A pink and white graphic that says Potential Lineups: GEC Part I

Potential Lineups: GEC Part I

The top half of the GEC is full of teams who have been absolutely crushing their record books over the last few years. It’s a thrilling group to watch, constantly reaching new heights and pushing each other further.

The preseason is starting and 2024 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. 56 Pennsylvania

2023 was a mixed bag for the Quakers. While the program records continued to flow, injuries proved a major challenge to this squad, which ultimately finished six spots below 2022’s finish in the national rankings. Call it growing pains as Penn aims to rise to regionals contention: Testing the depth so thoroughly can only make this team more resilient, and a monster freshman class provides a great opportunity to put 2023’s less happy memories in the rearview. There’s just one weekly routine to replace on each event for the Quakers, so if all goes well, lineup options should be abundant.

Losses: Ariyana Agarwala, Najah Curtis, Rebekah Lashley, McCaleigh Marr, Sarah Penuela-Wermers
Gains: Jordan Barrow, Reganne Cheang, Sophia Paris, Madison Perkins, Jackie Tunney
Returning From Injury: Connie Hsu, Ana Kenefick, Isabel Song, Samantha Wu


Potential Contributors: Kiersten Belkoff (9.830 NQS), Marissa Lassiter (9.785), Campbell Marr (9.755), Rose DeBarberie (9.735), Skyelar Kerico (9.735), Olivia VanHorn (9.690), Sara Kenefick, Alisha Werlen, Isabel Song, Emma Davies, Connie Hsu, Jordan Barrow, Jackie Tunney, Madison Perkins, Reganne Cheang

How It Looked Before: Eleven Quakers vaulted in 2023 and just one of those graduated. With tons of variety and an intriguing cluster of 10.0 SV vaults, several of which have functional downgraded versions that are also sometimes competed, Penn was flush with options on this event in 2023 and should continue in the same vein in 2024.

How It Looks Now: This freshman class is stacked with respectable Yurchenko fulls and several athletes have worked upgrades. With a career-high of 9.900 in level 10, Jordan Barrow is the frontrunner, but don’t be surprised to see Jackie Tunney or Madison Perkins in the mix here. Reganne Cheang’s full shows just a little more hip angle, but she could earn a spot with consistent landings. Don’t forget Connie Hsu, who was a solid option in 2022.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up, slightly. Expect returners like Kiersten Belkoff to remain the core of this lineup, but the influx of freshman fulls can replace vaults that tend to be a little 9.700-y.


Potential Contributors: Kristen Kuhn (9.810 NQS), Skyelar Kerico (9.775), Carly Oniki (9.760), Marissa Lassiter (9.740), Sara Kenefick (9.715), Isabel Song, Emma Davies, Zara Gazdak, Connie Hsu, Ana Kenefick, Sophia Paris, Reganne Cheang, Madison Perkins, Jackie Tunney, Jordan Barrow

How It Looked Before: This is an event where depth was pushed in 2023, with the absences of several 2022 lineup regulars as well as a midseason layoff from Skyelar Kerico taking their toll. McCaleigh Marr will be missed here, but Kristen Kuhn’s incredible dismount-sticking intuition and Kerico’s lovely form will continue to shine.

How It Looks Now: True specialists are rare in Level 10, but Sophia Paris only competed bars in her senior year of high school, and even if her health doesn’t allow her to recover other events in college, her patience and body line on her pet event make her a strong option. None of the five freshmen are slackers on bars and any could plausibly find a place in this lineup, but Cheang’s form and handstand precision make her a frontrunner here, and we can’t fail to mention Jackie Tunney’s ridiculously high full twisting double back dismount.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up… as long as everyone stays healthy this year.


Potential Contributors: Kiersten Belkoff (9.805 NQS), Campbell Marr (9.805), Alisha Werlen (9.750), Kristen Kuhn (9.730), Alyssa Rosen (9.565), Sara Kenefick (9.525), Samantha Wu, Skyelar Kerico, Rose DeBarberie, Jordan Barrow, Madison Perkins

How It Looked Before: Beam was perhaps the event with the least turnover in 2023, though losing Samantha Wu and Kerico to injury after they paced the beam squad all January stung. One remarkable February meet resulted in a program record of 49.475.

