Most Anticipated Elite Freshmen on Bars

The most anticipated series is back! We looked at the data and videos for each incoming elite 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 elite bar workers for 2021. Without as much data to work with as the J.O. rankings, and since many of the difficult routines will be downgraded once the gymnast gets to college, we focused on the factors that are typically the source of most deductions in NCAA: form, amplitude, handstands and landing. We also took into account the potential impact the gymnast could make to their school’s bars lineup.

Frida Esparza, UCLA

Esparza competed an intricate bar routine in elite, which scored well internationally. From her vast repertoire, she can easily choose her best skills for college, which include a Maloney, a Pak salto, a piked Jaeger and even a Bhardwaj and a double layout dismount. Her NCAA routine could look like a combination of Kyla Ross’s and Peng-Peng Lee’s, which is telling about her potential.

Mara Titarsolej, LIU

The Dutch elite did not compete much after 2016 due to injury but her lines on bars remain exceptional. Her handstands are gorgeous, and she could compete with ease a Maloney to Pak salto or bail to handstand combination. She will just incur a deduction for a leg separation on her transition to the high bar. She could anchor LIU’s first ever bar lineup as a freshman.

Emma Malabuyo, UCLA

Malabuyo’s senior career was also marred by injuries. As a junior, however, her bar routine was polished and she consistently scored over 14. She had micro leg separations on her transition elements, but if they are still there, they would be minimal deductions. From her repertoire, the most obvious collegiate combination would be a Maloney to Pak, perhaps a Van Leuween and her full-in dismount.

Irina Alexeeva, Stanford

Alexeeva brings tons of potential and possible combinations to Stanford. Her Maloney to Gienger is impactful but could be risky; her Pak salto and Van Leuween are also very good, and her piked Jaeger too. Finally, her double front dismount is solid, though it is difficult to stick. Regardless of the skills she will end up using, Alexeeva has 10.0-scoring potential and could anchor Stanford’s bar rotation as a freshman.

Shania Adams, Alabama

Adams did not get much coverage during her elite career, but her bar work was excellent. Her Maloney to Pak salto were as good as they could get, and her Van Leuween, straddled Jaeger and full-in dismount were also solid. Moreover, her handstands were impressive and her scores, in the high 13s, were competitive. Overall, even though Adams may not be the flashiest elite to join the NCAA this fall, do not sleep on her. Her bar routine could even challenge for the anchor spot at Alabama.

Ana Padurariu, UCLA

Padurariu’s elite routine at the beginning of this quad was very difficult and scored consistently over 14, despite some form issues. In 2019, however, as a result of injuries and a growth spurt, she had to downgrade significantly. Her difficulty was still more than enough for college, but she only dismounted with a double tuck. At UCLA, the most obvious routine she could perform would be a Maloney to bail to handstand and a blind full to double tuck dismount or a full-in dismount. She could be Felicia Hano’s perfect replacement in the lead-off spot.

Honorable mentions

Alisson Lapp, LIU

Brooklyn Moors, UCLA

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Article by Talitha Ilacqua, Jenna King and Rebecca Scally

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