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Last Week in College Gym: Oct. 11

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

Arkansas Head Coach Jordyn Wieber Gets Engaged 

The 2012 Olympian got engaged in early October during a trip to Wieber’s home state of Michigan. Arkansas assistant coach Chris Brooks and Wieber first met in 2011 at the Tokyo world championships, but started dating on the 2016 post-Olympic tour. Wieber brought Brooks onto her Arkansas staff when she was hired as the head coach in 2019. Wieber formerly was with the UCLA Bruins and Brooks was working with Nebraska. 

Florida Freshman Leanne Wong Headlines U.S. World Team

2021 Olympic alternate and Florida freshman Leanna Wong will be continuing her elite career at the 2021 world championships in Kitakyushu, Japan. The competition is set to begin on Oct. 18. Wong is joined by Gator commit and fellow 2021 olympic alternate Kayla DiCello, Cal commit Emjae Frazier and LSU commit Konnor McClain. DiCello won the worlds trial with an all around score of 55.350. Auburn commit Olivia Greaves is the non-traveling alternate for the team. The 2021 world championships does not have a team event, therefore all medals will only be awarded on each of the four events and in the all around.

Other Newsworthy Items

  • Arkansas sixth-year Maggie O’Hara shared her mental health journey, from her time at Michigan to her transfer to Fayetteville. 
  • Maddi Mariani, a senior at Michigan, announced her retirement.
  • LSU held its first team intrasquad on Oct. 8. 
  • Olivia Dunne was featured in the New York Post talking about NIL changes and how she works on making brand deals.
  • Denver held an open practice on October 8, giving the crowd a sneak peek at its 2022 routines.
  • Missouri hosted an intrasquad on Oct. 9 and shared footage on the team’s Instagram page. Keep an eye out for upbeat floor routines from Alonna Kratzner’s Beyonce music and sky high tumbling from Jocelyn Moore. Kyra Burns and Helen Hu both showed beam routines after missing all of the 2021 season. 
  • Hilary (Mauro) Steele was named the Maryland volunteer assistant coach.

NIL Brand Deals

  • Oklahoma junior Ragan Smith is working with shoe brand Allbirds.
  • Mercedez Sanchez, a sixth-year at San Jose State, has an NIL deal with vegan beauty skincare company Lilyana Naturals. 
  • Senior Sarah Edwards, LSU, is working with clothing boutique Shop the Chic Girl.
  • LSU senior Sarah Edwards has signed with Matchpoint Connection, helps talents and brands connect to formulate paid partnerships. 
  • Florida senior Alyssa Baumann is a White Flag Athlete. White Flag is a resource focused around mental health. Alabama junior Makarri Doggette also has a partnership with the organization. White Flag has partnered with a variety of other athletes from different NCAA sports, like football and track. 
  • LSU seniors Christina Desiderio and Reagan Campbell partnered with The Kolache Kitchen, a breakfast and lunch food option with multiple locations in Louisiana. 

Training Updates

  • Natalie Cross, Penn State sophomore, is training a new straddled Jaeger and double front dismount on bars.
  • Redshirt senior Lauren Bridgens is back on bars for the Nittany Lions. She missed the 2021 season with an Achilles injury.
  • Nebraska’s Kaitlyn Higgins is training a Yurchenko 1.5 into the pit.
  • Alabama shared some tumbling passes on floor. Junior Ella Burgess and Sophomore Cam Machado both showed double pikes in their respective injury returns. Senior Kaylee Quinn and Junior Makarri Doggette performed double layouts. 
  • Makenna Clarke is training on vault for Kentucky, The junior was featured on Kentucky’s instagram story working layout timers onto stacked mats. 
  • Florida freshman Riley McCusker completed her first back handspring on beam since undergoing ankle surgery earlier this fall. McCusker also shared a dance through sneak peak of her floor routine and is training her Ricna to Pak combination on bars. 
  • Florida Senior Nya Reed has a front toss + bhs series on beam. Reed has never competed the event in her collegiate career. Teammate Sloane Blakely also showed off a front aerial + bhs combination that would add more skill variety to Florida’s beam rotation.
  • Towson junior Jenna Weitz is training a double layout on floor. 
  • Georgia sophomore Katie Finnegan is training a Yurchenko 1.5 on vault. She joins teammates Haley De Jong, Rachel Baumann and Amanda Cashman 10.0 start values upgrades. 
  • Oklahoma sophomore Audrey Davis is training a double front half-out dismount on bars. The team has been posting quite a bit of bars content to its Instagram, including full-twisting double back dismounts from freshman Jordan Bowers, sophomore Danae Fletcher and freshman Danielle Sievers. Sophomore Meilin Sullivan, who missed the 2021 season, was shown training a Pak salto and Shaposh on OU’s Instagram story.
  • Iowa State freshman Rachel Wilke recently took over the team’s Instagram story, posting training footage of a piked full-in and double pike on floor, as well as a double layout on Tumbl Trak. Senior Kelsey Boychuk has also been spotted training a Yurchenko 1.5.
  • Clara Colombo is working an upgraded bar dismount for her junior season at Nebraska: an Eagle grip giant to double front half-out.
  • Martina Comin, who injured her Achilles in her first season at Nebraska in 2021, is training a Yurchenko one and a half.
  • Missouri freshman Jocelyn Moore is working a DLO on floor. 
  • Florida sophomore Chloi Clark is training a Gienger on bars. 
  • Alabama senior Griffin James is working on a DLO dismount off bars, per Alabama’s IG stories. James has only competed floor for the Crimson Tide. 
  • Georgia’s Nhyla Bryant missed her freshman season due to injury but has been looking strong in training videos with a DLO on floor and multiple appearances on beam. 
  • Denver sophomore Rosie Casali is training a bhs + loso + loso series on beam, via the team’s Instagram story. Casali did not compete beam for the Pioneers last season.
  • Winona State senior Gabrielle Johnson is training a layout step-out + layout step-out series on beam. 

READ THIS NEXT: Last Week in College Gym: Oct. 4

Article by the editors of College Gym News

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