Tag Archives: Kim Tessen

Utah 2017

Following last night’s Red Rocks Preview, we understand a lot more about what Utah is planning to say for itself in 2017, so this seems an ideal time to preview lineups and expectations.

Baely Rowe
  • Contributed top UB, BB routines in 2015, 2016
  • Will provide lineup-ready VT and FX as needed
  • 2016 RQS: UB – 9.905, BB – 9.880, VT – 9.835
  • 2016 avg: FX – 9.848
Tiffani Lewis
  • Competed VT, UB, FX every week in 2016
  • 2016 RQS: FX – 9.900, UB – 9.845, VT – 9.845
Maddy Stover
  • BB anchor and team-high score in 2016
  • Occasional backup FX in 2016
  • 2016 RQS: BB – 9.900, FX – 9.575
Kari Lee
  • Torn Achilles in January 2016
  • Weekly VT, BB, FX in 2015
  • 2015 RQS: VT – 9.910, BB – 9.900, FX – 9.890
Shannon McNatt
  • Did not show a competition routine in 2016
Makenna Merrell
  • Frequent FX contributor in 2016
  • Provided occasional VT, BB routines
  • 2016 RQS: FX – 9.850, BB – 9.550
  • 2016 avg: VT – 9.750
Erika Muhaw
  • Competed one VT in 2016 for 9.800
Macey Roberts
  • Transfer from Maryland
  • Contributed VT, FX for Terps in 2016
  • 2016 RQS: FX – 9.840, VT – 9.770
Sabrina Schwab
  • Among top UB, FX routines in freshman season
  • 2016 RQS: FX – 9.910, UB – 9.875
Missy Reinstadtler
  • North Stars
  • Preseason stress fracture, foot
  • 2016 JO Nationals UB champion, 7th AA
  • 2016 Nastia Cup 2nd AA
Mykayla Skinner
  • Desert Lights
  • 2016 Olympic Trials 4th AA
  • 2014 World Championship team
Kim Tessen
  • All-American
  • 2016 JO Nationals UB champion, 2nd AA

Recent History
2016 – 9th
2015 – 2nd
2014 – 7th
2013 – 9th
2012 – 5th
2011 – 5th
2010 – 6th

This slate of recent results seems fine enough, but aside from 2015’s dramatic second-place finish in the Marsden curtain call, Utah has missed Super Six three of the last four years. That’s a first for the program and one that is far from satisfying. Those 9th-place results in 2016 and 2013 are equal for Utah’s weakest finish in the NCAA era, and while that can be attributed to improvements from other teams as much as anything else, that’s cold comfort for a team like Utah. Utah doesn’t finish 9th.

The Utes have the roster in 2017 to restore how everyone felt a year ago after that 2nd place when THE GOLDEN AGE IS BACK AGAIN HURRAH. At least, Utah should expect to return to Super Six this year. That’s not saying it will be simple. Most top teams are adding routines of the same caliber (it’s the year after the Olympics), but among the teams in that turbid mixture called Borderline Super Six, Utah seems the most likely bet. Continue reading Utah 2017

2017 Freshman Preview: Utah

You didn’t expect me to resist the opportunity to use “stab a boob, take a selfie” one more time did you?

Returning Routines – Utah
Lewis – 9.845
Rowe – 9.835
Muhaw – 9.800
Lee – 9.750
Merrell – 9.750
Rowe – 9.905
Schwab – 9.875
Lewis – 9.845
Lee – 9.792
Stover – 9.900
Rowe – 9.880
Lee – 9.825
Merrell – 9.592
Schwab – 9.910
Lewis – 9.900
Merrell – 9.850
Rowe – 9.848
Stover – 9.575
Lee – 9.392

Utah’s granary of routines has been mightily depleted after last season’s graduations and the retirement of Samantha Partyka, but there’s also good news for the Utes: all three of this year’s freshmen are legitimate all-arounders from whom we should expect a significant and plentiful harvest. I don’t have trouble coming up with 6+ viable routines on each event.

The most prominent member of Utah’s accomplished freshman trio is, of course, Photoshop Olympian, Twitter cautionary tale, and interpretive vault pioneer, MyKayla Skinner.

Much has been made of the idea that Skinner won’t be as successful in NCAA because of the built-in form deductions in her gymnastics, but I’m not so sure about that. We’ve seen plenty of people thrive in NCAA with less-than-Pavlovian splits, and frankly her form isn’t all that different from many of the JO gymnasts I’ve been watching these last few weeks. Plus, “tweets dumb things” isn’t a deduction in the code of points, so that doesn’t really have anything to do with what scores she should get.

The composition in NCAA will allow Skinner to get rid of her worst skills, with the added bonus of being able to rely on the old “blind them with difficulty” strategy. Of course, all routines starting from 10.0 are supposed to be evaluated equally…and once you stop laughing we can continue with the rest of the preview.

Blinded By Difficulty absolutely needs to be the approach for Skinner. Her success has always been based on her ability to chuck extremely difficult skills, and downgrading significantly—the way many elites do in NCAA—would only expose problems rather than get her higher scores. As we learned from that “Bali, Mali, Chile, Malawi…it’s a simple do the dance (?)” commercial, Skinner’s DTY is cleaner than her Yurchenko timer. That’s insane, but it’s also true. She needs to retain the big skills, and if she does, I see no reason why she won’t get some of the highest scores in the country, particularly on vault and floor.

So I say vault that DTY.

I’d opt for the DTY over the Yurchenko 1/2-on vaults, purely so that we avoid any and all “DID SHE USE BOTH HANDS?” issues and never have to talk about Skinner being the first gymnast to do an Ono on the vaulting table ever again. It would just be a public service. But we’ll see. Continue reading 2017 Freshman Preview: Utah