Category Archives: Season Preview

2018 Outlook – Georgia Bulldogs

GEORGIA ROSTER 2018
Seniors
Jasmine Arnold
BB
FX
  • Has not competed a routine in first three seasons
Vivi Babalis
VT
BB
FX
  • Staple of BB, FX lineups
  • UGA’s top RQS on BB in 2017 (9.875)
  • Aattempting to add VT for 2018
Lauren Johnson
(redshirt)
VT
UB
  • Will contribute VT, be an option on UB
  • 9.860 VT RQS in 2017 was 2nd on team
Gigi Marino
VT
FX
  • Necessity in VT and FX lineups
  • 9.930 RQS on FX in 2017
  • 10.0 start value on VT (Y1.5)
Hayley Sanders
UB
BB
  • Finally made UB,BB lineups in 2017
  • RQS of 9.820 on BB, 9.785 on UB
Natalie Vaculik
VT
UB
BB
  • Competed UB twice in 2017 for 9.825 avg
  • Previously a regular in UB lineup, BB when hitting, VT sometimes
Juniors
Gracie Cherrey
UB
  • Did not compete in 2017 with all the injuries
  • Previously member of UB lineup for 9.795
Sydney Snead
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Team-best sets on VT, UB and weekly FX in 2017
  • 10.0 start on VT with Y1.5
  • Likely needed for AA in 2018
Sophomores
Rachel Dickson
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Regular AA contributor in 2017 when healthy (and after figuring out BB)
  • Will compete AA in 2018
  • RQSs ranged from 9.790 (BB) to 9.905 (FX)
Jordyn Pedersen
UB
  • Did not compete in first season
Sabrina Vega
VT
BB
FX
  • Leadoff BB and weekly FX in 2017 for 9.850s
  • Did not fall on BB in 2017
  • Added VT for 2018
Freshmen
Ashley Foss
BB
FX
  • Tore Achilles in March 2017
  • Hoping to be back before end of season
Madison McPherson
  • Will miss 2018 with shoulder injury
Marissa Oakley
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Everest
  • 3rd UB at 2017 US Nationals
  • Returning from shoulder injury
Emily Schild
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Everest
  • 13th at 2016 US Olympic Trials
  • Out with fractured kneecap, expected back mid-season

Recent History
2017 – 12th
2016 – 6th
2015 – 9th
2014 – 5th
2013 – 6th
2012 – 11th
2011 – 9th
2010 – 13th

It’s…a…new old world to me. It’s a new old world and we are heeeeere.

Courtney Kupets and Suzanne Yoculan. That takes us back. Georgia is attempting to reinvent itself for the third time in eight years, this time by trotting out all the old hits from your youth and hoping the magic is still there. Suzanne is our Backstreet Boys.

Because of last year’s finish and the overall composition of the roster, expectations will not be particularly high for 2018. But really, Georgia’s outlook should be divided into two categories. “Without Schild and Oakley in the AA” is a team that will struggle early in the season and plop down some low scores. “With Schild and Oakley in the AA” is a team that can still make nationals and will expect to do so.

The Kupets Administration will have a long leash in terms of results (multiple seasons to get things right) because in many ways, bringing Suzanne back is a last-ditch effort. Where do you go from here if it doesn’t work? This is the only plan left. Nonetheless, the team will expect to reach nationals, even if doing so isn’t make-it-or-break-it for this coaching staff. Georgia doesn’t miss nationals.


Vault
Lineup locks
Snead (9.915), Johnson (9.860), Dickson (9.845), Marino (9.825)
Lineup options
Oakley (FR), Schild (FR), Vega (-), Babalis (-)

Georgia showed just five vaulters, all performing Yurchenko fulls, at last weekend’s intrasquad, highlighting concerns about the team’s depth. No team is going to contend realistically in the SEC without at least a few 10.0 starts and a whole lineup of (at minimum) 9.8s.

