LIVE BLOG: No. 9 Michigan at No. 5 Utah

It’s the second matchup of the season in which we’re seeing perennial title favorite Utah go up against a team it doesn’t normally (except during postseason). It’s like getting a solar and a lunar eclipse in one year!

Michigan is riding high following last week’s huge team score of 197.750, capped off by Natalie Wojcik’s long anticipated 10.0 on vault. The team’s momentum has slowly been increasing, and last week was as good an argument as any for Michigan’s rightful place in the nationals conversation.

The Wolverines will need all that momentum and more this afternoon in Salt Lake City, where they’ll be going up against Utah in its always boisterous Huntsman Center. Utah has been consistent all season long, and though last week’s season high score of 197.625 wasn’t enough to top UCLA, it should very much be on par with what we should expect from Michigan today. That, coupled with what’s sure to be a loss-fueled sense of motivation, should make Utah an even more formidable opponent.

Waiting on lineups for Utah. It’s senior day here, and they did their senior celebration before the meet rather than afterwards as is usually customary.

ROTATION 1: Utah VT / Michigan UB

Lee VT (Utah): Flared yfull stuck, chest slightly down. Legs bent a little but good distance. 9.925

Mariani UB (UM): Great first handstand, big Tkatchev to start. Legs ever so slightly apart on the bail. Full-in stuck, some legs. 9.850

Roberts VT (Utah): Another flared yfull, looks like it was stuck. But I’m seeing a tiny step now. Still, great first two to go! 9.875

Maxim UB (UM): Tkatchev, good. Perfect legs on the bail, beautiful lines. DLO stuck but some weird form in the first flip. 9.825

Burch VT (Utah): Another stuck yfull. Legs a little separated and lands that way too, but a stick for sure this time. 9.800

Farley UB (UM): Beautiful first handstand. Piked Jaeger caught a bit close. Hit last handstand. Cowboyed double front with a little hop forward. 9.775

Merrell-Giles VT (Utah): Stuck 1.5 legs a little apart, can’t hold onto the stick and salutes forward. Still should score decently well. 9.950…a tad high.

Karas UB (UM): Great swing on the Maloney to bail. Good last handstand. DLO with a tiny hop. 9.925

Skinner VT (Utah): Chest a little bit down but a stick. One of her better ones this season. Let’s see what we get this week with the score. 9.950.

Brenner UB (UM): Caught the Jaeger a little close, arched handstand. Bail is better. DLO legs apart in the second flip, pretty much a stick. 9.775

Tessen VT (Utah): Didn’t get a great block on this 1.5, lands with knees pretty bent and has to stumble to the side. Unfortunate end. 9.750

Wojcik UB (UM): Best Jaeger of the bunch. A little off on the last handstand. DLO almost a stick but has to take a step back. 9.825

After 1: Utah 49.500 / Michigan 49.200

Utah tied its season high on vault tonight, and that was well-deserved after those sticks. Michigan wasn’t exactly off on bars, but there were just enough tiny errors to keep it below the Utes.

ROTATION 2: Utah UB / Michigan VT

Change to the lineup with Heiskell up instead of Mariani!

Um, scratch that actually…here goes Mariani.

Mariani VT (UM): Yfull, some leg separation but stuck. 9.900

Lee UB (Utah): Great piked jaeger to bail. Last handstand a little short. Double tuck legs nicely together with a step forward. 9.800

Maxim VT (UM): Really solid Tsuk half. Some legs on the landing and a tiny step forward, but very dynamic. 9.825

Tessen UB (Utah): In for Dula today. Big jaeger. Full-in looked stuck but she had to hop back. 9.875

Brenner VT (UM): Legs apart on the landing and a hop forward on her 1.5. 9.825

Merrell-Giles UB (Utah): Jaeger so high above the bar. Stuck full-in, didn’t look like she’d hold it but she did! 9.925

McLean VT (UM): Drilled her full, chest just a bit down but overall really good form. 9.90

Reinstadtler UB (Utah): Good Jaeger. Nice toe point and handstands. Another stuck full-in. Utah really didn’t come to play with these landings today! 9.925

Karas VT (UM): 1.5 stuck with a little lean back, almost holds it but steps out with the stick. Good score to come. 9.925

Skinner UB (Utah): Tkatchev a little close. Legs glued together today. Last handstand a tiny bit short. Some legs in the air on the full-in but sticks the landing again. 9.925

Wojcik VT (UM): Another 10 this week? Nope, 1.5 with a step forward. Controlled but not her usual stick today.

Stats down for those following at home, apparently.

Looks like Utah is scratching Burch on bars.

After 2: Utah 98.950 / Michigan 98.255

We have a tight one today!

ROTATION 3: Utah BB / Michigan FX

You don’t really think of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” as gymnastics meet pump up music, but that’s playing in Hunstman rn. Props to whoever made the playlist.

