Welcome to perhaps the year’s most competitive conference championship. The four top teams in this meet are only six spots apart in the rankings, between Illinois State at No. 43 and SEMO at No. 48. Division III Centenary is the only team without a very realistic chance of winning this title: All four others have top scores in the 195 range. Illinois State has the highest peak score, but both Lindenwood and Texas Woman’s haven’t put together a complete meet yet. If the Redbirds don’t take advantage of their top seed and the home environment to pull out a win, the Lions likely have the next best chance at the title. Expect Illinois State to make up some ground on floor, which is a major strength. Lindenwood, meanwhile, is nationally ranked on vault.
This will be a five-rotation meet with a bye following vault. At the time of writing we don’t know the full rotation order, but we know that SEMO will begin on bye and we can reasonably assume that host and No. 1 seed Illinois State will start on vault and get Olympic order.
Edit: Nope! 🙂
Also, note that the meet will take place in Illinois State’s Redbird Arena, which typically hosts basketball. Gymnastics typically competes in a smaller arena, so it’s exciting to have access to a bigger facility for the conference championship.
Rotation 1: Texas Woman’s VT, Lindenwood UB, Illinois State BB, Centenary FX
King (TWU): Really solid FTY, little bounce.
Huff (CC): Rudi back tuck, commentator described that as a “little bit of a low chest” but I’m pretty sure her head made impact with the floor. One and a half front lay. 8.9
Leake (TWU): Pikey FTY with a rebound in place. 9.625
Newsome (LU): Shy first handstand, blind to pike Jaeger and falls. Another shy handstand, double front pretty with a step back.
Quigg (ISU): Kickover front BHS, little bit of finesse and a big smile, split tuck full beat. Side somi with a fall. Shaky as she continues, round off 1.5 twist. 9.225
Griffith (TWU): Great FTY with a small hop back.
Jackson (CC): Chest slightly low on her double pike but manages to lunge back, one and a half front tuck really solid. One and a half front lay low but solid.
Woodring (TWU): FTY, piked down a touch but well controlled, bounce on her toes.
Gose (TWU): Gorgeous FTY, straight hips throughout, hop back. 9.85
Moon (LU): True shap to bail, major leg separation throughout, missed a handstand, double lay pretty with a small step back.
Iribarren (ISU): Steady leaps, little hop on her 1.5 twist dismount.
Daniels (LU): Imperfect first handstand, Tkachev, bail to toe shoot solid. Cast to handstands not quite making it, blind full double back with a hop.
Stiff (CC): Fall back on her double pike. Tour jete full. One and a half and runs out of it.
Fox (ISU): BHS BHS LOSO rock solid. A touch short on the switch half, full turn, punch front full dismount with a step to salute. 9.75
Mitchell (LU): Blind to Jaeger, clear hip to bail, cut away before her dismount.
Kipp (ISU): Orphan beat jump, BHS LOSO great. Switch switch half a little short, full turn, one and a half twist.
Wojcik (LU): Maloney to bail, pikey and leg separations, double lay with a low chest and two steps forward.
Labat (ISU): Front aerial, BHS LOSO lovely. Full turn, switch switch half with a bend check, one and a half twist stuck. Great!
Johnson (CC): Din Daa Daa routine, solid double pike, switch side Popa Shushunova 1/1. One and a half front tuck. 9.425
Harris (CC): Slightly overrotated double back. Nice presence, one and a half front lay done well. 9.625
Sanders (CC): Higher energy level than the last couple. Double pike, landed really well, switch side Popa well rotated. Rudi to double stag, front full front lay. Great finish! 9.7
After 1: Texas Woman’s 48.925, Lindenwood 48.625, Illinois State 48.525, Centenary 47.150
No one’s taken themselves out of contention with this performance, but Texas Woman’s should be particularly proud of this great start. Heading into the bye in a very strong position. For Lindenwood the make or break event is coming up now, while Illinois State can hit the gas in this rotation too.
Rotation 2: Centenary VT, SEMO UB, Lindenwood BB, Illinois State FX
Plaza (CC): Tsuk layout, low and whippy with a small hop. 9.575
Moffitt (SEMO): Good bial, missed a handstand, blind full open double back with a hop back.
