Sunday, August 16, 2015

Shaping the 2015 US World Championship's Team

After watching the 2015 P&G US National Championships, the World's team puzzle is looking more confusing than ever.  Some top players faltered, others shinned brighter than expected, and all in all, the pieces are looking more jumbled than before.  I've seen so many different possible teams roaming around the gymternet, and I've taken the most common ones and compared them to each other using averages from this year (calculated here from  Just a disclaimer that all lineups are based on numbers and averages ONLY.  The results are pretty interesting.

Team A
Simone Biles
Gabby Douglas
Bailie Key
Maggie Nichols
Aly Raisman
Kyla Ross

Before Championships, this was by far the most common team on the gymternet.  Almost everyone agreed this was the team going to Glasgow in October, these were the only girls USAGym brought out for interviews after podium training!  This is a really strong team, even with minimal use of sixth member Kyla Ross!

I would imagine the lineups would look like this (qualifying in italics);
Vault- Key/Douglas/Raisman/Nichols/Biles                                         47.060
Bars- Raisman/Nichols/Key/Biles/Douglas                                           45.360
Beam- Key/Douglas/Ross/Raisman/Biles                                              44.587
Floor- Nichols/Douglas/Key/Raisman/Biles                                          45.628
Total                                                                                                      182.635

The only problem with this lineup, as strong as it is, is that only Douglas and Biles are doing All Around.  I could that second All Around spot going to anyone else on this team, depending on who looks the best in training and at Selection Camp.  The beam weakness really jumps out at me, not that 44.587 is a bad score, but when you're consistently averaging over a 15 on every other event (including bars), you notice when you're not.

Team B
Simone Biles
Gabby Douglas
Bailie Key
Madison Kocian
Maggie Nichols
Aly Raisman

After Kyla Ross had a rough P&G Championships, and failed to hit a bar routine through either of the US domestic meets this summer, this has become the more common term configuration.  Many wrote off Kocian due to ankle/foot injuries earlier this year, which took her out of contention for the Jesolo Trophy in March.  However, Kocian proved many wrong by being so consistent on bars this summer, winning the 2015 US Bar title by .25 over Ashton Locklear.

Vault- Key/Douglas/Raisman/Nichols/Biles                                          47.060
Bars- Nichols/Biles/Key/Douglas/Kocian                                              45.837
Beam- Key/Nichols/Douglas/Raisman/Biles                                          44.462
Floor- Nichols/Douglas/Key/Raisman/Biles                                          45.628
Total                                                                                                      182.987

The only place the Kocian helps is on bars, and in this scenario, Nichols isn't used in the team final.  This team is about .35 better than Team A, as the hole created by Kyla Ross not being used on beam is filled by Kocian's huge 15.567 average on bars.

Team C
Simone Biles
Gabby Douglas
Bailie Key
Maggie Nichols
Aly Raisman
MyKayla Skinner

I've seen this team floating around because of Skinner's potential for a vault medal.  It is true that medals are important for the success/ support of the sport in the US, Marta has said she won't take someone for an individual over the team.

Vault- Key/Skinner/Raisman/Nichols/Biles                                            47.060
Bars- Raisman/Nichols/Key/Biles/Douglas                                            45.360
Beam- Key/Nichols/Douglas/Raisman/Biles                                           44.462
Floor- Skinner/Nichols/Key/Raisman/Biles                                            45.628
Total                                                                                                       182.510

This team is about a tenth weaker than Team A, and about half a point weaker than Team B.  While Skinner adds a potential medal on vault, she doesn't even contribute to the team on her strongest events!  I think this is the least likely team of all the possibilities.

Team D
Simone Biles
Gabby Douglas
Bailie Key
Magge Nichols
Aly Raisman

This team won't happen because it is only five members.  I just threw this in because, regardless of the sixth member, the core of the team will contribute mostly in Glasgow.  I included this because in reality, the sixth member is just an added bonus over the other teams competing against the United States.

