This competition features two teams that are on the rise within their respective conferences. Gone are the days where Kentucky and Michigan State are assumed to be the “soft” teams in the SEC and Big Ten. Kentucky finds itself sitting just outside the night session spots with one more 196 still counting in its NQS. Unfortunately, that score cannot be dropped in this home finale. However, a strong showing at the SEC championships could help with seeding for regionals. The Wildcats are coming off an upset victory over No. 7 LSU in the PMAC. That victory came after a somewhat controversial mulligan on Josey Angeny’s beam routine in the final rotation. What was previously looking like a two fall routine, quickly turned into a 9.825 which was just enough to edge out the Tigers. Although the circumstances of this conference win were bizarre to put it lightly, Kentucky was on track for a solid showing with or without the re do. Barring a beam meltdown, expect the Wildcats to have a strong team performance here as well. I can’t move on from talking about Kentucky without mentioning that the Wildcats have the current No. 3 all around athlete in the country in Raena Worley. She just gets better every year, and has been the picture of consistency in 2022. Worley has literally not gone below 39.650 all season. Need I say more?
Michigan State is on a roll in 2022, having broken its program record team score twice. The current team record stands at 197.575, which the Spartans set last weekend against Western Michigan. Michigan State currently sports the reigning Big Ten freshman on the week on its roster in Skyla Schulte. Schulte had a huge 39.675 last weekend complete with matching 9.95s on beam and floor. Ashley Hofelich capped off her senior day with a near-perfect 9.975 on floor. I would be remiss if I failed to mention Gabrielle Stephen. She has displayed perfection on vault already this season and has some of the most beautiful lines in the NCAA.
Both of these teams have an equal opportunity to leave this competition with a win. Obviously, Kentucky has the home floor advantage, but Michigan State can simply not stop breaking records. Both the Spartans and Wildcats posted season highs last week with MSU’s being just 0.075 higher. Get ready for an extremely close meet, especially if everyone is firing on all cylinders.
Here are the Spartans’ tentative lineups for this evening’s affairs:
Rotation 1: Kentucky VT, Michigan State UB
Procasky (UK): Yurchenko full, good form in the air. Not super high or distant from the table, but clean. 9.800
Stephen (MSU): Toe hand, Maloney. Clean. Toe hand, overshoot. Good routine so far. Solid last handstand. Blind full, double tuck dismount with a hop forward. 9.800
Wilson (UK): FHS front pike with a half. Nice solid vault with a slide back. 9.825
Loomis (MSU): Blind change, Jaeger. Good distance from the bar. Could’ve had more amplitude. Pak salto. Good handstand, blind full, double tuck with a step back. Another solid routine. 9.850
Magnelli (UK): FHS front pike half. Good extension out of the pike for the landing this week. Just a hop back. Some leg form in the air. 9.825
Mitchell (MSU): Lovely first handstand. Toe hand, Maloney, overshoot. Some piking in the shoot. Double layout. Took it pretty far out and had to pike down, but held on for the stick. 9.875
Nixon (UK): Yurchenko full, huge height and distance. Too much power led to a sizeable hop back. 9.750
Jackard (MSU): Blind change, Jaeger. Lovely. Overshoot. Such a nice swing. Blind full, double tuck. Good chest up on that, and she stuck it! That should be a big score. Loved that! 9.925
Patterson (UK): FHS front pike half. A little less height than she’s had the last couple weeks so she had to pike it down and take a medium sized hop back.
Schulte (MSU): Maloney, Overshoot. Nice connection. Double layout! Another stick for the Spartans! 9.950
Worley (UK): Yurchenko 1.5, nearly stuck this time. Just the smallest lift onto the toes to finesse the landing. 9.925
Harkness (MSU): Toe hand, Geinger. Pretty close to the bar. Overshoot. FTDT with a leg kick in the middle and a small hop on the landing. 9.900. I enjoy her gymnastics, but that feels a little high to me.
Angeny (UK ex): Yurchenko full, very high but short of distance. A small slide back.
Raybon (MSU ex): vault over mount. Blind change, piked Jaeger, overshoot. Nice and smooth. Blind change, front giant, half pirouette. Toe front pike dismount with a step back. She’s so excited! I loved that routine from the senior!
AFTER ONE: Michigan State 49.500, Kentucky 49.250
Michigan State just opened this meet with a season high on bars, so obviously the Spartans will not go quietly. As predicted. Kentucky couldn’t quite get the vault landings today but came away with a workable score. The Wildcats will need to hone in more on the dismounts on bars to make up the ground lost in rotation one. Michigan State has been running around the 49.1-49.2 range on vault so far this year, so a good bar rotation could make this meet come out even after two.
Rotation 2: Michigan State VT, Kentucky UB
Wiedeman (MSU): Yurchenko full, pretty textbook technique in the air with a hop back.
