The first week of the season is always pretty wacky with half the teams not even competing and the other half looking more like it’s September rather than January. But that makes it all the more exciting! We break down the top moments, most controversial scores and other things you don’t want to miss hearing about before week two begins.
We wanted to show more love to the non-top teams in college gym in 2019, so we broke out our Dismounts into DI, DII (all USAG nationals-eligible teams) and DIII. Each week, we’re also dishing out a few superlatives for some of our favorite moments, looks and results from the weekend of competition. Below those, you’ll find your typical results and highlights from every DI women’s meet.
Routine of the Week
MyKayla Skinner (Utah) – Vault
Probably the best vault Skinner has ever done—in college or out—this stuck double-twisting Yurchenko faced stiff competition from Kyla Ross’ and Maggie Nichols’ stick one and a halfs. But in the end, we decided Skinner’s performance deserved the week one crown.
Stick of the Week
Alaina Raybon (MSU) – stuck double front
I loved this floor routine! #ncaagym pic.twitter.com/40IjzjfglG
— ABGym (@ABGym_) January 7, 2019
This doesn’t really need that much explanation. A double front is hard enough. Do you know how hard it is to stick one? Brenna Dowell barely does it, and she’s Brenna Dowell.
Most Carol Score
Rachel Dickson (UGA) – beam
Dickson, had a great routine going until a bobble caused her to grab the beam to stay on and avoid a fall—a three-tenth deduction. However, she still received a 9.650, leaving fans questioning the score and judging.
Note: The routines selected for this category are not a reflection on the gymnast performing the routine but rather the judging of the routine itself.
Save of the Week
Maya Bordas (California) – Beam
really thought I had it… guess not #firstmeet pic.twitter.com/QlAhTLPpw3
— Maya Bordas (@mayabordas) January 5, 2019
What is it with Cal and hilarious falls? Toni-Ann has passed the baton to freshman Maya Bordas in what has already put itself in the running for best fall/save for the entire season.
The Most Happy-Cry Moment
Brenna Dowell (Oklahoma) – Beam
It doesn’t really need an explanation, but senior Brenna Dowell’s beam debut (and first time in the all around) made us all tear up a little bit.
Greatest Feel-Good Moment
The Seawolves had a fantastic competition in their second meet of the weekend against Illinois State. Not only did the team win the meet, it picked up its first W over a DI team since March of 2016, tallied a higher team score than any mark set last year and bested its Friday night score by over three points.
|No. 11 Nebraska at No. 1 UCLA|
|Full Results||UCLA: 197.250||Nebraska: 195.700|
|VT: Ross 9.975||UB: Houchin 9.925||BB: Ohashi 9.900||FX: Winner Score||AA: Kramer, Ohashi, Ross 9.950|
The Big Storyline: UCLA got 2019 off to a good start, debuting two new 10.0 start vaults and leading the country in the floor standings despite a fall on the event. Nebraska had a less consistent debut but will be very happy with the return of Taylor Houchin to the floor lineup and the introduction of Adnerys De Jesus on three events.
Implications: UCLA goes into a narrow lead in the Pac-12 in the first week standings and moves into the No. 2 spot nationally. It will hope to add more 10.0 vaults into the lineup, but Gracie Kramer in exhibition and Kendal Poston both seem close to competition readiness. Meanwhile, Nebraska finishes second in the Big Ten, just a few tenths short of Michigan.
Records: Kyla Ross set a career high on vault with the debut of her Yurchenko one and a half, and the Bruins registered their highest opening weekend score since 2005.
Controversies: UCLA had a high-octane conference with the head judge in rotation one when the coaches tried to change their vault lineup three routines in. Kendal Poston was scheduled to vault fourth, but after a mistake by Nia Dennis, they wanted to switch to Norah Flatley’s lower-risk Yurchenko full—a change that may or may not be legal since no one was injured.
|No. 2 Oklahoma at No. 12 Arkansas|
|Full Results||Oklahoma: 198.050||Arkansas: 195.575|
|VT: Nichols 10.000||UB: Lehrmann 9.950||BB: Nichols 9.975||FX: Carter, Trautman 9.950||AA: Nichols 39.750|
The Big Storyline: We didn’t have to wait long to see the first 198-plus team score or the first perfect 10.0, as Oklahoma gave us both during Saturday’s competition. OU junior standout Maggie Nichols posted the perfect score on her Yurchenko 1.5, which contributed to the team’s record-breaking total (see below). Oklahoma seems to want to erase any doubts brought on by its 2018 nationals runner-up finish as soon as possible, and it did so in this meet.
