CGN Roundtable: Transfers and Predictions

The transfer portal has become one of the hottest topics in NCAA sports, and gymnastics is no exception. The window to enter without penalty has passed, and with over 100 gymnasts confirmed in the portal, there’s plenty to talk about! In this week’s roundtable, we discuss our thoughts on the transfer window and what we want to see moving forward.

It’s early, but which team do you believe has made the biggest impact in the portal so far?

Savanna Whitten illustrated headshotSavanna: Honestly, Illinois State has surprised me so far. We haven’t seen the Redbirds take on many transfers, but they’ve added three this offseason in all-arounder Jaly Jones, Elli Brownfield, and Madyson Baucom. Jones is going to be a star for Illinois State and fill in some holes in its lineups.

Emma Hammerstrom illustrated headshotEmma: Well, obviously Missouri. We haven’t seen a whole lot of commitments yet, but snagging Elise Tisler’s gorgeous Yurchenko one and a half and Amy Wier’s solid beam will soothe the blow of losing Sienna Schreiber. Sheremeta and Titarsolej were incredible portal pickups and ended their careers as All-Americans. It’s certainly a good selling point for any transfer hopeful.

Illustrated headshot of Peri GoodmanPeri: Pittsburgh managed to bring in massive and consistent routines across three events from the in-state duo of Elizabeth Cesarone and Jaime Pratt. Both bring postseason experience to the Panthers, who are looking to be putting their rebuilding years behind them. 

Katherine Weaver illustrated headshotKatherine: I’ll second Missouri. I think we’re underestimating the impact that Tisler, especially, will have on the already strong vault and floor lineups. She was a mid-season fantasy add for me, and my jaw dropped when I saw the bump my scores received immediatelyshe went 9.975 on vault that week and didn’t score below 9.800 all season on any routine. The Tigers are particularly deep on the leg events, but I expect Tisler to be in at least one of those lineups right away.

Julianna: I agree with Missouri having the biggest impact so far, and while only one gymnast has transferred, I would also have to say Central Michigan. Missouri is losing some big names this year, so bringing in Elise Tisler, who was an extremely consistent competitor for Towson on vault and floor this past season, will be great for Missouri’s lineups. With Missouri also having Amy Weir, previously with Oklahoma, she has shown potential in exhibition spots but has not yet had the chance to compete in college. I’m excited for her to finally get her moment. As for Central Michigan, Hannah Appleget has been a star at Lindenwood for the last three seasons, and I truly believe the upcoming season will be just as great for her. 

Similarly, which team looks to be in trouble for 2025 based on who it might be losing to a transfer?

Savanna Whitten illustrated headshotSavanna: Every year we say that something needs to change at LIU, and we’re seeing that again after three of its athletes entered the portal. While the Sharks may not need to panic yet, the number of transfers in the team’s short history doesn’t make it look favorable to those who might be considering the program, no matter the reason.

Emma Hammerstrom illustrated headshotEmma: UCLA will need to adjust to losing its MVP, especially if Jordan Chiles moves on after Paris. Everything is so up in the air, but losing extra depth in Irvine certainly didn’t help its outlook for next year either. It already has holes from Frazier, Reed, and Andres, and now there are four more empty late-lineup positions to fill with freshmen or potential transfers. Macy McGowan and Camryn Richardson will ease the blow, but losing such a consistently high scorer in Selena Harris will take time to recover from.

Illustrated headshot of Peri GoodmanPeri: Three MAC teams have multiple names in the transfer portal, and of those three, Bowling Green takes the biggest net loss. The team lost two of its top contributors, between bars specialist Isabella Rivelli transferring to Kentucky and all-arounder Kathryn Weilbacher joining LSU. The two of them accounted for half of the Falcons’ 9.800-plus event NQS, leaving serious gaps that will take multiple gymnasts to fill before addressing lineup vacancies from graduating seniors. 

Katherine Weaver illustrated headshotKatherine: LIU would probably be my choice as well, but I really don’t see the Sharks being in much worse of a position than they were last year given Syd Morris remains. The transfer situation is obviously not great, but they managed to put out a decent product in 2024; I’ll withhold any major concerns. To mention another team, I do have some questions about Illinois having three gymnasts enter, especially Abby Mueller, who’s discussed a little more below.

