Potential Lineups: NCGA East

The NCGA East is composed of six division III schools. This conference tends to be dominated by the same few teams, but there was some exciting movement in the rankings last year. With a few coaching changes and some talented newcomers, it will be interesting to see who tops the standings in 2019.

The potential lineups series is back to discuss teams’ prospects for the 2019 season. However, it has a bit of a new look: less body, more straight-forward analysis yet all the same great information you’ve come to know and love.

No. 68 Brockport State

Brockport is always a standout in not only the NCGA East conference, but DIII in general—usually capping off meets with huge tumbling and scores that could rival DI schools. However, things have not come together in the postseason the past few years. After just sneaking into nationals last year, they came back to finish third at the championships. However, this is a team that is very capable of winning the national title, so watch for them to come back swinging this year.

Losses: Jill Coyne, Allison Hester (VT, UB, BB), Bridgette Schaal (VT, UB, FX), Miranda Shaine (UB, FX), Brittany Vasile (VT, FX), Kendra Bushart (retired; BB)
Gains: Kelly Devine, Nicole Jackson, Moira Kurak, Jensen Todd, Dorothy Wernick


With three returnees competing Yurchenko fulls and two competing solid Yurchenko layouts, it is going to take some clean vaults to make lineups. Hayden Davidson saw limited action last year but could step up to the task. Also keep an eye out for freshmen Dorothy Wernick who competed a Yurchenko layout full in J.O. last year and Nicole Jackson who didn’t score below a 9.500 in J.O. during the 2018 season.

Potential Contributors: Stephanie Mager (9.760 RQS), Candis Kowalik (9.640 RQS), Shelby Schumaker (9.545 RQS), Jamie Sklenar (9.510 RQS), Amy Eck (9.430 RQS), Hayden Davidson, Dorothy Wernick, Nicole Jackson


Brockport’s top three bar contributors in 2018 were all seniors. They could struggle a bit this year with consistency as it has many returnees who have made appearances in the lineup yet nobody that is incredibly consistent and gets big scores. Jackson scored as high as 9.400 in J.O. last year and has the ability to do some great skills and connections, such as a hindorff and a shaposh to bail. Taylor Keough, a returnee, could see some more action this year. She scored a big 9.650 towards the middle of the 2018 season, so she’s proven she is capable. Now she’ll have to show she can be a reliable competitor.

Potential Contributors: Amy Eck (9.415 RQS), Candis Kowalik (9.305 RQS), Courtney Kamberalis (8.935 RQS), Taylor Keough, Steph Mager, Alyssa Klock, Kimberly Musall, Nicole Jackson


There are six returnees that saw regular action on beam last year, so this event might not see much change in the lineup. That said, the top six are not set in stone as some of those veterans did not always hit. Watch for Alyssa Klock and Olivia DeLuca to make a push for a lineup spot.

Potential Contributors: Candis Kowalik (9.730 RQS), Shelby Schumaker (9.575 RQS), Kimberly Musall (9.450 RQS), Jamie Sklenar (9.410 RQS), Taylor Keough (9.395 RQS), Stephanie Mager (9.175 RQS), Alyssa Klock, Olivia DeLuca


Floor is always one of Brockport’s strengths, and with four returnees that had an RQS above a 9.600 in 2018, this year should be no exception. Who is going to fill those final two spots? Jamie Sklenar and Kimberly Musall both showed they have the ability to score above 9.600, so they making them very viable options.

Potential Contributors: Candis Kowalik (9.815 RQS), Stephanie Mager (9.745 RQS) Shelby Schumaker (9.705 RQS), Taylor Keough (9.625), Jamie Sklenar, Kimberly Musall

As usual, floor looks like it will bring the wow factor for Brockport. However, the Golden Eagles should be pretty solid all around, with the only potential issues coming on bars. Freshmen Wernick and Jackson are going to be great assets in an already-strong group. As long as the team can keep the momentum up throughout regular season, it should be in a good spot heading into postseason.

No. 70 Ithaca

Ithaca was the big surprise last year, jumping from 77th to 70th in the rankings from 2017 to 2018 and winning the conference title for the first time since 2006. The Bombers broke their program-record team score three times, as well as set new program-records on all four events. It was definitely a year to remember; now the question is, can they keep the ball rolling this year and solidify themselves as a DIII force to be reckoned with?

