The WIAC conference is composed of eight teams—five schools that compete in the WIAC and three schools that compete in the MIAC. The three MIAC schools compete in this conference for gymnastics due to the limited number of division III schools with teams.
Part one of WIAC potential lineups focuses on the five WIAC schools—UW-Eau Claire, UW-La Crosse, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Stout and UW-Whitewater. La Crosse and Whitewater typically fight for the top two spots in the conference, but that’s not to say the rest of the Wisconsin schools don’t put up a fight. The other three teams are fierce competitors that are often neck and neck with each other in the rankings.
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. 67 UW-La Crosse
Coming in at No. 67, La Crosse was able to conclude the 2018 season ranked higher than its division three rivals, higher than a division one school and with an RQS over 191.000. After a second place finish at nationals last year, the team will be shooting for the top of the podium this season. However, like Ursinus in the NCGA East, La Crosse lost many of its top scorers that contributed half of its national lineup routines. The Eagles will have to rely heavily on underclassmen that don’t have much experience, so be on the lookout for some potential struggles early in the season as they figure out what lineups work best.
|Losses:||Amy Enright (UB, BB, FX), Monique Muehlethaler (FX), Leah Spankowski (VT, BB), Sam Wiekamp (AA), Lauren Wilson (VT, UB, FX), Gabby Aguilar (BB), Alexis Sands (VT)|
|Gains:||Ally Brugler, Emma Grant, Megan Hawkins, Mimi Lucido, Kacey Mortenson, Olivia Opheim, Aisling Polley|
After a year that showcased four twisting vaults—a number not usually seen in division III—the Eagles are going to struggle to put together six that features the same amount of difficulty in 2019. Of course, they still have reigning national champion Dani Barmore who will certainly be a staple in the lineup with her difficult Yurchenko full-on tuck-off. Freshmen Aisling Polley and Megan Hawkins bring clean Yurchenko layouts that could accrue some solid scores. Another freshman, Emma Grant, competed a Kaz in J.O., which is a unique vault that could set apart La Crosse’s lineup from other DIII schools.
Potential Contributors: Dani Barmore (9.725 RQS), Jessica Ahrens (9.485 RQS), Sam Weyker (9.470 RQS), Ellie Beckman (9.395 RQS), Breghan Kiloran (9.335 RQS), Savannah Farrell, Ally Brugler, Megan Hawkins, Emma Grant, Aisling Polley
Bars could potentially be the biggest challenge for La Crosse this year. The team retains WIAC champ Brooke Kachinsky and two others that competed at nationals last year. However, after losing three of its main competitors and not bringing in many freshmen with clean bar sets, it might struggle to maintain the ranking and scores it’s seen the last few years. Look for Grant to possibly break into the top six with a nice set that features a full-out dismount and has scored as high as 9.400 in J.O. Another freshman, Olivia Opheim, needs to clean up her form a bit but could contribute a solid set that finishes with a toe-shoot to double tuck.
Potential Contributors: Brooke Kachinsky (RQS 9.670), Breghan Kiloran (RQS 9.560), Dani Barmore (RQS 9.335), Ellie Beckman, Molly Lyngaas, Savannah Farrell, Emma Grant, Olivia Opheim
Beam will be an event the Eagles shine on this season. They return three gymnasts that made national event finals last year, including sophomore Sam Weyker, who is the reigning national champion. Three other returnees have lineup experience, and nearly all of the freshmen have the ability to vie for a spot. Some notable sets include Grant’s, which has an aerial round-off and a standing layout step-out, Kacey Mortenson’s, which has a hitch kick front toss, Hawkin’s, which has a beautiful floaty back handspring layout step-out and switch leap back pike, and Opheim’s, which has a front aerial back tuck series and a side aerial to back layout one and a half dismount.
Potential Contributors: Sam Weyker (9.670 RQS), Jessica Ahrens (9.635 RQS), Ally Blixt (9.590 RQS), Dani Barmore (9.440 RQS), Brooke Kachinsky, Faith Sersland, Ally Brugler, Emma Grant, Megan Hawkins, Kacey Mortenson, Olivia Opheim, Aisling Polley
Another event where a lot of freshmen are expected to compete is floor. Though there are six returnees that competed last year, freshmen Ally Brugler, Grant and Hawkins all compete two doubles in their sets—something you don’t see often in DIII. Polley and Mortenson also have clean sets that open with doubles and close with rudis. Besides freshmen, watch for junior Brittany Gutzkow to make a push for a spot. Gutzkow has training videos from this summer of full-ins, so if that pans out, it could be huge for the lineup.
