Ella Hodges competes on floor for Ohio State.

LIVE BLOG: No. 23 Illinois, No. 39 Kent State, and No. 58 Bowling Green at No. 15 Ohio State

What a fun little Big Ten/MAC crossover! It’s senior night in Covelli, and we’re bidding farewell to a lot of really talented gymnasts which is always a little heartbreaking.

This one carries more weight for Kent State than any other team. With over three points of upside to their NQS, the Golden Flashes could ride a good number here straight into regionals. There’s a lot of regular season gymnastics left, but with a 194.550 hanging around its NQS, and a string of 195s and 196s over the past month, Kent State has to be excited to see how high a good day here can take it. While this team’s high 197.725 came at the notorious Tennessee meet, it also scored a 196.925 at home on February 11, which is competitive with Illinois and Ohio State.

Bowling Green has had a pretty chaotic season. With scores ranging from 191 to a near-196 (both away!), it’s hard to say which version of the Falcons will show up. Bars is the kicker: Weeks when the event goes well, the team score is much healthier than weeks with bars misses. If Bowling Green can put up a high-48 there, things will be looking up.

The Illini also have something to prove. They’re coming off of back-to-back 196.850s, and have yet to hit 197, a number that is certainly realistic. Hitting that benchmark here would be a huge confidence boost moving toward Big Tens in a few weeks. If Illinois can get through vault with clean landings, things will be looking good.

The Buckeyes have one stray 196 hanging around their NQS; it’s a road number, though, so nothing they do here will make it budge. Still, there’s a droppable 197.100 home number that could be wiped away. Beam is the big question: with an apparently serious injury to Jojo Warga last week, who will step in?

It’s 6:31 ET and I’m hanging out here waiting for the stream to start. Soon enough. BTN+ has been better this year, but with senior night shenanigans I kind of expect this one to start a good bit late. If you, too, are waiting around, head over to the swimming and diving conference champs, also on BTN+, to hear our very own (and an Iowa diving alumnus himself) Brandis Heffner commentating!

Here we go!


Washington (tOSU): Huge Yfull, hop back.

Townes (UIUC): Nice side aerial. RO tuck 1.5, hop, not a precise position.

Decious (BGSU): Clean front lay front full. Little cheated in rotation on her leaps.

Phew we jumped into the middle of of routines in a quad box, forgive me.

Grimes (tOSU): Yfull, buckled knees, step forward. Just short.

Tsipis(KSU): Nice hansdstand. Blind to pike Jaeger was great. Archy handstand to good Pak. Late bind full stuck double tuck.

Riccardi (tOSU): Strong Yfull.

Knight (UIUC): Nice switch to split to beat. Side somi, good.

Harris (tOSU): Step back on her Yfull.

Schultz (KSU): Stuck her dlo cold!

Bannister (BGSU): Solid opening combo pass.

Vetter (tOSU): Yfull, great open hips, small hop in place.

Gilbert (KSU): Okay we ditched the quad box, not seeing this, nor floor.

Gregory (tOSU): Yfull, big bound back. No 1.5 tongiht.

Mueller (UIUC): Super solid series. Beat to front toss, no errors there. RO 3/2, small hop in place.

McCann (tOSU ex.): Yfull, small hop back, just closed her hips down a bit. Good to know she’s ready for vault!

Ewald (UIUC): One arm bhs, bhs, she’s so secure on that every time.

Coburn (BGSU): Front through double tuck, slid her front foot a bit, but great amplitude there. Switch side Popa Popa, short on the 180s there. Short on her double pike, chest forward and a hop.

Okay, we’re just wildly cutting around in the middle of routines. This one will be a special journey for us all.

Nataraj (UIUC): Bhs loso, leg up to horizontal but stays on. Switch to straddle 1/4, maybe touch short of 180 on the latter. Solid front toss. RO 3/2 hop in place.

Takekawa (UIUC): Leg up check on her side aerial bhs, Illinois will have to count one moderate error. Nailed her switch to gainer loso. BHS gainer full, maybe stuck, couldn’t fully see her feet.

Thornton (BGSU): We keep only seeing the last five seconds of floor routines.

