LIVE BLOG: No. 39 Central Michigan at No. 40 Kent State

Kent State’s home meet this afternoon may be one of the closest of the weekend, with them being only 0.045 behind the visiting Central Michigan in NQS. Each of the two teams lead the MAC on their standout event – the Golden Flashes perennially strong on floor, and the Chippewas comfortably ahead of the conference on bars for almost two months. Both teams have begun their end-of-season upswing on vault, likely leaving the team title to whoever can count five stronger routines on beam. Neither team has hit the 49.000 mark on the event this season, but have shown the depth to do it today.

Senior Rachel Decavitch, the Golden Flashes’ sole all arounder this season, will go head to head with Central Michigan’s Hannah DeMers and Luciana Alvarado-Reid. All three are strong competitors who coincidentally highlight their team’s highest scoring events. The Chippewas will begin the meet on theirs at bars, while the Golden Flashes will end the meet on theirs at floor.

Looking beyond these team’s traditionally strong events, be ready for vaults from specialists. Central Michigan’s Elizabeth Cesarone stuck her Yurchenko full last weekend for a near-perfect 9.925, earning conference honors for the first time. Kyndall Gilbert has been Kent State’s image of consistency on vault, staying between 9.775 and 9.850 in all but one meet this year – she’ll look to bolster her team from the back end of the lineup.

What would Senior Night be without a home team statistic? Each of Kent State’s fourth year seniors has either tied or set a new career high this season, and will look to have their second last home meet go equally well.

Today’s Senior meet will be streamed for free through Boxcast.

Rotation One: Kent State VT, Central Michigan UB

Amodei (KSU): nearly stuck Y full, great block before starting to twist. small hop back. 9.700.

Hammond (CMU): keeping her legs glued throughout the routine interior, ultimately overpowers a handstand and goes over. gets back up to the high bar and pulls her FTDT, takes one step back. 9.325.

Tsipis (KSU): tiniest of hops back on her Y full. huge power out of only six steps! 9.750.

Kmeciak (CMU): longer than usual wait before she can start. big toe handstand and Maloney, and stays tight on her overshoot to handstand. DLO dismount is stuck but will take a low chest deduction. 9.750.

Weinpert (KSU): big Y full, small hop back. great work recovering from hitting the vault off center, and produces a carbon copy of the first two vaults. 9.825.

Veglucci (CMU): BIG Geinger to start, not handstand shy going into her Pak, or dismount. Gets big amplitude on her stuck FTDT. 9.825.

Rankin (KSU): fourth “big Y full, small hop” vault in a row for the Golden Flashes. slow mo is showing bent elbows on the table. 9.725.

Bustelo (CMU): free hop to Tkatchev on the high bar are textbook, but ultimately misses the overshoot. Stayed down after the fall, taking care of her shoulder. Did not finish the routine, and being assessed by her team’s trainers. 7.700.

Gilbert (KSU): highest of the Y fulls from today so far, and holds the flare. large hop back will be her only deduction. 9.850.

Alvarado-Reid (CMU): another long wait. stunning Maloney to Pak. a bit tentative on handstands, but rides it through to her near stuck FTDT smoothly. 9.800.

Decavitch (KSU): bookends the Golden Flashes’ parade of Y fulls by travelling even farther than Gilbert in the air! 9.800.

DeMers (CMU): toe handstand to a massive Tkatchev, then puts her bail right to handstand. half in half out tuck dismount, slides back. 9.850.

Wehry (KSU): exhibitions a Y half, hits the side of the table and then travels further to the side in her post flight.

Kotas (CMU): toe handstand to her release, very smooth bail and caps off her routine in exhibition with a toe on front half.

Migliore (KSU): maintains a small pike throughout her exhibition Y full, but gets the height to contend for lineup spots in future seasons.

AFTER ONE: Kent State: 48.950, Central Michigan: 48.550

A fluke bail from Adriana Bustelo set Central Michigan back on their stalwart event, ultimately forcing the Chippewas to count a 9.375. They’ll look to rally back on vault, equalling their performance from last weekend. Kent State produced six near carbon copy Yurchenko fulls in Craig Ballard’s Moneyball lineup, punctuated by Kyndall Gilbert’s 9.850.

Rotation Two: Central Michigan VT, Kent State UB

Skrupa (CMU): college sticks her Y full, showing flashes of last week for her team on vault. 9.750.

Amodei (KSU): giant full to Tkatchev, keeps her ankles glued on her shootover. a bit short on her final handstand, but takes it into her giant full and takes a small step back on her double tuck. 9.700.

Hornbacher (CMU): sticks her Y full! 9.825.

Rudnitskaya (KSU): mounts under the low bar up to the top, strong handstand work going into her blind change to Jaeger. Smooth Pak, then back up for her strong giants and stuck DLO. 9.800, tying her personal best from last weekend.

Alvarado-Reid (CMU): low chest on her Y full, hops forwards to hold the landing. 9.700.

