Sunday, 31 December 2017 16:31 Top Recruiting Classes of 2017-2018

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Our Annual Ranking of Recruiting Classes Our Annual Ranking of Recruiting Classes (c) 2017

We're about to start the 2018 season, and it's time for us to release our annual Ranking of Recruiting Classes for the frosh starting during the 2017-2018 school year.  Why do we wait for so long?  We wait until just prior to the season to release this ranking because the recruiting calendar now extends year round, and we're seeing an increasing number of teams get mid-year additions and have roster changes throughout the preseason. 

For more information about how we assess the recruiting classes and how we gauge future impact, scroll down to the final section.  If you've read our rankings before, the methodology has remained the same.

This Year's Rankings

This year's rankings was once again a challenging task, especially for the final position.  There were any number of teams that could have occupied the 10th spot in this year's rankings, and once again, injuries have influenced our rankings.   

So, how did the teams stack up?  Here's the Top Recruiting Classes for 2017-2018 (click on the links to see video clips, where available):

1.  Florida

Alyssa Baumann

Jazmyn Foberg

Megan Skaggs

Nicole Webb

Florida takes the #1 spot in this ranking over Stanford by just a hair, on the strength of three international elites:  Alyssa Baumann, Jazmyn Foberg and Megan Skaggs. 

Baumann deferred entry for a year following an injury but has returned to form strong after a year of rehab.  At the 2016 P&G (US) Championships, she was 7th AA and 4th on BB.  She also won a Gold medal at the World Championships as part of the 2014 US team.  She has stellar skills on all four events, with the type of form and execution you would expect from a WOGA-trained athlete.   She's known for her outstanding BB work (front aerial to bhs to Onodi) and powerful tumbling (double layout), but is also a true AA gymnast.

Foberg, in contrast, graduated early to join the Gators this season.  She last trained at MG Elite, and was the 2014 Jr. National Champion.  She also finished 2nd AA in 2015, but suffered an injury in 2016.  Like Baumann, she is coming back strong from an injury.  She's a powerful tumbler (double layout), vaulter (double twisting Yurchenko) and her UB sets were packed with difficulty.  She's a true AAer, although in the preseason she's not yet shown a 10.0 Start Value vault (of which she is capable).

The third National Team member, Skaggs, trained at the Gymnastics Academy of Atlanta and won a gold medal as part of the winning US team at the 2015 Pan Am Games.  She also won a silver on the BB at the meet.  She retired from elite competition in 2016 but had a strong club season in 2017, posting big scores on all four events.  She excels on the BB and VT (Yurchenko 1 1/2) but has clean execution on UB and FX as well. 

The Gators also added former junior international elite Vanasia Bradley and Nicole Webb.  Bradley has suffered from injuries for the last several seasons, but tied for 2nd on VT at the 2013 P&T Championships (Juniors).  Unfortunately, she had a fourth knee surgery in January of 2017 and has now retired (She was not factored into this ranking).  Webb is a L10 from Sonshine Gymnastics in NC.  She placed 3rd on BB and 20th AA at the 2017 Region VII L10 Regionals, and it is BB where she will likely add to the Gator's depth.

The ability of the top three gymnasts in the class to pull down top level scores on all four events gives this squad the edge for first in this ranking.  They bring potential 10.0 Start Value (SV) vaults and E tumbling skills on FX, and a high level of difficulty and execution on UB and have years of experience on the elite level.          


2.  Stanford

Kyla Bryant

Rachael Flam

Grace Garcia

Taylor Lawson

Lauren Navarro

Catherine Rogers

Stanford sits a close second in our rankings, on the strength of the quartet of Kyla Bryant, Rachael Flam, Taylor Lawson and Lauren Navarro. 

Bryant is a highly accomplished L10 from Georgia Elite.  She won the JO National AA title in 2016.  She also won UB and FX at the meet.  She also placed 3rd AA in 2015, including top four finishes on all four events.  She did, however, miss 2017 but appears to be training strongly.  Her best event is the FX, where she opens with a big double layout and swings with power on UB.   

Flam is another highly accomplished L10 and former junior international elite who trained at Stars in Houston.  She won L10 JO National AA titles in 2017 and 2016, and JO National titles on VT (Pike Omelianchik) in 2017(t), 2016, 2015 and 2013.  She also tied for the FX title in 2017 and won the UB title in 2014.   She's also a powerful tumbler.    

Lawson is a former junior international elite who competed L10 in 2017, where she finished 10th(t) AA and 2nd(t) on FX.  The Parkette-trained athlete throws a rare (and excellent) standing Arabian on BB, which she continues to train in college.  She also excels on FX, with big E skills in her arsenal. 