Implications: Oklahoma will be more than pleased with its score and the fact that it was the highest of any teams by nearly a full point. Though Arkansas counted a fall on bars, it still posted the 10th highest score of the weekend to match its final standing last season.
Records: Oklahoma is the first team since at least 1997 to top 198 in its season opener. The Sooners posted various career highs, with senior Alex Marks scoring a personal best 9.850 on bars, and senior Nicole Lehrmann tying her vault career high of 9.900 with an upgraded Yurchenko 1.5. Junior Jade Degouveia also set a personal record with a 9.950 on vault. As for Arkansas, sophomore Sophia Carter tied her career high of 9.950 with her return to the floor anchor position.
Controversies: In spite of her impressive all around total, there was some controversy around the fact that Maggie Nichols received a 9.900 on bars after potentially brushing her foot on the ground after her Pak salto.
|No. 8 California at No. 4 LSU|
|Full Results||LSU: 196.775||California: 195.650|
|VT: Priessman 9.900||UB: Harrold 9.925||BB: Finnegan 9.95||FX: Finnegan 9.95||AA: Finnegan 39.675|
The Big Storyline: The biggest disappointment for LSU will be vault, where it was forced to count a fall. Both of those came on 10.0 start valued skills; though it’s not to say these problems will continue, LSU will need to carefully weigh its vault options (the team is said to be training seven 10.0 starts) and where they’ll fit in the lineup to generate the highest scores.
Implications: After starting 2018 extremely slow, California showed it’ll be a team to watch this season, taking the lead after rotation one and standing tied with the Tigers after two. For LSU, the team didn’t look quite as sharp as fans have come to know, indicating it might have to put in a bit more work to replace those standout routines from graduated seniors to make a push for nationals and finals.
Records: LSU ended its streak of 197-plus scores, which had been going since 2014. Sarah Finnegan is now among the top 10 title holders in LSU gymnastics history, having won 49 career events after tonight. Cal’s Emi Watterson notched a career high of 9.875 on vault.
Controversies: The only judging conference of the night came for Toni-Ann Williams on balance beam, seemingly because of a question about her series (she ultimately scored a 9.625).
|No. 27 Penn State at No. 5 Utah|
|Full Results||Utah: 197.175||PSU: 194.450|
|VT: Skinner 9.950||UB: Skinner 9.950||BB: Merrell-Giles 9.900||FX: Skinner 9.950||AA: Skinner 39.700|
The Big Storyline: Beam. It was the Utes’ lowest event total and the Nittany Lions’ highest. Last year, Penn State struggled mightily on the event, so a 49.000 in its first outing bodes well for the year. Utah’s 48.975 is in no way bad, but it is lower than a team of this caliber is aiming for. Beam wobbles and pauses are where the Utes will want to focus training time going forward.
Implications: Utah will have gone into this meet eying conference opponent UCLA’s 197.250 from Friday night. Coming within 0.075 of the reigning champs will feel good and get the Utes off to the start they need in the conference. For Penn State, a 194 while many Big Ten teams are sitting on 193s or lower is a great position, especially considering it put up that score with an objective disaster rotation on floor.
Records: Utah’s Alexia Burch and Macey Roberts set new high marks on vault with 9.850s. Penn State’s Tess McCracken set a career best on beam with a 9.800.