How It Looks Now: Barrow leads the freshmen in scores here, though it’s difficult to find recent video of her on this event. Perkins’ lovely extension will keep her in the mix, too. Overall, though, returners are likely to fill most of the lineup spots on beam.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Likely about the same.


Potential Contributors: Marissa Lassiter (9.825 NQS), Sara Kenefick (9.795), Emma Davies (9.780), Carly Oniki (9.710), Alyssa Rosen (9.705), Kirsten Belkoff (9.665), Skyelar Kerico, Isabel Song, Olivia VanHorn, Connie Hsu

How It Looked Before: Penn’s worst event by ranking, floor was often fine but rarely great, with exciting difficulty balanced by some landing control challenges.

How It Looks Now: These freshmen. Love. Floor. Tunney is remarkably consistent with a brilliant full-in opening pass. Cheang balances strong twisting and an E pass of her own with gorgeous leap positions, while Perkins is dynamic and charismatic with college-ready landings. This event is where Penn needs new faces most and this class is happy to oblige. Plus, don’t forget Connie Hsu, who scored a 9.925 in her last meet of 2022 before missing the 2023 season. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Definitely trending up. 

Exactly how good is a full-strength Skyelar Kerico?

Kerico made leading the GEC in the all-around look easy for the first four weeks of 2023 before injury struck, and freshmen rarely do their best work in January of freshman season. It’s obvious that she should be an all-around staple for Penn for the rest of her career, but it remains to be seen how much higher she can score with a little experience and a little momentum. An individual regionals qualifier? Probably. An era-defining star? That’s a big ask, but it’s certainly possible.

Are 10.0 SV vaults worth the risk?

Penn made waves by teasing a huge number of 10.0 SV vaults last season. Reality set in and ankle preservation considerations necessarily took priority, and just one (Olivia VanHorn’s handspring pike half) made regular lineup appearances, and even that was sometimes downgraded. With a wealth of freshman Yurchenko fulls, will we see another push for vault difficulty, or will the focus shift to taking the landings of the 9.95 SV vaults to the next level?

What does it really take to contend for regionals?

Five and a half years have passed since the last time Penn competed at USAG nationals. The list of achievements since then is extensive and the team record book is basically unrecognizable, but still, the 2023 squad finished just five places higher in the national ranking than the 2018 team did. It’s certainly true that 2023 could have been a huge breakthrough if not for injuries, and 2024 has the potential to be historic. Even finishing with a ranking beginning with a ‘4’ for the first time in Road to Nationals records would be a landmark. This year’s ultimate goal must be to start beating some Division I teams and moving up the rankings.

No. 59 Brown

A magical 2022 GEC Championship meet in which the Bears blew through most of their program records seemed to galvanize the Bears, who entered 2023 ready to fight and kept close to Penn in the rankings all year, including upsetting the Quakers at the Ivy Classic. Perhaps the season’s most exciting moment was floor star Julia Bedell claiming the program record outright with a 9.950; the previous record of 9.925 had held since Alicia Sacramone set it in 2007.

Losses: Abby Contello, Lauren Lazaro, Jasmine Lee, Ella Poley, Carolanne Van Zandt, Paige Richter 
Gains: Talia Blythe, Emily Ford, Alexa Shields, Lindsay Van Eyk, Lindsey Yang
Returning From Injury: Ali Lowe


Potential Contributors: Julia Bedell (9.835 NQS), Umi El Mammann (9.735), Sophia Dewar (9.715), Angela Xing (9.710), Lauren Kramer (9.710), Alexa Shields, Lindsay Van Eyk, Jessica Lin, Ali Lowe

How It Looked Before: Brown’s highest-ranked event, vault was steady and reliable once it got going. This lineup is usually a full set of Yurchenko fulls; the limits are amplitude and form rather than difficulty, which is a relatively solid place to be.

How It Looks Now: The Bears gain two new freshmen Yurchenko fulls in Alexa Shields and Lindsay Van Eyk. Wildcard options include Jessica Lin, who had a Yurchenko full in level 10 but didn’t compete in 2023, and Ali Lowe, whose front handspring work is intriguing but who was limited by injury.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Likely about the same.


