With only .125 separating the top three finishers, the quad meet between Illinois, Oregon State, Kentucky, and Lindenwood did not disappoint. The lead continuously switched back and forth and everything came down to the final rotation, as the greatest of meets always do.
Oregon State barely edged out Illinois and Kentucky to take the win with a 195.225, and they did so by staying consistent. The meet was generally tightly scored, but Oregon State was able to get enough solid scores on each event to finish on top. A pair of 9.800s from Madi Dagen and Kaitlyn Yanish led the vault squad, where the rotation total was a 48.775. The only fall of the meet for Oregon State came on bars, but a 9.825 from Halli Briscoe helped keep the team in the mix. Isis Lowrey, Maela Lazaro, and Dagen all put up 9.825s on balance beam, and Oregon State’s floor 49.025 performance was their best rotation of the night and helped them take home the win to open their season.
The home team Illinois finished just behind Oregon State with a 195.175 in their season opener, with vault being the main struggle. The Illini were forced to count a 9.625 and a 9.600 after a fall, keeping the rotation score at 48.575. The other three events were really consistent, with a pair of 9.875s from Mary Jane Otto on bars and beam a highlight. Floor was the best rotation of the night for Illinois, with Kylie Noonan scoring a 9.9oo and all six gymnasts nailing their routines for a 49.0 rotation score.
Right behind Illinois were the Kentucky Wildcats, who were the favorites to win this meet. The Wildcats just could not seem to completely hit their stride at any point in the meet, and had to count two scores in the 9.5s on floor. Junior star Mollie Korth did win the all-around with a score of 39.075, but overall Kentucky did not have the big scores to defeat Oregon State or Illinois. Kentucky came into this week ranked seventh, and will hope to climb back up after this week to prove they are still among the best in the country.
Lindenwood rounded out the pack with a 192.525, and had a very consistent meet with the exception of vault, where a few falls gave them a rotation total of 47.475. Lindenwood continues to improve every year and will be exciting to watch over the next few years.Tags: Halli Briscoe, Illinois, Illinois Illini, Isis Lowrey, Kaitlyn Yanish, Kentucky, Kentucky Wildcats, Kylie Noonan, Lindenwood, Madi Dagen, Maela Lazaro, Mary Jane Otto, Mollie Korth, NCAA Gymnastics, Oregon State, Oregon State Beavers