LIVE BLOG: Big Five Session 1 with No. 8 Minnesota, No. 19 Illinois, No. 21 Ohio State and No. 38 Nebraska at No. 26 Maryland

We have arrived at the first blush of postseason! The Big Five meets conclude the Big Ten regular season and act as seeding meets to the conference championship. Usually, the top three teams from each session qualify to the evening session. Last year, before the season was cancelled, the conference changed the rules. Two teams from each session would qualify to the evening, meaning there would be six teams in the matinee and four in the headline event. Plans for 2021 remain unclear.

Also unclear is how we’ll award a regular season conference champion, given that Michigan and Michigan State have both missed two weeks of in-conference competition—and Michigan State has now pulled out of its session tomorrow. We asked the conference but have not heard back.

So, essentially, we really have no idea what the ultimate stakes of this meet are! Good fun. Only in gymnastics, folks.

Minnesota should run away with this one. Illinois definitely has the edge for second, but Ohio State and Maryland are capable of great scores. Nebraska has had a hard year, but at its best it can be competitive as well. If three teams qualify to the night session, it’ll truly be a battle for that last spot. If two teams qualify, it’s a little more clear cut, but Illinois remains vulnerable, especially with the loss of Arayah Simons to an Achilles injury. Her vault score was critical on the Illini’s weakest event.

Event orders are loaded in the stats sheet, looks like the bye follows beam. Interestingly, rather than being seeded by incoming ranking, looks like Maryland gets to enjoy a home-team situation here.

While we wait, some Big Ten notes of interest from the Nastia Liukin Cup which is just wrapping up. Tory Vetter (Ohio State) finished in eighth with a solid 38.150. She came in T-4 on floor. Nikki Smith (Michigan State) finished 5th, finishing second on floor and third on vault.

Hearing from the announcers that Dujakovich had a rough warmup landing on vault, and they’re not sure if we’ll see her compete or not.

Rotation 1: UMD VT, UIUC UB, tOSU BB, UNL FX (Minn. bye)

McClure (UMD): FTY, hips and a big hop back. 9.725

Schwietzer (tOSU): Front aerial to beat. Bhs loso, some leg form. Beat to ring, low front leg. Little check on full turn. Side aerial tuck 1/1, chest a bit forward.

Silberman (UMD): Y1/1 on tuck off. To the side a touch, step back. 9.75

Caught Borden (UIUC) take a step back on her rudi dismount.

Miller (tOSU): Bhs loso soft knees but excellent landing. She’s very sharp. Cat to side aerial slight pause to beat. Straddle to straddle 1/4, great split positions. Tuck gainer 1/1 stuck.

Gilbert (UMD): Yhalf, hips and soft knees, step.

The scores seem to have stalled out, naturally.

Burgess (UMD): FTY, hips, SO HIGH, hops her feet together.

O’Donnell (UIUC): Giant full to stuck double tuck.

Hankins (tOSU): Wolf turn full. Bhs loso, small check. Front toss connection good. Split to split 1/4, that’s a fun twist, it was great. RO 2/1, small hop straight up.

Barber (UMD): FTY, flexed feet. Great distance, a hop.

Higgins (UNL): FHS 2/1. Switch side popa, good splits but a little imprecise on those rotations. FHS rudi, big hop back into the lunge, I think she went OOB. RO 3/2 front lay, good.

Rubio (UMD): FTY, true stick.

We got to see Swartzentruber (tOSU) stick her gainer full dismount.

Mizuki (UIUC): Pike Jeger to bail. Blind 1/1 double tuck stuck.

Piringer (UNL): High double tuck, good landing. RO 3/2 front lay, good body shape on both, really stands out since it can get so sloppy on that pass for a lot of people. Switch side popa, again rotation issues. Double pike some soft knees in second salto.

Pritchard (tOSU): Bhs loso, great! Switch to straddle 1/4, low back leg on the switch and soft knees on the 1/4. RO 2/1 foot shuffle, leg cross and some knees.

Comin (UNL): HER FLOOR DEBUT! How fun. Full-in, low chest on the landing. She has pink panther music. Front lay to front 1/1, little low on both but lands well. Tour jete 1/2 to popa stumbles out of it a little. Great debut routine. 9.55, pretty sure it’s an SV issue, there’s not enough D in here I don’t think, possible she missed a jump connection at the end there when she stepped out.

Hodges (tOSU): Gainer loso, good, RO 3/2, leg sep and leans way forward but holds her feet.

