Potential Lineups: Independents

2023 saw the inaugural seasons for three programs–Fisk, Greenville, and Simpson. Talladega joins the ranks of independent teams in 2024. While Simpson has been added as an affiliate member of the WIAC starting with the 2025 season, the Storm will continue as an independent team for this upcoming season. With rosters full of freshmen, the main goal was to gain much-needed competitive experience and create the foundation of the teams’ cultures for future teams to grow on. Year one was full of fun, excitement, and crowds coming to see a season full of new teams. What will year two bring? 

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. 71 Fisk

As the first HBCU gymnastics team in its inaugural season, Fisk had fans following it across the nation. The team sent individuals to the USAG national championships where Liberty Mora and Morgan Price walked away with some hardware on beam and floor, respectively. 

Losses:Leeiah Davis
Gains:Madyson Baucom, Skyy Henson, Zenell Mangal, Elizabeth Moore, Sophia Pratt, Ciniah Rosby, Sydney Smith, Aniyah Taylor, Jada Reese
Returning From Injury:Lyndsi Callier, Jordynn Cromartie


Potential Contributors: Morgan Price (NQS 9.875), Aliyah Reed-Hammon (9.765), Zyia Coleman (9.580), Breyana Daniels (9.540), Liberty Mora (9.480), Madyson Baucom, Zanna Brewer, Zenell Mangal, Sophia Pratt, Ciniah Rosby

How It Looked Before: The vault squad was led by the duo of Yurchenko fulls from Price and Reed-Hammon. Solid layouts made up the rest of the lineup. 

How It Looks Now: This season should bring an increase in scoring potential with twisting vaults arriving on campus with Baucom, Mangal, Pratt, and Rosby. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? The vault squad should be trending up big time.


Potential Contributors: Morgan Price (NQS 9.840), Kiara Richmon (9.775), Zanna Brewer (9.180), Ziya Coleman (9.105), Aliyah Reed-Hammon (9.095),  Madyson Baucom, Sophia Pratt, Ciniah Rosby, Sydney Smith, Aniyah Taylor

How It Looked Before: While the potential for strong bars scores was evident from a skills standpoint, the inconsistency of made routines held the lineup back in 2023. 

How It Looks Now: The depth on this event should go up exponentially this season. Baucom, Taylor, and Pratt sport Jaegers, with Rosby and Smith bringing a duo of Maloneys to the table. May the most consistent win a lineup spot. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Bars is on the upswing in 2024. 


Potential Contributors: Liberty Mora (NQS 9.770), Morgan Price (9.760), Aliyah Reed-Hammon (9.685), Kaylei McDonald (9.440), Breyana Daniels (9.010), Skyy Henson, Zenell Mangal, Naimah Muhammad, Sophia Pratt, Ciniah Rosby, Sydney Smith, Aniya Taylor

How It Looked Before: While it was Mora and Price who led the team on the event across the season, Reed-Hammon secured the first individual score above 9.900 in program history on beam at the Tennessee Collegiate Classic. 

How It Looks Now: A strong foundation was laid last season with more solid routines moving up the ranks. Watch out for a punch front tuck from Rosby and solid sets from Henson and Mangal. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? With the increase in depth, beam should be moving on up in 2024. 


Potential Contributors: Morgan Price (NQS 9.800), Ziya Coleman (9.690), Naimah Muhammad (9.645), Liberty Mora (9.630), Kaylei McDonald (9.510), Kiara Richmon (9.325), Zenell Mangal,  Aniyah Taylor, Jada Reese

How It Looked Before: While floor had its highs and lows, it consistently brought the energy and enthusiasm, led by Price’s floaty back two-and-a-half twist. 

How It Looks Now: While the barebones of the lineup should remain intact, Aniyah Taylor and Zenell Mangal sport a pair of routines that feature two double backs. Both could easily find their way into the lineup. 

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

Three Big Questions

Big Goals for 2024?

While former Arkansas commit Morgan Price is a superstar in her own right, the Bulldogs will need to build up a few more pieces around her to increase the team’s overall scoring potential. Fisk should look to capitalize on the audiences it drew to meets last season to keep fans tuned into HBCU gymnastics.

What’s the key event for team score improvement in 2024?

