Clair Kaji talks to Adeline Kenlin before the latter's beam routine

Teams That Will Look Virtually Unrecognizable in 2023

There’s always turnover year to year, and always teams with more new faces than others. But in 2023, we’ve seen a huge number of staff changes, surprising big-name transfers and shakeups. We took a look at five teams that will be very different in 2023.


If fans don’t recognize this year’s Georgia roster, it’s because almost everyone including the coaching staff is new to the program: There are only seven returning gymnasts from last year’s squad, and only four of those were regular contributors to the various lineups. Eleven brand new Gymdogs—eight freshmen and three transfers—as well as two coaches, have come to Athens in hopes of restoring the program to its former glory: Former five star recruits Jafree Scott and Ariel Posen headline the year’s top-rated freshman class. Fifth years Josie Angeny and Sandra Elsadek and senior Vanessa Deniz are proven college competitors who add depth and experience. Assistant coach Ryan Roberts helped shape Alabama into one of the nation’s best bars squads while volunteer assistant coach Mollie Korth is coming off a successful two-year stint at Pitt since her days as an All-American at Kentucky. Though it’s easy to be cynical given Georgia’s recent track record, this collective group of newcomers and returners deserves the benefit of the doubt. 

Utah State 

The Utah State team that hoisted its first MRGC trophy seven months ago is virtually unrecognizable now. The departure of coaches Amy Smith and Erik Lewis to Clemson was followed by an exodus of six gymnasts to South Carolina as well, including freshman phenom and floor All-American Brie Clark. After assistant coach Stephen Hood took a new job at Denver, Utah State retained none of its coaches and only nine routines from the 2022 postseason. New head coach Kristin White hit the ground running, though, bringing in two transfers for 2023 and showing her skills as a recruiter, landing some big commitments for the class of 2023. While Aggie fans should be cautiously optimistic for the future, there will be some growing pains this season. Athletes who have never competed before will be called upon to fill crucial lineup holes, and the team’s performance will likely be rocky as a result.


While the Bruins may not have a lot of roster turnover, the demise and subsequent rebirth of the UCLA coaching staff has been one of the most followed stories of the offseason. Former Cal assistant Janelle McDonald, part of College Gym News’ coaching staff of the year in 2021, along with former club coaches Kyle Grable and Autumn Grable, are looking to create a new dynasty in Westwood. The Bruins will also be bringing in former five-star recruit Selena Harris, the top-ranked gymnast of the class of 2022. UCLA will be looking to make its return to nationals in 2023 after missing out in the last two seasons. If the new coaching staff can gel with the team quickly, there’s more than enough talent for the Bruins to make a triumphant return to Fort Worth. 

Penn State

The Nittany Lions had an off year, led by struggles on beam throughout the season. Stalwarts Lauren Bridgens and Alissa Bonsall headline the long list of departures. There’s a strong group walking in the door, though, featuring former five-star recruit Ava Piedrahita and junior transfer from Florida Gabrielle Gallentine. Plus, the returning lineup core is young. Penn State should have an entirely new look in 2023, and if this squad can find its footing on beam, it should comfortably return to regionals.  


Can you picture the Hawkeyes without Clair Kaji and Lauren Guerin? It’s tough, but that reality is here. Kaji and Guerin depart with a large class of regular contributors. Lineups on every event will look different, but nowhere will be more affected than floor, where Guerin 10-watch was a favorite gymternet passtime. Iowa is bringing in a big cast of new characters, including sophomore transfer Haley Tyson, who left Minnesota, and junior LIU transfer Ella Castellanos. Expect to see a shift in leadership as well, since someone will need to fill Kaji’s void.

READ THIS NEXT: 7 Teams With Something to Prove in 2023

Article by Claire Billman, Ian LeWarn and Emily Minehart

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