Happy Friday and happy meet day! I am absolutely THRILLED to be coming to you live from Maturi Pavilion, which is something I was not sure would be possible this season. To say that I am excited for this meet would be a very big understatement.
Minnesota is returning most of its outstanding 2020 roster and is poised to have another great season. The Gophers have looked competition-ready in training videos, with some seriously upgraded routines and a crop of freshmen who all look ready to contribute to lineups. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this squad is a potential swap in its strongest events. Bars and beam have typically been the stronger ones, but there is a case to be made for the opposite to be true in 2021. The Gophers have an upgraded vault line-up—adding (possibly) two 10.0 starts, with both freshman Mya Hooten and sophomore Halle Remlinger showing Yurchenko one and a halfs in intrasquad videos—bringing them up to five total. Similarly, the addition of Hooten on floor (and some upgrades from Remlinger and possibly senior Ona Loper) brings a much-needed power boost to that event as well.
Iowa also had a strong 2020 season, starting off a little shakier but quietly building momentum; it finished with a season high 196.750 in its final meet against West Virginia. The Hawkeyes are only losing one gymnast from the roster, and with the added boost of Clair Kaji coming back for a fifth season and JerQuavia Henderson returning from an Achilles injury, they are set to pick up right where they left off. Freshman Adeline Kenlin adds an exciting element to this roster as well, and I am eager to see where she will be contributing. Overall this team has a lot of potential, and this should be a spectacular season opener for both teams.
Guys I’m here! Can’t believe it. I got set up right as the second warm-up rotation was ending. I have a birds-eye view of all the events, but ID-ing people is a little tricky from up here.
They have a cleaning crew wiping down all the maps and apparatuses between each team; love to see that.
Well, the Minnesota chant was more of a round than a chorus – but still feels good to hear that in person again.
Minnesota debuts a new leo tonight:
We’ve got Iowa lineups!
Rotation 1: Minnesota Vault, Iowa bars
Gerdes (MN): FTY, hope back. 9.750
Rogers (IA): Toe on maloney, and she comes off. Pak was nice. Blind full to double back, deep knees on the landing and a hop forward. 8.950
Hooten (MN): Mya completely balked; I don’t know if her run was off or what. That was strange.
Henderson (IA): Beautiful first handstand. Toe on maloney, nice. Bail to handstand was LOVELY. Another great handstand. FTDT, hop back. 9.775
Ramler (MN): 1.5, some knees in the air, tiny hop forward. 9.850
Hartzler (IA): Good first HS, blind change to a piked jaeger, looked great. Blind full to double back, some wobby arms but solid landing. 9.750
Loper (MN): 1.5, tiny hop. Didn’t get as much pop as she has in the past, but a lovely vault nonetheless! 9.950
Kenlin (IA): Toe on maloney, some tiny leg sep. Pak was beautiful. Good final HS. Stuck her double back dismount. Lovely.
Quarles (MN): 1.5, landed a little short, hop back. 9.925
Greenwald (IA): Almost goes over on the first handstand, saves it. Tkatchev was good. Pak was nice and straight. DLO, “college stick” on the landing. 9.750
Koch (MN): a layout vault… unclear if that was Horak or Koch. 9.625
Kaji (IA): Beautiful straddled jaeger, pak was good (some leg sep). Great final HS. DLO stuck. 9.850
Scores are not updating for me; I will add that when I get them.
AFTER ONE: Minnesota 49.100, Iowa 49.000
Okay, that rotation was….weird. I don’t know what happened with Hooten, I’m not sure why they subbed in Koch for Horak last minute, either. They had plenty of folks warming up FTYs, so I’m not sure if Koch meant to only do the layout or if that was an error too? I have questions. Minnesota should be happy with that 49.100, considering the difficulties.
Iowa had a solid rotation once they got past the fall – they have some lovely routines on bars.
