MSU's Gabrielle Stephen competes on floor at Elevate the Stage Toledo.

LIVE BLOG: Big Ten Championship Session Two

This is one of the most anticipated matchups of the postseason. It’s Michigan’s meet to lose, but that was true last year, too, when Minnesota stole the show after the Wolverines faltered on floor. Michigan State and Ohio State are not here just to see how high they can place, either; with big hits and a mistake or two from the top teams, either one could produce a surprise upset. The Buckeyes get the special advantage of being at home in Covelli, where they’ve performed well all season.

Michigan starts on beam, the event where it has been the least incredible (by no means bad) all season. It’s fairly likely Minnesota will be ahead after one. Ohio State is also strong on floor where it starts. Expect Michigan to put up huge floor and vault numbers in rotations two and three. If it has pulled away at that point, closing things down on bars shouldn’t be an issue. Michigan State is a solid beam and floor team. If it hangs with the group through two, there’s a chance some late meet fireworks can help it make a bid for a high finish.

Well, let’s do it!

Checking in about 20 minutes before start to say that Iowa topped the afternoon session with a 196.950. Every team here should best that, but every squad other than Michigan has the possibility to drop that low. The Hawkeyes set the gauntlet, so it needs to be 197-plus or bust for these four.

Individual leaders so far: Nataraj and Rubio on vault with 9.900s, Takekawa on bars with a 9.925 and beam with a 9.950, Guerin on floor with a 9.950, and Joyner and Barber in the all around with 39.350. All toppable but very strong.

Also, on a personal note, my apologies for being unable to travel to Columbus and missing the morning session. Had some personal stuff going on that took up my morning, but I’m glad to be here for the evening. All 10 teams still have my heart!

Unfortunately, Penn State didn’t do enough earlier to secure a regionals spot, meaning it’ll miss the dance with Nebraska and Rutgers. The rest of the conference, though, is in.

Michigan is wearing those velvet bottom natty champ leos. Put the arena on blast.

Rotation 1: MSU vault, Minn. bars, UM beam, tOSU floor

Morrison (UM): Candle mount, good hold. She’s one of the best at that. Bhs loso, small check, just a low shoulder and good recovery. Cat to switch half, just a slightly low front leg. Check on full turn. RO 3/2 true stick.

Wiedeman (MSU): Yfull, small hip angle and small hop.

Remlinger (Minn.): Ray, good catching position. Toe hand to bail hand, clean. Short handstand. Stuck FTDB.

Garcia (MSU): Yfull, SO clean in the air, low chest on landing but stuck. Great, back in the lineup last lminute.

Wilson (UM): Bhs loso, clean, great amplitude. Switch jump switch jump, lovely, she does that so well every week. RO double tuck, deep knees and feet were a bit apart, but no movement.

Hooten (Minn.): Blind to pike Jaeger immediate bail, little loose in the bail. FTDB stuck. Phew landings are on FIRE here today.

Hsu (MSU): Yfull, small hop, really nice height.

Vore (UM): Yes ma’am she earned this lineup spot. Bhs loso, offline and she falls. Clean front toss to beat, her head is still in the game. Straddle to straddle half beat, lovely, the straddle half is so well done. RO 3/2, small step back, went too hard for the stick.

Willmarth (Minn.): Short handstand. Ray, nice turnover. Bail hand EXCELLENT, held it. Blind full good to double tuck, dropped her chest down but didn’t move her feet.

Schulte (MSU): Yfull, big! Small hop back, she just pulled down a little when she didn’t need to.

Brooks (UM): Bit of pressure on the back half of this lineup now, but Brooks is a pro. Solid triple series. Clean switch to beat. No movement on her front toss, landed very upright. RO double tuck, hop back.

Sorry folks we’re just not seeing the Buckeyes! And I can’t see floor behind other events.

Gagliardi (tOSU): I spoke it into existence you’re welcome I guess. Front lay to rudi, heel came up a bit on the lunge out of the rudi. Switch side popa, some cheated rotation but not hugely so. You already know this routine, it’s so creative and engaging. Double pike, excellent landing, no deductions on that.