Losses: Kendra Balcerak (UB, BB), Hannah Donnelly (BB), Melissa Hollrigl (VT, FX), Danielle Maffuid (UB), Kaylee Pacunas (VT)
Gains: Amelia Bailey, Kaleigh Ford, Molly Greenspan, Amanda Grigas, Mackenzie Kennedy, Mia Potamianos, Katelyn Sarkovics, Julia O’Sullivan


Ithaca has two unique returning front handspring-entry vaults that really set apart the lineup from the other DIII schools. Additionally, it has two solid Yurchenko layouts. The Bombers will have to fill two spots, which could potentially go to returnees Marin Sheridan or Courtney Christoforo, both of which competed occasionally in 2018. Also look for freshman Mackenzie Kennedy to possibly fill one of those spots as she competed a Tsuk half back in J.O., as well as freshmen Katelyn Sarkovics and Mia Potamianos who have training videos of a viable Yurchenko layout full and a Kaz half, respectively.

Potential Contributors: Carolyn Nichols (9.740 RQS), Victoria Gery (9.505 RQS), Baylie Trammell (9.440 RQS), Paige Landes (9.330 RQS), Marin Sheridan, Courtney Christoforo, Mackenzie Kennedy, Katelyn Sarkovics, Mia Potamianos


The Bombers really only have one bar spot they absolutely need to fill this year, and they have two returnees—Lauren Hanson and Hayley Lyons—who proved they are capable of doing that. However, yet again Kennedy could come in and claim that spot. Her routine includes a shaposh, which is not a common skill in DIII, and Ithaca will definitely want to showcase that. However, she will need to focus on the details such as hitting all her handstands if she wants to solidify her spot. Julia O’Sullivan, another freshman, also has a chance at a lineup or exhibition spot. Her routine features a big blind full to Tkatchev, but she will need to upgrade her dismount if she wants to challenge her classmate.

Potential Contributors: Baylie Trammell (9.630 RQS), Courtney Christoforo (9.530 RQS), Elyse Ryden (9.510 RQS), Danielle Maffuid (9.490 RQS), Savannah Gigandet (9.385 RQS), Lauren Hansen, Haley Lyons, Mackenzie Kennedy, Julia O’Sullivan


Beam was Ithaca’s highest ranked event in 2018, and that’s partially due to four consistent returnees. However, Haley Lyons proved she could hit under pressure at nationals last year, so look to her to become a consistent lineup member. Another returnee that has the potential to break in is senior Rachel Lee. During her freshman campaign, she had an RQS of 9.665, so she is very capable of being a major player.

Potential Contributors: Paige Landes (9.730 RQS), Emily Szembrot (9.635 RQS), Katie Holcomb (9.625 RQS), Nina Bustamente-Nadeau (9.415 RQS), Haley Lyons, Rachel Lee, Julia O’Sullivan, Amelia Bailey


Like bars, Ithaca only has one floor spot they need to fill. Lauren Hansen, a returnee, proved she has the scoring capacity to fill this spot, receiving a 9.500 for one of her sets last year. Kennedy could give Hansen and some of the lower scoring sets a run for their money, though, with a nice routine that opens with a clean double pike and closes with a front layout to front full.

Potential Contributors: Victoria Gery (9.810 RQS), Carolyn Nichols (9.740 RQS), Alexis Griffin (9.615 RQS), Baylie Trammell (9.595 RQS), Cassidy Marquette (9.285 RQS), Lauren Hansen, Mackenzie Kennedy

Though they lost five seniors, the Bombers had great depth last year, which is proving to be helpful heading into the 2019 season. They also have a large freshman class, and although they might struggle to shake up the lineups this year due a very strong group of returnees and some form and skill level issues, they should be a solid group as they get further into their college careers.

No. 73 Cortland

After a rough start to 2018, Cortland stepped it up midway through and managed to finish second at the conference championship and qualify the team to nationals. This will be the first year with head coach Sierra Day at the helm. Day served as an assistant coach for the Red Dragons last year—primarily focusing on beam and floor—and lead the floor squad to a new program-record.

Losses: Bailey Gildemeyer (VT, BB, FX), McKenna Passalacqua (VT, BB), Ariana Turso (UB, BB, FX), Samantha Betz
Gains: Megan Hanley, Kamryn Rodriguez


Lead by two-time All-American Rachel Filipski, Cortland returns four great vaulters. Megan Hanley and Kamryn Rodriguez, the team’s only freshmen this year, could round out their lineup of six. Hanley has competed a big Yurchenko layout but has training videos of a beautiful Yurchenko full that would be a welcome addition. Rodriguez also has a Yurchenko full but does it tucked. Neither have big scores from J.O. but focusing in on consistency and landings could help boost their scoring-potential in college.

