How early is too early to recruit gymnasts to college?
I recently met with a family that has a daughter who is on the USA Gymnastics developmental team. Their daughter is in seventh grade and is feeling pressure to figure out which college is best for her future. College gymnastics coaches have come to watch her practice and she is seeing other girls from the developmental program verbally commit and posting this on social media.
If you ask any college gymnastics coach, they will tell you that they would prefer to wait till sophomore or junior year of high school to start recruiting However, they may also say they are guilty of making early offers. This trend of early recruiting began several years ago. When one college coach starts early recruiting, the other coaches tend to follow for fear that they will miss out on that blue chip recruit. My personal advice to this family is to take their time and not rush. A gymnast with this kind of talent will have many opportunities. Even though this specific gymnast was obviously very mature for her age, she was no where near ready to make a decision about college.
Below are some ideas on how to address this situation:
1. View early recruiting as inspiring to your daughter and not something to fear.
2. Set a goal as a family to not make any verbal commitments to a college team until high school or whatever date you feel is best for your daughter. This will take the pressure off of your
daughter and let her begin to feel comfortable with college recruiting process.
3. Look at your calendar and start taking your daughter on some casual visits to college campus’s. These schools do not have to be campus’s with gymnastics for her to learn about
college size, location and atmosphere.
4. Set up unofficial visits to the schools that appear to be interested in your daughter
5. Remember if a college coach has your daughters best interest in mind and she has the talent, they will wait for her to mature and be able to make a decision that she can feel confident
with in the long run.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask the college coach for a timeline in regards to when he or she would like a decision.
About Jill Hicks:
Jill Hicks is a former elite gymnast, Division I college athlete, club coach and Division I college gymnastics coach (Cal State Fullerton, Oregon State) and the owner of Jill Hicks Consulting, where she provides recruiting services and choreography for prospective student-athletes and their families. For further information visit: www.jhicksconsulting.com
Editor's Note: Publication of this article is not an endorsement of any recruiting service. Always check with the NCAA or your school's compliance officer for any questions regarding recruiting rules, the latest timelines, or other issues.
Bennet Huang has committed to Iowa for 2017-2018. He trains at West Coast Olympic Academy. At the 2016 P&G Championships, he placed 2nd AA, 1st on PH, 2nd(t) on FX and 5th on VT in the 15-16 year old division.
Jr. Elite Eliana Lazzari has committed to UF. She trains at GymNasti Gymnastics in Illinois. In the 2016 season she competed at the American Classic and the Secret Classic. This season she competed three events at the Chicago Style.
Host College at Brockport won the NCGA East Regional on Sunday, posting a 191.85. Ursinus was second at 189.45 and Springfield was third at 188.825. They advance to Nationals. In fourth was Cortland State at 186.975, following by Ithaca (185.525) and RIC (179.1). Jen Sklenar led Brockport with a win the AA (38.575). Teammate Stephanie Mager won VT while teammate Brittany Vasile won FX. For Ursinus, Kaelin Ruoss won BB. SUNY Cortland's Sidney McConnell won the UB.
Most states have held their state meets. Not all of them have posted scores, so this list may be incomplete, but here's a little salute to the incoming freshies who won their state meets.
Arizona: Payton Bellows 37.7
Auburn: Ashley Smith 38.125 and Drew Watson 38.35
BYU: Haley Pitou 38.1
Cal: Nina Schank 38.575
UCLA: Nia Dennis 38.75 and Savannh Kooyman 37.9
CMU: Kennedy Rae Johnson 38.225
Denver: Lynnzee Brown 38.175
Illinois: Nicole Biondi 37.75 and Kasey Meeks 36.55
Maryland Audrey Barber 37.775
MSU: Anne Maxim 38.125
Minnesota: Ona Loper 37.75
Ohio State: Brooke Chesney 37.45 and Jenna Swartzentruber 37.875
Oregon State: Kaitlin Yanish 38.475
PSU: Kourtney Chinnery 37.725 and Lauren Bridgens 38.325 and Alissa Bonsall 38.25
Stanford: Rachael Flam 38.7 and Lauren Navarro 39.025
Utah State: Leighton Varnadore 37.525
While the Regional qualifying results are not yet official, here's an early look at the Top 18.
Host San Jose State posted a 195.925 to win the MPSF Championship. UC Davis was a close second at 195.725 while Sac State was third at 195.175. Air Force posted a 194.075, SPU a 192.775 and UAA a 191.75 to round out the field.
