LIVE BLOG: Denver Regional Final

It’s been a big weekend of gymnastics, and it’s all been leading up to tonight’s session! The results of tonight’s session will determine who gets to compete at the national championships. It’ll be a tight competition and everyone will have to put up its best routines! 

If any team is almost guaranteed to advance, it’s Michigan. Michigan has a higher ceiling than any other team here. Even if the Wolverines have an average meet, they’re pretty likely to advance. They just can’t be counting any falls. 

LSU is another team that has a good shot at advancing to nationals. The Tigers have the potential to put up a massive team score, but they know that they can’t look forward to nationals too early. LSU failed to advance to nationals last year, so the Tigers need to focus this year to make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen again.

Oregon State and Denver will have to have an above-average meet in order to advance. The stars like Jade Carey and Jessica Hutchinson can only take their teams so far, so the rest of those teams will also have to be at their best in order to challenge Michigan and LSU.

Rotation 1: LSU VT, Michigan UB, Oregon State BB, Denver FX

Ruiz (DU): Front tuck thorugh to double tuck and she lands right on her stomach. Ouch. Switch side Popa Popa. Just finishes with a layout. She must be hurt. That was not the start Denver wanted.

Wilson (Mich): Great first handstand. Blind into a piked Jaeger and she falls. Gets back up and does a nice shootover. Nails her last handstand and sticks her double layout.

Brock (LSU): Yurchenko 1.5 and she stuck it! Nice form in the air too

Koulos (Mich): Nice blind into a Jaeger. Pretty shootover. Hits the last handstand, sticks the double layout! Nice routine after a fall!

Letzsch (OSU): Front aerial to back tuck, very nice. Split jump to ring jump. Slight wobble on her full turn. Front gainer full and she sticks it!

Iwai (DU): Back 1.5 to front layout for her first pass. Nice switch full. Really nice double tuck, great control on the landing. Switch half to Popa, and that was what Denver needed!

Johnson (LSU): Beautiful Yurchenko full, just a small step.

Gonzales (OSU): Front aerial to back tuck, very nice and confident. Side aerial. Cat leap to switch half, big leg up wobble but she stays on. Front gainer full dismount to another stick!

Thompson (DU): Starts with a nice triple twist! Switch side to Popa. Solid Rudi to finish up.

Wojcik (Mich): Sky high Deltchev as usual to a nice shootover. She’s hitting all her handstands. Maybe a small shuffle on the double layout, but that was an amazing routine!

Dagen (OSU): Nice flic lay. Beat jump to switch side, small wobble there. Switch leap to pike jump. Nice landing on the roundoff 1.5.

B. Mabanta (DU): Nice back 1.5 to front layout, the 1.5 was super high. Switch side ring to split jump. Awesome Rudi for her last pass.

Carey (OSU): Front aerial to straddle jump. Nice flic lay. Switch leap to switch side. Sticks her side gainer full dismount! That was a very solid routine.

Hutchinson (DU): Beautiful front double twist as usual, nice controlled lunge this time. Back 1.5 to front layout, both flips were very high. Switch half to split full. Rudi to straddle jump to finish. All of her passes were very controlled today. 9.9 is super low for that routine.

Brown (DU): Really nice double layout to start out. Switch ring to switch half to Shushunova. Back 1.5 step out to another back 1.5 to front tuck, she stepped back into her lunge. The crowd here is erupting for her last routine in Magness!

After 1: Michigan 49.650, Denver 49.425, Oregon State 49.400, LSU 49.375

Solid start for everyone. Denver and Michigan both had falls at the beginning of their lineups, but they were both able to follow up with some great routines. Oregon State looked rock solid on beam and LSU showed off some great amplitude on vault. The floor judging looks a little tighter tonight, so look out for that. As expected, the battle for second place is already within less than a tenth.

Rotation 2: Denver VT, LSU UB, Michigan BB, Oregon State FX

B. Mabanta (DU): Yurchenko full, flairs it out and takes a small hop

Bauman (Mich): Nice flic lay. Cat leap to switch half to beat jump. Straight leg side Sumi and she falls. Pike gainer and she sticks.

