigan.

The year is 2001. We as gymnastics fans have (sort of) moved along from the chaos of the 2000 Sydney games (but really will we ever be over it?). The vault is still a horse. Elise Ray is a freshman at Michigan. Maryland, Nebraska and Rutgers have not yet joined the Big Ten. Utah, Alabama, Georgia and UCLA are the only teams that have ever won the NCAA title, and the Bruins are your reigning national champions. In 2000, Michigan finished last in the Super Six (after ending the regular season ranked No. 1), and Penn State narrowly missed a berth out of semifinals. Going into this conference championship, Penn State’s star sophomore Katie Rowland is ranked No. 1 in the all around, and Elise Ray sits at No. 12, tied with Iowa freshman Alexis Maday. National rankings are dominated by UCLA stars, including Kristen Maloney, Mohini Bhardwaj and Jamie Dantzscher, as well as some familiar Utah (Theresa Kulikowski, Shannon Bowles) and Georgia (Kristi Lichey, Suzanne Seares, Marlene Stephens) names. Michigan has won the Big Ten title eight of the last nine years and is looking for another title win at home.

Are we all mentally there? Good. Off we go!

Warmups are underway, and we’re getting a look at last year’s Olympic captain Elise Ray.
Katie Rowland warms up a nice double pike bars dismount. The Nittany Lions are in some very swimsuit inspired athletic warmup leos.

Rotation 1: PSU vault, Minn. bars, MSU beam, tOSU floor (Iowa, Ill., UM on bye)

We are reminded that for the first time this year, athletes only vault once instead of twice!

Leslie Bear (PSU): Handspring pike. Not the best leadoff vault for a team hoping to upset Michigan at home, especially considering that it starts out of a 9.900! 9.625

Lori Ruen (MSU): Little hesitant throughout, but she has nice split positions! Straddle. BHS + straddle.  Lands low on her 1.5 dismount and has to adjust both feet, and she had a fall while we were watching vault.

Megan Skokut (Minn.): Looong wait for the previous score. Here we go. Giant full + Tkatchev between bars, straddle back, little shy of handstand and loose back. Giant full + double tuck, big hop forward. Not a particularly clean set.

Gemma Cuff (PSU): Half on front layout half, a little offline but clean and good landing!

Amanda Allen (tOSU): Opens with a pretty 2.5 twist, just a medium step forward. This leo is SHINY. Fhs front full punch front, a little loose. Cat leap double. She’s a very dynamic performer. Fhs front lay punch front, very arched in the lay, loose again. Double spin + wolf jump full, fun combo!

Katie Rowland (PSU): FHS pike half, nice in the air, solid landing.

(MSU):  Bhs 1/4 doesn’t really hit the handstand position but clean. Wolf + wolf full, littly shy on the rotation. Gainer front full, very cool! Nice landing.

MaryAnne Kelley (Minn.): Hect mount, Tkatchev good height. Geinger, some leg separation. Toe on half. Straddle back, this routine is PACKED! Giant full + double tuck, just a hop. Wow that is a ROUTINE.

Christy Linder (MSU): Valdez + sisonne, pretty. Bhs loso loso, solid. She’s very confident. Switch + straddle, some toe form. Switch side, fine. Bhs bhs double twist dismount, no problems!

This leo though.

Mary Skokut (Minn.): CAN WE TALK about these pirouetting combos! Pretty pretty. Tkatchev, little messy, straddle back solid handstand. Full in, big bound forward. Getting some scores now, 9.825, just hit for that landing.

Jill Tucker (tOSU): Jumping in at the last pass. Fhs front lay rudi, really nice! Switch side + full twisting sushenova. Nice! 9.9! Based on what we saw, correct.

Jane McIntosh (MSU): She’s competing with a broken finger, ouch. Backwalkover + split half, very big check. Switch side, huge split! Bhs bhs two feet loso, misses her feet and she’s off. They’ll count a fall. Switch half + split half, shy of 180 on both. Tucked gainer full, stuck. Some highs and lows in that one. 9.0

Lindsey Vagedes (tOSU): Triple full, all the way around, nice! Tour jete full + wolf full + straight jump full. FHS front full front lay, solid. Some creative dance combos, showing off her nice split position. FHS front full front tuck, nice. Great routine! 9.925

Rotation 2: Iowa vault, Ill. bars, Minn. beam, UM floor (tOSU, PSU, MSU on bye)

Stephanie Benson (Iowa): Half on tucked half off, not enough rotation and she sits it, that could’ve been a knee problem, she jumps up but is limping a bit.

Maday (Iowa): Yhalf, pretty! Good comeback from the fall before her. 9.925!

The hair sparkles!

