The MAC is always one of the most tightly contested conferences in gymnastics. Eastern Michigan walked away with the MAC championship title, but Central Michigan and Kent State both qualified directly to the second day of regionals while the Eagles failed to win their play-in round. Western Michigan also qualified to the first day but did not advance to the second. All of that could change this season, though. Each school struggled with depth and consistency in 2021, but they are all bringing in talented freshmen classes that should make 2022 even more exciting.
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. 26 Central Michigan
Central Michigan ended the 2021 season with a fourth-place finish at the Athens Regional. There is no reason the Chippewas cannot hope to improve on that finish in 2022.
|Losses:||Nora Fettinger, Kennedy Johnson, Mayleigh Vanderbeek (transfer), Sydney Williams|
|Gains:||Avah Anthes, Alexis Garcia, Grace Gorham, Lia Kmeciak, Ariana Light, Quinn Skrupa|
Potential Contributors: Katie Kowalski (9.869 NQS), Hannah DeMers (9.850), Sierra DeMarinis (9.825), Elizabeth Cesarone (9.819), Avah Anthes, Alexis Garcia, Ariana Light, Quinn Skrupa
How It Looked Before: Vault was the Chippewas’ second-best event in 2021. Though they did not always have the highest difficulty, their execution was some of the best in the MAC. Central Michigan struggled a bit with depth, with only seven athletes competing vault the whole season.
How It Looks Now: With a new batch of freshmen and hopefully a more stable competition environment, Central Michigan should be able to ease its issues with depth, as well as replace the vaulters who graduated in 2021.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Now that Central Michigan has more depth to pull from, vault should be at a similar level or even upgraded from 2021. Losing seniors Nora Fettinger, Kennedy Johnson and Sydney Williams will hurt, but it’s nothing the Chippewas can’t overcome.
Potential Contributors: Hannah DeMers (9.906 NQS), Ashley Veglucci (9.800), Adriana Bustelo (9.794), Audrianna Hammond (9.794), Sierra DeMarinis (9.756), Alexis Garcia, Grace Gorham, Lia Kmeciak, Quinn Skrupa
How It Looked Before: Bars was a weaker event for the Chippewas, but they still finished the season ranked in the top 35. Central Michigan was led by standouts Kennedy Johnson and Hannah DeMers, the latter of whom qualified to nationals on the event.
How It Looks Now: The Chippewas are returning most of their routines from last season, as well as adding a few freshman stars, such as Lia Kmeciak and Grace Gorham.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Losing Johnson’s score will be a hit, but they should be able to make up some ground with their new freshman. Bars should trend a bit higher than it did in 2021.
Potential Contributors: Morgan Tong (9.894 NQS), Hannah DeMers (9.813), Sierra DeMarinis (9.788), Amber Mueller (9.781), Ashley Veglucci (9.781), Adriana Bustelo (9.756), Avah Anthes, Ariana Light, Alexis Garcia
How It Looked Before: Beam was a puzzle that the Chippewas just couldn’t solve last year. There were some great performances, like the ever-steady Morgan Tong, but Central Michigan struggled to put together a consistent lineup that could hit every time.
How It Looks Now: Beam is always tricky, and once a team is known for struggling on beam, it can be hard to get past that reputation. Still, there are several strong performers returning, and freshman Ariana Light has proven herself as a standout on the event.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? It’s a little too early to tell how beam will unfold this season. There is definite evidence indicating it will trend up, but again, beam is tricky. With a lot of pressure sets in the gym, the Chippewas do stand a chance at becoming a great beam team.
Potential Contributors: Hannah DeMers (9.913 NQS), Sierra DeMarinis (9.913), Taylor Pitchell (9.888), Ashley Veglucci (9.869), Adriana Bustelo, Grace Gorham, Ariana Light, Quinn Skrupa
How It Looked Before: Floor was by far Central Michigan’s best event in 2021, finishing the season at No. 14. The Chippewas were led by Hannah DeMers and Sierra DeMarinis, as well as seniors Nora Fettinger and Sydney Williams.
How It Looks Now: Losing Williams and Fettinger won’t be fun to deal with, but the athletes with the top four NQSs are returning. Plus,Canadian elite Quinn Skrupa will be bringing her E-passes and artistry to Mount Pleasant. There is now also an opening for athletes like Adriana Bustelo to break into the lineup and show what they can do.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Central Michigan should remain fairly solid on floor this year, potentially trending up with the addition of some new faces in the lineup.
