Freshman Feature: Secret Weapons

For today’s freshman feature, I’m looking at the top JO athletes in this year’s incoming class that I haven’t yet previewed as part of a team’s overall freshman outlook.


Chloe Widner – Stanford

Widner is a Texas Dreams athlete who won the Senior F title at JO Nationals this year, which followed a 6th-place finish in 2018 and a 2nd-place finish in 2017. She’s joining Canadian elite Jade Chrobok in this incoming class for Stanford, one of the most exciting the team has brought in for years.

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Helen Hu – Missouri

Hu finished her JO career with two consecutive 2nd-place AA finishes at JO Nationals in 2019 and 2018, winning the bars and beam titles on each occasion.

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Aria Brusch and Cassie Stevens – Auburn

Brusch was a junior elite for CGA through the 2016 season before focusing on L10. She placed 7th at junior Classic in 2016, behind only Alexeeva, Malabuyo, Perea, Chiles, Hurd, and O’Keefe, and most recently finished 5th AA in her division at the 2019 JO Nationals, winning the bars title.

Stevens placed first on vault at JO Nationals this season and also scored a 10.000 at regionals for her Y1.5.

Brusch

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Stevens

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Hannah Demers – Central Michigan

Demers is a big get for CMU this season and took 3rd AA at JO nationals this year, placing particularly well for that stuck Yfull and huge, clean bars routine.

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Hallie Thompson and Elizabeth Culton – North Carolina

North Carolina brings in a much-needed pair of L10 standouts who tied for 4th place in the Senior F division at JO Nationals this year. That followed a 2018 result in which they also tied, that time for 9th place. The two have largely complementary strengths, Thompson excelling on vault (Y1.5) and floor, and Culton excelling on bars and beam.

Thompson

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Culton

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Kylie Gorgenyi and Robyn Kelley – New Hampshire

New Hampshire has a pair of event stars coming in this year. Gorgenyi scored a 10.000 on vault early in 2019 and placed 6th on the same event at JO Nationals, along with a 4th-place finish on bars. Kelley took 9th AA at JO Nationals this year with compelling scores on three events (VT, BB, FX).

Gorgenyi

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Kelley

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Linda Zivat – Michigan State

Zivat placed 6th AA at JO Nationals this year and received a 9.900 for her especially vital 10.0-start Tsuk full on vault, as well as putting up a top-5 result on floor.

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Hannah Joyner – Rutgers

You’ll recall Joyner as a former junior elite from WCC during the previous quad who then went with Aimee to Evo and continued competing L10. She finished 6th AA at JO Nationals each of the last two years with her best placements coming on bars and beam.

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Jerquavia Henderson – Iowa

Henderson is one of the exceptional vault and floor standouts in this year’s national class, placing second on both events at 2019 JO Nationals with a comically huge Y1.5 on vault and full-in on floor

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Kianna Yancey – West Virginia

Yancey managed her best-ever finish in 2019 with a 4th-place AA result in her division at JO Nationals. She enters WVU’s freshman class along with her twin sister Kayla.

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Mia Takekawa – Illinois

Takekawa finished just behind Yancey in their division at JO Nationals this year, putting up a top-5 routine on bars (an event where she also finished 2nd at 2017 nationals).

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Rachel DeCavitch – Kent State

DeCavitch has been cleaning up on floor in the JO ranks for years now, placing top-3 on the event at JO Nationals for each of the last three seasons.

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Payton Murphy – Western Michigan

Murphy has been a regular JO Nationals qualifier in her years as a senior and managed her best result in 2019 by finish 6th AA, including a 3rd-place on floor.

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Chloe Negrete and Alexis Ortega – NC State

By your powers combined. Negrete has cleaned up on vault throughout her JO career, showing as much difficulty as a DTY in the past, and Ortega has a huge potential bars routine that put her in 2nd place on that event at JO Nationals this year. With that duo along with Emily Shepard, NC State is bringing a ton of JO talent onto the roster this season.

Negrete

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Ortega

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6 thoughts on “Freshman Feature: Secret Weapons”

  1. They’re all going to get hosed because they’re not wearing a top 10 leotard and we’re all gonna cry.

    But seriously props to them also for choosing schools based on (I assume) factors other than just pure gymnastics program strength.

    Liked by 1 person

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