LIVE BLOG: Big Fives Session 2

It’s the last-ever Big Fives session as we know it. With the addition of UCLA and Washington to the Big Ten next year, this second session is an official farewell to this format. Please, forces that be, do not foist two six-team sessions upon us and bless us with a true championship tournament format.

Michigan is easily positioned to walk away with this one. Four wins would leave the Wolverines with a 8-1 record on the season, and they would waltz into the conference championship night session in Ann Arbor. All of the other likely night session berths were in the Friday Big Five, so Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, and Penn State will be focused on securing the best possible road numbers for NQS reasons. That said, Penn State has a 197 on the year, so if Michigan leaves the door open, the Nittany Lions could pounce.

Illinois and Maryland have topped out in the mid-196s, while Iowa has come close, maxing out at 196.400. This group is tightly bunched, so every landing and soft knee will matter.

NQS matters for Michigan, too, which has some pretty big upside, with a 196.900 still hanging around in its total. Maryland doesn’t have an NQS yet, but it could use a big number since all of its best scores have come at home. Penn State has the biggest upside of the bunch, at 1.075.

Yesterday, Michigan State won session 1, marking the Spartans’ first-ever outright regular season title and second win back-to-back. Ohio State and Minnesota finished second and third respectively, making them all but locked to join Michigan State in the conference championship night session.

Also, listen. I’m not a particularly superstitious person. But there was a full moon last night; let’s hope the beam falls and injuries were just a bad juju situation and that today is a smoother day.

Rotation 1: UM vault, UMD bars, UIUC beam, PSU floor, Iowa bye

Jordan (UM): Yfull, short, stepped to the side.

Townes (UIUC): Tidy switch to straddle 1/4. Solid cat to side aerial, she’s moving calmly. Bhs loso, no deductions. Hop on her landing.

Johnston (PSU): Short double tuck, foot form, big step forward. Little flat on her FHS rudi. Picked a wedgie?! Maybe just choreo. Archy lay on her combo pass.

Brozowski (UMD): Arched handstand. Blind to Jaeger, soft knees. Leg spe on her bail. Stuck DLO.

Knight (UIUC): Candle mount. Clean leaps. Side aerial bhs, small adjustment but she really kept the movement minimal. Stuck her gainer full off the side.

Gatzendorfer (UMD): Blaoney, leg sep to Pak, again leg sep. Short pirouette on the low bar. Stalder to double tuck, step back.

Kramer (PSU): FHS 2/1 punch front, really well done. Switch to Tour jete half wolf full was nice, maybe a touch deep in her knees on the wolf landing. Scooted her front foot a bit on the combo pass landing.

Mulligan (UM): Yfull, leg sep, soft knees on the table, step back.

Piedrahita (PSU): Full-in, some leg sep in the air, but deduction free landing. Switch half wolf full, clean there. Front through double tuck, little deep on the landing but good lunge.

Kondo (UMD): Jaeger, falls. Remounts, clean to double layout stuck.

Guggino (UM): Y1.5, just scooted her feet together. Really nice.

Mueller (UIUC): Check on her full turn. Bhs loso, soft leading knee and a slight check in her shoulders. Nice switch switch, good amplitude. Solid front toss. Step on her landing.

Herring (PSU): Double Arabain, stepped forward and looked a touch out of control. RO 3/2 front lay, nice. Slightly soft knees.

Bacheler (UMD): Blind to Jeager, falls. Terps are counting one now. Bail hand, nice. DLO step back.

Wilson (UM): Y1.5, huge, step to the side over the guide lines.

Ewald (UIUC): My favorite beam construction in the NCAA. One arm bhs bhs, solid. Shoulder adjustment on her switch to loso. Gainer rudi stuck.

McElligott (PSU): Scooted back on her double pike. Scooted again on her RO 3/2 front lay.

Rothenbuesher (UMD): Caught her Jaeger! Immediate Blind. Lol BTN cut to hockey for a second? Stepped on her landing.

Brooks (UM): Y1.5, hop back.