Julianna: The transfer of Selena Harris out of UCLA was a shock for the gymternet as a whole. This current UCLA team is incredibly talented and has some big names coming in for the 2025 season, but it will undoubtedly be a big hole to fill in the consistency Harris brought to the program week in and week out. Illinois is another team that might have to worry if it doesn’t bring in some bigger scores with currently three gymnasts actively in the portal. Illinois is losing Abby Mueller, who became a consistent all-around competitor a couple of meets into the season, as well as Kaitlyn Ewald, who was a regular on two events most of the year. Although it might not seem like a lot, filling six spots, especially the consistency and experience brought by these athletes, will likely be difficult. 

With Lindenwood’s team being discontinued, several gymnasts have already announced their new destination. Who are you most excited to see with a new team?

Savanna Whitten illustrated headshotSavanna: I’m really excited to see Hannah Appleget at Central Michigan! She was an all-around contributor for the Lions, and her routines will definitely fill the gaps the Chippewas have. I’m also hype that Trinity Caffey is headed to Texas Woman’s; that feels like a match made in gym heaven. 

Emma Hammerstrom illustrated headshotEmma: Nya Kraus with Nebraska! I loved the hype she built around her transfer, and I’m so excited for her to be in the Big Ten. She’ll pair nicely with Sophia McClelland in Nebraska’s beam lineup.

Illustrated headshot of Peri GoodmanPeri: Hannah Appleget is poised to make a big case for herself in the MAC and will be joining Central Michigan at a time where the team needs to find roughly 15 routines. My hope is she’ll be Luciana Alvarado-Reid’s new all-around partner, as we’ve seen the Chippewas at their best when they can slot two weekly. 

Katherine Weaver illustrated headshotKatherine: I’m excited for Trinity Caffey at Texas Woman’s. The Pioneers are so fun to watch and have an energy analogous to Lindenwood, in my opinion. I think she’ll fit in well.

Julianna: After ending its last season on such a high, I am excited for all these gymnasts to have the opportunity to continue their careers. I am really looking forward to watching Hannah Appleget at Central Michigan, as well as Nya Kraus at Nebraska; both were so impactful for Lindenwood throughout their time with the program and will be bringing a great deal of experience to each program. 

Who from the Lions’ roster would you like to see on the move that hasn’t already announced a transfer?

Savanna Whitten illustrated headshotSavanna: Jaidan Kossuth is in the portal and one I’d love to see on a team that needs a beam specialist. She made major strides as the season progressed, so I’d love to see that momentum continue on her new team. 

Emma Hammerstrom illustrated headshotEmma: Senior Hannah Moon capped off her time with Lindenwood with a 9.9 on bars at the USAG championships. That is certainly a good way to end your career, but I would love to see her take a fifth year and continue to improve on bars. She could become a staple for any number of teams. 

Katherine Weaver illustrated headshotKatherine: She is in the portal, but I’d like to see Reese Baechle find a home. It has to be heartbreaking transferring to a school whose program is cut shortly after you arrive. That said, I think her former school, Missouri, would welcome her back with open arms.

Julianna: Reese Baechle is also someone that I would love to see at another program. Only being a sophomore, she could make a real impact on any program with her remaining two years left in the NCAA. Talking about fifth years, I would love to see Hannah Moon and Madison Rush finish with this final year. With Rush being a relatively consistent beam specialist this past season, and Moon having the potential to compete three events, having either of them with another program would be a big gain. 

Arguably, one of the biggest surprises in this year’s window was Selena Harris being dismissed from UCLA and entering the portal. Do you see a program signing her, and if so, which one?

Savanna Whitten illustrated headshotSavanna: Her scores and ability to deliver in clutch moments will very likely allow her to be picked up by a program. The question becomes which team is willing to take a chance on her? I could see a mid-tier team like Arizona State or Illinois giving her an opportunity, but it will be interesting to see which teams are willing to take the risk, as well as which teams she even wants to consider.