Controversies: Scores, of course! There was some concern that MyKayla Skinner’s bar score was high, but her vault was also a touch low compared to other meets this weekend, making her all around total came out just about right in the end. There were also questions about Kari Lee’s 9.600 on floor; she had a lovely set. We went back and watched again, and it looks like she was docked on a leap series. She does a switch to switch ring half but takes so many steps between the two that she likely did not get a connection. Later in the set, she does an L hop full to a full turn. Both skills are very stylized, so it is possible she was not awarded one of those elements. Take a look at the video and tell us what you think in the comments or on Twitter!
|Northern Illinois, SEMO, Temple at No. 6 Alabama|
|Full Results||Alabama: 194.750||NIU: 193.325||Temple: 191.925||SEMO: 187.800|
|VT: Olsen 9.875||UB: Gaskins 9.875||BB: Graber 9.750||FX: Graber 9.825||AA: Graber 39.125|
The Big Storyline: Alabama’s freshmen were on full display this evening with Shallon Olsen and Emily Gaskins leading the way. Olsen showed why she is the reigning world vault silver medalist, winning the event with a 9.875 for her double twisting Yurchenko. Gaskins also competed in every event but floor and took the bar title—a solid showing for her collegiate debut.
Implications: Alabama’s team score was the lowest among the competing SEC teams. Held back by low beam scores (see below), the Crimson Tide will look to quickly fix those errors before another quad meet next week. That matchup will include Michigan, a non-conference opponent but one that has chased close behind or ahead of it in the rankings for a number of years now; the battle will be exciting in this context.
Records: Temple sophomore Delaney Garin earned a career high bars score of 9.700. SEMO freshman Anna Kaziska earned the highest score for the Redhawks in her first collegiate meet with a 9.725 on floor. Also of note: NIU junior Nina Martucci made her debut in the vault and bar lineups for the Huskies.
Controversies: The new beam pause rules seem to have led to some strange scores. Maddie Desch only received a 9.250 despite staying on the beam while teammate Winter Childers received a 9.300 for a missed routine. If this rule continues to be strictly enforced, it could become an ongoing controversy as the season progresses.
|No. 18 Ohio State at No. 7 Georgia|
|Full Results||Georgia: 196.600||Ohio State: 194.900|
|VT: Snead 9.925||UB: Dickson 9.900||BB: Vega 9.900||FX: Dickson 9.900||AA: Snead 39.400|
The Big Storyline: Georgia’s vault lineup turned heads with the fact that all four gymnasts competing a 10.0 start value showed a different vault. This is very impressive considering the fact that the Gymdogs were scraping to get even five vaults together at this point last season.
Implications: Ohio State posted the third-highest total among Big Ten teams this weekend, placing it right about where it was last season among conference competition. It did not have to count any falls, which it will consider a success after last year’s disastrous season-opening outing at UCLA. Georgia will also be happy with its score among SEC teams; it was second-highest below LSU.
Records: Georgia’s team score was its highest season-opening score since 2007, at the height of the Suzanne Yoculan championship years.
Controversies: Beam judging proved controversial at yet another meet this weekend when Rachel Dickson received a 9.650 on beam in spite of incurring a three-tenth deduction for touching the beam.
|Cancun Classic With No. 9 Michigan, No. 28 Iowa State, No. 35 West Virginia and Rutgers|
|Full Results||UM: 196.050||ISU: 194.275||WVU: 194.150||RU: 189.800|
|VT: Wojcik 9.975||UB: Wojcik 9.900||BB: Wojcik 9.925||FX: Koshinski, McLean 9.925||AA: Wojcik 39.625|
The Big Storyline: This meet was all about Natalie Wojcik. She proved that her J.O. success and all the hype was legitimate by blowing away the competition. She posted the fifth-highest total of the weekend, behind Sarah Finnegan and Kyla Ross.
Implications: Michigan proved it is still a Big Ten force, with a score that topped the one rival Nebraska put up at UCLA. This solid opening sets Iowa State and West Virginia up in their respective conferences as well, and each team had a number of individual successes it will carry into next week. For Rutgers, this meet was a big test, and proved the team has a lot of work to do to live up to its potential and catch the rest of the conference field.
Records: Natalie Wojcik’s 39.625 is the highest all around debut score by a freshman in Michigan program history. Junior Maggie O’Hara competed bars for the first time for the Wolverines, notching a 9.825, which matched her career-high score on beam. Sophia Steinmeyer tied her career high on vault for Iowa State with a 9.850 and posted a floor career high of 9.800. Junior Julia Merwin competed bars for the first time for West Virginia for a 9.675. Erica Fontaine put up a career-high 9.775 on beam, and Jaquie Tun’s 9.850 floor outing was a career best. This was Kirah Koshinski’s first ever all around performance. For Rutgers, Toni Williams’ 9.800 on vault was a career best mark.