Lee BB (Utah): Good series to begin. Switch straddle half with a little check. Couldn’t see her feet but looks like a stick on that back full. 9.900

Funk FX (UM): Double pike, stumbles out but stays in, barely! Front full to front lay much better. Straddle leaps are good. Front 1.5 a little stumble out. Improved after the first pass. 9.775

Burch BB (Utah): Series looked good. Great position on the leaps and a perfect landing on the side leap. Stuck dismount. 9.900

Does every Utah gymnast have TSwift beam music? We shall see (haven’t watched Utah at home this year so don’t spoil for me in the comments :))

Osman FX (UM): Full-in looks effortless, lunges out with her chest down. Front tuck through to double pike, chest down again. Front Rudi was her best pass. 9.900

Soloski BB (Utah): TSwift again! I knew it was a theme. Front aerial to BHS. Split series nice. Front full into sissone, that was a bit tenatative. Front fall with a slight hop. 9.725

Brenner FX (UM): Full-in, great landing! Back 2.5 to punch front. I think I missed her leaps. Double pike really high but chest down. 9.875

Randall BB (Utah): Love her mount so much. BHS LOSO with the tiniest check. Sheep jump not quite high enough today. Great leaps. Perfect Rulfolva. Back double full to dismount, has to step back. 9.850

McLean FX (UM): Huge double tuck to open! This part of the music has to be in 50% of NCAA routines every year. FHS to front lay to front full. Dynamic straddle leaps. Big double pike to end. She gets the HEIGHT. 9.825

Merrell-Giles BB (Utah): Gorgeous position on the switch split. BHS BHS LOSO with one little check. Back 1.5 with a little step back. 9.850

Wojcik FX (UM): Chest down but stuck double pike. Never heard trap flute music before, let alone in a floor routine. Front double full to front pike textbook gorgeous. Front Rudi to straddle jump to end. Really good one. 9.900, could’ve gone a bit higher TBH.

Skinner BB (Utah): Trying to drop the 9.7 range score from Soloski. Bent legs on the BHS LOSO and a tiny check. Side aerial to split jump, legs not quite 180. Those second leaps were much better. BIG double tuck to end, I think it’s a stick?

Ooof, crowd is booing Skinner’s score. Not sure what exactly it was. It was a 9.850. Not sure how much higher they wanted? I wouldn’t top 9.9.

Karas FX (UM): Double arabian pretty cowboyed, a little step forward. Didn’t catch full middle pass but a great landing that time. I actually really like the techno Sinatra music to end. Open double pike to end. 9.925

After 3: Utah 148.300 / Michigan 147.950

It’s still anyone’s meet at this point! Utah was a bit more tentative than usual on beam, but Michigan came through with some nice landings on floor. Let’s keep at it!

ROTATION 4: Utah FX / Michigan BB

Jim talking about Kyla Ross: “Molecular cell and development major, whatever that is” 😂

Farley BB (UM): Triple series, bang on! Good flexibility on the lips. Unique 1.5 turn and she did it well. Side aerial to dismount, this one not as extended. Stuck the dismount. 9.925

Just heard Michigan’s score was adjusted. Wolverines now down by just three tenths!

Roberts FX (Utah): Punch front Rudi, so floaty! Double pike chest down a little. Nice back 1.5 to front lay to end. First of the last Huntsman performances for the Utah seniors on floor. 9.925

Jim is really too funny. “College is the fastest four years of your life…or for me, 9 years. True story!”

Osman BB (UM): Series a little off. Punch front with a check. Dismounts with a gainer full, stuck I believe! 9.725.

Thank you, Amanda, for giving us at least until the fourth rotation for the 4 inch beam reminder.

Lee FX (Utah): Big 2.5 to arabesque. Front lay to front full. Back double full to back LOSO. 9.925

According to commentators, she’s getting married this summer!

Karas BB (UM): Beautiful series. Split jump to pike jump series really good too. Just a little check on the full turn. Back full with a stick. Her best beam I’ve seen this season, dang! 9.925

Randall FX (Utah): Excellent full-in chest down. Back 1.5 to front lay with a step forward. Double pike! 9.850

Mariani BB (UM): Front full very decisive. Beautiful leaps. BHS LOSO with a small check. Back 1.5 little step forward. 9.775

Soloski FX (Utah): Gorgeous double layout, best I’ve seen from her in awhile. Back double full, nice landing. Like the front aerial choreo. Back 1.5 to punch front. Excellent! 9.925

Funk BB (UM): Lovely series. Straddle leap with a big check. Switch full, much better. Back full dismount with a tiny step. 9.800.

Pressure on Wojcik now.

Merrell-Giles FX (Utah): Piked full-in, really nice. 1.5 to front lay to front pike, effortless as well. Back rudi to straddle jump. That will be huge. 9.925.

Wojcik BB (UM): BHS LOSO with the tiniest check. Side aerial to BHS. Missed landing but looked good. 9.900.

Skinner FX (Utah): Double double, not her best landing. Full-in chest down. 9.975.

Looks like Utah will take the win!

FINAL: Utah: 197.975 / UM 197.350 

Live blog by Katherine Weaver

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