But, that’s preseason. In the season, expect to see Snead with a 1.5 leading the lineup for 9.9s and Marino contributing a 1.5 of her own. Dickson and Johnson should also return with fulls to make up a usable and competitive four. Johnson did not vault over the weekend, but she’s not expected to be out on vault for any real period. Continue reading 2018 Outlook – Georgia Bulldogs

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2018 Outlook – Washington Huskies

 

WASHINGTON ROSTER 2018
Seniors
Hailey Burleson
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Expected to contribute AA
  • Anchor on VT, BB, FX in 2017
  • RQSs range from 9.815 (UB) to 9.905 (BB)
Joslyn Goings
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Expected to contribute AA
  • Leading BB on team, RQS of 9.915 in 2017
Zoey Schaefer
UB
BB
FX
  • Major contributor on BB, FX
  • RQS of 9.855 (BB), 9.835 (FX) in 2017
  • Can provide UB if team requires
Juniors
Kristyn Hoffa
VT
FX
  • Competed VT, FX in first 5 meets of 2017 before ACL injury
  • Scored as high as 9.900 on FX
  • Will contribute both VT, FX when healthy
Monica Riley
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Made final VT lineup in 2017 with 9.775 RQS
  • Can provide UB, BB, FX as needed
Malory Rose
BB
  • Leadoff BB for 9.835 RQS in 2017
  • Injured ACL, will miss beginning of 2018
Sophomores
Madison Copiak
VT
UB
BB
  • Staple of UB lineup in 2017 for 9.805
  • Leadoff VT for 9.705
  • Training BB for 2018
Michaela
Nelson
UB
BB
  • Made final BB lineup in 2017 for 9.825 RQS
  • Contributed UB most weeks during season
Evanni
Roberson
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Performed exhibition, but no competition sets in 2017
  • Is former JO national UB champ, VT/FX standout
Haley Roy
VT
FX
  • 10.0 start (Tsuk 1/2) on VT
  • 9.825 RQS in 2017
  • Can also provide backup FX
Maya
Washington
UB
BB
FX
  • UB, BB, FX contributor in 2017
  • Made postseason UB, FX lineups, injury replacement at nationals on BB
  • Highest scores on FX with 9.840 RQS
Freshmen
Jennifer Oh
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • WOGA
  • 2016 JO Nationals, 3rd AA, Senior B
  • Labrum surgery in April
Geneva Thompson
  • Currently injured
  • 2017 JO Nationals, 3rd VT
Hannah
Willmarth
UB
FX
  • 2017 CO states, 2nd FX, 3rd UB

Recent History
2017 – 8th
2016 – 18th
2015 – 34th
2014 – 26th
2013 – 19th
2012 – 18th
2011 – 18th
2010 – 23rd

Expectations for Washington in 2018 will understandably be much higher than they have been in many, many years following the Cinderella journey to nationals in 2017. Still, when evaluating 2018 chances, it’s worth remembering that Washington finished the 2017 regular season in 13th, a more accurate position from which to gauge what would count as improvement/success or not in 2018.

Returning to nationals is doable, but it would still be a very big deal and perhaps would still count an upset.

Vault
Lineup locks
Burleson (9.845), Roy (9.825), Goings (9.820)
Lineup options
Hoffa (9.780), Riley (9.775), Copiak (9.705), Roberson(-), Oh (FR)

Vault proved the weak event for Washington last season and remains the biggest concern heading into 2018. A primary complication is just how many injuries Washington is dealing with right now, forced to put up only four vaulters in this week’s public intrasquad. The injury to freshman Geneva Thompson, a JO standout on vault who was supposed to bolster this lineup, particularly doesn’t help matters.

