2019 JO Nationals

The full and complete scores may be found here, but I’ll be tracking the major results throughout the weekend and including them here as they come in, along with what you need to know for future NCAA purposes. (Verbally committed seniors are noted with their school and the year of their first competition season, not year of academic entry, because we don’t care about that book-lerning nunsense.) The full commit account is, as always, at CGF.

SENIOR F – Top 10 AA & Notables

Sunday, May 19 – 6:30pm ET

Rk Name NCAA VT UB BB FX Total
1 Chloe Widner Stanford 2020 9.900
(2)
9.700
(4)
9.675
(1)
9.850
(1)
39.125
And they needed it. Stanford will have two seasons of Kyla Bryant and Chloe Widner together in the all-around (plus Jade Chrobok also coming in), which should make you feel about better about the team’s potential competitiveness in 2020. This 39.125 is the third-best score across all the sessions.
2 Kai Rivers LSU 2020 9.850
(4)
9.925
(1)
9.500
(8)
9.625
(4)
38.900
Rivers did her job here, confirming that both she and Kiya Johnson should be considered either 3-event or all-around contributors for LSU next season. Rivers may not end up doing beam for LSU, but they’ll look for her for late-lineup quality routines on the other three pieces.
3 Makarri Doggette Alabama 2020 9.875
(3)
9.900
(2)
9.600
(4)
9.375
(25)
38.750
After winning the Nastia Cup this year, Doggette was the favorite in this session. It looks like floor caused a little bit of trouble, but the other three scores were exceptional, and floor is typically a strong score. Look for her to bring a much-needed four events to Alabama’s lineups next season.
4 Hallie Thompson North Carolina 2020 9.925
(1)
9.525
(15)
9.400
(18)
9.550
(12)
38.400
A very nice result for UNC to have a recruit putting together an all-around performance competitive with some of the very top recruits in the entire 2019-2020 class. This turned out to be quite a positive session for North Carolina with two gymnasts recording top-5 all-around finishes, and it’s worthy of producing hope that the team can recover from what was ultimately a weak 2019 season, especially because these 2020 gymnasts will have an overlap season with Hislop.
4 AK Subject Denver 2020 9.775
(7)
9.625
(9)
9.400
(18)
9.600
(6)
38.400
Denver is returning the majority of its routines from last season’s successful showing so won’t be desperate for a STAR to come in and save the day or anything. Losing Schou will be a blow, but mostly Denver is looking for one mid to late-lineup routine on each event to bolster what they’re returning, and you’d expect Subject to be able to do exactly that on two or three pieces.
4 Elizabeth Culton North Carolina 2020 9.600
(26)
9.725
(3)
9.625
(2)
9.450
(17)
38.400
The other massive North Carolina result here comes from Culton, this one of particular interest because of those scores on bars and beam. North Carolina did not have an issue last season on vault and floor, but could not put together competitive numbers on the middle events. With these scores, it looks like Culton is a “go directly to the anchor position, do not pass go, do not collect $200” prospect.
7 Abby Paulson Utah 2020 9.700
(15)
9.600
(10)
9.175
(33)
9.700
(2)
38.175
Looks like a miss on beam here, but otherwise Paulson put up competitive scores, and we know from our familiarity with her elite career that she has the skill set to be a significant routine contributor next year. While the focus has been on Skinner’s departure, as important are the graduations of Merrell-Giles and Lee, opening up eight more essential spots that need to be filled. Even if O’Keefe is the biggest name expected to do her best to make up for Skinner, they also need a gymnast like Paulson to be the new MMG.
7 Jane Poniewaz Oregon State 2020 9.675
(20)
9.475
(18)
9.425
(16)
9.600
(6)
38.175
Oregon State isn’t losing an absolute ton of routines from last year’s team—and the majority of the big, essential scores are coming back—but they will be without 7 routines from their nationals squad including Jacobsen, so there’s work to be done. All three of next year’s freshmen competed in this session, with Kayla Bird also placing 12th with a solid bars score, and Jenna Domingo placing 15th with a solid beam score. I’d expect a couple routines from each of them to try to make up for those 7 lost.
9 Robyn Kelley New Hampshire 2020 9.700
(15)
9.125
(36)
9.625
(2)
9.600
(6)
38.050
It will be a season of change for New Hampshire with Gail Goodspeed retiring and the departure of essential routines from the likes of Mulligan and Doolin and O’Leary and Carrol and Bondanza and…it was a big senior class. But the more things change, the more they stay the same. And New Hampshire has a recruit that just put up a big beam score at JOs. With Kelley and Gorgenyi (below), New Hampshire had a very solid session.
10 Kathryn Thaler Nebraska 2020 9.450
(37)
9.700
(4)
9.550 (7) 9.325
(27)
38.025
Nebraska will have injury returns like Roby next season to help the project of “what do we do without Sienna Crouse,” but that’s going to be down to multiple athletes. Nebraska had a depth problem on bars this past season, trying to squeeze the roster to get out 6 routines, so a big finish from Thaler on that event is particularly encouraging.
18 Kylie Gorgenyi New Hampshire 2020 9.825
(6)
9.700
(4)
8.700
(47)
9.225
(32)
37.450
19 Rachel DeCavitch Kent State 2020 9.725
(11)
9.175
(33)
8.875
(41)
9.650
(3)
37.425
22 Halle Remlinger Minnesota 2020 9.850
(4)
9.525
(15)
8.550
(51)
9.400
(20)
37.325
Another vault to pad the depth on that event is exactly what Minnesota is looking for, a team that ended up being about two VT/FXs away from snatching a huge upset at regionals last year.
23 Jenna Weitz Towson 2020 9.475
(34)
8.950
(38)
9.600
(4)
9.225
(32)
37.250
28 Shyan Phillips San Jose St 2020 9.750
(9)
9.300
(26)
8.400
(54)
9.625
(4)
37.075