Lorange (UNL): She’s such an engaging floor worker. All the little details are there. Double pike, low chest on the landing. Front lay front 1/1, some leg sep and soft knees, landed well. Switch ring to split 1/2, low leg on the 1/2. RO 3/2 front lay, missed the punch on the lay a bit, low and form issues, but landed.

After 1: UIUC 49.250, UMD 48.925, tOSU 48.650, UNL 48.500

Illinois and Maryland are right where they want to be. Ohio State will hope that this is its lowest event score, but it’s not disastrous and the Buckeyes have been mentally tough this year, coming back from iffy events. Nebraska had some struggles, but that has been true of floor pretty much all year.

Rotation 2: UNL VT, UMD UB, UIUC BB, Minn. FX (tOSU bye)

Higgins (UNL): FTY, hips and a step back.

Townes (UIUC): Front toss small check. Bhs loso, solid. Cat to side aerial to tuck 1/1 stuck. Great leadoff.

Piringer (UNL): FTY, twisted a touch early, small hop.

LeBlanc (UMD): Blind 1/1 to Gienger, some soft knees. Bail hand little loose. Blind 1/1 to double tuck, foot form, stuck.

Borden (UIUC): Front aerial FHS straddle 1/4, solid. Small adjustment on full turn, well covered. Backwalkover for her back element. Beat to sheep, foot form. Front 1/1 stuck.

Dujakovich (UNL): Will she do the Y1.5 after her tough warmup? Nope, FTY, hips and a hop back.

Stuck DLO for Glauber (UMD) and a huge smile while she landed.

UMD apparently has a few folks out for COVID contact tracing.

Biondi (UIUC): Bit of a wait for her, but here she goes. Illinois has really quick twitch beam across the board. Bhs loso, solid some flexed feet. Switch to double stag, again just some feet. Side aerial is solid. Check on full turn. RO 3/2 hop forward.

Silberman landed a DLO dismount with a locked knee and fell, didn’t look great.

Sales (Minn.): Double pike, great landing. Switch ring to straddle 1/4 popa. Wolf 3/2 not all the way around but it was closer than those usually are for anyone. Whip 1/2 lost the punch front tuck, probably meant to do a layout, possible SV issue.

Noonan (UIUC): Beat to Double stag, just lost her line and fell. Cartwheel gainer 1/1 stuck.

Barber (UMD): Silberman is on the side with a trainer. Ugh. Clear hip hand to Ray, high but too close, catches with bent arms, to bail. DLO, stuck cold.

Takekawa (UIUC): Bhs gainer 1/1 small step.

Rubio (UMD): Half pirouette. Geinger very messy to bail. She’s just rushing and very loose. Giant 1/1 double tuck step.

Ramler (Minn.): Long, long wait here. Ring jump 1/1 excellent as always. Double pike good landing. Switch right to split 1/2, low leg. Combo pass better than usual, still some foot cross in the double twist. 3/2 front lay, good.

Scott (UIUC): Front toss bhs, good. She has a really calm air on beam. Switch to split. Front aerial with a check. Cartwheel gainer 1/1 stuck.

Hooten (Minn.): Full-in, good landing, usual leg sep. Switch side popa, excellent splits some imprecise rotation. FHS front 1/1 front pike, good. Double tuck bit short, lunges forward.

Loper (Minn.): Front lay rudi, good landing. Switch ring to split 1/1, front leg touch low on the ring. 5/2, landed a bit back on her heels but managed to hop into a lunge, pretty minimal deduction. 3/2 front lay.

After 2: UIUC 98.400, UMD 98.100, UNL 97.250, Minn. 49.250, tOSU 48.650

Maryland seemingly losing Silberman there hurts. She’s a really solid AA-er, and with folks out anyway for contact tracing…ouch. Still, the Terps pulled off a great bar rotation (I think their best of the season?). Illinois is cruising along, but does have to finish on its weak event. Not Minnesota’s greatest floor rotation, but it wasn’t bad by any means.

An aside, this meet is really cruising along for a quint and I love it. The second rotation slowed down a touch, but this is moving about as fast as a lot of Big Ten duals.

Lorange (UNL): Giant full double tuck, feet form and a step.

Edwards (tOSU): Toe hand to Maloney leg sep on the back swig. Pak, too far, falls. Toe full to double tuck, step.

Nylin (Minn.): RO 3/2, feet staggered but doesn’t move.

Townes (UIUC): Y1.5, some knees and a hop forward.

Rotation 3: Minn. VT, UNL UB, UMD BB, tOSU FX (UIUC bye)

Silberman officially out the rest of the night.

Piringer (UNL): Maloney to bail hand, off balance and significant leg form. Messy giant 1/1 double tuck hop forward with a  low chest.

