[11] Illinois @ [4] Michigan Live Blog

Let’s get going!

The meet begins at 4:00 ET/1:00 PT.

If you’re a BTN Plus subscriber, you can watch the meet here. Scores are here.

Michigan comes in with an excellent ranking of #4, but with the teams above them all hitting (pretty much) this weekend, they’re going to need a score well into the 197s to hope to move up any higher. The Wolverines come in currently in a tie with Utah, who scored a 196.725 on Friday, so they’ll need better than that to retain the #4 spot. Illinois is currently right with teams like Arkansas, Penn State, and Oregon State in the bottom part of the top 10 (these teams in these spots!) and could jump ahead of some of them with just a regular hit today.

Sit back. We’ve got some time. Intros starting now.

Lauren Marinez clomping out in that boot. Sadness. Are we ever going to get to see some of these freshmen for Michigan in competition? No? Probably. I want India McPeak to get in on beam, but things have been going well, and I also don’t want them messing with a good thing.

Sachi Sugiyama told you to cheer for sticks. So you better do it.

Rotation 1- Michigan on vault, Illinois on bars
Michigan vault: 
1. Casanova – OK yfull – leg break in the air and a pretty large hop back.
2. Parker – yfull – also had a notable leg break in the air – took one medium step back and then another step to salute.
3. Brown – Some bent knees as she made contact, but legs together in the air, pretty large hop back. Haven’t brought the sticks yet. 
4. Chiarelli – Big big amplitude on her vault, best height so far – but another with a hop back and some small piking.
5. Artz – Strong distance on the yfull with legs together throughout – small amount of piking and a medium slide. They’re doing fine so far, but the landings could be more controlled. These aren’t tiny steps.
6 Sugiyama – very strong y1.5. Is she getting more distance than before or is it just the angle? Step forward as usual, but great in the air and best vault on the team in this rotation. 

Illinois bars:
1. Naleway – Solid shaposh with small leg break – nice bail and good finishing position on the full turn – stuck double back. Pretty clean start. They’ll take that any day.
2. Buchanan – Giant full (OK finish but perhaps late) to a lovely pak with legs together – toe shoot back to high bar – sticks the DLO. Another strong routine. This is Illinois’s best event, and it’s showing.
3. Lyons – first handstand was borderline – great piked jaeger with big height – shootover – shoot back to high bar – rises high on her DLO dismount – better than those before – small movement on landing. 
4. O’Connor – good first hs and finish on full – HIGH tkatchev (but toes) – clean on her transitions – very strong DLO with stick/near-stick. Best handstands of the group so far.
5. Kato – short on first hs – nice half turn – excellent high piked jaeger – small leg break on pak but still pretty – good final hs – lovely DLO in the air but landed a little short with a step forward.
6. Horth – hit first handstand and an excellent shaposh half – very high piked gienger  – hitting her handstands precisely – tuck full dismount is nice in the air with a small step back. Had to go back and watch this one again to see where they came up with 9.725. Still not sure. Anyone?

After 1: Michigan 49.125, Illinois 49.000
Michigan was fine on vault. A few form breaks early in the rotation, but the biggest reason they didn’t score higher was leaving so many landings on the table. No sticks, and quite a few of the competitors gave away .100 on landing. They are still in line for a good score, but this rotation can do better. Illinois is lovely on bars. Clean routines, mostly solid handstands, some huge releases and transitions. The early scores seemed slightly conservative, though not by a huge margin, but they were building.

In other news, Austin Sheppard is doing bars, so things are getting better.

Rotation 2 – Michigan on bars, Illinois on vault
Michigan bars:
1. Christopherson – clean Ray to start – solid bails with legs together – toe shoot – tuck full with a decent hop forward. 
2. Williams – good first hs – nice toe point on her jaeger – hits bail cleanly – one questionable handstand in there and just a small step on the DLO.
3. Artz – Good half turn into piked jaeger – short on the hs afterward – bail looks fine – huge height on her DLO with a smallish hop back. I think the judges are being stingier on handstands today than we usually see.
4. Sugiyama – excellent first hs and strong giant full – hits piked gienger – perfect leg form on the bail as well. These handstands are great – good form on tuck full dismount as well – small hop back. Great routine.
5. Brown – Love her line – huge Ray – hitting these handstands – another strong pak – half turn on low bar – back up – great form on DLO – flings out a little and a larger hop back.
6. Sheppard – We’ve missed you. hits first hs – strong full turn – huge taktchev as always – hits her straddle back well – squatty landing on her double front with a lunge, but great on the bars. She’s back. 

