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Tuesday, 14 January 2020 20:21

Off and Running in 2020

The first two weekends of the 2020 season have been completed, and now that we've seen the debut of the top squads, here are a few observations.

Friday, 03 January 2020 20:01

Kentucky 195.35 at Utah 196.425

Utah's Kim Tessen won VT with a 9.925 for a stuck Yurchenko 1 1/2 and then won UB with a 9.9 and then tied for 1st on FX at 9.95 with teammate Sydney Soloski (double layout mount) to lead the Utes in their win over the Wildcats.  Teammate Cristal Isa won BB with a 9.925.  Tessen did not compete BB.  UK's Mollie Korth led a pair of UK AAers with a 39.375.  The Utes went 49+ on all four events, while UK's best event was BB at 48.975, as neither team counted a fall. 

Link:  Results

Link:  Utah Release

Here's where how to follow the meets online this weekend.  As always, we'll have the day's meets in a banner at the top of the site.

As the 2020 season is about to kick off, here's a look at our Top 10 Recruiting Classes of 2019-2020.  

Saturday, 21 December 2019 16:22

2020 Capsule Previews: Teams #13 to #25

Here's the Top 13 to 25, based on the 2020 Preseason Coaches' Poll. 


 13.  Auburn Tigers

Official Web Site:  Link      Schedule      Roster
Head Coach: Jeff Graba
Assistants: Kurt Hettinger, Ashley Johnston
Starting Routines Returning: 18/24
Routines Gone:  2 VT, 2 UB, 1 BB, 1 FX
Returning Starters (10):  Katie Becker (Sr), Gracie Day (Sr), Jada Glenn (Jr), Derrian Gobourne (So), Allie Riddle (Jr), Skyler Sheppard (Sr), Emma Slappey (Sr), Ashley Smith (Jr), Meredith Sylvia (Jr), Drew Watson (Jr)
Other/Injured Returners (4):  Sabrina Cheney (So), Molly Frack (So), Kendal Moss (Sr), Sydney Wrighte (So)
Graduated (5):   Samantha Cerio, Emma Engler, Taylor Krippner, Abby Milliet, A'Miracal Phillips
Other Losses (2):  Reid Schaefer (So/?), Mia Schlarbaum (So/?)
Newcomers (7):  Aria Brusch (Fr), Morgan Leigh Oldham (Fr), Elise Panzner (Fr), Adeline Sabados (Fr), Piper Smith (Fr), Cassie Stevens (Fr), Anna Sumner (Fr)

Quick Assessment:  Auburn returns all but six routines from last year's squad, a team that finished 16th in the nation after placing 4th in the Baton Rouge Regional.  They've lost seven gymnasts and six routines from the squad, including standout routines from Samantha Cerio, Taylor Krippner and especially Abby Milliet.  Milliet was one of the team's top scorers on UB and BB. 

The Tigers return plenty of firepower, led by senior Gracie Day, junior Drew Watson and NCAA vault co-champ Derrian Gobourne.  All three are potential AAers and give the Tigers plenty of scoring potential deep in the lineup.  AU also return a variety of top specialists including beam ace Meredith Sylvia.  The Tigers have plenty of experience and depth in their ten returning starters. 

Besides that talented core, the Tigers have also brought in a number of exciting and talented frosh, led by Cassie Stevens and Aria Brusch.  Stevens was the VT co-champ at the 2019 Level 10 Junior Olympic Nationals, and has placed in the top 10 in the AA at Nationals a total of four times.  She brings yet another Yurchenko 1 1/2 to the AU VT lineup.  The Tigers also welcome former junior international elite Aria Brusch. After dropping down to L10, she won UB and placed 5th AA at the 2019 JO Nationals.  She also finished 11th AA in 2018.  They'll be further bolstered by strong L10s in Adeline Sabados and Piper Smith, in a class that could really strengthen the team.

Although the Tigers are facing some losses, their key starts are returning and they've been joined by a strong frosh class, who could have an immediate impact.  AU will work hard to make up for last year's disappointing Regional finish with a stronger, deeper squad. 


 14.  Minnesota Gophers

Official Web Site:  Link      Schedule      Roster
Head Coach:  Jenny Hansen
Associate Head Coach:  Rich Stenger
Assistant:  Geralen Stack-Eaton
Starting Routines Returning: 23/24
Routines Gone:  0 VT, 0 UB, 0 BB, 1 FX
Returning Starters (10):   Kaitlyn Higgins (So), Mary Korlin-Down (RS Sr), Ona Loper (Jr), Ivy Lu (Sr), Kristen Quaglia (Sr), Lexy Ramler (Jr), Tiarre Sales (So), Ali Sonier (So), Paige Williams (Sr), Hannah Willmarth (Jr)
Other/Injured Returners (5):  Casey Betts (Sr), Carson Cronin (So), Lexi Montgomery (Jr), Abbie Nylin (So), Andrea Stancik (So)
Graduated (2):  Rachel Cutler, Selena Ung
Other Losses (1):  Becca Taylor (SR/Manager)
Newcomers (5):  Maya Albertin (Fr), Kate Grotenhuis (Fr), Mallory LeNeave (Fr), Maddie Quarles (So/TR from DU), Halle Remlinger (Fr)

Quick Assessment:   Minnesota returns 23 of 24 routines from last season's 13th ranked squad.  They finished just 0.35 points from outscoring Utah for the 2nd spot at Nationals.  The squad gave up some ground on VT and FX to the leaders at Regionals, but kept pace on UB and BB. 

