Abby Paulson

LIVE BLOG: No. 9 Minnesota at No. 4 Utah

This top-10 matchup has the potential to be very interesting for quite a few reasons. Minnesota is coming in hot off its first ever 198 last week and will be looking to ride that momentum to a big road score and victory tonight. The Gophers have performed significantly better at home this season, so this is going to be a big test—and beating the higher-ranked Utes on their own turf would go a long way in the effort to cement themselves as a serious dark horse for making finals at nationals. They are also looking to drop a 196.225 road score—ideally aiming for a solid mid 197—which should be completely doable, but has yet to be achieved outside of the Pav.

The Utes had a rougher go of it last weekend, posting a loss against the Arizona Wildcats for the first time in program history after a rough beam rotation that forced them into counting a fall. (Beam will certainly be *the* event to watch tonight as it has also proven to be a bit of an achilles heel for Minnesota as well.) But I’m willing to bet that Utah will be on a mission to put that meet in the rearview mirror, and an angry Utah team tends to be a very good Utah team. The downside to this being a home meet for Utah means there is little it can do to boost its NQS with this one, but aiming for that 198 territory will certainly be the goal here.

All in all we are likely in for an incredibly close competition if both teams are competing to their full potentials. There will also be some intense battles for individual titles tonight, considering all the athletes who have earned a perfect 10 this season:

Vault: Ona Loper (9.975s from Mya Hooten, Lexy Ramler, Jaeyden Rucker)
Bars: Grace McCallum (9.975 from Lexy Ramler)
Beam: Cristal Isa, Mailie O’Keefe, Lexy Ramler (9.975 from Grace McCallum)
Floor: Mya Hooten (9.975s from Grace McCallum, Lexy Ramler, Sydney Soloski)

Also, here’s a fun stat: Utah leads the all-time series with Minnesota 31-1, with the lone Gopher victory occurring all the way back in 2000.

Let’s get this party started, folks. Scores here, video here

Looks like Eaker is back in the beam lineup tonight:

I will forever appreciate the Minnesota Gopher parent/fan attire:

The “Up Next” graphic claims we’re picking up with the final rotation, but rest assured that is incorrect.

I do appreciate how dramatic everything about this senior send off is. I need to know why the Top Gun theme song is the chosen song here. UPDATE: I was informed this is in fact a tradition at Utah, and I am here for it.

Looks like it might be a minute before this meet actually kicks off though.

Rotation 1: Utah vault, Minnesota bars

Thompson (UU): FTY, good form in the air. decent sized hop back 9.725

Remlinger (MIN): Opens with a Ray, solid. Bail to HS was clean. Slow and controlled handstand. FTDT, some flexed feet and a hop forward.  9.800

Hall (UU): Y1.5, stuck.  9.925

If we could ditch this UP NEXT graphic that would be great.  Oh, the stream cut out completely. Cool.

Hooten (MIN): Catching up for dismount, FTDT stuck. Oh on replay you can see she hit her feet on the bar earlier. 9.675

Stanhope (UU): Y1.5, lots of distance and a hop forward. 9.900

Willmarth (MIN): Nice Ray to start. Great handstand on her bail. Maybe a touch shy on the final HS. Blind full double back, good landing.  9.875

Rucker (UU): Y1.5, good height but opens a bit early and takes a step back.  9.850

Loper (MIN): Lovely HS to start. Maloney to pak. her typical lovely-ness. Little slow on her blind full but good form into the double back dismount with a tiny hop in place. 9.900

Burch (UU): Y1.5, hop forward but tries to sell it with a lean and salute. 9.875

Sales (MIN): Little short/fast through first handstand. Overshoot was nice. Touch shy on HS before  nice khorkina release. DLO dismount stuck. 9.925

McCallum (UU): Tucked half on half off, flexed feet, lands crooked and steps to the side. 9.825

Ramler (MIN): Maloney to pak, gorgeous. Van leeuwen, great. Muscled her final handstand a little bit and a hop back on her dismount. Not the cleanest I’ve seen from her, but still a great routine.  9.875

Gerdes exhibition for Minnesota.