Illinois vault:
1. Foley – high yfull – knees bent and a hop back. 
2. Horth – Good body position on her full – not as much distance as some of the Michigan vaulters – pretty big step back.
3. Lyons – Some messy knees on that yfull and not nearly the height that we’ve seen from the other vaulters today – small hop.
4. Buchanan – Much bigger height than the others – off direction somewhat and a hop, but the dynamics were stronger.
5. O’Connor – Small leg separation on her block but another with strong dynamics – very good height  and distance – clean form in the air – small hop.
6. Kanchanalaveerat – Just because they needed a sixth vault – just a layout that was pretty piked and a hop forward.

After 2: Michigan 98.225, Illinois 97.775
Scoring on bars has been a little conservative today. Sugiyama was truly excellent, as were Brown and Sheppard, though they gave away more on the dismounts to account for their scores. This is a strong rotation and looks better with Sheppard back in. Brooke Parker also hit in exhibition, though had a couple short handstands. Illinois did not show the dynamics that Michigan did on most of their vaults (Buchanan and O’Connor are exceptions), which kept the scores down. They also didn’t bring the sticks today and had just the five competitors with 10.0 SVs.

Now Michigan goes to beam. Let’s keep this trend up from the first two meets.  

Rotation 3 – Michigan on beam, Illinois on floor
Michigan beam:
1. Casanova – solid punch front to beat jump – she just looks a little tentative finishing these skills like the full turn, but very nice loso series. slightly crooked on switch side but hit securely – good straddle jump to back tuck – gainer pike with a bend at the hips to hold the stick.
2. Sugiyama – large correction on loso but she stays on – a little tight in switch side but hit – strong pike jump to back tuck – 2.5 dismount is very good with a small step. She pulled it back after the early mistake. 
3. Williams – Clean on her opening side aerial – hits full turn – pulls around split jump full – no real wobbles so far – just a slight check on her loso series – 1.5 dismount with some crossed legs and a step forward. Michigan keeps hitting beam.
4. Brown – love the extension in her legs – solid loso series – switch to split jump are hit and 180 – small correction before her side somi and another on landing it, but both tiny – aerial to beat jump – full turn – Good stick or stickish on the 2/1 dismount. Two or three very small checks -borderline if anything – but lovely form throughout.
5. Artz – Pike jump to straddle 3/4 is very nice – aerial and slightly slow connecting out of it but kept moving so it’s fine – full turn is nice – front toss is perfection – front 1.5 dismount with a stick. Great routine.
6. Chiarelli – strong bhs loso – beat jump then pauses – repeats into the straddle 3/4 and hits it – side aerial is confident and secure – full turn – round off to a stuck double back. It’s another hit beam rotation for Michigan. Look at this.

Illinois floor:
1. Naleway – hits double pike mount (flexed feet but secure enough) straddles to wolf for her dance elements – layout half to front layout middle pass – long pause before final pass – but everything is clean enough. No major issues. Love the front stepout out of her dismount.
2. Foley – double tuck with good form in the air – slides back though – punch rudi middle pass ismore secure – straddle jump full to wolf full – got them around well – 1.5 to a front tuck, another solid routine without big lift on the tumbling though. Just pulled that tuck around.
3. Horth – Rudi to straddle jump opening pass – front layout to front tuck middle pass – was that supposed to be two layouts? – switch ring – 1.5 to front tuck dismount.  Very similar to previous two routines in quality aside from that odd middle pass.
4. O’Connor – solid front through to double back opening pass – very secure double pike with medium chest position – as on vault, she shows her bigger power in this routine – rudi to finish – secure landings on her tumbling – and amplitude, should be easily the best score so far.
5. Buchanan – Solid double pike to start – switch side to straddle full – straddle looked a little short – 1.5 to layout – some bent knees in the 1.5 – lands short on her double tuck dismount with a stumble forward – that’s a shame because she can be a bigger score than that. 
6. No sixth floor worker.

Christopherson in exhibition for Michigan comes off on her loso series at the top.

