Our Division II and Division III teams wrapped up the regular season last weekend with Conference Championships, and while some teams ended their seasons at these meets, other teams and a handful of individuals have qualified to move on!
The post-season works a little differently with non-Division I teams, and it might be a little bit confusing. First, you have NCAA regional championships, the bids for which were just announced a few days ago, and yes — it is possible for Division II (and even Division III) gymnasts to qualify. Quite a few made it, actually, but I’ll get to that later.
Then, you have USAG Collegiate Nationals. This is DIFFERENT from the NCAA Championships you’re thinking of. You see, because Division II is so small, the NCAA dropped its funding, and to save it, USA Gymnastics picked it up. The teams that are eligible to advance to USAG Nationals include all the Division II teams as well as Division I teams that do not give athletic scholarships, like the Ivy League and Air Force. Centenary, despite technically being Division III, is also part of this group, not the NCGA.
What is the NCGA you ask? The National Collegiate Gymnastics Association is the governing body of Division III gymnastics, since the NCAA doesn’t financially sponsor them anymore either. There are two conferences that make up the NCGA: the WIAC (all the D3 schools in Wisconsin and Minnesota) and the NCGA East (formerly ECAC-3 back in my day, basically comprising all of the D3 schools on the east coast). The NCGA has its own national championships for D3 teams only.
So, in a nutshell, it is possible for a gymnast to qualify for both the NCAA regional as a D2 or D3 gymnast (or team if ranked in the top 36), as well as for the national championship meet specific to each team’s division.
Lindenwood, Texas Woman’s, and Centenary competed at the MIC Championships, and despite being Division II programs, as I predicted, Lindenwood won the meet (194.675) for a third-straight MIC title, while TWU took second (194.000), beating the three Division I teams in their conference. Centenary (Division III) was sixth with a 190.350.
Lindenwood’s Kierstin Sokolowski and Katey Oswalt tied with TWU’s Schyler Jones for second place finishes on vault with scores of 9.85. Lindenwood’s Aubree Horn and TWU’s Bria Northrop tied for third on bars with 9.8s. Sokolowski won beam with a 9.85, and Oswalt tied with TWU’s Mallory Moredock for third place on floor with scores of 9.875. Centenary was led by strong performances from Ashley White on vault (9.8) and beam (9.625), Evelyn Harris on bars (9.625), and Navia Jordan on floor (9.825).
At the ECAC-2 Championships, Bridgeport won the meet (194.925), with West Chester second (192.875), and Southern Connecticut third (190.05), as I predicted last week.
Bridgeport absolutely dominated vault here, earning the top four scores on the event from Kim Stewart (9.825), Kelsey Campbell (9.775), Nina Whittaker (9.75), and Maya Reimers (9.7). Bridgeport’s Christine Liautaud won bars with a 9.825, and UB’s bar squad counted all scores of 9.675 or higher.
Brianna Comport won beam with a 9.9, but West Chester actually outscored Bridgeport on this event by half a point! They counted all scores of 9.775 or higher from Rose Wortman (9.775), Meghan Chan (9.775), Cassandra Hagerman (9.8), Selena Swanger (9.85), and Majesta Valentine (9.85). Valentine and Comport (ah, my two faves!) tied for the floor title with 9.875s, and Reimers was second with a 9.85.
Southern Connecticut’s Alexandra Avendano led the team on vault (9.625) and floor (9.825), Kathleen Aberger contributed strong performances on bars (9.625) and beam (9.725), and Rotem Porat posted SCSU’s best beam score (9.8).
The all-around title went to Campbell with a 39.15, while Valentine placed second (39.0), Reimers third (38.825), and Swanger fourth (38.45).
Seattle Pacific was the lone Division II competitor in the MPSF Championships and took fifth with a 192.775. Ariana Harger tied for third on vault (9.775) and scored 9.825s on beam and floor. Harger was part of a SPU trio that contributed top scores on all events. Darian Burns contributed a 9.725 on vault, and 9.8s on bars and floor, while Lauren Glover contributed a 9.7 on vault, 9.8 on beam, and 9.775 on floor.
Moving on to Division III, we’re going to add some checkmarks into the “predictions Sarah was WRONG about” column. For the WIAC Championships, I predicted Whitewater winning, followed by LaCrosse, Winona State, Stout, Oshkosh, Eau Claire, Hamline, and Gustavus.
The results ended up being Whitewater (191.85), LaCrosse (188.7), Stout (188.75), Winona State (186.75), Eau Claire (186.525), Oshkosh (185.9), Gustavus (185.625), and Hamline (183.775).
Whitewater’s Lisa O’Donnell won vault (9.7), but Stout had two gymnasts in the top three: Kaylee Jondahl (9.675), and Mikala Bugge (9.625). LaCrosse’s Abby Ostrovsky won bars (9.725), followed by O’Donnell (9.675) and Gustavus’ Samantha Ardy (9.625). Oshkosh’s Baylee Tkaczuk won beam (9.675), with Whitewater’s Mackenzie Smith and Franchesca Hutton tying for second with 9.625s.
Floor was super tight, with five of the eight teams scoring between 47.4 and 47.775! Whitewater of course was miles ahead with a 48.625, and took the top two floor scores of the day with a 9.825 from Courtney Pickett and a 9.775 from O’Donnell. O’Donnell also won the all-around (38.525) with Jondahl in second (37.925).
