LIVE BLOG: No. 17 Illinois and No. 22 Maryland at Rutgers

Guess who’s back, back again? ……….. Rutgers is back! Hopefully?

The Scarlet Knights skipped what was meant to be a tri meet last weekend in Ann Arbor due to COVID and will make their season debut today in what was meant to be a dual versus Illinois until Maryland crashed it due to Michigan State cancelling on Maryland also due to COVID. Following? Good. Everything is fine.

After one meet apiece, Maryland and Illinois both look like potentially great teams with stuff to work on. Maryland counted one fall apiece on bars and beam, which made an unusable team score out of one of the best vault/floor combinations of the whole 2021 season. That’s not a problem as long as those leg event landings are replicable. Illinois vault is as crunchy and sad as always, but there’s time to improve that, and the raw materials are in place to make bars and floor exceptional.

As for Rutgers, we really have no idea beyond the magic that we know Belle Huang and Hannah Joyner can create. The Scarlet Knights add one of the country’s biggest and most confusing freshman classes for 2021, and I don’t dare speculate what it will produce. Expect unfamiliar names and a touch of chaos with flashes of beauty in between.

Rotation 1: Rutgers VT, Illinois UB, Maryland BB

Zanella (RU): Yurchenko layout, pretty, hop in place. 9.575

We’ve spent a LONG time watching Ross get ready to vault while other teams are competed. Nasty feeling this is going to be effectively a Rutgers-only feed.

Ross (RU): Tuck on, full off BARELY on her feet. Watched her crash a couple in meet warm up and that was extremely low and forward but kept her hands off the ground. 9.425 from a 10.0 start.

Weir (UMD): Fragment routine, switch straddle 1/4 good, full turn. Cat leap to switch side, BHS 1.5 where we couldn’t see her feet but it looked solid. 9.525

Balser (RU): Probably meant to be a FTY but soft knees and tucked down aggressively with a big side step. 9.55

Rouse (UMD): BHS LOSO, check, switch with another check to straddle 1/4. That won’t be credited as a series.

Newman (RU): FTY, hop and step back. Overpowered but much prettier than the others so far, though still a touch of pike down. 9.7

Ferguson (RU):  FTY piked throughout and low chest, hop forward. 9.5

Huang (RU): FTY with leg separation but decent dynamics, medium hop. 9.6

Silberman (UMD): Switch to LOSO with a little lean, more routine fragments here, I’m really doing my best. BHS LOSO tentative but clean, switch straddle 1/4. One and a half dismount stuck-ish.

We did not see a BIT of UIUC in that rotation but the Illini actually cruised while the other two teams had problems.

McClure (UMD): Front aerial BHS, super secure, super confident, switch straddle 1/4. Terps like that combo. Full turn, kickover front to split maybe a bit tentative, step-in Rudi.  9.825 okayyy

Barber (UMD): Front aerial with a bit of form to beat, BHS LOSO with a bit of an adjustment. Kickover front, switch split maybe slightly tentative on the splits, scoot back on the double full dismount. 9.825

After 1: Illinois 49.000, Maryland 48.400, Rutgers 47.925

Would really have liked to see some Illinois bars here. I wrote down everything I saw. This is just one of those super annoying feeds. They really ought to stick with a stationary camera where you can see the whole arena if they don’t intend to show other teams.

Rotation 2:

Drauss (RU): Blind to Jaeger, pretty solid, Pak with flexed feet and a switch kip. Slightly shy on all her cast handstands, leg flicker on the slow blind full and a double back with a hop. Very solid start. 9.7

Doherty-Herwitz (RU): Missed the first handstand, blind to Jaeger with some foot form and falls. Messy overshoot, blind full double back OK with a hop. 8.55

Newman (RU): Hindorff, overrotated and falls. Clear hip to bail, pretty good with just a touch of feet, switch kip on the high bar! to half turn to double back. 8.7

McClure (UMD): Long lunge in her double tuck. That’s literally all we get to see. I can’t get the live score to work either. 9.8

Oh, we’re back. Tour jete half Popa, well landed. Gone again.