Potential Contributors: Asta-Sollilja Farrell (9.755 NQS), Lauren McKeown (9.740), Maya Davis, Lindsey Yang, Emily Ford, Alexa Shields, Talia Blythe

How It Looked Before: Bars was exciting in 2023: sometimes cleaner than others, but rarely a disaster. This is the event where senior contributions will be missed most.

How It Looks Now: The freshmen will need to step up. Emily Ford could crack this lineup with a little work on details, while several other freshmen do beautiful work but will need to upgrade their double tuck dismounts or add a pirouette to have college-ready routines. (Note that for most of these athletes, we’re working from footage from their junior season since they didn’t post much after committing, so it’s plausible that some of the upgrades have already happened.) Inconsistency has kept Maya Davis’ gorgeous routine from becoming a lineup staple but that could change.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending down, at least early in the season. The holes that the seniors left in this lineup are substantial, and while the talent to replace them is real, it might take a second to get the details sorted out.


Potential Contributors: Angela Xing (9.805 NQS), Liza Marcus (9.775), Lauren Kramer (9.705), Maya Davis (9.565), Lauren McKeown (9.510), McKenna Weiner, Julia Bedell, Lindsey Yang, Lindsay Van Eyk, Talia Blythe, Jessica Lin

How It Looked Before: Beam could be a bit up and down in the way that beam often is, but the ups were wonderful, including a 48.925 program record in early February. Poor beam rotations in the two championship meets were a tough pill to swallow in 2023.

How It Looks Now: There are lots of options here. Lindsey Yang’s gorgeous routine, complete with an Onodi that fans will go nuts for, is huge for Brown and could plausibly anchor. Van Eyk has been a rock on this event in level 10. Talia Blythe’s competition history is a little spottier, but her leaps are absolutely to die for.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up! This lineup should be in a good place in 2024. The program record very much could fall again. 49.000 watch?


Potential Contributors: Julia Bedell (9.880 NQS), Maya Davis (9.775), Sophia Dewar (9.730), Lauren Kramer (9.135), Umi El Mammann, McKenna Weiner, Jessica Lin, Lindsay Van Eyk, Lindsey Yang

How It Looked Before: When it was good, it was great, topping out at 49.125. Floor often stepped up to minimize the damage on days when other events didn’t go as well. As well as being high-scoring, this rotation is just a genuine blast to watch, with high performance quality across many different styles.

How It Looks Now: The biggest addition to this floor team might not be a gymnast: On a team with this much dance ability, adding a choreographer of the caliber of new assistant coach Sophia Hyderally is a thrilling prospect. The freshmen are pretty great, too: Once again, it’s Yang and Van Eyk who look ready to step into important spots in this lineup.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? At least equally good but very possibly better.

Three Big Questions

Who’s doing bars? 

To summarize from before, three weekly bars routines graduated and most of the freshmen don’t do an up-to-level dismount in the most recent footage we have. This could be interesting. Will the dismount upgrades all work out? Are there depth routines from last year that are ready to step up? Is it going to be a little bit dicey for the first half of the season? Or all of the above?

Can Brown fully hit a championship meet? If so, can Brown win a championship meet?

Brown’s victory at Ivy Classic this year was absolutely glorious, but the GEC and USAG championship meets didn’t reach the same heights. Delivering to its max potential at either of those competitions would put the Bears in the mix.

Can Julia Bedell get a 10?

Come on, we have to ask. That floor routine is just unbelievably good. She’s already the GEC champion, the USAG champion, and the school record holder, and that’s just in her sophomore season. What else do we have to dream about?

No. 60 West Chester

For West Chester, climbing slowly but steadily, No. 60 is the highest final ranking in available records and likely ever. The Golden Rams’ rise has come not from a few stars or flashy routines but with careful recruiting and steady building up and down the lineup, and we can expect more of the same in 2024.

