The competitive landscape continued to unfold in Week 3 of the Big Ten women’s gymnastics season. While the beginning of conference play saw Michigan State prove their talent, it also saw top teams struggle to optimize their own.
Though the Big Ten is home to the current No. 1 vaulter (Sage Kellerman, Michigan State) and the No. 1 beamer (Brooklyn Rowray, Minnesota), few teams have collectively reached their full potential. With conference play just beginning, there’s no telling which team will end up on top.
Read below to find out how your favorite squad fared in Week 3.
#14 Michigan @ #9 Ohio State
Final Score: Michigan: 197.400 – Ohio State: 197.025
After a shaky beam rotation, the Buckeyes fell to Michigan at the Covelli Center on Sunday. The team posted multiple career highs in the meet, and Payton Harris continued to shine, winning the all-around over Michigan’s Sierra Brooks and Gabby Wilson.
The Buckeyes outscored Michigan on vault – an especially impressive feat considering their lack of 10.0 start values relative to the Wolverines. Harris brought the squad’s only Yurchenko 1.5, taking a small hop forward for a team-best 9.9.
Harris led the way once again on bars with a 9.90 for her stunning Ray and stuck blind full to double tuck. Nicole Riccardi was also a highlight, earning a season’s best 9.875.
Despite career-best efforts from Ella Hodges (9.95) and Payton Harris (9.925), the remainder of the beam lineup struggled. Big Ten freshman of the week Courtney McCann fell on her roundoff to two-footed layout for a 8.975, after last week’s 9.975.
Nonetheless, the Buckeye floor team finished the meet strong. The Buckeyes notched three scores of 9.9 or higher, highlighted by Ella Hodges’ third-consecutive 9.9+ score in 2024 (9.925).
Michigan showed grit en route to a huge conference-opening dual meet win over Ohio State. The Wolverines claimed a share of all four event titles in a complete team win.
Bars started slowly, with the first four athletes struggling to tap into the high-9.8s after form and landing errors. However, Carly Bauman continued her winning ways on the event, nailing her double front dismount for an event-best 9.95.
While the vault rotation saw major landing errors from much of the lineup, Naomi Morrison and Gabby Wilson were nearly faultless. Both gymnasts stuck their Yurchenko 1.5s cold for 9.95s and ushering a momentum change for the Wolverines.
Though Bev Plocki’s squad entered floor trailing the Buckeyes by nearly two-tenths, they shot into the lead after a 49.475 effort. Three consecutive 9.9+ scores, highlighted by Brooks’ event-winning 9.95, led the way for the Blue.
The Wolverines sealed the deal with their strongest beam total of the season (49.500). Jenna Mulligan was fantastic in the leadoff spot, earning a career high 9.9. Reyna Guggino also tied her career high with a 9.875. Sierra Brooks’ stuck double twist dismount locked in the win, earning a meet-best 9.975.
#18 Iowa @ #15 Minnesota
Final Score: Minnesota: 196.850 – Iowa: 196.150
Minnesota opened its Big Ten season with a formidable win over Iowa. The Gophers began the night with their highest vault total this season (49.225). Highlighting the effort was a massive stuck Yurchenko 1.5 from Mya Hooten for a 9.95 and the event title.
Although bars was the weakest of the four events for Minnesota, freshman Jordyn Lyden proved consistent once again, tying her career-high 9.85.
Beam began with a potential disaster after leadoff Emily Koch suffered two falls for an 8.525. However, Lauren Pearl responded emphatically, getting the Gophers back on track with a 9.875. Katie Horak followed suit, matching Pearl’s score for a career high. Gianna Gerdes closed the rotation cleanly, erasing the unsavory opening score.
The Gophers sealed the deal on floor with a true floor party, notching a 1-2 finish from Mya Hooten and Seria Johnson to the roar of the fans in Maturi Pavilion. Hooten looked as dynamic as ever, sticking her full-twisting double back en route to the the floor title (9.95).
