Potential Lineups: MAC Part II

Being as competitive as the MAC is, it should be no surprise to see that most of these teams were separated by mere tenths of a point in 2020. The biggest factor was the fact that the top four teams hit 196 at least once, while the lower three did not. It is not for lack of talent or ability, however, and we will be eagerly watching to see what these teams are capable of in 2021.

While there’s still so much uncertainty surrounding the upcoming season, it’s business as usual until we hear otherwise. That means it’s time for our annual potential lineups analysis! With preseason training in full swing for most teams, we’re breaking it all down and taking a look at every squad’s prospects for 2021—from who’s expected to contribute, holes that need to be filled and exciting upgrades fans should look out for.

No. 43 Ball State

To say that Ball State had a great 2020 season would be an understatement. The Cardinals set a program record for team score not once, not twice, but three times, culminating in a 195.850 in what would be their final meet of the season. Despite losing some key routines due to the departure of Rachel Benoit and Maddie MacDonald, the team is poised for another strong year ahead thanks to a strong freshman class.

Losses: Rachel Benoit (BB, FX), Maddie MacDonald, (VT, UB, FX) Marimar Perez-Banus
Gains: Victoria Henry, Marisol Perez-Banus, Suki Pfister, Hannah Ruthberg, Kelly Sulek
Returning From Injury: Sari Thaler

Vault

Potential Contributors: Marissa Nychyk (9.845 NQS), Bri Slonim (9.830), Stefanie Schweikert (9.825), Arden Hudson (9.805), Sandra Elsadek (9.715), Alivia Ostendorf (9.715), Victoria Henry, Hannah Ruthberg, Suki Pfister

How It Looked Before: Vault was the Cardinals’ best event last season, and they finished ranked second in the MAC and 26th overall. 

How It Looks Now: The Cardinals are not only retaining their entire lineup from last year, but also adding some strong options from the incoming freshmen: Victoria Henry and Hannah Ruthberg both provide strong Yurchenko fulls and Suki Pfister has been training a front handspring pike half, which would be a 10.0 start value. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up

Bars

Potential Contributors: Marissa Nychyk (9.775 NQS), Arden Hudson (9.765), Grace Evans (9.760), Megan Teter (9.650), Stefanie Schweikert (9.645), Alivia Ostendorf (9.350 AVG), Victoria Henry, Suki Pfister, Hannah Ruthberg

How It Looked Before: Bars was a weaker event for Ball State, and unfortunately it will be losing one of its stronger routines in Maddie MacDonald. 

How It Looks Now: There is a lot of room for improvement on this event, and it’s certainly one where the freshmen could have an immediate impact: Both Henry and Pfister have strong routines that could fit into the lineup nicely.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell.

Beam

Potential Contributors: Arden Hudson (9.820 NQS), Bri Slonim (9.685), Lauren Volpe (9.675), Marissa Nychyk (9.580), Taylor Waldo (9.760 AVG), Sari Thaler, Hannah Ruthberg , Suki Pfister, Victoria Henry

How It Looked Before: Beam was a pretty good event for the Cardinals, however there were some consistency issues. This is a talented lineup, with some unique skills to watch for (like Arden Hudson’s switch to tuck full and sophomore Taylor Waldo’s front aerial to front handspring). 

How It Looks Now: With most of their 2020 lineup returning, the Cardinals should be able to build on what they did last year and even see improvement. Junior Sari Thaler, who was injured and did not compete last season, has a beautiful beam set that would be a welcome addition to the lineup if she is healthy. Ruthberg is another option here as well.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell, but leaning toward trending up.

Floor

Potential Contributors: Claudia Goyco (9.885 NQS), Alivia Ostendorf (9.825), Marisa Nychyk (9.800), Stefanie Schweikert (9.790), Sandra Elsadek (9.517 AVG), Victoria Henry, Hannah Ruthberg, Suki Pfister

How It Looked Before: Ball State excelled on floor, with fun routines that had both difficulty and fun choreography. Then-junior Claudia Goyco was exceptional here and was named the MAC Specialist of the Year for this event.

How It Looks Now: The Cardinals are retaining most of their lineup and have freshmen that will be more than capable of stepping in to fill the gaps left behind by Benoit and MacDonald. This is the event where Henry will certainly shine; absolutely expect to see her in the lineup. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up.

