The NCAA Gym Skim | January 5


In lieu of doing lengthy recaps every week this year, we’re moving to a more succinct, easy-to-navigate, daily update on the must-know moments and top stats from every meet all in one place.

A list of links to full results and tomorrow’s schedule is available here.

LSU 197.150, Arkansas 195.350 [Results]

The Tigers far exceeded first-meet expectations, kicking off a tremendous bars rotation with a star-making performance from freshman Sami “Georgia, I Could’ve Been Yours” Durante and capping it off with a near-perfect set from Sarah Finnegan, who was heavenly tonight, sticking her FTY, looking fabulous on beam, and finishing with one of her best floor sets for a massive 39.650 to take the all-around title by six points. Beam got a little shaky for LSU, though I loved the potential in Christina Desiderio and Reagan Campbell, both of whom seemed a tad bit nervous, and Kennedi Edney had an insane bars set with an even crazier celebration at the end. Get it.

For me, Arkansas was all about freshman Sydney Laird, who was beautiful on bars and beam in her first time out, while Amanda Wellick returned after sitting out last season due to injury, not missing a beat with excellent routines on all events but floor. Also notable was the beam performance from freshman Sophia Carter; overall this team was excellent on this event, outshining the host team, and they also showed a lot of potential in their bars lineup. Very exciting times.

AA: Sarah Finnegan, LSU, 39.650
VT: Lexie Priessman, LSU, 9.900
UB: Kennedi Edney & Sarah Finnegan, LSU, 9.950
BB: Sarah Finnegan, LSU, 9.925
FX: Myia Hambrick, LSU, 9.950

Utah 197.000, BYU 194.275 [Results]

Tbt to the time MyKayla Skinner finished her freshman season as the second-best all-arounder in the country and then kicked off her sophomore season eight months later looking like no time has passed. With her full difficulty — a DTY, a huge Tkachev and stuck full-in in her massively improved bars, tricky beam combos, and her double double, 1½ to double full, and full-in on floor — MyKayla was on fire. Even her one mistake wasn’t anything to worry about; too much power is always better than not enough, and so her step out-of-bounds on her over-rotated final pass was simply shrugged off, and you know it’ll be gone the next time she competes. Skinner show aside, I loved the debut of Sydney Soloski with her big double layout on floor, and I was impressed with what we saw from veterans Kari Lee and Tiffany Lewis. Overall a great first outing for the Red Rocks, who rivaled LSU for best performance of the night.

BYU as always entertained on floor with wacky, hilarious, borderline ridiculous routines that I love so much. Shannon Hortman-Evans was the top contributor for the team, with Jill van Mierlo a standout on beam while Kyleigh Greenlief’s floor proved impressive to the judges.

AA: MyKayla Skinner & MaKenna Merrell-Giles, Utah, 39.475
VT: Tiffani Lewis & Kim Tessen, Utah, 9.900
UB: MyKayla Skinner, Utah, 9.900
BB: MyKayla Skinner, Utah, 9.900
FX: MaKenna Merrell-Giles, Utah, 9.925

Michigan 196.200, Alabama 195.675 [Results]

Judging here was tiiiiight, with routines you’d think would go 9.9 elsewhere barely cracking a 9.8 in Ann Arbor. But Michigan made it through without counting any major mistakes, coming back from falls on vault (freshman Sydney Townsend overrotated her Yurchenko 1½), bars (senior Paige Zaziski slipped on a giant full), and beam (freshman Lauren Farley missed her flight series). Townsend ended up following up her fall with a beautiful bars set, while Olivia Karas and Brianna Brown were most on their game tonight.

Bama also came back from falls on three events (Shea Mahoney’s Maloney on bars and double tuck on floor, and Bailie Key’s flight series on beam, a mistake that also caused her to miss an acro series which is why her score plummeted to just an 8.450), but overall they seemed a bit tired and laggy, though Kiana Winston kicked off her senior season with fabulous routines while Kylie Dickson was solid on bars in her freshman debut.