Controversies: There were three, possibly four, judging conferences in this meet, all on beam and floor. Four! Plus, Rutgers’ final score was tallied initially as a 189.750 and was put under video review, something we almost never see, and raised to 189.800. There was also no live scoring link for the meet. If that’s any indication of how judging and scoring will go in 2019…oh boy.
|No. 10 Kentucky at Texas Woman’s|
|Full Results||UK: 195.975||TWU: 192.600|
|VT: Hyland 9.850||UB: Hyland, Korth 9.825||BB: Kyland, Dukes 9.875||FX: Northrop 9.850||AA: Hyland 39.375|
The Big Storyline: The two-time defending national champion TWU Pioneers kicked off their season on a solid foot, having a few costly mistakes but showing potential overall for the season to some. Meanwhile, Kentucky proved to be a team to watch again in 2019, performing better than the final score may indicate. Also of note, both the Kentucky and TWU floor routines completely engaged the Texas fans; you don’t want to miss seeing these numbers.
Implications: Often a slow-starting team, TWU followed this trend, managing only a 192. The result wasn’t helped at all by an untimely and severe-looking knee injury for senior Megan Gentry on her beam dismount. However, Bria Northrop’s strong showing may be crucial moving forward for the Pioneers. For Kentucky, the Wildcats looked strong despite small errors keeping their final total down; they will be competitive once SEC competition begins.
Records: TWU freshmen Mackenzie Balderas and Isabel Goyco and Kentucky’s Josie Angeny and Cally Nixon were among those making their collegiate debuts.
Controversies: Gentry’s knee injury on beam caused a delay in the competition as she was attended to.
|No. 29 Iowa at No. 14 Auburn|
|Full Results||Aub: 194.825||Iowa: 193.225|
|VT: Watson 9.875||UB: Gobourne, Day 9.850||BB: Sylvia 9.925||FX: Cerio, Guerin 9.800||AA: Watson 38.950|
The Big Storyline: This meet was about freshmen. Iowa put up an incredibly young lineup, featuring 14 routines from newcomers. For Auburn, it was about the success of Derrian Gobourne, a gymnast the team will likely need to lean on this year.
Implications: Of the seven SEC teams competing this weekend, Auburn posted the second lowest team total score. Though it’s early, that’s not the position the team will want to stay in for much longer. However, the Tigers might take comfort in the fact that their score was higher than in-conference rival Alabama’s.
Records: Auburn’s Meredith Sylvia tallied a 9.925 career high to take the beam title, and Iowa’s Misty-Jade Carlson’s 9.800 on beam was a personal best.
Controversies: Iowa put up only five vaults, and one was a Yurchenko layout; that’s not a controversy, but it is something we’ll be keeping an eye on.
|No. 19 Missouri, No. 23 Minnesota and UIC at No. 20 Arizona State|
|Full Results||Miz: 195.450||ASU: 195.000||Minn: 194.150||UIC: 193.925|
|VT: Ramler 9.900||UB: Leonard-Baker, Ramler 9.900||BB: Ward 9.950||FX: Leonard-Baker, Tucker 9.900||AA: Ramler 39.525|
The Big Storyline: There was a lot of good in this meet, but perhaps best of it all was UIC’s performance—its best opening meet score since at least 1997 (as far back as there is data available). Freshman Alisa Sheremeta proved she can help elevate this team in what may be its final season.
Implications: Every team in this meet should feel secure about its opening-night score. Missouri outpaced SEC rival Auburn’s total from the War Eagle’s home dual, Arizona State finished comfortably with room to improve and Minnesota’s total bested several Big Ten rivals. UIC comes away with the biggest potential implications though. If it can build on this big opening, it will be able to compete with Lindenwood and Texas Woman’s at the top of the MIC and stave off Illinois State which finished behind this weekend.
Records: UIC’s Kayla Baddeley added bars and competed in the all around for the first time in her career. Missouri’s Gabrielle Gottula posted a career high 9.825 on beam, and Aspen Tucker tied her career high 9.900 on floor. Kaitlyn Szafranski’s 9.800 on vault tied her career high for Arizona State. For Minnesota, Lexy Ramler’s 9.900 on vault is a career high.