Nataraj (UIUC): Bhs loso, solid. Switch to straddle 1/4. Check on her beat to front aerial. RO 3/2, holds the stick, chest just a bit forward.

Salcedo (PSU): Huge cheers on her double front. Will never be over her toe point. Isolated bhs loso. Front lay front full front pike, lovely.

LeBlanc (UMD): Caught Jaeger. Bail hand, nice. Good handstands here. DLO, step forward.

Bauman (UM): Her first vault of her career! Tuck Y1.5, step back. Wow! What a treat!

Takekawa (UIUC): She’s just regal up there. Side aerial bhs, she looked way off but fully saved it, minor deduction. Switch to gainer loso, lovely there. Bhs gainer full off the side, stuck.

After 1: PSU 49.350, UM 49.275, UIUC 49.075, UMD 47.825

Tough break for Maryland, counting a fall. The Illini were a little tight but had no major errors and are in a comfortable place heading into the bye. That was…a lot of 9.800s. The point of scores is to differentiate between routines! Alas.

Penn State looked strong on floor, despite some landing errors. The Nittany Lions have some big, clean tumbling. Michigan’s vaults were all strong in the air, the Wolverines were just held back by landing deductions. Still, that’s a season-best number, so they’re in a good position moving to bars.

Rotation 2: PSU vault, UM bars, UMD beam, Iowa floor, UIUC bye

Vore (UM): Great handstand. Toe hand to high Tkatchev. Short bail. DLO stuck.

Karenbauer (Iowa): Front through double tuck, juuuuust stayed in bounds. Switch half to straddle 1/4, nice. Double pike, piked up her front foot.

Silberman (UMD): Slight check on her full turn, just a dropped shoulder. Bhs bhs loso, soft knees. RO 3/2 hop forward.

Castillo (Iowa): This routine is so engaging. She performs through her fingers and head. Front through double tuck, small adjustment. Clean leaps. Scooted her front foot around on her double pike.

Johanson (PSU): Yfull, big hop back.

Hammer (UMD): Solid bhs loso. Huge pike front toss. Cat to switch half, bit short. Stuck her dismount.

Wilson (UM): Blind to pike JAeger, leg form. Bail hand was clean. DLO stuck.

Johnston (PSU): Yfull, hip angle and a small adjustment on the landing.

Zabrowski (UM): blind leg sep to Jaeger, knees on catch. Got a little stuck on her Pak to pirouette but worked through it. DLO, big step back. Just never had the rhythm.

Volpe (Iowa): Front lay to rudi, nice. Tour jete half Popa, nice. Double pike, came in low, stepped forward.

Martin (UMD): Big leg up check on her series, stayed on though. Cat to side aerial, clean. Bhs 3/2 dismount, just shifted one foot.

Bauman (UM): Her usual huge Jaeger to bail. Scooted her feet forward on her dismount.

McElligott (PSU): Yfull, hips and a hop forward.

Munoz (Iowa): Front through huge double tuck, just lifted up her front heel. Switch half wolf full wolf full, solid,not the best wolf shapes but not the worst. Short on her double pike.

Gatzendorfer (UMD): Stepped around on her triple series, but stayed on. Switch to split, short on both and maybe broke the connection. Stuck dismount.

Brooks (UM): Blind to huge pike Jaeger. Clean bail hand. FTDL, hop in place.

Salcedo (PSU): Yhalf-on front pike, weird hand placement on the table, made the flip around but landed very deep, I think her feet hit first so she should still get credit, but definite fall.

Erb (Iowa): Solid double pike. RO 3/2 front 1/1, soft knees throughout there.

Lipetz (UM): Ray, foot form. Messy Pak, caught close. Fall on her half pirouette. Seems like her grip slipped off. DLO small foot adjustment.

Komoroski (UMD): One arm bhs loso, so solid. Clean splits. Check on her full turn. RO 3/2 step forward.

Herring (PSU): Huge Yfull, stuck. Wow!

Libby (Iowa): Litte foot adjustment on her opening pass. Bit short on her next pass, landed back on her heels and kind of skidded forward. Clean rudi to close.

