LIVE BLOG: No. 50 SEMO at No. 48 Illinois State

It’s the matchup between the top two teams in the MIC this week with the battle of the birds. This is bound to be a close battle, with SEMO entering with the strongest season high, but Illinois State bringing more consistent scores. Illinois State is coming off a season high score at the Metroplex Challenge, while SEMO gained some in-conference confidence after defeating fellow MIC rival Lindenwood at home. 

It’s definitely hard to say who will come home with the win here. SEMO had the hot hand in week 4, scoring 196.175, but the Redhawks haven’t quite replicated that magic just yet. Meanwhile, the home team Redbirds, have been building the past few meets. 

Routines to watch out for are quite plentiful, including Jaye Mack on floor, Angelica Labat on any event she touches, Madison Greene on floor, Lindsay Ockler and Jolie Miller on bars… I could go on and on. Needless to say, this one is bound to be a nail biter full of high flying gymnastics, so stick around!

Rotation 1: Illinois State VT, SEMO UB

Also, I forgot to mention this earlier, but we’re getting to see the MIC gymnast of the week in Taylor Ingle and MIC performance of the week athlete in Nirel Bart-Wiiliams.

Apparently J’Chelle Heard, the Coaches’ Choice this week, is having some knee soreness but may still be vaulting. Reagan Hestermann is exhibitioning floor tonight y’all! She’s in her junior season, and has missed action in her first two seasons due to injury. No Madison Kipp tonight either, so that could be a big dealon bars and beam.

Donovan (ISU): Solid opening Y full with a slide back. Good technique in the air. Slight pike down. 9.725

Ingle (SEMO): Peeked over for the overshoot. Short on the last handstand. Blind full, a touch slow but deliberate. Double tuck to a step back. 9.450

Mack (ISU): Y full is good with a hop back. Some leg separation in the preflight. Some pike. 9.775

Jones (SEMO): Overshoot. Has to do a double sole circle. Blind, front giant, half turn to double tuck. Small hop back. I wish I could see a single release move. Thanks. 9.450

Heard (ISU): Y full, the highest of the vaults so far. Good open hips. Just a slide. If anything, a touch of shoulder angle on the table. 9.825

Miller (SEMO): Piked tkatchev to ezhova. Some foot flexed on the release. Short last handstand. Double layout, foot form and legs apart on the dismount with a hop forward. 9.525

Bart-Williams (ISU): Y 1.5 with a step forward. Shoulders closed on the table and some bent knees in the air.

Laster (ISU): Y 1.5 is STUCK with a lean to manage. Bringing the energy! Good line in the air. 9.925

Webb (SEMO): Overshoot with a touch of leg separation. A touch slow on the last handstand. Blind full double tuck is spot on! Turn right on top and stuck. 9.650

Lopez (SEMO): Short first handstand. Blind to Jaeger. Right on!. Overshoot. Blind full to double tuck. Ground looked like it surprised her a touch and had to take a step back. 9.625

Labat (ISU): Medium sized step forward on the Y 1.5 today. The hip opening on that is next level.

Ockler (SEMO): Toe hand, Maloney to pak. Slight leg separation on both. Half turn right on top. Last handstand isn’t quite there. Sky high FTDT with a small step forward. 9.750

Decroo (ISU ex): Huge Y full with a step back. Good pop off the table, nice hips open.

Moffitt (SEMO ex): Blind, Jaeger. A touch flat. Casted over, swing half to cover. Had to take a couple extra swings. Kip casted into the overshoot, nice and tight. Blind full to double tuck. A touch close to the bar. She was a bit off throughout that routine but fought to stay on the bar. We love the spirit!

AFTER ONE: Illinois State 49.175, SEMO 48.000

That was a strong opening rotation for the Redbirds! Good enough for a season high, to be exact. The SEMO bar rotation didn’t feel as bad as some of the scores indicated. My best guess is that the judges are nickel and diming on that event tonight. TBD. We’ll see if that judging stays consistent in rotation two.

Rotation 2: SEMO VT, Illinois State UB

“Girl, I’m bout to have a panic attack” playing at a gymnastics meet is such a vibe, haha.

