LIVE BLOG: No. 45 Rutgers at No. 22 Ohio State

Big Ten action has been fire so far this year (I’m writing this intro before week four is underway, here’s hoping the week three energy has held up so far!). Rutgers had some spectacular moments at Maryland last week for 195.550, including a top-notch Yurchenko 1.5 from Emily Leese. The Scarlet Knights would likely be happy with another road 195, but they’ll certainly have a 196 in the back of their minds.

Ohio State broke 196 to come in just ahead of Penn State at home last week, with several gymnasts, including Elexis Edwards and Hannah Oliveros, missing. The Buckeyes are solidly a mid-196 team and should target that number again this week, but like Rutgers and a 196, they will at least have dreams of a 197. Freshman Tory Vetter made a triumphant debut on beam and bars last week, and should remain in those lineups.

Here we go! We’ve got Dean Linke and Olivia Karas on the call today, hyping Jenna Hlavach and Lexi Edwards in the pre-meet package. I support that choice. Of course, Belle Huang and Hannah Joyner as well. Also stars.

Rotation 1: Ohio State VT, Rutgers UB

Grimes (tOSU): Yfull, some hip angle and a hop. 9.725

Newman (RU): Hindorff, little close. Clear hip hand to bail hand good on both. Half pirouette to double tuck, stuck! Good start. 9.725

Riccardi (tOSU): Yfull, medium-big pike down, hopped up in place and did a full arm swing. Ehh, on replay the arm swing was smaller. 9.75

Zieden-Weber (RU): Tkatchev, good. Toe hand to bail hand was smooth, maybe a bit short of vertical. Blind full, bit late, double tuck to a college stick. 9.725

Jennings (tOSU): Yfull, gorgeous height and open body, hop back. 9.8

Bertola (RU): Ray, nice. Pak, big leg separation and not the smoothest catch, but keeps her flow. Blind full quite late double tuck, solid landing. 9.625

Edwards (tOSU): Good to see her back this week. Yfull, huge, foot shuffle on the landing. Great distance! 9.85

Pringle (RU): Blind to pike Jaeger, lovely. She has a calm swing. Transitions were smooth. DLO, hop forward. There was just one shy handstand in the middle there. 9.75

Hlavach (tOSU): Yfull on pike, hop back. That is a huge, dynamic vault. 9.875

Joyner (RU): Blind to Jaeger, nice. Bail hand, slight leg separation. Full-in, big step back, second foot moved too, so that’ll be .2. 9.75, the landing really brought that down.

Malas (tOSU): Yfull, piked it a bit, hopped forward. 9.75

Balser (RU): Blind to Jaeger, just took it too far out and couldn’t regrasp, falls. Pak, leg separation. Half pirouette, very nice. Late handstand. DLO, step back. She’s very visibly upset. 8.875

Battavio (RU, exh.): Short handstand. Toe hand to Maloney, some leg sep. Legs again on the Pak. Short last handstand. DLO, big step back. 9.475, those handstands are keeping that number down. Once she hits those she’ll be ready to go.

AFTER 1: Ohio State 49.025, Rutgers 48.575

That’s a season high for the Buckeyes. Landing deductions are really the only thing holding that lineup back. Once those are more drilled in, that score should easily go up a few tenths. Right where Ohio State wants to be in late January. Rutgers will be disappointed but that rotation was by no means a disaster. It has been a tough event for the Scarlet Knights, and a mid-48 is a solid start. They’ll look to make a comeback on vault, where some dynamic fulls and Emily Leese’s big Y1.5 can get Rutgers back in the 49 neighborhood.

Rotation 2: Ohio State UB, Rutgers VT

Hughes (RU): Yfull, twisted a little early, step back. 9.75

Schweitzer (tOSU): Toe hand to Maloney, some leg separation on the back swing. Clean bail hand. Blind full, touch late, double tuck true stick. 9.85

Pagliaro (RU): Yfull, bent arms on the table, leg form in the air, big-ish pike down, hop. 9.675

Hankins (tOSU): Blind to Jaeger, good catch. Nice handstand to pak and switch kip. Clean so far. Late handstand. DLO, piked it in so hopped back a bit. 9.8

Huang (RU): Yfull, true stick! Rutgers goes nuts! She was missing a little amplitude and had a small hip angle, but you can’t argue with that landing. 9.875

Edwards (tOSU): Toe hand to Maloney, floats it so nicely. Pak some leg sep to just the best pirouette. Blind full to double tuck, hop. 9.825

Betancourt (RU): Yfull, some pike down and a bit of a foot shuffle on the landing that she tries to cover with the salute. 9.75

Berger (tOSU): Toe hand to Maloney and bail hand, some leg sep on the Maloney back swing. Blind full just a touch short, double tuck, small hop in place. 9.825

Joyner (RU): Yfull, lovely in the air, tiny hop. 9.825

Miller (tOSU): Toe hand to very clean Maloney bail hand combo. Good handstand, DLO holds the stick with an arm swing. 9.85

Leese (RU): Y1.5, some leg form on the table and through the air, but great distance and just a small hop. 9.9

Riccardi (tOSU): Great handstand. Toe hand to BIG Ray! Short handstand. Clean pak. Stalder to double tuck, stick. 9.9

Dean Linke is saying that Covelli will host Big Tens this year. I thought the champs were going to be in Iowa City? Hmm. I’ll investigate, folks.

