The bottom half of the Big Ten had a strange year on the whole. Injuries, abrupt departures and COVID affected this group greatly. Like their counterparts in the rest of the conference, these teams are bringing in some exciting freshmen. Lindsay Bacheler, Elina Vihrova, Emma Simpton and Skyla Schulte are all names to watch.
We’re getting back into the groove of things and returning to the status quo for the 2022 season (as much as we can at least!). That means it’s time for our annual potential lineups analysis! With preseason training in full swing for most teams, we’re breaking it all down and taking a look at every squad’s prospects for the upcoming season—from who’s expected to contribute, holes that need to be filled and exciting upgrades fans should look out for.
No. 30 Maryland
The Terps had a great start to the year, but injuries to Emma Silberman and Aleka Tsiknias in consecutive weeks stimied Maryland’s hopes of a finish in the 20s. Lindsay Bacheler is one of the most exciting freshmen in the conference, although we haven’t really seen anything from her this preseason. The Terps also get Audrey Barber for one more year since she is taking her COVID year.
|Losses:||Collea Burgess, Randi Morris, Sabriyya Rouse|
|Gains:||Lindsay Bacheler, Tasha Brozowski, Athlyn Drage, Josephine Kogler, Sierra Kondo, Rhea LeBlanc|
|Returning From Injury:||Kristen Quick, Emma Silberman, Aleka Tsiknias|
Potential Contributors: Alexsis Rubio (9.875), Reese McClure (9.863), Audrey Barber (9.863), Emma Silberman (9.800), Samantha Gilbert (9.775), Aleka Tsiknias, Emma Silberman, Lindsay Bacheler, Tasha Brozowski, Athlyn Drage, Josephine Kogler
How It Looked Before: Vault was a strong event for the Terps, with regular 49-plus outings and no big misses. It was Maryland’s highest ranked event at No. 16. Two surprise Yurchenko one and halfs emerged from Aleka Tsiknias and Alexsis Rubio.
How It Looks Now: Bacheler has one of the best handspring pike halfs in the country. She’ll be an immediate boost to this lineup. All three of Tasha Brozowski, Athlyn Drage and Josephine Kogler have competed big Yurchenko fulls. Kogler’s is the tidiest of the bunch and could easily slot into the lineup. Drage has recently trained a one and a half. It’s worth noting that Silberman’s injury was an ACL, so her return to this lineup could be questionable.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Vault will be even better for Maryalnd in 2022. With the addition of Bacheler, Silberman and Tsiknias back from injury, and the added depth of strong fulls, there is a lot of potential growth.
Potential Contributors: Audrey Barber (9.913), Aleka Tsiknias (9.850), Emma Silberman (9.838), Tayler Osterhout (9.781), Sophia LeBlanc (9.769), Olivia Weir (9.750), Sanya Glauber (9.706), Elizabeth Debarberie (9.331), Emma Silberman, Lindsay Bacheler, Tasha Brozowski, Josephine Kogler, Sierra Kondo
How It Looked Before: Bars was the event hit hardest by injuries, although it managed not to dip too low. Brett Nelligan tried out most of his team in the lineup, and many struggled to break out of the 9.7s.
How It Looks Now: Bacheler is also excellent on bars, with a gorgeous toe point, clean Jaeger and straight-body double layout. Brozowski has potential, though her swing has a bit of clunkiness to it that she’ll want to finesse. Kogler and Kondo both have single bar releases, E dismounts and good fundamentals but will need to clean up execution to see competition time.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? It’s too soon to tell how bars will fare in 2022. Bacheler is again an instant boost. Those returning from injury will help, but questions remain about the consistency of returning routines.
Potential Contributors: Reese McClure (9.881), Audrey Barber (9.863), Emma Silberman (9.763), Olivia Weir (9.744), Sophia Leblanc, Lindsay Bacheler, Josephine Kogler
How It Looked Before: Beam was Maryland’s weakest event, with some very off weeks and only two outings of a 49.000 or better. No one hit consistently.
