The second half of the Big Ten has a lot of potential to challenge the top five teams and shake up conference rankings this year. Two of the teams on this list, Maryland and Iowa, competed in the night session of the conference championship last season. With some big gains—from freshmen to transfers—these teams could be on the rise in 2019.
The potential lineups series is back to discuss teams’ prospects for the 2019 season. However, it has a bit of a new look: less body, more straight-forward analysis yet all the same great information you’ve come to know and love.
No. 26 Maryland Terrapins
Maryland stunned the Big Ten this year, finishing just outside the top 25 — ahead of teams like Oregon State and Stanford — and landing in the championship night session. The 2018 roster was very young, and the Terps only lost a few routines. Three of those, though, belonged to freshman transfer Karrie Thomas, whose loss will hurt on bars, beam and floor.
|Losses:||Evelyn Nee (UB, FX), Karrie Thomas (UB, BB, FX, transfer to OU), Dominiquea Trotter|
|Gains:||Sanya Glauber, Alexis Rubio, Tiara Wright (UB, BB, transfer from WVU)|
Maryland’s vault lineup will likely look very familiar in 2019. Of the newcomers, Alexis Rubio is the most likely to break in. She vaults a strong and dynamic full that could challenge for a late lineup spot. This will likely remain a lineup without any 10.0 starts, though Kirsten Peterman was training a Yurchenko one and a half last year that never materialized.
Potential Contributors: Audrey Barber (9.845 RQS), Alicia Farina (9.825), Collea Burgess (9.800), Morgan Bixler (9.795), Kirsten Peterman (9.780), Emma Johnson (9.755), Deanna Magro (9.735), Alexis Rubio
Maryland finished 2018 ranked No. 19 in the nation on bars, an event that should continue to be strong in 2019. The most exciting development is senior transfer Tiara Wright, who brings a Shaposhnikova, Tkatchev and stalder + double tuck dismount combination. Sanya Glauber is another likely lineup choice with a big Tkatchev double layout routine. Rubio could also see time, with a Gienger and full-in dismount, though she does lose form occasionally. With Wright and Glauber easily fitting into the holes left by Evelyn Nee and Thomas, the rest of the lineup is likely to remain similar to 2018.
Potential Contributors: Audrey Barber (9.890), Alicia Farina (9.865), Emilie LeBlanc (9.860), Kirsten Peterman (9.855), Tiara Wright (9.819 in 2017), Sanya Glauber, Alexis Rubio
Wright and Rubio bring exciting skills to the Terp’s lineup possibilities. Wright competed a front toss + back handspring swing down series at West Virginia. Though she can get wobbly, she is a definite lineup option. Rubio’s J.O. routine included a punch front mount, a standing front + beat jump and a roundoff double back dismount. Glauber also has a solid routine that features gorgeous split positions. Between the three newcomers, there will be pressure on last year’s lineup to retain spots.
Potential Contributors: Audrey Barber (9.830), Shynelle Agaran (9.825), Emilie LeBlanc (9.765), Kirsten Peterman (9.750), Alicia Farina (9.695), Tiara Wright (9.657 in 2017), Alexis Rubio, Sanya Glauber
Glauber competed a simple yet clean J.O. routine that is certainly lineup quality. With some composition updates she could be the sort of strong mid-lineup routine that shores up an event and makes 49.0s happen. Rubio is the incoming floor star, though, with a big and clean full-in and a switch side + Popa that will do well in college. The bottom of the lineup will need to fight to keep spots.
Potential Contributors: Alicia Farina (9.890), Audrey Barber (9.880), Sabryyia Rouse (9.825), Kirsten Peterman (9.785), Megan McClelland (9.720), Alexis Rubio, Sanya Glauber
Maryland’s strong 2018 was driven by underclassmen, which bodes well for 2019. There are more than enough routines to cover those the Terps are losing, even with Thomas’ transfer. With momentum and confidence from last year, Maryland could make a case for status as a top tier Big Ten team in 2019.
No. 32 Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State is a squad trying to find its identity under new head coach Sarah Shire Brown, who joined the team for the 2018 season. The Nittany Lions are losing only one senior, but a big contributor at that in Briannah Tsang.
|Losses:||Briannah Tsang (AA)|
|Gains:||Erynne Allen (transfer from Kentucky), Melissa Astarita, Dymiana Cox, Donna Howell|
|Returning From Injury:||Jessica Jones (unknown surgery)|
Melissa Astarita is Penn State’s most exciting addition on vault. She has been competing a solid Yurchenko one and a half for several years in J.O. that should transfer well to NCAA. Transfer Erynne Allen exhibitioned a decent full at Kentucky, though the fulls from Dymiana Cox and Donna Howell are stronger. Jessica Jones, returning from injury, also trained a Yurchenko one and a half last preseason and could be a threat. This should be a competitive lineup.
