Illinois is the favorite at this home tri, but not overwhelmingly; while a repeat of its highest scores could keep it out of firing range of the other two teams, its average day is absolutely in reach. Bowling Green in particular is on a bit of a hot streak, with senior Laura Mitchell recording a school record on beam just last week. Jovannah East has entered the all around the past three weeks, scoring as high as 39.400. Lindenwood also set a season high last week, breaking the 195 mark on senior day and showing this team’s ability level after a few tougher meets earlier in the season. If it can keep that momentum, it could absolutely upset one of its DI opponents if they have some errors.
Consistency has been the challenge of the season for the Illini; based on individual top scores there is no reason that this team should top out in the low 196s. Hits from all arounders Nicole Biondi and Rae Balthazor are essential, and look for great routines on beam and floor from Haylee Roe as well.
ROTATION 1: ILLINOIS VT, LINDENWOOD UB, BGSU BB
ROE – ILL: FTY STUCK. A bit of body position in the air but not much.
KEARNS – BGSU: Nice switch leap combo, switch to LOSO a tiny bit off lne but adjusts with no problem, handstand to back drop choreo is BADASS. Gainer full stuck.
GIVENS – ILL: Full, shuffles one foot but close to a stick. Nice controlled twist.
ALEXANDER? – LU – Really nice handstands, stuck-ish DLO dismount.
BIONDI – ILL: Y1/2, beautiful in the air with a midsize step forward.
BGSU: Clean through leap combo, two foot layout!! with a small check.
MEEKS – ILL: Full with a hop back, good in the air.
HODAN – ILL: Slightly piked on FTY, holds the landing!
BALTHAZOR – ILL: Beautiful FTY with a hop back.
MITCHELL – LU: Fall on a release – too far from the bar, beautiful DLO dismount with a college stick that the judges probably aren’t falling for but still.
AUGUSTINE – BGSU: Great extension, really secure, side aerial back full dismount series.
MITCHELL – BGSU: She’s cut off by the bottom of the screen but not missing this one. Flic loso beautiful, switch split is nice and secure. Cat leap side aerial a tiny bit off line but works through it, lean forward on side somi. Full turn awesome with aggressive arms, flies off the side of the screen on double twist dismount but it looked good.
SOKOLOWSKI -LU: Beautiful Gienger, clear him to Pak is great, misses a handstand on HB, full turn to double back with a shuffle back.
EAST – BGSU: Flic loso with crazy air, straddle to tuck full leap series is great. Switch to straddle 1/4, stick on a 2.5 dismount?!?! That was awesome.
MCPEAK – BGSU: Flic loso is beautiful, cat leap to switch 1/2 nailed. Full turn beautiful, cat leap to side aerial. There is nothing to take so far. Double twist out of frame again but beautiful in the air.
BGSU 49.225, ILL 48.9, LU 48.8
BGSU got the padding it needed out of its strongest event. Illinois was really strong and a bit underscored on vault, while LU did enough to hold close. Staying on the beam is now the target for those two.
ROTATION 2: ILL BARS, LU BEAM, BGSU FLOOR
ALEXANDER – LU: Great side split mount, front aerial back tuck series. Orphan sissone is stunning, great full turn. Gainer pike dismount I think? Beautiful technique, I love.
BIONDI -ILL: Weiler to immediate Jaeger on HB, handstands a bit tentative, full turn to double back stuck.
DWYER – ILL: Blind to pike Jaeger to overshoot is beautiful, another stuck dismount!
We got two and a half seconds of India McPeak dancing and it cut away. Op, it’s back. And it’s gone again. Franklin is also doing beam, we don’t care about that.
GIVENS: ILL: Full turn to Gienger with a little leg split, leg wobble on bail but it’s okay, full turn to double back fights for the stick.
LYONS – ILL: Blind change to pike Jaeger is amazing, great bail. Shy on a handstand on HB, deep on DLO and has to take a step forward.
Someone from Lindenwood just did a triple series on beam, uncertain who it is because I can only see the top quarter of her body. Oh neat, it was Taylor Colwell.
HOWELL – ILL: Too far on a pike Jaeger and falls. Now counting Lyons’ 9.675. Nice Pak, way overarches a handstand on high bar but fights for it.
MILLIET – LU – Beautiful full turn, awesome kickover. Catch-foot scale choreo I love, split to sheep is amazing.
BALTHAZOR – ILL: Toe on to Tkachev and she FLIES. Great bail. full out dismount stuck dead. 9.95!!!!! 100% here for it. 5th-best score in program history.
HENRY – LU: Beautiful flic loso, I think her leap series was wolf hop switch side?? Lean on a side aerial, 3/2 dismount stuckish. No falls from what I’ve seen, it’s been super clean.
