Week 2: Review

Photograph: Elizabeth Price/Instagram

What a week packed with great meets and big scores. After two weeks, LSU is still ranked no. 1 in the nation with an average score of 197.200, ahead of Utah and Michigan. Michigan posted the highest team score of the season so far, an impressive 197.550. Four teams scored over 197 this week: Michigan, LSU, UCLA and Florida. Kentucky and Denver got very close, an impressive team effort for two teams who often pass under the radar. Stanford’s Elizabeth Price posted the first perfect 10.0 of the season on the uneven bars. Congratulations to all!

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On Monday, California won the NorCal Classic for the fourth consecutive time with a 195.475, ahead of host Stanford (194.925), San José State (194.475), UC Davis (194.400) and Sacramento State (192.875). The big star of the night was Stanford’s senior Elizabeth Price, who scored her first, well-deserved and long overdue perfect 10.0 on the uneven bars. She competed a stellar and super difficult routine, which included a Maloney, a piked Tkatchev to shoot-over and a double layout dismount. Ebee also won the all around with a huge 39.650, which tied LSU’s Sarah Finnegan’s top all around score from Week 1, as well as floor with a sensational 9.975 and vault with a 9.850. Cal’s Toni-Ann Williams won beam with a 9.900. Stanford’s freshmen did amazing in their first ever competition for the Cardinals. Lauren Navarro scored a big 39.175 in the all around, which included a 9.850 on floor and a double tuck off beam for a 9.800; Kyla Bryant scored a huge 9.925 on floor; Taylor Lawson scored a 9.850 on floor and a 9.825 on bars, while Kaylee Cole scored a 9.825 on floor. Behind Ebee Price in the all around, scores were very high, with five scores hitting 39 or better. Cal’s fantastic freshman Kyana George was second with a 39.350; UC Davis’s Alexis Brown was third with a 39.200; Lauren Navarro was fourth and San José State’s Kaitlin Won was fifth with a 39.000. Cal did amazing on bars and beam. On bars, behind Ebee Price’s perfect 10.0, Golden Bear Kyana George scored a 9.900 and teammates Alma Kuc and Nina Shank scored two 9.875s. On beam, behind Toni-Ann Williams, Kyana George scored a 9.875 and Alicia Gallarzo a 9.850.

On Tuesday, host Brockport State defeated Cortland State 184.450 to 183.800. The best scores came on floor, where Brockport State’s Brittany Vasile and Candis Kowalik tied for first place with two 9.825s. On beam, Cortland State’s Bailey Gildemeyer posted the highest score by a huge margin, a 9.725. No gymnast competed in the all around.

Also on Tuesday, host Winona State defeated UW-Stout 182.350 to 180.725. Winona State’s Eboni Jackson won the all around with a 37.775.

On Thursday, Boise State had a fantastic season opener again Southern Utah, winning with a 196.225 to a 194.350. Boise State’s junior Shani Remme won the all around with a big 39.425, followed by sophomore Courtney McGregor’s 39.150. Shani also won bars, beam and floor with three 9.875s. Vault was instead won by Southern Utah’s sophomore Megan McBride, the only gymnast to post a 9.900 in the competition. Freshman Tatum Bruden made her freshman debut on vault, scoring a 9.725. Southern Utah’s freshmen made huge contributions to the team. Mckenna Burnside and Molly Jozwiakowski posted two 9.825s on floor, Alyssa Ladieu a 9.825 on beam and Hannah Nipp a 9.800 on bars.

The weekend was full of emotions.

