Monday, 12 December 2022 21:41

2023 Season Previews: Teams #1 to #12

Here are the first 12 teams in our Capsule Previews of our Top 25, based on the 2023 Preseason Coaches' Poll.


 1.  Oklahoma Sooners

Official Web Site:  Link      Schedule      Roster
Starting Routines Returning: 22/24
Routines Gone:  0 VT, 0 UB, 1 BB, 1 FX
Head Coach: KJ Kindler
Associate Head Coaches: Lou Ball, Tom Haley
Finish Last Season:  1st
Returning Starters (10):  Jordan Bowers (So), Audrey Davis (Jr), Jenna Dunn (Sr), Danae Fletcher (Jr), Bell Johnson (Jr), Katherine Levasseur (Jr), Danielle Sievers (So), Ragan Smith (Sr), Allie Stern (5th Yr), Olivia Trautman (5th Yr),
Other/Injured Returners (6):  Caitin Kirkpatrick (So), Audrey Lynn (Jr/I), Sheridan Ramsey (Jr), Madison Snook (So), Meilin Sullivan (Jr), Amy Wier (So)
Graduated (3):   Emma LaPinta, Karrie Thomas, Carly Woodard
Other Losses (2):  Vanessa Deniz (SR/TR/UGA), Moorea Linker (So/I/R)
Newcomers (2):  Ava Siegfeldt, Caitlin Smith (expected in January), Faith Torrez

Quick Assessment:  The defending NCAA Champions lose just two routines from last year's squad, both from the departed Woodward.  They said goodbye to a total of five gymnasts, but compared to prior seasons, the graduations losses for OU are relatively muted.  Leading the way for OU in 2023 will be sophomore Jordan Bowers, junior Audrey Davis, senior Ragan Smith and 5th year Olivia Trautman. AAer Bowers looks strong as ever, and has been showing an upgraded tuck full-in mount on FX.  Similarly, Davis looks to have an even greater impact in 2023.  Known for her immaculate work on UB and BB, she's training a Yurchenko 1 1/2.  OU seems to be pacing Trautman, to ensure she's ready and healthy for the post-season, just like last season.  OU should also get big contributions from junior Levasseur and sophomore Sievers as well.

OU is widely known for continuing to develop their roster into stars, so the frosh don't have to be depended on too early.  However, this season a stellar class, led by Torrez and Siegfeldt, looks to make an immediate impact.  Torrez, who competed AA at the recent intrasquad, has beautiful form complemented by big skills like a double layout on FX and a back tuck full and side aerial to layout stepout on BB.  Former US National Team member Siegfeldt looks to impact first on VT, where her Yurchenko 1 ½ will help OU establish 6 10.0 Start Value (SV) vaults from early in the season.  However, she is another potential AAer down the road.  The Sooners also welcome Caitlin Smith, who graduated early and will join the Sooners in January.  A L10 from World Champion Centre, she tied for 6th AA and 5th on FX (full-in mount) at the 2021 Women's Development Program (WDP) Nationals.  In 2022, she placed 2nd on VT and UB at the Region 3 Regionals but problems on BB and FX kept her from qualifying to Nationals as an AAer.  She is also a former L10 National Champion in the AA, winning the title back in 2019. 

With a loaded and experienced roster and a talented frosh class, the Sooners look to be even deeper and more talented than last season.  They'll be a formidable force in the post-season as they pursue their sixth National Team Title.  FX was the Sooner's weak event at the Four on the Floor last season (and their lowest ranking event nationally).  This is where the newcomers and a healthy Trautman could help out the most.     


 2.  Florida

Official Web Site:  Link      Schedule      Roster
Starting Routines Returning: 16/24
Routines Gone: 2 VT, 1 UB, 2 BB, 3 FX
Head Coach: Jenny Rowland
Assistants: Adrian Burde, Owen Field
Finish Last Season:  2nd
Returning Starters (7):  Sloane Blakely (So), Leah Clapper (Gr),  Riley McCusker (So), Payton Richards (Sr), Savannah Schoenherr (Gr), Trinity Thomas (Gr), Leanne Wong (So)
Other/Injured Returners (6):  Chloi Clark (Jr), Bri Edwards (So), Morgan Hurd (RS Fr/I), Ellie Lazzari (Jr/I), Alex Magee (Jr), Halley Taylor (Gr)
Graduated (4):  Alyssa Baumann, Sydney Johnson-Scharpf, Nya Reed, Megan Skaggs
Other Losses (1):  Gabrielle Gallentine (Jr/TR/PSU), 
Newcomers (4):  Rachel Baumann (Gr/TR/UGA), Lori Brubach, Kayla DiCello, Victoria Nguyen (Jr/TR/UGA)

Quick Assessment:  Florida has suffered some pretty large losses from 2022, perhaps even beyond the 8 routines lost.  The loss of Baumann, Reed and AAer Skaggs, along with Gallentine and Johnson-Scharpf, impact not just the returning routines but the entire depth chart.  Fortunately, the Gators have plenty of firepower remaining, led by 2022 NCAA AA, UB and FX champ Thomas.  The 27-time All-American and Honda Award winner leads a veteran core that includes dynamic sophomores Blakely and 2022 World Championship Gold Medalist Wong.  Classmate McCusker is also back, along with key veterans Clapper, Richards and Schoenherr.  Florida should also get a boost from the debut of redshirt frosh Hurd, the former World AA champion, and Lazzari, who was a standout in her rookie campaign.  They could easily complete their lineups with the returning class, as long as everyone remains healthy.  

