Brockport finished the season ranked No. 66 last season, tied with UW-Whitewater for the highest ranking in Division III. While predicting lineups in DIII can be tricky, previews can give us a pretty good idea of what to look for from those teams next season.
Last season, vault was Brockport’s second best event, finishing at No. 60. Additionally, at NCGA nationals, rising junior Stephanie Mager finished third. Returning student-athletes Candis Kowalik and Bridgette Schaal qualified to the event final finishing eighth and 15th, respectively. Another expected contributor will be Brittany Vasile, who finished with an RQS of 9.525 in 2017.
Brockport will look to replace graduated seniors Jen Sklenar and Casey Sullivan who both contributed consistent scores above 9.5 last season. Many possible replacements exist, with the most likely options being incoming freshman Jade Sadowski and Madison Ramper, who compete a yurchenko tuck full and a yurchenko layout half, respectively. Of returning gymnasts on the team, likely options to compete in the vault lineup include Paige Beckley (front handspring front) and Alison Hester (Tsuk layout), both of whom scored 9.5 last season.
In 2017, Brockport was ranked No. 69 on bars. At NCGA nationals, rising junior Alison Hester finished ninth and rising junior Meagan Cash also qualified to finals on the event. Both have RQS scores above 9.3, making them likely to return to the lineup. Of the six mainstays in the bar lineup, four graduated in 2017, leaving four open spots for the 2018 season.
Likely additions include rising senior Miranda Shaine, who had an average score last season of 9.525. Additionally, Stephanie Mager and Kayleen Wead had season highs above 9.2 in 2017. Of the freshman, Madison Ramper seems most poised to enter the top six, with a shaposh to bail combo shown in training videos. Bars will be Brockport’s most critical event next season and the team will need to find depth and new faces to maintain their ranking.
Last season, beam was Brockport’s lowest-ranked event, as it finished No. 70 in the country. However, Brockport is home to two-time NCGA national beam champion, Candis Kowalik. In addition to Kowalik, soon-to-be juniors Taylor Keough and Erica Roth each earned second team All-American status. Additionally, Kendra Bushart is likely to remain in the beam lineup next year with an average score above 9.3 all season and a high of 9.525.
In 2018, the team will need to replace seniors Jen Sklenar and Kendal Hamer on beam. However, this should be quite manageable as there are many potential contributors on this squad. Likely contenders to make the lineup include rising junior Alexis Frakowski, who scored as high as a 9.625 in 2017, as well as junior Stephanie Mager who has an impressive two foot layout series and sophomore Rachel Gurgiolo who competes a back handspring layout and side aerial. Of the freshman, Sadowski and Hayden Davidson have both scored above 9.25 in level 10 and should expect to contend in college competition as well. Beam should be a strength for Brockport with plenty of talent and depth in 2018.
Floor was Brockport’s highest-scoring and highest-ranked event in 2017, finishing at No. 59. The team will return four second team All-Americans to its lineup next season in Vasile (9.9 season high), Kowalik (9.875 season high), Schaal (9.725 season high) and Keough (9.75 season high). Additionally, the Eagles will return another national event finalist in Meagan Cash (9.7 season high). Those gymnasts alone should mean Brockport maintains its strength on the event.
Only losing one member of last year’s top six means that competition for those spots should be fiercely competitive. Expect returners such as Stephanie Mager (9.775 season high) and Kayleen Burns (9.725 season high) to challenge, as well as freshman Madison Ramper who has training videos with a last pass of a rudi back tuck and scores as high as 9.5 in level 10. Expect Brockport to improve upon the team’s already impressive scores and help carry the team totals next year.
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Article by Morgan Bradford, photo courtesy of Chris Cecere, Rochester CC Photography