The Gophers are led by superstar Lexy Ramler, one of the nation's top AAers.  With top level difficulty and superb execution, Ramler is capable of pulling down some big 9.9+ scores on every event.  She's capably support by senior Ivy Lu, an UB and BB ace, and junior Ona Loper, an AA but who excels on VT (Yurchenko 1 1./2).  Senior Paige Williams is a key member of the Minnesota VT and FX lineups, while sophomore Tiarre Sales will look for an even bigger impact after a strong debut season on VT, UB and especially BB.  These five form a strong core with high end-of-the lineup scoring potential. 

The Gophers welcome five newcomers, each of whom has the potential to address some of the depth issues on VT and FX that held the Gophers back last season.  The big wildcard is DU transfer Maddie Quarles.  She's been held back by injury the last two years, but is a two-time former Top 5 finisher at the Level 10 Junior Olympic Nationals.  She excels on VT with a potential Yurchenko 1 1/2 and on FX, with a potential full-in.  Top frosh Halle Remlinger is another potential top vaulter and strong tumbler; she tied for 4th on VT at the 2019 L10 Junior Olympic Nationals and also tumbles a pike full-in

With a strong core and improved power on VT and FX, the Gophers are set to improve upon a strong 2019 campaign.  You can expect the likes of Ramler, Loper and Lu to star, but Quarles could be a difference maker if she can get back to form. 


 15.  Nebraska

`Official Web Site:  Link      Schedule      Roster
Starting Routines Returning:  14/24
Routines Gone:  1 VT, 3 UB, 4 BB, 2 FX 
Head Coach:  Heather Brink
Assistant:  Mike Heredia, Robert Ladanyi
Returning Starters (8):  Adnerys De Jesus (So), Anika Dujakovich (Jr), Sarah Hargrove (So/I), Sierra Hassel (Sr), Taylor Houchin (Sr), Abby Johnston (So), Kaylee Quinn (So), Megan Verceles Carr (Jr)
Other/Injured Returners (2):  Makayla Curtis (Jr), Kynsee Roby (RS So/I)
Graduated (3):  Sienna Couse, Catelyn Orel, Megan Schweihofer
Other Losses (3):  Kelli Chung (Sr/?), Megan Thompson (So/TR/ASU), Rachel Thompson (Jr/?)
Newcomers (3):  Clara Colombo (Fr), Kylie Piringer (Fr), Kathryn Thaler (Fr)

Quick Assessment:  Nebraska holds the 15th place in the Coaches' Preseaon poll, down one place from their 14th place National finish.  They lose 10 routines from a squad that placed 4th at the Ann Arbor Regional final.  These losses include three big stars:  Sienna Crouse, Catelyn Orel and Megan Schweihofer.  Crouse was a five time All-American and a key AAer while Schweihofer was a two-time 2nd team All-American and iwas another potential AAer.  NU also suffered the loss of sophomore Sarah Hargrove to a shoulder injury during the preseason training. 

The Huskers, however, are returning a strong core, led by senior AAer Taylor Houchin.  Houchin made a strong comeback last season, vaulting a double twisting Yurchenko and showing strong sets on all events.  She's capably supported by senior BB/FX specialist Sierra Hassel.  Megan Verceles Carr, a junior, made a big improvement on three events last season while Adnerys De Jesus made a big splash with big difficulty on three events during her frosh campaign.  NU is also looking forward to the complete return of AAer Kynsee Roby, who missed last season with injury.  Unfortunately, sophomore Abby Johnston had shoulder surgery after last season but will be needed back in top form.

Nebraska welcomes three frosh, led by Italian elite Clara Colombo and L10s Kylie Piringer and Kathryn Thaler.  Colombo's best event is UB, where she shows great toe point and invert work.   Piringer tied for 3rd on FX and placed 21st AA at the 2018 Level 10 Junior Olympic Nationals.  She was 7th AA in 2017 and 9th in 2016.  

Nebraska has a few preseason challenges to work through, with injures new and in rehab, that may impact depth on events like UB.  There is a strong core to start with, but some of the other returnees or newcomers will need to step up, if NU is to challenge for a spot at Nationals. 


 16.  Missouri Tigers

Official Web Site: Link       Schedule       Roster
Head Coach:  Shannon Welker
Associate Head Coach:  Casey Jo (Magee) MacPherson
Assistants: John Carney
Starting Routines Returning: 15/24
Routines Gone:  1 VT, 3 UB, 3 BB, 2 FX
Returning Starters (6):  Chelsey Christensen (Jr), Gabrielle Gottula (Jr), Hannah McCrary (So), Mary Nicholson (Sr), Morgan Porter (Sr), Aspen Tucker (Sr),
Other/Injured Returners (1):  Lauren Clevenger (Jr)
Graduated (7):  Allison Bower, Madeleine Huber, Brooke Kelly, Xarria Lewis, Becca Schugel, Michaelee Turner, Britney Ward
Other Losses (3):  Francis Bidwill (So/?), Mya Cotner (So/?), Paige Kovnesky (Jr/?)
Newcomers (8):   Kambrie Brandt (Fr), Helen Hu (Fr), Adalayna Hufendiek (Fr), Grace Kaiding (Fr), Anna McGee (Fr), Hollyn Patrick (Fr), Sienna Schreiber (Fr), Alisa Sheremeta (So/TR/UIC)

Quick Assessment:  Missouri finished just 0.225 points behind UK in the first round of the Athens Regional and finished 17th in the nation.  From that squad, they lose no less than 10 gymnasts and nine routines.  That includes AAer Becca Schugel, VT/BB ace Britney Ward and promising sophomore Francis Bidwell.  The Tigers also lost dependable lineup fixtures like Allison Bower, Madeleine Huber, Brooke Kelly and Michaelee Turner.  That is a tremendous amount of depth and experience. 

Mizzou will be led in 2020 by AAers Morgan Porter and Aspen Tucker, both seniors.  They'll be backed up by junior Gabrielle Gottula on three events, as well as junior Chelsea Christensen and senior Mary Nicholson.  The Tigers may also look to sophomore Hannah McCrary to step up into a bigger role in 2020, after a solid debut year that was interrupted by an injury. 

Mizzou welcomes no less than eight newcomers, in an effort to shore up the lineups from the departed athletes.  They are led by Helen Hu, a gymnast that is destined to be a fan favorite.  She has a combination of grace, flexibility and originality that judges love, and that will show well in the NCAA.  She won the UB and was the BB co-champ at the 2019 Level 10 Junior Olympic Nationals, and tied for 2nd AA.  She was also 1st on UB and BB and 2nd on FX and in the AA at the 2018 L10 JO Nationals.  She also won the BB title in 2017 and 2016.  The Tigers will also look to Kambrie Brandt, an early graduate, frosh Sienna Schreiber and UIC transfer sophomore Alisa Sheremeta.  Brandt has a potential pike front 1/2 on VT and double layout on FX.  She was 15th AA at the 2019 L10 JO Natoinals.  Schreiber is on the rise, and posted three scores over 9.575 at the 2019 JO Nationals.  Sheremeta had a solid frosh campaign on three events, but shines brightest on FX (front double full).  

With only 7 returners, the Tigers likely will need some time to get their eight newcomers optimally contributing to the lineups.  Look for Tucker and Porter to lead the way while Hu leads the pack of newcomers.  This is another team that will likely improve as the season progresses, and as they gain more experience. 


 17.  Washington Huskies

Official Web Site:  Link      Schedule      Roster
Head Coach:  Elise Ray-Statz
Assistants:  Ralph Rosso, Chad Wiest
Starting Routines Returning: 19/24
Routines Gone:  1 VT, 1 UB, 2 BB, 1 FX
Returning Starters (8):  Brenna Brooks (So), Madison Copiak (Sr), Amara Cunningham (So), Kristyn Hoffa (RS Sr), Michaela Nelson (Sr), Evanni Roberson (Sr), Geneva Thompson (Jr/I), Maya Washington (Sr)
Other/Injured Returners (3):   Talia Brovedani (So/I), Meaghan Ruttan (So), Hannah Vandenkolk (So/I)
Graduated (2):  Monica Riley, Malory Rose
Other Losses (1):  Ellie Bagley (Fr/student coach)
Newcomers (3):  Morgan Bowles (Fr), Allie Smith (Sr/TR/EMU), Isa Weiss (Fr)

Quick Assessment:  Washington returns all but five scores from a squad that finished 0.325 from advancing to the Regional finale.  Despite the 19th place National finish, the Huskies find themselves as the Preseason #17.  This likely reflects the loss late last season of star AAer Evanni Roberson to a toe injury, and her absence on all but UB at Regionals.  They will also miss the BB steadiness of Malory Rose and the UB and VT marks from Monica Riley.  Sophomore Talia Brovedani injured her Achilles in the preseason while signee Ellie Bagley has taken a role as a student coach. 

A lack of depth last season left the Huskies vulnerable to an untimely injury to a star AAer.  The 2020 Huskies are very experienced, with six seniors, led by Roberson, Madison Copiak, Maya Washington and RS Sr Kristyn Hoffa.  They also return junior Geneva Thompson, who may be ready to step into an AA role this season, as is Washington, who has added a VT for this season.  Their sophomore class has made big strides since last season, as evidenced in their last intrasquad, with upgrades shown from AAer Brenna Brooks, Amara Cunningham and potentially expanded roles for Meghan Ruttan and Hannah Vandenkolk, who were both slowed by injury last year. 

