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Things Are Happening – November 30, 2018

A. USAG leadership whatevers

My case of USAG news fatigue syndrome is overwhelming. Anyway.

This week, Karen Golz “completed her service” as the chair of USAG’s board. Oh THANK you for your SERVICE, you American hero. Save your applause for the end!

She has been replaced by basically the same person, I think. The new chair is named Golfy Brand-Management, and she’s really into golfing and brand management. So we’re cured. Is there just a secret cabal of golf-business ladies that meets around the ninth green to Macbeth it up and give each other positions in the US Olympic movement?

Her introductory message is hilarious. Definitely read it. Best parts:

-“Some” challenges (yeah, I can think of a few)
-That tacked-on part about survivors that was obviously added after the first edit (nothing says “I care about this sentence” like starting with a conjunction—the resentment is thick like molasses)
-The reference to athletes finding success “both in the gym and in competition” (that’s not…those are…you meant “both in the gym and outside the gym” or something…)
-The exciting thing is that “we continue to maintain our membership.” Great. Hi, they barely have a choice, and that shouldn’t be the most exciting thing.

It’s all just so effing revealing.

USAG is also on the hunt for a new CEO, you guys. You know, that plum gig. Because everything’s fine. The board undertook an exhaustive search for the qualities that a new CEO should possess and the list is basically 1) proficiency in Microsoft Office and 2) a good attitude. When your list of qualities for CEO reads like a resume of nonspecific, uncheckable lies you wrote for a job you’re totally unqualified for, it’s a problem.

When it comes down to it, the sole qualification will be “actually wants to captain this sinking ship through a bankruptcy process.” And the winner is no one.

Oh. Also. Fun little note. USAG has decided not to acquiesce to decertification (because it’s about the gymnasts…) and will instead fight the process. That means that the USOC and USAG are continuing to have this horrendously public breakup on the quad as the USOC pursues stripping USAG of its national governing body status.

I live for the USOC playing out this little skit of “we can’t believe that USAG is so awful and we have to step in for the good of the athletes” like that’s something the USOC suddenly cares about—and like they’re not totally intertwined in responsibility and consequences.

B. You’re all the worst Continue reading Things Are Happening – November 30, 2018

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2019 NCAA Roster Notes

I’ll have deep previews of the top schools coming in December, but for now—and with fantasy gym drafts open—check out the team roster notes to aid with all your lineup preparation and prognostication needs. (More teams to be added.)