Loper (Minn.): Maloney, clean backswing to pak, slightly closed shoulders but not overly so. Blind full, good double tuck, small hop, just had her chest forward a smidge.

Heiskell (UM): The natty came down to her, what’ll she do today? Little off on side aerial but recovered quickly. Switch switch, good. Bhs loso, no deductions on that. RO 3/2, big hop forward.

Stephen (MSU): Yfull, small hop to the side and backward, Karas points out she’ll get a directional deduction.

Sales (Minn.): Bail hand, nice. Short handstand. Blind to Khorkina, good. DLO deep knees but no foot movement.

Wojcik (UM): Front aerial to beat, clean. Switch to split, dipped a shoulder in between but kept the connection. Clean triple series. RO 3/2, chest was forward but she held steady and got the stick.

Ramler (Minn.): No issues through her Maloney to pak. Clean Van Leeuwen. Toe hand to FTDB, little deep in her knees but no foot movement.

Hlavach (tOSU): Pike full-in, bounced up out of it, a podium moment. Much cleaner on her combo pass. Switch side to switch full to popa, really lovely and clean. Double tuck, slid her front foot.

AFTER 1: Minnesota 49.525, Michigan 49.375, Ohio State 49.250, Michigan State 49.250

Mhmmmm this was bound to be close and we are rolling. Michigan survived Vore’s fall and its weakest event more or less on pace with the Gophers, but it does have some work to do on floor. Good thing for them, the Wolverines are No. 1 nationally there. Michigan State goes to its most volatile event next, so a big hit in the next rotation is important. The Buckeyes can be very clean on vault and should be aiming to stay in the low- to mid-49 universe. We haven’t seen perfection yet, but Lexy Ramler is about to take to the beam so watch out.

Rotation 2: tOSU vault, MSU bars, Minn. beam, UM floor

Riccardi (tOSU): Yfull, pike down and a hop back.

Stephen (MSU): Toe hand to Maloney, small leg sep. Great handstand. Bail hand, clean. She’s so calm in her swing. Blind full double tuck, hop forward.

Koch (Minn.): Bhs loso, soft knees on the bhs. Beat to Split 3/4, bit shy of 180 here but better than often. Liukin, clean, really held it.RO 3/2, didn’t wait and had to step out.

Loomis (MSU): Blind to Jaeger, really clean, nice toes here. Pak, little too archy but good catching shoulder angle. Blind full late double tuck, hop.

Saw Brenner hit her combo pass behind the beam.

Heiskell (UM): Clean double Arabian. RO 3/2 front lay, hopped her front foot on the lunge a bit. Clean through her leaps. Little short on her double pike but controlled out of it.

Edwards (tOSU): Yfull, SO CLEAN true stick. That was fantastic.

Mitchell (MSU): Toe hand to Maloney, bail hand, little wonky in her hips. Slightly past vertical on handstand, DLO, hop back.

Wojcik (UM): FHS 2/1, front pike, too much, bounces OOB. Tour jete half popa, lovely. Bouncy on her double pike landing, too, maybe .15-.2 on that second landing for a kind of stutter double bounce. FHS rudi straddle, no deductions on that one. Tough outing.

Loper (Minn.): Hearing Gerdes had a 9.0, assuming a fall. Bhs loso, very secure. She’s so steady. Front toss, little deep in it today but nothing too big to deduct. Lovely on her leaps, little smirk. RO 3/2, tried too hard for the stick, step back.

Schulte (MSU): Great handstand. True Shaposh, slight sep on backswing. Bail hand bit short. DLO hop back.

Jennings (tOSU): Yfull, flared it out but hops back.

Sales (Minn.) Bhs bhs, way off, falls, didn’t get her feet on the second bhs, won’t count. Missing an element, there, she may have some SV issues, we’ll see how she handles it. Clean beat to double stag. Switch side, good. Gainer pike, step. That’ll have SV issues.