Ingle (SEMO): Y full. Not great height, had to SEVERELY pike down to pull it around. A large lunging step forward. 9.200

Hawskworth (ISU): Gienger to overshoot. Good last handstand. Cranking those giants! Stuck double layout. Definitely the best routine I’ve seen from her! Good lead off. 9.725

Reader (SEMO): Y full with some leg separation right off the table. Good chest up on the landing, a touch of pike down. 9.625

Wabi (ISU): Blind, piked Jaeger. So stunning. Overshoot with lovely lines. No leg separation. Blind full, double tuck was SCARILY close. She had to cowboy and roll out of it to save her life. 9.200. So that means that routine was GREAT until the dismount.

Webb (SEMO): Y full with some pike down and a hop back. They switched the camera angle in the middle so quite confused on the details. On replay, looked nice and straight until the end. Solid vault. 9.625

Laster (ISU): Overshoot is a little under turned. One of the highest Tkatchev’s in the NCAA. Half turn to eagle grip. Double front. Decent sized step back. 9.700

Lopez (SEMO): Y full, good hips open with a pace back. Powerful. Turns out she did pike down, but she didn’t need to, causing the overrotation. 9.450

Judging conference!!!! So a zoom in on the bedazzle shoes. Whose feet are those?

Greene (SEMO): Strong vault for her as well. Best chest up of the bunch. 9.675

Bart-Williams (ISU): Blind, very large Jaeger. Overshoot with a leg separation. Blind, front giant, VERY overrotated double front dismount. She also was very close to the bar. So ISU will be counting a fall on the event.

Ockler (SEMO): Stuck Y full for her! A little leg bend on the table. Post-flight was the moment. 9.650

Another long waiting game before this routine as the judges discuss Nirel’s score. 9.175

Maxwell (SEMO ex): Y tuck full. Not a great pre-flight and doesn’t quite pull it around, has to touch her hands.

Loving Mia Oh’s hair tonight!

Heiner (ISU): Toe hand, Maloney. Toe hand again. to overshoot. Loose back a touch. Last handstand is slow. Nearly held onto the stick. Double layout with a baby step forward. 9.650

Labat (ISU): Toe hand, Ray to overshoot. No one does it better. I cannot be convinced otherwise. Hit every handstand. A hop back on the FTDT dismount. Biggest deduction was likely the dismount landing. 9.800

AFTER TWO: Illinois State 97.250, SEMO 96.025

Yeah…so ISU outscored SEMO bars with counting a fall. That’s a way to salvage the situation. The Redbirds were very clearly missing Kipp tonight. Proud of the last two athletes for pulling it together after the falls! That takes some guts! SEMO vault started a bit slow, but the rest of the athletes put up solid totals. Nothing huge, but the Redhawks didn’t let the gap between teams widen much more in rotation two. Luckily, SEMO is going to one of its better events. The team will need to be pushing toward the 49s to get back into this one before beam.

Rotation 3: Illinois State BB, SEMO FX

There will be four freshmen in this beam lineup. Only one upperclassmen. I’m curious to see how this goes. Davis (ISU): BHS LOSO. Crooked, huge leg up with a fall. Welp. The pressure is on. Front toss to split jump. Didn’t look extended but the angle is weird. Another check on the beat to split 3/4. Cartwheel. The beam cap came off… back 1.5 to her butt. Unfortunately that’s the score the team will look to drop.

Ingle (SEMO): Back 2.5 to front tuck. Makes it look crazy easy. Switch half, popa, split full. Back leg a bit low on the third jump. Double pike is pulled just around. Has to lunge forward to save. Good make to start. 9.675

Leah Davis is standing like she might go again? Am I making this up? Readjusting all the mats, redoing velcro. Beam cap is back in business. Jkjk Bob has the beam cap in hand… and Davis is doing a new dismount?

Cartwheel 1.5 with a small step forward. Way better. ISU will take one less fall deduction. 8.975

Reader (SEMO): Double pike, chest nice and up. The attitude in the dance. The performance! Front full, front lay. If I’m picky, a slight pike on the full. Switch side, popa. A little awkward on rotation. Used her arms to pull it right around. Double tuck is a smidge short, so lunged forward. Looked like she kicked out a little early. 9.625

Flutman (ISU): Solid BHS LOSO. Lovely switch side. Side aerial. Moving on. Beat to straddle 3/4. Off. Oof. Counting a fall here too. Gainer pike. Stuck. So good other than that one jump. That’s upsetting. Looked like more of a mental error than anything, a little rushed. 8.800

Webb (SEMO): Obsessed with her performance quality. Back 2.5. Yes ma’am. S-E-M-O. Rudi to 180 split jump. Switch ring to split full. A little slow on connection but good and around. A head circle to prep for the last pass. RO 1.5 to front layout. Another good landing. Great routine for her! 9.650. Haters.

