Things Are Happening – December 7, 2018

A. I. DECLARE. BANKRUPTCY

The big trash-people news of the week was the revelation that USAG has decided to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. “I definitely understand everything that entails,” said me, immediately.

To make sure you believe exactly what USAG wants you to believe, the organization simultaneously issued a press release, a letter from Golfy Brand-Management, and an FAQ about bankruptcy. (Hi, you can’t deliver a Frequently Asked Questions page about something at the very same time you announce it—there has been no time for those questions to be asked frequently yet!)

All of these serve to tell us how awesome bankruptcy is, and how fab it’s going to be for everyone, how all the cool kids are doing it, and how you should definitely get yourself one, or a few to give out as gifts during the holiday season. It’s not a bankruptcy, you guys, it’s a bankrup-portunity.

And they’re doing it mostly because they care so much about the survivors. It’s all for them.

Continue reading Things Are Happening – December 7, 2018

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2019 Preview – Nebraska Cornhuskers

NEBRASKA ROSTER 2019
Seniors
Sienna Crouse
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed AA in 7 of 15 meets in 2018
  • #1 returning RQS on VT, UB
  • RQS of 9.920 VT, 9.920 UB, 9.910 FX, 9.610 BB
Megan Schweihofer
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed AA in 14 of 15 meets in 2018
  • #1 returning RQS on BB, FX
  • RQs of 9.935 FX, 9.875 VT, 9.840 BB, 9.830 UB
Juniors
Kelli Chung
(redshirt)
  • Has not competed a routine
Sierra Hassel
BB
FX
  • Competed 10 FXs, 9 BBs in 2018
  • RQS of 9.835 FX, 9.830 BB
Taylor Houchin
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Limited to UB for much of 2018
  • Added VT, BB in March
  • RQS of 9.900 UB, avg of 9.890 VT
  • Competed weekly AA in 2017
Catelyn Orel
(redshirt)
UB
FX
  • Returned from injury in 2018 to compete UB, FX
  • Made final FX lineup
  • RQS of 9.845 on FX, 9.800 on UB
Sophomores
Makayla Curtis
VT
BB
  • Competed 4 VTs in 2018 for 9.700 avg
Anika Dujakovich
VT
FX
  • Competed 4 VTs, 2 FXs in 2018
  • Avg of 9.788 VT, 9.725 FX
Kynsee Roby
  • Will miss 2019 season with foot surgery
  • Made final lineup on all 4 events in 2018
  • RQS of 9.840 UB, 9.825 UB, 9.725 FX
Megan Verceles Carr
VT
UB
BB
  • Competed 5 VTs in 2018 for 9.720 avg
Freshmen
Adnerys De Jesus
VT
BB
FX
  • Darien YMCA
  • 11th VT, 2018 JO Nationals
  • Training 10.0-start Y1.5
Sarah Hargove
UB
BB
FX
  • CGA
  • 1st AA, 2018 Region 5s
Abigail Johnston
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • American Twisters
  • 2nd AA, 2018 JO Nationals
Kaylee Quinn
VT
BB
FX
  • North Stars
  • 2nd FX, 2018 JO Nationals
Megan Thompson
BB
FX
  • Desert Lights
  • 6th AA, 2018 Region 1s
Rachel Thompson
(redshirt)
  • Did not compete in first season

FINAL SEASON RANKINGS
2018 – 6th
2017 – 7th
2016 – 8th
2015 – 8th
2014 – 6th
2013 – 14th
2012 – 8th
2011 – 4th
2010 – 7th
2009 – 17th


THE STORY
2018 was such a Nebraska season. We all spent three months not really talking about this team as a true challenger. They finished the regular season ranked 11th—even that was a significant improvement over the weeks previously—and then suddenly showed up to nationals to go, “What up turds, we’re making Super Six.”

