2020 Nebraska Cornhuskers

NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS
Seniors
Sierra Hassel
VT
BB
FX
  • Competed BB, FX every week in 2019
  • #1 returning score on both events (9.885 FX, 9.880 BB)
  • Showed 1 VT for 9.775
Taylor Houchin
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed AA in 10 of 14 meets in 2019
  • #1 returning score on UB (9.920), VT (9.885)
  • #2 returning score on BB (9.870), FX (9.855)
Juniors
Makayla Curtis
VT
BB
  • Competed 10 BBs, 4 VTs in 2019
  • NQS of 9.750 BB, avg 9.719 VT
Anika Dujakovich
VT
  • Made final VT lineup in 2019
  • #3 returning score on VT (9.815)
  • Competed FX in 2018 season
Megan Verceles Carr
VT
UB
BB
  • Added weekly UB to VT in sophomore season
  • #2 returning score on UB (9.845)
  • #3 returning score on VT (9.815)
  • Competed 3 BBs in January, peak of 9.675
Sophomores
Adnerys De Jesus
VT
UB
FX
  • Competed weekly VT, UB, FX in first season
  • #2 returning score on VT (9.845), FX (9.830)
  • NQS of 9.790 UB
Sarah Hargove
UB
BB
FX
  • Made final UB, BB lineups in 2019
  • NQS of 9.800 UB, 9.770 BB
  • Competed 3 FXs for 9.742 average
Abigail Johnston
VT
UB
FX
  • Made final FX lineup in 2019, 9.790 NQS
  • Showed 4 UBs (9.694 avg), 1 VT (9.675)
Kaylee Quinn
VT
BB
FX
  • Competed VT each week in 2019
  • Scored 9.750 for 5 consecutive weeks to start season, NQS of……9.750
Kynsee Roby
(redshirt)
VT
UB

BB
FX
  • Missed 2019 season with foot surgery
  • Made final lineup on all 4 events in 2018
  • RQS of 9.840 UB, 9.825 BB, 9.725 FX
Freshmen
Clara Colombo
UB
BB
FX
  • Juventus
  • First Italian elite to NCAA
  • 5th AA, 2018 Serie A #2
Kylie Piringer
VT
BB
FX
  • ENA Paramus
  • 3rd FX, 2018 JO Nationals
Kathryn Thaler
UB
BB
FX
  • Champions
  • 4th UB, 10th AA, 2019 JO Nationals

FINAL SEASON RANKING
2019 – 14th
2018 – 6th
2017 – 7th
2016 – 8th
2015 – 8th
2014 – 6th
2013 – 14th
2012 – 8th
2011 – 4th
2010 – 7th

THE 2019 STORY
Nebraska wasn’t quite able to keep up its run of oh damn, Nebraska’s good perennial postseason semi-surprises in 2019, instead throwing in one of its occasional 14th-place finishes. Issues with depth and consistency kept Nebraska ranked in the deeper part of the teens for most of the season, but the team couldn’t really have expected too much better at the end, advancing to the regional final and putting up a solid 196.6 there in falling to UCLA, Michigan, and Alabama.

It was actually the kind of typically Nebraska regionals performance that could have snatched a position at nationals under the old format, but no longer.

DEPARTED 2019 ROUTINES
Sienna Crouse – VT, UB, BB, FX
Catelyn Orel – UB, BB, FX
Megan Schweihofer – VT, UB, BB, FX
Kelli Chung – UB

Nebraska is in for a routine-replacement challenge in 2020, losing 8 of 24 final lineup sets including the starring AA performance of Crouse. It honestly could have been worse because we typically expected the AA from Schweihofer as well, but she was limited to just beam by the end of her senior year, giving the team some practice with what it would be facing this season.

INCOMING GYMNASTS
Nebraska has a limited freshman class of three, but all of them should feature in lineups here and there, with the biggest but also most exciting question being how Clara Colombo transitions to NCAA. The three freshmen will hope to assist the injury-returning Kynsee Roby in accounting for those 8 lost routines.

2020 PROJECTION
Initial expectations will be somewhat muted for a small Nebraska roster that doesn’t have an obvious AA star coming in to replace the departing one in Crouse. On balance, the team has probably lost more postseason-quality routines than it has gained but will hope that improvements on bars can outweigh a slight power drain on other events—and will hope to return to the “everyone thinks we’re bad right until we’re good” story of…most previous seasons.

VAULT

2019 Event Ranking: 14

Lineup locks: Taylor Houchin, Adnerys De Jesus
Lineup options: Megan Verceles Carr, Anika Dujakovich, Kaylee Quinn, Kylie Piringer, Kynsee Roby, Makayla Curtis, Sierra Hassel, Abigail Johnston

Well, Nebraska certainly doesn’t lack for vault difficulty, putting up a 2019 lineup that occasionally featured six whole (?) Y1.5s. Crouse’s 2nd-best vault in the lineup will be sorely missed in 2020, but it’s the lone departure from the group, which means a whole bunch of Y1.5s are coming back. For Nebraska, we don’t have to play “oh, maybe this person can give them a third 10.0 start.” There are a lot of 10.0 starts. The issue will be one of difficulty strategy. Nebraska ended up 14th on vault last year, ranked behind many teams throwing simpler vaults. So is it worth throwing all the 1.5s? Or will those with fulls see more time in 2020?