Keep an eye out for how bars is going this coming season. It’s a near guarantee that vault will improve based on start values alone, and beam and floor are a touch more predictable. Bars was consistently the lowest scoring event for the Bulldogs last season, but not for lack of trying. Big skills were thrown but not always made. With more collegiate competitive experience from the returners, the team should reach new heights. 

Is conference realignment on the horizon?

With Talladega joining the ranks as the second HBCU gymnastics team, will an HBCU conference be around the corner? Will the teams join another conference all together? Last year, we speculated a possible partnership with the MIC given the proximity of Nashville to other teams within the conference. Only time will tell. 

No. 83 Greenville

Greenville struggled to find its footing throughout its inaugural season, but it did have an upswing to gain its first ever home victory against Simpson. 

Losses:Sidnei Heubach (VT, UB, BB), Emily McClung (VT, FX)
Gains:Sienna Blake, Emma Brannon, Isabella Feltman, Madina Rose French, Ashlie Leage, Ellianna Schnieders, Doree Shelton, Taylor Templin, Olivia Tocco


Potential Contributors: Amara Nelson (NQS 9.590), Ellery Gilmer (9.490), Rachel Miller (9.450), Reagan Rodriguez (9.335), Faye Jones, Audra Kaiser, Molly Froman, Isabella Feltman, Sienna Blake, Madina French, Ellianna Schnieders, Taylor Templin, Olivia Tocco

How It Looked Before: Vault was consistently the highest scoring event on the year, led by the team’s only twisting vault from Amara Nelson. 

How It Looks Now: The freshmen bring a host of potential upgrades on this event. Blake, French and Templin have Yurchenko full competitive experience while Feltman has been seen training a full-on entry. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Trending up!


Potential Contributors: Rachel Miller (8.985), Madison Carter (8.780), Amara Nelson (8.480), Alessia Russo (7.800), Molly Froman, Madison Ford, Sienna Blake, Madina French, Ashlie Leage, Taylor Templin

How It Looked Before: While bars did show some upticks in performance, lower start values and inconsistent routines made it difficult to see huge team scores on the event. 

How It Looks Now: Although the team will miss having its highest scoring 2023 routine from Sidnei Heubach, the team did recruit some high flying routines that will quickly step into the lineup. Watch out for Ashlie Leage. She’s bound to make a name for herself on bars immediately in her collegiate career. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Bars should trend up with the uptick in single bar releases and start values. 


Potential Contributors: Amara Nelson (NQS 9.340), Madison Carter (8.865), Audra Kaiser (8.710), Molly Froman, Aaliyah Saucedo, Alessia Russo, Madison Ford, Sienna Blake, Isabella Feltman, Madina French, Ashlie Leage, Ellianna Schnieders, Doree Shelton, Taylor Templin

How It Looked Before: Beam started slowly but gradually improved as the season went on. Consistency was still a struggle here. 

How It Looks Now: French should make an early impact here with her triple series, while Templin brings difficulty of her own with a punch front tuck and a switch half in combination. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Another trending up event! Depth should positively impact the beam team. 


Potential Contributors: Rachel Miller (9.325), Amara Nelson (9.245), Audra Kaiser (9.230), Faith Jones (9.060), Ellery Gilmer (8.955), Molly Froman, Sienna Blake, Isabella Feltman, Madina French,Taylor Templin

How It Looked Before: Floor was uncharacteristically inconsistent given the amount of tumbling talent on the roster. The floor lineup shuffled spots around, settling in some toward the end of season. 

How It Looks Now: Look for French and Templin to make some waves early. French ends her routine with a double pike, good for an extra tenth bonus. 

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

Three Big Questions

Freshman to watch for?

Madina Rose French could potentially be an all-around athlete from the start. Her difficulty level and dynamic gymnastics should score well from the top of the year. Don’t forget about Ashlie Leage. NCAA judges will love her style of gymnastics, and her sky-high Ray is sure to wow. 

2024 team goals?

Greenville’s big goal for 2024 will be to build on the foundation the team established last season. While there were flashes of success in 2023, this year’s team will look to fan the flames to allow consistency to grow. If the team can get the pendulum swinging in the right direction on bars, that will be a recipe for an exciting and successful season. 