Davis (UK): Blind full, blind, Jaeger. Nice. Overshoot. Good one so far. Double layout, pinged off some on the release so had to take a step forward. Managed it well. 9.825
Smith (MSU): Yurchenko full, the slightest foot adjustment. She might’ve piked down just slightly? Overall strong vault for her.
Procasky (UK): Maloney, Pak salto. Bent the knees on her half pirouette? Blind full, double tuck with a medium step back. I think she thought she was going to fall over on the turn on the low bar? Weird. 9.625
Hsu (MSU): Yurchenko full, highest vault so far. Stuck the landing too! MSU is getting the momentum going. 9.875
Nixon (UK): Maloney, Overshoot handstand. Stunning. Her normal. FTDT completely above the bar to a stuck landing. Yes ma’am. This score should be as huge as that dismount. 9.950 (I think one of the judges flashed a 10?)
Schulte (MSU): Yurchenko full, nice chest up with just a hop in place.
Luksik (UK): Ray, nice and high. Toe hand, overshoot. Nice and floaty. Double layout. Stuck. So pretty in the air on that dismount. 9.900
Hofelich (MSU): Yurchenko full, another really nice vault in the air with a miniscule slide back.
Angeny (UK): Blind, Jaeger, overshoot. Some feet on the release. Good last handstand. Double layout. It’s a stuck bar dismount kind of night! Textbook on that dismount. 9.950
Stephen (MSU): Yurchenko full, absolutely huge. Can’t control the landing this week with a hop back.
Worley (UK): Clear hip, Tkatchev. Good distance. Pak salto. Perfect last handstand. FTDT. A stick. What else did we expect? Will it go 10? There are already two 9.95s in this rotation…9.950
Sawyer (MSU ex): Yurchenko full, pretty fine. A little flat with a hop back.
AFTER TWO: Kentucky 98.825, Michigan State 98.725
The Wildcats did exactly what they needed to do in that rotation. It was stick city over there on bars! The bar squad was 0% phased by the mistake in the middle of the lineup. In fact, every athlete that followed went over 9.9. Michigan State had some solid vaults, but without any 10.0 sv routines, it’s more difficult to run away with a meet on that event.
Rotation 3: Kentucky BB, Michigan State FX
Luksik (UK): Onodi, pretty large check with a bend at the waist. BHS LOSO. A little under but shifted the front foot in the lunge to cover well. Cat leap, Switch half, beat. Gainer pike dismount. Stuck. 9.725
Ewing (MSU): Front double full, nice! opening with an E pass with the lead off? I see you MSU. Tour jete full good and around. Back 1.5, front full. Landed pretty far back on her heels but covered it well with a hop. 9.775
Procasky (UK): BHS LOSO. So smooth, so pretty. Cat leap, Switch ring. Could’ve bent the back knee more. Front Aerial, beat jump. Solid. This is looking career highish. Gainer pike. Stuck. OK. Should be a good one. 9.900. OK!
Smith ((MSU): Front through to double tuck. Perfect control. Switch side, popa. Awkward bounce out of that. Back 1.5, front layout. Good amplitude on both of those skills. I love the choreography! Double pike. Good control. 9.850
Magnelli (UK): BHS LOSO LOSO. A small correction. A lean really. Switch leap, straddle 1/4. Good extension. Front Aerial, walk out of it for funsies. Gainer pike dismount. Another stick! A little squatty, but stuck just the same. 9.900
Harkness (MSU): FTDT. Nice and high. Loved that! BHS knee bounce choreography. Switch leap, tour jete half, wolf full. Front through to double tuck. Another good routine for the Spartans. 9.875
Patterson (UK): BHS LOSO. A large lean and couldn’t save it. Front Aerial, another large leg up check. Switch leap, switch leap. Probably the best one I’ve ever seen in the NCAA. Switch side. Good. Gainer pike, knees gave a little with a step back. Is this an open door for MSU? 9.175
Mitchell (MSU): Double tuck. Chest nice and high. Back 1.5, front layout, scale. She’s working it out there. Switch side, popa, double stag. The last jump looked a little awkward. Double pike. Chest up and controlled. 9.900
Angeny (UK): BHS LOSO. Good. Took out the triple series this week… Front Aerial. Soft knees. Switch leap, sheep jump. A little slow on the connection but worked with it. Side Aerial, back full dismount. Stuck. 9.800
Schulte (MSU): FTDT with a pretty large lunge. Just keeps it in bounds. I love that the commentator loves the choreography as much as I do. Strong leap series. Front through to double tuck. A little lock-legged on the landing and took a bounce. 9.875. Too high.
Worley (UK): Cat leap, switch side. A small lean forward. I took a midnight train going anywhere. Front Aerial, BHS LOSO. Perfection. RO back 1.5 dismount. Stuck cold. The Wildcats will not be counting that fall. 9.925
Hofelich (MSU): Double pike. A pause before the lunge to show all the control. Switch side, popa. Back 1.5 front layout. A little back but covered well. Double tuck. Another solid landing. 9.875
Clay (UK ex): BHS LOSO with a step back. Some soft knees. Front Aerial. Lovely. Switch leap, double stag with a head release. Good. BHS back 1.5 with a hop forward.
