MPSF is the best gymnastics conference few people have heard of. Scrappy, competitive and always exciting (if not always consistent), MPSF exemplifies why scores and rankings don’t tell the whole story. Across the board, these are some of the most fun, imaginative routines you’ll see in NCAA gymnastics, and their stars shine as brightly as any of those from top tier programs.
The 2020 season will be here before we know it! And with preseason training in full swing, it’s time to start looking at the teams and how they might fare when the action kicks off in January—from who’s expected to compete, holes coaches need to fill, exciting upgrades you might see and more.
No. 39 UC Davis
Perennial favorites to lead the MPSF, the Aggies have lost the conference championship three years in a row. They’ll be looking to break that streak in 2020.
|Losses:||Roxanna Agah (FX), Kara Jones (VT, BB, FX), Aya Suzuki (UB, BB, FX), Yasmine Yektaparast (VT, BB, FX), Devon Kiehne (medical retirement)|
|Gains:||Logan Clagg, Addison Donis, Petra Engstrom, Thea Michovsky, Rachel Scheuelke-Lombardi, Kaya Madden|
|Returning From Injury:||Kyla Kessler (torn ACL and meniscus), Shanae Oishi (unknown), Lauren Chu (unknown)|
Potential Contributors: Camille Johnson (9.810 NQS), Kelley Hebert (9.800), Cortney Cunningham (9.750), Gabby Landess (9.740), Alyssa Ito (9.735), Kyla Kessler, Liah Bosworth, Logan Clagg, Rachel Scheuelke-Lombardi
How It Looked Before: Vault was a good event for Davis, typically scoring in the mid to high 48s.
How It Looks Now: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Aggies have six solid returning vaulters. Sophomore Liah Bosworth didn’t compete in 2019 but earned a career high 9.850 in J.O. for her front handspring pike half. Logan Clagg and Rachel Scheuelke-Lombardi both have very usable Yurchenko fulls and could also factor in. Also of note: The team recently posted video of Kelley Hebert training a Yurchenko half-on tuck, a lower start value than her Yurchenko full. It remains to be seen if there is an additional upgrade in the works or if she was trying it out for fun.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. The Aggies return six solid competitors and add four more realistic options, meaning the team will almost certainly improve in 2020.
Potential Contributors: Sarah Liddle (9.795 NQS), Gabby Landess (9.790), Alyssa Ito (9.740), Kelley Hebert (9.705), Kyla Kessler (9.625), Shanae Oishi, Lauren Chu, Cortney Cunningham, Cami Johnson, Logan Clagg
How It Looked Before: Bars was the Aggies’ lowest ranked event and their most inconsistent.
How It Looks Now: Hebert and Sarah Liddle will lead the way. Kyla Kessler and Shanae Oishi are returning from injuries and will contend with Gabby Landess and Alyssa Ito for spots. Cortney Cunningham, Cami Johnson and Lauren Chu (who had surgery in August but is a stellar bars worker when she’s healthy) could also be in the mix. Keep an eye out for Clagg; her sky high Tkatchev and double layout dismount could potentially outscore some of last season’s routines.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. With the strength of last year’s crew plus added depth, the Aggies should have no problem improving on 2019.
Potential Contributors: Alyssa Ito (9.840 NQS), Kelley Hebert (9.840 bhs loso loso), Sarah Liddle (9.800, nice barani), Gabby Landess (9.640), Shannon Sklow, Cortney Cunningham, Kyla Kessler (split handstand to bhs loso), Shanae Oishi (switch split to aerial, front aerial to bhs loso, bhs loso loso), Logan Clagg (beat jump to Johnson, back handspring layout step-out, Rudi dismount), Thea Michovsky, Rachel Schuelke-Lombardi, Kaya Madden, Petra Engram
How It Looked Before: This was a fantastic event for the Aggies, which helped catapult them from No. 45 to No. 39 in the rankings.