Ziegenfelder (ISU): Caught the LOSO. Good legs and sharp. Liukin is right on. YES. Held the scale to let us know she’s doing the dang thing. So hard. Beat, split 3/4. Back leg is low. Gainer full is stuck. Good for her! If it’s not a career high, I don’t want it. 9.850 checks out.

Moffitt (SEMO): Double tuck. Landed a little staggered. Stiff looking on the switch half to popa. Front full, front lay. Some leg form. Another good set of choreography for the Redhawks. Double pike. Just managed to pull it around. A step forward. 9.625

Laster (ISU): Love this beam song. Split, split 3/4. Front toss, a touch off but managed with a lean. BHS LOSO. Closed her hip and had to take a check. So calm, so confident. Take a breath. RO to stuck 1.5 dismount. Lovely amplitude on that. OKAY all arounder! 9.750

Jones (SEMO): Front tuck to double tuck. Chest up. Okay, so I’ll say it again…PERFORMANCE QUALITY. Double pike is very short. Also grabs her lower leg, so I’m thinking possible Achilles. Same leg as her past ACL injury. 7.875

Bart-Williams (ISU): BHS LOSO LOSO. Sharp. Beat to split 3/4. Small lean back. Cartwheel gainer full with a hop back. 9.850

Greene (SEMO): Front lay, Rudi. Chest perfectly straight up. Easy as pie? She makes it look like it. Double tuck. A bit back on her heels, managed the lunged just fine. Tour jete, split full. Arms a bit too high so threw her balance off. Way to stay in the game after Jones’ injury. 9.750

Labat (ISU): Front aerial. Snapped the right arm right around. BHS LOSO. A VETERAN. Casual up there. Switch leap, switch half, beat. I would say none of that was connected. BHS back 1.5 is stuck. The “welp that happened” salute just SENT me. 9.800…I would’ve thought loss of leap connection requirement?

Desch (SEMO ex): Double tuck, a bit overcooked. Back 1.5 to front tuck. Mistimed the punch but survived it. Double tuck. Chest a bit down.

Wabi (ISU ex): Beat jump. Switch leap, split 3/4. Hanging on for dear life. Arm waving and a lean. Cartwheel. I’m assuming to meet the side skill requirement. Gainer full with a cross step back. I guess we missed the series.

Maxwell (SEMO ex): Double tuck with a solid three steps out of it. Switch side, popa, popa. Nice and dynamic. Bent her legs into her Rudi. Landed quite short. Back 1.5 front layout. A little overdone.

AFTER THREE: Illinois State 145.475, SEMO 144.350

Once again, the end of Illinois State’s lineup came to the rescue! Mad props to freshman Joy Ziegenfelder for absolutely slaughtering the beam to get things back on track! Floor scoring was tight, especially for Lydia Webb (in my opinion). Props to Madison Greene for scoring the highest on the team, bouncing back from Jordan Jones’ unfortunate injury. Losing Jones is going to hurt a bit in the long run, but I’m hoping and praying it’s not as serious as it looked.

Rotation 4: SEMO BB, Illinois State FX 

Maxwell (SEMO): BHS LOSO with a lean correction. Looking a bit tentative. Cat leap, switch side 1/4, split 1/4. Position a bit off on those. RO 1.5. Good start for the Redhawks. 9.450

Wabi (ISU): Front double full. Good form, but definitely a wild lunge forward. Switch leap, split full, wolf full. An actually good wolf shape. Thank goodness. Rudi LOSO. Beautiful. 9.725

Speller (SEMO): I this is her first time in the lineup this season! Don’t quote me. I know she’s done a couple exhibition routines in 2023.

