Abby Chesshire poses on floor

The Most Unique Skills in the NCGA-East

Tired of seeing the same skills over and over again? The NCGA-East is home to not only some of the most unique skills in Division III gymnastics but also skills rare across all divisions. Get excited about these fresh, creative skills!

Tsuk Arabian

Tsuk entries have seen a large uptick this year at the Division III level and especially fun to see is the tsuk arabian. This vault always gets a big crowd reaction. DIII gymnastics fans are lucky enough to see two this season competed in the East by Ithaca freshman Lauren Babineaux and Springfield sophomore Stacy Taylor.

Yurchenko Arabian

One of the things that allows for unique vaults in the NCGA that viewers would not normally see in NCAA is that a 9.95-10.0 vault start value is not as common in the NCGA, so some of those lower-valued vaults will see lineup time that normally would not at a Division I school. This variety in vaults can make Division III vaults even more exciting than the traditional lineup filled with Yurchenko fulls with an occasional one and a half mixed in. Here, viewers can see a huge Yurchenko Arabian performed by Brockport senior Kirsten Paultre with tremendous height and distance. 

Higgins to Straddle Back

A Higgins on its own is a very unique skill, only being performed by gymnasts with the shoulder flexibility to fall into L-grip. The icing on the cake here is Springfield sophomore Claire Geiger connects hers to a straddle back to handstand. The straddle back is a high-to-low transition element that has lost its popularity in recent decades and many gym fans would be pleased to see the recent resurgence of this skill in Division III gymnastics.

Piked Delchev

Delchevs on their own are very rare to see, but Delchevs currently being competed in the piked position can be counted on one hand. Cortland freshman Taylor Goldstein brings a beautiful one to their bar lineup this season.

Tucked Jaeger to Shootover

Jaegers in the straddle and pike position are quite popular in NCAA, but it is rare to see this element performed in the tucked position. Here is a tucked Jaeger performed in combination by Brockport freshman Lienna Kay. 

Straddle Half Turn Over the Bar

This is the most obscure skill on the list and the only skill on the list that is hard to identify by long time gym-fans and code-knower. Similar to a Khorkina this skill is done only from a swing, needing a tremendous tap to make it over the bar, complete a half turn and catch the bar again. This skill is performed by Gracie Romero from Rhode Island College.

Front Tuck Mount

High-difficulty mounts are a fan-favorite way to start a routine off with a bang. Kaylie Goodwin, a junior from Ithaca, has upgraded her beam set this year to start with a gorgeous front tuck mount. This change has been working for her as Goodwin has scored two 9.8s already this season.

Front Aerial to Standing Layout Stepout

The front aerial to back handspring series has become a great option for a simple series in beam lineups everywhere, but Ithaca freshman Hana Miller takes this series up a level by connecting a standing layout step out of her front aerial. The standing layout stepout is an uncommon skill itself as it is much harder than one in a backwards connection and Miller performs it with ease and confidence. 

Round-Off Back Tuck

Ursinus freshman Arianna Ellis shows a massive roundoff back tuck series on beam. This skill requires perfect roundoff technique and a two-foot landing to stay on the beam.

Front Toss to Scale

The tucked front toss has become a staple in NCAA beam routines everywhere, but the front toss to scale is a sight to see and performed by Ithaca junior Abby Chesshire. This skill was originated by Nastia Liukin but it was later removed from the elite code. To receive credit for this E skill, the skill must finish in a controlled 180-degree scale. This skill needs the power to rotate all the way around, tremendous strength on the supporting leg, and balance and flexibility to show off that scale position, something Chesshire has mastered.

Back Double Full to Punch Front

Bounce-back passes were all the craze during the 2000s elite quad and throughout Chinese WAG but are not seen much outside of these scopes. Daria Gregory from Ursinus brings a resurgence of this pass to NCGA gymnastics with a fun back double full to immediate punch front. 

Rudi to back full

This pass is not only ridiculously difficult, but it is so fun and helped Rhode Island Gymnast Kelsey Gates earn the title of 2023 NCGA floor champion as her opening pass. 

READ THIS NEXT: The Impact of Foam Pits on Division III Gymnastics Teams

Article by Mary Collier


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.