Washington has three newcomers, led by EMU transfer Allie Smith.  She has a 10.0 Start Value for her tuck 1 1/2 twisting Yurchenko, and was the MAC runnerup on the event last season.  The Huskies also brought in Isa Weiss, a frosh with a Kasamatsu layout (10.0 SV) vault and Morgan Bowles, a L10 with long lines on UB and BB

The key for the Huskies will be to avoid injuries to the stars, and translate the improvements made by the sophs into greater depth on the events.  Depth still remains a concern, epecially on UB, but few teams outside the top 10 have as much Championship experience. 


 18.  Boise State Broncos

Official Web Site:  Link      Schedule      Roster
Head Coach:  Tina Bird
Assistants: Ivan Alexeov, Patty Resnick
Starting Routines Returning: 18/24
Routines Gone:  1 VT, 1 UB, 2 BB, 2 FX
Returning Starters (9):  Isabella Amado (Sr), Gabriela Bouza (Jr), Tatum Bruden (Jr), Hope Masiado (So), Courtney McGregor (Sr), Emily Muhlenhaupt (Jr), Madison Nilson (Sr), Samantha Smith (So), Alexis Stokes (So)
Other/Injured Returners (3):  Rachel Obmann (Jr), Tessa Otuafi (RS So), Dani Shafer (RS Fr)
Graduated (3):  Alex Esmerian, Sarah Means, Shanni Remme
Other Losses (1):  Tessa Depasquale (So/?)
Newcomers (3):  Erin Elkabchi (Fr), Erin Morden (Fr), Adriana Popp (Fr)

Quick Assessment:
  Boise State loses just six routines from their Corvallis Regional appearance, where they finished 4th to finish 15th in the Nation.  Those six routines lost, however, understate the full impacct of the graduation losses -- the Broncos also lost their star AAer and All American Shani Remme prior to Regionals.  Thus the Broncos effectively lost 10 routines, including key sets in the back half of the lineups from Remme, Alex Esmerian and Sarah Means. 

The Broncos are however, still well set up, with 12 experienced athletes, led by senior star Courtney McGregor, the New Zealand elite.  Boise State also will get key sets from juniors Gabriella Bouza and Tatum Bruden as well as senior Isabella Amado.  Bars ace Emily Muhlenhaupt, a junior, also returns as the anchor on that event.

Boise will supplement that large and experienced group with three frosh, led by Erin Elkabchi and Adriana Popp.  Elkabchi is a L10 from SCEGA who tied for 8th AA at the 2017 L10 Nationals.  She returned to competition in 2019 after missing 2018 but was limited to BB and FX.  Popp is a former junior international elite from the Girl's Co-Op.  She placed 2nd on BB (two bhs to a two-foot back layout) and 24th AA at the 2019 Level 10 Junoir Olympic Nationals.  She was also 25th at the 2018 JO Nationals. 

The Broncos will need a find a way to shore up their BB and FX lineups, while finding the next set of 9.9+ scores for the latter half of the lineups.  WIth the loss of many of their stars, the Broncos will be looking for stepup contributions from both their returnees and their newcomers.    


 19.  Arkansas Razorbacks

Official Web Site:  Link      Schedule      Roster
Starting Routines Returning: 20/24
Routines Gone:  1 VT, 1 UB, 1 BB, 1 FX
Head Coach: Jordyn Wieber
Assistants: Chris Brooks, Catelyn Orel (interim)
Returning Starters (8):  Sophia Carter (Jr), Amanda Elswick (So), Hailey Garner (Sr), Kennedy Hambrick (So), Sydney Laird (Jr), Savannah Pennese (So), Sarah Shaffer (Jr), Jessica Yamzon (Sr)
Other/Injured Returners (3):  Katarina Derrick (So/I), Kailey Gillings (Jr), Bailey Lovett (RS Fr)
Graduated (1):  Sydney McGlone
Other Losses (1):  Michaela Burton (Sr/TR/Pitt)
Newcomers (4):  McKenna Clarke (Fr), Kiara Gianfagna (Fr), Madison Hickey (Fr), Carissa Patton (Fr)

Quick Assessment:  Arkansas enters the season ranked 19th, just one spot down from their 18th place finish.  They placed 3rd in the second round of the Baton Rouge regional, just 0.125 behind Minnesota.  They lose just four routines from that squad, but have also experienced a coaching changeover as Jordyn Wieber has taken over the program.  The GymBacks will miss the VT/FX power from Sydney McGlone and the crisp execution on UB/BB from Michaela Burton, who transferred to Pitt. 

Arkansas will be led in 2020 by senior Jessica Yamzon and sophomore Kennedy Hambrick, both all-arounders.  Junior Sarah Shaffer is another potential AAer, while classmate Sophia Carter is capable of posting very high marks on both BB and FX.  Another sophomore, Amanda Elswick, is a key vaulter and contributor on three events for Arkansas.  The Gym Backs also look to get back Katarina Derrick, whose season was cut short by an ACL injury in March.  The health and continued development of the sophomore class will be a key difference maker for this squad.    