How It Looks Now: After consistently excellent performances last season, expect Ito, Hebert and Liddle to retain their spots. Landess had some issues with consistency but posted big numbers when she hit. Shannon Sklow, Kessler, Cunningham and Oishi have all been spotted training beam in recent video, and Madden (whose status is unknown after a recent foot injury) could earn a spot, health permitting. Clagg is also a viable option, with a Rudi dismount and good execution. A dark horse for the lineup, Petra Engram’s J.O. routine wasn’t overly difficult, but her execution and flow could score very well in college.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. It’ll be hard to top last year’s results, but this talented mix of returners and newcomers might just be able to pull it off.
Potential Contributors: Kelley Hebert (9.895 NQS), Gabby Landess (9.800), Sarah Liddle (9.750), Shannon Sklow, Kyla Kessler, Cortney Cunningham, Logan Clagg, Thea Michevsky, Kaya Madden, Petra Engstrom
How It Looked Before: Floor was a good event for the Aggies, but it heavily relied on Hebert’s massive scores.
How It Looks Now: Hebert earned numerous scores of 9.900-plus in 2019, including a season (and program) high 9.950. Expect her to lead the way in 2020 as well. Landess and Liddle are also likely to return, and Sklow notched a 9.800 last year prior to her injury; she has been looking good in training videos. The Aggies lost four strong routines that will be tough to replace; viable options include Cunningham, Kessler and freshmen Michevsky and Clagg. Madden and Engstrom are lacking difficulty but have beautiful execution that could justify a spot.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending down. With just three returners with NQSs from 2019, freshmen and newcomers alike will have to step up to help Davis remain at the same level.
Despite a solid 2019 that saw them named MPSF regular season champions and jump six spots in the national rankings from the year prior, the Aggies won’t be satisfied with their third place finish at the MPSF championship. With no senior class this year, the team will be looking to captains Hebert and Liddle to lead it back to the top of the conference.
No. 53 Air Force
Air Force surprised everyone but itself by winning the 2019 conference championship over favorites UC Davis and back-to-back champs San Jose State.
|Losses:||Riley Hill (VT, BB, FX), Analise Howard (UB, BB), Emily Luers (BB), Mariana Murphy (UB, BB), Brittany Reed (UB, FX)|
|Gains:||Katie Bishop, Makensie Blum, Amber Boll, Briona Carswell, Madison Martin, Ainsley Prins, Chloe Camello (rejoining team as a sophomore)|
Potential Contributors: Anna Salamone (9.795 NQS), Heidi Sand (9.795), Tyler Davis (9.775), Daija Stevenson (9.690), Lauren Miller (9.685 in 2018), Brooke Bruder (9.610), Chloe Camello (9.700 in 2018), Jessica Kirkpatrick (9.535), Grace Bardes, Amber Boll, Madison Martin
How It Looked Before: One of their best events, the Falcons were ranked 47th on vault in 2019 with a season-high 48.925, coming within 0.250 of breaking 49 their last six meets.
How It Looks Now: Salamone is upping her game for her senior season by training a Yurchenko one and a half, and a healthy Lauren Miller or Jessica Kirkpatrick could potentially be added. Tyler Davis had knee surgery in October, so she’s an unknown quantity at this point. Brooke Bruder and Grace Bardes will face stiff competition from incoming freshmen Amber Boll and Madison Martin, both of whom competed Yurchenko fulls in J.O. competition. Boll is particularly strong on the event and earned a season high 9.800 at her state meet.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell. Even with Salamone’s new vault, the lineup would greatly benefit from upgrading. The Falcons certainly have the personnel to do so this season.
Potential Contributors: Anna Salmone (9.890 NQS), Jessica Kirkpatrick (9.665), Tyler Davis (9.605), Cam Barber (9.535), Daija Stevenson, Grace Bardes, Amber Boll, Madison Martin
How It Looked Before: After a rough start to the season, Air Force ended up ranking No. 53. It broke the 49.000 mark twice, largely thanks to huge numbers from Salamone and then senior Mariana Murphy.
How It Looks Now: Freshman Boll will almost certainly be in the top six in 2020. Barber was recently spotted in a boot, so her lineup status is currently questionable. Though Daija Stevenson competed bars a handful of times in 2019, it seems more likely that Bardes (who’s training a fabulous piked Deltchev) or a freshman—probably Madison—will nab that final spot.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell. Signs point to the event remaining relatively the same as in 2019.