Janessa Grieco (UM): Whip + double pike, good height great landing. Double turn + switch side + popa. RO BHS half + front full! (That hurt my brain.) Whip + double full, nice!

Calli Ryals (UM): 2.5 punch front, solid. Double pike, excellent landing. She’s a really dramatic and engaging performer. Switch ring + wolf full + double stag. Switch side + sushenova, great splits. Whip + double full, legs a little loose but good landing. 9.875, I buy that score.

Stephanie Gran (Iowa):  Half on half layout, gorgeous and just a tiny hop. That’s the cleanest vault we’ve seen. Iowa is rolling! 9.95

Karina Senior (UM): Double pike, foot slides a touch on the landing. Double turn + tuck full, pretty loose in the tuck. Double full + sushenova, loose form. Good amplitude throughout, but form issues will keep the score down a touch. 9.95

Hi, Bev.

Giselle Boniforti (Iowa): Handspring double full, gets it around, just a step to the side on the landing.

Bridget Knaeble (UM): Full-in, chest a touch low, and she stepped out on the lunge. RO full through to double tuck. FHS front full front pike, solid. Really just that first landing. 9.85

Phaedra Dixon (Ill.): Geinger + bail, just a touch loose in the back. Back uprise immediate stalder. Double tuck, excellent landing. She’s on bars after only tearing her Achilles five months ago! Impressive.

Elise Ray (UM): Triple full, tiny step but great form in the air. Double L + Popa + double stag. Whip half double full + Shushenova, nice. Triple turn + wolf full, solid. Double full, chest low on the landing, but no step. 9.95

Kelley (Minn.): Clean, crisp movements. Gainer bhs loso, big wobble and breaks at the hips, that’s a sizeable deduction. Punch front has to step forward. Gainer loso + wolf, solid. Straddle + straddle quarter, she’s a touch off, making tiny adjustments. RO double, small hop back. 9.6

AFTER 2: Minn: 97.325, UM: 49.575, tOSU: 49.175, PSU: 49.05, Iowa: 49.0, Ill: 48.575, MSU: 48.1

Rotation 3: tOSU vault, PSU bars, Ill. beam, MSU floor (UM, Iowa, Minn. on bye)

Jill Tucker (tOSU): Half on half pike off, medium step forward, but clean in the air. 9.85

Katie McAvoy (PSU): Hect mount. Shy first handstand. Giant full + Tkatchev, nice. Giant 1.5 + bail. Missed last handstand, blind + double front, some crazy feet and cowboying in the air and a small step. 9.85

Vagedes (tOSU): Half on front pike half off, too much power and she bounds forward, little off line as well. 9.85, I guess everyone gets that score in this rotation.

Julie Devaty (MSU): Jumping into the middle of the routine. Side aerial in a dance combo, pretty. Double full, some messy legs but a good landing.

Karen Hawley (Ill.): Oh child, you look terrified. Hearing that she had a scary fall on bars earlier. Bhs bhs loso, and she falls. This is either the second or third fall for Illinois, ouch. Switch + bhs quarter, little loose. Double stag. Wolf + sheep. All of her jump positions miss by just a touch. Stuck tuck gainer full.  9.325, not bad considering the fall.

Nikki Bongiovanni (PSU): Back uprise + Geinger, nice. Bail hand, touch short. Back uprise. Double lay, stuck. Great lines and toes! 9.875

Gina Wiechmann (Ill.): She looks loose and calm waiting, good sign. Press mount, nice. Bhs loso, small adjustment. Switch + straddle half, very nice. Straddle ¾, solid. Wolf + bhs, no problems. Switch side, chest low. Gainer full, stuck. Her splits are gorgeous, no wonder she does so many! 9.7, that low chest.

Rowland (PSU): Hect mount. Giant 1.5 + gaint half + Geinger. Bail handstand. Double pike, stuck. Really gorgeous lines! 9.85 (hello darkness my old friend, what is with these 9.85s??) that seems low to me.

Jana Gallagher (Ill.): Press mount, really pretty! Bhs loso, solid. She’s a gorgeous beamer. Switch + straddle. Straddle + bhs quarter half turn, pretty messy on the bhs piece. Wolf full, very clean, great rotation. Gainer full, stuck. Illinois needed that! 9.825

10 hands forever.

