LIVE BLOG: MRCG Championship

Twelve, 19, 20, 21. Talk about a closely bunched group! This conference has been battling all season. It’s anyone’s meet. BYU has the highest number on the year with a 197.300, but Southern Utah is only a toe slide behind at a 197.275. Boise State, the only team currently in the conference that has won the title since its inception in 2013, sits at a high of 196.900, and Utah State is not far behind with a 196.775 on the year. What I’m saying is hold onto your hats because this’ll be a whirlwind of great gymnastics.

As Big Ten editor and general Midwest enthusiast, I’m out of my usual depth here, but I did this on purpose! I’ve seen each of these teams in only one meet so far this year, so it’ll be fun for me to see the progress since those early competitions. I hand picked this one because it is so close, and I’m ready to enjoy it! I hope you are, too. As far as regional implications, all of these teams are solidly comfortable. BYU is well into the seeded group and not really vulnerable to dropping out of it, and the other three will be placed geographically.

We have SEC and Pac-12 night sessions running concurrently, so if I get word of anything wild going on over at those meets, I’ll do my best to update you here. We also have live blogs going for each.

Rotation 1: BYU VT, BSU UB, SUU BB, USU FX

Murakami (SUU): Bhs loso. Split to sheep, little leg sep in the apex of the sheep. Side aerial tuck 1/1 crooked and a hop.

Pitou (BYU): Fty piked down and a hop.

Toomey (USU) Front 2/1, good. Split 1/2 wolf 3/2, very low front leg in the wolf. RO 3/2 front lay, gorgeous height.

Cavita nailing her DLO in the background.

Zhong (BYU): FTY gorgeous body, hop back.

R. Smith (SUU):RO loso, loooove that series, and she did it really well. Side aerial, check. Cat to switch 3/4, little shy of 180. RO 3/2, little foot movement and feet were quite far apart.

Blackson (BSU): Really loveley through the beginning. DLO, small hop.

Jackson (USU): Double tuck, good height and a controlled landing. Front lay front 1/1, really floated but travelled out a bit more than up. Strong leaps. Double pike, touch low and she had to lunge forward.

Heaton (BYU): FTY, some pike and a hop.

Nipp (SUU): Check on front aerial. Bhs loso, another little check. She meant to connect the aerial. Split to split 3/4, lovely extension. Gainer 1/1, little foot slide. Great layout shape though.

Nilson (BSU): Clear hip hand to Tkatchev good. Bail hand. DLO, foot slide back.

Le. Varnadore (USU): Double pike, bounded back out of it, maybe OOB? RO 3/2 front lay, great landing on that one. Switch side popa, good 180s, maybe a little fudging on the rotation. Double tuck, chest down a touch on the landing.

Bennett (BYU): Y 1/1 on tuck, hop. Not quiteeeee a 1/1 on, but closer than a lot of those.

McClain (SUU): Bhs loso, feet but very solid. No problems on her side aerial. Switch to straddle 1/4, little off balance and has a small check but she fought through. RO 3/2, good landing, small foot adjustment.

Lopez (BSU): Short handstand. Blind to big pike Jaeger. Bail hand touch short. DLO little hop.

Wells (USU): Good double pike to open. Marathon combo pass! Tour jete 1/2 Popa Popa, really wonderful height! Love that amplitude on leaps. Punch rudi to end, great.

Mason (BYU): FTY, hips and soft knees.

Wissman (SUU): Front aerial bhs, good. Switch switch to split, could use more oversplit on those but a good connection. Cat to front toss + beat, steady. She seems very calm. Gainer 1/1, low chest but holds her feet.

Muhlenhaupt (BSU): Blind to huge! Jaeger immediate bail. Good handstand. DLO holds the stick. IS THIS THE 10?

DeHarde (USU): Double pike to open, good. FHS rudi Shushunova to cheers from her teammates. Switch side popa, good splits there. FHS rudi loso, good landing, not a ton of amplitude on the loso.

Miner (BYU): FTY, big, some pike down.

