Big Ten Women’s Gymnastics Week 6 Recap: It’s crowded at the top

By Caroline Price | February 12, 2024
Illinois' Abby Mueller on floor at the 2024 Mean Girls Super 16.
© Filippo Tomasi/Gymnastics Now

With approximately three-tenths separating the top four teams, this Big Ten women’s gymnastics season continues to keep us on the edge of our seats.

After posting a 197.475, Michigan State remains at the top of the conference, but not by much. Michigan, Ohio State, and Minnesota are close behind, and their eyes are on the prize.

With conference championships a month away, tune-in for what’s sure to be a tight race for the regular season and championship titles.

Keep reading to catch up on Week 6’s results.

#11 Michigan @ #16 Minnesota

Final score: Michigan: 197.375 – Minnesota: 197.175


The Wolverines fought back in a hostile environment to leave Minneapolis with a big win and another 197. Sierra Brooks continued her winning ways, claiming the all-around title with a 39.675.

After underwhelming scores from the front of the bars lineup, the final three Wolverines came up big to secure a 49.350 in the first rotation. Brooks and Naomi Morrison posted strong 9.9s for their efforts, but Carly Bauman led the team with her 9.95. Bauman’s straddled Jaeger to overshoot and nearly-stuck double front tuck were exceptionally clean, earning the bars title.

Highlight: Gabby Wilson on beam (9.95)

The Wolverines found some of their landings on vault for a 49.275. Morrison nearly stuck her Yurchenko 1.5 for a 9.9, and both Brooks (9.9) and Wilson (9.875) took small hops for strong scores. Morrison and Brooks tied with two Gophers for the vault title.

Brooks led the way again on floor, earning a 9.925 for her dynamic opening full-in and front through to double back. Wilson added her second 9.9 of the night, and Reyna Guggino also tallied a 9.875 to bring the Wolverines to a 49.325.

Of note: Jacey Vore replaced Morrison in the floor lineup after the latter landed awkwardly on a pass in the one-touch warmup. Morrison was seen sitting down and icing her ankle after.

Michigan executed a gutsy beam rotation amid a rowdy Minnesota crowd. Wilson and Brooks were near-perfect, both earning 9.95s to tie for the win. Brooks’ hit routine was clutch; without it, Mya Hooten’s eventual perfect 10 on floor would’ve put Minnesota on top.

Next up, the Wolverines head to Toledo to face Rutgers in more Big Ten action at Elevate the Stage. Bev Plocki’s squad will look to return to the high-197 range ahead of the first week of National Qualifying Score (NQS) rankings.

Upcoming matchup: Friday, February 16 @ 7 p.m. ET | Rutgers vs. Michigan (Elevate the Stage)


Minnesota fell to Michigan despite a late push on floor. The Gophers’ 197.175 marks their second consecutive 197+ score in 2024, a trend they’ll look to prolong. Sarah Moraw and Gianna Gerdes shared the vault title with two Wolverines (9.9), and Mya Hooten won bars (9.95) and floor (10.0).

Highlight: Mya Hooten on floor (10.0)

The Golden Gophers incurred landing errors from the first three athletes, followed by exceptional vaults from the final three. Moraw rocketed off the table on her Yurchenko full, sticking for a career high 9.9. Gianna Gerdes also posted a 9.9 for her Yurchenko 1.5 with a small hop in place.

After just a 9.5 in the leadoff spot, the Gophers rebounded to post a 49.200 on bars. Both Gerdes and Hooten were clutch once again, earning a 9.9 and 9.95, respectively. Hooten’s routine tied a career high and featured a massive piked Jaeger to overshoot.

While there were no disasters, Minnesota’s beam effort was stymied by small errors (49.150). Lauren Pearl continued to be rock solid for Minnesota, cruising through her routine without a hesitation or wobble for a 9.875. Ella Sirjord also added a 9.825 to contribute to the Gophers’ score.

The Gophers entered floor trailing by 0.425, needing to make up some ground, and they did all they could. The team posted a season-high 49.650, highlighted by Hooten’s eighth-career perfect 10 on floor. Four other athletes went 9.9+.

Moving forward, the Gophers will look to claim a conference road win as they face the Fighting Illini.

Upcoming matchup: Sunday, February 18 @ 3 p.m. ET | Minnesota @ Illinois | Live Stats | Video (Big+)

#25 Illinois @ #10 Michigan State

Final score: Michigan State: 197.475 – Illinois: 196.200

Michigan State

The Spartans claimed a commanding win over the Illini to ascend to 5-0 against conference opponents. Sage Kellerman secured the vault title (9.925), Delanie Harkness the bars (9.925), and Nikki Smith the floor (9.95). Skyla Schulte took home the all-around win with a 39.475.

