Recruiting season is officially upon us, which means that college gymnastics fans start paying closer attention to club gyms and asking questions like, “Which clubs produce athletes that see the most lineup time?” and “Which club trains the most consistent competitors?” For this analysis, data from the 2023 season was used to track freshmen performance throughout the season. Only true freshmen were included—meaning no red shirt athletes—and the gymnasts’ most recent known club affiliation was used.
Last season’s freshmen class of 484 athletes came from 295 unique clubs. Of those 295 clubs, 186 sent one athlete to college, 60 sent two, 30 sent three, and 10 sent four. Apex, BIO, Bull City, Gold Medal, Legacy Elite, Stallone, and WOGA sent an impressive five athletes to college last season while Georgia Elite and World Champions Centre sent six athletes apiece.
Simply having athletes on a college team, however, isn’t enough to bolster a club’s profile. For a club to draw the attention of college coaches, the athletes they train not only have to make lineups, but they also have to compete well. To put this into perspective, of that original group of 295 clubs,165 clubs had one athlete compete at least one collegiate routine, 41 had two, and 20 had three. At the top of the standings, San Mateo saw all four of the athletes it sent to college compete at least once. Capital City Flips, Colorado Gymnastics Institute, Dream Xtreme, Metroplex, Rock, and Southeastern each sent three athletes and saw each of them make a lineup at least once during the 2023 season.
To get a sense of the clubs whose athletes are truly performing at the collegiate level, it helps to take NQS into consideration. There were 130 clubs that had one athlete compete enough to earn an NQS on at least one event, 28 clubs with two athletes and only 10 clubs with three athletes who ended the season with an NQS. Dream Xtreme, Rock, Southeastern, and Metroplex hold onto their 100% success rate under this metric. Only 21 clubs had the honor of seeing one of their former athletes earn an NQS on every event in their first collegiate season. Impressively, Hill’s and Texas Dreams had two stand out freshman all-arounders in the NCAA: Kayla DiCello (Florida) and Ava Piedrahita (Penn State) from Hill’s, while Morgan Price (Fisk) and Taylor Ingle (SEMO) trained at Texas Dreams.
The above highlights the sheer number of athletes that made the leap from club to collegiate gymnastics, as well as an overview of their performance. The next step is to look more closely at how well the gymnasts represented their former club on an event-by-event basis. In order to calculate scoring potential and consistency, we took into consideration the number of routines competed by each club on each event, the number of routines that scored above a 9.7, and the number of routines that scored above a 9.85. This information was used to calculate a percentage of “hit” routines and a percentage of “great” routines. Below are clubs that had at least one event where their former athletes hit 9.85+ on an event at least two-thirds of the time.
Based on this analysis, the above chart highlights the clubs whose former athletes impressed the most during their freshman season based on scores and consistency. In order to find trends and correlations over time, further analysis would need to be done using data from additional seasons and tracking athletes’ performance over multiple years. Some of the clubs listed above had one truly exceptional athlete in the 2023 freshman class, which may or may not be an indication of what to expect moving forward. Whether each club churns out an athlete of that caliber every season, every couple seasons, or once in a lifetime is a question that would need many more data points to properly answer. A more robust analysis could give a far clearer picture of the trends in club performance over the years.
Even though the data presented isn’t conclusive, the future looks bright for the 15 clubs featured in the chart above. They are sending a combined 17 rated recruits to college next season, including promising five-star recruits Hannah Scheible from All American Flames, who will be heading to Oklahoma, Delaynee Rodriguez from Gymcats, who will compete for Kentucky, and Eva Volpe from Pearland Elite, who will be at Iowa. Should they all live up to their potential, they will surely help bring some positive attention to their former clubs. In the meantime, keep an eye out to see which clubs make a splash in the 2024 season.
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Article by Mariah Dawson
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