Maria Taylor (PSU): Hect mount. Back uprise to GIGANTIC Tkatchev. Uprise. Blind + Jaeger + bail. Blind +  double twist, great landing. What a packed routine! 9.875

McIntosh (MSU): High double tuck, low chest and steps forward. FHS front full front tuck, loses her balance and a foot slides back. Switch half. Double full, rough landing again, low chest and slides her feet a touch. Triple turn. Just trying too hard for perfect landings! 9.5

After 3: PSU: 98.3, tOSU: 98.25, Minn: 97.325, MSU: 96.725, Ill: 96.25, UM: 49.575, Iowa: 49.0

Rotation 4: UM vault, Iowa bars, PSU beam, Minn. floor (MSU, tOSU, Ill. bye)

Ray (UM): FTY, very clean, just a medium step back. 9.825

Courtney Norman (Minn.): Front thought to SKY HIGH double tuck. Double pike, excellent. Tour jete half. Sushenova full. FHS flyspring front full, big step forward and possibly out of bounds. Wolf full popa, HUGE height. Stellar, just that last landing. 9.825

Chrissy Michaud (UM): Tsuk full, absolutely gorgeous! Maybe the best vault of the day so far. 9.95

Megan Beuckens (Minn.): Front through to double tuck, solid. FHS front full, good landing. Switch side + Popa + sush, touch overrotated on the side and under on the popa.


Maday (Iowa): Hect mount. Giant full + big Tkatchev, just some loose knees. Straddle back + toe shoot. Blind, front giant half + double tuck, great landing. She has gorgeous swing! 9.925

Jenny Alf (Minn.): Whip through to double tuck, very nice. Double turn + split full, little shy of180. FHS front lay punch front, excellent control. She’s so expressive and clean in her dance. FHS flyspring front full, pretty. Switch leap, nice. Gorgeous. 9.825

Bonaforte (Iowa): Blind front giant + piked Jaeger, bail. Double full dismount. Nice and clean throughout. 9.8

Kelley (Minn.): Double pike, great amplitude. Double turn. FHS front full, good control. Wolf full + cat full, gets a little away from her. Whip + double full, good landing. Really clean! 9.925

Richelle Simpson (PSU): Bhs loso bhs, solid. Swithc + side aerial, no problems. Split half + split half. Small balance check on the full turn. Wolf ¾, nice. Split full, little shy on the rotation + split. RO double full, lands with her chest very low, has to step forward. 9.75

Maria Taylor (PSU): Bhs loso bhs, very clean. Straddle + straddle. Double stag, big wobble. Wolf + bhs ¼, misses the handstand. Cat + cartwheel + gainer full, good landing. 9.775

After 4: PSU: 147.075, Minn: 146.525, UM: 98.875, tOSU: 98.25, Iowa: 97.875, MSU: 96.725, Ill: 96.25

Rotation 5: MSU vault, tOSU bars, Iowa beam, Illinois floor (Minn., UM, PSU bye)

McIntosh (MSU): Yhalf tucked, out of a 9.8, lands very low, doesn’t put her hands down though. 9.525

Sarah Spring (tOSU): Hect mount. Giant full + blind + piked Jaeger, very clean. Bail hand. Toe on front, stuck. Great routine! 9.875

Brandy Killian (Iowa): Bhs loso bhs, some messy kness. Straddle + straddle, with a medium balance check. Huge switch side, but she can’t stay on, falls. Wolf + bhs, solid. The fall really slowed her rhythm. RO full, nice landing.

Ruane (MSU): Handspring double full, gorgeous in the air but takes a big step forward.

Vagedes (tOSU): Hect mount. Geinger, some legs + bail. Blind front giant + double front, can’t get the rotation and falls backward. 9.325

Hawley (Ill.): Cat + wolf full + cat full, messy. Double full, landed well but messy knees in the second twist.

Mary Beth Doerr (tOSU): Time to bounce back from Vagedes’ fall! Hect mount. Giant full + giant full + giant half + bail hand. Little short last handstand. Laid out full in, just a step back. 9.9

Maday (Iowa): She has a calm presence on the beam. Bhs two feet bhs loso, rough knees throughout. Bhs. Side somi, solid. Switch + straddle, no problems. RO double full, low chest and a hop. 9.825

Lisa Pellegrinetti (Ill.): Double tuck, great amplitude. Switch + popa + sushenova, nice. Double pike, low chest and steps forward. Wolf full + cat 1.5, little pause between the two. FHS front lay front tuck. A clean set! 9.825

Janna Alexandrova (Iowa): RO loso loso, gorgeous. Beat + wolf. Switch + straddle, very short of 180 on the straddle. Valdez + double stag, pretty. Very pretty choreography. RO bhs full, low chest but stuck. Excellent routine!

