LIVE BLOG: Big Five with No. 11 Nebraska, No. 24 Ohio State, No. 28 Maryland and No. 30 Illinois at No. 46 Michigan State

It is Big Five weekend in the Big Ten! The top three teams from this meet will land in the night session of Big Ten Championships next weekend. The other three seeds for the championship will be the top three finishers from the other Big Five meet at Rutgers later today. The remaining four teams will compete in the afternoon session next weekend.

This is going to be an exciting one; Nebraska and Ohio State are likely to easily place in the top three, and Michigan State is likely out and will be in the afternoon session next weekend. Maryland and Illinois should battle for the final night session spot. Both teams have similar high and low scores this year. Maryland tends to hit big scores at home and struggle away while many of Illinois’ best scores have come on the road. Illinois has a slightly higher season high than Maryland (196.700 to 196.575), so it has a slight edge. Seeding for next weekend only depends on what happens here today, though, so anything can happen. That is especially true because of the draw for this meet: Illinois will end on a bye while Maryland vaults in the final rotation!

Some exciting routines to keep an eye on:

  • Sienna Crouse (Neb.) – Vault: Look for her big Yurchenko 1.5, which she has a canny knack for sticking. Crouse is ranked No. 6 on the event.
  • Taylor Houcin (Neb.) – Bars: while injured early in the season, Houchin was a bar specialist and has perfected her routine. Look for gorgeous lines and toes.
  • Alexis Mattern (tOSU) – Vault: Mattern has a massive handspring pike half. Sometimes it is almost laid out. She has struggled with it a bit this year, but when she hits, it is a must-see routine.
  • Jamie Stone (tOSU) – Floor (and her beam dismount): Stone is a gorgeous twister. Keep your eye on her round off 2.5 dismount on beam and her stellar floor.
  • Audrey Barber (MD) – Floor: The freshman has huge power and a massive full-in first pass.
  • Alecia Farina (MD) – Vault: Farina is an excellent all arounder, and she has a huge Yurchenko full that she can stick cold.
  • Rae Balthazor (Ill.) – Bars: Watch for what might be the highest Tkatchev in the Big Ten
  • Bridget Hodan (Ill.) – Beam: Hodan’s lines are lovely, and her cat leap to Illusion turn is a special highlight.
  • Hailee Westney (MSU) – Bars: Westney has a big, clean bar set highlighted by a toe on and front half dismount
  • Anne Maxim (MSU) – Vault: Maxim vaults a Tsuk half, and when she hits. it is lovely.

A note about BTN: It is very unlikely we’ll get to see every (or even most) routines. Expect a lot of Nebraska and highlighted routines thrown in. I’ll blog everything I see, but unfortunately there won’t be four event streams, so we will certainly miss some of the action.

If you’re around early, turn on BTN to see the end of the OU men taking on Illinois! OU is dominant for the men, and Illinois is on its best event, high bar.

Rotation 1: Nebraska vault, Maryland bars, Ohio State beam, Illinois floor (MSU on bye)

Looks like we’re may miss some routines while this men’s meet finishes up on BTN. Yul Moldauer just killed his PBar set for the OU men.


Kynsee Roby (Neb.): FTY, great distance, holds the stick.

Kylie Noonan (Ill.): Jumped into the middle of her floor. Tour jete full, little short on rotation. Switch ring + split full, nice. 1.5 punch lay, little low on the lay but good control.

Grace Williams (Neb.): FTY, stuck cold, nice.

Shynelle Agaran (MD): Pak, leg sep. Short handstand, DLO just a step back. Just a tentative set.

Nicole Biondi (Ill.): Double pike, big and clean just feet. Really performing choreo. Double tuck, nice, feet again though. Tour jete half + wolf full, not great amplitude on the wolf. FHS front lay front full really clean.

Abbie Epperson (Neb.): FTY big, maybe small pike (rough camera angle) just a step back.

Megan Schweihofer (Neb.): FTY, flairs it stuck. Nice!

Live scores not working at all. We’ll see how that goes. EYEROLL.