Vault- Key/Douglas/Raisman/Nichols/Biles                                           47.060
Bars- Raisman/Nichols/Key/Biles/Douglas                                            45.360
Beam- Key/Nichols/Douglas/Raisman/Biles                                           44.462
Floor- DouglasNichols/Key/Raisman/Biles                                            45.628
Total                                                                                                       182.510

This team scores exactly as Team C because Skinner wasn't used in the final in Team C.  Just putting it out there, but this team would've won last year in Nanning.  Just goes to show, that Team USA is looking stronger than ever with 2-Time Defending World All Around Champion Simone Biles, the return of Olympic Champions Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas, the return/ improvement of Maggie Nichols, and the 16th birthday of Bailie Key.  It doesn't really matter who is the sixth member at this point, because Team USA is looking strong enough with 5 girls, which is very promising for next summer.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

2015 Junior US Classics Recap

While watching the Junior division of the 2015 Secret US Classic, one thought kept popping into my head; "I would hate to be in Marta Karolyi's shoes next year."  With more depth in both the senior and junior ranks, figuring out who will be in Rio next summer appears to be an impossible task.  In addition to those born in 2000 who will be vying for a spot for the Olympic Team next year, those whose turn does not come for 5 years are already looking strong.  I've highlighted some athletes who impressed me in Chicago.  Watching the juniors compete, it became clear to me that the United States dominance will continue pass Rio.

Laurie Hernandez
USA Gymnastics
The Secret Classic All Around Champion impressed me tremendously.  In her first competition in a year and a half after a string of injuries.  I was really impressed with her bars, where her intricate combinations and high flying releases lead the field.  While she has always been strong on bars (as has teammate Jazmyn Foberg), you can tell there was a lot of time spent on this event while her knee healed.  While this year's floor routine was not my favorite, it goes with the music well, and Laurie performs it so well, as is the Laurie Hernandez trademark.  Look for Laurie to continue upgrading as she makes a push towards next summer's Olympics.

Ragan Smith
It is no secret that I have been a fan of Ragan's for a while, and I think she put on a strong showing in
Lloyd Smith
Chicago.  Her vault is dynamic and powerful, and an Amanar is not impossible for next year.  Her beam came with some wobbles, which probably cost Ragan the gold, but her beam has potential to be amazing and room for upgrades.  Her floor, however, blew me away.  Her tumbling was huge, the choreography matched the music, and you could tell she loved performing it.  I'm excited to see the plan Kim Zmeskal-Burdette has for Ragan in the next year.

Deanne Soza
Inside Gymnastics
I had never paid to much attention to Deanne in the past year, she was always the gymnast with an Ezhova to me, but this year I made sure to pay attention to her, and I've completely changed my attitude!  Even coming off missed training time due to an illness that almost left her blind, Deanne's bars are easily one of my favorite pieces of gymnastics in the entire competition.  If she can control her catch on the Ezhova she will be raking in the gold medals on uneven bars soon!  Her beam is elegant and I can see her factoring in as a two event specialist next quad, especially with the 4+2 rule going into effect.

Maile O'Keefe
Gymnastics Wiki
Maile O'Keefe, who doesn't become a senior until 2018, really impressed me on beam.  Despite a fall on her side aerial- layout stepout combination (which will be awesome when she can hit it!), she looked confident, had fluid movement, and great routine composition.  I'm excited to see Maile grow even more in the next 3 years.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Storylines at the 2015 Secret Classic

With the 2015 Secret Classic just a week away, most gym fans are excited for the start of the 2015 elite season.  This year's field is the strongest group of senior competitors this quadrennium, making the road to the Olympics next year all the more exciting.  Headlined by 9 time World Medallist, Simone Biles, the remainder of the field does not disappoint.

While who will be competing All Around and who won't be is still undetermined, it is known that Simone Biles will.  In addition to debuting her new floor routine next weekend, Biles is looking to retain her All Around title from a year ago.  If Biles is on, like she is more often than not these days, it will be very hard for anyone to beat her.  Biles looks to keep her 2 year All Around Gold Medal Streak alive, which dates back to the 2013 P&G's National Championships, next weekend in Chicago.

After a strong first showing at the Jesolo Trophy in April, placing third and fourth respectively, Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas will be making their long awaited domestic debut since coming off of a combined 5 medal showing at the 2012 Olympic Games.  Both had impressive returns in Italy, and both are looking to make a splash on this year's World team.

Also returning is 2011 World Championships Gold Medalist Sabrina Vega.  After not making the 2012 Olympic Team, a gym change, and 3 years of injuries, Vega is competing for the first time since the 2012 Olympic Trials.  Her most recent injury required surgery this spring, knocking her out of the All Around in Chicago.  Nonetheless, many gym fans are excited to see her return to competition.
USA Today

5 of the 6 members of the Gold Medal winning team from the 2014 World Championships will be in attendance.  In addition Biles, Alyssa Baumann, Madison Kocian, Ashton Locklear, and Mykayla Skinner are making the first step towards making their second World Championship Team.  The only team member missing is Maddie Desch, who just finished cleaning up at the Pan American Championships.  Not much is known about any of these four, as Locklear had surgery in the spring, and Kocian is reported as having an injury.  It will be interesting to see these five rotate next weekend in Chicago.

