Here is the last ‘NCAA Weekly’ post of 2018! I started it last August as an experiment, and I am quite confident to say that it was a successful one. Thanks to anyone who, methodically or sporadically, read and supported it, I hope you enjoyed it and learned something new!
1. For her courage, determination and key role in the Larry Nassar investigation, as well as for her outstanding athletic results, Oklahoma junior Maggie Nichols was honoured with two important awards this week. She was named Star Tribune Sportsperson of the Year and Minnesota Sportsperson of the Year. Congratulations!
2. Nebraska looked season-ready at their intrasquad, just over one week before the beginning of the 2019 season. Here are the highlights on vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise. Among the highlights, senior Megan Schweihofer nearly stuck a super-high FTY on vault; junior Taylor Houchin stuck her double-twisting dismount off beam; and senior Sienna Crouse impressed on floor with a very difficult tumbling pass: a front double twist to front twist. Nebraska also produced a new introductory video, this week about senior Catelyn Oren – enjoy!
3. Denver competed at one last intrasquad before Christmas and the 2019 season. The Pioneers looked competition-ready. Among the highlights, there was a gorgeous sky-high double layout by sophomore Lynnzee Brown and two nearly stuck Yurchenkos 1.5 by Lynnzee and junior Maddie Karr.
4. An intrasquad that passed under my radar (apologies for this) from a couple of weeks ago was Missouri‘s Black & Gold Exhibition – highlights here. Senior Madeleine Huber impressed on bars with a 9.900, while freshman Hannah McCrary anchored the vault lineup with a beautiful Yurchenko 1.5, worthy also of a 9.900. Redshirt senior Becca Schugel was back on bars after last year’s season-ending injury and scored a promising 9.750.
6. Denver junior Maddie Karr wrote an inspiring article on The Players’ Testimony, titled ‘In All The Noise, God Speaks’. It talks about the importance of faith in reminding Maddie and the rest of us of the really important things in life in the midst of the every-day chaos and distractions.
7. Commits are working hard! UCLA signee Jordan Chiles unveiled a huge upgrade on floor: a powerful double-twisting double tuck. And Auburn commit Sunisa Lee posted a video on Twitter of herself training a difficult Maloney to Bhardwaj on bars, with the caption: ‘so excited for 2019 season! ☺️’.
8. It was dancing week at UCLA – even more than usual! Miss Val posted a video on Twitter in which she teaches her Bruins how to waltz. She added the caption: ‘MHO Everyone should know how to waltz’. And junior Gracie Kramer performed her floor routine in character as a superhero. So real that it is almost creepy! UCLA alumna Angi Cipra had also performed her iPhone routine in character back in 2015, it is nice to see it back!
9. Episode 9 of the Region 5 Gym Insider podcast interviewed Olympian and UCLA alumna Samantha Peszek about her career, her struggles and successes.
10. In a recent article posted by FloGymnastics, seven NCAA gymnasts shared how they mentally prepare for competition. The seven athletes are junior Caroline Caponi of William & Mary, junior Jasmine Estrella of Temple, senior Skyler Memmel of Central Michigan, sophomore Mia Lord of Northern Illinois, senior Emily Briones of Southern Utah, senior Josalyn Ray of San Jose State and senior Haylee Roe of Illinois.
Bonus: Look at the SEMO gymnasts’ elated reaction to the unveiling of a new beautiful leotard for the upcoming season. And congratulations to Shayla Kelley, LSU redshirt junior McKenna Kelley’s older sister, who got engaged to her boyfriend Wyatt Schrepfer!
Routine of the week
Centenary senior (then junior) Navia Jordan’s floor routine was not included in my top-10 list of favourite routines of 2018, which will be out tomorrow, so here is a last chance to enjoy it before the year is over.