The NCGA race really started to heat up this week, with Whitewater tying Brockport’s season high of 192.275, although Brockport and Oshkosh continue to hold the top two places as the week closes and Whitewater’s season high kicks La Crosse out of the top three. Brockport and Rhode Island continued to set program records, this time on beam—although Olivia Keyes tied the newly set program record by Kelsey Gates last week. A bit further west, Richella Velarmino inches closer to her own place in the history books.
Airline of the Week
Taylor Bushey, bars, 9.650
Taylor Bushey continues to hit, her sky high piked Gienger a giant exclamation point in her floaty bar routine for Brockport.
One-Two Punch of the Week
Olivia Keyes and Kelsey Gates, Floor, 9.850 and 9.825
Rhode Island doesn’t hold back when Olivia Keyes and Kelsey Gates take the floor. For three weeks in a row now Keyes and Gates have tied, set and tied floor records. They just keep getting better.
The Big Storyline: Led by huge 9.8s from Emily Buffington and Emily Gilot, the Titans posted yet another 191-plus score.
Implications: UW-Oshkosh’s performance this weekend proved that last weekend’s 191.650 at the Eastern Michigan quad was not a fluke. The Titan’s vault squad is on another level this year, improving every meet so far. The higher start value vaults in the lineup are finally paying off. If gymnastics fans haven’t been keeping an eye on this team, they should be. Frankly, the Titans don’t even have to be 100% “on” to be scoring among the top NCGA teams this season. Meanwhile, after a season high last weekend, the Pipers took a small step back this week after some difficulties on bars. However, bright spots included Lily Ramsdell’s collegiate debut and Nikki Johnsen’s beam season high.
Records: Emily Gilot and Emily Buffington posted matching 9.8s to earn new career highs and the event win. Oshkosh’s vault event total of 48.350 was a program record.
The Big Storyline: Brooke Merila returned to the all-around competition to help Gustavus tie Winona State at home.
Implications: Gustavus proved that it can still put on a strong performance even without star all-arounder Annie Corbett. Sophia Redding diversified her portfolio this week by taking the vault title along with her bars title. Bars was a bit of a struggle area for both teams, though. Gustavus’ ranking currently is a misrepresentation of how well it has done this year due to a 172 being counted in the average. Once the NCGA moves to SAS ranking, the Gusties should move back up to their rightful place. Winona State’s most impressive feat has been its consistent improvement on beam in 2022. Bars has gotten better in two consecutive meets as well. If the team keeps doing what it’s doing, it is headed in the right direction.
The Big Storyline: Stout swept the event titles en route to its first conference win of the season.
Implications: Both teams will slide back slightly in the NCGA rankings this week after posting their lowest scores of 2022. Stout will be happy with some improvement on bars, led by Kiara Brown’s 9.600. The Blue Devils will look to continue that momentum in the coming weeks to challenge the top four teams. Sixth-year Mikala Bugge continues to lead the team on vault in her final season. UW-Eau Claire has steadily improved on floor each meet, but gaining consistency on bars will be the most integral part of continuing to improve this season.
The Big Storyline: Lindenwood led Whitewater by just half a tenth after two rotations. The Warhawks posted a season high team score while Lindenwood managed a decent score despite counting a mistake on bars. Northern Illinois casually earned a season high of its own.
Implications: The top three NCGA teams are going to be in a tight race for No. 1. Whitewater will move into third place for now after posting the second highest score of any Division III team this season. Brockport is the front runner thus far. To keep up, Whitewater will need to replicate this performance meet after meet. Lindenwood’s performance tonight will have little effect on its season average, but its top ranking should be safe for the time being. However, with Air Force hot on its tail, Lindenwood will need to pick it back up to the 195 range.
Records: Northern Illinois’ 196.300 is its highest score in program history. Richella Velarmino of Whitewater posted a 9.825 on bars for a new career high.
The Big Storyline: West Chester continued to prove its consistency but Bridgeport had a few hiccups.
Implications: West Chester took home the team title, notching its second-highest score and its second score over a 193 so far this season, holding tight to its third place ranking in the USAG division. Brown should see itself creep up a spot into seventh, otherwise holding in eighth as well. Mei Li Costa led the charge for the Bears, as they tallied a season-high 192.875. Brown has improved nearly a point and a half each on vault and beam since the start of the season. Cortland scored its own season-high of 182.800, helped by Kamryn Rodriguez and adding nearly three points to its opening score of the season. Despite Bridgeport’s six-for-six on beam, it unfortunately only put up four on vault and bars, missing freshman Alyssa Wiggins, presumably to injury, dropping Bridgeport into last place in USAG and GEC.
Records: Mei Li Costa’s 9.925 is not only a new personal high but a program record for Brown on bars.
The Big Storyline: Rhode Island and undefeated Brockport both brought dynamic floor lineups, with six combined scores over 9.650.
Implications: Brockport continues to cruise undefeated, with assistance from Lexi Castellaneta who finds herself tied with a second all-time program high on beam and first place in the meet. Gabbi Gare once again tied the school record on bars. Brockport showed up strong throughout the meet, posting season a high score on vault while proving its consistency on beam and floor. The Golden Eagles continue their bars streak, and although scoring a half point lower than the previous week, almost broke a 48.000. It should see itself holding onto first after scoring just half a tenth lower than its season high last week. Rhode Island scored its highest team score of the season, with Olivia Keyes and Kelsey Gates anchoring the floor lineups with scores over 9.825; one judge gave Keyes a 9.900. Rhode Island scored its season high on floor with a 47.850, as well as beam, holding strong in ninth place as of Saturday night.
Records: Lexi Castellaneta set career highs on both vault and beam for the Golden Eagles, scoring a 9.775 on both. Olivia Stinnette pocketed a new career high on beam as well with a 9.700. Lauren Blair set a new career high on vault with a 9.675. Rhode Island’s Olivia Keyes set a new career and program record with a 9.725 on beam and tied the newly set program record on floor with a 9.850.
The Big Storyline: Ithaca put it all together to notch a win on the road with host Springfield finishing a close second. Ursinus fell behind due to some struggles.
Implications: Ursinus fell in the rankings after a tricky floor rotation, only putting up four gymnasts to go from seventh to 13th in the NCGA overall. Ithaca sits tight in the middle of the NCGA pack and keeps its spot in second in the East while Springfield wiggled into fourth. Ithaca proved its ability to hit 187 is no fluke, and most notably, Springfield’s staggering six-point jump from last weekend argues that it is a team to watch in 2022.