This half of the SEC in particular felt like it had so much more to give in the final stretch of 2020 and its postseason.
While there’s still so much uncertainty surrounding the upcoming season, it’s business as usual until we hear otherwise. That means it’s time for our annual potential lineups analysis! With preseason training in full swing for most teams, we’re breaking it all down and taking a look at every squad’s prospects for 2021—from who’s expected to contribute, holes that need to be filled and exciting upgrades fans should look out for.
No. 13 Kentucky
Kentucky performed admirably in its first year without its program-defining class. Now it once again needs to rise above a major loss with the graduation of Mollie Korth. But in typical Kentucky fashion, it’s bringing in a large group to try and do it.
|Losses:||Mollie Korth (AA), Alaina Kwan (VT), Katherine Marianos, Hailey Poland (BB/FX)|
|Gains:||Bailey Bunn, Carissa Clay, Hailey Davis, Isabella Magnelli, Gianna Ortiz, Krista Zultevicz|
|Returning From Injury:||N/A|
Potential Contributors: Arianna Patterson (9.845 NQS), Josie Angeny (9.815 NQS), Cally Nixon (9.810 NQS), Ella Warren (9.785 NQS), Raena Worley (9.780 NQS), Bailey Bunn, Isabella Magnelli, Krista Zultevicz
How It Looked Before: Kentucky’s vault lineup wasn’t the most difficult, but it got the job done on almost every occasion. Disappointingly for the Wildcats, Mollie Korth came close to that elusive 10.0 but was never quite able to get it.
How It Looks Now: Isabella Magnelli’s 10.0 start will have an instant impact, potentially filling in for Korth’s anchor position. Josie Angeny has also been seen training a Yurchenko one and a half. As for the other freshmen, Bailey Bunn and Krista Zultevicz bring especially clean fulls.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Korth’s loss results in an automatic downward trend, but with the incoming 10.0 starts, Kentucky should retain a decently competitive lineup in 2021.
Potential Contributors: Cally Nixon (9.850 NQS), Ella Warren (9.850 NQS), Shealyn Luksik (9.830 NQS), Josie Angeny (9.800 NQS), Raena Worley (9.795 NQS), Raina Albores, Bailey Bunn, Carissa Clay, Hailey Davis, Isabella Magnelli
How It Looked Before: Kentucky posted a tight, consistent bar lineup in 2020. Korth and former nationals qualifier Cally Nixon were highlights.
How It Looks Now: Like vault, bars only has one routine in need of replacement, and there are various viable options. Magnelli’s big routine should make an instant impact. Carissa Clay’s set has excellent lines and a big double layout dismount, and Bunn’s Jaeger comes with great height.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Kentucky should trend up on bars in 2021.
Potential Contributors: Josie Angeny (9.875 NQS), Raena Worley (9.845 NQS), Ella Warren (9.810 NQS), Arianna Patterson (9.760 NQS), Anna Haigis, Mackenzie Harman, Bailey Bunn, Hailey Davis, Isabella Magnelli, Gianna Ortiz
How It Looked Before: In its first year post-Alex Hyland, Kentucky’s beam lineup was consistent on a weekly basis. The fact that it scored below 49.000 just once despite being Kentucky’s lowest-ranking event was impressive.
How It Looks Now: Much of the 2020 lineup remains intact, and the event is a strong one for the freshmen. Magnelli and Gianna Ortiz in particular bring poise and confidence; Magnelli’s triple series and Ortiz’s double full dismount will turn heads in Lexington. Hailey Davis also has a triple series, though she is more of a potential fall risk.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Beam is poised to be one of Kentucky’s strongest events in 2021.
Potential Contributors: Raena Worley (9.910 NQS), Ella Warren (9.900 NQS), Megan Monfredi (9.800 NQS), Raina Albores (9.705 NQS), Carissa Clay, Hailey Davis, Kaitlin DeGuzman, Isabella Magnelli, Gianna Ortiz, Krista Zultevicz
How It Looked Before: Floor was a consistent event scoring-wise, though it saw a wide variety of contributors; all but five of the gymnasts on the roster competed the event in 2020. It was freshman Raena Worley’s standout event.
How It Looks Now: This freshman class doesn’t bring the most difficulty on floor, but its overall clean quality should be a big asset for the Wildcats. Davis, Magnelli and Zultevicz are particularly consistent and powerful options. It was also the only event Kaitlin DeGuzman competed in 2020, doing so just once, so the Wildcats would certainly like for her to be more of a factor as well.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? It is too early to tell where Kentucky’s lineup will be in 2021 since there are so many pieces to choose from to replace two key routines.
