LIVE BLOG: No. 30 Western Michigan at No. 41 Illinois State

Today’s dual between the Broncos and Redbirds will be their second matchup in as many weeks, having last faced each other on January 8th. Western Michigan had the top team total on each event at their recent tri meet (also featuring division three powerhouse UW-Oshkosh) en route to a victory of just over two points. 

Be on the lookout for Cassie St. Clair’s tucked Tsukahara 1.5, after sticking it cold at the Broncos’ season opener last week. The two teams are virtually at even strength on the leg events, leaving stuck landings as  very possible deciding factors. Bars and beam may prove to be a race to produce five standout routines, with both teams notching totals last week on these events below their NQS totals from 2022. Expect an all around battle between Western Michigan’s Sarah Moravansky and Dani Petrousek, and Illinois State’s Angelica Labat and Nirel Bart-Williams  – three of these gymnasts have post-season experience, and all four were on the cusp of breaking the 39.000 barrier in their season opener last weekend. 

Today’s meet will be broadcasted on ESPN+, with scoring available here

Rotation One: Illinois State VT, Western Michigan UB

Heard (ISU): takes a step out of the directional lines from her Y full. 9.525.

A. Singh (WMU): Huge Tkatchev, slightly twisted on her overshoot down to low bar. Camera angle is a little low to tell, but looks like she got loads of height on her double layout but las to separate her legs in the air. 9.625.

Donovan (ISU): pikes a tad throughout, then has to step forward out of her Y full. 9.300.

Faulkner (WMU): starts with a Geinger, and then puts her overshoot to handstand. Late on her blind full, but puts the connected double tuck to her feet with no problems. 9.575.

Laster (ISU): Does a Y full instead of 1.5, biggest block out of the three Redbirds so far and only takes a small hop back. 9.725.

Petrousek (WMU): opens with a Tkatchev and overshoot. short on her blind full, but puts it right into a stuck double pike. 9.550.

Mack (ISU): Y full with a flare out and a near stick! 9.825.

Roy (WMU): Off on her Maloney, didn’t get the distance she needed and rolls out forwards. Back up to the high bar and rocks her overshoot. Pikes her double layout a bit but sticks it cold. 9.025.

Bart-Williams (ISU): College stick on her Y1.5! 9.825.

Murphy (WMU): Longer wait than normal before she can start. Commentators are now likening her waiting through a judges’ conference to waiting for a flu shot. Opens with a Deltchev, then wastes no time checking off the low bar and heading up again for her dismount. Toe front half rises above the bar and lands sturdy. 9.550.

Labat (ISU): Flares her entire post-repulsion, and has enough power to hop forward out of her Y1.5. Closed shoulders on the table should be the only major deduction. 9.800.

Moravansky (WMU): Hecht mount, then goes for a blind half, Jaeger, overshoot combo! Keeps her legs glued on her double layout and gets the stick to anchor for the Broncos. 9.750.

Decroo (ISU): Pikes her Y full in exhibition, an upgrade from last meet’s Y layout.

Freeman (WMU): Sky high piked Jaeger to start off her exhibition, but can’t grab and lands on her knees. goes through the rest of her set with no issues, highlighted by her blind full to double tuck.

Quoss (WMU): Short first handstand, but no shortage of height on her Tkatchev or bail. Blind full to double tuck with a small step and low chest, but the best blind full of what Western Michigan has shown today.

AFTER ONE: Illinois State 48.700, Western Michigan 48.050

Western Michigan isn’t blind-full-double-tuck shy with their lineup, but will need to finish more of their pirouettes on top of the bar for the dismount combination to pay off. Illinois State played today’s vault rotation safe, with a few Y1.5’s shown in training materializing as fulls today. This is no doubt an early season and double meet weekend strategy, and should be easy to upgrade again when the Redbirds feel necessary.

Rotation Two: Western Michigan VT, Illinois State UB

A. Singh (WMU): Bounds forward out of her yurchenko half, but shouldn’t count any major deductions for her form in the air. 9.775.

Hawksworth (ISU): Competition debut alert for the junior! Opens with a Geinger to overshoot combination, a bit of form but plenty of height. Closes it out with a double layout and a near stick. 9.500.

Petrousek (WMU): Pikes her Y full and lunges back. Flexed feet throughout and a tad low throughout. 9.600.

Wabi (ISU): Nails her first handstand, taking it through to a blind half and a piked Jaeger to overshoot. Low finish out of the blind full but sticks the double tuck that comes out of it. 9.750.

Faulkner (WMU): Cleanest of the three so far, just minor knee form throughout. Small hop back, and chest up on the landing. 9.800.

Kipp (ISU): Looks calm on bars, connects a blind full to Jaeger a bit close to the bar. Easy blind full to double tuck for her. 9.625.

Moravansky (WMU): Loads of height on her Y full, but has a minor pike resulting in a hop back. 9.700.