Once again, Washington will have a 10.0 start from Roy‘s Tsuk 1/2, which received 9.8s in the second spot last season. Other than that, it’s going to be a lineup of fulls, with Burleson and Goings the most likely to break that 9.800 barrier. Critical reinforcements must also come from Hoffa, returning from her ACL injury with a Yfull. Those four will be the core of the lineup. Rounding out the group last season were Riley‘s Y1/2 and Copiak‘s full, both tending to be in the 9.7s. Continue reading 2018 Outlook – Washington Huskies

2018 Outlook – California Golden Bears

 

CAL ROSTER 2018
Seniors
Alicia Gallarzo
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Regular on VT, UB, BB in 2017
  • Will contribute at least backup options on all four pieces
  • BB RQS of 9.810 in 2017
Arianna
Robinson
VT
FX
  • Essential member of 2nd half of VT, FX lineups in 2017
  • RQS of 9.860 VT, 9.855 FX in 2017
  • 10.0 start (FHS, HS front pike) on VT
Yuleen
Sternberg
UB
FX
  • UB specialist for 9.833 avg in 2017
  • Can provide backup FX as needed
Toni-Ann Williams
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Missed most of 2017 with torn Achilles
  • Lock for VT (Y1.5), UB, and FX (2016 RQS of 9.935) lineups
  • Can do BB if the consistency is there
Juniors
Sofie
Seilnacht
UB
BB
FX
  • The UB/BB Seilnacht
  • Led off both UB, BB lineups in 2017 for 9.785, 9.860 respectively
  • Can perform FX if needed
Sylvie
Seilnacht
VT
BB
FX
  • Regular in 2017 VT lineup for 9.820
  • Typically will cameo on BB, FX a few times during the season
Chelsea Shu
UB
BB
  • Weekly UB for 9.840 in 2017
  • Likely BB, competed 2nd up for most of 2017
Sophomores
Cassidy Keelen
VT
BB
FX
  • Missed most of 2017 with injury
  • 2016 JO Nationals AA 2nd
  • Strength is BB, should provide three events when healthy
Rachel
Mastrangelo
VT
  • Competed VT twice in 2017 for 9.750 average
Freshmen
Kyana George
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • 2017 JO Nationals 3rd AA, 1st FX
  • Expected to contribute AA from the start
Alma Kuc
VT
UB
BB
  • UB star when competing for Poland
  • Expected for UB and BB (if consistent)
Maleah
Pearson
  • TCT
  • 13th UB, 2016 JO Nationals
Victoria Salem
  • Will miss 2018 season with knee injury
  • Potential UB, BB star
Nina Schank
VT
UB
BB
  • 2017 JO National UB champ, Senior F
  • Expected to contribute at least UB in 2018

Recent History
2017 – 16th
2016 – 7th
2015 – 18th
2014 – 16th
2013 – 28th
2012 – 49th
2011 – 50th
2010 – 55th

We expected big things from Cal in 2017 coming off the excellent finish in 2016, but the early-season injuries to Williams and Keelen set the tone for a year that never looked quite right. More challenges await in 2018 with a roster that has lost more than half its postseason routines from 2017, but a talented freshman class provides cause for sustained and realistic hope of making it back to nationals.

Be sure to check out Casey’s twitter, the only news source I trust in these trying times, for reports on Cal’s recent intrasquad.


Vault
Lineup locks
Williams (9.865 in 2016), Robinson (9.860), George (FR)
Lineup options
Sy Seilnacht (9.820), Keelen, (9.817), Gallarzo (9.770), Mastrangelo (9.750)

Cal has one absolutely guaranteed 10.0-start vault in Robinson, who should be reliable for 9.850s again in 2017, but that’s not where the 10.0 train will end for Cal. Williams always intends to vault a 1.5, the only question being whether she has the control on the landing to make the 10.0-start worth it. She’ll definitely try for it, and Cal needs her to get 9.9s this year. Also expect to see much of the freshman George, who performs a high Yurchenko full that will score competitively with many 10.0 starts out there.