Navarro is a former sr. international elite gymnast from the Charter Oak Gliders who placed 16th AA at the 2016 P&G Championships.  She dropped down to L10 in 2017.  She continued to have success, winning the BB and placing 2nd in the AA at the L10 JO Nationals.  She also tied for 2nd on FX and 4th on VT.  She's known for her excellent execution and top skills on UB and BB, complementing her classmates strengths on VT and FX.   

Stanford also adds Catherine Rogers and Grace Garcia.  Rogers is a L10 from All American Gymnastics in Utah.  She placed 11th AA, 7th on BB and 9th(t) on FX at the 2016 L10 JO Nationals.  In 2015, she made the JO National team by placing 3rd AA at the L10 Nationals, and finished 3rd on VT.  She also finished 8th AA at the 2017 Region I L10 Regionals.  However, a subsequent injury will carry over into college and she'll reportedly miss her first season.  Classmate Grace Garcia is another L10, hailing from NYC Elite.  She made the JO Nationals in 2015, placing 43rd.  However, an injury kept her out of competition for most of 2016 and 2017.  When healthy, she vaults a 10.0 start value Tsukahara Layout Full. 

The talented quartet of Bryant, Flam, Lawson and Navarro form a high impact core for Stanford's incoming class.  Each brings strong competitive potential on most events, but perhaps none of them are as strong on all four events as Florida's core group.  Thus, we have slotted them behind Florida.


3.  Bama

Kylie Dickson

Lexi Graber

Bailie Key

Alonza Klopfer

Bama slots into third in our ranking with four stellar gymnasts featuring elite and L10 National experience.  

Had Bailie Key, a former National Team member and junior international elite champion, not suffered from injuries these last two years, a strong argument could be to make Bama the #1 team in this ranking.  She's an exceptional gymnast when healthy, having placed 4th AA at the 2015 P&G Championships and 1st AA, BB and FX at the 2013 P&G Championships (junior).  Unfortunately, a back injury caused Key to retire from elite in 2016, and her back has hampered her since.  She has shown routines on UB and BB throughout the fall, as she continues to make a comeback. 

Kylie Dickson also has elite experience, competing successfully for Belarus at the 2015 World Championships and the 2016 Olympic Test Event, where she earned a spot at the Rio Games.  At the Olympics, she placed 58th in the AA.  Returning to L10 in 2017 for All Olympia AOGC, she tied for 19th AA, 2nd on UB and 6th on VT at the 2017 L10 Junior Olympic Nationals.  She's in top form, showing a Yurchenko Double Twist vault and full-in on FX at the National meet.  She also competed in the US as an elite, placing 11th at the 2015 Secret US Classic.

Lexi Graber is a L10 from Coast Elite and a three-time JO National team member.  In 2017, she scored a 10.0 on VT in winning the title at the L10 JO Nationals.  She also placed 4th AA and tied for 6th on BB at the meet.  In 2016, she also won VT and placed 29th AA.  She was also 2nd AA at JO Nationals in 2014 and 2012.  Her consistent and confident Yurchenko 1 1/2 should be a terrific addition to Bama's vault lineup, but she is also a solid competitor on all four events.   

The fourth member of the class is Alonza Kopfer, a L10 from North Stars.  In 2017, she made the JO National team by placing 4th AA at the L10 JO Nationals.  She also tied for 5th on BB and 7th on UB at the meet.  In 2016, she was the JO National Champion at Senior B on the BB and finished tied for 7th on UB and placed 9th AA.  She also competed as a jr. international elite in 2013, placing 28th at the Secret U.S. Classic.  Her strengths lie on BB and UB, versus the power events.  

With four excellent signees coming in with plenty of experience and a past history of success at the L10 and elite levels, Bama has once again reloaded it's roster. 


4.  UCLA

Nia Dennis

Sofia Gonzalez

Rebecca Karlous

Savannah Kooyman

Kendal Poston

Pauline Tratz

Lilia Waller

UCLA's large class is headlined by signees Nia Dennis and Pauline Tratz.  Both are former elite gymnasts and have the type of skills and execution you would expect from international-level competitors.

Dennis is a former senior international elite who dropped down to L10 last season while training at Legacy Elite.  A former National Team member, she finished 9th on UB at the 2016 P&G Championships, and 8th AA at the 2015 P&G Championships.  As a L10 in 2017, she won the AA, placed 2nd on BB, 4th on FX, 6th(t) on UB and 8th(t) on VT.   Although she has battled injuries in the past, she competedly strongly during the last club season, showing many of her big elite skills like a double Arabian on FX.

Tratz actively completed as an elite in 2017, representing Germany at the World University Games.  In 2016, she competed at the Olympic Test Event and helped her country earn a spot at the Rio Games, where she served as an alternate. In 2015, she had a stellar year, placing 18th AA at the European Championships and helping Germany to a 12th place finish at the World Championships.  Her best event is vault where she's a two-time German National Champion (Yurchenko Layout Full and Pike Front Half).  She is also very dynamic on FX, with a full-in.  

Of the five other athletes, Savannah Kooyman, Kendal Poston and Sofia Gonzalez are the most accomplished.  Kooyman trained as a L10 at Precision Gymnastics.  In 2017, she placed 9th AA at the Region I L10 Regionals.  She also finished 17th AA in 2016 and 8th AA at Regionals in 2015.  Another SoCal native, Kendal Poston, trained at Azarian.  She placed 23rd AA at the 2017 L10 JO Nationals, after tying for 18th AA in 2016.  Her gymnastics is clean and consistent, but lacks difficulty on most events.  Her most likely contribution comes on VT, where she can stick a handspring pike front.  The third athlete, Sofia Gonzalez, trained at Gym-Max but competed for the Philippines at the World Championships and the Southeast Asian Games.  Her best event is beam, with clean lines and execution.  Lilia Waller is the L10 daughter of Associate Head Coach Chris while Rebecca Karlous is a L10 from South Coast.      


5.  LSU

Reagan Campbell

Bridget Dean

Sarah Edwards

Christina Desiderio

Samantha Durante

Olivia Gunter

Gracen Standley

LSU welcomes a strong class of seven gymnasts, led by sr. international elite Christina Desiderio, who graduated early and by doing so, bolsters this class in these rankings.   The size of the class and the inherent talent is counterbalanced by some injuries that have impacted this class in 2017. 

Desiderio was a 2016 Olympic Trials participant from the legendary Parkettes program.  She also finished 12th AA and 6th(t) on FX at the 2016 P&G Championships,  In 2015, she placed 5th AA at the P&G Championships, in the junior division.  She's a powerful athlete, capable of a double-twisting double back and a double layout on FX and is also a talented beamer (bhs, two-foot bhs, back layout) and vaulter. She's working her way back to form this preseason but should be a major force for the Tigers. 

Reagan Campbell is a former jr. international elite who dropped back down to L10.  Training at Texas Dreams, she placed 5th AA, 4th on FX and 4th(t) on BB at the 2016 L10 Junior Olympic Nationals.  She was also 6th AA and 2nd on BB in 2015, and made the JO National team in 2014.  She too missed competition in 2017 but her best event, BB, should be unaffected.

Bridget Dean is another former jr. international elite and L10 from Orlando Metro.  She finished 8th AA and 7th on BB at the 2015 L10 JO Nationals, but has battled injury since then.  She's appears to be back strongly, in particular on BB.

Samantha Durante is a L10 and daughter of former UGA coach Danna Durante.  Training at Georgia Elite, she placed 6th on UB and 39th AA at the 2017 L10 JO Nationals, as she continued to work back from a knee injury.    She also tied for 19th AA at the 2015 JO Nationals.  Although she had been training elite prior to her injuries, her best event will likely be UB, here she can show off her great lines. 

Gracen Standley is L10 and Nastia Liukin Cup qualifier from powerhouse club Cincinnati Gymnastics.  In 2016, she tied for 7th AA at the L10 JO Nationals, placing 3rd on UB and 7th on BB.  This past season, she won her state title on the UB, her best event, but missed the rest of the post-season.  

The last two members of the class are L10s Sarah Edwards and Olivia Gunter.  Edwards is a L10 from Lanier's who excels on vault, where she trains a Yurchenko Layout 1 1/2.  Gunter is an in-state product from North Shore, and a 2016 L10 JO Nationals qualifier (35th AA).


6.  OU

Jordan Draper

Abigail Matthews

Evy Schoepfer

Anastasia Webb

Carly Woodard

OU's talented frosh quintent feature strong skill levels and a high level of achievement, the perfect building blocks from which OU's staff can mold future champions, as they have done in the past.  All five have had completed strong 2017 club seasons, producing some of their finest gymnastics. 

Jordan Draper trained at Empire Gymnastics and placed 18th AA at the 2016 L10 JO Nationals.  She also finished 8th AA at the 2017 Region III L10 Regionals.  With great extension and flexibility, her best events are BB and FX (double pike).  

Abigail Matthews is Secret US Classic qualifier (jr) and L10 from Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy.  She placed 16th AA and 5th(t) on UB at the 2017 L10 JO Nationals.  She also placed 6th on UB at the 2016 JO Nationals (2 events only).  She excels on UB, with great toe point and a Ray release.       