The Gators should also get immediate contributions from DiCello, one of the top recruits in the country and a bronze medalist in the AA at the 2021 World Championships.  This past season, she placed 4th AA at the OOFOS US Championships.  She has the skills and execution to take a place as a top AAer, once she adapts to NCAA competition.  She vaults a Yurchenko Double Full, swings a stalder full, Church and Van Leewen on UB and tumbles a bhs-layout-layout on BB,  She also has a variety of tumbling skills, from a full-twisting double layout to the double double (Silivas) that should impress the judges and fans alike.  Florida also welcomes a pair of transfers, both from UGA.  Bauman was a top gymnast on BB and FX while Nguyen excels on UB and BB, but has added a Yurchenko 1 1/2 in training.

Last season Florida came just 0.1125 from defeating OU for the title.  They were unable to capitalize on OU's lower marks on FX by ceding too much ground on the other three events.  The key for the Gators will be to get improved scores in the 2nd half of the lineup, particularly on VT, while replacing some big scores they've lost.  Better luck with injuries could also be difference maker this season for the Gators as they chase down the ever-improving Sooners. 


 3.  Utah Utes

Official Web Site:  Link      Schedule     Roster
Starting Routines Returning: 21/24
Routines Gone:  2 VT, 0 UB, 0 BB, 1 FX
Head Coach: Tom Farden
Assistant:  Carly Dockendorf, Jimmy Pratt
Finish Last Season:  3rd
Returning Starters (10):  Kara Eaker (So), Jaylene Gilstrap (Jr), Cristal Isa (5th Yr), Grace McCallum (So), Amelie Morgan (So), Maile O'Keefe (Sr), Abby Paulson (Sr), Jaedyn Rucker (Sr), Lucy Stanhope (Jr), Sage Thompson (So)
Other/Injured Returners (2): Jillian Hoffmann (Sr/I), Alani Sabado (Jr)
Graduated (4):  Alexia Birch, Cammy Hall (Gr/TR/LSU), Adrienne Randall, Sydney Soloski
Other Losses (0):  N/A
Newcomers (3):  Abby Brenner (5th Yr/TR/Michigan), Sarah Krump, Makenna Smith

Quick Assessment:  Utah loses 3 routines from four graduated gymnasts including Soloski, a top ten performer on the FX last season.  The impact on the depth chart is even greater, with Birch having gone AA in the past and two 10.0 Start Value (SV) vault gone.  The Utes will be led this season by senior O'Keefe. an 11 time All-American and 2021 UB and FX NCAA Champ.  She'll be completed by Olympian McCallum, the #5 returning AAer from last regular season, who has had another year to adjust and is looking strong in preseason training.  Utah also welcomes back 2022 NCAA Vault champ Rucker, and key All-American specialists Isa and Paulson.  The Red Rocks will also hope to see stronger contributions from Eaker, who was slowed by injury last season and Gilstrap, who has shown big improvements in difficulty and execution in preseason training.   Sophomore Thompson also looks ready to continue her momentum from last season.  The oft-injured Hoffman showed flashes of brilliance last season, and could provide a spark on FX as well. 

Utah should get a lineup boost from Michigan transfer Brenner and top frosh Smith.  Brenner is a former regular season All-American on VT who also competed UB and FX (full-in) for the Wolverines.   Smith was the ’21 regional vault (10.0), bars (9.9) and floor (9.925) champ and tied for 5th on VT and 6th on FX en route to a 13th(t) AA finish at the 2021 National meet (fall on BB).  She was also the ’22 Region 1 L10 Regional vault (9.925, pike Omelianchik), bars (9.875) and floor (9.675, double Arabian) champ.  The pair bring strength on the leg events and can also bolster the UB lineup.    

Utah is looking to burst back onto the top of the podium but faces some tough competition to get there from OU and FLorida.  While this squad is proven to be excellent on BB, they need to close the gap with the top teams on VT.  Brenner and Smith will be key in that regard, but the other returning Utes will also need to claw back tenths on the other events as well, in order to keep up with the front-runners.        


 4.  Michigan

Official Web Site:  Link      Schedule      Roster
Starting Routines Returning: 22/24
Routines Gone: 0 VT, 1 UB, 0 BB, 1 FX
Head Coach: Bev Plocki
Associate Head Coach:  Scott Sherman
Assistant: Maile'ana Kenewa-Hermelyn
Finish Last Season:  8th
Returning Starters (7):  Sierra Brooks (Sr), Reyna Guggino (Jr), Abby Heiskell (Gr), Naomi Morrison (Jr), Jacey Vore (So), Gabby Wilson (Sr), Natalie Wojcik (Gr)
Other/Injured Returners (5):  Carly Bauman (Jr/I), Nicoletta Koulos (Sr), Ashley Lane (So), Jenna Mulligan (Jr), Abigael Vides (So/I)
Graduated (1):  Abby Brenner (Gr/TR/Utah)
Other Losses (0):  N/A
Newcomers (4):  Lilly Clapper, Farah Lipetz, Kaylen Morgan, Paige Thaxton

