momoko iwai beam pose

LIVE BLOG: No. 7 Denver at No. 24 BYU

It’s a battle of two former MRGC foes, now reunited as conferencemates with BYU’s switch to the Big 12.

BYU started the season slow but seems to have found its groove in recent weeks, including posting a season-best 196.600 at Kentucky last weekend. Kylie Eaquinto has been a steady contributor for the Cougars thus far, while freshman Brynlee Anderson has settled into a consistent beam spot with her steady performances. The Cougars have had a road-heavy slate thus far, as this is only their second home meet. Will it be home sweet home for the Cougars?

Denver continued its strong season at West Virginia last week. The Pioneers have the luxury of increased depth this season and have taken the opportunity to rest athletes the past couple weeks in order to keep them fresh and figure out optimal lineups for postseason. Per the pre-meet release, that could be the case again tonight. A 49.600 on bars last week propelled the Pioneers to the No. 2 bars team in the nation. Freshman Madison Ulrich continues to shine alongside Denver’s established stars, including notching a 9.975 on bars last week.

Looks like Hutchinson is indeed resting tonight.

Rotation 1: BYU VT, DU UB

Jorgensen (BYU): shoot, thought this was still warmups. Replay, yfull on pike off with a hop. A solid leadoff.

Casali (DU): good opening hs; Maloney, and she just barely misses the bar…WOW, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her miss a bar routine. gets the Maloney to bail hs connection this time, textbook. DLO, step forward. Definitely not her best routine. Just got confirmation that’s her first bars fall in college…Dang. 9.275

Dudley (BYU): nice yfull, preflight leg sep and a hop back. 9.725

Rorich (DU): nice so far, hitting handstands. Hits her straddled jaeger as well. Stuck DLO to get the Pioneers back on track. 9.850

Earl (BYU): yhalf with a step forward, pretty good in the air. 9.7

Ulrich (DU): nice opening hs; Maloney to pak, gorgeous; good final hs; dlo, tiniest step back. 9.9

Mason (BYU): yfull, probably the cleanest in the air we’ve seen so far. Lands slightly off center and has the tiniest hop back.

Hebinck (DU): Ricna to pak, hit, pretty far over the bar on the pak but handles it like a pro! hit all her handstands well. Tiny hop forward on her DLO. 9.875

Benson (BYU): yfull, was crooked on the table but pulls it around for a solid vault. Lands off center with a tiny hop back. 9.875

Mundell (DU): straddled tkatchev, SO GOOD; bail hs, nice; great final hs into a DLO with a hop back. 9.825

Eaquinto (BYU): yfull, pretty sizable hop back. Definitely the cleanest and most dynamic of the bunch.

Iwai (DU): believe this is her competitive debut on bars. Maloney to bail, good; slightly short final hs; dlo, deep landing but stuck! Denver’s final five competitors came up clutch after the uncharacteristic leadoff fall from Casali. 9.775

Hunsaker (BYU, exh): yfull on tuck off, solid.

Thompson (DU, exh): short first hs; Maloney to bail, hit, this angle really shows her leg sep. Stuck dlo with leg sep as well.

After 1: DU 49.225, BYU 48.950

That was a gritty performance from Denver on bars. The Pioneers didn’t let Casali’s fall get to them and still managed to put up a solid number. It’s a season-low, but still a respectable total. BYU didn’t have its best vaults and couldn’t seem to find the landings, ultimately just missing the 49-mark on the event.

Rotation 2: DU VT, BYU UB

Brusch (DU): yfull, super dynamically, just a hop back. 9.8

Mason (BYU): hit first hs; Maloney to pak, leg sep; Good final hs. Stuck DLO, what a leadoff! 9.8

Hargraves (DU): yfull, clean in the air but short with a large step forward. Looks like she was really high on the table. 9.375…I know she was short and off center but even that feels low for college standards.

Al. Alvarado (BYU): shirt first hs; Maloney to bail, little tiny leg sep going into the hs; hardly final hs, and ESPN decided to refresh my stream…stuck DLO.