Huang (RU): Shy on first handstand, toe on to bail with a bit of leg sep. Missed another handstand, pretty Tkachev, blind full double back with a little hop. 9.625

Noonan (UIUC): Switch LOSO pretty good, that’s literally all we got from this routine. 9.775

Balser (RU): Missed first handstand, blind to slightly dumpy Jaeger, missed another handstand, pretty double lay almost stuck. 9.775

Rouse (UMD): Scooted her front foot on the double back. Think that was the last pass. 9.85

Karolewski (RU): Clear hip to Ray, so pretty. Missed a handstand, low on the bail as well, double lay underrotated with a step forward. 9.65

Scott (UIUC): Split jump. That’s all we’ve got today, folks. 9.7

Takekawa (UIUC): Side aerial BHS, bit of an adjustment. Split LOSO great, she’s adjusting well for direction imprecisions in the air. Full turn a bit awkward, BHS gainer full really good. 9.825

Barber (UMD): Good full in, one and a half front pike well landed. Popa Popa great. Double back, hop to lunge. 9.85

After 2: Illinois 97.925, Maryland 97.525, Rutgers 95.475

This has the potential to be a really great total for Illinois. Takekawa threw away a great score with that full turn check, but I can live with it. Maryland looks less sharp but more resilient than last week. This meet also doesn’t count for Maryland’s conference record since it joined the competition late, so no one will be crying over losing to Illinois.

Rutgers is showing some good stuff but will be really, really pleased to have Joyner back. 

Rotation 3: 

Mueller (UIUC): Score graphic and commentators both think her surname is Miller but I KNOW THE TRUTH. Landed her double back third pass with her actual face. Think she’s good but owie. 8.875

Ewald (UIUC): Front double full, underrotated but stuck with a bit of knee swivel. All’s well that ends well I guess. Slightly indistinct leaps. Rudi LOSO with a shuffle forward. and we’re cutting to Rutgers beam. 9.7

Ferguson (RU): BHS LOSO, touch of knees. Switch to switch side 1/4, one of my favorite leaps. Full turn and one-arm BHS to 1.5 dismount with form and a step.

Newman (RU): Kickover front beat jump, two-foot BHS to LOSO! That has some oomph. Split split 3/4, position issue on that. Gainer full piked down but stuck.

Drauss (RU): BHS LOSO underrotated with major bend check. Pretty leaps, full turn, side aerial back full stuck.

Noonan (UIUC): Front lay to Rudi, great landing. Switch ring to cat leap 3/2, now we’re watching a Rutgers judging conference. 9.875

Scott (UIUC): Switch ring tour jete half. Okay, bye Shaylah Scott. Just kidding we’re back! I think we missed two tumbling passes though just to watch Stephanie Zanella stand around. Never mind back to Zanella. 9.775

Zanella (RU): Switch ring to beat, not the best position but okay, BHS LOSO with a lean. Gorgeous penche, beat side aerial back full with a little right foot shuffle. Good! Especially after how long she was iced by the judges beforehand. 9.775

Doherty-Herwitz (RU): Slowww on her front aerial side aerial series. Beat split 3/4, borderline creditable, split clearly not there. Orphan split jump, gainer full low but stuck. 9.675

Huang (RU): Jump to split gorgeous, cat leap side aerial swing through front aerial is SMOOTH. That is a dangerous series and she nails it on the regular. Lovely side scale hold, good leaps. double full dismount nailed. Rockstar. 9.875

After 3: Illinois 147.100, Maryland 146.300, Rutgers 144.350

The status quo of this meet has been pretty clear from the first few routines. Illinois might fall out of cruise control with vault, its worst event, coming up here. Maryland counted a fall on bars last week and also might experience mild pain. 

Rotation 4: 

Zanella (RU): Double back, solid, is she using ORGAN music? Back double full with a bounce, sat her front full. 

Powe (UIUC): FTY, twisting onto the table and lands on her knees. Yeah, these things happen on Illinois vault.

Daniels (RU): Double back, cowboyed but around. Arched down aggressively on her 1.5 to front lay. 

Balser (RU): Near-stuck double back, some clear split issues on her leaps.

Newman (RU): Sorry, feed cut out and I missed a couple routines here.

Apparently Illinois counted a fall on vault, which is sorta classic.

Wood (RU): Front double full, underrotated with a squishy lunge forward, apparently close to the line. I think she was meant to do a Rudi LOSO but what we got instead was a Rudi BHS with one bent leg.

Huang (RU): Front double full, good Rudi. Her usual stuff. Good way to drop a fall.

FINAL: Illinois 195.425, Maryland 195.300, Rutgers 192.500

Progress for Maryland from last week. Less clean in the little details but also less counted falls, which adds up to a substantial improvement. Illinois would have gone 196 without the counted vault fall, which is frustrating but fixable. Rutgers looked more like 2019 Rutgers than 2020 Rutgers, which is to say that there was clear potential but also some routines that need to not be in lineups. Joyner needs to be back next week. Things will look a lot better then.

Live blog by Rebecca Scally

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