I’m rounding out the freshman previews today with a full accounting of the elites—current and former—who will be joining NCAA programs in the coming maybe-season. First, links to those I’ve already dealt with in the individual team freshmen previews, then on to the rest.
Oklahoma – Audrey Davis (USA)
UCLA – Frida Esparza (MEXICO), Chae Campbell (USA)
LSU – Elena Arenas (USA), Olivia Dunne (USA)
Utah – Jaylene Gilstrap (USA), Lucy Stanhope (GREAT BRITAIN)
Florida – Ellie Lazzari (USA), Gabrielle Gallentine (USA)
Cal – Gabby Perea (USA)
Georgia – Victoria Nguyen (USA)
Denver – Isabel Mabanta (USA)
Alabama – Shania Adams (USA), Cameron Machado (USA)
Ira Alexeeva – RUSSIA
Isabela Onyshko – CANADA
Tan Sze En – SINGAPORE
Sandra Jessen – CZECH REPUBLIC
United Nations: Palo Alto Campus has the opportunity to change its team’s trajectory more than any other new class this season, standing among the most accomplished groups any team is welcoming. With these freshmen, and Kyla Bryant representing the United States delegation, those lineups can become formidable. Imagine the possibilities for not being abjectly petrified by Stanford’s bars rotation with a lineup that adds Alexeeva, Onyshko, and Tan—not to mention Amanda Zeng, the lone “just an American” in the club who is quite good on bars as well.
Irina Alexeeva, a Texas-based WOGA gymnast, competed as a junior elite in the United States in 2016 but was ineligible to represent the US internationally and opted instead to compete for Russia. She made Russia’s 2018 World Championships team, advancing to the all-around final and placing 13th, while also earning a silver medal in the team final where she contributed the team’s highest score and least stressful routine on beam.
Isabela Onyshko’s meteoric rise as a Canadian elite culminated in her reaching the 2016 Olympics, where she became the first Canadian to advance to an Olympic beam final after scoring 14.533 in qualification. Injuries subsequently derailed some of her all-around hopes in the next quadrennium, but Onyshko did win an all-around silver medal at the 2018 Canadian Championships and an all-around bronze medal at 2020 Elite Canada, shortly before the shutdown.
Tan Sze En, who trains at Legacy Elite, competed at her first World Championships representing Singapore in 2019, scoring a 48.098 in qualification that—by a margin of just .032 over Ireland’s Megan Ryan—was enough to earn her the final spot available there for the Tokyo Olympics.
Sandra Jessen, a Parkettes gymnast, spent some time competing for the Czech Republic in 2019—recalling the career trajectory of another Stanford gymnast, Nicole Pechanec. Much like no one was able to stop telling you that Nicole Pechanec competed elite as Nicole Pechancova, I’m sure we’ll hear about how Sandra Jessen is Sandra Jessenova to the FIG. Like Tan, Jessen competed at her first World Championships in 2019, competing vault, beam, and floor for the Czech team that finished 23rd.
Continue reading Elite to NCAA 2021