Incoming DIII Freshman to Keep an Eye Out For

Incoming freshman are an exciting part of any NCAA gymnastics season. Especially in Division III, freshman can have a huge impact on their team’s ability to succeed. One star freshman can jump start a program for years to come. Courtney Benson of Hamline, Alex Kopp of Gustavus and Katie Fiorelli of Whitewater are a few gymnasts that have fit this bill in recent years. DIII star freshman can be hard to predict as routines change and gymnasts must adapt to a much different training schedule. However, there are still some to keep an eye out for in 2018.

Note: High scores are used as they are indicative of the gymnast’s potential, and the scores are taken from meets with results posted on

Amira Ali, UW-Oshkosh

Ali is a solid level 10 out of Oakland Gymnastics in Michigan. Ali has 10 scores on America’s top 100, all on vault, and boasts a huge layout Yurchenko that has obvious upgrade potential. She also showcases powerful tumbling on floor, especially with her opening double pike.

  • Vault: 9.5
  • Beam: 9.35
  • Floor: 9.3
  • AA: 35.525

Jade Sadowski, Brockport

Sadowski is a clean gymnast with strengths on both vault and beam and is quite consistent on vault, beam and floor. She had incredible success as a level 9 gymnast, with all around scores as high as 37.7 and above 9.5 on her best events. In 2017, Sadowski competed in level 10 and experienced similar success. She is especially lovely on beam, with a calmness that will make her an asset in college.

  • Vault: 9.45
  • Beam: 9.375
  • Floor: 9.1
  • AA: 35.75

Madison Ramper, Brockport

Ramper brings strong vault and floor to Brockport. On the former, the gymnast from Artistic Sports Academy Plus in Pennsylvania has a stunning Yurchenko layout half that looks more like an arabian than most DI gymnasts’. On floor, Ramper showcases a beautifully executed routine with a double pike, front layout-front full and a rudi-back tuck to finish. The uniqueness of the skills should score very well in DII. Additionally, she shows promise on bars as she has a shaposh-bail combo that could turn into a very strong routine with an upgraded dismount.

  • Vault: 9.45
  • Floor: 9.5
  • AA: 35.85

Sydney Dame, UW-Eau Claire

Dame was a solid all arounder at level 10. She has scores above 9.1 on every event and some of her notable skills include a blind full-blind half-pak combo that will make her stand out at the DIII level. Also, training videos show Dame completing a pirouette-toe shoot combo on bars, a blind full-double back dismount and a tuck full on vault.

  • Vault: 9.15
  • Bars: 9.175
  • Beam:  9.275
  • Floor: 9.25
  • AA: 36.025

Emily Speciale, Cortland

Speciale is consistent across all four events, as one of five incoming freshman capable of scoring above 9.0 on every event (in DIII, many gymnasts are specialists). She trains some unique combinations, such as an aerial-back handspring on beam and a front layout-front full-front pike on floor. On vault, Speciale has training videos of multiple vaults, including a full on-tuck off, which is a 10.0 start value in college—a big advantage for Cortland if she ends up competing it.

  • Vault: 9.125
  • Bars: 9.0
  • Beam: 9.15
  • Floor: 9.475
  • AA: 36.05

Ally Brugler, UW-La Crosse

Brugler brings big difficulty to an already strong UW-La Crosse team. Floor is her strongest event—take a look at that double arabian… It’s huge! She also competes a well-executed Yurchenko full, which will be an asset for UWL in the fall.

  • Vault: 9.35
  • Beam: 9.325
  • Floor: 9.675
  • AA: 36.05

Emma Schulz, Cortland

Schulz is a strong recruit for Cortland and should bring high difficulty, clean execution and consistency to the team next year. Her vault and floor especially stand out with high scores across the board. On floor, Schulz competes a double tuck, front layout-front full and a lovely rudi-straddle jump, which should score very well in college. Additionally, she has training videos of multiple vaults including a full-on back tuck off.

  • Vault: 9.35
  • Beam: 9.45
  • Floor: 9.55
  • AA: 36.25

Jada Czysz-DeBoer, Hamline

Czysz-DeBoer is an extremely talented gymnast that could be a star for Hamline in 2018. She is consistent across all four events, competing solid difficulty with good execution on each event. Her beam and floor especially stand out, as they include a front aerial and a back handspring to two-foot foot layout on beam, as well as a huge double pike along and beautiful combination tumbling on floor. Her score of 9.725 on floor is the highest of any incoming DIII freshman.

  • Vault: 9.4
  • Beam: 9.45
  • Floor: 9.725
  • AA: 37.125

Ellie Beckman, UW-Lacrosse

Beckman is the only gymnast on this list to qualify to J.O. nationals in 2017, having an impressive meet by finishing 30th in the all around. She is a consistent gymnast and very clean, which will make her a star in NCAA. Some of her highlights include a bail-toe shoot connection on bars, a beautiful Yurchenko layout half on vault and a double pike on floor that looks way too easy. Look for Beckman to make immediate contributions to the already-strong UWL team. She might even make a regionals appearance in the years to come.

  • Vault: 9.525
  • Bars: 9.375
  • Beam: 9.375
  • Floor: 9.45
  • AA: 37.375

Lauren Bottrell, UW-Whitewater

Bottrell is a huge recruit for all of DIII gymnastics. She has been a level 10 since the 2012-2013 season and has enjoyed success, qualifying to the NIT in 2015 and J.O. Nationals in 2016. It is hard to pick a best event for Bottrell as she has scores above 9.4 on all events. On bars, she has a clear hip-gienger-bail connection and training videos of a full-twisting double layout dismount! Additionally, Bottrell competes a lovely two and a half twist to stag jump on floor and has videos of a triple twist. Look for her to be a star on an already talented UWW team.

  • Vault: 9.6
  • Bars: 9.425
  • Beam: 9.55
  • Floor: 9.45
  • AA: 37.6

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Article by Morgan Bradford

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