Evy Schoepfer is a L10 from Triad Gymnastics and along with Anastasia Webb, one of the two top prospects in the class.  A two-time JO National Team member, she tied for 2nd AA at the 2017 L10 JO Nationals.  She also tied for the FX title (double layout), placed 4th on VT (Yurchenko 1 1/2) and tied for 7th on UB.  In 2016, she placed 7th AA at JO Nationals, and also placed 5th in 2015 and 3rd in 2014.  A long history of high placements at JO National usually translates into future success in collegiate competition.    

Webb is a L10 from IGI who tied for the Senior E VT title at the 2017 L10 JO Nationals.  She can also stick a nice Pike Omelianchik (round off half on, pike front off, a 10.0 Start Value).  At the meet, she also placed 7th AA (problems on her Pak on UB) and tied for 4th on FX (front double full).  In 2016 she made the JO National Team with a 2nd place finish in the AA at the National meet.  She also finished 2nd on VT and UB.  She has elite experience in her resume as well, as she qualified to the Secret US Classic in 2014, in the junior division. 

Carly Woodard is a L10 from Fuzion who tied for 22nd AA at the 2017 L10 JO Nationals.  She also placed 43rd at JO Nationals in 2016. 

While the OU class does not have as many elite credentials as the teams ranked above, they have the skills, execution and potential to perform highly in the years to come. 


7.  Cal

Kyana George

Alma Kuc

Maleah Pearson

Victoria Salem

Nina Schank

Emi Watterson

Cal's large class is headlined by Kyana George, and includes L10s and gymnasts with international elite experience.  Some lingering injuries and some talented classes at other schools have precluded a higher rank.

George is a L10 from Metropolex and a three-time JO National team member.  At the 2017 L10 JO Nationals, she won the FX and placed 3rd AA.  She also tied for 3rd on BB, where she does a triple turn in wolf position.  At the 2016 L10 Nationals, she placed 2nd in the AA, 2nd on FX, 4th(t) on BB and 7th(t) on UB.  She was also 3rd AA in 2014 and 7th AA in 2013, highlighting a long series of top finishes at the JO National meet.  This is usually a strong predictor of future success in the NCAA. 

Alma Kuc has competed as an elite for Poland (born in Canada to Polish parents), while training in the US at All Olympia.  With excellent toe point and lines like her clubmates, she excels on UB, with rare (in the NCAA) skills like an in-bar stalder, Van Leeuwen (or the Komova II), and great invert work.  She's competed internationally at the European Championships and at the 2015 World Championships.    

Maleah Pearson is a L10 from the Twin City Twisters.  She qualified to 2016 L10 JO Nationals, competing in three events.  Her best National finish came in 2014, when she tied for 19th AA at the JO Nationals.  She's had a number of knee injury challenges throughout the years, which may carry over to college.

Victoria Salem is a L10 from San Mateo Gymnastics.  In 2016 she tied for 7th AA at the L10 JO Nationals, including a 1st place finish on BB.  She also tied for the runner-up slot on UB.  The year prior, in 2015, she tied for 8th on BB at the JO Nationals.  In 2017, she placed 2nd on the UB at her state meet, but was limited to UB throughout the season.  Ongoing injuries issues will also impact her 2018 season.

Nina Schank is a L10 from Head over Heels.  She won the 2017 L10 JO National Title on UB in the Senior F division, and also placed 9th AA.  In 2016, she tied for 9th on VT and placed 38th AA.  She also tied for 14th AA at the 2014 JO Nationals.  She excels on UB, with a pike Jaeger and full twisting double layout but also vaults a strong Yurchenko Layout Full.

Emi Watterson completes the Bear class, joining in December from Australia and Delta Gymnastics.  She's competed international for Australia at a number of competitions, including Elite Massilia and the City of Jesolo Trophy.  Her best event is UB, with a Van Leeuwen and pike Jaeger in her arsenal.  


8.  UGA

Ashley Foss

Marissa Oakley

Madison McPherson

Emily Schild

UGA is slotted into the number eight slot in our rankings, tumbling from a potentially higher rank due to a number of injuries the class members have experienced in the last few years.  The class has high potential for a great future impact, if former elites Marissa Oakley and Emily Schild can return to form.

Ashley Foss is a former jr. international elite and L10 drop down from North Stars.  She tied for the JO National title on the beam in 2016.  She also placed 10th AA and tied for 4th on UB at the 2016 L10 JO Nationals.  A VISA Championships qualifier, she unfortunately has missed three of the last four competitive seasons with injury, the latest being an Achilles tear in 2017.