Schwartze (SUU): Side aerial, good. Split to sheep, chest down check on the landing. Bhs loso to beat with a check. Just a little nervy here. Gainer 1/1 stuck.

Little (BSU): Maloney to pak, feet in the pak. Good last handstand. DLO, piked the second stalto and a step.

Gutierrez (USU): Switch to tour jete 1/1, little shy on rotation. Front through huge double tuck, little stumble step on the landing. Switch, good. Double pike, good landing.

AFTER 1: USU 49.175, BYU 49.125, BSU 49.100, SUU 49.025

Phew this baby is already tight! What a fun group of teams. Great gymnastics all around in that rotation. Some hoppy things for Boise and BYU held things back a touch. Utah State is clean on floor.

USU’s score was raised to 49.200.

I’m hearing that Alabama is off to quite a start over in the SEC, Shallon Olsen apparently nailed a vault for really the first time this season.

Rotation 2: USU VT, BYU UB, BSU BB, SUU FX

Lopez (BSU): Bhs loso, some soft knees in the bhs. Swtich, little adjustment. One arm bhs. Those were meant to be connected. Strong jumps, great 180s. Front toss to beat, no problems. Front 1/1, small hop.

Wells (USU): FTY, some hips but good overall.

Zhong (BYU): DLO, great landing.

Schwartze (SUU): FHS 2/1, landed a bit on her heels but covered it well. Leaps were fine, not the most precise wolf position. FHS rudi loso, there was the landing she wanted. Switch, good.

DeHarde (USU): FTY, low chest and steps forward.

Masiado (BSU): Such a pretty mount on one shoulder. Small adjustment on the full turn. Bhs loso, excellent. Switch to switch half beat, not 180 on the half and a little check. Side aerial tuck 1/1, stuck.

Cyrenne (BYU): Toe hand to Maloney, some leg sep, immediate bail hand. DLO, true stick.

R. Smith (SUU): We joined her routine on her jumps, looked good, they had solid height. Punch rudi, some leg sep in the air but a good landing.

Le. Varnadore (USU): Yhalf, good body position, huge distance and a small hop.

Cavinta (BSU): Sort of a lengthy wait. I don’t think any event is happening at the moment. Bhs loso, really pretty, solid landing. Switch to straddle 1/4, low back leg on the switch. Cat to front aerial to beat. Just little checks here and there. Gainer pike stuck.

McClain (SUU): Massive double pike, overcooks it and bounces in the lunge. RO 3/2 front lay, great body shape in the lay, little hop. Leaps were strong. Hearing BYU had a bars fall, not sure from whom. Alder I think. Double tuck, best landing yet.

Alder (BYU): Clear hip hand to Gienger immediate bail, some soft knees on all. She did fall while we were watching McClain, restarted. DLO, great landing.

Rojas (USU): FTY, piked down but good landing.

Elkabchi (BSU): Bhs loso, good. Barani, check. Fall, remounted tuck jump? Not sure. Beat, check. Beat to side aerial 1/1 hop. Weird set, she looks upset.

Nipp (SUU): Double pike, great landing. FHS front full front lay, another good landing. Switch ring to switch 1/1, could use a little more precision on the ring position. Double tuck, deep knees but saves it.

Alvarado (BYU): Toe hand to Malone immediate Pak, caught a little closed shouldered. DLO just about holds the stick.

Lo. Varnadore (USU): Yhalf, arched in the air, step on the landing.

The arena music when no FX is happening is Fall Out Boy. I’m from Chicago and a 90s kid, so obviously love it.

Popp (BSU): Front aerial, tiny check. Bhs bhs two feet layout two feet, great! She really tumbles. Beat to switch half. Gainer 1/1, stuck.

Pitou (BYU): Blind to Jaeger, great. Her toes are lovely. Bail hand HOLDS the handstand, wow really spectacular. Short last handstand. FTDB, hop.

