2018 Big Ten Conference Season Preview

The Big Ten has had a big shake-up this offseason, which brings new excitement to 2018. The conference has four new head coaches this season (Penn State, Ohio State, Illinois, and Michigan State) along with new assistant coaches. 

These staffs bring a fresh intensity to the conference and excitement. The fresh faces could bring new teams to the top of the Big Ten as they aim to the consistency of Michigan and Nebraska.

Let’s take a look at the top teams in the Big Ten based on incoming freshmen, overall talent, and coaching.

1. Michigan

The Michigan Wolverines are again the favorite within the Big Ten this season, as they are the four-time defending conference champs. Michigan has big routines to replace, losing Nicole Artz and Talia Chiarelli, but have young talent to step in to make an impact. 

The Wolverines are led by juniors Olivia Karas and Emma McLean along with senior Brianna Brown, who is back to full strength and ready to shine. This year's team has three 10.0 start values on vault that provides an extra boost. Watch for freshman Lauren Farley to bring a huge beam routine to the lineup.

Strengths: Leadership, experience
Challenges: Depth
Gymnasts to watch: Olivia Karas, Brianna Brown, Emma McLean

2. Nebraska  

The Cornhuskers bring in seven freshmen this season as they aim to take the top spot in the Big Ten. Nebraska also replaces big routines from last year’s seniors, Jennie Laeng and Ashley Lambert this season, along with freshman Kynsee Roby, who tore her ACL in March. Look for Nebraska to have a consistent season and peak at the right time as they try win a Big Ten title and make a run at Super Six.

Strengths: Consistency  
Challenges: Young team
Gymnasts to watch: Catelyn Orel

3. Ohio State

The Ohio State Buckeyes are with a new head coach in Meredith Paulicivic for the 2018 season. The team has a new energy and attention to detail this season that is a key to their success. Look for the Buckeyes to surprise a lot of teams this season and push to be one of the top teams in the Big Ten. Ohio State welcomes in four freshmen who look to boost this team and make a big splash within the Big Ten. 

Strengths: New leadership
Challenges: Experience
Gymnasts to watch: Jamie Stone, Alexis Mattern, Jenna Swartzentruber

Highlights from Ohio State's intrasquad this preseason:

Other Teams in Contention

Iowa, Penn State, Minnesota, Illinois, Rutgers, Maryland, Michigan State

Who do you think will be the top team out of the Big 10 this season?


UCLA Wins Super Six After Clutch 10.0 At 2018 NCAA Championships

Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

After an incredible competition and a nail-biting ending, UCLA won their seventh national title with a 198.075 at the 2018 NCAA Championships in St. Louis, MO. The Bruins are one of only six teams that have ever won an NCAA title and this was their first since 2010. 

Nicole Lehrmann Looks To Lead OU To Three-Peat

OU Athletics

The Oklahoma Sooners will go for their third straight NCAA title tonight in the Super Six finals. Junior Nicole Lehrmann is part of a junior class that has never not hoisted the trophy at the end of the competition. Lehrmann contributed solely on bars and beam the past two seasons. 

Oklahoma, Florida, Utah Advance To Super Six At 2018 NCAA Championships

Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma, Florida, and Utah advanced to the Super Six after Semifinal 2 at the 2018 NCAA Championships.

UCLA, LSU, And Nebraska Qualify To Super Six At 2018 NCAA Championships

Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA, LSU, and Nebraska are the first three teams to secure their spots in the Super Six finals after Semifinal 1 at the 2018 NCAA Championships. Coming in, LSU, UCLA, and Alabama were the top-ranked teams but Nebraska was able to slide past Alabama with a fantastic showing on every event.

No Sophomore Slump For Utah's MyKayla Skinner

Utah Athletics

After an incredible freshman campaign, MyKayla Skinner kept the momentum going during her sophomore season. She has been a standout for Utah this season and finished the regular season ranked second in the all-around behind Maggie Nichols. 

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Christy Ann Linder

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Marissa Oakley Embraces Team At Georgia

Christy Ann Linder

Marissa Oakley has been a solid, consistent three-event gymnast for the GymDogs this season. Offseason shoulder surgery kept her from adding her full difficulty on bars right away, but by the middle of the season she had found a groove on bars and on balance beam. 

NCAA Weekend Is Here: Teams Arrive In St. Louis

Oklahoma Gymnastics Twitter

We're here in St. Louis to keep you up to date on the action and excitement of this weekend's NCAA championships!

Florida Freshman Alyssa Baumann: Adversity 'Has Only Made Us Stronger'

Carly Mackler - Florida Athletics

Alyssa Baumann spent 2017 rehabbing from elbow surgery instead of competing in Gainesville. The severe elbow injury had taken the former WOGA gymnast out of contention for the 2016 Olympic team. But Baumann hasn’t missed a beat since starting at Florida. She has competed on balance beam and floor exercise in every meet this season and has vaulted on four occasions.