It’s your last chance to catch some DIII action this season, and this meet is sure to be a good one. Six teams have qualified—three from the NCGA-East (Brockport, Ithaca and Cortland) and three from the WIAC (UW-Stout, UW-Oshkosh and UW-Whitewater)—as well as 27 individuals.
There’s been a bit of a change made to the format this year. Instead of two days of competition where the first day was team and all around finals followed by event finals on day two, all the action will take place Saturday night. You don’t want to miss it!
|Team||SAS||Average||High Score||Starting Event|
|2||Ithaca||190.4688||188.708||191.650||Bye Before Floor|
|4||UW-Stout||189.1438||187.956||190.225||Bye Before Bars|
Don’t let these rankings fool you. Though it looks like Brockport could easily run away its first title since 2012, there’s a lot more to consider than just high scores and season averages.
Top-ranked Brockport is coming off a huge 193.700 at the conference championship two weeks ago. This score was a school-record and tied the NCGA record set by UW-Whitewater at nationals in 2018. It also tops the second highest “high score” of an NCGA team this season by nearly two full points. Floor is where the Golden Eagles truly shine, receiving a team score as high as 49.300 this season and featuring a lineup that has four gymnasts who have scored in the 9.850 to 9.900 range this year. However, they are starting on beam–an event that has consistently been their weakest this season–and ending on the ever-challenging bars, which traditionally acts as a make-or-break event in the DIII postseason.
When looking at consistency and conference wins, Ithaca and UW-Stout look like the most likely candidates to swoop in and potentially claim the title. Ithaca actually won a tri-meet against Brockport earlier this year, proving it is a genuine threat to a Brockport blow-out. The Bombers are also one of the most consistent teams in 2019 with only one major score fluctuation. This occurred on bars in week three of the season, but they’ve seemed to regain control ever since. UW-Stout is returning to nationals for the first time since it hosted in 2017. The fact that we are sitting here discussing them as a potential national champion is shocking, as the Blue Devils went from eighth place at the conference championship last season to sweeping every title this year. This was their first team win at conference—ever. Though they don’t have a ton of difficulty on vault (besides Boone’s one and a half, of course), they make up for it in cleanliness and the strength of their other three events. Like Ithaca, the Blue Devils have been one of the most consistent teams this season, with most of their score dips coming from tight judging rather than poor performances.
Another dark horse is UW-Oshkosh, which is returning to the championships for the first time since 2014. The Titans haven’t won the championship since 2007, and after a slow start to the season and falls to a few conference rivals, it wasn’t looking like this was going to be their year. However, things turned around when they hit an incredible meet out in Seattle mid-way through season. Thanks to a strong freshman class and an incredible beam lineup, they were able to pull out wins against traditional conference powerhouse UW-Whitewater the following two weeks and pull ahead of nearly everyone at conference with the exception of UW-Stout. The Titans are peaking at the perfect time and will be competing at home this weekend, so we could definitely see them sneak in for the win.
Cortland and UW-Whitewater were the two bubble teams to make it, and although the odds are stacked against them, you can hardly count them out of a potential top three finish. UW-W won nationals last year, but after rough starts to the season due to injuries, both the Warhawks and Red Dragons really had to come together the past few weeks to push past teams who were looking like locks to make this meet. If the top teams falter a bit, watch for these two to make the most of it and hit when they need to as that is what both teams did in their respective conference championships.
|Megan Hawkins (UW-L – rotating with UW-O)||Hannah Lewis (UW-EC – rotating with UW-S)||Skylar Haas (Ursinus – rotating with Cortland)||Tali Twomey (Springfield – rotating with Ithaca)||Amanda Malo (Gustavus – rotating with UW-W)|
|Sam Weyker (UW-L – rotating with UW-O||Brooke Kachinsky (UW-L – rotating with UW-O)||Meghan Webb (Hamline – rotating with Cortland)||Meghan Webb (Hamline – rotating with Cortland)||Sam Ardy (Gustavus – rotating with UW-W)|
|Taylor Jackson (Springfield – rotating with Ithaca)||Breghan Kiloran (UW-L – rotating with UW-O)||Kelly Johnston (Winona – rotating with UW-S)||Darby Slater (Hamline – rotating with Cortland)||Brooke Merila (Gustavus – rotating with UW-W)|
|Ali Rushlow (Springfield – rotating with Ithaca)||Jess Ahrens (UW-L – rotating with UW-O)||Kiya Bjorge (UW-EC – rotating with UW-S)||Jess Clemens (Springfield – rotating with Ithaca)|
|Lindsay Rush (Ursinus – rotating with Cortland)||Ally Blixt (UW-L rotating with UW-O)||Amelia Moorehouse (UW-EC – rotating with UW-S)||Allie DiBiase (RIC – rotating with Brockport)|
|Ashley Benes (UW-EC – rotating with UW-S)||Sarah Murphy (Springfield – rotating with Ithaca)||Emma Grant (UW-L – rotating with UW-O)||Miranda Murphy (RIC – rotating with Brockport)|
|Sarah King (Springfield – rotating with Ithaca)||Sam Weyker (UW-L – rotating with UW-O)|
For the first time since 2014, there will be representation from all 14 NCGA institutions at these championships. To qualify as an individual, the gymnasts had to be a top five finisher in their respective conference meet or be in the top five based on highest season average score going into the competition. UW-L has seven individuals competing; Springfield has six; UW-EC has four; Gustavus has three; Hamline, RIC and Ursinus all have two; and Winona has one.
Two reigning national champions are here as individuals. Sam Weyker from UW-L and Tali Twomey from Springfield won the beam and floor titles last year, respectively. Weyker actually won’t be competing on beam here this weekend, but we will see her on vault and floor. Twomey, however, has the opportunity to defend her floor title.
Though the favorites to win event titles are all part of qualifying teams, there are some exciting routines in this field of individuals. In particular, Gustavus’ trio of all arounders is very strong–Sam Ardy shines on the bars and Amanda Malo has a beautiful floor routine. Hamline’s two floor workers have great tumbling and always put on a good show, and Springfield’s Jess Clemens broke the school all around and bar records this season.
Make sure you don’t miss any of the action from this sure to be exciting meet. FloGymnastics will be streaming the championships and there will be live scores here. Plus, we’ll be live blogging everything on CollegeGymNews.com.
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Article by Rachel Riesterer
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