SOKOLOWSKI – LU: Triple series absolutely destroyed. Straddle straddle 1/2, sorta wobbles into dance. Punch front like it’s nothing, lovely full turn. 3/2 dismount with a nice college tick. So gooooood.
Mitchell beautiful in exhibition, too. 9.85!! Lindenwood is on FIRE.
— Illini W Gym (@IlliniWGym) March 4, 2018
Hey, thanks for doing my job for me Illinois sports communication team! <3
This is crazy close. Lindenwood being almost on 196 pace is NUTS. Watching how Illinois and BGSU match up through the next two rotations will be fascinating too. Sorry for the lack of BGSU ast rotation – this stream really doesn’t do floor so literally all I saw was some of McPeak’s dance sequence.
ROTATION 3: ILLINOIS BEAM, LINDENWOOD FLOOR, BOWLING GREEN VT
ROE – ILL: Oof, already off on acro series. Leap series is nice and solid, leans to hold the stick on 3/2 dismount.
BIONDI – ILL: Switch to straddle 1/4, beautiful. Flic loso, up on the toes of the front foot but that’s all. Cat leap front aerial is beautiful, full turn. 3/2 dismount with a baby hop. Beautiful!
We may literally just get to watch Illinois beam this rotation.
HOWELL – ILL: Full turn, already in love with her feet. Peng-stile pikeout is nailed. She is so beautiful. Gainer pike, stuck.
Think I saw Jovannah East hop back a little on vault in the background. It’s really hard to tell.
Shannon Goniwiecha (9.650) and Katie Morsefield (9.675) have led off on the vault. Still an opportunity for a good team score.
— BGSU Gymnastics (@FalconGymn) March 4, 2018
NOONAN – ILL: Sissone to gainer loso is awesome. Switch to split 1/2, misses a foot and has a small leg up check, cartwheel gainer full with a scoot back.
In the middle of the lineup, Nacaida earns a 9.625, while Lauren DeMeno hits one for a 9.775.
— BGSU Gymnastics (@FalconGymn) March 4, 2018
BALTHAZOR – ILL: Hitch kick switch side is lovely, flic loso over to one side of the beam but pretends it’s fine. Leg up on a kickover, beat jump to straddle 3/4. Gainer pike with a baby hop.
HODAN – ILL: Side aerial-bhs is beauuuutiful, switch to split perfect. Hitch kick to illusion a bit crazy but fine, side aerial? – gainer full stuck. That was pretty awesome. 9.95! Ties a program record on beam!
Fourth 9.9+ of the day on beam. It’s been pretty awesome.
Donovan in exo for Illinois.
With one rotation left, things have flipped. We'll head to the bars for the final portion of the meet. pic.twitter.com/KQLXmBPfiX
— BGSU Gymnastics (@FalconGymn) March 4, 2018
Vault is always a weaker piece for BGSU, so this isn’t unexpected. Lindenwood needs a 48.7 on vault to tie the highest score in the DII/USAG season. It’s also dropped down to third in USAG standings with strong performances from TWU and Bridgeport, but can retake #1 with very little effort.
ROTATION 4: LU VAULT, BGSU BARS, ILL FLOOR
Noonan hit for Illinois. I don’t think we’re going to get to see anyone else, unfortunately. I really want to see Lindenwood vault 🙁
BIONDI – ILL: Double back with a scoot back, I’m really distracted by the cards they’re using to choreograph the crowd yelling I-L-L-I-N-I in the middle of the routines. Front lay front full is awesome, good one!
HODAN – ILL: Front double thru punch front is gorgeous, back with a great Rudi. Queen of illusion turn <3
ROE – ILL: Nice controlled double pike, bit deep on double back. Front lay front full is great!
BALTHAZOR – ILL: Rebounds a little bit out of first pass, rest is nice and clean.
Lindenwood did it!!!
HOWELL – ILL: Floor music is Apologize by One Republic … and now it’s Fix You by Coldplay. Aw so beautiful <3 I basically didn’t even watch the tumbling.
FINAL: ILLINOIS 196.7, LINDENWOOD 195.625, BGSU 195.325
Lindenwood is able to upset DI Bowling Green, which started out strong on its two best pieces and then lost a little ground. Lindenwood recorded the highest score of the USAG or DII season so far, just beating the mark that TWU set this morning. It’s also more than good for Lindenwood to move back into #1 in USAG and MIC standings.
Illinois was next level today, scoring the ninth-highest team mark in program history and setting a season high by close to a point. It’s had such a struggle hitting at home this season, and to perform so exceptionally on senior night must mean a huge amount to this team. Plus, they’re just so beautiful. You have to be thrilled for them.
Vault: Sokolowski 9.875
Bars: Balthazor 9.95
Beam: Hodan 9.95
Floor: Howell, Biondi 9.9
AA: Biondi 39.425
Live blog by Rebecca Scally