2021 Predictions: Which team will outperform its traditional standing in 2021?

There’s only about two weeks left until the start of the long-awaited 2021 season. While this year may look a bit different than we’re used to, the gymnastics is still the same—and it wouldn’t be a new season without some predictions. Taking a page out of The Athletic’s book, we’ll be answering one pressing question over the course of 10 days as we gear up for the first meet.

To view every question in the 2021 predictions series, click here.

Which team will outperform its traditional standing in 2021?

Winner: Michigan (4 votes)

Runners-up: Minnesota, California (2 votes)

Also receiving votes: Missouri, Auburn, Iowa State, N.C. State (1 vote)

Elizabeth: I have a feeling Michigan is in for a stellar season. The team lost very few crucial routines, and the freshmen are stars in the making.

Talitha: I’m going to say Minnesota. The Gophers lost some important routines at the end of last season, but the freshmen look impressive. Mya Hooten in particular will make the difference on vault and floor, where Minnesota was lacking some depth last year.

Katherine: Though Helen Hu’s injury will really hurt, I still think Missouri will do big things this year. It’s looked so impressive at intrasquads, even without showing full difficulty. I am looking forward to seeing how the Tigers shake up the SEC hierarchy and national rankings. 

Katie: I’m also going to stay within the SEC here and go with Auburn. Auburn did not have its best performance last year, but I expect big things from the sophomore class. Cassie Stevens is an underrated AA performer, and I expect to see more from Aria Brusch. Plus, Derrian Gobourne and Drew Watson will be leading the way and can provide stellar routines for the tigers. 

Emily M: I see Michigan returning to its national final positions of yore. It has been a while since the Wolverines have seen the final day of competition, but this group is strong.

Brandis: I’m expecting California to have a breakout year in 2021. The Golden Bears finished 2020 on an upswing, are bringing back nearly all their routines and brought in a stellar freshman class. Seems like a recipe for success to me.

Tara: I’m going to say California. Like Brandis said, the Golden Bears are losing relatively few routines while bringing in one of the best freshman classes in years. 

Claire: Keep an eye on Iowa State. The Cyclones haven’t finished inside the top 20 in over a decade, but that streak may very well end this season. 

Mary Emma: I think a lot of people are underestimating N.C. State this year. With its stellar freshman class, I think the Wolfpack has a chance to break into the top 20.

Jenna: Like many of the other editors, I’m very high on Michigan this year. Anything less than a run to Four on the Floor would be surprising with the loaded roster.

Izzi: I have to agree with the majority and say Michigan. The team looks amazing, and it’s been inching closer to a championship the last few years. The Wolverines are hungry to win.

Kalley: I have to go with Minnesota. The Gophers were on their way to an incredible finish in 2020, and I believe they will continue to build on that momentum this year.

Article by Elizabeth Grimsley, Talitha Ilacqua, Katherine Weaver, Katie Walsh, Emily Minehart, Brandis Heffner, Tara Graeve, Claire Billman, Mary Emma Burton, Jenna King, Izzi Baskin and Kalley Leer

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