Kaitlyn Higgins on beam

LIVE BLOG: Nebraska at No. 20 Iowa State

Welcome to my first live blog of the regular season! I’m so excited you are here with me. Tonight’s matchup is Nebraska at No. 20 Iowa State. The Cyclones have not beat the Huskers since 2008, but tonight just might be the night! You can stream the event tonight here (ESPN+) and find scores here.

To start off, let’s take a look over the two teams. Iowa State’s roster is HUGE this year, which will provide some fantastic opportunities to show off their depth. Freshmen Hannah Loyim and Josie Bergstrom, as well as senior Kelsey Boychuk, are projected to compete vault, and Ana Palacios will make her return on beam. Some top routines you can’t miss include Makayla Maxwell and her usually stuck 10.0 start value vault, Andrea Maldonado’s world-class floor routine (hopefully we will see her compete the Maldonado sometime this season), and solid contributor Sophia Steinmeyer’s return to the floor after her Achilles tear last season. Unfortunately, 2021 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Addy De Jesus, who spent her first two years at Nebraska (tonight’s opponent), will be out tonight due to injury. For longterm injuries, the Cyclones have a couple of those, too, in Emma Ricks, Natalie Horowitz, Jade Vella-Wright, Phoebe Turner and Madelyn Langkamp.

Nebraska’s Kynsee Roby and Emma Spence were recently named to the Big Ten Conference Gymnasts to Watch list. Roby competed in all 10 meets last season and qualified to NCAA Regionals on bars and beam. Spence is a freshman for the Huskers looking to potentially contribute on all four events. Canadian gym fans know her best from her position as alternate for the 2021 Olympics and her decorated elite career. This freshman will surely give the Huskers a boost. Nebraska is also returning senior Makayla Curtis (who chose to use her COVID year) and junior Kylie Piringer from the 2021 season. I predict that we will see both gymnasts competing today on vault, bars and floor. With that being said, let’s begin!


It’s EIC Elizabeth taking over for Carolyn for a second while she gets her ESPN+ stream figured out. We’ll let you know when we switch back. Touch warmups are still going on, but we’ll be getting underway soon.

Orrego (ISU): Starts things off with a FTY. Gigantic hop back but pretty clean in the air. The landing will hurt her though.

Thaler (Neb): Missed the beginning. Missed her handstands in the pirouettes, but nailed her final one on the high bar and finished with a stuck double tuck dismount. A fairly good start for the freshman.

Bergstrom (ISU): The only gymnast on this team actually from Iowa, fun fact. FTY, medium hop back and much more controlled than the first vault.

Colombo (Neb): Eagle grip to piked jaeger, nice handstand out, Pak is a little too arched but fine, Eagle grip front giants into a stuck double tuck. Overall a good routine. 

Loyim (ISU): FTY, legs apart on the block, stuck-ish landing with a bit of a deep squat.

Roby (Neb): Carolyn here! Straddled jaeger, over on her next handstand with huge arch to try and save it. Comes off the bar. Back up, gets the handstand for the bail. Double layout dismount, little hop on the landing.

Boychuk (ISU): FTY, underrotated landing with a step forward.

Davis (Neb): Maloney to clear hip to Hindorff, crazy connection there, I didn’t know she did that! Great swing on these giants. Double layout dismount, almost stuck landing.

Maxwell (ISU): ISU’s only 1.5 today, let’s see how she does. Tiny hop back, but really clean form in the air.

Simpton (Neb): Commentators are saying that this is the largest UNL gymnastics team EVER. Crazy! Debut for Simpton right here. Maloney to Pak, good. Some odd flexed feet on the kip after the Pak? Double layout dismount, huge pike down on that but lands on her feet.

AFTER 1: ISU 48.575, Neb 48.175

Sorry about that folks, my stream was NOT connecting. So far from what I have seen, the freshmen are trying their best but both teams are looking a bit shaky which is understandable. Projected lineups for the next rotation have a couple more debuts and some Addy De Jesus so watch out for that!


Spence (Neb): Vault debut for her! FTY with a small hop back. Bringing those ankle socks over to NCAA from elite!

Maxwell (ISU): Jaeger, pretty good. Bail, a little crooked but pulls it off. Double layout dismount with a hop back.

Comin (Neb): FTY, solid landing.