Ulrich (DU): Fhs pike half, hop back. 9.825

Hunter-Kempler (BYU): hits first hs; straddled tkatchev, good; hit bail hs; short final hs; dlo, step back. Girl, that was a step not a tiny shuffle. 9.825

Casali (DU): y1.5, hop forward. Good for her after the bars fall. 9.85

Eaquinto (BYU): hit first hs; Maloney to pak, caught close but works through it; solid final hs; dlo with a shuffle back.

Mundell (DU): y1.5, stuck cold! What a vault! Did land a little off center, though. 9.85, what?

An. Alvarado (BYU): great first hs; Maloney to pak, lovely. overcasts her blind full and has to redo it, but stays on the bar. Short final hs. FTDLO, shuffles forward. 9.725

Reidenbach (DU): yfull, clean in the air with a hop back. Saw her warming up a 1.5, but they’re playing it safe with the miss earlier. 9.8

Bramblett (BYU): great first hs; ray to bail, hit; hit her final hs; stuck DLO. 9.9

Jorgensen (BYU, exh): ray, hit; bail hs good; DLO, stuck.

After 2: DU 98.350, BYU 98.050

After watching two full rotations, vault judges were definitely tight! Denver couldn’t quite get the vault landings, but again managed to put up a solid rotation despite a shaky routine. BYU put up a solid bars lineup and on the whole had very nice landings.

Rotation 3: BYU BB, DU FX

Mason (BYU): small check on her full turn, bhs loso, another small check. cat leap side aerial, hip bend. switch leap split jump, good. roundoff double twist, hop then a step back. Not her best but she stayed on the beam. 9.675

Rorich (DU): front tuck through to double tuck, finesses the landing. switch side popa, good positions but overturns the switch side. double pike steps forward instead of back but controlled. Leadoff hit for Denver as well. 9.85

Raesly-Patton (BYU): front aerial to split, hit; Had a broken foot in preseason. Leap positions good; bhs loso, completely missed her foot and comes off. BYU’s counting the 9.675 now. Full turn, shoulder drop. Back 1.5 dismount, on her heels but stuck. 9.15

Brusch (DU): I believe this is her first competitive floor routine this season. front tuck through to double tuck, solid, maybe a tiny bit of front foot movement. switch half wolf full wolf full, front leg a little low on the wolfs. double pike, again a controlled step forward. 9.85

Millar-Crossman (BYU): bhs loso, bent arms in the bhs; full turn, tiny shoulder drop; cat leap switch half, secure; another leap combination, hit; front full, hop back, but I’m surprised she stayed on her feet. 9.725

Iwai (DU): Safari decided my stream needed to refresh again…sounds like her first pass was good. Good position on her leap. double tuck, really finesses the landing. Ends with another nice leap combo. 9.875

Margraf (BYU): front aerial lean to back tuck, “you just have to keep moving”…uhhh that was a clear balance check. Another check on her full turn. Hits her leaps. Stuck 1.5 to close. “Should be their best score” um no. 9.85 I see we are entering BYU judges go crazy territory.

Reidenbach (DU): whip half Rudi clean; switch half wolf full, good. double tuck, large lunge. May be Denver’s best floor routine so far tonight, it’s close between her and Iwai. 9.9

Rollins (BYU): Hitting so far. Front aerial bhs loso, secure; full turn but she keeps the leg free! gainer full, hop back. 9.9

Casali (DU): Her floor routines are always super fun. Rudi to layout, nice! switch half wolf full wolf full hit, gets the job done but nothing super special about them. back 2.5 to punch front, nails it! 9.925

Andersen (BYU): bhs loso, clean and secure; beat jump straddle 3/4, nice; cat leap side aerial, solid; stuck gainer full to close. Nice way to end the lineup. 9.95

Ulrich (DU): big open double tuck with a controlled landing. switch side popa nice. back 1.5 to lay good. Closes with a double pike, solid. Big routine from the freshman! 9.925

Dudley (BYU, exh): bhs loso, small check. cat leap side aerial, hip bend and can’t save it. back 1.5, off to the side and a step.