WOW, WOW, WOW! It’s only Week 2 and Michigan posted the highest score of the season so far, a massive 197.550 against Ohio State (194.925). The Wolverines were on fire on vault, where Emma McLean, Syd Townsend and Olivia Karas produced three spectacular one-and-a-half-twisting Yurchenkos. Emma won the event with a 9.950, followed by Syd, who is only a freshman!!!, with a 9.925 and by Olivia (9.875). They carried the momentum on bars, where Paige Zaziski and Syd Townsend scored two big 9.900s. Freshman Lauren Farley also made her debut on bars, scoring a 9.850 for a big routine. Beam did not stop the Wolverines, who were led by Brianna Brown, who scored a 9.900, followed by Lexi Funk and Paige Zaziski’2 9.875s, Lauren Farley’s 9.850 and Olivia Karas’s 9.800. Michigan ended the meet in spectacular fashion on floor, where they posted three scores of 9.9 or better. Emma McLean was just shy on perfection, scoring a 9.975, and was followed by Olivia Karas’s 9.950 (that was surely a perfect 10.0 though?) and Lexi Funk’s 9.900. Ohio State’s Alexis Mattern also posted an impressive 9.900 on floor. Paige Zaziski won the all around title with a big 39.450. Watch out, people! The Wolverines are on fire this year!

The meet of the week, LSU v. Florida, was won by the LSU Tigers for the third consecutive year, in a tight competition 197.250 to 197.125. Both teams are not still at their best, but gave some fantastic performances. For LSU, on vault, Lexie Priessman stuck a fantastic FTY for a 9.925 to win the event. Behind her, Myia Hambrick and freshman Sarah Edwards both hit their one-and-a-half-twisting Yurchenkos for two 9.900s. On bars, anchor Sarah Finnegan was slightly off (9.775), but Kennedi Edney scored a big 9.900 and Lexie Priessman a 9.875. On floor, Myia Hambrick posted her second 9.950 in a row to win the event, followed by Kennedi Edney’s 9.900. Finally, on beam, the dream duo leadoff Erin Macadaeg and Myia Hambrick hit their routines for two 9.900s and Sarah Finnegan sealed the meet for LSU with a 9.925 – not her best routine, but good enough! On the Gators side, vault started off with a 9.900 for Alex McMurtry, and two 9.875s for Alicia Boren and Kennedy Baker. Something awkward happened when Rachel Slocum missed her steps in the runway, retried her vault, got her hands too high on the board and sat down a weird somersault (8.550). It’s the second week in a row that she misses her vault, which was one of the best in the country last year. On bars, Alex McMurtry (who doesn’t know scores below 9.9), won the event with a big 9.925. On beam, sophomore Rachel Gowey, who seems much more confident this year, posted a career-high 9.950 for a very difficult routine, which includes a BHSO + LOSO + LOSO series. Alex McMurtry and Alicia Boren also posted two 9.900s. On floor, freshman Megan Skaggs, who was debuting on this apparatus and anchored the Gators, posted the highest score on floor for Florida, a 9.925, tied with senior Kennedy Baker, whose opening pass, a double piked Arabian, is so beautiful it makes you want to cry! Alicia Boren also scored a 9.900 on floor. LSU’s Myia Hambrick won the all around title with a 39.550, ahead of Florida’s Alica Boren (39.450), LSU’s Kennedi Edney (39.375), and Kennedy Baker (Florida) and Sarah Finnegan (LSU) with two 39.350s.

UCLA finally showed a glimpse of its immense potential, winning the Elevate the State meet with a 197.200, almost a full point better than last week, ahead of rival Utah (196.975), Washington (195.725) and Stanford (195.350). The ladies put up a show in the all around. Utah’s star MyKayla Skinner won the all around with the highest score in the nation so far, a 39.700. She beat by a narrow margin Stanford’s Elizabeth Price (39.650) and UCLA’s Kyla Ross (39.550). UCLA finally hit its vaults, with Pua Hall and Felicia Hano hitting their one-and-a-half-twisting Yurchenkos for two 9.900s. On bars, Peng-Peng Lee posted a 9.925 and Kyla Ross a big 9.950. Beam did not see very high scores by any team. The Bruins’ best scores were three 9.825s by Peng, Kyla and freshman Brielle Nguyen, who made her debut there. Finally, floor was the apparatus where the Bruins impressed the most, appearing a completely different team from last year. There, Kyla Ross, Gracie Kramer and freshman Pauline Tratz posted three big 9.900s to seal the meet for UCLA. Utah also had a very good meet, but lacked the extra polish needed to win the meet. MyKayla Skinner impressed, scoring a huge 9.975 on vault and two 9.950s on vault and bars. MaKenna Merrell-Giles also continued to impress, posting a big 9.950 on floor and a 9.900 on vault. Washington posted one 9.900 with Madison Copiak on bars. Stanford’s star Elizabeth Price posted two big 9.950s on vault and floor, a 9.900 on bars and a 9.850 on beam to win the event. She finished off her beam routine with a stuck double pike, so impressive to see such difficulty in the NCAA!