Potential Contributors: Cam Barber (9.785 NQS), Tyler Davis (9.740), Stevenson (9.705), Pixie Brock, Natalie Meyer, Madison Martin, Briona Carswell
How It Looked Before: Only seven Falcons competed beam in 2019, but they certainly delivered. Six of those seven earned an NQS of 9.705 or higher and five gymnasts broke the 9.800 mark.
How It Looks Now: With only three of last year’s beamers returning, Air Force will have to work some magic to match that success. Plus, given that Cam Barber and Davis are currently coming back from injuries, it seems like a tall order. We’ve seen impressive training videos from sophomores Pixie Brock and Natalie Meyer, as well as Martin, but the Falcons’ secret weapon might be newcomer Briona Carswell. She’s showing a solid acro series, beautiful low beam work and a well-controlled double wolf turn that is, dare we say, actually really pretty.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell. A lot is going to depend on Barber’s and Davis’ respective recoveries. Even with those two healthy, we’ve only seen video of seven athletes training beam. They could really use another gymnast or two with the potential to step in.
Potential Contributors: Tyler Davis (9.855 NQS), Cameo Stapleton (9.730), Heidi Sand (9.725), Natalie Meyer (9.685), Brooke Bruder (9.360), Anna Salamone, Pixie Brock, Amber Boll and Mackensie Blum, Briona Carswell
How It Looked Before: Despite being its lowest ranked event in 2019, floor wasn’t necessarily bad for Air Force, just inconsistent. Its scores ranged from a disappointing 47.300 to an excellent 49.000, usually hovering around the 48.500 mark. Davis was the clear standout, scoring a whopping three 9.950s and earning her second USAG national floor title.
How It Looks Now: The Falcons are only losing three routines from last year, with Davis, Cameo Stapleton, Heidi Sand and Meyer as virtual locks. Brock, who only competed three times, is looking stronger and more confident this preseason. Salamone is also training the event for the first time in her college career (her Rudi + layout step-out look fabulous).The freshmen, Boll and Blum, also have to be considered.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. Assuming Air Force can fix the little things that plagued its floor lineup last season — endurance, positions on leaps and jumps — they could jump pretty significantly in the rankings.
The Falcons’ preseason got off to an inauspicious start with the unexpected departure of head coach Doug Day (erstwhile associate head coach Jennifer Langely is serving as interim head coach). Regardless, the team looks better than ever and will be looking to build on last season’s success.
No. 54 San Jose State
The back-to-back MPSF champs lost the crown to Air Force in 2019, but their star Taylor Chan won the all around title.
|Losses:||Kaprece Nadonza (VT, UB), Ellie Pascoe-Long (AA), Josalyn Ray (VT, BB, FX), Stephanie Relova (UB, BB, FX), Michelle Shalit, Gabrielle De Leon (BB), Samantha Hoston (left team), Anna Jabs (left team), Madilyn Probst (VT, UB, BB; left team), Trisha Raquel (VT; left team)The|
|Gains:||Simone Adams, Cameron Kelperis, Jada Mazury, Emma Milne, Shyan Phillips, Alexa Solomon|
|Returning From Injury:||Tia Gin (unknown)|
Potential Contributors: Chelsey Andrada (9.795 NQS), Taylor Chan (9.770), Carli Orcutt (9.715), Antonia Marquez (9.375), Tia Gin, Cameron Kelperis, Shyan Phillips, Alexa Solomon, Jada Mazury
How It Looked Before: Last season’s vault lineup was fine but tended to get mired in the low-48s (losing powerhouse vaulter Ellie Pascoe-Long to an Achilles injury didn’t help its prospects).
How It Looks Now: Vault is shaping up to be a really good event for the Spartans in 2020. Three of their strongest vaulters from last season—Chelsey Andrada (who’s upgraded to a Yurchenko full), Chan and Carli Orcutt–are returning. Antonia Marquez has a nice, if inconsistent, Yurchenko half but will have to fight to retain the spot she won after Pascoe-Long’s injury. Tia Gin is training a Yurchenko full, freshmen Cameron Kelperis and Jada Mazury (a former Canadian elite) can contribute a Tsuk full and front handspring pike half, respectively, and Shyan Phillips has a Yurchenko full (and has previously trained a one and a half into the pit). Alexa Solomon competed a Yurchenko half and trained a Yurchenko full during her J.O. career but was seen sporting a boot in mid-October.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. While not a trainwreck event by any means, the Spartans’ vault had a lot of room for improvement. Adding two 10.0 start values is a great start and will give them a leg up within the conference.
