2021 Denver Pioneers

Lynnzee Brown
  • Competed AA in first 7 meets before injury
  • #1 returning score on FX (9.920), UB (9.895), VT (9.870)
  • #2 returning score on BB (9.895)
  • Finished ranked #7 AA for second straight year
Emily Glynn
  • Competed VT, UB, FX every meet in 2020
  • #2 returning score on UB (9.890), VT (9.810)
  • #4 returning score on FX (9.825)
Mia Sundstrom
  • Competed in first 5 meets of 2020 before injury
  • Avg of 9.830 VT, 9.825 UB, 9.575 BB
Natalie Morton
  • Competed 4 UBs in 2020, avg 9.444
Alexandra Ruiz
  • Competed AA in 8 of 10 meets in 2020
  • #3 returning score on FX (9.835), VT (9.800)
  • #4 returning score on UB (9.860), BB (9.820)
Alexis Vasquez
  • Competed BB in every meet in 2020
  • #1 returning score on BB (9.960)
  • Competed 1 VT for 9.725
Victoria Fitts
  • Competed 2 VTs in 2020, hit 1 of 2 for 9.825
Amoree Lockhart
  • Competed BB, FX every meet in 2020
  • #2 returning score on FX (9.845)
  • #4 returning score on BB (9.820)
  • Showed 4 UBs (avg 9.306), 1 VT (9.525)
Callie Schlottman
  • Competed 3 BB in 2020, hitting 2 of 3
AK Subject VT
  • Competed VT, UB every meet in 2020
  • #3 returning score on UB (9.870)
  • #4 returning score on VT (9.760)
  • Competed FX in 8 of 10 meets, NQS 9.685
Rose Casali
  • Southeastern
  • 6th AA, 5th UB, 2019 JO Nationals
Jessica Hutchinson
  • Silvia’s
  • 10th FX, 2019 JO Nationals
Isabel Mabanta
  • Denton
  • Former senior elite
  • 19th AA, 2018 US Classic
Rylie Mundell
  • CGI
  • 4th AA, 2019 JO Nationals
  • 7th AA, 2020 Nastia Cup
Abbie Thompson
  • Orlando Metro
  • 6th AA, 4th FX, 2019 JO Nationals

2020 – 7th
2019 – 4th
2018 – 15th
2017 – 9th
2016 – 15th
2015 – 15th
2014 – 18th
2013 – 20th
2012 – 23rd
2011 – 17th

The 2020 season (as it were) may have seen a drop for Denver in the rankings compared to 2019’s finish, but that was pretty much always going to happen. A very specific confluence of events allowed Denver to finish 4th in 2019, and being able to retain a spot in the top 8 during the 2020 season with competitive scores throughout the year—even when Lynnzee Brown was missing with injury, on top of not having Sundstrom—proved that 2019 wasn’t a fluke and that 2020 should be chalked up as a victory.

Maddie Karr – VT, UB, BB, FX
Emma Brown – BB, FX

Isabel Mabanta – VT, BB, FX
Rylie Mundell – VT, UB, BB, FX
Rose Casali – VT, UB, FX
Jessica Hutchinson – VT, UB, BB, FX
Abbie Thompson – VT, BB, FX


Steady might be kind of a cop out here, but we have two competing factors for Denver in 2021 that point in opposite directions. Not having Maddie Karr is an enormous blow and removes at least a top-2 score on every event from the team’s lineups. It’s not going to be easy to replace that. At the same time, this is a deeper Denver roster in 2021 with a larger number of believable routines than we’ve seen in a long time. So, if you lose a little bit from not having Karr at the end of the lineup, but are more likely to put up 9.825/9.850 in every spot instead of an early 9.750, that could balance out to similar scoring expectations.


2020 Event Ranking: 9

Lineup locks: Lynnzee Brown, Rylie Mundell, Emily Glynn, Mia Sundstrom
Lineup options: Alexandra Ruiz, Rose Casali, Jessica Hutchinson, Abbie Thompson, AK Subject, Alexis Vasquez, Victoria Fitts, Amoree Lockhart, Isabel Mabanta

Vault has been the most significant depth problem for Denver in recent seasons with the team often struggling to get a sixth competitive vaulter out there—an issue that reared its head again following Brown’s injury in 2020. What should encourage Denver in 2021 is just how many people have a maybe-full that could maybe-go without having to scramble to come up with a placeholder “please don’t make us use her” gymnast to put in the 6th spot just in case there’s a problem in the first five.

That said, there’s still a pretty clear group of 6 (maybe 7) that you’d want to use, and the team would see a drop-off if it has to dip below that point. Getting Lynnzee Brown back to full strength with her Y1.5 will obviously be essential, and Denver will be eager to add Rylie Mundell’s 1.5, which has looked good in training and is the closest thing the lineup has to a replacement for Karr’s vault. Emily Glynn’s Tsuk full will certainly be called upon again, and Mia Sundstrom is hoping to deliver a Y1.5 this time around, though she’s pretty much a lock for the lineup regardless of whether she’s doing a 1.5 or a full.

Rose Casali has done a 1.5 in the past, so I’d keep an eye on her as one of the more talented vaulters here who should work her way into the group. Alexandra Ruiz has been a 9.8-level stalwart for a while (and improved her vaulting markedly from 2019 to 2020), so you’d have no problem with her returning to the six, though increased competition for spots could see her lose out to someone like Jessica Hutchinson or Abbie Thompson, both of whom could develop into college-level Yfull options.

