Think about this: In 2022, the Pac-12 was so deep that two of its regular season co-champions finished in the bottom half of the final national rankings for the conference. And, once again, it figures to compete with the SEC for strongest in the nation. All four of these Pac-12 teams are bringing back a lot of talent and experience that can help any of them make some waves this season.
The preseason is starting and 2023 will be here before we know it. That means it’s time for our annual potential lineups analysis! As gymnasts get back into the gym with new goals for the new season, we’re breaking their prospects down and taking a look at what each team’s lineups may look like come January—from who’s expected to contribute, holes that need to be filled and exciting upgrades fans should look out for.
No. 17 Oregon State
The Beavers’ final ranking doesn’t reflect how strong of a season they had, sitting in the top 15 most of the year and being one of the four teams to tie for the regular season crown. The impact Olympic champion Jade Carey had is indescribable, and she’s back to make Oregon State a very dangerous team with lots of potential.
|Losses:||Colette Yamaoka, Kaitlyn Yanish|
|Gains:||Francesca Caso, Jennifer McMillan, Savannah Miller, Ellie Weaver|
|Returning From Injury:||Kristina Peterson|
Potential Contributors: Jade Carey (9.955 NQS), Madi Dagen (9.890), Sydney Gonzales (9.830), Lauren Letzsch (9.810), Karlie Chavez (9.795), Francesca Caso, Kaitlin Garcia, Savannah Miller, Kristina Peterson
How It Looked Before: Vault was a strong event for Oregon State, ranking 10th in NQS with Carey’s massive Yurchenko double that scored less than a 9.900 only once.
How It Looks Now: The Beavers return all four 10.0 start values from last season and gain one from Peterson, barring she’s fully healthy after an injury sidelined her last season. Her 9.8-plus NQS from 2021 would be huge for a lineup that doesn’t add difficulty from the freshmen, who despite that do provide useful depth.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. This lineup doesn’t need to get much better to stay competitive, and the experience alone should result in some improvement. A full-strength Peterson is what gives this group a valuable boost.
Potential Contributors: Jade Carey (9.955 NQS), Madi Dagen (9.830), Carley Beeman (9.825), Kayla Bird (9.775), Phoebe Jakubczyk (9.760), Natalie Briones, Francesca Caso, Jenna Domingo, Jennifer McMillan, Savannah Miller, Kristina Peterson, Ellie Weaver
How It Looked Before: Bars was far and away Oregon State’s weakest event in 2022. Inconsistency consistently held this lineup back, and it finished ranked 25th in NQS—the Beavers’ only event outside the top 15. However, Carey not only earned her first career perfect 10 on bars, but to this day she’s still never scored under 9.925.
How It Looks Now: With most of the lineup returning, there’s reason for optimism, as some of the consistency problems should be worked out with the added experience. But, still, much of the lineup isn’t natural on bars and might have trouble hitting big totals. That’s where freshman McMillan comes in with lines that should contend for a late-lineup spot immediately.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. There’s a lot of room for improvement from last season, and the seniority alone should help this lineup take a step up.
Potential Contributors: Jade Carey (9.945 NQS), Madi Dagen (9.905), Jenna Domingo (9.895), Sydney Gonzales (9.865), Lauren Letzsch (9.845), Phoebe Jakubczyk, Jennifer McMillan, Savannah Miller, Kristina Peterson, Ellie Weaver, Ariana Young
How It Looked Before: Finishing eight in NQS, Oregon State was one of the nation’s most underrated beam teams with steady performances week after week. Once March hit, beam was the Beavers’ highest-scoring event every meet through the end of the season.
How It Looks Now: Every Beaver who competed on beam is back—including the core group of five that all boast a solid NQS from last season. Peterson is another big factor here, as her 9.869 NQS from 2021 would give this lineup a sixth routine that will add to an already-strong five.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. The ceiling for this lineup increases significantly if Peterson is in top form, while the freshmen are also capable of providing useful depth.
Potential Contributors: Jade Carey (9.970 NQS), Madi Dagen (9.895), Lauren Letzsch (9.895), Kayla Bird (9.855), Sydney Gonzales (9.750), Natalie Briones, Jennifer McMillan, Savannah Miller, Kristina Peterson, Ariana Young
How It Looked Before: Anchored by the event’s most recent Olympic champion, floor was Oregon State’s strongest event despite finishing 14th in NQS. It was the highest-scoring event, and Carey notched a pair of perfect scores while never scoring sub-9.9.
