The Mount: Week Two

After a less-than-stellar opening weekend to the 2018 season, which saw many sub par performances from top teams, things really begin to ramp up heading into the second week of competition. Kicking things off early is a Thursday night showdown between two nationals dark horse teams from the MRGC in Southern Utah and Boise State. LSU at Florida highlight the SEC Network’s Friday Night Heights while Nebraska kicks off its season at Penn State on Saturday. The long weekend wraps up with two exciting showdowns, first in Reno, Nevada at the Elevate the Stage competition featuring Utah, UCLA, Stanford and Washington, and then on Monday when Oklahoma takes on Georgia. As always, you’ll find everything you need to follow along with all the meets happening this weekend, including previews of the top matchups, Fantasy Gymnastics resources and every scoring and video link you could ever need.

Southern Utah at Boise State: Thursday, Jan. 11 at 9 p.m. ET

Previewing what could be the most exciting MRGC championship yet, the Broncos and the Thunderbirds will go head to head in Boise State’s home opener. The Broncos narrowly missed nationals once again last season, losing out to Nebraska by less than four tenths. This first meet should be a great indicator as to whether or not they’re ready to make their historic first trip to nationals. The key events for Boise State will likely be vault and bars to see if it can make up what it lost in graduating seniors. The squad should have at least four 10.0 vaults, if not five, and was ranked No. 5 in the nation on bars last year. In particular, watch to see which vault Courtney McGregor competes and if Rachel Obmann competes the 1.5 we’ve seen her training. And don’t forget about Sandra Collantes who is coming back from some nagging things that limited her last season. If the Broncos can show they still have that kind of potential, they’ll make a great early case for a nationals threat come April.

SUU has been on the rise for many years but has never quite come close enough to threaten Boise State for the conference title. This year, with a huge class of freshmen and a few star upperclassmen, will they be able to break through that barrier? The events to watch for the T-Birds are bars, where their depth of returning routines is very slim, as well as beam, where they could potentially put up a huge score if all their freshmen do what they’re capable of. Autumn Jorgensen and Madison McBride are definitely Thunderbirds to keep an eye on, as both are capable of putting up big scores on all four. If SUU is going to make a move, this will need to be where it starts.

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Boise St Boise St Boise St Boise St Boise St Boise St Boise St SUU Boise St

No. 1 LSU at No. 7 Florida: Friday, Jan. 12 at 6:45 p.m. ET

In what might be the most exciting matchup of the week, the two teams favored to compete for the SEC championship this year will face off in Gainesville to kick off the SEC Network’s Friday Night Heights coverage. LSU looked a little shaky but quickly found its feet at its home opener against Arkansas last weekend, but there really isn’t room for mistakes against the Gators at home. Watch again for Myia Hambrick’s vault—can she put it to her feet or will they downgrade her to the full to ensure a clean score? Expect the return of Kennedi Edney to the all around as well. She’s been seen vaulting on Instagram after her ankle scare last week.

Florida will welcome competing in familiar territory after a rough win on the road against West Virginia. It will also welcome the return of Kennedy Baker, who had to scratch from last week’s meet due to a leg cramp. The Gators will look to increase their vault and floor scores, as both were below 49 last weekend, and the return of Baker should help in that effort. Also be on the lookout for Alex McMurtry’s double-twisting Yurchenko. Last season she waited until she competed at home to debut it, so expect to see it this week. At LSU in 2017, she earned a 10.0—will she do it again a year later? Plus, don’t forget about freshmen Jazmyn Foberg and Alyssa Baumann’s O’Dome debuts, as well as Megan Skaggs potential addition of more events to the vault she showed last week.

