Most Anticipated J.O. Freshmen in the All Around

The most anticipated series is back! We looked at the data for each incoming J.O. freshman on each event to see which gymnasts are at the top of their class across the apparatuses and in the all around. This week we’re looking at the top 10 all around performers for 2021. 

We’ve ranked every single gymnast from the Class of 2020 who competed level 10 within the last two years by a modified average score. We took all around scores from the last two J.O. seasons (beginning in November 2018), dropped the single highest score and any scores that are extremely low (like ones that you’d expect from injuries mid-routine, not falls) and averaged the rest. We didn’t include athletes with fewer than five all around performances over the past two years.

The top 10 you’ll see in these lists are the top 10 in the country by modified average, no exceptions. The honorary mentions are a little more subjective: They’re usually athletes who ranked quite high, but they also have something a little special that makes them stand out.

If you’re wondering where Brooklyn Moors and Irina Alexeeva are, don’t worry! We’ll be reprising our Most Anticipated Elite Freshmen series later in the summer.

10. Alani Sabado, Utah (38.2450 modified average score, 38.825 highest score)

Videos: VT | UB | BB | FX

Sabado was asked to join Utah one year early primarily for her bars, but she has all around potential; she was third in the all around at the 2019 J.O. nationals (Junior E). On vault, the Utes will appreciate her clean Yurchenko full, and on floor they will like her lines. She does not compete the most difficult routine (double pike, 1.5 twist to front layout, double tuck) but she could challenge for one of the first lineup spots. Utah will have stellar beamers next year, and it will be difficult for Sabado to break into the lineup. Her routine, however, which includes a BHS + LOSO series and a double twist dismount, is solid. Finally, bars is Sabado’s best event. Her Jaeger, bail to handstand and double layout dismount is ready for the NCAA.

9. Olivia Dunne, LSU (38.2600 mod, 38.600 high)

Videos: VT | UB | BB | FX

Dunne is expected to make a difference at LSU, especially on bars and beam. On bars, she competes a Maloney to Pak salto and a full pirouette to double tuck. It is not the most difficult routine but should replace Kennedi Edney or Ruby Harrold quite easily. On beam, she performs a beautiful BHS + LOSO, a front aerial and a BHS + 1.5 twist dismount. It is not that dissimilar from Edney’s routine. Floor is not one of Dunne’s main strengths. Her routine includes a double tuck, a 1.5 twist to front tuck and double pike. Uncharacteristically, however, floor was not one of LSU’s best events last year either and, with the loss of both Edney and Harrold, head coaches D-D Breaux and Jay Clark may need Dunne on this apparatus, too. Finally, Dunne’s Yurchenko full is pretty in the air. LSU will want to avoid the slightly desperate lineups of last year’s mid-season, and Dunne may be instrumental in this respect.

8. Carly Bauman, Michigan (38.3100 mod, 39.075 high)

Videos: VT | UB | BB | FX

The 2017 Nastia Liukin Cup champion and the 2016 and 2018 J.O. all around champion will make a difference mainly on bars and beam at Michigan. Her bars (Maloney to bail to handstand and double front dismount) and beam (side somi, BHS + LOSO, double tuck dismount) are 10.0 material, and Bauman will challenge Natalie Wojcik for her anchor spots, even as a freshman. Her floor work includes a front double twist, a 1.5 twist to front layout and a double tuck. It will compete for one of the first spots in the lineup. Bauman’s Yurchenko full is very good, but the Wolverines, with the addition of Naomi Morrison, will count six 10.0 vaults and may not need her. It is still an excellent vault to have, though, should head coach Bev Plocki opt for execution over difficulty for some of the six spots.

7. Eliana Lazzari, Florida (38.3364 mod, 38.950 high)

Videos: VT | UB | BB | FX

The 2019 J.O. all around champion (Junior F) could make the lineup on every apparatus at Florida in her freshman season. Thanks to her Yurchenko 1.5, the Gators could have six 10.0 vaults. On bars, Lazzari’s routine (Ray, Pak salto, full-in dismount) is clean and could easily replace Amelia Hundley or Rachel Gowey. Her beam work (BHS + LOSO + LOSO, double tuck dismount) is exquisite and her routine will not make Florida feel Gowey’s loss as much or maybe at all. Finally, Lazzari’s floor routine, which opens with a full-twisting double pike, is more difficult and slightly cleaner than Hundley’s, which she would replace.