Beyond that, Cal has enough nominees to make a comfortable six by playing a rousing game of “Who can kind of stick a full and not get a dumpy little 9.725?” Keelen did train a 1.5 in the preseason last year (so maybe at some point?), but even without it, her full should be making the lineup, with possible assistance from Sylvie Seilnacht and Mastrangelo with fulls and Gallarzo with a vestigial Yurchenko 1/2 from back when that was valuable. Continue reading 2018 Outlook – California Golden Bears

2018 Outlook – Michigan Wolverines

 

MICHIGAN ROSTER 2018
Seniors
Brianna Brown
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Returned from injury at the end of the 2017 season to compete 4 times on UB for 9.875 average.
  • Healthy, will also be expected to contribute BB, likely FX, and a backup VT.
Lauren Marinez
UB
BB
FX
  • Lock for BB lineup, 2017 RQS of 9.875
  • Competed regularly on UB in 2017 for 9.770 RQS
  • Will provide FX as needed for 9.8s.
Paige Zaziski
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Expected three-eventer/AAer in 2018
  • Anchored UB for 9.915 RQS in 2017
  • Removed from FX lineup in 2017 after errors, but returned to anchor in postseason
Juniors
Olivia Karas
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Has competed VT (Y1.5), BB, FX in every meet of NCAA career.
  • Expected AAer in 2018
  • All four 2017 RQSs were 9.845 or higher
Emma McLean
VT
UB
FX
  • Anchored VT with Y1.5 in 2017
  • RQSs of 9.9+ on VT and FX
  • Contributed early-season UB routine in 2017
Sophomores
Lexi Funk
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Provides early-lineup options on all 4 events, competed AA in 2nd half of 2017 season.
  • RQSs of 9.835 on BB, FX
Maggie O’Hara
UB
  • Did not compete in freshman season
Maddy Osman
VT
UB
FX
  • Missed 2nd half of 2017 with injury
  • Will provide options on VT, FX
Sam Roy
  • Did not compete in freshman season
Polina Shchennikova
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Regular in UB lineup for 9.850 RQS in 2017
  • Competed occasionally on VT
  • Yet to compete BB for Michigan despite being Polina Shchennikova
Freshmen
Lauren Farley
VT
UB
BB
  • Likely BB contributor in first season
  • 2nd BB at 2017 JO Nationals
  • Vaults possible 10.0 (Omelianchik)
Sam Javanbakht
  • Capital Gymnastics, VA
  • 45th AA, 2017 JO Nationals Senior F
Syd Townsend
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Canadian elite
  • Strongest event is VT, with Y1.5
  • Also competed UB in preseason exhibition for 9.800

Recent History
2017 – 10th
2016 – 13th
2015 – 7th
2014 – 10th
2013 – 7th
2012 – 13th
2011 – 6th
2010 – 10th

Michigan has underperformed its quality in the postseason for two consecutive years now, missing nationals in 2016 after a beam implosion at home, then dropping to 10th in 2017 after a beam implosion in the semifinals. (Super Six would have been a step too far last season, but Michigan should have finished 7th or 8th.)

The question in 2018: without Artz and Chiarelli, has Michigan lost more routines than it gained?

Vault
Lineup locks
McLean (9.915), Karas (9.895), Townsend (FR), Zaziski (9.845)
Lineup options
Shchennikova (9.758), Osman (9.745), Funk (9.744), Farley (FR), Brown (9.775 in 2016)

Michigan will hope to enjoy at least three vaults with 10.0 start values this season in the form of Y1.5s from McLean, Karas, and Townsend. Those three will lead the scoring and should ensure that Michigan stays on a similar path to last season, which ended with a 49.290 team RQS on vault, just with Townsend in place of Chiarelli.

Zaziski vaulted the best Yurchenko full among the supporting cast last season and should return to the lineup to do that again. For the remaining two spots, the Wolverines will have their pick of fulls from among five realistic options. I was partial to Osman‘s vault in JO, though it was Shchennikova and Funk who just got the nod in the preseason exhibition for those two spots. Shchennikova‘s amplitude looked improved over last season. Still, there’s some fairly interchangeable scoring potential among this group, the worry being that everything can all get a little too 9.750. Michigan needs to get 9.800s out of those first two spots to stay on track for that 49.300.