Though Korth and Hailey Poland are key losses, Kentucky has the depth to remain very competitive in 2021. Look for the Wildcats to challenge for the SEC evening session yet again.
No. 14 Missouri
Missouri had a strong 2020 season and is poised to perform similarly in 2021. Since Aspen Tucker was out of the all around for much of the season, Missouri has just one routine to replace on every event; it’s a task that should be challenging solely based on depth.
|Losses:||Mary Nicholson, Morgan Porter (AA), Aspen Tucker (UB)|
|Gains:||Kyra Burns, Amaya Marshall, Kalise Newson, Sydney Schaffer, Jena Swanson|
|Returning From Injury:||N/A|
Potential Contributors: Gabrielle Gottula (9.850 NQS), Kambrie Brandt (9.835 NQS), Sienna Schreiber (9.830 NQS), Hannah McCrary (9.820 NQS), Helen Hu (9.795 NQS), Kyra Burns, Amaya Marshall, Jena Swanson
How It Looked Before: Missouri posted a strong, consistent vault lineup in 2020. January addition Kambrie Brandt made the biggest impact here with her powerful front pike half.
How It Looks Now: Morgan Porter’s was just one vault, but her absence will be felt the hardest here. Kyra Burns and Jena Swanson have been seen training 10.0 start values, both of which will be welcome to replace Porter’s big score. In addition, Amaya Marshall has a strong full that could contend for a spot.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Missouri should be similarly impressive on vault in 2021.
Potential Contributors: Helen Hu (9.915 NQS), Sienna Schreiber (9.795 NQS), Alisa Sheremeta (9.780 NQS), Chelsey Christensen (9.770 NQS), Kambrie Brandt (9.600), Hollyn Patrick (9.738), Kyra Burns, Amaya Marshall, Kalise Newson
How It Looked Before: Bars proved to be quite inconsistent for the Tigers in 2020, with the lineup scoring over 49.000 in just half of its meets. It was the one spot where usual all arounder Aspen Tucker contributed in 2020, however, which helped a bit.
How It Looks Now: National champion Burns is an immediate late lineup lock to offset Porter’s absence; her presence should rejuvenate the lineup, along with possible options from Marshall and Kalise Newson. Sophomores Brandt and Hollyn Patrick will hopefully contribute more here this season as well.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? It’s too early to tell the shape Missouri’s bars lineup will be in in 2021.
Potential Contributors: Helen Hu (9.995 NQS), Gabrielle Gottula (9.835 NQS), Sienna Schreiber (9.810 NQS), Hannah McCrary (9.795 NQS), Alisa Sheremeta (9.775 NQS), Kyra Burns, Amaya Marshall, Kalise Newson, Jena Swanson
How It Looked Before: The Tigers performed consistently well on beam in 2020 with few persistent issues. Hu stole the show each week with a routine that went below 9.900 just once.
How It Looks Now: With beam being Porter’s weakest event, replacing her routine won’t be of the utmost importance, but it still needs to be done. It isn’t the strongest event for any of the freshmen, but all could provide usable options if needed. Burns and Swanson look the most likely to do so; both are capable of big dismounts.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Beam is likely to be the Tigers’ second-best event in 2020.
Potential Contributors: Hannah McCrary (9.870 NQS), Sienna Schreiber (9.860 NQS), Alisa Sheremeta (9.835 NQS), Gabrielle Gottula (9.830 NQS), Helen Hu (9.775 NQS), Kyra Burns, Amaya Marshall, Jena Swanson
How It Looked Before: Floor was easily Missouri’s best event in 2020. Hannah McCrary made a major splash in her first year as a major contributor, and Alisa Sheremeta brought big scores and a newfound presence she didn’t have at UIC.
How It Looks Now: Missouri retains a high-scoring group of floor routines, and Hu could be a bigger factor here in 2021 as well. Burns and Marshall are big tumblers, each with a front tuck through to double back to open their routines. Swanson’s level 10 scores were slightly lower, but she brings lots of potential to the lineup.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Missouri should trend up on floor in 2021.
Though the team will look a little different without Porter, Missouri is poised to have a big year if it can overcome the minor inconsistency issues it faced in 2020. Burns and Marshall are underrated potential all arounders who could help the Tigers do it.
