Pac-12 Gymnastics Preview: The Reigning Champs And Teams On The Rise

Pac-12 Gymnastics Preview: The Reigning Champs And Teams On The Rise

With reigning NCAA and Pac-12 champions UCLA leading the way, the Pac-12 will be a tough conference that has schools on the rise.

Dec 28, 2018 by Amanda Wijangco
Pac-12 Gymnastics Preview: The Reigning Champs And Teams On The Rise

When it comes to gymnastics, the Pac-12 conference is one to watch, especially as it's home to the reigning NCAA champions, the UCLA Bruins. 

In addition, the Utah Utes are always NCAA contenders, and other Pac-12 teams ― like Arizona State, California, and Washington ― are on the rise and have been moving up the national rankings. Before the 2019 season begins, let's see how each Pac-12 team's gains and losses compare and look at how they're projected to do.


2018 Pac-12 Championships result: 9th
2018 final rankings:

  • Overall: No. 38
  • VT: No. 39
  • UB: No. 28
  • BB: No. 30
  • FX: No. 44

2019 Pac-12 preseason ranking: No. 8
2019 NCAA preseason ranking: No. 33

Gymnasts lost from 2018 roster:

  • Madison Cindric (AA)
  • Lauryn Mattson (VT, FX)
  • Victoria Ortiz (UB, BB)
  • Kennady Schneider (UB, BB, FX)

New gymnasts:

  • Kennedi Davis 
  • Asia Rose DuVernay 
  • Mackinzie Kane 
  • Alivia Kendrick

With the departure of four gymnasts who contributed 11 routines last year, the Wildcats have a lot to do if they want to not only replace those routines but improve their standing in the Pac-12 and nationally. Cindric contributed a total of 39.000+ in almost every meet for her team last season, leaving a big hole in the Wildcats' lineups. She was capable of scoring in the mid- to high-9.800 range on every event. Mattson, Ortiz, and Schneider were all solid on their events, capable of scoring in the 9.800 range. Overall, the Wildcats could use more routines, and their four-gymnast freshman class can help with that.


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Davis is a 2018 J.O. National qualifier who is good on vault, beam, and floor but can put together a solid bar routine. She's the reigning Missouri state vault, beam, and all-around champion and bars and floor silver medalist. With three strong events, the Missouri native could definitely contend for lineups early in her NCAA career. DuVernay is a former Michigan state and Region 5 champion on vault and a former Michigan state champion on floor who is also capable of putting together a solid bars routine. Kane is best on bars, where she placed in the top five on the event seven times last season in club. However, she is solid on all four events. Kendrick is a former Ohio state floor champion but also excels on beam. Arizona could use more help on vault, though, as its lack of 10.0 start values hurts them.

Arizona State

2018 Pac-12 Championships result: 6th
2018 final rankings:

  • Overall: No. 23
  • VT: No. 24
  • UB: No. 24
  • BB: No. 23
  • FX: No. 27

2019 Pac-12 preseason ranking: No. 7
2019 NCAA preseason ranking: No. 20

Gymnasts lost from 2018 roster:

  • Averie Brook (did not compete in 2018)
  • Nichelle Christopherson (UB, BB, FX)

New gymnasts:

  • Jasmine Gutierrez (AA)
  • Kaitlin Harvey (AA)
  • Stephanie Tripodi (VT, BB, FX)

While not many routines were lost for the Sun Devils, Christopherson contributed not only three routines but also postseason experience from her time at Michigan. She consistently competed bars, beam, and floor for the first half of the season but had a midseason injury. She returned to competition during the postseason and competed bars for the last two meets of her career. During her final season, she was able to tie her career highs on bars and beam with a 9.875, making her a reliable competitor for the Sun Devils.

With only two gymnasts lost, Arizona State's freshman class will help build its depth. Gutierrez is best on beam but is capable of competing well on all four events. In 2016, she won the 2019 Western all-around and bars championship and earned silver on vault and beam. Harvey is a three-time J.O. National qualifier who's best on bars, getting silver on the event in 2017. Tripodi is a 2018 J.O. National qualifier and placed 10th on floor. She trains only vault, beam, and floor and has placed in the top 10 on each of those events last year.


