Jessica Hutchinson does on-the-floor choreography during her floor routine

LIVE BLOG: Super 16 Session One with No. 10 Denver, No. 21 Washington, No. 26 Illinois, and San Jose State

Welcome to the 2024 season! We’re starting off hot here with a great meet on a likely extremely sketchy stream. Can’t wait.

There’s a lot to love in this meet. First, don’t discount San Jose State: The Spartans finished No. 37 last year and add a great freshman class. Plus, Jada Mazury’s COVID year gives them a boost as well. Illinois has looked great all preseason, especially on vault. This hereditary weakness may finally become a strength, with a handful of possible 10.0 SV vaults on display through the fall. Washington’s freshman class is potentially game changing, but it’s unclear how many new routines will be ready to go. Denver shouldn’t be a shock, with the bulk of its routines coming from a juggernaut freshman class, but freshman and former five-star recruit Madison Ulrich is can’t-miss.

It’s D-D Breaux and Jess Graba on commentary.

Rotation 1: Washington VT Denver UB Illinois BB SJSU FX

Innes (UW): FTY, smidge of pike down but a stick to start! A real stick, too. 9.875

Townes (UIUC): Switch straddle quarter, a bit shy of both splits. Cat leap side aerial, comes in a little low with a check. BHS LOSO, soft knees, full turn with a hip swivel, one and a half twist with soft knees and a hop forward. D-D thinks it was actually tucked, I don’t know if I buy that. Judge Rhiannon says she shouldn’t be credited the leap series. 9.7 is a bit generous.

Rorich (DU): Hips just slightly closed on the first handstand, Jaeger comes in a little close and a heavy catch, seriously missed handstand. Bail is archy, another missed handstand, DLO a touch shapey but stuck. 9.825

Forrand (SJSU): Rudi LOSO is good! Body line wasn’t perfect but it was fine. Switch side split… full? Badly short position. “It was an attempt at a split full” says Jess. Double pike, didn’t really open up, overrotates with a big step back and out. 9.625

Navarro (UW): FTY, higher with a bit of pike down and a tiny hop. 9.825

Ulrich (DU): Saw just the DLO, nice shape with a hop-step forward. 9.85

Knight (UIUC): Switch split beat, nice flow. Side aerial BHS with a knee flicker in the BHS, looks a bit off line to me but holds it with her arms. Tiny adjustment on the illusion turn. Gainer full off the side with a small hop. Solid.

Hebinck (DU): Missed a handstand on HB.Ricna, little bit of feet, to Pak with leg separation. DLO close to the bar with a big hop back. 9.85

Ewald (UIUC): One-armed BHS to BHS, good. Switch to LOSO, short and falls. Split to standing switch to straddle quarter is okay, positions not emphatic but maybe close enough. Step-in Rudi stuck. 9.025. Little confused about whether there was… an acro series… but it’s a drop either way.

Lin (UW): FTY clean in the air, big hop back and drops her chest. Oopsie, got too excited.

Nelson (SJSU): Heard there was a double pike, didn’t see it. Switch to switch ring half is ROUGH in position. One and a half front full is clean with a cross step. 9.775

Hutchinson (DU): Maloney to Pak maybe a little low, shy on a high bar handstand, good DLO. 9.925

Nataraj (UW): BHS LOSO clean and punchy. Switch straddle quarter good. Solid bat to front aerial, one and a half twist with a hop.

Lopes (SJSU): Full in, overpowered with a big slide back, not sure whether she stayed in. Switch side split full high and clean, front through double tuck short and a big step forward. 9.425

Killough-Wilhelm (UW): High, straight, little hop back. 9.85

Takekawa (UIUC): Side aerial BHS, extra step. Good full turn. Switch to LOSO is so airy. BHS gainer full, maybe a bit of shuffle but a good routine. 8.9… what? 9.9. Thank you.

Iwai in ex for Denver. Maloney to Pak. Soft knees in the backswing. DLO looks close to the bar, maybe caught a toe? but stuck. 9.825

After 1: Denver 49.350, Washington 49.025, Illinois 48.875, SJSU 48.625

We’ve got a 8.9 on beam for Takekawa that definitely isn’t correct. Okay, there’s the correction. Only took ten minutes.

Denver as expected came out strong on an event that’s easy for them. Washington was fine on an even that definitely is not easy. Illinois had a very January beam rotation and survived it, and any jitters in the relatively strong SJSU floor lineup we can chalk up to podium boing.

Rotation 2: SJSU VT Washington UB Denver BB Illinois FX

Valuch (SJSU): Nice FTY, medium hop back.