Quick Assessment:  After a strong start, the 2021 NCAA Champs faltered last season to finish back in 8th. They lose just one gymnast from last year's squad, accounting for two routines (plus a key reserve vault).  They will be led in 2023 by graduate students Abby Heiskell and Natalie Wojcik, seniors Seirra Brooks and Gabby Wilson, and junior Naomi Morrison.  Wojcik, the 2022 AIA Award Winner and 2019 BB National Champ is an 18 time All-American.  Heiskell had the best season of her career as a senior, winning three Big 10 titles (AA, UB, FX).  Brook is a 13-time All-American and three-time Regional Champion.  Along with Wilson and Morrison, Michigan can count on five potential AAers among the core returning starters.  Michigan would also like to see expanded contributions from Guggino and Vore, but are also anticipating the return of Bauaman, who missed last season but who was a standout as a frosh.  

Michigan welcomes a quartet of talented newcomers, who could provide a much needed boost of depth.   Clapper was the only athlete in this class to have a complete ’22 season and she finished well, taking 8th AA, UB and BB at the WDP Nationals.  She also placed 7th on VT and tied for 13th AA at the 2021 Level 10 Nationals.  Morgan, who has competed at the elite level since 2019, placed 21st AA (senior) at the 2021 US Championships.  She showed a strong Yurchenko Full on VT, Maloney to Pak and Van Leeuwen on UB, an unusual side somi to straddle jump ½ on BB and an Arabian double front on FX.     This season, however, she did not reach her qualifying score at the Elite Qualifiers.  Michigan will look to get Thaxton healthy and ready for all lineups, after her 2022 season ended early.  She has a double layout and full-in on floor, a Gienger and full-in off bars, a punch front and double back off BB and a Yurchenko 1 ½ vault (and training a double).  At the 2021 L10 Nationals, she tied for 1st on UB, placed 6th on BB and placed 11th AA.  She was a L10 National Team member in 2019, placing 3rd on UB and BB and placing 4th AA. 

Michigan would like a return to the NCAA Final and a chance to repeat their 2021 National title. To do this, they'll need to avoid injuries and develop their depth by getting stepup performances from their frosh and other returning athletes.  Consistency, especially on BB, will be another key, as the Wolverines suffered mistakes on Day 1 of the NCAAs on both UB and BB.  BB was also their lowest ranked event last season during the regular season.    


 5.  Auburn Tigers

Official Web Site:  Link      Schedule      Roster
Head Coach: Jeff Graba
Associate Head Coach:  Sara Carver-Milne
Assistants: Kurt Hettinger
Starting Routines Returning: 22/24
Routines Gone:  1 VT, 0 UB, 0 BB, 1 FX
Finish Last Season:  4th
Returning Starters (9):  Aria Brusch (Sr), Derrian Gobourne (5th Yr), Sophia Groth (So), Olivia Hollingsworth (Jr), Sara Hubbard (So), Sunisa Lee (So), Gabby McLaughlin (Jr), Adeline Sabados (Sr), Cassie Stevens (Sr)
Other/Injured Returners (5):  Ananda Brown (So), Caroline Leonard (So), Morgan Leigh Oldham (Sr), Piper Smith (Sr), Anna Sumner (Sr)
Graduated (3):   Jada Glenn, Drew Watson, Allie Riddle
Other Losses (2): Payton Smith (Jr/?), Tara Walsh (TR/Jr/MSU)
Newcomers (3):  Olivia Greaves (I), Hannah Hagle, Hailey John

Quick Assessment:  Auburn had a breakthrough season in 2022, finishing 4th and setting records along the way.  They lose just two routines from last year's final lineup, although the roster is down five athletes and a bit of depth.  Leading the way in 2023 will be Olympic Champ Lee, who has announced that this will be her last as a Tiger.  She's looking terrific as she has spent this summer preparing for her elite return.  Also back for a final bow is grad student Gobourne.  A 2019 NCAA VT champ and the 2022 runnerup on UB and FX, she provides high scoring 9.95+ potential on three events.  Also returning are two key all-arounders from 2022, sophomore Groth and senior Stevens as well as three event stalwart Brusch.  Groth excels on BB but emerged as the #2 AAer last season.  Junior Hollingsworth has made big strides in the offseason and appears ready to make a major impact this season.  The former elite now opens FX with a clean open full-in.     

Auburn welcomes a trio of frosh this season but Hagle should be the first to see action.  Hagle is a former junior international elite who dropped back to L10.  This past season, she tied for 9th on BB and FX at the 2022 WDP Nationals.  She also tied for 10th on VT while finishing 20th AA (problems on UB).  In 2021, she was 6th on UB and 7th AA at the L10 Nationals.  She shows solid, tight form with good flexibility across her events.  She also vaults a Yurchenko Full and throws two double backs on FX.    Senior international elite Greaves is the top name in the Tiger class.  The Senior National Team member is a standout on UB who as a junior international elite, won the UB and placed 3rd AA at the US Championships in 2019.  In 2022, she competed only UB at the OOFOS US Championships and tied for 9th.  Injuries have unfortunately kept her from key competitions in 2020 and 2021 and a new ACL injury will keep her out this season. 