After 3: Michigan 147.475, Illinois 146.525
Suddenly, Michigan has got this thing on beam. There were a few errors here and there, but the wobble from Sugiyama was the only time anyone looked like coming off the beam. Nicole Artz was beautiful and Chiarelli was solid. For Illinois, they were doing perfectly fine on floor, but then had an issue from Buchanan in the fifth spot for a lower score and then couldn’t put up a 6th competitor, so the score probably looks worse than the rotation was.

Rotation 4 – Michigan on floor, Illinois on beam
Michigan floor:
1. Williams – Lindsay would like us to shimmy with her. No thank you. I will not be doing that. Good form and landing position on opening double pike – 1.5 to layout middle pass goes right to the edge but stays in – and solid on the final double tuck as well. Pretty good chest position in these landings compared to some of the teams this weeked.
2. Brown – bounces a little landing her opening double pike – great high 1.5 into layout middle pass – good positions on her split elements as well, not cheating those – solid double tuck.
3. Parker – double arabian mount with a very large bounce forward – good contained form in the air, though – 1.5 through to 1.5 middle pass – good height on double pike, just a minor slide back – great power, just lacking control which will bring the score down.
4. Sugiyama – very secure landing on the pike full in – it is a staggered landing, but that happens on the piked full in – front full to layout middle pass – very solid double pike dismount – perfect landing and good chest position. Very well done.
5. Chiarelli – Tuck full looks great in the air – just lands a little short – 1.5 to layout is solid – switch side to straddle full are both hit – also a little short on her double pike with a hop forward. She can be stronger on those landings, but it will still be a solid score.
6. Artz – Another very good piked full in – she keeps her legs together on that unlike a lot of people – dance elements are clearly up to 180 as well – sticks the front layout to front full – she’s in “I want to breath but I have to smile” mode before the dismount – solid double pike. Should be another big score. She gives the least away in dance elements and securely landed all her passes.

Illinois beam:
1. O’Connor – press handstand to split mount – loso series looked solid but wobble moving out of it – small check on full turn – switch to straddle 1/4 – straddle jump to loso is secure – a few early breaks but solid after that – stuck gainer full.
2. Foley -fluid full turn – sloppy legs on bhs loso series and looked like she should be off line but she pulled it back with only a minimal correction – minor check on aerial – sticks gainer full.
3. Buchanan – standing loso is secure – straddle 3/4 is nice as well – full turn – bent knees on bhs loso series with a bend to the side – switch side is a little short – but sticks the 1.5 dismount very well.
4. Naleway -solid position on switch to straddle 1/4 – bhs loso series. Sloppy knees is a theme in this rotation – huge wobble on the full turn but stays on – solid aerial – straddle 3/4 is short of 180 – sticks her front full dismount.
5. Horth – nice full turn – smallish check on loso series – back leg looked a little short on switch – leg flies up on aerial as well – she has a pretty look on beam just seems tentative on these skills for small checks – sticks gainer full.
6. Kato – medium wobble on loso series, but her form is stronger than the rest of the team – another wobble on full turn – hits aerial – strong split jump to a pretty believable sheep jump. Sticks gainer pike. Two wobbles in there, but the most refined routine on the team.

FINAL: Michigan 196.850, Illinois 195.475
That performance is enough to keep them ahead of Utah in the rankings. Another really solid performances. There was nothing in that meet I would consider a major error, let alone a fall. A couple medium things, a couple small things. The main thing is that Michigan looks so much more prepared than some of the other teams we have seen struggling so far. They were vault landings away from hitting 197 today. We’re seeing a floor exhibition from McPeak now. She bounces out of bounds on her opening double back. Illinois did not have a poor performance, but they gave away a few too many tight errors on beam and then didn’t have enough top level routines on vault and floor to make up for some weaker performances.

Thanks for reading!

4 thoughts on “[11] Illinois @ [4] Michigan Live Blog”

  1. Thank you! I'm so impressed that Michigan has been able to stay in the top 5 after losing such a huge senior class. And beam!! Hopefully Austin can get back into the vault lineup by early February because vault is probably there weakest event and I think having her vault again will be the key to them finally breaking 197, I mean they're already so close.

  2. Do you think Michigan would have been scored differently with “SEC scoring”? How do you think they compare to other teams that they're close to in the rankings?

  3. Great commentary! I wish I had realized this existed while I was watching the meet on Sunday. I need to make the Balance Beam Situation a bigger part of my regular gymterneting! 🙂

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