That’s not an anomaly for the Huskers. Nebraska has outperformed its preseason ranking for five consecutive seasons now, so however you think Nebraska is going to do in 2019 right this second, it will probably end up being better than that. This year, I again don’t anticipate that Nebraska will be placed in the top 8 in the coaches poll, but Nebraska has nonetheless finished the year in the (now-coveted) top 8 each of the last five seasons. The only other schools to have achieved that are Oklahoma, Florida, and Alabama.

Yet this is also an age of transition for Nebraska. Dan Kendig abruptly retired during preseason because of compliance issues, meaning Heather Brink has taken over as interim head coach. This year’s team will also be without 13 of the 24 routines that appeared in the Super Six lineup last year. That’s…not a small number. If Nebraska is to make nationals this year, it will be another season of against-the-odds results.


VAULT 2019
Lineup locks: Taylor Houchin, Sienna Crouse, Megan Schweihofer
Lineup options: Adnerys De Jesus, Megan Verceles Carr, Makayla Curtis, Abigail Johnston, Anika Dujakovich, Kaylee Quinn

Vault has always been Nebraska’s showcase event, and though Kendig is no longer coaching the team, I don’t expect that reputation to dissipate any time soon. The big vaults are there. Continue reading 2019 Preview – Nebraska Cornhuskers

2019 Preview – Michigan Wolverines

MICHIGAN ROSTER 2019
Seniors
Olivia Karas
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed in first 5 meets of 2018 before season-ending injury
  • RQS in 2017 of 9.895 VT, 9.890 FX, 9.865 BB, 9.845 UB
Emma McLean
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competes weekly VT/FX
  • #1 returning score on both from 2018 (9.930 FX, 9.890 VT)
  • Can provide UB/BB as needed
Juniors
Lexi Funk
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed AA in 9 of 14 meets in 2018
  • #1 returning score on BB (9.880)
  • RQS of 9.895 FX, 9.805 UB, 9.775 VT
Maggie O’Hara
UB
BB
  • Competed 1 BB in 2018 for 9.300
Maddy Osman
VT
BB
FX
  • Did not compete in 2018 after missing end of 2017 with injury
Sophomores
Anna Dayton
UB
  • Joining team as sophomore
  • 7th UB, 2016 JO Nationals
Lauren Farley
UB
BB
FX
  • Made final 2018 lineups on UB/BB
  • RQS of 9.870 BB, 9.810 UB
  • Competed 1 FX for 9.850
Sam
Javanbakht
  • Did not compete in first season
Anne Maxim
VT
UB
FX
  • Transfer from Michigan State
  • RQS of 9.820 UB
  • Competed 5 VTs with peak of 9.800
  • 7th FX, 2017 JO Nationals
Syd Townsend
VT
UB
FX
  • Made final 2018 lineups on VT, UB, FX
  • #1 returning score on UB (9.875)
  • RQS of 9.875 VT, 9.830 FX
Freshmen
Abby Brenner
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Metroplex
  • 4th AA, 4th VT, 4th UB – 2018 JO Nationals
  • 1st AA – 2017 JO Nationals
Abby Heiskell
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Southeastern
  • 5th AA, 2017 Nastia
  • 1st AA, 2016 JO Nationals
Maddie
Mariani
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Arizona Dynamics
  • 4th AA, 2017 JO Nationals
Natalie
Wojcik
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Stallone
  • 1st AA, 2018 JO Nationals

FINAL SEASON RANKINGS
2018 – 13th
2017
– 10th
2016 – 13th
2015 – 7th
2014 – 10th
2013 – 7th
2012 – 13th
2011 – 6th
2010 – 10th
2009 – 14th


THE STORY
Michigan’s recent history has been defined by achieving the expected, solid results during the regular season but underperforming upon reaching the elimination meets.

For the last three years, Michigan has been the 7th-best team in the NCAA on both talent and January-March scores, but Michigan has nonetheless missed nationals in two of those three years—and in the other year, counted a fall on beam in the semifinal to finish 10th. Over the last five seasons, only two top-10 teams have failed to advance to nationals, and they’re both Michigan.