Hutchinson (DU): Yurchenko 2.5 with a tiny step forward.

Cowan (LSU): Nice first handstand. Really big Ray to a shootover connected. Almost casts over but saves it. Takes a step back on the double layout.

Brown (DU): Yurchenko 1.5, bent legs but she stuck it!

Young (OSU): Solid double pike to start. Nice double tuck, great control. Switch leap to switch ring full. Nice front layout front full! Another good routine!

Finnegan (LSU): Mounts over the low bar and hits her first handstand. Nice piked Deltchev. Beautiful shootover. Hits the last handstand and takes a pretty big step forward on the Arabian dismount.

Ruiz (DU): Yurchenko full, piked down a little bit but landed well! Great to see after her floor routine.

Letzsch (OSU): Back 1.5 to front full. Switch half ring to sissone. Super high double tuck, they are killing floor.

Koulos (Mich): Nice flic lay. Beautiful straddle three quarter. Cat leap to front aerial. Nails the roundoff 1.5!

Iwai (DU): Another solid Yurchenko full, not a perfect landing but pretty good.

Bryant (LSU): Awesome first handstand. Nice blind into a Jaeger. Good shootover. Nails and holds the last handstand. Sticks the double front half!

Heiskell (Mich): Cat leap to a side aerial. Switch leap switch leap. Flic lay, takes a step back but doesn’t fall. Nice landing on the roundoff 1.5

Dagen (OSU): Front layout to Rudi, good control. Switch half to Popa. Double pike, shuffles back on that landing but not too bad.

Wojcik (Mich): Front aerial to beat jump. Switch leap to split jump, tiny wobble on the leap but covers it. Nice flic flic lay. Roundoff 1.5, nice landing there.

Carey (OSU): Nice double double, her foot may have slid while in her lunge but it was really good. Really nice switch half to Popa. Front layout through to a double pike, that pass had nice control at the end. 9.900 for that routine, I’m officially calling this tight scoring on floor, which is fine by me!

After 2: Michigan 98.975, LSU 98.900, Oregon State 98.750, Denver 98.700

Michigan fought back after another fall, this time on beam from Carly Bauman. The Wolverines will have to count a 9.750 which isn’t what they’re used to, but they avoided disaster. LSU, Denver and Oregon State also had good rotations. This is the second rotation in a row that the team that just vaulted is in last place, so it appears that vault judging may also be a little tight.

Rotation 3: Oregon State VT, Denver UB, LSU BB, Michigan FX

Garcia (OSU): Beautiful Yurchenko full! Flaired out and stuck!

Arenas (LSU): Switch leap to split jump. Nice flic lay. Good front toss. Switch half. This is a pretty solid routine so far. Takes a step back on the roundoff 1.5.

Casali (DU): Very pretty Maloney to shootover combination. Beautiful double layout with a great landing!

Letzsch (OSU): Yurchenko full, twisted early on the table and takes a small hop.

Shchennikova (LSU): Starts with a nice candlestick mount. Front aerial flic flic series. Switch leap to split jump. Nice side aerial. Back handspring to side gainer full, her chest was a little low but she stuck it.

Rorich (DU): Great first handstand. Blind into a Jaeger, may have caught a little close. Nice shootover. Tiny shuffle back on the double layout.

Dagen (OSU): Yurchenko 1.5, some bent legs and a shuffle forward.

Wojcik (Mich): Tour jete full. Back 1.5 to front layout was nice. Tour jete half to Popa, steps sideways on the landing. Double pike to finish, steps forward into her lunge.

Hutchinson (DU): Maloney to Pak, some foot separation. Hits the last handstand. Sticks the double layout!

Ballard (LSU): Flic lay was solid. Switch leap switch half. Nice front toss. Takes a step forward on the roundoff 1.5

Cooley (DU): Nice Ray, good shootover. Hitting these handstands really nicely. Shuffle back on the double layout. If I’m remembering right this is her beam debut and it was great!

Bryant (LSU): Front aerial to back handspring. Switch leap switch side. Standing front tuck was very nice. Sticks the Rudi dismount!

Brooks (Mich): Nice full in to start. Tour jete half to split full. Front tuck through to a nice double tuck. Solid routine, I don’t think it’ll be another 10 based on tonight’s judging, but it sure was nice!