Harkness (MSU): Huge Gienger, clean legs. Bail hand, touch short. Excellent last handstand. FTDB, deep knees big hop back.

Brooks (UM): Full-in, slid her front foot and was very close to OOB, but stayed in. Front through double tuck, under cooks it, hop forward and a low chest. Tour jete half split full, no issues. Double pike, best landing, did move her front foot a touch.

Hlavach (tOSU): Yfull on lay, off to the side some and a big step back.

Nylin (Minn.): The Gophers are in harm reduction mode now, counting that 9.0 at least. Bhs bhs loso, little check and shuffled her front foot. Hitch to switch side, little shy of the split. RO 3/2, held the stick.

Wilson (UM): Can she be perfect two weeks in a row? Open FTDB, good control. Neverending combo pass, another good landing. She’s on. HUGE switch side popa, she’s always big on that but the podium gave even more oomph. Double tuck, stellar control again. She was maybe a touch deep in the knees on first and last passes, but I don’t think these judges are being that picky.

Ramler (Minn): Bhs loso, small adjustment. Front aerial to beat, good. Beat to split ring, no deductions, she does that better than anyone. Side aerial 1/1 just up on her toes a bit.

Malas (tOSU): Yfull, great hip extension, good landing.

AFTER 2: Michigan 98.950, Ohio State 98.550, Michigan State 98.550, Minnesota 97.750

The Buckeyes and Spartans being tied after both the first and second rotations is wild. Both have been very good but given tenths away on some landings. Michigan came storming back on floor as expected, while the Gophers had a tough beam rotation for a 48.225; in addition to Gerdes’ 9.0, they had to count a lot more scores in the 9.7s than they’d like. Ramler was the only routine above a 9.775 (of course she was well above at a 9.950).

Rotation 3: UM vault, tOSU bars, MSU beam, Minn. floor

Oooh, Covelli got a sellout! Fantastic news for this shiny new arena and for the Big Ten.

Berger (tOSU): Toe hand to Maloney, small leg sep. Little sep on the bail hand too. Blind full late to stuck double tuck, true stick there.

Guggino (UM): Y1.5, hip angle and step back and to the side.

Wiedeman (MSU): Bhs loso, good. Cat to front toss to beat, pulled her shoulders back in line on the beat, not much deduction there. Clean leaps. Gainer tuck full stuck.

Wojcik (UM): Y1.5, GORGEOUS in the air, tiny hop straight up.

Hlavach (tOSU): Clear hip to Gigner immediate bail, some foot errors in the releases. Short handstand. Late blind full double tuck.

Heiskell (UM): Y1.5, small hop, soft knees in the last half.

Edwards (tOSU): Toe hand. FLOATY Maloney to pak, just leg sep on the backswing. Blind full double tuck, hop back.

Brooks (UM): Y1.5, Just pulled her heels together. She scores the champs’ first 10!

Morrison (UM): Y1.5, some hip angle and went up on her toes.

Ramler (Minn.): Bounced up out of her opening pass. Switch ring to switch half, so clean. Rudi, clean on that one. RO 3/2 front lay, low on the lay but a good landing.

Miller (tOSU): Toe hand Maloney bail hand, leg GLUED. DLO true stick. Wow. Stellar.

Schulte (MSU): She has such an aggressive beam cadence, it’s a blast to watch. Switch to switch half, clean, good 180 on the half. Bhs loso, soft knees. Side aerial full twist, holds the stick.

Wilson (UM): Y1.5, tried too hard for the stick, hopped back.

Riccardi (tOSU): Toe hand to Ray, big, just foot form. Pak, some shoulder angle issues. Stalder to double tuck, hop forward.

Mitchell (MSU): Bhs bhs loso, little off in the air on the loso, but pulled it on, really kept the deductions low. Soft knees on her front aerial. Straddle to split 1/4 and a big smile. RO 3/2, stuck.

Loper (Minn.): Front lay to rudi, good. Switch ring to switch full, no issues. 5/2, landed a bit back on her heels but lunged back with control. RO 3/2 front lay, great landing.