The wildcard is Farley, who vaulted an Omelianchik in JO but did not perform vault in the exhibition. If her landing is good enough to score higher than 9.750, it would give Michigan a usable 4th 10.0 start. Continue reading 2018 Outlook – Michigan Wolverines

2018 Freshmen – LSU

LSU has lost some vital routines since last season, losses that may make the squad more vulnerable to losing its grip on the #2 spot to the likes of Florida and company than it was in 2017. The Tigers are going to need a couple new bars and beam options and at least one new big score on vault and floor to mitigate the no-Gnat situation.  

LSU 2018 – Returning routines
VAULT
Edney – 9.910
Hambrick – 9.905
Harrold – 9.890
Finnegan – 9.855
Priessman – 9.855
Kelley – 9.825
Cannamela – 9.820
BARS
Priessman – 9.925
Edney – 9.900
Hambrick – 9.885
Finnegan – 9.880
Harrold – 9.855
BEAM
Finnegan – 9.945
Hambrick – 9.900
Macadaeg – 9.900
Edney – 9.875
Li – 9.755
Priessman – 9.525
FLOOR
Hambrick – 9.930
Kelley – 9.925
Edney – 9.870
Finnegan – 9.866
Harrold – 9.850
Priessman – 9.685
Kirby – 9.625

Still, the hope of increased contributions from some returning gymnasts like Priessman and Harrold, as well as a large freshman class of seven, has LSU optimistic about its chances of keeping pace with its previous form.

Christina Desiderio

The star of LSU’s newest flock is Desiderio, the Parkettes elite who turned senior in 2016 just in time to hoist herself into the Olympic-year camp group, proceeding to place 12th overall at Olympic Trials. Desiderio was originally slated to begin next season, but LSU had an open scholarship spot for this year, and Desiderio was able to make it work. She’s the baby of the class, having only recently turned 17.

Getting Desiderio to arrive this year is important for LSU because she’s the power gymnast of this class, the one best poised to provide a new 9.9 on floor to replace what has been lost.

Floor has always been Desiderio’s best event, a big-power piece with a double double and a ready-to-be-kept-for-NCAA double layout.

Lost among the big tumbling is that Desiderio can also hit leaps and split positions on floor exceptionally well. She’s doing difficult elements and hitting 180 on them. So far in LSU’s preseason intrasquad reports, we’ve only really heard about Desiderio on beam, but she will be a key to the floor lineup for years to come.

Beam is, however, the other major strength for Desiderio, where she is quite an aggressive and confident gymnast. That’s what stands out the most. She is not a timid beamer. With strong acrobatic elements and more-than-passable NCAA dance skills, she seems like a given for the beam lineup as well.

Desiderio competed a DTY for a number of years as a junior elite as well as a senior elite. It was never her best skill, especially as the years went on, but she’s powerful enough that I could see her providing a 1.5 in college. As the only one among the freshies who has competed a 10.0 start before, there will be some expectation that she can still do that.  Continue reading 2018 Freshmen – LSU

2018 Freshmen – Cal

With so many routines departing after last season—13 of the 24 routines from regionals—Cal will need to expect quite a lot from its five freshmen this year (and Cassidy Keelen in her return from injury), meaning multiple competition-ready routines on each event.

CAL 2018 – Returning routines
VAULT
Robinson – 9.860
Williams – 9.842
Sy Seilnacht – 9.820
Keelen – 9.817
Gallarzo – 9.770
Mastrangelo – 9.750
BARS
Shu – 9.840
Sternberg – 9.833
Williams – 9.831
So Seilnacht – 9.785
Gallarzo – 9.130
BEAM
So Seilnacht – 9.860
Sy Seilnacht – 9.825
Gallarzo – 9.810
Shu – 9.790
Keelen – 9.650
FLOOR
Williams – 9.894
Robinson – 9.855
Sternberg – 9.825
Sy Seilnacht – 9.600
So Seilnacht – 9.558
Keelen – 9.542

The good news is that Cal has the prettiest freshman class in all of NCAA gymnastics this year. There’s a reason Cal has become a favorite team of the Round-Lake-obsessed. In contrast to many of the other teams previewed, this is not a class where I’m going to be saying, “I’m worried about the leaps” a lot.

