Elite in the NCAA: June 2019

Just because it’s the offseason doesn’t mean there’s no NCAA gymnastics news! Several athletes are spending their summer training and competing elite. Here are the latest updates.

Deferring for Tokyo

U.S. national team member Jordan Chiles told Inside Gymnastics Magazine that she has decided to defer her enrollment at UCLA until 2020 so she can focus on trying to make the upcoming world and Olympic teams. She is currently working on upgrading her start values on all four events and hopes to unveil a front triple twist on floor.    

Chiles’ future Bruins teammate, Frida Esparza, has also announced plans of deferring in hopes of helping Mexico qualify its first full team to the 2020 Olympics. Mexico finished 19th at the 2018 world championships and will need to finish in the top 12 at this year’s competition to advance.

This week, sharp-eyed gym fans noticed that Alyona Shchennikova no longer has references to Michigan listed on her social media accounts; however, she did have LSU listed in her biography for a short period. Ragan Smith also tweaked her account to indicate OU 2019 rather than OU 2020. Neither gymnast has formally announced changes to their previously declared college plans.

Eager, Beavers?

Oregon State commit Phoebe Jakubczyk is training an impressive whip to tucked double Arabian. Jabkubczyk, a first year senior, represented Great Britain at the 2019 Doha World Cup and recently won silver on vault at the British championships.

2019 Parkettes National Qualifier

Numerous future NCAA athletes competed at the Parkettes National Qualifier, held at the Allentown, Pennsylvania, gym. eMjae Frazier (younger sister of UCLA’s Margzetta) had an outstanding competition, notching an impressive 54.850 to win the all around in the junior division. Sydney Barros (UCLA ‘24) and Annalise Newman-Achee (uncommitted) placed second and third, respectively, while Ava Siegfeldt (Oklahoma ‘23), Anya Pilgrim (uncommitted), Lauren Little (uncommitted), Ariel Posen (UCLA ‘23) and Zoe Miller (uncommitted) also qualified. No seniors qualified as all arounders from this meet, with Victoria Nguyen (uncommitted) missing the required 51.000 mark by half a tenth; Abigael Vides (uncommitted) did qualify on three events (vault, beam and floor), however.

Full results can be found here.  

Canadian Nationals Recap

The Canadian national championships took place in late May in Ottawa, Ontario, and featured several current and presumptive NCAA gymnasts. Future UCLA Bruin Brooklyn Moors (‘21) placed third in the all around and Alabama standout and rising sophomore Shallon Olsen took gold in the vault event finals. Incoming Iowa State freshman Laura Lou Vezina also competed.

NCAA gymnastics was also well-represented in the Junior Olympic (16+) division. The 2019 MAC Gymnast of the Year Denelle Pedrick (Central Michigan ‘17) won the all around and vault titles and placed second on bars, beam and floor.  Emma Milne, who will be starting at San Jose State this fall, finished third all around. Dahlia Solorzano-Caruso (SEMO ‘20) placed third on beam and fifth all around. Other NCAA athletes who competed include Megan Phillips (Ball State ‘20), Nika Takagi (Bridgeport ‘20) and Grace Rojas (Utah State ‘19).

Full results can be found here.

2019 Junior World Artistic Gymnastics Championships Updates

The U.S. women’s nominative roster for the upcoming 2019 Junior World Artistic Gymnastics Championships has been announced and includes two future Florida Gators:

  • Skye Blakely  
  • Kayla DiCello (Florida ‘22)
  • Olivia Greaves (Florida ‘23)
  • Konnor McClain

The competition will take place in Győr, Hungary from June 27 through June 30.

Key Moves On

Alabama gymnast Bailie Key announced that she has retired from the sport. Key is best remembered for her outstanding junior elite career. Ongoing injuries prevented her from achieving similar success as a senior elite and have kept her sidelined the majority of her freshman and sophomore seasons with the Crimson Tide. Key intends to focus on completing her nursing degree and says she will continue to support and cheer on her Alabama teammates.


Article by Claire Billman

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