Potential Contributors: Sam Weyker (9.695 RQS), Ellie Beckman (9.505 RQS), Breghan Kiloran (9.325 RQS), Jenna Danninger, Faith Sersland, Jess Ahrens, Ally Brugler, Emma Grant, Megan Hawkins, Aisling Polley, Kacey Mortenson, Brittany Gutzkow
Though they lost a lot of key routines, the Eagles should still be able to maintain their reputation as one of the top schools in the conference and in the division thanks to a big freshmen class that provides clean routines guaranteed to produce solid scores. However, they’ll have to overcome lack of difficulty on vault and bars if they truly want to be a championship contender.
No. 71 UW-Whitewater
After a devastatingly close loss to La Crosse at the WIAC Championship, the Warhawks bounced back to overtake three higher-ranked DIII schools and win the national title for the second year in a row. The team returns a strong senior class of five—all of which played key roles on multiple events last year—and brings in a huge freshmen class of eight. Expect to see the rankings shift in its favor this year as the seasoned veterans lead their new teammates on a journey toward their sixth national team title.
|Losses:||Lewa Evans (VT, BB, FX), Kate Mierow (UB, BB, FX), Chloe Rehberg (VT), Sarah Rhodes (UB), Christina Slack (VT, UB)|
|Gains:||Kaylie Collins, Rachel Lewellen, Madison Latzke, Brooke Lutz, Morgan McEntire, Emily North, Ashleigh Turek, Emily Whitis|
Vault is shaping up to be one of Whitewater’s strongest events this season with three returning Yurchenko fulls and an additional three yurchenko fulls from freshmen Rachel Lewellen, Madison Latzke and Emily North. They could be the first DIII team to put up a lineup of all twisting vaults. However, if they need backup, freshmen Morgan McEntire and Ashleigh Turek have clean Yurchenko layouts that could provide solid and reliable scores.
Potential Contributors: Lauren Marshall (9.680 RQS), Lisa O’Donnell (9.480 RQS), Erika Briscoe (9.455 RQS), Bailey Fitzpatrick (9.155 RQS), Blaise Wilson, Rachel Lewellen, Madison Latzke, Emily North, Morgan McEntire, Ashleigh Turek
Like conference foe La Crosse, Whitewater only returns three of its top bar contributors from last year. However, senior Abby Helmke saw action toward the end of last season and was able to post a solid 9.600 at the conference championships. Look for her to capitalize on the open spots and become a consistent member of the lineup. Freshmen Lewellen, North and Turek yet again could contribute here. Lewellen has a massive gienger but needs to add a bit more difficulty to her dismount. North doesn’t have a major release but has a clean set that has scored as high as 9.575 in J.O. Turek’s set includes a Jaeger and blind full + double back dismount.
Potential Contributors: Lisa O’Donnell (9.695 RQS), Bailey Fitzpatrick (9.585 RQS), Blaise Wilson (9.485 RQS), Abby Helmke, Rachel Lewellen, Emily North, Ashleigh Turek
With four great beam workers returning and Helmke again proving she shouldn’t be counted out after coming in clutch with a 9.700 at nationals, it’s going to be difficult for some rookies to break into the beam lineup. However, look for McEntire and North to see action with their difficult but steady routines. McEntire opens her set with a unique stag leap mount, which sets her apart from other competitors, and she also competes a front aerial and side somi—both of which are fairly uncommon in DIII. North has a solid set complete with a beautiful back handspring layout step-out, cat leap to side aerial and floaty roundoff one and a half dismount.
Potential Contributors: Franchesca Hutton (9.685 RQS), Acacia Fossum (9.480 RQS), Erika Briscoe (9.325 RQS), Lisa O’Donnell (9.260 RQS), Abby Helmke, Jessi Rondeau, Blaise Wilson, Morgan McEntire, Emily North, Ashleigh Turek, Brooke Lutz
The Warhawks return five floor routines with an RQS above 9.500, so the team shouldn’t struggle to find someone to fill that remaining spot with a solid score. North is a strong possibility as she competed a two-pass routine that includes a huge double tuck that looks way too easy for her, as well as a clean front layout + front full. Turek and McEntire also have solid sets that could make the top six if they up the difficulty of their last passes.