SENIOR E – Top 10 AA & Notables

Sunday, May 19 – 1:45pm ET

Rk Name NCAA VT UB BB FX Total
1 Gabryel Wilson Michigan 2020 9.800
(4)
9.775
(2)
9.650
(4)
9.700
(1)
38.925
The favorite came through in Senior E, giving Michigan two session victories in the upper senior divisions this year for its 2020 incoming class. There’s every reason to expect Wilson and Brooks both to make it into the all-around, so look for a Michigan team that is very freshman & sophomore-centric in its contributions next season, with 2/3 of the routines likely to come from the younger half.
2 Helen Hu Missouri 2020 9.775
(8)
9.825
(1)
9.700
(1)
9.425
(23)
38.725
Hu placed second to Wilson in their division for a second season in a row here—winning her starring events, bars and beam—and she’s going to be the highest-profile member of a major refresh for Missouri next season. Missouri has already signed a freshman class of 6 and recently announced that UIC’s standout from last year Alisa Sheremeta will be transfering in.
2 Raena Worley Kentucky 2020 9.800
(4)
9.650
(12)
9.675
(3)
9.600
(8)
38.725
There will be a lot of focus on Worley come the fall because of questions over whether Kentucky can actually replace those critical lost routines from The Class and remain at the same level it has developed over the last four seasons. The incoming class overall isn’t one of huge names (though this year’s news that former elite Kaitlin DeGuzman switched her verbal from Oklahoma to Kentucky changes things a little), so it’s encouraging to see the result from someone like Worley. Those are big scores.
4 Kianna Yancey West Virginia 2020 9.625
(20)
9.675
(10)
9.550
(12)
9.625
(5)
38.475
Another floor score. We’re going to be OK. Between Koshinski and Tun, West Virginia’s best routine on every event will have departed after last season, so while a collection of routines still exists, there is the hunt for starring scores that can save lineups that might get a little 9.700 in the first couple spots.
5 Mia Takekawa Illinois 2020 9.700
(14)
9.750
(5)
9.525
(14)
9.475
(17)
38.450
Takekawa is an interesting one because she has been a standout L10 for multiple years now, but we only just recently learned of her commit to Illinois as she wasn’t among the fall signing class. Of note, Illinois will not have Otto’s bars routine next year, so…
6 Linda Zivat Michigan State 2020 9.900
(1)
9.650
(12)
9.225
(39)
9.625
(5)
38.400
Good for you, Michigan State. (OK, first time I’ve used those words in a solid 3 years…) Another close-but-no-cigar season saw MSU miss out on regionals again in 2019. Vault and floor were definitely the stronger events (and I’m concerned about how the bars lineup will look without Ling), but they absolutely could still use the big routine, the wow routine, to bring those events up into being top-20 contenders.
6 Payton Murphy Western Michigan 2020 9.775
(8)
9.650
(12)
9.325
(28)
9.650
(3)
38.400
Floor, by contrast, was Western Michigan’s weak event last season, never reaching a score of 49, which is pretty unusual for floor as it’s typically the high-scoring event. Murphy’s finish on that event is encouraging.
6 Hannah Joyner Rutgers 2020 9.675
(15)
9.700
(8)
9.600
(7)
9.425
(23)
38.400
Joyner is the former elite who went with Aimee to EVO and is a massive get for Rutgers. Because Rutgers is in a big conference, there’s more pressure on the results, and lower-ranking finishes stick out more. Going into Salim-Beasley’s second season in charge, and with a strong, notable, all-around contributor like Joyner coming in to work with a standout like Belle Huang who still has a couple seasons left, we’re going to start to look for Rutgers to move out of the Big Ten basement.
9 Nyah Smith Michigan State 2020 9.725
(12)
9.525
(17)
9.575
(9)
9.500
(17)
38.325
A second top-10 finish for Michigan State in this session to provide a ton of encouragement that Michigan State isn’t going to be willing to let Rutgers move out of the Big Ten basement. This is a very strong AA score with across-the-board competitive numbers that reflect someone who can come in and deliver all the events.
10 Cassie Stevens Auburn 2020 9.900
(1)
9.150
(33)
9.575
(9)
9.575
(9)
38.200
Be interested in this big Auburn class that’s coming in for 2020 because they are popping up here and there all over the standings in these upper senior sessions. None of them dominating in the all-around, but definitely looking like a “I have two events, well I also have two events, well I have three events” class that ends up making a splash as a collective. Adeline Sabados is also in that class, finishing 13th AA here with another good bars score to point to that as a potential contribution.
10 Juliette Boyer Arizona State 2020 9.750
(10)
9.675
(10)
9.475
(16)
9.300
(35)
38.200
We’ve seen the future potential for Arizona State in some of those younger classes, but there’s also the need for immediacy with so many routines departing post-2019 and the in-progress lineups looking so depleted. People like Boyer are going to need to come in and provide instant “I can go anywhere” contribution, so an even AA score like this is essential.
10 Nevaeh DeSouza Cal 2020 9.725
(12)
9.725
(6)
9.600
(7)
9.150
(43)
38.200
Cal’s 2020 class certainly isn’t as heralded or famous as the 2021 group, but they’re absolutely going to need to contribute multiple routines as Cal loses not only Toni-Ann but also those mid-lineup essential foundational gymnasts like Shu and the Seilnachts. DeSouza delivered some strong bars and beam scores here and would have been among the top AAers if not for an uncharacteristically low floor score, and event that’s usually more like 9.5s for her.
14 Alexis Ortega NC State 2020 9.450
(35)
9.775
(2)
9.525
(14)
9.400
(25)
38.150
Really good weekend for NC State. I didn’t necessarily pick coming in that NC State would have a lot of high finishers, but they’re popping up all over the place with top-5 event results.
15 Angelica Labat Illinois State 2020 9.800
(4)
9.250
(28)
9.400
(22)
9.625
(5)
38.075
Go ahead on, Illinois State. Those are some exceptionally legit vault and floor scores.
18 Brookelyn Sears Northern Illinois 2020 9.575
(27)
9.775
(2)
9.025
(45)
9.550
(10)
37.925
Northern Illinois was a floor team last year but didn’t have the four full events, which ended up keeping the team just out of regionals, so it’s encouraging to see gymnasts who can bring the other pieces.
20 Kamryn Ryan Alabama 2020 9.800
(4)
9.250
(28)
9.300
(29)
9.525
(13)
37.875
We’re waiting on Alabama’s big incoming star Makarri Doggette to compete in Senior F, but turning Alabama back into a championship team is going to need more than a one-gymnast solution. Ryan delivered an exceptional vault score here (and fellow 2020er Mati Waligora competed only beam but went a respectable 9.550), but one of the issues Alabama is going to have to work through is how to turn these JO 9.4 and 9.5 routines into college 9.850+s. A lot of last season’s newcomers who had solid JO finishes just like this didn’t end up competing routines, and that can’t continue for Alabama to stay competitive.
21 Ella Hodges Ohio State 2020 9.300
(46)
9.200
(30)
9.700
(1)
9.550
(10)
37.750
23 Alexis Hankins Ohio State
2020
9.300
(46)
9.400
(23)
9.650
(4)
9.375
(27)
37.725
Is someone in the mood for a reinvented beam lineup? Big finishes there in an overall successful weekend for Ohio State.
34 Soraya Hawthorne Georgia 2020 9.850
(3)
8.050
(53)
9.425
(21)
9.700
(1)
37.025
Georgia’s recruits have put up some mid-range finishes so far at JO Nationals, and while Hawthorne won’t show up atop the leaderboards because JO is all about the all-around, those are huge vault and floor scores that should continue to build the lineups for New Georgia.
34 Lindsey Moffitt SEMO
2020
9.300
(46)
8.725
(42)
9.300
(29)
9.650
(3)
36.975