Though Larissa Libby’s Hawkeyes fell to Minnesota, they claimed event titles along the way. Karina Muñoz and Adeline Kenlin continued their outstanding seasons, taking home the beam and bars titles, respectively.
Beginning on bars, Iowa had to fight early after a fall from their leadoff athlete. However, three hit routines, followed by career highs from Gianna Masella (9.85) and Adeline Kenlin (9.9), helped salvage the rotation.
Although vault saw landing errors from multiple athletes, Muñoz seemed immune to the issue, nearly sticking her full for a team-best 9.85.
While floor started slow, the back end of Iowa’s lineup packed a punch. In her season debut, Hanna Castillo was captivating, combining intricate choreography with stellar landings for a team-best 9.875 (Castillo earned a 9.95 from one judge).
The Hawkeyes finished triumphantly on beam with their best event total of the night (49.225). The team went six-for-six on the rotation, with Muñoz earning the beam title for her effortlessly floaty beam-work (9.9).
#16 Michigan State @ Penn State
Final Score: Michigan State: 197.475 – Penn State: 195.950
It was Skyla Schulte’s night in Happy Valley. The junior took home the bars, beam, floor, and all-around titles against Penn State while star vaulter Sage Kellerman took home her second vault win of 2024. Delanie Harkness shared the bars title with Schulte, proving her consistent strength on the event.
The Spartans started off strong with a 49.400 on bars. Schulte and Harkness led the way with two 9.9s – the latter being Harkness’ third-straight 9.875+ score of 2024.
On vault, Michigan State surprisingly performed just three 10.0 start value vaults, a decision reflecting coach Mike Rowe’s intent to “continue training consistency.” The goal proofed fruitful, with few landing errors coming from the six athletes. Sage Kellerman was spectacular once again, sticking her front handspring pike half for a 9.95 (including a 10 from one judge).
On floor, the squad didn’t see a score below 9.825 and Schulte was the highlight once more, earning a 9.9 for her magnetic routine. The Spartans finished emphatically on beam with their fifth-highest event total in history (49.45). Schulte was exceptional once again, earning a 10.0 from one judge.
While they ultimately fell to the Spartans, coach Sarah Brown felt that Penn State exhibited a “full team effort” in their Big Ten season opener.
Vault went well for the Nittany Lions despite scoring discrepancies. In particular, Ava Piedrahita’s 9.875 for her stuck Omelianchik generated controversy on social media as fans grappled with the 9.80 score awarded by one judge and a 9.95 from the other.
After a fall in their leadoff routine, the Nittany Lions impressively went five-for-five through the back end of their bars lineup. Maddie Johnston was a highlight, earning a 9.825 for her stuck blind full to double tuck.
Beam was spectacular for the Nittany Lions. Their 49.325 total ranked as ninth best in the country at the time, with multiple career highs bolstering the score. Bella Salcedo claimed the beam title and a career high (9.95), and freshmen Haleigh Gibble (9.90) and Kalea McElligott (9.825) also earned personal bests.
Floor saw energized performances, including a career-high 9.875 from Alyssa Kramer and a season’s best from Amani Herring (9.875). Herring’s routine stood out, highlighted by her massive double Arabian.
#22 Illinois @ Nebraska
Final Score: Nebraska: 196.875 – Illinois: 196.400
While they did not come away with the win, the Illini’s 196.400 provided several highlights. Among them was senior Abby Mueller’s career-high 9.95 for her first collegiate floor title.
Illinois’ strongest event was their first, with senior Amelia Knight leading the way with a 9.925 on bars. Knight’s routine earned her a share of the event title and featured one of the highest double layout dismounts in the sport.
The Illini struggled with landing issues on vault, but sophomore Arielle Ward tied her career high (9.85) for her Yurchenko 1.5. Ruthuja Nataraj was also strong, earning a 9.825 for her well-landed Yurchenko full.
