Pac-12 Gymnastics Preview: Individuals To Watch

UCLA and Utah may be the top teams of the Pac-12, but each team has talented gymnasts that can excel individually. With the NCAA Championships format changing beginning this season, only eight schools advance to the national postseason. Therefore, some teams that have advanced in the past may have to rely on individuals to represented their schools at NCAAs. With this in mind, the competition for individual gymnasts, from all-arounders to event specialists, will be more competitive than ever before.

All-Around

Kyla Bryant (Stanford)

YearSophomore
Career High: 39.475

In her first year of NCAA gymnastics, Bryant made an immediate impact on the Cardinal, competing in the all-around in all but one meet. She hit every routine last season, showing her reliability. In addition, she's great on all four events and has earned a 9.900+ on bars, beam and floor, showing that she can not only hit a routine but do it well. If she can improve her vault execution or upgrade her vault, she can be an even better all-around gymnast for her team and have a better chance at representing Stanford at NCAAs.

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Cairo Leonard-Baker (Arizona State)

YearSophomore
Career High: 39.575

In 2018, Leonard-Baker was named Second Team Regular Season All-America in the all-around, advanced to NCAAs as an individual and became the first Sun Devil gymnast to earn the title of Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year. She has earned scores of 9.900+ on vault, bars and floor, but is best on floor where her career-high is a 9.950. If she can improve her beam and fine-tune her vault, Leonard-Baker will be able to keep making history for the Sun Devils, help her team continue to move up the Pac-12 and NCAA rankings and possibly qualify to NCAAs for a second time.

Kyla Ross (UCLA)

YearJunior
Career High: 39.700

Always known for her stellar form, Ross had a breakthrough season in 2018 after competing in the all-around 10 times last year. She's always been spectacular on bars and beam, where she's reached perfection, and her excellent form shines on vault, but floor hasn't been as easy for the Olympic gold medalist since arriving at UCLA. With the help of fellow Fierce Five teammate and UCLA assistant coach Jordyn Wieber, Ross has been able to improve on floor to become one of the nation's best all-around gymnasts. If she can continue to grow on floor and focus on the little details, Ross can have her best season yet.

MyKayla Skinner (Utah)

YearJunior
Career High: 39.775

The powerful former elite who was known for her difficulty on vault and floor has grown into a fantastic all-around gymnast in her NCAA career. Last season, Skinner earned scores above 9.900 on every event at almost every meet and scored no lower than 39.3750 in the all-around. Her weakest events are bars and beam, the only events she scored in the 9.700 range on last year, but that was just once. All Skinner really needs to do is maintain consistency on all four events and continue to focus on the details. 

Toni-Ann Williams (California)

YearSenior
Career High: 39.700

After an Achilles injury prevented her from finishing the 2017 season, Williams came back in 2018 to compete in the all-around in all but two meets. Williams earned a 9.9250 on every event at least once last season, demonstrating her ability to hit and execute well on every apparatus. She had a few low scores on bars and beam in 2018, so if she can be consistent on every event, she can make her final year as a Golden Bear her best one yet.

Vault

Payton Bellows (Arizona)

YearSophomore
Career High: 9.950

Last season was Bellows' first as a collegiate gymnast, and it was unfortunately cut short by an Achilles injury; however, she did pretty well in the six meets she did get to compete in. In the Wildcats' fourth meet last year, she stuck a solid Yurchenko 1.5 to earn a career-high 9.950. She could clean up her form in the air, but overall gets good distance and power on her vault.

Felicia Hano (UCLA)

YearJunior
Career High: 9.925

Hano was a staple in the Bruins' vault and floor lineups last year and scored below a 9.800 on vault just once. She has a nice Yurchenko 1.5 that she can control well and gets good distance on. Her form in the air is pretty good, not giving the judges a lot to deduct. 

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MyKayla Skinner (Utah)

YearJunior
Career High: 9.975

Skinner's vaulting prowess has unsurprisingly carried over to the NCAA. Last season, she scored a 9.900+ 10 out of the 13 times she competed on vault, including a 9.9375 at the semifinals of the 2018 NCAA Championships. She competes a difficult Yurchenko double and executes and controls it quite well.

Kim Tessen (Utah)

YearJunior
Career High: 9.950

Tessen was a consistent competitor for the Utes on vault last season and scored a 9.875 or higher 10 times. She competes a Yurchenko 1.5 and has good form in the air. Despite the blind landing, she's able to control it well.

Toni-Ann Williams (California)

YearSenior
Career High: 10.000

Though she vaults only a Yurchenko full, Williams is capable of executing it almost perfectly, as her vault season-high from 2018 was 9.9250. She has good form and flares the vault well so she can get a great landing with her chest up. Before the full was devalued, Williams got a perfect 10.0 on the event.

Uneven bars

Alma Kuc (California)

YearSophomore
Career High: 9.925

During her freshman season last year, Kuc was a great uneven bars worker for the Golden Bears. She earned a score above 9.800 six times. The former Polish National Team member has a great swing on the apparatus, helping her routine look smooth and clean. She does a Maloney to Pak salto and dismounts with a full-out.

Madison Kocian (UCLA)

YearJunior
Career High: 10.000

Although the Olympian and World Champion competed bars only three times last season, she made the most of those three routines. Because of shoulder surgery, Kocian didn't compete bars until the end of last season and helped the Bruins win a NCAA title with her 9.9375 on bars. Kocian has great form and lines on the event and hits her handstands well. Her routine includes a Maloney to Pak salto and a full-out dismount.