SENIOR D – Top 10 AA & Notables

Sunday, May 19 – 9:00am ET

Rk Name NCAA VT UB BB FX Total
1 Sierra Brooks Michigan 2020 9.950
(1)
9.875
(2)
9.700
(1)
9.825
(1)
39.350
Brooks is finishing high school a year early to head to Michigan in the fall, and Bev is basically dancing in the streets about it. With Brooks and Gabryel Wilson (competing Senior E) coming in next season, Michigan is not expecting to miss a beat with the departures of Karas and McLean and will look to continue an upward trajectory.
2 Andrea Li Cal 2021 9.800
(4)
9.875
(2)
9.600
(3)
9.750
(3)
39.025
Andrea Li (sister of Anna) won’t start at Cal until the 2021 season—in the same class as Gabby Perea—but that class is already shaping up to be a program-defining one. The 2021 season is the one you start to look at where Cal makes the leap from being the cool, trendy underdog in 9th who comes close to upsetting Georgia in Georgia at regionals, to the team that actually does it and is more regularly challenging the likes of UCLA and Utah in conference.
3 Hannah DeMers Central Michigan 2020 9.775
(6)
9.850
(4)
9.450
(10)
9.650
(6)
38.725
DeMers has signed to start at Central Michigan next season, a vital signing for a team that kind of has to play the “let’s patch this dinghy up” after the coaching events of last season—but that has also retained some continuity by permanently hiring MacDonald as head coach. CMU is losing 6 routines from its regionals lineup last season, which is not too bad, and Demers looks like she can fill a number of those spots.
4 Rylie Mundell Denver 2021 9.775
(6)
9.700
(8)
9.550
(6)
9.650
(6)
38.675
Denver’s contributions are pretty well distributed from class to class in that there’s no particular “this is the class that gets all our scores and we’ll suck when they’re gone” group, but Mundell will be in the group coming in when Maddie Karr leaves, so there’s certainly going to be an urgency of contribution. That’s probably not coming from one gymnast on her own, but with Mundell and former elite Mabanta in that 2021 group, you feel like they can “by your powers combined” it to keep up the level.
5 Aria Brusch Auburn 2020 9.725
(10)
9.900
(1)
9.300
(18)
9.675
(4)
38.600
Between gymnasts like Milliet, Cerio, and Krippner, there’s quite a bit of replacement work to do for Auburn’s new class with at least two important routines on every event going away. Brusch is the biggest name in the signing class as a former elite, but there’s some serious quality in this group of accomplished L10s (Piper Smith also competed in this session, finishing 6th on bars). We should see all the scholarshippies contribute multiple events next season. I’m a little worried about beam for this group, but when aren’t I?
6 Abbie Thompson West Virginia 2021 9.600
(22)
9.450
(21)
9.550
(6)
9.675
(4)
38.275
Because we’re all still kind of in a “how does your life continue without Kirah Koshinski” phase, any bold result associated with floor is a comfort, even if it’s from a gymnast who won’t be there until the 2021 season.
7 Elena Deets Arizona 2021 9.700
(12)
9.525
(16)
9.375
(14)
9.650
(6)
38.250
In the previous sessions, I’ve been focusing a lot on the Arizona State recruits because they’ve had a successful JO Nationals so far, but Arizona is not to be outdone. At this point, with pretty much every team in the mid and lower section of the Pac-12 looking on the rise, you worry about Arizona getting left behind as the #8 team, so solid four-event JO ninjas like this are essential.
8 Elena Arenas LSU 2021 9.750
(8)
9.675
(9)
9.350
(16)
9.450
(22)
38.225
You mean she’s not going to Georgia? I kid. I kid because that was such weird drama this year. Arenas is a former elite who put up solid enough scores here in a tough session to make a dent with Brooks and Li gobbling up huge 9.8s but certainly is expected to be a significant multi-event contributor at LSU in that talented 2021 class.
9 Amoree Lockhart Oklahoma 2021 9.375
(39)
9.600
(14)
9.600
(3)
9.550
(14)
38.125
I mentioned in a previous session that I was hoping the JO Nationals results would sort out that huge potential 2021 Oklahoma class that has 9 gymnasts either verbally committed or already signed for it, but…they’re all kind of doing well here and it’s not helping?
10 Jillian Hoffman Utah 2020 9.750
(8)
9.625
(12)

9.550
(6)

9.175
(35)
38.100
Hoffman came in with the highest qualifying score of anyone in Senior D, so I was expecting her to end up closer to the top of the standings, but she put up three solid scores here (and you would imagine there was an issue on floor to end up with a 9.1) and should be a less-heralded but no less significant contributor for Utah next season. It’s not unrealistic to think that we’re going to see 3-4 person refreshes in most Utah lineups next season. They have a big class and are sort of done with being not one of the top-4 teams anymore.
16 Katherine LeVasseur Oklahoma 2021 9.900
(3)
9.400
(23)
8.900
(37)
9.475
(17)
37.675
Uh oh, you missed on beam as an Oklahoma recruit. OFF THE TEAM. Another casual JO 9.9 for Oklahoma on vault.
17 Chloe Negrete NC State 2020 9.800
(4)
9.400
(23)
9.000
(31)
9.375
(26)
37.575
20 Emily Shepard NC State 2020 9.650
(17)
9.500
(17)
9.575
(5)
8.800
(49)
37.525
A nice duo of event results here for NC State. I mentioned being kind of concerned about future floor prospects in a previous session, and this doesn’t really change that, but you’ll absolutely always take a JO 9.800 on vault, especially for a team that had to get Ylayout-y last season. They got by with that, but you really can’t expect to maintain status as a regionals-level team with Ylayouts these days.
24 Adriana Popp Boise State 2020 9.500
(33)
8.725
(38)
9.650
(2)
9.425
(24)
37.300
Not the choreographer. Not the choreographer. Not the choreographer. But can you imagine. Obviously, you’re immediately off the Boise State team with that kind of bars score, but look at that beam you guys. Beam is going to be the new bars for BSU.
34 Meilin Sullivan Nebraska 2021 9.200
(45)
9.825
(5)
8.925
(36)
8.650
(51)
36.600
54 JerQuavia Henderson Iowa 2020 9.925
(2)
1.000
(55)
8.850
(38)
9.775
(2)
29.550
Seems like there must have been an injury on bars for that 1.000, which is troubling, but those vault and floor scores are going to be such boons for Iowa next season. Iowa had quite a nice floor group in 2019—the strong event for them—that Henderson can add to, but vault wasn’t the most competitive. They exactly need someone who can bust out a huge score to lead that lineup.