Emma Hammerstrom illustrated headshotEmma: I absolutely see a team signing her. There have been too many cases of “red flag” gymnasts getting picked up in the portal, and she has a far better scoring record than any of them. Do I think it’ll be a team like LSU or Florida? Probably not. Can I see her slotting into the all-around in a top 10 to 15-ish team and taking it to nationals, similar to Sunisa Lee and Auburn in 2022? Without a doubt. We’ll just have to see which coach bites.

Illustrated headshot of Peri GoodmanPeri: I’d like to start with a disclaimer that I’m not the best guesser on the CGN staff. I think a team like Michigan could stand to benefit from her, as a team that has shown it loves upperclassmen all-arounders that can perform week in and week out

Katherine Weaver illustrated headshotKatherine: This is one of those college gymnastics storylines where I have absolutely no idea what’s about to happen. I want to agree that the other top teams likely wouldn’t bite based on the apparent gravity of the situation, but I just can’t since her talent is so undeniable; I can’t imagine teams writing that off without at least doing their due diligence. In that vein, I don’t see her going to a team that couldn’t seriously hope to make nationals. But I also don’t see her just giving up and being done with gymnastics if she can’t find a home. Long story short, I’m not sure, but I don’t think we can count out seeing her on a team that qualifies to nationals in 2025.

Julianna: This news to me, and most likely the entire gymnastics community, was definitely a shock. From the announcement of the transfer to the reasoning behind it, there was a lot of information behind this news. That being said, I think Harris is an incredibly talented athlete, but it is potentially going to be a slippery slope for coaches wanting to take her on, depending on the reason for her dismissal. I think Michigan would definitely be a program that would benefit from having her gymnastics on its roster, as well as some other teams on the climb these past couple of seasons. I think whatever happens, whenever it happens, it’s going to be just as much of a shock as the initial news. 

Let’s talk middleclassmen transfers. Which rising sophomore or junior, whether they are already committed or still undecided, are you excited to see at a new program?

Savanna Whitten illustrated headshotSavanna: Madison Raesly-Patton for sure! She showed a ton of potential her freshman year at BYU, but an injury limited her season to beam and vault. She was a top recruit coming out of high school, so I am very excited to see where she ends up!

Emma Hammerstrom illustrated headshotEmma: I was a little disappointed with not seeing Alex Irvine compete at UCLA last year. There were holes on vault and bars that she could’ve been impactful on. I think she could be a regular all-around competitor at the right school, and I’d love to see her somewhere like Arizona or Washington where she can compete every week.

Katherine Weaver illustrated headshotKatherine: People seem to have forgotten about Kara Eaker, which makes sense because there has yet to be an official announcement from her that she’s in the portalor many other clues at all. Her ultimate destination, like Selena Harris’s, is a mystery to me, but in spite of her time off, I see her being ready to crack lineups immediately.

Julianna: Kara Eaker, if she decides to make her NCAA comeback this year, is definitely someone I am excited to see have another chance at this experience. Whatever team picks her up will most be gaining some beautiful gymnastics onto its roster. I also think Abby Mueller coming from a really consistent, successful season at Illinois will be someone to watch out for that could really make a difference as an all-arounder at any program. 

This is the last year we will see seniors potentially transfer for a COVID year; of the ones who have announced their transfer, who are you most excited for?

Savanna Whitten illustrated headshotSavanna: Lauren Macpherson without a doubt! She was such a steady competitor for San Jose State during her four years, and I for one am excited to see her at Missouri and to finally get recognition for what she brings to gymnastics.

Emma Hammerstrom illustrated headshotEmma: Abby Mueller has been robbed every single year of her career on floor. She has that it factor on the event that you see at the end of SEC floor lineups, but she rarely got rewarded for it in her time at Illinois. She has a killer double layout, and just added a fourth event in her senior year. Additionally, she has become uncanny at sticking her floaty full on vault. She really could land anywhere with her floor potential and veteran experience, and I’m so excited to see where that is!