No. 17 Auburn
After a standout early season opener at the Iron Bowl of gymnastics, Auburn had a bit of a disappointing season overall. Consistency issues and isolated injuries plagued the team. However, losses in 2021 aren’t as critical as they may seem, especially with an impressive class of former elites to step in.
|Losses:||Katie Becker (VT), Gracie Day (VT/UB/FX), Kendal Moss, Skyler Sheppard (VT/BB/FX), Emma Slappey (BB/FX)|
|Gains:||Brooke Butler, Olivia Hollingsworth, Gabrielle McLaughlin, Payton Smith, Tara Walsh|
|Returning From Injury:||N/A|
Potential Contributors: Drew Watson (9.920 NQS), Derrian Gobourne (9.890 NQS), Cassie Stevens (9.855 NQS), Jada Glenn (9.745 NQS), Elise Panzner (9.700 NQS), Aria Brusch, Brooke Butler, Olivia Hollingsworth, Payton Smith
How It Looked Before: Auburn had a strong vault squad in 2020, with three Yurchenko one and a halfs to punctuate the lineup, which ranked its highest since 2016.
How It Looks Now: Most of Auburn’s strongest vaults return in 2021. No clear 10.0 options exist to replace Gracie Day’s, but Olivia Hollingsworth’s full is powerful and upgradeable. Aria Brusch has also been seen training the event, potentially positioning her as an all around heir when Watson graduates.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Auburn’s returning vaults should buoy the lineup to another strong year.
Potential Contributors: Derrian Gobourne (9.905 NQS), Aria Brusch (9.840 NQS), Adeline Sabados (9.815 NQS), Drew Watson (9.810 NQS), Cassie Stevens (9.770 NQS), Brooke Butler, Olivia Hollingsworth, Gabrielle McLaughlin
How It Looked Before: The Tigers recovered from a rough season-opening bar score to perform consistently well on the event in 2020; as usual, it was a standout event for the program.
How It Looks Now: Day’s routine is the only major one to be replaced, and there are plenty of options to do it. Bars was Brooke Butler’s standout event in elite, so her routine will certainly be looked at to replace Day’s routine. Gabrielle McLaughlin’s Maloney to Pak and Hollingsworth’s skill-packed set will also be welcome additions to the lineup.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Auburn will post yet another competitive bars lineup in 2021.
Potential Contributors: Meredith Sylvia (9.865 NQS), Drew Watson (9.820 NQS), Cassie Stevens (9.815 NQS), Aria Brusch (9.810 NQS), Derrian Gobourne, Piper Smith, Brooke Butler, Olivia Hollingsworth, Gabrielle McLaughlin, Tara Walsh
How It Looked Before: Auburn posted a top 20 beam lineup in 2020, but it wasn’t the standout event of the program; the lineup never scored over a 49.300.
How It Looks Now: Derrian Gobourne will likely be relied upon more here in the absence of Skyler Sheppard’s key routine, and sophomore Piper Smith has been seen training the event as well. The freshmen bring some truly exciting options: McLaughlin is a dynamic beam worker with big skills and a great performance quality, and Butler and Hollingsworth were also strong beam workers in elite.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? It’s too early to tell, but it looks like Auburn’s beam lineup will be strong in 2021.
Potential Contributors: Derrian Gobourne (9.875 NQS), Aria Brusch (9.840 NQS), Drew Watson (9.835 NQS), Cassie Stevens (9.785 NQS), Sabrina Cheney (9.650 NQS), Morgan Leigh Oldham, Adeline Sabados, Olivia Hollingsworth, Gabrielle McLaughlin, Payton Smith
How It Looked Before: Floor was Auburn’s lowest-ranking event in 2020. Though it was a spirited lineup, the landings and consistency weren’t quite there.
How It Looks Now: Day’s and Sheppard’s iconic routines will be tough to replace, but sophomores Morgan Leigh Oldham and Adeline Sabados look poised to make bigger contributions in 2021. As for the freshmen, McLaughlin and Payton Smith bring clean sets. Most intriguing is Hollingsworth—even without her double double, her elite routine could fit right in with Gobourne’s as a late lineup lock.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Auburn is capable of improving on floor in 2021, but it has traditionally not been the strongest event for the Tigers. As such, it’s too early to tell.
Auburn is at a similar level to 2020 in terms of talent; the losses of Day and Sheppard in particular can be offset by the freshmen. However, consistency that has not yet been seen will need to be a factor for the team to make improvements on last year’s results.
