Elexis Edwards on floor

LIVE BLOG: No. 5 Denver at No. 17 Ohio State

Back for more in week two! We should be treated to a good meet in Columbus this afternoon, as the hot-starting Denver Pioneers visit the talented Ohio State Buckeyes. These teams put together very different performances in their first meets of the season, but both achieved rankings inside the top 20. Today, they’ll hope to show improvement and shake off any lingering jitters.

Denver enters this competition at No. 5, after breaking its school record for highest score in an opening meet with a 197.000 against San Jose State. The Pioneers also set record first meet scores on vault (49.225) and floor (49.350). Sophomore Rylie Mundell was sensational on vault and bars with a 9.925 and 9.900 respectively, and posted a big 39.450 in her career all around debut. The performance garnered her Big 12 Gymnast of the Week honors. Senior Lynnzee Brown started relatively slow, but finished her day with a dazzling 9.975 on floor to tie for No. 1 in the nation. We know she’s capable of massive scores on every event, so watch for her to make improvements here. While it’s clear that Denver will be a competitive team with last week’s lineups, expect some changes if health allows. Sophomore Jessica Hutchinson was limited to vault after competing all around for much of 2021, and neither freshman was included in a lineup. Look for Hutchinson, Mia Hebinck and Momoko Iwai to challenge for spots this week.

Ohio State held tight at Arkansas to open its season, but couldn’t overcome counting a 9.000 on bars and dropped the meet 195.025-195.400. Despite the loss, the Buckeyes claimed an individual title on each event with matching 9.875s. Junior Elexis Edwards won vault, senior Colby Miller won bars, junior Ella Hodges won beam and freshman Jenna Hlavach tied for the floor title. Ohio State’s team score was enough to raise it to No. 17 in the national rankings, up five spots from preseason. Considering the Buckeyes went 195+ while counting a major error, there is a ton of potential in this rising program. Look for them to push Denver as they make big improvements in their first home meet.

I can’t wait to watch the stunning gymnastics these two teams produce! Let’s get started!

Denver tentative lineups: https://twitter.com/DU_Gymnastics/status/1482453975290966017?s=20

Ohio Sate tentative lineups: https://twitter.com/OhioStateWGYM/status/1482459896176017409?s=20

Ohio State wearing one of my favorite white leos today! Check out my all-time top 15 here.

Rotation 1: Ohio State VT, Denver UB

Miller (OSU): Tough block on the Yurchenko full, very low and has to put her hands down. Not the first vault Ohio State was hoping for. 8.825

Ruiz (Denver): Nice handstand to start, its the Tkatchev, slightly off on the last handstand. Strong double layout with a stuck landing. Nice start for Denver! 9.775.

Grimes (OSU): Much better Yurchenko full, a bit piked down on the landing and takes a hop toward the table. 9.550.

Casali (Denver): I missed the first handstand (ah, BTN+), nice Shaposh, hits the last handstand. Good finish with the double layout dismount. Another solid routine. 9.825.

Jennings (OSU): Camera puts her out of frame so I couldn’t see the vault itself. Sizable hop back on the Yurchenko full. 9.800.

Sundstrom (Denver): Great first handstand. Nice form on the Tkatchev. Hits the handstand on the bail but is a tiny bit off on the pirouette. Slightly short on the final handstand but nails the double layout dismount. 9.750.

Hlavach (OSU): Yurchenko full on back pike off hit well! Just a small hop back. That is the only 10.0 start today. 9.825.

Glynn (Denver): First handstand right on top of the bar, hits the Geinger well. Hits the bail handstand well and nails the final handstand. Great form on the full-twisting double back dismount, just a small step. Should be a good score. 9.800.

Edwards (OSU): BEAUTIFUL Yurchenko full, gets super high in the air and flares out the twist. Just a tiny hop back! 9.875.

Mundell (Denver): Good first handstand. Huge Tkatchev and hits the bail handstand well. Good final handstand. Nails the double layout! 9.850.

