10 Must-See DIII Routines this Season

Following Division III gymnastics can be difficult. Unlike larger colleges that are featured on mainstream TV or conference-specific channels, catching a DIII meet can come down to juggling Facebook live feeds, Instagram highlights and the occasional FlipNow coverage. Due to this, DIII gymnasts can often fall into obscurity, especially for fans that do not live close enough to attend competitions in person. However, recruiting difficulty is on the rise, and unique skill combinations are mainstream, making DIII gymnastics one of the most interesting places to be. These 10 routines make keeping up with DIII gymnastics worth the trouble. 

Vault

Kennedy O’Connor, Winona State

O’Connor competes a full-on entry vault, not commonly seen throughout the NCAA. She competed the tucked rendition last season on her way to a share of the NCGA national title. This year, she’s upgraded to a full-on, pike to maintain her 10.0 start value. 

Ava Ridlehoover, Whitewater

Early preseason featured Yurchenko one and a half training videos for Ridlehoover. However, later intrasquads have showed a Yurchenko full with open hips and solid landings. Needless to say, the future is bright for the Warhawk freshman. Keep an eye out for her at the top of the vault standings this season. 

Bars

Emily Buffington, Oshkosh

Buffington combines amplitude, grace and difficulty to create an action-packed bar routine. She caps it off with a huge double Arabian dismount that is nailed nearly every time. She also happened to win CGN’s Tie Break, where editors compared the four-way tie for the NCGA national title

Kerrie Legault, La Crosse

Legault made her way to this list thanks to her use of stalders and with one of the strongest toe points at any collegiate level. She brings lines and consistency to the Eagles’ lineup, with a strong Maloney to overshoot combination

Beam

Sarah Knetzke, Whitewater

Approaching the 9.9 scoring range is a momentous feat in DIII gymnastics, but Knetzke makes it look easy. Her routine features a front-to-back series and a unique cat leap to side somi connection. She took the national title last season with only two routines under her belt all season, so imagine what she can do with increased competitive experience in 2023. 

Effie Ferguson, Stout

Strong beam artistry is something that’s hard to come by, but Ferguson makes it look easy. Her beam routine features beautiful leap shapes, difficulty and a calm confidence that many take years to develop. She’s just a sophomore, so there’s plenty more opportunities to catch Effie in action

Floor

Olivia Keyes, Rhode Island

It’s nearly impossible to pick one “best” event for the individual who holds school records on both beam and floor. Keyes adds power, confidence and fun to her routines that is simply unmatched. The point is, if you want to see floor, you might as well tune in a little early to catch some beam too. 

Corey Foster, Ithaca

This athlete has a front layout through to two and a half twist. Need we say more? That pass is just next level and definitely worth catching in 2023. 

Kyra Figurelli, Brockport

Figurelli topped the floor standings in 2022 and had the audacity to upgrade her routine to start with a full-twisting double tuck. A great one at that. The big scores won’t be slowing down anytime soon for Figurelli. 

Emma Tolbert, Simpson

Tolbert had shoulder surgery in the offseason but is storming back in record time. She has an intense routine that will be fun to watch in her first collegiate season. 

Honorable Mentions

  • Hannah Hautala, La Crosse: vault
  • Maddox Lee, Gustavus: bars
  • Winter Osborne, Springfield: bars
  • Emily Kobusky, Ithaca: beam
  • Mackenzie MacLeod, Springfield: beam & floor
  • Devon Rosier, Springfield: beam & floor
  • Caelen Lansing, La Crosse: floor
  • Kelsey Gates, Rhode Island: floor

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Article by Tavia Smith

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