Meet the Freshmen – LSU & Georgia

LSU

Today, it’s LSU and Georgia—pairing a teeny, tiny freshman class with a large army freshman class to balance things out.

With Bailey Ferrer signing yesterday to join the LSU team for the 2019 season (and a vital signing it is), that brings LSU’s new class up to two members. This still does not present a net gain of routines for 2019, a season in which the important work from Hambrick and Macadaeg will need to be replaced somehow, so the upperclasswomen will also be counted on to take some of that burden.

LSU Freshmen 2019
Bailey Ferrer VT UB BB FX
In Ferrer, LSU has a former junior elite whom we can expect to contribute on multiple events right away. Since dropping back to L10, Ferrer’s best scores have come on vault, where that 10.0-start Omelianchik gives her a leg-up in the lineup discussion. Her non-terrifying double Arabian and comfortable twisting ability on floor will also be an asset for a lineup that needs Ferrer and Kelley to restock the group this season. Expect to see her on at least those two pieces.

I could also see Ferrer getting into that bars lineup in an early spot. Someone has to slot in for Hambrick—it’s not yet clear who it will be—and Ferrer is a nominee. The knees and leaps probably keep Ferrer from the beam lineup on a team like this, but she presents a routine if needed.

Rebecca D’Antonio VT UB BB FX
D’Antonio is the kind of walk-on unlikely to see competition time on a team as strong as LSU’s, but that beam work has a lot of potential, so I could see a project to develop that as something more than just a depth routine.

GEORGIA

Georgia has cleaned house following last season, retaining only the five high-profile contributors from 2018. Otherwise, it’s just the 80 million freshmen. As such, Georgia will be heavily reliant on freshmen in 2019, but from those five returners (Snead, Vega, Dickson, Schild, and Oakley), Georgia should still get more than half its competition routines and will therefore be able to pick and choose only the best routines to use from this freshman phalanx.

Georgia Freshmen 2019
Rachael Lukacs VT UB BB FX
Lukacs has been an L10 star for approximately 65 years, so good thing she’s finally in college. (It’s an Amelia Hundley situation where you’ve been hearing about her for so long it’s like, “Don’t you have a job and a baby or something?”) Lukacs’ strongest events are vault and floor, where she needs to get into the deep part of lineup immediately. The only question on vault is whether the DTY ends up being score-smart enough to use. On floor, Lukacs’ DLO is super comfortable, and she should present the biggest routine on the team.

Based on her bajillion JO all-around titles, we know Lukacs has the routines to contribute on all four pieces, but it will be interesting to watch whether she actually gets into the lineup on all four. Are the handstands and feet crisp enough on bars? Beam has always been exceptionally solid for meet-winning scores, so if Georgia is in need of a Sturdy Aly (we’ve all lived through those years), Lukacs is your choice, though hers is not going to be the very most extended option Georgia has.

Rachel Baumann VT UB BB FX
Baumann. I don’t entirely want to reduce her to her family legacy, but also just, like, get in the beam lineup. On most other events—vault and floor in particular—Baumann will be clean enough to be a compelling possibility with her Yfull and her D passes (maybe not the 2.5 because of legs, but the double pike etc). The question is whether she gets bumped out of the six on those apparatuses by teammates who present more difficulty. Watch that space. For now, those routines seem like the kind of 9.8+s you want in the lineup.  On bars, Baumann has the toes, but she’ll need to get a dismount back to be in contention.
Megan Roberts VT UB BB FX
Expect the former Canadian elite to see time on multiple events as one of the more prolific contributors in this freshman class. Big tumbling passes meant that floor was typically Roberts’ most internationally competitive score in elite, and that same quality should get her into Georgia’s lineup. The piked full-in, for instance, looks NCAA realistic. Roberts also vaulted a DTY back in the day, indicating that should also be able to provide a real landing on a 10.0-start for this team. She’s currently working a 1.5.

Bars is a maybe. It’s perhaps a little ragged, but you could get rid of some of those skills and put something NCAA-ready together. Beam has some nice moments in the acro, whether Roberts has a lineup-ready routine probably being dictated by where the leaps are.