Takekawa (UIUC): Front double full, quick step out. Rudi to split jump, stuck. Nice. Switch half to split… I think… slightly unclear on the rotation. Going over to beam.

Iwai (DU): Missed the leaps. BHS LOSO LOSO, a little low throughout and has to yank her chest up at the end but no check. Little adjustment on the full turn. Gainer full off the side with a quick hop.

Oppegard (UW): Blind to Jaeger, nice turnover. Missed a handstand. Nice and square on the bail. Another shy handstand, DLO with a bit of form but stuck. 9.85

Ewald (UIUC): Front double full, MESSY but controls the landing. Rudi LOSO, slightly awkward foot adjustment. Switch side Popa straddle, super precise rotation.

Mabanta (DU): Wolf turn, BHS LOSO clean. Good switch half. Nice so far. Switch split is solid, stuck gainer pike. Good one. 9.925

Pitts (SJSU): FHS front tuck half, nice!

Russon (UW): Blind to Jaeger, something gets really weird on the catch and she mistimes the release to her overshoot and lands on her hips on the low bar. Points for commitment I guess.

MacPherson (SJSU): FTY, a little close a little low in the chest but essentially stuck.

FitzGibbon (UIUC): Front lay to Rudi, little rebound-hop back. Switch shy split full, maybe a bit shy on the split positions. Nice and steady double pike. 9.8

Casali (DU): BHS LOSO LOSO, form throughout. Switch switch badly short of positions with a check. No 180s there, commentators are worried she won’t make the requirement. Gainer full off the side stuck. 9.825 is a JOKE.

Weyhmiller (SJSU): Solid FTY, medium hop back. Her run technique is weird, very high shoulders.

Ward (UIUC): Front lay front full front pike is great. Switch half wolf 3/2, great rotation. This is awesome. Double tuck, short with a step forward. Fun, super dynamic! 9.675

Ulrich (DU): BHS LOSO good, split is short to switch side good. Front aerial to beat nice.

Lin (UW): Clear hip to Geinger, tiny leg sep, to overshoot. FTDB stuck with a low chest, felt like it got stuck in the air. 9.775

Kirsch (SJSU): Tucked one and a half, one shoulder lagging but stuck!

Sounds like Killough-Wilhelm fell on bars for Washington. Off screen.

Thompson (DU): Side aerial BHS, missed a foot, big check but hung on. Switch switch is okay. Good full turn. One and a half, hop forward.

Byrne (UIUC): Two and a half front pike is GREAT. Nice clean leap series, floor leaps have been solid for Illinois. Great control on the double pike too, chest a bit low but I choose not to care. Music is Take On Me. Loved it, super fun. 9.675

Hutchinson (DU): Kickover front to back series a little tentative, switch to split clean in the air. Kickover front again? Gainer full stuck-ish.

Tubbs (UW): Maloney to bail nice and precise. Short on a handstand, DLO stuck.

Townes (UIUC): One and a half front full is great. Billie Jean! Some fun music choices in this routine. Wolf 3/2 comes in pretty short. Tour jete half Popa is good. We presumably didn’t see the other pass.

Mueller in ex for Illinois. DLO comes in deep, oof ankles. Mary McDonough missed her Jaeger on bars which I didn’t even see her warm up. Coming back from an autumn injury.

After 2: Denver 98.500, Illinois 97.675, SJSU 97.550, Washington 97.175

Counting a fall on bars there has likely taken Washington out of this. SJSU, meanwhile, showed out on vault and is only a step behind Illinois.

Lot of questions about Illinois vault in this upcoming rotation. For example, “how many 10.0 vaults do you have,” “are they any good,” and “how are your legs feeling about that.”

Rotation 3: Illinois VT SJSU UB Washington BB Denver FX

Lopes (SJSU): Drastically cast over on the high bar, like a 90 degree back angle, and saved it! Flung out her dismount. Not her best day. 9.325

Byrne (UIUC): Little low and little leg sep on her FTY, twisting on. Pace back. 9.775

Rorich (DU): Front through double tuck, very flexed feet, good landing. Pretty clean on the switch side Popa Popa. Maybe a little shuffle on the double pike. 9.8

Hallinan (UW): Kickover front back tuck, about as connected as that combination ever gets. Flexed feet obviously. Switch split nice! Full turn, a little shaky. Front aerial with soft knees. One and a half stuck. Really solid freshman debut. Looks thrilled. 9.875

Mueller (UIUC): Pretty good amplitude on her FTY, piked down but didn’t need to. Hop straight back. 9.775