Potential Contributors: Lisa O’Donnell (9.730 RQS), Franchesca Hutton (9.695 RQS), Acacia Fossum (9.690 RQS), Abby Helmke (9.530 RQS), Erika Briscoe (9.525 RQS), Blaise Wilson, Emily North, Ashleigh Turek, Morgan McEntire, Brooke Lutz
On paper, Whitewater looks like it’s the team to beat in 2019. From veterans that consistently produce routines that score over 9.600 to freshmen who have scored into the high 37s in the all around, the Warhawks just need to stay healthy and consistent to be the top contenders for the national title.
No. 77 UW-Stout
After a shocking eighth place finish at conference in 2018 due to a tragic beam rotation, the Blue Devils will be looking to redeem themselves and push for that third nationals-qualifying spot. The team already took a hit this fall when Kenzie Hyde announced she would no longer be returning for a fifth year, but they still have at least four solid sets on every event. So with some hard work and positivity, the team will be able to combat the loss.
|Losses:||Kenzie Hyde (VT, BB, FX)|
|Gains:||Sam Abler, Jaclyn Bertrand, Maria Wagner, Britney Wolfe|
The return of Shaquilla Payne at the end of last season was a welcome sight for everyone in attendance at conference championships, as she garnered a huge 9.800 for her front handspring front pike vault. She will no doubt be an incredible addition to the five solid contributors returning this year. Another veteran to watch for is Mikala Bugge who also competes a front handspring front and has shown training videos of a front handspring front handspring front—an uncommon vault currently being competed by only one other gymnast at the DIII level. Also watch for freshman Britney Wolfe who has a lovely Yurchenko layout that could potentially knock out some of the lower scoring returnees.
Potential Contributors: Brooke Terry (9.385 RQS), Sierra Beaver (9.305 RQS), Maddie Mullenbach (9.225 RQS), MacKenzie Nicholson (9.135 RQS), Mallary Dick (9.070 RQS), Shaquilla Payne, Mikala Bugge, Shadae Boone, Belle Ihde, Britney Wolfe
Bars was Stout’s strongest event last year and with four returnees that have an RQS above 9.250, this season will probably be similar. Again, Wolfe could provide a clean set for the Blue Devils. She doesn’t have much difficulty, but great lines have allowed her to get solid scores. Bugge’s return to competition could also be beneficial as she proved she was consistent in the first few meets of 2018.
Potential Contributors: Sierra Beaver (9.580 RQS), MacKenzie Nicholson (9.445 RQS), Mallary Dick (9.330 RQS), Brooke Terry (9.295 RQS), Sierra Coonts (8.865 RQS), Shaquilla Payne, Mikala Bugge, Cassie Ehmann, Britney Wolfe, Jaclyn Bertrand
Beam was all over the board last year in terms of consistency, culminating in an unfortunate six-fall rotation at conference. However, Stout has some incredible beam workers and has a lot of potential if they can all hit at the same time. Chelsea Gray is a highlight in the rotation with beautiful long lines. Brooke Terry is also star with a routine that includes a great sheep jump and nice back handspring layout step-out. Wolfe could also contribute a solid routine that has a unique straddle half + back tuck combination and aerial + back full dismount.
Potential Contributors: Brooke Terry (9.620 RQS), Sierra Beaver (9.285 RQS), Chelsea Gray (9.265 RQS), Emma Sirjord (8.885 RQS), Shadae Boone, Maddie Mullenbach, Mikala Bugge, Britney Wolfe
Stout has quite a few floor options this year with five returners that have an RQS above 9.000. However, they’ll have to add in some difficulty and consistency to compete with some of the other schools in the conference. The return of Bugge will be critical here as she’s capable of consistently getting scores at or above a 9.500. Wolfe is another good option; she opens with a huge double pike and has scored into the mid-9.000 range in J.O.
Potential Contributors: Brooke Terry (9.385 RQS), Sierra Beaver (9.285 RQS), Maddie Mullenbach (9.170 RQS), Emma Sirjord (9.125 RQS), MacKenzie Nicholson (9.060 RQS), Belle Ihde, Mikala Bugge, Shadae Boone, Saga Svantesson, Britney Wolfe
Fueled by a shocking finish in 2018, Stout should have a strong return to competition this season after losing only one gymnast. Also of note is the fact that Wolfe, a freshmen, could be a strong all arounder for the Blue Devils. With Terry and Sierra Beaver also being two of the top all arounders in the conference, it will be interesting to see if they add in another to the lineup or if someone gets knocked out.
