NCGA Event finals champions!

  The National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) crowned four individual event champions at the Division III National Championship in Springfield, Massachusetts.

   The night started with vault, and Dani Barmore beautifully executed a yurchenko-full which scored a 9.825. The UW-La Crosse sophomore won the event. Second place went to Brockport’s Candis Kowalik’s with a  9.8, followed by Stephanie Mager (Brockport) and Samantha Wiekamp (La Crosse) tying for third with  9.775’s.

Bars was next, the defending NCGA bars champion Baylee Tkaczuk took first again. The Wisconsin-Oshkosh sophomore posted a 9.85, above La Crosse’s Amy Enright’s second-place score of 9.825. Another La Crosse athlete, Lauren Wilson, was third with a score of 9.775.

Next, was the beam rotation. La Crosse freshman Sam Wyker won with a routine of a  9.825. Kate Mierow of Whitewater was second with a 9.775. A three-way tie for third place was between Kowalik, Cortland’s Emma Schulz, and Whitewater’s Franchesca Hutton—each scoring 9.75.

 Finally, the last rotation was floor. Tali Twomey was crowned national champion for her score of 9.9. Kowalik’s 9.875 second, while Carolyn Nichols (Ithaca) and Whitewater’s Acacia   Fossum tied for third with a 9.85.

I had the privilege of attending the competition and I can say that it was a great meet to watch. DIII gymnastics has definitely improved and grown from previous years and you can tell by the skills that were competed at the individual competition.


NCGA gymnasts qualify to NCAA regionals!

This year, four NCGA gymnasts and one alternate have qualified to compete in the all-around competition at the 2018 DI gymnastics Regionals on April 7 at the University of Minnesota’s Maturi Pavillion.

Individuals who aren’t part of a qualifying can be selected to compete in specific events or all-around based on their performances throughout the season. According to NCAA, four all-around competitors (who are not on a qualifying team) and two individual event specialists per event (who have a minimum RQS of 9.4) will be able to compete.

This year, the athletes representing the NCGA (DIII gymnastics), at NCAA regionals (DI gymnastics) is Lisa O’Donnell of UW-Whitewater, Tori Erickson from UW-Eau Claire, Brooke Terry of UW-Stout, Samantha Wiekamp from UW-La Crosse, and Sierra Beaver of UW-Stout as the alternate.

O’Donnell, the Whitewater junior, won back-to-back NCGA all-around titles: 2017 and last weekend’s championship in Springfield, Massachusetts. She is a nine-time recipient of NCGA All-American honors. O’Donnell holds school records on bars (9.825), floor (9.875), and all-around for her 2017 score of 38.875.

Erickson earned an All-American after placing third in the 2018 NCGA individual all-around championship. The senior also took seventh on vault, tying the program record with a score of 9.675 which earned her with her second set of All-American honors for the weekend.

In her first season competing in all-around, Brooke Terry set her career-high score of 38.275 to place fourth in last weekend’s NCGA Championships. The UW-Stout sophomore earned All-American honors for her performance.

Terry’s teammate, Sierra Beaver, earned All-American status for her bar routine that placed fifth at NCGA’s last weekend. Beaver has been named the all-around alternate for the NCAA regional meet.

Samantha Wiekamp is the fourth qualifier to the all-around NCAA regional competition. The UW-La Crosse senior was the fifth-place all-around winner at the NCGA Championships, earning her seventh career All-American honor. She also tied for third on vault and won the all-around at the WIAC Division III regionals.

I personally am looking forward to seeing Lisa O’Donnell (my teammate) compete. She is a talented individual and it will be great to see her in the DI environment. Also, I think it will be great to see the gymnasts from NCGA from compete at DI regionals because it’s always great to have DIII gymnasts prove that they can hang with the DI gymnasts.


Bruins win Master Classic!

The UCLA Bruins won the Masters Classic with a score of 197.500, against Nebraska who score a 197.175, Iowa State who scored a 195.575, and Kent State who scored a 194.700.

The Bruins had a strong meet which resulted in them becoming the first team in 25 years outside of Nebraska to win the master’s Classic.

They started the meet with a 49.4 on balance beam. Four scores of 9.9 or better helped rid the pair of 9.75s to start the rotation. Gleen, Ohashi, and Ross each scored 9.9 before Lee closed with a 9.95. The host, Nebraska took the early lead after scoring 49.475 on vault.

UCLA counted five scores of 9.875 or better on floor exercise to claim the lead in rotation two, scoring 49.575. Kocian and Ross started with scores of 9.875, followed by a 9.85 by Dennis. Tratz returned to the lineup after a week off and tied her career-best with a 9.925, and Hano and Ohashi finished out the lineup, both receiving 9.95’s.