Gilbert (KSU): handstand clinic! big Tkatchev, then puts her whole effort into hanging on for her shootover. reins in her power for a stuck blind full to double tuck. 9.725.

Cesarone (CMU): finds the stick again! lands on one of the directional lines, but we’ve yet to see how that plays into scoring. 9.850.

Haxton (KSU):  under the low and right up to handstand for her Tkatchev and shootover. If Gilbert put on ‘Handstands 101’ then Haxton taught ‘Handstands 102’ right there. small hop on her DLO. 9.850.

Kmeciak (CMU): stick city today for the Chips on vault. low chest, but a stick is a stick. 9.875.

Decavitch (KSU): starts with her toe handstand, Maloney, Pak series. Handstands 103, and cranks her giants into a well fought stuck DLO.  9.800.

DeMers (CMU): not shown on the initial feed, instead seeing Brice Biggin adjust the board at bars. big cheering made it in the video though! 9.850.

Franz (KSU): back in the lineup after multiple weeks out. begins with her free hip to Geinger and shootover connection, and then teaching ‘Handstands 104’ before her double layout. Small hop back. 9.825.

Bootz (CMU): exhibitioning her front tuck half, small hop back after having enough power to flare her arms while twisting.

Tsipis (KSU): exhibitioning today. loose on her first handstand, takes it to her blind half and Tkatchev, then down to a well timed Pak. Back up to the high bar for her blind full to stuck double tuck — waaaay above the bar, but looks close from the angle on the feed.

Wentland (KSU): exhibitioning. toe handstand to Maloney a bit loose but right into a Pak. better second handstand to a DLO, sits it from too much power.

AFTER TWO: Kent State: 97.950, Central Michigan: 97.700

Both teams looked at their numbers from rotation one, set out what to nail in rotation two, and did exactly that. Central Michigan stuck vault after vault, while Kent State put on what I unashamedly went from calling a clinic to now a series of college courses.

If the Chippewas can put up five big floor scores (which they’ve shown they can this season), they may be able to overtake Kent State. Watch for floor specialist Taylor Pitchell, alongside all-around favorite DeMers. A big beam rotation will be Kent Sate’s best defense, including a senior backend of their lineup with Rachel Decavitch and Cami Klein.

Rotation Three: Kent State BB, Central Michigan FX

Rankin (KSU): casually approaches her bhs loso, but tilts off to the left and comes off. switch to straddle 1/4 regains her momentum, but she takes a small check on her cat leap to side aerial. calms down again before sticking her roundoff double twist. 9.250.

Hornbacher (CMU): getting the floor party started with her layout to Rudi, and army of teammates dancing from the side. switch ring to switch half both get great extension, but with a low front leg. Solid double tuck to close it out. 9.800.

Haxton (KSU): Cartwheel mount and some fun choreo into her front toss. small check on her bhs loso, which only shows from this camera angle. split to split 3/4 gets HEIGHT, but comes with a check. punch front full off the end is stuck! There are directional lines on the beam dismount mat, we can’t unsee those. 9.850.

Alvarado-Reid (CMU): Rudi stag jump pass to open, and graceful leap into her wolf full. Having fun with her choreo as is the MAC way, then gets into her roundoff 1.5 punch lay to finish. 9.875.

Wehry (KSU): cat leap to switch side, and the Flashes’ symbol. gets into a good rythym for her bhs loso. front toss takes a check. another switch side on it’s own this time, and then regroups for her roundoff 1.5 — awkward knees on landing and takes a step to the side. 9.450.

Kolyvanova (CMU): roundoff 1.5 punch front goes right into the ground, and she walks off the floor. will not finish the routine, but walks fairly normally to the trainers table. 6.350.

Guns (KSU): beat jump to split 3/4 is missing some split, but lands smoothly. beat jump to front aerial connects fluidly, as does her bhs loso series. switch to split continues her momentum, right through to her stuck gainer full off the side. 9.775.

Veglucci (CMU): opens with a fhs double twist that rips around VERY fast. back into the corner for her solid double tuck, and is now afforded a few seconds to breathe. Switch side 1/2 to wolf jump, looks like it meant to twist. Finishes with a massive roundoff 2.5 to punch front, and the “I told you so” smile with her ending pose. That is how you rally. 9.825.

Decavitch (KSU): The photographer is loving her mount. Switch half hits the 180 mark easily, fueling her solid bhs loso and front toss. Closes with a stuck bhs full off the side, and a chorus of “10” from teamamtes. 9.825.

Demers (CMU): front double twist to open, then quickly into a near stuck double pike for her second pass. switch full to split full get loads of extension. final pass is a front layout to Rudi, with the Rudi going higher than the layout. Immediately rushed with the “10” chant. 9.925.

Klein (KSU): bhs loso opens the routine, and her switch to straddle 1/4 look straight out of the CoP illustrations. great side aerial, and a stuck full off the side to close out her sole routine on senior night. 9.850.