Burgess (UMD): Front toss bhs, great. Split to straddle 1/4, very high but short on both splits. Beat to side somi. Front gainer 1/1 step back.

Hooten (Minn.): Y1.5, WAY on the side of the table, but pulls it around, hop.

Chesney (tOSU): Double pike, good. Front 1/1 front tuck, leaning forward on the landing. Switch side popa, rotation issues. 3/2 front lay, bit low on the lay but good landing.

Ramler (Minn.): Stuck Y1.5, but significant knee form.

Colombo (UNL): Pirouetting elements into a stuck double tuck with a low chest.

Perfect 10 for Ramler. Side eyeeeeeee. I mean it was knees the whole way through.

Rouse (UMD): Bhs loso, knees on both, and falls. Foot form on her leap series. RO 3/2 hop back.

Hodges (tOSU): 3/2 front lay, just not enough punch and she sits it.

Davis (UNL) stuck her DLO and you could SEE her say OH MY GOD! Cute.

McClure (UMD): Front aerial off balance but keeps moving bhs. Good save. Switch to straddle 1/4, soft knees. Solid front toss to split jump. Gainer rudi stuck. Every. Dang. Time. She’s a rudi stick machine.

Edwards (tOSU): HUGE double pike, too much juice and lunges way back. 3/2 front lay, she’s doing a lot of traveling out instead of up, but it’s not a huge problem. Switch side Popa, good. Double tuck, great landing. Good set for her!

Barber (UMD): Front aerial leg up check. bhs loso, good, so she won’t have acro series issues. Front toss to beat is solid. Switch to split, some front foot form. RO 2/1 stuck.

Rubio (UMD): She’s in for Silberman. Straddle to split 3/2, leg up check but saves it. Standing front tuck bhs, knees in bhs but what a cool combo. Very gutsy. Beat. Cartwheel tuck 3/2, step.

Hankins (tOSU): Double tuck to end, good.

Gagliardi (tOSU): Hold onto your seats for this Mario Bros. routine. Double pike, great landing. Front lay to 3/2, hop up right in place. Switch side wolf 1/1, little hop on the landing. Double tuck, little low but pulls it around for a good landing.

After 3: UMD 147.025, UNL 146.450, Minn. 98.475, UIUC 98.400, tOSU 97.625

Illinois will be thrilled to have Minnesota so close in its sights with two rotations done for each team. The Gophers should pull away when Illinois heads to vault, but close is what the Illini want here. Nebraska had an excellent bar rotation, led by Davis’ 9.950. Despite the late lineup change, Maryland hung right in for a near-49. Third continues to be a close battle.

Rotation 4: tOSU VT, Minn. UB, UNL BB, UIUC FX (UMD bye)

Lowe (tOSU): FTY, clean hips, some leg sep, stick.

Lorange (UNL): Check on full turn. Bhs loso good. Switch to split, low back leg and a check. Hitch to side aerial, flexed feet and a small chekc. Transverse split 1/2. RO 3/2 hop forward.

Miller (tOSU): HIGH FTY, step back.

Swartzentruber (tOSU): FTY, some leg sep and a step.

Hooten (Minn.): Blind to pike Jaeger to bail, bent arms. Blind to double front cowboyed, step forward.

Riccardi (tOSU): FTY, low, hips, big step.

Colombo (UNL): Side aerial bit leg up check. Side aerial to split. Check on full turn. RO 2/1, big knee bend.

Willmarth (Minn.): Bail hand good. Giant full double tuck stuck.

Edwards (tOSU): FTY, very big! some hips and a small foot shuffle.

Loper (Minn.): Maloney to Pak good. Giant 1/1 double tuck stuck.

Jennings (tOSU): FTY, low chest and a hop, she just pulled it down a moment early.

Noonan (UIUC): FHS 2/1, quick but fine step into arabesque. FHS rudi, good landing. Switch ring to low front leg to cat 3/2, low and wonky in the air. RO 3/2 front lay, great.

Higgins (UNL) stuck her gainer pike.

Ramler (Minn.): Maloney to pak, good. Van Leeuwen. To hand to full out, some uneven feet on landing but no movement.

Thaler (UNL): Switch to beat. Front toss piked check. RO 3/2, piked but holds the stick.

Townes (UIUC): 3/2 to front 1/1, good landing. She floats that. Tour jete 1/2 to popa, good rotation.

Roby (UNL): Gorgeous press mount. Good front aerial. Bhs loso, just some foot form. This is vintage pre-injury Roby. Split to double stag, small check. Side aerial 1/1, low chest and a foot slide, but great routine.