SENIOR C – Top 10 AA & Notables

Saturday, May 18 – 6:30pm ET

Rk Name NCAA VT UB BB FX Total
1 Kiya Johnson LSU 2020 9.900
(2)
9.750
(5)
9.775
(1)
9.850
(1)
39.275
The first of next season’s big recruits to compete at JO Nationals this year, Johnson delivered by winning her session and placing top 5 on every event. Between Finnegan, Priessman, and Kelley, LSU needs two new routines on every event next season (maybe just 1 on beam), so the potential all-around contributions that Johnson and Rivers can provide are essential to watch this weekend. Johnson put up a “4 events in college” kind of meet here.
2 Haleigh Bryant LSU 2021 9.950
(1)
9.825
(1)
9.575
(5)
9.700
(5)
39.050
This is the LSU session. Bryant is in the same age group as Johnson, but Johnson is heading to LSU early and Bryant is going on the normal schedule. There will also be pressure on Bryant’s class to come up with scores to make up for the departures of Kennedi Edney and Ruby Harrold, but Bryant will also have help in the form of Olivia Dunne and Elena Arenas in a big class for LSU’s recruiting.
3 Chae Campbell UCLA 2021 9.800
(6)
9.700
(8)
9.625
(3)
9.750
(3)
38.875
We’ve become used to UCLA’s big-name recruits coming from the elite ranks rather than from the JO ranks, but Campbell is part of that all-important class that will have to come in to replace routines from Ross, and Kocian, and Hano, and…it’s a tough job. Any potential all-around contribution as Campbell displayed here is essential.
4 Skyla Killough-Wilhelm Washington 2021 9.700
(11)
9.800
(2)
9.575
(5)
9.700
(5)
38.775
I’ll say a little more than just “Elise Ray Beam Factory” in this case because while SKW (you already get an initialism!) performed well on beam here, she also performed well on all the events. Every indication in the recruiting outlook is that Washington will continue pushing to be part of the Pac-12 top 4. It’s just getting harder and harder to maintain that status for everyone.
5 Naomi Morrison Oregon State 2021 9.825
(4)
9.700
(8)
9.400
(22)
9.750
(2)
38.675
Speaking of. The Oregon State 2021 class has performed quite well at these JO Nationals so far, and I’m particularly encouraged by that big vault score because that was the one event holding back OSU’s scoring potential last season despite the fantastic final result. With Morrison here and Gonzales below, Oregon State cleaned up on vault in this session.
6 Emily Lopez ??? 9.775
(8)
9.675
(10)
9.425
(17)
9.575
(11)
38.450
7 Abby Mueller Minnesota 2021 9.650
(14)
9.500
(18)
9.575
(5)
9.675
(7)
38.400
With Hooten in Senior B and Mueller in Senior C, the outlook for Minnesota’s 2021 class is quite strong. Floor was Minnesota’s lowest-ranked event this past season, so it’s encouraging to see them both scoring well in that department.
8 Kinsey Davis Nebraska 2021 9.625
(18)
9.800
(2)
9.625
(3)
9.125
(41)
38.175
Davis is another occasional elite from junior days that is reappearing at JO now, and it’s encouraging to see these results from Davis (and that floor score from Williams below, another Nebraska recruit) because I’m a little worried about what Nebraska does with Crouse departing this year and Houchin departing next year. The supply of ninja L10s needs to be restocked from somewhere.
9 Sydney Gonzales Oregon State 2021 9.850
(3)
9.750
(5)
8.950
(44)
9.525
(14)
38.075
Syndey is the younger sister of current Oregon State gymnast Lexie Gonzales, and if nothing else it’s encouraging to see OSU’s “only if you have an awesome sister” recruiting stragety maintained. The Colussi-Pelaezes, the Dagens…it’s a thing. And they didn’t even have to get Lexie to transfer from Florida or anything. Gonzales didn’t have an awesome beam score here, but was otherwise up among the very best in a tough session. A good day for Oregon State.
9 Rebecca Wells Utah State 2021 9.700
(11)
9.325
(34)
9.525
(9)
9.525
(14)
38.075
A good all-around get for Utah State, a team that was ultimately too depleted to contend for regionals in 2019, but where you can see the quality and the potential. Gymnasts like Wells are the next step.
12 Carly Bauman Michigan 2021 9.650
(14)
9.775
(4)
9.725
(2)
8.800
(50)
37.950
Bauman won her session last year, and while she dropped out of the top ranks because of the floor score this year, the bars and beam numbers were exactly what we would expect from a Chow’s product. Michigan really does have an impressive next couple classes coming in.
18 Nicole Wojcik Lindenwood 2021 9.400
(35)
9.675
(10)
9.425
(17)
9.125
(41)
37.625
Just…to make sure you’re aware that there’s another Wojcik out there. There are actually 4 Wojciks, and all of their names start with N.
29 Agatha Handono ??? 9.350
(39)
9.500
(18)
9.575
(5)
9.000
(47)
37.450
33 Daniela Castillo Iowa 2021 9.825
(4)
8.900
(49)
9.000
(42)
9.375
(21)
37.100
35 Caroline Williams Nebraska 2021 9.300
(42)
8.700
(54)
9.225
(35)
9.750
(2)
36.975

 