Horton (SUU): Coming in mid-routine. Punch rudi, some leg sep. Switch side popa, cheated the rotation a little. RO 3/2 front lay, bit arched but a grat landing.

Meyer (USU): FTY, hop to the side.

Muhlenhaupt (BSU): Bhs loso, check, steps back and bent at the hips some. Check on full turn. Beat to sheep to split, not the best head release on the sheep. Side aerial was steady. RO 3/2 true stick.

Stainton (BYU): Hect mount. Blind to pike Jaeger immediate bail, some leg form on the Jaeger. Short last handstand. Stuck FTDB.

AFTER 2: BYU 98.450, USU 98.250, SUU 98.175, BSU 98.100

Boise had some nervy performances there that kept the score down. BYU really capitalized on deduction-free landings to gain some distance on the group. This thing is still so close, though. What a fun meet.

Rotation 3: SUU VT, USU UB, BYU BB, BSU FX

Mather (BYU): Bhs loso, check with chest down. Switch to straddle 1/4 with a check.Cartwheel gainer 1/1, hop.

Le. Varnadore (USU): Maloney to bail, leg sep on both. Blind to front giant 1/2 double tuck hop.

Masiado (BSU): Double pike, controlled lunge. Switch 1/2 wolf 3/2, quite short of rotation on that wolf, might even get downgraded. Front lay front 1/1, good. FHS rudi.

Trevort (SUU): Huge fty, hop back.

Cyrenne (BYU): Bhs loso, good. Little check on her choreo. Switch half to split. RO 3/2 soft knees and a hop.

Gutierrez (USU): Great handstand. Maloney leg sep to bail hand. DLO, deep knees but holds her feet.

Elkabchi (BSU): Double tuck, good landing. Swtich side Popa, rotation was all over the place. RO 3/2 front lay, lost some amplitude on the lay. Double pike, low chest and bounced out a bit.

Kho (SUU): FTY, hop straight up.

Alder (BYU): Split jump. Front toss bhs, solid. Check on full turn. Beat to straddle 3/4, great split position. Cartwheel gainer 1/1, little adjustment.

Jackson (USU): Arched first handstand. Blind to Jaeger immediate bail, some loose knees in there. FTDB, feet and a hop back.

Popp (BSU): Front through double pike, feet and her front foot slid back in the lunge. Tour jete popa popa, good height. Big double tuck, bouncy on the landing a bit.

R. Smith (SUU): Y1/1 tuck, low chest and a hop.

McClelland (BYU): Wolf turn 2/1, good. Check on bhs loso. Straddle to beat to double stag, steady throughout those. Bhs tuck 3/2, holds the stick.

Rojas (USU): Malone to bail hand, short. DLO, stuck.

Blackson (BSU): FHS front 2/1, great amplitude but messy landing. RO whip half front 1/1, pretty low on the full. Tour jete 1/2 split 1/1 was good. FHS rudi, shuffled her front foot a little.

Alfaro (SUU): FTY, little hop.

Rollins (BYU): Switch to straddle 1/4, excellent split positions. Front aerial, offline and she falls. Bhs loso. Hitch to side aerial. You wouldn’t know she fell. Gainer 1/1 stuck.

Fishwick (USU): Maloney leg sep bail hand some arch. Short handstand. Blind to double front step back.

Nilson (BSU): Front lay to rudi, bounced a bit. Switch side Popa, nice straddles. Double pike, excellent landing.

Barney (SUU): FTY, good landing.

Stainton (BYU): Hitch to front toss bhs, good. Switch to split 1/4, little wonky upper body on the 1/4. RO 3/2, chest quite forward and wide feet.

(USU): Ray to immediate bail, good, some loose legs in the bail DLO, whipped a bit but true stick.\

S. Smith (BSU): Double pike, flexed feet but good lunge. RO 3/2 front lay, little low on the lay. Switch side popa, good splits but cheated the rotation a bit. Double tuck, lunged forward.