Fox (ISU): Front lay to Rudi, a touch whippy but very well controlled on the landing. Great panache on the double pike,
Rush (LU): Full turn, BHS LOSO, switch spllit 3/4, side aerial back full stuck. 9.8!
Baumgartner (CC): Missed her block, low Yurchenko tuck and fell back.
Maxwell (SEMO): Fall on the release, missed a handstand, low bail with a substantial leg break. Blind full double back with a big step back.
Labat (ISU): Front double full, big step. Split to tour jete full actually fully rotated, get it. One and a half front lay great. Lovely Rudi. Her technique is fantastic.
Wojcik (LU): Switch to split a bit short. Missed some stuff as we cut around the arena, dismount stuck.
Fischer (SEMO): Joined for a double lay, close to stuck, she looks thrilled.
Bates (SEMO): Watched a blind full double back with three steps back.
Johnson (CC): Huge airy Yurchenko lay with a little hop in place.
Mitchell (LU): BHS LOSO lovely, split split 3/4. Full turn. Aleah Leman and Jordan Boogerd are having a moment in the background there. Switch side, gainer full off the time really good. 9.875
Iribarren (ISU): Front lay front full, missed her first pass but it was solid, great double back. 9.7
Sanders (CC): Yurchenko half, pikey but nearly stuck.
Solorzano-Caruso (SEMO): Blind full double back, stuck and super secure. 9.775
Miller (SEMO): Maybe we’ll actually see a full bars routine here. Piked Tkachev, swing forward and comes back with an Ezhova. One of my favorite routines. Double lay pretty with a hop back. 9.825
Griswold (LU): BHS LOSO great. Side aerial, check but hangs onto it, cat leap switch half beat. Full turn, punch front full stuck.
DeCroo (ISU): Slightly overrotated double back. Front full front lay. Double pike. 9.775
Quigg (ISU): Overrotated double pike but makes it work. One and a half front lay. She’s got a very fun presence, even her hands in lunges are super high-energy. Lindenwood hit the gas here on an event that’s been a weakness.
Roberts (LU): Triple series, adjustment but works through. Switch switch is quite scrappy, gainer full stuck. Double back really good.
Topp (ISU): I’ve been really excited for this one. Front full front lay, leg separation but STUCK. Switch side Popa, great, DOUBLE PIKE STUCK AGAIN.
Baars (LU): Fall on her series but it’s fine with five strong routines ahead of her.
After 2: Illinois State 97.375, Lindenwood 97.375, Centenary 95.450, Texas Woman’s 48.950, SEMO 48.625
Pretty much my thoughts on that. Lindenwood has its A game. Pressure now on SEMO and TWU to back up their great first rotations and fight with Lindenwood.
Rotation 3: Illinois State VT, Texas Woman’s UB, SEMO BB, Lindenwood FX
Fischer (SEMO): Side aerial to split, fall on her double turn. Cat leap side aerial back full stuck. 9.275
Bandy (ISU): Low on her FTY, feet pretty close to the table, step.
Lopez (LU): Great double back. She’s got Soloski’s 2020 music and the energy to pull it off. Front full front pike.
Bonzagni (TWU): Full turn, feet apart, goes over the bar and falls. Same fall on the same blind full again. She’s smiling as she goes down, which is something.
Doctor (ISU): Slightly lock legged on her huge Yurchenko arabian, step back. 9.8
Roberts (LU): Solid double back to start, double pike, we cut away and missed the end.
Fox (ISU): Yurchenko Arabian, close to the table with leg separation but landed well.
Heard (ISU): Gorgeous straight FTY with a baby hop in place.
Maxwell (SEMO): Missed a split quite badly early on, switch side, one and a half twist with a big hop.
Baars (LU): One and a half front full is GREAT. Well rotated leaps, one and a half front lay a touch archy.
Neely (ISU): Yurchenko Arabian with soft knees and an ambiguous landing, couple steps back. 9.7 will likely be the drop score here for a very good rotation.
Labat (ISU): Yurchenko one and a half, baby leg separation on the table and a big hop forward.
Griswold (LU): Great double pike. Missed the second pass, switch half wolf full, great double back.