Losses: Tiara DeTommaso, Rose Fanara, Samantha Gill, Kiah Johnson, Samantha Kelly, McKenna Kissinger
Gains: Karah Vargo, Corinne Gruber, Catherine Lyden, Lianna Schultz, Hannah Shelton, Lydia Stoner


Potential Contributors: Sarah Eskew (9.735 NQS), Caitlyn Allen (9.650), Kristina Rodriguez (9.615), Lily McFarland (9.545), Shannon Carroll, Bridget Sullivan, Karah Vargo

How It Looked Before: West Chester’s lowest-ranked event. Vault difficulty has progressed in recent years, but amplitude can be a challenge and a couple of the strongest vaults graduated.

How It Looks Now: Karah Vargo, a sophomore transfer, vaulted once as a freshman for 9.65, which would certainly put her in the mix on this event. Lianna Schultz has vaulted both Tsukahara layouts and front handspring front pikes, both of which could be options. Hannah Shelton has a Yurchenko layout full, and Lydia Stoner has a Yurchenko tuck full.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell. Success on this event for West Chester is all about rotating fully and keeping those chests up on landing, and it’s hard to tell how these new vaults will perform in college without seeing them.


Potential Contributors: Jordan Coleman (9.800 NQS), Sarah Eskew (9.720), Kristina Rodriguez (9.745), Hyla Betts (9.650), Lauren Wicker (9.525), Samantha Gill, Lianna Schultz, Hannah Shelton, Karah Vargo

How It Looked Before: Bars started pretty rough in January but grew into a nice steady rotation.

How It Looks Now: With a level 10 high of 9.675 here, Schultz is a rare prospect for a Division II team. Projecting her into the lineup is a no-brainer. Projecting her into the national event finals is also pretty reasonable. Shelton does a nice clean Tkachev that could find a place in the bars lineup and transfer Vargo looks like an option too.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Maybe not revolutionized, but definitely better. It’s that slow and steady kind of growth West Chester is great at.


Potential Contributors: Lily McFarland (9.800 NQS), Caitlyn Allen (9.775), Kristina Rodriguez (9.745), Madison Whitaker (9.735), Anna Lacey (9.715), Lianna Schultz, Corinne Gruber, Lydia Stoner

How It Looked Before: Not perfect every week, but when the beam team was on it was ON. Beam is the Rams’ best event and when this rotation goes well it lifts the whole team.

How It Looks Now: None of the freshmen are absolute beam phenoms but one or two of them will probably find their way into a pretty solid returning beam group.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Holding steady. Don’t expect much turnover here, which means the good vibes from last year can keep flowing.


Potential Contributors: Anna Lacey (9.730 NQS), Caroline Cascadden (9.720), Kristina Rodriguez (9.715), Kiley Fred (9.665), Karah Vargo, Corinne Gruber, Lianna Schultz, Hannah Shelton

How It Looked Before: The floor team was rock-solid for West Chester, with every score but one falling within a four-tenth interval. This is the event on which most routines graduate.

How It Looks Now: Corinne Gruber and Vargo shine here, while Schultz and Shelton were solid scorers in level 10.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell. Lots of talent here but big shoes to fill and there might be an adjustment period.

Three Big Questions

Kristina Rodriguez, all-around star?

Junior Rodriguez was successful in her freshman season as a bars specialist who tried vault and beam a couple of times each, but it was a surprise to us how much gymnastics she did in 2023, and a lot of it was great. Her top all-around score was a 38.625 and she finished third in the conference in the regular season. She’s already a big deal for the Rams, but if she can find her best days more often in 2024, she can become a big deal for the whole conference.

Can West Chester stay on top of the old ECAC-II teams?

West Chester has stepped into the Division II power vacuum in the East after Bridgeport’s near-elimination and subsequent recovery period, but SCSU is surging recently and Bridgeport’s late-season surge showed that it hasn’t gone away either. In 2024 it might prove a little tougher to maintain superiority.

Is there more individual event success in the cards?

The Golden Rams had some great individual results at the GEC Championship, including a second-place vault finish for Sarah Eskew and another second on beam for Lily McFarland plus a third-place finish for McKenna Kissinger on floor. Unfortunately, Kissinger was the only Ram to qualify to an event final at USAGs. They can do more: There are plenty of routines on this team that can deliver exciting individual results, so let’s hope for more of it in 2024. 