Grimes (tOSU, exh.): BIG Tkatchev, doesn’t get a ton of turnover and soft knees. Clear hip hand short to bail handstand. Short last handstand, DLO hop back. 9.6, I think she lost a few tenths in that release, and then just handstands and the hop.

AFTER 2: Ohio State 98.275, Rutgers 97.650

Another season high for the Buckeyes. That’s a very clean and tidy bar rotation. Just some short handstands and little hops to tidy up over the next month and a half. The Big Ten is on fire this year, and Ohio State is making a case not to be left behind so far. Rutgers really got things back on track with that vault lineup. Those landings are really stellar, especially for this early in the year. Onward!

Rotation 3: Ohio State BB, Rutgers FX

Broadcast mentioned that we’re not seeing Vetter tonight, but no reason was given. I don’t see an errant boots or slings on the floor, at any rate.

Schweitzer (tOSU): Front aerial, foot and leg form, check and missed a connection. Bhs loso leg form again, wobble. Leaps were steadier, she’s settling in. Not sure they’ll give her full credit on the ring, though. Stuck her dismount, good way to bring it back. 9.675, all those little wobbles, and she might’ve missed some CV on that aerial.

Balser (RU): Chance for her to come back after that bar fall here. Double tuck, good lunge out. Switch ring to switch half popa, just a little tight on those splits, not getting the oversplit on them. RO 3/2 front lay, landed back on her heels a little, but stayed on her feet. Punch rudi, little deep on the landing. Good recovery for her! 9.725

Hankins (tOSU): She’s a good gymnast to have up after a shaky routine, very calm. Bhs loso, totally solid, she gave a little grin. Clean front toss to beat. Switch to split 1/4, that’s so unique and fun, and she does it well. RO 2/1, hop. What a way to bring it back for the team. 9.85

Newman (RU): She’s in the lineup after an exhibition on Friday. Great double pike to start, very good controlled lunge. Double tuck, another good landing. Switch side Popa split 1/1, clean through all three. Her split positions are strong. 3/2 front lay, stuck the landing! Just some leg form in the air and she was a little low on the lay. What a floor debut! 9.725, got hit on that last pass.

Oliveros (tOSU): Starts with her lovely press handstand. Little check on her full turn, but she danced out of it. No deductions on her side aerial bhs. Switch to split was clean, maybe a touch short of 180. Front aerial tiny check to beat, I think they’ll give her the connection. Side aerial 1/1, shuffle back. 9.8

Wood (RU): FHS rudi loso, she was a little off balance on the landing and arches back in her lunge somewhat. Clean in her leaps, just a bit imprecise in the shapes. FHS 2/1 LAST PASS, mhm. Little croocked on that and some twisting form with a hop out. 9.775

Berger (tOSU): Side aerial, clean. Very secure bhs loso. Small check on her full turn, just in an arm. Switch to split 1/2, just a touch low in the back leg. Split to side aerial 1/1, small hop back. 9.875

Leese (RU): Full-in, foot form in the air. She stepped ON the tape, so stayed in bounds barely. I didn’t see a flag, anyway. Nice work on her leaps. Front through double tuck, cowboyed it and that foot form again, but a good landing. Punch rudi to end, just raised her front foot in the lunge. Great routine! She’s having a solid day. 9.75, ah maybe she. did go out.

Jennings (tOSU): She has such a nice carriage on beam. Bhs side aerial, what a series. Should get the connection, check on the landing. Switch to split half, overrotated and fell. Great cartwheel gainer 1/1 dismount. Ah, she’s clearly frustrated but Paulicivic is talking her down. 9.0

Joyner (RU): She is spectacular here. Big double pike, had too much juice and slid her front foot back. Switch 1/1, good. FHS front 1/1 front lay, clean there. Switch side popa, huge splits but she did bound out of it a bit. 3/2 front pike, very clean landing. 9.85

Miller (tOSU): Big pressure is on now, but you wouldn’t know it looking at her face. Great bhs loso. Small check in her arms on the full turn. Hitch do side aerial, just off from the takeoff and she falls. The Buckeyes will count a fall. Split to straddle 1/4, clean. Gainer tuck 1/1, good landing. 9.1

Huang (RU): FHS 2/1, clean landing. FHS rudi HUGE loso, moves her front foot to the side on the lunge. Clean leaps, one of the better rotating wolf positions. FHS rudi, great landing there.

Pagliaro (RU): Double pike, she was a little forward on the landing and jumped into the lunge. FHS front lay front 1/1, stutter step on the landing. Switch half to wolf full wolf full, missed a bit of rotation on both wolfs. FHS rudi, great landing.