Johnson (TWU): Clear hip, arch but gets it back, Tkachev with foot form. Bail with a form break, half turn with a fall. Dang that fall will count for TWU 🙁 This isn’t looking like a meet with the margin for mistakes like that. Got her double back.
Miller (SEMO): Split split 3/4, pretty, I think that was a side aerial to split, one and a half with leg form but stuck.
Goyco (TWU): GREAT Gienger to overshoot with slight break, blind full double back with a hop. 9.875
Baze (LU): Double pike, slightly overcooked. Big amplitude on her double back, ambiguous rotation on Popas, one and a half front lay great. 9.85
Solorzano-Caruso (SEMO): BHS LOSO, touch of form but very steady, cat leap side somi back tuck full stuck.
Griffith (TWU): Bail good, FTDB with a hop back.
Leman (LU): Front lay front full overpowered and bouncy, switch half Popa. One and a half front pike FLOATS. Front lay to Rudi bouncy.
Kaziska (SEMO): Front aerial to split lovely, full turn, BHS LOSO with a touch of arm finesse. Switch to split 1/4, wobbly but still a pretty fast connection, one and a half stuck dead. 9.65, nope, they took the leap connection.
After 3: Lindenwood 146.525, Illinois State 146.375, SEMO 97.350, Texas Woman’s 96.425, Centenary 95.450
It’s all Lindenwood today with a huge 49.150 on floor. The modest-looking gap between the Lions and the Redbirds is exacerbated by the fact that Lindenwood’s best event by far is coming up in the fourth rotation, while Illinois State is under pressure finishing on bars. With two counted falls on bars Texas Woman’s has taken itself out of contention, while SEMO was fine but not spectacular on beam.
The ISU commentators think that TWU AC Stephen Hood’s energy level is awesome and they are absolutely correct.
Rotation 4: Lindenwood VT, Centenary UB, Texas Woman’s BB, SEMO FX
Lopez (LU): Nice, straight FTY with a hop back. 9.825
Woodring (TWU): BHS LOSO very secure, switch switch split flat-footed but with good splits. Full turn, kickover front with a check, one and a half twist.
Sander (SEMO): Double pike, awkward. Hoppy combo pass, switch side and turns back the other way with her Popa which I love.
Jackson (CC): Ray, low but caught, solid bail. Chest low on her dismount.
Baze (LU): FTY, leg separation on the table but big with a small hop back.
Bonzagni (TWU): Cat leap switch side, BHS LOSO, falls. Big check on a switch, back tuck to split, check. Side aerial, tuck one and a half with a cross step.
Griswold (LU): FTY, foot flicker, the same small hop the others have done.
Mitchell (LU): The first of the two Arabians. The rotation lives and dies by these. Mitchell’s is absolutely gorgeous as usual, fake stuck up on her toes and steps to salute. 9.85
Goyco (TWU): Full turn, beat to straddle 3/4, major leg up check. Switch switch half beat. Punch front full slightly on her heels, steps back to salute.
Turon (LU): Slightly piked Yurchenko arabian with a big hop forward. 9.75
Leman (LU): Huge FTY with two hops back. 9.8
Moffitt (SEMO): Switch side Popa Popa. Rudi good. Front lay front full. Solid landings throughout there.
Kunzman (TWU): Fell on her triple series. Bend check on a side aerial. Split issues especially on her switch leap, one and a half twist with a hop back.
Jones (SEMO): Front through two and a half, very pretty in the air, slightly uncertain landing. She’s a very delicate, serious dancer. Double back landed very well. Great. 9.725
Pierce (TWU): Kickover front BHS, switch split. Cat leap front aerial, major check, full turn. Punch front tuck full with a little hop.
Gose (TWU): Full turn, switch switch half pretty solid for NCAA. Hitch kick side aerial gorgeous. One and a half stuck. Great, great routine. 9.925!!!!
Solorzano-Caruso (SEM): Double pike huge and overrotated, front full front lay. Great Rudi. Not the most precise landings she can summon but tons of panache. 9.775
Baumgartner (CC): Just saw a double back but she landed crying. Not sure what’s up but it looks like Jenny Jackson is taking care of her.