No. 79 UW-Eau Claire
Eau Claire is a team that always seems to peak at the right time, but its peak hasn’t been quite good enough in the past. Hovering around the fourth or fifth spot at conference, the team tends to just miss qualifying for nationals, and 2018 was no exception. However, head coach Jean DeLisle retired after the 2018 season and former assistant coach and BluGold gymnastics alumni Danielle Schulzetenberg is now at the helm. It will be exciting to see what her leadership and direction brings to the team.
|Losses:||Destiny Cobbs (BB), Tori Erickson (AA), Bailee Epselien (VT), Maly Krajco (VT), Becca Wilcox (VT)|
|Gains:||Karly Albers, Mya Bauer, Bailey Davidson, Danielle Malecha, Tatum Sweeney, Tayla Thome|
Ashley Benes’ fantastic hand front will remain one of the standouts in the BluGold lineup. Sophomore Victoria Perron could see some more action this year. Her Kaz is one of the more difficult vault options on the Eau Claire team. Freshmen Bailey Davidson and Danielle Malecha are also looking for spots of their own with a big Tsuk layout and Yurchenko layout respectively.
Potential Contributors: Ashley Benes (9.475 RQS), Andrea Gessner (9.295 RQS), Lauralynn Anderson (9.110 RQS), Victoria Perron, Bailey Davidson, Danielle Malecha
Though bars was the team’s lowest ranking event in 2018, it’s been showing great progress in its training updates this fall. With some cleaning up, it could definitely turn this into one of its best events as it’s one where they have a lot of difficulty. Senior Hannah Lewis is a star on this event with a beautiful Jaeger to bail. Sydney Dame was recently seen catching a huge Gienger, which would be big addition to her routine, and Lauralynn Anderson’s Maloney to bail is an exciting combo not often seen at the division three level. As for freshmen, Malecha showed some promise when she shared a video of Tkachev work.
Potential Contributors: Hannah Lewis (9.595 RQS), Megan Fayler (9.475 RQS), Lauralynn Anderson (9.180 RQS), Clare Mascia (8.885 RQS), Sydney Dame (8.435 RQS), Danielle Malecha
Anderson and her jam-packed routine lead the pack on this event. Watch for her to remain one of the biggest contributors here as her Onodi + wolf jump and jump combination difficulty really set her apart from her competitors and teammates. Besides a few other returners, Malecha could also potentially contribute. Though she doesn’t have any major standout skills, she’s solid and confident on her series and leaps. Also, freshman Tayla Thome scored into the 9.800-range in Xcel Diamond, so look to see how that translates to the NCAA level.
Potential Contributors: Lauralynn Anderson (9.315 RQS), Clare Mascia (9.300 RQS), Hannah Wendel (9.200 RQS), Kiya Bjorge (9.075 RQS), Sydney Dame, Erin Hillegonds, Danielle Malecha, Tayla Thome
Five seniors could potentially be in the floor lineup in 2019. Kiya Bjorge leads the way with a fun and clean set that includes a beautiful switch ring. Amelia Moorehouse is another big set for the BluGolds with some great choreography and a powerful Rudi to split jump to finish. Malecha could also be a lineup contender. She didn’t get to compete floor during her senior season but has videos of a big double tuck and a clean front layout + front layout.
Potential Contributors: Kiya Bjorge (9.555 RQS), Hannah Wendel (9.285 RQS), Amelia Moorehouse (9.255 RQS), Sydney Dame (9.255 RQS), Hannah Lewis (8.975 RQS), Lauralynn Anderson, Danielle Malecha
Unlike many of the other schools in the conference, Eau Claire won’t be relying as heavily on its freshmen. This could work in the team’s favor as the new coaching staff knows it has a group of steady and reliable gymnasts that have a lot of lineup experience. That said, it’s always exciting to see new faces, and it’ll want to give the newcomers some experience, so watch for when and where it decides to pop in some members of the freshman class.
