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2017 Freshman Preview: LSU

“Is this LSU’s year?” they say every year. Given the relative paucity of lost routines and a number of expected contributions from significant freshmen…if not now, then when?

Returning Routines – LSU
VAULT
Gnat – 9.965
Ewing – 9.905
Hambrick – 9.880
Finnegan – 9.835
Cannamela – 9.835
Macadaeg – 9.790
Priessman – 9.750
BARS
Finnegan 9.915
Hambrick – 9.905
Zamardi – 9.875
Priessman – 9.869
Gnat – 9.727
Cannamela – 9.663
BEAM
Finnegan – 9.915
Gnat – 9.895
Macadaeg – 9.890
Hambrick – 9.885
Ewing – 9.870
Priessman – 9.725
Cannamela – 9.603
FLOOR
Gnat – 9.980
Macadaeg – 9.950
Kelley – 9.885
Hambrick – 9.880
Ewing – 9.865
Finnegan – 9.692
Zamardi – 9.517
Cannamela – 9.050

That’s already a pretty solid batch of routines, with only bars showing some troublesome holes. Enter Ruby Harrold.

Stalwart of the quadrennium for the British, Harrold made teams because of her ability to deliver a believable TF routine on three different apparatuses, but the showpiece of her gymnastics has always been difficult and interesting bars composition.

zucholdschleudern

Girl, you Zuchold the crap out of that Schleudern.

Harrold’s biggest obstacle in getting huge, huge scores on bars was always that, because she went for major difficulty, her form became a sack of damn crazy in places. Let’s just address the Bhardwaj in the room before we go too far. A skill like that would destroy her NCAA score, but at the same time, I do think Harrold needs to retain a solid chunk of that unique elite composition to make this a true standout, end-of-lineup, 9.9-even-on-a-bad-day routine. If it’s just “shaposhjaegerbye,” I will sigh the world down.

All of which is to say, I know Jay Clark and I have our differences because of his fundamentally abominable worldview, but if the Zuchold-Schleudern doesn’t stay in Ruby’s routine, we really are done forever.

Regardless of whether it actually ends up being interesting or not, bars will be Harrold’s most important contribution given both her ability and the needs of the team, but she certainly does have the skill level to contribute as an all-arounder. On beam, a brief snippet of training video shows her downgrading to a gainer pike dismount. While I hate the gainer pike, Ruby was rarely allowed to do much beam at major competitions for GB because GAHHHHHH, so in this case, I have no problem with stripping her routine down to bare bones to turn it into something she can hit consistently.

On vault, Harrold has performed DTY since 2014, though it was definitely a “let me sneak this around” kind DTY, not an Ashleigh Gnat DTY that’s going to stick around in college. Still, Harrold can absolutely give LSU a strong lineup option both there and on floor with her double Arabian and easy D tumbling, aided by actual attention to performance. Harrold has always been willing to invest in a floor routine (even when it’s boring like her 2016 routine), so that should translate well to NCAA.

That double Arabian is very EHH, complete with that “you always think I’m going to step out of bounds, but I doooooon’t (usually)” step.

The real duty of pumping up the vault and floor lineups, however, will fall to Kennedi Edney, who will be expected to slide right into those Jessica Savona spots. Edney has an argument as the top JO recruit in this year’s class (though Denver’s Maddie Karr might have a better one), having finished in the top 3 at JO Nationals for five consecutive years.

Her critical contribution will be a massive 1.5 on vault. Expect Edney to become Gnat’s second-in-command in that lineup.

Hi. Your amplitude.

Edney can occasionally get a little soft-kneed on some of these, which they’ll have to work on if she’s to get an actual 10, but she’ll have no business not getting 9.9s this season.

As would be expected based on that vault, Edney also shows powerful floor tumbling, with a double Arabian, double layout, and full-twisting double tuck as E-pass options that she has shown in the past year or so.

The more complicated split elements are often a struggle, but those can be eradicated in NCAA and are more a topic of concern with regard to beam.

Beam features impressive acro but appears the least confident of Edney’s four events and is usually her lowest score. Although, the thing with both Edney and Harrold on beam is that none of us have a problem with a Finnegan, Gnat, Macadaeg, Hambrick, Ewing, Priessman LSU beam lineup anyway, so…it’s sort of just an extra.

Edney is also among those power gymnasts who can translate that power to bars. She has gigantic amplitude in release elements and, notably, stuck a DLO 1/1 dismount at JO Nationals in 2015 to win the event (and the all-around).

Pay attention to this one since LSU is actively looking for a couple new routines on bars. Feet and handstands can be a problem, but the pieces are there.

The third member of the class may end up being a little “and also Ashlyn Kirby” because of the depth and strength of the rest of the team and because she doesn’t have that one event that just has to be in the lineup. She’s just sort of fine everywhere.

On vault, for instance, Kirby has a perfectly good full, but LSU has about 60 of those. She does have strong extension going for her that could be the basis for putting together routines with few built-in deductions, perhaps on beam or bars where she’s not as compelled to compete for spots with power queens who will out-amplitude her by furlongs.

Of note, however, Kirby hasn’t competed since January because of injury and didn’t have any routines included in LSU’s October intrasquad video.

4 thoughts on “2017 Freshman Preview: LSU”

  1. Other Harrold fact of note is that she has competed a Y1.5 occasionally! It’s never been fantastic partially because she usually does it when she’s too injured for the double, but it is maybe a more realistic 10.0 option.

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  2. I just watched a video from last Friday’s intrasquad and it featured a rather lovely Shap half-Zuchold… *rubs hands together with glee*

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  3. “Edney can occasionally get a little soft-kneed on some of these, which they’ll have to work on if she’s to get an actual 10” at an away meet, maybe… remember, this is LSU we’re talking about, who were happy to hand Ashleigh “Octopus Block” Gnat’s DTY a 10 last year. I see no reason why they would give up their ongoing battle with Florida and Utah to produce the most WTF overscoring in the league.

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    1. Wow – someone sounds a little ticked they didn’t have Gnat in their fantasy lineups last year. Ashley’s DTY is better than 95.6% of the elites competing the same vault – so if you’re going to complain about something, maybe u should stick to commenting on DD’s blazers

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