How It Looks Now: Beam is an event where the Terps lose two routines in 2022. Silberman should slot back into the lineup. The freshmen were not consistent beamers in level 10. Bacheler moves with confidence and has good leaps, but wobbles plagued her 2021 season. Kogler has a beautiful triple series but has a tendency to wobble and misses 180 degrees on her splits. Perhaps a carefully constructed routine will benefit her.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Beam is likely to sink even further in 2022. Though Collea Burgess and Sabriyya Rouse weren’t superstar beamers, they were veterans with experience. McClure and Barber are poised to lead this group, but inexperience and lack of consistency could make this a real problem event yet again.
Potential Contributors: Audrey Barber (9.875), Reese McClure (9.838), Emma Silberman (9.806), Aleka Tsiknias (9.788), Alexsis Rubio (9.706), Aleka Tsiknias, Emma Silberman, Lindsay Bacheler, Tasha Brozowski, Josephine Kogler
How It Looked Before: Floor also suffered due to injuries in 2021; it was a very up-and-down event after Silberman’s injury, as Nelligan struggled to find a consistent sixth routine.
How It Looks Now: Burgess and Rouse were critical parts of the 2021 floor squad and will be missed. Bacheler’s set is crisp, and she’s a good performer. Brozowski’s dance elements hold back an otherwise usable set while Kogler has all the pieces but lacks some precision.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Down. As on beam, Bacheler should step in, and having Silberman and Tsiknias back from injury should help, but is it enough to see improvement?
Too much is up in the air for the Terps to make a prediction right now. The fate of the team is riding on Bacheler, who has been largely absent from preseason training videos. Even if she’s healthy, that’s immense pressure for a freshman. Can she live up to the hype? If the answer is no, Maryland is in trouble. Pressure indeed.
No. 33 Penn State
Lauren Bridgens’ untimely Achilles injury just before the 2021 season made the year an uphill battle for the Nittany Lions. Add Maggie Mace’s injury and Jessie Bastardi’s absence, and things were a little chaotic. This squad had some very high points, but some big misses, too. Thankfully for Penn State, Bridgens and Alissa Bonsall are back for their COVID years.
|Losses:||Erynne Allen, Abi Walker (left team), Ava Verdeflor|
|Gains:||Nikki Beckwith, Anastasia Frank, Grace Harrell, Jessica Johanson, Bella Salcedo, Elina Vihrova, Sarah Duhe (transfer from Alabama), Olivia Yarussi|
|Returning From Injury:||Jessie Bastardi (likely out with injury again in 2022), Lauren Bridgens, Maggie Mace|
Potential Contributors: Cassidy Rushlow (9.850), Alissa Bonsall (9.838), Natalie Cross (9.806), Maddie Johnston (9.800), Amy Bladon (9.744), Donna Howell (9.638), Lauren Bridgens, Sarah Duhe, Jessica Johanson, Bella Salcedo
How It Looked Before: Vault was not great in 2021—but not disastrous either. Only Cassidy Rushlow finished the year with an average over 9.800, but it was a relatively consistent event that hovered just below a 49.000 for most of the season. The Nittany Lions just lacked one great vault to close out the lineup, a role Bridgens would have held.
How It Looks Now: Bridgens should step right back into this lineup, assuming her Achilles is healthy. Jessica Johanson has been highlighted in training videos working her Yurchenko one and a half, which she competed for some very good scores in level 10. Sarah Duhe also competed a one and a half in level 10. Bella Salcedo hasn’t competed since 2019, but performed both a handspring pike and an Omelianchik in level 10.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Vault should improve in 2022. Bridgens’ return plus Johansson’s likely 10.0 start are an immediate boost. Whether Duhe is planning a one and a half or a full, she is certainly in line to compete. Plus, pending her health, Salcedo is a strong option. We have seen more than one recent Penn State recruit come in with a great vault and degrade in college, though, which is something to keep in mind.