Controversies: It’s not so much a controversy per se, but Missouri counting a fall on bars and Minnesota only putting up five on beam and counting a fall there are both uncharacteristic. Sure, it’s January, but keep an eye on that.
|No. 21 Stanford, San Jose State and UC Davis at Sacramento State|
|Full Results||Stanford: 195.175||UC Davis: 194.950||San Jose State: 193.300||Sacramento State: 190.000|
|VT: Bryant, Johnson 9.825||UB: Bryant 9.850||BB: Bryant 9.900||FX: Bryant, Chan 9.900||AA: Bryant 39.475|
The Big Storyline: Stanford started the season off on a strong foot, led by a title sweep by sophomore Kyla Bryant. The Cardinal was also able to get three of its freshman class into rotation, as well as benefiting from Aleeza Yu and Grace Garcia returning from injuries. In the rest of the field, the story was one of resilience in the face of injuries and despite missing freshmen. All three MPSF teams went without newcomers who were expected to be stars, and UC Davis also withstood an injury to Kyla Kessler, who appeared at the meet in a boot, while Sacramento State lacked a few critical upperclassmen and also suffered an injury to Wanda Deriot in the first rotation.
Implications: Stanford’s strong start issues a challenge to the bottom half of the Pac-12 while the missing faces in the rest of the field might indicate a chaotic year in the MPSF. That said, there were some important returns too, including Sarah Liddle at UC Davis and Nikki Duggan at San Jose State. Sacramento State needs routines the most if it wants to stay in the top half of the conference, as it currently sits below Alaska in the weekly standings. We’ll be watching for vault upgrades and new routines from the Hornets as the season goes on.
Records: Bryant tied her beam and all around personal bests en route to her individual sweep. UC Davis recorded its best ever season-opening meet, avoiding having to count a fall at all. Jordyn Brent of Sacramento State finished third and Ellie Pascoe-Long of San Jose State was fourth in their respective all around debuts.
Controversies: Stanford’s Morgan Hoang scored a 9.700 on her floor debut despite a major rebound on her double pike that resulted in an out of bounds with both feet. Sacramento State had a disastrous bar rotation that included three consecutive falls.
|No. 22 Illinois, No. 33 Arizona, Bridgeport at No. 30 Central Michigan|
|Full Results||CMU: 194.875||Ariz: 194.750||Ill: 192.850||UB: 192.575|
|VT: Leydin 9.875||UB: Berg 9.925||BB: Pedrick 9.850||FX: Reimers, Pedrick 9.850||AA: Leydin 39.050|
The Big Storyline: Bridgeport on floor! We all knew Maya Reimers would kill it, but the whole squad came through and landed the DII powerhouse at No. 11 on floor after this weekend. Bridgeport isn’t messing around, and nearly overtook Illinois in the final team standings.
Implications: The Chippewas are looking very good; with most of the rest of MAC sitting out this week, it is impossible to say how far ahead CMU is, but if we had to guess, we’d say a near-195 is a solid pace ahead of the pack. Arizona also made a statement, as did Bridgeport. The real shocker was Illinois, coming in behind most of the rest of the Big Ten and behind state compatriots UIC and Northern Illinois.
Records: Arizona put up a wealth of career high marks: Christina Berg (bars, 9.925), Courtney Cowles (floor, 9.650), Sydney Freidin (beam, 9.700), Haylie Hendrickson (floor, 9.525), MacKinzie Kane (vault, 9.650; bars, 9.825), Maddi Leydin (vault, 9.875), Adra Parks (beam, 9.700) and Heather Swanson (bars, 9.775). For Illinois, junior Lindsay Dwyer vaulted for the first time in her career for a 9.800.
Controversies: It seems that judges in the Midwest are happily taking the new pause deduction. It’s already a controversial change, and we assume we’ll be talking about which conferences are taking the deduction and which aren’t all season long.
|No. 25 N.C. State at Michigan State|
|Full Results||N.C. State: 193.750||Michigan State: 191.700|
|VT: Hofelich 9.800||UB: Robinson 9.775||BB: Fillard 9.800||FX: Raybon 9.850||AA: Fillard 38.975|
The Big Storyline: Michigan State’s two event wins both came from freshmen: Ashley Hofelich won vault and Alaina Raybon won floor. Michigan State has struggled in recent seasons, so these wins by a couple of promising freshmen may indicate a changing tide for the Spartans.