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Georgia at No. 9 Alabama: Friday, Jan. 12 at 8:30 p.m. ET

Following up the matchup watched across the country in football last week, these two storied SEC programs will meet in Tuscaloosa Friday for what will be Georgia’s first showing of the season. Taking on the Tide for her first week was a gutsy choice for new head coach Courtney Kupets Carter, as it’s one that will serve as a proving ground for her promising but injured squad. At their team preview, the Gymdogs only managed five routines on vault and bars, revealing just how depleted their depth is now that all of the freshmen have at least one nagging injury they have to deal with. These will certainly be events to watch to determine just how bad Georgia’s depth situation is. But the real make or break event for the new coaching staff will be beam. Though there were other mistakes, beam is really where Georgia imploded at nationals in 2017, and to make it back to the big show, the improvements start with beam. Key routines to watch include Rachel Dickson, whose confident club beam turned into a shaky set in her freshman season. Might facing Alabama for their very first meet prove to be too formidable a challenge for the Gymdogs?

But not all hope is lost. Fans watched Alabama lose to Michigan last week, looking rather sluggish and unpolished, something quite uncharacteristic of the Crimson Tide. Floor in particular was a bit lackluster, especially considering the precedent they’ve set for themselves in years past. The turning point routines on floor will likely include Wynter Childers, who frequently serves as lead-off to set the tone for the rest of the lineup, as well as Abby Armbrecht, who was hit or miss last season and has been working a big double layout upgrade. Also watch to see who, if anyone, replaces Shea Mahoney on the event after she crashed her last pass in Ann Arbor. That routine could be the difference between dropping a fall and dropping a 9.7 to help boost the team’s event total.

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Alabama Alabama Alabama Alabama GEORGIA Alabama Alabama Alabama Alabama

Nebraska at No. 17 Penn State: Saturday, Jan. 13 at 4 p.m. ET

On Saturday, fans will get their first look at a mysterious Nebraska team: One gymnast, Catelyn Orel, is returning from a redshirt season, and two others, Kynsee Roby and Taylor Houchin, are battling back from fairly recent knee surgery. Expect Roby, a J.O. standout, on her best two events, bars and beam, and Orel may be a factor on bars and floor, where she excelled in 2016. Also look for freshman Karley Hutchinson to debut her massive double front on floor, and classmate Megan Verceles Carr should be an asset to the vault lineup. Overall, the Huskers have looked prepared in the preseason but are attempting to replace Jennie Laeng and Ashley Lambert’s seven postseason routines—a tall order in and of itself. Veterans Abbie Epperson, Danielle Breen, Grace Williams, Sienna Crouse and Megan Schweihofer will need to pick up right where they left off in 2017 if Nebraska is going to have a successful January.

Meanwhile, head coach Sarah Shire Brown’s Nittany Lions started 2018 at home last week against Eastern Michigan, easily winning the contest. Freshmen Alissa Bonsall and Lauren Bridgens stood out in the all around for Penn State—neither having a big mistake. Veterans Sabrina Garcia and Briannah Tsang also competed in the all around error-free. The Nittany Lions did not count a fall, though they did look shaky throughout the beam rotation and had some landing errors on floor. If they can tackle beam more confidently and clean up landings, this Big Ten meet could be a close contest. Scoring in Happy Valley was tight last week, so expect more of the same in week two.

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Stanford, No. 2 Utah, No. 4 UCLA and Washington at Elevate the Stage: Sunday, Jan. 14 at 5 p.m. ET

In what will be the first major conference matchup in the Pac-12, each of these four teams stands at a slightly different point of their 2018 season. Utah is coming off a great first meet at home against BYU where it recorded its highest score in a season opener in 13 years. The Utes scored above a 49.3 on vault, bars and floor, and Mykayla Skinner appeared poised to have another record-breaking season. UCLA also had a promising start after defeating Ohio State in Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins looked better conditioned than in past seasons and had fantastic bars and floor rotations. Sophomore Kyla Ross was back in the all around, and super senior Peng-Peng Lee proved to us once again why she’s the queen of everything by scoring a 9.975 on bars and a 9.950 on beam in just the first meet of the season.

