Most Anticipated Elite Freshmen on Beam

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 beam 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: acrobatic form, extension in dance elements, smoothness and confidence. We also took into account the potential impact the gymnast could make to their school’s beam lineup.

Kara Eaker, Utah

College beam should be a dream come true for Eaker. She can finally drop all of the skills and combinations that caused problems in elite and coast to 10s on the power of her superior presentation and fluidity.

Leanne Wong, Florida

Like her bars, Wong’s beam routine didn’t get major attention in elite because its start value wasn’t competitive at the top level. That won’t be a problem any longer: She’s clean and reliable on this event and should be able to put together a very successful routine.

Morgan Hurd, Florida

Hurd is a world medalist on beam for a good reason, and even if her elbow injury isn’t completely resolved by January, it’s totally possible that she could compete a successful hands-free routine here.

Emily Lee, UCLA

Beam has been a trouble spot for UCLA the last couple of years, but Lee is a leader among the very strong group of beam routines joining the Bruins this year. When she’s healthy, she’ll shine.

Sunisa Lee, Auburn

Just one of the many, many reasons that Lee will be a fantastic college beamer is that her ring leaps—usually the first skill to be dropped when elites move to NCAA—are actually good enough to warrant inclusion in her college routine. This routine is Auburn’s new anchor with or without the dance difficulty, though.

Emma Malabuyo, UCLA

After several years of injury struggles, Malabuyo burst back onto the elite scene in 2021 and looks more than ready to be a major factor in college. It’s easy to imagine her joining clubmates Kiya Johnson and Gabby McLaughlin in the national rankings on beam.

Riley McCusker, Florida

With snappy split positions, emphatic landings and a wide variety of skills from which to choose, McCusker is an easy pick for a late-lineup spot on beam unless her summer ankle injury becomes a long-term issue.

Madison Tansowny, Southern Connecticut

It might be a surprise to see a Southern Connecticut athlete on this list, but Tansowny has been a top Canadian level 10 for years and brings a college-ready set that includes a side aerial + back handspring combination.

Aleah Finnegan, LSU

Just like on vault and bars, Finnegan makes this list thanks to her potential to bring less common elements to the NCAA. Her candle mount with a half twist would be especially welcome now that the non-twisting version has gained popularity at the college level. Aside from her creativity, Finnegan brings confidence and clean tumbling that will score well during her time at LSU.

Grace McCallum, Utah

Could we see four side aerial + layout step-out series in a single lineup this season? The Utah beam squad is one of the deepest in the country, but it’s hard to imagine an Olympic silver medalist who has been steady on the event all year not making the cut.

Ana Padurariu, UCLA

Like Hurd, the other individual beam world medalist on this list, Padurariu has some injury concerns as she heads to Westwood. Luckily, beam is typically an easier event for injury-prone athletes to compete in NCAA, and UCLA has plenty of experience adjusting construction on this event to fit athletes’ individual needs.

Jade Carey, Oregon State

Beam is not the first event that comes to mind when casual gymnastics fans think of Carey, but her patient rhythm and clean execution will thrive in college.

Ilka Juk, LIU

Even if Juk’s name isn’t immediately familiar, you’ve more than likely seen her training clips on your Facebook or Twitter feed. With a bag of tricks that includes an Onodi and a whole bunch of retro handstand and planche work, she’s unbelievably fun to watch on this event.

READ THIS NEXT: Most Anticipated Elite Freshmen on Bars

Article by Rebecca Scally and Jenna King

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