Implications: Michigan State showed a much more competitive vault lineup than it has in the last couple of years with seven vaults with a 9.900 start value or better. On the other side, N.C. State had to put up two Yurchenko layouts, so that will be something to keep an eye on throughout the season as N.C. State tries to defend its EAGL conference title.
Records: Nicole Webb made her N.C. State debut on beam after transferring from Florida in December.
Controversies: Yet again, beam judging was very strict with the maximum score given being a 9.800, and some solid routines received questionably low scores.
|No. 34 New Hampshire at No. 32 Southern Utah|
|Full Results||Southern Utah: 193.700||New Hampshire: 193.525|
|VT: Carroll 9.900||UB: Mulligan 9.775||BB: Nipp 9.9||FX: Gonzalez 9.775||AA: Mulligan 38.975|
The Big Storyline: The much anticipated Southern Utah freshman class made its debut, and while there were a few rough points, there was much to be excited about. Rachel Smith showed her Yurchenko full-on back tuck vault, a 10.0 start value, and Karley McClain competed in the all around, hitting four-for-four.
Implications: New Hampshire’s score of 193.525 is just a touch lower than EAGL rival N.C. State’s score of 193.750 from Saturday.
Records: Senior Danielle Mulligan competed in the all around (and won) for the first time in her career. Erin Carroll set a career high on vault with a 9.900.
Controversies: There were no huge controversies, but like much of the country, scoring was tight throughout. Ironically, the event with the loosest scoring appeared to be beam.
|Illinois State at Alaska (Friday)|
|Full Results||Illinois State: 192.975||Alaska: 188.725|
|VT: Cooke 9.775||UB: LaRoche 9.750||BB: Meyer 9.85||FX: Cooke 9.825||AA: Cooke 39.025|
The Big Storyline: Illinois State cruised in its road opener at Alaska, lifted by a great day by star Gabrielle Cooke and by strong performances from its freshmen. It swept the individual titles and achieved a team total that last year’s Redbird squad didn’t equal until late February.
Implications: ISU’s total lifted it above numerous higher-profile teams’ first week scores, including in-state rival Illinois.
Records: ISU freshmen Mia Quigg and Sofia Iribarren ranked fourth with scores of 9.650 in the vault and bars standings, respectively. Alaska junior Sophia Hyderally finished third on floor with a 9.750 in her debut on the event.
Controversies: Hyderally received a 9.275 for what appeared to be a clean balance beam routine on the (admittedly fuzzy) Instagram live stream, leading us to speculate that her acro series wasn’t credited.
|Illinois State at Alaska (Sunday)|
|Full Results||Alaska:192.350||Illinois State: 189.275|
|VT: Cooke, LaRoche 9.800||UB: Hyderally 9.675||BB: Remkus 9.875||FX: Cooke 9.850||AA: Fox 38.850|
The Big Storyline: Alaska flipped the script on Sunday, taking advantage of an Illinois State bars meltdown to take a three and a half point lead in the first rotation that the Redbirds couldn’t recover from despite a strong showing in the rest of the meet. The Seawolves had a great meet in their own right, registering their strongest score since 2016.
Implications: Alaska enters week two ranked above three Division I teams and registered its first Division I win since March 2016. It also presents a heightened challenge to MPSF rival Seattle Pacific.
Records: Alaska recorded its 18th-best total in program history and Isabelle Fox set a career high of 38.850 in the all around while Sophia Hyderally’s 9.825 on beam tied for 10th in program history.
Controversies: The part of this meet that was most difficult to swallow was the magnitude of ISU’s struggles on bars: The Redbirds had two scores in the 7.0-range and were forced to count one.
READ THIS NEXT: The Dismount: Week One MAG
Want to receive the latest collegiate gymnastics news in your inbox? Sign up for the College Gym NewsLetter here.
Article by the editors of College Gym News
Like what you see? Consider donating to support our efforts throughout the year!
Everything is very open with a really clear description of the challenges.
It was definitely informative. Your site is extremely helpful.
Thank you for sharing!