I was very curious about the Georgia @ Alabama meet. For the Bulldogs, it was an important season opener, the first that saw Courtney Kupets-Carter as head coach and Suzanne Yoculan as (hem…) volunteer assistant coach. For the Crimson Tide, it was the moment of truth, after a disappointing score in the 195s last week. Result: host Alabama defeated Georgia 196.525 to 194.525. Alabama proved to be back on track after a bad season opener last week. The Crimson Tide still had trouble on vault, scoring a low 48.600, their lowest score on this apparatus since 2000, but they scored solidly on the other three apparatuses. They still have a lot of consistency and polishing work to do, but the crisis has been overcome successfully. Georgia, on the contrary, remains a mystery. The positive note is that the Bulldogs scored a full point higher than their season opener last year. Their problems on beam, however, do not seem to have been overcome, as Georgia counted three falls from Rachel Dickson, Marissa Oakley and Natalie Vaculik. Georgia also had to count Sydney Snead’s 9.200 on floor, after GiGi Marino scored a 9.000. We are early in the season and everything can change, but Georgia’s balance beam situation shows that problems are deep and can’t be solved in a few months by massive coaching changes. As for Alabama, Wynter Childers, who seems to have replaced Keely McNeer in her leadoff role, had a much more solid and confident all around performance, scoring a respectable 39.325. Kiana Winston proved once again how amazing a gymnast she is, winning all three events she competed in: bars with a 9.925, and beam and floor with two 9.900s. Alabama impressed on bars, where Ariana Guerra and Mackenzie Brannan both scored two 9.900s. Nickie Guerrero saved the situation on vault, posting a 9.900 for a stuck one-and-a-half-twisting Yurchenko. There, freshman Lexi Graber under-rotated her one-and-a-half-twisting Yurchenko, which left her limping, for a low 9.300. Maddie Desch, on the contrary, hit her FTY, but one judge did not see the vault (like…how?!), had to repeat it, but got a deduction for vaulting before the green flag went up. I should write an article on gymnastics and surrealism! Junior Peyton Ernst, a transfer from Florida, debuted for Alabama on beam, and scoring a good 9.825 for her first routine in two years!

Kentucky and Arkansas both had an outstanding meet, which was won by Kentucky, that posted a fantastic 196.950 to the Razorbacks’ 196.525. Both teams scored over 49 on all apparatuses, impressive work! Kentucky’s sophomore Mollie Korth had a great meet, winning the all around with a big 39.525, as well as floor with a 9.900 and vault with a huge 9.950, for a stuck one-and-a-half-twisting Yurchenko to tie her career-high. On bars, Arkansas’s senior Amanda Wellick and Kentucky’s junior Katrina Coca shared the title with a 9.900. On beam, Arkansas’s freshman Sophia Carter kept impressing, scoring the second 9.900 in a row, tying with Kentucky’s junior Sydney Dukes. Overall, what a fantastic work for these two teams, it’s fantastic to see new teams stick their heads out on the big stage!

Denver had an outstanding competition, scoring a big 196.800 against Air Force (191.750). Denver’s amazing freshman Lynnzee Brown won the all around 39.250, ahead of sophomore star Maddie Karr (39.050). Another freshman, Mia Sundstrom, won floor with a big 9.950, ahead of Maddie Karr and Nikole Addison (9.925). Maddie won vault with a big 9.900, Diana Chesnok won bars with a 9.925 and Kaitlyn Schou won beam with a 9.950. What a fantastic competition for them!