Lee’s bars score, the highest in the nation until Monday evening, was topped by Stanford’s Elizabeth Price when she finally earned her perfect mark at the NorCal Classic, thus making all of our gym nerd wishes come true. Price looked absolutely stellar, tying LSU’s Sarah Finnegan’s all around score of 39.650 as the best in the nation. However, while Price’s performance was the highlight, the Cardinal did have a rough go on vault and bars, especially as it could only field five athletes on the latter and was forced to count a 9.325 from Bryant. Despite these mistakes, the floor squad rallied for a big 49.425 to close out the meet and to match UCLA for the highest total on the event this season (yes, really). Finally, don’t forget about Washington, a fan favorite and one of the up-and-coming teams in the conference. The Huskies had a stellar 2017 during the first year of Elise Ray’s tenure as head coach, qualifying to nationals for the first time since 1998. Keep an eye out for senior Hailey Burleson, who finished last season ranked 16th in the all around, as well as former Canadian elite Madison Copiak who looked strong on three events in preseason training.

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Utah Utah UCLA Utah UCLA UCLA Utah Utah Utah

Other Notable Matchups

No. 6 Kentucky at No. 11 Arkansas: Friday, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m. ET

Overshadowed by the bigger conference showdowns happening this weekend, this meet is one worth paying attention to. Kentucky did not look its sharpest at its quad meet in week one despite taking the W, while Arkansas is looking like a completely new team after its rough, injury-riddled  2017. Kentucky is predicted to be the upset team in the SEC evening session this year, with a strong chance at nationals, while Arkansas is continually being lowballed in its expectations. The turning point with these two teams will likely be floor, as it’s a weakness for both squads. Whoever performs better on the event will likely win this matchup, and while most expect it to be Kentucky, Arkansas is well poised to take advantage of any mistakes the Cats might make. Another important piece to this meet’s puzzle will be the all arounders. Stalwarts Sidney Dukes and Alex Hyland were both kept out of bars last week at Kentucky, leaving Mollie Korth as the team’s sole four-event gymnast while Arkansas had steady sophomore Jessica Yamzon and redshirt freshman Sarah Shaffer in the top six on each event last weekend. Shaffer clearly let her first-meet jitters get to her, but Yamzon delivered solid scores on three of four events. Even if Kentucky wins, Arkansas stealing the all around title would be considered an upset—one the Razorbacks are likely itching for.

Lindenwood at TWU: Friday, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m. ET

Lindenwood and TWU will face off on Friday for the first of likely three occasions in 2018. The second being the MIC championship, of which Lindenwood is the defending champion over second-place TWU, while the third is USAG nationals, where TWU is the defending title holder. Needless to say, the rivalry between these two is fierce and one with high-stakes. Lindenwood, the newest team in the NCAA, is a slight favorite with a valuable freshman class, but this meet could really go either way. The Lions will hope to see senior star Kierstin Sokolowski return to the all around after a knee injury limited her to three events last season. Sophomore Ryan Henry showed flashes of greatness last year, and now with a season under her belt, could easily join Sokolowski as an all arounder. And don’t miss sophomore Breanna Franklin, who has been seen training a 10.0 vault in preseason. TWU is known and loved by fans for its astounding skill variety and difficulty—junior Madison Dickson’s front tuck beam mount is can’t-miss. Senior Schyler Jones and sophomore Bria Northrop will likely compete all around throughout the season and provide the most essential scores.

Missouri at No. 23 Auburn: Friday, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m. ET

Another lower-profile SEC matchup takes place in Auburn Arena this week, as the duo of Tigers face off. This will be Missouri’s first showing of the year, and with former freshman phenom Morgan Porter back to full strength, it expects to hit the ground running in 2018. Whether she’s back on all four events or not will really make a difference to Missouri, who had to scramble to turn backup routines into passable lineup contributors last season. Also take notice of senior Britney Ward on vault and beam. Her routines are easily the team’s best on both apparatus. Auburn, on the other hand, is coming off a pretty dismal first meet of 2018. These Tigers lost to Iowa State and Arizona State in a quad that also included Iowa, only scoring a 193. Based on the freshman talent Auburn has available, counting falls on both bars and floor will not cut it in front of a home crowd this week. Watch out in particular for Abby Milliet and Gracie Day, who fell on bars last week but typically contribute some of the best scores on the team. Also keep your eyes peeled for Arizona transfer Skyler Sheppard, who could contribute scores on all three of her events.