Heiner (ISU): Great form in her Maloney, and takes her toe handstand AND overshoot right to handstand. Small step forward on her floaty double layout. 9.625.

Murphy (WMU): Almost identical vault form to Moravansky, but steps back with one foot instead of hopping with both. 9.725.

Bart-Williams (ISU): Almost into the rafters on her releases, and going for broke on her handstands. Had great momentum going but misses the blind landing on her front double and rolls out. 9.150.

St. Clair (WMU): Can’t find the stick this week, and steps forward out of her Tsuk 1.5 – but virtually a copy in the air of her vault from last week’s tri meet. 9.700.

Labat (ISU): Toe handstand, Ray, bail all connected but with slightly flexed feet. Sticks her tuck full in. First to wear the Redbirds’ stick crown today! 9.700.

Binstock (WMU): Cleanest Y full from the Broncos today but will only count as an exhibition.

Mack (ISU): Released late and takes the fall right off the top of her exhibition. No major issues in the interior and bails right to handstand, and then nails her double layout.

Roy (WMU): Listed as an exhibition but the feed cut to commercial before showing her.

AFTER TWO: Illinois State: 96.900, Western Michigan 96.750. 

Western Michigan is closing in after a consistent vault rotation! Illinois State had some big releases, but ultimately only broke past the 9.700 mark twice. They’ll look to extend their lead again on beam, and try not to use their narrowed buffer.

Rotation Three: Illinois State BB, Western Michigan FX

Davis (ISU): Clean form in her bhs loso but falls out of it. Small hesitation between her front toss and split, but should get the connection. Almost off again on her jump combination. Floaty cartwheel 1.5 dismount, but takes a small step back. 9.000.

Gruber (WMU): Eye contact right off the bat. Opens with an effortless layout punch rudi and a lunge. She looks comfortable, and goes into a nearly textbook double tuck. Loads of height on her switch side to straddle half to finish, and flashes the W in her ending pose. 9.825.

Flutman (ISU): Fluid bhs loso, small check. Switch side is a bit short, but covered well and goes again fluidly into her side aerial. Didn’t get perhaps the height she wanted with her gainer pike off the end and lands chest down, but a great redemption routine for the Redbirds. 9.625.

Moravansky (WMU): Steps forward on her double pike, but recovers to go almost right back into her double tuck. Wolf fulls get height, but shy of hitting 90 at her hips. Front layout to front full overrotates a bit and lunges forward, but will likely count as controlled. 9.650.

Ziegenfelder (ISU): Opens with a jump onto the side, no nonsense. Almost off on her loso, but props for being in fun combination. Confident on her Liukin. Low back leg on her beat jump to split 3/4, and then sticks her gainer full off the side. 9.550.

Petrousek (WMU): Sky high double tuck! Fhs layout to front full and lunges directly into her choreo. Takes a breather with her choreo, and then the music picks up for her double pike to finish. Keeps it in bounds but with a big lunge backwards. 9.625.

Bart-Williams (ISU): Fluid bhs loso loso, and uses the whole beam for it. Beat jump to split 3/4 is a bit short on the split angle, but it doesn’t phase her. Near stuck gainer full off the side. This is not the Redbirds beam team we saw last week! 9.775.

Roy (WMU): MASSIVE tucked full in to open, milks the landing a bit before taking her allowed lunge back. Switch half to split full have plenty of amplitude. Ends with a pun ch front through to double tuck that looks post-season ready. 9.775.

Kipp (ISU): Bhs bhs loso like it’s on the floor. Small hesitation on her switch to switch half, but a huge series nonetheless. Sticks her roundoff 1.5 cold. 9.800.

St. Clair (WMU): Roundoff 1.5 front lay and gets a rise going into the layout! Going full energy on her choreo, and it almost makes her leaps higher. Finishes with a punch front double twist and a controlled lunge forward. The two pass strategy was almost MADE with St. Clair in mind. 9.775.

Labat (ISU): Easy front layout to open. A fight in three acts to stay on after her bhs loso, but stays on grabbing the beam. Dismounts with a bhs 1.5 and steps forward.  9.325.

Murphy (WMU): Opens with a front tuck roundoff double tuck, and similarly to St. Clair isn’t sparing any energy on her dance – if anything, just missing some extension on her switch ring. Punch rudi to a sky high straddle jump. May have gone OOB on her double pike, but the camera angle didn’t show any flags. 9.825.

Mack (ISU): Wobble on the front toss, but stays on. Another check on the bhs loso, and again on the full turn. Redeems the exhibition with a stuck roundoff 1.5.

Oh (ISU): Second exhibition for ISU on beam. Small check on her bhs loso, but covered gracefully. Lacking amplitude on her straddle 3/4, and takes another check. Steps forward overrotating out of her roundoff 1.5.