Kirsten Peterman (MD): Blind + Jaeger, nice. Bail hand loose arms and core. DLO tiny foot shuffle. Hearing someone in the lineup earlier had a fall. Pressure is on!

Sienna Crouse (Neb.): Y1.5, some knees and a medium hop forward.

Audrey Barber (MD): Hindorff + bail, just some loose toes. DLO, some leg sep small step back.

Taylor Houchin (Neb.): Y1.5, pretty, just smallish hop forward. They’re glad she’s back.

Jamie Stone (tOUS): Jumping into the middle. Pretty switch side. RO 2.5 just a step to the side. That’s a huge dismount! Love it.

Alecia Farina (MD): Blind + Jaeger, great handstands, bail hand. DLO stuck. Great set.

Rae Balthazor (Ill.): Some problems with her music. Was ready to go and stepped off. Hodan before her went 9.9, but we didn’t see it. I believe that’s a career high. Balthazor set now. Double tuck, MASSIVE, great landing. Tour jete full, nice on the rotation. Tour jete half split full, really nice. 1.5 + front lay, good control. Nice!

Amanda Huang (tOSU): Hearing that tOSU is already counting a fall. Pressure! BHS loso nice extension. Switch + bhs swing down. Split + sheep, knees a bit apart but solid. RO double full, manages to hold the stick with some arm swing.

Alexis Mattern (tOSU): Front toss, misses one foot but stays on with leg up. Repeats front toss connects to bhs, medium wobble. Cat + switch side, bobbles again. She’s very tight. Beat. Gainer full off the side, stuck. That’s a rough routine.

Rotation 1: Official scores aren’t working! Which is a very Big Ten mood. We’ll see.

Based on scores I caught that were flashed and those that were entioned in the commentary, it sounds like Illinois had a very solid floor rotation, and what we saw backs that up. Ohio State really struggled on beam. Two falls, Mattern’s wobbly set, and Huang must have missed a connection somewhere because I saw a 9.55 go up for her. tOSU could open up the chance for both Maryland and Illinois to qualify with Nebraska for the night session. Nebraska looked decent but not postseason ready on vault. Landings!

SCORES via broadcast: Neb. 49.15, MD 49.25, tOSU 47.55, Ill. 49.4

Rotation 2: Ill. vault, Neb. bars, MD beam, MSU floor (tOSU on bye)

Who guessed Illinois would lead after one, followed by Maryland? NOT ME! This is going to be a RIDE friends. Hang on.

Catelyn Orel (Neb.): Tkatchev, little low. Toe hand + bail hand, little shy but only barely. DLO, sloppy legs, step back. Just okay.

Haylee Roe (Ill.): FTY, STUCK, not the biggest amplitude.

Peterman (MD): Wolf turn 1.5, some bent knee in the extended leg. Side aerial, lands sideways and drops chest, tries to cover and make look like a side somi. Maybe it was? Bhs loso, solid. Cat + switch half, shy of 180. RO 1.5 big hop forward. Definitely not her cleanest work.

Roby (Neb.): Hect mount. Blind + Jaeger, nice. Pak, pretty. Great lines. DLO, gorgeous body position, stuck. Great routine!

Jordyn Givens (Ill.): FTY head out and big hop to the side.

Schweihofer (Neb.): Hect mount. GREAT handstand. Blind + Piked Jaeger. Bail. DLO, hop forward, little low chest.

Biondi (Ill.): HUGE Yhalf. Great body position.

Epperson (Neb.): Jaeger. Bail hand, nice. LINES and handstands lovely. DLO, leg sep but stuck.

Hodan (Ill.): FTY Pretty, head out a bit. Hop.

We’re getting a crowd shot instead of MSU floor whyy.

Houchin (Neb.): Giant full + Tkatchev, big. Bail hand lovely. Great handstands. Giant full TINY leg sep, gets stuck and comes off. Her first fall this year I believe. Will have to repeat the full because she does a double tuck. Hits this time Double tuck tiny hop forward.