Potential Contributors: Alissa Bonsall (9.894), Cassidy Rushlow (9.888), Natalie Cross (9.825), Maddie Johnston (9.819), Bella Romagnano (9.781), Lauren Bridgens, Nikki Beckwith, Grace Harrell, Jessica Johanson, Elina Vihrova, Maggie Mace
How It Looked Before: Bars was Penn State’s signature piece in 2021. Led by beautiful work from Rushlow, Bonsall, Natalie Cross and Ava Verdeflor, it was consistently in the 49.200 range.
How It Looks Now: Verdeflor was a critical piece of the lineup, and the 2022 squad will miss her. Cross has been training upgrades here, and looks to be in even better form than in 2021. Nikki Beckwith should slot right into the lineup, with a nice Jaeger and straight-body double layout dismount, though she has had some consistency issues. Vihrova has nice lines and a big bag of tricks from elite, though her dismount in recent videos was not up to the level. Grace Harrell has some execution errors, but with cleaning she is an option. Johanson is in a similar position.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Bars should improve in 2022. It’s the event where Bridgens scored her 10.0 in 2019, and her steady presence will make up for Verdeflor’s lost routine. Beckwith should slot in, and the other freshmen add depth.
Potential Contributors: Cassidy Rushlow (9.888), Natalie Cross (9.856), Maddie Johnston (9.844), Bella Romagnano (9.819), Melissa Astarita (9.750), Jessie Bastardi, Lauren Bridgens, Elina Vihrova, Jessica Johanson, Dymiana Cox
How It Looked Before: Beam was a bit of a struggle in 2021; the Nittany Lions had a tough start to the year on the event, missing both Bridgens and Jessie Bastardi, but settled in for the middle of the season. Falls again plagued the team in March.
How It Looks Now: Vihrova shines on beam, where she placed second at the 2020 Szombathely Challenge Cup and has qualified to event finals at Euros each of the last two years. She has the precision and confidence you’d expect from a strong elite beamer. The rest of the freshmen struggle with consistency. Johanson has the most potential; despite a few falls in 2021 and 2020, her lines and execution have the hallmarks of a good collegiate beam worker. Salcedo was excellent on beam in level 10, but her status remains a question. We’ve also seen Dymiana Cox, who missed her first three seasons with knee injuries, training beam.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? It’s too early to tell how Penn State will fare. Bridgens and Vihrova will inject immediate life into the lineup, but on their own they can’t solve consistency issues for the rest of the six.
Potential Contributors: Melissa Astarita (9.894), Alissa Bonsall (9.863), Cassidy Rushlow (9.850), Maggie Ayers (9.700), Maddie Johnston, Amy Bladon, Lauren Bridgens, Bella Salcedo, Elina Vihrova, Jessica Johanson
How It Looked Before: Floor was a mystery week to week for Penn State. Some weeks were very good while others were near-disasters. Of the seven gymnasts who saw lineup time, three never scored out of the 9.7s.
How It Looks Now: Salcedo hails from Texas Dreams, and it shows in her floor work. Of course, there’s a huge asterisk there since we haven’t seen her do gymnastics since 2019. Vihrova’s elite set has the building blocks of a successful collegiate routine. The lunge rule and ability to perform fewer passes should help her. Johanson again has had some consistency problems, but her double pike set is clean and she performs well.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? It’s too soon to tell. Floor’s success really depends on Bridgens’ and Salcedo’s health. If they’re ready, floor should be a more comfortable event this year. If not, it’s going to be a tough year.
Penn State could have a rocky start to 2022, but it has potential to outdo its 2021 ranking. Bridgens’ return is a huge part of that. A lot is riding on her health, as well as Salcedo’s, not to mention Vihrova’s transition to the United States and collegiate gymnastics. That’s a lot of question marks.