2022 has the potential to be a big year for Central Michigan. The team has struggled with depth in the past, but a large class of talented freshmen may be just what it needs to climb up the rankings. If it is to get there, though, it will need to figure out a consistent beam lineup that can consistently hit six-for-six every week.
No. 31 Kent State
Kent State had its best national finish since 2014 in 2021. However, it lost a class of stellar seniors, and it may be difficult to fill the holes they left.
|Losses:||Jade Brown, Sydney Chapman, Abby Fletcher, Nasha Manitkul-Davis, Toshi Richard|
|Gains:||Alyssa Guns, Dakota Lee, Cheyenne Pratola, Brynne Tsipis, Grace Wehry|
|Returning from Injury||Kyndall Gilbert (Achilles)|
Potential Contributors: Olivia Amodei (9.800 NQS), Karlie Franz (9.800), Cami Klein (9.794), Rachel DeCavitch (9.769), Kennedy Weinpert (9.681), Kyndall Gilbert, Grace Wehry
How It Looked Before: Vault was not the strongest event for the Golden Flashes. They struggled with the little things—moving feet on landings, knees in the air and distance from the table. While the team was fairly consistent here, gymnasts were consistently bringing in scores below 9.800.
How It Looks Now: Kent State is losing two consistent vaulters with the graduation of Sydney Chapman and Abby Fletcher, but it’s also retaining some strong performers and adding a few new ones. Having Kyndall Gilbert back in the lineup will definitely be an asset.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? It’s too early to tell what vault will look like this season. The Flashes could be hurt by losing some seniors, but they could also be aided by the addition of some newcomers. Time will tell.
Potential Contributors: Rachel DeCavitch (9.875 NQS), Karlie Franz (9.819), Madison Iannuzzo (9.819), Olivia Amodei (9.800), Sarah Haxton (9.800), Madison Trott (9.731), Dakota Lee, Cheyenne Pratola, Brynne Tsipis
How It Looked Before: The Golden Flashes were strong on bars in 2021. Led by Rachel DeCavitch and graduated senior Jade Brown, they finished the season ranked 25th in the country.
How It Looks Now: Kent State is only losing one routine from the end of 2021, but it is that of Jade Brown, who pulled in the second-highest NQS on the team. Still, that hole should be easily filled by one of the new freshmen, such as Dakota Lee or Brynne Tsipis.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Kent State should expect to build upon the success it achieved last year on bars. It’s only losing one routine and has plenty of options to fill that gap and rise up the rankings.
Potential Contributors: Sarah Haxton (9.819 NQS), Riley Danielson (9.800), Samantha Henry (9.800), Cami Klein (9.800), Rachel DeCavitch (9.756), Jackie Harker (9.688), Cheyenne Pratola
How It Looked Before: Kent State struggled immensely with consistency and depth on beam last year. Just seven athletes competed on the event, and the Flashes only tallied one total over 49.
How It Looks Now: The Flashes’ best beam-worker, Fletcher, graduated last year. There are still strong beamers, such as Sarah Haxton, Samantha Henry and Cami Klein, as well as freshman Cheyenne Pratola, but depth will once again be an issue.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? This may be more of a rebuilding year for the Golden Flashes on beam. Kent State needs to focus its energy on preparing more athletes to be competition-ready, thus adding depth and hopefully consistency.
Potential Contributors: Rachel DeCavitch (9.888 NQS), Karlie Franz (9.850), Olivia Amodei (9.819), Kennedy Weinpert (9.788), Kyndall Gilbert, Dakota Lee, Brynne Tsipis, Grace Wehry
How It Looked Before: The Golden Flashes had a breakout year on floor, consistently hitting above 49 as a team and with individuals notching scores of 9.9-plus. The Flashes were led by seniors Fletcher, Brown, and Toshi Richards.
How It Looks Now: The loss of Fletcher, Brown and Richards will likely hit the Flashes hard. There is potential for those spots to be filled by sophomore Kyndall Gilbert and freshmen Dakota Lee and Grace Wehry, but it will be a challenge to make up for those 9.9-plus scores.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? The Flashes will likely dip down on floor a bit this year, with the potential to come back up in coming seasons. There is plenty of potential to fill the shoes of those fantastic seniors, but it will likely take time before that happens.
Kent State will probably not be as dominant as it was in 2021. The team will still be competitive in the MAC with the immense amount of talent it still has, but it may not be up to the national standards it achieved last season. Kent State must answer the question of where it will find depth, and whether it can figure out consistency on all four events.