Highlight: Delanie Harkness on bars (9.925)

Schulte got the Spartans off to a rocking start on vault, earning a season-high 9.875 for her Yurchenko full. Smith and Kellerman posted 9.9+ scores to end the rotation, with the latter sticking her front pike half for her fourth vault win this year.

The best bars team in the Big Ten was less than perfect this week, but still managed a 49.200. Schulte and Kellerman added strong 9.85s, while Harkness nailed her Gienger and full-in for a meet-best 9.925.

On beam, the Spartans continued to show their prowess, posting a 49.400. Giana Kalefe earned a big 9.9 in the leadoff spot, nailing her triple series. Gabrielle Stephen notched a season-high 9.925 in the anchor position, highlighted by a laid-out front toss and stuck double twist dismount.

Michigan State posted a strong 49.525 on floor to seal the “W” over the Illini. Smith led the way (9.95) for her second floor win of 2024. Stephen, Harkness, and MaKayla Tucker all added 9.9s to bolster the team score and secure a decisive win.

Next up, Michigan State looks to close Big Ten dual-meet action with a win versus Maryland. The Spartans will look to post a high-197 score to continue to climb in the national rankings.

Upcoming matchup: Sunday, February 18 @ 1 p.m. ET | Maryland @ Michigan State | Live Stats | Video (Big+)


Illinois fell to the Spartans after posting a 196.200 in Jenison Field House. Mia Takekawa left the meet with a win, posting a 9.95 to claim the beam title.

The Illini tallied a strong 49.225 on bars to open their meet. Takekawa and Lyden Saltness tied for the top score for the Illini, 9.875. Takekawa’s resurgence on bars will continue to be important for the squad moving forward.

Highlight: Mia Takekawa on beam (9.95)

The team’s lowest event total was vault, earning just a 48.600 after a surprising fall from Arielle Ward in the anchor spot. Kadyn Fitzgibbon led the way with a 9.775 for her Yurchenko full with nice distance.

The Illini posted a strong 49.225 on floor. Allie Morgan was gorgeous, showcasing a lovely tour jeté full to wolf full and spectacular dance for a career-best 9.85. Mia Townes notched a season-high 9.925 to close the rotation.

After an uncharacteristic fall from Townes in the leadoff spot on beam, the Illini persevered to earn a solid 49.150. Kaitlyn Ewald and Ruthuja Nataraj tallied strong 9.85s to continue the comeback, followed by Takekawa’s 9.95. Takekawa was at her best, nailing her aerial to back handspring and combination dismount.

Next up, the Illini face a challenging doubleheader in Week 7. The team first jets off to Missouri for the 2024 GymQuarters Invitational, followed by a key dual meet vs. Minnesota in Urbana-Champaign.

Upcoming matchup(s): 

Penn State @ #15 Ohio State

Final score: Ohio State: 197.350 – Penn State: 196.650

Ohio State

Ohio State reentered 197 territory with a win over a challenging Penn State squad. Payton Harris claimed the all-around with a 39.500 in addition to the vault and floor titles.

The Buckeyes put together solid landings on vault despite tight scoring (49.075). Kaitlyn Grimes stuck her Yurchenko full cold for the second time this season, earning a 9.825. Harris showed her cleanest Yurchenko 1.5 in 2024 for an event-winning 9.875.

Highlight: Nicole Riccardi on bars (9.95)

The dynamic duo of Tory Vetter and Harris posted a pair of 9.85s for the bars lineup. However, Nicole Riccardi stole the show, posting a career-best 9.95 to win the event. Riccardi showcased a gorgeous Ray and Pak salto, capped with a stalder to stuck double back.

After subpar team scores on the first two events, the Buckeyes posted a massive 49.525 on beam to tie their program record. The rotation saw four athletes set career highs (Ella Hodges, Vetter, Alexis Hankins, and Jojo Warga), but Hodges was the star. Hodges notched a 9.95 and the event title for her routine, including a Gainer layout stepout and spectacular stuck dismount.

The Buckeyes closed the meet with a huge 49.475 on floor. Harris put forward her best effort of the season, earning a 9.95 and the floor win for her front double full to punch front. Vetter was right behind her with a career-high 9.925. Savannah Gonzalez also posted a career high (9.875).

Next up, the Buckeyes will look to remain in the 197 range as they face the Iowa Hawkeyes on the road on Friday, February 16.

Upcoming matchup: Friday, February 16 @ 7:30 p.m. ET | Ohio State @ Iowa – Live Stats | Video (BIG+)

Penn State

Penn State fell to Ohio State despite posting a season-high road score (196.650). Ava Piedrahita claimed the vault title, and Amani Herring earned the beam title en route to a career day for the sophomore.

