The NCAA Gym Skim | January 13

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The daily NCAA gymnastics update featuring 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.

Michigan 197.550, Ohio State 194.925 [Results]

What a BAMF meet from the Wolverines this week, posting the highest score yet in the 2018 season after knockout performances on all four events with an epic floor rotation to seal the deal. On vault, Sydney Townsend came close to a stick on her Yurchenko 1½ to score a 9.925 while Olivia Karas and Emma McLean capped off the rotation with two more of the same vault, earning a 9.875 and 9.95, respectively. Townsend was again a stunner on bars in the leadoff position, well-balanced by Paige Zaziski in the anchor spot, Brown carried the team on beam with a gorgeous set finished with a stuck double full, and Karas and McLean built on an incredible floor rotation with a 9.95 and a 9.975, respectively, while Lexi Funk also worked her magic there and on beam.

Ohio State ended up counting a fall on beam here, but overall I saw lots of improvements after a rough first meet at UCLA last week. This was an entirely different team on bars, with four solid 9.825s in the lineup to help them to a solid start, while vault saw a couple of great sets, including a gorgeous handspring pike half from Alexis Mattern, who went on to steal the show on floor with her strong opening double layout. Mattern was unfortunately one of the beam falls, as was freshman Jenna Swartzentruber, who otherwise had a solid meet, though beam overall was shaky thanks to weak acro series, with Stefanie Merkle the only one to hit hers well, leading the team there with a 9.775. Other standouts on this team included Amanda Huang on bars and Olivia Aepli with no flashy routines but just solid work from start to finish.

AA: Paige Zaziski, Michigan, 39.450
VT: Emma McLean, Michigan, 9.950
UB: Sydney Townsend & Paige Zaziski, Michigan, 9.900
BB: Brianna Brown, Michigan, 9.900
FX: Emma McLean, Michigan, 9.975

Nebraska 195.550, Penn State 195.050 [Results]

Nebraska got over counting a fall on bars pretty quickly, pushing the event behind them to nail vault with a lovely full from Megan Schweihofer (who was stellar in the all-around, bringing in a 9.825 on bars, beam, and floor in addition to her 9.9 here) followed up by a stuck 1½ from Sienna Crouse to finish the rotation on a high note. The team gave up tenths for leaps and landings on floor, but Grace Williams was solid there and on beam, and we also saw great work from Kynsee Roby on bars and beam, and Taylor Houchin on bars.

Penn State made up a lot of ground after struggling in week one, coming back to finish strong here despite counting a fall on beam. Led by Briannah Tsang, who had an incredible meet, posting 9.9s on bars and floor, the Nittany Lions also recorded great scores from Kourtney Chinnery on vault, Alissa Bonsall on bars, Sabrina Garcia on vault, bars, and floor, and Mason Hosek on beam. I was disappointed to see a fall from Ava Verdeflor in bars in her debut after looking good in her exhibition last week, but hopefully with more experience she’ll be able to boost that in the future assuming she’s kept in the lineup.

AA: Briannah Tsang, PSU, 9.900
VT: Sienna Crouse, Nebraska, 9.950
UB: Alissa Bonsall & Briannah Tsang, PSU, 9.900
BB: Grace Williams, Nebraska, 9.925
FX: Briannah Tsang, PSU, 9.900

Illinois 195.100, Yale 191.550, Rutgers 191.525, Southern Conn. 187.650 [Results]

Despite setbacks like losing Mary Jane Horth to injury and Lizzy Leduc no longer in the lineup, Illinois had a promising start to their 2018 season even with a mini-implosion on floor, where the team had to use a freshman as well as a couple of seniors who had never before competed there. Rae Balthazor and Karen Howell were the stars of this meet on each of their three events, and we also got some great work from Kasey Meeks on vault and Bridget Hodan on vault, beam, and floor.