No. 61 Yale

Yale is in a weird place right now. After a period of phenomenal recruiting and escalating results when it looked like the sky was the limit, this team’s ranking has gotten worse every year since 2019, with this year’s up-and-down season culminating in a last-place finish at USAG nationals. If the Bulldogs want to end the stagnation, they’ve got to make the most of a robust freshman class this year. 

Losses: Alexa Berezowitz, Cassie Clement, Caitlin Henry, Riley Meeks, Aimee Titche, Raegan Walker
Gains: Lily Aucoin, Evie Chu, Chloe DeJoy, Lauren Luu, Ella Tashjian


Potential Contributors: Gigi Sabatini (9.760 NQS), Sherry Wang (9.730), Sarah Wilson (9.685), Oren Aviad (9.675), Megan Brueck, Ella Tashjian, Lily Aucoin

How It Looked Before: Vault was variable, with lots of ankle-stinging landings early in the season that mostly settled out later on.

How It Looks Now: Ella Tashjian and her Yurchenko one and a half are absolutely magic for this lineup. Even if she downgrades to a full in college, she’s likely to be Yale’s best vaulter. Lily Aucoin is also a great prospect. The addition of assistant coach Isabelle Fox, who comes to New Haven from vault powerhouse Illinois State, is intriguing.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up! Yale hasn’t seen vault talent like this in a while.


Potential Contributors: Sarah Wilson (9.810 NQS), Sherry Wang (9.765), Gigi Sabatini (9.705), Oren Aviad (9.620), Lily Aucoin, Chloe DeJoy, Lauren Luu

How It Looked Before: Bars was Yale’s most reliable event and its highest-ranked in 2023. Losing Raegan Walker might sting, though.

How It Looks Now: Three freshmen bring lots of talent on bars. Lily Aucoin was the most consistent in level 10, while Chloe DeJoy and Lauren Luu have lovely form.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell. The freshmen have great potential, but they’ll need to be ready to hit lots of routines early.


Potential Contributors: Hana Strause (9.775 NQS), Emma Mangiacapre (9.725), Claire Qu (9.565), Sarah Wilson (9.555), Gigi Sabatini (9.095), Lauren Luu, Chloe DeJoy, Ella Tashjian

How It Looked Before: Beam oddly started the season pretty solid and then got shakier as weeks went on.

How It Looks Now: It’s hard to pick between the freshmen here. Several could figure in, but nobody stands out as a sure thing.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending down. It’s easy to imagine the senior routines from Walker and Riley Meeks being missed here without clear replacements. 


Potential Contributors: Hana Strause (9.795 NQS), Sarah Wilson (9.770), Megan Brueck (9.700), Sherry Wang (9.455), Lily Aucoin, Evie Chu, Chloe DeJoy, Lauren Luu, Ella Tashjian

How It Looked Before: Floor was Yale’s lowest-ranked event, though it definitely improved after a pretty tough January.

How It Looks Now: This is where the Yale freshmen crush it and could change the game in 2024. Chloe DeJoy brings a front double twist and a career-high of 9.825 and thus is the frontrunner, but none of the first years are nonentities here. This lineup could go a lot of different ways.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. These new routines were really needed.

Three Big Questions

What’s in store for the seniors?

This important group of three (Wang, Wilson, and Mangiacapre) contributed eight routines most weeks last year and many of those routines were among the highest-scoring. A strong close to their Bulldog careers could mean a lot to this team.

How can Yale keep the momentum up this year?

The Bulldogs were at their best in February of last year and then faded toward the close of the season. In fact, they were ranked second in the conference in Week 8 and dropped to fourth by the end of the regular season. Obviously, to secure a better finish at USAG nationals and a stronger final ranking, continuing to improve is key to keeping pace with other teams. Improving conditioning and fatigue management could be big here.

Where can the extra tenths come from to keep pace with the best teams in the conference?

There are a lot of places where Yale could buy tenths. The most obvious is working on amplitude on vault and floor; forward steps and low chests have been costly in recent years. Simpler things like handstands on bars are an opportunity for improvement too.

Article by Rebecca Scally


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