UCLA
Seniors
Brielle Nguyen
BB
FX
  • Competed 13 BB routines in 2018 following transfer from Illinois — RQS of 9.850
  • Competed weekly FX in ’17 for Illinois
Katelyn Ohashi
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Ranked #1 in nation on FX, #3 on BB in 2018
  • RQS of 9.970 on FX, 9.945 on BB
  • Competed 12 UB routines for 9.696 avg (scored 9.8+ on 7 of 12)
  • VTed 4 times for 9.831 average
Stella Savvidou
  • Did not compete in 2018 due to injury
  • Further wrist surgery in October
  • Made final UB lineup in 2017
Macy Toronjo FX
  • Did not compete in 2018 due to injury
  • Is no longer listed as taking a redshirt year
  • Competed 8 FXs in 2017, peaking at 9.950
Juniors
Anna Glenn
VT
UB
BB
  • Returned from 2017 labrum injury to make final VT, UB lineups in 2018 – VT RQS of 9.825
  • Competed 5 UB routines, peak of 9.875
  • Competed one BB routine for 9.900
Grace Glenn
BB
  • Returned from 2017 labrum injury to compete BB in every meet in 2018
  • Hit 15 for 15 routines — RQS of 9.925
Felicia Hano
VT
BB
FX
  • Competed weekly VT, FX in 2018 — ranked #7 nationally on FX
  • RQS of 9.935 on FX, 9.900 on VT for Y1.5
  • Competed 2 BB routines (9.775 avg) and one UB routine (9.025) in 2018
Madison Kocian
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Returned from shoulder surgery to compete 13 BBs, 8 FXs, and 3 UBs in 2018
  • RQS of 9.875 on BB
  • Average of 9.861 on FX, 9.863 on UB
  • Also competed weekly VT in 2017 for 9.860 RQS
Gracie Kramer
VT
FX
  • Competed 13 FXs in 2018 for 9.890 RQS
  • Has 10.0 start VT, competed twice in 2018, hitting once
  • VTed 10 times in 2017 for 9.810 RQS
Giulianna Pino
  • Did not compete in first two seasons
Kyla Ross
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed AA in 10 of 15 meets in 2018
  • Ranked #1 nationally on UB
  • RQS of 9.960 on UB, 9.910 on BB, 9.895 on VT, 9.890 on FX
Mercedez Sanchez
  • Did not compete in first two seasons
Sophomores
Nia Dennis
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed VT, UB every week in 2018
  • Competed 11 FX routines and 3 BB routines
  • RQS of 9.885 on VT, 9.880 on UB, 9.860 on FX
  • Average of 9.792 on BB
Savannah Kooyman
UB
FX
  • Provided backup routines on UB, FX in 2018
  • Competed 3 UBs (9.800 avg) and 1 BB (9.825)
Kendal Poston
  • Did not compete in first season
Pauline Tratz
VT
FX
  • Competed VT, FX in 14 of 15 meets in 2018
  • RQS of 9.910 on FX, 9.875 on VT
  • Has potential 10.0 start on VT
Freshmen
Norah Flatley
UB
BB
FX
  • Chow’s
  • 3rd at 2014 Junior P&G Championships
  • Expected to be replacement-Peng on UB and BB
Margzetta Frazier
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Parkettes
  • Is continuing to train DTY on VT
  • Will be counted on for VT, FX, and UB. Can provide BB as needed
Sara Taubman
  • Head over Heels
  • 12th AA, 2018 Region 1s
Sekai Wright
VT
FX
  • AGA Long Beach
  • 1st on VT, 2018 JO Nationals
  • Has Yurchenko 1.5

 

OKLAHOMA
Seniors
Brenna Dowell
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed VT, UB, FX every meet in 2018
  • Hit 45-for-45 routines
  • RQS of 9.945 on VT, 9.915 on FX, 9.910 on UB
  • Performed 1 exhibition on BB in 2018
Ashley Hiller
FX
  • Did not compete in 2018 following transfer from Florida
  • Competed 4 FXs, 1 VT in first two years at UF
Nicole Lehrmann
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed VT, UB, BB every meet in 2018
  • Ranked #5 nationally on UB
  • RQS of 9.955 on UB, 9.885 on BB, 9.870 on VT
  • Competed 4 FXs in 2018 for 9.806 avg
  • Training Y1.5
Alex Marks
VT
  • Competed 7 VTs in 2018 for 9.835 RQS
Juniors
Jade
DeGouveia
VT
FX
  • Missed majority of 2018 season with injury
  • Returned on VT at nationals for 9.894 avg
  • Vaults 10.0-start Y1.5
  • Hit 1 of 2 FX routines in 2018
Maggie Nichols
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Ranked #1 nationally in AA in 2018
  • Ranked #1 nationally on VT, #2 on BB, #3 on FX, and #7 on UB
  • No RQS lower than 9.950 in 2018 season
Brehanna Showers
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Returned from injury in 2018 to make all four postseason lineups
  • RQS of 9.910 on BB, 9.875 on FX, 9.845 on VT
  • Average of 9.854 on UB
Sophomores
Jordan Draper
FX
  • Competed 1 FX in 2018 for 9.775
Evy Schoepfer
VT
FX
  • Competed 10 FXs for 9.855 RQS in 2018
  • Performed 2 VTs for 9.813 avg
  • Trained Y1.5 on VT
Karrie Thomas
UB
BB
FX
  • Transfer from Maryland
  • Competed weekly UB, BB, FX for Maryland in 2018
  • RQS of 9.850 FX, 9.820 UB, 9.795 BB
Anastasia Webb
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed AA in 10 of 15 meets in 2018
  • Made final S6 lineups on UB, BB, FX
  • RQS of 9.915 FX, 9.910 BB, 9.900 UB, 9.890 VT
  • Can VT 10.0 start Omelianchik or Y1.5
Carly Woodard
BB
  • Competed 5 BBs in 2018, hitting 4
  • Peak score of 9.950
Freshmen
Emma LaPinta
FX
  • Kurt Thomas
  • 20th AA, 2018 JO Nationals
Allie Stern
VT
FX
  • Perfect Balance
  • 1st place VT, 2017 JO Nationals
Olivia Trautman
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Twin City
  • 3rd AA, 1st FX – 2018 JO Nationals
  • Has Y1.5 on VT