AFTER ONE: Utah 49.375, Minnesota 49.375

Solid rotation for both, albeit leaving some tenths on the table with some form issues and hops on landings from the likes of Ramler and McCallum, who are capable of scoring much higher. Highlight of the rotation for me was Cammy Hall’s vault (and her reaction to it).

Rotation 2: Utah bars, Minnesota vault

Gerdes (MIN): FTY, tried a little too hard to stick and leans forward with a hop.

Morgan (UU): Maloney to bhardwaj, super fun combo and she kept good form throughout. Good final HS. Blind full to double back with a decent hop back on the landing. 9.875

Remlinger (MIN): FTY, great form in the air but has too much power and takes a big bounce back.  9.750

McCallum (UU): Maloney  to pak, some leg separation. Shy HS before van leeuwen. FTDT dismount with some flexed feet, stuck. 9.975

Hooten (MIN): Y 1.5, stuck. Second week in a row! 9.975

Paulson (UU): Maloney  to pak, beautiful form. Switch kip is fun, I love that skill for no reason whatsoever. A little slow on her blind full/shy on the HS – but manages to hold the dismount landing with a lean. 9.875

Ramler (MIN): Y1.5, hop and lean back. Tried too hard for the stick. 9.825

Thompson (UU): Maloney, lovely. In-bar geinger was beautiful. DLO dismount, stuck. And thats a 10.

Loper (MIN): Y1.5, stuck. Not the amplitude she usually gets but still good.  9.950

O’Keefe (UU): Maloney to pak, some leg sep but good. Beautiful final HS, double arabian dismount stuck. Another 10.

Koch (MIN):  last minute change – tucked 1.5 with a step forward. That’s the best I’ve seen her do that. 9.875

Isa (UU): Tkatchev, good height and form. Bail to HS little crooked. Arched final HS a tiny bit. Blind full with good HS position, DLO stuck. That one isn’t a 10 for me but I wouldn’t be surprised if she gets it. 9.950

Grotenhuis exhibition for MN, FTY

AFTER TWO: Utah 99.175, Minnesota 98.825

Well, that was quite the bar rotation for Utah, damn. Curious to know what the record is there, 49.800 has to be close? Another solid rotation for the Gophers, but they did leave some crucial tenths on the table with landings. The goal here is a big road score, though, and they are on their way to achieving that if they can put up another beam rotation like last week.

Update: The Utes did indeed break their bar record (49.700), which has held since 1993 (!)

Rotation 3: Utah beam, Minnesota floor

Morgan (UU): I see she’s taken out her crazy mount – probably for the best, but that was fun. BHS BHS LOSO, solid start. Switch  split jump, good. Beat jump aerial to a full dismount, stuck. 9.900

Koch (MIN): FHS front double full to punch front, good height on those, tiny bit of leg form in the air. RO full side pass. Finishes with FHS to rudi, controlled lunge out. 9.825

McCallum (UU): Wolf turn to start, controlled. BHS LOSO, some knees but good. Switch to stag, legs looked a little low on that. Cat leap to side aerial to full dismount, stuck. 9.950

Gerdes (MIN): Punch front through to double back, chest a teeny bit low on the landing but finessed it. Leaps were short. Finishes with RO BHS double pike, good form on the pike.  9.875

Paulson (UU): Side aerial LOSO, balance check with leg up but saved it. Leaps looked good. Lots of arm choreography. Beat jump to side aerial to full – stuck but lean to hold. 9.875

Ramler (MIN): Ring full good, per usual. RO 1.5 through to double full, well done. Switch ring was beautiful. FHS to rudi, lovely. RO 1.5 to front lay, also good.  9.925

Isa (UU): I love the choreography that opens her routine. BHS LOSO LOSO, solid. Little balance check on her leap. BHS to gainer full dismount.  9.975

Remlinger (MIN): Opens with a big full in, little less controlled landing from what we usually see from her. Switch side popa looked solid. RO 1.5 front lay, beautiful. Double back (with pointed toes!) to finish. 9.925

Eaker (UU): She’s back!! Side aerial back LOSO, lovely. Switch leap to swing down, good and controlled. Cat leap side aerial to tucked full, feet a good width apart but stuck.  9.900

Loper (MIN): Front lay to rudi, beautiful form. Great positioning on her leaps. Beautiful 2.5, great landing. Final pass smooth and controlled. 9.900

O’Keefe (UU): Side aerial LOSO, gorgeous. Switch leap split leap, good leg position. Good control on her full turn. Cat leap side aerial to full dismount, stuck. Utah is on fire tonight.  10.