No. 39 Nebraska
Nebraska had a brutal 2021 after it lost team members left and right to transfers, a dismissal and COVID opt outs. No. 39 is its worst ranking since at least 1984, the only other season in program history in which Nebraska didn’t qualify to regionals. The Huskers just didn’t have enough depth, and this year may not be much better after Sarah Hargrove and Chloe Lorange left the team. There is going to be a lot of pressure on freshmen not only to be in lineups but to be critical contributors. Heather Brink should be ecstatic that Makayla Curtis and Anika Dujakovich chose to return with their COVID eligibility.
|Losses:||Sarah Hargrove (left team), Danielle Press (removed from roster for season due to injury), Chloe Lorange (left team), Megan Verceles-Carr|
|Gains:||Genesis Gibson, Ayzhia Hall, Katie Kuenemann, Halle Rourke, Emma Simpton, Emma Spence, Savannah Warren|
|Returning From Injury:||Caroline Williams, Martina Comin|
Potential Contributors: Anika Dujakovich (9.913), Kinsey Davis (9.825), Kylie Piringer (9.819), Kaitlyn Higgins (9.788), Makayla Curtis (9.788), Martina Comin, Emma Spence, Savannah Warren, Katie Kuenemann, Ayzhia Hall
How It Looked Before: Vault was a strong event for the Huskers, and it improved steadily throughout the season. Dujakovich was especially good on her signature event.
How It Looks Now: Martina Comin looked good on vault before her Achilles injury in 2021 and has been back training it during preseason. She’ll boost the lineup. Canadian Emma Spence competed a Yurchenko one and a half that has some execution issues but is fundamentally good. All three of Savannah Warren, Katie Kuenemann and Ayzhia Hall have fulls that could emerge as lineup contenders with some collegiate finessing.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? It’s too soon to tell how vault will look in 2022. It shouldn’t degrade—since it only loses Danielle Press’ vault from the postseason lineup, and Comin should easily fill that hole—but the rest of the freshmen need to make adjustments before they’ll be lineup-ready.
Potential Contributors: Kynsee Roby (9.881), Kinsey Davis (9.881), Clara Colombo (9.813), Kat Thaler (9.794), Kylie Piringer (9.744), Emma Simpton, Emma Spence, Genesis Gibson
How It Looked Before: Kinsey Davis and Chloe Lorange were excellent on bars in 2021. Brink kept the same six all year, and the event fell apart a bit by the end of the season.
How It Looks Now: Lorange was a reliable piece of this lineup, and her consistency will be missed. Spence is clean here and should benefit from shorter collegiate routines. Simpton is a confident bar worker with a nice van Leeuwen and should slot nicely into the lineup. Genesis Gibson, who has competed internationally for Ecuador, has excellent handstands and amplitude and should see competition time if she can learn an up-to-the-level dismount.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? It’s too early to tell how bars will go in 2022. The Emmas, Simpton and Spence, should easily join the lineup and fill Lorange’s hole, but the fate of the event will come down to the consistency of the returning gymnasts.
Potential Contributors: Kynsee Roby (9.919), Kaitlyn Higgins (9.881), Kat Thaler (9.869), Kinsey Davis (9.813), Makayla Curtis (9.756), Clara Colombo, Ayzhia Hall, Emma Simpton, Emma Spence, Caroline Williams
How It Looked Before: Beam was Nebraska’s strangest event in 2022, coming in at No. 22. Kynsee Roby was excellent, and Kaitlyn Higgins had a breakout season. However, Curtis had a rocky year.
How It Looks Now: Caroline Williams was strong on beam in level 10, and her excellent leaps make her an option. Hall has a very floaty quality that will appeal to fans, and if she can be consistent, she could become a star beamer. Simpton has also suffered from some inconsistencies but has the pieces for success. Spence has the skills to build a routine but lacks presence and execution.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? It is, yet again, too soon to tell how the Huskers will look on beam in 2022. Too much depends on consistency, both from the newcomers and returning routines.