Auburn will be seeking a return to the NCAA finals, a task complicated by a strong set of contenders and an unfortunate injury with their top frosh.  However, they have superstars Lee and Gobourne complemented by a strong core set of experienced gymnasts.  They'll need continued improvements from the likes of Hollingsworth and others to help strengthen the lower half of the lineups. 


 6.  LSU

Official Web Site:  Link      Schedule      Roster
Starting Routines Returning: 19/24
Routines Gone:  1 VT, 1 UB, 2 BB, 1 FX
Head Coach: Jay Clark
Assistants: Ashleigh Gnat, Garrett Griffeth
Finish Last Season:  18th
Returning Starters (8):  Elena Arenas (Jr), Haleigh Bryant (Jr), Olivia Dunne (Jr), Aleah Finnegan (So), Kiya Johnson (Sr), KJ Johnson (So), Kai Rivers (Sr), Alyona Shchennikova (Sr)
Other/Injured Returners (7):  Sierra Ballard (Jr), Chase Brock (Jr), Alexis Jeffrey (So), Lexie Nibbs (Sr), Maddie Rau (Sr), Kamryn Ryan (Sr), Tori Tatum (So)
Graduated (5):   Reagan Campbell, Bridget Dean, Christina Desiderio, Sami Durante, Sara Edwards
Other Losses (1):  Rebecca D'Antonio (Sr/?)
Newcomers (4):  Annie Beard, Ashley Cowan, Cammy Hall (GR/TR/Utah/I), Bryce Wilson

Quick Assessment:   LSU stumbled last season at Regionals, posting just a 196.575 after problems on UB and BB and failed to advance to the Regional final.  However, the Coaches' have installed the Tigers in the #6 position, reflecting the talent on the roster.  They return 19 of 24 routines from last season, losing five sets from six departed gymnasts.  The Tigers will be led in 2023 by seniors Kiya Johnson and Shchennkiova and junior Bryant.  Johnson, a nine-time All-American, has worked around Achilles' problems to excel in the AA, when needed.  Shchennkova was a strong AA competitor last season and is set for a repeat.  Bryant is another potential AAer but was also the NCAA Vault Champ in 2021 with her terrific pike front-half.  LSU is also anticipating bigger contributions this season from Finnegan, who has looked stronger in preseason training and appears ready to impact in the AA.  Another sophomore, KJ Johnson, could see an expanded role this season as well.  Unfortunately, former elite Dunne has been struggling with shoulder problems.  The Tigers could also see other returners rise up to fill the spots opened up by the graduating seniors, especially Ballard and Brock.  

LSU welcomes a trio of frosh and Utah transfer Hall, who unfortunately is already out for the season.  Wilson placed 2nd on VT, 4th(t) on FX and 8th AA at the 2022 WDP Nationals.  She won the VT title at the 2021 L10 Nationals and placed 8th on UB.  Wilson scored three 10s on vault this season and may bring another Yurchenko Double to the Tiger lineup.  She also competes a pike full-in on FX and a Downie on UB.  She has struggled a bit with consistency in the past, especially on BB, and that will likely be a focus area as she adapts to college competition.   Cowan will strengthen the Tiger depth, but especially shines on UB and FX.  She placed 1st on UB in every ’22 meet and took a share of the title at the 2022 WDP Nationals.  She also tied for 3rd on FX and 11th on AA (problems on BB).  Her UB set features a Ray and a full twisting double layout dismount while she also won FX at state and Regionals with a front double twist mount.  Beard is a former junior international elite (10th AA at the 2017 P&G Championships) who was limited to three events (no UB) for most of the 2022 season.  Her problems unfortunately have continued and she reportedly underwent surgery in the fall and is likely out for the season.  

While LSU will need to avoid the inconsistency problems that struck at Regionals, they've also run into a string of injury problems that will impact their depth, especially on UB.  UB is a particular focus area for the team in preseason, according to Head Coach Jay Clark.  However, they do have enough core talent and a big enough roster to weather these setbacks and make their way back to the NCAA Finals.   


 7.  Alabama Crimson Tide

Starting Routines Returning: 18/24
Routines Gone:  2 VT, 1 UB, 1 BB, 2 FX
Head Coach:  Ashley Johnston
Assistants:  Gina Quinlan, Justin Spring
Finish Last Season: 
Returning Starters (10):
  Shania Adams (Jr), Luisa Blanco (Sr), Ella Burgess (Sr), Makarri Doggette (Sr), Lilly Hudson (So), Cam Machado (Jr), Shallon Olsen (Gr), Jordyn Paradise (So), Mati Waligora (Sr)
Other/Injured Returners (3):  Corinne Bunagan (So), Isabella Martin (Jr), Sania Mitchell (GS)
Graduated (4):  Emily Gaskins, Lexi Graber, Griffin James, Kaylee Quinn
Other Losses (0):  N/A
Newcomers (6):  Karis German, Gabby Gladieux, Zoe Gravier, Lillian Lewis, Lauren Little, Rachel Rybicki

Quick Assessment:  Alabama returns 18 of 24 routines from a squad that finished 7th at last year's Nationals.  They'll certainly miss star Lexi Graber, the 2021 NCAA FX champ as well as Gaskins and Quinn.  However, they have a strong core returning including sophomore standout Hudson and veteran stars Blanco, Doggette, Olsen and Waligora.  Hudson will look to an even stronger season after hitting 2nd team All American in the AA last year.  Blanco was a 2021 NCAA Champ on BB and is another potential AAer.  Olympian Olsen has contributed on up to three events while Waligora has also gone AA before.   Doggette has struggled at times with injuries, but is a standout on UB who can also compete all four event when healthy.  Machado showed big improvements last season while Paradise and Adams are both capable of a bigger impact.  One returner who is looking stronger in preseason training is Bunagan, who did not compete as a frosh.