Washington at Sacramento State: Friday, Jan. 12 at 10 p.m. ET

Washington makes its season debut in Sacramento on Friday after an offseason filled with upheaval. Of the Huskies’ announced freshman class of four, only walk-on Hannah Willmarth made it to season in competitive shape. Furthermore, senior stars Hailey Burleson and Joslyn Goings have had injury concerns in preseason, though based on recent intrasquad footage, both have returned to competitive shape. Don’t expect Malory Rose or Kristyn Hoffa to return to lineups just yet; the duo is working back from 2017 ACL tears and don’t appear to be back to full routines. That said, two gymnasts whose performances were limited last year by lingering injuries appear to be back in peak form in junior Monica Riley and sophomore Evanni Roberson, who could each be competitive all arounders if lineup space allows. Former Canadian elite Madison Copiak also looks ready for a standout season after a nervy freshman campaign. Sacramento State had a rocky start to its season, scoring 192.875 at the NorCal Classic—a mark well below this talented team’s ability. Watch for Courtney Soliwoda, who scored a 9.80 on beam in an astoundingly quick return from a late November Achilles tear. And who could forget fan favorite Lauren Rice, whose antics in and out of her routines provide huge entertainment value, as well as essential scores.

No. 29 Ohio State at No. 5 Michigan: Saturday, Jan. 13 at 6 p.m. ET

Ohio State and Michigan kicked things off with big matchups last weekend. The Buckeyes fell to UCLA at Pauley Pavilion while the Wolverines upset Alabama at home. Ohio State struggled on bars, finishing the rotation with only three routines without major error. Notably, Kaitlynn Hofland, one of Ohio State’s best bar workers, did not compete. The Buckeyes excelled on floor, though, showing off their Paulicivic-choreographed routines. The floor charge was led by Alexis Mattern’s 9.9. Meanwhile, Michigan did not count a fall in its contest with Alabama, though beam was wobbly for the usually steady Wolverines. Bars was a highlight, headlined by a 9.9 from Brianna Brown. Look for both teams to be more settled and less jittery in this Big Ten matchup, but don’t expect perfection yet. Michigan is the likely winner, though Ohio State could pull out a victory if the Wolverines succumb to beam wobbles like fans saw at certain points last season. In the all around, expect Michigan’s Olivia Karas, who notched a 39.35 in week one, to take the title, with Mattern not far behind.

Oregon State at Pittsburgh: Saturday, Jan. 13 at 6 p.m. ET

The Beavers and the Panthers open their season in Pittsburgh with major shakeups for both teams from 2017. Oregon State lost six gymnasts and 14 routines, including Maddie Gardiner and Kaytianna McMillan, both of whom contributed heavily with strong results. Former Arkansas assistant coach Samantha Snider was announced as head coach for Pittsburgh, taking over for the Panther’s head coach of 31 years, Debbie Yohman. Along with Snider, former Eastern Michigan gymnast Catie Conrad transferred over the summer. Conrad’s strengths lay in beam and bars, but don’t rule out all around action for the senior. Pittsburgh also gains freshman Haley Brechwald, who should see action in the all around. Brechwald most recently had a stellar J.O. nationals showing, where she placed fifth all around and second on the uneven bars. Ones to watch for OSU include veteran Dani Dessaints, who, while a mainstay on beam last season, is looking to expand her horizons by contributing on the three other apparatuses. Sophomore Isis Lowery is the Beavers’ strongest floor competitor, so expect to see another entertaining showing from her. The team isn’t short on freshmen either; the most notable is Kaitlyn Yanish, who will look to make lineups on all four events.