Potential Contributors: Lauren Bridgens (9.835 RQS), Gianna LaGuardia (9.815), Alissa Bonsall (9.795), Sabrina Garcia (9.775), Kourtney Chinnery (9.775), Jessica Jones, Erynne Allen, Melissa Astarita, Dymiana Cox, Donna Howell
The newcomers are not the strongest on bars, an event where Penn State is already strong; the Nittany Lions finished 2018 ranked No. 11 on the event. The likeliest routine is Howell, who competes a solid Jaeger. Astarita boasts a Deltchev, but her transitions and handstands would need a lot of cleaning to break lineups.
Potential Contributors: Lauren Bridgens (9.910), Sabrina Garcia (9.875), Kristen Politz (9.805), Ava Verdeflor (9.805), Tess McCracken (9.785), Alissa Bonsall (9.720), Donna Howell, Melissa Astarita
Beam was a perpetually tense event for the Nittany Lions in 2018; the team was wildly inconsistent. Ava Verdeflor, who competed only twice last year, could be a more frequent lineup presence in 2019. Of the freshmen, Astarita and Cox both have the pieces to become contributors. Astarita would need to perfect her split positions, and Cox would need to tighten up her form throughout, though.
Potential Contributors: Mason Hosek (9.825), Lauren Bridgens (9.785), Kristen Politz (9.720), Sabrina Garcia (9.695), Alissa Bonsall, Ava Verdeflor, Melissa Astarita, Dymiana Cox
The incoming cohort includes two E passes: a double layout from Allen and a full-in from Astarita. However, the latter will need to focus on perfecting her performance if she wants to see time in the top six. Cox comes in with a double pike routine that has superior performance quality and excellent leaps. Her Popa is a highlight, and she should make impact on the lineup immediately. Jones, a reliable floor performer before her injury, could also make significant contributions.
Potential Contributors: Sabrina Garcia (9.870), Lauren Bridgens (9.840), Peyton Schuller (9.815), Jessica Jones (9.795 in 2016), Alissa Bonsall (9.790), Kristen Politz (9.740), Erynne Allen, Dymiana Cox, Melissa Astarita
Briannah Tsang is a massive but not insurmountable loss. Allen, Astarita, Cox and Howell all have pieces that can work together to fill the holes Tsang leaves. A healthy Jones will also help, as will Verdeflor being another year removed from knee surgery.
No. 33 Iowa Hawkeyes
The Hawkeyes had moments of brilliance in 2018, including competing in the night session of the conference championship, but losing Clair Kaji to an Achilles injury partway through the season hurt the team’s final ranking. Her comeback will be key in 2019, as will gaining quality routines from the truly massive freshman class. Lanie Snyder, Nikki Youd and Melissa Zurawski combined for the team’s top RQS on every event in 2018.
|Losses:||Jori Robertson, Lanie Snyder (AA), Nikki Youd (VT, BB, FX), Melissa Zurawski (VT, UB, FX)|
|Gains:||Allie Gilchrist, Alexandra Greenwald, Lauren Guerin, Bridget Killian, Jax Kranitz, Carina Tolan, Mackenzie Vance|
|Returning From Injury:||Clair Kaji (UB, BB, FX, Achilles)|
Vault was Iowa’s weakest event in 2018, and it is possible it will remain so in 2019. Alexandra Greenwald, Lauren Guerin and Bridget Killian all have solid Yurchenko fulls that have the potential to score well in college. At least two of those materializing in lineups will be key. Rose Piorkowski did not vault in 2018 but performed a strong half in 2017; she has battled injuries, but if healthy, she would also be an important addition.
Potential Contributors: Rose Piorkowski (9.815 in 2017), Maria Ortiz (9.800), Nicole Chow (9.790), Charlotte Sullivan (9.780), Misty Jade Carlton (9.725), Alexandra Greenwald, Lauren Guerin, Bridget Killian
Kaji’s return is crucial on bars, where the Hawkeyes return only three postseason routines. Madison Kampschroeder competed six times in 2018, scoring as high as 9.875; she will contribute another critical set. Of the freshmen, Jax Kranitz is the strongest bar worker with a solid Jaeger, gorgeous bail handstand and a strong double front. Greenwald brings difficulty—a Tkatchev, pak and full-twisting double layout—but needs to clean up to be an effective score. Guerin is also an option with strong stalder work and a Tkatchev.
