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 2022. Without as much data to work with as the level 10 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.

Sunisa Lee, Auburn

We barely need to explain this one, right? From Gracie Day’s double Arabian to Sam Cerio’s clear hip work, we’ve always loved how Auburn bars takes risks on uncommon skills while maintaining the snappiness that makes NCAA bars great. The recently crowned Olympic all around champion exemplifies all of that and more, and she’ll bring Auburn Arena to its feet every home meet of her career.

Riley McCusker, Florida

McCusker’s injury status is a little uncertain as she prepares to head to Gainesville, but even with a sore ankle she was able to produce monster bar routines in 2021. This routine will be a serious perfect 10 contender no matter what composition choices she makes, but we’re curious whether she’ll use a double tuck dismount for safety or take the risk on a potentially less consistent E-level dismount.

Morgan Hurd, Florida

After a frustrating 2021 season, we expect Hurd to arrive in Gainesville in January hungry and excited to compete. If her elbow behaves itself, she’s a guaranteed late-lineup routine on bars, where either Shap-Pak and Tkachev-Pak combinations could be winners.

Kara Eaker, Utah

Sometimes elite results don’t predict college prospects, and Eaker’s bars are one such case. Her D-score held her back from competing at the top level on the event in elite, but her form and landing sense should make her an important contributor in college.

Leanne Wong, Florida

It feels absurd to project three elite freshmen from a single team into the same lineup, but with her tidy form and solid key skills on bars, it’s hard to imagine Wong missing out here.

Jade Carey, Oregon State

You might not immediately think bars when you hear Carey’s name, but she really is a major factor on this event—especially given Oregon State’s recent depth struggles. Even a straightforward Maloney-Pak routine could produce weekly 9.900-plus scores for Carey.

Brooklyn Moors, UCLA

Bars has been a hot-and-cold event during Moors’ elite career, but like Carey, it’s easy to imagine her stripping her routine down to the basics and becoming a late-lineup stalwart on a team that struggled for bars depth in 2020.

Jordan Chiles, UCLA

The Olympic silver medalist is a gymnast who could stand to benefit from paring her bars routine down for college. With her strong handstands and a Tkachev to Pak construction, Chiles could produce top scores.

Aleah Finnegan, LSU

One word: Deltchev. NCAA judges tend to reward unique routine composition, so we’ll all be holding our breath to find out if the younger Finnegan sister will include her signature skill in her college routine. 

Phoebe Jakubczyk, Oregon State

An incredibly versatile bars gymnast who’s tried almost every transition in the code, Jakubczyk has numerous composition options to help to fill the bars shortage in Corvallis.

Emma Spence, Nebraska

After a few years of severe depth crunch, Nebraska will be extremely grateful for Spence’s elite experience and varied skillset on this event.

Grace McCallum, Utah

With only one bar routine graduating from Utah’s 2021 lineup, the competition for a spot in the top six will be substantial on this event. Still, McCallum has ample experience doing bars under pressure and should be able to replace a less consistent returning routine.

Amelie Morgan, Utah

Like McCallum, Morgan has her work cut out for her to make the already established lineup, but she’s likewise a seasoned competitor who brings a bonus: She regularly completes a Bhardwaj. Fellow freshmen Sunisa Lee, Jade Carey and Phoebe Jakubczyk also know the fan-favorite release, but Morgan is potentially the most likely to keep it for her college routine.

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Article by Rebecca Scally and Jenna King

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