Kyana George

The best all-around gymnast of the bunch is George from Metroplex. She finished 3rd at JO Nationals this year (after finishing 2nd in 2016) and took the floor title with a 9.825. Expect to see her on every event.

Floor has consistently been the standout event for George, half because of the scores and half because she can actually dance. It’s worth nothing that these scores have not come because of E-level difficulty. She opens with a front tuck through to double tuck, but it’s so high and easy for her that you can’t really deduct too much.

Because of her amplitude—particularly on the dance elements—and the ease with which she completes the simpler passes, that could be a worthwhile strategy if continued into NCAA (I could see Williams up 5th and George up 6th to dance a cherry on top of the rotation). [Maybe it’s a testament to her amplitude that I basically didn’t even realize she’s doing a front 2/1 as her second pass, which is an E.]

On vault, George brings a big ol’ full. It would be nice if it were a 10.0 start (Cal will still have a few this season as long as Toni-Ann’s landing on the 1.5 is good enough to make it worth doing), but it should be a definite for the lineup regardless.

What’s nice about George is that she’s not simply a vault and floor gymnast, though those tend to be her better scores. That great dance-element amplitude on floor doesn’t disappear when moving to beam, where the highlight of the routine below is that beat jump + split jump combination.

Continue reading 2018 Freshmen – Cal

2018 Freshmen – Boise State

Boise State lost three major contributors after last season in Mejia, Bennion, and Urquhart, accounting for about 7 best-lineup routines. There is still adequate depth remaining on the returning roster, but the Broncos will nonetheless be looking for at least those 7 routines from the freshman class of five to ensure that they can reach that top-team standard of putting up a 9.800 in every lineup spot.

BOISE STATE 2018 – Returning routines
VAULT
Bir – 9.855
Means – 9.850
Stockwell – 9.845
McGregor – 9.835
Remme – 9.815
Collantes – 9.740
BARS
McGregor – 9.900
Remme – 9.880
Collantes – 9.855
Stockwell – 9.845
Nilson – 9.767
Means – 9.725
BEAM
Remme – 9.910
Means – 9.895
McGregor – 9.805
Amado – 9.767
Collantes – 9.760
Esmerian – 9.675
Stockwell – 9.150
FLOOR
Collantes – 9.870
Stockwell – 9.858
Remme – 9.845
Means – 9.835
McGregor – 9.740
Webb – 9.567
Morrell – 9.125
Tatum Bruden

Bruden is probably the most all-aroundy of the BSU freshmen—having finished 13th AA in her group at JO nationals this year—but this looks to be more a class of two-event contributors who can occasionally add backup sets on the other pieces.

Acrobatic solidity is Bruden’s standout quality, evident in her Yurchenko 1/1 on vault and comfort with slamming down those double salto passes on floor.

We’ll see how the split positions come along on floor and beam. A tendency toward going for rather difficult dance elements makes that area of her gymnastics look deduction-heavy, which could just be a function of those harder skills or may be the case regardless of difficulty (so why not go for it?). That’s the main concern in an otherwise acrobatically confident beam set.

On bars, Bruden has the necessary composition with a Jaeger, bail, and double lay-ish dismount but likely would be looking at a few too many mushy knee and form position deductions (like the dismount) right now to be a ready-to-use routine. Continue reading 2018 Freshmen – Boise State

2018 Freshmen – Alabama

Alabama lost a significant proportion of its routines after last season, and while the team’s previously established depth insulates a little against those losses, there’s still work to do. The Tide will be looking for 2-3 new (good) options on each event, many of which will need to come from the freshman class of four.