Potential Contributors: Taylor Chan (9.775 NQS), Nikki Duggan (9.750), Carli Orcutt (9.695), Tia Gin (9.490), Shyan Phillips, Alexa Solomon, Cameron Kelperis, Emma Milne, Jada Mazury
How It Looked Before: Bars was the Spartans’ highest ranked (if not highest scoring or most consistent) event last season, with seniors Stephanie Relova and Kaprece Nadonza leading the pack.
How It Looks Now: Chan, Gin and Orcutt will almost certainly return to the lineup. Nikki Duggan is a high risk/high reward option: She struggled with consistency in 2019 but contributes a big score when she hits. She’ll have lots of competition from the freshman for a spot though, especially Solomon and Emma Milne. Solomon is capable of numerous releases (including a Ricna and a Nabieva), stalder work and a double layout dismount. Milne recently qualified to the bars final at the 2019 Mersin Cup and boasts an impressive repertoire of skills that includes a stalder Shaposh, stalder half to Jaeger, Ray and a full-twisting double layout dismount. Consistency and depth are going to be the deciding factors this season because the talent is certainly there.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. Replacing Relova and Nadonza won’t be easy, but with such a strong core of returners (including a full-strength Gin) and talented freshmen, San Jose should be able to match or even surpass last year’s results.
Potential Contributors: Taylor Chan (9.840 NQS), Chelsey Andrada (9.810), Jasmine Henley (9.475), Tia Gin, Nikki Duggan, Cameron Kelperis, Emma Milne, Shyan Phillips,
How It Looked Before: Don’t let the ranking fool you, beam was a solid event for San Jose State last season. It had 10 beam competitors, six of which broke 9.800.
How It Looks Now: Top scorers Chan and Andrada are returning, along with Gin and Henley. Another viable option is Duggan, who has looked great in recent training videos, and Phillips looks steady and polished—the team has already dubbed her a “beam queen.” Milne has competed a lovely aerial to two layout step-outs while Cameron Kelperis has some form and bobbles to smooth out but could potentially contribute as well.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell. Depth is certainly lacking, but the beamers the Spartans have look really good in training videos. If that can translate to competition—and everyone stays healthy—the Spartans could have another strong season.
Potential Contributors: Taylor Chan (9.900 NQS), Chelsey Andrada (9.795), Jasmine Henley (9.720), Antonia Marquez (9.615), Carli Orcutt (9.610), Tia Gin, Simone Adams, Cameron Kelperis, Jada Mazury, Emma Milne, Shyan Phillips, Alexa Solomon
How It Looked Before: Other than their heartbreaking second meet of 2019, the Spartans consistently scored well on floor last season and even broke 49.000 in their final two meets. Chan was one of the top-ranked floor workers in the country and qualified to regionals.
How It Looks Now: Expect Chan and Andrada to lead the way. Also returning from last year’s lineup are Marquez, Henley and Orcutt. All three are solid floor workers but will face stiff competition from the talented freshmen. Adams is an excellent twister and performer who notched a whopping 9.800 at this year’s Arizona state meet. A healthy Solomon has a wealth of E passes to choose from, including a double layout, tucked double Arabian and piked full-in, as well as a one and a half through to double pike. Kelperis has great style and clean execution which should score well in NCAA. Former elite Mazury has a double layout, and Milne recently competed a one and a half through to double pike and two and a half + front tuck. Phillips is also extremely clean and is training a front double twist.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. Given the number of athletes to choose from and the overall level of difficulty they’re bringing, the Spartans should have no problems building on last year’s result.
The Spartans look good, and this talented group of freshmen has the potential to push them into the next tier, possibly even bringing the team back to the top of the conference after a year away.
