Bridgeport enters 2018 with a significantly smaller roster than in recent years, having graduated a senior class of 11. However, with only nine postseason routines lost, the Purple Knights could be in much worse shape. With as many as six gymnasts with all around potential plus some returning star specialists, Bridgeport should be able to securely fill its lineups and focus on its goal of remaining competitive at the top of Division II.
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Senior Kelsey Campbell competed all around weekly last year, and sophomore Maya Reimers joined her midseason. The duo will provide consistency, as well as some of the team’s highest scores, to stabilize all four lineups. Sophomore Julianna Drapkin contributed three events a handful of times, but the former MG Elite junior elite can do far more. Freshman Lauren Ramirez didn’t compete in 2017—so watch for her injury status—but the 2014 Nastia Liukin Cup junior champion was a J.O. star with the very best, and if healthy, will be a huge asset for Bridgeport.
The Purple Knights return four weekly vaulters from 2017. All arounders Campbell and Reimers topped out at 9.8 and 9.875 respectively, and Reimers will be in contention for the anchor spot. They’re joined by consistent performers Nina Whittaker and Brieanna Zine. Caylee Ford and Julianna Drapkin each competed a few times and provide other options. Delaney Cahill was out last year, but in 2016 she typically provided scores between 9.6 and 9.7.
Sophomore Sarah Proulx had a career high of 9.425 in level 10 and could be a mid-lineup addition. However, the bigger impact will come from the freshman class. North Stars’ Miranda Mornhineway typically competed a Tsukahara layout, but her training videos show a viable-looking Tsuk full. A 10.0 start would be an incredible asset for this lineup. Lauren Ramirez has scored as high as 9.85 and is a near lock for the top six if she’s healthy; her videos from a few years back show a gigantic Yurchenko full, but with that amplitude, it’s possible that she has worked a 10.0 vault as well.
Alexis Richardson has also trained a nice-looking Yurchenko full, and Kat Doran has showed a Yurchenko half-on, front tuck off. However, these two new vaults might not be needed. Vault was one of Bridgeport’s lower ranked events last year, so it’s nice for it to have available depth.
USAG nationals runner-up on bars, Thomara Powell-Brown, is expected to return to a late-lineup spot. Campbell is expected to join her as well, and while it was Reimers’ weaker event in 2017, Bridgeport will most likely elect to keep her in her all around spot. Maritza Futch and Kelly Aycock also return from 2017, and while Cahill was injured, she was a weekly contributor when healthy. Drapkin only competed occasionally here, but provides another option as well.
Eastern Canadian level 10 champion Kat Doran’s strongest event is bars, and her beautiful routine featuring a Jaeger and a double front dismount is likely to make an appearance. Ramirez has gone as high as 9.65 and is extremely consistent on bars, and Mornhineway provides another option.
Beam was Bridgeport’s strongest event in 2017, and though it lost a number of postseason routines, the team should be in good shape yet again. Campbell will be a leader in her senior year; impressively, she didn’t fall once last season despite competing weekly. Reimers and specialist Carol Chiles both had season highs of 9.9, and Futch and Drapkin provide other options.
Of the freshmen, Doran has a beautiful beam routine with great amplitude and splits, and Ramirez had a high score of 9.7 in J.O. and is very consistent. Mornhineway was less consistent, but her high score of 9.525 is still impressive and should provide a useful option in college. While the Purple Knights don’t have as many options on beam as other events, they have more top routines available, and beam will likely remain a strength in 2018.
Floor is the lineup where Bridgeport has the least depth; it graduated four postseason routines from last season. Campbell and Reimers are both strong here and will be depended on to stabilize the lineup as other options are explored. Whittaker also competed last year, and Drapkin was strong on floor prior to college and will look to return.
Ramirez’ floor routine—scoring as high as 9.775 in level 10—will be a necessity here, and it’s also a strong event for Mornhineway and Doran. Several gymnasts who haven’t yet competed floor in college will be expected to make their debuts as well, as Bridgeport experiments with ways to fill the lineup. That said, the routines are strong enough that it’s unlikely floor will become a serious vulnerability.
Bridgeport lost some valuable contributors in 2017 but also gain several new ones. With a much smaller team than it typically boasts, Bridgeport will feel its depth constraints a little more this year. But stabilized by a strong group of all arounders, any initial problems will likely settle by postseason.
Article by Rebecca Scally