Brayden Battavio shows her flexibility during her beam routine by touching the beam and lifting one leg in the air

LIVE BLOG: No. 23 Illinois at No. 35 Rutgers

Welcome to Week 3, everyone! We’ll be seeing a lot more in-conference meets this weekend, and that includes today’s dual. This will be the year’s first Big Ten dual for each of these teams, so conference standings will definitely be a thought in the background for both the Illini and the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers is trying to claw its way out of last place in the Big Ten, and a home meet against a conference rival might just do the trick.

Rutgers had two meets last weekend, which really showed off the Scarlet Knights’ home advantage. At its home meet, Rutgers scored a 195.55, its best score in a home opener. But when the team went to Georgia, it scored a season-low 194.675. Being back at home this weekend should give Rutgers the spark it needs to keep Illinois on its toes.

Illinois is coming off of a 195.725 at Arizona. The Illini were forced to count a number of 9.7s and a 9.675 on bars after Mallory Mizuki scored an 8.6. If the Illini can avoid falls and fix small details like handstands and landings, they should be able to score well above Rutgers. But if Rutgers hits all of its routines and Illinois has to count scores with critical mistakes, the Illini might be in trouble. 

Rotation 1: RU VT, UIUC UB

Jones (RU): Yurchenko full, nice height, small pike down and just the tiniest hop. 9.8

Ward (UIUC): Starts with a great handstand, blind into a super high Jaeger to bail. Last handstand is great, nice full in half out dismount, takes a step on the blind landing. 9.75

Lorente-Garcia (RU): Yurchenko full, some knee bend in the air and pikes down and goes a little sideways. 9.675

Borden (UIUC): Cal hop to Jaeger to bail. Nice last handstand, blind into a front 1.5 dismount, her chest is a little down but she fights for the stick. 9.775

Pagliaro (RU): Yurchenko full, nice amplitude just a small hop on the landing. 9.825

Ewald (UIUC): Blind into a Jaeger, she looks like she didn’t even touch the bar. She’s redoing it, catches it this time. Nice Pak down to the low bar, a little over on the pirouette. Good last handstand. Full in dismount with a huge hop forwards on the landing. 9.075

Joyner (RU): Yurchenko full, she has a nice straight body but hops back on the landing. 9.825

Mizuki (UIUC): Starts with a really good handstand. Blind into a nice piked Jaeger. Nice shootover to the low bar. Finishes with a pretty handstand, blind full into a double back with a stick! 9.9

Aird (RU): Yurchenko full, lots of amplitude but she pikes itdown and takes a pretty big step. 9.8

O’Donnell (UIUC): Blind into Jaeger into bail, nice form throughout. Finishes with a blind full into a super high double back to a stick! Really solid routine, that should be a good score. 9.875

Leese (RU): Yurchenko 1.5, she gets a lot of distance, she has a slight leg bend and a tiny hop on the landing. 9.85

Takekawa (UIUC): Starts with a gorgeous first handstand into a blind into a piked Jaeger, almost smacks her face on the bar and falls. She does it again and catches. Nice shootover right to a handstand. Last handstand is great. Double layout dismount with a slight pike down to a stick. Such a shame that she fell! 9.4

Mueller (UIUC ex): Starts with a good handstand, blind into a Jaeger. Shootover down to the low bar. Little bit short on the last handstand. Pretty double layout with a small step.

After 1: Rutgers 49.1, Illinois 48.7

It’s such a shame that Illinois has to count a fall on bars, because it would’ve been a huge score with all of the other gorgeous routines that it put up. Rutgers looked solid on vault, its amplitude was great as usual, and it looks like the landings are getting cleaned up!