No. 80 UW-Oshkosh
UW-Oshkosh actually had a fairly solid season last year, though this ranking doesn’t really reflect that. It consistently scored in the mid-180 range throughout the season and even scored as high as 190.975 at one point. Though it lost some big contributors, it has a huge freshman class that brings in a lot of difficulty. The Titans are a team on the rise and will definitely be shooting to compete at the national championships, seeing as they’re hosting.
|Losses:||Amanda McBrayer (AA), Kasondra Stamopoulos (UB, BB), Krysten Zytniowski (VT)|
|Gains:||Emily Gilot, Kaira Hammond, Rahdea Jarvis, Olivia Keller, Skylar Manning, Haley Minor, Rachel Morris, Alyssa Nore|
Vault was one of Oshkosh’s lowest ranking events last year, mostly due to lack of difficulty. This year, however, it has four freshmen—Emily Gilot, Kaira Hammond, Rahdea Jarvis and Olivia Keller—who competed huge Yurchenko layouts that scored into the 9.500 range in J.O. and have videos of training twisting. Even if none of the upgrades pan out, their high-scoring layouts alone will be a welcome and necessary addition to the Titan vault lineup.
Potential Contributors: Amira Ali (9.380 RQS), Paige Mayhew (9.310 RQS), Naya Haynes (9.205 RQS), Baylee Tkaczuk (9.120 RQS), Dana LoCascio, Emily Gilot, Kaira Hammond, Rahdea Jarvis, Olivia Keller, Haley Minor
Big scorers Baylee Tkaczuk and Bailee Hardy are back this year. Add in Hammond with her huge Jaeger and nice double layout and Jarvis with a high-flying Tkachev and you have a stellar lineup. Alyssa Nore and Rachel Morris could also add difficulty, both with blind to Tkachev in their sets. And don’t count out Skylar Manning. She has a great Jaeger to bail combo; however, she recently had some sort of surgery, so whether she is able to compete this season is to be determined.
Potential Contributors: Baylee Tkaczuk (9.640 RQS), Bailee Hardy (9.405 RQS), Marisa Scholtens (8.695 RQS), Kaira Hammond, Alyssa Nore, Rachel Morris, Rahdea Jarvis, Skylar Manning
Led by event finalist Tkaczuk, beam was the highest ranking event for Oshkosh in 2018. Four returnees join Tkaczukk in the effort to keep this trend going, but the freshmen could play a critical role as well. Keller has a great set filled with difficulty and unique combinations such as her series connection—back handsping + layout step-out + split jump + layout step-out—and her switch side + three quarter tuck jump. Hammond also has some interesting skills, like a switch leap + gainer layout step-out connection and one-arm front handspring to split jump. Jarvis, Nore and Morris could also vie for spots if they clean up their form a bit and work their routines confidently.
Potential Contributors: Baylee Tkaczuk (9.535 RQS), Amira Ali (9.200 RQS), Dana LoCascio (9.175 RQS), Marisa Scholtens (9.045 RQS), Paige Mayhew (9.025 RQS), Kaira Hammond, Rahdea Jarvis, Olivia Keller, Rachel Morris, Alyssa Nore
The Titans have six solid veteran floor routines. However, similar to the previous three events, there are plenty of freshmen ready to swoop in and take over a number of lineup spots. Jarvis is a strong contender; she has two doubles in her set—opening with a big double pike and closing with a double tuck—and has experience with fun, crowd-pleasing choreography we are used to seeing in the NCAA. Hammond and Keller are also viable options, with Hammond regularly scoring in the mid-9.000 range and Keller working on a double layout that, if she were able to compete, would be huge not only for the Titans but DIII as a whole.
Potential Contributors: Bailey Finin (9.480 RQS), Paige Mayhew (9.200 RQS), Jessica Bernardo (9.195 RQS), Amira Ali (9.130 RQS), Naya Haynes (8.940 RQS), Baylee Tkaczuk Kaira Hammond, Rahdea Jarvis, Olivia Keller, Rachel Morris, Alyssa Nore
The freshmen will be the stars this season, with Hammond and Jarvis being strong potential all arounders and Keller and Nore potential three-eventers. The question this year won’t be whether the team has the necessary difficulty to be competitive with the top teams, it will be whether it can hit the difficult sets cleanly and consistently. If it can, there should be no reason it doesn’t place in the top three at the conference championship and qualify to nationals.
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Article by Rachel Riesterer
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