Potential Contributors: Kylie Piringer (9.881), Kaitlyn Higgins (9.869), Makayla Curtis (9.863), Anika Dujakovich (9.850), Martina Comin, Emma Spence, Halle Rourke, Emma Simpton
How It Looked Before: Floor was, at times, disastrous for the Huskers. They did have a peak of 49.250, but no one in the lineup had a 9.800 or better average.
How It Looks Now: Comin should step back in on floor if her Achilles is up to it. She notched a 9.800 in one of her two outings before her injury. With Press and Lorange gone, there is one other hole to fill. Spence is a touch sloppy, but the college lunge rule may help her clean up her set. Simpton has excellent presence and opens with a nice two and a half, though she can be inconsistent. Halle Rourke has a solid set but has also been wildly inconsistent.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Down. Comin will possibly be back, but Lorange was the soul of the floor group. It’s not an event where the freshmen excel.
Nebraska is poised for another rough year. There are just too many questions, too many holes and not enough consistency across the group to take an optimistic outlook. Can the freshmen pull together and prove us wrong?
No. 40 Rutgers
Rutgers was hit with a rash of Achilles injuries just before the season. However, the large roster had enough depth to step in and salvage the season, which was capped with Hannah Joyner heading to nationals as an individual on beam. Freshmen stepped up in a big way, and Rutgers’ No. 40 ranking was its best finish since 2014. Will Belle Huang’s return for a COVID year be all this team needs to land a regionals berth?
|Losses:||Sophia Atienza, Kiera Doherty-Herwitz (left team), Emily Drauss, Lizzy Henshall (left team), Alexis Rogers (left team), Christiana Thompson (left team), Toni Williams|
|Gains:||Elia Aird, Brayden Battavio, Isabella Hughes, Maya Jones, Hannah Kang, Hailey Kim, Jacqueline Manifold, Anna Pagliaro, Mya Pringle, Anna Yeakel|
|Returning From Injury:||Mia Betancourt, Jordyn Duffield, Myra Daniels|
Potential Contributors: Hannah Joyner (9.856), Belle Huang (9.819), Jenna Ferguson (9.794), Emma Leese (9.788), Calah Newman (9.781), Avery Balser (9.700), Mia Betancourt, Elia Aird, Jacqueline Manifold, Mya Pringle, Anna Pagliaro, Isabella Hughes
How It Looked Before: Vault started slow for the Scarlet Knights, but they found their footing by mid-February. Of the nine members of the roster who vaulted in 2021, six were freshmen.
How It Looks Now: Elia Aird has a nice Yurchenko full; she pikes down but has good amplitude and a strong block. Mya Pringle’s vault is similar. Isabella Hughes spent the pandemic coming back from an injury, but trained a strong Yurchenko one and a half to a competition landing. Anna Pagliaro’s full is big, open and scored well in level 10.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Vault should fare better in 2022. With more experience under the now-sophomores’ belts, and several strong options from the freshmen, the event should settle into a comfortable total earlier in the season than it did in 2021.
Potential Contributors: Hannah Joyner (9.831), Abigail Karolewski (9.800), Avery Balser (9.800), Calah Newman (9.719), Belle Huang (9.719), Elia Aird, Mya Pringle, Anna Yeakel
How It Looked Before: Rutgers never broke 49.000 on bars, an event that had some tough weeks. As on vault, nine members of the team tried out bars, but in this case most were upperclassmen.
How It Looks Now: Aird has some short handstands but a solid piked Jaeger. The trick for her will be not piking her double layout. Pringle has nice technique and excellent lines. There aren’t recent competition videos, but her scores have been good, if a little inconsistent.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? It’s too soon to tell how Rutgers will look on bars. If she can hit, Pringle could be a game-changer. For bars to really shine, though, returning routines need to be more consistent.
Potential Contributors: Hannah Joyner (9.919), Bella Huang (9.894), Stephanie Zannella (9.831), Jenna Ferguson (9.775), Calah Newman (9.769), Mia Betancourt, Elia Aird, Jacqueline Manifold
How It Looked Before: Beam was Rutgers’ headline event in 2021, led by Joyner. It was the lineup with the least turnover and was quite consistent, especially in the second half of the season.