AFTER 3: BYU 147.500, BSU 147.400, USU 147.150, SUU 147.125

It’s still a nail biter! BYU and Boise have pulled ahead of the pack but it’s just by a bit. Boise really made up some ground on floor. Let’s see who carries more momentum into the last rotation.

Rotation 4: BSU VT, SUU UB, USU UB, BYU FX

Masiado (BSU): FTY, hop back and piked down.

Wells (USU): Side aerial, steady. Switch to switch 3/4, arm swing. Bhs loso. RO 2/1, low chest but held her feet.

Thomas (SUU): Missed the first half while WP reloaded, but she was through clean. DLO, hop.

Bain (BYU): Coming into the middle. Front lay front 1/1 punch front, arched both of the layout shapes. Punch rudi, some leg sep but good landing.

Nilson (BSU): Clean FTY, hop.

Le. Varnadore (USU): Bhs loso, knees on the loso. Front aerial to beat, good. Switch switch. Ganer tuck 3/2, step.

Schwartze (SUU): Hop change to Pike Jaeger. Bail hand. Late blind 1/1 double tuck feet and a small step.

Bennett (BYU): RO 3/2 through 3/2 front tuck. Phew that’s a whole SENTENCE of a pass. Double tuck, leaned back a bit in the lunge. Switch side to cat 2/1, I love a cat leap, not the most precise shape.

Otuafi (BSU): Yhalf, great landing, little low.

Brooks (USU): Front aerial bhs bhs, little off in the aerial transition. Switch to bhs swingdown. Fun low beam choreo. Hitch to side aerial 1/1, held her feet. Seems like judges took her connection, she’ll have a SV issue.

Nipp (SUU): Caught her JAeger a little close. DLO, great landing.

Matthews (BYU) Double pike, good landing. RO whip 1/2 front 1/1. This is the Napoleon Dynamite routine. Switch side wolf 1/1, cheated the rotation a fair bit. Double tuck, feet, and slid back in the lunge.

Dittmar (USU): Long, long wait here. Lovely press mount. One arm bhs loso, great. Not rattled at all by that wait. Beat to split 3/4. BHs bhs 3/2 hop forward.

Lopez (BSU): FTY, slid one foot, clean in the air.

Murakami (SUU): Blind to Jaeger, huge! immediate bail. FTDB hop.

Stainton (BYU): second combo pass got a little wild, the rebounded jump out sort of swam around. Switch ring to split 1/1, little foot form on both. Double tuck, great landing.

S. Smith (BSU): FTY, little early on that rotation, hop.

DeHarde (USU): Front aerial to beat, covered a check. Bhs loso, turned to the side. Pike jump to straddle 3/4, anyone who does a pike is my auto-fave. Cartwheel gainer 1/1, stuck.

Kho (SUU): Maloney to pak, clean. Toe hand to FTDB, flung it out pretty far.

Sorry, miss-ID’d Murakami as Kho earlier, they were misannounced on the broadcast and I trusted it! My fault.

Vitkauskas (BYU): Huge 2/1 to start. Missed her combo pass. Split side popa, huge 180s. Rudi, good landing.

Blackson (BSU): Y1.5, deep knees but held the stick.

Bayles (USU): Front aerial bhs, smooth. Switch to tuck 3/4, drops her chest, that’s a sizeable one. Front aerial to split. RO 3/2, held her feet.

Bentley (SUU): Toe hand to Ray immediate bail. Could’ve had more oompf on the Ray. DLO, stuck.

Alder (BYU): We cut away from her first pass. Tour jete 1/2 split 1/1. RO 3/2 front lay, feet slid a bit on the landing but she lunged well. Double pike, great finish.

FINAL: BYU 196.925, BSU 196.725, USU 196.250, SUU 196.225

WOW what a ride. Boise gave it its best shot on vault but BYU pulled it out! All four teams were excellent, start to finish in this one.

VT: Blackson 9.950
UB: Muhlenhaupt 9.925
BB: Popp 9.900
FX: Alder 9.950
AA: Le. Varnadore 39.075

Live blog by Emily Minehart

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