Malas (OSU): Strong Yurchenko full, just a small hop back. Ohio State will be able to drop that first score and should be looking at a solid score in this rotation. 9.775

L. Brown (Denver): Slightly short on the first handstand, hits the Shaposh to Pak transition well. Good amplitude on the Shaposh half and hits the final handstand. Strong double layout but can’t hold onto the landing, takes a tiny hop forward. 9.850

AFTER ONE: Denver 49.100, Ohio State 48.825

Ohio State did a solid job on vault, but could have capitalized a bit more on the landings. Edwards did a great Yurchenko full for a 9.875 – that was certainly a highlight! Only Hlavach did a 10.0 start though, and it looks like Denver will be putting up three in the next rotation. The Buckeyes will have to have a great bars rotation if they want to keep pace. Denver started off strong with a 49.100, but didn’t get rewarded for its form and handstands as much as I was expecting. Mundell’s routine was great, maybe even as good as last week’s 9.900. Still the Pioneers missed a few of their landings, and will hope to bring the sticks throughout the next three rotations if they want to keep their strong national ranking.

Rotation 2: Denver VT, Ohio State UB

Iwai (Denver): Camera didn’t show her Denver debut (*facepalm*), but it sounds like a good Yurchenko full with a small hop back based on commentary. 9.750.

Schweitzer (OSU): Starts off with a good first handstand, hits the release move and the final handstand. Nice full pirouette into double tuck dismount. Nails the landing. Good first routine! 9.775.

Ruiz (Denver): Clean Yurchenko full with a hop back. 9.850.

Hlavach (OSU): Beautiful line on the opening handstand. Great form on the Geinger, a bit short on the last handstand. Hits the dismount. She’s really doing well in her freshman season! 9.800.

Sundstrom (Denver): High Yurchenko full with a bit of leg separation and a sizable hop back. 9.825.

Edwards (OSU): Perfect low bar handstand, great amplitude on the Shaposh, nails the final handstand. Blind full into double back with tight form. Only noticeable error is a small hop back. Great routine! 9.800.

Glynn (Denver): Tsuk full with a small hop back. Nice height and form in the air. 9.800.

Hankins (OSU): Slightly short on opening handsdtand. Sky high Yaeger and hits the bail transition. Better final handstand, slightly piked down on double layout dismount with a hop back. Looks to be a conference about her score. 9.700.

Mundell (Denver): Yurchenko one and a half with a deep landing and a hop back. Looked like she was going for the stick like last week but couldn’t get it this time. 9.750.

Miller (OSU): Long wait for her to start her routine. Hope it doesn’t affect her too much. Hits the opening handstand on the low bar, great Shaposh and bail transition. Hits the final handstand. Great form on the double layout but steps to the side, possibly takes a second step before the salute. 9.850.

L. Brown (Denver): Great one and a half in the air, another deep landing and a step back. Almost had the stick. 9.825.

Berger (OSU): Good start with the Shaposh and bail combo. Hits the high bar handstand, and keeps the form tight throughout the blind full to double back. Nails the landing! Wonderful first bar routine as a Buckeye! 9.850.

Rotation 2 Scores: Denver 49.050, Ohio State 49.075

AFTER TWO: Denver 98.150, Ohio State 97.900

Ohio State gained a tiny bit of ground on the Pioneers this rotation, with several strong bars routines I’m not sure were given the scores they deserved. Both teams had good form and hit handstands, so it’s surprising we saw no 9.9s on the event today! Denver had a chance to pull further ahead with its vault difficulty, but also had some hoppy landings. Still putting together a solid performance in its first road meet of the season. Should be a close second half!

Rotation 3: Ohio State BB, Denver FX

Schweitzer (OSU): Camera shows the mount but then decides to show the middle of the floor, but it sounds like she hit her front aerial to beat jump well. Does a strong leap combination and hits the acro series. Slight wobble on the full turn. Sticks the side aerial to tucked full dismount. 9.700.

Mabanta (Denver): One and a half to front layout with a controlled step forward. Hits the wolf turn but has trouble throwing her head back on the switch ring half. Finishes with a front layout to Rudi, nice landing. Good start but not quite the same as last week. 9.850.

Miller (OSU): Aggressive choreography to start. Scary looking fall on the bhs loso series, not sure if either of her feet were on the beam. Recovers well with a side aerial to split jump, slight bobble. Good side leap series. Hits the side aerial tucked full twist dismount, but Ohio State will want to drop that score. 8.850.

Ruiz (Denver): Another long wait before this routine. Other competitors trying to stay loose on the floor. Finally opens with a punch front through to double back, great landing. Switch leap to straddle quarter done well. Finishes with a clean double pike, chest a tiny bit low on landing and bounces back maybe a foot length. Great first floor routine of the year for her! 9.775.