SENIOR B – Top 10 AA & Notables

Saturday, May 18 – 1:45pm ET

Rk Name NCAA VT UB BB FX Total
1 Talia Little Boise State 2021 9.450
(27)
9.750
(1)
9.650
(1)
9.475
(12)
38.325
Oh look, it’s a Boise State gymnast who won bars. So no expectations that this bars-excellence reputation will wane any time soon. The big development for Boise State in 2019 came in the form of improvements on beam, and Little looks like an important restock option for when people like McGregor and Amado aren’t there anymore.
2 Madeleine
Johnston
Penn State 2021 9.525
(18)
9.675
(4)
9.575
(2)
9.525
(7)
38.300
Johnston’s will be the recognizable name in this group after her number of years as a junior and senior elite from Hill’s. She’s been on the NCAA-talent radar for quite a while, and this is a major recruiting get for Penn State—the first big “oh wow, they got her” of the Sarah Brown years. She’s going to be a necessary NCAA all-around contributor.
3 Julianne Fehring Oklahoma 2021 9.850
(1)
9.600
(7)
9.475
(6)
9.300
(30)
38.225
Can’t stop, won’t stop. The interesting thing about this 2021 Oklahoma class is that there are about 175 people who are supposed to be in it (including Ragan Smith and Audrey Davis) who have made announcements here or there, so I’ve been eager to see how that’s actually going to filter out in real life as we get to know which of these JO verbals are at which level. Fehring showing that she’s one of the big ones with a performance like this.
4 Nicole Riccardi Ohio State
2021
9.425
(29)
9.450
(12)
9.475
(6)
9.575
(5)
37.925
Ohio State continuing to have a good day of JO performances with another top-10 all around finish here, following two of them in the Senior A division (below). The 2019 season saw Ohio State start very well and then fall off as the injuries mounted and weren’t able to be replaced effectively. These JO results speak well to the depth-creation project.
5 Trinity Macy Pitt 2021 9.350
(34)
9.525
(9)
9.525
(4)
9.500
(9)
37.900
So, you took Trinity Thomas and Macy Toronjo and smashed them together to create a single person? Cool cool. Good job Pittsburgh. Hero’s work.
6 Brooke Butler Auburn 2021 9.350
(34)
9.750
(1)
9.300
(24)
9.450
(14)
37.850
Auburn has some names coming in on the horizon, but it can’t all be Sunisa Lee all the time, and she isn’t starting until 2022. Before that, Auburn is building the classes with a few former elites like Butler and Olivia Hollingsowrth who should slide well into NCAA, and some JOs like Tara Walsh who placed well on floor in this session.
6 Ariana Young ??? 9.700
(2)
9.150
(29)
9.575
(2)
9.425
(16)
37.850
6 Kyra Burns Missouri 2021 9.700
(2)
9.575
(8)
9.300
(24)
9.275
(33)
37.850
I see that vault placement, think about how rough things got toward the end of the season for Missouri on vault when everyone was injured at the same time, and an encouraged. Missouri should be picking things up on vault in coming seasons with a couple young, talented vaulters already on the team as well.
9 Marigold Garrett ??? 9.425
(29)
9.350
(18)
9.475
(6)
9.475
(12)
37.725
10 Cassi Barbanente Arizona State 2021 9.650
(4)
9.650
(5)
8.800
(46)
9.525
(7)
37.625
Barbanente was on track for a huge all-around placement in this session if not for a miss on beam, which took her down the standings a little bit. Like Ohio State, Arizona State has already managed to notch three top-10 AA placements across just two senior sessions of competition. If you’re looking for who the new kids are who can snatch all the ninja L10s, that’s an indication.
10 Madison Benson NC State
2021
9.475
(25)
9.100
(32)
9.400
(12)
9.650
(2)
37.625
NC State is losing the Phillipseseses and Fillard this year—and Drew Grantham after one more season—so most of those important floor scores will be gone by the time Benson arrives since that event was pretty veteran-driven this past year. It’s the one where NC State needs the most immediate rebuilding.
12 Taylor Russon Washington 2021 9.250
(42)
9.425
(15)
9.525
(4)
9.350
(25)
37.550
See Senior A re: Elise Ray Beam Factory
21 Mya Hooten Minnesota 2021 9.625
(8)
8.525
(49)
9.250
(27)
9.800
(1)
37.200
Hooten will be in the class tasked with replacing Paige Williams and Ivy Lu, and those vault and floor scores make it look like Hooten’s got the Williams part covered. Those entering in the 2021 season will have an overlap season with Ramler and Loper because much of Minnesota’s strength is coming from the young ones still.
21 Jordan Olszewski Arkansas 2021 9.650
(4)
9.525
(9)
8.850
(43)
9.175
(39)
37.200
24 Caroline Herry Arizona
2021
9.550
(15)
8.625
(47)
9.375
(16)
9.600
(3)
37.150
26 Chloi Clark Temple 2021 9.650
(4)
9.175
(28)
8.825
(45)
9.350
(25)
37.000
27 Tara Walsh Auburn 2021 9.500
(21)
9.125
(31)
8.776
(48)
9.575
(5)
36.975
37 Isabella DeCroo ??? 9.650
(4)
9.300
(22)
8.200
(55)
9.350
(25)
36.500
38 Gillian Rutz Arkansas 2021 9.500
(21)
9.750
(1)
9.125
(34)
8.075
(54)
36.450
We see a couple of the Arkansas recruits that Jordyn Wieber has inherited with strong individual event results here. Arkansas didn’t sign anyone for 2020 during NLI week last fall, so this 2021 class is the first group of newbies we know about. They’ll have a lot of replacement work to do, especially with AA stalwart Yamzon being gone at that point.
45 Ella Sirjord ??? 9.225
(44)
7.975
(54)
9.425
(10)
9.600
(3)
36.225
37 Carina Jordan Utah 2021 0.000 9.625
(6)
0.000 0.000 9.625
Thanks for the update on the commitment switch, which Jordan made from Florida to Utah. She was previously going to Florida. Now she’s part of the Deanne Soza class at Utah, coming in the year after the O’Keefe/Paulson class.

SENIOR A – Top 10 AA & Notables

Saturday, May 18 – 9:00am ET

Rk Name NCAA VT UB BB FX Total
1 Madelyn Williams Cal 2022 9.650
(2)
9.675
(1)
9.550
(3)
9.575
(3)
38.450
You’ll recall Madelyn Williams from her little stint in elite the last couple years, where she was perfect on bars and everyone died of how perfect she was on bars. Here, she pretty much dominated the field, winning by more than a fall, which you don’t really see that often at JO Nationals. With the likes of Gabby Perea, Andrea Li, and Madelyn Williams committed to arrive upcoming seasons, Cal’s future recruiting picture looks very bright.
2 Moorea Linker Oklahoma 2022 9.700
(1)
9.125
(32)
9.375
(9)
9.675
(1)
37.875
Oklahoma has another ninja L10 on its hands, with Linker scheduled to enter in the same class as Jordan Bowers. It’s still far enough away that it’s difficult to prognosticate about what roles a gymnast will fill, but yeah, Oklahoma’s doing fine and has another vault and floor worker on its hands, who will suddenly emerge as a bars worker partway through her career and you’ll be like, “Whaaa…?”
3 Victoria Henry Ball State 2021 9.450
(17)
9.325
(21)
9.450
(6)
9.600
(2)
37.825
I love seeing people committed to smaller programs placing right up with people going to Oklahoma, and Henry did exceptionally well here with four hits and two high-placing events. This isn’t an aberration as she scored similarly at regionals and placed well in the juniors at last year’s nationals.
3 Kendall LaPlante ??? 9.500
(9)
9.375
(18)
9.475
(5)
9.475
(10)
37.825
Haven’t seem commitment news for this one. Can’t imagine that will last long.
5 Hannah Oliveros Ohio State 2021 9.375
(27)
9.450
(13)
9.500
(4)
9.450
(11)
37.775
Oliveros will come into the OSU class tasked with replacing essential scores from gymnasts like Olivia Aepli, so having someone putting up reasonable scores across four events is encouraging. She’ll be there at the same time as Abanto and Swartzentruber for an overlap season.
6 Sage Thompson Cal 2022 9.475
(11)
9.675
(1)
9.125
(26)
9.450
(11)
37.725
Oh yeah, Cal has another one. After that one 4-fall bars meet this past season, Cal is like “ALL THE BARS CHAMPIONS PLEASE.” Thompson hasn’t placed lower than 2nd on bars at any meet in the last two years and looks like she has a couple other events to go with it.
6 Alex Theodorou Arizona State 2022 9.600 (4) 9.450
(13)
9.125
(26)
9.550
(5)
37.725
A good sign that a program is on its way back up is if it starts snatching the top JO in-state (or in-geographical-proximity) recruits again, and that’s what Arizona State has been doing. Gymnasts like Theodorou (and Mangahas below) are still a few years away, but I’m kind of worried about what ASU is going to do right now since CLB is basically the only returning gymnast next season. But, the long-term prospects look really healthy.
8 Haley Tyson ??? 9.525
(8)
9.500
(6)
9.300
(18)
9.375
(20)
37.700
9 Jada Mangahas Arizona State 2021 9.350
(29)
9.475
(9)
9.450
(6)
9.400
(17)
37.675
Jada Mangahas is continuing the long history of Parkettes heading to Arizona State—and she’s not even going to another team first and then transferring, just straight to Arizona State, which is progress. Arizona State has a lot of openings over the next couple years and two big classes entering in 2020 and 2021, so this team is going to look very different soon. They’ll be pleased by the across-the-board solid results here.
10 Kaitlyn Grimes Ohio State 2022 9.500
(9)
9.525
(4)
9.000
(38)
9.500
(8)
37.525
Grimes is set to enter at Ohio State in 2022, a season after Oliveros, but you like to see those complimentary results. Between the two of them, they have a top-10 on every event.
11 Izzy Sissi ??? 9.625
(3)
9.150
(31)
9.200
(24)
9.525
(6)
37.500
17 Kielyn McCright ??? 9.000
(45)
9.500
(6)
9.450
(6)
9.175
(32)
37.125
(16)
17 Ashley Blum Washington
2022
8.575
(54)
9.350
(19)
9.625
(1)
9.525
(6)
37.075
Elise Ray Beam Factory.
22 Gabrielle Stephen ??? 9.600
(4)
9.550
(3)
8.550
(48)
9.025
(44)
36.725
26 Maddie Tyau ??? 8.950
(48)
9.525
(4)
9.350
(12)
8.725
(48)
36.550
33 Emmalise Nock ??? 9.425
(21)
8.475
(42)
8.775
(44)
9.575
(3)
36.250
36 Jillian Prosacky ??? 9.475
(11)
8.300
(46)
9.625
(1)
8.750
(46)
36.150