Arkansas welcomes four newcomers:  McKenna Clarke, Kiara Gianfagna, Madison Hickey and Carisson Patton.  Clarke is a L10 from JPAC who placed 8th BB and 28th(t) AA at the 2019 Level 10 Junior Olympic Nationals.  Her clubmate, Gianfagna, won the UB, BB, FX and AA at the 2019 Indiana L10 State meet and qualified to JO Nationals.   

With 11 returning athletes, the GymBacks have plenty of talent and experience to make a postseason run this season.  The ongoing development of the underclass will only serve to strengthen this squad, as they adapt to the new coaching staff. 


 20.  Iowa State Cyclones

Official Web Site:  Link      Schedule      Roster
Starting Routines Returning: 17/24
Routines Gone:  2 VT, 2 UB, 2 BB, 1 FX
Head Coach: Jay Ronayne
Assistants:  Nilson Medeiros, Kristin White
Returning Starters (11):  Kelsey Boychuck (So), Laura Burns (Sr), Sydney Converse (RS Sr), Cassandra Diaz (Sr), Madelyn Langkamp (So), Ariana Orrego (Jr), Ana Palacios (So), Natalie Ros Vaquer (Jr), Molly Russ (Sr), Meixi Semple (So), Sophia Steinmeyer (Jr)
Other/Injured Returners (4):  Natalie Horowitz (So), Makayla Maxwell (RS Fr), Samantha Strickler (RS Fr/I), Phoebe Turner (So)
Graduated (3):  Madeline Johnson, Kelly Martin, Meaghan Sievers
Other Losses (2):  Annie Johnson (Jr/?), Grace Woolfolk (So/R)
Newcomers (6):  Loganne Basuel (Fr), Maddie Diab (Fr), Maya Ford (Fr), Alondra Maldonado (Fr), Andrea Maldonado (Jr), Laurie Lou Vezina (Fr)

Quick Assessment:  Iowa State will look to replace seven routines in 2020, including four key routines from AAer Meaghan Sievers.  They also lost sophomore Grace Woolfolk, a top beamer, to an early retirement.  Iowa State finished 20th last season, with a strong late season push that saw them place fourth in Round 2 at the Athens Regional. 

Iowa State returns no less than 15 athletes, including 11 starters from that Regional lineup.  They are led by seniors Molly Russ and Sydney Converse (her fifth year), along with juniors Ariana Orrego and Sophia Steinmeyer.   Orrego is an elite and Olympian from Peru, while Steinmeyer was a key lineup contributor on three events last year.  Iowa State will also look to increase their contributions from their international elites like the UK's Phoebe Turner and Canada's Meixi Semple, and Spainards Ana Palacios and Natalie Ros Vaquer.  The Cyclones also get back Makayla Maxwell, a top L10 who was injured prior to her rookie campaign. 

ISU welcomes six newcomers, led by Puerto Rican elite Andrea Maldonado and Canadian Laurie Lou Vezina.  Maldonado is a terrific twister, and debuted a triple twisting front in World Cup competition this year.  Her NCAA set will include a Randi (front 2 1/2 twist) instead of the Maldonado.  Vezina is known for her originality, great lines and execution on UB and BB

Iowa State will be looking to replace the high scoring potential of Sievers, while working to close the gap to the top 16.  With a large and talented roster, they will need some athletes to step and close the remaining gaps, in particular on BB and FX, their worse events last season (national ranks of #33 and #39, respectively). 


 21.  ASU Gym Devils

Official Web Site: Link      Schedule      Roster
Head Coach:  Jay Santos
Associate Head Coach:  Jessica Santos
Assistant:  Kristina (Baskett) Peel
Starting Routines Returning: 14/24
Routines Gone:  2 VT, 2 UB, 2 BB, 4 FX
Returning Starters (6):  Jessica Ginn (Sr), Jasmine Gutierrez (So), Morgan Hart (Sr), Cairo Leonard-Baker (Jr), Ashley Szafranski (Sr), Morgan Wilson (RS Sr)
Other/Injured Returners (3):  Kaitlin Harvey (So), Maya Williams (Jr), Graycee (Rushton) Zaugg (Sr)
Graduated (6):  Corinne Belkoff, Justin Callis, Anne Kuhm, Katelyn Lentz, Kaitlyn Szanfranski, Heather Udowitch
Other Losses (2):  Mekayla Jones (Sr/?), Stephanie Tripoldi (So/?)
Newcomers (7):   Juliette Boyer (Fr), Jordyn Jaslow (Fr), Alina Miller (Fr), Isabel Redmond (Fr), Gracie Reeves (Fr), Hannah Scharf (Fr), Megan Thompson (So/TR/NU)

Quick Assessment:   ASU finished the season in 25th place last season, after a Regional effort that managed just a 195.425 point tally.  They lose 8 gymnasts from last season, who comprised 10 routines.  Most notable among these losses are French elite Anne Kuhm, an AA standout who was unable to complete the season last year, and three event standouts Justine Callis and Kaitlyn Szanfranski.  

ASU returns six starters from last season, no the least of which is junior star Cairo Leonard-Baker.  The AAer looking strong in the preseason, training a new double layout on FX.  She'll be joined by senior VT/FX stalwart Jessica Ginn and UB/BB standout Ashley Szanfranski.  The Gym Devils will also benefit from Morgan Wilson's fifth year; she was a standout on three events last season. 