How It Looks Now: The Scarlet Knights lose both Emily Drauss and Kiera Doherty-Herwitz from this lineup; both were postseason routines and Doherty-Herwitz was a staple all season. Thankfully, Aird is quite lovely here and has been largely consistent; her lines and amplitude stand out in acro skills. Jacqueline Manifold has some execution issues, but she moves with a smooth confidence that should translate well to college. Pringle also has some form to clean, but she moves with a unique lightness and was consistent in level 10. Jenna Ferguson will also be an option; she competed beam her entire freshman season.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Beam should improve. Umme Salim-Beasley recruits for gymnasts who may have some form issues and some consistency questions but who also have an X-factor, and it shows especially on beam. This class is full of unique presence. Consistency will be the key, but Salim-Beasley has proven she can coach for that.
Potential Contributors: Belle Huang (9.881), Hannah Joyner (9.863), Emily Wood (9.794), Avery Balser (9.775), Calah Newman (9.731), Stephanie Zannella (9.656), Jenna Ferguson, Elia Aird, Isabella Hughes, Maya Jones, Jacqueline Manifold
How It Looked Before: Messy is the best way to describe Rutgers’ floor experience in 2021. Huang and Joyner were excellent, but the rest of the team had some big ups and downs. Emily Wood came into her own by the end of the season with much stronger scores beginning in late-February.
How It Looks Now: Floor loses no routines from last season. Hughes is a highlight of the freshman class, with a powerful double layout and gorgeous leaps. Assuming she’s healthy, she should land a late-lineup spot. Manifold brings another E pass, with a quick front double full. Aird and Pagliaro have good performance quality, but their split positions hold them back. Maya Jones is a strong option, with excellent straddle positions highlighting her set.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Floor should improve in 2022 on the heels of so much depth. With a core four of Huang, Joyner, Hughes and Manifold, Umme-Beasley will have some space to play with the lineup and find a best six.
Rutgers should continue its climb in 2022. The Scarlet Knights have been steadily improving under Umme-Beasley’s leadership, and she again brought in a class with diverse talents and fundamentals to build on. With Huang back for a fifth year, it seems like a good a time as any to make a regionals push. The big question is bars. Will the returning routines be consistent enough to finish in the top 36?
No. 56 Michigan State
It’s hard to say much about the Spartans’ 2021, since they only competed twice before ending the season due to Covid. What we do know is Baleigh Garcia looked like she was going to live up to the hype, and a mid-195 number in late January after a lot of Covid chaos for the squad is nothing to look down your nose at. The Spartans started 2020 after a normal preseason and no cancelled meets at a 191.850, for reference. This group is inexperienced for reasons outside of its control, but it seems safe to bet that it is also more than ready for a comeback season. Nevermind that Skyla Schulte, the level 10 Senior E national champion and one of the top recruits in her class, is now on board.
|Losses:||Ashley Beatty, Chloe Bellmore (retired), Tristan Brown, Madison McHale (left team), Jenna Wicker (left team), Linda Zivat (transfer to Iowa)|
|Gains:||Lauren Hsu, Genevieve Lebster, Tori Loomis (transfer from Utah State), Katie Sawyer, Skyla Schulte, Gabrielle Stephen|
|Returning From Injury:||None|
Potential Contributors: Sydney Ewing, Baleigh Garcia, Ashley Hofelich, Lea Mitchell, Nyah Smith, Skyla Schulte, Katie Sawyer, Gabrielle Sephen, Tori Loomis
How It Looked Before: Vault was shaping up to be a weakness for the Spartans if the two meets we saw were any indication, and it was the weakest piece in 2020 as well. Michigan State just didn’t have enough dynamic, big vaulting to get out of the 9.7s, and some of the lineup struggled through the two weeks.
