Aaaaaand we’re back for the evening session! If you missed anything from the afternoon, catch up before we get underway here with the Session I live blog. Nebraska had a strong meet in the afternoon, scoring a 196.95. It is a solid score that will put pressure on Michigan to hit, and is higher than any of the other teams’ season highs.
Michigan is the clear favorite here. The Wolverines have won the last four Big Ten titles and are hunting for their 24th conference championship tonight. Last weekend, Michigan was the only Big Ten team—perhaps with the exception of Illinois—that looked postseason ready. The Wolverines are coming off two stellar weeks, upsetting Utah at home and hitting 24 for 24 at Big Fives. There are two things keeping Michigan from looking Super Six quality: vault landings and difficulty. Look for the team to focus on clean vaults and perhaps to add some difficulty to the vault and floor lineups. The Wolverines are capable of more 10.000 vaults and E floor passes than they have shown so far this year. They could throw them here for practice on podium before postseason, or save the upgrades and potential for injury and falls for regionals and nationals since they don’t need the added difficulty to win. It will be interesting to see what head coach Bev Plocki chooses to do.
Behind Michigan, the field is tightly packed. Minnesota, Ohio State and Illinois can all put up high 196 scores and fight for third; catching Nebraska will be tough for any of those teams to catch. Of this group, Illinois looked most prepared at Big Fives. The Illini need a clean vault rotation to hit a big number. If vault goes well, the Illini could be dangerous. Illinois is rotating in the same order here as it did at Big Fives, starting on floor and ending on a bye, so maybe the magic from last weekend will carry over. Minnesota landed the preferred rotation draw, starting on vault. The Gophers had some struggles last weekend on beam, where they counted two falls, but otherwise had a strong meet. They could very well contend for a high finish on the strengths of their excellent bar and floor rotations if beam goes smoothly. Ohio State’s woes at Big Fives also came on beam in an otherwise strong showing. With a hit on that event, the Buckeyes are a dangerous team. Their strengths are also bars and floor, but vault is becoming a strong event as well.
Maryland and Iowa find themselves in session two after upsetting teams that struggled in Big Fives. The Terps and Hawkeyes had consistent showings last weekend, keeping their cool while other teams crumbled. If any of the teams here have a meltdown (have I mentioned beam enough? Watch out for beam!) either of these teams could finish higher than their rankings suggest. This is an especially excellent feat for Maryland. The Terps joined the Big Ten for the 2015 season and have never been in the championship night session. They finished last in 2016 and 2017.
I’ll say it one more time: BEAM. It made the difference in seeding, and it may make the difference in finishes here tonight.
The Big Ten inexplicably puts four teams in the early session and six in the late session (to mirror Super Six? Who knows), so we’ll have two byes per rotation here. Bye 1 is after vault and Bye 2 is after beam.
— Michigan Women’s Gymnastics (@UMichWGym) March 24, 2018
March in is about to start! We have a bigger crowd here for the night session. We’re hearing a lot of chanting for Illinois, Michigan and Iowa so far.
New Maryland leos!
Up close and personal with newest Maryland bling✨ pic.twitter.com/GtMLCdt24D
— Maryland Gymnastics (@TerpsGymnastics) March 24, 2018
I can hear the teams chanting and singing fight songs from my seat, and the Michigan contingent just stood and chanted when Wolverine coach Bev Plocki walked into the arena. Great environment here!
March ins are NOW. Here we go!
This time Iowa fans are right behind me. They are HYPE.
Rotation 1: Minn. vault, MD bars, Iowa beam, Ill. floor (UM Bye 1, tOSU Bye 2)
Kristen Quaglia (Minn.): FTY nice, just a hop back and some low chest.
Emilie LeBlanc (MD): Big clean Jaeger. DLO some legs, but stuck.
Kylie Noonan (Ill.): Front lay rudi, nice.
Misty Jade Carlson (Iowa): Bhs loso, solid. Split + loso, nice.
Shynelle Agaran (MD): Blind + Jaeger, nice. Pak, crazy legs. DLO, nice, a hope.
Ciara Gardner (Minn.): FTY, very low chest big step forward.
Nicole Biondi (Ill.): Double pike, little low chest but controlled. Really performing it.
(Iowa): Split + beat + tuck 1.5!!! Pretty.