Rotation 2: UIUC VT, RU VT

Byrne (UIUC): Yurchenko full with some pike throughout. Small hop on the landing. 9.8

Bertola (RU): Starts with a Ray, has some flexed feet. Pak down to the low bar with some foot issues. Little bit short on the last handstand, blind full to double back. 9.625

Mueller (UIUC): Yurchenko full, again has some pike throughout and has a small hop. 9.85

Lorente-Garcia (RU): Short on her first handstand into her Shaposh, nice clean Pak back down. Short on the last handstand. Double layout dismount, some leg separation and a hop. 9.7

Fitzgibbon (UIUC): Yurchenko full, small hop on the landing. The form in the air was a lot better than the previous vaults. 9.825

Ortiz (RU): Blind into a piked Jaeger. Shootover with some flexed feet. Good last handstand, blind full into a double tuck, she pulls in and I swore she was gonna hit her head but she didn’t. Takes a big step forward. 9.625

Nataraj (UIUC): Yurchenko full, lots of amplitude and great body position, and sticks the landing! 9.825

Aird (RU): Starts with a great handstand into her blind into a super high piked Jaeger. Great handstands. Nice shootover, very pretty. Nails the last handstand. Double layout with some pike throughout and a step back. 9.775

Townes (UIUC): Yurchenko 1.5! Some knee bend throughout but she sticks it! 9.9

Joyner (RU): Great first handstand. Blind into a Jaeger with some flexed feet. Pretty shootover down to the low bar. Double layout dismount with some leg separation and a stick! 9.825

Ward (UIUC): Yurchenko full with a lot of height! Takes a small hop back. 9.8

Balser (RU): Great first handstand. Blind to a nice Jaeger. Very pretty Pak down to the low bar, great handstand on the pirouette. Nails the last handstand. Double layout with some leg separation and a college stick/step forward. Really nice anchor routine for Rutgers. 9.825

Takekawa (UIUC ex): Yurchenko full with a pretty piked position through the whole thing and a hop forwards.

Zieden-Weber (RU ex): Really good first handstand to a pretty low Tkatchev. Shootover to the low bar. I missed the dismount but the team seemed happy.

After 2: Rutgers 97.925, Illinois 97.9

Rutgers hit its bar routines, but had some form and landing issues that prevented it from extending its lead over Illinois. Illinois also had some form issues on vault, but it was able to close the gap between Rutgers.

Rotation 3: RU BB, UIUC FX

Battavio (RU): Starts with a flic lay series, very solid she didn’t wobble at all. Split jump to split full, again very solid. Nice side aerial. Tucked front full dismount with a step forward. Nice leadoff routine! 9.85

Takekawa (UIUC): First pass is a Rudi to a straddle jump, good start to the routine. Next she does a roundoff double pike, nice controlled lunge. Oops I totally missed that leap pass. Last pass is a back 1.5 to front layout. Nice routine! All her landings were very clean. 9.85

Pagliaro (RU): Switch leap to switch half to beat jump to start out, she could use a little more split. Nice solid flic lay, no wobbles. Front gainer full dismount to a stick! 9.875

Waight (UIUC): Starts out with a nice double pike. Goes right into the second pass which is a back 1.5 to front layout, also very nice. Wolf full into a switch full. Last pass is a double tuck, she has another great landing! 9.875

Aird (RU): Starts out with a pretty candlestick mount. Flic lay series. All of these series are so solid! Switch half to split jump, needs to get closer to 180. Front gainer full dismount with a step forward. 9.85

Joelson (UIUC): Starts with a strong double pike. Switch side to Popa, nice form. Second pass is a back 1.5 to front layout. Last pass is a double tuck, she’s short and takes a small step forward, but not too significant. 9.8

Ortiz (RU): Starts off with a Flic flic lay, another super solid landing! She does have some flexed feet though. Split jump to double stag jump. Gainer full dismount, small hop on the landing! Another great routine for Rutgers! 9.875

Knight (UIUC): First pass is a front double full, a little unsure on the landing. Nice switch half. Double tuck for the second pass, her chest is a little low. Finishes with a back 1.5 to front layout, nice landing! 9.9

Joyner (RU): Nice flic lay, super solid as usual. Great positions on the leaps. Roundoff double full dismount with a tiny hop back! 9.925, well deserved!