Another athlete to keep an eye on is Maggie Nichols, who is back from her knee injury of last year and better than ever.  Nichols is upgraded on every event, and is regularly placing in the top group of athletes at verification.  Look for Nichols to fight for a podium finish next weekend.

John Cheng
After an injury forced the 2013 Junior National Champion to sit out the 2014 season, Bailie Key is Nia Dennis.  After leaving her longtime coach and gym last week, Dennis has little adjustment time with her new coaches before competing next week.  While the effects of Dennis' new coaching at Legacy Elite won't be clear in just two weeks, it will be an interesting long term storyline.
back looking to recreate some of the success she had in 2013.  Combined with a strong showing in Jesolo, Key is looking to solidify her status as the US' number two All Arounder.  Key is leading the field of talented first year seniors, followed by

The 2015 Secret Classic will be on Universal Sports on Saturday, July 25 at 7:00 PM EST.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Talking with Greg Marsden

Utah Athletics 
When it was announced on April 20 that Greg Marsden was retiring after 40 years as the Head Coach at the University of Utah, it all seemed so sudden.  Marsden, who built the Utes program from the ground up, is passing the torch to the very capable hands of Megan Marsden and Tom Farden.  While it seemed sudden to gym fans, Marsden had planned this all season.  "Part of what I talked to them about was that it was very important to me that the focus of this year not be that it was my last year," Marsden said, "that the focus remain on our team and what their accomplishment are, and especially our seniors, and their last season."  

In the past 40 years, Marsden created an empire in the sport on Collegiate Gymnastics.  It took only five years, and then the winning started and hasn't stopped.  Under Marsden's leadership, Utah is the only team to qualify to every National Championship, as well as lead the team to 17 top 2 Championship finishes, including a second place finish this year.  While it seemed heartbreaking watching the Utes finish .05 behind the Florida Gators, Marsden has no regrets.  

"You know, I've never been an outcome kind of guy.  I know outcome is important, but that has never been my focus.  My focus has been on the process.  It hurt because we got that close..." Marsden shared, "So it hurt for about a minute, but then you think, no one really expected us to do that, no one expected us to be there, and we did everything we could.  The girls really left it out on the floor, did everything they could, and I believe in what I preach, and that’s all you can expect."

Deseret News

It seems odd that the team that leads attendance for all female college sports once had to beg people to come to meets.  In the beginning, Marsden worked hard to get people to support his athletes.  He was surprised how little people came to their meets, even after they started achieving national success.  "I was young and enthusiastic, and was thinking I didn't understand why the media didn't give us more attention.  I thought we deserved that, so I kept calling, kept calling, kept calling, and finally, one of them got fed up with me, and kinda let me have it," Marsden remembers, "saying, Coach, it’s not our responsibility to promote your program, when you have 4,000/ 5,000 people up there in the stands, you won’t have to call us anymore, we’ll be there."  Marsden worked hard to correct this, and eventually, 15,000 people started coming.  

"It became as important to me as the success that we had on the competitive floor.  So I looked at the sports that were successful with attendance, football, men’s basketball, hockey baseball, those kinds of things, and I tried to find the common thread in those sports.  I took those things and tried to do it in an appropriate way for gymnastics," Marsden shared,  "So we built a great environment, and once we had that, and I was convinced that we had a great event that people would enjoy being at, then we just went out in the community, anybody that would listen to us, we went and spoke to everybody, we took our team to elementary schools, preschools, we went anywhere that would have us, to try and convince people to come and give it a chance."
Utah Athletics

Looking ahead, Marsden isn't scared for the future of Utah Gymnastics, but for his future and the future of the sport.  Since he started the program in 1976, it is all Marsden has known.  "I told my seniors, they’re scared too, they’re finishing their careers in gymnastics, they’re finishing their college career," Marsden says, "I told them, the way I looked at it as, if you guys can do it, I can do it.  That’s kinda the way I’m approaching it."