Potential Contributors: Rachel Filipski (9.685 RQS), Lily Szafranski (9.600 RQS), Sidney McConnell (9.445 RQS), Emma Schulz (9.275 RQS), Genna Orlick, Megan Hanley, Kamryn Rodriguez


The Red Dragons return six gymnasts that competed frequently last year, but they will be looking to clean up or replace a few of the lower-scoring contributors. Bailey Brochu, a returnee, will be aiming for a consistent spot after competing early on in 2018. Hanley could also see some time in the lineup. She has a beautiful stalder to bail combo as well as a Gienger. Both of these are fairly unique in DIII, so if she works on hitting her handstands and staying a bit tighter throughout, she could have a standout set.

Potential Contributors: Sidney McConnell (9.585 RQS), Ashley Scarantino (9.390 RQS), Arianna Turso (9.255 RQS), Mia DiMartino (9.145 RQS), Lindsay Riggs (9.045 RQS), Emily Speciale (8.900 RQS), Bailey Brochu, Megan Hanley


All three of Cortland’s seniors in 2018 were major contributors on beam. The team will look to sophomore Emma Schulz, a standout on beam and floor last year, to lead the beam squad in 2019. In addition to Schulz, four returnees saw action last year and could end up being the core beam squad this year. Finally, Hanley has a nice set that includes a front aerial and a unique back handspring step-out back handspring layout one and a half dismount.

Potential Contributors: Emma Schulz (9.760 RQS), Genna Orlick (9.540 RQS), Julie Giardina (9.025 RQS), Emily Speciale, Lindsay Riggs, Megan Hanley


With four returnees with an RQS above 9.600 and three others with season highs over 9.400, floor will likely be Cortland’s strongest event in 2019. Look for Lindsay Riggs, Emily Speciale and Samantha Betz to join the core group of competitors, and watch for Rodriguez to break in at some point. Rodriguez has videos of some incredibly difficult tumbling passes, including a full-in and a double layout—both of which would be exciting to see in DIII.

Potential Contributors: Emma Schulz (9.775 RQS), Lily Szafrariski (9.690 RQS), Rachel Filipski (9.675 RQS), Julie Giardina (9.615 RQS), Lindsay Riggs, Emily Speciale, Samantha Betz, Kamryn Rodriguez

Like the two previous NCGA East teams, Cortland returns some top-notch routines and should not struggle too much this coming year. There are a few sets that will need some cleaning up or added difficulty for the team to truly be a national championship contender, however two strong freshmen bring in some big skills that could be exactly what this team needs.

No. 74 Springfield

Springfield missed out on nationals by less than a point last year, which was a bit of a bummer for it considering the team had won a dual against Cortland earlier in the season and hosted nationals. You can bet it will be out for revenge this year. However, the Pride will have to overcome lack of difficulty on vault and bars if it wants to be top three at the conference championship.

Losses: Madi Bowen (VT, FX), Briana Kerr (UB), Ashley Parchinski (UB, BB), Lauren White (UB, BB, FX)
Gains: Alana Calabrese, Kayla Deecher, Brooke Jacobi, Leah Jewett, Mackenzie Macleod, Sophie Parquet


With four returnees with RQS scores hovering around a 9.500 and five more returnees with lineup experience and scores in the solid 9.350-range, Springfield is in a fairly safe spot heading into the 2019 season. But with a lineup mostly consisting of Yurchenko and Tsuk layouts, look for freshman Sophie Parquet to potentially diversify the lineup with her handspring front.

Potential Contributors: Ali Rushlow (9.585 RQS), Taylor Jackson (9.565 RQS), Tali Twomey (9.545 RQS), Jessica Clemens (9.495 RQS), Jenna Kret, Sara Fisher, Heather Gomes, Victoria Gendreau, Tabitha Schwab, Sophie Parquet


Returning only two of their major contributors last year, Springfield is in dire need of some bar workers. Luckily, two returnees—Taylor Jackson and Lena Morant—demonstrated the ability to fill some of those spots. Jackson’s hecht mount through to hop change to immediate straddle back is a fun connection you don’t see too often, and Morant ends with a huge open double tuck. Two freshmen could also offer some relief with Parquet competing a maloney to bail combo and Alana Calabrese showing off some nice stalders and clean lines.