AK Subject vaulted regularly last season, mostly for 9.7s, but I’d expect to see her bumped out of the lineup this season unless something has changed—as is the case for the other “I guess her, possibly?” backups who were being groomed last season as needed.


2020 Event Ranking: 4

Lineup locks: Lynnzee Brown, Emily Glynn, Rose Casali, Alexandra Ruiz
Lineup options: Mia Sundstrom, Rylie Mundell, AK Subject, Jessica Hutchinson, Amoree Lockhart, Natalie Morton

As on vault, Denver will look to get Casali and Mundell into the mix in 2021 to shore up the selection of competitive scores and give the team the much-sought collection of 6 and a spare. Bars has been Casali’s best event in JO in recent seasons, so look for her to make the biggest splash on this one.

In the most recent bars squad training video, the group was Ruiz, Casali, Sundstrom, Brown, Mundell, and Glynn. You’d want to add AK Subject, who scored well last season, to that conversation but otherwise that seems the most believable bars group. Brown and Glynn are the returning lineup leaders, Ruiz has consistently scored well enough to lock in her spot, and bars is probably my favorite event for Sundstrom. You want all of them. Subject got a couple 9.9s last season, while Mundell scored a strong-for-JO 9.700 at nationals in 2019, the exact same score as Casali at the same competition.

The bars lineup will take a hit from not having the Maddie Karr 9.975 in there, but it shouldn’t be a devastating one. There’s still a strong 7 gymnasts to pick from (so while we saw some bars from Lockhart and Morton last season, I’d pencil them into backup roles at this point).


2020 Event Ranking: 6

Lineup locks: Alexis Vasquez, Isabel Mabanta, Lynnzee Brown, Rylie Mundell
Lineup options: Mia Sundstrom, Alexandra Ruiz, Amoree Lockhart, Jessica Hutchinson, Abbie Thompson, Callie Schlottman

Coming up with a beam lineup for Denver will be quite a bit less straightforward than vault and bars, but in a good way because of the presence of two exceptional beam-focused gymnasts—the 10-ready Alexis Vasquez and the incoming Isabel Mabanta. Both excel on this piece in particular and augment the collection of usual suspects we see on the other pieces. You want these two leading the way, and they can work to keep Denver on track from last season on this event.

Beyond that, Brown returns with the best non-Vasquez beam score from last season, and Mundell looks to be a beam lock in the making given her extension. Ruiz has been delivering very useful beam numbers for the last season and a half—including going as high as 9.925 last year—and I expect the team will want to call on Sundstrom, who got a 9.900 last season even in her limited early appearances. That’s already six without even getting to Lockhart, who competed beam in every meet last season, or the additional freshmen, several of whom I wouldn’t be surprised to see.

Jessica Hutchinson wins the award for the most dramatic JO-video-to college-training glow up, so I’m adding her to the list as a very believable beam option, which I wouldn’t have said before. Also note sophomore Callie Schlottman, who entered last season as a maybe depth option for beam but did well when called upon in those last few meets.


2020 Event Ranking: 17

Lineup locks: Lynnzee Brown, Amoree Lockhart, Alexandra Ruiz
Lineup options: Emily Glynn, Mia Sundstrom, AK Subject, Rose Casali, Jessica Hutchinson, Rylie Mundell, Abbie Thompson

That low floor ranking from 2020 is slightly a quirk of NQS and the limited season and needing three good road scores, but it’s also reflective of Denver not boasting quite enough routines to have that Big Floor Moment for some 49.7 the way the very top teams often do.

There’s not necessarily a huge new routine or three coming in to change that—though of course having Lynnzee Brown and her weekly 10.0-possible set again changes the scoring quite a bit and requires less from everyone else. Nearly every freshman should provide some kind of option, and Rose Casali’s high JO scores on floor and Jessica Hutchinson’s front 2/1 provide encouragement that new routines can be found to beef things up. The concern for Denver won’t be having bad scores on floor, but a few new ones need to bust out on floor for the team to have a chance at nationally competitive astronomical scores.

Emily Glynn really started to have a floor renaissance in the second half of last season, floor has been Amoree Lockhart’s best and most reliable college event, and Alexandra Ruiz competed nearly every week in 2020 for some of the best scores in the lineup. You’d be content with all of them coming back. While Mia Sundstrom hasn’t done floor since 2019, she made waves in preseason training displays with her attempt at a front full + back 1/2 + split jump + front tuck + sissone + switch 1/2 + wolf jump full combination, which means keep an eye on her as well.

So again, I’m not pulling my hair out to come up with six possible routines, which should be the most important change for Denver in 2021.

3 thoughts on “2021 Denver Pioneers”

  1. So Brown, Ruiz, and Sundstrom each competing weekly AA seems ideal, plus three routines from Glynn, Casali, and Mundell which covers 21 routines. Basically add in the two beam queens and Lockhart on floor and that’s the lineup.

    There are some other routines I’d like to see too (Subject bars, Lockhart beam, Hutchinson beam and floor) and Thompson’s AA placement at nationals seems like a big deal too. But not sure how those routines will actually hold up in the end. Seems Denver could be relying on a small group again

  2. It sounds exciting! Lots of talent and possibilities for lots of women to work hard and excel. A good team with terrific coaches that can get DU to the top! Have a wonderful year and stay safe. Go DU!!

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