Marissa Oakley is a senior international elite from Everest Gymnastics who made a stellar return to competition in 2017, tying for 3rd on the UB at the P&G Championships (she also competed on VT).  Prior to that, she competed at the 2014 P&G Championships as a junior, but missed two years due to a series of injuries.  Lingering injuries issues have impacted her throughout 2017 and have carried over into the preseason.

Madison McPherson is a L10 from Goergia Elite.  In 2017, she placed 8th AA at the Region VIII L10 Regionals.  She also finished 17th at Regionals in 2017.  She'll miss 2018 after shoulder surgery. 

The fourth member of the class, Emily Schild, is an elite from Everest Gymnastics and a 2016 Olympic Trials qualifier.  She finished 13th in the AA.  She also finished 13th AA at the 2016 P&G (US) Championships and 12th AA at the 2015 meet.  Her best in UB, where her skills and start values were among the highest in the country.  When healthy, however, she was also a capable AAer, with a double twisting Yurchenko on VT and a full-in and double Arabian on FX.  Unfortunately, she was limited by injuries during 2017 (before an additional fracture, not counted in these rankings, during Fall training). 


9.  Minnesota

Ona Loper

Lexi Montgomery

Lexy Ramler

Minnesota looks to return to National prominence on the strength of one of their strongest recruiting classes of all time.  Expectations are high, especially surrounding senior international elite Lexy Ramler, who looks set to become the next Gopher superstar.

Ona Loper is a L10 from Summit Gymnastics.  She tied for the FX title at the 2017 L10 JO Nationals.  She also tied for 4th on VT and placed 5th AA at the meet.  In 2016, she placed 2nd on BB, 3rd(t) on FX and VT and 11th AA (BB problems) at the L10 JO Nationals.  She also placed 8th AA in 2015.  Her work features clean and consistent gymnastics done with good amplitude, a perfect fit with the Gopher program. 

Lexi Montgomery, a L10 from Metroplex Gymnastics, is another JO National co-champion.  She tied for the BB title at the 2016 L10 JO Nationals.  She also placed 12th AA at the meet.  In 2015, she tied for 9th on BB and placed 38th AA at Nationals.  Unfortunately, an injury in 2017 kept her out of competition and she's working her way back.  

Ramler is a sr. international elite from KidSport.  She placed 14th AA as a senior at the 2016 P&G Championships, after a 13th AA finish in the junior division in 2014.  She dropped down to L10 for 2017, winning the BB title at the 2017 L10 JO Nationals.  She also tied for 5th on FX and 7th in the AA at the meet.  She was also the JO National AA champ in 2013.  She has a high skill level on all four events, but is especially strong on BB and has a move named for her on UB (a Maloney with a full twist).      


10.  Utah

Alexia Burch

Sydney Soloski

Lauren Wong

Utah edges into 10th spot in our rankings, although a strong argument could place any number of teams in this position.  

Alexia Burch is a L10 from Flips USA in Reno.  In 2017, she placed 4th on BB, tied for 5th on FX and tied for 10th AA at the 2017 L10 JO Nationals.  In 2016, she had another strong season, placing 2nd on FX, tying for 6th on BB and taking 7th AA.  Her best season was in 2015, when she won the JO National AA title.  Her gymnastics is strong and consistent, with a poised style.  However, she doesn't compete as many high level elite skills as some of the other top recruits.

Sydney Soloski is a former national team member from Canada.  She hails from the Calgary Gym Centre, and has represented Canada at a number of international competitions.  In 2016 she placed 18th AA at the Canadian Championship and then went on to win medals in the Fall at the World Challenge Cup in Slovenia.  A powerful gymnast, she tumbles a double layout but has clean lines and good extension on all four events.     

Local product Lauren Wong graduated early in order to join the Utes for 2018.  A L10 at USA Gymnastics World, she placed 10th AA and 5th on UB at the 2017 Region I L10 Regionals.  She also placed 3rd on BB and tied for 15th AA at the 2016 Regional meet.   


Just Outside the Top 10

Just outside the Top 10 are a number of teams and outstanding individuals.  It was an extremely close to finalize our Top 10, with our final selections ultimately based on consistency at the big meets and the recent injury history and performances of the athletes.   Here are a few other teams that stood out (in alphabetic order) in our final evaluations:



Sophia Carter

Kailey Gillings

Syndey Laird

Lakin Legereit

Ellie Wylie

Arkansas looks to address some depth issues and return to National prominence with a talented class of five.

Sophia Carter is a L10 from GAGE.  At the 2017 L10 Junior Olympic Nationals, she tied for 6th on BB and placed 10th AA.  In  2016 she did even better, placing 5th AA and tying for 5th on UB and 7th on FX.  Her gymnastics shows beautiful lines and toe point, like many of her clubmates.  