The Nittany Lions took an early lead after a 49.100 on bars. Cassidy Rushlow was a highlight, posting a team-high 9.875 for her stunning straddled Jaeger to overshoot and full-twisting double tuck. Gabrielle Gallentine and Maddie Johnston tallied solid 9.825s.

Highlight: Ava Piedrahita on vault (9.875)

On vault, Piedrahita executed arguably the best Omelianchik in the NCAA, sticking for a controversially-low 9.875. Herring and Johnston both contributed strong 9.8s to the team total.

The Lions continued to push the Buckeyes with a big 49.300 on floor. Herring nailed her double Arabian, posting a 9.9. A trio of Nittany Lions earned 9.875 to bolster the team score (Piedrahita, Alyssa Kramer, and Kalea McElligott).

The beam squad wrapped the meet up with confidence, posting a season’s best 49.325. Herring was spectacular, posting a career-high 9.95 to win the title, complete with a lovely side somi and stuck front full dismount. Bella Salcedo and Johnston also added strong 9.875s.

Next up, Penn State will face the Nebraska Cornhuskers in what’s likely to be a tight meet. The Nittany Lions will need to replicate their consistent team effort to leave Lincoln with a road win.

Upcoming matchup: Saturday, February 17 @ 8 p.m. ET | Penn State @ Nebraska | Video (Big+)

#24 Nebraska @ Maryland

Final score: Maryland: 196.675 – Nebraska: 196.125


The Big Red fell to Maryland after a rough vault rotation derailed their effort. Despite the loss, Huskers claimed event titles on all events but floor. Emma Spence also earned the all-around title with a 39.350.

Highlight: Kinsey Davis on bars (9.975)

Nebraska started impressively on bars, posting a 49.425. Four Huskers posted scores of 9.875 or better, with Kinsey Davis closing the rotation with a career-high 9.975 – her second of the season. Davis showed exquisite toe point throughout and a stuck double layout. Spence also added an impressive 9.9 – her third 9.9+ on bars in 2024.

Vault was subpar for the Huskers due to a fall from Csenge Bácskay and a botched vault from Ayzhia Hall (planned Yurchenko full, competed a tuck). Martina Comin was a highlight, winning the vault title for her Yurchenko 1.5 with just a tiny hop forward (9.9).

The Big Red recovered from vault with a strong 49.250 on floor. Although Halle Rourke suffered an unfortunate fall in the second spot, all counting scores were 9.8 or better. Sophia McClelland and Spence led the way with a pair of 9.9s.

On beam, Allie Gard was impressive, nailing a unique beat jump kick-out to aerial to immediate switch leap for a 9.775. After a fall from Emma Simpton, Spence got the Huskers back on track with a crucial 9.825. McClelland came up big once again, tallying a 9.875 for the beam title.

The Big Red head home to host Penn State in another highly-contested meet. The Huskers will need to execute a more complete meet to defeat Sarah Brown’s formidable Nittany Lions.

Upcoming matchup: Saturday, February 17 @ 8 p.m. ET | Penn State @ Nebraska | Video (Big+)


The Terrapins upset No. 24 Nebraska in College Park after posting a season-high team total.

Maryland had a solid effort on vault, scoring a 49 flat. Once again, Natalie Martin led the way for the Terps, posting a 9.85 for her Yurchenko 1.5 with just a small hop forward. Josephine Kogler also added a strong 9.825 to round out the Terps’ top two.

The bars squad secured the Terps’ highest score of the season after a stick frenzy, earning a 49.300. Rhea LeBlanc and Lindsay Bacheler notched a pair of 9.9s to lead the team. In her second-career bar routine after an injury-plagued career, Bacheler’s routine was particularly impressive.

The Terrapins posted a 49.050 on beam despite a fall from Victoria Gatzendorfer. Martin earned a team-high 9.85 for her veteran-like routine, complete with a nailed back handspring to layout stepout and beautiful toe point. Freshman Layla Hammer was also impressive, tallying the third-highest score in her debut (9.825).

Heading to floor, Maryland held approximately a two-tenth lead over the Huskers. After a fall in the second spot, Maddie Komoroski notched a 9.85 for her spectacular dance and clean twisting. Alexa Rothenbuescher stuck her whip to double tuck, earning a career-high 9.95 to win the event. Martin just needed to stay on her feet to win and did even better, posting a career-high 9.9 to clinch the meet.

Next up, Maryland travels to East Lansing to take on Michigan State. The Terrapins will want to emulate this performance to post a strong road score and challenge the Spartans.

