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College Gym News | October 14, 2022

The most anticipated elite freshmen in gymnastics, from College Gym News

2023 NCAA women's gymnastics preseason preview

(Editor's note: The following articles were published first on College Gym News.)

Most Anticipated Elite Freshmen in the All-Around

The most anticipated series is back! We looked at the data and videos for each incoming elite freshman on each event to see which gymnasts are at the top of their class across the apparatuses and in the all around. This week we’re looking at the top elite all-arounders for 2023. Without as much data to work with as the level 10 rankings, and since many of the difficult routines will be downgraded once the gymnast gets to college, we focused on the factors that are typically the source of most deductions in NCAA: acrobatic form, flexibility, height, distance and rhythm. We also took into account the potential impact the gymnast could make to their school’s lineups. 

Article by Jenna King, Sept. 14

Kayla DiCello, Florida

In terms of all-around credentials, it doesn’t get much better than a world bronze medal. Yes, Florida is beyond deep this year, and yes, DiCello isn’t even the only world all-around medalist on the team. Still, she’s a top contender for all four Florida lineups this year, and we expect her to pick up at least a few SEC Freshman of the Week awards.

Ciena Alipio, UCLA

Alipio is a huge asset to Janelle McDonald’s inaugural Bruin squad for one key reason: She is, at this second, routine-fit and ready to go. Pacing her after she competed a full elite summer will be a challenge, but when so many elite recruits have question marks regarding their readiness, Alipio is an attractive prospect.

Kaylen Morgan, Michigan

Morgan is exactly the kind of solid, common-sense veteran gymnast that tends to succeed at Michigan, and it’s easy to imagine her fitting into the all-around picture alongside Sierra Brooks and Natalie Wojcik.

Ava Sorrento, Stanford

The last addition to Stanford’s freshman class is one of its most intriguing. It’s hard to know exactly which lineups Sorrento will make, but she has the talent to fit into all four if her routines are structured right.

RANKINGS: Oklahoma leads the 2023 early rankings 

eMjae Frazier, California

The younger Frazier sister might be best known for her leg events, but much like her older sister, she’s no slouch on bars and also has a realistic chance to make Cal’s deep beam lineup.

Luciana Alvarado, Central Michigan

Costa Rica’s first NCAA gymnast is also an Olympian whose elite difficulty and competition experience sets her up as a future Central Michigan all-around star in the tradition of Denelle Pedrick.

Rachael Riley, Rutgers

A big international recruit is exactly what the doctor ordered for an ascendent Rutgers team looking to take the next step. Riley is the core of a great freshman class that could take the Scarlet Knights back to regionals for the first time in nearly a decade.

Olivia Greaves, Auburn

We haven’t been sure whether Auburn’s newest elite star would be physically ready to compete the leg events in college, but recent tumbling footage gives us hope. She’s certainly talented enough to be a valuable addition to all four lineups on the Plains.

Most Anticipated Elite Freshmen on Floor

This week we’re looking at the top elite floor workers for 2023. Without as much data to work with as the level 10 rankings, and since many of the difficult routines will be downgraded once the gymnast gets to college, we focused on the factors that are typically the source of most deductions in NCAA: acrobatic form, extension in dance elements, musicality and dancing ability. We also took into account the potential impact the gymnast could make to their school’s floor lineup.

Article by Rebecca Scally and Jenna King (Sept. 7)

eMjae Frazier, California

Frazier’s elder sister Margzetta has been a standout floor worker for UCLA throughout her NCAA career, and dynamic younger sister eMjae is poised to deliver just as much for Cal. The biggest question is which E pass she’ll compete: A full-twisting double back is always a solid choice, but the double layout she competed in elite could show up as well.

JaFree Scott, Georgia

We know, we know, this video is over four years old, but we still can’t get over the incredible promise of this routine. Scott’s elegance and quality of movement stands out even among GAGE gymnasts, and with clubmates like Leanne Wong and Kara Eaker already delivering in the NCAA, we’re holding out hope that the stars will align for Scott to perform more routines like this in college.