Fortunately, ASU welcomes seven athletes.  This represents a significant turnover in personnel, and an opportunity for the coaching staff to address the issues with depth on events like VT that have hampered the squad in the past.  Leading the way are Juliette Boyer, Gracie Reeves and Hannah Scharpf, who all competed AA at the recent ASU intrasquad.  Boyer tied for 10th AA, VT and UB at the 2019 L10 Junior Olympic Nationals.  She also tied for 14th at the 2018 JO Nationals.  Reeves is an in-state L10 from the Arizona Sunrays who tied for 16th AA at the 2019 JO Nationals.  She also tied for 9th AA at the 2018 JO Nationals.  Scharpf is a senior high performance (elite) athlete from Canada who competes some high level skills, like a pike full-in on FX.  In addition to that trio, Jordyn Jaslow (who was missing from the intrasquad) is a three-time JO National qualifier while Isabel Redmond placed 4th on BB and 5th on UB(t) at the 2017 JO Nationals.   The seventh athlete, Arizona native Megan Thompson, a transfer from NU, is looking back in competitive form. 

With star Leonard-Baker taking the lead, the Gym Devils seek to continue their ascendance up the ranks, despite the loss of so many routines and athletes.  They have a large and talented incoming class, one that should easily address their prior issues on VT.  As in their preview intrasquad, look for Boyer to make an immediate impact. 


22.  Stanford Cardinal

Official Web Site:  Link      Schedule      Roster
Starting Routines Returning: 20/24
Routines Gone:  1 VT, 1 UB, 1 BB, 1 FX
Head Coach: Tabitha Yim
Assistant: Neal Gallant, Alexandra Pintchouk
Returning Starters (11):  Madison Brunette (So), Kyla Bryant (Jr), Kaylee Cole (Sr), Rachael Flam (Jr), Morgan Hoang (So), Taylor Lawson (Jr), Lauren Navarro (Jr), Wesley Stephenson (So), Ashley Tai (Sr), Grace Waguespack (So), Aleeza Yu (Sr)
Other/Injured Returners (2):  Grace Garcia (Jr), Eve Micco (So)
Graduated (3):  Taryn Fitzgerald, Hailee Hoffman, Nicole Hoffman
Other Losses (1):  Catherine Rogers (Jr/?
Newcomers (4):  Jade Chrobok (Fr/I), Kelly Ramm (Fr), Adela Stonecipher (Fr), Chloe Widner (Fr)

Quick Assessment:   Stanford returns 20 of 24 routines as they seek a return to National prominence.  They finished 22nd in the Nation last season, after taking 3rd in their Round 2 session at the Corvallis Regional.  Except perhaps for Taryn Fitzgerald's dependable VT and BB routines, the Cardinal should be able to absorb these losses. 

The 2020 Cardinal return, led by junior AAer Kyla Bryant.  Bryant especially stands out on BB (bhs-bhs-double back) and FX (full-in), with a high level of difficulty.  She's joined by juniors Rachel Flam and Taylor Lawson.  Senior Aleeza Yu also rebounded from injury last season to become a key contributor, especially on VT, while classmate Kaylee Cole has resumed training the AA and competed at the World Championships this past fall, representing Bolivia.  The sophomore class fills out the depth chart, and any one of them could step up and fill the gaps, especially Eve Micco on UB. 

Stanford lost a total of four athletes and brought in four, led by L10 standouts Chloe Widner and Adela Stonecipher, and former Canadian National Team member Jade Chrobok.  Widner is one of the standout athletes in this incoming class.  In 2019, she won the BB, FX (double layout) and the AA at the Level 10 Junior Olympic Nationals.  She was also 6th in 2018, 2nd(t) in 2017 and 4th in 2016.  Stonecipher was a 2017 JO National Team member and looks strong in preseason training, tumbling a full-in on FX.  Canadian Chrobok is an experienced international athlete who won a team Gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.  Earlier in 2019, she placed 5th AA at the Elite Canada meet.  Unfortunately, she reportedly suffered an injury in the fall training.

Stanford has struggled for the last few seasons with depth, in particular on UB.  Widner should join Bryant as an AAer, but the rest of the squad will need to strengthen the depth charts, especially on UB, to help the Cardinal rise further in the rankings.    