After a slow start last week, Auburn also proved to be worthy of much more and to be back on track, scoring a big 196.625 against Missouri (194.875), and scoring over 49 on all apparatuses. The Auburn Tigers dominated on bars, where Kendal Moss and Samantha Cerio scored two 9.900s and Abby Milliet and Drew Watson two 9.850s. Gracie Day also had an excellent day on vault and floor, winning both events with a 9.875 and a 9.900 respectively. Abby Milliet won beam with a huge 9.925. Missouri’s Aspen Tucker won the all around with a 38.950. Impressive effort for Auburn as well, congratulations!

Arizona State had a great meet on the road, winning at West Virginia with a 196.475 to 195.875. Arizona State’s Cairo Leonard-Baker won the all around with a big 39.475. Cairo also won bars with an impressive 9.925 and floor with a 9.900. Teammate Kirah Koshinski won vault with a 9.900 and Ashley Szafranski won beam with another 9.900.

A shout-out also to BYU, which improved by almost two points from the first meet, beating Cal 196.025 to 194.350. BYU impressed on floor, where Mackenzie Douglas and Shannon Hortman scored two 9.900. Shannon also won bars with a 9.850, tied with Cal’s freshman Alma Kuc. BYU’s Avery Bennett won vault with a 9.850, while teammate Jill Van Merlo won beam with an outstanding 9.900 and the all around with a 39.175. Cal’s freshman Kyana George, who was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week last week, kept impressing on floor, with another solid 9.875.

Iowa State won at home against Arizona with a good 195.450 to 194.975. Iowa State’s senior Haylee Young had an impressive competition, winning the all around with a big 39.450, as well as beam with a 9.925 and vault with a 9.900. Teammate Meaghan Sievers won bars with a 9.875, while Arizona’s Kennady Schneider clinched the floor title with a 9.875.

Washington won its season opener against host Sacramento State 195.350 to 191.500. Expectations were high for the Huskies after an outstanding season last year, and the meet, despite the victory and some good performances, was slightly disappointing. Washington had trouble especially on bars, where it failed to break into the 9.8s. Nevertheless, they have huge potential, and things could improve dramatically in the weeks to come. Senior Hailey Burleson was the most solid gymnast in the competition, winning the all around with a 39.275, as well as vault and beam with two 9.875s. Teammate Evanni Roberson won floor with a 9.825, while Sac State’s Jordyn Brent won bars with a 9.800.

Nebraska won its season opener against Penn State by half a point, 195.550 to 195.050. Briannah Tsang of Penn State won the all around with an excellent 39.425, ahead of Nebraska’s Megan Schweihofer (39.375) and Abbie Epperson (39.175). Briannah Tsang also won floor with a 9.900. An impressive number of 9.9s or better were posted on the other apparatuses as well. On vault, Nebraska’s Sienna Crouse won the event with a huge 9.950, ahead of Megan Schweihofer with a 9.900. On bars, Penn State’s Alissa Bonsall and Briannah Tsang tied with two 9.900s. And on beam, Nebraska’s Grace Williams posted an impressive 9.925.

Minnesota won its season opener in a quad meet. It posted a 194.200, ahead of Maryland (194.025), Northern Illinois (193.575) and Winona State (184.750). Minnesota’s Lexy Ramler won the all around with a 39.000, as well as beam with an impressive 9.925. Minnesota’s Ivy Iu won bars with a 9.900, while Minnesota’s Paige Williams and Maryland’s Karrie Thomas won floor with two 9.800s.

After a fantastic season opener last week, Central Michigan fell behind of almost two points on the road against Eastern Michigan, despite winning the meet 194.525 to 194.025. Central Michigan’s Katy Clements posted the only 9.900 of the meet to win beam. Central Michigan’s Denelle Pedrick won vault with a 9.875, teammate Gianna Plaksa won bars with the same score and Macey Hilliker, also of Central Michigan, won floor with a 9.850. Eastern Michigan’s Megan Hultgren won the all around with a 38.800.