Mueller (UIUC): First pass is a nice controlled double pike. Next is a front layout front full, maybe a slight knee bend. Switch half to wolf full was pretty. Finishes up with a double tuck, takes a shuffle backwards. 9.9

Zannella (RU): Split jump to ring jump, she wobbles on that. Flic flic lay series, some slightly flexed feet. Side aerial to tucked 1.5 dismount, she fights for that stick. Even without her score Rutgers has set a program beam record! 9.85

Townes (UIUC): Front double full as her first pass, her lunge is kind of sideways so I wouldn’t call it totally controlled. Back 1.5 to front full, that landing was great. Tour jete half to Popa was really nice. Great anchor, that will be a great score! 9.925. A career high!

After 3: Illinois 147.35, Rutgers 147.3

This was a huge rotation for both teams. Rutgers scored its program high beam score! But Illinois hasn’t given up. The Illini put up its own huge scores on floor. This meet is still close, it’s anybody’s game!

Rotation 4: UIUC BB, RU FX

Knight (UIUC): Starts with a pretty candlestick. Switch leap to split leap, nice positions. Side aerial back handspring series, very solid, no wobbles. Beat jump to side sumi. Gainer full dismount to a stick! 9.775

Zannella (RU): First pass is a nice high double tuck, she stuck it, didn’t even lunge back! Next is a whip to double full, same as before she stuck it without a lunge! Switch ring to switch ring half, super pretty. Front layout to front full, takes a hop into her lunge. Overall a very solid routine! 9.725

Mizuki (UIUC): Wobbles on the full turn to start out. Flic lay, takes a step back but covers it. Switch leap to straddle quarter, super pretty positions. Gainer pike dismount, she sticks it but her chest is pretty low. 9.8

Pagliaro (RU): Nice high double pike but she steps forward. Next pass is a front layout front full, nice control on the landing. Switch half wolf full wolf full was nice. Finishes with a solid Rudi. 9.725

Nataraj. (UIUC): Super pretty flic lay, very floaty. Swicth leap to straddle quarter, great positions. Beat jump to front aerial, slight wobble. Roundoff 1.5 dismount, slight hop in place on the landing. 9.875

Wood (RU): Starts with a Rudi to a super high layout step out. Tour jete half split full tuck full combination. Last pass is a front double full, very nice control on the landing. 9.8

Mueller (UIUC): Flic lay series, slight wobble and some flexed feet. Switch leap switch leap, very pretty. Beat jump to front toss, super solid she didn’t wobble at all. Roundoff 1.5 dismount, slight hop forwards. 9.85

Aird (RU): Nice double pike to start out, opens up a little bit too early and steps forward. Switch half to split full. Second pass is a front layout front full, her lunge was a little big. Double tuck to finish, nice landing. 9.8

Townes (UIUC): Switch leap to straddle quarter, wobbles at the end. Cat leap to front toss was very solid. Flic lay series, stumbled and fell off. Wobbles on the full turn. Finishes with a tucked 1.5 dismount with a step forward. 9.05

Joyner (RU): Double pike to start out, nice and high. Oh my gosh why do I keep missing the leap passes. Front full to front layout, controlled landing. Switch half to Popa. Back 1.5 to front layout to finish. 9.875

Takekawa (UIUC): Alright, lots of pressure, let’s see if she can do it. Side aerial back handspring series, her form is so pretty. Switch leap straddle quarter, such nice positions. Back handspring gainer full dismount, she sticks it and holds it! She handled that pressure perfectly! 9.925

Leese (RU): Super high full in to start out. Switch half to Popa to Shushunova combination. Next is a front tuck through to double tuck, very nice height and a great landing!

Final: Illinois 196.575, Rutgers 196.375

This was such a fun meet to watch! Illinois fought back after counting a fall on bars, but Rutgers didn’t make it easy after it set a program record on beam. We’ve been saying Rutgers has potential, and it’s truly starting to show. As for Illinois, it proved that it can still win even after counting a fall, which is what all good teams need to be able to do.

Event Winners:

Vault: Mia Townes, Illinois, 9.9

Bars: Hannah Joyner, Rutgers, 9.9

Beam: Hannah Joyner, Rutgers, 9.925

Floor: Mia Townes, Illinois, 9.925

All Around: Hannah Joyner, Rutgers, 39.525

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Live blog by Emily Lockard

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