AA: Olivia Karas, Michigan, 39.350
VT: Nickie Guerrero, Alabama, 9.900
UB: Kiana Winston, Alabama, 9.925
BB: Kiana Winston, Alabama, 9.900
FX: Olivia Karas, Michigan, 9.925

Kentucky 196.075, Ball State 194.475, George Washington 193.775, S.E. Missouri 189.675 [Results]

It wasn’t a perfect night for the host team, but Kentucky standouts Mollie Korth, Alex Hyland, and Sidney Dukes fought through to get the team past 196, an important step for their first meet of the season. My highlight of the night was Cori Rechenmacher capping off her bars with a stalder to stuck double tuck, and freshman Ella Warren — who joined the team roughly five seconds ago, a season early like Mollie last year — added depth to the bars lineup with a 9.8.

Ball State shockingly took second over GWU, which counted two falls on beam, though fought back to exceed a 49 for a great floor rotation. Senior Cami Drouin-Allaire was the team’s top contributor, and I also enjoyed Madeline Seibold’s anchor set on floor. For Ball State, Claudia Goyco and Tia Kiako stood out with great floor performances, and for SEMO, Alexis Brawner was awesome on vault and floor.

AA: Cami Drouin-Allaire, GWU, 39.100
VT: Danaea Davis, Kentucky, 9.850
UB: Cori Rechenmacher, Kentucky, 9.850
BB: Alex Hyland, Kentucky, 9.850
FX: Sidney Dukes, Kentucky, 9.850

Florida 195.900, West Virginia 194.425 [Results]

Yep, the Gators didn’t crack 196. Shocking, though counting a fall on floor on an otherwise lackluster night will do that to you. Florida held back quite a bit on difficulty tonight in addition to not fighting for landings pretty much anywhere, and they also lost Kennedy Baker to a freak accident on bars where she seemed to get injured on a toe-on, as one does. Alyssa Baumann’s debut on beam was a blessing to us all, though, and in the absence of some of last year’s top all-arounders, Alicia Boren stepped up and WORKED, performing on an entirely different plane of existence than the rest of her team. But give them a few weeks. They’ll catch up.

The host team had their own issues, making them unable to take advantage of Florida’s mistakes after particularly shaky beams and weak landings on floor. But as always, Kirah Koshinski had her life together, sticking a Yurchenko 1½ and nailing her anchor set on floor.

AA: Alicia Boren, Florida, 39.575
VT: Alex McMurtry, Florida, 9.900
UB: Alex McMurtry, Florida, 9.925
BB: Alicia Boren, Florida, 9.900
FX: Alicia Boren, Florida, 9.925

Bowling Green 194.000, Michigan State 193.350 [Results]

The visiting team outperformed MSU with solid work on all but bars, where they counted a fall. BGSU showed lots of potential across the board, with India McPeak and Laura Mitchell highlights for me on beam, and for the host team, Hailee Westney was a standout on bars, which was the best event for the team overall.

AA: Roya Shirley, MSU, 39.075
VT: Jovannah East, BGSU, 9.850
UB: Hailee Westney, MSU, 9.850
BB: Nacaida Kearns, BGSU, 9.825
FX: Roya Shirley, MSU, 9.850

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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14 thoughts on “The NCAA Gym Skim | January 5

  1. hey could you maybe link the results in the meet name in these recaps? would be super helpful and convenient but I understand if it’s too much work!


  2. Thanks for this, Lauren! I’m gonna become a patron soon. Seeing all of the stuff the get (the google hangout especially, I really want people to talk about gymnastics with) makes my heart ache, so I’m definitely doing it!


    • Is it weird that this is kind of what I expected? She hadn’t competed in 2.5 years so I figured SOMETHING would go wrong. At least she showed that she has the kind of routine that could score well once she hits!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know.. There are some other elites that were in kind of the same boat e.g. Alyssa Baumann, Jazzy Foberg and they did an amazing job.. I hope she can get it fixed because she could be a total rockstar! 🙂


        • Yeah, but they both had competitive experience up until last year…with Bailie being out for SO long, and for going through a major growth spurt in between, I was kind of expecting a mess in her first competition.


  3. I was at the Utah meet and was really impressed. Kim Tessen is going to be great and Makenna MG was on top of her game. Solisky (besides being adorable) is going to add a lot of depth. Utah may surprise this year. It will be fun watching


  4. Pingback: Around the Gymternet: It’s alive | The Gymternet

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