The realistic goal in 2019 will once again be to reach that coveted golden goose called nationals, but it’s so much harder now that only the top eight teams can make it. Some big programs will be left out, even with postseason hits. Expect Michigan to advance comfortably to the regional finals (top 16), but this team cannot afford to underperform its 7th-place talent in the postseason even a little bit this time around and still make it to nationals.


VAULT 2019
Lineup locks: Natalie Wojcik, Abby Brenner, Emma McLean, Olivia Karas
Lineup options: Lexi Funk,A bby Heiskell, Anne Maxim, Maddy Osman, Maddie Mariani

Michigan’s best opportunity to improve on last season’s scoring potential comes on vault, with a roster that is clearly superior to 2018’s lineup—especially the 2018 lineup put out after Karas’s injury. Continue reading 2019 Preview – Michigan Wolverines

National Team Rankings – December 2018

How It Works
Taking into account all scores recorded at competitions in the last six months, each nation is given a team total based on how its best-scoring group of five senior gymnasts would do in a hypothetical 3-up, 3-count team final.

Each individual’s best scores may come from any official competition (they need not all be from the same meet), and whichever group of five gymnasts would produce the highest score is the one selected.

Countries that have not shown enough senior routines in the last six months to fill a 3-up, 3-count team on each event are not included.

Rankings will be updated at the beginning of each month, and scores will expire after six months in order to provide the most up-to-date snapshot of where nations are at the current moment. The current rankings include only scores from June 2018–November 2018.

No new teams joined the rankings this month. Dropping off the rankings were Ireland, Algeria, Bolivia, and Namibia.

Last month’s ranking is in parentheses. Continue reading National Team Rankings – December 2018

Things Are Happening – November 30, 2018

A. USAG leadership whatevers

My case of USAG news fatigue syndrome is overwhelming. Anyway.

This week, Karen Golz “completed her service” as the chair of USAG’s board. Oh THANK you for your SERVICE, you American hero. Save your applause for the end!

She has been replaced by basically the same person, I think. The new chair is named Golfy Brand-Management, and she’s really into golfing and brand management. So we’re cured. Is there just a secret cabal of golf-business ladies that meets around the ninth green to Macbeth it up and give each other positions in the US Olympic movement?

Her introductory message is hilarious. Definitely read it. Best parts:

-“Some” challenges (yeah, I can think of a few)
-That tacked-on part about survivors that was obviously added after the first edit (nothing says “I care about this sentence” like starting with a conjunction—the resentment is thick like molasses)
-The reference to athletes finding success “both in the gym and in competition” (that’s not…those are…you meant “both in the gym and outside the gym” or something…)
-The exciting thing is that “we continue to maintain our membership.” Great. Hi, they barely have a choice, and that shouldn’t be the most exciting thing.

It’s all just so effing revealing.

USAG is also on the hunt for a new CEO, you guys. You know, that plum gig. Because everything’s fine. The board undertook an exhaustive search for the qualities that a new CEO should possess and the list is basically 1) proficiency in Microsoft Office and 2) a good attitude. When your list of qualities for CEO reads like a resume of nonspecific, uncheckable lies you wrote for a job you’re totally unqualified for, it’s a problem.

When it comes down to it, the sole qualification will be “actually wants to captain this sinking ship through a bankruptcy process.” And the winner is no one.

Oh. Also. Fun little note. USAG has decided not to acquiesce to decertification (because it’s about the gymnasts…) and will instead fight the process. That means that the USOC and USAG are continuing to have this horrendously public breakup on the quad as the USOC pursues stripping USAG of its national governing body status.

I live for the USOC playing out this little skit of “we can’t believe that USAG is so awful and we have to step in for the good of the athletes” like that’s something the USOC suddenly cares about—and like they’re not totally intertwined in responsibility and consequences.

