For gymnastics fans, USAG nationals provides an essential oasis in the two-week interval between NCAA regionals and nationals. That said, it can be difficult to follow along with a quad stream of less familiar teams, so we’ve picked out some of the most essential routines of the championships to help you along.
We didn’t have space to feature every great routine, so this is by no means a complete list—feel free to comment your favorites!
Kierstin Sokolowski (Lindenwood): VT / BB
Lindenwood’s senior Sokolowski is ranked first in USAG standings on both of her two best events and qualified to NCAA regionals as a specialist for the third time in her collegiate career. She’s an MG Elite alumna, and her pedigree shows in her beautiful beam technique and killer triple series. Competing three events near-weekly in 2018, she’s registered only five scores below 9.750.
Jade Buford (Yale): FX
Sophomore Buford has been a leading figure in Yale’s revival in 2018, qualifying to regionals as an all arounder. Her floor routine is the centerpiece of her set: This wildly powerful and theatrical routine has gone over 9.900 twice this season. (Check the rebound split leap on her last pass!)
Kathryn Doran (Bridgeport): UB
Doran is a Canadian freshman at Bridgeport and made an immediate impact, starting out on bars and beam and working into the all around. Her signature event is bars, where she’s gone as high as 9.900 in 2018 on the strength of a beautiful Jaeger and great double front dismount.
Kathleen Aberger (SCSU) – FX
Aberger is a fan favorite on floor for reasons that will be clear within the first five seconds of her routine: Her dance quality is incredible, and while her acro skills aren’t the most difficult in the field, they’re incredibly satisfying to watch.
Kyra Levi (Penn) – UB
Levi is Penn’s team captain, and though she usually competes three events, bars is her signature. This routine features a beautiful Gienger and an elite-worthy Pak salto.
Alexis Brawner (SEMO) – VT / UB / FX
Brawner is ranked in the top 10 on three events, and is tied for first on floor. The senior will be closing out her career as an individual qualifier at nationals, and will get to show off her fun and incredibly precise floor routine.
Jacey Baldovino (Yale): BB
Baldovino, only a freshman, is the top-ranked all arounder in USAG standings. She’s fallen only once in her freshman season, and registered a high score of 9.925 on beam. Her set is difficult and elegant, featuring a beautiful switch ring leap!
Schyler Jones (TWU): VT / FX
Jones is the leader of TWU’s invaluable senior class, and the Pioneers have gotten incredible mileage from her leg events. Scoring under 9.700 only once on either piece this season, her performance is dynamic and sophisticated.
Anna Salamone (Air Force): UB
This routine carried Salamone to numerous bars titles and conference specialist honors. She’s extremely consistent and boasts one of the tidiest Giengers in the NCAA.
Emily Milliet (Lindenwood) – Beam
Don’t be fooled by the fact that the only recent video we could find has a fall—Lindenwood’s sophomore beam specialist can go as high as 9.900 with unparalleled panache. Her kickover pike front is beautiful, and yes, she’s the younger sister of Auburn gymnast Abby!
Maya Reimers (Bridgeport) – FX
Reimers is tied for the top ranking on floor, with a peak score of 9.925 in 2018. The sophomore exhibits Bridgeport’s characteristic performance quality, as well as shows an amazing half-laid out full in.
Article by Rebecca Scally