Potential Lineups: MAC Part I

The top teams in the MAC had breakthrough seasons in 2023, pulling in a host of team records and regionals berths. Lineup depth has typically separated them from the seven-strong pack’s season rankings, but this conference is also infamous for its gauntlet of a championship. Anything can happen during those seven rotations, with the winning team occasionally serving as an example of “having the best gymnastics on that day”. 

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. 27 Western Michigan

If the Broncos set out to do anything last year, it was to make sure casual fans never call great team scores a fluke ever again. They maxed out at a team record 197.100, relying heavily on consistent upperclassmen and giving depth routines as many exhibition opportunities as possible. 

Losses: Ronni Binstock, Brenna Woodruff (transfer, Indiana State diving)
Gains: Leanne Desmond, Brooke Gelesko, Emily Krzciok, Hannah Milton, Julie Korfhage, Reese Samuelson
Returning From Injury: Josephine Thomas


Potential Contributors: Cassie St. Clair (9.850 NQS), Sarah Moravansky (9.835), Payton Murphy (9.830), Halle Faulkner (9.825), Abby Singh (9.765), Dani Petrousek (9.670), Hannah Milton, Julie Korfhage, Reese Samuelson, Makenna King

How It Looked Before: Vault was a consistent event for the Broncos, both in their lineup and their score ceiling. Clean and stickable Yurchenko fulls made up the bulk of their vaults, punctuated by Cassie St. Clair’s tucked Tsuk one and a half that earned a second-place finish at regionals. 

How It Looks Now: Vault should stay largely unchanged, with stickable and dynamic 9.950 start vaults complimenting St. Clair’s signature Tsukahara one and a half tucked. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell, but retaining depth will help the team hit the ground running.


Potential Contributors: Sarah Moravansky (9.870 NQS), Payton Murphy (9.860), Dani Petrousek (9.810), DonnaKathryn Roy (9.800), Abby Singh (9.770), Halle Faulkner (9.765), Breckin Quoss (9.683 AVG), Leanne Desmond, Hannah Milton, Reese Samuelson, Agenais Abeyta, Makenna King

How It Looked Before: Bars scoring hit a consistent stride in the second half of the regular season but had issues at MACs and regionals. All the gymnasts in the lineup were capable of going over 9.800 and a few into the 9.900’s, but we rarely saw six hit sets in the same day. 

How It Looks Now: The entire bars lineup remains intact, and Kalamazoo will now get to bear witness to the collegiate rise of Reese Samuelson. She’s one of few recruits to have maxed out her bars rating and has a consistent floaty routine that will translate well to the college system. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up, given five hit routines each weekend.


Potential Contributors: Amanda Gruber (9.895 NQS), Payton Murphy (9.885), Sarah Moravansky (9.825), Gigi Singh (9.780), Dani Petrousek (9.760), Leanne Desmond, Brooke Gelesko, Emily Krzciok, Hannah Milton, Reese Samuelson, Josephine Thomas, Agenais Abeyta, Makenna King

How It Looked Before: Western Michigan had its share of beam growing pains to start 2023, before growing into a fivemeet streak of low to mid 49s. Only six gymnasts saw lineup time, but their weekly experience paid off with four able to hit the 9.900 mark. 

How It Looks Now: Save Ronni Binstock’s departure, the Broncos’ beam depth should remain mostly unchanged. From this year’s group of freshmen, expect Hannah Milton and Emily Krzciok to make an impact: the two of them boast efficient and diverse skill sets that will surely add variety to the lineup. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Beam should trend up, and we can expect to see frequent glimpses into the seventh and eighth routine spots. 


Potential Contributors: Payton Murphy (9.930 NQS), Cassie St. Clair (9.895), Dani Petrousek (9.860), DonnaKathryn Roy (9.855), Sarah Moravansky (9.795), Amanda Gruber (9.733 AVG), Brooke Gelesko, Hannah Milton, Julie Korfhage, Reese Samuelson, Makenna King

How It Looked Before: The last season was spent comfortably riding the 49.300 to 49.525 wave. This was the Broncos’ strongest event at 26th nationally, often closing out home meets with Murphy scoring into the 9.900s and bagging a new program allaround record. 