The Tide welcome a strong frosh class of six, filled with elites and L10s that will not only provide depth but will challenge for lineup positions.  Former US National Team member German placed 19th AA and 6th on FX at the US Championships.  In 2022, she placed 7th AA at the Winter Cup.  Although she is a potential contender for the all -around, she is especially strong on floor where she has competed a double-double (Silivas), full twisting double layout and full-in.   Gladieux is coming off a strong club season that saw her win the AA and BB at the 2022 WDP Nationals.  She was also 2nd on FX and tied for 5th on UB and 6th on VT.  She looks to impact the Tide lineups immediately with strong potential across all four events.  She also has top level skills, including a Yurchenko 1 ½ on VT, a full-in on FX and a two-footed back whip/layout on BB.  

Little has competed on the elite level since 2016.  In the ’22 season she won the Metroplex Challenge (1st VT/UB/BB) and the KPAC Cup (1st V/UB/FX).  She also placed 3rd on bars at the Winter Cup and 7th AA at the US Classic.  She excels on the UB, with good stalder technique and stalder entries on her Shaposhnikova (aka Chow) and Van Leeuwen.  Gravier competed as an elite as a junior, then moved back to L10 after the ’18 season.  She tied for 9th AA and placed 9th on UB at ’22 WDP Nationals.  She also tied for 33rd at the 2021 Nationals.  Another former junior elite, Lewis finished off the ’22 season with an 8th place AA finish at the WDP Nationals.  She also tied for 10th on BB. 

Alabama will look to break into the National final with a strong core group of returners and a talented frosh class.  Although they will miss Graber's big score potential on VT/FX, they have plenty of talent on the roster.  The health of their stars and how quickly the frosh can adapt to NCAA competition could tell the tale on how far Bama will rise this season. 


 8.  Cal Bears

Official Web Site:   Link      Schedule      Roster
Head Coaches:  Justin Howell and Elizabeth Crandall-Howell
Assistant Coach:  John Carney
Starting Routines Returning: 15/24
Routines Gone:  2 VT, 2 UB, 2 BB, 3 FX
Finish Last Season:  11th
Returning Starters (5):  Neveah DeSouza (Sr), Mya Lauzon (So), Andi Li (Jr), Gabby Perea (Jr), Madelyn Williams (So)
Other/Injured Returners (7):  Elise Byun (Jr), Ella Cesario (So), Blake Gozashti (Jr), Maya Green (Sr), Jordan Kane (So), Natalie Sadighi (Sr), Abbey Scanlon (So)
Graduated (8):  Maya Bordas, Milan Clausi, Kyana George, Talitha Jones, Grace Quinn, Nina Schank, Abi Solari, Emi Watterson
Other Losses (0):  N/A
Newcomers (3):  Miki Aderinto, Casey Brown, eMjae Frazier, Jayden Silvers

Quick Assessment:   Cal suffered some of the biggest losses of the Top 12 teams, with 9 routines gone from the last starting lineup of a team that finished 11th in 2022 (and 9th in the final National Qualifying Score(NQS) standings).  The losses include 2021 NCAA UB Champ and key AAer Maya Bordes plus key lineup members Clausi, Quinn, Schank and Watterson.  Also gone is George, an AAer who was sadly injured last season and unable to compete her final year.  Leading the way for the Bears in 2023 is senior all-arounder DeSouza and junior AAer Li.  Junior Perea looks ready to expand her contributions in 2023 after a strong preseason while sophomore Lauzon competed AA at times as a frosh.  Classmate Williams was also in up to three events last season.  This is a small but talented core of returning athletes.  Cal should also see the debut of Cesario, who did not compete in 2022 but has rebounded strongly from injury.  Green has been part of the strong Bear UB lineup in the past, and looks set to reclaim a spot. 

A likely contributor to Cal's higher preseason rank, despite the large losses to graduation, is the strength of their frosh class.  Cal’s standout income class is headlined by US National Team member eMjae Frazier.  The 2021 World Championships Team member placed 3rd AA and won the FX at the 2022 Winter Cup.  She then went on to place 6th AA and 2nd on FX at the 2022 City of Jesolo Trophy.  With an array of top level skills and strong execution, she is ready to make a big mark on the NCAA this season as one of the top incoming recruits.  Cal is also joined by two top L10s in Brown and Aderinto.  Aderinto is a two-time L10 Women’s Development Program (WDP) National Team member who tied for the National Title in her division on the UB in 2022.  She also placed 2nd on BB, tied for 4th on UB and placed 3rd AA.  In 2021, she tied for 4th AA, UB and on FX at the WDP National meet, while placing 6th on VT.  She specially excels on UB, where she hit a 10 last season.   Brown placed 5th AA at the 2022 WDP Nationals, tying for 4th on VT and FX, 9th on UB and 10th on BB.  In 2021, she made the WDP National Team, placing 3rd AA and tying for 4th on VT and UB and 6th on BB at the National meet.  With a 39.325 career high AA in L10, she excels on VT with a Yurchenko 1 ½ and shows beautiful form and extension on all four events. 