Potential Contributors: Clair Kaji (9.820 in 2017), Charlotte Sullivan (9.825), Nicole Chow (9.790), Emma Hartzler (9.705), Madison Kampschroeder, Alexandra Greenwald, Lauren Guerin, Jax Kranitz
Many of the freshmen show potential on beam, but need to work on presentation and form to factor into the lineup. Freshmen are less critical on the event, as Iowa has a number of returning options. Kranitz is the most polished of the group, and Guerin brings the most exciting skill in a double tuck dismount. Kaji’s return will also be important here.
Potential Contributors: Nicole Chow (9.865), Clair Kaji (9.845 in 2017), Charlotte Sullivan (9.825), Sydney Hogan (9.780), Breanna Fitzke (9.765), Misty Jade Carlson (9.685), Jax Kranitz, Allie Gilchrist, Alexandra Greenwald, Lauren Guerin, Carina Tolan
Kaji, again, is critical on floor. Gina Leal competed a handful of times in 2018, scoring as high as a 9.900, and could be a useful competitor. Greenwald and Guerin both bring full-ins and solid sets, and Kranitz has the best performance quality of the bunch for a very usable double pike routine. As a group, this is the event where the freshmen are the most prepared and will make the biggest immediate impact.
Potential Contributors: Clair Kaji (9.875 in 2017), Nicole Chow (9.835), Charlotte Sullivan (9.815), Breanna Fitzke (9.710), Gina Leal, Alexandra Greenwald, Lauren Guerin, Jax Kranitz
Iowa lost many of its strongest routines from 2018. Kaji’s comeback will play a big role in whether or not the Hawkeyes can compete with the best in the conference in 2019. Of the incoming group, Greenwald and Guerin are potential all arounders while Kranitz is exciting on her three pieces.
No. 49 Michigan State Spartans
The Spartans suffered an incredible number of injuries to top performers in 2018, which left them with their lowest ranking in at least 20 years. If the Spartans are going to bounce back in 2019, those returning from injury, as well as the freshman class, need to step up.
|Losses:||Brittini Chappell (FX, medical retirement), Anna Gamelo (VT, BB), Victoria Huehn (VT, BB, FX), Tessa Jaranowski (VT, UB), Anne Maxim (UB, transfer to Michigan), Hailee Westney (UB, BB)|
|Gains:||Sydney Ewing, Ashley Hofelich, Alaina Raybon, Sydney Schocker, Shannon St. Jean (transfer from BGSU), Jenna Wicker, Alyssa Wiedeman|
|Returning From Injury:||Gabriella Douglas (VT, BB, FX, ACL), Ally Hoyer (VT, BB, FX, partial calf muscle tear), Madison McHale (unknown foot/ankle injury), Roya Shirley (AA, Achilles)|
The Spartans will have many vault options in 2019. Freshmen Alyssa Wiedeman and Ashley Hofelich both bring solid Yurchenko fulls, Jenna Wicker and Sydney Ewing competed halfs and Alaina Raybon has a steady Yurchenko half-on tuck (9.90 SV). Those returning from injury bring options as well; Ally Hoyer, Roya Shirley and Gabriella Douglas were all vault staples in 2017. Additionally, sophomore Lea Mitchell has been training a Yurchenko one and a half this summer.
Potential Contributors: Lea Mitchell (9.775 RQS), Ally Hoyer (9.680 in 2017), Roya Shirley (9.675 in 2017), Michelina Lupinetti (9.670), Gabriella Douglas (9.595 in 2017), Isabelle Wittebort (9.480), Sydney Ewing, Ashley Hofelich, Alaina Raybon, Jenna Wicker, Alyssa Wiedeman
Bars is the event where MSU is most decimated compared to 2018. Shirley’s return will help, but the Spartans will need to rely on a number of newcomer routines. Raybon has some unpolished work but competes a true Shaposhnikova (from a clear hip entry) and a toe-on front pike dismount. Shannon St. Jean never competed at Bowling Green, but her Tkatchev, double layout set could be in play. Wiedeman, who is training a Ray, and Schocker, who is working a giant full to double tuck to get her routine up to the level, are also options.
Potential Contributors: Jessica Ling (9.815), Lea Mitchell (9.810), Roya Shirley (9.680 in 2017), Tristan Brown (9.665), Alaina Raybon, Sydney Schocker, Shannon St. Jean, Alyssa Wiedeman
Gabriella Douglas’ return to beam will be critical in 2019, as will Hoyer’s. Raybon brings a lot of tools to the event (a superb standing layout stepout, side aerial + roundoff series and a punch front + back handspring series) and with some composition work, could have an exciting routine. Ewing has the execution you’d expect from a WOGA gymnast but needs to focus on her consistency on the event to really factor in. St. Jean has the same problem but is another option, as is Hoeflich.