Rotation 2: Minnesota bars, Iowa vault
Greenwald (IA): FTY, hop back. 9.775
Montgomery (MN): Blind change to straddled jaeger to overshoot, solid, legs a little messy in the air. Little short on her last handstand. Double front dismount with a step to the side. 9.550
Vance (IA): FTY, big hop back. 9.725
Hooten (MN): Blind change to piked jaeger to overshoot, lovely. Last handstand looked good. Blind change to double front with a step back. Has to feel good to have that routine under her belt! Nicely done. 9.725
LaPlante (IA): FTY, looks like she really had to use her shoulders to bring that around. 9.750
Willmarth (MN): Toe on tkatchev, nice Bail to handstand was lovely – great position. Blind full to double back dismount ,stuck. Wow she got high on that. That was great. 9.875
Killian (IA): FTY, lots of distance, hop on the landing. 9.850
Loper (MN): Great first hs. Maloney to pak, lovely and floaty as always. Such good form. Good final HS. Blind full to stuck double back dismount. Fantastic. 9.925
Kenlin (IA): FTY, big hop back. 9.700
Sales (MN): Crisp handstand on her bail. Markleov, good – might have caught a little close. ALMOST held the stick on her DLO, but I don’t think the judges will give it to her. 9.825
Henderson (IA): Big FTY, flares out. Hop on the landing. 9.850
Ramler (MN): Maloney to pak, floaty and beautiful. Great HS. Van leeuwen lovely as always. FTDT stuck cold. That was fantastic. Wow, could see that getting a big score. 9.925
Gerdes did an exhibition here, but I unfortunately missed it.
AFTER TWO: Minnesota 98.400, Iowa 97.950
Well, Minnesota will be much happier with that rotation. Loper and Ramler were especially fantastic, as we have come to expect them to be. Hooten had a much better go of it on bars, I’m sure she is relieved to have a good routine under her belt before floor. Iowa also was mostly solid, with Henderson being the highlight for me – so much power on that FTY.
Rotation 3: Minnesota beam, Iowa floor
Sonier (MN): BHS LOSO, solid. Full turn, good. Beat jump, little short on her leap. Side aerial, slight balance check. BHSone armed BHS 1.5 dismount with a step. 9.850
Killian (IA): Triple, wow. front full front pike, good. Big double tuck to finish, mostly controlled. 9.825
Montgomery (MN): BHS LOSO, solid. Full turn controlled. Beat jump, straddle quarter, tuck jump. Front tuck with a hop. RO 1.5 stuck. 9.825
Greenwald (IA): Full in with a controlled lunge to start. Switch side Popa Popa, looked good. This music sounds like a movie trailer for a horror movie (Is it? Which one, if so?). I kind of dig it. two and a half punch front, great height on the twist. 9.900
Loper (MN): BHS LOSO, gorgeous. Front tuck to beat jump, a pause there not sure if they’ll give her the connection. Switch straddle quarter, good. RO 1.5, mostly stuck. 9.800
Castle (IA): RO double pike looked good. Wolf hop full to switch side wolf full, mostly controlled. Rudi good., little bouncy on the landing. One and a half front lay, good. 9.725
Korlin-Downs (MN): Lovely candle mount to start. BHS LOSO, totally controlled. Balance check on her switch leap. Split leap stag good. Side aerial to a full, stuck. 9.800
Kaji (IA): 1.5 through to double tuck, very nice. Front tuck into the corner, fun. Double pike, controlled lunge. Leaps looked a little short of 180 from here, but I don’t have the best vantage point for that. 9.925
They seem to still be deliberating about Korlin-Downs score, slight delay.
Sales (MN): BHS one armed BHS LOSO, arm check. Big balance check on her leaps. Gainer pike dismount, hop. 9.725
Guerin (IA): Huge full-in, pretty much stuck. Switch half Popa straddle. Punch front through to double back to finish.