Carissa Ericson (Ill.): Double pike, slides the front foot back a touch on the landing. Cat double + wolf full. 1.5 punch front, clean landing. Sky high double tuck, lands a little deep in the knees. 9.75

After 5: PSU: 147.075, tOSU: 146.9, Minn: 146.525, Iowa: 146.175, MSU: 145.325, Ill: 145.15, UM: 98.875

Rotation 6: Minn. vault, UM bars, tOSU beam, PSU floor (Ill., MSU, Iowa, bye)

McAvoy (PSU): Triple turn + wolf full, good rotation. 1.5 punch front, nice. Doulbe full + sushenova to end. Good leadoff routine! 9.825

Kelley (Minn.): Handspring front half, little messy in the air and a small hop. 9.8

A button with her daughter’s face on it. Yep.

Senior (UM): Front giant, Healey + Jaeger and she falls.

Simpson (PSU): FHS double full, nice. Double pike, bounces out of it a bit. 1.5 L turn + wolf full, falls out of the turn a little. Double turn + double tuck jump. Front pike through to double full, excellent. 9.875

Leigh Dixon (Minn.): Handspring pike half, separated legs on the entry. 9.9

Knaeble (UM): Clear hip half. Giant full + geinger + bail. Giant full + double tuck, stuck cold! Really clean routine. 9.975!

Leslie Bair (PSU): Double pike, stumbles back out of it, maybe three steps and she went out. Wolf full + popa + sushenova. Double full, great landing. FHS front lay front tuck, little hop. Solid routine.

Ray (UM): Hect mount. Uprise + toe hand + hop full + Tkatchev + straddle back. Laid out full in. That is a PACKED routine and every second she had gorgeous toes and lines. 9.95

Rowland (PSU): Double pike, great height. Tuck double + sushenova, pretty. 2.5, small stumble but covers it. FHS front full front pike, stuck. 9.9

Tiffanie Janke (tOSU): RO double full dismount, stuck but very low chest. 9.8

Cuff (PSU): Double pike, great landing. Double full punch front, little low on the front takeoff but gets it there. Switch side + popa + sushenova, nice. FHS front full front pike, great landing. 9.925

Stephanie Buerkel (tOSU): Bhs two feet loso, solid. Pretty lines! Hitch kick + split, little shy of 180. Bhs + wolf ¾, not the best wolf position. Switch + wolf full, again, the wolf position is lacking. Gainer full stuck! 9.75

Vagedes (tOSU): Bhs loso loso, little off balance, wobbles. Switch, clean. Cat + switch half, doesn’t bring her feet back together. Bhs + wolf, no problems. RO double tuck! Just a step. 9.8

After 6: PSU 196.425, Minn: 195.75, tOSU: 195.425, UM: 148.3, Iowa: 146.175, MSU: 145.325, Ill: 145.1

Rotation 7: Ill. vault, MSU bars, UM beam, Iowa floor (PSU, Minn. tOSU bye)

Stephanie Benson (Iowa): Whip through to double full. Switch side + shushenova full, big pause between the jumps. FHS front full punch front, good landing but a pretty crunched front. Popa, nice. Double full, loose legs and a step to the side. An okay routine. 9.725

Gallagher (Ill.) Laidout Tsuk, out of a 9.8. Messy entry and a small hop. 9.625

Kristina Petersen (MSU): Hect mount. Short first handstand. Tkatchev, some knees. Front giant + Healey + Straddle back, misses handstand. Double tuck, stuck. Just the handstands.

Corynne Cooper (Iowa): Big double pike, steps forward. Popa + popa + tuck 1.5, great amplitude! FHS flyspring front layout, nice. 9.75

Carissa Ericsson (Ill.): Half on half pike, medium hop to the side. 9.8

Brandy Killian (Iowa): Front through to double pike, good landing. Double tuck, solid. Switch low back leg + front handspring to her knees. Cat 1.5 + wolf full. Double twist to end, little deep in the knees. 9.875

Linder (MSU): Hect mount. Giant full + Geinger nice. Bail shy of handstand. Giant full + doulbe pike, just a hop forward. 9.775

Stephanie Gran (Iowa): FHS fly spring front full + split. Switch side + popa. Cat double. Whip half + barani. She’s a very fun performer.

Melissa Green (MSU): Straddle back. Toe on front half, nice landing. 9.875

Shannon MacKenzie (UM): Front aerial, solid. Cartwheel gainer full, stuck. 9.925

Maday (Iowa): Triple twist, gorgeous. Michael Jackson medley! Whip half front full punch front. Switch + switch full + popa. Switch side + sushenova. Double full, great landing. This is a superb routine! 9.975

Ray (UM): Punch front, solid. Bhs bhs loso, she falls, the second of the rotation for Michigan. Wolf + bhs 1/4, pretty. Split + split. Cartwheel gainer full, small step back.

FINAL: UM: 197.15, PSU: 196.425, Minn: 195.75, tOSU: 195.425, Iowa: 195.4, MSU: 193.975, Ill: 193.375

Article by Emily Minehart

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