Although Cal finished short of Nationals last season, they look set to put forth a strong bid in 2023.  With veterans like DeSouza, Li and Perea leading the way and some potential standout contributions from the frosh and sophs, they have all the pieces to put up a challenge.  Improvements on VT and FX will especially be key, as these have been the weakest pieces for Cal the last several seasons.    


 9.  Missouri Tigers

Official Web Site: Link       Schedule       Roster
Head Coach:  Shannon Welker
Associate Head Coach:  Casey Jo (Magee) MacPherson
Assistants:   Whitney Snowden
Starting Routines Returning: 24/24
Routines Gone:  0 VT, 0 UB, 0 BB, 0 FX
Finish Last Season:  5th
Returning Starters (11):  Amari Celestine (So), Grace Anne Davis (So), Helen Hu (Sr), Alonna Kratzer (So), Amaya Marshall (Jr), Hannah McCrary (Gr), Jocelyn Moore (So), Hollyn Patrick (Sr), Sydney Schaffer (Jr), Sienna Schreiber (Sr), Alisa Sheremeta (Gr)
Other/Injured Returners (4):  Kyra Burns (Jr), Adalayna Hufendiek (Sr), Kalise Newson (Jr), Alyssa Ojeda (So/I)
Graduated (0): N/A 
Other Losses (2):  Victoria Gatzendorfer (TR/So/Maryland), Jena Swanson (Jr/I/Team Manager)
Newcomers (6):  Reese Baechle, Jalene Jachna, Addison Lawrence, Mackenzie Patricelli, Casey Poddig, Courtney Woods

Quick Assessment:  Missouri returns every routine from the last starting lineup in 2022.  They did lose some potential depth (particularly on UB) but the Tigers will look to improve on their 5th place finish from 2022.  They are ranked 9th in the preseason, as perhaps their 11th place NQS finish factored into the voting by the Coaches.  They return no less than 11 starters, led by grad students McCrary and Sheremeta, senior Schreiber, RS junior Hu, junior Schaffer and super sophs Celestine and Moore.  Schreiber was the primary AAer last season, earning All-American honors, but excels on BB.  Hu was a standout as a frosh but sat out 2021 with an injury.  She was restricted to UB and BB in 2022, where she demonstrates her superb form and flexibility with 9.95+ potential on both.  McCrary has been a lineup regular on three events, as was Sheremeta.  Celestine was the runnerup on VT at the 2022 NCAA and is also a tremendous performer on FX.  Classmate Moore has a huge Yurchenko 1 1/2 and some big tumbling on FX as well.  Schaffer qualified to the NCAAs as an individual on BB in 2021, her best event.  

In addition to the large returning class, Mizzou brings on six newcomers.  Lawrence leads the way.  The GAGE trained L10 placed 5th AA at the 2022 L10 Nationals, including a tie for 3rd on FX, 7th on UB and 8th on BB.  She also placed 6th AA in 2021 and tied for 4th on BB and 5th on both VT and FX.   Baechle placed 9th AA and tied for 2nd on VT at the 2022 Region 4 L10 Regionals, but competed on UB at the December intrasquad.  Poddig qualified as an individual to the WDP Nationals in 2022 and placed 27th AA  at the 2021 WDP Nationals.  Woods placed 8th AA in the Wildcard session of the 2022 WDP Nationals, after an 8th place finish on BB.  She also tied for 2nd on BB, the same event she exhibitioned at the Mizzou public intrasquad in early December.     

The Tigers will look to build upon 2022's strong finish and return back to Nationals.  Getting key improvements from their returners will be a key, especially Hu's ongoing comeback and the ongoing improvements from the sophomore class.  One of the focus areas for Mizzou will be to improve its marks and consistency on UB, the event in which they ranked just #22 last season.  They also need to improve the first half of the lineup on VT, where they ranked #17.      


 10.  UCLA Bruins

Official Web SiteLink      Schedule     Roster
Starting Routines Returning: 17/24
Routines Gone:  3 VT, 1 UB, 1 BB, 2 FX
Head Coach: Janelle McDonald
Assistants:  BJ Das, Kyle Grable
Finish Last Season:  12th
Returning Starters (6):  Chae Campbell (Jr), Jordan Chiles (So), Frida Esparza (Jr), Emma Malabuyo (So), Brooklyn Moors (So), Ana Padurariu (So)
Other/Injured Returners (8):  Emma Andres (Sr), Mia Erdoes (So), Margzetta Frazier (Sr), Paige Hogan (Sr), Chloe Lashbrooke (Sr/I), Katie McNamara (Jr), Kalyany Steele (Sr), Sara Ulias (Jr/I)
Graduated (6):  Nora Flatley (GS/TR/Arkansas), Kendal Poston, Samantha Sakti, Pauline Tratz, Sara Taubman, Sekai Wright
Other Losses (0):  N/A
Newcomers (4):  Ciena Alipio, Maddie Anyimi, Selena Harris, Clara Wren