No. 60 Alaska
On the heels of one of their strongest seasons ever, the Seawolves feared this next one might be their last. However, the university’s Board of Regents recently announced that their athletics programs will continue through the 2021 season, hopefully relieving some of the uncertainty and pressure on the squad heading into 2020.
|Losses:||Kierra Abraham, Kaylin Mancari (UB, BB, FX), Kate Fandrich (VT; left team), Ali Marvel (VT, BB; left team), Isabella Scalpino (VT, BB; left team), Sofie Riley (VT; medically retired)|
|Gains:||Kenadi Brown, Joanna Chambers, Mackenzie Robinson|
|Returning From Injury:||Tere Alonso (finger), Louisa Marie Knapp (knee), Alexandra Britz (unknown)|
Potential Contributors: Isabelle Fox (9.685 NQS), Kennedy Green (9.595), Hope Nelson (9.475), Louisa Marie Knapp, Kenadi Brown, Joanna Chambers, Mackenzie Robinson
How It Looked Before: Vault wasn’t a strong event for Alaska, with only three gymnasts able to crack the 9.700 mark.
How It Looks Now: The Seawolves have lost the bulk of last year’s already-thin lineup with just Kennedy Green, Isabelle Fox and Hope Nelson returning. However, Louisa Marie Knapp is training a Yurchenko full, and freshman Joanna Chambers has a very usable front handspring tuck half, though signs point to a major injury as she has been seen on crutches with a lower leg cast. Her classmates Kenadi Brown and Mackenzie Robinson both competed Yurchenko layouts, which would at least get the Seawolves to six vaulters.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending down. This was Alaska’s weakest event last year and will continue to be in 2020.
Potential Contributors: Mackenzie Miller (9.770 NQS), Hope Nelson (9.745), Sophia Hyderally (9.725), Isabelle Fox (9.650), Kennady Green (9.620), Louisa Marie Knapp (9.250 in 2017), Rachel Decious, Winter Osbourne, Kenadi Brown, Joanna Chambers, Mackenzie Robinson
How It Looked Before: Bars was extremely inconsistent in 2019, ranging from a dismal 45.775 to a fantastic 49.075. The Seawolves seemed to find their groove toward the end, though.
How It Looks Now: From Fox’s new Deltchev to Green’s double front dismount, Alaska is looking impressive thus far. Knapp, who struggled when she last competed in 2017, is back from injury and looks fantastic in training videos (her Geinger is textbook). Both Rachel Decious and Winter Osbourne have lovely straddled Jaegers that could justify their inclusion in a lineup as well, while Brown has good technique and a great swing.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. This looks to be shaping up to be the Seawolves’ deepest event.
Potential Contributors: Sophia Hyderally (9.875 NQS), Isabelle Fox (9.755), Hope Nelson (9.705), Tere Alonso, Rachel Decious, Louisa Marie Knapp, Winter Osbourne, Michaela Phillips, Mackenzie Robinson, Kenadi Brown
How It Looked Before: Beam queen Hyderally enjoyed a breakout season in 2019, coming within a hair’s breadth of making NCAA nationals. The rest of the team followed suit, and beam was the Seawolves’ strongest event.
How It Looks Now: Expect Hyderally, Fox and Nelson to be back in action. Osbourne competed a handful of times in 2019, but is training a fabulous front toss to Korbut that could make her an asset this year, while Knapp has a lovely back handspring stepout to back pike (she’s also toyed around with an Arabian). Alonso also looks sharp, with a solid three skill acro series; if she can hit week-to-week, she has the potential to post a big number. Freshmen Brown (who’s training a side aerial to back handspring step-out) and Robinson (who’s training a roundoff back pike) look good in training but will need to fix form issues to unseat an upperclassman.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. The Seawolves have the most depth on beam and will likely play around with lineups to start the season.
Potential Contributors: Sophia Hyderally (9.825 NQS), Isabelle Fox (9.780), Mackezie Miller (9.715) Kennady Green (9.630), Rachel Decious (9.605), Tere Alonso, Winter Osbourne, Alexandra Britz, Kenadi Brown
How It Looked Before: Floor may not have been Alaska’s highest ranked event, but it was its most consistent. Assistant coach Alina Cartwright’s choreography is top notch and highlighted each gymnast’s strengths.
