2017 Freshman Preview: Denver and Boise State

Oh, mountain time zone, we haven’t forgotten about you. Yet. (Give it a week.)

In Denver, the motto of the season is “Oh thank god Maddie Karr is here.”

Returning Routines – Denver
Fielitz – 9.850
Chesnok – 9.830
Ross – 9.820
Addison – 9.785
Schou – 9.755
Ross – 9.880
Chesnok – 9.860
Kern – 9.830
Addison – 9.800
Ross – 9.860
Hammen – 9.835
Schou – 9.815
Fielitz – 9.725
Chesnok – 9.556
Addison – 9.870
Hammen – 9.855
Schou – 9.840

Now that Nina McGee is gone, there is no joy in the world and all the flowers have wilted and died, but if you were worried about who’s going to be Denver’s star and get all the 9.9s to fill out the paltry routine-scape you see above, it’s Maddie Karr. No pressure or anything.

Karr won JO Nationals this year with the highest score of any gymnast in any session (the only one to break 39), and then also this vault.

Get in the anchor spot.

Vault is Karr’s jam, but she will be an all-arounder who’s expected to record among the top scores on the team on each piece. At JOs this year, Karr didn’t show huge floor tumbling, but she does have a piked full-in resting in her pocket as well, which should help restock that lineup’s supply of power. Her amplitude on dance elements is also a plus, helping her reach 180 on that split full and actually get it all the way around too.

“Hey Maddie, how many coaches do you need standing in this one corner of the floor as you start? Seven? Great, that’s what I thought. We’re all helping.”

On bars, the piked gienger is a highlight, and on beam, Maddie teases us as if we’re going to get to see my beloved side aerial + layout stepout series, but then it’s just a side aerial + bhs. Not forgiven. I’m legitimately disappointed.

The back knee does get a little mush-town on some of these acro skills, so that’s something they’ll have to watch for to avoid unnecessary deductions on a routine that really should score quite well.

Let’s face it, beam was a Stage 4 nuclear terror for Denver last year, culminating in the 48.525 at regionals that knocked them out of  nationals and all the way down to fourth in their “region.”  So it’s encouraging to see Karr as a viable performer there, along with Courtney Loper from Chow’s.

Me like. This, all the time. That extension cures a number of problems. Ebola, I think. It’s especially impressive for a gymnast who came to Chow’s by way of Casa de Skinner. Historically, Loper’s scores on beam are not great and do not reflect her overall ability, so I am also concerned about consistency and whether we actually can have nice things or not.

On floor, Loper shows a front double full, and while it’s not a big routine, that skill is quite good and of course she brings that same overall extension from beam into floor. Considering how few floor routines Denver has returning to the roster, I see that event being equally critical for Loper. She’s unlikely to figure in the AA, though, with just a 9.90 SV vault.

Now let’s talk WOGA’s Sam Ogden. If you’re primarily an elite follower, she’ll be the one you know (ish) from her time as a senior elite and her two appearances at Classic in 2013 and 2014. You may also remember that time she fell on a double tuck and you went, “Sweetie…” which isn’t fair. Be better.

I recall my general impression of Ogden in 2013-2014 being that her routine composition was…odd. Like she clearly didn’t fit into the WOGA cookie cutter, and WOGA didn’t know what to do with that information so they sort of just pretended it wasn’t true and had her do the exact same skills they all do anyway. Why are you making this poor girl do that Onodi? Stop it.

Of note, Ogden hasn’t competed vault or floor since early 2015, but she did have a Yfull and a double pike/tuck floor routine (though I preferred her twisting elements) during those elite seasons. On bars, she has been showing a strong shap + bail combo and tuck full dismount in training videos (the only event we’ve seen from her in training so far) that will make for a useful lineup routine. As for beam, as long as everyone agrees to adhere to good composition choices, and say no to Onodis and sheep jumps, we’ll all be OK.

With only three or four set routines returning on each event, and just 13 of 24 postseason routines from 2016, expect the freshmen to see a lot of time on any event they might vaguely be capable of doing. There are more open lineup spots than there are likely freshman routines, so they’ll get their chances.

Let’s also take some time for Boise State, the team with two new Rio Olympians.

Returning Routines – Boise State
Stockwell – 9.845
Bennion – 9.840
Bir – 9.820
Collantes – 9.790
Remme – 9.740
Urquhart – 9.725
Stockwell – 9.860
Collantes – 9.845
Remme – 9.845
Bennion – 9.815
Mejia – 9.546
Remme – 9.860
Urquhart – 9.830
Means – 9.800
Collantes – 9.800
Mejia – 9.412
Collantes – 9.925
Remme – 9.865
Urquhart – 9.820
Stockwell – 9.756

New Zealand’s Courtney McGregor finished 13th (eventually) on vault at the Olympics, showing a DTY and a round-off 1/2-on, pike 1/2. Her Yurchenko vaults are much stronger than her round-off 1/2-on vaults, so that’s the direction I expect they’ll go with her. Ideally, she’ll be able to give them a Yurchenko 1.5 for another much-needed 10.0 SV.

Overall, McGregor has floppy form moments on each of the pieces but a few excellent elements that will be worth building around. On BSU’s dear, dear uneven bars, her routine can get rather legs, but a solid shaposh and a high gienger are more than enough for Boise State to work with it. You may recall her gienger from NBC’s Pac Rims broadcast when Trautwig was like, “Pssh, not as good as Nastia did it…BLECH HISS GURGLE.”

Her elite beam was bookended by a satisfying front pike mount and equally satisfying double tuck dismount, and I wouldn’t mind if either stayed, in spite of the risk. But best of all, bringing her floor into NCAA means we won’t have to deal with that remixed Phantom of the Opera routine anymore. It’s a win for everyone.

If someone says, “Should my floor music be this weird Phantom of the…” the answer is “Stop right there. No. Go think about what you’ve done.”

Isabella Amado also competed in Rio, representing Panama, and even though her elite routines tended to stay in the 4s in D score—which is not that different from NCAA composition—there should still be room to pick and choose elements to put together best-case-scenario college routines.

Amado’s elite routines showed too much ragged form to score all that well in NCAA as is, so cleaning up—and bumping down to simpler elements when possible—will be a project in order to get her scores up to where they are supposed to be.

In this beam routine from worlds, for example (which I include because of a funny fall), that layout obviously has to go and shouldn’t have been in the routine to begin with, but in some of the basic elements and her ability with a double back dismount, you can see a college routine in there.

The same is true on the other pieces, where her simpler split elements on floor and pointed-toe, vertical cast handstands on bars can be a foundation.

Boise State also brings in three other non-Olympians (guh, disappointments) in this year’s class, of which I’ll be paying particular attention to McKinley Pavicic. She is a classic, solid JO gymnast without standout difficulty on any piece but with strong basics, extended legs, and routines that could fill out lineups.

She’s joined by Maddison Nilson‘s sky-high tkatchev that will have the BSU coaches very excited to work it into a lineup-worthy routine, along with McKenna Morrell, who I thought went to Utah. Learn something new every day.

One thought on “2017 Freshman Preview: Denver and Boise State”

  1. Haha Mckenna Morrell and Makenna Merrell are different people from different states

Comments are closed.