 

FLORIDA
Seniors
Alicia Boren
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed AA every week in 2018
  • RQS of 9.930 FX, 9.920 BB, 9.880 UB, 9.870 VT
  • #1 returning RQS on VT, BB, FX
  • 10.0-start Y1.5 on VT
Amanda Cheney
  • Did not compete in 2018
  • Competed 5 BBs, 1 VT in 2017
Juniors
Sierra Alexander
VT
  • Competed 4 VTs in 2018 before injury
  • Average of 9.763
Maegan Chant
VT
UB
  • Competed 1 VT in 2018 for 9.825
  • Made final 2017 UB lineup for 9.820
  • Can provide 10.0-start Tsuk 1/1 on VT
Rachel Gowey
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Made final 2018 lineups on UB, BB, FX
  • RQS of 9.915 BB, 9.885 UB
  • Showed 4 VTs for 9.831 average
Amelia Hundley
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed AA in 6 meets in 2018
  • Made final lineups on all four events
  • RQS of 9.905 UB. 9.865 BB, 9.825 FX
  • #1 returning score on UB
  • VT avg of 9.832
Sophomores
Alyssa Baumann
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed BB, FX every week in 2018
  • Ranked #10 nationally on BB
  • RQS of 9.920 BB, 9.900 FX
  • VTed 4 times for 9.733 avg
Jazmyn Foberg
  • Elbow surgery in November, likely out for 2019
  • RQS of 9.850 VT, 9.840 UB in 2018
Megan Skaggs
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Made final 2018 lineups on VT, UB, BB
  • RQS of 9.860 BB, 9.840 UB
  • Avg of 9.795 VT, 9.706 FX
Nicole Webb
BB
  • Showed one BB routine in 2018 for 9.725
Freshmen
Leah Clapper
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Gym America
  • 9th AA, 2018 JO Nationals
  • Senior elite, 2016-2017
Sydney Johnson-Scharpf
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Brandy Johnson’s
  • US elite, 2013-2017
Nya Reed
VT
FX
  • Capital
  • 4th VT, FX – 2018 JO Nationals
Savannah Schoenherr
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Georgia Elite
  • 2nd AA, 2018 JO Nationals
  • Y1.5 on VT
Halley Taylor
FX
  • La Fleur’s
  • 8th AA, 2018 JO Nationals
  • 6th VT, 2013 Junior Classic
Trinity Thomas
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Prestige
  • US elite, 2015-present
  • Y1.5 on VT

 