B. You’re all the worst Continue reading Things Are Happening – November 30, 2018

2019 NCAA Roster Notes

I’ll have deep previews of the top schools coming in December, but for now—and with fantasy gym drafts open—check out the team roster notes to aid with all your lineup preparation and prognostication needs. (More teams to be added.)


UCLA
Seniors
Brielle Nguyen
BB
FX
  • Competed 13 BB routines in 2018 following transfer from Illinois — RQS of 9.850
  • Competed weekly FX in ’17 for Illinois
Katelyn Ohashi
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Ranked #1 in nation on FX, #3 on BB in 2018
  • RQS of 9.970 on FX, 9.945 on BB
  • Competed 12 UB routines for 9.696 avg (scored 9.8+ on 7 of 12)
  • VTed 4 times for 9.831 average
Stella Savvidou
  • Did not compete in 2018 due to injury
  • Further wrist surgery in October
  • Made final UB lineup in 2017
Macy Toronjo FX
  • Did not compete in 2018 due to injury
  • Is no longer listed as taking a redshirt year
  • Competed 8 FXs in 2017, peaking at 9.950
Juniors
Anna Glenn
VT
UB
BB
  • Returned from 2017 labrum injury to make final VT, UB lineups in 2018 – VT RQS of 9.825
  • Competed 5 UB routines, peak of 9.875
  • Competed one BB routine for 9.900
Grace Glenn
BB
  • Returned from 2017 labrum injury to compete BB in every meet in 2018
  • Hit 15 for 15 routines — RQS of 9.925
Felicia Hano
VT
BB
FX
  • Competed weekly VT, FX in 2018 — ranked #7 nationally on FX
  • RQS of 9.935 on FX, 9.900 on VT for Y1.5
  • Competed 2 BB routines (9.775 avg) and one UB routine (9.025) in 2018
Madison Kocian
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Returned from shoulder surgery to compete 13 BBs, 8 FXs, and 3 UBs in 2018
  • RQS of 9.875 on BB
  • Average of 9.861 on FX, 9.863 on UB
  • Also competed weekly VT in 2017 for 9.860 RQS
Gracie Kramer
VT
FX
  • Competed 13 FXs in 2018 for 9.890 RQS
  • Has 10.0 start VT, competed twice in 2018, hitting once
  • VTed 10 times in 2017 for 9.810 RQS
Giulianna Pino
  • Did not compete in first two seasons
Kyla Ross
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed AA in 10 of 15 meets in 2018
  • Ranked #1 nationally on UB
  • RQS of 9.960 on UB, 9.910 on BB, 9.895 on VT, 9.890 on FX
Mercedez Sanchez
  • Did not compete in first two seasons
Sophomores
Nia Dennis
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed VT, UB every week in 2018
  • Competed 11 FX routines and 3 BB routines
  • RQS of 9.885 on VT, 9.880 on UB, 9.860 on FX
  • Average of 9.792 on BB
Savannah Kooyman
UB
FX
  • Provided backup routines on UB, FX in 2018
  • Competed 3 UBs (9.800 avg) and 1 BB (9.825)
Kendal Poston
  • Did not compete in first season
Pauline Tratz
VT
FX
  • Competed VT, FX in 14 of 15 meets in 2018
  • RQS of 9.910 on FX, 9.875 on VT
  • Has potential 10.0 start on VT
Freshmen
Norah Flatley
UB
BB
FX
  • Chow’s
  • 3rd at 2014 Junior P&G Championships
  • Expected to be replacement-Peng on UB and BB
Margzetta Frazier
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Parkettes
  • Is continuing to train DTY on VT
  • Will be counted on for VT, FX, and UB. Can provide BB as needed
Sara Taubman
  • Head over Heels
  • 12th AA, 2018 Region 1s
Sekai Wright
VT
FX
  • AGA Long Beach
  • 1st on VT, 2018 JO Nationals
  • Has Yurchenko 1.5