No. 32 Eastern Michigan
Eastern Michigan walked away from 2021 as the MAC champion but still finished below rivals Central Michigan and Kent State in the rankings. In 2022, the Eagles will likely be looking to carry their momentum a bit further into the postseason.
|Losses:||Courtney Bezold, Brianna Price, Jada Rondeau|
|Gains:||Gianna Antonio, Cassie Bergin, Jade Blankenship, Ella Chemotti, Alana Fisher, Emma Lewis, Mayleigh Vanderbeek (transfer)|
Potential Contributors: Haydn Crossen (9.844 NQS), Molly Parris (9.800), Karalyn Roberts (9.794), Cali Harden (9.781), Carly Kosanovich (9.775), Raisa Boris, Anna Grace McCullough, Ella Chemotti, Alana Fisher
How It Looked Before: Vault was Eastern Michigan’s lowest-ranked event last year. The Eagles ran into a similar problem as Kent State—they had consistent scores, but those scores were consistently low.
How It Looks Now: EMU is only losing one contributor on vault and is keeping its five highest NQSs from 2021. With the help of a few athletes waiting in the wings, like Raisa Boris and Anna Grace McCullough, as well as some freshmen, the vault lineup could be on the road to improvement.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Vault could very well experience an upswing this season. The main contributors should feel comfortable on the event, and EMU has a decent amount of depth to pull from in case of injury or midseason wear and tear.
Potential Contributors: Raisa Boris (9.825 NQS), Molly Parris (9.819), Haydn Crossen (9.800), Karalyn Roberts (9.725), Cassie Bergin, Ella Chemotti, Alana Fisher
How It Looked Before: The Eagles soared on bars in 2021. It was their second-best event as a team, and the effort was led by standout seniors Courtney Bezold and Jada Rondeau. Unfortunately, the Eagles did appear to struggle with depth, as just six athletes competed bars the entire season.
How It Looks Now: By using the same lineup every meet, which now has two huge gaps, EMU may have sabotaged itself on bars. Bezold and Rondeau usually contributed some of the highest scores in the lineup, and few other athletes have experience competing bars. Still, there are a few talented freshmen who could step in to solve this problem, like Ella Chemotti and Alana Fisher.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? It may be too early to tell what EMU’s fate will be when it comes to bars. On one hand, it could be hurt by the lack of experience in the lineup, and Bezold and Rondeau’s scores won’t be able to be replaced easily. On the other, now that EMU has some more depth, the bars squad could swing better than ever.
Potential Contributors: Caitlin Satler (9.894 NQS), Haydn Crossen (9.863), Shannon Gregory (9.863), Molly Parris (9.806), Brianna Price (9.800), Mickayla Stuckey (9.775), Raisa Boris, Cassie Bergin, Ella Chemotti, Alana Fisher, Mayleigh Vanderbeek
How It Looked Before: Beam was EMU’s best event last season. The team consistently brought in scores of 49-plus and had plenty of depth to pull from. Caitlin Satler and Rondeau led the team in terms of NQS, and Haydn Crossen could be counted on for a solid score on yet another event.
How It Looks Now: Rondeau’s score is the only one EMU will be losing going forward, and it will be gaining the likes of Chemotti and Fisher, both of whom were well-known for beam work in level 10.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Beam will continue to be a strong event for EMU. With only one routine lost and plenty of depth to pull from, the Eagles should have no trouble improving upon their performance from 2021.
Potential Contributors: Karalyn Roberts (9.850 NQS), Raisa Boris (9.838), Carly Kosanovich (9.819), Caitlin Satler (9.794), Haydn Crossen (9.788), Shannon Gregory (9.788), Anna Grace McCullough, Gianna Antonio, Jade Blankenship
How It Looked Before: Floor was very up and down for the Eagles. Some weeks were great while others were full of mistakes. Rondeau led the way, with Karalyn Roberts not far behind.
How It Looks Now: Losing Rondeau does mean losing a big score, but the Eagles still have plenty of athletes ready to contribute on floor. Whether that means bringing in reliable scores like Roberts or Crossen, or bringing in some freshman to fill up those spots, there is certainly room to grow.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Having more depth to pull from should give the floor team time to rest—and hopefully avoid a similar midseason slump the Eagles hit last year. EMU should be on the rise when it comes to floor.
EMU is at an interesting crossroads. A lot of its events have the potential to be great, but that will only happen if depth is managed and consistency can be achieved. The Eagles also have to figure out the best formula that allows them to peak later in the season.