"...There is just not going to be enough money to go around, and I am really concerned for the Olympic Sports, whether we are even be around in 5 or 10 years," Marsden voices, "gymnastics is number three on both the Pac 12 and SEC networks.  Everybody is just blown away by that right now.  I think it is really important for us to capitalize on that and get ourselves on live television as much as we possibly can with hopefully great ratings.  And then we need to make that transition to post season as well.  I don’t know if you watched it but the stands were relatively empty and we were not on live television.  We've got to do whatever it takes to get ourselves on live television with full stands.  If television wants us to stay, we’ll stay.  If they don’t, I don’t know if we will be around."


Saturday, March 7, 2015

What to Take Away From the American Cup

When the women's field was announced in January, all eyes were on Simone Biles to claim her first American Cup title.  When the competition ended, there was no surprise that Biles was on top, and won the meet in a dominating fashion.  The race for the silver and bronze medals were tight, and The 2015 American Cup was a fun meet to watch.  In the grand scheme of this year, what can we take away from the American Cup?

Biles retains her status as the best in the world
While the most of the world's top gymnasts were not in Arlington today, Biles still stood out as the front runner for this year's World Championships.  After starting the meet with an insane stuck Amanar that scored a 16.033, Biles hit every routine, and capped it off with a 16.00 floor routine, with a 6.8 difficulty score.  It is still early in the season, and we did not even see all of Biles' possible upgrades.  It is possible that by the Olympics, Simone will have a 7.0 difficulty score on floor.  That's unheard of!  Biles continues to blow away everyone that watches her gymnastics, and does not appear to slow down until after the Olympics next summer. 

Italy is looking strong
Italy had a banner year last year, culminating in a fifth place finish in the team finals, a sixth place finish in the All Around Final, and two floor finalists.  Ferrari had a decent vault, but struggled a little elsewhere.  Fasana finished with a surprise bronze medal, after having a fantastic floor, where she stuck all of her landings cold.  The momentum from this competition, as well as the domestic meets that have taken place in Italy over the past couple weeks, should carry over well throughout the rest of the year.  The Italians should be ones to watch to repeat their fifth place finish this year, although are not quite ready to break up the Big Four just yet.

The US Men's program is in need of some work
The American men are not quite up to the level their female counterparts are, and need to implement some changes to reach the top of the sport.  While team chemistry is there, the way the team is run is not up to par.  The American men are great on paper, but tend to fall apart in competition.  Something is to be said about how intimidating Marta Karyoli is, and the men are clearly missing that.  Something is needs to change about the way the men prepare for competition, and soon.

This year's World Championships should be a fun meet
While many of the major players sitting this meet out, it still proved to be a great meet.  When the Russians, Chinese, and Romanians are all in top shape, it should be interesting to see who makes the podium.  The Americans are looking solid thus far, with a lot of potential to be even more dominant.  The US women do not look ready to hand over their crown, and their competitors have a big challenge come October.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

USA's Future is Bright

Earlier this week, USA Gymnastics broke the Gymternet yet again by posting videos from the most recent National Team Training Camp .  I would like to thank Scott Bregman, the head of media for USA Gymnastics, for these amazing videos!  So far, we only have the Junior National Team, most of whom is Rio eligible (with the exception of Victoria Nguyen and Jordan Chiles, who was missing for this camp).  The future of USA Gymnastics is looking bright, and the fight to Rio is already looking fierce!  I went through these videos and expressed my opinions on what was shown.

Ragan Smith
 Ragan Smith has been present at training camps for years before she qualified elite.  A couple of competitive years and a gym change later, Smith is looking good.  Here she showcases nice inbar stalder work to a blind change into a straddled Jaeger.  One of the more interesting skills she shows is a piked full on beam, which she lands beautifully with her chest up.  You can't twist in a truly piked position, so I wonder if this is just a place holder?  I did not realize until just now that I want Ragan to do a layout full a la Katelyn Ohashi, but I do.  Anyway... Ragan's piked full is as nice as that skill can get in my opinion.  On floor she shows a powerful double layout and a DOS SANTOS WHICH IS SO NICE.  Ragan has always been a favorite of mine and I am so
excited about her potential for next year.  Switching to Texas Dreams is the best decision of her career thus far.  Watch out for this tiny one!  She could be put up on floor, and her bars are improving every time we see her.

