Schedule makers were so generous to ease us into the start of the 2021 season this week with just six competitions—because they did it for us, no other reason. And honestly, six meets was about all we could take. Safety protocols were analyzed, fitness measured and, of course, even a perfect 10. Catch up on all the highlights, lowlights and controversies in the recaps below.
Mask Warrior of the Week
Maile O’Keefe (Utah)
Our expectations were low for use of gold-standard safety protocols but were pleasantly surprised with the teams that turned out. Florida, Arkansas and Utah all set a good example in week one, but our favorite mask moment came when Utah sophomore Maile O’Keefe pulled her mask out of her leotard to put on after vaulting.
Haleigh Bryant (LSU)
We had high expectations for LSU freshman Haleigh Bryant’s NCAA debut, and boy did she not disappoint. This superstar came out swinging, notching a sky-high 9.975 for her debut floor routine (and a 9.900 for her vault).
Most Heartwarming Comeback
Griffin James (Alabama)
After tearing her Achilles in competition during the 2020 season, Griffin James came back strong less than a year later for Alabama. The comeback queen finished her floor routine filled with pure emotion, and her teammates followed suit. It was such an emotional moment, she forgot to salute the judges. We gave it a pass, but the judges weren’t so friendly and deducted one-tenth from her initial score of 9.900.
Stick of the Week
Mikayla Magee (Georgia)
There were a number of good stuck vaults this week, but our personal favorite was this nailed Yurchenko 1.5 from Georgia junior Mikayla Magee. The performance even landed her on SportsCenter’s Top 10 at No. 4.
Meredith Sylvia (Auburn)
Sylvia was almost through her nearly flawless beam routine when she had a little mishap on her back handspring swing down and fell off the beam. Whoops!
Most Frustrating Fan Moment
Oklahoma meets continuing to be largely inaccessible
It is long past time for the Sooners to find a better TV/streaming contract than Fox Sports. It should not be this difficult for fans across the country to watch one of the best teams in the country. Imagine if this were the case for NCAA football and the majority of fans couldn’t watch Alabama or Clemson? It would never happen.
Click and expand the events below to see results, recaps of top meets or particularly exciting matchups and even links to watch archived broadcasts.
Illinois State Intrasquad
Missouri at Georgia
Florida at Auburn
Arkansas at LSU
Kentucky at Alabama
Texas Woman’s Intrasquad
Best of Utah
Arizona State at Oklahoma
The Cardinals deviated from their typical Intrasquad format and hosted a single-team meet on Sunday, bringing in judges to score the routines. All four freshmen had the opportunity to show their skills on at least one event, with Hannah Ruthberg competing in the all around. Victoria Henry also competed on all four events (with beam being in exhibition) and won vault with a 9.775, tying Taylor Waldo for the highest score of the day (Waldo earned the mark on floor). Notably absent from competition were both Bri Slonim and MAC Specialist of the Year Claudia Goyco.
The Redbirds intrasquad gave us some insight into their lineups and allowed us our first look at where the freshmen will most likely fit in. Isabella DeCroo competed on the vault and bars, as well as in exhibition on beam and floor. J’Chelle Heard had a strong showing on vault, also showing exhibition routines on bars and beam. Carly Hawksworth performed on all four events, looking most likely to make an appearance in the bar lineup to start.
Also noteworthy: Savannah Remkus is still coming back from injury, but showed a strong beam routine and a floor exhibition. Sofia Irribarren upgraded her vault to a Yurchenko full, which will be a welcome addition to the lineup. Irribarren, Angelica Labat and Alaska transfer Isabelle Fox all competed all around, and all three had strong showings.
Minnesota showed off its depth at its Intrasquad on Saturday, giving plenty of freshmen opportunities to show full routines with definite lineup potential. Vault, which historically has been a weaker event for the Gophers, was a highlight, with four 10.0 starts and a handful of strong fulls to choose from; we expect this to be a strong event this season. On the flip side, the Gophers still have some work to do on bars; that lineup appears to be the most influx of all the events. Notably absent was Ella Sirjord, who has been featured heavily in training videos on this event in particular.
On beam, the queens reign supreme, with strong showings from lineup staples Lexy Ramler, Ona Loper, Mary Korlin-Downs, Tiarre Sales and Ali Sonier—and strong options for that sixth spot, with Mya Hooten, Abbie Nylin and Lexie Montgomery being the most likely contenders. Emily Koch and Katie Horak also had strong showings here, so keep an eye on them as well. The other big highlight of the Intrasquad was floor; there are so many strong lineup options that it’s difficult to tell who will make the final cut. Hooten and Halle Remlinger were both particularly noteworthy here, showing off strong full-ins. Koch and Erin Fortman also had lovely routines with impressive difficulty, and could certainly see some lineup time.
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Article by the editors of College Gym News
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