Garcia (MSU): Bhs loso, small check, just in her arms. Front aerial to split, clean. Switch to split, hesitated in between. Side aerial full, true stick.

Hooten (Minn.): You know what it is. 10 watch is on. Full-in, clean landing. Switch side popa, just some rotation cheating, not hugely so. Clean combo pass. Really emphasized the lunge on the double tuck. Karas can’t stop saying “oh my gosh.” 9.95, and boos from the crowd. My guess for the .05 is that jump rotation.

AFTER 3: Michigan 148.675, Ohio State 147.975, Michigan State 147.625, Minnesota 147.325

Phew Michigan really pulled away with that stellar vault rotation, but the Buckeyes are doing their best to hang in. Some checks on beam held Michigan State back a step, and even a huge floor rotation hasn’t been able to make up for counting. the low score for the Gophers. The Spartans are a great floor squad, Michigan is incredible on bars, Minnesota has some 10-worthy vaults and absolutely anything can happen on beam, so this one isn’t over yet.

Rotation 4: Minn. vault, UM bars, tOSU beam, MSU floor

Ewing (MSU): FHS 2/1, little back on her heels but controls it. Switch to Tour jete 1/1, actually got that rotation around. RO 3/2 front 1/1, great landing. What a leadoff.

Heiskell (UM): Blind to Jaeger, clean. Good hanstands. Pak, good catch. Switch kip. Blind full right on top double tuck stuck.

Gerdes (Minn.): Yfull, step back.

Morrison (UM): Giegner, good. Little over on clear hip hand and then late on bail hand. DLO stuck.

Ramler (Minn.): Y1.5, soft knees and a hop.

Brenner (UM): Blind to Jaeger immediate bail, smooth. DLO hop back.

Hooten (Minn.): Y1.5, true stick. She was a little offline so might have a tiny deduction on that.

Brooks (UM): Blind to pike Jaeger, little close. Toe hand to bail hand. FTDL, hop back.

Oliveros (tOSU): Lovely press mount. Front aerial bhs, clean, maybe a little long between. Leg up check on her leaps. Side aerial full, small foot adjustment.

Quarles (Minn.): Y1.5, so high! hop forward.

Wojcik (UM): Toe hand to Deltchev, took it too big and fell. Bail, will miss that connection value. DLO stuck.

Loper (Minn.): Y1.5, step back.

Berger (tOSU): Solid side aerial. Bhs loso, clean, just adjusted her foot a bit. Switch to split 1/2, no checks. Split do side aerial full, little step.

Vore (UM): Maloney leg sep to bail hand, clean on the bail. DLO hopped right up in place.

Koch (Minn.): Y tuck 1.5, off to the side a bit and stepped.

Schulte (MSU): My favorite floor of the year. FTDB, moved her front foot. Nice through her leaps. Front through double tuck, no deductions on that landing.

Michigan finishes with a 198.200, and Minnesota a 196.725. Iowa will finish ahead of the Gophers.

Hofelich (MSU): Good double pike landing. Switch side popa, good. MSU has passed Iowa even before this score. RO 3/2 front lay, low on the lay but clean. Another good landing on her double tuck.

FINAL (this session): Michigan 198.200, Michigan State 197.050, Minnesota 196.725, Ohio State 196.700

Michigan wins its 26th Big Ten title! The Spartans blew past preseason expectations to land in second, an incredible finish.

Overall Results and Awards:

Team standings:

  1. Michigan 198.200
  2. Michigan State 197.050
  3. Iowa 196.950
  4. Minnesota 196.725
  5. Ohio State 196.700
  6. T-Maryland, Nebraska 196.450
  7. Illinois 195.825
  8. Rutgers 195.750
  9. Penn State 194.700

Individual Title winners:
AA: Heiskell 39.700
VT: Brooks 10.0
UB: Heiskell, Ramler, Miller 9.950
BB: Ramler, Takekawa, Ramler 9.950
FX: Heiskell, Hooten, Guerin 9.950

Live blog by Emily Minehart

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