Mikayla Magee VT UB BB FX
Magee is the lesser-known form favorite in Georgia’s class, the type whose toes and extension make you think she’s going to be a bars and beam specialist but who has the acro difficulty to make the leg events perhaps her most compelling options. Vault and floor have typically been Magee’s best-scoring pieces in JO. The difficulty of the pike full-in coupled with the efficiency of those twisting positions makes floor in particular a likely choice, but my favorite event for Magee is beam. She has the whole package, and I hope we see that routine. On bars, the tools are definitely there, but does she have enough content?
Alexa Al-Hameed VT UB BB FX
Al-Hameed arrived at Georgia after being in commit-limbo for a while, and she’s here primarily for her bars and beam contribution. She has the vertical positions and high tkatchev to separate herself from the pack on bars as a possibility, and the leg positions on acro skills on beam should be free of devastating form deductions and therefore put her in the mix. Al-Hameed can also bring a simple-solid floor set, though it may not be required this year.
Samantha Davis VT UB BB FX
Sami Davis Jr finished 4th AA at JO nationals in 2017 and is the type who will deliver possible routines on several pieces, competition time being mostly defined by the health and heartiness of the rest of the roster. That big double Arabian and solid 2.5 on floor from back in 2016 tell me that FX should be a compelling option for her and her most likely event, and a high Yfull will put her in the mix on vault. Beam is maybe-town.
Abbey Ward VT UB BB FX
Ward’s secret weapon is her Tsuk 1/1, a 10.0 start vault that could give her the inside track toward making the final six on that event. Vault is definitely her most likely contribution, but I’d say with a Shap, bail, and DLO on bars that are all realistic-looking, that piece could be a project as well.
Sterlyn Austin VT UB BB FX
With a full-in to open her routine, Georgia will be looking to get Austin in among the options on floor as we go, as long as the control is there. It’s a testament to the roster reinvention this freshman class brings that we’re talking about someone with a full-in as a “maybe option” on floor…instead of just being shocked that there might actually be enough floor routines to make up a whole lineup this year. Austin will also be able to provide some backup vault and beam.
Alyssa Perez-Lugones VT UB BB FX
Perez-Lugones may not see too much competition time on this team this year, but we should hear about her as an option provider with that full on vault and with a double pike on floor that’s probably the best single part of her four-event repertoire.
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12 thoughts on “Meet the Freshmen – LSU & Georgia”

  1. UGA:
    So on floor should it be Lukas and then Vega or should they go for Vega and then Lukas?

    Which way has the higher-scoring end-of-lineup potential? One is a powerful tumbler while the other is a dancer with the “fun” personality that draws in the audience (and judges?).

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    1. How is this possible? Hambrick never redshirted. She used all four years of eligibility. Maybe she’s a volunteer coach or something now, but I’m pretty sure Sarah’s post about her taking a 5th year was a joke.

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    2. She might be at school for a 5th year, but she only has 4 years of eligibility in NCAA sport. She never red-shirted, so she can’t compete this year. She could be a student assistant coach or whatever they’re called. But that’s not helpful to line-ups.

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    3. I think you’re confusing Myia Hambrick with Mykenna Kelly. Kelly tore her achilles in pre-season last year (her junior season) and missed out.

      I heard she originally planned to redshirt so she could compete at LSU as a RS-Senior when her kid sister is a freshman in 2019-20. But then Kelly sort of changed her mind due to the constant wear and tear on her body and was going to wait until after the current season to decide if she wanted to return for a redshirt year.

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      1. Sarah Finnegan definitely said Myia would be back for a fifth year on her twitter – but I assumed she meant as a volunteer assistant!

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  2. Detinately not a Georgia fan but I hope that Lukacs shines as one of the best freshmen of this class. Her JO career has been so succesful, I cannot wait to see her kill it!

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  3. Funny that they compare these two schools together. This class for Georgia is their hope for the future because they have not been able to get the top recruits that LSU, OU, Florida, and UCLA are getting. I bet they miss Jay Clark’s recruiting.

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