How It Looks Now: Floor is in a similar spot to beam, where only Binstock’s routine is lost and there is no shortage of routines that can slot into her leadoff position. In the early stages of the season, we can anticipate a lineup dominated by upperclassmen, several of whom demonstrated the ability to consistently achieve high scores early last year.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? All signs point to the Broncos trending up. Adding depth from multiple freshmen without needing them to compete right away is exactly where Western Michigan wants to be going into 2024. 

Three Big Questions

Where can freshmen break into returner-heavy lineups?

Samuelson on bars will be one to watch, as well as Krzciok on beam. Milton could see time across multiple events, but will have to crack into the largely unchanging returner depth chart first. 

Can the Broncos escape the bubble?

If they can start the upcoming season in last year’s mid-season shape, they’ll be in the mix again and potentially escaping the NQS math conversations before conference championship weekend. Their most likely path to those scores will be trying to bypass the 9.700-9.750 range that some early lineup routines can fall into.

Where are the sophomores?

Last year’s freshman presence was notably missing, as is often the case with heavily established lineups. Agenais Abeyta trains bars and beam, and will have a deeper field this year to train with now than last season. Makenna King trains as an allarounder, and with an extra season of polishing now under her belt, can grow into a clutch routine on any event needed.

No. 35 Ball State

Let last season speak for itself: Ball State is on a serious upswing. 

Losses: Erica Cooper, Grace Evans, Karah Vargo (transfer to West Chester), Lauren Volpe, Taylor Waldo
Gains: Lindsay Fuller, Delaney McMahon, Ava Molina, Ashley Szymanski, Carissa Martinez (transfer from Centenary)


Potential Contributors: Suki Pfister (9.915 NQS), Victoria Henry (9.895), Hannah Ruthberg (9.845), Megan Teter (9.795), Zoe Middleton (9.780), Leah White (9.735), Grace Sumner (9.900 AVG), Carissa Martinez, Ava Molina

How It Looked Before: The one two punch of Suki Pfister and Victoria Henry was a force to be reckoned with not only in the MAC, but as a serious vault duo across the country. As a team, vault was Ball State’s most consistent event, hovering at the low 49’s all season – good for the top 25 nationally, with Pfister as the program’s first All-American. 

How It Looks Now: Seven of the eight gymnasts that saw vault lineup time last season will look to be vaulting again this year, with the added depth of Carissa Martinez and Ava Molina. The Cardinals are an immediate frontrunner as a vault squad not only in the MAC, but across all mid-major programs. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up – be on 10.0 watch by mid season. 


Potential Contributors: Megan Teter (9.885 NQS), Hannah Ruthberg (9.845), Zoe Middleton (9.810), Victoria Henry (9.805), Grace Sumner (9.800), Kenna Geibel, Mary Rose Bellan, Ava Molina, Ashley Szymanski, Delaney McMahon

How It Looked Before: Bars had momentous highs as a team and from individuals, but not without consistency issues. The Cardinals went over 49.000 for only half of their 2023 campaign, with Megan Teter at the helm.

How It Looks Now: This lineup has potential to be one of the toughest to crack in the MAC. Five strong bar workers return, and three freshmen are hitting the ground running. Molina holds a personal best of 9.800 in level 10, Delaney McMahon can swing an efficient set, and Ashley Szymanski sends her Geinger and double tuck up into the rafters. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. Last year bars had definite ups and downs, but now there are enough puzzle pieces to build a dynamic lineup. 


Potential Contributors: Grace Sumner (9.885 NQS), Hannah Ruthberg (9.830), Victoria Henry (9.755), Cai Afalla, Lindsay Fuller, Carissa Martinez, Delaney McMahon, Ava Molina

How It Looked Before: Ball State had strong upperclassmen in their beam lineup, often responsible for closing out away meets – that usually resulted in outright wins in the MAC, or putting serious pressure on Power Five schools. 