Upcoming matchup: Sunday, February 18 @ 1 p.m. ET | Maryland @ Michigan State | Live Stats | Video (Big+)

Iowa @ Rutgers

Final score: Iowa: 196.300 – Rutgers: 195.325


Iowa returned to the win column, defeating Rutgers in Piscataway. Karina Muñoz claimed the all-around title with a career high (39.400) in her first all-around effort of the season, followed closely by a career-best from freshman phenom Eva Volpe (39.350).

Highlight: Ilka Juk on beam (9.9)

The Hawkeyes got off to a strong start, posting a season’s best 49.100 on bars. Volpe was a rock, sticking her double layout for a 9.825. Gianna Masella earned a 9.875 to win the event, sticking her dismount and roaring with excitement.

Vault was the Hawkeyes’ lowest score of the day after landing errors from multiple athletes (48.75). Nonetheless, Volpe and Muñoz continued to be a 1-2 punch, earning a pair of 9.85s to salvage the rotation. Volpe stuck her Yurchenko full with excellent form, good for a career high.

Iowa was a tale of consistency on floor, tallying a 49.175 to extend its lead. All five counting scores went 9.8+, with Muñoz and Bailey Libby tying for the win with 9.85s.

The Hawkeyes sealed the deal on beam, posting an impressive 49.275 to close the meet. Despite a fall from Alexa Ebeling, the remainder of the lineup delivered. Ilka Juk was a highlight, earning a 9.9 and the beam title for her intricate yet elegant routine.

Larissa Libby’s gritty team returns home next week to face Ohio State. The Hawkeyes will need hits from key contributors to challenge the Buckeyes for the win on their Senior Day.

Upcoming matchup: Friday, February 16 @ 7:30 p.m. ET | Ohio State @ Iowa – Live Stats | Video (BIG+)


Rutgers fell to the Hawkeyes despite improving by nearly a point from last week’s showing. Emily Leese claimed the vault and floor titles after another strong individual performance.

The Scarlet Knights posted a solid 48.850 on vault. Gabrielle Dildy nearly stuck her Yurchenko full for a 9.8, followed by Leese’s meet-winning 9.875. Leese’s 1.5 had her best distance this year and just a tiny hop forward.

Highlight: Jacqueline Manifold on beam (9.875)

Bars saw a handful of errors for a 48.550. After Elliot Goldsmith endured two major errors for a 7.850, Olivia DiNovi was poised and clean, sticking her dismount to post a 9.725 amid immense pressure. Bars star Avery Balser also came through, notching a 9.825 to close the rotation.

Rutgers continued to establish itself as a beam team, posting a season’s best 49.125. Jacqueline Manifold notched a season high and team-best 9.875, nailing her acrobatic series with clean confidence. Dildy also notched a career high (9.85) for her hit routine, featuring a strong front toss to back handspring.

The Knights finished strong on floor with a 49.175, led by Leese’s 9.85. Leese put on a tumbling clinic for the crowd, sticking her front through to double tuck to close the meet.

Rutgers @ New Hampshire Quad

Final score: Towson: 196.300, Rutgers: 196.200, New Hampshire: 195.875, Brown: 194.700

Rutgers collected non-conference wins over New Hampshire and Brown en route to its highest total of the season. Despite the close loss to Towson, the Scarlet Knights enjoyed many individual highlights.

The squad started off on beam, posting a 48.775 in what would ultimately be their lowest event score of the day. Followed by a series of 9.7+ scores, Stephanie Zannella notched a season’s best 9.875 to lead the Knights and tie for the event title.

Highlight: Emily Leese on floor (9.925)

Floor was hugely successful, with the team posting their ninth-best floor score in program history (49.275). Avery Balser notched a career-high 9.875 in just her second floor routine this season. Gabrielle Dildy and Emily Leese also posted career highs (9.850, 9.925, respectively). Leese’s floor was her best of the season, nailing her full-twisting double for a share of the event title.

The vault lineup did their job, posting a 49 flat. Leese notched her second 9.9+ of the day for her massive Yurchenko 1.5. Dildy continued to be reliable, adding a strong 9.825 for second on the team.

Bars was the difference-maker for the Scarlet Knights. Heading into Durham, the Knights’ highest bars score was a 48.750. Leaving Durham, it’s now an impressive 49.150 (the fourth-highest total in Rutgers history). The score reflects a collective effort. Balser ultimately won the event with a 9.9, earning her third career 9.9+ score on bars and a season high.

Next up, Rutgers heads to Toledo to face Michigan in a tough road meet. The Scarlet Knights will hope to bring their bars success to the Midwest as they look to record another strong away score.

Upcoming matchup: Friday, February 16 @ 7 p.m. ET | Rutgers vs. Michigan (Elevate the Stage)