2018 Pac-12 Championships result: 3rd
2018 NCAA Championships result: 9th
2018 final rankings:

  • VT: No. 8
  • UB: No. 15
  • BB: No. 12
  • FX: No. 22

2019 Pac-12 preseason ranking: No. 3
2019 NCAA preseason ranking: No. 8

Gymnasts lost from 2018 roster:

  • Alicia Gallarzo (VT, BB, FX)
  • Arianna Robinson (VT, FX)
  • Yuleen Sternberg (UB, FX)

New gymnasts:

  • Maya Bordas (AA)
  • Milan Clausi (AA)
  • Talitha Jones (AA)
  • Grace Quinn (AA)
  • Abi Solari (AA)

With three floor routines and two vaults lost from last season, the Golden Bears could use some powerful gymnasts. Gallarzo competed mostly vault and beam and did floor for the final half of the season. She could score in the high 9.800 range on vault and floor and 9.900 twice on beam last season. Robinson was a fantastic vault/floor specialist for the Bears, competing those events in every meet. She scored above a 9.900 on vault three times last season with all other scores but one being in the 9.800 range. On floor, she often earned scores in the 9.800 range. Sternberg was a staple in the Bears' bars lineup, usually scoring in the 9.800 range. She also competed floor twice last season, showing her versatility.

Luckily for Cal, the Golden Bears have a strong freshman class that is capable of not only replacing lost routines but contending for lineup spots all around. Bordas is a two-time J.O. National qualifier who has scored 9.700+ on every event during her level 10 career at least once. She's best on beam but is fantastic on all four events. Clausi is another top all-around gymnast as she finished second in the all-around at the 2018 J.O. National Championships. She was also second on vault and first on beam at J.O. Nationals. Capable of vaulting a good Yurchenko 1.5, Clausi is already a contender for Cal's vault lineup.

Another great vaulter in Cal's freshman class is Jones, who once earned a near-perfect 9.975 on vault during her level 10 career. She had six top-10 finishes on vault in 2018 and was 14th on the event with a 9.625 at J.O. Nationals. Quinn is a former elite gymnast who could put together a solid all-around performance but often scored best on vault and floor. Solari is another good vaulter as she's had success on the apparatus as an elite. She's a former English elite gymnast who won bronze on vault at the 2016 British Championships, silver at the 2013 English Championships, and gold at the 2013 British Espoir Championships. With such a powerful and talented freshman class, Cal should have no problem maintaining its status as a top-tier Pac-12 team that is on the rise nationally.

Oregon State

2018 Pac-12 Championships result: 5th
2018 final rankings:

  • Overall: No. 27
  • VT: No. 18
  • UB: No. 21
  • BB: No. 18
  • FX: No. 7

2019 Pac-12 preseason ranking: No. 4
2019 NCAA preseason ranking: No. 17

Gymnasts lost from 2018 roster:

  • Dani Dessaints (VT, UB, BB)
  • Shireen Khamedoost (VT, BB)

New gymnasts:

  • Leah Bivrell (AA)
  • Madi Dagen (AA)
  • Alex McClung (AA)
  • Kristina Peterson (AA)

Due to a few injuries, Dessaints began the season competing vault and floor but ended competing just bars. However, she was reliable and hit all of her routines last season. She was best for the Beavers on bars and floor, scoring two 9.900s on both events. Khamedoost competed vault a few times last season but was a consistent competitor on bars. She was solid on bars for the Beavers, scoring mostly in the 9.800 range. 

Bivrell is a 2016 J.O. National qualifier who excels on bars. Dagen is an excellent all-around gymnast who is a five-time J.O. National qualifier. She won silver on beam at the 2018 J.O. National Championships and finished in the top 10 on bars. In addition, she swept the gold medals at the 2018 NorCal State Championships, so she could fill any spot the Beavers may have. 

McClung is a two-time J.O. National time qualifier who's capable of a consistent all-around performance. She's the reigning Oregon state vault, floor, and all-around champion. Peterson is a four-time J.O. National qualifier and is the reigning Region 2 bars, beam, and all-around champion. She also earned silver on vault and floor at the 2018 Region 2 Championships, so she is capable of good scores all-around. With this freshman class, Oregon State should have no problem finding routines to fill what they've lost.