Cooke (ISU): Shaposh, loses the rhythm on the Pak and hops off. Back on the bar she tries her new dismount, double layout, small hop back.

Piringer (Neb): FTY, big hop back, but vault is looking good so far for the Huskers!

Loyim (ISU): Another event for Loyim’s collegiate debut. This commentator is fun! Blind half to piked jaeger, beautiful! Pak, a bit rushed. Good last handstand. Double layout dismount, step back. She is great!

Hall (Neb): FTY, pops up the landing, pretty good.

Basuel (ISU): Hits that first handstand. Straddled jaeger, a bit too close. Bail is crooked on the handstand. Good last handstand. Double layout dismount, step back. I believe that is another new dismount for the Cyclones!

Roby (Neb): FTY, good form in the air with a hop back.

De Jesus (ISU): Both of De Jesus’s legs are heavily wrapped. Ray to bail, both HUGE releases with fantastic amplitude. Double layout dismount, hop forward.

Davis (Neb): FTY, some bent legs in the air, with a hop back on the landing.

Ford (ISU): Collegiate debut for this junior! A bit over on the first handstand. Shaposh to bail, almost hit the vertical but not quite. Double layout, BIG step back. So happy for her.

AFTER 2: ISU 97.250, Neb 97.375

We saw some really good collegiate debuts in this rotation! Looks like we have Loganne Basuel’s beam debut, Hannah Loyim’s beam debut, and Ana Palacios return to the floor in the next rotation!


Semple (ISU): Starts off with her acro series which is a BHS LOSO, solid. Cat leap to switch leap to beat jump, pretty good so far. Switch leap to split jump for her leaps, no wobbles so far. Side aerial to full twist dismount, STUCK! That should be a great score for her! #GraceGlennVibes

Spence (Neb): Maggie Nichols 2020 floor music OKAY!! RO 1.5 to RO BHS double twist first pass. Double wolf turn OH NO. Double tuck to end, some nice bonus to boost her start value.

Boychuk (ISU): BHS BHS LOSO, bobble on that. Cat leap to straight legged side somi, that is fun! Breaks her leap connection. Gainer full dismount, stuck of course.

Roby (Neb): Double pike, good first pass for her. RO 1.5 to front layout, controlled landing. Double tuck to end, chest down on the landing.

Steinmeyer (ISU): So happy she is back after her Achilles injury. BHS LOSO, no deduction on the landing. Could look up from the beam every once in a while if I am being picky. RO 1.5 dismount, STUCK! Great routine!

Curtis (Neb): New hairstyle for her! “That’s My Best Friend” floor music! Cute! Good first pass, love this dance and music! Front full to front layout, no problem. Sophia Hyderally really choreographed the HECK out of this routine!! Double tuck to end, another low chest landing.

Loyim (ISU): BHS LOSO, no issues there. Beautiful front aerial to beat jump. I’m sorry but this male cheerleader watching beam looks at the gymnasts so sympathetically and I can’t stop watching him! RO 1.5, great day for her!

Comin (Neb): Half in, half out for her first pass, chest down on the landing. Pink Panther for her music which our Big 12 Editor Ryan caught at one of UNL’s preseason intrasquad. Double tuck for her middle pass which is kinda an odd place to put that pass imo. Front layout, front full to close her routine.

Basuel (ISU): Broke a connection but makes up for it later. BHS LOSO, no problems there. Really focused look in her face as she is concentrating on her every move. Side aerial to full twist, small step back. Pretty good beam debut for her but can definitely be improved.

Piringer (Neb): Double tuck, lots of power back, I can definitely see that being upgraded. Fun fact: Piringer went to the same gym as social media star and LSU sophomore Livvy Dunne! Tokyo Drift music, fun to hear! Double pike to end, no issue on that landing.

Palacios (ISU): Love her lines! Side aerial to BHS, you can see how she moves with confidence. Big fight on her 3/4 split jump. Side aerial to full twist dismount.

Hall (Neb): Double pike, a big over-rotated stumble back and a fall off the floor OOB. Double tuck, chest down. Small choreography stumble, this is tough. FHS front layout front full, and slips to her bottom. That will be a low score for the Huskers.

AFTER 3: ISU 145.450, Neb 146.025

I am absolutely LOVING the UNL choreography that we saw in the last rotation, Sophia Hyderally really outdid herself. Moving forward, I am excited to see ISU’s floor choreo as I believe Haylee Young choreographs their routines!