Yale actually upset Rutgers by a quarter of a tenth after Rutgers counted falls or large mistakes on pretty much every event. Jace Baldovino had a great meet for the Bulldogs, with Jade Buford and Emma Firmstone contributing big scores on beam and floor and Megan Ryan and Jessica Wang leading the team on bars. Rutgers did get over a weak start to have a really strong beam rotation aside from the falls, thanks to a 9.875 from Makenzey Shank and a 9.85 from Belle Huang, while Libby Groden was a top contributor on all four events.

DII Southern Conn. finished fourth with a number of falls counted into their total. Kathleen Aberger was phenomenal on beam and floor, and also brought in the team’s biggest bars total at a 9.5, while Alexandra Lesperance led the team on vault and also hit for a solid floor routine, and Morgan Gatewood helped out on beam with a 9.725.

AA: Libby Groden, Rutgers, 38.875
VT: Kasey Meeks, Illinois, 9.825
UB: Karen Howell & Rae Balthazor, Illinois, 9.875
BB: Makenzey Shank, Rutgers, Rae Balthazor, Illinois, & Bridget Hodan, Illinois, 9.875
FX: Karen Howell, Illinois, 9.800

Oregon State 194.850, Pittsburgh 194.125 [Results]

If you just looked at this score, you’d think Oregon State had a rough night, but that wasn’t the case at all. Scoring was SO tight for this team at Pitt, and while landings weren’t exactly secure and overall they were a bit shy on precision, it was actually a great debut for the Beavers. The team began with a series of solid bars sets, with Mariana Colussi-Pelaez and Sabrina Gill bringing in the high scores at 9.775, and on vault, Mary Jacobsen put up a great tsuk full to cap off a rotation that included mostly FTYs with hops. Floor was the best event for OSU, with Isis Lowery’s set so much fun to watch (that choreo before her last pass!) and freshman Kaitlyn Yanish nailing her double layout and big double tuck to bring in a 9.875, and the team got over an early beam fall from Yanish as well as a repeated acro series from Alyssa Minyard to finish with a 9.8 from Gill and a 9.85 from Dani Dessaints, whose routine was excellent, capped off with a stuck gainer full.

This was one of Pitt’s better meets, with lots of potential from freshman Haley Brechwald, who topped the all-around after a great performance, her only big mistake coming with a break on her front toss on beam. The team unfortunately counted a fall there, after both Lucy Jones and Taylor Laymon couldn’t hang on, but they were solid on vault—and had some great performances on floor, including a pair of 9.8s from Kensleigh Owens in the leadoff spot and Alecia Petrikis before Brechwald hit her tucked full-in and double tuck to bring in a 9.85 as the anchor.

AA: Haley Brechwald, Pitt, & Sabrina Gill, OSU, 38.925
VT: Haley Brechwald, Pitt, 9.825
UB: Catie Conrad & Haley Brechwald, Pitt, & Mariana Colussi-Pelaez & Sabrina Gill, OSU, 9.775
BB: Dani Dessaints, OSU, 9.850
FX: Kaitlyn Yanish, OSU, 9.875

Bowling Green 194.825, Utah State 192.975 [Results]

This was a great season opener for BGSU, the program not counting a single fall all meet to upset visiting Utah State with a big finish on floor. Laura Mitchell continues to be incredible on beam, putting up a 9.85 there while also contributing top scores on bars and floor, while Jovanah East was solid on vault and floor, and specialists Kayla Rose, Leslie Delgado, Alexandra Fochler, and India McPeak all contributed top numbers on their respective events (floor, bars, bars, and beam).

Utah State unfortunately got off to a depressing start on bars, counting two 8.8-range scores to take them out of contention despite a good comeback on their remaining events, especially considering they only put up five on floor. Despite the bars drama, Brittany Jeppesen, Jazmyn Estrella, and Leighton Varnadore all managed to do well there, and Madison Ward got over her falls to contribute two of the team’s best scores of the meet with her 9.85 on vault and 9.875 on floor. Autumn DeHarde and Emily Briones were also standouts, bringing in big scores on beam.