Potential Contributors: Jessica Clemens (9.545 RQS), Ali Rushlow (8.910 RQS), Taylor Jackson, Lena Morant, Sophie Parquet, Alana Calabrese


The Pride return six gymnasts that could be a solid beam team without any major shakeups. However, freshman Brooke Jacobi could vie for a spot. Though she competes a pretty standard routine with a back handspring layout step-out, side aerial and round-off one and a half dismount, she looks confident and rock steady throughout, which could make her a great lead-off routine.

Potential Contributors: Jessica Clemens (9.550 RQS), Ali Rushlow (9.435 RQS), Sarah Murphy (9.425 RQS), Taylor Campagnone (9.320 RQS), Taylor Jackson (8.600 RQS), Tali Twomey, Brooke Jacobi


Tali Twomey, reigning national floor champ, is back, so nothing else even matters! All jokes aside, she’s not the only fantastic returnee—the Pride has four others with solid routines. And yet again, Jacobi is looking at another potential breakthrough. She gets into her music and choreography, which will serve her well in college and like beam has a solid set that doesn’t have anything crazy difficult yet is clean and consistent.

Potential Contributors: Tali Twomey (9.710 RQS), Jessica Clemens (9.575 RQS), Ali Rushlow (9.485 RQS), Taylor Campagnone (9.440 RQS), Victoria Gendreau (9.370 RQS), Brooke Jacobi

Springfield will have a very capable team this year with some vital sets coming from its freshmen. However, lack of difficulty on a few events and some beam inconsistency could hold it back from returning to the national championships.  

No. 75 Ursinus

Out of all the schools in the NCGA East region, Ursinus was definitely hit hardest when its 2018 seniors graduated. Losing two strong all arounders and top scorers on bars and beam puts a lot of pressure on the Bears to fill those spots. Fortunately, they have a large freshmen class coming in with some big J.O. scores, as well as a new head coach that brings DI knowledge.

Losses: Heather Brubaker (AA), Kelly McLaughlin (VT, BB), Amana Palladino (UB, BB), Alexandra Puryear (AA), Kelsey Stewart (VT, UB, FX)
Gains: Summer Alpaugh, Emma Brown,Taylor Cusick, Emma Gable, Kaylin Knapsack, Gabrielle Pitt


Though many of last year’s seniors competed vault, there are still some great returnees that will be able to hold this event together. Additionally, there are five freshmen who are fully capable of competing solid, reliable vaults. Emma Brown, Taylor Cusick and Emma Gable all have huge Yurchenko layouts. Summer Alpaugh has a nice handspring front, and Kaylin Knapsack has shown training videos of different Tsuk variations ranging from layouts to tuck fulls.

Potential Contributors: Lindsay Rush (9.380 RQS), Eleanor LaFountain (9.280 RQS), Danielle Terrenzio (9.265 RQS), Alex Lacey, Emma Brown, Taylor Cusick, Emma Gable, Summer Alpaugh, Kaylin Knapsack


Bars will be the biggest challenge for the Bears. With nearly their entire lineup graduating, they are left with only two of their consistent contributors. Sabrina Tusavitz may be called upon to fill a spot; she was seen in the lineup the first half of 2018 with a high of 9.500. In terms of the freshmen, this is probably their weakest event with a few of them not having competed bars for a few years. However, Alpaugh has a unique routine that features a toe-front dismount and not a single kip. Gable is one of the few that did not compete last year but had huge scores and beautiful lines back in level 9. She will need to add some difficulty to be competitive with most other DIII teams, but her routine could nevertheless be beneficial to the Bears lineup.

Potential Contributors: Lindsay Rush (9.315 RQS), Abigail Schwerdt (8.820 RQS), Sabrina Tusavitz, Eleanor LaFountain, Olivia Byrne, Summer Alpaugh, Emma Gable


With three solid returning routines, beam should be pretty steady this year. In addition to these three, sophomore Alex Lacey was seen in the lineup a few times last season. A few freshmen could also contribute here with Gable scoring a big 9.500 in J.O., Knapsack who has three different series—front toss to back handspring, back handspring to front toss and back handspring layout—and Brown who does not compete anything too unique but is steady and consistent throughout. Did we mention she does the moonwalk?

