LIVE BLOG: Northern Illinois at Kent State

It’s already been a weekend filled with gymnastics, as most teams are now officially competing and off a bye—but I hope you’re settled in and ready to keep the party going because we have an exciting match up ahead!

Kent State enters this meet with the higher ranking from 2019, and historically has performed better in matchups against Northern Illinois (in fact, it has never lost to the Huskies at home). However, Northern Illinois is the defending MAC champion (upsetting Central Michigan in an exciting meet you can read more about here) and has been showing strong routines in intrasquads. I’d say this is about as evenly matched as it gets, and either team could come out as the victor.

The Golden Flashes narrowly missed qualifying to NCAA regionals in 2019, finishing just two spots shy of the top 36. The team did lose some big routines, but it has Nasha Manitkul-Davis returning from injury and a freshman class that is full of lineup potential. I’ll be very interested to see what freshmen are in lineups here—Karlie Franz and Rachel DeCavitch both competed double Arabians in J.O., an exciting addition to an already solid floor lineup.

Northern Illinois also lost a few key routines but has a strong freshmen class that has already shown that it can make an impact. At the intrasquad held in November, Brookelyn Sears tied sophomore Morgan Hooper for the all around title and is definitely someone who could go up on any event. I’d expect to see freshman Tara Kofmehl in some lineups as well.

The fun kicks off at 1 p.m. ET, and you can watch on the livestream here and see scores here.

Looks like Northern Illinois freshman Brookelyn Sears will be making her collegiate debut in the all around today. We will also be seeing freshmen Tara Kofmehl (three events) and Natalie Hamp (one event).


Kent State will also be showcasing their freshmen today – Rachel DeCavitch and Karlie Franz will be competing the all around, and Olivia Amodei will be competing on three events. 

Rotation One:  Kent State vault; Northern Illinois bars

Brown (Kent): FTY, looked a little low and had a hop on the landing. But a solid start for the Golden Flashes. 9.750

Sears (NIU): Missed the first part of this due to camera not showing her. Bail to handstand, short on the handstand. Good last handstand. FTDB dismount, hop on the landing. 9.775

Manitkul-Davis (Kent): Yurchenko half, big step to the side on the landing but pretty good body position in the air. 9.800. That seems a little high given the step. 

Welch (NIU): Giant full, some leg separation. Geinger, also some leg separation. DLO dismount, low on the landing and looks like she might have put her knee down. 9.350

Franz (Kent): FTY, bounce back, had a little too much power. But a solid vault. 9.725

Kofmehl (NIU): Straddle jaeger, nice. Form was loose on her bail. Double arabian dismount, low landing looked like she was putting her knee down but saved it. 9.425

Fletcher (Kent): FTY, not quite as clean as Franz but still nice. 9.775

Scores are not updating for me at all, so if I catch them on the feed I’ll include them. Hopefully the scores will update soon. 

Richardson (NIU): Blind change to straddle jaeger and she misses the bar and falls.  Pak salto, some leg separation. Giant full to double tuck dismount, hop on the landing. 8.900

Amodei (Kent): FTY, the best one yet. Pikes down just a little bit on the landing and there is a slight hop, but good. 9.775

Hamp (NIU): Comes over on her first handstand and is off the bar. NIU will be counting a fall now.  Big tkachev, and then it looks like she caught her left foot on the low bar and comes off again. Oof. Gets up again, giant full to a DLO dismount which was a nice way to end. 8.150

DeCavitch (Kent): FTY, landed weirdly straight and low at the same time and bounces forward. Almost looked like she locked her knees, which gives me anxiety. 9.675

They are having a conference about Hamp’s score, I think – debating start value due to the falls. Things are held up.

Hooper (NIU):  Long wait for her, that has to be hard mentally. But looks like we’re finally going. Fiant full to geinger, little lose on the legs. FTDB dismount, really close to the bar but it was a hit routine and that is what they needed.  9.825

Lindway (Kent – EXH): FTY, little pike down but solid. 

Roman (NIU – EXH): Toe on tkatchev. Bail to handstand, some leg separation. Little short on the final handstand. FTDB dismount with a step. 9.500

Klein (Kent – EXH): FTY, some messy legs in the air and lands a little low. 

Gomes (NIU – EXH): Blind change to piked jaeger and was just way to far away from the bar and comes off. Nice position in the air, though. Bail to low bar, lots of leg separation. DLO dismount, leg sep and flexed feet. 8.150

AFTER ONE:  Kent State 48.825; Northern Illinois 47.275

That was a rough rotation for the Huskies, there is no way around that. Counting a fall is never ideal, and they got hit pretty hard for some low landings and putting knees down, along with other form issues and such as well. Lots to improve on over the coming weeks. The falls and landings we can hopefully just contribute to first meet jitters, I have no doubt they will look stronger on this event moving forward.