LSU
Seniors
Julianna
Cannamela
VT
BB
FX
  • Competed 14 VTs in 2018 for 9.870 RQS
  • Has potential Y1.5 on VT
  • Competed 5 FXs (9.845), 2 BBs (9.162)
Sarah Finnegan
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed AA in 13 of 16 meets in 2018
  • Ranked #1 nationally on UB, #4 on BB, #7 on FX
  • RQS of 9.960 UB, 9.940 BB, 9.935 FX, 9.885 VT
Lexie
Priessman
VT
UB
FX
  • Made final 2018 lineups on UB, FX
  • Ranked #7 nationally on UB (9.950)
  • Competed 9 VTs (9.870), 7 FXs (9.863 avg)
Juniors
Kennedi
Edney
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed AA in 13 of 16 meets in 2018
  • Team’s top returning VT score (9.900)
  • RQS of 9.930 FX, 9.915 UB, 9.870 BB
Ruby Harrold
VT
UB
FX
  • Competed regular VT, UB in 2018
  • RQS of 9.845 UB, Avg of 9.733 on VT
  • Hit 4 of 5 FX routines in 2018
McKenna
Kelley
(redshirt)
VT
FX
  • Missed 2018 season with torn Achilles
  • 9.925 RQS on FX in 2017
  • Competed 1 VT in 2017 for 9.825
Ashlyn Kirby UB
BB
FX
  • Competed FX each week for 9.870 RQS
  • Competed 2 UBs in 2018 (9.113 avg)
Sophomores
Reagan Campbell
BB
  • Competed weekly BB for 9.840 RQS in 2018
Bridget Dean
BB
  • Did not compete in 2018
Christina Desiderio
VT
BB
FX
  • Made final 2018 lineups on BB, FX
  • RQS of 9.900 BB, 9.820 FX
Sami Durante
UB
BB
  • Competed UB weekly in 2018 for 9.880
Sarah Edwards
VT
FX
  • Competed Y1.5 VT each week in 2018 for 9.880 RQS
  • Provided early-season FX for 9.865 RQS
Olivia Gunter
  • Did not compete in 2018
Freshmen
Rebecca D’Antonio
BB
  • Cypress Pointe
  • 3rd AA, 2018 Region 8s
  • Possible BB depth
Bailey Ferrer
VT
UB
FX
  • Brandy Johnson’s
  • US elite, 2013-2014
  • VTs 10.0 start Omelianchik
  • Expected to contribute VT and FX with possible UB

Continue reading 2019 NCAA Roster Notes

Meet the Freshmen – Michigan & Washington

MICHIGAN

I’ve run out of conference and geographical reasons for pairing teams in these freshman previews, so the theme of this pairing is just Elise Ray (exactly like your life).

Michigan will need to be in reinvention mode in 2019, returning just 11 of the 24 routines that competed at regionals last season (though that was also without the injured Olivia Karas, who will be back this season). Normally, having to replace that many routines would be a red flag, but this is the strongest freshman class Michigan has welcomed in quite a while. With four JO all-around stars, this class brings 16 actual, legitimate routines and could certainly end up providing half of Michigan’s lineups in the 2019 season.

Michigan Freshmen 2019
Natalie Wojcik VT UB BB FX
Wojcik won her division at JO nationals this year, placing no worse than 5th on any event. I’d pick her as the most likely of the freshmen to be an all-arounder this season, though we could see several of them wind up in all four lineups. The star of Wojcik’s gymnastics is a stellar Y1.5 that will be an anchor-position quality vault for 9.9s. It’s the knees that set her 1.5 apart. In a lot of NCAA 1.5s, you see that indistinct knee softness in the air, but not with Wojcik’s.

Beam is typically a great event for Wojcik as well, where she shows solidity, an extended aerial, hit leaps, everything we’re looking for. Check, check, check. Bars hasn’t always been the big winning score for her, but the piked Jaeger and DLO are huge enough to be worth it in a routine that should see time. On floor, this freshman class as a group has been successful more because of cleanliness than because of difficulty (it’s almost entirely a double pike squad), but of the double pike routines in this class, Wojcik’s is the most convincing to me.

Abby Brenner VT UB BB FX
Like Wojcik, Brenner is also a JO national champion (winning her division in 2017) and also brings a Y1.5 on vault that looks like a sure thing for the lineup. It’s a big, necessary yes from me in a lineup that could end up with five Y1.5s if everyone is healthy and back up to full difficulty. That’s a significant reason Michigan continues looking its usual amount of threatening this season. There are teams expecting to make the top 8 that definitely won’t have that many 10.0s on vault.

Equally important will be Brenner’s floor. She’s the one among these freshmen who has shown the big power element with a piked full-in, helping make her the most likely newbie to get into the floor lineup. Bars also looks very believable with precise handstands, a Jaeger, and a DLO 1/1 that can become a regular DLO in NCAA for the scores. We probably won’t see much of Brenner on beam this year—it’s never been her big event—but she has a routine should the team need it.

