It was a great weekend in Connecticut. Bridgeport survived and thrived in its challenging three-meet weekend, notching the first 194 of the USAG season, Yale broke the 194 barrier only a day later and Southern Connecticut set new program records in the team total as well as individual and team beam scores.
Below you’ll not only find fast facts from every USAG meet this weekend (for more on DI and NCGA teams, check out their respective Dismounts), but the overall USAG standings, top scores and a few superlatives for some of our favorite moments as well.
Routine of the Week
Bianca Leon (SCSU) BB – 9.900
Who could have predicted Leon’s journey this year? From signing her NLI to setting a program record in only 22 days, her success has been one of the 2020 gymnastics season’s greatest narratives, and on top of that, her beam routine is absolutely beautiful.
Badass of the Week
Maya Reimers (Bridgeport) FX
9.9. 9.9. 9.925. On consecutive days. Enough said.
Under-appreciated Routine of the Week
Jordan Peloquin (SCSU) BB – 9.875
In a rollercoaster five minutes for the junior, who transferred from Bowling Green last year, Peloquin set a career high and a program record for Southern Connecticut—only to be surpassed moments later by Leon. Her routine is independently monumental, and she’s capable of even more in the future.
*Penn chose not to contend for the USAG championship last year, despite being eligible. As of now, it has stated it will not contend this year as well.
|Tyler Davis||Air Force||FX||9.900|
|Anna Salamone||Air Force||UB||9.850|
|Mei Li Costa||Brown||BB||9.850|
|Bria Northrop||Texas Woman’s||FX||9.850|
|No. 35 Eastern Michigan at No. 48 Lindenwood|
|Full Results||Eastern Michigan: 195.325||Lindenwood: 193.625|
|VT: Griswold 9.825||UB: Bezold 9.900||BB: Henry 9.900||FX: Griswold, Satler 9.850||AA: Rondeau 39.125|
The Big Storyline: Oh, Lindenwood. While the home opener was a season high and one of the best scores of the USAG season in its own right, the Lions should look at this meet as a missed opportunity. Vault and beam came together in spectacular form—in fact, beam became only the second rotation of the year in USAG to beat the 49.000 mark, with veterans Courtney Mitchell and Ryan Henry turning in top marks. But the bars rotation fell apart, producing only two scores over 9.500. Any sort of hit bars rotation would have brought Lindenwood close to or even over the 195 mark. That event has been very inconsistent this year.
Implications: The season high nudged Lindenwood back into the No. 1 spot ahead of Bridgeport, but the Purple Knights are breathing down the Lions’ necks at this point.
Records: Ryan Henry tied her own career high of 9.900 on beam, which is also the No. 2 score in program history.
|No. 80 Rhode Island and No. 74 Springfield at No. 49 West Chester|
|Full Results||West Chester: 190.750||Springfield: 187.700||Rhode Island College: 179.100|
|VT: Jackson 9.675||UB: Wojewoda 9.800||BB: Nodarse 9.750||FX: Meakim 9.800||AA: Meakim 38.250|
The Big Storyline: This is a season low for West Chester and for the most part will be one to forget, as season highs on vault and floor couldn’t erase a beam disaster. The Rams typically excel on beam and can’t afford to lose out on what ought to be their best rotation score.
Implications: West Chester’s ranking is slowly sliding as it struggles to repeat its first-week team total, but a national ranking of No. 54 is still deeply impressive. It dropped from No. 2 to No. 4 in USAG rankings this week.
|No. 51 Bridgeport and No. 75 Ursinus at No. 52 Temple|
|Full Results||Temple: 195.000||Bridgeport: 194.175||Ursinus: 187.200|
|VT: Roland, Castrence, Leary 9.850||UB: Castrence 9.825||BB: Garin 9.900||FX: Reimers 9.900||AA: Castrence 39.050|
The Big Storyline: This was the first, and best, of Bridgeport’s three (yes, three) meets this weekend. The Purple Knights impressed in Philadelphia on Friday night, setting season highs on vault, beam and floor. A messy bars rotation hardly matters in the scope of what Bridgeport accomplished here, but it does mean that there’s a clear road forward toward 195.
Implications: Since Bridgeport competed again later in the same weekend, it was difficult to project anything from this meet.
|No. 51 Bridgeport and No. 66 Southern Connecticut at No. 55 Yale|
|Full Results||Yale: 194.150||Bridgeport: 193.150||SCSU: 190.525|
|VT: Kistner 9.825||UB: Doran 9.825||BB: Firmstone, Buford 9.825||FX: Reimers 9.900||AA: Buford 39.000|
The Big Storyline: Yale excelled at its annual Don Tonry Invitational, commemorating the life of head coach Barbara Tonry’s husband. The Bulldogs became the second USAG team to exceed 194 in 2020. Beam and floor were uncannily clean. A difficult day on beam and floor kept Bridgeport from threatening Yale, as a suspected injury to Katy Koopman on her beam dismount forced the Purple Knights to go five-up on floor. Jade Buford became the fifth USAG gymnast to reach 39.000 in the all around this year, joining Anna Kaziska, Dahlia Solorzano-Caruso, Julianna Roland and Tyler Davis. SCSU had a successful day, surpassing the 190 mark for the first time in 2020.
Implications: After this meet, Bridgeport briefly passed Lindenwood to become the No. 1 USAG team, but would drop back to No. 2 the next day.
Records: Bianca Leon’s 9.800 on bars is the second highest bars score by a SCSU freshman in program history.
