On September 11th, 2001, Mari-Rae Sopper was on her way to California, ready to start her job as Head Coach of the women's team at UC Santa Barbara. Sopper, a former standout at Iowa State, was known as "ISUFan" on the College Gymnastics Board. She had given up her job as a Navy JAG Corp lawyer to pursue her dream, and to help save the program at UCSB. She lost her life during the events of that fateful day as the plane she was on was deliberately crashed into the Pentagon. We pause to remember her spirit and dedication to the sport, and her inspiring effort to pursue her dreams, as well as the others who lost their lives that fateful day.
UNH's new Head Coach Lindsey Bruck Ayotte has announced the hiring of Steve Avgerinos as the Associate Head Coach. He had been serving as the Associate Head Coach at Illinois State. UNH also welcomes Amanda Fillard as a new assistant. The former NC State athlete has been coaching at New Hope.
The US named five former or current NCAA gymnasts to the 2019 World Championship squad following the Selection Camp this weekend. They are led by Sam Mikulak (ex Michigan) who dominated the trials and the US Championships. Also selected were Trevor Howard (ex PSU), Akash Modi (ex-Stanford), Yul Moldauer (ex-OU), and Shane Wiskus (Minnesota). Allan Bower (ex-OU) is the travelling alternate.
To kick off the fall training season, the NCAA has released the 2019-2021 Code Modifications for Women's Gymnastics. This set of rules modifications features a series of new changes, including a reduction in the base Start Value of routines on uneven bars, balance and the floor exercise from 9.5 to 9.4. (This article has been expanded and updated since the original publication)
How to prepare for the official or unofficial visit:
The college search for athletes is an enduring process with a definite starting and ending point. Just like a well-run race, the successful student-athlete will remain focused until she breaks the tape. Below are some simple tips to consider when heading down the homestretch in the college recruiting process.
Former NCAA champ and Michigan star Sam Mikulak built a commanding lead at the US Men's World Championships selection meet. The meet features 7 of 8 former or current NCAA gymnasts. Former Stanford star and NCAA champ Akash Modi is 2nd, while current Gopher Shane Wiskus is third.
As the teams report back to campus, they will welcome their newcomers and begin to tackle new challenges. With the Fall training season upon us, the teams will be hard to bolster their lineups and recover from their losses. At the same time, they'll be working to refine changes and upgrades to their routines (if at all) that will be required under the 2020 NCAA Code Modifications. Here's a quick summary of who's departed and who's new at the Top 25 programs, and a quick summary of the resulting challenges.
Steve Avgerinos moves from Illinois State to UNH - announcement pending
Lorraine Galow from Bridgeport to Yale - announcement pending
Quest Hayden - PSU to VC at Michigan - announcement pending