No. 34 Western Michigan
Western Michigan ended 2021 on a historic note, and the sky is truly the limit for this team.
|Losses:||Emily Carless (medical retirement), Stacie Harrison, Alexis Olivier, Sarah Shirley|
|Gains:||Halle Faulkner, Molly Freeman, Rylee Gallmeyer, Donna Kathryn Roy, Ally Schaupp, Abby Singh, Gigi Singh, Cassandra St. Clair, Margo Van Linden|
Potential Contributors: Sarah Moravansky (9.819 NQS), Payton Murphy (9.819), Carissa Ludwig (9.788), Josephine Thomas (9.781), Ronni Binstock (9.763), Dani Petrousek, Halle Faulkner, Cassie St. Clair
How It Looked Before: Vault was pretty steady for the Broncos. The team didn’t suffer from any extremely low scores, but it didn’t hit many highs either.
How It Looks Now: 2022 should be a great year for WMU’s vault squad. The only key vault lost is that of Stacie Harrison. However, all other consistent performers return, and there is talent like Dani Petrousek waiting in the wings. Freshman Halle Faulker and Cassie St. Clair can also be expected to make an impact, especially with St. Clair’s Tsuk one and a half—a 10.0 start value.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? WMU should definitely experience an upswing on vault. There is plenty of talent already on the team, as well as plenty coming in from the freshmen.
Potential Contributors: Sarah Moravansky (9.838 NQS), Payton Murphy (9.794), Dani Petrousek (9.738), Ronni Binstock (9.538), Charlotte Tishkoff (9.538), Carissa Ludwig, Molly Freeman, Margo Van Linden
How It Looked Before: The Broncos struggled on bars. There were issues with consistency, but a lot of the problems came down to key technique—handstands, stuck landings, straight legs and pointed feet—which was hammered by judges. Still, Sarah Moravansky could always be counted on to hit.
How It Looks Now: The Broncos definitely have some work to do. They’re losing Harrison and Alexis Olivier from the lineup, which does mean they’ll miss some key scores. However, freshman Molly Freeman is expected to make an immediate impact, and Belgian elite Margo van Linden hopes to take after Olympic champion Nina Derwael in her pursuits on this event.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Bars is the event the Broncos will have to work on the most if they want to have a successful season. Luckily, there’s plenty of potential waiting to break out. This could be a big year for the Broncos’ bars squad.
Potential Contributors: Payton Murphy (9.913 NQS), Charlotte Tishkoff (9.856), Josephine Thomas (9.794), Sarah Moravansky (9.763), Ronni Binstock (9.756), Dani Petrousek (9.656), Arianna Mamelka, Rylee Gallmeyer, Margo Van Linden
How It Looked Before: Beam gave the Broncos a bit of trouble last year, but there were still several standout performers, such as Payton Murphy and Charlotte Tishkoff. WMU struggled a bit with consistency, though, particularly near the end of the year.
How It Looks Now: The Broncos did not lose any key beam routines from last season, and they’re gaining the talent of Rylee Gallmeyer and Van Linden. Hopefully this new talent will allow for more depth and fewer missed routines in the back half of the season.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? WMU has the potential to improve upon its record from last year, but only if it can properly harness the talent it has and make sure its athletes are peaking at the right time.
Potential Contributors: Payton Murphy (9.894 NQS), Ronni Binstock (9.856), Carissa Ludwig (9.856), Dani Petrousek (9.831), Sarah Moravansky (9.806), Josephine Thomas, Charlotte Tishkoff, Rylee Gallmeyer, Cassie St. Clair, Margo Van Linden
How It Looked Before: Floor was WMU’s strongest event last season. Murphy led the way with help from Ronni Binstock and Carissa Ludwig. It was by far the team’s most consistent event as well.
How It Looks Now: The floor lineup should look relatively similar to last year, as only Harrison departed. Her role could be filled by any number of people, such as Josephine Thomas or Tishkoff, or perhaps even a freshman like St. Clair.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? 2022 should be a very good floor year for the Broncos. They are returning most of their heavy-hitters and have plenty of old and new talent to make up for the one hole they have to fill. It should continue to be a standout event for WMU.
Overall, WMU is shaping up to have another historically good year. It would be completely realistic to expect the Broncos not only to reach the first day of regionals but win their play-in. Of course, this rests on whether they will be able to manage their new talent and properly pace the athletes, allowing them to reach their peak when it really counts.
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Article by Kathleen McPartland
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