Obviously, Houchin will be back with a 10.0 start (she has DTY capability, but the 1.5 is the score-smart option), and De Jesus had the best luck of the others with her 1.5 in 2019. Those are very strong vaults, and if Verceles Carr and Dujakovich are hitting their 1.5s at 9.850 level, Nebraska can still boast one of the most difficult vault lineups in the country that should score up with the best.

But without an obvious replacement for Crouse, Nebraska may drop a little bit of scoring potential here, and we’ll need to see at least 1-2 (if not 3) fulls come into the lineup. There are plenty of theoretical options for lineup-completing fulls (nearly everyone on the returning roster vaults, which is helpful), but one of the dilemmas is whether those fulls are going to be worth more than 9.750. That’s among the considerations that led Nebraska to throw out so many 1.5s in 2019. If the Yfulls are going to get 9.725 anyway, why not give it a shot with a 1.5 and see if it works? Because as long as you land that 1.5, it’s probably getting at least 9.725.

BARS

2019 Event Ranking: 16

Lineup locks: Taylor Houchin, Megan Verceles Carr
Lineup options: Kathryn Thaler, Clara Colombo, Kynsee Roby, Sarah Hargrove, Adnerys De Jesus, Abigail Johnston

Coming up with six for the bars lineup was not the easiest task for Nebraska in 2019. Thankfully, the most exciting change to the 2020 roster is all the new bars options who weren’t there last season. Clara Colombo is of the new generation of Italian bars workers (where it’s, like, a good event now) and looks most likely to make her mark on this piece, Kathryn Thaler was truly lovely on bars in JO, and Kynsee Roby was a constant in this lineup in her first year for strong scores as high as 9.900. Ideally, all three will make their way into the 2020 lineup to give Nebraska some actual choice and breathing room.

Those three can join the best returning routines from Houchin and Verceles Carr, meaning Nebraska would need to use only one of the remaining bars workers that had to do the job in 2019—likely either De Jesus or Hargrove, depending on consistency. That ability to relegate a couple of last year’s borderline routines to backup status means Nebraska should expect a scoring improvement on bars in 2020. (There still aren’t a ton of options…but room for optimism at least.)

BEAM

2019 Event Ranking: 19

Lineup locks: Sierra Hassel, Taylor Houchin
Lineup options: Kynsee Roby, Kathryn Thaler, Clara Colombo, Sarah Hargrove, Makayla Curtis, Kaylee Quinn, Megan Verceles Carr, Kylie Piringer

Nebraska has lost its most significant collection of routines on beam, with three of last year’s final six departing. That means beyond the excellent scores from Sierra Hassel and Taylor Houchin that will need to deliver in 2020, there’s little certainty—as well as potential for a bit of a lineup revolution.

Roby scored pretty well on beam in her first year, so I anticipate her being an option, and Thaler and Colombo certainly both have lineup potential here. Colombo is most known for bars, but beam may be her best-executed event if the confidence and consistency are there. Hargrove made the final lineup last year and Curtis saw time, so they should be options again, but I’d also like to see someone like Quinn make her way in here. I was big on Quinn’s beam and floor potential coming out of JO (I had those two events in bold for her on the roster notes, which is basically like getting a Pulitzer, so…), but we saw only vault from her in 2019 and no beam or floor.

Having athletes like that returning to the roster are why Nebraska shouldn’t have a problem filling out an acceptable beam group and will have options to experiment with as we go through the early months. But because some of the most reliable scores are gone, I’m cautious about whether this lineup can keep up the pace until we see the new ones and see whether the hits are there.

FLOOR

2019 Event Ranking: 11

Lineup locks: Sierra Hassel, Taylor Houchin, Adnerys De Jesus
Lineup options: Kylie Piringer, Abigail Johnston, Sarah Hargrove, Kynsee Roby, Clara Colombo, Kaylee Quinn

Nebraska does return a solid core of three routines from last year’s lineup in Hassel, Houchin, and De Jesus—a group that should keep the scores in the higher part of the 9.8s and do most of the work.

Beyond those three, however, I have some concerns about Nebraska’s ability to keep up that #11 event ranking because the team returns just two other athletes who have ever reached the 9.800 mark on floor before (Johnston and Roby). Roby’s RQS was 9.725 in her first season but she did reach 9.800 sometimes and got 9.8625 in her final routine, and Johnston was typically good for 9.750-9.800 last season. They could come back, but I’m not writing that in pen.

That’s why I imagine the team needs to work to get some real floor options out of a freshman class that is overall more UB/BB than FX. The exception there (besides Robert Ladanyi, an important Nebraska freshman for the floor lineup) is Piringer, who has some pop in her tumbling and whom I’d expect to enter this lineup as a critical score. Nebraska needs Piringer to be the fourth member of that good-score core—even if replacing Crouse’s 9.900-9.950s is a lot to ask early on—because there’s a dearth of previously proven scores to work with.

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