Fantasy Central: Week8

Fantasy Central: Week 8

It’s year three with Gymlytics fantasy college gymnastics in 2024! We all learned lessons when GymChem took up the helm and created her revamped game, and we’re ready for a fun 2024.

Our weekly cadence will continue to match Gymlytics: The fantasy “week” begins with Friday meets, ends with any Thursday ones and trading happens every Monday via waiver wire. You’ll find us here every Tuesday talking about “next week,” meaning the fantasy week starting that Friday. This is your one-stop-shop for all things fantasy each week. We’ll be tracking injuries, byes and double headers, and giving you tips and tricks to put forward your best possible team.

This week, the Big Ten teams face off at Big Fives. As a reminder, that’s two sessions of five teams each. These meets act as the second half of each team’s head-to-head, in-conference meets for the year, so at the conclusion of both sessions, we’ll know which four teams will be feature in the Big Ten Championship night session.

The Big Fives are usually thrilling: They’ve featured Natalie Wojcik’s first vault 10, a Michigan State floor program record, and many upsets. Teams will put up top lineups, and scores could fly.

We’ve also moved into NQS season, so it’s officially crunch time, especially at away meets. We should see coaches settle into their best lineups and, of course, might see a carefully timed rest meet, when top gymnasts sit a few events to save some juice for the postseason, for some top teams in the next few weeks.

As always, next Monday’s and Thursday’s meets count toward this week. Notable home teams include Penn State, which is hosting the previously neutral site Big Fives, UCLA, Florida, Oklahoma, and Alabama. The Gators are hosting LSU, which is always a wild scoring romp.

Injury Updates Since Last Week

  • Added: Maya Keller (Temple): Right arm sling
  • Added: Sandra Jessen (Stanford): Knee surgery (side unknown)
  • Added: Gwendelyn Cantu (Eastern Michigan): Right Tommy John (elbow) surgery
  • Removed: Bailey Bunn (Kentucky)
  • Removed: Kiersten Belkoff (Penn)
  • Removed: Alexandra Quiana (Cornell)
  • Removed: Emma Wehry (West Virginia)
  • Removed: Clara Colombo (Nebraska)

Week 8 Byes & Doubles

Byes: Eastern Michigan, Greenville, Lindenwood, SEMO, Talladega, Utica

Doubles: Alaska, Illinois State, Iowa State, LIU

Data Corner

Once again we have data editor Dara joining us for Fantasy Central each week. She’ll be breaking down the numbers for you with notes on routine hit rate, lineup appearance frequency and breakout performances to keep an eye on.

Hit Rate and Lineup Frequency: Emily Shepard has never gone below a 9.750 and has averaged a 9.845 across her 47 collegiate vaults. Jordan Bowers has never scored below a 9.850 on bars in 39 appearances, with 34 scores being at least a 9.900. Selena Harris averaged 9.918 in 20 meets on beam, with no scores below 9.800. Mya Lauzon has hit all 27 of her floor routines in her career, with 9.9-plus scores in all of her last 13 outings.

Breakout Performances: Kayla Pardue stuck her Yurchenko one and a half for a 9.950 on Friday, breaking into the 9.9s for the first time this season and beating her previous career high of 9.900 from last March. Freshman Madison Ulrich has only gotten better on bars since her collegiate debut, notching a 9.975 this past weekend. Maya Peters posted a 9.925 on beam for George Washington on Friday, winning the event. Makenzie Wilson started the year with a 9.725 and a 9.825 on floor but recently returned to the lineup after three weeks away to post back-to-back scores of 9.925.

Starts & Sits for Week 8

This is the spot to find your sleeper picks, your two- or three-eventers and your solutions for those big bye weeks. We’ll also comment on the big names when relevant: Injuries, lineup absences, or inconsistency.

Vault: Ragan Smith‘s Yurchenko one and a half has defied all odds and is alive and well; she exhibitioned it successfully on podium at Metroplex. KJ Kindler has to be considering slotting her in over Audrey Davis here, but it’s hard to predict when. Perhaps we’ll see it at postseason podium meets. The Clemson broadcast mentioned that Lauren Rutherford has been sick, and that’s why she was out. Amy Smith was quoted as saying she’s, “never seen anything like” all the illnesses this season. Stay safe out there, readers!

Bars: Amelie Morgan is officially back in England to prepare to pursue her Olympic bid; she’ll be out until the conference championship. Rylie Mundell only competed bars this week; it’s fair to assume she was under the weather or coming back from a tweak if she could still take a bars landing.

Beam: Emma Malabuyo is still gone this week, this time to compete in Cottbus. Arayah Simons was out of Pittsburgh’s lineups this week due to illness.

Floor: It has become clear that Jay Clark is resting Kiya Johnson’s Achilles here whenever he can; it’s hard to predict when she’ll be in this lineup and when seventh routine up Olivia Dunne will get the start since Clark seems to make the call right before the Tigers compete floor. Surely LSU will want its strongest six up at Florida, so expect Johnson here, though be prepared for her to be pulled if LSU has a very healthy lead halfway. After debuting floor to the delight of everyone in week six, Ira Alexeeva was missing for Stanford last week. Say it with me now: We’ll assume she was sick until proven otherwise. Morgan Hurd warmed up floor in the Gators’ one-touch, but Kaylee Bluffstone competed in her spot; perhaps Hurd was just having an off day.

Waiver Wire Wrap-up

Finally, we have a waiver wire in gymnastics! Who should you prioritize this week? Since Fantasy Central comes out on Tuesdays, keep in mind that these tips are catered toward next week.

Vault: George Washington’s Kasey Burke has found her groove: In the past three weeks, she’s gone 9.875 and 9.900. Mary McDonough also has two vaults on the books now for Washington.

Bars: Stanford had previously said it was hoping to have Anna Roberts in action by week eight, so if you want to get ahead of the rush to pick her up, do it this week! McCaleigh Marr took Naomi Morrison‘s bars slot this week; she hit for a 9.825 and seems likely to keep the spot while Morrison is out.

Beam: Terp Layla Hammer has competed beam twice for a 9.775 and 9.825. The freshman seems to be settling in well on a squad that knows how to develop beamers.

Floor: Bridgeport’s Lola Sepulveda has been consistently solid on floor all year and is just about an auto-9.800 on the event. Hallie Hornbacher continues to hit big numbers for the Chippewas, with a 9.925 on the books last week.

READ THIS NEXT: Wilberforce University Becomes Third HBCU to Add Women’s College Gymnastics

Article by Emily Minehart and Dara Tan; additional reporting from Tara Graeve and Savanna Wellman

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