2021 Predictions: Which non-regionals standby will make the top 36 this year?

There’s about a week left until the start of the long-awaited 2021 season. While this year may look a bit different than we’re used to, the gymnastics is still the same—and it wouldn’t be a new season without some predictions. Taking a page out of The Athletic’s book, we’ll be answering one pressing question over the course of 10 days as we gear up for the first meet. Check out the previous days’ questions and predictions here.

Which non-regionals standby will make the top 36 this year?

Winner: Michigan State (8 votes)

Runners-up: North Carolina, UC Davis, Western Michigan (1 vote)

Elizabeth: Michigan State hasn’t made regionals in years, but last year it was well on its way before the season was canceled. I think the Spartans will not only make it this year but be comfortably positioned.

Talitha: I’m going to go with Michigan State as well. The Spartans are a team on the rise, who had a great 2020 season and who just welcomed an impressive freshman class. The odds are in its favor.

Katherine: I think North Carolina could get there with Hallie Thompson looking stronger as she prepares to make her sophomore debut. 

Katie: I had Michigan State ranked No. 33 in my top 36. The program continues to improve with its recruiting classes, and it can bring in some high-caliber scores. 

Emily M: I agree, Michigan State is on the rise. Don’t take your eyes off of Linda Zivat.

Brandis: Recruiting has improved impressively over the past few years for Michigan State, and I see that finally paying off for the Spartans with a comfortable regionals berth this season.

Mary Emma: Michigan State almost certainly would have made regionals in 2020, and with nearly the entire 2020 squad returning, I expect 2021 will be no different.

Jenna: Michigan State, hands down. The return of Linda Zivat will be crucial, but don’t overlook contributions from this year’s freshmen as well.

Tara: I can see this going so many ways! I think I’m going to agree with most of my fellow editors here and say Michigan State. The Spartans were on their way there in 2020, and I wouldn’t expect any less from them this season. 

Claire: I’m going to break ranks and say UC Davis. Not only are the Aggies returning nearly their entire 2020 roster, they’ve brought Tanya Ho and Kaytianna Kell on board as assistant coaches. Add the excellent freshman class into the equation, and this program is poised to have a breakthrough season. 

Kalley: Western Michigan. This team is strong, and I have every expectation that it will be a real threat for a regionals bid this year.

Article by Elizabeth Grimsley, Talitha Ilacqua, Katherine Weaver, Katie Walsh, Emily Minehart, Brandis Heffner, Tara Graeve, Mary Emma Burton, Jenna King, Izzi Baskin and Kalley Leer

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