Balthazor (Ill.): FTY flaired, just a hop back. Way too much power.

Crouse (Neb.): Hop chancge, stuck, gets the Weiler + piked Jaeger, falls! Oh man, counting a fall now. BIG opening for Illinois and Maryland. Re mounts, bail hand messy. full-in, nice tiny hop. Ouch Nebraska.

Kasey Meeks (Ill.): FTY, big, small hop back. Not her greatest amplitude.

Barber (MD): Bhs loso. 9.45 earlier so pressure on. Front toss + split, low back leg. Switch + split fine. RO double full, small hop.

Lea Mitchell (MSU): They’re going five up, don’t have a score over 9.5 yet. Music problems, she steps off. Alright here we go. Double tuck, huge, good landing. FHS front full front pike, nice, not huge height. Switch side + popa + popa + double stag nice. Two popas in a row love it. Double pike, chest a little low but no movement. The Spartans needed that.

Agaran (MD): Jumping in the middle. Bhs loso, wobble chest down and foot up. Big error. Side somi, nice. Cat + switch side, chest down. Gainer full off the side, small hop. Not excellent.

We’ll wait for the broadcast scores to come in, but based on what we saw/heard, Illinois is ROLLING. Every other team is counting falls or major errors. If things continue this way, tOSU, Nebraska and Maryland will be battling for those last two spots behind Illinois. The Illini can be excellent on bars and beam, but they can also fall apart. Really anything can happen here. EXCITING.

SCORES via broadcast: Ill. 98.4, Neb. 97.75, MD 97.55, MSU (only one rotation) 47.625 tOSU (only one rotation) 47.55

Rotation 3: MSU vault, Ill. bars, Neb. beam, tOSU floor (MD on bye)

Biondi (Ill.): Hop change Weiler + Jaeger, nice. Bail hand little shy. Giant full right ton top, stuck double tuck. Great start.

Isabelle Wittebort (MSU): Ylay, pretty body, big step back.

Roby (Neb.): Pretty mount, great lines. Front aerial bhs bhs, solid. She looks confident. Sissone + straddle half, little short of rotation. Side aerial + full, stuck. Excellent leadoff.

Tessa Jaranowski (MSU): Handspring pike, nice.

Givens (Ill.): Bail hand nice. Pretty and great last handstadnd. Giant full + double tuck, maybe a foot shuffle?

Olivia Aepli (tOSU): Pretty leap with back leg stag. Double pike, good landing.

Sarah Lyons (Ill.): Blind + piked Jaeger. Giant full + bail crazy, falls back but stays on. DLO little step.

Schweihofer (Neb.): Looks like Epperson had a fall before her. Pressure. Bhs layout two feet, wobbles. Beat. Switch + switch side, nice. Moving well now. Illinois is SCREAMING in the background. RO double twist some legs, but stuck. Good finish.

Karen Howell (Ill.): Hop + piked Jaeger big. Pak, some leg sep that’s new! Used to bail I believe. Giant full + double tuck small hop.

Anna Gamelo (MSU): FTY, some pike and a step. Not huge either.

Stone (tOSU): 2.5 punch front, nice. We jumped in in the middle of her set. Switch side + popa great splits. Fun choreo she performs well. 2.5 twist, steps to the side. They’ll take a tenth or so. Nice routine!

Balthazor (Ill.): LINES and toes. Toe hand. GIANT Tkatchev. Bail. Nailed last handstand. FTDB stuck. Great set.

Houchin (Neb.): Love seeing her back on beam post injury. Bhs loso, big wobble and she’s off. This is not her day. Pretty lines and toes. Front aerial, pretty. Switch + split, nice extension. Cat + side aerial, and she drops her chest and falls again. Ouch. RO double gorgous great landing. She’s very upset.

Mitchell (MSU): FTY, nice, just a small hop.

Danielle Breen (Neb.): Huge pressure for her now. Nebraska already counting (another) fall here. Bhs one arm loso, solid. She looks determined. Double stag solid. Split + sheep, nice but steps back. Pretty full turn with leg extended back. RO1.5 stuck. Big recovery for the Huskers.

