Most Anticipated Elite Freshmen on Vault

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 vaulters for 2022. Without as much data to work with as the level 10 rankings, and since many of the difficult vaults 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, distance and landing. We also took into account the potential impact the gymnast could make to their school’s vault lineup.

Jade Carey, Oregon State

We’ve previewed Carey’s college vault career about a million times now between this series and Potential Lineups, so we’ll give you the short version this time: She could do any one of at least a half dozen vaults and anchor the Beavers no matter which she chooses. 

Leanne Wong, Florida

Wong is known for her exceptional form, and it’ll make her a very attractive vault option for the stacked Gators. It’s easy to imagine her succeeding with either her Yurchenko double or a one and a half.

Jordan Chiles, UCLA

For a team that struggled so much with vault difficulty in 2021, a vaulter like Chiles is a godsend. With a history of successful forward landings it’s easy to imagine Chiles opting for a Yurchenko one and a half in college, but her double is more than good enough to anchor for the Bruins.

Emily Lee, UCLA

After an Achilles tear this summer, Lee likely won’t be ready for leg events at the beginning of her freshman season, but she has a strong track record with her Yurchenko double—and even a full would stand a good chance of cracking the UCLA lineup. 

Grace McCallum, Utah

Utah will have a handful of returning Yurchenko one and a halves in 2022, but all of them are just inconsistent enough to make vault a white-knuckle event for Ute fans. Suffice to say they won’t be worrying about whether McCallum will land her most reliable event. 

Kara Eaker, Utah

Eaker’s Yurchenko one and a half is one of the most consistent vaults of the elite quad. While her knee bend approaching the landing has led some to speculate she’ll downgrade to a full or a tucked one and a half in college, her superior landings will pay off majorly in college.

Aleah Finnegan, LSU

Finnegan is a fan favorite on vault and brings two 10.0 options to college. Neither her Yurchenko one and a half (below) nor her Omelianchik is ultra-consistent, but LSU has a strong track record of getting forward-landing vaults ready for college.

Elina Vihrova, Penn State

Like Finnegan, Vihrova has multiple options from different vault families—she’s a stalwart on the World Cup circuit on this event. While she has competed Yurchenkos and Tsukaharas, it’s her front handspring front pike half that we most want to see in college.

Emma Spence, Nebraska

Nebraska isn’t Nebraska without Yurchenko one and a halves, and Emma Spence brings a lot of competitive experience with hers to Lincoln.

READ THIS NEXT: Data Deep Dive: Most Anticipated Level 10 Freshmen in the All Around

Article by Rebecca Scally and Jenna King

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