Hannah Hitchcock (Minn.): FTY, pretty, good landing, just a small step.
Karrie Thomas (MD): Toe half + Jaeger, big and clean. Bail hand. Little shy last handstand. DLO just a step.
Haylee Roe (Ill.): Double pike, strong landing.
Lexy Ramler (Minn.): FTY, great height, might give her a stick.
Kirsten Peterman (MD): Blind + Jaeger, some toes. Bail hand nice. Stuck dismount.
Charlotte Sullivan (Iowa): Pretty on the beam. Great control. RO double full dismount stuck.
Abby DeMuse (Minn.): FTY pretty, just a tiny hop up and some chest down.
Bridget Hodan (Ill.): FHS front 2/1 punch front, good landing, just a shuffle. FHS rudi to end, some knees but strong landing.
Melissa Zurawski? (Iowa – I’m very far away and don’t have a start list!): Bhs loso, bent arms in bhs but solid. Missed a fall.
Karrie Thomas (MD): HUGE Hindorff, stuck DLO.
Paige Williams (Minn.): Good to see her back. FYT, HUGE, hop back.
Alecia Farina (MD): Blind + Jaeger, nice. Bail hand. Shy last handstand. DLO, stuck. The Terps are landing well.
Zurawski (For real this time, Iowa): Pretty toes. Front aerial, missed a connection. Bhs loso, secure. Switch + split + split 3/4, very low back leg. Stuck gainer full.
Rae Balthazor (Ill.): Huge double tuck. Tour jete full, I think she got it around but have a bad angle. Strong last pass, ending on a front lay.
Nicole Chow (Iowa): Glad she’s in the lineup after a rough fall last week. Bhs lay out two feet solid, that’s where she fell at Big Fives. Side aerial, solid. Gainer pike stuck. Great routine in the anchor spot.
Karen Howell (Ill.): She’s a stellar performer. Double tuck, nice. Front lay barani split, nice. Couldn’t see jumps through the vault table (eye roll at this seating). Double pike, strong but the front foot did slide.
The Iowa routine I initially id’d as Zurawski was Nikki Youd – sorry Nikki!
After 1: Ill. 49.375, MD 49.175, Iowa 49.025 Minnesota 48.825
Well, session two scoring is IN EFFECT. Scores are not crazy, but definitely not as tight as this morning. Illinois looked strong on floor, and will be happy with that first rotation. Maryland is a great bars team: strong handstands and landings throughout the rotation. Minnesota had movement on most vault landings, which is what kept the Gophers down, but they shouldn’t be upset at that score on what is usually their weak event. Iowa was steady on beam. Keeping wobbles out is what pushed the Hawkeyes over the 49 mark.
Rotation 2: Ill. vault, UM bars, MD beam, tOSU floor
Syd Townsend (UM): She did the double front! Stuck it.
? (tOSU): Double pike, feet.
Haylee Roe (Ill.): FTY, STUCK cold. Nice. She is AMPED UP.
Peterman (MD): Side somi, solid.
Jordyn Givens (Ill.): Big FTY, BIG hop back.
Lexi Funk (UM): WILD Legs on Tkatchev as usual.
Biondi (Ill): YHalf good in the air, small hop.
Olivia Aepli (tOSU): Pretty work! Double pike, solid.
Lauren Farley (UM): Great handsatnads. Blind + double front really low landing. Coudln’t see if she sat.
Sabriyya Rouse (MD): Bhs loso nice. RO 1.5, little short steps back, but pretty.
Bridget Hodan (Ill.): FTY, good height, small hop.
Polina Shchennikova (UM): TOES. Giant full Double tuck, big, tiny hop.
Emilie LeBlanc (MD): RO 1.5, just a small hop.
(tOSU): Switch side popa, nice. Front full + front lay no problems.
Rae Balthazor (Ill.): FTY HUGE, but a big hop.
Paige Zaziski (UM): Giant Tkatchev! Mat moving on vault blocked the rest of my view.
Kasey Meeks (Ill.): Big FTY, best control yet. Small hop.
Jamie Stone (tOSU): Very high double pike, great landing. 2.5 punch front, little low on punch, but nice. 2.5, front foot slides a touch but she covers it. And the Lion King music! LOVE.
Brianna Brown (UM): Ray, big and clean. Crowd wants a 10.