Williams (Neb.): BHS loso loso and she falls. I am shocked. Huskers really struggling. Hitch + switch, small correction. Side aerial + full, stuck. Wow. Energy totally drained from the team.

After 3: Ill. 147.675, Neb. 144.975, MD 97.55, tOSU 96.75, MSU 96.025

Wow. Bit more than halfway through, and Nebraska is really struggling. The Huskers are heading to bye, so will have a chance to regroup. Illinois is moving to its oft-best event in beam, but the Illini can also melt down there. If they hit, they will be in nice position for a new season high and spot in the Big Ten night session. Maryland is having a good but not great meet, and will want to hit big on floor and vault. Ohio State staged a big comeback on floor, and will hope for mistakes from Illinois. MSU is hanging in, and had a solid vault rotation.

Rotation 4: tOSU vault, MSU bars, Ill. beam, MD floor (Neb. on bye)

Roe (Ill.): Bhs loso solid. Beat + straddle 3/4 no trouble. She moves confidently. Cat + gainer loso, slight check. She’s smiling now. RO 1.5, small hop back, she landed a touch short. Nice start.

Mitchell (MSU): Toe hand + Ray, nice. Good handstands, little loose in bail hand. Giant full double tuck, maybe will give her the stick. Little foot shuffle.

Stefanie Merkle (tOSU): Yhalf pretty, just a hop forward.

Biondi (Ill.): Switch + switch side nice. Bhs loso solid. Cat + front aerial nice. RO 1.5, hop forward. Nice, just needs to find that landing.

Janelle McClelland (tOSU): FTY, high some leg sep, hops.

Howell (Ill.): Lovely toes and great head movement. Bhs layout two feet solid. Switch + straddle 1/4. Cat + switch side no problems. Gainer pike off the end, stuck. VERY solid set.

Jessica Ling (MSU): Clear hip hand + Geinger nice some leg sep. Bail. FTDB, stuck. Very good set!

Stone (tOSU): Yhalf gorgeous and very big, tiny hop.

Noonan (Ill.): Bhs loso, pretty extension. Moving with confidence. Sissone + loso, pretty just some toes on the loso. Switch + split half, leg up. Cartwheel + gainer full off the side stuck. Just that leg up.

Aepli (tOSU): BIG FTY. nice.

Hailee Westney (MSU): Maloney. Ray huge. Pak, so pretty. Great extension. Stalder + toe on front half stuck. Wow.

Balthazor (Ill.): Switch side. Bhs loso medium check some knees on the bhs. She looks a bit tight but working through. Front toss solid, better. Beat + straddle 3/4 no problems. Gainer pike off the end stuck. Great recovery from the wobble.

Farina (MD): Huge double pike, hops out maybe .2 because of a few steps. 1.5 front lay, better landing, little offline in the 1.5. Switch full popa nice. Big smile now. Double tuck massive, tries to stick but lands a little short.

Hodan (Ill.): Side aerial bhs and she falls. Not been super consistent this year. Switch + sissone little wobble. Cat + Illusion love that, solid. Cartwheel stuck gainer full off the side. Disappointing for her.

Alexis Mattern (tOSU): Handspring pike half HUGE stuck. Excellent vault.

Barber (MD): Full-in, little uncontrolled on the lunge but very big in the air. 1.5 punch pike, nice, better control. Switch half split half solid. Enjoying her choreo before the last pass. Double tuck, good landing does move the front foot a touch. Great anchor set.

After 4: Ill. 196.85, MD 146.475, tOSU 145.875, Neb. 145.425, MSU 145.325

Illinois’ night is done! This is a huge score for the Illini. They’ll now sit and wait to see if Maryland can catch them, but should feel confident that they’ll be heading to the night session. Maryland is looking very solid, and just needs a clean vault rotation to close this out. For Ohio State, bars can be a big score, so the Buckeyes have a shot at catching the Terps. Nebraska is usually an excellent floor team, but all bets seem to be off tonight. The Huskers may find themselves in the Big Ten early session. MSU’s 49.3 on bars is a HUGE season high score. The Spartans should be thrilled with that. They’ll move to beam wondering if they can catch the Huskers, which would be a MASSIVE upset.