Piedrahita (PSU): Yhalf-on pike hop forward, lovely!

Kogler (UMD): Bhs bhs loso, tiniest check in her hips. Switch to split, nice. Smallest bit over on her full turn. Gainer full off the side, Karas says stuck but I couldn’t see her feet.

After 2: UM 98.600, PSU 98.575, UMD 96.625, Iowa 49.325, UIUC 49.075

Nittany Lions hanging in there with Michigan! That was a nice vault rotation, while Michigan was a little shakier than we expect it to be on bars. Maryland is a beam team, so those wobbles were uncharacteristic, but it was a solid comeback rotation after bars. Iowa will be happy with that strong start on its best event.

Illinois heads to a good event in floor off the bye, while Michigan goes to battle on beam, which has been a bit of an up-and-down event. Penn State can be excellent on bars. This one should stay close!

Rotation 3: Iowa vault, PSU bars, UM beam, UIUC floor, UMD bye

The Illini are doing the macarena on the floor sideline as warmups wrap up. Safe to say they seem relaxed off the bye.

Mulligan (UM): Cat to small check on her front aerial. Bhs loso, good thinking on her feet to change that up, normally she has a bhs out of the aerial. Bhs tuck 3/2 off the end. Couldn’t see her feet.

Ward (UIUC): Front lay front full front pike, hop forward. Deduction-free double tuck.

Johanson (PSU): Toe hand soft elbows to Tkatchev, low. Leg sep on her Pak. Stuck dlo.

Chambers (Iowa): YFull, small hop.

Mueller (UIUC): Front through double tuck, ,moved her front foot a bit. Front lay front full, nice.

Guggino (UM): Dropped a shoulder on her full turn. Strong bhs loso. Great straddle to straddle half, her 180s are so nice. Bit of a check on her side somi but really tightened up. Stuck dismount.

Johnston (PSU): Maloney good! Bail hand strong. Best leg-together Maloney I’ve seen in a minute. Stuck double tuck.

Castillo (Iowa): Yfull, hip angle, arms on the table, big step forward.

McElligott (PSU): Toe hand to Maloney, leg sep and bent arms on the release. Leg sep on the Pak. Bent arms on a short handsatnd, swimming arms and hop forward on her double tuck.

Massella (Iowa): Yfull, Bent arms on the table, hop.

Byrne (UUIUC): Lovely 5/2 punch front. Cheated rotation on her leaps. Quite underrotated on her double pike.

Wilson (UM): Check on her series. Her usual truncated switch switch, that misses the first position on both. Double tuck, stuck I think.

Gallentine (PSU): Good Maloney, some leg sep on her Pak. Shy on her pirouette. DLO small hop. Her shoulder extension really stands out.

Volpe (Iowa): Yfull, big! Hop back, quite small.

Morgan (UIUC): Double tuck, scooted back and OOB. Tour jete half wolf 1/1? Hard to see the rotation there. Hesitated on her combo pass landing.

Vore (UM): Arm swing on her series. Solid front toss. Little adjustment on her straddle half. RO 3/2 true stick.

Piedrahita (PSU): Toe hand to Maloney, Pak, some messy legs on the Pak catch. Not sure if she hit her feet on the kip out, Karas couldn’t tell either. HIHO, small adjustment.

Karenbauer (Iowa): Y1.5, huge! Big step back.

Rushlow (PSU): Blind to Jaeger, huge, great catch position. FTDB, hop back.

Fitzgibbon (UIUC): Good landing on her rudi. Switch side to split full, bit short of 180. Solid double pike.

Bauman (UM): Clean series. Soft knee on her leading leg in her switch. Clean piked side somi. Small hop back on her gainer pike off the end.

Munoz (Iowa): Yfull, huge, hop back.

Townes (UIUC): FHS 2/1, solid. FHS 3/2 Front 1/1, solid there too. She’s so good at nailing these landings.

Brooks (UM): Great bhs bhs loso. Bobble on her front toss. Bhs 2/1 hop back.

