On vault, the Lions should return two 10.0 start value vaults. Briannah Tsang has a stellar Yurchenko 1.5 that earned her a 9.9 last year, and now that she’s healthy, Emma Sibson should return her handspring pike half as well. In addition, Kiera Brown, Sabrina Garcia, Mason Hosek, Jessica Jones, Gianna LaGuardia, Chanen Raygoza and Oni Timothy will all be expected to return Yurchenko fulls. However, none of them scored above a 9.875 all season. So if the team wants to up their vault scores, they’re going to want to clean things up. The biggest issue is form on landings — a lot of gymnasts are piking down early to try to stick. Focusing on height in the block will give them more time to finish their twist, and then they can go for the stick. Incoming freshmen Kristen Politz and Mikayla Waddell should also expect to contend for lineup spots with their fulls. Both are former state or regional vault champions, so they could definitely surprise come January.
Bars will see the return of six regular contributors: Brown, Garcia, Jones, Raygoza, Tsang and Nicole Medvitz. All of them regularly scored in the 9.75-9.85 range and were fairly consistent, though all of them could raise those scores with some finer attention to detail. Freshman Tess McCracken could also hope for a lineup spot with her long lines and powerful Tkachev. Here, the Lions only have seven potential contributors (maybe eight as LaGuardia made a few lineups, though inconsistently) to fill six slots. If anyone gets injured, bars could potentially be a tight event for Penn State.
gymnast fell in a meet, at least one other did as well. The Lions only had two meets during the season where only one gymnast, rather than none or multiple, fell in the lineup. In contrast, they had five with multiple beam falls. This makes it seems like many of these falls could be purely mental. Some of the freshmen may be able to help, with McCracken and Waddell in the best position to contribute. McCracken only fell once
On floor, PSU again should have a lot of depth. Brown, Garcia, Hosek, Jones, Sibson, Timothy, Tsang and Peyton Schuller all contributed to last season’s lineup at different points. The Lions are lucky to already have three E passes in their wheelhouse: a full in from Timothy, a double arabian from Tsang
and if she’s still up to it, a massive double front from Sibson. They’ll also gain freshman Politz’s double layout, though she’ll want to work on not piking it down so much once she makes a lineup. WIth four E passes, Penn State could potentially have the highest difficulty on floor in the Big 10, tied with Michigan and Nebraska. Those gymnasts with E passes scored consistently well last season, but those that did not were not
Last season, the Lions relied on Tsang, Brown and Garcia for regular all around appearances. This year, it seems likely that each of them will return to that role, based on the depth and leadership positions to fill on each event. Jones also had the all around opportunity in her last few meets but with mixed results. In the four weeks she competed all four, she fell three times. However, she did quite well when she didn’t fall. She even tied Brown for the AA title at the meet against Arizona State last March. If she can get her mental game going strong and keep her consistency up, she too could have a shot at the all around.
That’s it for today! Check back tomorrow when we’ll take a look at the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers! Check our potential lineups page here, our previous lineup analysis series here or any of our previous Big 10 posts: