2021 Predictions: Who is the most underrated gymnast in the country?

There’s less than 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. Check out the previous days’ questions and predictions here.

Who is the most underrated gymnast in the country?

Winner: Anastasia Webb (4 votes)

Runners-up: Ona Loper (2 votes)

Also receiving votes: Milan Clausi, Hannah Joyner, Kyla Bryant, Deja Chambliss, Kyana George, Abby Heiskell (1 vote)

Elizabeth: If we’re using the term underrated loosely, I’m choosing Anastasia Webb. To me, she’s always overshadowed by the other former stellar Oklahoma all arounders but is just as good and brings in the same strong scores.

Talitha: Anastasia Webb is also the first gymnast who came to my mind. She’s not as talked about as other Oklahoma stars, but she is certainly one of them. How else would you define someone who puts up weekly 9.9-plus scores on all four apparatuses?

Katherine: Cal junior Milan Clausi is a joy to watch. She does some of the most spirited gymnastics in the NCAA. She also shows tons of difficulty and has been training some big upgrades. I wish she got more praise.

Katie: For years, I have been saying Anastasia Webb is underrated in NCAA gym. She is more than capable of earning a 10.0 on every event. To me, Webb is the whole package with her artistry, rhythm and high caliber skill level. Plus, her leaps were improving as the 2020 season went on, which is her “weak” spot if she has one.  The past three years, she has been overlooked by Maggie Nichols and OU’s other former elite AAers, Olivia Trautman and Ragan Smith. However, Webb has competed in every meet and is extremely reliable for the Sooners.

Emily M: For me, hands down Hannah Joyner. She was an immediate star at Rutgers, finished 2020 ranked No. 24 in the all around and scored multiple 9.925s on beam. For Rutgers.

Brandis: Although Stanford hasn’t been at its best recently, Kyla Bryant has been the consistent bright spot for the Cardinal the last three seasons as a consistent all arounder with exciting gymnastics to watch. With Stanford in position to make a jump back into the top 20 this season, expect Bryant to be firing on all cylinders to try and step into the national spotlight in her senior season.

Tara: It’s hard for me to pick just one! Anastasia Webb has quietly excelled behind her teammates with bigger names like Maggie Nichols, Ragan Smith and Olivia Trautman. She’s just as good, yet I don’t see as many people talking about her. I’m hoping she gets her chance to shine in the spotlight with Nichols’ graduation. 

Mary Emma: Deja Chambliss at George Washington isn’t talked about enough. She was coming off an Achilles injury in 2020, so she wasn’t full strength until the end of the season, but she scored 39-plus in all five meets where she was in the all around. 

Jenna: This is a tough one, but I’d have to say Kyana George. Cal in general is often overlooked on the national scene, but this should be a breakout year for the Golden Bears, including their senior all arounder.

Izzi: I think Abby Heiskell at Michigan is very underrated. She kind of flies under the radar compared to the bigger AA stars on the team. But she looked great at the Intrasquad, and I think she’s going to have a great year.

Claire: Minnesota’s Ona Loper. She’s gotten better and better every year, setting career highs on all four events (including a 10.0 on vault) last season. She earned second-team All-America honors in the all around in 2020 and could very easily finish in the top 10 in 2021. 

Kalley: Hands down, Ona Loper. She looked incredible last season and bested teammate Lexy Ramler in the all around more than once. 

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

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