After 3: DU 147.825, BYU 147.175

BYU overcame some early mistakes to post a 49.100 on beam, thanks in part to the 1-2 punch of Rollins and Andersen at the end of the lineup. Denver also hit floor. While it wasn’t the Pioneers’ best floor of the season, they hit six for six en route to a 49.475. Not too bad for missing Jessica Hutchinson.

Rotation 4: DU BB, BYU FX

Thompson (DU): side aerial bhs, rock solid. switch leap switch leap, secure; good full turn. side aerial to a stuck 1.5. Maybe the best routine I’ve seen her do this year. 9.825

Millar-Crossman (BYU): nice double tuck to open. cat leap to switch side half popa, hit; they moved the floor over by the student section this year! Closes with a nice front lay front full.

Hebinck (DU): Another new face in the Denver beam lineup. front toss small check to bhs, check. switch leap switch side nice. full turn hit. Stuck gainer pike. Nice routine apart from the series. 9.5, they must have broke the connection…but they didn’t for BYU in the same situation.

Matern (BYU): front double full, some legs. back 1.5 to lay nice. Couldn’t tell what her leap was supposed to be but the split was nice. closes with a rudi, crossy legs but good landing. 9.825

Iwai (DU): switch leap straddle 1/4 nice. bhs loso loso, looked like her hips wavered a tad in air but she gave nothing away. cartwheel gainer full stuck. 9.95, deserved!

Dudley (BYU): dlo, leg sep bounds out of the landing with chest forward and leg up. front full front lay, gets the landing there. Final pass is a double tuck, nice. 9.85

Casali (DU): full turn, tiny shoulder drop. bhs loso loso, the best I’ve seen her do it. Switch switch, tiny check. Gainer full, little pike down and a tiny hop. 9.775

Schooley (BYU): back 1.5 to lay, barely in bounds. switch ring straddle, solid. double tuck, tiny foot movement.

Mabanta (DU): wolf turn to start. bhs loso, hit; split leap switch half, lovely; switch leap, tiny check, she usually connects to a split there. Repeats the connection and nails it that time. Veteran move from the senior. gainer pike, small hop. 9.85

Benson (BYU): double tuck, nice. switch half popa, good positions. front lay front full, a little short but pulls it around. double pike, short and an uncontrolled step forward.

Ulrich (DU): she’s the commentator’s “impact performer of the night”. bhs loso, rock solid. Nice full turn. switch leap to switch side, stays on but bends at the hips. bhs 1.5, hop forward. Not her best routine but a hit and should be better than Hebinck’s score. 9.675

Eaquinto (BYU): Nice opening double pike. fhs rudi, another solid landing; triple leap series, hit. She’s managing leg injuries and doing reduced reps in practice. back 1.5 to lay, holds onto the landing.

Reidenbach (DU, exh): full turn, hit. Bhs bhs loso, her hips are way crooked and she can’t save it. switch leap straddle 3/4, small check. back 1.5, small shuffle forward. If she can get consistent, she’s gonna be great for the Pioneers on beam.

Margraf (BYU, exh): Hitting her routine so far. Switch right switch half wolf full, good. back 1.5 to lay, a little unsure of the landing but pulls it around.

FINAL: DU 196.900, BYU 196.500

Denver looked slightly off most of the meet, but the Pioneers pushed through while also resting Jessica Hutchinson. A 196.9 considering that is impressive, but it’s just shy of the 197+ the Pioneers likely wanted. It’s 0.05 higher than their previous counting NQS score, so that will improve with three more chances to improve it further. BYU also wasn’t perfect; both teams fought through similar struggles on beam. BYU’s mark is just below its season high it set last week, and that’s with room to improve. Like Denver, this will be a counting score in BYU’s NQS as it stands, but there’s plenty of drop scores for the Cougars and they’ll really need to keep it up on the road.

AA: Madison Ulrich (DU) 39.325
VT: Sydney Benson (BYU) 9.875
UB: Madison Ulrich (DU), Anna Bramblett (BYU) 9.900
BB: Brynlee Andersen (BYU), Momoko Iwai (DU) 9.950
FX: Rosie Casali, Madison Ulrich (DU) 9.925

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Live blog by Tara Graeve

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