Barber (MD): Front toss + split, solid. RO 2/1 nice landing, she might have moved her feet a touch.
First tOSU floor was Brooke Chesney.
Thomas (MD): Bhs loso, way off line and she falls. Switch, almost falls again. Side aerial + full dismount.
Merkle? (tOSU): Again, sorry on these IDs friends! Lacking a start list for a chaotic meet is pretty brutal. Full in, good in the air, but low chest on landing. 2/1 loso, pretty! Double tuck, great landing, controlled lunge. CORRECTION: This was Janelle McClelland.
Agaran (MD): Split + straddle 3/4, nice. Bhs loso, big wobble. Gainer full stuck.
Alexis Mattern (tOSU): DLO, strong landing. Combo pass ending in a front full, nice, little off line. She’s a stellar performer. Double pike, front foot slid just a touch on the lunge.
After 2: Illinois 98.275, MD 97.35, UM 49.4, tOSU 49.125, Iowa 49.025, Minn. 48.825
Illinois survived its weakest event, and maintains the lead over Maryland. The Terps struggled on beam, with wobbles and falls. Michigan had a great first event, tying its season high on bars. Ohio State has a very engaging floor rotation, and should be happy with that first event.
Rotation 3: tOSU vault, Minn. bars, UM beam, Iowa floor
Merkle (tOSU): FTY solid, some pike but not huge.
Ung (Minn.): Jaeger, nice. DLO, just a tiny hop straight up.
Youd (Iowa): Double tuck, solid. Combo pass some bounce on landing.
Funk (UM): Bhs loso, no problems.
McClelland (tOSU): Yhalf, just a step to the side.
Quaglia (Minn.): Great last handstand. Giant full + double tuck, stuck.
Bre Fitzke (Iowa): Double pike, low chest. Rudi front lay, solid.
Zazksi (UM): Switch side, pretty! She is calm. Front toss solid.
Morgan Lowe (tOSU): FTY, very clean, solid landing. Nice.
Hannah Hitchcock (Minn.): Blind, wild + big Jaeger. Stalder some arch + dismount, strong landing.
Brown (UM): Cat + front aerial, solid. RO doulbe full stuck.
Stone (tOSU): Yhalf, lovely, stuck cold. Wow.
Chow (Iowa): Rudi front pike very deep landing. Double pike to close, some slide on front foot.
Rachel Rowland (Minn.): Gienger, nice. stuck full in.
Aepli (tOSU): FTY, clean just small hop.
Shchennikova (UM): The mount. The toes. Bhs loso wobble, saves it. Sheep, nice.
Ramler (Minn.): Shap 1/2 solid. full in, low chest, maybe a step? Couldn’t see.
Sullivan (Iowa): Switch ring + tour jete full + popa, nice!
Mattern (tOSU): FHS pike half, solid.
Ivy Lu (Minn.): Pak, pretty! GREAT last handstand. DLO holds the stick.
Farley (UM): Bhs loso, took the second lsoo out? but solid. Side aerial secure.
Zurawski (Iowa): This is such a dramatic routine. Strong first landing. Front full front lay nice. The Iowa fans are LOUD LOUD. It is intense in here. Rudi, little wild, lunges sideways, but she sells it.
Lauren Marinez (UM): Jump split mount, pretty. Split + side aerial. RO double full just a tiny hop.
Lanie Snyder (Iowa): THE ROCK MEDELY IS IN THE HOUSE. Big double tuck. FHS front lay front full, no problems. Big, nice popa. Double pike, drilled the landing and SOLD that routine with her face. Nice.
Oop. I go the Minnesota Pals mixed up. Rachel Rowland went before Hannah Hitchcock! My apologies, Minnesota!
After 3: UM 98.6, tOSU 98.425, Ill. 98.275, Minn. 98.15, Iowa 98.15, MD 97.35
Phew! Iowa was excellent on floor (and when the Hawkeyes weren’t they SOLD IT). Ohio State’s vaults are very strong, and are keeping the Buckeyes in the hunt for second. Michigan continues to have a strong meet; the Wolverines look prepared. Minnesota has a strong bar rotation, but the Gophers are still paying catchup from vault.
Scores are definitely inflated from the first session at this point, though these six teams are prepared to compete on this big stage and looking solid across the board.
