2018 Freshmen – Nebraska

Nebraska will have to make do without Ashley Lambert and Jennie Laeng in the upcoming season, which will be a challenge and will require the cultivation of at least two new routines on most events in order to keep pace with the nearly-made-Super-Six result from last season.

To accomplish this, Nebraska brings in a giant crop of new gymnasts, ideally continuing the project of developing some more depth and cultivating more choice for lineups with a larger roster than the Huskers had in the olden days of a few years ago.

NEBRASKA 2018
VAULT
Houchin – 9.880
Schweihofer – 9.830
Crouse – 9.810
Williams – 9.796
Epperson – 9.790
BARS
Crouse – 9.890
Schweihofer – 9.860
Houchin – 9.835
Breen – 9.815
Epperson – 9.555
BEAM
Breen – 9.870
Williams – 9.850
Hassel – 9.825
Houchin – 9.795
Crouse – 9.695
Epperson – 9.550
Schweihofer – 9.515
FLOOR
Crouse – 9.855
Schweihofer – 9.850
Houchin – 9.845
Williams – 9.805
Epperson – 9.744
Breen – 9.596
Hassel – 9.083
Kynsee Roby

The most acclaimed of the group is Kynsee Roby, who finished second at JO nationals in 2016 and who would be the most likely of the freshmen to contribute the all-around. So, of course, she tore her ACL in March.

March was a fairly long time ago, though, so we can still hold out hope for 2018 contributions, as well as future AA status.

Most important in Roby’s repertoire is bars. Nebraska needs bars routines this season, and because this is not a particularly barsy freshman class overall, that puts more emphasis on Roby’s set. Her JO routine features a piked Jaeger, a legs-together Pak, and an excellent straight body position on a DLO, which can be molded into a very good NCAA routine.

Extension is a major feature in Roby’s gymnastics, which is also on display in this quick and precise beam work. That loso series and front aerial will do just fine.

Bars and beam are the highlight routines, but at full strength Roby has a pretty high full on vault that should fit right in with Project We Make Vault’s Here at Nebraska, as well as a floor routine that while not showing huge difficulty, would be clean and comfortable enough to be lineup-usable.

Megan Verceles Carr

The other L10 standout of the last couple years in Nebraska’s new class is Carr, finishing 8th at JO nationals in 2017 with a top-3 finish on beam.

In general, Carr’s top events have tended to be vault and beam, so that’s the best place to start. In news that will pique interest, she attempted a 1.5 on vault at JO Nationals this year, and it went medium.

The vault can be an occasional struggle (she fell on the second attempt), but it’s definitely an NCAA possibility, particularly because Nebraska has proven adept at pulling 1.5s out of places where we didn’t think 1.5s existed, suddenly showing up with three of them by the second half of the 2017 season. And if the 1.5 does not come to pass, then we can still expect a lineup-ready full.

The real highlight quality in Carr’s gymnastics, though, is how she maintains toe point through her split jumps, which is particularly rare and noteworthy on beam. Just do the split jump out of that side aerial and nothing else all day long on beam and get into the lineup.

That same quality shows up in a fairly low-difficulty—but nonetheless usable—floor routine should Nebraska need another option. The Huskers shouldn’t be short on hittable D-pass floor routines this season with lots of “I CAN DOUBLE TUCK” on the roster, but it’s always nice to have another option.

Karley and Torri Hutchinson

We have a twin alert coming out of Nebraska, and its name is Hutchinson. Both Karley and Torri should give the team options on a couple events, with fairly similar gymnastics but complementary strengths, Torri tending to get the stronger scores on bars and beam, while Karley is a little stronger on vault and floor.

Most notably, Karley competes a double front (!) on floor, as in this routine that scored 9.675 at Metroplex this year. That’s the one E-pass I’ve seen from this freshman class, so if that pass is consistent for her, she should be able to carve out a spot in the lineup. That floor routine seems the most likely Hutchinson routine we’ll see this season, but both do have viable fulls as well that can sneak in. This is a pretty vault-heavy class, and with a couple 1.5s returning from last season, Nebraska will have the opportunity to pick out only the very best fulls to round out the lineup from around 10 believable vaulting options.

Particularly because I anticipate Nebraska needing to procure a UB routine from somewhere to have any actual depth there, watch out for the Hutchinsons on bars as well (Torri, Karley). It was never the biggest score in JO for them because of some form issues, but they do have D-level releases and dismounts and some degree of rhythm, which stands out in this class.

Anika Dujakovich

Add Dujakovich to the vault conversation, showing a floaty and viable Yurchenko full that looks to be her most likely contribution to the team. With solid extension throughout the flight phase, this particular vault would really only accumulate deductions on landing if reproduced in NCAA and would break 9.8.

Dujakovich has competed very little floor in the past year, so it’s hard to know what we’ll get from that set, but she had a perfectly fine double pike routine in years prior.

Makayla Curtis

Curtis is also on the Yfull train for Nebraska, showing a vault at JO nationals in 2016 where the real problem might be that it was too big for its own good.

You could work with that. I’m also keeping an eye on Curtis’s beam because she is acrobatically capable (her occasional wolf jump to front tuck is a cool idea, though also terrifying), though I’d worry that the leaps would hold her score down too much. That’s why floor may be the more realistic option.

Rachel Thompson

The 5’7″ local walk-on Thompson rounds out the class. She’s probably not in the running to make lineups, but she could be a dark horse to watch out for given the right composition on beam, where her height gives her a lovely line (watch that side aerial).

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