Hankins (OSU): Beautiful bhs loso series to start. Kick over front to beat jump solid. Another good landing on the leap series. Finishes with a fantastic roundoff double twist with a stuck landing! Did about three complete routines on the mat during the delay. Looks like that paid off! 9.825.

Mundell (Denver): Sky high double pike with a step back, goes oob. Nice control on the leap pass. Front layout to front full. Knees buckle slightly but escapes with just a step forward. Finishes with a Rudi, much better landing there. 9.675.

Oliveros (OSU): Starts with a handstand mount, great control and flexibility. Solid full turn. Hits the side aerial to bhs series and the leap series. Front aerial to beat jump with no wobble. Finishes with a side aerial to layout full twist, just a small hop back! Ohio State recovering well after the early struggles. 9.825.

Glynn (Denver): Front tuck through to double back, good form and a controlled step on landing. Fantastic straddle leap series. Double pike to finish with a large step back. Good routine! 9.775.

Hodges (OSU): Standing switch to straddle three quarter hit well! Good bhs loso series with just a slight wobble. Gainer loso solid as a rock. Finishes with a roundoff one and a half, deep squat with a step back. Just about sat it down but good recovery considering her foot slipped off the beam. 9.800.

Thompson (Denver): Great double pike to start. Hits the straddle leap series well. Front layout punch Rudi, lands with a locked left leg and it makes her step to the side slightly. Another solid routine for Denver. 9.775.

Berger (OSU): Beautiful toe point on the side aerial to start. Bhs to loso series, slight wobble and the front foot lifts from the beam an inch or two. Solid through the leap series. Finishes with a split leap to side aerial full twist dismount. Sticks the landing! Saves the rotation as a freshman anchor. No big deal. 9.800.

L. Brown (Denver): Beautiful double layout to start with a controlled lunge back. One and a half to front layout to leap, perfectly done. Hits the leap series well and finishes with a sky high double pike. Another fabulous floor routine! Should be a huge score! 9.900.

Jennings (OSU, exhibition): Nice full turn to start. Unique series – a bhs ending with leg up, connected to a side aerial. Done well. Solid routine with a stuck cartwheel gainer full dismount. 9.750.

Rotation 3 Scores: Ohio State 48.875, Denver 49.075

AFTER THREE: Denver 147.225, Ohio State 146.775

A little bit of drama in this third rotation, after a fall on Ohio State’s second routine and a long delay on floor. Both teams did a great job adjusting, with Ohio State putting up four solid routines in a row, and Denver bringing its trademark clean tumbling. There were a few missed opportunities with Mundell going oob and some other large steps on landing, but the story of the day has been the conservative scoring I’ve seen for both teams. Brown’s floor was just about at the level of last week’s 9.975, and a few of the Ohio State beam routines were solid as a rock with great form on both acro and dance skills. Keep that in mind when we look at the final scores in a few minutes! Both teams are putting up some strong performances.

Rotation 4: Denver BB, Ohio State FX

L. Brown (Denver): Slight wobble on the kick over front but recovers well and makes the connected to bhs with no break. Beautiful full turn and hits the leaps well. Front aerial to wolf jump, no wobbles. Finishes with a gainer full off the side, nails the landing! Great first routine for the Pioneers! 9.925!

Gonzalez (OSU): Big double pike to start, close to the line but doesn’t go over. Front layout to front full, good landing there. Double wolf turn a tiny bit off, does the straddle leap series was done well. Finishes with a one and a half to front layout. much better routine than last week. Looks to be a judges’ conference – she didn’t receive credit for the wolf turn against Arkansas, and I wonder if that’s what they’re talking about today. 9.725.

Schlottman (Denver): Slightly off on the full turn. Another small wobble on the bhs loso series, but she fell on that last week so great to see her hit it today. Good control on the leap series and another side aerial. Finishes with a bhs gainer full off the side and nails the landing. Another solid routine! 9.775.

Warga (OSU): Opens with a two and a half punch front, great control and stays in bounds. Solid leap series and is enjoying the choreography in front of the home crowd. Front double full nice amplitude but under rotated, out of control on the landing and takes a big step. 9.725.

Mabanta (Denver): Nails the bhs loso series to start. Switch half to split leap, beautiful flexibility and there’s no question she’ll get credit. Back handspring to one and a half dismount, nails the dismount. Fantastic routine! 9.950!