How It Looks Now: They’re going to have to find beamers FAST. Carissa Martinez can bring consistent lineup experience from Centenary, but the not-so-secret formula in the MAC is beam depth. Lindsay Fuller has competed back handspring back handspring layout stepout into dismounts before, which would be a crowd favorite in the NCAA. Delaney McMahon brings her own flair to the same series by finishing it on her knee – part of a jam-packed routine good for 10th at DP Nationals. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell. We know 2023’s seniors left big shoes to fill, and we know the newcomers are capable of filling them. We’ll just have to wait and see how fast they can be comfortable in a college setting before setting any predictions in stone.


Potential Contributors: Megan Teter (9.895 NQS), Victoria Henry (9.880), Suki Pfister (9.875), Zoe Middleton (9.845), Hannah Ruthberg (9.840), Leah White, Dilynn Blair, Cai Afalla, Mary Rose Bellan, Ava Molina, Delaney McMahon, Carissa Martinez

How It Looked Before: By the numbers, floor wasn’t a weak event at all – but in a conference known for it’s floor teams, Ball State landed in the middle of the pack. Four gymnasts were able to pass the 9.900 barrier and will need to pick up where they left off to take control of the MAC floor conversation. 

How It Looks Now: If anyone’s ready to break into this lineup, it’s Molina with her lightning fast twisting and jumps. Also, consider this my official campaign for McMahon to keep her Fiddler on the Roof floor routine in Muncie. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell, but the potential to trend up is there. 

Three Big Questions

What will routine turnover look like?

On paper there are only four routines to place, between bars and beam. In practice, lineup-ready depth makes the MAC go round. We can expect contributions pretty quickly from transfer Martinez, and from incoming three-star recruit Molina. 

Will we see a one-two-three allaround punch?

This conference tends to sway back and forth on highlighting its allarounders and its specialists. It’s likely that Ball State could field three allarounders in Henry, Ruthberg, and Molina – but with depth being the name of the MAC game, we may not see all three put up four events in the same day. 

Should we be on 197 watch?

As soon as the team settles into lineups, be on 197 watch. Last year’s iteration of the team has proven they can come close to this score at home and on the road, and this year’s team will want to prove they can hit that mark before hosting the MAC championship in March. 

No. 38 Central Michigan

After a shaky start to 2023, Central Michigan found its rhythm in time to take the MAC championship title. The Chippewas will be eager to start their season right where last year’s finished but will have to do it without many of last year’s key routines. 

Losses: Hannah DeMers, Audriana Hammond, Brenna Hauser, Aleysia Kolyvanova, Savana Kotas, Taylor Pitchell, Christie Tini
Gains: Jenna Germond, Elle Johnson, Karina Lankamer, Zoie Pelfrey, Sophia Reddy, Samantha Shannon
Returning From Injury: Katie Kowalski


Potential Contributors: Lia Kmieciak (9.845 NQS), Luciana Alvarado-Reid (9.820), Elizabeth Cesarone (9.805), Avah Bootz (9.770), Quinn Skrupa (9.770), Amber Mueller (9.650 AVG), Hallie Hornbacher (9.475), Jenna Germond, Karina Lankamer, Zoie Pelfrey, Sophia Reddy, Samantha Shannon

How It Looked Before: Vault was exceptionally clean, but maxed out at a (still very impressive) 49.325 without any full start values. This kept them in the mix with Ball State and Western Michigan, but the scoring potential was extra reliant on landings to gain that spot. 

How It Looks Now: The vault roster will welcome back Katie Kowalski’s Yurchenko full after a year of injury, alongside two notable freshmen vaulters: Jenna Germond’s seemingly automatic full has been upgraded to a one and a half in training, and Karina Lankamer has a year of competing her Omelianchik vault already under her belt. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up. Vault will be Central Michigan’s least affected event by routine turnover, and three valuable options join (or re-join) the mix for 2024. 


Potential Contributors: Luciana Alvarado-Reid (9.900 NQS), Lia Kmieciak (9.835), Ashley Veglucci (9.780), Adriana Bustelo (9.665), Jenna Germond, Elle Johnson, Karina Lankamer, Samantha Shannon

How It Looked Before: After a shaky start to 2023, dominance in the MAC was established on bars by week four and never faltered since. As a testament to Central Michigan’s consistency as a team on the event, it had the only bars team in the conference to go above 49 by NQS, average, and high. Hannah DeMers led the way with her near-9.900 NQS that will need replacing in 2024.

