Big Ten Weekly Notebook: A Big Week On And Off The Competition Floor

Michigan State 2020

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Week 8 of the gymnastics season featured the Big Fives meets for women's gymnastics teams in the Big Ten. Let’s check out the highlights from the weekend both gymnastically and what some programs have been up to behind the scenes. 

Michigan breaks a program record

It is impossible to talk about the Big Five meets without talking about Michigan lighting the world on fire Saturday night. The team totaled a 197.95, just a half tenth away from cracking 198. Just for some context, achieving a 198 team score means the team averaged a 9.9 on every routine competed. A 197.95 is a huge score, obviously, but also an exciting confidence booster for the Wolverines going into the remainder of their season. 

Natalie Wojcik elevates her stage 

The team performance wasn’t the only notable tidbit from Michigan’s Big Fives showing. Sophomore Natalie Wojcik bested her previous career-high all-around score, tallying a 39.775 and a 9.975 on beam. And even better, she achieved her previous career-high all-around at last year’s Elevate the Stage meet. Must be something about that arena…

The Nittany Lions promote THON for the fight against pediatric cancer

The Penn State women’s gymnastics team couldn’t participate in PSU’s Dance MaraTHON to raise money for pediatric cancer research this year. Instead, they promoted the event all over social media where fans and supporters could donate and help raise awareness as well. Nice work, ladies!


Although the women were missing from the lineup, the Penn State men’s gymnastics squad put on an impressive performance during THON and won the charity competition.


The Huskers are finally home

Check out the new home of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The team finally moved into its new facility and it is drop dead gorgeous. The girls loved it and even claimed they would be “doing the Simone Biles” by the time they have trained in the high-tech facility for a few weeks. It is always nice seeing programs competing well for their school to be rewarded with new facilities. Check it out here. 


Michigan State sneaks into the night session

This year is the first year at the Big Ten Championships that the afternoon session will include six teams and the evening session will include four. In the past, six teams competed in the evening, meaning the session was longer and included two bye rotations, one after vault and one after beam. Due to the recent NCAA format changes having four teams on the floor at the final competition day of the season, the Big Ten followed suit. It was a big accomplishment in itself to sneak into that evening session when there were six teams, but now with only four, it is even harder. What an exciting accomplishment for this talented Spartan team!

Jenny Hansen awards Ali Sonier a scholarship

The Minnesota team has had a fantastic year so far, and the big names we know and love like Lexy Ramler, Ona Loper, Ivy Lu, and Paige Williams aren’t the only ones helping the team to success. Sophomore Ali Sonier was awarded a with a scholarship for next year following the Gophers’ big win against Nebraska the weekend before the Big Five meet. A well-deserved honor for Sonier, who has contributed this season on vault, beam, and floor. 


Rutgers vaults to a new record

The Rutgers vault squad dazzled this weekend by achieving a new program-record score of 49.225 on vault, led by two beautiful 9.875 vaults and no counting score below a 9.8. 

College Gym News’ Technique Point features Taylor Houchin 

Known for her beautiful lines and absolutely stunning vault, Taylor Houchin has expressed not only excellence in execution, but superb technique on all four apparatus. Frequent FloGymnastics contributor Katie Norris looks at Houchin’s technique on all four events and how her technique should be admired and celebrated. 

Want more Big Ten action? You’ve got it! Check out this weekend’s Big Ten meets streaming on Flo.

Upcoming meets streamed on FloGymnastics

Friday, February 28

New Hampshire at Michigan (Women's) 6:30 EST

Saturday, February 29

Navy vs Ohio State (Men's) 2 EST

Penn State Quad Meet (Women's) 4 EST

Sunday, March 1

Terrapin Invitational (Women's) 1 EST

Illinois vs Iowa (Men's) 2 EST

Central Michigan vs Illinois (Women's) 5 EST

What To Expect From The Friendship & Solidarity International Competition

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After months without international competitions, gymnastics fans can mark their calendars for a treat at the beginning of November! On November 8th, a competition named “Friendship and Solidarity” will take place in Japan. As the name suggests, this one-day competition will be fun and lighthearted, getting gymnasts back into competition mode.

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Leanne Wong Shoots For Big Goals In 2021 and Beyond

Leanne Wong

After a disappointing end to her most recent competition season, the 2020 Coronavirus meet cancellations were even more shocking for Leanne Wong, who was left with something to prove. 

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USAG Sending Six Athletes To Nov. 8 Friendship & Solidarity Competition

USA Gymnastics, Friendship & Solidarity

INDIANAPOLIS, October 14, 2020 – Six U.S. athletes will join delegations from China, Japan and Russia for an international friendly competition Nov. 8 in Tokyo, Japan. The one-day Friendship and Solidarity Competition will feature two teams – Team Friendship and Team Solidarity – which will be comprised of a mixture of artistic gymnasts from the participating nations.

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William & Mary Reinstate Women's Gymnastics, Swimming, & Volleyball

William & Mary Gymnastics

On Sept. 3, 2020, William & Mary announced the decision to discontinue seven of its 23 NCAA Division I varsity sports — Men's and Women's Gymnastics, Men's and Women's Swimming, Men's Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field, and Women's Volleyball — effective with the end of the 2020-21 academic year. The plan prepared by the Department of Athletics implemented discontinuations to address structural budget deficits exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and to begin remedying long-standing gender equity imbalances inconsistent with the requirements of Title IX.

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12 Things Chellsie Memmel Does In A Day That Most Elite Gymnasts Don't

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Chellsie Memmel is just like any other elite gymnast working for a spot on the 2021 Tokyo Olympic team...oh, except that she’s 32, married with two kids, coming back out of retirement after eight years off...and a few other differences. 

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25 Favorite Practice Leos: VOTE For Your Top Picks!

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GK Elite, Alpha Factor, Snowflake Designs, TumbleWear… these are just a few well-known gymnastics leo brands across the US. Leotard designs have the power to express so many things! Whether it be a classic leo or a statement leo, if you look good on comp day, you feel good. 

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Air Force Women's Gymnastics Announces Freshmen Class

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USAF ACADEMY, Colo. – The Falcon women's gymnastics team has announced the addition of six freshmen to the roster for the 2021 campaign. The newcomers will join 15 returners from the previous season.

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William & Mary Are The Latest School To Cut Their Gymnastics Teams

Katie Waldman, bars

This year is a disappointing time for all sports fans, and gymnastics fans are no exception. After months of canceled meets, pushing back the Olympics, and training centers on lockdown, the latest 2020 gymnastics disappointment is multiple NCAA programs cutting their gymnastics teams. William & Mary cut both their men’s and women’s gymnastics teams in early September, just the latest of many announcements this year about cutting teams. 

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Rutgers Gymnastics Announces 12 Newcomers

Myra Daniels

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Head Coach Umme Salim-Beasley announced the addition of 12 newcomers to the Rutgers gymnastics program in 2020-21. The newest Scarlet Knights include Avery Balser, Myra Daniels, Kylie Haffner, Rees Hagler, Jordan Halcom, Emily Leese, Calah Newman, Jaidyn Raby, Kieran Ross, Christiana Thompson, Emily Wood, and Stephanie Zannella.

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How You Can Help Save Collegiate Gymnastics Programs

Bennet Huang, Iowa Gymnastics

With universities across the country facing budget cuts, college gymnastics programs are being eliminated or are on the brink of being cut. College gymnastics needs your help and support more than ever. 

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