AFTER 3: Rutgers 146.650, Ohio State 146.575

Mmm, the Buckeyes will be frustrated. Beam was a sticking point for awhile, and the team really figured it out over the past two years. Of course, beam can go wrong at any time, it’s no sign of disaster, more like an old ghost poking its head in one last time at the end of the movie, you know? But it’s January, there’s ample time to gain some confidence on the event. Rutgers was excellent on floor, putting in another 49-plus rotation. (49.000 exactly, that is.) The Scarlet Knights will be thrilled to be up on the Buckeyes here, but Ohio State floor can be truly spectacular, so this one is far from over.

Rotation 4: Ohio State FX, Rutgers BB

Battavio (RU): Bhs loso, very solid. Split to split 1/1, wow! Very clean and unique. Cat to side aerial tuck 1/1, little short on it and hops forward. 9.775

Gonzalez (tOSU): Issue with her music, she steps off. She’s laughing. Alright here we go. She’s such an engaging performer, right from the first downbeat. Clean double pike, down to her toes in the air, we love to see that. Front lay front full, good control on the lunge. Wolf turn 2/1, tidy as that can be. Switch side straddle is nice. RO 3/2 front lay, not quite as high on the lay as she could be, but wow, what a routine. 9.825

Manifold (RU): The freshman had to wait all day to do this routine! That can be tough, but she seems calm. Bhs loso, soft back knee in both but good landing. Side aerial with a check. Switch to split 3/4, low back leg on the rotating jump. Bhs 3/2, knee form there, and a medium step back. Maybe didn’t really get the punch she was looking for. 9.725

Gagliardi (tOSU): You already know that this is going to. be stunning. Front lay to rudi, clean. Switch side popa, maybe cheated that rotation a bit. Star Wars, Jaws, Footloose this routine is such a trip. Good landing on her double pike, maybe the tiniest foot movement. 9.9

Newman (RU): SCREAMS we must’ve just seen the Gagliardi score, Newman isn’t phased. Front toss to beat, good. Bhs two feet to loso, wow very fun series, and she did it well. Split to split 3/4, short on that second 180. Cartwheel to gainer 1/1, stuck, she did pike it down a good bit. Ah on replay you can see a little hop. 9.8

Hankins (tOSU): Full-in, lunges forward. Front lay to barani, split jump out, did a good job of jumping up rather than out. Clean leaps, including a nice switch ring. She’s really an underrated performer, this routine is very fun. Good landing for her double tuck. 9.875

Zannella (RU): Nice switch ring to beat. What a way to start! Really floated her bhs loso, lovely. She’s a dainty beam worker, I mean that as a compliment. She has delicate work. Beat to side aerial 1/1, hop back. 9.875, yes, wonderful.

Edwards (tOSU): Opens up out of her massive double pike. RO 3/2 front lay, holds the stick, she has a really nice open layout position on that. Switch side to popa, cheated that rotation somewhat. Kicks out of her double tuck, too! Wow. What a routine. Just that jump rotation, really. 9.925, earned.

Joyner (RU): Gorgeous control on her full turn. Bhs loso, good. Switch half, check. She redoes the skill to connect into a straddle, good recovery there. Side aerial 1/1 true stick. 9.9, perfect except for the leap wobble.

Hlavach (tOSU): Pike full-in, some leg sep on the second salto, good landing. RO 3/2 really floaty front lay. Switch side to tour jete half popa (I think! I got excited and missed the third leap), she’s really precise in her shapes. Double tuck with an excellent landing. The freshman is a STAR. 9.925

Huang (RU): Man this rotation is on fire, can’t wait to see what Huang does here. Cat to side aerial front aerial, medium check, just in the arms on the landing.Beat to straddle 3/4, good. RO 2/1, deep chest and a big hop forward.

Perez (tOSU): Front lay rudi, strange landing. She’s fine, just a little offline and deep in her squat, hops to the side. Switch to switch half, little tight. Double pike, lunges OOB and slid her front foot back. 9.575

Pagliaro (RU, exh.): Switch to switch half, little short on the half. BHs loso, breaks at the hips but stays on the beam. RO 3/2, steps back.

FINAL: Ohio State 196.025, Rutgers 195.750

What a meet! Breaking 196 with that tough beam rotation is a huge win for the Buckeyes. Rutgers just keeps taking steps forward. Once the Scarlet Knights can clean up some landings and find its best six on bars, it’s absolutely a 196-level team. This is a season high number for Rutgers.

Paulicivic just said in her post-meet interview that some folks are out with COVID, which could explain a few of the absences we saw. She also confirmed that the Buckeyes are hosting Big Tens.

Event Winners:

AA: Joyner, 39.325
VT: Leese, 9.900
UB: Riccardi, 9.900
BB: Joyner, 9.900
FX: Edwards, Hlavach, 9.900

Live blog by Emily Minehart

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