How It Looks Now: Alaska returns five strong routines to its 2020 lineup. Brown excelled on floor in J.O., consistently scoring 9.500 or higher thanks to clean tumbling and exceptional performance quality; she’s a strong contender for the final spot in the top six. Also keep an eye out for Alonso, Osbourne and Alexandra Britz–all have solid tumbling and good performance quality, though Alonso’s double pike may give her the edge.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. With a strong core of returning routine upgrades and more added depth, Alaska should be able to pass last year’s performance.
There are a lot of variables at play that are simply beyond the Seawolves’ control (roster size and instability at the school as a whole). Rather than hold them back, these challenges seem to have strengthened their resolve. If they can avoid injuries, the team has the potential for an even better 2020 than it had in 2019.
No. 64 Sacramento State
Plagued by injuries in 2019, the Hornets are looking stronger and deeper than ever heading into the 2020 season.
|Losses:||Carly Pratt (BB, FX), Jackie Sampson (UB, BB), Lauren Schmeiss (VT, BB, FX), Katelyn Garay (VT, FX; left team), Cydney-Elise Kone (UB; medically retired), Nicole Nebel (UB, FX; left team), Paige Yasui-Durlacher (VT, UB, FX; left team)|
|Gains:||Raine Gordon (transfer from North Carolina), Addy Barbee, Peyton Gillen, Bella Lahmidi, Anna LeRoy, Kelly MacLeod, Taylor Weber|
|Returning From Injury:||Wanda Deriot (ankle surgery), Karissa Hoffman (tibial surgery), Shaye Matthias (ACL surgery)|
Potential Contributors: Alexis Belkoff (9.755 NQS), Jordyn Brent (9.745), Shaye Mathias (9.505), Kendra Braida (9.470), Destiny Watley (9.460), Tara Catour, Wanda Deriot, Amber Koeth, Courtnee Marquez, Addy Barbee, Peyton Gillen, Bella Lahmidi, Anna LeRoy, Kelley MacLeod
How It Looked Before: With so many injured athletes, the Hornets were happy just to have five available to vault. Their limited roster got the job done, and the team finished ranked a respectable No. 58.
How It Looks Now: With eight returning vaulters plus several freshman options, the Hornets actually have a lot of depth this season. They’re still still lacking any 10.0 start values, but they should be able to easily field a roster of all 9.950s. Amber Koeth missed the first half of the 2019 season and was relegated to a Yurchenko layout for the second half, but she’s back training her Yurchenko full and will likely make the cut. The fifth and sixth spots are a bit of a question mark: Courtnee Marquez, freshman Bella Lahmidi (who competed a Yurchenko tucked full in J.O. but has been training the laid-out version) or Tara Catour seem the most likely contenders. However, they’ll face stiff competition from Kendra Braida, Shaye Mathias and the remaining freshmen as well.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. With both increased depth and higher start values, Sac State should have no problem improving upon last year’s vault numbers.
Potential Contributors: Jordyn Brent (9.805 NQS), Destiny Watley (9.650), Alexis Belkoff (9.485), Courtnee Marquez (9.265), Amber Koeth (9.155), Shaye Mathias, Raine Gordon, Bella Lahmidi, Anna LeRoy, Taylor Weber
How It Looked Before: Bars was a struggle in 2019. That’s it, that’s the Tweet.
How It Looks Now: Junior transfer Raine Gordon and Lahmidi will almost certainly join returners Jordyn Brent and Destiny Watley as locks in the bars lineup. The final two spots will most likely go to Shaye Mathias and Koeth; both have solid routines, but never quite hit their full potential last season due to injuries. It’s not clear if or how Marquez or Alexis Belkoff will factor in—Marquez is capable of scoring very well but is inconsistent while Belkoff is consistent but hovers around the 9.450 range. Also keep an eye on freshman Taylor Weber, who has a natural swing and beautiful form. She was pretty inconsistent during her J.O. career, but when she hit, she scored extremely well.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. It would be hard to do as poorly on bars a second year running. If the Hornets can curb injuries and up consistency, they’ll have a great chance at big improvements.
