2021 Washington Huskies

2021 WASHINGTON ROSTER
Seniors
Allie Smith
(redshirt)
VT
  • Competed 4 VTs in 2020 following transfer from Eastern Michigan
  • Avg 9.775
Geneva Thompson
VT
UB
FX
  • Competed 9 VTs, 10 UBs in 2020
  • Showed 1 FX for 9.675, competed FX each meet in 2019
  • #1 returning score on VT (9.885), UB (9.830)
Juniors
Brenna Brooks
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed 9 UBs, 8 BBs, 7 FX, 3 VTs in 2020
  • #1 returning score on BB (9.825)
  • #2 returning score on UB (9.825)
  • NQS of 9.700 FX, avg 9.467 VT
Talia Brovedani
UB
BB
  • Competed first career routine in final 2020 meet – 9.775 UB
Amara Cunningham
VT
FX
  • Competed VT, FX every meet in 2020
  • #1 returning score on FX (9.870)
  • #2 returning score on VT (9.835)
Meaghan Ruttan
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed 9 FX, 7 BBs in 2020
  • #2 returning score on FX (9.820)
  • NQS of 9.640 BB
Sophomores
Morgan Bowles
UB
BB
  • Did not compete in first season
Isa Weiss
VT
  • Did not compete in first season
Freshmen
Cathy Eksteen
UB
BB
  • Metroplex
  • South Africa elite, competed at Worlds 2017
  • 5th UB, 2017 JO Nationals
Skylar Killough-Wilhelm
VT
UB
BB

FX
  • Triad
  • 4th AA, 2019 JO Nationals
  • 5th AA, 2020 Nastia Cup
Katie McNamara VT
UB
BB
  • Waller’s
  • 22nd AA, 2018 JO Nationals
Taylor Russon VT
UB

BB
  • San Mateo
  • 12th AA, 4th BB, 2019 JO Nationals
Lauren Thomas
VT
BB
  • Premier CO
  • 10th VT, 2019 Region 3s
Gabi Wickman
UB
FX
  • Cascade
  • 8th FX, 9th UB, 2019 JO Nationals

RANKING HISTORY
2020 – 11th
2019 – 19th
2018 – 11th
2017 – 8th
2016 – 18th
2015 – 34th
2014 – 26th
2013 – 19th
2012 – 18th
2011 – 18th

THE 2020 STORY
The 2020 half-season turned out to be a win for Washington, a season in which the team massively overperformed expectations to a degree I perhaps didn’t quite realize until this moment. In 2020, Washington experienced a net loss of routines, got only four January vaults from any of the new athletes, and yet improved 8 spots in the rankings compared to 2019 and was throwing out 197s on the regular. So…I’m going to say it went well.

DEPARTED ROUTINES
Evanni Roberson: VT, UB, BB, FX
Madison Copiak: VT, UB, BB
Maya Washington: VT, UB, BB, FX
Kristyn Hoffa: VT, FX
Michaela Nelson: UB, BB, FX
Hannah Vandenkolk: BB

INCOMING ROUTINES
Cathy Eksteen – UB, BB
Skylar Killough-Wilhelm – VT, UB, BB, FX
Katie McNamara – VT, UB, BB
Taylor Russon – VT, UB, BB
Lauren Thomas – VT, BB
Gabi Wickman – UB, FX

2021 PROJECTION
Regression.

Washington has the odds against it in 2021. To say the least. The sudden departure of head coach Elise Ray during preseason, compounding the loss of the majority of the team’s competition routines (including 17 of the 24 from the final meet last year), means we’ll be looking at a brand new team in 2021 in nearly every respect.

VAULT

2020 Event Ranking: 19

Lineup locks: Geneva Thompson, Amara Cunningham, Skylar Killough-Wilhelm, Allie Smith
Lineup options: Brenna Brooks, Isa Weiss, Katie McNamara, Taylor Russon, Lauren Thomas

Washington returns two sure-thing vaults from last season in Geneva Thompson and Amara Cunningham, both of whom can be counted on for at least 9.8s, and Thompson occasionally goes into the 9.9s with her full. Expect Skylar Killough-Wilhelm to join them, boasting a clean and high full of her own.

For the remaining three positions, Washington has an island of diverse and lovable…questionable 10.0s. Allie Smith has a tucked Yurchenko 1.5 that saw time last season but only for a second because of an ankle injury, Brenna Brooks has an Omelianchik that is sometimes almost there, Isa Weiss vaulted a Tsuk full in JO but did not compete last season, and we can add freshman Katie McNamara to the bunch, who vaults a round-off full-on back pike, a 10.0 start but one that is notoriously difficult to avoid massive amplitude deductions on.