Pitchell (CMU): HUGE lift into her opening double pike, and gets almost as high on her switch side to Popa. almost no breathing time before her front layout to front full, but pulls them out easily. closes it out with a textbook double tuck, from a run that looks just as energetic as her opening pass. 9.950, tying her career high.

Pratola (KSU): falls on her bhs loso to open the exhibition. jumps and side aerial recover her groove, and she carries it to her stuck roundoff 1.5.

Cesarone (CMU): starts with a front full to layout for her exhibition, then has a quick turnaround before her double pike and has a low chest hop forward out of it. regroups for her double tuck, landing perfectly for her lunge back this time.

Schultz (KSU): second beam exhibition for the Golden Flashes. rock solid beat jump to straddle 3/4 to start! piked front toss lands a tad deep. splits the beam on her bhs loso, but is back on the beam right away. switch side to recover, and a stuck gainer front full off the end to close it out.

Hammond (CMU): roundoff double tuck to start her exhibition. Second pass is a Rudi to double stag, which gets lost in the air from how much height she can rebound with. Leaps set her back on track, and she nails her roundoff 1.5 to layout.

AFTER THREE: Central Michigan 147.100, Kent State 146.700

A standout floor rotation outscored a check-filled beam rotation, but the beauty of this meet’s plot for the home team is that they’ll head to their best event to make up ground while their rival will go to their worst.

Rotation Four: Central Michigan BB, Kent State FX

Skrupa (CMU): great height on her opening switch to split jump, then pauses before her bhs loso and takes a big check on it. recovers nicely for her front aerial to split jump, and takes her time with choreo before her nearly stuck bhs tuck 1.5. 9.675.

Amodei (KSU): front layout to Rudi, with a side order of game face. closes with a very open double tuck, lands a tad short but covers it with her lunge. 9.775.

Alvarado-Reid (CMU): bhs loso like it’s on the floor. beat jump to front aerial is just as calm, and so is her switch, switch half combo. carries it through to her stuck gainer pike off the end, and right into a team celebration for a likely season high.  9.925!

Weinpert (KSU): textbook double pike to start off, and then starts to play to the crowd. switch side to Popa go well above her hip height, and then the camera pans to Ballard who looks like he hasn’t blinked all routine before showing her front pass. Finishes with an overpowered double tuck that rebounds OOB. 9.675.

Kolyvanova (CMU): fluid sissone to switch half, and bhs loso. her whole routine looks like it’s on a laser beam, right to her nearly stuck punch front full. 9.875.

Wehry (KSU): floats her double pike so high she could walk under it, and keeps her power up for her switch side and Popa. Roundoff 1.5 punch layout is equally powerful but stays in bounds, then regroups quickly for a stuck double tuck. 9.825.

DeMers (CMU): switch to straddle 1/4 keeps her team’s momentum going, but unfortunately checks on her bhs loso. very fast cat leap to front aerial, and then “angry-choreography”ies her way to a stuck 1.5 dismount. 9.775.

Decavitch (KSU): double arabian to a smiley stag jump to open up, and then keeps the energy cranked up for her jumps. closes it out with a punch front through to double tuck, with a double fist pump from Ballard not far behind her. 9.900.

Veglucci (CMU): long pause before her bhs loso, then quickly into her cat leap to switch side. pauses again before her somi, and takes a check on it. closing it out, her double twist dismount STICKS COLD. 9.825.

Guns (KSU): punch layout to Rudi, and taking no questions. she takes her switch ring to switch half to shoulder height, and then again on her switch full to the corner. finishes her routine with a double pike, which holds its backwards lunge but definitely had excess momentum. 9.850.

Bustelo (CMU): fluid front aerial to start, and equal rythym on her bhs loso. switch to split 3/4 into the fire up symbol. finishes with a punch front full, which takes three steps back. big rally back from her after starting the meet with an incomplete bar routine. 9.650.

Franz (KSU): punch Rudi to a loso that hangs in the air, very welcome back in the lineup. switch half to wolf full look easy, as do her double tuck to signature finger guns. Ties her career high of 9.925.

Haxton (KSU): exhibitioning today. solid roundoff 1.5 to punch layout, just takes a hop from it. one wolf full after her leap, and another on its own not long after. finishes with a double back.

Kotas (CMU): exhibitions. bhs swing through to side aerial, timid but keeps moving. switch to split 3/4 is faster. closes with a gainer pike off the end, steps sideways.

FINAL: Central Michigan 196.175, Kent State 195.925

As expected between teams so close in the national standings, it came down to the last few routines. Kent State had a bouncier than normal floor rotation, while Central Michigan displayed tons of fluidity on beam to keep today’s meet tight. They’ll meet again alongside the remaining five other MAC teams in the same arena in one week’s time for conference championships.

VT Winner: Kmeciak, 9.875

UB Winner: Haxton, Demers, 9.850

BB Winner: Alvarado-Reid, 9.925

FX Winner: Pitchell, 9.950

AA Winner: Demers, 39.400

Live Blog by Peri Goodman

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