Freshman Preview: Michigan


Who Is She?

Michigan introduces another concentrated class of four JO athletes this year, led by one of the top L10 recruits in the country, Carly Bauman. Bauman was a Chow’s gymnast who has been blinking brightly on the radar for several years, ever since she won her junior division at JO Nationals in 2016 and followed that up with the junior title at the Nastia Cup in 2017. Bauman went on to win JO Nationals again in 2018 and placed 2nd on beam and 4th on bars in 2019.

In 2019, only a floor fall kept her from placing among the very top AAer in her age division, a group led by Kiya Johnson that also included Bauman’s new teammate Naomi Morrison, who took 5th overall. Morrison, originally an Oregon State verbal who switched to Michigan last year, posted her best-ever result at that 2019 competition, which featured top-8 showings on vault, bars, and floor.

Bauman and Morrison will be joined in Michigan’s class by Reyna Guggino, previously an Eastern Michigan verbal who switched to Michigan shortly before signing day last year. Guggino has shown competitive results on vault and floor at state competitions over the years, especially lately, but is among those athletes who were never able to qualify to nationals because qualification is based only on AA score.

Rounding out the class is Jenna Mulligan, whose career highlight was a remarkably strong performance at 2018 JO Nationals, her only time qualifying to that meet, where she finished 5th on floor and 8th on beam, and made you say, “Oh hey that…”

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Freshman Preview: Georgia

As previously established, the official platform of this website is to pretend this is a normal season and that everything is normal and LALALALALA can’t hear you. Which means, the normal thing to do about this time of year is freshman previews so that we can start making wild proclamations about who’s going to be better or worse this season. Up first, Georgia. Because I said so.


Who Is She?

Georgia has welcomed a trio of new gymnasts headlined by former junior elite obsession Victoria Nguyen. Nguyen burst onto the scene in 2014 as a Chow’s baby who scored a massive 15.200 on beam the second day of nationals, the highest beam score of the junior competition and third-highest of the entire meet—behind only Simone Biles and Kyla Ross.

The remainder of Nguyen’s elite career was marked by being injured every 30 seconds of her life, but she did return to elite as an Everest athlete in 2019, where the stupid elite qualifying rules meant she could compete only vault and bars at American Classic and we didn’t even get to see beam. But I’m totally over it.

Nguyen is joined in this class by Katie Finnegan (no relation), who arrives at Georgia a year early to save the day. Finnegan is among the group of new 2021 athletes in the odd position of having almost never competed as a senior. She was a junior in 2019, and then the everything happened, and now she’s coming to college a year early. That doesn’t mean anything about anything; it’s just unusual to have your senior division years get…skipped. In the junior F division at 2019 JO Nationals, Finnegan placed 6th all-around with a particularly significant (for Georgia purposes) 3rd place on bars.

Nhyla Bryant makes it three. Bryant qualified to L10 Nationals for the first time in 2019 after a very strong showing at regionals, going on to place 9th on floor in Senior C at nationals. Bryant has consistently scored quite high on both vault and floor throughout her L10 career.

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College Gym: Where Are We on This?

Is there a season? What’s happening? Who is she? Does she go here anymore?

As we stand right now, a majority of the top-conference teams have been able to return to campus and are preparing as if there is going to be a season, albeit potentially a modified one. Typically by this point, the teams would have released their season schedules, but very few have done so thus far because of, um, er, well…all the questions? Such as, is there a season? The deadline for schedule submission was extended to October 29 and likely beyond as everyone tries to figure out what they’re doing, when they can start, what schools can host meets and when, and…

Some of us (won’t say who) are hoping for an official announcement that the entire season will be held without fans because of the social experiment we would get into what happens to scoring when teams that usually have 10,000 people there suddenly don’t have 10,000 people there. Or, I mean, because of the safety. That.

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Things Are Happening – October 14, 2020

A. Friendship and solidarity

More details have emerged regarding the Japan/Russia/USA/China mixed meet in Tokyo on November 8th—first and foremost that it’s definitely actually happening.

It will be known as the Friendship and Solidarity Competition—but we have to watch anyway. Instead of competing for their countries, the athletes will be split up into two teams, Team Friendship and Team Solidarity, competing in a battle royale to find out once and for all which is better, friendship or solidarity. COME ON SOLIDARITY. CRUSH FRIENDSHIP IN ITS STUPID FACE. The routines will be scored in cupcakes, the vault will be a physical unicorn, and a shooting star will escort the athletes from one apparatus to the next.

The US confirmed its six-member team to the Olympic Channel as Yul Moldauer, Shane Wiskus, Paul Juda, Shilese Jones, Sophia Buter, and eMjae Frazier, with selection based on…who exists and wants to do this? I wouldn’t really read anything more into it than that. These are the national team members who are available and feel ready to do competition routines.

The US men’s group is more Olympic-y, and for them in particular, there’s the added bonus of being able to match up directly against the best in the world, as Uchimura, Nagornyy, Dalaloyan, and Kaya are all on the list to compete. So the meet may be stupid…but also really good?

Speaking of the world of meets, the Bundesliga is back and running, with Sarah Voss recording the highest AA score, Kim Bui winning bars, and Dorien Motten winning floor. Meanwhile, Tonya Paulsson won the Swedish Championship by a cool million points, with Jonna Adlerteg scoring highest on bars.

B. Jane Allen retires

British Gymnastics head Jane Allen, who in recent months has revealed herself to be a catastrophe, announced her very coincidental retirement from the position yesterday, one that was totally planned all along and had nothing to do with the Gymnast Alliance. None at all. It’s a coincidence you guys! Get her some retirement presents!!

Continue reading Things Are Happening – October 14, 2020