How It Looks Now: Schulte performs a huge Yurchenko full that could anchor this lineup. Katie Sawyer has a solid full as well and spent this summer working a realistic-looking one and a half. Gabrielle Stephen’s vault is a little uncontrolled, but her amplitude is enormous; if she can reign in her landing, she could be a vault star. Tori Loomis didn’t vault at Utah State, but she had a solid full in level 10.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Vault should look better in 2022. If the three freshmen above replace the three lowest-scoring routines from 2021, things will be looking up. Michigan State has been known to need to vault a Yurchenko layout in recent years; that should be a thing of the past.
Potential Contributors: Sydney Ewing, Baleigh Garcia, Delanie Harkness, Jori Jackard, Lea Mitchell, Alaina Raybon, Nyah Smith, Sydney Hayashi, Skyla Schulte, Tori Loomis
How It Looked Before: The Spartans looked like they were going to be strong on bars; freshman Delanie Harkness had two excellent outings, and half of the lineup had averages above 9.800 with just two meets under their belts.
How It Looks Now: If Schulte has a slight weakness, it’s bars, but she still has good lines, a true Shaposhnikova and a double layout dismount. With some routine construction work to shorten her set and a little college handstand finessing, she could be as excellent on this piece as she is on the others. Loomis was inconsistent in level 10 and only competed once at Utah State for a score in the 8s, but she has good handstands and nice lines. If she can stay on the bar, she’s an option.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too soon to tell. Schulte should eventually be a good collegiate bar worker, but it could take some time, which means in the meantime, improvement might be up to the returning gymnasts. We just didn’t see enough of them last year to guess how that could progress.
Potential Contributors: Delanie Harkness, Lea Mitchell, Alaina Raybon, Nyah Smith, Alyssa Wiedeman, Skyla Schulte, Tori Loomis
How It Looked Before: Michigan State has had some beam woes in recent seasons, but 2020 was looking up when the season was cancelled. The two outings in 2021 showed promise.
How It Looks Now: There’s one routine to replace here: Chloe Bellmore’s. Schulte tied for first in the Senior E division at level 10 nationals for her calm and steady set. Her standing switch split and double tuck dismount are highlights. Beam was Loomis’ event at Utah State; she only competed a handful of times, but her Texas Dreams training shows.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? It’s hard to say how beam will look since it has been such a fickle event for the Spartans the past few seasons.
Potential Contributors: Baleigh Garcia, Sydney Ewing, Ashley Hofelich, Lea Mitchell, Alaina Raybon, Nyah Smith, Skyla Schulte, Katie Sawyer, Gabrielle Stephen
How It Looked Before: Floor is often a good event for the Spartans, led by some powerful tumbling and Mike Rowe’s Broadway-inspired choreography. 2021 was shaping up to continue that trend, with a 49.125 start.
How It Looks Now: Schulte took the level 10 national title here, too, last year. She performs a powerful full-in and is an engaging performer. Her huge oversplits in leaps and jumps are the real stunner in her set. She could anchor this lineup. Sawyer competed a double Arabian in a routine that is close to college-ready, with some work on her combination pass. Stephen brings a front double full and a knack for finding landings, though her split positions need fine-tuning.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Floor should improve; plugging the exact routine Schulte has already been doing would make an instant difference on its own. Her addition, plus depth from the other freshmen, should round out the lineup nicely.
The Spartans are returning three strong all arounders in Baleigh Garcia, Nyah Smith and Lea Mitchell. All three managed a total over 39.000 in the two meets the squad competed last year, and Garcia nabbed a 39.300 in her collegiate debut. Add Schulte to that crew, and Michigan State needs only to find two more 9.800-capable routines on each event to have a very strong year. The big question is, will Schulte knock it out of the park out of the gate? That’s immense pressure to put on a freshman, but Schulte is accustomed to standing atop all around podiums; she’s been doing it her whole career.
READ THIS NEXT: Potential Lineups: Big Ten Part I
Article by Emily Minehart and Carolyn Lien
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