Minnesota 2017

Bailey Abernathy
  • Provides weekly VT, FX routines
  • 2016 RQS: VT – 9.840, FX – 9.835
Bailie Holst
  • Competes weekly VT, BB, FX, competed BB once for 9.525 in 2016
  • 2016 RQS: UB – 9.885, VT – 9.770, FX – 9.765
Kaitlin Rahon
  • Provided weekly FX and frequent BB in 2016
  • 2016 RQSL FX – 9.810, BB – 9.730
Abby DeMuse
  • Weekly VT, UB, FX and occasional BB in 2016
  • 2016 RQS: FX – 9.850, UB – 9.840, VT – 9.815
  • 2016 average: BB – 9.370
Ciara Gardner
  • Competed AA in every meet in 2016
  • 2016 RQS: FX – 9.875, BB – 9.820, UB – 9.805, VT – 9.770
Hannah Hitchcock
  • Provided backup UB routine in 2016, competed VT once for 9.500
  • 2016 RQS: UB – 9.690
Rachel Rowland
  • Has not competed a routine in first two seasons
Steph Shields
  • Transfer from UW-Stout
  • Competed BB, FX in 2015 for Stout
  • 2015 average: FX – 9.333, BB – 8.820
Rachel Cutler
  • Made final UB lineup in 2016
  • 2016 average: UB – 9.645, FX – 9.650
Selena Ung
  • Competed BB 3 times in 2016 for 9.658 average
Casey Betts
  • Gold Medal AZ
  • 2015 JO Nationals 19th AA
  • 2015 Arizona state AA champion
Julie Huebert
  • Eagles MO
  • 2016 Missouri state AA 2nd
Ivy Lu
  • Gymnix
  • 2012 Junior Pan American team
  • 2015 Canadian open division AA champion
Kristen Quaglia
  • Classic MN
  • 2016 Minnesota state AA 3rd
Ryan Stach
  • Galaxy NY
  • 2016 JO Nationals VT 15th
  • 2016 NY state AA 2nd
Becca Taylor
  • Twin City
  • 2016 Minnesota state UB 3rd
Paige Williams
  • Metroplex
  • 2016 JO Nationals AA 2nd

Recent History
2016 – 12th
2015 – 23rd
2014 – 14th
2013 – 8th
2012 – 24th
2011 – 22nd
2010 – 25th

Minnesota managed a critical result last season by advancing to nationals when not favored to do so, but expectations for 2017 are not all that high given the depletion of the roster (losses which tend to focus on the 9.9s of Lindsay Mable but also include Nordquist, Hanley, and Haines, leading to the decimation of some of the lineups, and by some I mean beam).

A large freshman class featuring a few rather accomplished gymnasts will be counted on to minimize the damage and keep the Gophers in the national conversation, though the most likely final ranking for Minnesota appears closer to those 22-25 seasons.

Top returners – Abernathy (9.840), DeMuse (9.815)
Returning options – Holst (9.770), Gardner (9.770), Hitchcock (9.500)

Minnesota does return four postseason vaults from last year, featuring Bailey Abernathy’s handspring pike 1/2 for a 10.0 start. Abernathy will be expected to lead the scoring with high 9.8s so that the three returning fulls can go 9.800-9.825 and get Minnesota into the usable 49.1 range. It’s not a big score, but it’s a “we’re still in it” score.

Of the newbies, Ryan Stach and Paige Williams both have shown solid amplitude on fulls in the past, so I’d count on those two to come in and fill out the lineup with similar numbers to the other members of the Yurchenko Full Club. Minnesota will lose some scoring potential without Mable’s full, though the influence of her full was somewhat dulled by the SV change, so it’s not quite as a devastating loss as it might have been.

Top returners – Holst (9.885), DeMuse (9.840), Gardner (9.805)
Returning options – Cutler (9.781), Hitchcock (9.690)

Bars has not been a fun event for Minnesota for a while now. The individual RQSs don’t look so bad (and things were not as dire last season as they had been in the past…until nationals), but getting everyone hitting at the same time for scores better than 9.725 has been more of a challenge than it should be. Holst will the leader of the lineup, a gymnast who matched Mable from time to time last season, and expect DeMuse and Gardner to be critical pieces again.

But along with Holst, the most important bars routine for Minnesota will come from Ivy Lu, who has the line, handstands, piked Jaeger, Pak, and DLO to be excellent here and slide into Mable’s lineup spot. Beyond that, it gets a little interesting as the other freshmen bring some big individual skills but also a lot of crazy legs. There will be enough people to fill a lineup, though it’s probably going to get rather 9.7y in the early spots.

Top returners – Gardner (9.820)
Returning options – Rahon (9.730), Ung (9.658), Holst (9.525), DeMuse (9.370)

Here’s the problem. Beam was Minnesota’s best event last season by quite a margin. The Gophers were excellent, but exactly all of those important routines are gone now, meaning that the team will likely have to rely on gymnasts who were not good enough to make the lineup last year and tended far too often to fall or go sub-9.7.

That’s why we’re probably looking at a “the more freshmen the better” lineup, with Ivy Lu presenting herself as a compelling option here in addition to bars. She has a Rulfova, so that’s that. The project will be to get other freshmen who have shown potential in the dance element department, like Williams and Huebert, into lineup form because they have the most potential for routines with minimal built-in deductions. Still, losing the top four beam routines—including nationally competitive 9.9s from Nordquist and Mable—means Minnesota will be in for some degree of score plummeting this time around.

Top returners – Gardner (9.875), DeMuse (9.850), Abernathy (9.835), Rahon (9.810)
Returning options – Holst (9.765), Cutler (9.690)

In contrast to beam, the floor lineup is probably the best set of the four events to match last year’s scores since the majority of last year’s now-departed seniors were not so much with the floor. The team has to replace only Lindsay Mable. Oh, just that. But, Minnesota had an RQS of 49.270 on floor last year, and even if you assume that includes a 9.925 from Mable, the score is still relatively OK without her number. Gardner, DeMuse, Abernathy, and Rahon frequently went 9.800 or better, which provides a foundation for this season’s six.

Paige Williams has gigantic tumbling ability and will need to be the new leading scorer for Minnesota. She’s not the new Lindsay Mable because she has a very different style of gymnastics, but she has amplitude like no other and can be the E-pass gymnast Minnesota has lacked. Ryan Stach and maybe Casey Betts also have your traditional JO-style D-pass routines and will present themselves as options to fill out the group, ensuring that the power events have the best shot at staying close to last year’s level.

To a large extent, it’s about minimizing the damage for Minnesota this year post-Mable. I’m not really looking at these lineups in terms of how they can improve over last year but more how they can keep pace with last year and keep Minnesota ranked in the teens, at least in the conversation for nationals.

A lot of it comes down to Paige Williams and Ivy Lu combining to replace the most important lost scores and join forces to mimic the Mable numbers. It takes a village. If Williams can get the scores on VT, BB, FX and Lu on UB, BB (with Stach as a supporting AAer), the team’s potential may not drop quite as much as it originally might appear. Beam will be the guiding star in that regard since that lineup is essentially a wasteland after last year and must be replenished for Minnesota to have a shot. As goes beam, so goes Minnesota.

One thought on “Minnesota 2017”

  1. IIRC, Ivy Lu also has some good leaps, including an excellent sheep jump, and used to compete a piked side aerial.

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