 

OKLAHOMA
Seniors
Brenna Dowell
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed VT, UB, FX every meet in 2018
  • Hit 45-for-45 routines
  • RQS of 9.945 on VT, 9.915 on FX, 9.910 on UB
  • Performed 1 exhibition on BB in 2018
Ashley Hiller
FX
  • Did not compete in 2018 following transfer from Florida
  • Competed 4 FXs, 1 VT in first two years at UF
Nicole Lehrmann
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed VT, UB, BB every meet in 2018
  • Ranked #5 nationally on UB
  • RQS of 9.955 on UB, 9.885 on BB, 9.870 on VT
  • Competed 4 FXs in 2018 for 9.806 avg
  • Training Y1.5
Alex Marks
VT
  • Competed 7 VTs in 2018 for 9.835 RQS
Juniors
Jade
DeGouveia
VT
FX
  • Missed majority of 2018 season with injury
  • Returned on VT at nationals for 9.894 avg
  • Vaults 10.0-start Y1.5
  • Hit 1 of 2 FX routines in 2018
Maggie Nichols
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Ranked #1 nationally in AA in 2018
  • Ranked #1 nationally on VT, #2 on BB, #3 on FX, and #7 on UB
  • No RQS lower than 9.950 in 2018 season
Brehanna Showers
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Returned from injury in 2018 to make all four postseason lineups
  • RQS of 9.910 on BB, 9.875 on FX, 9.845 on VT
  • Average of 9.854 on UB
Sophomores
Jordan Draper
FX
  • Competed 1 FX in 2018 for 9.775
Evy Schoepfer
VT
FX
  • Competed 10 FXs for 9.855 RQS in 2018
  • Performed 2 VTs for 9.813 avg
  • Trained Y1.5 on VT
Karrie Thomas
UB
BB
FX
  • Transfer from Maryland
  • Competed weekly UB, BB, FX for Maryland in 2018
  • RQS of 9.850 FX, 9.820 UB, 9.795 BB
Anastasia Webb
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed AA in 10 of 15 meets in 2018
  • Made final S6 lineups on UB, BB, FX
  • RQS of 9.915 FX, 9.910 BB, 9.900 UB, 9.890 VT
  • Can VT 10.0 start Omelianchik or Y1.5
Carly Woodard
BB
  • Competed 5 BBs in 2018, hitting 4
  • Peak score of 9.950
Freshmen
Emma LaPinta
FX
  • Kurt Thomas
  • 20th AA, 2018 JO Nationals
Allie Stern
VT
FX
  • Perfect Balance
  • 1st place VT, 2017 JO Nationals
Olivia Trautman
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Twin City
  • 3rd AA, 1st FX – 2018 JO Nationals
  • Has Y1.5 on VT

 