ALABAMA 2018 – Returning routines
VAULT
Guerrero – 9.880
Armbrecht – 9.855
Winston – 9.850
Desch – 9.845
Childers – 9.840
BARS
Winston – 9.910
Mahoney – 9.860
Brannan – 9.825
Guerra – 9.800
Childers – 9.771
Armbrecht – 9.725
BEAM
Guerrero – 9.945
Winston – 9.935
Childers – 9.865
Desch – 9.850
Armbrecht – 9.583
FLOOR
Winston – 9.945
Desch – 9.905
Guerra – 9.870
Guerrero – 9.865
Childers – 9.855
Armbrecht – 9.500

On the bright side, this class contains a major star and a wealth of potentially realistic routines. On the less bright side, we saw very few submissions from this group at the Halloween intrasquad (no vaults or floor routines from any of them). That’s a possible leg-health warning sign, but it’s still early.

Bailie Key

It’s obviously not about talent for Key, a gymnast whose skill level and execution have set her up to be a 9.9+ NCAA gymnast since she was about 11. Key’s gymnastics should translate to NCAA quite nicely, meaning the only real obstacle between her and NCAA stardom will be health. We’ve seen Key complete a season just once in the last four years, so the hope is that NCAA can be a new lease on health for a partially broken elite (see: Bridget Sloan).

Key’s most famous and best event, especially in her junior days, was beam, and that’s where she’s most comfortably poised to shine for Alabama. It also happened to be the only apparatus on which she showed a complete routine at Ghosts and Goblins.

As an elite, Key’s beam routine deteriorated as she became not four years old anymore—and as TD insisted on keeping that whip-back-pike of a layout that would never get credit on this planet (not over it). Fortunately, NCAA composition allows for only Key’s best skills, like the superior switch 1/2, to be retained. This will be an anchor-level routine (though it would also be a good nominee for strategic mid-lineup placement).

On bars, Key has quite a large number of well-executed D elements to choose from, so it’s perhaps a bit of a letdown that Alabama is going the Shap-bail, no same-bar release route with her. In elite, the Jaeger and Pak were both among the best out there.

Still, with enough numbers, that routine will be easy for her to execute pristinely, depending on what the dismount ends up being. At G&G, Key warmed up a DLO 1/1 that didn’t look like the best option, so we’ll see what she shows up with in January. Continue reading 2018 Freshmen – Alabama

2018 Freshmen – Auburn

It was an off year for Auburn in 2017, at least based on the standard of the previous few, with a 15th-place finish ultimately gilding a season that was spent predominately ranked in the 20s. Injury comebacks and increased contribution from upperclassmen will be as important as the freshmen in improving on that result in 2018, but multiple competition routines on each event will nonetheless be expected from this freshman class of six.

Auburn 2018 – Returning Routines
VAULT
Day – 9.840
Krippner – 9.810
Becker – 9.790
Phillips – 9.780
Engler – 9.770
Black – 9.717
Milliet – 9.600
BARS
Engler – 9.875
Cerio – 9.865
Day – 9.860
Krippner – 9.825
Milliet – 9.808
Becker – 9.655
Moss – 9.625
BEAM
Krippner – 9.885
Slappey – 9.830
Cerio – 9.810
Milliet – 9.808
Engler – 9.780
Becker – 9.775
FLOOR
Slappey – 9.840
Becker – 9.810
Cerio – 9.805
Day – 9.795
Milliet – 9.550
Meredith Sylvia

Sylvia’s is the most recognizable name in Auburn’s freshman class, a Parkette and toddler junior elite during the 2012 quad who went back to L10 full time beginning in 2014. She competed regularly in JO in 2014 and 2015 but has missed much of the last two seasons with injury.

Healthy, Sylvia should be a significant contributor on at least two events, ideally more. Let’s begin with beam because front aerial to Rulfova! I’ll take that.