JUNIOR F – Top 10 AA

Continue reading 2019 JO Nationals

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Things Are Happening – May 17, 2019

A. Ashton Locklear retired

From the world of US elites, Ashton Locklear announced her retirement yesterday after a long bout with the concept of having knees. Locklear last competed at the WOGA Classic in February on bars and beam—and at that point was also discussing the possibility of adding back floor—but she has now decided that enough is enough.

Locklear had a successful run, making two world championship teams in 2014 and 2017, advancing to two world bars finals, and winning team gold in 2014. In terms of future prospects, she has been constantly injured, and there wasn’t truly a realistic path to team selection for her at this point.

In announcing the retirement, her talent agency released a statement saying, “WE DEFINITELY KNOW WHERE COMMAS SHOULD GO.”

It also includes a doctor’s note (so that she can get out of PE, I think) and an explanation that her 2018 knee surgery has prevented her from continuing, even though she came back to…you know what, never mind. You can just retire. You don’t need a reason. You don’t need a doctor’s note. It doesn’t have to follow logically. You can just be done. It’s fine.

B. Zhaoqing World Cup

The World Challenge Cup circuit gets underway again in a couple days with the Zhaoqing event, which runs Sunday to Tuesday for some reason. Because the FIG is always so clear with its organization and naming of events, a little clarification. The World Challenge Cup events are completely different from the Apparatus World Cup series and have no bearing on Olympic qualification whatsoever. They’re just the normal apparatus events that we’ve had before. Continue reading Things Are Happening – May 17, 2019

2019 Spring/Summer Schedule

Your viewing guide to the competitions of the next month in handy-dandy US time zones (except not so handy because middle of the night).


Saturday, May 18

JO Nationals
10:00am ET/7:00am PT – Senior A, Junior A
2:45pm ET/11:45am PT – Senior B, Junior B
7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT – Senior C, Junior C

Zhaoqing World Cup

10:00pm ET/7:00pm PT – Qualification Session 1

Sunday, May 19

Zhaoqing World Cup
5:00am ET/2:00am PT – Qualification Session 2

JO Nationals
10:00am ET/7:00am PT – Senior D, Junior D
2:45pm ET/11:45am PT – Senior E, Junior E
7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT – Senior F, Junior F

Monday, May 20

Zhaoqing World Cup (Olympic Channel link TBD)
3:00am ET/12:00am PT – Finals Day 1

Tuesday, May 21

Zhaoqing World Cup (Olympic Channel link TBD)
2:30am ET/11:30pm PT – Finals Day 2

Thursday, May 23

Osijek World Cup
9:00am ET/6:00am PT – Qualification Day 1

Australian National Championships
11:30pm ET/8:30pm PT – Junior Day 1

Friday, May 24

Australian National Championships
4:30am ET/1:30am PT – Seniors Day 1

Osijek World Cup
9:00am ET/6:00am PT – Qualification Day 2

Canadian National Championships (FLO)
3:00pm ET/12:00pm PT – Junior Women Day 1
7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT – Senior Women Day 1

Saturday, May 25

Osijek World Cup (Olympic Channel link TBD)
9:45am ET/6:45am PT – Finals Day 1

Canadian National Championships (FLO)
11:00am ET/8:00am PT – Junior Men
5:00pm ET/2:00pm PT – Senior Men

Australian National Championships
11:30pm ET/8:30pm PT – Seniors Day 2

Sunday, May 26

Osijek World Cup (Olympic Channel link TBD)
9:00am ET/6:00am PT – Finals Day 2

Canadian National Championships (FLO)
10:00am ET/7:00am PT – Junior Women Day 2/Junior Men EF
2:30pm ET/11:30am PT – Senior Women Day 2/Senior Men EF

Thursday, May 30

Koper World Cup
9:00am ET/6:00am PT – Qualification Day 1

Friday, May 31

Koper World Cup
9:00am ET/6:00am PT – Qualification Day 2

Saturday, June 1

Koper World Cup (Olympic Channel link TBD)
10:00am ET/7:00am PT – Finals Day 1

Parkettes Elite Qualifier
All day – Optional Sessions

Sunday, June 2

Koper World Cup (Olympic Channel link TBD)
10:00am ET/7:00am PT – Finals Day 2

Parkettes Elite Qualifier
All day – Optional Sessions

Friday, June 7

Auburn Elite Qualifier
All day – Optional Sessions

Saturday, June 8

French National Championships
8:20am ET/5:20am PT – Junior Women
11:50am ET/8:50am PT – Senior Women & Men

Auburn Elite Qualifier
All day – Optional Sessions

Sunday, June 9

French National Championships
8:00am ET/5:00am PT – Women’s & Men’s Event Finals

Wednesday, June 19

Asian Championships
TBD – Men’s Team/All-Around Final

Thursday, June 20

Asian Championships
TBD – Women’s Team/All-Around Final

Friday, June 21

Asian Championships
TBD – Event Finals Day 1

Saturday, June 22

American Classic
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – Juniors
6:00pm ET/3:00pm PT – Seniors