 23.  BYU Cougars

Official Web Site:  Link      Schedule      Roster
Starting Routines Returning: 20/24
Routines Gone:  1 VT, 1 UB, 2 BB, 0 FX
Head Coach: Guard Young
Assistants: Natalie Broekman, Brogan Evanson
Returning Starters (11):  Abby Beeston (So), Avery Bennett (Jr), Helody Cyrene (Sr), Shannon Evans (Sr), Abbey Miner (Jr), Sadie Miner (So), Briana Pearson (Sr), Haley Pitou (Jr), Abby Boden Stainton (Jr), Brittney Vitkauskas (So), Angel Zhong (Sr)
Other/Injured Returners (9):  Rachel Bain (So), Sarah Barron (RS Fr), Rebekah Bean (So/I), Jordan Danbury (Jr), Lexi Griffith (RS Fr/I), Gabrielle Hubbard (So), Ashley Kernan (So), Lexi Mather (RS Fr/I), Adeline Rieder (So)
Graduated (2):  Cheyenne Hill, Natalie Trejo Marsh
Other Losses (3):  Kelly Higginson (So/?), Melanie Lockhart (So/?), Hannah Miller (Sr/?)
Newcomers (5):  Anyssa Alvarado (Fr), Lindsey Hunter (Fr), Allix Mason (Fr), Maya Page (Fr), Elease Rollins (Fr)

Quick Assessment:  BYU has been steadily making improvements since Guard Young took over the program, and last season was no exception, as they finished 21st in the country.  They lose just four routines from five gymnasts, including key UB and BB sets from Marsh, who also competed FX at times.  Hill was a regular contributor on VT and BB. 

BYU always as a large squad, and 2020 is no exception.   They bring back 11 returning starters and 9 other athletes.  They will be led in 2020 by senior AAer Shannon Evans, a former All-American who is also known for her expressive FX routines.  She'll be capably supported by three event standout Abbey Miner, a junior with a double layout on FX.  Senior Helody Cyrene came back from injury to have a standout year, and was a key contributor on UB and BB.  Junior Abby Boden Stainton is another key three event standout.  The Cougars will also look to get some increased contributions from their sophomore class, including the talented Sadie Miner, Rachel Bain and Rebekah Bean. 

BYU will welcome five frosh for 2020, including signee Maya Page, who was 13th AA at the 2019 L10 JO Nationals and in-state standout Allix Mason, the 2019 Region I UB champ who finished 20th AA (t) at the 2019 L10 JO Nationals.  Elease Rollins is a BB ace who should challenge for lineups immediately, having scored 9.85 already in the L10 ranks. 

The Cougars have tremendous depth in numbers and some standouts like Shannon Evans to lead the way.  The key for BYU is to continue to raise their level overall, and close the remaining gaps in details to the Top 16 teams. 


 24.  Ohio State Buckeyes

Official Web Site:  Link      Schedule      Roster
Starting Routines Returning: 21/24
Routines Gone:  1 VT, 1 UB, 0 BB, 1 FX
Head Coach: Meredith Paulicivic
Assistants: Randy Monahan, Lucas Wasson
Returning Starters (10):  Danica Abanto (Jr), Olivia Aepli (Sr), Brooke Chesney (Jr), Kaitlyn Gilson (So), Peyton Hinterberger (Sr), Sydney Jennings (So), Morgan Lowe (Jr), Colby Miller (So), Miriam Perez (So), Jenna Swartzentruber (Jr)
Other/Injured Returners (3):  Nevin Adamski (Sr/I), Claire Gagliardi (So), Kali Schierl (Jr)
Graduated (3):  Amanda Huang, Janelle McClelland, Jamie Stone
Other Losses (1):  NA
Newcomers (6):  Elexis Edwards (Fr), Alexis Hankins (Fr), Ella Hodges (Fr), Raina Malas (Fr), Sarah Rowland (Fr), Zoe Schweitzer (Fr)

Quick Assessment:  Ohio State starts the season in the 24th spot, after finishing only 29th at Nationals last season.  They struggled at Regionals, posting only a 47.65 on BB, and were without their star AAer Jamie Stone.  They lost only three routines from that Regional lineup, but that count does not include Stone's big contributions.  The All Big 10 First Team member and 2018 Big 10 VT champ was a key AAer in her senior year.  

The 2020 Buckeyes will be led by juniors Danica Abanto and Jenna Swartzentruber and senior Olivia Aepli.  Abanto stepped up last season to compete the AA.  Swartzentruber was a top UB worker while Aepli has some big skills in her arsenal, and is a potential AAer.  A total of ten starters and three other returnees give Ohio State a large pool of experience and talent to draw upon.  Sophomores Colby Miller and Claire Gagliardi, who showed promise before an injury, could also gain confidence in their second year.

The Buckeyes welcome six frosh: Elexis Edwards, Alexis Hankins, Ella Hodges, Raina Malas, Sarah Rowland and Zoe Schweitzer.  Edwards tied for 7th on VT and 30th AA at the 2017 Level 10 Junior Olympic Nationals.  She was also tied for 2nd AA at the 2016 JO Nationals, and made the the Nastia Liukin Cup.  Hankins tied for 4th on BB and placed 23rd AA at the 2019 JO Nationals.  Hodges is another beamer, and tied for the Sr. E BB title and for 21st AA at the 2019 JO Nationals.  She also tied for 2nd on BB in 2018.  Malas is an in-state L10 and early graduate who qualified to JO Nationals in 2017 while Sarah Rowland placed 2nd AA at the 2019 Illinois L10 State meet.  Schweitzer is a four time JO National qualifier, placing 27th AA in 2019 and tying for 9th (and 1st on UB) in 2015. 