Innes (UW): Full turn steady, front aerial BHS slow with soft knees but great landing control. She’s holding the landing positions before presenting which I love. Cat leap side aerial, maybe slightly off line with a foot turn. Switch straddle quarter. One and a half, stuck with a lean. 9.775

Casali (DU): Rudi to layout is great, really scruffy turning leap combination. One and a half front tuck, somehow covers like three horizontal yards, hop forward right into the corner, leans…. and steps out. 9.625

Konieczny (SJSU): Good Jaeger, shy on a handstand, nice bail. Great body line. DLO with flexed feet, a step forward. 9.775

Russon (UW): Front aerial BHS BHS, smooth with bits of feet. Switch to… terrible ring leap. That front leg maybe hit 45. Nice one and a half dismount. 9.8

Coppola (UIUC): Wasn’t sure she would vault, they shuffled the lineup a bit. Nice amplitude, pike down with a hop. 9.775

Moody (UW): BHS LOSO good. Solid full turn. Side aerial, check, split to beat with foot form. One and a half, little step. 9.6

Ulrich (DU): Open double tuck, big rebound back. Some imprecision in both leap position and shape. Nice combo pass. Double pike, another big bounce back but stayed in bounds. 9.8

MacPherson (SJSU): Hit her foot on her Tkachev and kept it moving. Good bail, making handstands, blind full full out WOW with a step. 9.5

Navarro (UW): BHS LOSO LOSO one foot totally off the beam and just rolls off. Beat to switch side OK. Full turn, one and a half twist stuck-ish.

Ward (UIUC): One and a half, floats, one shoulder lagging with a pace back. Nice though! 9.775

Mabanta (DU): Joining partway, first vaguely decent ring position of the day. 9.825

Weyhmiller (SJSU): Nice Jaeger, badly missed a handstand, solid Pak. DLO planted. 9.85!

Killough-Wilhelm (UW): Missed her bars, now following a beam fall. Made the front to back series, tidy switch split, side aerial with a little form to one and a half, hop. Nice. 9.85

Hutchinson (DU): Joining partway again. Rudi to straddle is good. 9.85

After 3: Denver 147.6, Illinois 146.55, SJSU 146.300, Washington 146.075

Bars is a good steady event for Illinois to close out its second place here.

Rotation 4: Denver VT Illinois UB SJSU BB Washington FX

Brusch (DU): FTY, flare! Looked a little low to be flaring it so the dynamics were a little weird but points for trying. Small hop. 9.8

Ward (UIUC): Blind to Jaeger, flexed feet, OK to the overshoot. Nailed her last high bar handstand, FTDB close to the bar with feet but dead stuck.

Ashton (SJSU): BHS LOSO bit of form. Switch switch half quite a bit short of splits.

Innes (UW): Joining partway for one and a half front lay nice and clean. Rudi, well controlled.

Mabanta (DU): Beautiful straight body on the FTY, another little hop. 9.8

Lopes (SJSU): A little awkward on her switch side, not terrible. BHS LOSO slightly soft through the legs but cleanly landed. Walked out of her full turn. Tucked one and a half dismount, little hop.

Lin (UW): Finishing her routine with a one and a half front lay.

Ulrich (DU): Front pike half, landed forward on her toes but hung onto it.

Denning (UIUC): Toe on to Maloney to bail, little leg separations, good line. DLO piked down a bit with a baby hop.

Pires (UW): First routine as a Husky for the transfer. Nice one and a half front lay, switch side half. Rudi to finish.

Knight (UIUC): Toe to Maloney to bail, lost form a bit on that catch, slightly arched a HB handstand, DLO nice and high with a baby hop.

Casali (DU): One and a half, big pace forward.

Nelson (SJSU): Front aerial front aerial, leg form but impressive to connect that. Switch to split, really good positions. Double full dismount, pace back.

Navarro (UW): One and a half front lay, little form good landing. Missed the last pass.

Had tech issues for a second there and didn’t get details but a really solid Ewald bars routine for Illinois.

Takekawa (UIUC): Nice turnover on the Jaeger, arched her bail and had to drop down and switch kip. DLO hollow with a hop back.

This has run so late that my next meet is starting I’m SCARED. Gonna hit highlights: Looks like a solid one for Skylar Killough WIlhelm.

FINAL: Denver 196.850, Illinois 195.725, Washington 195.100, SJSU 194.950

VT: Ulrich, Hutchinson 9.900
UB: Hutchinson 9.925
BB: Mabanta 9.925
FX: Hutchinson 9.85
AA: Hutchinson 39.525

READ THIS NEXT: San Jose State’s Rise No Surprise to Joanne Bowers

Live blog by Rebecca Scally

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