Leading Nebraska 98.975-98.800 at the halfway mark, UCLA stalled out a little with a 49.050 on vault Anna Glenn led the Bruins on vault with a career-high leadoff score of 9.875, while Ross and Hano added 9.85s. However, the Huskers scored the same total on balance beam to keep UCLA’s .175 lead intact.

UCLA clinched the victory with a strong 49.475 on uneven bars. The Bruins started out with 9.875s from Dennis and JaNay Honest and closed with a 9.85 from Ohashi, a 9.925 from Lee and a meet-winning 9.95 from Ross.

I always enjoy watching the UCLA team because each year they always show a tremendous amount of talent. I also think UCLA is an underrated team. A lot of attention goes to teams like Oklahoma, LSU, or Florida. It is going to be interesting to see how UCLA does at nationals and what they place.


Nastia Liukin Cup competition!

Image result for nastia cup Haleigh Bryant of Huntersville, NC/ Everest gymnastics, and Tory Vetter of Columbus, OH/ Universal gymnastics won the senior and junior all-around titles at the 2018 Nastia Liukin Cup.

The Nastia Liukin Cup came officially came to be on Aug. 11, 2009. USA gymnastics and Nastia Liukin announced a partnership to create the cup which would provide a competitive opportunity for the country’s top Junior Olympic gymnasts. Gymnasts are chosen to participate in the Cup from a series of invitationals known as the Nastia Liukin Cup Series. The series is promoted throughout the competitive season with individual meets, each selecting a small handful of athletes to compete in the Cup from their areas of the nation.

In the senior competition, Bryant won with a total score of 38.700. On vault she competed a front-handspring, front pike half out and scored a 9.875. On the uneven bars, she competed a double front dismount and scored a 9.650. Following her bars performance, on beam she performed a solid routine and scored a 9.525. Finally, on floor, she opened with a double front and closed with a double twist, which earned her a 9.650. Overall, her performance was excellent.

After the meet, Bryant was asked how she felt about her performance… “It feels amazing to win the Cup, and I’ve had a blast. I’ve been training hard for this, and all my hard work finally paid off. Winning this has boosted my confidence for state, regionals and nationals.”

Onto the junior all around, Vetter won with a 38.175. She started on vault with a Yurchenko full and earned a 9.500. On the uneven bars, she competed a giant full to Tkatchev and dismounted with a full-in to score a 9.350. During her beam rotation, she performed her cartwheel to back handspring series on beam, and dismounted with a double twist, earning a 9.750(achieved first place with this score). On floor exercise, Vetter opened her floor routine with a double pike and finished the set to score a 9.575.

Vetter was also asked how she felt she did after the competition was over… “I don’t think I could have won without the support of my teammates and coaches. This was my first time to compete at the Nastia Liukin Cup, and Nastia made it so fun for us. This meet was such a wonderful experience.”

I think both gymnasts did an amazing job at this competition. I especially thought Vetter did an amazing job because she is young, and this was her first Nastia Cup competition. Usually, with bigger competitions, a lot of the gymnasts are nervous, so they don’t perform as well as they could if they were competing in a smaller competition. Its amazing that Vetter was able to compete to her best abilities. She has a lot of hard skills so its even more impressive to see her at the age she is competing these skills successfully. I think it will be interesting to see what else she does in the future with her gymnastics career. Did any of you out there watch the Nastia Cup this past weekend? If so, what are your thoughts on the overall competition?


The LSU Tigers claim the SEC title!

Image result for LSU gymnastics sec championships 2018 The LSU Tigers marked their second straight team win at the Southeastern Conference meet and earned their second- straight SEC regular season title this past Sunday afternoon in the Maravich Center.

The Tigers opened the meet with a 49.325 on vault. JuniorsFinnegan and Cannamela posted 9.825’s, and sophomore Harold earned a 9.875. Concluding their vault rotation, senior Hambrick and sophomore Edney, both earning 9.90s.

The Tigers then went onto bars, where they continued their outstanding performances. Freshman, Durante, led the bar group off with a 9.850, and Hambrick followed her with a solid 9.950. Edney also posted a career high of 9.975, and the tigers closed the rotation with 9.850 from junior Priessman, and a 9.925 from Finnegan in the anchor spot.

Onto the beam rotation, the girls performances tied for a season best of 49.525. Senior, Macadaeg, started off the rotation with a 9.950, and Finnegan and Hambrick both earned 9.850s. Freshman, Desiderio, and  sophomore Edney each got 9.925s to end out the rotation.