No. 30 Iowa at No. 28 Michigan State: Saturday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. ET

In week one, Iowa took fourth in a quad meet at Arizona State, while Michigan fell to Bowling Green in East Lansing, with both teams showing early season jitters. In Tempe, Iowa struggled on bars and beam, counting an 8.5 and 9.325, as well as a 9.1 on beam. Vault and floor were much stronger rotations for the Hawkeyes, but not strong enough to overtake Iowa State, Arizona State or Auburn in the end. Clair Kaji was a standout on her three events, with no score lower than a 9.8, and Charlotte Sullivan had a strong 39.075 all around performance. Michigan State also counted a number of mistakes, including one on vault and two on bars. The Spartans put up two freshmen, Lea Mitchell and Anne Maxim, in the all around. Both had some excellent routines but also some major mistakes. Roya Shirley also stood out for the Spartans, putting up a 39.075 in the all around. Notably, Ally Hoyer did not compete. This Big Ten contest will be a battle to see which team went back into the gym this week and fixed mental mistakes. Iowa, which only put up one freshman routine at ASU, should be able to rely on veteran experience to bounce back, while MSU’s fate is in the hands of its newcomers.  

California at No. 17 BYU: Saturday, Jan. 13 at 10 p.m. ET

California is coming off of a win at the NorCal Classic on Monday, where it scored a 195.475, compared to BYU’s loss to Utah with a 194.275. Cal freshmen Kyana George, Nina Schank and Alma Kuc each made their debuts, and Toni-Ann Williams competed in her first meet back since suffering a season-ending achilles injury in 2017. The Bears look to improve on their Monday-night performance by cleaning up bars—an event they counted a fall on at Stanford. The Cougars had a similar performance on the event against Utah and will look to improve their consistency as well. The team’s highest scoring event was floor, and you won’t want to miss these entertaining routines.

No. 27 Air Force at No. 8 Denver: Sunday, Jan. 14 at 4 p.m. ET

Denver takes on Air Force in the Pioneers’ first home meet of the season Sunday. Both teams are coming off of wins in the opening weekend, Denver against Arizona and Air Force against UW-La Crosse—the Falcons’ highest season-opening score under head coach Doug Day. Standout performers for the Pioneers in Tucson were Maddie Karr and Lynnzee Brown, who finished one-two in the all around. Karr also posted a 9.925 on vault and a 9.9 on beam to win those event titles while Brown won the floor with a 9.9 in her debut. But the meet wasn’t perfect. The Pioneers were forced to count a bars fall after both Mia Sundstrom and Emily Glynn fell off the apparatus. But the talent is there, and the team is expected to improve throughout the season. The Falcons, on the other hand, saw standout performances by junior Mariana Murphy, who won the all around with a 38.675 and took the beam title with a 9.775, as well as Jessica Kirkpatrick who scored a 9.775 on bars to win the event. The Pioneers are expected to take this meet, but for each team the goal will be improvement.

Oklahoma at Georgia: Monday, Jan. 15 at 2 p.m. ET

To wrap up week two, Georgia will face off against Oklahoma in Athens for its home opener in the newly renovated Stegeman Coliseum. This meet will surely be one to watch: Last season Oklahoma was on fire, winning the NCAA title for the second year in a row with an impressive 198.375. The Gymdogs are facing a rebuilding year after head coach Danna Durante was fired at the end of the 2017 season and replaced by former collegiate standout Courtney Kupets Carter. However, the team is looking even more confident going into this season, thanks, in part, to Suzanne Yoculan’s leadership in the role of volunteer assistant coach. Georgia sophomore Rachel Dickson made her mark as a freshman, earning Second-Team All-America honors at nationals. Fellow Gymdog Sydney Snead also was a standout as an All-American, finishing the regular season ranked No. 9 on vault. For the Sooners, Maggie Nichols started her path to potentially being one of the greatest NCAA gymnasts of all time, sharing the national title on bars and scoring seven perfect 10.0s in her first year. The meet will also mark Nichols’ first competition appearance since coming out as the first whistleblower in the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

These aren’t the only meets happening this weekend. To see all the matchups all in one place, take a look at our master schedule. You can also find live scoring and video links for all this weekend’s meets below.