2018 Pac-12 Championships result: 7th
2018 final rankings:

  • Overall: No. 28
  • VT: No. 20
  • UB: No. 40
  • BB: No. 22
  • FX: No. 19

2019 Pac-12 preseason ranking: No. 6
2019 NCAA preseason ranking: No. 21

Gymnasts lost from 2018 roster:

  • Elizabeth Price (AA)

New gymnasts:

  • Madison Brunette (VT, UB, BB)
  • Morgan Hoang (VT, FX)
  • Evelyn Micco (UB, FX)
  • Wesley Stephenson (UB, BB)
  • Grace Waguespack (AA)

While the Cardinal lost only one gymnast from last season, Price was arguably their best gymnast. She consistently competed all-around and often scored in the 9.900 range on every event, not to mention three perfect 10.0s on two events. So the Cardinal lost some high scoring routines they'd like to replace in order to move back up the Pac-12 and NCAA ranks.

With five freshmen contributing 13 routines, Stanford is adding lots of depth to their lineups, which will definitely help them following the graduation of Price. Brunette is a six-time J.O. National qualifier and a 2014 Nastia Liukin Cup qualifier. She's training only vault, bars, and beam, but she's a reigning Region 2 vault, bars, floor, and all-around champion and can put a solid beam routine together. 

Hoang is a two-time J.O. National qualifier who excels on vault and floor, the only two events she trains. She has a strong Yurchenko full and big tumbling. Micco is a three-time J.O. National qualifier who has experience competing internationally at the Maccabiah Games. She trains just bars and floor but has shown her excellence on those events as she won vault and placed second on floor at the 2018 Arizona state championships.

Stephenson is a three-time J.O. National qualifier who's best on bars and beam, which comes to no surprise as she hails from Legacy Elite. She was third on bars and second on beam at the 2018 Illinois state championships. Waguespack is Stanford's lone freshman all-around gymnast and is a former junior elite who's capable of putting up solid and consistent scores on all four.


2018 Pac-12 Championships result: 1st
2018 NCAA Championships result: 1st
2018 final rankings:

  • VT: No. 4
  • UB: No. 4
  • BB: No. 2
  • FX: No. 1

2019 Pac-12 preseason ranking: No. 1
2019 NCAA preseason ranking: No. 1

Gymnasts lost from 2018 roster:

  • Rechelle Dennis (did not compete in 2018)
  • Sofia Gonzalez (did not compete in 2018)
  • Napualani Hall (VT, FX)
  • Janay Honest (UB)
  • Rebecca Karlous (did not compete in 2018)
  • Peng-Peng Lee (UB, BB)
  • Sonya Meraz (VT, UB, BB, FX)
  • Lilia Waller

New gymnasts:

  • Norah Flatley
  • Margzetta Frazier
  • Sara Taubman
  • Sekai Wright

Though the Bruins lost more gymnasts than they gained, they didn't lose as many routines as it seems. Of course, the most notable loss is that of Lee, who was a superb bars and beam worker and was near-perfect more often than not, recording seven perfect 10.0s last season. Hall was a staple in the Bruins' vault lineup, usually scoring a 9.800 or higher. She also competed floor once last season and scored a 9.900, showing her ability to hit and reliability as a reserve. Hall competed bars in every meet last season and hit every routine. Meraz was the Bruins' go-to backup gymnast, competing on every event at least twice last season, hitting almost every routine. 

Flatley and Frazier highlight UCLA's freshman class this year as both were outstanding elite gymnasts who achieved international success. Flatley has always been known for her phenomenal beam work but is outstanding all-around. She could make the bars and beam lineups with the departures of Honest and Lee. Frazier competed as an elite in 2018 and won silver in the all-around and bronze at the 2018 Birmingham World Cup. Taubman is a three-time regional qualifier whose best scores have come on uneven bars but can earn solid scores on the other three events. Wright is a five-time J.O. National qualifier who's excellent on vault. She's the reigning J.O. National, Region 1, and SoCal state champion on vault in addition to the reigning Region 1 floor champion. Wright has already competed a stuck Yurchenko 1.5 at J.O. Nationals and should be a strong contender to make UCLA's vault lineup.