Monica Riley (Washington)

YearSenior
Career High: 9.950

Riley was an exceptional uneven bars competitor for the Huskies last season, competing in the bars lineup in all but one meet. She hit every bars routine and scored above a 9.800 for every routine except one. Her excellent lines and form stand out on the apparatus, especially during her handstands and double layout dismount. In addition, she does a Maloney to bail.

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Kyla Ross (UCLA)

YearJunior
Career High: 10.000

Ross was phenomenal at bars, one of her' signature events, last season, as she earned no score lower than 9.8750, which she got just once. Ross is so clean and precise on this event, having no problem hitting her handstands. She does a Maloney to bail and can easily nail her double-layout dismount. 

Ashley Szafranski (Arizona State)

YearSenior
Career High: 9.900

Szafranski has beautiful long lines that shine on bars. She does a Maloney to Pak salto and has a double layout dismount that she can execute well. Most of her scores from last season were in the 9.700 and 9.800 range, but when she focuses on the details, she can score in the 9.900 range.

Balance beam

Norah Flatley (UCLA)

YearFreshman
Career High: N/A

UCLA often has former elites whom gym fans can't wait to see in action. Norah Flatley is no exception. Throughout her gymnastics career, Flatley has been known for her excellence on balance beam. She was no stranger to layout fulls or triple series on the four-inch apparatus. Her new collegiate beam routine isn't as difficult with a front aerial to back layout step-out and back handspring 1.5 dismount, but she still has the poise and confidence to excel on the event.

Maela Lazaro (Oregon State)

YearJunior
Career High: 9.925

2018 was Lazaro's first season officially competing for the Beavers, and she was a great beam specialist. She competed beam in every meet last season and hit all but one routine. When she hit, she scored no lower than a 9.800, showing her skill and execution level.

Missy Reinstadtler (Utah)

YearJunior
Career High: 9.925

Reinstadtler was a staple in the Utes' beam lineup last season and did a good job progressing as the season went on, earning two 9.9250s towards the end of the season. She has a great presence on beam, and she makes the apparatus look easy as her skills look so floaty, from her front aerial to split jump combo to her acro series. In addition, she has exceptional leaps, which are an important, but sometimes overlooked, part of beam.

Evanni Roberson (Washington)

YearJunior
Career High: 9.925

Roberson was a solid all-arounder for the Huskies last season but was best on beam. She progressed well throughout the season, ending the regular season with scores in the 9.900 range. Her acro series is a tricky layout step-out layout step-out combo that she can do without fail.

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Sofie Seilnacht (California)

YearJunior
Career High: 9.950

Seilnacht showed why she belongs in their beam lineup last season. Although she had a bit of a rocky start on the event last year, earning four low scores to begin the season, she bounced back and hit beam for the rest of the season. Come Regionals, Seilnacht had four 9.900+ scores on the apparatus. Her long lines look beautiful on the event, and her back handspring layout step-out acro series gets great air time. She also has great form overall and even does a switch leap to double stag jump.

Floor exercise

Felicia Hano (UCLA)

YearJunior
Career High: 10.000

Hano had an excellent sophomore season with the Bruins, especially on floor. With her alien-fighting legacy routine from Sydney Sawa, Hano did a great job and earned only one score below 9.875. She even earned her first perfect 10.0 thanks to her excellent and clean tumbling, good leaps and great performance. She competed a double layout, front full to front 1/2 and a double pike.

MaKenna Merrell-Giles (Utah)

YearSenior
Career High: 10.000

Merrell-Giles competed on all four for the Utes in every meet last season, but on no other event did she earn seven consecutive scores of 9.925+. Her tumbling is explosive, which starts with a piked full-in, followed by a back 1.5 to punch front to front pike and ends with a front double to straddle. In addition, her long lines make her leaps look great, and she has great form throughout. 

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Katelyn Ohashi (UCLA)

YearSenior
Career High: 10.000

During her elite career, floor wasn't what Ohashi was known for, but as a Bruin, it's made her go viral. Last season, she had 11 straight floor routines score a 9.9250+, including three perfect 10.000s. Her ability to perform and pump up the crowd combined with her stellar gymnastics has made her one of UCLA's best floor workers and helped her finish the 2018 season as the No. 1 gymnast on floor. This season, Ohashi has kicked her tumbling up a notch, starting with a unique split double layout. Her second pass is jam-packed with a front full to layout 1/2 split jump to front tuck. She ends with a back 1.5 to full to split down. 

MyKayla Skinner (Utah)

YearJunior
Career High: 10.000

Skinner was spectacular on floor last year as she earned just two floor scores below 9.900, and they were still good routines at a 9.800 and 9.8750. Her tumbling is not only difficult but done quite well. Her opening tuck double double is huge and gets great height, and her combo twisting pass looks great. She ends with a powerful tucked full-in that she's able to control the landing on. 

Kaitlyn Yanish (Oregon State)

YearSophomore
Career High: 9.950

Yanish had a great freshman season last year where she consistently competed on three events but was best on floor. Last season, she scored no lower than 9.800 on the event and earned seven 9.900+ scores. Her tumbling is clean and well-controlled. Last year, she started with a big double layout, followed by a front full to punch front, and ended with a nice, high double back tuck. 

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