Potential Contributors: Gabriella Douglas (9.820 in 2017), Lea Mitchell (9.795), Michelina Lupinetti (9.740), Ally Hoyer (9.740 in 2017), Molly Hoerner-O’Malley (9.560), Tristan Brown (9.320), Sydney Ewing, Ashley Hoeflich, Alaina Raybon, Shannon St. Jean
Douglas and Hoyer should be back on floor in 2019. Before her injury, Hoyer was training a full-in. Two freshmen bring E passes to East Lansing: Ewing has a front double full, and Raybon has a big double front. Both should see lineup time. Wiedeman is also a possibility.
Potential Contributors: Lea Mitchell (9.825), Drew Hendershot (9.790), Tristan Brown (9.770), Molly Hoerner-O’Malley (9.745), Gabriella Douglas (9.740 in 2017), Ally Hoyer, Sydney Ewing, Alaina Raybon, Alyssa Wiedeman
MSU lost a large number of its 2018 routines, but the return of some heavy hitters from injury should be a boost for the Spartans, assuming they are healthy. The newcomers bring all the pieces of a strong incoming class and will be a factor in the teams’ 2019 fate.
No. 56 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Rutgers slid into the 50s in 2018 after several years with higher rankings. Bars especially was a sore spot. With Umme Salim-Beasley now at the helm, the Scarlet Knights might have a new look in 2019. Salim-Beasley, former assistant coach at Rutgers, spent the past three seasons coaching Temple and helping the team climb the rankings; given that she has proven experience turning a team around, she could be a game changer in New Jersey.
|Losses:||Jenna Crisalli, Libby Groden (AA), Makenzey Shank (UB, BB, FX)|
|Gains:||Mia Betancourt, Abigail Karolewski|
|Returning From Injury:||Chloe DeVries (VT, FX, knee surgery)|
Rutgers has a number of vault options for 2019. Chloe DeVries and Riahanah Ali will both be options. DeVries was out all of 2018, and Ali was limited—both with knee injuries. Freshmen Mia Betancourt and Abigail Karolewski both have strong Yurchenko fulls and have trained realistic one and a halfs. Betancourt is the stronger of the two. Rachel Ley has also returned to training vault this summer, with a clean Yurchenko full.
Potential Contributors: Toni Williams (9.780), Belle Huang (9.770), Chloe DeVries (9.745, 2017), Sophia Atienza (9.740), Michelle Amoresano (9.730), Riahanah Ali (9.715, 2017), Jenna Rizkalla (9.665), Emma Karas (9.565), Mia Betancourt, Abigail Karolewski, Rachel Ley
Bars was a struggle for Rutgers in 2018. Several lineup staples—notably Michelle Amoresano and Ley, who is training a Gebeshian—have posted a number of training updates on bars this summer and should keep their lineup spots. There are no recent videos of Betancourt or Karolewski, but both have strong foundations. Betancourt trained a double front dismount and a Ray, though she can lose form at times. Karolewski has excellent lines and a solid Ray as well. Both could challenge for spots.
Potential Contributors: Shannon Farrell (9.790), Michelle Amoresano (9.775), Erin McLachlan (9.700 in 2017), Belle Huang (9.645), Emma Karas (9.480), Rachel Ley (9.265), Mia Betancourt, Abigail Karolewski
Betancourt’s beam is driven by her excellent split positions, even in skills like split fulls. She has competed a steady backhandspring + layout two-foot series and has at least trained a gorgeous tour jete half + back tuck mixed series. Karolewski has tidy beam work but is wildly inconsistent. She could challenge for a lineup spot if she proves she can stay on the beam.
Potential Contributors: Belle Huang (9.805), Erin McLachlan (9.795), Shannon Farrell (9.710), Polina Poliakova (9.710 2017), Michelle Amoresano (9.665), Mia Betancourt, Abigail Karolewski
Having Ali back to full strength should boost floor in 2019. Betancourt and Karolewski are both lineup options, with strong double pike routines. Both have at least trained double layouts, and Karolewski has also trained double Arabians. Betancourt’s leaps also stand out here.
Potential Contributors: Jenna Rizkalla (9.850), Belle Huang (9.830), Riahanah Ali (9.800 in 2017), Toni Williams (9.770), Hannah Prieto (9.665), Shannon Farrell (9.650), Mia Betancourt, Abigail Karolewski
Rutgers struggled in 2018, and lost some of its top routines. With a new coaching staff and two all around capable freshmen, though, 2019 could be a very different story.
READ THIS NEXT: Potential Lineups: Big Ten Part I
Correction 8/13/2018: Delaney Gipp was previously listed as joining Iowa. She will not be on the team.
Article by Emily Minehart
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