Rotation 4: Iowa vault, Ill. bars, Minn. beam, MD floor
Misty Jade Carlson (Iowa): FTY clean, just a bit of pike down.
Thomas? (MD): Doubl epike, nice. 1.5 + the vault mat blocked the next thing.
Biondi (Ill.): Weiler kip + Jaeger, nice.
Lexi Montgomery (Minn.): RO 1.5, knees rough but good landing.
Zurawski (Iowa): FTY pike down but stuck.
Lindsey Dwyer (Ill.): Blind + piked Jaeger, falls. Redoes, catches this time.
Sullivan (Iowa): Yhalf, stuck cold.
Peterman (MD): Double pike, good set chest a touch low. FHS rudi, little shy on rotation and legs.
Someone literally just spit on me from the crowd due to loud screaming. Guys.
Mary Korlin Downs (Minn.): Side aerial bhs, nice.
Givens (Ill.): Hect mount. Giant full + geinger, nice. Bail hand solid.
Ung (Minn.): Fell, I think on her series. Beat + side somi nice. CORRECITON: Ivy Lu
Chow (Iowa): FTY some pike but another stick. Iowa is HERE.
Rouse (MD): Double pike, big drops the landing right in. Double tuck lands forward and has to step.
Sarah Lyons (Ill.): Short first handstand. Blind + Jaeger nice. DLO stuck.
Snyder (Iowa): FTY low chest hop back.
Gardner (Minn.): Long long wait. Front aerial bhs loso, just a small check. Gainer full off the side stuck.
Youd (Iowa): Yhalf, pretty, just a hope forward.
Howell (Ill.): Hop change + Jaeger, nice. Pak. Great last handstand. Stuck double tuck.
Thomas (MD): Double pike, nice. FHS front full front lay, slides forward a touch. Double tuck, lands forward and steps.
Balthazor (Ill.): TOES and handstands. Low chest on FTDB.
Farina (MD):b Big double pike, great landing. 1.5 front lay, nice, looked a tad lost on 1.5 landing but saved it. Tour jete half, popa, no problems.
Ung (Minn.): Bhs loso, solid. Hitch + side aerial, nice but drops a shoulder. Gainer full just a hop.
Barber (MD): Full in, strong landing. 1.5 + piked front, touch low. Switch side + popa. Double tuck, drops the landing in. Nice finish.
Ramler (Minn.): Gorgeous extension. Bhs loso secure. Front aerial + wolf solid. Beat + ring, pretty, front leg a touch low. Side aerial + full stuck.
After 4: Ill. 147.55, Iowa 147.25, Minn. 146.65, MD 146.325, UM 98.725, tOSU 98.425
Every team here is having a solid meet. There hasn’t been a disastrous rotation for anyone yet, which seems miraculous after the messes we saw at Big Fives last weekend. There’s a dance cam on the big screen in the arena and…it is not going well.
Rotation 5: MD vault, tOSU bars, Ill. beam, UM floor
Townsend (UM): Double tuck, strong landing. Double pike, slightly low chest.
Amanda Huang (tOSU): Jaeger, solid.
Peterman (MD): FTY nice.
Roe (Ill.): Beat + straddle 3/4 secure. RO 1.5, stuck? Or close to stuck.
Peyton Hinterberger (tSOU): Jaeger, solid. Giant full + Double tuck, hands down.
Magro (MD): FTY, huge hop back.
Funk (UM): Double pike, solid. Good double back to close.
Biondi (Ill.): Bhs loso tiny check. RO 1.5, stuck.
Mattern (tOSU): Long wait. Blind + Jaeger, solid. Nearly stuck dismount.
Burgess (MD): FTY, low chest, but solid landing surprised her.
Marinez (UM): Switch half + wolf full, not cute wolf.
Morgan Bixler (MD): FTY nice, just a step.
Aepli (tOSU): Shaposh, clean. Stuck FTDB
Howell (Ill.): Bhs layout to two feet, medium check. Switch side pretty. Stuck gainer pike.
Brown (UM): 2.5, strong landing. Tour jete half split full, nice. 1.5 front lay, little low on lay.
Barber (MD): FTY, twisted a touch early, but clean. Hop back.
Jenna Swartzentruber (tOSU): Shaposh, HUGE pak, almost over shoots it.