FLORIDA
Seniors
Alicia Boren
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed AA every week in 2018
  • RQS of 9.930 FX, 9.920 BB, 9.880 UB, 9.870 VT
  • #1 returning RQS on VT, BB, FX
  • 10.0-start Y1.5 on VT
Amanda Cheney
  • Did not compete in 2018
  • Competed 5 BBs, 1 VT in 2017
Juniors
Sierra Alexander
VT
  • Competed 4 VTs in 2018 before injury
  • Average of 9.763
Maegan Chant
VT
UB
  • Competed 1 VT in 2018 for 9.825
  • Made final 2017 UB lineup for 9.820
  • Can provide 10.0-start Tsuk 1/1 on VT
Rachel Gowey
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Made final 2018 lineups on UB, BB, FX
  • RQS of 9.915 BB, 9.885 UB
  • Showed 4 VTs for 9.831 average
Amelia Hundley
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed AA in 6 meets in 2018
  • Made final lineups on all four events
  • RQS of 9.905 UB. 9.865 BB, 9.825 FX
  • #1 returning score on UB
  • VT avg of 9.832
Sophomores
Alyssa Baumann
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed BB, FX every week in 2018
  • Ranked #10 nationally on BB
  • RQS of 9.920 BB, 9.900 FX
  • VTed 4 times for 9.733 avg
Jazmyn Foberg
  • Elbow surgery in November, likely out for 2019
  • RQS of 9.850 VT, 9.840 UB in 2018
Megan Skaggs
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Made final 2018 lineups on VT, UB, BB
  • RQS of 9.860 BB, 9.840 UB
  • Avg of 9.795 VT, 9.706 FX
Nicole Webb
BB
  • Showed one BB routine in 2018 for 9.725
Freshmen
Leah Clapper
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Gym America
  • 9th AA, 2018 JO Nationals
  • Senior elite, 2016-2017
Sydney Johnson-Scharpf
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Brandy Johnson’s
  • US elite, 2013-2017
Nya Reed
VT
FX
  • Capital
  • 4th VT, FX – 2018 JO Nationals
Savannah Schoenherr
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Georgia Elite
  • 2nd AA, 2018 JO Nationals
  • Y1.5 on VT
Halley Taylor
FX
  • La Fleur’s
  • 8th AA, 2018 JO Nationals
  • 6th VT, 2013 Junior Classic
Trinity Thomas
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Prestige
  • US elite, 2015-present
  • Y1.5 on VT

 

LSU
Seniors
Julianna
Cannamela
VT
BB
FX
  • Competed 14 VTs in 2018 for 9.870 RQS
  • Has potential Y1.5 on VT
  • Competed 5 FXs (9.845), 2 BBs (9.162)
Sarah Finnegan
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed AA in 13 of 16 meets in 2018
  • Ranked #1 nationally on UB, #4 on BB, #7 on FX
  • RQS of 9.960 UB, 9.940 BB, 9.935 FX, 9.885 VT
Lexie
Priessman
VT
UB
FX
  • Made final 2018 lineups on UB, FX
  • Ranked #7 nationally on UB (9.950)
  • Competed 9 VTs (9.870), 7 FXs (9.863 avg)
Juniors
Kennedi
Edney
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed AA in 13 of 16 meets in 2018
  • Team’s top returning VT score (9.900)
  • RQS of 9.930 FX, 9.915 UB, 9.870 BB
Ruby Harrold
VT
UB
FX
  • Competed regular VT, UB in 2018
  • RQS of 9.845 UB, Avg of 9.733 on VT
  • Hit 4 of 5 FX routines in 2018
McKenna
Kelley
(redshirt)
VT
FX
  • Missed 2018 season with torn Achilles
  • 9.925 RQS on FX in 2017
  • Competed 1 VT in 2017 for 9.825
Ashlyn Kirby UB
BB
FX
  • Competed FX each week for 9.870 RQS
  • Competed 2 UBs in 2018 (9.113 avg)
Sophomores
Reagan Campbell
BB
  • Competed weekly BB for 9.840 RQS in 2018
Bridget Dean
BB
  • Did not compete in 2018
Christina Desiderio
VT
BB
FX
  • Made final 2018 lineups on BB, FX
  • RQS of 9.900 BB, 9.820 FX
Sami Durante
UB
BB
  • Competed UB weekly in 2018 for 9.880
Sarah Edwards
VT
FX
  • Competed Y1.5 VT each week in 2018 for 9.880 RQS
  • Provided early-season FX for 9.865 RQS
Olivia Gunter
  • Did not compete in 2018
Freshmen
Rebecca D’Antonio
BB
  • Cypress Pointe
  • 3rd AA, 2018 Region 8s
  • Possible BB depth
Bailey Ferrer
VT
UB
FX
  • Brandy Johnson’s
  • US elite, 2013-2014
  • VTs 10.0 start Omelianchik
  • Expected to contribute VT and FX with possible UB

Continue reading 2019 NCAA Roster Notes

Meet the Freshmen – Michigan & Washington

MICHIGAN

I’ve run out of conference and geographical reasons for pairing teams in these freshman previews, so the theme of this pairing is just Elise Ray (exactly like your life).