How will the coaching shuffle impact Greenville’s program?

Bill Hopkins, the inaugural head coach, as well as assistant coach Makayla Curtis, are no longer with the team heading into 2024. While no new coach has been named, it seems that men’s gymnastics coach Zach Peters is acting as interim head coach for the time being. However, that leaves loads of questions, namely: What will this look like functionally during season when both men’s and women’s teams have to be on the road? Logistically this could cause some extra stress on the athletes and coaching staff. Will another coach be named prior to season to take some of the weight off of Peters? 

No. 84 Simpson

Bars start values held Simpson back when it came to team totals, but the Storm showed flashes of brilliance with athletes such as Kaelyn Tally and Emma Tolbert scoring big on vault and floor, respectively. 

Losses:Avery Ingram (VT, UB, BB, FX)
Gains:Annie Angus, Erin Baugh, Nicola Catchpole, Emma Charles, Abbie Lain, Kaylee Paige, Evalyn Resnick, Liz Sisler


Potential Contributors: Kaelyn Tally (NQS 9.550), Winter Poolaw (9.390), Bella Dix (9.295), Izzy Brown, Brooklen Morgan, Morgan Svec, Baily Tessena, Nicola Catchpole, Emma Charles, Abbie Lain, Kaylee Paige, Evalyn Resnick

How It Looked Before: Vault was led by Tally’s dynamic front handspring entry vault. 

How It Looks Now: Look for some upgraded vaults and newcomers with twisting vaults. Dix is training a viable Tsuk tuck full, while Charles and Paige have awesome Yurchenko fulls that will immediately make an impact. 

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


Potential Contributors: Annika Cole (NQS 8.880), Winter Poolaw (8.670), Avril Crespin (8.600), Morgan Svec (7.990), Izzy Brown, Annie Angus, Erin Baugh, Liz Sisler, Kaylee Paige, Evalyn Resnick

How It Looked Before: Bars was consistently the worst scoring event on the year, largely due to lack of 10.0 start value routines. 

How It Looks Now: Izzy Brown’s offseason upgrades should be a good addition to the single bar releases that come with the freshman class. Moreover, Erin Baugh and Evalyn Resnick have clean lines that will score well in a collegiate lineup. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? Bars depth is far deeper this year, so scores should go up.


Potential Contributors: Brooklen Morgan (NQS 9.310), Baily Tessena (9.300), Kaelyn Tally (8.950), Olivia Short, Emma Tolbert, Annie Angus, Erin Baugh, Emma Charles, Abbie Lain, Evalyn Resnick, Liz Sisler

How It Looked Before: Beam was relatively consistent on the year, full of unique skill combinations. 

How It Looks Now: The freshman class will bring a breadth of depth to the beam lineup. Emma Charles brings a side aerial to two feet, while Evalyn Resnick has a switch leap to layout step out connection. 

Trending up, down or too early to tell? With plenty of viable beam options, it’s going to be a difficult lineup to make in 2024. This will lead to an uptick in scoring. 


Potential Contributors: Emma Tolbert (NQS 9.560), Kaelyn Tally (9.420), Baily Tessena (9.200), Bella Dix (9.130), Annika Cole, Olivia Short, Abbie Lain, Evalyn Resnick, Liz Sisler

How It Looked Before: Floor was led by Emma Tolbert’s powerful, dynamic routine all season long, scoring the highest score in team history thus far with a 9.800. 

How It Looks Now: Bella Dix’s front double full is looking strong this preseason, and Abbie Lain is likely to step into the floor lineup early on. 

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

Three Big Questions

What are the most anticipated upgrades?

Watch out for Bella Dix this season. Her Tsuk tuck full from preseason training has been looking sharp, and her front double full is looking sharp enough to be a full time contribution to the lineup in 2024. Both of these skills could be a spark on their respective events. 

What’s the best utilization of Simpson’s last season of independence?

This season’s schedule features a host of teams set to be in Simpson’s new conference in 2025. So the best use of this season would be to get a feel of where this team fits into the conference as a whole and build confidence going into the years to come. Also, did anyone else notice that the NCGA championships were listed on the schedule? If that’s real, getting the first taste of postseason action would be an outstanding end to 2024 for Simpson. 

