2018 Freshmen – Auburn

It was an off year for Auburn in 2017, at least based on the standard of the previous few, with a 15th-place finish ultimately gilding a season that was spent predominately ranked in the 20s. Injury comebacks and increased contribution from upperclassmen will be as important as the freshmen in improving on that result in 2018, but multiple competition routines on each event will nonetheless be expected from this freshman class of six.

Auburn 2018 – Returning Routines
Day – 9.840
Krippner – 9.810
Becker – 9.790
Phillips – 9.780
Engler – 9.770
Black – 9.717
Milliet – 9.600
Engler – 9.875
Cerio – 9.865
Day – 9.860
Krippner – 9.825
Milliet – 9.808
Becker – 9.655
Moss – 9.625
Krippner – 9.885
Slappey – 9.830
Cerio – 9.810
Milliet – 9.808
Engler – 9.780
Becker – 9.775
Slappey – 9.840
Becker – 9.810
Cerio – 9.805
Day – 9.795
Milliet – 9.550
Meredith Sylvia

Sylvia’s is the most recognizable name in Auburn’s freshman class, a Parkette and toddler junior elite during the 2012 quad who went back to L10 full time beginning in 2014. She competed regularly in JO in 2014 and 2015 but has missed much of the last two seasons with injury.

Healthy, Sylvia should be a significant contributor on at least two events, ideally more. Let’s begin with beam because front aerial to Rulfova! I’ll take that.

That elite standard is evident in many of the skills on beam (I do worry about the jumps), as well as floor, where Sylvia competed a 3/1 and 2.5 + front tuck this past JO season. This year’s NCAA freshmen bring only the smallest handful of 3/1s, making Sylvia’s a memorable piece. Without a ton of standout content returning to Auburn’s floor lineup, this would be a welcome set.

Bars must become a competition-ready event for Sylvia in time because she is too competent at handstands for this routine to sit on the sidelines. Auburn will, however, have to resolve the dismount, a toe-on front tuck (C) in 2017, either by connecting into it with a turning skill or upgrading. Sylvia did previously perform a DLO, but it’s been a few years now.

I have the fewest expectations for vault because it has been since 2014 that Sylvia competed vault with any kind of frequency or success. We just don’t know what’s still there. She had a powerful if formy full in 2014, but if she can consistently provide the other three events, that would be a huge win.

Drew Watson

A L10 coming from Texas East, Watson is the current Texas state all-around champion in her age group and has placed in the top 10 at JO nationals each of the last two years. She’ll be a necessity on two or three events and will provide usable options in the all-around.

Watson’s most important piece is vault, where she brings a Y1.5. A major piece in the quest to become more competitive in the SEC again is having even the possibility of scoring with the other teams on vault. So…10.0 starts. Like this one.

A double Arabian on floor, along with a comfortable, traditional NCAA switch side + popa combination, should make Watson a solid nominee for the floor lineup in addition to vault. There’s some form, some cowboying, but not enough to jeopardize the routine.

I’d also like to see Watson get some real competition time on beam, where the acrobatic amplitude and relative comfort on leap elements mean that she should be among the best six choices Auburn has.

The potential is there on bars, which is apparent in some of the handstand skills, so I’d keep an eye on that event. There may be a few too many little leg and handstand errors—plus the composition is very thin without the Ray that she used to do—so it’s not a definite bet.

Jada Glenn

Like Watson, Glenn’s most serious contribution (and basically the reason she’s here) will be a Yurchenko 1.5 on vault. Both Glenn and Watson have been doing these vaults comfortably for a while,  rather than desperately trying to learn them to have a 10.0 in college.

That’s the place where I’d bet on Glenn making the lineup. The other events are not as likely.

Glenn can tumble on floor at a medium L10 level, but we’ll have to see whether that’s enough and whether the consistency in the landings and the quality of the dance elements are there to break into the six. Still, it is a six that will require its fair share of double pike routines.

Meanwhile, her bars work is probably too all-over-the-place to get into a lineup, but I would sure enjoy it.

Ashley Smith

Ashley N Smith is one of two Ashley Smiths starting in NCAA this season, along with Ashley B Smith at Iowa. Yeah, we’re going to have to use some middle initials, which is not ideal.

Ashley N took 6th on beam at JO nationals this year and 8th on bars the year before. Videos are few and far between for her so there’s not a ton to go on—recent videos are even fewer and farther between—but her biggest contribution to the team should be bars.

With crisp positions, quick work, a Gienger, and a full-in, her bars work looks the most presentable and NCAA-ready among the freshman class.

Elsewhere, we’re looking at maybes. Beam has tended to score competitively, and if you got rid of the loso work (which would be in the running for shape deductions), you could come up with a high-level routine there.

On vault, Ashley N’s full will present an option, though it may not be a top-6 option. I’ve never seen a floor routine from her, so that will be like a fun little mystery. Her floor set has scored fairly well with 9.5s and 9.6s recently in JO.

Sydney Bassett

The walk-on Bassett will provide a possibility on vault, with a Yurchenko full that can be in the competitive mix for the first couple spots in the lineup this year.

On bars, she also shows a workable Jaeger and Pak but, like so many freshman across the country this year, will need to come up with a dismount before this can seriously be considered as a lineup option.

Allie Riddle

Riddle and Bassett complement each other well, Bassett the more competitive on vault and bars, Riddle the more competitive on beam and floor.

Riddle should provide a usable option on beam, with work that can be fairly aggressive. Take note of that straddle 1/2. Not bad at all.

The straddle work is actually what I notice most about Riddle’s floor routine as well, where she can also provide a competitive set with solid-enough shapes in her tumbling passes.