Big Five Session 2 with Iowa, Penn State and Rutgers at Michigan
Note: Michigan State will no longer be competing due to COVID issues within the program.
|Full Results||Iowa: 196.100||UM: 195.925||PSU: 195.850||RU: 195.225|
|VT: Brooks 9.975||UB: Verdeflor 9.950||BB: Kaji, Brooks 9.950||FX: Guerin 9.900||AA: Brooks 39.575|
The Big Storyline: Uhhhhhhhh that went just as NO ONE expected. Michigan had a floor meltdown that began with an Abby Brenner injury on her first pass that led to her being carried off the floor. Then both Natalie Wojcik and Gabby Wilson fell. Iowa also had a rough rotation on beam, counting a fall. After that, this thing turned around. Michigan was 198-pace on its other three, and Iowa put up a season-best vault number. Penn State stuck five vaults in a row, Ava Verdeflor had herself a day and Rutgers didn’t count any falls. We ended on a high note across the board.
Implications: Ugh, OK, who knows?! We don’t know two important things: 1. how the Big Ten is deciding its regular season champion given that Michigan and Michigan State have missed matchups, and 2. are we rolling with a six afternoon, four evening conference championships or a four afternoon, six evening? If the conference awards the regular season strictly by win-loss in official conference meets completed, Iowa walks away with it in the Hawkeyes’ undefeated conference season.* If championships go six-four, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa and Michigan will land in the night session seeded in that order. If it ends up being four-six, Maryland and Penn State will join them, with the Terps and Nittany Lions seeded behind Michigan in that order. Phew, got all that?
*The loss to Minnesota in Iowa City was not an official conference matchup.
Controversies: BTN+ really let us down, cutting away before Abby Heiskell’s beam set which was the deciding routine of the meet. Just look at the score as it comes in, you say? Oh, don’t worry the stats feed crashed at the same time. Plus, we continue to have some…questions about the Crisler Center floor. There were the Michigan issues, but some Penn State gymnasts weren’t getting the punch they seemed to be expecting while tumbling, and a number of athletes had uncharacteristically flat, under-roated jumps.
Current Rankings: No. 12 Iowa, No. 30 Penn State, No. 31 Michigan State and No. 43 Rutgers at No. 5 Michigan
Why You Should Cancel Plans for It: The fight here for the third and final berth to the conference championship night session will be fierce. Michigan should handily win, with Iowa not too far behind, but the remaining three teams are all capable of nabbing that spot. Rutgers put up a stellar 24-for-24 meet at Minnesota last week for a 195.975, a number that can absolute challenge a Spartan team coming off a two-week COVID pause and a Penn State team that has topped out at 196.000.
What We’re Watching: It’ll be interesting to see what kind of shape Michigan State is in. It had only two meets before pausing for two weeks. Granted, those two meets were strong, but we really have no idea of the team’s status at the moment. We’ll be keeping our eyes out for program record level numbers: Anything 196.800 or better puts the Hawkeyes in top five territory. For Michigan, 197.825 or better is in the top five. The Scarlet Knights need a 195.900 or better to hit a top-five score. These are all scores in the realm of possibility. The Big Ten is really having a year!
What Else You Should Know Before Tuning In: Here’s your quick refresher on Big Fives! The top three teams from this session, together with the top three teams from session two, will qualify to the conference championship evening session. The remaining four teams land in the afternoon session. Any team from either session can win the championship, but it’s definitely a point of pride to be in the later session. In normal years, these meets also finish the in-conference regular season and determine a Big Ten regular season champion based on win-loss record. This year, both Michigan and Michigan State have cancelled or postponed conference duals due to COVID issues, so it remains unclear whether a regular season champion will be crowned after this week, or at all in 2021.
- Video Type: BTN+
- Video: https://www.btnplus.com/game/big-five-iowa-penn-state-rutgers-at-michigan
- Scores: http://sidearmstats.com/umichigan/wgym/
- Live Blog: http://collegegymnews.com/2021/02/26/live-blog-big-five-meet-with-no-5-michigan-no-12-iowa-no-30-penn-state-and-rutgers/
- Live Blog Editor: Rebecca