Which event will see the most improvement in 2024?

The upgrades on bars are seriously going to be a game changer for the Storm. The team is going to be able to soar to new heights in 2024 with an increased Annie Angus is working on a piked Jaeger to match Liz Sisler’s new straddled version. Kaylee Paige has an impressive Tkatchev of her own. Needless to say, this event is going to be night and day from 2023.


2024 will be Talladega’s inaugural season. The recruiting that head coach Aja Sims and assistant Wendy Carey were able to do in just a few months is astounding. The Tornadoes should be set up to make a strong debut. 

Gains:Mackenzie Butler (transfer from Towson), Alondra Maldonado (transfer from Iowa State), Danielle Johnson, Diamond Cook, Sidnei Heubach (transfer from Greenville), Jaidyn Bryant, Anastasia Cardino, Alexa Chuy, Jamilia Duffus, Ava Gaddy, Promise Jean-Marie, Kyrstin Johnson, Nya Moore, Kiora Peart-Williams, Nishayla Riley, Morgan Swaby, Landyn Williams


Potential Contributors: Mackenzie Butler, Jaidyn Bryant, Alexa Chuy, Jamilia Duffus, Promise Jean-Marie, Kiora Peart-Williams, Nishayla Riley

How It Looks Now: The Tornadoes are prepped to boast plenty of twisting vaults coming out of the gate. Look out for Alexa Chuy’s unique vault. 

Season outlook: With some solid vaults coming in, the team shouldn’t have to count too many lower-start-value layouts, so things should be starting off strong on vault.


Potential Contributors: Sidnei Heubach (NQS 9.155), Jaidyn Bryant, Alexa Chuy, Jamilia Duffus, Promise Jean-Marie, Kyrstin Johnson, Kiora Peart-Williams

How It Looks Now: This coaching staff recruited the heck out of bars. The depth is about to go crazy, making this lineup a hard one to make. Watch out for Kyrstin Johnson’s floating Tkatchev and the plethora of routine options from Jamilia Duffus. 

Season outlook: With the depth of this bars squad, things are looking up for Talladega. 


Potential Contributors: Alondra Maldonado (NQS 9.240), Sidnei Heubach (8.955), Mackenzie Butler, Jaidyn Bryant, Anastasia Cardino, Alexa Chuy, Jamilia Duffus, Kyrstin Johnson, Morgan Swaby

How It Looks Now: This lineup should feature some unique skill combinations from the front to side aerial series from Jaidyn Bryant to a stunning Liukin, of the front toss rendition, from Alexa Chuy. 

Season outlook: It’s too soon to tell how beam will go this season. This is inevitably going to be a young lineup, but those with collegiate experience were a bit on the inconsistent side in 2023. 


Potential Contributors: Alondra Maldonado (NQS 9.830), Mackenzie Butler, Jaidyn Bryant, Alexa Chuy, Jamilia Duffus, Kyrstin Johnson, Nishayla Riley, Landyn Williams

How It Looks Now: With former Big 12 floor star Maldonado leading the way, the floor team is in for a doozy. With an offseason foot surgery, it’s unknown what Kyrstin Johnson’s status on the event will be once January arrives, but if she’s ready, we’re in for a treat with tumbling as dynamic as it comes.

Season outlook: Floor should come out of the gates swinging for the fences.

Two Big Questions

How impressive was the recruiting job on such short notice?

This coaching staff deserves the 2024 award for most efficient and effective recruiting. This team managed to acquire multiple DI transfers, three athletes graduating high school early and a former member of the Jamaican national team all on its first roster. The amount of work it must take to start from scratch and hit the jackpot in one fell swoop has to be astronomical. 

What are realistic expectations for year one?

With any new team, there’s the adjusting period of all the athletes trying to figure out what college gymnastics is all about and how difficult competing every weekend for 11 weeks actually is. Luckily for the Tornadoes, this is not a roster completely full of freshmen. There are athletes who can immediately step in as leaders on the competition floor who have big on the big stages and can manage expectations. Realistically, Dega’s first season should give LIU 2021 energy and go up from there.

READ THIS NEXT: Potential Lineups: WIAC

Article by Tavia Smith

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