Kailey Gillings is a L10 from Stars Houston.  In 2017, she placed 24th AA at the L10 JO Nationals.  In 2016, she placed 3rd on UB and tied for 18th AA at the JO Nationals.  Her best finish came in 2015, when she placed 6th AA and 3rd on BB.  She excels on the UB, with excellent back and front stalder work.

Sydney Laird is a former Canadian jr. elite National Team member with international experience who dropped down to train L10.  Training in the US at First in Flight, she's flown a bit under the radar by no longer competing for Canada.  She won the L10 Regional VIII UB, BB, FX and AA (38.8) title in 2016 with a stellar performance, but could not compete at JO Nationals due to her former status on the Canadian National Team.  She also finished 2nd AA at the Region VIII Regionals in 2017.  She has stellar toepoint and body position on UB, her best event, with a big Ray release.    

Lakin Legereit is a L10 from Acrotex.  She placed 9th AA at the 2016 Region 3 L10 Regionals, including a tie for 3rd on FX.  Her strengths like on VT and FX (full-in).  She missed competition in 2017.

Ellen "Ellie" Wylie is a L10 from North Stars.  In 2017, she had her best club season ever, tying for 25th AA at the L10 JO Nationals.  She also competed a big pike full-in on FX and has a strong Yurchenko Layout Full, showing a strong improvement in her senior year.  



Syndey Bassett

Jada Glenn

Allie Riddle

Ashley Smith

Meredith Sylvia

Drew Watson

Auburn looks to return to Nationals based on a powerful set of frosh, headlined by Meredith Sylvia, Drew Watson, Ashley Smith and Jada Glenn.  They bring plenty of 10.0 Start Value vaults and E tumbling skills to resume an Auburn tradition of high difficulty sets.

Sylvia is a former jr. international elite and two-time Junior US Championships qualifier from the famed Parkettes club.  She dropped down to L10 and most recently placed 21st AA and 9th on BB at the 2015 L10 Junior Olympic Nationals.  She also competed two events at Regionals in 2016, winning the UB title.  She also returned to competition on the FX last season, showing a triple full and a 2 1/2 to punch layout.  She also competed a fantastic front aerial to full-twisting bhs swingdown (Rulfova) combination.  However, she's missed a lot of competition time the last two seasons, and will remain a big upside factor for the Tigers if she can stay healthy.  

Drew Watson is a L10 from Texas East Gymnastics.  She placed 3rd on VT at the 2017 L10 Junior Olympic Nationals with a huge Yurchenko Layout 1 1/2.  She also tied for 6th on UB and placed 6th AA.  In 2016 she won the VT at JO Nationals, and placed 9th on UB and tied for 7th AA.  With big skills like her double Arabian on FX, she should take a prominent role on the Tiger squad.

Ashley Smith is one of two frosh in the NCAA this season with the same name.  She's a L10 who trained at Sonshine in NC.  At the 2017 L10 Junior Olympic Nationals, she tied for 6th on BB and 27th AA.  In 2016, she tied for 8th on UB and 22nd AA at the National meet.  She was also the L10 JO National UB champion in 2014, where she put together a full meet to place 5th AA.

Jada Glenn is a L10 from Adrenaline.  She tied for 8th on VT at the 2017 L10 JO Nationals, vaulting a Yurchenko Layout 1 1/2.  She also finished 14th AA at the Region 3 L10 Regionals in 2016.  

Auburn also welcomes Sydney Bassett and Allie Riddle.  Bassett is a L10 from Prattville YMCA who qualified to JO Nationals in 2016.  Riddle is an in-state L10 from Gulf Coast who placed 15th AA at the 2017 Region 8 L10 Regionals.          



Lauren Farley

Sam Javanbakht

Sydney Townsend

Michigan's class is headlined by L10 Lauren Farley and Canadian elite Sydney Townsend. 

The WOGA-trained Farley placed 9th AA and 2nd on BB and 8th(t) on FX at the 2017 L10 JO Nationals. She made the JO National team in 2015, placing 2nd AA at the L10 JO Nationals.  She also tied for the UB title and placed 2nd on BB.  She shines on BB and UB, but also competes a pike Omelianchik.  She also qualified as a jr. international elite at the Secret US Classic in 2013.

Townsend is a 2015 World Championship team member for Canada, training at Milton Springers.  She's also represented the country in international competitions in Japan, Canada and China.  Her best events are VT and FX, with a strong level of difficulty.  She vaults a Yurchenko Layout 1 1/2 and tumbles a double Arabian on FX. 



Lynzee Brown

Emily Glynn

Mia Sundstrom

Denver's class is headlined by L10 Lynzee Brown, an impact athlete and three-time JO National Team member who should be an AA force for the Pioneers.  