After 3: UM 147.900, PSU 147.750, Iowa 98.300, UIUC 98.100, UMD 96.625

Michigan was able to extend its lead over Penn State with really big, solid gymnastics on beam. There were deductions, but the Wolverines are just so good at tightening up and eliminating wobbles as quickly as possible. Penn State was absolutely rolling on bars, with some big sticks; it just couldn’t quite keep pace with Michigan.

Illinois had a weird floor moment. Some messy landings, the OOB, and some rotational issues on leaps kept the score down, and the Illini have to go to their weakest event in vault next. Iowa was clean on vault and put up a solid enough score to keep to low- to mid-196 pace.

Rotation 4: UIUC vault, Iowa bars, PSU beam, UMD floor, UM bye

Looks like there are some little gymnasts in the stands. I see some team warmup jackets. Cute!

Piedrahita (PSU): Bhs loso, solid. Side aerial, clean. She’s very focused. Cat to switch half, good 180, just some front foot form. RO 3/2 stuck. Phew! Stellar leadoff.

Rech (UMD): I missed her first pass. Lovely Double tuck, strong landing. RO 3/2 front lay, just a touch back on her heels, good cover.

Rojas (Iowa): Bent her arms on a giant. Giegner, some legs on her catch. Falls on a handstand. Legs on her bail hand. FTDB stuck.

Takekawa (UIUC): Yfull, true stick, wow! What a vault.

Byrne (UIUC): Big Yfull, bounced up in the air a bit.

Maul (PSU): She’s a a quick pace beamer. So satisfying to watch. Bhs loso, no issues there. Slightly over on the full turn. Beat (kind of…) front aerial. RO 3/2, chest way forward, managed to hold and bring her heels together.

Castellanos (Iowa): Maloney, leg sep, falls. A second fall. She’s just not feeling it. Works through to stuck DLO. Just couldn’t find that Maloney today.

Gilbert (UMD): Front through double tuck, short, steps forward. Messy shapes in her jumps. Front lay front full.

McElligott (PSU): She does the old Shawn Johnson straddle mount and you know I love it. Bhs bhs loso, solid. Chest forward and short of f80 on her split 1/4.

Nataraj (UIUC): Yfull, adjustment to the side.

LeBland (UMD): 2/1, good there. Some messiness in her wolf shape. Good rudi to close.

Juk (Iowa): Clean combo through her releases. Blind full, bit late. Double tuck hop back. A hit after two falls is a hit!

Townes (UIUC): Yfull, small hop back.

Herring (PSU): Front toss bhs, soft knees. Beat to straddle 3/4 nice. Stuck dismount and she milked it, oooh.

Volpe (Iowa): Blind to pike Jaeger, clean. Nice handstands, DLO, chest forward hop forward.

Mueller (UIUC): Yfull, soft knees and a small scoot back.

Komoroski (UMD): FHs rudi, clean there. Nice combo pass.

Salcedo (PSU): Bhs loso, so patient and solid. Again, hi, her toes. Wolf, lovely. Held the stick on her dismount. Nittany Lions are on these landings.

Massella (Iowa): Nice release to bail. DLO , hop back.

Ward (UIUC): Y1.5, small hop forward.

Rothenbuecher (UMD): Whip to double tuck, bit wild into her lunge but gained control quickly. Double pike, nice landing.

Johnston (PSU): Bhs loso, small adjustment, very little to deduct. RO 3/2 hop.

Munoz (Iowa): Hop change to pike Jaeger, soft core on the catch. Nice high Pak. Short handstand. Clear hip hand to DLO, true stick, oooh.

Martin (UMD): Full-in, short, chest was quite low and hopped up in the air. RO 3/2 front lay, hop forward. Switch half wolf full, shy of the full and not quite a full Konnor McClain-esque shape. Great double tuck.

After 4: PSU 196.775, UM 147.900, UIUC 147.450, Iowa 146.875, UMD 146.050

Okay Illinois! A 49.300 on vault! What a comeback after a slower floor rotation on a historically tough event. Penn State was hitting beam well, unfortunately it was nailing the event that has been scored tightly throughout this weekend, so the scores didn’t go wild, but it’s still a strong finish.