2018 Pac-12 Championships result: 2nd
2018 NCAA Championships result: 5th
2018 final rankings:

  • VT: No. 3
  • UB: No. 8
  • BB: No. 9
  • FX: No. 4

2019 Pac-12 preseason ranking: No. 2
2019 NCAA preseason ranking: No. 5

Gymnasts lost from 2018 roster:

  • Tiffani Lewis (VT, UB, BB)
  • Erika Muhaw (did not compete in 2018)
  • Maddy Stover (BB)

New gymnasts:

  • Hunter Dula
  • Cammy Hall
  • Cristal Isa
  • Adrienne Randall

Lewis was a staple in the vault, bars, and beam lineups who was capable of scoring in the 9.900 range on vault and floor and the high 9.800 range on bars. Stover only competed beam but was a reliable competitor for the Utes, usually earning scores in the 9.800 range. So the Utes lost only four routines but if they want to continue to contend with the reigning NCAA and Pac-12 champion UCLA Bruins, they'll want to not only replace what they've lost but improve on everything.

Dula is a three-time J.O. National qualifier who's the reigning Utah state bars champion. However, she's great on all four events and can put together a solid all-around performance. Hall is a 2018 J.O. National qualifier who's best on vault and floor. She was expected to compete those two events this season. Unfortunately, she got injured in November and will not compete this season. 

Isa is a reigning J.O. National champion on bars, where she shines. She has great all-around potential, though, as she can score well on the other three events. Randall is a three-time J.O. National qualifier who's great on bars and beam. She's the reigning Region 1 bars champion and won silver on beam at the 2018 J.O. National Championships and Region 1 Championships.


2018 Pac-12 Championships result: 4th
2018 NCAA Championships result: 11th
2018 final rankings:

  • VT: No. 21
  • UB: No. 16
  • BB: No. 7
  • FX: No. 9

2019 Pac-12 preseason ranking: No. 5
2019 NCAA preseason ranking: No. 15

Gymnasts lost from 2018 roster:

  • Hailey Burleson (AA)
  • Joslyn Goings (VT, UB, BB)
  • Haley Roy (VT, FX)
  • Zoey Schaefer (BB, FX)
  • Hannah Willmarth (did not compete in 2018)

New gymnasts:

  • Brenna Brooks
  • Talia Brovedani
  • Amara Cunningham
  • Madeline McLellan
  • Meaghan Ruttan
  • Hannah Vandenkolk

With the departure of Burleson, Goings, Roy, and Schaefer, the Huskies will need gymnasts who are better on the leg events but could use another strong all-arounder. Burleson often earned all-around scores in the mid 39.000 range and could score in the 9.900 range on bars, beam, and floor. Goings mainly competed beam, where she was a solid competitor who could earn scores in the 9.900 range. Roy was a reliable vaulter for the Huskies, typically scoring in the 9.800 range. She competed floor just a few times at the start of last season, where she usually earned scores of 9.700+. Schaefer was a consistent floor competitor, often scoring in the mid-9.800 range and earning two 9.900s.

Brooks is a WOGA alum and three-time J.O. National qualifier. She can put up solid scores on every event but has shown the most consistency during her club career on vault. At the 2018 Region 3 Championships, she won bronze on vault, was fourth on beam, and fifth in the all-around. Brovedani is a two-time J.O. National qualifier whose stronger events are beam and floor, where she finished in the top three at the 2018 Region 1 Championships. She can also contribute solid scores on vault and bars. 

Cunningham is a three-time J.O. National qualifier who's best on vault and floor. At the 2018 J.O. National Championships, she was fourth on vault and sixth on floor. She's the reigning Region 6 and New York state vault and floor champion. She's already competed a Yurchenko 1.5, so she's capable of a 10.0 vault, which makes her especially valuable on the event. McLellan is a former Canadian elite gymnast who's won national championships on vault and bars. Overall, she's a powerful gymnast who can do pretty well on all four. 

Ruttan is another former Canadian elite gymnast and has joined McLellan, her clubmate at Washington. Beam is one of her best events, as she won a silver medal on the apparatus at the 2016 Pan-American Championships. She's also shown international success on floor after winning a silver medal on floor at International Gymnix in 2015. Vandenkolk competed just beam and floor during her last level 10 season and was solid on both events. She made top 10 at the Region 1 Championships on beam in 2017 and 2018. With a large freshman class, Washington has certainly added the talent to help the Huskies continue to rise and move up the Pac-12.