I’d certainly advocate for a “throw them all out there and see what sticks” strategy because a 10.0 start is a 10.0 start and Washington needs to find vaults, though I think it’s quite unlikely we’ll see them all come to fruition in 2021. The team may need to lean on a full from Taylor Russon or Lauren Thomas to round out a six.

BARS

2020 Event Ranking: 12

Lineup locks: Geneva Thompson, Cathy Eksteen, Taylor Russon, Skylar Killough-Wilhelm
Lineup options: Brenna Brooks, Talia Brovedani, Katie McNamara, Gabi Wickman, Meaghan Ruttan, Morgan Bowles

The returning-bars-routine situation is similarly sparse for Washington, with the team bringing back the weekly set from Geneva Thompson, probably a routine from Brenna Brooks, and hopefully something from Talia Brovedani, who finally got back into competition exactly one time in the final meet last year. The positive for Washington is that they recruited for this eventuality, and this year’s new group is a barrrsssss class.

Bars is Cathy Eksteen’s strongest event, where she shows lovely handstands and a textbook Pak, and Skylar Killough-Wilhelm and Taylor Russon are both members of the high-Jaeger-to-perfect-bail club. Washington will need all three of them in the lineup regularly to stay competitive this year. Katie McNamara and Gabi Wickman also look like they’ll provide bars options, and I’m still leaning on the possibility of Meaghan Ruttan or Morgan Bowles because even though it hasn’t happened yet, both have a ton of ability on bars.

It’s a lot of if. Expecting to rely this much on freshmen is tough because we don’t really know what we’re getting until it’s there (JO videos from 2017 can only tell you so much), but that’s what Washington will have to do. At least, the talent to restock a competitive lineup exists.

BEAM

2020 Event Ranking: 8

Lineup locks: Skylar Killough-Wilhelm, Meaghan Ruttan, Katie McNamara, Taylor Russon
Lineup options: Brenna Brooks, Cathy Eksteen, Lauren Thomas, Morgan Bowles, Talia Brovedani

If Washington’s returning contingent seemed sparse elsewhere, let’s talk about beam, where just one returning athlete competed beam in the final meet—Meaghan Ruttan for 8.950 (although she is exceptionally good on beam and will have to be a thing for Washington in 2021.) Brenna Brooks also provided plenty of beam in 2020 and will likely have more onus placed on her this year. But that’s about it as far as returning athletes go. Perhaps something from Brovedani coming back? Or getting Bowles in there?

Just like on bars, though, Washington’s freshmen have the chops to contribute the massive amount they’ll need to. Skylar Killough-Wilhelm is quite precise, with strong extension and amplitude, so watch out for her. (Killough-Wilhelm looks like she could be a breakout freshman. She gives a lot of Anastasia Webb.) Katie McNamara has some actual performance quality on beam and interesting composition (side aerial to scale) that would suit her well in NCAA, and I could definitely see Taylor Russon and Cathy Eksteen making it in here. That’s probably the best-case group, though at least on beam most of the roster has something that could go as needed.

FLOOR

2020 Event Ranking: 4

Lineup locks: Amara Cunningham, Meaghan Ruttan, Skylar Killough-Wilhelm
Lineup options: Geneva Thompson, Brenna Brooks, Gabi Wickman, Katie McNamara

This year’s freshmen class is definitely more of a bars and beam class than a vault and floor class, which means I have some concerns about how Washington fills out a competitive lineup on floor, let alone getting back to the scoring of last season.

It’s essential that Washington get Geneva Thompson back here (she competed just one FX in 2020 after a strong 2019), so that she can join Amara Cunningham and Meaghan Ruttan to give the team a solid base of three. While Brenna Brooks wasn’t needed all the time last season, she can get a 9.8 and will be called upon more in 2021. Of the new gymnasts, Skylar Killough-Wilhelm is the only one I feel confident about making the lineup since those other freshmen who will contribute elsewhere are more questionable on floor. Eksteen and Russon had some results as juniors but neither has managed competitive floor scores since 2017, which gives pause. Wickman is a possibility to contribute and round out a lineup of six, and maybe something will come from McNamara, but it’s not a deep group and not one that can withstand any of the essential locks not coming through.

5 thoughts on “2021 Washington Huskies”

    1. Basically it means it’s one of their stronger/strongest events which means that if they are competing, it’s most likely on those events. Those not bolded are events they can compete, but it’s more unlikely that they will!

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  1. Do we know anything about Elise Ray’s departure besides what was publicly stated? Who stepped into her place?

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    1. @Anonymous Nothing. There is NOTHING online anywhere about it. That sort of secrecy usually means something very bad in one way or another.

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