How It Looks Now: While Peterson can’t quite replicate what the Beavers lose in Yanish’s scoring potential, her 9.875 NQS from two seasons ago will slot in well with the handful of steady returners. Also, keep an eye out for freshman Miller, who could crack the lineup with her E-pass potential.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. With plenty of options to choose from and Carey to wrap things up, Oregon State shouldn’t have any problems competing with the top teams on floor once again.
Three Big Questions
Who can bring in big numbers alongside Carey?
Dagen has always been capable of bringing in difference-making scores—particularly on vault—but hasn’t been able to do so consistently. Entering her third season as an all-arounder, this could finally be her season to put up 9.9s like a machine.
Which freshman will we see the most from?
With so many lineup spots returning, there won’t be too many up for grabs for the freshman class to get out on the competition floor. While she may only compete on one event, McMillan is essentially a lineup lock for the Beavers on bars and should feature in the top six on a weekly basis.
Can Oregon State contend for nationals?
Just like last season, Oregon State should be in the NCAAs picture all season long once again. Even after an earlier-than-expected finish in the postseason, this squad boasts enough experience and numbers to make an even bigger push for Fort Worth this year.
No. 21 Washington
After an inconsistent regular season where three events suffered some rocky moments, the Huskies pulled it together when things mattered most to finish just outside the top 20 after entering the postseason at 25th. Much of last year’s team returns, and Washington is bringing in a plethora of talent for a massive roster full of options.
|Gains:||Emily Innes, Caitlin McWilliams, Thu Nguyen, Olivia Oppegard, Hadley Roberts (transfer from Lindenwood), Emma Schrady, Lilly Tubbs|
Potential Contributors: Amara Cunningham (9.890 NQS), Lana Navarro (9.860), Skylar Killough-Wilhelm (9.825), Kennedi Davis (9.775), Brenna Brooks (9.755), Ashley Blum (9.740), Caitlin McWilliams, Thu Nguyen, Olivia Oppegard
How It Looked Before: This was Washington’s most consistent event, but it often suffered from a lack of difficulty compared to most teams with just one 10.0 start value vault. The lineup maxed out in the low 49s and finished ranked 24th in NQS.
How It Looks Now: Not only are the Huskies losing one of the best Yurchenko fulls in the game from Thompson, they’re not picking up a vault comparable to replace it. None of the newbies bring in any additional difficulty, so expect Navarro’s one and a half and Cunningham’s big full to be the focal points of this lineup.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending down. Washington will surely be able to fill its lineup with decent fulls, but when you’re not adding difficulty when other teams are, you’re at a disadvantage.
Potential Contributors: Skylar Killough-Wilhelm (9.895 NQS), Brenna Brooks (9.825), Morgan Bowles (9.810), Taylor Russon (9.805), Deiah Moody (9.730), Ashley Blum, Lauren Thomas, Lilly Tubbs, Isa Weiss
How It Looked Before: Finishing ranked 33rd on the event, bars was an issue for the Huskies. The lineup fell short of 49 more often than it surpassed it, and it didn’t have many gymnasts who could challenge for big numbers.
How It Looks Now: Most of last season’s contributors return and should benefit from an additional year of experience, even if they’re not full of bars prowess. Former three-star recruit Tubbs could be a factor right away with a consistent and clean set.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell, as it’s too early to forget about last season’s difficulties just yet. But, the Huskies are capable of overcoming that with this lineup if Tubbs can make an immediate impact.
Potential Contributors: Skylar Killough-Wilhelm (9.920 NQS), Kennedi Davis (9.880), Brenna Brooks (9.870), Lana Navarro (9.845), Hadley Roberts (9.845), Lauren Thomas (9.800), Taylor Russon (9.695), Morgan Bowles (9.625), Deiah Moody (9.610), Emily Innes, Thu Nguyen, Olivia Oppegard, Lilly Tubbs
How It Looked Before: It wasn’t without its few blips during the season, but beam was easily Washington’s best event in 2022. Killough-Wilhelm led the way, ranking in the top 20 individually on beam while the team checked in at 15th at the end of the season.