Quick Assessment:  The Bruin lose 7 routines (from the last lineup in 2022) from six athletes, including standout AAer Norah Flatley, who opted to take her fifth year at Arkansas.  The Bruins did lose quite a bit of depth and experience beyond those 7 routines, as 4 of the other 5 competed on at least two events each during their careers.  UCLA also welcomes a new coaching staff, after a season marked by well-documented strife and emotional turmoil.  The Bruins will look to start a new chapter, led by World Championship Gold medalist and Olympian Chiles, plus junior Campbell.  Both were key AAers for the Bruins and will be critical in 2023.  The Bruins also welcome back former elites Esparza, Malabuyo, Moors and Padurariu, who all have tremendous potential across all four events.  UCLA also welcomes back eight other gymnasts, led by Frazier, who is back for her fifth year and is looking strong across multiple events in training.  She, along with Ulias and Steele, could bolster the UB lineup.  

UCLA welcomes a quartet of talented newcomers.  Harris, a highly sought-after recruit, is the full package and a potential future NCAA standout.  She tied for 1st AA and won the VT, FX and tied for the UB title at the 2022 WDP Nationals.  She also tied for 3rd on BB.  She won the WDP National AA title outright in 2021, picking up titles on the UB and BB while placing 2nd on VT.  Her Yurchenko 1 1/2 earned her a 10.0 in 2021 and a number of 9.9+ scores throughout her career.  She’s an expressive floor worker capable of a full-in.  She has beautiful flexibility on beam and excellent technique on bars

Alipio, a senior international elite, placed 17th AA and 2nd on BB at the 2022 OOFOS US Gymnastics Championships.  She also placed 22nd AA at the 2021 US Championships.  This past season, she showed a Yurchenko 1 ½ on VT and her BB is packed with difficulty including a layout mount and side aerial to layout-layout.  Anyimi had a breakout season as a L10 in 2022 and reportedly enrolled at UCLA before asking to join the team.  She placed 15th AA at the 2022 WDP Nationals, including a tie for 9th on UB.   She shines brightest on VT (Yurchenko Full) and UB (pike Jaeger, full-in).  Along with Wren's potential pike front 1/2, the frosh could play key roles in the Bruin VT lineup. 

The UCLA roster is loaded with elite-level talent and some L10 standouts.  With an all new coaching staff and the opportunity to start anew in 2023, the Bruins have all the tools to succeed.  Some better luck with injuries and hard work could set up the Bruins for a return back to National prominence.  Depth on VT is an early area of concern, based on the Meet the Bruins intrasquad.  This should improve, however, as gymnasts return from injury.   

 11.  Kentucky Wildcats

Official Web Site:  Link      Schedule      Roster
Head Coach:  Tim Garrison
Associate Head Coach:  Rachel Garrison
Assistant: Chad Wiest
Starting Routines Returning: 17/24
Routines Gone:  2 VT, 2 UB, 2 BB, 1 FX
Finish Last Season:  12th
Returning Starters (6):  Hailey Davis (Jr), Shealyn Luksik (Sr), Isabella Magnelli (Jr), Arianna Patterson (5th Yr), Jillian Procasky (So), Raena Worley (Sr)
Other/Injured Returners (11):  Raina Albores (Sr), Bailey Bunn (Jr/I), Makenna Clarke (Sr/I), Carissa Clay (Jr), Kaitlin DeGuzman (Sr/I), Kassidy Howell (Sr), Ashlyn Laclair (Sr), Anna Riegert (So), Elyssa Roberts (Sr), Lila Smith (So), Makenzie Wilson (So)
Graduated (3):   Josie Angeny (GS/TR/UGA), Anna Haigis (volunteer assistant), Cally Nixon
Other Losses (1):  Krista Zultevicz (TR/Jr/NC State)
Newcomers (4):  Bridget Bourque, Samantha Forman (I), Megan Sapp, Claire Stippich

Quick Assessment:   Kentucky returns 17 of 24 routines from a team that placed 12th in last year's final rankings (and 10th in the final NQS standings).  They lose four gymnasts, including Angeny, now taking her COVID year at UGA>  Also departed are Nixon and Haigis, the latter serving as an assistant coach this season.  They have six starters returning led by superstar senior Worley.  Worley rose to be one of the best AAers in the country last season, finishing #4 in the regular season and hitting All-American honors.  She's supported by 5th year Patterson, junior Magnelli and sophomore Procasky, who competed AA three times last season. Davis was standout on FX, qualifying to Nationals as an individual, while Luksik was a key member of the UB lineup.  The Wildcats have a large returning roster with 11 other gymnasts.  They'll look to the return of Bunn, a standout AAer as a frosh who was injured last season.  Also returning is Wilson, a regular on VT, as well as Albores and DeGuzman.  All four bring plenty of experience in the lineup from past seasons.          