AA: Leighton Varnadore, USU, 38.475
VT: Jovannah East, BGSU, & Madison Ward, USU, 9.850
UB: Jazmyn Estrella, USU, 9.800
BB: Autumn DeHarde, USU, 9.875
FX: Madison Ward, USU, 9.875

Central Michigan 194.525, Eastern Michigan 194.025 [Results]

After such a domineering performance at CMU’s season opener last week, a score that got them ranked third in the nation, the team’s big test was whether they could hold onto it. Unfortunately, a weak floor rotation on the road held them back, though what was promising was that they pushed past that and fought back from a leadoff beam fall in the final rotation to top the host team by half a point. #SilverLining Standout competitors included Denelle Pedrick and Katy Clements on vault and beam, Gianna Plaksa on bars and floor, Macey Hilliker on beam and floor, and Hayley Porter on bars and beam.

EMU got off to a solid start on the first two events, but counted a fall on beam and some weak performances on floor to come up short in the end. Megan Hultgren was a capable all-arounder, Lacey Rubin was excellent on bars and beam, Kendall Valentin was excellent on all three of her events, and Emili Dobronics came back from a weak vault to hit bars and floor for a pair of 9.8s. Even with the mistakes, it was a major improvement after last week’s road opener, and they still have potential for progress in the future.

AA: Megan Hultgren, EMU, 38.800
VT: Denelle Pedrick, CMU, 9.875
UB: Kendall Valentin, EMU, & Gianna Plaksa, CMU, 9.875
BB: Katy Clements, CMU, 9.900
FX: Macey Hilliker, CMU, 9.850

Minnesota 194.200, Maryland 194.025, Northern Illinois 193.575, Winona State 184.750 [Results]

This actually looked like it was going to be a big victory for Minnesota at home after a kind of rough intrasquad last weekend, but the Gophers gave a lot away with a rough competition on floor, and only narrowly came out ahead of conference rival Maryland.

Lexy Ramler was awesome in her debut until some mistakes on floor, with brilliant work on bars and beam, while fellow freshman Ona Loper did well on vault and beam, giving the team a great pair of reliable competitors for the next four years after a few seasons of underperforming. Ivy Lu was a top contributor on bars, and Paige Williams had a standout floor set to lead the team there.

Things weren’t too bad for Maryland, which came back from a couple of falls to not count any all meet long, though lots of little mistakes added up for this program, keeping them close but unable to challenge for the win. Audrey Barber led the team with mostly solid performances across the board, getting help from Alecia Farina on bars and beam, Morgan Bixler on vault, and Karrie Thomas on floor.

Though NIU placed third, this was actually a great meet for them this early on, thanks to standout performances from Ashley Potts on all but floor, Gabby Welch on vault and bars, Allison Richardson on bars and floor, and Andie van Voorhis on beam, and DIII Winona State gave up some points on bars and floor, but came through with promising sets on vault and beam, and as always, Eboni Jackson was a star, putting up the top scores on vault, beam, and floor while Kathryn Pipp carried them on bars.

AA: Lexy Ramler, Minnesota, 39.000
VT: Ona Loper & Lexy Ramler, Minnesota; Morgan Bixler & Audrey Barber, Maryland; & Ashley Potts, NIU, 9.775
UB: Ivy Lu, Minnesota, 9.900
BB: Lexy Ramler, Minnesota, 9.925
FX: Paige Williams, Minnesota, & Karrie Thomas, Maryland, 9.800

Iowa 193.375, Michigan State 192.900 [Results]

Both teams had some struggles at this Big 10 matchup in Michigan, but Iowa came out on top by almost half a point, getting over counting a bars fall in the first rotation to hit solid sets on vault and floor before counting another fall on beam. Maria Ortiz led the team on vault and bars with scores of 9.775 and 9.75, the latter matched by Melissa Zurawski on that event, with Zurawski also putting up a solid set on floor alongside Clair Kaji and Lanie Snyder, and Nikki Youd and Sydney Hogan led the charge on beam.

