Expectations rise quickly in this game. I had never done a freshman preview for Washington in previous seasons, and now it’s all, “Why don’t you have more 9.850s?” That’s what an 8th-place finish will do, and with the team’s top routines on vault, bars, and floor from last season now departed, there will be actual expectations placed on the freshmen. At least a couple expectations. Maybe two.
The freshman trio won’t be called on to lead the way on events (with one-ish exception), but Washington will need to get several moments of lineup-ready gymnastics out of them to remain a nationals-level team.
Burleson – 9.845
Roy – 9.825
Goings – 9.820
Hoffa – 9.780
Riley – 9.775
Copiak – 9.705
Goings – 9.830
Washington – 9.825
Burleson – 9.815
Copiak – 9.805
Nelson – 9.770
Riley – 9.569
Goings – 9.915
Burleson – 9.905
Schaefer – 9.855
Rose – 9.835
Nelson – 9.825
Washington – 9.800
Burleson – 9.870
Washington – 9.840
Schaefer – 9.835
Goings – 9.804
Hoffa – 9.660
Roy – 9.625
Oh finished 3rd all-around at JO Nationals in 2016, proving her ability across four events. If Washington has an AAer out of this freshman class, it will be her. Oh’s gymnastics is simpler gymnastics—she’s not breaking down any difficulty walls—but it is well-executed enough to be worthy of rewards in NCAA.
My favorite quality in Oh’s gymnastics is her line on bars, so of course she had labrum surgery in April because welcome to gymnastics. Hopefully April was long enough ago that we will see a recovered Oh in the 2018 season.
I love that line, but even better is the height and toe point on the Jaeger. The beginning of this routine is really exceptional. For the dismount, she connects into the double tuck with a giant full, which means it would be up to level for NCAA. It’s not ideal difficulty, but we’ve seen plenty of people successfully go that route before. It does have to be perfect to get away with it, though, without a step or any handstand questions.
Beam is already a strength for Washington, so there isn’t as much need in that lineup, but this routine nonetheless can slot into the six and fit in nicely, as long as the consistency is there. Because the routine is mostly extended (a few knee moments but not crazy), the majority of deductions would not be built-in.
Oh is less known for vault and floor, but the team will need her on those pieces at times (slash at all the times). The floor tumbling is quite simple, but the leaps are there, and the overall set is clean enough to be a good score. It’s not the floor routine you’ll rely on for a lineup-defining number, but it’s usable.
Similar is true on vault. Washington will have to use almost entirely 9.95 starts on vault in 2018, and I’d take this one, a clean full with just a little bit of piking.
At JO nationals this year, Thompson finished 3rd on vault in her group, which is a good place to begin in evaluating her potential contributions.
Vault is almost always Thompson’s best score, with a high and extended full serving her very well. The complete twist is finished with her head still above the vaulting table, which the sign of the better Yurchenko fulls. If they’re looking for a replacement Yacalis (which they are), Thompson is the best nominee.
Thompson is likewise expected to contribute on floor, having stepped up the size of her tumbling to become one of those bigger-gymnastics options Washington is looking for to ensure the continued climbing out of that 15th-in-the-country “my everything is a rudi” floor purgatory. Thompson could also work as a possibility on beam, finishing 5th at JOs this year, but that really depends on the needs of the team, which aren’t as great on beam at this point.
Willmarth also joins the Washington team this year and looks like more or less a backup floor gymnast with the possibility of a bars routine. Translation: those are the events that have made their way onto YouTube and are therefore the answer.
Bars was typically the most competitive score for Willmarth in JO, though floor is the one with NCAA-level composition in terms of the tumbling passes.