Potential Lineups: Maryland

By Caroline Medley


Today we’ll discuss the lineup possibilities for Big 10 underdogs, the Maryland Terrapins. With the loss of seniors Kathy Tang and Alex Zimmermann, and Macey Roberts and Abbie Epperson who are transferring out, it seems that Maryland may be in a bit of a tight spot this season. However, if it can utilize its freshmen well and focus on consistency with its veterans, it may be able to improve on its 39th-place finish in 2016 and maybe make a bid for regionals.

Vault will see the loss of Tang, Roberts and Epperson, who all contributed Yurchenko fulls last year. Expect to see Sarah Faller and Evelyn Nee step up into the leadership gap that Tang leaves behind, as
they were some of the more consistent and high-scoring gymnasts last season. They each compete the full as well, as does Emily Brauckmuller and Dominiquea Trotter. Alex Robinson contributed to the lineup a time or two, but there will likely be no place for her less difficult Yurchenko layout on the vault team this year. Freshmen Morgan Bixler, Alecia Farina, Deanna Magro and Jen O’Neill should all join the

team with Yurchenko fulls, with Farina’s being the standout of the group. In high school competition, where she was only allowed to perform a layout, she scored a perfect 10 three times. In club competition, she competes a full, which brought her to a tenth-place finish at J.O. nationals earlier this year. In addition, the Terrapins gain Kirsten Peterman, a Canadian international elite and former world team member. She competes a Yurchenko 1.5, and if she keeps it for NCAA competition, she would give Maryland its first 10.0 vault since the full was devalued. With all these additions, vault could definitely be a strength for the Terps this year.

On bars, Tang and Epperson will both be missed and the team’s depth will certainly suffer for it. Faller, Nee, Robinson, Shynelle Agaran and Megan McClelland all contributed to at least a few lineups last year and should return decent routines. McClelland is the most consistent of the bunch, not having a fall all last season. Most of the freshmen are weaker on bars, with some not even competing a single-bar release move yet. While they have time to improve and train, Peterman should be able to fill the final lineup spot with a routine that has earned her a berth in a few Canadian national event finals, most recently at the Elite Canada meet earlier this year. She competes both a Gienger and a Jaeger, as well as a difficult double arabian dismount, which will be a welcome addition to the Terrapin lineup.

Tang, Roberts and Epperson will all leave gaps that need filling on the beam team, especially Epperson. She competed beam in almost every meet of the season and broke 9.85 multiple times, so Maryland

will need someone else to replace that kind of a contribution. Agaran, Faller, McClelland, Nee, Trotter and Leah Slobodin will all return solid routines, though most of them fell two or more times last season. Staying on the beam should be the big priority in training, whether that means drilling skills until they feel far more comfortable with them or downgrading some things to stay balanced. Freshmen Magro and Peterman

should also be able to contribute, though some of Peterman’s more difficult skills have also caused her to fall in the past. An easier, cleaner routine using the skills she already has, like downgrading her double wolf turn to a single or taking out the second layout step-out in her triple series, would make her a clutch score for the Terps. If everyone can simply stay on the beam, it might actually be a strength for Maryland this year.

Floor will see the most loss, as the same six girls did floor all season, and three of those are now gone. This leaves Brauckmuller, McClelland and Slobodin as the sole veterans on floor. Slobodin’s routine is

especially key, as her front double twist is the only returning E pass for the Terrapins. However, don’t be surprised to see Faller or Nee step up and contribute, especially if they want to be in the all around. Freshmen Farina, O’Neill, Peterman and Emma Johnson should expect to contend for the rest of the lineup spots. Farina’s powerful tumbling gives her a great advantage, and O’Neill has trained both a double arabian

and a full-in in the past. Johnson’s controlled landings should serve her well in the NCAA, and Peterman’s high energy, shimmy-filled dance should fit right in in college competition. Any or all of these new Terps could step up to fill a spot on floor.

In the all around, the most likely candidate is actually Peterman. Her elite experience gives her all the tools necessary to bring difficult and clean execution to each of her events, and she actually placed tenth in the all around at the Pacific Rim Championships earlier this year. She could definitely be a real contender for the title. Nee and Faller could also potentially compete all four, but both would have to add floor back into the mix, as neither has competed it since coming to college. With all the new talent coming in and the veterans training harder than ever, if coach Brett Nelligan plays his cards right, he could definitely have a historic season on his hands.

Check back tomorrow for our next Big 10 installment — the Michigan Wolverines! If you like what you saw here, check out more on potential lineups here, any of our previous lineup articles here or request a new team in a comment below. Rest assured, we will finish Big 10 before moving on to any new teams!

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