The college gymnastics season is finally here! This afternoon we’ve got a great Big Ten-MAC matchup with Eastern Michigan traveling to take on the 18th ranked Hawkeyes. Lindenwood was also originally scheduled to compete but withdrew earlier in the week due to COVID-related issues.
Today’s matchup serves as the 2022 debut for both teams, who are each coming off of strong 2021 seasons where both squads qualified for the postseason. The Eagles won the MAC championship meet before falling to Maryland by five hundredths of a point in the regionals play-in round while the Big Ten regular season champion Hawkeyes finished last season narrowly missing their regional final.
This season looks promising for both schools as well. Iowa was selected third in the Big Ten preseason poll and top 20 nationally while Eastern Michigan picked up quite a few votes in the WCGA preseason poll and is expected to be right on the postseason bubble.
The Hawkeyes return a bulk of their roster, including sixth-year Clair Kaji, senior Lauren Guerin, junior JerQuavia Henderson and sophomore Adeline Kenlin. All four were members of the floor lineup that finished the season ranked fourth in the country, and if Iowa can bring its other three events closer to the level of floor, it should be able to pull off some more big upsets this season. Guerin and Henderson will also be on the floor 10.0 hunt this year as both spent much of last season falling just short.
The Eagles also return much of their roster, led by senior Caitlin Satler and junior Hadyn Crossen. Crossen is set to be Eastern Michigan’s top all-arounder this year while Satler has a beam routine worth keeping an eye on. Bars will be an event to watch for this squad as the Eagles used only six total gymnasts on bars throughout all of last season, leaving two big holes to replace that were vacated by seniors. It was Eastern Michigan’s best event last season, so we will have to see if depth is truly an issue.
Something I’m watching this week is Iowa’s ability to put itself in the top 10 next week if it puts up a high-195 score. That was a feat the Hawkeyes accomplished every meet last season, so with plenty of returnees I’d expect a strong showing.
Touch warmups are underway and neither team has tweeted lineups at this point, so no insight on what to expect. The only thing I can note is that the live scores seem to indicate in the all around to possibly expect Crossen and Parris from Eastern Michigan along with Kenlin from Iowa.
Rotation 1: Iowa Vault, Eastern Michigan Bars
Rojas (Iowa): Yfull. Bent knees into the twist and a hop back on the landing. 9.675
Boris (EMU): Giant half to piked jager to overshoot, jump to high bar, missed last handstand, full out dismount and sticks it. 9.775
Kenlin (Iowa): Yfull. Nice form, a little flair out, slide back on the landing. 9.775
Jankowski (EMU): Giant half to jager, barely hits the bar with her hands and falls. Remounts to the low bar, misses handstand, giant full to stuck double tuck. 8.900
Zivat (Iowa): Her debut!! Tsuk full and 10.0 start value! A bit of pike down on the landing and a hop back. 9.775
Chemotti (EMU): Toe on, tkatchev, nice handstands so far, good pak, misses first attempt at half pirouette, misses handstand but gets it, wobbles before jumping to high bar, dismounts with a whippy double layout and a hop. 9.600
Killian (Iowa): Yfull. Decent form and a slide back. Nice distance. 9.725
McCullough (EMU): Giant half to piked jager to overshoot, good, squat on to high bar, good handstand, giant half to double front, small hop in place. 9.850
Guerin (Iowa): Yfull. Great distance, good form, a little out of control on the landing and hop back. 9.750
Parris (EMU): Toe on to Geinger, misses handstand, squat jump to high bar, dismounts with a double layout and a shuffle forward. 9.600
Henderson (Iowa): Yfull. Stuck! Huge as normal. 9.925! Perfect from one judge!
Crossen (EMU): Toe on to bail, a bit of foot form issues, jumps to high bar, tkatchev, short on handstand, double layout swung out a bit and a tiny hop. 9.700
We get to see and exhibition vault from Laplante. A nice Yfull, quite a bit piked down.
An exhibition bars routine for EMU goes well. They didn’t announce the name.
After 1: Iowa 48.950, EMU 48.525
Both teams came out strong but also left quite a few tenths on the table. Iowa fell just short of 196 pace on vault, with a huge score from Henderson saving it from being lower. The landings will need to be there later in the season as we still only saw one 10.0 start value from the group.
The Eagles are off to a decent start as well, bouncing back and not having to count a fall in their season opening rotation. Dismounts looked alright and the landings were promising, but there are some form issues to work out amongst the group to bring in higher totals.