Laster (ISU): Front double full. Good control there. Switch leap. Split full, wolf full. Apparently flexibility is not her strong suit according to the announcer. Her back leg was a touch low but not the worst. Rudi LOSO. Good again. 9.800

Now we’re back to Speller. Front aerial BHS. Right on. Smooth connection. Switch leap, switch half. Broke the connection there. I was hoping for a beat jump thrown in for the leap requirement. A Liukin. Yes ma’am. Loving the smile. Punch front full is stuck. So the leap is the largest deduction. Wondering what the start value will look like. 9.675

Donovan (ISU): Double tuck. Nice and high. VERY stiff on the switch side. Front lay, Rudi. Not quite around with a couple stumbling steps back. Wolf 1.5 to get that extra D. She looks pissed. 9.475

Moffitt (SEMO): BHS LOSO. Didn’t get the back foot down and took the fall. Cat leap, switch side 1/4, beat jump. Sharp connection there. Good foot placement. RO back 1.5 with a step to the side. That camera change just made me dizzy. 9.200

Labat (ISU): Front double full. On her heels a little. Good amplitude and flexibility on the leaps. The way she casually hits her dance kills me. Back 1.5 front layout. Nice. Jazmine Neely in the corner with the gunshots. Rudi to finish. 9.825

Ingle (SEMO): BHS BHS LOSO. A smile. A little lean. Switch leap, straddle 1/4. Perfect straddle position. RO back double full. A smidgen under-twisted in my opinion. I don’t think enough to lose credit. Just a hop. 9.725

Bart-Williams (ISU): Rudi LOSO. Another great one. That’s Illinois State’s pass!. A little under position on both splits on the jump. Cat full, dance dance into the corner. Double tuck. Pulled it around. A little squatty, but fine.9.850

Webb (SEMO): Switch leap, split 1/4. Strong. Cat leap, Front aerial, BHS swing down. A little slow but arms were moving. I’d give it to her. BHS gainer full is stuck. 9.875!!!

Mack (ISU): I’m preparing to be amazed. As should you. Piked full twisting double back. Ginormous. Good control this week too. Switch side, popa. Amplitude out the wazoo. Tuck full to back roll. Imma Imma a diva. Front through to double pike. Upgraded and great. My jaw hit the floor in all honesty. Great routine. 9.925

Reader (SEMO): Front toss from the knee to BHS. Hitch kick to switch side 1/4. Front toss to beat. Solid. So far, so good. Gainer pike. Really high. I like it. A small hop back. 9.800

Decroo (ISU ex): Ball so hard. Front full, front layout. Pulls the head forward on the layout. Switch side popa. Dynamic and good positions there. Double pike. Back on her heels with several steps back. Unsure if she was in bounds. Switch side half. Nice. Unique. I like it.

Chodon (SEMO ex): Switch leap, split 1/4. Front aerial to back tuck. Slow. Looked a little nervy. Idk if the judges will give it to her. Cat leap, front toss. Leaned to the right and hopped off. RO back 1.5. Legs crossed and under-rotated. A step back.

Hestermann (ISU ex): Her first routine as a Redbird! Front lay, front full. Good extended hips there. Wolf 1.5, close to around, but not. Switch side, wolf full. Not a full wolf position. Bottom leg lagged. Double tuck was quite nice. Good for her! A big smile and a group hug to commemorate the moment. It’s the genuine joy for me!

Final: Illinois State 194.600, SEMO 192.875

So that wasn’t the ideal performance that either team was looking for, but can we talk about the fight and heart of these teams tonight! After counting falls on both bars and beam, ISU brought it home with a huge 49.125 on floor, led by Jaye Mack’s nearly perfect performance. SEMO also finished strong on beam, led by one of Lydia Webb’s best routines.

I’m just thinking about how high this team total would’ve been if ISU didn’t count two falls… Also I cannot stop thinking about the Josie Angeny-esque beam cap incident. Angelica Labat was next level in the AA competition tonight, but don’t let that overshadow Alana Laster’s strong 39.175 as well. She stepped up for her team tonight, big time.

AA Winner: Angelica Labat (ISU), 39.225

VT Winner: Alana Laster (ISU), 9.925

UB Winner: Angelica Labat (ISU), 9.750

BB Winner: Lydia Webb (SEMO), 9.875

FX Winner: Jaye Mack (ISU), 9.925

READ THIS NEXT: Is Bars Historically the EAGL’s Best Event?

Live Blog by Tavia Smith

Like what you see? Consider donating to support our efforts throughout the year!

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.