Freshman Feature: Florida & Kentucky


What Is This Class?

Florida’s class is named Payton Richards. The Gators are in an odd (though not that odd for the year before the Olympics) position wherein verbal commits Morgan Hurd and Riley McCusker both elected to push back their entrance to pursue Tokyo, so the team is left with an entering class of only one.

Richards is an accomplished JO recruit who placed 4th AA at JO Nationals in 2018 (3rd FX, 4th UB), which followed a 2nd-place finish in 2017 (1st BB, 2nd UB), and a championship in 2016 in the junior division. She has been racking up the titles for years and years with pretty equivalent placement across the events, one score unlikely to stand out over the others.

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Freshman Feature: Michigan & Nebraska

The season will be upon us before you know it. (I mean, not really, but what else is there to talk about right now?) So, let’s meet some freshmen and discuss what events they might do in less than two months.


What Is This Class?

Michigan’s freshman class is headlined by the dual 2019 L10 national champions Sierra Brooks and Gabby Wilson, who won this year’s US titles in the Senior D and Senior E age groups respectively.

Wilson’s title was her second in a row and third over the last four years (she placed a tragic 2nd AA in 2017, keeping her from going full Boren and winning nationals each year of high school). Brooks, meanwhile, notched her first national title after three years of so-close podium finishes—and did so just weeks after committing to come to Michigan a year early for the 2020 season.

Led by those two ninja L10s, Michigan has what should be considered a top-3 freshman class in the country.

Alongside the big two, Michigan brings in former UCLA verbal Nicoletta Koulos, who switched over to Michigan after 2018, along with walk-on Abbie Gaies. Koulos placed 4th at JO Nationals in 2016 and 5th in 2017, but just 34th in 2018 after a miss on bars and did not participate at nationals in 2019. Gaies competes the all-around (and qualified to JO Nationals in 2018) but typically looks to her vault and bars scores as her competitive numbers. She placed 4th on bars at 2019 Region 5s.

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Things Are Happening – November 4, 2019

A. November camp

USAG confirmed that Laurie Hernandez is indeed attending the November national team camp, as she alluded to on the Twitter Box. The camp roster features…nearly all the seniors, though the members of the world championship team do not have to attend. Jordan Chiles and Trinity Thomas are also not scheduled to make a cameo in this episode.

A couple discussion-worthy notes appeared in Nick Zaccardi’s piece about Laurie’s return: Laurie was not required to send video to verify her readiness before being invited to camp. I think that’s initially jarring because it’s so different from what we’re used to, though I don’t have a problem with there being an open invitation to past world/Olympic medalists to return to camp if they feel prepared. It shows trust in the athletes as though they are…aware human people rather than weird pets? “You’ve been here before, and I trust you to know whether you’re ready or not.”

It’s not a bye right onto the national team. It’s just a November camp. I wish it weren’t based on some rando conversation with Tom at nationals (if Laurie is auto-invited back, then all former medalists should be given the same consideration), but no issue with the actual move.

Continue reading Things Are Happening – November 4, 2019

Clickable Code of Points

This year, I’ve been working on an expansion of the Elite Skills Database so that it can become a true click-able code of points. A database where you can click on any skill in the entire code to see a visual of the skill, its value, how it’s typically referenced, and associated information about the element like whether it’s common or rare (and whether that’s changed over the years because of some code development), if there’s a naming controversy about it because the WTC screwed up (probably), and if it’s ugly or not. You know, the important stuff.

So here it is:

Clickable Code of Points

Each event also has some abridged versions with just a couple key skills for easy reference, and I’ll be adding more of those.

This will live in the sidebar where the Elite Skill Database used to live, so it will always be there on the main page.

And if you want to delve in more, there are a couple other resources I use a lot and that were helpful in this compilation— MostepanovaFan‘s YouTube guides for videos of skills, and the WAG Firsts site for naming history.