Asian Championships
TBD – Event Finals Day 2

Thursday, June 27

Junior World Championships
4:00am ET/1:00am PT – Men’s Team/AA Sub 1
(RUS, USA, GBR, UKR, HUN, CAN, MEX, VIE)
7:15am ET/4:15am PT – Men’s Team/AA Sub 2
(CHN, JPN, FRA, ESP, ARG, CZE, BEL, UZB, KAZ, ECU, NOR, NZL)
10:00am ET/7:00am PT – Men’s Team/AA Sub 3
(TUR, KOR, ROU, TPE, SWE, MGL)
1:15pm ET/10:15am PT – Men’s Team/AA Sub 4
(GER, ITA, BRA, AUS, EGY, AZE, IRI, LAT)

European Games
7:00am ET/4:00am PT – Women’s & Men’s Qualification – Session 1
11:00am ET/8:00am PT – Women’s & Men’s Qualification – Session 2

Friday, June 28

Junior World Championships
3:00am ET/12:00am PT – Women’s Team/AA Sub 1
(USA, GBR, UKR, HUN, TUR, FIN)
5:00am ET/2:00am PT – Women’s Team/AA Sub 2
(RUS, ITA, BEL, ESP, GRE, PAN)
7:30am ET/4:30am PT – Women’s Team/AA Sub 3
(AUS, KOR, MEX, ARG, UZB, KAZ)
9:30am ET/6:30am PT – Women’s Team/AA Sub 4
(FRA, GER, ROU, SWE, BLR, SGP)
12:00pm ET/9:00am PT – Women’s Team/AA Sub 5
(CHN, JPN, BRA, CAN, EGY, POR)

Saturday, June 29

European Games
7:00am ET/4:00am PT – Women’s & Men’s All-Around

Junior World Championships
8:00am ET/5:00am PT – Event Finals Day 1

Sunday, June 30

European Games
6:00am ET/3:00am PT – Women’s & Men’s Event Finals

Junior World Championships
8:00am ET/5:00am PT – Event Finals Day 2

Wednesday, July 3

University Games
4:00am ET/1:00am PT – Men’s Team/Qualification

Thursday, July 4

University Games
3:30am ET/12:30am PT – Men’s Team/Qualification

Friday, July 5

University Games
4:00am ET/1:00am PT – Women’s Team/Qualification

Saturday, July 6

University Games
8:00am ET/5:00am PT – Men’s All-Around
12:30pm ET/9:30am PT – Women’s All-Around

Saturday, July 7

University Games
5:00am ET/2:00am PT – Event Finals Part 1
10:00am ET/7:00am PT – Event Finals Part 2

Saturday, July 20

US Classic
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – Juniors
6:30pm ET/3:30pm PT – Seniors

Saturday, July 27

Pan American Games
TBD –  Team/Qualification

Sunday, July 28

Pan American Games
TBD –  Team/Qualification

Monday, July 29

Pan American Games
TBD –  All-Around Finals

Tuesday, July 30

Pan American Games
TBD –  Event Finals Day 1

Wednesday, July 31

Pan American Games
TBD –  Event Finals Day 2

Thursday, August 8

US National Championships
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT – Junior Men Day 1
7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT – Senior Men Day 1

Friday, August 9

US National Championships
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT – Junior Women Day 1
7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT – Senior Women Day 1

Saturday, August 10

US National Championships
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT – Junior Men Day 2
7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT – Senior Men Day 2

Sunday, August 11

US National Championships
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT – Junior Women Day 2
7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT – Senior Women Day 2

Chinese Nationals — What Happened There?

If you were looking for a comfy, cozy competition where the expected people won titles and a clear picture of the potential Chinese worlds team emerged…Chinese Nationals was not that. Honestly, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

So let’s get into it. Here’s what you need to know to keep up as a responsible gymnastics citizen of the world.

All-Around

Your national all-around champion is Liu Tingting. In recent months (year), LTT has been limited to only bars and beam, but she has returned on all four pieces in 2019—using a Yfull on vault and a fully Netherlands-ified floor routine to build up sufficient scores to let her exceptional bars and beam routines carry her to competitive all-around totals.

The highlights are always going to be bars and beam, but this lovely turn-a-thon floor routine ranked quite well throughout the competition, and given a Chinese team that’s still grasping at straws when it comes to floor, this is at least a “well, we can always use Tingting” routine that reduces the potential urgency to find floor workers—even if the D score is pretty low.

Continuing her tradition of rising to the occasion in the all-around competition at nationals, two-time defending champion Luo Huan snatched a silver medal this year, putting together a comprehensively hit two-day all-around competition, with 14+s on bars and beam in both qualification and the AA final.

Things fell apart for Luo in the event finals, with misses on both pieces souring the final impression of her meet. Of the people who competed at nationals, she is currently a top-3 necessity on bars and beam, but China has a lot of people who can be “the bars and beam gymnast,” like Chen Yile who missed the competition with injury, so it’s not going to be a secure position for Luo moving forward. Continue reading Chinese Nationals — What Happened There?

Things Are Happening – May 9, 2019

A. The loser is everyone

Scott Reid at the OC Register has a bunch more information this week about the wildly typical and predictable barf-trench that was USAG’s attempted hiring of Edward Nyman as its first ever director of sports medicine and science.

The reason for Nyman’s firing—that nonspecific “conflict of interest” that USAG flopped out there—was, according to USAG, that he failed to disclose Safesport-related complaints or allegations of misconduct against New Heights Gymnastics, the gym owned by his wife Amy. The latest update of the article states that Safesport is also reviewing an issue of some description involving Nyman himself.

Um, so, yeah. Not great. I encourage you to read the complete article (and the full statement from Nyman that originally appeared in near-full in the article) because you’ll be left going “Who are these people?!?!” It may be the most #TeamNobody situation we’ve ever had to endure with USAG. And that’s saying quite a bit.

There’s a lot of back-and-forth between the two parties about who actually knew what, and disclosed which, and who lied when, and who is corrupt, and which accusations are true and false. I have no idea, I wasn’t in these meetings, but a few things are clear.

USAG has no excuse for the wild failure that was this attempted hiring. The lack of appropriate vetting and lack of any kind of intra-organizational communication betrays a continued inability to function at a basic minimum level of professionalism. Regardless of what Nyman may or may not have disclosed, USAG needed to be able to find out itself that this was a poor choice, especially because—as we’ve learned from Reid’s piece—USAG’s in-house counsel knew about the safety/training complaints regarding New Heights. USAG can blame Nyman, but that information is on USAG to know before it hired him.

As any competent organization would have. Nyman’s statement is full of personal agenda and should be taken with a bucket of salt—his categorical defense of New Heights against all claims because that would never happen can only provoke the question “how would you even know?”—but the picture he paints of USAG as a corrupt, disorganized, image-obsessed mess is nothing new.

As for Nyman, we don’t know what will come of these Safesport issues, if anything, but even their very existence is disqualifying. You can’t take a position of high-profile leadership at USAG when you are connected in any possible way to unresolved Safesport complaints, regardless of the ultimate findings. I mean, that should be obvious, right? Am I taking crazy pills? While USAG bungled this in every possible way, it did the right thing in terminating Nyman. It would have been far worse if we had learned this information later, after he had been on the job for a while.

