[UPDATE 2/24 10:37 ET]: Arayah Simons announced on her Instagram that she has a torn Achilles.
[UPDATE 2/24 12:17 ET]: KJ Kindler stated that Ragan Smith will likely only be on bars this week.
[UPDATED 2/25 10:42 ET]: Michigan State will not be competing at Big Fives due to COVID cases within the program.
Fantasy gym—like everything since March—is a little different this season. The official game isn’t running because of all of the uncertainty. We know a number of you are playing in private leagues, so Fantasy Central lives on!
We’re keeping the College Fantasy Gymnastics weekly cadence as our guide: As far as we’re concerned, the fantasy “week” begins with any Wednesday meets, and ends with Tuesday meets; that’s why you’ll find us here every Tuesday talking about “next week”.
Reminder: Alaska, Bridgeport, Brockport, Brown, Cornell, Cortland, Gustavus, Ithaca, Penn, Sac State, Southern Connecticut, UC Davis, Ursinus, West Chester and Yale are not competing this season.
- Unknown: Jah’liyah Bedminster – LIU – on crutches (2/14)
- Short Term: Mara Titarsolej – LIU – ineligible to compete until fourth meet (2/14)
- Short Term: Talia Folino – LIU – currently ineligible to compete (2/14)
- Unknown: Ragan Smith – Oklahoma – in a boot (2/14)
- Short Term: Halle Remlinger – Minnesota – calf strain (2/20)
- Unknown: Courtney Tsunoda – Arizona – boot and scooter (2/20)
We saw Arayah Simons (Illinois) go down with an apparent lower leg injury on Sunday, Feb. 22. There’s no official word on her status yet. Also, Denver’s Amoree Lockhart was carried off the floor during touch at the Pioneers’ meet Sunday. Her status is also unknown.
COVID Schedule Changes
We’ll be keeping an eye on Florida after a number of Gators missed last Friday’s contest due to COVID protocols. Michigan State missed the past two weeks due to cases within the program; it’s Big Five week for the Big Ten, and so far the Spartans appear to be planning to compete.
Stanford and San Jose State are also set to make their season debuts Sunday, as of Monday afternoon, but should that meet be canceled, we’ll update this post accordingly.
Week 8 Byes and Doubles
Byes: Eastern Michigan, George Washington
Doubles: Arizona State, New Hampshire, Texas Woman’s, Towson
Arizona State competes on Wednesday and Sunday. The rest of the doubles are Friday/Sunday.
Also, keep in mind that Big Fives are always dramatic. Expect something weird to happen in the Big Ten. Something about the adrenaline of the pseudo-postseason pressure invites chaos. Michigan and Maryland are the hosts. No word on whether this year is on podium or not, but it’s safe to assume not.
Deep Cuts for Deep Leagues in Week 8
Tips for those of you in leagues with 10-plus players, where you need to be a little more creative to fill out lineups; especially in SEC bye weeks.
Lindenwood is a vault team now. Kyndall Baze and the Aleahs, Aleah Leman and Aleah Turon, are your pickups from that lineup. We don’t know why Sydney Jennings was pulled from vault this week; she was in the initial lineups, so it’s likely she just had a rough warmup or tweaked something. Unless we learn more this week, we can assume she’ll be back. Daisy Woodring notched a 9.900 on vault before Texas Woman’s bye last week; she’s been improving all year on the event.
Illinois junior Mallory Mizuki debuted on bars for a 9.900 this week. Grace Evans put up a 9.900 for Ball State last week; the Cardinals’ historic season continues to roll along. Jade Brown had one early season miss that is keeping her average down, but she’s capable of a 9.900 and regularly puts up mid-9.8s, not to mention that she’ll get you a solid floor number as well. Tayler Osterhout now has two sets to her name in this lineup for Maryland, the most recent a 9.875.
Kiera Doherty-Herwitz has really found her stride for Rutgers, scoring her third straight 9.8-plus number of the season last week. Eastern Michigan is having a stellar season, due in part to great numbers from Caitlin Satler on beam. Megan Thompson is consistent and steady, and very likely to get you a 9.800. Alyssa Al-Ashari made her competition debut for a 9.775 last week. She should remain in this lineup.
If you picked up Arayah Simons for floor on my advice, well, I’m sorry! No way to have seen her fall and possible injury coming. Unless we learn more this week, pull her from your lineups. Towson is really strong on floor this year, led by consistent numbers from Nikki Borkowski. EAGL rival Temple has been even better, with great scores from the names you know—Ariana Castrence, Faith Leary and Julianna Roland—and from some you may not, like Brooke Donabedian. Arizona’s Libby Orman is becoming a 9.850-machine.
Starts, Sits and Pickups for Week 8
Are you playing in a smaller league and still looking for advice about big names? Are you in a deep league but not sure what to do with that OU beam specialist? These tips are for you!
Rachael Lukacs was missing for Georgia last week. Soroya Hawthorne vaulted in her stead for a 9.900, a higher number than Lukacs has put up all year. It’s always possible Lukacs will retake her spot, but we won’t be surprised if Hawthorne vaults again this week. Cal is back in business. We saw Andi Li‘s second vault of the year for a 9.875. That’s a better number than other gymnasts who have cycled through the lineup, so we’d expect to see her there to stay.
Surprise! Olivia Trautman is back, and likely sticking around. We’d keep her just to bars for now, but it won’t be surprising if she adds beam in the next week or two to get a competition routine in there before postseason. Ragan Smith’s absence continues. Given her injury history and that we’ve seen her in a boot two weeks running, it seems likely KJ Kindler will be very cautious with her before the postseason. Alyssa Baumann made her collegiate bars debut last week amidst Gator absences for a 9.925. There was talk of her entering the lineup last week before the COVID protocols kept gymnasts at home, though, so it’s very possible she’ll remain even with the full roster available. Keep in mind that she has had some scary falls on the event and has an elbow injury history, so it won’t be surprising if she pops in and out week to week.
Maddie Mariani had her second miss of the season on beam–and Abby Heiskell did an excellent exhibition set. It seems like those two will be duking it out this week for a lineup spot this weekend. Nia Dennis only missed beam after feeling sick at the conclusion of her floor routine. We’ve been told it isn’t COVID-related, so it’s safe to assume she had a stomach bug and will be back against Oregon State.
Halle Remlinger‘s calf strain doesn’t sound incredibly serious, but Jenny Hansen will want to be careful with her comeback with postseason looming. Big Fives are this weekend, so there’s a chance she comes back, but the conservative choice is to assume she’ll still be out. We aren’t sure why Alyssa Perez-Lugones was missing from Georgia’s floor lineup last week, but both additions—Haley de Jong and Sterlyn Austin—had weaker performances; it seems likely Perez-Lugones will be back this week if she’s healthy. Jaylene Gilstrap was back on floor for the Utes; it seems that she and Adrienne Randall are in a battle for that last lineup spot. Gilstrap has the better high, so the odds seem to lean slightly in her favor.
Article by Emily Minehart
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