Hooten (MIN): Full in to open, landing less controlled than her normal, but still good. FHS front full front pike, stuck cold with good height. Double back to finish, again lunge not as controlled as usual. Great routine, but won’t be a 10 for her tonight. 9.925

Beam exhibitions for Alexia Burch and Adrienne Randall, and floor exhibition for Mallory LeNeave

AFTER THREE: Utah 148.900, Minnesota 148.375

Utah is simply on fire tonight. Another huge rotation for the Utes, capped off by another 10 for Maile. The Utes need a 49.700 on FX tonight in order to match their program record 198.600 set back in 2004. Tall order, but doesn’t feel impossible given the way their night is going.

Minnesota had a great FX rotation, the Gophers should be happy with that. The true test will be beam coming up next.

Rotation 4: Utah floor, Minnesota beam

Koch (MIN): BHS LOSO, slight lean/balance check but covered well. Beat jump to split 3/4, legs looked low.Front toss to scale, really had to muscle that one. RO 1.5 with a little hop forward. Overall a little shaky but kept it under control. 9.825 is a wee bit generous with those balance checks IMO

Paulson (UU): Punch front through to 2.5, lovely control on that landing. Front lay front full, good form in the air. Pretty leaps. Finishes with a 1.5 to front lay, beautiful. 9.875

Gerdes (MIN): Front aerial, lovely. BHS LOSO, very controlled. Big bobble on the full turn. Split ump double stag, finessed that landing to cover a lean. Side aerial to full dismount, small hop and some feet. 9.875

Gilstrap (UU): Beautiful form on that double back, wow. Her presentation is lovely. Front lay to rudi, nice height on that. That switch ring, wow. That rivals Ramler’s (and that’s saying something from me). Front lay to front full, step out didn’t show as much control as the others. 9.900

Loper (MIN): BHS LOSO, lovely and controlled. Front toss, piked, slight lean. Leaps looked good, maybe a touch shy of 180. RO 1.5 dismount, stuck. Great night for her. 9.925

Rucker (UU): Pretty full in to start, nice form in the air on that. Good leap series, controlled landings and good positioning. She looks so relaxed. Front layout front full, great. 9.925

Sales (MIN): BHS BHS LOSO, super solid. Controlled full turn. Beat jump, double stag, good. Weird balance check on choreo there. Switch side had lots of height. Gainer pike dismount, stuck.  9.900

McCallum (UU): Good height but a little low on her landing on the full-in, but hangs onto it. Leaps looked good. Front lay to rudi, pretty good but to be honest she looks a little tired, not a lot of oomph in that pass. 9.925

Nylin (MIN): Nice full turn to open. BHS BHS LOSO, good form. Hitch kick, then balance check on her leap. RO 1.5, lean and step forward on the landing.

There seems to be a debate over Grace’s SV.

O’Keefe (UU):  Beautiful double pike to open, she has great form on the pike position. Nice leap series. Nice wolf turn, good control. Finishes with 1.5 front full, nice. Pretty routine. 9.950

Ramler (MIN): Great full turn. BHS LOSO, her normal. Front aerial to beat jump, such pretty form on her aerial. Beat jump ring jump, great. Side aerial to a full, stuck. 9.925

Soloski (UU): Best DLO in the NCCA. SO MUCH HEIGHT. Front layout front full looked good, maybe a tad rushed out of the landing. Finishes with a 1.5 front lay, beautiful. And she’s in tears.

Mya Hooten beam exhibition tonight!

FINAL: Utah 198.575, Minnesota 197.850

All Around: Loper, McCallum 39.675
Vault: Hooten, 9.975
Bars: O’Keefe, Thompson 10.000
Beam: O’Keefe, 10.000
Floor: Soloski, 9.975

Live blog by Kalley Leer

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