Lynzee Brown is a L10 from GAGE.  In 2017, she had a stellar year, finishing 2nd AA at the L10 JO Nationals.  She also tied for 2nd on UB and FX, and tied for 3rd on VT.  She also made the JO National team with 4th place finishes at JO Nationals in 2015 and 2016.  She also placed 3rd on VT and 5th(t) on FX at the 2016 Nationals.  She competes some big gymnastics, including a big Yurchenko Layout 1 1/2 and a double layout on FX. 

Emily Glynn is a L10 from Airborne in Colorado who excels on VT and FX.  She tied for 5th on VT and placed 16th AA at the 2017 Region III L10 Regionals.  She qualified to JO Nationals in 2015, after winning UB and placing 3rd AA at Regionals.  While she'll work to gain consistency, her Kasamatsu Layout Full and open full-in on FX will really boost the sparse DU lineups on those events.

Mia Sundstrom is a L10 from Airborne as well. She qualified to the L10 JO Nationals in 2017 but didn't finish the meet.  She placed 4th in the AA, 4th on BB and 4th(t) on FX at the 2017 Region 3 L10 Regionals.  She also placed 45th AA in 2015.  She too missed competition time in 2016 due to injury.



Alissa Bonsall

Lauren Bridgens

Kourtney Chinnery

Ava Lorein Verdeflor

PSU looks to rebuild the program under a new coaching staff led by Sarah Shire Brown, and these four gymnasts will go a long way towards addressing that goal.  Injuries have kept this class from their full potential, in this ranking. 

Bonsall is a L10 from Gymnastics Express Too.  She tied for 9th on UB and 17th AA at the 2017 L10 Junior Olympic Nationals, with strong scores on three events.  She also took the Region 6 AA title.  In 2016, she tied for 8th on UB and placed 6th AA at the National meet.  She has an impressive selection of skills, including a double layout on FX and a Shaposhnikova to Pak on UB.

Bridgens is a L10 from Hill's Gymnastics.  At the 2017 L10 JO Nationals, she placed 2nd on VT with her big Yurchenko Layout 1 1/2.  She also tied for 8th on FX but problems on UB left her in 31st place AA.  In 2015, she placed 3rd on VT and tied for 15th AA.  Her best AA finish came in 2014, when she placed 9th AA at the L10 National meet.  

Chinnery is a L10 from World Class.  In 2016, she placed 11th AA at the L10 JO Nationals.  She also tied for 8th on VT.  In 2015, she qualified to the Nastia Liukin Cup, but her best National meet was in 2014, when she placed 5th AA, 2nd on FX and tied for 9th on VT.  However, she missed 2017 due to injury and is working her way back.

Ava Lorein Verdeflor is a WOGA-trained athlete who has competed internationally for the Philippines, including at the World Championships in 2015.  Competing as a L10 in the US, she qualified to JO Nationals in 2015.  However, since then, she has not competed extensively. 


Other Teams and Future Stars

A number of other frosh look ready to make an impact on the NCAA in the years to come.  Here are just a few:

Kynsee Roby is a former jr. international elite and JO National AA runner-up and BB champion (2015) who is a frosh at NU.  Unfortunately, she's working back from a knee injury and her full impact may not be felt this season. 

Kaitlyn Yanish, a L10 from Arizona Dynamics, is a future star at Oregon State.  She tied for 2nd AA at the 2017 L10 JO Nationals, and placed 4th on VT, 5th on UB and 4th(t) on FX.  She has big skills like a double layout on FX and is looking to compete a Yurchenko 1 1/2 on VT this season. 

Jenna Swartzentruber is a L10 from Buckeye Gymnastics who should make a big impact at Ohio State.   She won the JO National UB title in 2016, where she placed 6th AA.  In 2017, she tied for 4th on VT and 5th on UB en route to an 8th place AA finish at the L10 JO Nationals.  An UB ace, she tied for 2nd at Nationals in 2015 as well. 


Background and Method

Because recruiting is happening at such an early stage, our evaluation process is based on a snap-shot of the classes as they enter college for the first time with transfers excluded.  The ranking is intended to projects the classes' potential contribution going forward based on performance history, ability and physical condition.  From the time of an athlete's initial commit to the start of her first practice, she unfortunately may have suffered a serious injury, struggled with loss of motivation, or experienced difficulties in adapting to the maturation process.  Some athletes may have experienced an unexpected plateau in their improvement trend or have failed to maintain the ability and skills they had when they were first recruited.  Other gymnasts are late bloomers, and may have made large improvements in ability, consistency and execution late in their club careers.  So, a ranking prior to the start of the season based on their pre-college ability is the only true and fair way to assess a recruiting class.