That elite standard is evident in many of the skills on beam (I do worry about the jumps), as well as floor, where Sylvia competed a 3/1 and 2.5 + front tuck this past JO season. This year’s NCAA freshmen bring only the smallest handful of 3/1s, making Sylvia’s a memorable piece. Without a ton of standout content returning to Auburn’s floor lineup, this would be a welcome set.

Bars must become a competition-ready event for Sylvia in time because she is too competent at handstands for this routine to sit on the sidelines. Auburn will, however, have to resolve the dismount, a toe-on front tuck (C) in 2017, either by connecting into it with a turning skill or upgrading. Sylvia did previously perform a DLO, but it’s been a few years now.

I have the fewest expectations for vault because it has been since 2014 that Sylvia competed vault with any kind of frequency or success. We just don’t know what’s still there. She had a powerful if formy full in 2014, but if she can consistently provide the other three events, that would be a huge win.

Drew Watson

A L10 coming from Texas East, Watson is the current Texas state all-around champion in her age group and has placed in the top 10 at JO nationals each of the last two years. She’ll be a necessity on two or three events and will provide usable options in the all-around.

Watson’s most important piece is vault, where she brings a Y1.5. A major piece in the quest to become more competitive in the SEC again is having even the possibility of scoring with the other teams on vault. So…10.0 starts. Like this one.

A double Arabian on floor, along with a comfortable, traditional NCAA switch side + popa combination, should make Watson a solid nominee for the floor lineup in addition to vault. There’s some form, some cowboying, but not enough to jeopardize the routine.

I’d also like to see Watson get some real competition time on beam, where the acrobatic amplitude and relative comfort on leap elements mean that she should be among the best six choices Auburn has. Continue reading 2018 Freshmen – Auburn

2018 Freshmen – Missouri

Missouri is another school not particularly desperate for new routines in the 2018 season. The thought process may be that as long as Morgan Porter is back, and with every competition set from last postseason returning, additions to the lineups are a bonus rather than a necessity.

MISSOURI 2018 – Returning routines
VAULT
Ward – 9.915
Tucker – 9.865
Porter – 9.850
Harris – 9.850
Huber – 9.810
Miller – 9.770
Lewis – 9.700
BARS
Huber – 9.860
Porter – 9.850
Schugel – 9.845
Miller – 9.840
Tucker – 9.810
Kelly – 9.790
Ward – 9.770
Bower – 9.683
Albritten – 9.625
BEAM
Ward – 9.925
Kelly – 9.850
Schugel – 9.830
Albritten – 9.820
Bower – 9.805
Tucker – 9.800
Porter – 9.642
FLOOR
Harris – 9.910
Schugel – 9.876
Porter – 9.863
Tucker – 9.820
Huber – 9.805
Bower – 9.800
Kelly – 9.608
Turner – 9.550
Lewis – 9.000

Among the freshman class of four, I see only one or two “MUST GO IN THE LINEUP RIGHT NOW” routines, but there are nonetheless plenty of others that should contend for spots or provide realistic depth.

Belle Gottula

Gottula is the standout in this freshman class, and the most intriguing new routine to watch in the entire group will be her vault because she occasionally performs a 1.5. It’s not the most comfortable 1.5 in the world (2016 attempt below), but the possibility exists to give the team a powerful vault. In fact, Gottula struggled on some of her 2017 attempts at the full only because she completed the vault too early. Missouri can work with this.

On floor, expect to see Gottula make her way into the lineup with a fairly amplitudinous (definitely a word) full-in that she added to her routine in 2017 and that can push her ahead of the many of the D-pass options on the depth chart.

Bars and beam are tougher prospects, though still realistic. I enjoy Gottula’s loso series on beam quite a bit, but I worry about the leaps. That’s true for many in this class. It’s not a leaps class. They would rather eat a blanket of nails. On bars, everything might be a touch too deduction-heavy right now, but with a Gienger and a full-in dismount, it’s a worthwhile project to try to get this routine to lineup readiness. Continue reading 2018 Freshmen – Missouri