Floor was a highlight for many Illini. Alea Byrne earned a 9.875 for her controlled 2.5 to punch front pike and stuck double pike. Multiple routines with controlled tumbling ensued, only to be followed by Abby Mueller’s event-winning 9.95.
The Orange’s meet ended solidly on beam. Earning a 49 flat, the team’s counting scores ranged from 9.75 to 9.85, with Mia Takekawa predictably topping the rotation with a 9.90.
Nebraska’s win over Illinois was a tale of career highs and veteran leadership. En route to the Huskers’ highest home opener since 2012, Emma Spence collected event wins on vault, bars, and in the all-around. Sophia McClelland took home her second consecutive beam title and Csenge Bácskay tied Illinois’ Abby Mueller for the floor win.
The Huskers got off to a rousing start with a 49.225 on vault – their highest total on the event this season. Leading the way were Spence and Martina Comin, both nailing their Yurchenko 1.5s for career highs.
Bars was even more successful for Nebraska, with Bácskay leading the team off with a career-high 9.85. After a seven-minute equipment delay, Spence supplemented her stellar night with a gutsy routine, flying through her three transitions and sticking her blind full to double tuck for a 9.925.
Beam got off to a shaky start with a 9.675, 9.750, and a fall in the first three spots. However, the back of the lineup saved the day with consecutive career highs. Ayzhia Hall tallied a 9.90 for her effort, only to be eclipsed by McClelland’s 9.95 for the title.
Floor put an exclamation point on a strong meet for the Huskers, with all counting scores coming in at 9.825 or better. Most notably, Bácskay notched a career-high 9.95 for her technically superb tumbling and sophisticated routine.
Rutgers @ #23 Maryland
Final Score: Maryland: 196.450 – Rutgers: 195.550
The Terrapins continued their strong start to 2024 with a decisive win over Rutgers to open Big Ten competition. Along with their team win, two Terps claimed event titles. Josephine Kogler took home the beam title, and Alexa Rothenbuescher the floor win.
Vault was the only event that Maryland lost to Rutgers. Despite the event loss, the Terps showcased three 10.0 start values, with Natalie Martin’s leading the way. Martin’s clean Yurchenko 1.5 brought the top score for Maryland for the second consecutive week (9.85).
Bars saw a consistent effort until a fall on the final routine. Rhea LeBlanc was steady and reliable once again, hitting her routine for a 9.875.
Beam continued to be a strongpoint for the Terrapins. Maryland claimed the top four spots on the event, with Josephine Kogler earning her second event title of 2024.
Moving to floor, the Terps held a half-point lead and extended it. Despite a fall from Emma Silberman in the second spot, the floor squad notched a 49.325 thanks to a career best from Rothenbuescher (9.925).
Though they left College Park with a loss, the Scarlet Knights fought tooth and nail with Maryland. Eight athletes notched career highs and two claimed event titles in their season-high score.
Starting off on bars, Olivia DiNovi was a highlight, sticking her blind full to double tuck for a career high 9.80. Avery Balser was spectacular once again, drilling her double layout dismount to earn her third-straight 9.875 on the event and the bars title.
The Scarlet Knights beat out the Terps on vault with a 49.025. Valentina Lorente-Garcia opened the rotation with a career-high 9.825 for her powerful Yurchenko full. Elia Aird’s nearly-stuck Yurchenko full earned a career-best 9.875 for the the vault title.
Floor brought tumbling errors from the first three competitors. However, the final three athletes came up big with Emily Wood, Gabrielle Dildy, and Emily Leese all scoring 9.825+.
On beam, Dildy was strong again, earning a 9.80 in her collegiate beam debut. While the remainder of the lineup struggled to break the 9.8 mark, Stephanie Zannella ended the meet with the team’s best, a 9.825. Zanella’s routine was noteworthy, highlighting by a unique opening scale and triple series.