DateTime (ET)TeamsScoring LinkVideo LinkAvailability
Thurs, Jan. 119:00 p.m.SUU at Boise StScores VideoLive Stream
Fri, Jan. 126:45 p.m.LSU at UFScoresVideoSECN
Fri, Jan. 127:00 p.m.NCSU at UNCScoresVideoACC Network Extra
Fri, Jan. 127:00 p.m.UW-S at UW-OScoresVideoLive Stream
Fri, Jan. 127:00 p.m.UW-W at UW-ECScoresVideo
Fri, Jan. 127:30 p.m.Ariz at Iowa StScoresVideoSubscription Required
Fri, Jan. 127:30 p.m.Gustavus at UW-LCScoresVideo
Fri, Jan. 127:30 p.m.Illinois St at SEMOScoresVideoIll. St. Facebook live
Fri, Jan. 128:00 p.m.UK at ArkScoresSECN+
Fri, Jan. 128:00 p.m.LU at TWUScoresVideoLive Stream
Fri, Jan. 128:00 p.m.Miz at AubScoresVideoSECN+
Fri, Jan. 128:30 p.m.UGA at AlaScoresVideoSECN
Fri, Jan. 129:00 p.m.Cal at BYUScoresVideo Live Stream
Fri, Jan. 1210:00 p.m.UC Davis at SPUScoresVideo Live Stream
Fri, Jan. 1210:00 p.m.UW at Sac StateScoresVideoPluto TV
Fri, Jan. 1211:00 p.m.Cortland at AlaskaScoresVideoLive Stream
Sat, Jan. 131:00 p.m.Ill, SCSU, Yale at RUScoresVideo
Sat, Jan. 131:00 p.m.Ithaca, Springfield, WCU at UrsinusScoresVideo
Sat, Jan. 132:00 p.m.USU at BGSUScoresVideo
Sat, Jan. 134:00 p.m.Neb at PSUScoresVideoBTN+/FloGym
Sat, Jan. 135:00 p.m.Bridgeport at UNHScoresVideoLive Stream
Sat, Jan. 135:00 p.m.UMD, NIU, Winona at MinnScoresVideoBTN+/FloGym
Sat, Jan. 136:00 p.m.CMU at EMUScoresVideoLive Stream
Sat, Jan. 136:00 p.m.Oregon St at PittScoresVideoACCN Extra
Sat, Jan. 136:00 p.m.tOSU at UMScoresVideoESPNU
Sat, Jan. 137:00 p.m.Iowa at MSUScoresVideoBTN+/FloGym
Sun, Jan. 1412:00 p.m.Brown at RICScoresVideo
Sun, Jan. 141:00 p.m.ASU at WVUScoresVideoLive Stream
Sun, Jan. 141:00 p.m.Ball State, Cornell, Penn at GWUScoresVideo ($)Live Stream
Sun, Jan. 141:00 p.m.Centenary at KSUScoresVideoLive Stream
Sun, Jan. 141:00 p.m.UIC at WMUScoresVideo
Sun, Jan. 142:00 p.m.Temple, W&M at TowsonScoresVideo
Sun, Jan. 142:00 p.m.UW-W at HamlineScoresVideo
Sun, Jan. 144:00 p.m.USAFA at DUScoresVideo ($)Altitude TV
Sun, Jan. 145:00 p.m.Elevate with Stan, UCLA, Utah, UWScoresVideoFloGym
Sun, Jan. 146:00 p.m.Cortland at AlaskaScoresVideoLive Stream
Mon, Jan. 152:00 p.m.OU at UGAScoresVideoSECN+
Mon, Jan. 155:00 p.m.LU at SEMOScoresVideo

Don’t worry! We haven’t forgotten about Fantasy Gymnastics players. We have a number of resources to aid in your weekly success. Check out our updated injury report to see if any of your gymnasts have been out of action. We also have a list of teams on byes, as well as those with multiple competitions, this week.

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Article by the editors at NCAA Gym News

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