UK welcomes four newcomers in a strong class led by Bourque and Stippich.  Bourque brings some big skills (full-in on FX, Yurchenko 1 1/2) that will bring some added difficulty and high scores to the Wildcat lineups.  She tied for 3rd on UB and 10th on VT en route to a tie for 16th AA at the 2022 WDP Nationals (she had some problems on BB).  She tied for 2nd on FX and placed 12th AA at the 2021 WDP Nationals.  Stippich had a strong year in 2022, placing 9th on FX and 10th AA at the WDP Nationals.  She also tied for 4th on UB and placed 14th AA in 2021.  Forman placed 9th AA and tied for 8th on FX at the 2021 WDP Nationals.  However, her 2022 season was cut short in January.  The fourth frosh, Sapp, is a L10 who qualified as an individual event specialist on BB at the 2022 WDP Nationals.  

Kentucky brings back a big experienced roster that will look to improve on last year's 12th place finish. Kentucky has been hit with some untimely injuries in the past, and they look to improve their luck this season.  Having Bunn back and having immediate contributions from Bourque could be a difference maker in how competitive UK is for those final slots at Nationals.          


 12.  MSU Spartans

Official Web Site:   Link    Schedule      Roster
Head Coach:  Mike Rowe
Associate Head Coah:  Nicole Jones
Assistant:  Devin Wright
Starting Routines Returning: 16/24
Routines Gone:  2 VT, 1 UB, 2 BB, 3 FX
Finish Last Season:  9th
Returning Starters (9):  Baleigh Garcia (Jr), Delanie Harkness (Jr), Lauren Hsu (So), Jori Jackard (Sr), Giana Kalefe (Jr), Tori Loomis (Sr), Skyla Schulte (So), Nyah Smith (Sr), Gabrielle Stephen (So)
Other/Injured Returners (4):  Naomi German (Jr), Sydney Hayashi (Jr), Genna Lebster (So), Katie Sawyer (So)
Graduated (5):  Sydney Ewing, Ashley Hofelich, Lea Mitchell, Alaina Raybon, Alyssa Wiedeman
Other Losses (0):  N/A
Newcomers (6):   Elle Beaufait (Fr), Sage Kellerman (Fr), Stephanie Lebster (Fr), Nikki Smith (Fr), Tara Walsh (TR/Jr/Auburn), Olivia Zsarmani (Fr)

Quick Assessment:   MSU had a breakthrough season last year, powered by an experienced set of returners and lifted by a dynamic set of frosh and sophs.  They finished 9th last season, outpeforming their 12th place NQS finish.  One year later, the Spartans have lost 8 routines from last year's squad, including former AAer Mitchell and VT/FX standout Hofelich.  The core of the Spartan lineup returns, including dynamic AAers Schulte and Stephen, both back for their sophomore campaigns.  They also return junior Harkness, a potential AAer who excels on UB and FX (full-in) and classmate Garcia, a three event standout last season.  A wide range of returning specialists also serve to bolster MSU's depth, including Hsu on VT, Loomis and Jackard on UB, Kalefe on BB and Smith on FX.     

However, MSU's best shot at replacing their missing routines could come from their frosh class, perhaps their strongest ever.  The class is headlined by Smith, one of the top L10 recruits in the country this season.  At the 2022 WDP Nationals, she won titles in the AA (39.025), VT and BB.  She also tied for the UB title and for 6th on FX.  In 2021, she was National Champ on the FX and tied for 4th AA at the 2021 WDP Nationals.  She also placed 4th on UB and tied for 4th on BB.  She has an array of big skills: a Yurchenko 1 ½ on VT, a punch front and double back off BB, and a double layout on FX.  She's complemented by Zsarmani, a rising L10 who made a big step up this past season.  At the 2022 WDP Nationals, she placed 2nd AA, 2nd UB and 2nd on BB.  She also tied for 6th on VT (big Yurchenko Full).  In 2021, she placed 16th AA at the WDP Nationals, including a tie for 4th on VT and 9th on UB.  She also competes some big skills like a Maloney to Gienger on UB and a pike full-in on FX.

Kellerman is a L10 standout known for her excellent pike front ½ vault.  She tied for 4th on VT at the 2022 WDP Nationals and was 2nd in 2021.  She also placed 9th AA at the 2022 National meet, including a tie for 10th on BB.  She’s also capable of a solid UB set (pike Jaeger) and could easily contribute on FX as well (two double backs, front layout to rudi).  Beaufait, an in-state L10 from Olympia, brings forth some beautiful execution on BB and FX.  She was the Region 5 champ on FX in 2022.  

MSU has some challenges to replenish their lineups and repeat last season's success, but with a strong returning core and a high impact frosh class, they have all the tools to do that and more.  Last season VT was their weakest event, and this is where the frosh could supercharge the event and help propel the Spartans into contention for a spot in the National finals.   



Link:  Teams #13 to #25

Link:  Intro


Key to the Tables:


Ranking: By 2023 Preseason Coaches' Poll

Coaches: Only regular, paid coaches are listed.

Starting Routines: Defined by starting lineup in last meet of the post season.
Returning Starters:
Defined by starting lineup in last competition
Year in School:
(Is listed as reported on the school's roster)

Fr = Freshman
So = Sophomore
Jr = Junior
Sr = Senior

Gr = Graduate Student

Status Codes for Returners:

I = major season ending injury in 2022 or preseason 2022-2023
R = retirement/not competing (for any other reason than transfer or injury)
TR = Transfer
RS = Redshirt (note:  not all eligible gymnasts will employ or are awarded a redshirt year)
?=unconfirmed/unknown information

Last modified on Sunday, 01 January 2023 09:56