Other thoughts:

  • USAG cited his “poor judgment” in its explanation of Nyman’s firing, and viewing the bizarre caps lock decisions in Nyman’s own personal defense, I can’t argue. Fair assessment. Also, you know, the Safesport stuff and taking it upon himself to disclose the Stephanie Peters complaint against a men’s national team member to the press (which is a whole extra bag of huh??? we don’t know anything about yet)—but the caps lock, you guys. Intense Trumpy Lee Tracy vibes.
  • One of the other things I can’t get past in that statement is the conversation between Amy Nyman and Mark Busby—the USAG lawyer—at Congress where he supposedly told her she had nothing to worry about with those complaints. Why on earth is a USAG lawyer making that determination, why is that being communicated in an informal conversation at Congress, and why is that informal conversation viewed as “I guess it’s fine now?” No. None of that. None of that is how it should work. See lack of professionalism above. Have you all learned nothing?
  • Nyman says he was never owner nor co-owner of New Heights. I had said he was co-owner because of the BGSU press release from when he was hired there, which refers to him as a co-owner. So there’s that.
  • A quote from John Manly in the article claims that Nyman was hired to replace That Guy at USAG. That’s not really accurate. The strategy is to try to draw a link between the two and USAG’s trashiness, but Nyman was hired to a non-treatment, administrative role. There’s no need to misrepresent what’s happening. The regular representation is bad enough for USAG.

B. Waller, Waller everywhere

OK fun stuff time now! After much speculation, Chris Waller has been hired to replace Miss Val as head coach at UCLA. It can’t be considered a surprise since he has been next in line for that job for seven hundred years and is supremely qualified for the position. He has put in the time. Still, you can’t help but notice that the hiring is rather un-UCLA in its even, predictable normalness. You half-expected Miss Val to pop out of a cake and be like, “The new coach is me!”

We’ll see how it goes. Despite the fact that Waller has been there for so long, being the face of the program is a very different position from what he has had before. He’s not simply going to be able to say, “let’s keep doing what we’ve been doing” because he’s not Val and can’t try to be. That will be a difficult tightrope because many will be waiting to say, “Ugh, it’s not the same” the second Waller goes out there and isn’t Val, and yet he can’t go out there and be Val because that would just be weird. He’s a different person who will have a different identity as head coach and will coach a team with a different culture. At the same time, I don’t expect there to be much of a leash or much forgiveness time if the team gets all blah (see Clark, Jay). He’s going to need to win and win quickly.

And now with enough of that chatter out of the way, here are some GIFs of Waller from those Reese’s Cups. You know, the important stuff.

The other big coaching news of the week concerns Utah hiring the McCools following their departure from…not getting the Arkansas job. Courtney will still be a volunteer assistant coach because of whatever nonsense that’s about, with Utah’s official coaching staff comprised of Tim Farden, Carly Dockendorf, and Garrett Griffith now. You’ll notice that Robert Ladanyi is nowhere to be found, but no official word yet on where he has ended up. Stay tuned.

Chris Swircek is also stepping back to a volunteer coach position at Stanford.

C. Chinese nationals

Women’s qualification concluded at Chinese Nationals today, with Liu Tingting leading the all-around standings, followed closely by Ou Yushan (junior), and Luo Huan.

Luo had an important day, placing third all-around and among the top-3 EF qualifiers on both bars and beam. I mentioned last week that she needed a result here to avoid looking superfluous. It’s still a tough road for Luo because she doesn’t have the vault and floor scores, but she did her job on her important events to stay in the main mix, especially with Chen Yile and Li Qi absent here.

LTT is in control of China (just…as a country) at this point, even advancing to the floor final in 2nd place with a 13.100. And, yes, the fact that 13.100 and a 4.7 D got into the floor final in 2nd place is still very much a cause for concern. Zhang Jin leads that event by a ton with 13.850, but no one else really got a score. Unfortunately, our great floor hope Qi Qi fell on an attempted double double tuck (that also didn’t look close in PT). She’s still going to be essential for floor, but that result was a bit disappointing. Qi Qi did, however, hit a very proficient DTY on vault, something the team needs.

Meanwhile, the project to turn world tumbling champion Jia Fangfang into a floor option continues as she did advance to the floor final with a Tingting-matching 13.100—and did it with less-than-ideal landings on a couple of those passes (but a definitely ideal landing on the FTDLO). The dance elements aren’t there and are probably never going to be there, but if she can fill in with enough tumbling difficulty, she can be a real option.

Liu Jinru did hit her DTT for a solidly high vault score, but with the presence of Qi Qi, you wonder if that alone is going to be enough for her to continue challenging for teams because the floor score was only in the 12s, despite advancing to the final.

Fan Yilin qualified in first place on bars of course, and Luo Youjuan made the beam final, so we’re going to be OK. This competition also brought Shang Chunsong back to us, and she advanced to the floor final with this routine.

In the junior department, Ou Yushan’s beam is life-changing, so if you’re looking to be totally over all the seniors and getting obsessed with a junior, here.

Just cursorily based on today, I’d probably want Liu Tingting, Zhang Jin, Fan Yilin, Qi Qi, and Luo Huan as a first-choice team of five—using a Yfull on vault rather than compromising elsewhere—but there’s still plenty of time to change that. I was hoping for a little more from Tang Xijing here. She did place 6th AA and did advance to the beam final, but not a totally convincing performance that I would put into a team of five right now.

D. GymCastic

Yep, it’s the Morgan Hurd/Heath Thorpe episode! You can listen here.

Perfect Chinese Beamers Who Never Saw the Light of Day

With the Chinese national championship getting underway this week, now is an opportune time to delve into the most important subcategory of all the subcategories of Chinese gymnasts—perfect beamers who show up to nationals and are better than anything anyone has ever attempted and deserve all the gold medals, and then immediately disappear into the sands of time never to be seen again.

Whether they are injured forever, are only useful on beam, have never once actually hit a routine in their lives ever, or are just criminally overlooked in a controversial scandal, these gymnasts never competed on a major international team, which only adds to their legend.

(Note: There will be recency bias here because…YouTube. The most perfect Chinese beamer to have ever Chinese beamed probably competed domestically one time in 1985 and then turned to liquid like Alex Mack and seeped out of memory forever, but we don’t know who she was and have never seen her, so…you know…let’s talk about the last 15 years.)

Liu Hou

If you can’t get on board with this front aerial to two feet connected to Rulfova, then I have nothing for you. The sheer extension on the layout stepout mount and front aerial. The moving dismount tribute to Yang Bo to indicate humanity. It’s a win for all of us.

Liu Hou was a stellar beam junior in the 2004 quad—this little baby beam routine from 2003 is a must-watch as well—and actually had pretty solid longevity for a “never saw the light of day” Chinese beamer, continuing through to get some international assignments in Europe in the spring of 2007. Continue reading Perfect Chinese Beamers Who Never Saw the Light of Day