Abby Heiskell VT UB BB FX
Heiskell is not to be left off the JO champion trolley, having won her division in 2016. She’ll be Michigan’s “I’m ready to go up 2nd in any lineup, where do you need me? Everywhere? Great” gymnast this season. Her spark-plug beam routine has been a good score in limited competition opportunities over the last year or so—with solid legs on her loso series—and her floor presents another very believable double pike option depending on need. On bars, we’ve seen efficient handstands and a well-performed Jaeger and Pak over the years, which make that set a real option.

Heiskell’s best scores in JO, as is somewhat normal, have come on vault, where she delivers a massive Yfull. If all five of the expected Y1.5s come through, Michigan will still be looking for a full to join them in the lineup of six, and I like Heiskell’s full for that role.

Madison Mariani VT UB BB FX
To me, Mariani’s most impressive event is beam. I look at that side aerial to split jump in the above video, and I’m very ready to put it in the lineup. Michigan needs a lot of new beam this season (ideally three actual, lineup routines from this freshman class), so expect to see Mariani there. On bars, the height she gets on her Tkatchev can also make that routine a compelling option as long as the leg precision is there.

Vault and floor should be added to the “as needed” pile. On vault, Mariani also presents a high, lineup-realistic full we could see depending on who’s healthy and sticking, and while I haven’t seen video of floor in quite a while, the skills are there and Mariani’s 2017 JO scores were quite impressive.

WASHINGTON

Continue reading Meet the Freshmen – Michigan & Washington

Cottbus World Cup – Finals Live Blog Day 2

You can follow the overall Olympic qualification standings here, always linked at the top of the site. Today, we have finals on the remaining five events, beginning with beam and men’s vault.

First, the little boys are demonstrating back extension rolls while Carlos Yulo looks on going, “Same,” and then we’re conducting the competition for most German possible man. The winner is everyone.

Oh god, the world feed has our nemesis doing commentary. It was better yesterday when there was no sound. I’m torn between wanting to watch on mute and being afraid I’ll miss something insane that I need to know about forever. Oh. Jorge is still “Yorg.”

BEAM & MEN’S VAULT Continue reading Cottbus World Cup – Finals Live Blog Day 2

Cottbus World Cup – Finals Live Blog

It’s not like a regular world cup. It’s a cool world cup.

That’s because sweet, sweet Olympic qualification points are sitting around, ready to be won in Cottbus. You can follow the points race and get (most of) your rules questions answered here, with the true bounty of points (30 to the winners) on offer starting today in the finals of the first five events.


MEN’S FLOOR

So it looks like Nguyen is into the final despite finishing 10th in qualification. Tang and Nory must both have pulled out? Not sure yet what we do about that in the final awarding of ranking points. Presumably he’ll now get points for his finish in the final, and Tang and Nory will get the points for the top 2 non-final-qualifying spots?

Nguyen – FX – double double layout – hop – double front pike, small hop – front 2/1 to front 1/1, small shuffle – double double tuck, a little short with a lunge – 2/1, stuck – 2.5 to half, stuck – shourt on full in, large lunge forward. Not bad.

14.266 for Marcel. Continue reading Cottbus World Cup – Finals Live Blog

Meet the Freshmen – UCLA & Cal

UCLA

UCLA has every reason to expect that the 2019 team will display more formidable depth than last season’s national championship team, having lost just four routines from that Super Six performance. Improving the scores on every event, however, is not a given because…Peng’s perfect 20…but still, the essential core remains intact and should receive a boost from this small-but-mighty new crop.

UCLA Freshmen 2019
Margzetta Frazier VT UB BB FX
You’re familiar with Marz. There’s little mystery in this part of the preview. She has both the tumbling and the performance quality to provide an essential routine on floor that I’m sure UCLA is already angling to submit for “this is our viral floor routine this year” status. UCLA will also count on Frazier for a 10.0 start that can go toward the end of the vault lineup, if not anchor it. She has continued training the DTY so far in preseason.

