Many college gymnastics superstars departed after the 2023 season, leaving giant holes in their rosters. The coaching carousel was all but unprecedented in the scale of turnover and additions thanks to the new paid fourth coach rule, and we saw a huge number of transfers as well. We rounded up six rosters that will look completely different in 2024.
Auburn is going into the 2024 season without its biggest stars from the past few seasons, Sunisa Lee and Derrian Gobourne. Head Coach Jeff Graba was busy this offseason making use of the transfer portal to bring in additional depth, to make what will be the largest roster the Tigers have had in years. There will be similar lineup staples as last years with Aria Brusch and Cassie Stevens electing to take their fifth years, and Olivia Hollingsworth and Sophia Groth heading into their senior and junior years respectively, but there will also be many new faces. Auburn will be looking to Olivia Greaves to start her career strong after re-tearing her ACL last fall, and freshman Julianne Huff is set to appear in multiple lineups. Graba will have options this year to fill in lineup spots, but Auburn will undoubtedly look very different without Gobourne and Lee.
Following the 2023 season, six athletes transferred out of the program and multiple other gymnasts were removed from the roster. With that shakeup in mind, it may be shocking to know that LIU is still able to put together a roster of 18. LIU is coming off of a record-breaking season, and yet the team seems to be in a downward spiral. Those six transfers were major contributors on all events; Katy Koopman competed the team’s only 10.0 start value vault, while Mara Titarsolej and Ilka Juk both competed in regionals. The major saving grace for LIU in 2024 is Syd Morris staying for their second season after qualifying to regionals as an all arounder their freshman year. In total, the Sharks are going into 2024 needing to replace half of the routines from last season, meaning they’ll be relying heavily on underclassmen. There will be options, but it will be a very different looking LIU.
Unlike most of the teams on our list, the Tigers don’t have a ton of roster turnover going into 2024. Two fresh faces in Baton Rouge, though, could make a huge impact. Jillian Hoffman, transfer from Utah, and Savannah Schoenherr, from Florida, should immediately alter lineups. Plus, LSU is set to regain a lot of routines from injury: Cammy Hall—who has never suited up for the Tigers after an Achilles injury kept her out after transferring from Utah last year—Kiya Johnson, and Kai Rivers should all be back. Additionally, Aleah Finnegan will be fresh from international success competing for the Philippines at the World Championships; nothing can match big stage experience like that. Despite the relatively low turnover, LSU could look very different come January.
Although Pittsburgh missed out on competing at regionals as a team on its home turf, it had lineup stars Hallie Copperwheat and Natalia Pawlak out on the competition floor. Unfortunately for the Panthers, a tough finish to the season wasn’t their only blow: Pawlak entered the transfer portal and departed for Tuscaloosa to join the Crimson Tide. That being said, things are looking up for the Panthers. They’re entering the new season with five newcomers and a fresh coaching staff. After spending 10 seasons as associate head coach at the University of Missouri, Casey Jo McPherson’s arrival brings competitive spirit and personality. Former Michigan icon Lexi Funk and former Michigan State captain Alina Cartwright as assistant coaches help round out the coaching staff. This exciting new leadership team hopes to help the program grow during this new era of Pittsburgh gymnastics. With the start of ACC gymnastics this year, the future of the Panthers remains bright and they look hungry to make a comeback in 2024.
Southern Utah had to say goodbye to 11 of its seniors last season, losing key athletes like Karley McClain, their no. 1 all-arounder. The departure of other important lineup staples like Shylen Murakami, Caitlin Kho, and Rachel Smith, leaves Southern Utah’s lineups depleted in many important areas. The good news is it looks like Scotty Bauman, the Thunderbirds head coach, has been putting in the work for recruitment efforts, welcoming 12 new freshmen, one of their largest classes ever. One gymnast who has high hopes to fill in some of the gaps is Brinlee Christensen who can contribute on any event. Notably, her Yurchenko 1.5 scored a 10.0 in level 10 which, if she transitions it well to the college stage, should be huge for Southern Utah’s vault lineup. Another standout is Alex Routsis, who has scored as high as 9.925 in level 10. Expect to see her in the bars lineup this season. It will be interesting to see how this massive incoming class performs as the Thunderbirds enter their first season in the MPSF conference.
After posting their highest postseason score in program history at nationals with a massive 198.225, it’s safe to say the Red Rocks had a successful season. Nevertheless, the team is facing challenges due to a combination of graduating seniors and transfers, which will deplete a few of their lineups.The good news is Utah is welcoming a trio of five star recruits: Elizabeth Gantner, Camie Winger, and Ella Zirbes, who can help fill in the gaps. Gantner, a former elite, headlines the class as a level 10 national champion on bars and beam. She also has a 10.0 SV vault that can earn her a spot in the lineup. Winger to Utah with a Yurchenko 1.5 and shows great potential to contribute on bars and floor. Zirbes, another former elite, has outstanding execution on every event and scored a 10.0 on bars in level 10. On top of those newcomers, Utah also recruited Ashley Glynn, a former Temple gymnast, who can make the vault and bars lineups. Despite setbacks, the Red Rocks are still in the race to clinch their 10th NCAA championship title, which would be their first since 1995.
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Article by Alyssa Van Auker, Jessica Brock, Daniel Rothwell, and Emily Minehart