An athlete's history of competition results not only reveals the skill level an athlete has already achieved, it also gives hints of any decline or improvement in ability, consistency, performance under pressure (at major meets) and execution.  Post season competition results (primarily Junior Olympic Nationals) and the Nastia Liukin Cup are considered more heavily because scoring in smaller invitationals and in certain regions can be less rigorous and highly variable (just like the college world).  In most cases videos or recruiting profiles are available for us to view, allowing us to directly evaluates athlete's skill level and execution.  This is especially important as there is a wide range of skills being competed by National-qualifier L10s and elites.  Like the college scene, athletes doing the highest level of difficulty aren't always earning the highest scores, but with a few routine modifications, they can become superstars at the NCAA level.  Conversely, a gymnast with excellent form and execution but lacking in some difficulty or variety elements (composition requirements) can suddenly excel at the collegiate level, where certain composition requirements are less rigorous. 

Holes in competition history may suggest a history of injury, although unless an injury is confirmed it's also not a clear indicator of an athlete's condition as she enters college.  Major injuries, if we can confirm them, are considered, but primarily to the extent that they may limit the athlete's contribution over the course of the four years of college competition.  For example, severe joint injuries can hamper a gymnast's entire career but a simple fracture can heal completely.  Absence from competition in 2017 (either due to injury or changes in training patterns) is viewed somewhat negatively, while a strong improvement trend in 2017 is viewed as a sign of a strong motivation to excel and a readiness to compete in college.  It's another reason why we wait until the Fall to complete our evaluations.  A loss of motivation and a lack of training tends to follow the athlete into their first year of competition.   

This ranking (while ultimately subjective) attempts to gauge the athletes at the start of the preseason and only to the degree to verify injury recovery, their preseason training progress.  Ultimately, we are looking for a set of impact athletes who can consistently score in the 9.85+ range on their events and be a potential standout on their team and help propel their teams towards success. 

This ranking also attempts to balance large incoming classes versus small classes with one or two standouts.  A large incoming class, even if it boasts few "superstars", can provide much needed depth that can be a huge difference maker for some squads.  In contrast, one or two high level All-Around standouts in a smaller class can have as much of an impact to a team.  While it's true that a marquee athlete can only put up four scores towards the team's total, we also acknowledge that she can elevate an entire team to a higher performance level and bring positive attention (recruiting, fan, media) to the team over the course of her career.    

How can future success be predicted?  Over the years, however, we've developed some strong indicators of future success at the NCAA level:

  • Recent Elite VISA Championship qualifiers, barring health issues and injury, tend to continue their success in college.  Sometimes, however, the change in training regimen or lingering injury issues have limited their impact, at least initially.   The qualification standards for a senior international elite are relatively rigorous and a certain level of execution and difficulty is required.
  • Level 10 JO National Team members (achieved in their junior or senior year), also barring injury, tend to continue to standout in college.  If you take a look at the top four finishers in the Senior Divisions of the L10 Nationals from the last several years, you will see that these athletes have (almost without exception) continued on to make an impact at the NCAA level.  The primary exceptions are those gymnasts that suffer setbacks due to a major injury. 
  • Top Level 10s and elite drop-downs with a solid history of top (places 5 to 15) AA finishes at the L10 National level have also excelled at the collegiate level, especially those with a strong work ethic and upward improvement trend.  This is especially true with those standouts with a weak or inconsistent event that has limited their all-around potential.  Athletes that have been able to post 38+ AA event scores in Regional or National (including JO NIT) meets have generally turned into 39+ AAer in the NCAA.   And athletes that can post a 9.7+ on an event in a L10 National meet tend to become 9.85+ gymnasts in the NCAA.  There are of course exceptions, where a gymnast who has struggled at major meets as a L10 club gymnast suddenly blossoms into a top competitor in the NCAA.  These situations are generally an exception, not a rule, and are often associated with a high level of difficulty and the resultant inconsistency as a club gymnast.  Also, a consistent level of high placements at club meets is a good indicator of an athlete's consistency, ability to handle pressure and sturdiness in the rigors of weekly competition.

In contrast, gymnasts that have struggled with major injuries (knee, back, Achilles) more often than not continue to struggle or be limited by these issues at the NCAA level.  Foreign elites have tended to have longer adjustment periods, due to the major differences between the FIG and NCAA codes and the adjustment to a foreign culture.  And finally, in order to achieve standout status in the NCAA, it's becoming increasingly true that an athlete must be capable of some high-level skills on each event and/or an exceptional level of execution or style (grace, lines, expression, creativity and/or amplitude). 


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