Moving on to the NCGA East Region, where I totally nailed it, predictions-wise. Brockport won with a 191.85, followed by Ursinus (189.45), Springfield (188.825), Cortland (186.975), Ithaca (185.525), and Rhode Island (179.1).
Brockport put up some impressive, D1-quality team scores on vault (48.8) and floor (49.05). The team swept the top three vault scores with a 9.85 from Stephanie Mager, 9.8 from Candis Kowalik, and 9.775 from Jen Sklenar, who tied with Cortland’s Rachel Filipski. Brockport also swept the top three floor scores with a 9.9 from Brittany Vasile (say WHAT), 9.875 from Kowalik, and 9.825 from Sklenar. Sklenar also won the all-around (38.575).
Cortland’s Sydney McConnell won bars (9.75), followed by 9.625s from Springfield’s Jessica Clemens and Ithaca’s Baylie Trammel.
The Beam Queens of Ursinus blew everyone away (again) and posted the best team beam score of the day by over a point (47.65). It was a rough scoring day for everyone else on that event. Kaelin Ruoss won beam with a 9.7 while Springfield’s Marissa DeAngelo and Kowalik tied for second (9.65).
NCAA Regional Qualifiers from Division II and Division III
|Brianna Comport||Bridgeport||BB, FX||Morgantown|
|Ariana Harger||Seattle Pacific||VT, FX||Seattle|
|Schyler Jones||Texas Woman’s||VT||Fayetteville|
|Kierstin Sokolowski||Lindenwood||VT, BB||Fayetteville|
|Majesta Valentine||West Chester||AA||Morgantown|
Teams Advancing to USAG Collegiate National Championships
* As the host team, Seattle Pacific received an automatic team bid. Other teams qualified based on RQS.
Individuals Advancing to USAG Collegiate National Championships
|Kathleen Aberger||Southern Conn.||UB, BB, FX|
|Isabella Antonangeli||Southern Conn.||VT|
|Cami Bea Austin||Centenary||VT, FX|
|Alexandra Avendano||Southern Conn.||VT, FX|
|Abigail Bensley||Southern Conn.||FX|
|Keylea Brothers||Southern Conn.||FX|
|Tiffany Coleman||Southern Conn.||VT|
|Emma Cullen||Pennsylvania||VT, UB|
|Kylyn Dawkins||Southern Conn.||VT, BB, FX|
|Tiffany Elliot||Southern Conn.||VT, FX|
|Kellie Flavin||Pennsylvania||VT, UB, FX|
|Rachel Graham||Pennsylvania||BB, FX|
|Kasey Kilmurray||Southern Conn.||UB|
|Taylor Le Moal||Centenary||VT|
|Alexandra Lesperance||Southern Conn.||VT|
|Kyra Levi||Pennsylvania||UB, FX|
|Caroline Moore||Pennsylvania||VT, BB, FX|
|Ally Podsednik||Pennyslvania||VT, BB|
|Rotem Porat||Southern Conn.||UB, BB|
|Allison Scates||Centenary||UB, BB|
|Nicole Swirbalus||Pennsylvania||VT, BB, FX|
* Individuals qualify based on RQS.
Teams Advancing to NCGA National Championships
* Teams qualified based on conference championships scores.
Individuals Advancing to USAG Collegiate National Championships
|Jessica Ahrens||La Crosse||BB|
|Dani Barmore||La Crosse||BB|
|Mikala Bugge||Stout||VT, FX|
|Meghan Cash||Brockport||UB, FX|
|Marissa DeAngelo||Springfield||VT, BB|
|Allie DeBiase||Rhode Island||AA|
|Amy Enright||La Crosse||UB|
|McKenzie Foster||Whitewater||UB, BB|
|Bailey Gildemeyer||Cortland||VT, BB, FX|
|Eboni Jackson||Winona||AA, BB, FX|
|Kaylee Jondahl||Stout||VT, FX|
|Taylor Keough||Brockport||BB, FX|
|Candis Kowalik||Brockport||VT, BB, FX|
|Alex Kopp||Gustavus||AA, VT|
|Dana LoCascio||Oshkosh||VT, BB|
|Kate Mierow||Whitewater||UB, FX|
|Miranda Murphy||Rhode Island||AA|
|Lisa O’Donnell||Whitewater||VT, UB, BB, FX|
|Erin Olson||Eau Claire||FX|
|Abby Ostrovsky||La Crosse||UB|
|Courtney Pickett||Whitewater||BB, FX|
|Kaelin Ruoss||Ursinus||UB, BB|
|Bridgette Schaal||Brockport||VT, FX|
|Jen Sklenar||Brockport||VT, BB, FX|
|Mackenzie Smith||Whitewater||UB, BB|
|Elsa Spitzmueller||La Crosse||FX|
|Baylee Tkaczuk||Oshkosh||UB, BB|
|Samantha Wiekamp||La Crosse||VT|
|Kari Willett||La Crosse||VT, BB, FX|
|Lauren Wilson||La Crosse||UB|
* Individual competition at NCGA nationals is separate from team competition, so the majority of individual qualifiers are also part of fully qualified teams. All individuals qualify based on RQS.
Article by Sarah Keegan