Kaziska (SEMO): Lovely front double full, switch side Popa rotated perfectly and stuck. No quicker way to my heart than actually sticking a leap pass. Little hop back on her Rudi.
After 4: Lindenwood 195.575, Illinois State 146.375, SEMO 146.075, Texas Woman’s 144.450, Centenary 141.600
This is very likely Lindenwood’s title. Illinois State can take it away, but it would take a 49.200 to tie, which would be the second-best bars score in program history. Falls took Texas Woman’s out of this one and SEMO just didn’t control landings well enough on floor to stay in the fight.
Rotation 5: SEMO VT, Illinois State UB, Centenary BB, Texas Woman’s FX
Bonzagni (TWU): Double back, good control, switch side Popa wolf full. Front full front lay. Rudi with leg separation. 9.75
DeCroo (ISU): Stuck for a second on her bail but makes it, blind full double back. 9.725
Maxwell (SEMO): Yurchenko tuck full with a hop to the side.
Molina (CC): Handstand to BHS LOSO, switch tuck 3/4. Cat leap front aerial with a fall. Gainer front full stuck.
Test (SEMO): Pretty FTY with a big hop back.
Pierce (TWU): Front double full, great landing. Switch side Popa a touch underrotated,
Heard (ISU): Double layout with closed hips, runs back and falls, she’s crying.
Ponder (CC): Tic toc, full turn, BHS LOSO with leg form but landed well. Beat to sheep, that was not a sheep but here we go. Beat to LOSO deep. Switch tuck 3/4, gainer pike low with a big step.
Adams (SEMO): Big FTY, slightly piked and a hop.
Fox (ISU): Full turn to bail to toe shoot, great, goes straight for the double lay. No Deltchev today so she won’t start from a 10.
Sanders (SEMO): Big FTY, hop back.
Johnson (TWU): Double pike, one and a half front full. Rudi overrotated and a big scoot back.
Solorzano-Caruso (SEMO): Great body position on her FTY with a little hop.
Doctor (SEMO): Double lay, closes her hips in the second salto but stuck. This stream really loves to show us nothing but dismounts on bars.
Woodring (TWU): Overrotates her double pike, right on the line, whoa she lost her balance and turned and put her hand down out of bounds. Frustrating on a landing that ultimately wasn’t that bad. Front full front lay stuck, gripped with the toes there. Lifted the front foot on her double back.
Labat (ISU): Ray to overshoot, FTDB with a hop back. Great.
Iribarren (ISU): Blind to Jaeger, great, perfect position on her bail. Blind to double front… stuck for a second before stepping to salute. Big time bars. Illinois State has avoided counting Heard’s fall. 9.9!
Goyco (TWU): Great double pike landing. Front lay front full. She’s rickrolling us again damn it. Little front foot pivot on her double back. 9.85
Knaps (CC): BHS LOSO, leg form and falls. Switch to tuck 3/4. Second fall, I didn’t see what skill because I was distracted by being rickrolled, stuck the gainer lay but limping off.
Gose (TWU): The set on her double pike is borderline obscene, great landing. Switch side Popa Popa perfectly rotated. Front layout front full very straight, tons of air. Slight Rudi scoot.
Sanders (CC): Full turn, BHS LOSO secure. Split LOSO, good, switch to tuck full. Front tuck full dismount stuck. 9.65
FINAL: Lindenwood 195.575, Illinois State 195.225, SEMO 194.825, Texas Woman’s 193.450 Centenary 188.725
This meet was Lindenwood’s from the second rotation. Illinois State should be proud of another huge total, but the Redbirds needed a great floor rotation to take advantage of Lindenwood’s weak event, and when the two finished that rotation tied, it was clear what would happen given the relative strengths of the remaining two events. Centenary and SEMO both produced meet totals comparable with their good meets from earlier in the season, while Texas Woman’s will hope it got all the falls out of the way before USAGs.
VT: J’Chelle Heard (ISU) 9.875
UB: Sofia Iribarren (ISU) 9.900
BB: Madeline Gose (TWU) 9.925
FX: Gayla Griswold, Aleah Leman (LU), Madeline Gose (TWU) 9.875
AA: Angelica Labat (ISU) 39.175
Live blog by Rebecca Scally
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