Kent had a solid vault rotation – definitely things to work on with landings and body position but they have a solid roster of Yurchenko fulls (including the two exhibitions) and a nice Yurchenko half from Mantikul-Davis as well.  

Rotation Two:  Kent State bars; Northern Illinois vault

Roman (NIU): I think she just went but the stream has not cut away from the ads, so I missed it. 9.525

Amodei (Kent): Giant full to a tkachev. Bail to handstand, nice position. Giant half can’t quite make it and drops to an extra swing – but stays on the bar. Small hop on the dismount.  9.025

Sears (NIU): FTY, bent knees and low on the landing with a step to the side. 9.625

Iannuzzo (Kent): Tkachev, nice. Bail to handstand, good position on the handstand but opens early and comes off.  Dang, bars is rough for everyone today. Gets back on, GORGEOUS last handstand, DLO dismount a little piked. 9.150

Schroeder (NIU): FTY, mostly stuck landing. 9.775

Trott (Kent): Blind change to jaeger, nice. Big DLO, travels a good yard away from the bar, but lands a little short and has to take a step back. 9.750

Hooper (NIU): Tucked yurchenko full, looked a little low off the table. 9.550

Franz (Kent): Weiler kip to geinger, hands slip and she falls.  Kent will also be counting a fall now. Overshoot, some legs. Back up to the high bar, DLO with some flexed feet but mostly stuck.  8.900

Kofmehl (NIU): Yurchenko half, nice body position but lands ever so slightly short. 9.800

DeCavitch (Kent): Maloney to pak, nice. Some legs but solid. Great last handstand. Stuck DLO dismount. THAT was a nice routine and exactly what they needed. 9.675. Interesting. Given the routines that went higher I’m wondering if it was a start value issue.

Welch (NIU): FTY, some legs and pikes down but mostly stuck landing. 9.750

Looks like the judges are conferencing about DeCavitch’s score.

Brown (Kent): Weiler kip, tkachev, nice. Bail to handstand, ever so short on that. DLO dismount with a step forward. 9.775

Lord (NIU – EXH): Yurchenko laoyout with a hop back. 

Someone is doing an exhibition for Kent – Gabby Williams I think. 

AFTER TWO:  Kent State 96.200; Northern Illinois 95.775

I think both teams are very happy to have bars behind them. It seemed to cause problems for everyone today, with both teams are counting a fall and scoring far below what they are capable of. Northern Illinois bounced back with a strong vault rotation, however, which had to feel good after a rough start.

Rotation Three:  Kent State beam; Northern Illinois floor

Klein (Kent): Controlled full turn. BHS LOSO, solid. Very controled on her leap series, but not quite 180. Side aerial to sissone, nice. Gainer full twist dismount. Some slight balance checks and form but a great start for them. 9.725

Hooper (NIU): Double back to start with a controlled step back. Round off 1.5 punch front layout, some leg form in the air but pretty good. Leap series was good. I’m going to be honest I am terrible at identifying leaps so apologies in advance. Double pike to finish. Solid start. 9.650

Amodei (Kent): BHS LOSO, very controlled. Cat leap to front toss, leg comes up. Full turn and a shimmy, I like it. Punch front tucked full twist with a step on the dismount. Thats unique, I can’t think of anyone else doing that dismount. 9.700

Sears (NIU): Double pike on the first pass, mostly controlled step back. I think this music is “Run Boy Run” by Woodkid and I LOVE IT. Round off 1.5 punch front layout, nice. Double back to finish.  9.725

Franz (Kent): BHS LOSO bends at the hips but saves it. Front toss to beat jump. Switch leap to switch side. RO 1.5 dismount with a little hop. 9.700

Welch (NIU): DLO to start, hops forward but this is the level of tumbling I expect to see from NIU. Wolf 1/1, mostly controlled. Looked away and missed the second tumbling pass. Finishes with a double pike. 9.650

Danielson (Kent): Front aerial to a back tuck, wow. Little crooked but saved it. That is not an easy (nor common) acro series. Front toss, little bobble. Switch leap switch leap, nice. BHS LOSO full twist dismount. Damn! That was packed with difficulty and fun to watch. 9.750

Richardson (NIU): Front layout 1.5 to start, nice. RO 1.5 punch layout for the second pass I think, was slightly blocked. Leap series was solid. A little short on her double pike to finish.

DeCavitch (Kent): Very cool mount, one armed planche. Front toss to beat jump, nice. BHS LOSO, very floaty but had some knees in the air. Little short of 180 on her switch half to beat jump. BHS 1.5 dismount. 9.775

Kofmehl (NIU): Big double pike to start. Beautiful split leaps. RO back 1.5 punch front layout for the second pass, controlled.  Double back dismount, step back a little bouncy. 9.750

Fletcher (Kent): Cat leap to front aerial to beat jump. BHS LOSO, great height on that. Cat leap to switch side. Inward full turn, and then front aerial to front full dismount. 9.700

Bartemio (NIU): DLO to start, controlled step back. Could see leg separation from this camera angle but don’t know if judges can. Leap series was solid. Front layout front layout for the second pass. Double back to finish, with a death drop. 9.650

Two exhibitions on beam for Kent. They are still debating Fletcher’s score. 