Michigan now has a target score, only needing a 48.900 to take the win. That’s an easily achievable number. Passing Penn State is in reach for Illinois, too; the Illini would need a big but reasonable 49.350 on bars.

Maryland was really strong on floor, but it just wasn’t enough to make up for earlier falls, while Iowa suffered the highs and lows of the sport on bars. Munoz was a revelation.

Rotation 5: UMD vault, UIUC bars, Iowa beam, UM floor, PSU bye

Bauman (UM): FHS 2/1, sold landing. Clean rotation on her leaps, bit off of the idea wolf shape. RO 3/2 front lay, another good landing.

Volpe (Iowa): Bhs loso, small check in her shoulders. Switch to straddle 1/4, nice, maybe touch shy. STick.

Mueller (UIUC): Blind to Jaeger, some legs on the catch. Bail hand nice. DLO, small step.

Rech (UMD): Yfull, leg sep on the block, low chest but stuck.

Denning (UIUC): Toe hyand to Maloney, leg sep. Little off balance on the bail hand. DLO kind of scoots her feet a little? Or just shifted her weight around.

Mulligan (UM): Cowboyed double tuck, scooted her front foot. Double pike, just moved that front foot again.

Ebeling (Iowa): Bhs loso, nice, soft knee a bit. Clean side aerial. Switch to split to split 3/4. Hop on her landing.

Knight (UIUC): Maloney, pretty clean to bail hand, nice. Good handstand. DLO stuck.

Weir (UMD): YFull, step forward.

Kogler (UMD): Yfull small hop back.

Guggino (UM): Front lay through double pike, so fun, good landing. Front lay rudi, bounced the littlest bit on her landing.

Ward (UIUC): Blind to Jaeger, just foot form, great catching position. Good bail hand. Short handstand. FTDB, step.

LeBlanc (UMD): Yfull, high! Big hop back.

Juk (Iowa): BHs bhs loso, so floaty and lovely. Switch to beat, best oversplit we’ve seen today. Looking RIGHT AT the judges in her choreo. BHS 1/1 never getting over it. Stuck dismount.

Takekawa (UIUC): Blind to pike Jaeger, leg sep on the catch. Bail hand, lovely. Short handstand. DLO true stick.

Brooks (UM): Open FTDB, great landing, no deductions. Clean leaps. Stuck front through to double tuck, no lunge needed.

Nick (Iowa): Leap mount, lovely. Front aerial bhs, clean. RO 3/2 hop.

Martin (UMD): Y1.5, SO clean in the air, a super tight twisting position. Small adjustment on the landing.

Saltness (UIUC): Ray, lovely, good pak, nice extension on the catch. Blind full to double tuck, stuck. Wow! Best she’s done yet.

Rothenbuescher (UMD): Tsuk full, step.

Wilson (UM): Clean FTDB landing. Switch side half to straddle, huge oversplits. Clean combo pass landing.

Rojas (Iowa): Bhs bhs loso, clean landing, some soft knees. Nice switch switch to split. Stuck dismount.

Thaxton (UM): Nice to see her here! Front through double tuck, moved her front foot a bit. Switch side half, bent leading knee, to straddle. Double pike, scooted backward a bit. Foot form.

Munoz (Iowa): Clean leaps. A switch half I don’t hate. Bhs loso, great amplitude, no deductions on the landing. Bhs gainer full, good amplitude there too, stuck. She’s just so lovely to watch.

FINAL: UM 197.500, UIUC 196.850, PSU 196.775, Iowa 196.225, UMD 195.100

Michigan! Illinois! What final rotations! Honestly, same across the board. Iowa is secretly a beam team and it has really been shining there the past few weeks. The Illini closed out with the best vault and bars rotation scores of the session. What closers! The conference meet is going to be so fun.

VT: Guggino, 9.950
UB: Saltness, 9.975
BB: Juk, 9.925
FX: Brooks, 9.975
AA: Brooks 39.650

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Live blog by Emily Minehart

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