No. 18 Arkansas
One of the splashiest teams going into the 2020 season, the Razorbacks performed at a similar level to previous years. An injured Jessica Yamzon put a damper on the team’s performance as a whole, but this year brings new depth with two impactful transfers.
|Losses:||Hailey Garner (UB/BB), Jessica Yamzon (AA; injured)|
|Gains:||Abby Johnston (transfer from Nebraska), Emma Kelley, Maggie O’Hara (transfer from Michigan), Jordan Olszewski, Gillian Rutz, Jensen Scalzo|
|Returning From Injury:||N/A|
Potential Contributors: Sarah Shaffer (9.865 NQS), Kennedy Hambrick (9.820 NQS), Madison Hickey (9.780 NQS), Kiara Gianfagna (9.720 NQS), Claire Rogers (9.700 NQS), Amanda Elswick (9.830), Savannah Pennese, Jordan Olszewski, Gillian Rutz
How It Looked Before: Arkansas brought a bit more vault difficulty than previous years with not one but two 10.0 start values cracking the lineup. Amanda Elswick’s, however, was only available for part of the season after she started the year with an injury. That, plus a lack of consistency, made it the Razorbacks’ lowest-scoring event in 2020.
How It Looks Now: Sarah Shaffer sticking around for an extra year bodes well for the Razorbacks’ vault prospects. A healthier Elswick will also be welcome. Among the freshmen, Gillian Rutz and Jordan Olszewski bring big, floaty Yurchenko fulls.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Arkansas will likely trend up on vault in 2021.
Potential Contributors: Kennedy Hambrick (9.870 NQS), Bailey Lovett (9.865 NQS), Sarah Shaffer (9.850 NQS), Kiara Gianfagna (9.815 NQS), Abby Johnston, Emma Kelley, Gillian Rutz, Jordan Olszewski, Jensen Scalzo, Maggie O’Hara
How It Looked Before: The Razorbacks earned a top five score in program history on bars, but the event was otherwise fairly inconsistent.
How It Looks Now: With all four freshmen bringing reasonable options and Abby Johnston’s decent-scoring set to bolster the lineup, Arkansas has a difficult task on its hands in reconstructing its top six. A 2019 national champion on the event, Rutz will be the most likely competitor thanks to her big Ray.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? The Razorbacks could rejuvenate their bar lineup for a big year in 2021.
Potential Contributors: Sophia Carter (9.860 NQS), Bailey Lovett (9.850 NQS), Kennedy Hambrick (9.845 NQS), Kiara Gianfagna (9.785 NQS), Katarina Derrick, Sarah Shaffer, Maggie O’Hara, Emma Kelley, Gillian Rutz
How It Looked Before: Beam wasn’t the strongest event for the Razorbacks in 2020, but it was still serviceable by mid-tier SEC standards. Among the heavy hitters, Sophia Carter’s average on the event was slightly lower than past years, but the lineup was still fairly good for the Razorbacks.
How It Looks Now: Like bars, beam loses two routines from seniors, but their absence will be felt more here. It’s hard to see where Arkansas will get the necessary depth to pad the 2021 lineup, but Emma Kelley and Rutz bring in clean sets to do it. Maggie O’Hara also looks most likely to contribute here, and Shaffer will be expected to compete the event more consistently to complete her all around program.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? It’s early to tell where beam will be for the Razorbacks in 2021, but lack of depth could prove problematic.
Potential Contributors: Sophia Carter (9.925 NQS), Bailey Lovett (9.910 NQS), Kennedy Hambrick (9.900 NQS), Sarah Shaffer (9.860 NQS), Kiara Gianfagna (9.820 NQS), Maggie O’Hara, Emma Kelley, Gillian Rutz, Jensen Scalzo
How It Looked Before: Wieber brought a bit of UCLA magic to the Razorbacks’ floor lineup. Highlighted by Carter and new fan favorite Bailey Lovett, the event ranked as the team’s best in 2020.
How It Looks Now: Last season’s lineup remains largely intact, but if any additions are needed, Rutz and Jensen Scalzo are clean tumblers. Both transfers are also strong floor workers; Johnston was a consistently high scorer on the event at Nebraska, and, slightly less likely but still possible, O’Hara could contribute as well.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? The Arkansas floor lineup should remain at a similar level as it did in 2020.
With just a few routines to replace, Arkansas can overcome its injury-related flaws from 2020. It will seek to continue capitalizing on the Jordyn Wieber hype train as she enters her second year with the program.
READ THIS NEXT: Potential Lineups: SEC Part I
Article by Katherine Weaver
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