Looks like its 9.700 for Fletcher

AFTER THREE:  Kent State  144.800; Northern Illinois 144.225

Both teams had a good rotation here – floor is certainly where Northern Illinois shines, and they already are demonstrating some E level passes. Impressive for it being their first meet. Kent also had a great beam rotation, with some really unique skills and dismounts especially. Lots of little balance checks and form issues but no major mistakes for anyone so I think both teams are mostly happy with how things went in the third rotation. 

Going into the last rotation Northern Illinois trails Kent by over half a point, so unless there are major issues for the Golden Flashes on floor, I think it will be hard for the Huskies to catch them. 

The all around appears to be a battle of freshman: Brookelyn Sears (NIU) and Rachel DeCavitch (Kent) are currently tied going into the final rotation.

Rotation Four:  Kent State floor; Northern Illinois beam

Bidde (NIU): Missed the first part of this, refilling my water!  BHS LOSO mostly solid. Switch leap switch side, nice. Front aerial to front full dismount. 9.800

McCarty (Kent): Oh she has some sass and I like it. Big double pike, almost had too much power on the landing but manages to keep it inbounds. Punch front full punch front full for the second pass, crooked but again keeps it in bounds. This music is very dramatic. Double back to finish, chest is a little low on the landing. 9.675

Sears (NIU): BHS LOSO, very solid. Side aerial, controlled. Leg comes up on the full turn. Wolf jump switch side. BHS 1.5 dismount. Short and sweet. 9.650

Manitkul-Davis (Kent): Double pike to start, nearly stuck. Took the step back but didn’t need it. Front layout to front full and sits it down. Very controlled leap series. Finishes with double back, lands very low. 8.850

Schroeder (NIU): BHS BHS LOSO, very nice. I love a triple series. Legs a little short of 180 on her leap series. RO front 1.5 dismount, stuck with a lean forward.  9.825

DeCavitch (Kent): Huge arabian double front for her first pass, too much power and stumbles completely out of bounds. That will be at least a 3 tenth deduction I think. Punch front RO BHS double back for her second and final pass. There’s a lot of debate about 2 pass routines, but those are both extremely difficult passes. 9.525

Hooper (NIU): BHS LOSO, mostly controlled. Straddle half, nice. Cat leap switch side, solid. RO front 1.5 dismount, a little low. 9.700

I’m wondering if Sears may not have started that routine out of a 10.

Franz (Kent): HOLY STUCK arabian double front. WOW. And we lost her with the camera so I think she did some leaps but I didn’t see them. She looks THRILLED right now, I don’t blame her. Punch 1.5 to back LOSO, that was unique and fun. 9.725. That seems a little low to me. 

Richardson (NIU): BHS LOSO, controlled. Tiniest balance check after the full turn. Cat leap front toss, bends at the waist to keep her balance. BEAUTIFUL leap series, well above 180. Love to see it. BHS 1.5 dismount, little hop. 9.775

Brown (Kent): Double pike to start, slightly uncontrolled step back. Front layout front 1.5, that was very high. She has a lot of power. Double back to finish, nearly stuck. 9.825

Lord (NIU): Very pretty mount. Front aerial to BHS LOSO, nice. Full turn, controlled. Missed the back half of this but looked like a solid dismount and great routine based on the reaction of her team. 9.850

Fletcher (Kent): Lands her DLO very low, saves it but barely. The judges could possibly count that as her knee down depending on the angle. RO 1.5 to punch half, some legs but nice. 9.425

AFTER FOUR:  Northern Illinois 193.175; Kent State 193.025

WOW, thanks to a great beam rotation Northern Illinois just manages to slip by Kent to take the win for the first time EVER with Kent as the home team. That is impressive, and I’ll be honest I didn’t see that happening going into the final rotation. 

Not the best meet for either team, and lots to work on – but all in all it was a very solid showing for the freshmen. Brookelyn Sears wins the all around with a score of 38.775 and has proven that she will likely be an all around competitor week after week for the Huskies. Kent freshmen Karlie Franz and Rachel DeCavitch DID in fact compete their double arabians and they were fantastic, despite DeCavitch having a little too much power on hers. It’s lovely to see such difficult tumbling, especially this early in the season. 

Of note: Northern Illinois freshman Tara Kofmehl would have tied Sears if her beam exhibition routine had counted (9.800). 

Final Results: 

All Around: Brookelyn Sears (NIU) 38.775
Vault: Tara Kofmehl (NIU) and Nasha Mantikul-Davis (Kent) 9.800
Bars: Morgan Hooper (NIU) 9.825
Beam: Mia Lord (NIU) 9.850
Floor: Tara Kofmehl (NIU) 9.750

Live blog by Kalley Leer

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