Jada Mazury does a pose on the floor during her routine

Top 5 Most Intriguing Teams Going Into 2023

There are a lot of storylines to watch as the 2023 draws closer and closer, but some are more exciting than others due to a myriad of reasons. The following five teams are ones to watch either because they’re starting fresh, had an offseason full of change or are fighting through a lot of uncertainty as January approaches.

Fisk 

There are several new teams in NCAA gymnastics this year and we’re excited for all of them, but none of the others are quite as historic, intriguing or attention-grabbing as Fisk. None of the others have a five-star recruit in their inaugural class, either. Fisk’s roster this year is a fascinating mix of NCAA veterans, level 10 stars and interesting unknowns, and we can’t wait to get to know this team and hopefully share the joy of NCAA gymnastics with a whole new audience.

Florida 

Let’s be honest: The options for Florida’s 2022 season are “pretty good” or “very good.” We’re looking at one of the greatest rosters in NCAA history here, and one of the biggest questions for the Gators in 2023 will be how to choose lineups. That’s not the only reason we’ll be tuning breathlessly into every preseason intrasquad, though. What are the injury statuses of fan favorites like Morgan Hurd and Ellie Lazzari? How do transfers Rachel Baumann and Victoria Nguyen fit into the picture? And is this the year that everything comes together in April and Florida wins a championship that, at this point, feels so overdue?

Georgia

This is a brand new Georgia program. That’s not a metaphor—there are only seven returning members of last season’s team of 17, just four of whom competed regularly. The remaining roster is comprised of three transfer students and eight freshmen, not to mention two new coaches. With a prolific history of injuries to talented newcomers in recent years, you’d be forgiven for feeling pessimistic about these new stars’ ability to turn around an ailing squad. Still, with question marks like Jacquie Moran and JaFree Scott looking strong in training and transfers bringing success at other teams to Athens, there might just be hope. As usual, we have absolutely no idea what to expect from the Gymdogs.

Penn State

Georgia is certainly the team with the most freshman talent compared to its ranking in 2023, but Penn State might come in second. This exciting cohort is led by five-star recruit Ava Piedrahita, who scored as high as 38.900 in the all-around and has scores of 9.800 or above in every event in level 10. Don’t forget Gabbie Gallentine, either; the junior transfer from Florida already looks great in training updates. Despite the incoming star power, though, replacing the 2022 graduates is a huge ask, especially for a team that just missed regionals for the first time in 20 years and would really like to avoid a repeat.

UCLA

UCLA’s lineups might not look too different in 2023, but with a brand-new coaching staff, expect a team with a profoundly changed ethos and energy—hopefully in a good way. With a battle-hardened trio of returning all-arounders, the top freshman in the country and a surprise COVID year from Margzetta Frazier, the Janelle McDonald era could be bright for the Bruins. Still, being a first-year head coach is tough, and the psychic wounds 2022 left on UCLA’s returners might not heal overnight. 2023 might be brilliant, or it might involve some growing pains. Who knows?

Honorary Mentions

LSU: That round two elimination undoubtedly still stings for the Tigers. Will it prove to be an aberration, or will LSU struggle to replace an amazing group of fifth-years and find itself unable to contend with the likes of Oklahoma and Florida in 2023?

Rutgers: What a stacked freshman class! Rutgers recruiting has been on an upward trend lately, but replacing Belle Huang is still a big ask and managing injuries has been a challenge for Rutgers in recent years. We’re optimistic but not shouting from the rooftops just yet.

San Jose State: 2022’s breakout star loses only a handful of routines and gains a Canadian elite freshman and a star graduate transfer. 2023 could be even better for the Spartans. Still, last season’s success was less due to new routines and more due to the old ones getting consistent, and that might prove difficult to maintain.


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Article by Rebecca Scally

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