The five club programs may suffer from a lack of funding and scholarships from their athletic departments, but they don’t suffer from lack of hard work and perseverance. The 2018 season saw the upstart of a new program in NorCal United, SC United moved up in the rankings for the first time and Arizona State came even closer to an NCAA championships appearance. The 2019 season should bring even more success to the club programs, with many more college-aged gymnasts choosing to continue their careers on a club team, allowing them to continue to grow.
USAG Club Nationals – 1st
Final 2018 Ranking – 14th
Gains: Brennan Auger, Flint Bornstein, Kyle Burriss, Nicholas Castellon, Vincent Colosimo, Cambry Del Valle, Spencer Diamond, Andrew French, Will Helmen, Christian Jennings, Kolton Koontz, Sean Land, Eric Manning, Mason McNeel, Alden Miller, Logan Parrish, Nicholas Perez, Joe Rabaja, Franky Spinos, Jakob Woxland
Losses: Daniel Bronnenberg, Piercen Davis, William Howald, Austin Kane, Nikita Latman, Logan Linde, Connor Lyons, Kevin Riggle, Jon Patrick Voyles, Riley Ward
Since finishing the 2013 season ranked 18th, Arizona State has been steadily climbing the rankings over the past few years, finishing 14th last season. This year, the Sun Devils will compete as two teams, Gold and Maroon, splitting up their gigantic 57-man roster. After winning the club division team title at USAG nationals last year, Arizona State will challenge once again for the title this year while also having an outside chance at qualifying as a team for the NCAA championships. Arizona State will have two solid all arounders leading the team in sophomore Kiwan Watts and freshman Jordan Williams. Both are coming off of strong performances at U.S. elite nationals this summer where Watts placed 15th in the all around in the senior division and Williams placed ninth as a junior.
USAG Club Nationals – 5th
Final 2018 Ranking – 21st
Gains: Rosters not yet updated
Losses: Chris Radford
NorCal United is unique in that it does not represent a school but rather a region (northern California), and is a team comprised of gymnasts from schools in the area. Last year, in its first season, NorCal United had a six-member roster. While not being able to put forth a competitive team score in any competition, several of the gymnasts had success individually and three gymnasts competed USAG nationals. Those three gymnasts—Erik Gralian, Will Ryan and Robbie Tambunting—will all return for this squad who will hopefully be able to boost its numbers in their second season of competition.
USAG Club Nationals – 3rd
Final 2018 Ranking – 19th
Gains: Rosters not yet updated
Losses: Nick Horner, Andrew Kirk, Micah Cliffe
SC United, representing the southern California region, is a team much like NorCal United, combining gymnasts who attend different schools to form the team. After being ranked 20th every year since the team was formed in 2015, the 2018 season saw SC United move up the rankings to finish 19th and place third at USAG nationals. SC United should have another successful year as they return a majority of their team and lose only seven postseason routines. Two key all arounders, sophomores Diego Neumaier and William Pearce, are returning, as well as sophomore Ivan Alpizar who can bring in big scores on vault where he was able to score in the mid 14s his freshman season.
USAG Club Nationals – 4th
Final 2018 Ranking – 20th
Gains: Benjamin Ewing, Taden Thurber, Forrest Kelly, Orion Kelly, Cameron Weiss, Gianna Desanto
Losses: Joe Fernandes, Joe Luca, Demetris Zambas
After placing 10th at NCAA championships in 2010, Temple has unfortunately been on a slide down the rankings. This can largely be attributed to the program being cut from the athletics department in 2014, depleting its ability to give scholarships and recruit many of the top gymnasts. However, this Temple program has refused to give up. This season, the Owls will have the potential to stop their slide as they have a freshman class as large as the their entire competition team last season. Temple is also returning Jackson Heitland, Toby Warren and Evan Salters, a trio that produced more than half of Temple’s postseason routines in 2018.
USAG Club Nationals – 2nd
Final 2018 Ranking – 17th
Gains: Kyle Hendren, Michael Sloat, Perry Lightfoot, Oscar Hemmert, Connor Pattison, Jared Danek, Joseph McDonnell-Myers
Losses: Carl Meader
Like Arizona State, Washington has slowly but steadily climbed up the rankings over the years, finishing 17th last year after finishing 20th in 2012. The Huskies, however, have stalled at 17th over the past few seasons but can begin moving up once again this year with the addition of seven freshmen and the loss of only one routine from the 2018 postseason. Senior Nathan Tsuji will likely be the team’s most consistent all arounder and could be complemented well across six events by freshman Connor Pattison. Freshman Perry Lightfoot and Michael Sloat should also make an immediate impact in the pommel horse lineups for Washington.
Article by Brandis Heffner
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