Overall Outlook

The Cardinals will be looking to build upon the records they set last season, and have all the tools to do so. They will need to clean up their weaker events—particularly bars—if they want to pose a significant challenge at the conference championship; if they can do that, expect to see them in the conversation for that MAC title and even pushing for a regionals spot.

No. 45 Eastern Michigan

Eastern Michigan climbed a few spots in the overall rankings in 2020, finishing the season 45th. The Eagles will be looking to build on that ranking in 2021, but will have their work cut out for them after losing their top all arounder in Emili Dobronics. That being said, the already-solid roster should provide a strong foundation on which this talented group of freshmen can build this season. 

Losses: Megan Benzie, Emili Dobronics (AA), Xarria Lewis
Gains: Raisa Boris, Katie Butler, Jordan Jankowski, Anna Grace McCullough, Sophia Rios
Returning From Injury: Molly Parris (ankle injury)

Vault

Potential Contributors: Karalyn Roberts (9.765 NQS), Cali Harden (9.750), Hannah Hartung (9.705), Carly Kosanovich (9.655), Jada Rondeau (9.620), Molly Parris, Mickayla Stuckey, Anna Grace McCullough

How It Looked Before: Vault was the Eagles’ weakest event, and Dobronics’ Yurchenko full will be a big score to replace. 

How It Looks Now: Molly Parris’ return to the lineup will be critical, as will the freshmen’s ability to step up and hit. Sophomore Mickayla Stuckey had a strong Yurchenko full during her J.O. days, although she has yet to compete on this event for the Eagles. Of the freshmen, Anna Grace McCullough’s Yurchenko full is the most competition-ready vault, although Raisa Boris has one that could be an option as well.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell.

Bars

Potential Contributors: Jada Rondeau (9.840 NQS), Courtney Bezold (9.830), Karalyn Roberts (9.735), Cali Harden (9.480), Hannah Hartung (9.465), Arileyah Harris (9.385), Charlotte Reynolds (9.395 AVG), Molly Parris (9.375 AVG), Raisa Boris, Anna Grace McCullough

How It Looked Before: The Eagles had some standout bar workers, with Courtney Bezold and Jada Rondeau being the strongest of the pack. However, this was a very inconsistent event overall, with scores landing all over the place. 

How It Looks Now: Eastern Michigan is sitting in a good position on bars with eight routines carrying over from last season. Expect to see Boris contending for a lineup spot immediately, as she has a particularly lovely routine that should score well. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up.

Beam

Potential Contributors: Caitlin Satler (9.850 NQS), Jada Rondeau (9.825), Brianna Price (9.775), Mickayla Stuckey (9.730), Shannon Gregory (9.705), Karalyn Roberts (9.565 AVG), Raisa Boris, Anna Grace McCullough

How It Looked Before: Beam was the Eagles’ best event, both in terms of consistency and scores. They finished first in the MAC and 28th overall. 

How It Looks Now: The Eagles are only losing one routine, and while it will be difficult to replace Dobronics’ consistent 9.8-plus score, there should be enough depth in the returning gymnasts and the incoming freshmen to fill in the gap. Watch for Boris and McCullough to contend for some lineup time here.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Holding steady.

Floor

Potential Contributors: Jada Rondeau (9.825 NQS), Karalyn Roberts (9.815), Caitlin Satler (9.800), Mickayla Stuckey (9.730), Brianna Price (9.685), Carly Kosanovich (9.662 AVG), Hannah Hartung (9.450 AVG), Raisa Boris, Anna Grace McCullough, Katie Butler

How It Looked Before: Floor was consistently one of the Eagles’ best events, thanks in large part to their depth. 

How It Looks Now: Eastern Michigan is only down one routine and should expect to see similar success to last year. It won’t be easy to replace Dobronics here, but not impossible. Boris has a full-in that’s worth keeping an eye on, and McCullough and Katie Butler could certainly see some line-up time as well. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Holding steady.

Overall Outlook

The name of the game for Eastern Michigan is consistency. There is a lot of talent and potential on the team, but until it is able to keep mistakes in check, its scoring potential will be limited. If the Eagles can regularly put up clean routines each week and minimize the bigger errors, we expect to see them jump up in both the MAC and overall rankings in 2021.