Ramler (MN): BHS LOSO solid. Front aerial to wolf jump, great. I love how poised and confident she always is here. Beat jump ring leap, good – I’ve seen that ring look better. Side aerial back full stuck. I don’t think there was the score building for a 10 but it should be a great score nonetheless. 9.975
Henderson (IA): Holy full-in, she twists so fast. Temporarily distracted, one judge flashed a 10 for Ramler. Front tuck through to double back, hop on the landing. 9.825
Nylin exhibition on beam: balance check on the full turn. BHS BHS LOSO, solid. Leaps looked good.
AFTER THREE: Minnesota 147.650, Iowa 147.375
That was not the beam rotation that we are used to seeing from the Gophers; looked like there were some first-meet jitters, with uncharacteristic wobbles/balance checks from mostly everyone. Ramler came very close to a 10 – one judge did give it to her, and the screams temporarily distracted me from Henderson on floor (which is a shame, because she was a delight to see on that event!)
Iowa had an excellent floor rotation, scoring 49.425 – with Guerin’s 9.950 being the top score. They have some difficult tumbling passes, too! Super fun to watch.
SCORE UPDATE: They increased Korlin-Downs from 9.600 to 9.800.
Rotation 4: Minnesota floor, Iowa beam
Gilchrist (IA): BHS back pike, good. Some flexed feet. Split jump, stag, balance check. Cat leap, side aerial, another balance check. Full turn, good. Side somi, controlled landing. Gainer pike, seemed pretty close to the beam from this angle, but good landing. 9.575
Koch (MN): FHS double + punch front, landed a little short but saves it. Leap series looked good. Nice little RO + back full side pass. Finishes with a FHS + 1.5, controlled lunge back. 9.825
Nick (IA): BHS LOSO, solid. Cat leap to a front aerial to a beat jump, covered a balance check there. pretty well. RO 1.5 dismount with a hop. 9.775
Sonier (MN): Nice leap to start. Double pike, good height but lands a little short. Switch leap straddle, nice. Middle pass good. One and a half front lay to finish. Overall very solid. 9.800
Killian (IA): BHS LOSO, good. Punch front, tiny balance check but good. Leap series looked shy of 180. Big RO 1.5 dismount. 9.850
Fortman (MN): This routine was one that stood out to me at the intrasquad. Beautiful double turn. Front lay to 1.5, good. Nice floaty back LOSO side pass. Gorgeous ring leap. Finishes with a front lay + front full, not quite controlled on the step forward there. Overall beautiful routine, though. 9.850
Vance (IA): BHS LOSO, little arm check but good. Side aerial to two feet. Split leap straddle half, slight bobble. Side aerial tucked full dismount.
Hooten (MN): Oh she is right at home on the floor. Big full-in to start, nailed it. Crisp on her leap landings. FHS to front full to front lay, good. Finishes with a huge double tuck, controlled lunge. That was fantastic – she is going to be a blast to watch this year (I also see this becoming the anchor routine soon enough). 9.950
Kaji (IA): BHS LOSO, good. Cat leap side aerial, very solid. Leap series looked good. She’s beautiful to watch on this event. BHS gainer full dismount.
I think one judge went 10 for Hooten – there was a lot of screaming.
Ramler (MN): Ring full, good. Landed a little short on her double pike. Ring leap, very pretty. Second pass was nice and controlled. I love this music so much more than last years! It really suits her. Finishes with a 1.5 through to a double full. 9.800
Kenlin (IA): I am so excited to see Kenlin on beam finally! Balance check on her leap series. Front layout, nice. Full turn good. BHS BHS 1.5 dismount with a tiny hop. 9.825
Loper (MN): Front lay to front full, good. Beautiful ring leap. I also love this music for her. Second pass is a big RO 2.5. Great final pass. 9.950
FINAL: Minnesota 197.025, Iowa 196.450
All Around: Loper 39.625
Vault: Loper 9.950
Bars: Loper, Ramler 9.925
Beam: Ramler 9.975
Floor: Loper, Hooten, Guerin 9.950
Live blog by Kalley Leer
Like what you see? Consider donating to support our efforts throughout the year!