Farina (MD): FTY, not huge, lands chest a bit forward.
Kaitlyn Hofland (tOSU): Blind + Jaeger, big, nice toes! Double front just a step.
Kylie Noonan (Ill.): bhs loso solid. Cartwheel gainer full stuck.
Zaziski (UM): Double pike, lands chest a bit low. Double tuck, better landing.
Balthazor (Ill.): Hitch + switch side, nice. Bhs loso solid, some knees on bhs. Front toss, secure. Beat + straddle 3/4 nice. Gainer pike, stuck.
Emma McLean (UM): Double tuck, huge, great landing. Double pike, bounces back a touch.
Hodan (Ill.): Lovely lines. She has the stage all to herself. Side aerial bhs, solid. Switch + sissone. Cat + Illusion, secure. Nice! Cartwheel + stuck gainer full. Redemption for her fall last week on this event.
After 5: Ill. 196.45, MD 195.25, UM 148.1, tOSU 147.525, Iowa 147.25, Minn. 147.15
Illinois and Maryland’s nights are done, and neither passes Nebraska’s score from earlier. Michigan is on pace to top Nebraska if the Wolverines put up a normal vault rotation. Ohio State and Iowa are still very much in the hunt for third.
Olivia Karas just boot-ran by the media table. That Achilles isn’t slowing her down much. She’s also wearing a leo. Good to see her out here in good spirits!
Rotation 6: UM vault, Iowa bars, tOSU beam, Minn. floor
Rachel Cutler (Minn.): Double full? nice.
Merkle (tOSU): Bhs loso, knees and a medium check.
Shchennikova (UM): FTY chest a touch low, but stuck.
Snyder (Iowa): Big Jaeger. Gaint full + double tuck, hop back.
Funk (UM): FTY, nice, shuffle back.
Swartzentruber (tOSU): Wolf turn 1/1. Switch + split, solid.
Brown (UM): FTY her cleanest this year. Stuck. Still some knees.
(Iowa): Bail hand nice. DLO stuck.
Ung (Minn.): Double pike, some knee bend. Switch side + popa. whip + 1.5, falls.
Sullivan (Iowa): Ray, solid. Toe hand. Bail hand some arm bend.
Townsend (UM): Y1.5, step forward.
Zurawski (Iowa): Geinger solid. Nice bail hand. Stuck double tuck.
Lowe (tOSU): Cat + Switch side.
Zaziski (UM): FTY hop back, some knees on table. Sells it, though.
McLean (UM): Y1.5, huge, went for the stick and sat it.
Hitchcock (Minn.): Double tuck, good landing. High double pike, bounces out of it.
Maddie Kampschroeder (Iowa): Ray, nice. DLO, stuck.
Stone (tOSU): Landed series no problem. RO 2.5 stuck(?). Great finish.
Chow (Iowa): HUGE first handstand. Giant full + double tuck, solid.
Gardner (Minn.): FHS rudi loso, nice. Big Double tuck, little bouncy on landing.
Huang (tOSU): Bhs loso, solid. Pretty bhs swing down! RO 2/1, tiny hop.
Michigan has all but won it, and they know it.
Ramler (Minn.): Ring 1/1 pretty! Huge double pike, good landing. Gorgeous in this choreo. 1.5 front lay, nice. Big double tuck, chest a touch low. Just a lovely routine.
Mattern (tOSU): Long wait. Stage all to herself. Front toss, big wobble. Front toss bhs, repeated for the connection. Gainer full off the side, hop straight up.
Williams (Minn): Gets to close out the meet all on her own. FHS 2/1, nice! Good landing. Switch side + popa, got the rotation. 1.5 front lay, floats it. Really nice. FHS rudi to close, dropped it right in. What a way to close the meet!
FINAL: UM, 197.2, Ill. 196.625, Iowa 196.4, tOSU 196.375, Minn. 196.225, MD 195.25
Michigan has done it again! And Nebraska hung on for second from the morning session.
Ohio State 196.35
Penn State 195.5
Michigan State 194.275
VT: Houchin, Stone, 9.9
UB: Brown, Lu, Aepli, 9.95
BB: Williams (Neb.), Hodan, Marinez, 9.9
FX: Schweihofer, Tsang, 9.95
AA: Schweihofer, 39.525
Live blog by Emily Minehart