UC Davis' Alexis Brown took the AA with a 39.375 and tied for the FX title with San Jose State's Taylor Chan. San Jose State's Haleigh Shepard won the VT while Sac State's Caitlin Soliwoda won UB. On BB, UC Davis' Katie Nogaki and Alaska-Anchorage's Sophia Hyderally tied for the title.
UC Davis' Brown was named Gymnast of the Year while Coach John Lavallee was named Coach of the Year. San Jose State's Taylor Chan won Freshman of the Year while Assistant Coach Shella Martinez won Assistant Coach of the Year.
Link: UC Davis Release
Utah posted a big 197.925 to win the 2017 Pac 12 Championship. Oregon State was 2nd at 197.4 while UCLA and Washington tied for 3rd at 197.1. Stanford was fifth at 196.625, Cal sixth at 196.3, Arizona 7th at 196.275 and ASU 8th at 195.6.
Utah's MyKayla Skinner posted a 10 on FX to win there and won the AA with a 39.725. She also tied for the VT title with teammate Tiffani Lewis and Oregon State's Dani Dessaints. UCLA's Kyla Ross won the BB with a 10.0 while Oregon State's Erika Aufiero won the UB.
Oregon State's Kaytianna McMillan was named Gymnast of the Year, UCLA's Peng-Peng Lee was the Specialist of the Year, UCLA's Kyla Ross was named Freshman of the Year, and Washington's Elise Ray was named Coach of the Year.
Link: Results Session 1
Link: Results Session 2
Link: Utah Release
The host Sooner posted a big 433.7 to defeat Illinois' 417.05 and close a third consecutive unbeaten regular season. Colin Van Wicklen won FX and HB to lead the Sooners. Genki Suzuki (PH), Thao Hoang (R), Matt Wenske (VT) and Peter Daggett (PB) added wins.
Link: Sooner Release
Host Minnesota defeated UIC 413.5 to 372.7. For the Gophers, Yaroslav Pochinka added wins on R and VT. Zach Liebler won FX and Justin Karstadt won PH while Gopher Ryan Bergman won PB and teammate Jalon Stephens won HB.
Boise State posted a 197.05 to win the MRGC Championship. Host USU was 2nd at 196.1 while SUU was third at 196.075. BYU was fourth at 194.675.
Boise State's Shani Remme tied for the BB title and won the AA with a 39.375. Teammate Sarah Means tied for the BB title and the VT title (with BYU's Mackenzie Douglas). Bronco Diana Mejia won the UB. SUU's Stacie Webb shared the BB title and the FX title. Other BB winners included USU's Hayley Sanzotti and Boise State's Alex Esmerian. On FX, USU's Madison Ward also, SUU's Autumn Jorgensen and Madyson Blake-Howard and Boise State's Abby Webb also earned a share of the title.
Link: SUU Release
Host W&M posted a season high 401.6 to defeat Army (393.55) and Temple (375.7). W&M claimed five individual titles: Tomas Palma (FX), Jacopo Gliozzi (PH), Rob Meyer (R), Griffin Antle (PB) and Aria Sabbagh (AA).
Eight men have been named as finalists for the 2017 College Gymnastics Associate Nissen Emery Award. They are: Allan Bower (OU), Neal Courter (W&M), Zach Liebler (Minn), Jake Martin (OSU), Akash Modi (Stanford), Joey Peters (Ill), Colin Van Wicklen (OU) and Tim Wang (Air Force)
Link: W&M Release
Michigan posted 197.3 to win the Big 10 title. Illinois posted a strong 196.875 to claim 2nd, with Iowa third at 196.725. Nebraska was 4th at 196.475, Ohio State fifth at 195.525 and MSU and PSU tied for 6th at 195.2. Minnesota posted a 195.175, which was just enough to secure the last spot at Regionals (by .01). Rutgers posted a 194.7 and Maryland a 193.625. Maryland appears to be the first team pushed out of Regionals by Minnesota, at #37.
Michigan's Nicole Artz won the AA with a 39.5. Teammate Emma McLean won VT with a 9.975 and Wolverine Olivia Karas won FX with a 9.925. Illinois' Mary Jane Horth won the UB while teammate Lizzy LeDuc tied for the BB title with Iowa's Mollie Drenth and Michigan's Talia Chiarelli.
Iowa's Larissa Libby was named Coach of the Year while Nicole Artz of Michigan won Gymnast of the Year. NU's Taylor Houchin was named Freshman of the Year.