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Last Week in College Gym: Sept. 27

There’s a lot that happens on the gymternet each week. So much so that it can be hard to keep track of it all. From training updates and COVID year announcements to recruiting rumors and coaching news, we don’t blame you for missing some important points here and there.

That’s where we come in. Last Week in College Gym is your one-stop shop for all the important headlines from the previous week in college gymnastics. No matter if you’re taking a social media break, went on vacation or just don’t have the capacity to follow every single gymnast, team and fan, we have you covered.

Top Storylines

Greenville University Hires Bill Hopkins

According to the Greenville website, Hopkins will be both women’s head coach and “director of gymnastics.” He previously coached at SEMO until 1997 and has been active in the club system in Missouri since.

Simpson College Hires Emily Barrett-Payne

Simpson hired Barrett-Payne to be its first women’s gymnastics coach in program history. She comes to Indianola from coaching at Thrive Gymnastics in Maryland. She was a member of the Denver gymnastics team from 2013-16. Her husband, Colin Payne, will be running Simpson’s men’s program. 

Other Newsworthy Items

  • Iowa seniors Carina Tolan, Mackenzie Vance and Allie Gillchrist were awarded scholarships for the year.
  • Illini alumna Rachael Donovan is back in Champaign as a volunteer assistant coach.
  • Ohio State gave a sneak peek into its training gym upgrades.
  • Oklahoma standout Anastasia Webb was honored during halftime at last weekend’s football game for winning the 2021 Honda Award for gymnastics.
  • West Virginia alumna Janáe (Cox) Asbury was recognized for her 2020 induction into the WVU Athletics Hall of Fame. Cox was a three-time NCAA individual all around qualifier and led the Mountaineers to two EAGL team titles during her career from 2004-07.
  • Georgia will be hosting its First Look on Dec. 11 in Stegeman Coliseum.  
  • Suni Lee is a finalist for the James E. Sullivan Award. This award honors the most  most outstanding U.S. amateur athlete.
  • Lee also had her debut performance on Dancing With the Stars on Sept. 20 and revealed her professional partner. The Olympic all around gold medalist is paired with Sasha Farber. Farber was teammate Simone Biles’ partner during season 24. Lee finished the night in third place with a score of 28 out of 40. 
  • Penn State added Eastern Michigan alumna Lacey Rubin to its staff as a volunteer assistant.
  • Gabby Landess of UC Davis is taking her COVID year.
  • Washington freshman Tira Kuitunen posted on Instagram that she was unable to get a visa to travel to the United States. It is unknown whether she will compete for the Huskies this season.

NIL Brand Deals

  • Winona State senior Gabrielle Johnson partnered with Taco John’s just in time for National Queso Day. 
  • LSU’s Olivia Dunne announced her partnership with Bartleby through TikTok. The company provides help with homework and online textbooks.
  • Temple’s Nichole Smith partnered with Six Star Pro Nutrition.
  • Drew Watson from Auburn signed on with Hawker Family Sports and Entertainment to help her manage her NIL opportunities.
  • Hannah Hartung of Eastern Michigan announced a partnership with firefly, a company focused on increasing the efficiency of athlete recovery.
  • Florida senior Megan Skaggs and UCLA senior Norah Flatley signed NIL deals with Third Love.
  • LSU sophomore Olivia Dunne is a part of Plantfuel’s first group of NIL athletes. Dunne is receiving cash, product and stock options from the deal.
  • Ohio State’s Ella Hodges and Florida’s Megan Skaggs have both partnered with Liquid I.V.

Training Updates

  • It’s upgrade season at Illinois State. Freshman Mya Robinson posted a Yurchenko one and a half on Instagram stories while sophomore Jazmine Neely is training a double Arabian on floor. The Redbirds’ TikTok featured a full-twisting double layout dismount off bars from sophomore Jaye Mack as well. 
  • Penn State sophomore transfer from Alabama Sarah Duhe is training a Yurchenko one and a half.
  • LIU sophomore Mara Titarsolej is training a Bhardwaj on bars.
  • Denver posted training clips on its Instagram story, highlighted by a stalder Tkatchev to immediate Pak salto combination from freshman Mia Hebinck.
  • Iowa State posted a nearly complete bar routine from freshman Hannah Loyim, featuring a piked Jaeger, Pak and double layout dismount. She is also training a front aerial to standing back layout stepout on beam while sophomore Kaia Parker debuted a piked full-in first pass.
  • Lindenwood sophomore Simone Evansis training a piked front toss on beam.
  • Oklahoma’s Meilin Sullivan is training again after sitting out last season with complications from COVID-19. The sophomore displayed a Shaposh to Pak combo on bars on OU’s Instagram story, as well as a one-arm back handspring series and a back hip circle on beam. The story also featured a new beam combination from sophomore Audrey Davis, a split leap to front aerial landing in arabesque.
  • Oklahoma freshman Jordan Bowers is training a Ray and a front double full punch front. Senior Allie Stern and freshman Danielle Sievers are also training full-twisting double backs on floor.
  • SEMO redshirt senior Ashley Albrecht is training bars after a season ending injury in 2021. 
  • LSU freshman Aleah Finnegan has not returned to vaulting since her foot surgery, according to a TikTok. 
  • TWU had a show day recently, which was featured on its Instagram story. Highlights included Kyla Podges’ straddle Jaeger and AnnaKate Bickel’s double Arabian bar dismount. Alix Pierce’s back one and a half to front full combination on floor also looked strong.  
  • Lacey Wedge was seen training a front handspring front pike vault, an upgrade for the Centenary junior.
  • Sierra Brooks is training a double double on floor, per her Instagram story.
  • Ohio State freshman Jenna Hlavach is training a Yurchenko full-on back pike on vault, per Ohio State’s Instagram story.
  • Nebraska freshman Genesis Gibson is training a Shaposhnikova to Pak combination, per her Instagram story.
  • Linda Zivat, a transfer at Iowa, is training a Tsuk full, per her Instagram story.
  • Natalie Wojcik posted her famous Deltchev on her Instagram story, but this time it was connected to a bail.
  • Nebraska’s Emma Spence posted a round-off + one and a half step-out through to a double back on floor on her Instagram story.

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Article by the editors of College Gym News

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