For MSU, vault got off to a rough start and the team was forced to count a fall on beam, though both bars and floor looked good enough for now. Roya Shirley and Lea Mitchell led the team, with both hitting four-for-four, while Hailee Westney had a gorgeous bars set and Victoria Huehn added to the total on beam.

AA: Lea Mitchell, MSU, 38.950
VT: Maria Ortiz, Iowa, 9.775
UB: Hailee Westney, MSU, 9.875
BB: Sydney Hogan, Iowa, 9.850
FX: Roya Shirley & Lea Mitchell, MSU, 9.775

Bridgeport 192.950, New Hampshire 191.750 [Results]

Why yes, DII Bridgeport majorly upset DI New Hampshire in New Hampshire yesterday, winning by over a point counting two falls on beam. Bridgeport got off to a great start on bars, including a 9.8 from specialist Kelli Tereshko and a 9.825 from Kathryn Doran, who also put up a big number on beam, and both vault and floor went well, led by all-arounder Kelsey Campbell, who was solid across the board. Despite the beam falls, Campbell, Dorah, and Gabrielle Kistner all put up solid numbers there, making for a good save to get the win even if the whole meet itself wasn’t perfect.

UNH ended up counting six falls throughout their day, getting off to a great start on vault, but then falling apart as they went through the rest of the meet, with two falls per event on bars, beam, and floor. With the drama, we still got a few standout performances from gymnasts who stepped up, as Casey Lauter was gorgeous as always on beam, Lia Breeden held up the team on beam and floor, Courtney Bondanza was solid on vault and beam, and Nicole O’Leary was a top contributor on vault and floor. Given this team’s potential, it was kind of a bummer to see them end up this far down, but hopefully it’ll serve as motivation for the rest of the season, especially as they’ll get to drop it in the RQS if they make those improvements.

AA: Kelsey Campbell, Bridgeport, 39.000
VT: Marissa Toci & Nicole O’Leary, UNH, 9.800
UB: Kathryn Doran, Bridgeport, & Lauren Diggan, UNH, 9.825
BB: Casey Lauter, UNH, 9.875
FX: Ava Watkins, UNH, 9.825

West Chester 189.825, Ithaca 186.150, Springfield 185.800, Ursinus 184.925 [Results]

With a fantastic beam rotation, DII West Chester easily won this quad meet with a nearly four point lead. Sarah Boyd, Casandra Hageman, and Yolanda Nodarse contributed beautiful beam sets to help the team to a big score there, getting help from Emily Loughery there and on floor, while Myranda Marshall led the team on bars and Meghan Chan topped them on vault.

The other three programs, all DIII, battled it out for the remaining spots, all putting up their weakest performances on bars, though Ithaca managed to separate themselves enough on beam to come in for second place. Specialists Hannah Donnelly, Emily Szembrot, and Paige Landes were the top earners there, Carolyn Nichols and Melissa Hollrigl had strong work on vault and floor, and Baylie Trammell was the standout on bars.

Springfield ended up showing lots of talent on bars, led by all-arounder Jessica Clemens, who contributed top scores on all four events, and helped out by specialist Briana Kerr. Ali Rushlow was solid on vault and floor, and Sarah Murphy brought in a big score on beam. And though Ursinus counted mostly 8-range scores on bars, leaving them unable to contend, we saw great work from Lindsey Rush on that event while Kelly McLaughlin helped out on vault and beam, and Alexandra Puryear was a top competitor on vault, beam, and floor.

AA: Jessica Clemens, Springfield, 37.400
VT: Ali Rushlow, Springfield, 9.650
UB: Myranda Marshall, West Chester, 9.700
BB: Sarah Boyd, West Chester, 9.800
FX: Emily Loughery, West Chester, 9.700

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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