AFTER THREE: Western Michigan 145.600, Illinois State 144.975

While the Redbirds will take a 48-plus beam rotation, it wasn’t enough to stay ahead of the Broncos. The teams are separated by just over a fall, and with beam still a factor anything can still happen.

Rotation Four: Western Michigan BB, Illinois State FX

Binstock (WMU): Opens with a straddle back mount, and gets loads of amplitude in her opening jump combination. Bhs loso is saved by putting the loso to a scale, and recovers pace with her full turn. Switch side with no checks or height issues. Finishes with a roundoff 1.5, and steps backwards. 9.500.

Wabi (ISU): Opens with a fhs front double twist! Beautiful extension on her switch, split full, and wolf full in combination. The music picks up and she finishes with a fhs rudi to layout stepout. 9.825.

Petrousek (WMU): Starts off with a no nonsense double wolf turn, and a fluid bhs loso. Aerial to beat jump had a slow connection, but will count. Small check on her switch to tuck 3/4. Finishes with a gainer pike off the end, will count a hop and a low landing. 9.375.

Laster (ISU): Another fhs double to start! Massive switch to start off her triple jump series. Having a ton of fun with her choreo surrounded by teammates. Closes with a fhs rudi to back tuck – may have been improvised. 9.725.

Moravansky (WMU): Opens with a bhs loso loso, no checks but some knee form throughout all three. Switch spilt to loso also with no wobbling. College sticks her roundoff 1.5 and gets to her round of high fives. 9.725.

Donovan (ISU): Hops out of her double tuck, and then nails her switch side to wolf full. Great amplitude on her punch layout to rudi, lunges back. Finishes with a standalone wolf jump 1.5. 9.675.

Gruber (WMU): bhs loso is the cleanest of the day so far. Small check on her straddle 1/4, but overall a great job absorbing the beam on her skills. No doubt gets the stick on her roundoff 1.5 to finish. 9.850.

Labat (ISU): Stumbles backwards out of her fhs front double twist. Leaps through her combo as if the first pass didnt happen, and her roundoff 1.5 layout looked effortless. Gets right to her third, and hop-lunges back out of her Rudi. 9.650.

Murphy (WMU): Attacks her bhs loso. Missing a bit of extension on her ring jump, but then sticks her gainer full off the side cold. 9.800.

Bart-Williams (ISU): Floatiest fhs Rudi loso of the Redbirds lineup today. Having an absolute blast doing her own choreo, and it blends into her leaps seamlessly. Huge double tuck to finish out, but lands with her chest down before lunging back. 9.825.

G. Singh (WMU): Loses the fight to stay on after her bhs bhs loso, but then attacks her beat jump to straddle 3/4. Switch side gets loads of height. Redeems her earlier fall with a stuck cold gainer pike off the end. 9.000.

Mack (ISU): Piked full in with a lunge to open. Plenty of amplitude in her leap combo, and then builds some ISU interactive choreo in afterwards. Finishes with a front tuck to double pike, lunges and ultimately steps again out of it. 9.850.

Thomas (WMU): Off on her bhs loso in the exhibition spot. Hitch kick, then walks back and redoes it into an aerial. Looks calm on her jumps, building into her gainer pike.

Decroo (ISU): Double tuck with no problems to start her second exhibition of the night. Huge switch side to Popa, toes up to the rafters. Front full front layout with no major issues, then almost immediately into a low double pike.

Schaupp (WMU): Off on her series to begin her exhibition. Connected a split to tuck full, and then into an old school scale. Chest down on her gainer full dismount, but holds it for the college stick.

Ziegenfelder (ISU): Final exhibition in an exhibition-heavy meet. Didn’t see her first pass, and I’m immediately regretting it from how high her leap series was. A tad low bounding out of her combination pass’ layout. Seemed a bit surprised putting her double pike to her feet.

FINAL: Illinois State: 193.875, Western Michigan 193.850

The Redbirds’ floor party eked out the smallest victory possible against the Broncos, proving a successful rematch for today’s home team. The meet was even on every event between the two teams, with the margins all within 0.125. While Bart-Williams counted a bars fall today, the meet was very much about her — claiming a share of the vault title as well as the floor title outright.

UPDATE: Moravansky’s beam score has been changed from 9.675 to 9.725.

Illinois State will face freshman-heavy Greenville on January 21st., and Western Michigan will see in conference play with Bowling Green on January 20th.

VT Winner: Mack, Bart-Williams (9.825)

UB Winner: Wabi, Moravansky (9.750)

BB Winner: Gruber (9.850)

FX Winner: Mack (9.850)

AA: Murphy (38.900)

READ THIS NEXT: Gayla Griswold, Jaye Mack Illustrate Excellence in the MIC at NCAA Nationals

Live Blog by Peri Goodman

Like what you see? Consider donating to support our efforts throughout the year! [wpedon id=”13158″]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.