Coppola (UIUC, ex.): Side aerial check to roundoff, broke the connection, imo. Switch switch, short of 180 on both. Fall on an aerial to two feet. Step back on her gainer full.

Castiglia (BGSU, ex.): Nice double pike. Tour jete half Popa Popa, little imprecise on rotations there. Double tuck, chest a bit low and she scooted her foot around. Archy on her front lay in the combo pass, stumbled a bit on the landing.

After 1: tOSU 49.050, UIUC 48.975, KSU 48.850, BGSU 48.575

Yuck. That wasn’t the best start for anyone. Hopefully everyone got the jitters out and we’ll move up from here.

Kent State tends to be in the high 48s on bars, so while it wasn’t a great rotation, it didn’t miss the Flashes usual mark. The other three teams are well behind their baseline scores on their respective events. Let’s just move on along and leave that rotation behind.


Ward (UIUC): Stepped on her opening lunge, I think. Double tuck, stepped OOB.

Pritchard (tOSU): Caught her Gienger close, step on her dimsount.

Washington (tOSU): Toe hand to Maloney, great legs, LOVELY Pak. Her legs are glued. Blind full late double tuck small hop.

Bannister (BGSU): Yfull, leg sep on the table and in the post flight, foot form, lack of distance, hop.

Vetter (tOSU): FTDB true stick.

Ewald (UIUC): Clean leaps to close.

Thornton (BGSU): Yfull, close to the table, big bounds backward.

Mueller (UIUC): Front through double tuck, scooted back in her lunge, managed to stay in bounds. Front lay front full, landed on her heels a little but danced out. Clean leaps.

Huge screams, Lexy Mattern says for Harris’ stuck bars dismount. Yep, got the replay.

Akpan (BGSU): YFull, hop back.

Fuertez (KSU): Switch to split, shy of 180 on both. Tuck full dismount, right out of frame.

Morgan (UIUC): Fall on her combo pass.

Riccardi (tOSU): Little hop in place on her stalder double tuck.

Guns (KSU): Beat to split 3/4, foot form and a balance error. Beat to front aerial, soft knees. Bhs loso, small check in her arms. Switch to split, nice there. Cartwheel gainer full, really nice shape in the air, fought for it, step.

Hankins (tOSU): Jaeger, caught a bit close. Close on her Pak, DLO, deep knees and a step forward.

Fitzgibbons (UIUC): Clean leaps. Double pike, foot form but a nice lunge.

Schultz (KSU): Bhs loso solid. BHS 3/2 off the end stuck cold.

Townes (UIUC): Oh okay we’re seeing a replay instead. Sigh. Her leaps were solid.

Byrne (UIUC, ex.): Switch side popa, cheated that a little bit. Ground surprised her a little on her doulbe pike.

Rader (tOSU, ex): Maloney was a little messy. Short handstand. DLO, short, chest forward, step forward.

After 2: tOSU 98.175, UIUC 97.975, KSU 97.825, BGSU 97.200

I mean. That was a little better. Kent State was (reportedly, we didn’t see many) nailing beam landings. Illinois had to count a 9.675 on floor. Ohio State was a little more comfortable on bars. This one just doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a leading number for the Big Ten squads.


Takekawa (UIUC): Yfull, leg sep on the table hop back.

Pritchard (tOSU): Bhs loso, good. Straddle 3/4, didn’t close her feet. Step back on dismount.

Rankin (KSU): Front through double tuck, bounced back. Switch side Popa wolf full, messy in the wolf.

Townes (UIUC): Yfull, soft knees, hop back.

Thornton (BGSU): Maloney to Pak nice, some sep. Short handstand. FTBD, big step to the side.

Gilbert (KSU): Front lay front full stag, really lovely and controlled. Switch side to split full, solid there. Double pike, off balance in the lunge and stumbles back a little, stays in bounds.

Harris (tOSU): Valdez, we stan. Beat jump. Switch to straddle 1/4, nice. Front aerial back tuck, solid, just a touch of foot form on the tuck. RO 2/1, back on her heels, fights, step back.

Brown (BGSU): Big Tkatchev to short bail. FTBD, step.