Lastly, for the floor rotation, LSU finished the meet off on a high note. Freshman Desiderio, achieved a season best 9.875 and Cannamela received a 9.850. Additionally, Edney got a 9.975, and Hambrick and Finnegan got perfect 10s.

This meet was a wonderful experience for LSU. They proved that they once again could rise to the occasion and became the SEC champs for the second year in a row. This shows that even though LSU has had some setbacks (Mckenna Kelly’s Achilles injury), they can overcome those set backs and handle the adversity head on. I personally had no doubt that LSU would not be setback by Kelley’s injury since they’re a well-balanced team. I hope they continue to achieve major accomplishments this season and I hope that they can take home the national title this year because they deserve it. What do you guys think? Do you think LSU deserves to win the national title this year?


Torn Achilles ends Florida gymnasts career

Senior, Kennedy Baker, a gymnast at the University of Florida, came to the end of her gymnastics career when she recently tore her Achilles during her floor routine at the teams home meet against the Arkansas Razorbacks.

The  Florida fans were extremely quiet as all of their eyes were focused on Baker as she sat clutching her foot after falling on a pass during her floor routine. Her injury happened at the end of Florida’s sixth straight win over Arkansas 197.725-196.875. During the awards ceremony, the team sat with their faces straight ahead, lost in silence and  their thoughts over their teammates injury.

Unfortunately, Baker is done with her gymnastics career. Due to her being a senior, and competing too many times this year, she is not eligible for a fifth year. Baker tweeted out a message to all of her fans the other night…”Hey guys unfortunately my Achilles is torn. I love you all so much… this is not the way that I wanted to end my senior season, but there’s so many I could’ve made it this far without all of your support. Thank you guys for being the best fans in the world.” Baker seemed to be disappointed in how things played out, but she also seemed to be keeping her spirits high.

The team is taking a big hit to their line ups due to the fact that Baker was a major contributor in their, floor, vault and bars line up. Its going to be interesting to see how the team adapts to the loss of Baker. She was a big part of the program and definitely left her legacy at Florida. She was a 11-time All-American(6 NCAA/ 5 NACGC regular season), 2015, 2016, and 2017 All-SEC,  three time SEC champion( 2016 all-around, vault:2017 floor exercise), shares Florida exercise record 10.0), and 2015 SEC freshman of the year.

Personally, due to the fact that Florida is a strong team, I think they will be bale to continue to do well even with the loss of Baker. What do you guys think? Do you think Florida will continue to do well even though they are down a team member?


LSU gymnast out for the season

Image result for mckenna kelleyUnfortunately, there has been some sad news that was announced from the LUS gymnastics team. One of the team’s juniors, McKenna Kelley, ruptured her achilles tendon during one of the team’s practices.

Kelley shared her news on her Instagram account, writing a touching message out to her family, friends, and fans. By the looks of what she wrote she seems to be confident in her comeback…” Tiger fans, I promise you I will work my tail off to be the best person, student, and athlete for this school”. The amount of confidence Kelley has with her right now is exactly what she needs to help get her back to her full capabilities.

Kelley earned first team-All American and All-SEC honors last season, helping LSU accomplish a record breaking season. This year she was predicted to continue helping her team by being apart of the floor line-up as well as the vault line-up. Due to the circumstances now, she is likely to redshirt this year and return as a red shirt junior next year.

I think it will be interesting to see how the team handles this big loss. Kelley played a very important role in the team’s floor line up, always being able to perform well enough so that her score contributed to the teams over all score. It will be interesting to see who steps up to the plate and takes Kelley’s spot. I personally believe the team will be able to come up with someone that can replace Kelley due to the fact that the team looks very strong this year.

As for Kelley as an individual, I personally believe she will be able to come back from her injury in no time. It was said that she got her surgery almost immediately after she hurt herself. This is good news to hear because the faster you get surgery for a major injury, the faster it can heal. What do you guys think of Kelley’s injury? Do you think she’ll be able to bounce back from her injury as well?


Is Simone Biles capable of a comeback!?

     Can Simone Biles pull off another round of her amazing performances in the 2020 Olympics? We will have to wait and see come the 2020 Olympics in Japan.

During the 2016 summer Olympics, hosted in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil., powerhouse gymnast Simone Biles lead the American gymnasts to success in the team all-around competition. Not only that, but the then 19-year old also went on to win a bronze medal on beam, a gold medal on floor, a gold medal on vault, and a gold medal in the individual all-around.