Ohio State returns a solid group of ten starters and has a large and talented class of newcomers to bolster their lineups.  An increased focus on consistency and improved quality of depth will help Ohio State to improve on their 2019 finish. 


 25.  PSU

Official Web Site:  Link      Schedule      Roster
Head Coach: Sarah Brown
Assistants:  Rob Drass, Dallas Becerra
Starting Routines Returning: 18/24
Routines Gone:  2 VT, 1 UB, 1 BB, 2 FX
Returning Starters (8):  Melissa Astarita (So), Jessie Bastardi (RS So), Alissa Bonsall (Jr), Lauren Bridgens (Jr), Kourtney Chinnery (Jr), Tess McCracken (Sr), Kristen Politz (Sr), Ava Verdeflor (Jr)
Other/Injured Returners (3):  Erynne Allen (Sr), Dymiana Cox (So), Donna Howell (So)
Graduated (5):  Amber Autry, Sabrina Garcia, Mason Hosek, Jessica Jones, Gianna LaGuardia
Other Losses (0):  N/A
Newcomers (6):  Amy Bladon (Fr), Bella Romagnano (Fr), Cassidy Rushlow

Quick Assessment:   PSU loses 6 routines from 2019, but that list includes three athletes who contibuted in a large way to the Nittany Lions over the last four years.  Sabrina Garcia was a top AAer and star on the UB who won 24 event titles in her career.  Mason Hosek was a key contributor on up to three events while Gianna LaGuardia was a key member of the PSU vault lineup and also competed on UB.  That's a significant chunk of leadership and depth that will be missed, and their preseason #25 rank is one spot below their 2019 finish. 

PSU will be led in 2020 by junior Lauren Bridgens.  She's won 21 career event titles and posted a 10 on UB in 2018.  Classmates Alissa Bonsall and Kourtney Chinnery are coming off strong years, with both contributing on all but BB.  RS sophomore Jessie Bastardi also had a breakout year, qualifying to the NCAAs as an individual on BB.  Melissa Astarita was the top frosh, competing on VT and FX.  Seniors Tess McCracken and Kristin Politz, along with junior Ava Verdeflor, provide important UB and BB options to complete out the events.

They welcome three newcomers, led by Canadian elite Amy Bladon, who has a potential Yurchenko 1 1/2 and a double Arabian on FX.  Cassidy Rushlow, a L10 from Daggett's, placed 21st AA at the 2019 Level 10 Junior Olympic Nationals.  She also made JO Nationals in 2018.

PSU brings a solid set of returners but also must cope without standouts Garcia and Hosek.  They'll look to the rest of the squad, including the frosh, to step up and strengthen the lineups. 



Teams #1 to #12


Key to the Tables:

Ranking: By 2020 Preseason Coaches' Poll

Coaches: Only regular, paid coaches are listed.

Starting Routines: Defined by starting lineup in last meet of the post season.
Returning Starters:
Defined by starting lineup in last competition
Year in School:
(Is listed as reported on the school's roster)

Fr = Freshman
So = Sophomore
Jr = Junior
Sr = Senior

Status Codes for Returners:

I = major season ending injury in 2019 or preseason 2019-2020
R = retirement/not competing (for any other reason than transfer or injury)
TR = Transfer
RS = Redshirt (note:  not all eligible gymnasts will employ or are awarded a redshirt year)
?=unconfirmed/unknown information

Wednesday, 18 December 2019 14:34

UCLA Signs Malabuyo and Padurariu for 2020-2021

UCLA has signed Emma Malabuyo and Ana Padurariu for 2020-2021.  The pair will join Jordan Chiles, Frida Esparza and Chae Campbell for next season.  Malabuyo will be graduating early.

Link:  UCLA Release

Simone Biles qualified to four event finals and placed 1st AA to lead the US to the top spot in qualifying.  AU commit Sunisa Lee is 2nd, and qualified on to AA, UB and FX finals.  Oregon State commit Jade Carey edged Biles for the top qualifying spot on VT.  Bama star Shallon Olsen also qualified to the VT finals for Canada.  UCLA commit Brooklyn Moors of Canada is the first reserve on FX, after an inquiry took down her score by 0.1.  Utah commit Kara Eaker is the first reserve on BB, after an inquiry took down her start value by 0.4 points, and dropped her out of qualifying.

Friday, 27 September 2019 21:24

Boise State Hires Alexov as an Assistant

Boise State has hired Ivan Alexov as an assistant.  He's spent five years as a member of the US National Team staff and is co-owner of Omega Gymnastics in Oregon.  He was a three time Bulgarian National Champion.

Link:  Release

Friday, 20 September 2019 21:38

2021-2022: LaPlante to Iowa

Kendall LaPlante, a L10 from the Tampa Bay Turners has committed to Iowa for 2021-2022.  At the 2019 Level 10 Junior Olympic Nationals, she tied for 3rd AA and 9th on VT and placed 5th on BB and 10th on FX.  She also qualified to JO Nationals in 2017. 

Link: Videos

Wednesday, 11 September 2019 07:14

In Memoriam: Mari-Rae Sopper, 9/11/01

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.

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