Illustrated headshot of Peri GoodmanPeri: Emmalise Nock’s floor has been one of the bestkept secrets by MAC fans and fantasy waiver wire frequenters, and I have a hunch she’ll take it to the Big Ten. 

Katherine Weaver illustrated headshotKatherine: I’m hopeful for Illinois transfer Kaitlyn Ewald. She was an underrated contributor for the Illini on two or three events per meet and could be a reliable option for many teams in need of depth.

Julianna: Asta Farrell going from Brown to Michigan makes me so excited. Farrell had a great season, specifically as an uneven bars specialist for Brown, and can hopefully get into those Michigan lineups to bring another consistent score after the loss of some pretty big contributors to the program this year. 

With COVID years coming to an end, do you believe the number of transfers will return to “normal,” or is this the beginning of a new trend in NCAA gymnastics?

Savanna Whitten illustrated headshotSavanna: I think the portal has normalized transfers, and it isn’t as frowned upon to look for another opportunity to compete. But with COVID years ending, I think there will be a slight dip in the number of transfers we see. However, I think NIL is going to play a bigger role moving forward, as gymnasts are starting to take more advantage of those opportunities and may not necessarily need a scholarship to go to a school.

Emma Hammerstrom illustrated headshotEmma: I think it’ll stay. I look at football and how much movement is going on, and it’s mostly fueled by two things: NIL and playing time. While NIL isn’t as much of a factor in gymnastics since the elites/Livvy are raking in most of it, it seems like gymnasts are starting to take the opportunity and enter the portal if they aren’t happy with how much they compete. Personally, I love it and the exposure it gives to lesser known gymnasts with the potential to shine at a different school. I hope it continues, especially since athletes will now have one less year to make lineups and compete.

Illustrated headshot of Peri GoodmanPeri: I hope it’s here to stay and think it’s trending in that direction given how many underclassmen we’re seeing in the portal.

Katherine Weaver illustrated headshotKatherine: I have no issue with it being normalized, and I think it will be, especially considering it’s well beyond that point with football and other revenue sports. Just look at the other ways the sport is (slowly but surely) changing in recruiting, like greater publication of visits and offers. The greater sports culture has to fully permeate gymnastics at some point.

Julianna: Having been a transfer athlete myself, I really hope this continues to be normalized. Things happen, life happens, and you need a new environment. That shouldn’t be something that is frowned upon. Everyone deserves to find their perfect spot, even if it takes a couple of tries.  

And finally, name an under-the-radar transfer gym fans shouldn’t sleep on.

Savanna Whitten illustrated headshotSavanna: Pittsburgh picked up Jaime Pratt from Arkansas, who just competed at the national championships. She has the potential to be a leader for the Panthers and definitely is one to keep your eyes on.

Emma Hammerstrom illustrated headshotEmma: Haleigh Gibble was named as one of two Penn State gymnasts to watch during the preseason, but we only got to see her compete three times last year. Despite that, she has a career high of 9.9 on beam, with the potential to score that pretty consistently when given the chance. I was surprised to see her name in the portal, but now I’m simply excited to see where she goes and to watch her on the beam next season!

Katherine Weaver illustrated headshotKatherine: I’m intrigued by Brown’s Asta Farrell transferring to Michigan. In spite of holes to fill on both of her pet events, predecessor Ivy graduate transfer McCaleigh Marr didn’t appear much for the Wolverines in 2024. This year, while the trio of returners will help, Michigan is recovering from some big losses, and while the freshman class is big and talented, it’s unclear what its contributions will be. All that said, the circumstances are here for bars specialist Farrell to make a bigger impact. Whether she’ll get the call on a weekly basis remains to be seen.

Julianna: Isabella Rivelli transferring from Bowling Green to Kentucky is someone I think people should be on the lookout for. Rivelli had an extremely consistent year last season on bars, scoring over 9.9 twice in 2024. Having Raena Worley and Bailey Bunn, two staples in the Kentucky bars lineup specifically, graduating, any kind of consistency and experience will be great for the Wildcats. 

READ THIS NEXT: The Transfer Portal: How It Works and How to Normalize It in Gymnastics

Article by the editors of College Gym News

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