Olivia Greaves, Auburn

After an injury in 2021, Greaves seems to be returning to full strength just in time to enjoy a full preseason in Auburn before her college debut in January. With two E pass options in her most recent floor routine, she’s an option to fill the floor spot vacated by Drew Watson.

Ciena Alipio, UCLA

Alipio doesn’t have the most difficulty on this list, but unlike many of these gymnasts, she has the upside that we know for sure she’s healthy. She competed a full elite summer this year and has the skills to be a steady mid-lineup option for UCLA.

Kaylen Morgan, Michigan

You know how Michigan operates by now: The Wolverines get away with having such a tiny roster by almost exclusively recruiting potential all-arounders. Morgan is no exception. This Everest alumna has a NCAA-worthy double Arabian and leaps so high they can almost compete with Gabby Wilson. Almost.

Kayla DiCello, Florida

As one of this year’s most-hyped freshmen, DiCello needs no introduction. While injuries mean she hasn’t been at her absolute peak in 2022, she’s still a Pan American champion on this event, with a double layout that could help her crack even Florida’s incredibly deep floor lineup.

Csenge Bacskay, Nebraska

You might know Bacskay primarily as a vaulter, but she’s a remarkably balanced all-arounder in terms of NCAA potential, and since she’s heading to a team as sometimes depth-starved as Nebraska, you can expect to see lots of her in 2023. She’s dynamic and elegant on floor with beautiful twisting form.

Karis German, Alabama

German was injured in the spring of 2022, so it’s hard to tell if she’ll be ready for the upcoming NCAA season, not to mention where she’ll fit with the influx of depth Alabama’s freshman class will bring to Tuscaloosa. However, at her best she’s a rare tumbling talent who could bring the Coleman Coliseum roof down with her power and difficulty.

Ava Siegfeldt, Oklahoma

Siegfeldt has an airy double layout that will be more than welcome at Oklahoma, but what will keep you coming back to her floor routine is the lovely positions on her leaps.

Ava Sorrento, Stanford

Stanford is losing its top three scorers on floor but is bringing in a freshman class full of potential contributors, including Sorrento. Her routine is NCAA-ready with clean tumbling and snappy dance throughout.

Luciana Alvarado, Central Michigan

Costa Rica’s first NCAA gymnast has lovely form and pose across all four events, but it really shines on floor.

Kyra Cato, San Jose State

SJSU is losing two members of its floor lineup to graduation, and Cato will be a welcome addition with her strong tumbling and elegant dance elements.

Most Anticipated Elite Freshmen on Beam

We looked at the data and videos for each incoming elite freshman on each event to see which gymnasts are at the top of their class across the apparatuses and in the all around. This week we’re looking at the top elite beam workers for 2023. Without as much data to work with as the level 10 rankings, and since many of the difficult routines will be downgraded once the gymnast gets to college, we focused on the factors that are typically the source of most deductions in NCAA: acrobatic form, extension in dance elements, smoothness and confidence. We also took into account the potential impact the gymnast could make to their school’s beam lineup.

Article by Jenna King, Aug. 31

Ciena Alipio, UCLA

While beam has always been a standout event for Alipio, her confidence should be at an all-time high after being crowned the national silver medalist in her final elite meet before heading to Westwood. She has a full bag of tricks to choose from in her college routine, but her fluidity will be particularly welcome.

eMjae Frazier, California

Frazier is the full package on beam: She has clean, powerful tumbling and excellent dance elements while tying it all together with strong confidence and presence. She should make an instant impact on a Cal lineup that loses its top two scorers from last season.

Kayla DiCello, Florida

Like Frazier, DiCello’s beam routine has it all. While the Gators have plenty of depth on the event returning for 2023, it’s hard to imagine her not slotting into the lineup.