Rotation 2: Eastern Michigan Vault, Iowa Bars
Chemotti (EMU): Yfull. A bit tucked onto the table and comes in way short, lunges forward. 9.300
Tolan (Iowa): Giant half to jager to overshoot, jumps to high bar, nice handstands, good giant full to stuck double tuck! 9.775
Harden (EMU): Handspring front pike, big hop foward on the landing. 9.525
Vance (Iowa): Giant half to jager, bail to handstand, hits, up to high bar, a bit short on final handstand, giant full to another stuck double tuck. 9.850
Fisher (EMU): Yfull. Piked down and a step on the landing. 9.650
Greenwald (Iowa): Ray, great height, nice handstand, toe on, pak, half pirouette, dismounts with a double layout, third stuck landing in a row! 9.900!
Crossen (EMU): Yfull. Quite floaty, pikes down a slides back. 9.600
Steffensmeier (Iowa): Good first handstand, giant half to piked jager, great, pak, clips her feet on the ground but keeps moving, gets back to the high bar, giant full to double tuck, slide back into salute. 9.600
Parris (EMU): Yfull. Almost a stick but ends up taking a hop back. 9.650
Kenlin (Iowa): A bit archy save on first handstand, Maloney to pak, great, switch kip, hops to high bar, toe full, way short and hops off. Rechalks and remounts, immediately falls on the handstand over again, remounts again, toe full to double tuck, squat and almost stick to a hop back. 8.700
Roberts (EMU): Yfull. Best in the air for the Eagles. Slide back. 9.625
Kaji (Iowa): Higgins to jager, great, wild pak, clips her feet, gets back to the high bar, great and stuck double layout. 9.500
Great exhibition routine on bars from Henderson. Not sure why what wasn’t in the lineup.
Rotation 2: EMU 48.050, Iowa 48.625
After 2: Iowa 97.575, EMU 96.575
Iowa missed out on a huge opportunity there. Greenwald pulled in a huge 9.9 and with experienced routines after her, they also could’ve raked in some big numbers. Those errors will hurt today, but, overall the Hawkeyes showed better form overall and seem to have more depth than usual on bars.
Eastern Michigan did its job on vault, putting out six Yfulls that should keep them competitive in the MAC all season long. None looked upgradable, so landings will be crucial moving forward to maximize scores.
If the Hawkeyes are going to hit 196, they’re going to need to be lights out from here on out. Both beam and floor are capable of going 49-plus to make-up ground, but it will not be easy.
Rotation 3: Iowa Beam, Eastern Michigan Floor
Gilchrist (Iowa): Side aerial to BHS to open things up, switch leap to split jump, off to a nice start, tiniest of wobbles on a full turn, hitch kick to side somi, love that connection, gainer full, stuck, a bit off to the side. 9.775
Parris (EMU): Kicks of the Eagles’ floor season with a front layout to Rudi, small slide back with both feet, cleanly through her leaps, switch half to straddle 3/4, double pike to close, nice landings. 9.750
Nick (Iowa): BHS LOSO, small arm check to the side, cat leap to front aerial to beat jump, moving confidently, switch leap to split jump, steady, dismounts with a RO 1.5 and gets the stick. 9.775
Antonio (EMU): Opens with a double pike, perfectly controlled lunge, front layout front full, a bit short and a step to the side, switch ring through to more leaps, closes with a Rudi to split jump. 9.725
Killian (Iowa): BHS LOSO, easy, good punch front, switch leap to switch leap, big bobble, stays on, RO double full, small slide to the side. 9.625
Boris (EMU): Mounts with a full-in! Chest a little down on the landing, RO 1.5 punch front layout, controlled step, some knee bend, wonky switch half to tucked 1.5 jump, closes with a double tuck, just a step forward. 9.650
Vance (Iowa): BHS LOSO, small check to the side, side aerial to two feet, such a great skill, split jump to straddle 3/4, no issues, side aerial tucked full dismount and notches another stick for Iowa. 9.775
Crossen (EMU): Big double pike to mount, just a lunge back, front layout to front full, shuffle due to coming in a bit short, good leap series, another big tumbling pass to close, double tuck. 9.750
Kaji (Iowa): Opens with a lovely full turn, BHS LOSO, arm check, cat leap to side aerial, solid, camera was too zoomed in to tell what her leaps were, but no wobbles, BHS gainer full dismount and sticks it. 9.900
McCullough (EMU): Double pike to open, large step back, switch ring to tour jete half, front layout to front double full, love to see that final pass, close to OOB but stays in. 9.750
Kenlin (Iowa): Changed her mount from last year, now a straddle split along the side of the beam, BHS LOSO, finally through without a check, cat leap to front aerial to beat jump, squatted a bit to save the connection, switch leap to split jump, sticks the side aerial layout full dismount. 9.925
Roberts (EMU): Switch ring to switch half, double pike, small step forward after trying to hold for the stick, RO 1.5 punch front layout, done nicely, closes with a Rudi to split jump, good control. 9.775
Beam exhibition from Rojas, BHS LOSO series and a punch front highlight the routine and it goes well, could definitely see lineup time this season.