Alexis Vasquez
Alexis Vasquez is relatively knew to the elite scene and is a brand new senior.  The reigning Junior National Beam Champion is currently showing some new bar work, including a lot of places for potential connections.  While her bars is still not her strongest event, she is definitely putting in some work on this event.  Her beam is looking solid, although we are not shown much on this event.  If she made the world team this year, it would be because of her exquisite beam work.  She also shows a tight triple twist, which needs a little more height and rotation, but her form is very nice.  It will be hard for her to break into the top contenders this year, but her form and her beam work will definitely make her one to watch.

Victoria Nguyen
Victoria Nguyen is brand new to the elite scene, as she just finished her first elite season.  Pacing is definitely on Coach Chow's mind, as she is not Rio eligible.  Her bar work is looking great, and her endo skills look easy for her.  She just floats on the beam, making her back handspring- layout step out- layout step out series look effortless.  All of beam work is beautiful, she showcases beautiful lines and extension.  We don't see as much from her, but she will be one to watch in the next quadrennium.  She fits the role of a bar/ beam specialist perfectly, and I can't wait to see how she matures into an even more beautiful gymnast!

Laurie Hernandez
Perhaps one of the most anticipated junior videos, 2013 Junior All Around Silver medalist is returning back to form after missing the 2014 season with a knee injury.  In our first glimpse of Hernandez, she shows a super over rotated Double Twisting Yurchenko?  Are they going for the Amanar?  I personally hope not, as her Double Twisting Yurchenko has not always been enjoyable to watch.  You can tell she has been putting a lot of work into her bars, but they looked jittery to me?  you could tell she was trying very hard to bend the bar.  Her Downie is huge though.  As jittery as her bars looked, her beam was the exact opposite.  She was so solid on beam!  Her tumbling looks clean, and it is great to see her back out there!  Her return to competition this summer (maybe earlier?) will tell a lot about her Rio chances, but her international experience is definitely an advantage.  Time will only tell with this one.

Emily Gaskins
In our first look at Emily Gaskins since her gym change from Cincinnati Gymnastics to her old gym Intensity Gymnastics, Emily looked sharp.  Her bar work looked clean, and she has beautiful lines!  She shows a very line double layout, that was a little piked, but she has time to fix that.  Her new beam mount is quite possibly my favorite piece of gymnastics ever.  She does a press handstand to a planche with one foot on her shoulder, then lies face down on the beam to a chest roll, extends her arms, does a back kick over, back handspring step out layout step out.  How perfect is that?  She has such beautiful lines that it looks exquisite.  If I could only ever watch one piece of gymnastics for the rest of my life, it would be this.  Her floor, like in the past, has slightly lower difficulty, but she shows a stuck 1.5 through to a double tuck.  Gaskins could definitely be one to watch next year for her beam work, a spot that already has some serious contenders.  It will be hard for her to break into the top contenders next year, but I see her killing it in the next quadrennium.

Jazmyn Foberg
This is our first look at the reigning junior national champion, and she looks good.  She has some upgrades that are rather exciting, such as a pretty Ray straight into a Gienger.  I am absolutely obsessed with this combination!  Her Double Twisting Yurchenko also looks good.  Her beam work, while not super difficult, is unbelievably solid.  I love how fluid her movements on the beam are, she just looks so natural up there!  She also shows a nice double layout, which travels so far!  Overall, Jazmyn demonstrates some nice upgrades, however I do not think it will be enough for her to repeat as Junior National Champion, especially as her teammate Laurie Hernandez is back and looking great, and Norah Flately is also in great shape and poised to challenge.

Bailie Key
Many fans were excited to see Key, the 2013 Junior National Champion back in the gym after a shoulder injury kept her from competition this summer.  She looks good and poised to fight for her first World Team!  Her double twisting Yurchenko looks good, albeit slight leg crossing during the second twist.  Bars is where Key shows some HUGE upgrades, such as a BEAUTIFUL toe on- blind half- Jaeger.  My favorite bar upgrade she shows is a great Shang (Inbar stalder- piked Tchatchev).  Her marathon bar set will score nicely internationally, which also includes a Downie into a Pac.  She also shows intricate low to high to low to high pirouette combinations, which is already being executed wonderfully.  On beam, she shows us a nice standing arabian, along with a nice back handspring step out, back handspring, layout.  We also get a glimpse of a new double pike, which she lands a little low.  On floor, we see a nice, not quite there yet double layout, as well as a piked double Arabian, which will add quite a bit of start value.  Overall, things are looking great for Ms. Key.  She is in great shape for a senior debut in Jesolo, as well as looking ready for Worlds this year.  I expect Bailie to give Simone Biles a fight at Nationals!

