New Year, New meet schedule — Gym news — Jordyn Wieber, Part 2
The IX: Gymnastics Saturday with Jessica Taylor Price, January 8, 2022
It’s a brand new year, and with that, we get brand new meet schedules. We have preliminary schedules for 2022 elite meets (The Gymternet) and for the 2022 NCAA season (College Gym News), so take out that snazzy new planner and etch the dates in accordingly.
But maybe don’t use permanent ink? NCAA teams are withdrawing left and right due to this latest COVID surge, so things aren’t looking good for the season in general. That said, word on the street is that this variant may not be with us for very long, so there’s reason to hope.
College Gym News is doing a great job of keeping an up-to-date schedule, including cancellations and withdrawals, and Road to Nationals has the latest scores. In this first week of competition, Michigan (197.750) beat Georgia (194.500) in a dual meet on Thursday, Arkansas (195.450), Florida (197.675), LSU (196.950), and Utah (197.100) competed on Friday, and Alabama will face Oklahoma on Sunday.
Notable moments from these meets include the appearance of some of our favorite elites, including Riley McCusker, who did this on bars:
And Sunisa Lee, who did this on beam:
The Collegiate Challenge, which was supposed to include Cal and UCLA, has been canceled.
Here’s more of the latest from the gymnastics world.
- Oksana Chusovitina just refuses to quit. It’s a good thing, but I wish she wouldn’t mess with our emotions so much.
- Alabama signed a teamwide NIL deal (Forbes).
- Morgan Hurd is officially a Florida student, guys. So you can stop Googling it.
- A couple gymnasts experienced terrible losses over the holidays, including Shilese Jones, whose father died and who is asking for contributions for funeral expenses. Konnor McClain’s father sadly died of COVID. Our hearts go out to both families during this difficult time.
- Simone Biles has been spotted in attendance at ball-based sporting events:
- Blind Landing was named one of The Atlantic’s top podcasts of 2021, so get on that shit if you haven’t already.
- Appeals court throws out former MSU gymnastics coach Klages’ conviction of lying to police (Lansing State Journal). Rachael Denhollander responded to the news, tweeting “We may not always get the result that is just, but that doesn’t mean we stop trying.”
Tweet of the week
Five at the IX: Jordyn Wieber, Part 2
Here’s more from Arkansas Head Coach Jordyn Wieber during a pre-season press conference. Edited for clarity and length.
What’s the competition going to be like to get into the lineups this year?
We have more depth this year than we have had in the past two years; we have more athletes training more events, which is always good, and I would say that even our depth is fighting for spots in that top six, which is really good. In the past, sometimes we’ve had depth, but it wasn’t always depth where we felt like if we needed to rest somebody, then we could put up a similar score on the board. We’re hoping to keep the team healthy and maintain the health throughout the season so we can have that depth and be able to rest people when they need to be rested, and also give our freshmen and newcomers some competitive experience this season. I always love it when it’s tough for me to choose the lineups and I can’t choose. That’s always a good problem to have.
Who will be the leaders on this team?
Maggie O’Hara is the first person that comes to mind. She transferred to us last season and obviously had an incredible season. She competed two events and made nationals, and qualified as an All-American at nationals on bars, so she’s got a wealth of experience. She’s pursuing a masters degree right now, she’s applying for OT programs and potentially PhD programs, so she’s obviously mature and she has a way of leading by both example and vocally that inspires her team, so that’s been really incredible to have in the gym. This is her sixth year of college gymnastics because of some injuries she’s gone through, and I keep telling her, “Man, I wish you had a seventh year,” because we just love having her in the gym that much. She’s such an awesome leader for us.
And then Sarah Shaffer, she’s always been a big one, I think the team really looks up to her. She’s just a gamer. You know when you put her in a lineup she’s going to go up and she’s going to hit a routine and it’s going to be amazing, she loves to compete.
Both Maggie and Sarah are coming back from surgeries that they had earlier in the spring, so they’re working to get ready to compete. It’s been good, it’s allowed us to have more time to focus on our freshman, who we get to develop a little bit more.
They’re two that come to mind, and then Bailey Lovett is another one. She has grown a lot in her leadership. When she speaks up, the team listens, and I love that. She’s really matured in a lot of ways. She always knows the right things to say to her team but as she’s matured and grown up through our program she’s now learning how to lead by example in the gym as well and putting the work and the actions behind her words which is something I’m really proud of her for doing.
Has the difficulty level gone up for your team?
Absolutely. The one event that comes to mind is vault. We right now have three 10.0 start values that we’re planning to compete in the first meet, Yurchenko 1.5s. And we definitely have more athletes who are capable of doing 10.0 start values. So I’m excited to see that event not only the jump in start value but just the quality of the vaults, I think we’re vaulting higher, we’re landing stronger, which is great.
We’ve always been a really strong floor team, but I think our difficulty this year on floor will be increased. Nearly our whole lineup will be doing E passes, which is really good. That’s definitely something that we need to be doing in order to compete with the top teams.
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