The gymnastics programs of Michigan, Rutgers, Iowa State and West Virginia officially kicked off the 2019 NCAA season at the Cancun Classic. The meet was one of fierce competition and startling scores. Far from home, these four teams began their seasons in a fun venue and shook off the first-meet jitters in a tropical setting.
The meet was covered live on FloGymnastics, and in case you missed it, you can find all of the routine archives here. If you aren’t sure where to start, here are five gymnasts who excelled at the Cancun Classic.
1. Natalie Wojcik – Michigan
Freshman Natalie Wojcik made an incredible college debut at the Cancun Classic, shocking those who have never seen her compete and even impressing those who had. Rocking a 9.975 on vault after sticking the difficult landing, 9.925 on beam, 9.900 on bars with another perfectly stuck dismount and a 9.825 on floor, this newcomer has more than just beginner’s luck. Her talent will produce impressive results throughout the season. Wojcik captured the attention of the crowd in Cancun and gained following that will grow with her throughout her years at Michigan. Wojcik won all-around with a 39.625, along with first on vault, bars and beam. Her all-around score even broke the Michigan program record for a freshman debut.
2. Meaghan Sievers – Iowa State
Senior Meaghan Sievers scored a 9.800 on vault as the team anchor and didn’t get lower than a 9.800 the entire meet. Her floor routine, which scored a 9.825, got the crowd excited with her upbeat, fun choreography and personality. “My biggest goal is just to soak up every moment and enjoy it with my teammates,” Sievers told FloGymnastics. After scoring a 9.825 on bars and beam, as well, it is safe to say she did just that. Her beam score tied a career high for Sievers, and she ended up with a 39.275 all-around score. This Cyclone was also recently named Big 12 Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Vice-Chair for Iowa State, a huge honor for the senior.
3. Jaquie Tun – West Virginia
Matching her career high on floor, Tun scored an impressive 9.850 in Cancun. She also received a 9.750 on both bars and vault. On vault, Tun scored a 9.800 from one judge, and on bars she put on a good show until the very end when she stepped back a little on the landing. Overall, it was a strong meet for Tun, especially as she opened her floor routine with a huge full in. This is the first time Tun has competed that skill, and she expressed excitement about being able to debut it at the Cancun Classic so early in the season. This senior from Chattanooga, Tennessee, showed up when her team needed it, and spectators will have to continue following Jaquie Tun to see if she can keep it up for the rest of her final competitive season.
4. Emma McLean – Michigan
McLean competed in the Cancun Classic three years ago, making her college debut at this meet in 2016. “Coming full circle, I’m very excited for the freshmen and everything … [The Cancun Classic] definitely gets us pumped for the season, it’s kind of like a once in a lifetime thing,” McLean said. She showed up ready to compete, earning a 9.925 on floor and a 9.875 on vault with a stuck landing. Michigan had lots of fun new floor routines, but McLean’s shone as her unique routine and won first place on floor. McLean gets to complete her senior season as coach Bev Plocki begins her 30th season as head coach.
5. Belle Huang – Rutgers
Huang scored a 9.850 on floor with an impressive routine, displaying her strength on that event. She also proved her ability on vault, scoring a 9.725 and impressing the crowd. Unfortunately, she received a 9.150 on beam after an uncharacteristic fall on her series, and a 9.000 on bars after falling on her Tkatchev. Still, Huang showed up for her team on floor and vault. Although she had a few slip ups, it was the first meet of the season, and the normally rock-solid gymnast will be sure to improve as the first meet nerves dissipate.
The competition ended with Michigan in first place with a team score of 196.050, Iowa State in second with a 194.275, West Virginia taking third with a 194.150 and Rutgers in fourth with a 189.800.