How It Looks Now: Not only are the Huskies retaining all of last season’s beam workers, they gained Roberts via the transfer portal who excelled on beam at Lindenwood. Roberts should fit in right away after being coached by Washington head coach Jen Llewellyn back when she was leading the Lions.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. Beam has the highest scoring potential of any event for Washington, and depth should be a major asset, too.
Potential Contributors: Amara Cunningham (9.890 NQS), Lana Navarro (9.830), Ashley Blum (9.825), Skylar Killough-Wilhelm (9.825), Isa Weiss (9.795), Hadley Roberts (9.770), Brenna Brooks, Kennedi Davis, Emily Innes, Caitlin McWilliams, Thu Nguyen, Olivia Oppegard, Emma Schrady, Gabi Wickman
How It Looked Before: The Huskies had plenty of strong floor workers, but errors plagued the lineup frequently and dropped them to a ranking of 42nd nationally. Two early season scores in the 47s seemed to throw the lineup off from the start, culminating in timid performances the rest of the season.
How It Looks Now: Washington is bringing back a full six gymnasts who earned a 2022 NQS, as well as a handful of others who could contribute, with just last season’s woes to overcome. The freshman class also boasts a couple of promising routines, with Innes’s strong front tumbling capable of unseating a few of last year’s floor workers.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. Fortunately for Washington, the bar is pretty low here. It will have plenty of depth to work with this year to be able to piece together a lineup capable of producing 49s all season long.
Three Big Questions
Who is the leader of this team?
Killough-Wilhelm was set to have a breakout season last year—and she did on beam—but she’s now in a position where she has to step up and be the all-arounder Washington needs. She’s got the chops to be a difference-maker, she just has to do it consistently.
Which newcomer will make the biggest impact?
Not only should Roberts make an already-strong beam lineup, but her floor routine could also provide some stability to last year’s chaos. Having a graduate transfer’s seniority could be a big factor in the Huskies’ success this season, too.
Can the Huskies contend for the top half of the conference?
While Washington is seemingly on an upward trajectory, the top half of the conference is a bit too stacked at this point for it to be a true contender. But, anything can happen, and the Huskies should be battling for a promising top 20 ranking this year.
No. 22 Arizona State
After posting a season-high 197.800 against UCLA, the Sun Devils were a threat from early on in the season. But, their lack of improvement resulted in a finish outside the top 20—an upsetting end to what was supposed to be a stellar season. Now, the Sun Devils have every reason for vengeance, and returning and new competitors will give the team plenty of depth as they fork out the competition.
|Losses:||Jasmine Gutierrez, Megan Thompson|
|Gains:||McClaine Daigle, Isabella Kowan, Kayla Lee, Caroline Lichtman, Kimberly Smith|
|Returning From Injury:||Juliette Boyer, Anaya Smith|
Potential Contributors: Alex Theodorou (9.900 NQS), Hannah Scharf (9.880), Jada Mangahas (9.865), Emily White (9.840), Jordyn Jaslow (9.795), Gracie Reeves (9.750), McClaine Daigle, Isabel Redmond, Cienna Samiley, Anaya Smith, Kimberly Smith
How It Looked Before: This was the Sun Devils’ best event, ranking 11th in the nation. Two 10.0 start values coupled with clean Yurchenko fulls made consistency Arizona State’s best friend on this event.
How It Looks Now: Vault will be basking in returning and new competitors next season. Anaya Smith was a great asset to the lineup, repping a high-flying Yurchenko one and a half that scored a 9.900 or above six times in 2021. Kowan and Kimberly Smith both have the capability to start from maximum difficulty, which rounds out the team with four possible 10.0 start values.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. We should expect overall improvement in vault totals for Arizona State. Consistent returners, four 10.0 start values and immense depth gives the Sun Devils a nice shot at a high scoring lineup.
Potential Contributors: Sarah Clark (9.875 NQS), Hannah Scharf (9.875), Emily White (9.860), Jada Mangahas (9.850), Alex Theodorou (9.845), Gracie Reeves (9.655), Juliette Boyer, Isabel Redmond, Cienna Samiley, Kimberly Smith
How It Looked Before: The Sun Devils were underrated for their stable-scoring bars lineup. Even though they didn’t reach incredibly high scores, they showcased beautiful lines and gorgeous toe points that kept them in the low 49s and within reach of most teams.