Hlavach (OSU): HUGE piked full-in to start, takes an extra step but stays in bounds. One and a half to front layout much better control. Great leap series. Sky high double back to finish with a controlled lunge back. That’s going to be a fun routine to watch for the next four years. 9.800.

Ruiz (Denver): Switch side solid to start. Bhs loso series with no wobble, same for the full turn. Good side aerial into split jump, another solid landing. Ends with a gainer pike off the end, tiny hop back. Should be another solid score! 9.825.

Edwards (OSU): Unbelievable double pike to start, most of her goes out of frame. Big step back with a slide of the front foot though. Second pass better controlled, saves the one and a half to front layout from going oob. Great double back to finish, just about sticks the landing but takes a controlled step instead. 9.875.

Thompson (Denver): Side aerial to loso series, lands on one leg but just has a minimal wobble. Switch leap switch leap series solid. Good full turn. Finishes with a side aerial layout full off the end. Nails the landing! 9.900.

Hankins (OSU): Full-twisting double back to start, a bit under rotated and takes the step forward. Much better front layout to front full second pass. Finishes with a strong double back and a controlled step. Another good routine! Appreciate the difficulty Ohio State is bringing in its tumbling. 9.775.

Mundell (Denver): Nice flight on the bhs loso series, sizable wobble though. Another big wobble on the switch leap switch half. Kind of bounces on the beam. Smaller wobble on the side aerial. Finishes with a roundoff one and half, small hop back on the landing. A shaky routine for her, but Denver shouldn’t have to count that score. 9.500.

Gagliardi (OSU): Front layout punch Rudi to start, a bit off direction but good landing. Sky high on the leap series. Movie-themed choreography gets the crowd going. Big double pike to finish but has a deep landing and a large step back. 9.800.

Iwai (Denver, exhibition): Beautiful leap series to start, sizable wobble on landing. Nails the bhs loso series and the full turn. Moves with confidences and shows strong flexibility. Cartwheel gainer full off the side and nails the landing. Good first beam routine! 9.625.

Hodges (OSU, exhibition): Big double pike with a small step forward. Floats the Rudi punch loso. Tucks down on the one and half front layout but lands well. A good routine to finish her day. 9.700.

Rotation 4 Scores: Denver 49.375, Ohio State 48.975

FINAL RESULTS: Denver 196.600, Ohio State 195.750

A fantastic beam rotation for Denver closes things out, and gets the Pioneers into the upper half of the 196s. They were definitely off compared to last week’s routines, but produced another strong score that should help them maintain a strong ranking. Ohio State had a solid floor rotation ending a good day all around. The Buckeyes improved their score from last week by almost three-quarters of a point! It was exciting to see the freshman class contributing great scores and even anchoring events today. Ohio State will be a great team in 2022, but watch for them to climb even higher in the coming years.

Event Winners

VT: Edwards (OSU) 9.875

UB: It’s a four-way tie (2015 worlds vibes) between L. Brown (Denver), Mundell (Denver), Miller (OSU) and Berger (OSU) 9.850

BB: Mabanta (Denver) 9.950

FX: L. Brown (Denver) 9.900

AA: L. Brown (Denver) 39.500

Ryan’s Stories of the Day

Denver had some trouble with landing control on several events today, and overall lacked the polish it showed in last week’s meet. It could be due to the pressure in an early season road meet, or perhaps some of the training interruptions the team has experienced are starting to show. Sophomore Jessica Hutchinson was absent from all lineups this week, and the Pioneers would have loved to see her on at least floor and vault today. Emma Brown also did not compete, but that might be due to Ruiz’s all around return. It was great to see Iwai compete vault and do an exhibition on beam, but her fellow freshman Mia Hebinck has a great bars routine we still haven’t seen. For Ohio State, the story of the day was the solid underclassmen. Hlavach is going to be a great gymnast for the Buckeyes, and Berger did a great job on her two events. When form and landings get crisper, this team is going to be fantastic to watch!

Thank you for tuning in to my live blog for this week! I apologize for the video issues and some of the delays in scoring. It was great to watch these two teams jump further into their 2022 season!

READ THIS NEXT: LIVE BLOG: No. 8 Auburn at No. 15 Arkansas

Live blog by Ryan Wichtendahl

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