Vetter (tOSU): Bhs loso , solid. Beat to side aerial, strong there. Switch to straddle 1/4, she is on a roll. RO 3/2 hop forward. What a routine!

Fuertez (KSU): Double tuck, moved her foot in the lunge.

Krienbrink (BGSU, ex.): Short handstand. Toe hand to Gienger, way too far out, falls.

Guns (KSU): Front lay rudi, little low on the lay. Switch ring to switch half, nice. Tour jete half, no issue. Double pike, weight was a bit back but kept a solid lunge.

Hodges (tOSU): Fell on her series, stuck dismount.

McCann (tOSU): Lots of pressure following a fall, and she has had some falls here this year. RO layout two feet, NAILED IT. She yelled, What a way to hit under pressure. Lovely leaps. RO 3/2, step forward. Good for her!

[apologies I skipped exhibitions to grab a slice of pizza quickly, Friday night quad problems]

After 3: tOSU 147.435, UIUC 147.150, KSU 146.950, BGSU 145.350

PHEW Everyone who has watched the Buckeyes this year was anxious when McCann had to hit there, what a big moment and she rose to it!

Kent State is really hanging in with the Big Ten duo, but still, no one is having a headline night here. Hanging on, sticking in, surviving is the theme.


Mueller (UIUC): Blind to Jaeger, nice catch. Bail hand, good vertical. Short last handstand. DLO hop forward.

Gonzalez (tOSU): Double pike, slid back in her lunge. Front lay front full, nice there. Switch side straddle half, nice splits. RO 3/2 front lay, would like to see more rise on the lay, but clean.

Rudnitskaya (KSU): Yfull, clean in the air, lacking some distance, near stick, just scooted one foot.

Riccardi (tOSU): Her first 2024 floor appearance. Double pike, bounced backward in her lunge. Tour jete half Popa, nice split positions. RO 3/2 front lay, maybe some soft knees in the lay, looked like she missed the punch the tiniest bit but recovered quickly in the air. Double tuck, hops right into the lunge, no deductions on that one.

Knight (UIUC): Stuck DLO.

Ewald (UIUC): Stuck her FTDB, we’re just getting dismounts here.

Parente (BGSU): Bhs loso, pretty. Cat to switch half, quite short. RO 3/2 hop forward.

Washington (tOSU): Front lay front full was lovely. Tour jete half to wolf full, traveled to the side a little on the wolf but nice shapes. Double tuck, clean lunge.

Saltness (UIUC): Ray to Pak, nice, her toes especially stand out throughout. Blind full right on top double tuck, stuck. Phew! She is just on on now.

Vetter (tOSU): Leaps were clean, sometimes she cheats the two Popas a bit, not today. Front lay rudi, leg sep on the lay, good landing.

Bingham (BGSU): Bhs loso, solid. Cat to side aerial, cat shape was a little weird, but not the weirdest in the NCAA by far. RO 3/2 deep chest but holds the landing.

Harris (tOSU): FHS 2/1 punch front, calm lunge out. Switch side Popa, nice 180s. Double pike, thought about holding the stick, chose to lunge.

Ross (BGSU, ex.): Bhs loso, nice. Front aerial soft knees to sissone. Gainer full off the side hop back.

Hodges (tOSU): Happy (super) senior night to this queen. Stage to herself. Double pike, slid her front foot a little. Tour jete half Popa Popa, lost balance in the air a little but got the rotations around. FHS rudi loso, solid.

FINAL: tOSU 196.825, UIUC 196.350, KSU 196.125, BGSU 194.275

Well that ended up alright! Everyone really settled in in the second half, and put up some reasonable numbers. Good recoveries across the board, and a good sign for the teams’ mental games heading toward postseason.

VT: Riccardi, Townes, Gilbert 9.875
UB: Harris, Takekawa, Saltness 9.900
BB: Vetter, Schultz 9.900
FX: Harris 9.950
AA: Harris, Vetter 39.500

READ THIS NEXT: Judge’s Inquiry: 20 Beam Connections From Week 7 I Wouldn’t Have Credited

Live blog by Emily Minehart

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