Hartung with a floor exhibition. A front double full to start off a strong routine. Could also see lineup time this year.
Rotation 3: Iowa 49.150, EMU 48.750
After 3: Iowa 146.725, EMU 145.325
Those last two routines were much needed for Iowa who finally got things back on track with an issue-free beam rotation. Not only did the Hawkeyes break 49, but made up a few tenths as well to have a real shot at a 196 finishing on their premier event. Kaji isn’t in the lineup, but it’s still more than capable of a 49.275. It will be close though.
Eastern Michigan had its best rotation so far, hitting six for six on floor and keeping a 194 score very realistic. The full-in from Boris was a treat as the Eagles put forth good tumbling throughout all six routines.
Rotation 4: Eastern Michigan Beam, Iowa Floor
Boris (EMU): BHS BHS LOSO to open, check to the side, good full turn, beat jump to split 3/4, shy of 180 in the splits, RO 1.5, good distance and stuck. 9.750
Killian (Iowa): Gets going with a triple full, good landing, a bit of loose legs in the twists, front full to front pike, switch side to straddle full, clean, closes with a double tuck, chest up and just a lunge. 9.800
Parris (EMU): Switch leap to switch side, arm circle check, BHS LOSO, tiny lean to the side, side aerial, leg up check, RO 1.5, great toe point and sticks it. 9.625
Greenwald (Iowa): Huge full-in to mount, great control, no problems with the switch side straddle full, closes with a RO 2.5 to front tuck, a bit of a bouncy step forward, but another hit routine. 9.825
McCullough (EMU): BHS LOSO, lean to the side check, beat jump to split jump full, actually pretty, cat leap to side aerial to layout full, gets the stick! 9.750
Zivat (Iowa): Awesome to see her on two events. Front double full to front tuck opening pass, fun connection, a bit of sloppy legs in the twist, good height on the leap series, Rudi LOSO, secure landing. 9.775
Chemotti (EMU): BHS LOSO LOSO, almost perfect but has a check to the side, front aerial to switch leap, well short of 180 in the leaps, but fun series, BHS 1.5 dismount, another stick. 9.675
Henderson (Iowa): Could be a giant score. Massive full-in, great landing, same routine as last season, super bouncy leap series, switch side to straddle full to straddle jump, front tuck through to double tuck, perfect lunge. Excellent gymnastics. 9.925
Crossen (EMU): BHS LOSO, sturdy landing, front toss to beat jump, a little low on the toss, switch leap to sheep jump to beat jump, almost got her feet to her head, cartwheel to stuck gainer full. Five for five on sticks! 9.800
Kenlin (Iowa): Starts wil a front double full to front tuck, wild landing, shuffles to the side and somehow stays in bounds, RO 1.5 punch front layout, good landing, needs a little more height in the layout, beautiful Ferrari in her leap series. 9.775
Satler (EMU): BHS BHS LOSO, great, split jump to wolf full, RO double full dismount, chest low but completes the full lineup of stuck dismounts! And hits! 9.800
Guerin (Iowa): Opens with her signature full-in, huge, maybe a tiny slide with the front foot on the landing, switch side to straddle full to straddle jump, just the final pass, front tuck through to double tuck, perfect lunge, should be a big one. 9.900
Beam exhibition for Harris, floor exhibition for Nick. Both hits.
Rotation 4: EMU 48.775, Iowa 49.225
Final: Iowa 195.950, EMU 194.100
Very strong finishes for both teams, showing off on their best events.
Iowa floor showed it will be amongst the most competitive in the nation once again with a 49+ showing without Kaji in the lineup and a near miss from Kenlin. The Hawkeyes ultimately full just short of 196, but should find themselves right on the top 10 bubble at the end of the weekend with their 195.950. Overall, it was a solid start for Iowa, who really just needs to clean up bars to already start matching the totals of last seaon’s team. Should be another promising year in Iowa City.
Eastern Michigan will be a little disappointed in its low 194 after spending most of 2021 in the 195’s and even hitting 196 on one occasion. The Eagles did improve vastly on their last two events, also needing to clean up bars along with vault to bring in some competitive totals.
Vault: Henderson (Iowa) 9.925
Bars: Greenwald (Iowa) 9.900
Beam: Kenlin (Iowa) 9.925
Floor: Henderson (Iowa) 9.925
All Around: Crossen (EMU) 38.850
Live blog by Brandis Heffner
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