Finnegan (LSU): Alright, she’s following a 9.95 from Bryant. Half candlestick mount. Nails the flic lay lay after falling on Friday! Switch leap split jump. Solid front aerial. Shuffles back on the side gainer full. Nice routine!

Guggino (Mich): Nice double pike. Very floaty front layout front full, just goes into a pretty big lunge. Switch side Popa. Nice Rudi, just another big lunge again.

After 3: Michigan and LSU 148.325, Denver 148.250, Oregon State 148.150

This was a good rotation for everyone! No falls anywhere! Oregon State hit some great vaults, Denver got its groove back on bars, LSU had some great beam routines including a nice comeback from Finnegan, and Michigan had nice floor routines. It’s CLOSE going into the last rotation. Denver is just behind second place by less than a tenth, and Michigan and LSU are tied for first place. Whatever you do, don’t go away now!

Rotation 4: Michigan VT, Oregon State UB, Denver BB, LSU FX

Beeman (OSU): Nice first handstand. Blind into a Jaeger. Nice Pak, some foot separation. Stalder into a double tuck and she sticks it!

Ballard (LSU): Solid double layout to start out. Back 1.5 to front layout, nice control. Switch leap to switch side ring.

Wilson (Mich): Yurchenko 1.5 with a step forward.

Miller (OSU): Maloney to a Pak, lots of leg separation. Hops back on the double layout.

B. Mabanta (DU): Nice wolf turns. Beautiful flic lay. Split leap to switch half, tiny wobble there. Switch leap split jump. Sticks the gainer pike!

Morrison (Mich): Yurchenko 1.5 with a step forward.

Brooks (Mich): Another nice Yurchenko 1.5, just a shuffle forward.

Heiskell (Mich): Yurchenko 1.5 with a pretty big hop forward

Iwai (DU): Switch leap to switch half. Nice flic lay. Split jump, nice flexibility. Cartwheel to a side gainer full and she stuck it!

Brock (LSU): Nice double pike. Great double tuck, really nice control. I think I may have missed the leap pass, darn it! Back 1.5 to front full, that was a great routine.

Morgan (Mich): Stuck the Yurchenko full! That was really nice.

Schlottman (DU): Flic lay, shoulder drops but she saves it. Switch leap to straddle three quarter. Side aerial, very solid. Back handspring to a stuck side gainer full!

Arenas (LSU): Very nice front double twist, great form and control. Switch half to wolf full. Sticks the front layout front full! The team is freaking out!

Didn’t get enough of a view to play by play Carey’s bars, but she hit her handstands and took a tiny shuffle on her dismount. Really nice routine!

Thompson (DU): Beautiful side aerial to back handspring, no wobbles at all. Switch leap switch leap was also solid. Tiny wobble on the full turn. Sticks the side aerial to back 1.5 dismount!

Finnegan (LSU): Double Arabian and a stag jump, maybe takes the jump out a little far. 2.5 to front tuck, stumbles on the front tuck. Switch ring to switch full.

Hutchinson (DU): Front toss to back handspring, very solid as usual. Switch leap to split jump. Awesome piked front toss. Kicks out of the full turn, very nice. Sticks the cartwheel side gainer full!

Bryant (LSU): NAILS the double front! Sticks it cold. Front layout to a solid Rudi. I believe that’s her last pass so she’s all done except for leaps. Switch ring to switch side.

Oh my goodness, Denver beat Michigan by the slimmest possible margin! Now it’s down to LSU and Michigan for the second spot! It’s a 9.95 for Bryant!

Final: Denver 197.875, Michigan and LSU 197.750, Oregon State 197.650

Wow! To say this one came down to the wire is an understatement. Denver pulled a massive upset after going 49.625 on beam, including a 9.975 from Bella Mabanta. LSU and Michigan tied after Michigan got some lower floor scores than it’s used to, but LSU ultimately wins the tie break and is heading to Fort Worth! A national championship without Michigan will be strange, but Denver and LSU have earned their spots!

READ THIS NEXT: 2023 Denver Regional Preview

Live blog by Emily Lockard

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