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Leotard Rankings: Week 11

When the college gymnastics season rolls around, some fans are excited for perfect 10s while others look forward to difficult skills and fun choreography. But we’re not going to lie. While those things are great, we love the leos most of all. And so, we’re back for another season of leotard rankings!

Each week we’re analyzing new designs to find our weekly faves. As always, leos can earn up to three points for design, up to one point each for fabric, sparkle, school spirit, and uniqueness, and up to three points for overall appearance. This week Naomi, Mary Emma, Izzi, and Peri are joining editor-in-chief Elizabeth for judging. And, reminder that each season we save all the NCGA and USAG new team leos to judge together at the end of each division’s respective postseason, so be on the lookout for our thoughts on those then!

Don’t agree with our ranking? Make your opinion heard by voting in the fan poll at the end of the article each week or by voicing your thoughts on social media!

Minnesota: 7.840

View a video of this leotard here.

Elizabeth: 9.000

Design 2.7/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.9/1, School Spirit 0.9/1, Uniqueness 0.9/1, Overall Appearance 2.8/3

This is fantastic! Minnesota doesn’t use a lot of “real” yellow in its designs—and I know it can be tough to pull off without making it look too McDonalds—but I think it’s very well done here. Really my only gripe is that the back straps are mystique fabric while the rest of the leotard is matte, making it stick out a bit in a weird way.

Naomi: 5.800

Design 1.6/3, Fabric 0.6/1, Sparkle 0.6/1, School Spirit 1/1, Uniqueness 0.8/1, Overall Appearance 1.7/3

I should really like this, but I feel like it’s missing something. More sparkles, maybe? I love the back pattern, but I wish the fabric used was more cohesive with the rest of the leotard. This leo doesn’t do anything wrong, but I probably won’t really remember it. Full points for school spirit though. 

Mary Emma: 8.700

Design 2.5/3, Fabric 0.9/1, Sparkle 0.8/1, School Spirit 1.0/1, Uniqueness 0.8/1, Overall Appearance 2.7/3

I LOVE this! The gold to red ombré gives sunset vibes, and I love the back. This is very different from anything Minnesota has done in the past. The only thing I don’t love is the gold stripe on the sleeve. It seems a little out of place, and I think I would prefer if the sleeve was just solid red.

Izzi: 7.700

Design 2.3/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.6/1, School Spirit 1.0/1, Uniqueness 0.5/1, Overall Appearance 2.5/3

I loved everything about this leo…and then I saw the back. The matte fabric! The ombre! The retro sleeves! The Vneck! But the back is…odd. The straps don’t even look criss-crossy; they almost look like a bad attempt at a faux-criss-cross, and the mystique comes out of nowhere. Everything else, though, is *chef’s kiss.*

Peri: 8.000

Design 2.3/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.6/1, School Spirit 1.0/1, Uniqueness 0.9/1, Overall Appearance 2.4/3

Props to Minnesota for sublimating the arms and extending the retro theme outside of the torso. That being said, it either needs more sparkles or none, and I wish there was a way to include Goldy Gopher in the design to sell the theme even further.

Michigan: 7.000

View a video of this leotard here.

Elizabeth: 6.700

Design 1.7/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.5/1, Uniqueness 0.7/1, Overall Appearance 2.3/3

I like the pattern and colors used on the sleeves and upper part of the design. Michigan’s really been into the criss-cross/wrap design on the front lately, but I’m not a fan. I think I would have liked this better if the back was the same but the front was more of a solid design with the ombre stripe pattern on top. I also wish there was just a touch of yellow to make it feel a bit more Michigan.

Naomi: 7.300

Design 2/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.9/1, School Spirit 0.5/1, Uniqueness 0.8/1, Overall Appearance 2.3/3

Generally, I loathe the boob sling look that’s weirdly popular right now, but this is one of the best versions of it. I am obsessed with the back of this leo, and it looks great in motion. It doesn’t scream Michigan to me (I would think Kentucky or even UCLA first), but it’s still a nice design overall.

Mary Emma: 7.200

Design 2.1/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.8/1, School Spirit 0.5/1, Uniqueness 0.8/1, Overall Appearance 2.2/3

This is a nice change from Michigan’s usual dark blue, but it definitely doesn’t scream Michigan to me. I love the pattern used and that it continues to the back, which is lovely, but what is up with the boob sling look that keeps popping up everywhere? Overall it’s nice, but I definitely have some issues with it.

Izzi: 6.200

Design 1.9/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.6/1, School Spirit 0.2/1, Uniqueness 0.5/1, Overall Appearance 2.2/3

I guess this is fine, but it is so not Michigan. This feels especially egregious to me because they could have chosen maize to be mixed in with the blue instead of white. I like how the back cross mirrors the front, but I’m getting bored of Michigan repeating this front cross/wrap look.

Peri: 7.600

Design 2.4/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.9/1, School Spirit 0.4/1, Uniqueness 0.7/1, Overall Appearance 2.4/3

My new favorite out of Ann Arbor, hands down; I love the continuity from the front to the back. The only downside for me is that with such a strong visual identity, it’s hard for me to read light blue as Michigan.

Utah: 6.620

View a video and images of this leotard here.

Elizabeth: 6.700

Design 2.0/3, Fabric 0.7/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.6/1, Uniqueness 0.7/1, Overall Appearance 2.0/3

Another leo that doesn’t scream Utah but that I also don’t dislike. The back is too busy for me—pick just one of those strap types or do an open back—but I love the gray and the way the side cutouts are lined with rhinestone to make them pop. I don’t really get how this design is “Superman,” but I guess it doesn’t really matter.

Naomi: 6.600

Design 1.8/3, Fabric 0.7/1, Sparkle 0.9/1, School Spirit 0.7/1, Uniqueness 0.5/1, Overall Appearance 2/3

This doesn’t feel very Utah in terms of color, but the fact that we have UU on the front and a giant “UTAH” across the back definitely helps. It’s a sleek design that looks good on everyone, but would it have killed Utah to add a bit of red?

Mary Emma: 6.000

Design 1.7/3, Fabric 0.7/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.7/1, Uniqueness 0.5/1, Overall Appearance 1.7/3

This is fine. It looks like something that Iowa would come up with rather than Utah, and I wish they had incorporated some red somewhere. I know black is classy, but I usually find all-black leos boring. The strappy back is great though!

Izzi: 7.000

Design 2.0/3, Fabric 0.9/1, Sparkle 1.0/1, School Spirit 0.6/1, Uniqueness 0.5/1, Overall Appearance 2.0/3

This is very… fine. The gray is nice, but like Michigan, they missed an easy opportunity to use their school colors. The back is just okay as well, but I feel like having the school name on the back strap is becoming kind of an easy out for making the leo school specific, particularly for a team with a big budget like Utah.

Peri: 6.800

Design 2/3, Fabric 0.6/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.6/1, Uniqueness 0.7/1, Overall Appearance 2.2/3

I’m requesting a little bit of red on this otherwise beautiful leo. To paraphrase my high school art teacher, text in any design should never be the strongest reason we know what we’re looking at.

Fan Poll

Congrats to Arizona for winning last week’s fan poll! Vote for your favorite design from this week here.

READ THIS NEXT: Judge’s Inquiry: Is DIII Really Judged Harder Than DI?

Article by Elizabeth Grimsley, Naomi Stephenson, Mary Emma Brambilla, Izzi Baskin, and Peri Goodman

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