How It Looks Now: Arizona State isn’t losing anything from its bar lineup, and the event looks like it will remain a consistent score for the team. Returner Boyer and freshman Kimberly Smith could be steady regulars in the lineup. With freshmen and occasional contributors in addition to the gymnasts returning, depth shouldn’t be a problem for the Sun Devils.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. With nothing but gains, Arizona State shouldn’t have a problem outpacing what it has done in the past. Small tweaks to landings and form could put it over the top.
Potential Contributors: Hannah Scharf (9.900 NQS), Emily White (9.885), Sarah Clark (9.835), Gracie Reeves (9.760), Skye Harper, Jordyn Jaslow, Isabella Kowan, Kayla Lee, Mallory Marcheli, Isabel Redmond, Kimberly Smith, Alex Theodorou
How It Looked Before: Beam was up and down for Arizona State, and the event was commonly the deciding factor in each meet. The Sun Devils typically had high scores from Gutierrez and Scharf but also often counted low scores that dropped their total. Similar to vault and bars, they scored mainly in the low 49s and had a large range of finishes.
How It Looks Now: Arizona State will be taking big losses from Gutierrez and Thompson, but members of the freshman class could be good replacements. With a combination of returners and newbies, lineup management and strategy will be crucial to how this event shakes out. Theodorou, now a sophomore, should take a step forward here, but it may not be enough to replace what was lost.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending down. Two high-scoring losses could put the Sun Devils in rebuilding mode. Managing their lineup will be of great concern to ensure they don’t start to crumble after a bad score like in seasons past.
Potential Contributors: Hannah Scharf (9.905 NQS), Jada Mangahas (9.870), Emily White (9.865), Jordyn Jaslow (9.840), Alex Theodorou (9.840), Sarah Clark (9.815), Juliette Boyer, McClaine Daigle, Isabella Kowan, Kayla Lee, Gracie Reeves, Mallory Marcheli, Anaya Smith, Kimberly Smith
How It Looked Before: Floor was the weakest event for the Sun Devils, ranking 37th in the nation. The Sun Devils’ scores were so drastic that they ranged from a 48.950 at one meet to a 49.525 at the next.
How It Looks Now: Arizona State will lose Gutierrez, but luckily its depth can easily replace her score. Reeves could be inserted into the lineup and shows promise for rising scores this season. Newcomers Kimberly Smith and Lee had great scores on floor in their level 10 careers—it’s easy to picture Lee’s front double full in Mullett Arena.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell. Floor has been an area of improvement for the Sun Devils for years. Losing Gutierrrez can be made up by freshmen and other contributors, but it may not be enough to get the team back on track.
Three Big Questions
How can Arizona State improve on floor?
The team has high-flying skills and exciting dance but can’t seem to keep the momentum throughout the entire rotation. Last passes seem to be a weak point for the Sun Devils, and although the landings start out clean, they slowly become shaky while tumbling becomes underrotated. Adding in newcomers will certainly make a change, but improving on endurance and landings seem to be the most effective ways to get the Sun Devils’ scoring more stable on the floor.
Is there such a thing as too much consistency?
Arizona State was very consistent on vault and bars, but it left it in a straight line rather than on an upward trajectory. The Sun Devils seem to start out strong in the beginning of the season, but their “strong” doesn’t get stronger and thus, they are quickly left in the dust by teams who build throughout.
Why can’t the Sun Devils reach 9.9-plus on bars?
The Sun Devils have recently been stuck in the 9.875 or lower range, and landings seem to be the most common occurrence that keeps gymnasts from hitting that mark.
No. 26 Arizona
The Wildcats were another Pac-12 team that impressed in the postseason, starting ranked 32nd and finishing 26th after advancing out of the first round and performing well in round two. It was a good season, but the team’s scores often fell flat. However, a squad full of returners is set to build upon the foundation laid last year.
|Gains:||Gianna Lenczner, Indigo Morgan, Jordan Schultz, Sophia Stephens, Emma Strom|
|Returning From Injury:||Zaza Brovedani|
Potential Contributors: Malia Hargrove (9.845 NQS), Danielle Nosek (9.815), Emily Mueller (9.800), Caroline Herry (9.780), Jessica Castles (9.775), Alysen Fears (9.750), Elizabeth Larusso, Halli Mayberry, Emma Strom
How It Looked Before: With only an occasional Yurchenko one and a half from Hargrove as far as 10.0 start values went, Arizona’s lineup scored consistently low, ranking 45th in NQS as it struggled to break 49.