How It Looks Now: Ashley Veglucci’s late fifthyear announcement is a saving grace for the Chippewas’ bars outlook, with her consistency and years of experience able to balance out the new routines we’ll be seeing in the early weeks of season. Lankamer, alongside Samantha Shannon have dynamic bars sets that should slot into the lineup quickly. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell. The departure of last year’s senior class causes serious depth turnover, and we’ll have to wait and see who can rise to that challenge for week one. 


Potential Contributors: Adriana Bustelo (9.830 NQS), Luciana Alvarado-Reid (9.665), Quinn Skrupa (9.645), Ashley Veglucci (9.595), Amber Mueller (9.750 AVG), Hallie Hornbacher (9.625), Jenna Germond, Karina Lankamer, Samantha Shannon

How It Looked Before: Beam was a touchy subject for Central Michigan last season, at its worst scoring just below a 47.000. Individual routines had glimpses of pre-2020 CMU beam, but the team never registered a full lineup above the 9.800 mark.

How It Looks Now: The sooner they can find consistent routines, the better. Central Michigan will look to returners and freshmen alike to find the best six, which right now could include Germond, Lankamer, or Shannon. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up, but by how much we’ll need to wait for January. 


Potential Contributors: Ashley Veglucci (9.870 NQS), Luciana Alvarado-Reid (9.860), Hallie Hornbacher (9.825), Elizabeth Buttle (9.850 AVG), Elizabeth Cesarone (9.387), Karina Lankamer, Zoie Pelfrey, Sophia Reddy

How It Looked Before: Floor was a strength for the team, in the top 25 nationally and boasting four routines over 9.900. Closing out home meets with DeMers and Pitchell helped repair beam deficits as early as their first week competing, pulling a 49.475. 

How It Looks Now: Only three gymnasts from last season’s floor core returned for 2024, leaving room for one of three scenarios. Either we get a glimpse of returners who couldn’t break into last year’s floor depth, we see freshmen jump at those spots (likely Lankamer, Pelfrey, and Reddy), or a mix of the two. Pelfrey has college-ready, high tumbling, and Pelfrey has serious front twisting – two signatures of CMU floor. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell, but the pieces are definitely there to trend up. The only reason they’re not etched in stone as trending up in the preseason is how high of a mountain “up” is from last year’s scoring. 

Three Big Questions

Who’s going to flip the beam outlook?

It could be anyone, but be ready for Shannon to make a name for herself early in the beam lineup. We also tend to see beamers get more consistent throughout their four years in Mount Pleasant, so keep an eye on athletes like Skrupa, Mueller, and Hornbacher. 

Will we see Alvarado-Reid find consistency as an allarounder?

All signs are pointing to yes, for the conference’s 2023 Freshman of the Year. Her hit rate was perfect between vault, bars and floor, with a hit beam being the final piece for a 39.000+ allaround score. After finding her stride in the last month of season, new MAC fans should be learning her name immediately. 

Can the Chippewas three-peat at MACs?

At the end of the day, anything is possible when seven teams compete in the same subdivision. The Chips have a knack for peaking at the right time, and if they can develop new lineup stars can definitely make a run for their third conference championship in a row.

No. 41 Kent State

Kent State is ready to prove they can climb all season, after hovering at 196 for most of 2023. 

Losses: Olivia Amodei, Rachel DeCavitch, Cami Klein, Taylor Wentland
Gains: Nene Alvine, Charlie Behner (transfer from Temple), Dani Fuertez, Grace Knurek, Ashley Morgan, Kaileigh Norton, Gabby Riley


Potential Contributors: Kyndall Gilbert (9.835 NQS), Kennedy Weinpert (9.800), Zoe Rankin (9.760), Brynne Tsipis (9.695), Karlie Franz (9.794 AVG), Alyssa Guns (9.575 AVG), Grace Wehry (9.225), Charlie Behner, Izzy Geig, Dani Fuertez, Ashley Morgan, Gabby Riley

How It Looked Before: Vault was extremely consistent in 2023, highlighted by Kyndall Gilbert’s explosive Yurchenko full. Though the full lineup had 9.950 start values, they were calculated vaults that often took few builtin deductions. 