Stephen (MSU ex): Front double full, front tuck. Mistimed the punch some and did the second flip at an angle. Landing was fine though. Switch half, wolf full, straddle jump. Double pike, good control on that.
AFTER THREE: Michigan State 148.100, Kentucky 148.075
Michigan State inches past Kentucky by 0.025 after that rotation…This last rotation is about to get juicy. Kentucky was able to avoid counting a fall in that rotation but did have to count a lone 9.7. Raena Worley was a rock as always, and Jillian Procasky put together the routine of her life to help her team stay in this thing. Michigan State brought consistency to the table in that rotation, counting only scores between 9.850 and 9.900. Get excited ladies and gents! This meet is likely to come down to the final routine!
Rotation 4: Michigan State BB, Kentucky FX
The beam war cry has ended, and the final rotation is ready to commence.
Wiedeman (MSU): BHS LOSO. Came around the side but fought for the no wobble series. Cat leap, front toss. Kind of long on that. Beat, straddle 3/4 with a lean back. Gainer tuck full off the end. Thought she might miss the side of the mat for a second. She stuck it though 🙂 9.775
Procasky (UK): Split ring full. A unique jump. Front lay, front full. I tend to question any routine that opens with that pass. Switch ring, tour jete half. Pretty lines. Double tuck. Never low on that landing with several steps forward. Just kept her hands off the ground. 9.550
Kalefe (MSU): BHS BHS LOSO. So solid. Switch leap, tuck full. My TV just glitched. I’m depressed. 9.850
Patterson (UK): On the floor? OK. I’m excited. Back 1.5, front layout. Nice height on the second flip. Switch half ring. Pretty. We love a good worm. Switch ring, switch side. Her extension is insane. Double tuck, short with a lunge forward. 9.850
Stephen (MSU): Front Aerial toe feet. Missed that right foot and came off. BHS LOSO. Just stunning. She’s back in the game. Beat, straddle half. Not giving up another tenth. RO back double full. Stuck. Perfect minus the fall. 9.125. I have thoughts.
Magnelli (UK): Rudi LOSO. Nice and floaty on the LOSO. Switch side, popa. The over split though. Double pike. Not super high on that. Fine though. 9.850
Schulte (MSU): Switch leap, switch half. YES. BHS LOSO. So confident. Side Aerial, back full. Stuck. We love a 10 chant. 9.950
Haigis (UK): Rudi LOSO. Loved that one. Switch side, popa. If it’s one thing Kentucky is going to do, it’s going to hit its split positions. Double pike. One of her best routines. Love that for her on her senior night. :’) 9.975. Oh wow.
Mitchell (MSU): BHS BHS LOSO. Insanely good. Front Aerial. A true veteran up there. Straddle 1/4. Solid. RO back 1.5 dismount. Stuck. 9.925
Davis (UK): Double pike. Good control. Switch side, popa. Back 1.5, front layout. She was so high that she had time to think about the punch into the second skill on the way down. Oh wow. Double tuck. Her best landing. Kentucky is coming to play! 9.950. OK now.
Garcia (MSU): BHS LOSO. Solid. Front Aerial, split jump. Perfect split. Switch leap, split jump. A little hesitation there. Side Aerial, back full. Stuck. Another 10 chant. 9.900
At this rate. Raena has to go 10.0.
Worley (UK): FTDT. Nice and high. A little bouncy on the lunge out. Switch ring, switch side. A little stiff on the straddle. Front full, front layout. Stuck with two feet. Double tuck with just a small foot adjustment. Let’s see… 9.950
German (MSU ex): BHS BHS… stuck her hip out and fell off. She looks scared. Split jump, sheep jump. Nice shape on the sheep. Side Aerial, back full. Stuck.
Final: Kentucky 197.650, Michigan State 197.500
Well that meet was just insane in all the best ways. Raena Worley put up another out of this world all around performance, but the highlight was Anna Haigis’ 9.975 on floor in her last meet at home. The Wildcats went ahead and casually broke its program record in its home finale. This is just the momentum the team needs heading into SECs. Michigan State came up just short today, but don’t forget that this was still among the best performances in program history. Oh and did I mention that Skyla Schulte went 39.575? Get excited to see what the Spartans shake up at Big Tens. This team might shock some folks, especially in the night session.
AA Winner: Raena Worley, 39.750
VT Winner: Raena Worley, 9.925
UB Winner: Cally Nixon, Josie Angeny, Raena Worley and Skyla Schulte, 9.950
BB Winner: Skyla Schulte, 9.950
FX Winner: Anna Haigis, 9.975
Live Blog by Tavia Smith
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