Potential Contributors: Matisen O’Brien (9.425 RQS), Skyler Haas (9.410 RQS), Autumn Snape (9.120 RQS), Alex Lacey, Emma Gable, Kaylin Knapsack, Emma Brown


Floor could potentially see the least amount of change, with four regular contributors returning this year. However, a few freshmen are coming in hot off some big J.O. scores. Brown has a nice set that includes a double tuck, floaty front lay + front lay and back one and a half punch front. Knapsack has a ton of difficulty as well as some fantastic turns and leaps. She opens with a beautiful back two and a half, has a double tuck and closes with a front lay + front full. Watch for these two to potentially bump out some of the lower-scoring returnees as they have both have scored consistently in the mid-9 range back in J.O.

Potential Contributors: Eleanor LaFountain (9.770 RQS), Skyler Haas (9.405 RQS), Alex Lacey (9.325 RQS), Breanna Couts (9.110 RQS), Sabrina Tusavitz, Emma Brown, Kaylin Knapsack

Thanks to a strong freshman class, Ursinus could see some redemption after finishing a disappointing and somewhat shocking fifth place at the conference championship last year. The team will have to focus hard on its bar work, but a chance at a nationals berth is definitely attainable.

No. 82 Rhode Island College

Rhode Island College is another team with a new head coach leading it into the 2019 season. Monica Mesalles Nassi was the team’s assistant coach the last three seasons before being named head coach back in September. Prior to this, she was a gymnast for Bridgeport and on the Spanish National Team, so she has a broad gymnastics background that could help bring this program to new heights.

Losses: Alexandria Otis (BB), Cyanna Roig (VT, BB), Erin Shea (VT, BB, FX)
Gains: Krystina Ciardi, Olivia Lowe, Sara Proctor


Vault was one of RIC’s best events last season and this year should be no exception. Four consistent lineup members are returning along with three more returnees who have experience in the top six—Kyndel Yett had the teams top RQS back in 2017, Violet Pinola gained some valuable experience early in 2018, and Chandler Lynn scored as high as 9.100 back in 2017. A freshman, Sara Proctor, could be another face you see. She competed a big Yurchenko pike that she could easily start opening up into more of a layout shape.

Potential Contributors: Christa Vaccaro (9.240 RQS), Miranda Murphy (9.140 RQS), Ali Peterman (9.035 RQS), Kaela Skerl (8.825 RQS), Kyndel Yett, Violet Pinola, Chandler Lynn, Sara Proctor


The weakest event for RIC in 2018 was bars. Though the team did not lose any of its lineup routines from last year, it will definitely be working on upgrades and form to become a little more competitive. Freshmen Krystina Ciardi and Olivia Lowe could potentially be lineup contenders. Ciardi scored as high as 9.425 in level 8 last year and has been working on some upgrades like a clear hip double back, bails and toe-shoots. Lowe scored a big 9.550 in Xcel Diamond, so it will be fun to see what she can accomplish in college.

Potential Contributors: Miranda Murphy (8.900 RQS), Christa Vaccaro (8.650 RQS), Chandler Lynn (8.570 RQS), Kaela Skerl (8.560 RQS), Violet Pinola (8.380 RQS), Taylor Churchill, Kyndel Yett, Krystina Ciardi, Olivia Lowe


Beam was a great event for Rhode Island in 2018 with the school record being broken twice. One of those record-breaking performances was from returnee Miranda Murphy, so you can bet the team is excited to have her back as a strong and reliable pace setter. In addition to returnees, Proctor might also see some action. She competes a unique front handspring step-out round-off series.

Potential Contributors: Grace Davis (9.405 RQS), Miranda Murphy (9.280 RQS), Kaela Skerl (8.920 RQS), Ali Peterman (8.790 RQS), Violet Pinola (8.490 RQS), Sara Proctor


Floor should be one of the team’s strongest events in 2019 with solid returning routines, as well as freshmen poised to contribute. Yet again, Ciardi and Lowe could be called upon to show off their sets. Neither of them have big difficulty, but Ciardi has shown some upgrades, such as a nice front layout + front layout and front full.

Potential Contributors: Miranda Murphy (9.365 RQS), Grace Davis (9.360 RQS), Kaela Skerl (9.015 RQS), Christa Vaccaro (8.670 RQS), Violet Pinola (8.535 RQS), Kyndel Yett, Krystina Ciardi, Olivia Lowe

Rhode Island will be one of the most interesting teams to follow this year. Since it is returning many of its lineup routines, it does not have to worry as much about filling spots as it does just cleaning up routines and working upgrades. This combined with some fresh leadership could lead to a stronger, more consistent team than we have seen the past few years.

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Article by Rachel Riesterer

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