Berta Pujadas Rusiñol, Illinois State

Beam was a struggle for Illinois State last season, with the Redbirds eventually finishing 58th in the country on the event. Pujadas Rusiñol has clean tumbling and full extension in her leaps, which should earn her a spot near the end of the lineup from the start of her career.

Ava Siegfeldt, Oklahoma

The highlight of Siegfeldt’s elite beam routine was a triple series culminating in a high back layout; it’s a rare skill in college gymnastics, but it’s plausible that she’ll keep competing it. Her overall beam style is similar to what we’ve come to expect from Oklahoma gymnasts, too: confident and clean.

PRESEASON: Way-too-early women's gymnastics prediction

Ariel Posen, Georgia

Posen disappeared from the elite scene after 2019, but she reappeared as a two-eventer in level 10 this year, achieving high scores on both bars and beam. While we can’t find any footage of her recent level 10 competitions, the potential in her junior elite routine is undeniable. Georgia’s beam struggles in recent seasons are well known, but Posen could bring new life to the lineup.

Kaylen Morgan, Michigan

The highlight of Morgan’s routine is her tumbling, where she gets plenty of height without sacrificing control. Some of her split positions could be improved, but that’s where an easier college composition could be an advantage.

Isabella Kowan, Arizona State

We only have training footage of Kowan’s beam routine, but it shows excellence in all the areas that score well in college gymnastics. A particular highlight is her front aerial to back pike combination.

Ava Sorrento, Stanford

Stanford had one of the top incoming freshman classes even before Sorrento committed late in the process, and beam is a particular strength of the class. As a Canadian elite, she has been competing several elements that are likely to stick around in her college routine, including a back handspring layout step-out acro series and a back one and a half dismount.

Luciana Alvarado, Central Michigan

Alvarado has superior fluidity throughout her beam routine, moving from element to element without unnecessary pauses. This is a relatively rare quality in college routines and isn’t always rewarded the way it should be. Nevertheless, she will be a welcome addition to CMU’s beam squad, which was its lowest-ranked lineup in 2022.

Most Anticipated Elite Freshmen on Bars

We looked at the data and videos for each incoming elite freshman on each event to see which gymnasts are at the top of their class across the apparatuses and in the all around.

This week we’re looking at the top elite bar workers for 2022. Without as much data to work with as the level 10 rankings, and since many of the difficult routines will be downgraded once the gymnast gets to college, we focused on the factors that are typically the source of most deductions in NCAA: form, amplitude, handstands and landing. We also took into account the potential impact the gymnast could make to their school’s lineup.

Article by Jenna King, Aug. 24.

Kaylen Morgan, Michigan

Morgan never had the D-score to be a top-ranked elite gymnast on bars, but her fantastic handstands and clean form will be richly awarded in college gymnastics. Michigan returns all but one member of its fourth-ranked bars lineup, and she is a top contender to replace that routine.

Lauren Little, Alabama

Alabama returns its top six uneven bars performers by NQS, so depth should not be an issue in 2023. However, Little should make a serious push to knock one of those returners out of the lineup. Her handstands stand out most in her routine, but other highlights include a Chow half and a double layout dismount with her legs glued together.

Kayla DiCello, Florida

DiCello’s best international results have come on the leg events, but she is also very solid on the uneven bars. She has a whole bag of tricks she could potentially bring to college, but a particular highlight that’s likely to stick around is her Pak to Van Leeuwen combination in which she holds her legs perfectly together.

 

Ciena Alipio, UCLA

UCLA’s bars lineup was inconsistent in 2022 both in composition and performance and ended up ranked 19th in the country, its lowest of any event. Alipio brings quality depth on the event; while she has some minor form breaks, she maintains beautiful toe point throughout her routine.

Ava Sorrento, Stanford

Sorrento competed a piked Jaeger, a Ricna and a Van Leeuwen during her career as a Canadian elite. She struggled with consistency on this difficult routine, but with a smart composition she should score very well in college.

Olivia Greaves, Auburn

Greaves was well-known for her uneven bars work as a junior elite but has competed sparingly at the senior level. She did compete bars at the recent 2022 national championships, so it feels likely we’ll see her featured in the Auburn lineup come January.