Spence (Neb): Candlestick mount, that is always fun to see. Single wolf turn, hmmm. Front aerial to BHS BHS, unique triple connection. Switch leap to beat jump, she looks great! Wish she could straighten her legs on the choreo backing up to her dismount. RO 1.5, big bound forward on the dismount.

Boychuk (ISU): Double pike, I love this music! RO 1.5 to front layout, keeps it in bounds. Double tuck, lovely leadoff routine.

Curtis (Neb): Wold jump to punch front, direct connection there and she pulls it off. BHS LOSO, gorgeous form on that. She is amazing! RO 1.5, stuck dismount!

Orrego (ISU): The Olympian begins her routine with a double tuck, little bounce back. RO 1.5 to front layout for her combination pass. She is a STEAL for the Cyclones in terms of recruiting. Double pike to close, no issue on the landing.

Hall (Neb): BHS LOSO, pretty form. Switch leap, large bobble on that. Front aerial to split jump, hits that 180 degree position. RO 1.5, stuck landing.

Parker (ISU): Double pike, HUGE amplitude, beautiful! A fun tidbit here: Kaia is using the same beginning part of her music that Nebraska volunteer assistant coach Sophia Hyderally used in her junior year of collegiate gymnastics. RO 1.5, front layout, great. Double tuck, her amplitude is stellar!

Davis (Neb): Switch leap to beat jump for her leaps. BHS BHS, looks like a broken connection? BHS LOSO, bent legs in the air and steps forward to save it. Aerial-round off? Is there a name for that? The closet thing I can think of is the Lothrop but that is an entirely different skill. Side aerial to tuck full dismount. I can see that routine structure being changed.

Cooke (ISU): Juicy Wiggle floor music to start! FHS double twist to stag jump, beautiful. The crowd LOVES THIS music!! They are clapping along and having a great time along with Cooke. RO 1.5 to front full, I love that pass! What a FUN routine!

Thaler (Neb): Front aerial to BHS BHS, gets the landing. Front aerial to beat jump, love it. Front toss in piked position, comes down in a sitting position, but pulls it off. RO 1.5, small step on the landing.

Maldonado (ISU): Did she use this music last year? FHS double twist to front tuck, love it. FHS Rudi for her middle pass. She is really getting into this routine! Last pass is a double pike, crunches the landing and falls forward. Disappointing finish for her, but that routine will be electric once she gets the last pass down.

Roby (Neb): BHS LOSO, so solid. She looks very comfortable on the beam. Split jump to double stag ring jump, love that pass. Side aerial to full twist dismount, tiny slide back.

Diab (ISU): I LOVE Diab’s gymnastics and can’t wait to see this routine. Her twisting is extremely underrated. Looooong wait here as the judges are deliberating over Maldonado’s score. FHS double twist front layout, love the first pass. Some Angi Cipra iPhone music… I don’t know how I feel about that. FHS front layout front full to stag jump for her middle pass. FHS Rudi to LOSO, very FLOATY layout stepout.

FINAL RESULTS: ISU 194.450, Neb 194.425

VT Winner: Kynsee Roby (ISU) 9.800

UB Winner: Kinsey Davis (Neb) 9.825

BB Winner: Meixi Semple (ISU) 9.800

FX Winner: Laura Cooke (ISU) and Maddie Diab (ISU), 9.900

AA Winner: Emma Spence (Neb), 38.875

And Iowa State gets the win for the first time since 2008 by .025! Great to see. Emma Spence also wins the all-around title in her first collegiate meet; she has a very bright future ahead. Both teams have some things to work on in the gym with the biggest one being floor endurance. We saw lots of crashes and low chests due to running out of steam so that can definitely be improved. Overall, this meet was a great test to see how both team’s freshmen would do and how overall each team would do and I can absolutely see both teams improving throughout the season. Well, that does it for me! I’ll see you in my next live blog which will hopefully be in-person coverage ahhhh! So exciting! So long my friends, farewell, goodbye!

UPDATE: The Cyclones received a .10 deduction for going out of order in their floor rotation after this live blog was finished updating. This brings the final results to Nebraska with a 194.425 and Iowa State with a 194.350 ending with the Huskers taking the official win.

READ THIS NEXT: LIVE BLOG: No. 15 Georgia at No. 1 Michigan

Live blog by Carolyn Lien

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