Rotation 5: MD vault, tOSU bars, MSU beam, Neb. floor (Ill. on bye)

Huang (tOSU): Blind + Jaeger, nice. Great handstands, bail hand, toe shoot. FTDB, just a step forward.

Peterman (MD): FTY tiny hop. Nice vault!

Petyon Hinterberger (tOSU): Blind + Jaeger, big. Bail hand little loose. Short last handstand. Giant full + double tuck, stuck. The Buckeyes are fighting.

Deanna Magro (MD): FTY, bounds forward. Didn’t get a good block and had very little height.

Mattern (tOSU): Blind + Jaeger + bail, some legs. FTDB stuck, great landing position. Good routine.

Roby (Neb.): Full-in chest a bit low. (My feed froze and skipped way forward). Not huge performance quality. Last pass. Double tuck, chest low again.

Collea Burgess (MD): FTY MASSIVE big step back.

Aepli (tOSU): Toe hand + Maloney. Bail hand nice. Great handstands. FTDB, just a small hop. Nice! Alina Weinstein just said “this Ohio State team is GOOD.” Yes, they are.

Barber (MD): FTY, really nice just a small hop. Good height.

Kaitlyn Hofland (tOSU): GREAT first handstand. Blind + Jaeger nice. Bail hand. Blind + double front, stuck cold. Wow, Buckeyes. “10” chants. Not sure about a 10, but that will score well.

Farina (MD): FTY, nice. stuck. Falls to the side a bit but covers with a salute. These teams are FIGHTING.

Williams (Neb.): Huge double pike, lands short and puts her hands down. That’s very uncharacteristic for her. Front lay rudi, nice chest a bit low. Tour jete half popa, nice. Her performance is a bit less dynamic than usual. Double tuck, big, good landing.

Orel (Neb.): Went before Williams but we’re seeing it now because she went 9.9. Great performance quality. Double pike nice. Double tuck, good landing. Switch side popa. 1.5 barani stag, big nice finish. Deserved the 9.9.

Crouse (Neb.): Jumping in at the last pass, rudi loso, lovely.

Hearing that beam scores have been very slow, long waits for the Spartans.

Mitchell (MSU): She looks very calm. Bhs bhs loso, way off line on the second bhs and she falls. Split + straddle 1/4 nice. Side aerial full, big step forward and low chest. Not her best by a long shot.

Schweihofer (Neb.): Full in, nice control on the landing. She looks very happy with it. Front lay rudi, great body position. Switch half wolf full. Double tuck, massive, great landing. What a finish for the Huskers.

FINAL: Ill. 196.85, MD 195.7, tOSU 195.15, Neb. 194.9, MSU 192.825

WOW WOW. Wow. This meet you guys. A huge 49.475 on floor wasn’t enough to propel the Huskers into the night session. We’ll see them in the afternoon next weekend, along with MSU. The Spartans struggled a touch on beam and fell well behind the field. The Illini will be ecstatic with this performance and will carry huge confidence moving into Big Tens, which they are hosting. Maryland and Ohio State will also be happy to qualify into the night session, though both have some work to do to challenge the rest of the conference. Phew. If the next Big Five is this wild, we’ll be in for a very interesting conference championships!

Event Winners:
VT: Mattern, 9.925
UB: Westney, Balthazor, 9.925
BB: Balthazor, 9.9
FX: Schweihofer, 9.95
AA: Balthazor, 39.525

Live blog by Emily Minehart


  1. Live scores still not working, I see. And on the Xfinity channel guide, the description (for both this and the other session) is: Accion de Gimnasia Universitaria Femenina.

    Bad all around. *sigh*

      1. Thank you!

        So impressed with Illinois! Saw them against Minnesota and was impressed, but they’ve really stepped it up today!

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