6. Abbie Thompson, Denver (38.3818 mod, 39.225 high) 

Videos: VT | UB | BB | FX

A five-time J.O. nationals qualifier, Thompson will make a difference, especially on beam and floor. On beam, she performs a side aerial + BHS, side somi and 2.5 twist, and on floor a double pike and a triple twist. She will replace Maddie Karr easily on these two apparatuses. Thompson also has potential on bars. Her routine, which includes a Maloney, a piked Jaeger and a double pike dismount, is solid but has some form issues. Her Yurchenko full on vault also incurs in some landing deductions, but Denver could use it in the first couple lineup spots.

5. Skylar Killough-Wilhelm, Washington (38.4146 mod, 39.000 high)

Videos: VT | UB | BB | FX

Killough-Wilhelm, who was fourth in the all around at last year’s J.O. nationals (Senior C), will be an asset for Washington on all four apparatuses. She will be particularly strong on bars and beam, where she is expected to replace the Huskies’ strongest gymnasts. After Evanni Roberson’s perfect 10.0s on beam last season, pressure will be particularly high on Killough-Wilhelm there, though she is more likely to reach perfection on bars. Her routine (piked Jaeger, bail to handstand, full-in dismount) is almost immaculate. On vault and floor, Killough-Wilhelm does not present the highest difficulty, but her routines are polished. Her Yurchenko full is almost as good as Geneva Thompson’s (minus the flare), while on floor her twists, including a front double twist to front pike, are straight and elegant in the air. 

 4. Gabby Perea, California (38.4688 mod, 38.900 high)

Videos: VT | UB | BB | FX

Perea will bring some of her elite difficulty to California, where she will be most impactful on bars and beam. Her bar work (full pirouette, Maloney, Pak salto, Van Leeuwen, double layout) and beam work (standing full, BHS + layout to two feet, side somi, double twist dismount) will score high, despite some very minor form deductions throughout. On vault (Yurchenko full) and floor (double tuck, double pike), she does not present the highest difficulty, but California will be happy to have her, especially on the latter event, which was a bit shaky last year.

3. Chae Campbell, UCLA (38.5125 mod, 39.150 high)

Videos: VT | UB | BB | FX

Campbell, who was third in the all around at J.O. nationals last year (Senior C), is stepping into very big shoes at UCLA, as she will be replacing one of the best ever senior classes, which includes Kyla Ross, Felicia Hano, Gracie Kramer and Grace Glenn. She will be expected to compete on all four pieces. On vault, her Yurchenko full is gorgeous. We hope to see her going one-two with Nia Dennis there. Her bar routine (Maloney to bail to handstand, double front dismount) is not as clean as Ross’, but she can replace Hano easily. Her beam work (BHS + layout to two feet, double wolf turn, front somersault) could be a solid addition to UCLA’s complicated mid-lineup last year, though replacing Glenn and Hano will not be that easy. Finally, on floor she does not present the highest difficulty, but she will put up big scores.

2. Haleigh Bryant, LSU (38.6875 mod, 39.175 high)

Videos: VT | UB | BB | FX

The 2017 J.O. national all around champion and the 2018 and 2020 Nastia Liukin Cup champion will take Baton Rouge by storm. Her best events are vault (handspring pike half-out) and floor (opening with a front double), on which she will challenge Kiya Johnson for the anchor spots from the start. On bars, her routine (Maloney to bail to handstand, double front dismount), like Dunne’s, will replace Harrold or Edney well. Beam is her weaker apparatus, but her routine is still solid and will challenge for one of those unassigned spots in the middle of the lineup.

1. Andrea Li, California (38.7183 mod, 39.250 high)

Videos: VT | UB | BB | FX

The 2018 J.O. national all around champion (Senior B) will be a fantastic addition to California’s roster. She will make a difference especially on bars, beam and floor. Bars was the Golden Bears’ best apparatus last season, and it will be difficult to crack into the lineup. Li’s lines are excellent, though, and if she can hit her dismount consistently, it will be equally difficult to leave her out. Beam was a good event for California last year, but some lineup spots were slightly shaky. Li and Perea should be solid replacements there. On floor, Li opens with a big full-twisting double pike, and she should contribute to what was California’s weakest apparatus last year. Finally, her Yurchenko full will not be a game changer, but it looks easy for her and could become an excellent lead-off vault.

Honorable Mentions

Rylie Mundell, Denver (38.1625 mod, 38.925 high)

Videos: VT | UB | BB | FX

Maddie Johnston, Penn State (38.1525 mod, 38.900 high)

Videos: VT | UB | BB | FX

Amaya Marshall, Missouri (37.9536 mod, 38.425 high)

Videos: VT | UB | BB | FX

Emma Otsu, UC Davis (37.9500 mod, 38.950 high)

Videos: VT | UB | BB | FX

READ THIS NEXT: Most Anticipated J.O. Freshmen on Floor

Article by Jenna King, Rebecca Scally and Talitha Ilacqua

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