Controversies: Bianca Leon from SCSU scored a 9.650 on beam for a less wobbly routine than the one that would score 9.900 the very next day. We suspect that her switch leap + switch half series was a little too slow and judges didn’t credit it, but we’re not sure.
|No. 63 Brown and No. 66 Southern Connecticut at No. 51 Bridgeport|
|Full Results||UB: 193.650||SCSU: 192.800||Brown: 192.250|
|VT: Kistner 9.725||UB: Doran 9.825||BB: Roland, Leon 9.900||FX: Reimers 9.925||AA: Roland 39.175|
The Big Storyline: Once again, Bridgeport was forced to go five up on floor, which can’t be a good feeling for a team with 26 athletes on the roster. This was ultimately still a good meet for the Purple Knights, though, with a spectacular 48.900 on beam. The story of the meet was SCSU, which put all the pieces together and posted a program record team score with the help of a landmark beam rotation. Jordan Peloquin scored a program record 9.875 on beam, only to be passed by Bianca Leon three minutes later with a 9.900. Brown set a season high as well—so far this year, every meet has been an improvement over the last.
Implications: SCSU passed a struggling Cornell in the rankings this weekend, rising to No. 10 in the USAG. Brown is back to its old nemesis, ninth place in the USAG and just outside of qualifying standings, and will need to push toward 192. Bridgeport rose to No. 2 in the USAG, narrowly missing taking No. 1 from Lindenwood, and is now the top ECAC team across all divisions.
Records: SCSU broke individual and team program records on beam and set a new best team total.
|No. 52 Penn at No. 65 Cornell|
|Full Results||Pennsylvania: 192.400||Cornell: 187.950|
|VT: Kraez 9.700||UB: Marr 9.825||BB: Smith, Marr 9.800||FX: Henry, Kraez 9.800||AA: Kraez 38.725|
The Big Storyline: At this point, Cornell is fully in crisis mode, with technical regressions and inexplicable errors piling up. In the early weeks of the season, beam has saved it while the other events struggled, but even beam wasn’t good this week. Penn counted a few mistakes and didn’t score as well as it could have, but there’s still plenty to be happy about, including a landmark week from freshman McCaleigh Marr whose beautiful technique shone through to allow her to claim two titles.
Implications: Cornell is struggling, ranked second to last in the USAG rankings, last in the Ivy League and the lowest of all Division I teams. Penn dropped a few ranking places as fellow ECAC teams surged.
|No. 16 Iowa State at No. 59 Texas Woman’s|
|Full Results||Iowa State: 196.125||TWU: 191.875|
|VT: Steinmeyer 9.900||UB: Vella-Wright 9.900||BB: Burns, Semple, Steinmeyer, Woodring 9.825||FX: An. Maldonado, Converse 9.900||AA: Northrop 38.475|
The Big Storyline: After showing promise last week in its upset of Lindenwood, Texas Woman’s struggled again, counting at least one low score on every event but vault. It was understandable that the Pioneers had a difficult year in 2019, having graduated such a consequential senior class and then suffering numerous injuries. But the fact that they haven’t bounced back thus far in 2020 is troubling.
Implications: Most of TWU’s rankings remained the same this week, but it should watch its back as SEMO continues to improve.
|No. 60 Air Force and No. 45 Ball State at No. 5 Denver|
|Full Results||Denver: 197.425||Ball State: 194.875||Air Force: 193.825|
|VT: Karr 9.900||UB: Karr 9.975||BB: Vasquez 9.950||FX: Brown 9.950||AA: Karr 39.600|
The Big Storyline: Air Force set a season high on the power of huge improvements on bars and beam. Tyler Davis continued to excel on floor and remains the No. 1 USAG floor gymnast. Pixie Brock had a clever save on floor wherein she attempted a rebounding straddle jump from a tumbling pass, came in at a strange angle and turned it into a Shushunova.
Implications: Air Force traded places with Texas Woman’s in the USAG standings, rising to fifth place, as well as rising to third in the MPSF.
|No. 54 Illinois State at No. 62 SEMO|
|Full Results||SEMO: 192.775||Illinois State: 192.475|
|VT: Solorzano-Caruso 9.700||UB: Jones, Iribarren, Labat 9.875||BB: Solorzano-Caruso 9.700||FX: Kaziska 9.875||AA: Labat 38.950|
The Big Storyline: SEMO set season highs in the team total and floor, recording an impressive 49.075 on the latter. A Division I win is also remarkable for the Redhawks. Jordan Jones produced a beautiful bars set to win her first event title while Dahlia Solorzano-Caruso and Anna Kaziska continue to excel.
Implications: SEMO dropped back one spot in USAG standings in the wake of a great meet from Seattle Pacific.
|No. 61 Alaska and No. 57 Sacramento State at No. 64 Seattle Pacific|
|Full Results||SPU: 193.575||Sac State: 192.250||Alaska: 191.900|
|VT: Watley 9.775||UB: Hyderally, Spivey 9.800||BB: Hyderally 9.875||FX: Chan 9.775||AA: Burns 38.875|
The Big Storyline: Season highs on all four events led Seattle Pacific to an amazing 193.575 team total that exceeds its season high from last year. Kayla Chan and Shelbi Spivey won individual event titles while Darian Burns set a season high in the all around and added yet another title to her resume.
Implications: SPU traded places with Alaska in conference standings, rising to fifth place in the MPSF. It also leapt two spots ahead in USAG standings.
Article by Rebecca Scally
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