How It Looks Now: The Wildcats aren’t losing any vaults, but they’re not gaining anything either. At best, Hargrove will be able to put up her 10.0 more consistently, and the remaining gymnasts can be a bit better overall.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell. It’s going to be roughly the same lineup as last season, and it all comes down to what improvements were made in the offseason.
Potential Contributors: Malia Hargrove (9.875 NQS), Alysen Fears (9.870), Elena Deets (9.845), Bailey McCabe (9.830), Emily Mueller (9.805), Sirena Linton (9.720), Zaza Brovedani, Sophia Stephens
How It Looked Before: As it had been for a few seasons, bars continued to be an issue for Arizona. It ranked 33rd in NQS, consistently scored low and put out a few bad performances.
How It Looks Now: Like vault, most of the lineup returns, and a lot will hinge on the ability to simply improve. But, freshman Sophia Stephens is a differentiating factor here. The former three-star recruit has clean lines that can threaten for the back half of the Wildcats’ lineups from the start.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell. Even with adding Stephens, too much hinges right now on an iffy bar lineup making major improvements.
Potential Contributors: Sirena Linton (9.910 NQS), Malia Hargrove (9.870), Emily Mueller (9.845), Jessica Castles (9.835), Alysen Fears (9.830), Caroline Herry (9.810), Elena Deets (9.795), Zaza Brovedani, Lara Burhans, Halli Mayberry, Jordan Schultz
How It Looked Before: Arizona didn’t put up the flashiest totals on beam, but its consistency usually got the job done and notched an NQS ranking of 25th.
How It Looks Now: Once again, the lineup remains intact, but this time, it’s an event where it was strong in 2022. Linton should be the star after her NCAA championships appearance, and if injury returnee Brovedani can get back to full strength, the Wildcats would love her high of 9.900 from back in 2020.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. This is an event where confidence should help make improvements to scores from last year. All they need to do is maintain their consistency.
Potential Contributors: Caroline Herry (9.905 NQS), Malia Hargrove (9.900), Alysen Fears (9.875), Emily Mueller (9.840), Libby Orman (9.810), Jessica Castles, Elena Deets, Elizabeth Larusso, Indigo Morgan, Danielle Nosek, Jordan Schultz, Emma Strom
How It Looked Before: Floor was Arizona’s best event in 2022, immediately building upon a slow start to the season to consistently rank as its highest event total and notch an impressive 49.500 in the season finale.
How It Looks Now: You guessed it, the Wildcats return most of their lineup, with five gymnasts with an NQS and nine athletes who competed on the event coming back in 2023. Freshman Schultz could also be a huge addition, as her strong tumbling—including an exciting Rudi to tucked full to punch front—could draw big numbers.
Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. On its best event, Arizona has exactly what it needs for success: depth and experience.
Three Big Questions
After Linton’s breakout 2021 season, what Wildcat can replicate her success?
Despite not competing floor her freshman season, Herry exploded for some big numbers on the event toward the end of last season—earning a pair of 9.9s at regionals. If she can carry that momentum into 2023, Herry will have the opportunity to make waves.
Who needs to step up?
Coming into her NCAA career with world championships experience for Sweden, expectations were high for Castles. She hasn’t quite contributed as much in both high scores and quantity of routines as you’d have hoped, but there’s still optimism she can make improvements. It would also be nice to see Hargrove score in the 9.9s more often than she has been.
What does Arizona need to do to get out of the conference basement?
It might be time to start favoring risk over reward. The Wildcats have been performing rather consistently, but their scores are falling flat when battling with the likes of the rest of the Pac-12. So, it might be time to try that routine that could go 9.950 but also 8.950. If Arizona wants to make a move up the rankings, internally and nationally, something is going to have to change.
READ THIS NEXT: Potential Lineups: Pac-12 Part I
Article by Brandis Heffner and Sydney Seabrooks
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