After her amazing success at the Olympics, Simone was a part of the gymnastics Olympics tour, performing her routines with other Olympic gymnasts, traveling from city to city. After being done with the Olympic tour, Simone took a break from gymnastics (which was well deserved), and ventured onto things that weren’t gymnastics oriented. One major thing she was apart of was the show Dancing with The Stars. Even though she did not win the competition, she placed third overall, proving her dancing skills were just as up to par as her gymnastics skills.
After a little over a year off gymnastics, the gymnast is making her comeback. In August, she began to start playing around in the gym, stating she needed to see how her body responded before deciding whether she was mentally and physically prepared for the task of training. Her decision was evident when she tweeted a couple of days ago…” Can’t believe I start gym this week”. The gymnast will start her new training regiment at the World Champions Gymnastics Center, a gym that was built by her parents for her a couple of years prior to the 2016 Olympics. Her former coach, Aimme Boorman, will not be continuing to coach Simone due to moving to Florida. Simone has hired two new coaches Laurent Landi and Cecil Landi who have worked with many successful gymnasts.

Many people question whether Simone will be able to repeat what she did in the 2016 Olympics. It’s always been known in the gymnastics world that it is hard to go back and train for the Olympics again you’ve already been there and prospered. Some do make it back to the Olympics, but in most cases, they don’t do as well as they did before. It will be interesting to see how Simone’s training goes as well as her connection with her new coaches. Personally, I believe that a combination of training hard, having a good connection with her coaches, and her natural talent will lead her back to success in the 2020 Olympics.


The Gators “chomp into” the Sooners!!

It’s a victory! In a turn of events, No. 5 in the nation, the Florida Gators, came out with a victory over No. 1 in the nation,  the Oklahoma Sooners. The meet was a nail biter, and so far, the most memorable meet of the year in the college gymnastics world.

One individual that stood out on the Florida Gators, was Alex McCmurtry. The senior out of Virginia, was able to achieve two perfect 10.0 scores, taking the first-place title on beam and on vault. Her beam score for this meet was able to complete her “Gym Slam”, as she now is joining a former gymnast of the Gators, Bridget Sloan, as another gymnast to earn a perfect 10 on each event.

Another individual that stood out within the meet was Maggie Nichols (whom also earned a gym slam last year). The sophomore out of Minnesota, took the all-around win with a total of 39.775, and the uneven bar win with a 9.975.

At the beginning of the meet, the Gators trailed by 0.025 after the first rotation and OU pushed ahead,  leading by a tenth after the second rotation. After a new school balance beam record for the Florida Gators, the two teams were tied going into the final event rotation.

In the final rotation, Oklahoma had finished all their beam routines and Florida needed at least a 9.9 from their last competing gymnast, freshman Alyssa Baumann, to tie up the score for the meet. Fortunately for the Gators, Baumann landed all her passes and was able to get a 9.925, leading the Florida Gators to take victory over the Sooners. After flashing the final floor score, the Gators jumped up and down in the middle of the floor waving to the crowd and doing the famous “gator chomp”.

I personally got to see Baumann’s floor routine, and although she made all her passes, I did not think she deserved a 9,925. Some of her landings were sloppy, causing her feet to move a lot. Additionally,  on most of her passes, she ended with her chest down (you’re supposed to end with your chest up). With all the little mistakes that I saw in her routine, I think that she should’ve gotten a 9.7 or a 9.775, which would’ve caused the gators to lose the meet. I think the judges were very biased when judging her floor routine, they wanted the Gators to win, so they gave her the score she needed. Don’t get me wrong, I think that Oklahoma is very overrated due to the fact that they always win. It’s definitely nice to see when other teams beat OU, but in this case, Florida should not have won the meet. For those of you that saw the meet, what did you think of it?

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Hello!  My name is Lewa Evans and I am a currently a full time college student at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater! Im  majoring in  environmental science and have an emphasis is geo-sciences. Additionally,  I am a member of the Whitewater gymnastics team!

This blog is going to be about gymnastics! Topics include; college gymnastics meets and results, college gymnasts who have gotten injured, elite gymnasts, and Olympians who are or aren’t currently training for the next Olympics. Also, I will be stating my opinion on what I think of the topic and asking you guys what you think as well. Feel free to leave any comments or questions that you have in the comments section! To add to this, if you guys have any particular topics that you want me to cover(related to gymnastics of course), please leave those in the comments section as well!

I hope these articles can be read and enjoyed by fellow or current gymnasts, anyone who is not a gymnast but has always been interested in reading about the sport, or someone who knows nothing about the sport of gymnastics but would like to read about gymnastics to see if they like it.