Oregon State won its season opener on the road at Pittsburgh with a 194.850 to 194.125. Oregon State’s Sabrina Gill won the all around with a 38.925, while teammates Mariana Colussi-Pelaez won bars (9.775), Dani Dessaints won beam (9.850) and Kaitlyn Yanish won floor (9.875). Pittsburgh’s Haley Brechwald won vault with a 9.825.

Illinois-Champaign won a quad meet (195.100), defeating Yale (191.500), host Rutgers (191.525) and Southern Connecticut (187.650). Illinois-Champaign’s Karen Howell and Rae Balthazor shared the bars title with two big 9.875s, while Rae, Bridget Hodan and Rutgers’ Makenzey Shank posted three 9.875s on beam. Rutgers’ Libby Groden won the all around with a 38.875.

Host Bowling Green defeated Utah State 194.825 to 192.975. Despite dominating the meet, Bowling Green won only the vault title with Jovannah East (9.850). Utah State’s Jazmyn Estrella won bars with a 9.800, Autumn DeHarde won beam with a 9.875, Madison Ward won floor with another 9.875, and Leighton Varnadore won the all around with a 38.475.

At the Lindsey Ferris Invitational, George Washington won with a 195.325, ahead of Ball State (191.775), Cornell (190.550) and Pennsylvania (190.325). George Washington posted two big all around scores: Jillian Winstanley posted a 39.425 and Camille Drouin-Allaire a 39.400. Camille also won vault with a huge 9.925 and floor with a 9.875. Jillian also won beam with a 9.900 and teammate Alexandra Zois won bars with a 9.825.

Host Kent State won its season opener against Centenary College with a 195.050 to 178.875. Kent State’s Rachel Stypinski won the all around with a good 39.375, who also won bars and floor with two 9.900s and beam with a 9.875. Teammate Dara Williams won vault with a 9.775.

Western Michigan won against UIC with a 193.425 to 193.000. Western Michigan’s Rachael Underwood won the all around with a 39.150.

Host Towson won a three-team meet with a 194.725, ahead of Temple (191.575) and William & Mary (190.475). Towson’s Tyra McKellar won the all around with a 39.150. Teammate Mary Elle Arduino won beam with an outstanding 9.900.

Bridgeport won its meet on the road against New Hampshire 192.950 to 191.750. Bridgeport’s Kelsey Campbell won the all around with a 39.000, while teammate Kathryn Doran tied with New Hampshire’s Lauren Diggan for the bars title (9.825). New Hampshire’s Marissa Toci and Nicole O’Leary won vault (9.800) and teammate Ava Watkins won floor (9.825). Casey Lauter, after last week’s outstanding 9.925 on beam, posted another big score, a 9.875, to win the event for the second consecutive week.

Iowa won on the road at Michigan State with a 193.400 to 192.900. Iowa’s Sydney Hogan won beam with a 9.850, while Michigan State’s Hailee Westney won bars with a 9.875. Teammate Lea Mitchell clinched the all around title with a 38.950.

Texas Woman’s defeated Lindenwood 193.525 to a 191.625. Texas Woman’s Schyler Jones impressed, winning the all around with a 39.050, as well as vault and floor with two 9.875s.

UC Davis defeated host Seattle Pacific 193.125 to 191.325. UC Davis’s Kelley Hebert had a very good meet, winning the all around with a 38.950, as well as beam with a 9.850 and bars with a 9.725. UC Davis’s Kyla Kessler won vault with a 9.750, while Seattle Pacific’s Darian Burns won floor with a 9.800.

S.E. Missouri defeated Illinois State 193.300 to 191.175. S.E. Missouri’s Lindsey Bates won the all around with a 38.950, while teammate Alexis Brawner won floor with a 9.825.