Michigan will need to be in reinvention mode in 2019, returning just 11 of the 24 routines that competed at regionals last season (though that was also without the injured Olivia Karas, who will be back this season). Normally, having to replace that many routines would be a red flag, but this is the strongest freshman class Michigan has welcomed in quite a while. With four JO all-around stars, this class brings 16 actual, legitimate routines and could certainly end up providing half of Michigan’s lineups in the 2019 season.

Michigan Freshmen 2019
Natalie Wojcik VT UB BB FX
Wojcik won her division at JO nationals this year, placing no worse than 5th on any event. I’d pick her as the most likely of the freshmen to be an all-arounder this season, though we could see several of them wind up in all four lineups. The star of Wojcik’s gymnastics is a stellar Y1.5 that will be an anchor-position quality vault for 9.9s. It’s the knees that set her 1.5 apart. In a lot of NCAA 1.5s, you see that indistinct knee softness in the air, but not with Wojcik’s.

Beam is typically a great event for Wojcik as well, where she shows solidity, an extended aerial, hit leaps, everything we’re looking for. Check, check, check. Bars hasn’t always been the big winning score for her, but the piked Jaeger and DLO are huge enough to be worth it in a routine that should see time. On floor, this freshman class as a group has been successful more because of cleanliness than because of difficulty (it’s almost entirely a double pike squad), but of the double pike routines in this class, Wojcik’s is the most convincing to me.

Abby Brenner VT UB BB FX
Like Wojcik, Brenner is also a JO national champion (winning her division in 2017) and also brings a Y1.5 on vault that looks like a sure thing for the lineup. It’s a big, necessary yes from me in a lineup that could end up with five Y1.5s if everyone is healthy and back up to full difficulty. That’s a significant reason Michigan continues looking its usual amount of threatening this season. There are teams expecting to make the top 8 that definitely won’t have that many 10.0s on vault.

Equally important will be Brenner’s floor. She’s the one among these freshmen who has shown the big power element with a piked full-in, helping make her the most likely newbie to get into the floor lineup. Bars also looks very believable with precise handstands, a Jaeger, and a DLO 1/1 that can become a regular DLO in NCAA for the scores. We probably won’t see much of Brenner on beam this year—it’s never been her big event—but she has a routine should the team need it.

Abby Heiskell VT UB BB FX
Heiskell is not to be left off the JO champion trolley, having won her division in 2016. She’ll be Michigan’s “I’m ready to go up 2nd in any lineup, where do you need me? Everywhere? Great” gymnast this season. Her spark-plug beam routine has been a good score in limited competition opportunities over the last year or so—with solid legs on her loso series—and her floor presents another very believable double pike option depending on need. On bars, we’ve seen efficient handstands and a well-performed Jaeger and Pak over the years, which make that set a real option.

Heiskell’s best scores in JO, as is somewhat normal, have come on vault, where she delivers a massive Yfull. If all five of the expected Y1.5s come through, Michigan will still be looking for a full to join them in the lineup of six, and I like Heiskell’s full for that role.

Madison Mariani VT UB BB FX
To me, Mariani’s most impressive event is beam. I look at that side aerial to split jump in the above video, and I’m very ready to put it in the lineup. Michigan needs a lot of new beam this season (ideally three actual, lineup routines from this freshman class), so expect to see Mariani there. On bars, the height she gets on her Tkatchev can also make that routine a compelling option as long as the leg precision is there.

Vault and floor should be added to the “as needed” pile. On vault, Mariani also presents a high, lineup-realistic full we could see depending on who’s healthy and sticking, and while I haven’t seen video of floor in quite a while, the skills are there and Mariani’s 2017 JO scores were quite impressive.

WASHINGTON

Continue reading Meet the Freshmen – Michigan & Washington

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