No. 54 Bowling Green 

Bowling Green had a major rebuilding year in 2020 after losing seven seniors and bringing on six freshmen. It is difficult to see improvement when there is that much turnover; as a result, the Falcons dropped a few spots in the rankings. This year the Falcons will be without Jovannah East—which will certainly be a blow—but there is a very exciting freshman class coming into the mix that cannot be overlooked. 

Losses: Jovannah East (AA), Alex Johnston, Taylor Worthington (VT, BB)
Gains: Lauren Bannister, Kayla Chan (transfer from SPU, VT, FX) ) Megan Decious, Sydney Bennett, Annabelle Holiday, Courtney Morrison, Sarina Ross, Kylie Yacamelli

Vault

Potential Contributors: Samantha Marion (9.825 NQS), Elena Lawson (9.780), Katelyn Goldstrom (9.710), Lily Harsch (9.645), Kayla Chan (9.625 NQS at SPU), Taylor Jensen (9.408 AVG), Olivia Williams (9.360 AVG), Emily Cyphers (9.250 AVG), Sydney Bennett, Lauren Banister

How It Looked Before: Vault was a strong event for the Falcons, although they saw a pretty big drop in the overall rankings from the previous year. 

How It Looks Now: Losing East will sting on all events, but this is the one where her score is going to be most difficult to replace. Having Seattle Pacific transfer Kayla Chan will be very helpful here. Of the freshmen, Lauren Banister and Sydney Bennett provide the best options, with a Yurchenko layout full and Yurchenko tucked full, respectively.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell.

Bars

Potential Contributors: Alexandra Fochler (9.815 NQS), Elena Lawson (9.725), Elena Lawson (9.700), Katelyn Goldstrom (9.595), Paige Bachner (9.490), Lily Harsch (9.420), Taylor Jensen (9.525 AVG), Lauren Banister, Kylie Yacamelli, Sydney Bennett

How It Looked Before: Bars was the Falcons’ weakest event, and the one on which they struggled the most with consistency. 

How It Looks Now: Bowling Green is retaining all but one routine from last season, and this is an event where the freshmen could have an immediate impact: Kylie Yacamelli has a pretty routine, as does Bannister, and both could expect to see lineup time. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell, but likely holding steady.

Beam

Potential Contributors: Samantha Marion (9.710 NQS), Olivia Williams (9.615), Lily Harsch (9.580), Tess Muir (9.575), Paige Bachner, Elena Lawson, Kylie Yacamelli (side aerial LOSO), Sydney Bennett, Annabelle Holiday, Lauren Banister, Sarina Ross

How It Looked Before: Beam was a pretty good event for Bowling Green, but it will definitely feel the loss of East and Taylor Worthington here. 

How It Looks Now: Of all the events, this is the one where the freshmen will feel the most pressure to contribute immediately. Watch for Yacamelli, who has a unique acro series (side aerial to layout step-out) to be the front-runner of the freshmen to get in the lineup. Bannister has a fun acro series as well—a side aerial to front toss—although don’t be surprised if it is replaced with something less risky. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell, but likely trending up.

Floor

Potential Contributors: Elena Lawson (9.775 NQS), Kayla Chan (9.740 NQS at SPU), Lily Harsch (9.710), Olivia Williams (9.645), Katelyn Goldstrom (9.630), Alexandra Fochler (9.620), Taylor Jensen (9.775 AVG), Tess Muir (9.675 AVG), Jasmine Jones (9.550 AVG), Lauren Bannister, Annabelle Holiday, Kylie Yacamelli

How It Looked Before: Floor was a weaker event for the Falcons, although their scores stayed relatively consistent from week-to-week.

How It Looks Now: While it will be difficult to replace East, they aren’t losing any other key routines, and they are gaining a strong one from Chan. Bannister brings exciting difficulty to the table as well, and we expect we will see other freshmen in the mix for a lineup spot as well. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell. 

Overall Outlook

While 2021 won’t be as big of a rebuilding year as last season, we expect that there will still be some adjustments to make after losing East. Fortunately, there are a lot of strong athletes on the Falcons’ roster; as long as everyone stays healthy, there is real opportunity for growth.

READ THIS NEXT: Potential Lineups: MAC Part I


Article by Kalley Leer 

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2 comments

  1. Just wanted to point out that you have left two people off of Bowling Green’s roster: Freshman Megan Decious and Junior transfer, Kayla Chan.

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