Potential Contributors: Kendra Braida (9.780 NQS), Amber Koeth (9.755), Shaye Mathias (9.690), Jordyn Brent (9.590), Tara Catour, Karissa Hoffman, Courtnee Marquez, Mariah York, Raine Gordon, Addy Barbee, Peyton Gillen, Bella Lahmidi, Anna LeRoy, Bella Lahmidi,Taylor Weber
How It Looked Before: As a team, beam wasn’t a bad event in 2019, never dropping below 47.425 and approaching that magic 49.000 mark several times. Individually, there was a lot of inconsistency that kept the team from actual hitting it though.
How It Looks Now: The Hornets have four returning from last year’s lineup and a very deep pool of potential additions. Marquez and Mariah York competed a handful of times with mixed success but have looked excellent in training videos. Gordon, who notched a career high 9.825 with the Tar Heels, has also impressed so far this preseason. As for the freshmen, beam may be the event where shine most. Weber’s execution is excellent, and she finished eighth at this year’s J.O. nationals. Lahmidi’s routine is packed with unique skills, including a front toss with a quarter turn and dive cartwheel to layout step-out. Peyton Gillen’s layout step-out to arabesque is brilliant, and she scored very well doing it in J.O. competition.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. This is a deep field of talented beamers. The Hornets should have no problem replacing the three routines they lost and have plenty of options in case of injury (or inconsistency).
Potential Contributors: Jordyn Brent (9.790 NQS), Alexis Belkoff (9.775), Kendra Braida (9.750), Mariah York, Karissa Hoffman, Courtnee Marquez, Shaye Mathias, Destiny Watley, Anna LeRoy, Addy Barbee, MacLeod, Bella Lahmidi
How It Looked Before: Floor in 2019 was a solid if not highly ranked event for the Hornets with the then-seniors leading the way.
How It Looks Now: The solid core of Brent, Belkoff and Kendra Braida is back, and—between upgrades and a strong group of freshmen—we might even get to see some E passes this season. The remaining three spots are up for grabs: Mathias and Watley each had some good performances last season but also some not-so-good ones. York has posted recent video of herself training a whip to back handspring to double tuck and a double layout (with a caption of “Will I be the first Hornet to compete a double layout?”). Marquez and Karissa Hoffman have both shown potential in the past but have yet to appear in a floor lineup. As with beam, the freshmen might just displace the upperclassmen: Barbee has trained a double layout and a two and a half, MacLeod scored as high as a 9.600 in J.O. with energetic choreography and sky high leaps and tumbling, Lahmidi’s tumbling isn’t difficult but is exceptionally well-executed, and LeRoy has phenomenal twisting technique and is currently training a front layout to front double twist.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. Add the fantastic freshmen to the strong returners, and the Hornets have nowhere to go but up.
Things are looking up for Sacramento State across the board. This is a talented group who, if it can stay healthy, has every reason to expect to bounce back from last year’s challenges.
No. 66 Seattle Pacific
Longtime head coach Laurel Tindall retired at the end of the 2019 season, handing over the reigns to Sarah Jean Marshall. She and the team will be looking to prove itself in 2020.
|Losses:||Lilja Olafsdottir (medically retired), Zarah Lawal (VT; serving as team manager), Itzia San Roman (AA), Carly Kano (VT), Kylee Guana (FX)|
|Gains:||Delaney Fields (joining team as a sophomore), Corrin Coons, Sydney Coons, Simone Dumas-Guzman, Alixandra Pierce, Ashtyn Winter|
|Returning From Injury:||Ciello Magsanide (knee), Emma Lamping (unknown), Kayli Chan (unknown), Emily Anderson (unknown)|
Potential Contributors: Darian Burns (9.755 NQS), Lena Wirth (9.685), Jadacie Durst (9.670), Kayla Chan (9.645), McKenna Zimmerman (9.620), Kylie Reese, Emma Lamping, Kayla Chan, Corrin Coons, Sydney Coons, Alix Pierce, Ashtyn Winter
How It Looked Before: Vault was consistently OK last year, hovering in the low 48s with only Burns breaking the 9.800 mark.