Norah Flatley  
One of Chow's many challengers, Norah Flatley is looking strong.  The biggest upgrade here is a brand new Double Twisting Yurchenko, a vault in which she needs to competitive as an All Arounder next year.  While it is not perfect, it is definitely an improvement.  Her bar work is so intricate and clean, and she shows a possible PIKED ENDO!  I absolutely love endos and think they look so cool, so I was so excited to see this!  Her bar work is very WOGA-esque, and it is so beautiful!  Beam is solid as always.  We get to see her signature flexibility and her huge back handspring step out, back handspring, layout pass.  She gets so much air it's unreal.  Another change from last year is an aerial walkover sheep jump, which was gorgeous.  Norah is another gymnast who looks so fluid and natural on beam, she is a perfect example of what beam should look like.  I think being born in 2000 definitely hurts Norah's chances for next year, as I think this year's World's would be the perfect place for Marta to throw her into competition, and with a 5 person team I think it will be hard for her break into the team.

Nia Dennis
 Nia Dennis lost the National title more so than Jazmyn Foberg won it, and we got her first look as senior in her camp video.  She looks ready for this year!  Her bar work is reminiscent of Becca Bross, dynamic, powerful, and full of huge connections.  I personally LOVE her toe-full- Tchatchev.  She gets Gabby Douglas height on her Tchatchev!  All we got to see was her bar work, which looked good, but there are other girls in the USA who can swing bars better at this point.  I think it will be hard for her to break onto the World Team with so much depth this year.

Monday, January 26, 2015

My First NCAA Meet!

Saturday, I went to the Rutgers, Nebraska, SUNY Brockport, and Southern Connecticut meet.  It was my first one and I had SO much fun!  I had planned to take videos, but after recording introductions, I decided to just enjoy the meet, while my dad took pictures.  I was so grateful that my dad wasted his Saturday to take me to one of my favorite schools for a sneak peak of the next four years of my life!
I thoroughly enjoyed watching Nebraska compete, it was especially awesome seeing Ashley Lambert get a 10.0 on vault for the second week in a row, and watching Rutgers was also cool.  They are definitely a team on the rise and have some awesome recruits coming in.

When I first got to the meet (after my dad drove in a circle for like 10 minutes trying to find the gym), they gave us a tee shirt, and we went into the gym.  They had bleachers and no matter where you sat, you had a good view!  We watched the end of warm ups, and I was so excited to see the meet!  Once all of the teams walked out, the place went NUTS for Rutgers, and there were a lot of
Nebraska fans as well!  Once the meet started, we found one of the little ones from the gym back home and she was in awe (as was I!)  It was a little hard keeping up with everything (the only other meet I've been to was the 2012 American Cup where they competed one at a time) but I loved watching Nebraska.  The score board was a little screwy at time but I didn't really care.  After Hollie Blanske got a 9.95, every one was quiet, waiting for Ashley Lambert to vault.  After she vaulted, the place went CRAZY!  Every team's fans were screaming, Lambert was screaming, and the score was posted and it erupted again.  It was so cool!  They then announced the results, which were kind of predictable.  They announced that Rutgers got a 195.325 and the Rutgers team was so excited!

After the meet, I got to see my neighbor that competed, and she wasn't too happy (she fell three times on the one event she competed,) but laughed it off.  It was really cool to see her.  Then I was waiting around near the floor with the little one from my gym.  We got to meet Kami Moore, who was the one gymnast I wanted to meet most.  I introduced myself as the one that sent her an "Inspiration" bracelet I made her two years ago and she got so happy! "That was you?  I still have it in my dorm!"  She then gave me a huge hug, signed my index card, and took a selfie.  We almost met Jessie DeZiel, but she left to get on the bus before we could.  We then got a poster signed by the entire Rutgers team, and April Baker is SO nice!  She was also funny, but I mean duh.  Just look at her twitter.  The whole team was nice.  The little one knew Emma Hoffman and she was so excited to her!  After we went into the hallway, we saw Ashley Lambert talking to some family members, but I was not about to miss that opportunity, so we waited.  She noticed us about 2 minutes later and she is so funny.  As we were walking out, I accidentally bumped into Dan Kendig, so I got his autograph to.  He was slightly awkward, it was funny.

That was my first NCAA experience.  I enjoyed it, the atmosphere is just as fun as it looks on television.  I can not wait for college, as no matter where I go, they have gymnastics team!  To see my dad's pictures, click here.