UW-Whitewater defeated host UW-Eau Claire 188.175 to 183.500. Whitewater’s Blaise Wilson won the all around with a 37.800.

UW-La Crosse defeated Gustavus Adolphus 187.875 to 174.275. Gustavus’s Amanda Malo won the all around with a 35.150.

Alaska defeated Cortland State 188.825 to 182.675. Alaska’s Isabelle Fox won the all around with a 38.375, while Alaska’s Hope Nelson and Cortland State’s Emma Schulz impressed on beam with two 9.800s.

Host West Chester won another quad meet with a 189.825, ahead of Ithaca College (186.150), Springfield College (185.800) and Ursinus College (184.925). Springfield’s Jessica Clemens posted a 37.400 to win the all around, while West Chester’s Sarah Boyd scored a good 9.800 on beam.

Brown defeated Rhode Island College 188.400 to 174.550. Brown’s Emma Hansen posted an impressive 9.850 on bars, while teammate Julia Green a very good 9.800 on floor.

UW-Whitewater won on the road at Hamline with a 186.850 to 185.175. Lisa O’Donnell won the all around with a 38.300.

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Thoughts

The Michigan Wolverines made a clear statement this weekend, showing that they are ready to compete with the best teams in the nation and to contend for a spot in the Super Six.

The LSU Tigers, despite a young and more inexperienced team than last year, showed what Tigers are made of, narrowly defeating Florida. Both teams are packed with freshmen and have a lot still to prove, but they are on the rise and ready to contend for a national title.

The UCLA Bruins proved that when they are on they are second to no one. Hopefully they will keep up their focus throughout the rest of the season. If they do, they can be magical!

Some less famous teams made a statement this week. Kentucky touched the magical 197 with one finger, and so did Denver, just below. ArkansasAuburn and Arizona State also posted a score in the mid-196s, which is impressive for these programmes.

It was a difficult start, instead, for Georgia, which, despite the coaching changes, still counted three falls on beam, which seemed a replica of what we saw last year. Hopefully with some more time and confidence, they will be able to grow and reach new heights.

Finally, congratulations to Stanford’s Elizabeth Price on an outstanding beginning of season and on her first perfect 10.0 on the uneven bars. To many more!

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Best scores

Team: Michigan – 197.550

All around: MyKayla Skinner (Utah) – 39.700

Vault: Sienna Crouse (Nebraska), MyKayla Skinner (Utah), Emma McLean (Michigan), Elizabeth Price (Stanford), Mollie Korth (Kentucky) – 9.950

Uneven bars: Elizabeth Price (Stanford) – perfect 10.0

Balance beam: Rachel Gowey (Florida), Kaytlin Schou (Denver) – 9.950

Floor exercise: MyKayla Skinner (Utah), Elizabeth Price (Stanford), Emma McLean (Michigan) – 9.975

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Routines of the week

Vault: Mollie Korth (Kentucky) – Possibly the best one-and-a-half-twisting Yurchenko in a week packed with a lot of stunning one-and-a-half-twisting Yurchenkos!

Uneven bars: Elizabeth Price (Stanford) – A perfect 10.0 is always a perfect 10.0, but a perfect 10.0 for such a difficult routine is a humbling experience.

Balance beam: Rachel Gowey (Florida) – This is beam work at its best, simply beautiful!

Floor exercise: Olivia Karas (Michigan) – With this Madonna-inspired routine, she is hoping to get the Wolverine alumna superstar to one of Michigan’s meets. Can we help?

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What’s next?

On Monday, national champions the Oklahoma Sooners are finally beginning their season, on the road, at Georgia. On Friday, Kentucky is hosting Florida, after outstanding meets for both teams this week, and #1 LSU is hosting the Alabama Crimson Tide. It will be an exciting meet, led by two of the best and most charismatic coaches in the nation, D-D Breaux and Dana Duckworth!

Related: Week 1: Review

Article by Talitha Ilacqua

 

 

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