Karis German, Alabama

German paces herself well during her routine, allowing her to form solid handstands on top of the bar while maintaining clean form even on her more difficult skills. Because of Alabama’s aforementioned depth here, we may not see German right away, but she has enormous potential on the event in college.

Luciana Alvarado, Central Michigan

Alvarado is the latest in a string of international recruits to head to Mount Pleasant, where the 2020 Olympian from Costa Rica will make an immediate impact on bars. Her elite routine featured a floaty Maloney to Pak, a Van Leeuwen and a straddled Jaeger, any of which could easily slot into her NCAA routine.

JaFree Scott, Georgia

Scott is this week’s wildcard entry on the list, given that she’s only competed in one elite meet since 2018, but she is a cult favorite among gymnastics fans for her training videos showing exciting combinations on bars. If healthy, she would be an immediate boost to a Georgia lineup that peaked at only 49.200 in 2022.

Most Anticipated Elite Freshmen on Vault

We looked at the data and videos for each incoming elite freshman on each event to see which gymnasts are at the top of their class across the apparatuses and in the all-around. This week we’re looking at the top elite vaulters for 2023.

Without as much data to work with as the level 10 rankings, and since many of the difficult vaults will be downgraded once the gymnast gets to college, we focused on the factors that are typically the source of most deductions in NCAA: form, amplitude, distance and landing. We also took into account the potential impact the gymnast could make to their school’s vault lineup.

Article by Jenna King, Aug. 17

Kayla DiCello, Florida

The reigning world all-around bronze medalist and former junior world vault champion has the most consistent Yurchenko double twist of anyone on this list, meaning it could realistically stick around for college. However, Florida has shown that it’s not afraid to play around with vault options for incoming elites, so we may see a different vault from DiCello. With her addition (among others), there is a very strong chance the Gators will consistently fill the lineup with all 10.0 start value vaults in 2023.

eMjae Frazier, California

Frazier has been competing her Yurchenko double twist throughout her elite career, but it is not as consistently clean as it was during her junior days. However, even if she has to downgrade to a Yurchenko full, she will still be a welcome addition to a Cal lineup that lost three of its members to graduation.

Rachael Riley, Rutgers

Riley is a former Canadian national team member who has the potential to be a star all-arounder for Rutgers. Her strongest event is vault, where she performs a Yurchenko one and a half, as well as a round off half-on front tuck.

Csenge Bacskay, Nebraska

A stalwart on the World Cup circuit, Bacskay is the latest international recruit to take her talents to Lincoln. We’ll most likely see a Yurchenko one and a half from her, but she also has a realistic Tsuk full as an option.

RELIVE: How Oklahoma won the 2022 national championship

Ciena Alipio, UCLA

Alipio has competed both a Yurchenko full and a Yurchenko one and a half in her career. UCLA will be without three members of its 2022 postseason vault lineup, so either of these options will add needed depth.

Isabella Kowan, Arizona State

Competition routines of Kowan are hard to find, but training video shows a very promising front pike half on vault. ASU’s entire 11th-ranked vault lineup is returning this year, but Kowan could help the Sun Devils finish even higher if this vault materializes.

Kyra Cato, San Jose State

Vault was SJSU’s lowest-ranked event in 2022, coming in at No. 41 in the country. Cato’s clean Yurchenko full will be an instant boost.

Berta Pujadas Rusiñol, Illinois State

Illinois State has seen several strong freshman vaulters join the team in recent seasons, and while Pujadas Rusiñol doesn’t have a 10.0 start value, her Yurchenko full is clean in the air and very stickable. She will score well in college.

Olivia Greaves, Auburn

Greaves is a bit of a wildcard on this list, as she has suffered a string of injuries that have limited her presence at competitions in recent seasons. However, when healthy, she is capable of a well-executed Yurchenko double twist, and the full-twisting version would also be a possibility for college.


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