Scott (UIUC): FHS 2/1 really bounds into her lunge. Switch ring to split 1/1, good throughout. RO 3/2 front lay, slides a bit on the landing. She just grins through this whole dance break. FHS rudi, her best landing.

Curtis (UNL): Wolf to front tuck, big wobble, turns around but stays on the beam. Bhs loso dops her chest, but again stays on. Check on full turn. Switch with a check to split. RO 3/2, moved a foot. Phew.

Phillips (UIUC): Her first FX this year. Punch 2/1, low, leg form, not quite around. Tour jete 1/1, short on rotation but I don’t think they’ll downgrade, it was close. RO 3/2 front lay, back on her heels. Switch through wolf 3/2, quite short on rotation. She has a lot of bonus built in here, we’ll see about SV because there were a few potential issues.

After 4: UN: 195.150, Minn. 148.050, UIUC 147.475, UMD 147.025, tOSU 146.650

Nebraska’s night is done. Now the Huskers watch and wait. Minnesota had a massive 49.575 bar rotation, glad we didn’t see much of it!!!! Illinois just keeps cruising along, but it’s vault o’clock.

That’s a bar program record for the Gophers.

Rotation 5: UIUC VT, tOSU UB, Minn. BB, UMD FX (UNL bye)

Sonier (Minn.): Bhs loso little check. Beat to split 3/2, falls. Beat to loso, check. Yeah, she’s just off center here today. Bhs one arm bhs 3/2, short, big step back. .3

Tsiknias (UMD): FHS rudi, leg form, short on the landing a tips foward but stays up.

Takekawa (UIUC): FTY, some hips and a medium hop forward.

Biondi (UIUC): Yhalf, piked throughout, small hop.

Welp WP deleted my last updates, but we had a Lexi Edwards fall, hit Nylin dismount, and Townes Y1.5 with a hop and some knees.

Loper (Minn.): Bhs loso. Front toss to beat. Switch to straddle 1/4, little short on both. RO 3/2 stuck.

Hankins (tOSU): Pak to switch kip and can’t keep a hand on. Ohio State counting a fall.

Rubio (UMD): Double pike, good landing. She’s in last minute for Silberman. RO 3/2 to front lay, really chaotic legs on the twist. Double tuck, feet and a little wild in the lunge.

Powe (UIUC): FTY, piked down and a hop.

Swartzentruber (tOSU): Maloney to pak, great legs on both. Van Leeuwen good. DLO, low chest, she moved a foot.

Korlin-Downs (Minn.): Back dive candle mount. Bhs loso, great. Beat to split to double stag, no movement on the landing. Aerial 1/1, stuck.

McClure (UMD): Front lay to front 1/1, good landing.

Ramler (Minn.): Bhs loso, good. Front aerial to beat, that’s where she’s had trouble this year, none today. Beat to ring, low front leg. Side aerial to 1/1 stuck.

Rouse (UMD): Double pike hop back on the landing. 3/2 to front lay, good landing but low on both. Tour jete 1/2 popa, rotation was iffy on the tour jete. Double tuck, bounces into lunge and I think she went OOB, but didn’t see a flag.

Nebraska’s score now reads 195.200, not sure what went up,though.

Burgess (UMD): 3/1, great rotation, bounces out of it to the side into the lunge. Tour jete to wolf 3/2, way short of the wolf rotation, might get credited as a full. Front lay to front full, arched the lay down a bit.

Ramler finishes with a 39.850, both a personal and program record. What do they do to coach Stenger’s hair for that?!

Barber (UMD): Last routine here we go! Full-in, some leg sep but stuck cold on two feet. Dang. RO 3/2 to front pike. Switch to popa popa, couldn’t see her feet for rotation but looked good via upper body. Double tuck, foot form but controlled landing.

FINAL: Minn. 197.375, UIUC 196.500, Maryland 195.675, tOSU 195.275, UNL 195.200

Okay. So. If Big Ten champs are four afternoon six evening, Minnesota, Illinois and Maryland get the big show. If they use the 2020 rules and go six-four, then only Minnesota and Illinois go into the prestigious session. We don’t really know anything, especially since Michigan State had to pull out of session 2 tomorrow. Either way, it doesn’t really matter, since any team can win the thing from either session.

Alright folks, come back tomorrow for Rebecca bringing you Big F(our)ive session 2.

Event Winners:
VT: Ramler 10.0
UB: Ramler 9.975
BB: Ramler 9.950
FX: Ramler 9.925
AA: Ramler 39.850

Live blog by Emily Minehart

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