We never end up talking about Frazier as much on bars, but she has shown tremendous difficulty there in the last couple years of elite and has the kind of legs-together Shap 1/2 that should render her bars routine equally important to her vault and floor in restocking UCLA’s lineups. I fully expect to see three weekly events from Frazier, and in most team circumstances, she would be an all-arounder. She’ll surely give UCLA an option on beam, though beam isn’t exactly an easy UCLA lineup to get into. We could very well just see the five returners and Flatley make up the 2019 group.

Norah Flatley VT UB BB FX
Flatley’s NCAA debut is among the most anticipated this season because it has been a geologic age since we’ve seen her in competition. That endless injury history is why power-event expectations will be muted for Flatley, at least early on. She, of course, has the ability to pull out a lovely vault and 3/1 her way to perfection on floor (which she has been training in preseason), but I think as long as Flatley can stay healthy enough to deliver gorgeous bars and beam, UCLA will be happy.

Beam was always Flatley’s wow event in junior elite, with a rare mix of difficulty and “China circa 1992” execution that had her on Olympic-prognostication shortlists. So if anyone is going to take on Peng responsibilities on beam, it will be Flatley.

Sekai Wright VT UB BB FX
Sekai Wright is here to lift the power quotient on vault, an event on which UCLA’s relative lack of difficulty last season compared to other top teams looked like a disqualifying weakness right up until about…the middle of Kyla Ross’s beam routine during Super Six. Wright’s powerful 1.5 will be critical over the next few seasons for UCLA in delivering the necessary amount of 10.0 starts. Wright brings that same power ability to floor and will look to deliver an option there as well.
Sara Taubman VT UB BB FX
I’ve never seen actual competition videos of Taubman, just training work, but based on that training, the pieces are there for Taubman to provide a routine in the depth pool on bars, her best event.

CAL

Continue reading Meet the Freshmen – UCLA & Cal

Meet the Freshmen – Oklahoma & Arkansas

OKLAHOMA

It’s a small freshman class for Oklahoma this year, one that will not be called upon for an overwhelming number of routines but will have to provide several critical spot sets as part of the project to make up for not having Jackson, Brown, and Catour in lineups anymore.

Those dear departed 2018 seniors delivered important scores, but not an excessive number of competition routines—a number that this freshman class should be able to manage itself, especially on the leg events where this group excels.

Oklahoma Freshmen 2019
Olivia Trautman VT UB BB FX
Trautman’s is the most recognizable name in the class, and she should prove to be the most lineup-influential of Oklahoma’s three freshmen. Her foremost contributions will be on floor and vault. On floor, Trautman’s massive amplitude allows her to complete a DLO more comfortably than most as well as producing standout leaps, getting much higher than the competition. Similarly huge is the Y1.5 on vault that Trautman has competed since dropping back down to L10. Expect both routines to secure prime lineup places from the start of the season.

While floor and vault are the essential routines, don’t be surprised if we see all four from Trautman. Bars isn’t as much of a natural event for her, but she has good rhythm, a useful DLO dismount, and could get there. As for beam, it’s Oklahoma. You can throw a dart at the roster and hit four 9.9s, but Trautman has proven a very solid beamer who should be in the mix.

Allie Stern VT UB BB FX
To me, Stern is a bit of a wildcard in terms of how much we’ll see her contribute, but she’ll angle for positions in the vault and floor lineups. Most importantly, she has a 1.5 on vault, reigniting Oklahoma’s quest to show up at nationals with six 10.0 starts. Her JO performances make that vault look like a very realistic NCAA option.

Stern also had a full-in on floor in JO (which she has continued to work in training videos) and comfortable twisting ability, so she could help shore up some of those question mark positions in the early half of the floor lineup from last season. Stern does have a beam routine as well, but on this team that will be a tough lineup.

Emma LaPinta VT UB BB FX
LaPinta is walking on for Oklahoma this year and will be looking to provide a depth option on floor. She had a double Arabian in JO and has continued working a 3/1 in preseason, so the tumbling skills are definitely there for her to put together an Oklahoma-worthy floor set.

ARKANSAS

Continue reading Meet the Freshmen – Oklahoma & Arkansas