How It Looks Now: Burns’ Yurchenko full was the standout vault in last year’s rotation and should be again this season. While the other returners have the edge on difficulty, sophomores Emma Lamping and Kayla Chan, as well as several of the freshmen, have clean Yurchenko layouts that could potentially outscore them. Freshman Ashtyn Winter, who competed a Yurchenko layout in J.O., has trained both a Yurchenko full and a Yurchenko half on pike and may very well displace one of the upperclassmen.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell. Last year’s lineup was fairly consistent but simply didn’t have the difficulty to absorb all the small deductions.
Potential Contributors: Darian Burns (9.775 NQS), McKenna Zimmerman (9.605), Jadacie Durst (9.560), Miyuki Matsune (9.350), Sienna Brane (9.225), Haven Lanzador, Kylie Reese, Shelby Spivey, Kayli Chan, Emma Lamping, Ciello Magsanide, Corrin Coons, Sydney Coons, Ashtyn Winter
How It Looked Before: In addition to the swarm of injured freshmen, Miyuki Matsune was coming back from hand and wrist surgery and never really found her groove. Though it managed to bounce back from early season disasters, Seattle Pacific always looked a little uncertain last season.
How It Looks Now: Burns will once again lead the way with McKenna Zimmerman and Jadacie Durst likely to return as well, along with senior Matsune (who’s back at full strength and teased a front double twist dismount earlier this summer). Kylie Reese did an admirable job stepping in mid-season last year but is unlikely to retain her spot. Junior Shelby Spivey missed the 2019 season but is looking great in recent training videos. Sienna Brane and Haven Lanzador struggled with consistency and will face competition for those final spots from the underclassmen, including sophomores Magsanide, Lamping and Chan. Freshmen Sydney Coons and Winter in particular have beautiful technique and single bar releases; they should also be in the mix. Corrin Coons is another option; her form tends to break during transitions, but her Tkatchev is massive and her handstands precise.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. With a deeper and healthier roster to choose from, this could be a solid event for the Falcons.
Potential Contributors: Miyuki Matsune (9.700 NQS), McKenna Zimmerman (9.580), Darian Burns (9.560), Lena Wirth (9.480), Kayla Chan (9.410), Sienna Brane, Haven Lanzador, Ciello Magsanide, Shelbi Spivey, Sydney Coons, Simone Dumas-Guzman, Alixandra Pierce
How It Looked Before: The Falcons struggled with consistency, with more than two points separating their season high and low.
How It Looks Now: Burns, Matsune, Zimmerman and Lena Wirth will likely retain their lineup spots. The remaining positions are up in the air. When Chan hits, she can contribute a big number. Brane and Lanzador competed beam only a handful of times each last season but posted solid numbers. Spivey hasn’t competed since 2018 but could factor in. Several of the freshmen could also make things very interesting: Sydney Coons has a fabulous front tuck to back handspring step-out, Alixandra Pierce competed a unique front handspring stepout + front aerial + back handspring step-out series, and Simone Dumas-Guzma is another option.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell. It won’t be hard for this group to improve on last year’s ranking, but it’s too early to tell whether beam will be an overall strength.
Potential Contributors: Darian Burns (9.840 NQS), Jadacie Durst (9.700), Kylie Reese (9.675), Kayla Chan (9.670), McKenna Zimmerman (9.440), Miyuki Matsune, Emma Lamping, Alixandra Pierce, Ashtyn Winter
How It Looked Before: Don’t be fooled by the event ranking; this was a fun and consistently well-scoring event for the Falcons.
How It Looks Now: Reigning USAG all around champion Burns tied for silver on this event in 2019 and won outright in 2017. She’ll be looking to recapture her title to close out her career. Durst has looked great in training videos, Reese is working on a front double full and Chan, who improvised a back tuck out of a too-powerful Rudi at last year’s MPSF championship, was recently spotted training a double front. Lamping wasn’t able to compete in 2018 but had great scores in level 10. Pierce, whose floor performance quality is reminiscent of fellow Canadian Brooklyn Moors, competed a front double full. Winter has also trained a double Arabian.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. The Falcons were habitually underscored on floor last season, so hopefully a few more E passes in this year’s lineup will help elevate the overall look.
With a mostly healthy group of freshmen and sophomores to bolster the upperclassmen, the Falcons have the potential to do great things this season.
Article by Claire Billman
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