How It Looks Now: Last season’s vault core is back with a vengeance and has added big reinforcements to the depth chart. Dani Fuertez and Gabby Riley both train 10.0 start values, but they’ll only see lineup time if they’re stickable. Sophomore transfer Behner brings highscoring vault experience with her from the EAGL, topping her stuck Yurchenko full at 9.900 in only one season.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up, given their increased 9.800+ potential vaults and new pit to train them into. 


Potential Contributors: Karlie Franz (9.775 NQS), Kyndall Gilbert (9.775), Brynne Tsipis (9.750), Sarah Haxton (9.730), Nastia Rudnitskaya (9.640), Kennedy Weinpert (9.213 AVG), Zoe Rankin, Nene Alvine, Dani Fuertez

How It Looked Before: Bars had high highs, and lackluster lows, pulling between low 48.000s, and mid 49.000s. Their roster pulled in the highest bars score in the MAC at 49.450, led by recent graduate Rachel Decavitch.  

How It Looks Now: Save Decavitch, this lineup should look pretty similar to last season. Watch for Nastia Rudnitskaya to pick up where she left off in 2023. She found her stride late last year and topped at a 9.900.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell, since bars is likely to see little turnover in the first few weeks. 


Potential Contributors: Sarah Haxton (9.825 NQS), Alyssa Guns (9.795), Zoe Rankin (9.705), Grace Wehry (9.650), Nene Alvine, Dani Fuertez, Grace Knurek, Ashley Morgan, Gabby Riley

How It Looked Before: Beam proved to be a turning point on meet days, either locking in or losing lots of momentum. Decavitch along with Cami Klein provided veteran leadership for the beam squad, each topping out at 9.900. 

How It Looks Now: Any combination of six, hit beam routines will be welcome, from returners and new Golden Flashes alike. If Nene Alvine’s Achilles is healthy, she’ll bring confident beam to Kent State including a layout front toss. Riley has the potential to bring a double tuck dismount into the lineup, after competing it in both Level 10 and in Illinois’ high school circuit. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Too early to tell, but there have been too many beamers recruited to not trend up with some hit routines. 


Potential Contributors: Alyssa Guns (9.910 NQS), Karlie Franz (9.905), Kennedy Weinpert (9.860), Grace Wehry (9.825), Sarah Haxton (9.750), Cheyenne Pratola, Heidi Schultz, Charlie Behner, Dani Fuertez, Grace Knurek, Ashley Morgan, Gabby Riley

How It Looked Before: Kent State did on floor what they know best: coming out swinging, then hitting cruise control through to hosting the MAC championships. Alyssa Guns and Karlie Franz both produced dependable 9.900+ scores, and finished their individual seasons with strong showings at regionals. 

How It Looks Now: Ashley Morgan brings lineup-ready tumbling with her, which is no easy feat at Kent State. She’ll complement a historically deep roster, which has been dominated by upperclassmen in recent seasons.

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up – every time we blink there’s another lineup ready routine. It’ll just come down to finding the top scoring six, and resting the right routines mid-season.

Three Big Questions

Where can Kent State best utilize Josie Angeny’s coaching?

If there’s one thing Angeny can draw on from her career at Kentucky and Georgia, it’s being in a consistent bars and beam role. She’s well suited to work with the team on its consistency and amplitude on her pet events, to complement the Golden Flashes’ dynamic leg events. 

Will we see upgraded skills as a result of an upgraded gym?

One can hope! But, at the end of the day, consistency is what makes lineups on this roster. The Golden Flashes’ highly anticipated foam pit will help to mitigate landing stress over the season, which could lead to fans seeing their favorite routines more often.

Which of the Golden Flashes’ records can we expect to fall?

As a rule of thumb, always be on the lookout for big numbers from this deep of a floor roster. 

READ THIS NEXT: Potential Lineups: Pac-12 Part II

Article by Peri Goodman and Tara Graeve


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