Friday, March 20, 2015

Our favorite NCAA floor routines from 2015!

Photo belongs to GymShark

Lloimincia Hall- LSU
I couldn't think of a better way to kick off this post then with the one and only Lloimincia Hall. For the last four years Lloimincia has taken the gymnastics world by storm with her powerful tumbling and equally explosive dance. I have never seen anyone perform the way she does and be able to get a crowd of 5,000+ fans on their feet at every meet. Heck, her routine is even a hit at away meets! The floor is truly Lloimincia's stage. The amount of energy and passion Hall puts into every movement is what makes her stand out. After watching so many cookie-cutter routines where the gymnast just goes through the motions, it's refreshing to see someone make it a point to actually perform and sell her routine. As gymnastics fans I'm sure that's something we can all appreciate. Llomincia loves what she's doing and to me- there is nothing more beautiful then that. While I'm going to miss watching Llomincia on floor next season, I'm so thankful for all the fun times she has brought to the world of NCAA gymnastics. Her floor routines have always been a highlight for me year after year! I know I'm not the only person who got a little teary eyed after watching her routine on senior night. In my opinion, Lloimincia's floor work is something that will remain legendary in our sport.

Sophina DeJesus- UCLA
Her nickname is "Sophina The Diva" and that's certainly no surprise after watching her take the floor! Sophina has a level of sass that is almost untouchable. She performs confidently and with purpose which is what sets her apart on this event. It also helps that she has a natural rhythm and performance quality...after all she has been performing on TV since she was a young girl. (Hip Hop Harry). UCLA is known for their unique, crowd pleasing choreography and I will be the first to admit that I fell in love with this routine from the moment I saw it. I had a huge smile on my face the entire time and from the video you can even see the crowd was loving it! When a routine can get that kind of reaction from the people in the audience you know you must be doing something right! Sophina is so fierce and I hope to see her in UCLA's floor lineup more next season because she is truly a star!

Kate Aberger- Southern Connecticut State University 
I was always a big fan of Kate during her competitive dance days and it's been really cool to watch her transition into collegiate gymnastics. I always knew her as a dancer on YouTube and didn't even realize she was going to be a college gymnast until last year! I was only able to find one video of Kate performing her routine in competition and it wasn't the best quality, so here is a dance through she did at the beginning of the season! I really like this routine! Kate's dance training is certainly evident and she performs with such confidence and ease! She has excellent posture and pays attention to small details, which in my opinion, makes a huge difference. The choreography is sharp, upbeat and fun for the crowd to clap along to! I look forward to seeing more from Kate in the future as she is only a freshman.

Talia Chiarelli- Michigan
We literally go to every home meet at Michigan and this has been one of my favorite routines to watch week in and week out! It's an upbeat routine and Talia really seems to enjoy it. The beat of the music is easy for fans to clap along with and Talia does a good job of making her routine interactive and fun. I think my favorite part has to be after her second pass when she shoots her teammates and they all fall to the ground! I remember laughing the first time I saw that because it was kinda unexpected, but totally awesome at the same time. Definitely a fun routine to watch in person!

Chayse Chapps- Oklahoma
I LOVE this routine. Absolutely brilliant choreography. Chayse Chapps is undoubtedly one of the greatest performers in the NCAA currently. When it comes to making eye contact with the judges and really drawing the crowd in I don't think you could find anyone who does it better. Chayse also has excellent musicality- hitting every single beat and interpreting the music well. It's refreshing to see someone actually dance to the music and not just pose! Props to Chayse for bringing a beautiful performance week after week!

Kytra Hunter- Florida
This routine is a lot of fun! In the past, Kytra has always been a little mechanical in her movements and kinda just went through the motions. It's been great to see her loosen up a bit and really work on her showmanship this year. I remember hearing her say when she was an elite that she hated dancing on floor. Now she looks relaxed out there and like she's truly enjoying herself. She has always been known for her dynamic tumbling and now she has the performance quality to back it up! Her smile just lights up the room! I'm going to miss watching Kytra on floor next season.

What have been your favorite floor routines from this season? Comment below or tweet us!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Recording Breaking Season for Auburn Gymnastics

For Auburn gymnastics, this season has been one for the record books. They have flown under the radar and are making history for their program, all while staying calm, cool and collected. Auburn gymnastics has never had a season quite like this and the only direction they are looking to go is up. Currently ranked 8th in the nation and in the top 10 on every event (except for bars where they are ranked 11th) if the Tigers weren't in your conversations before, they certainly should be now. It goes without saying that this year is Auburn's year.

The success started early. Regardless if it was a win or loss, the Tigers steadily improved their team score every week for the first six meets of the season. At the first home meet of the season, they posted a 197.075 to top SEC rival Arkansas. They kept that momentum going and just missed beating LSU by the narrowest of margins a few weeks later. Their final team score of 197.300 was a half tenth away from taking down the Tigers and out of all the teams in the SEC conference, Auburn came the closest to doing so.

Photo Credit: Wade Rackley

Prior to this season, Auburn gymnastics had only broke 197 four times in program history. This season alone they have posted scores in the 197's five times and still have the post-season to increase that number. (Fun fact: Auburn is hosting one of the regional championships this year and if they place in the top two, they will qualify a team to the NCAA Championships for the first time in 12 years!) The Tigers biggest victory so far this season came when they broke the school record with a score of 197.750 at home versus Georgia. Not to mention, they did it in front of a sold out crowd of 7,424 fans. Senior, Megan Walker wanted to make history and really pushed for fans to come out and support her team. "It was something I have dreamed about since I came to school, so it was a very special feeling to have it come true." she said. Before that night, the gymnastics team had never sold out the Auburn Arena and they wanted to change that. Megan says she and the team were very excited when they found out their mission was accomplished. "Not many schools can say that their gymnastics program is capable of selling out an entire arena!" Walker mused. "It goes to show how much our sport is growing and how exciting it can be for fans to see us flip around!" Head Coach Jeff Graba added that it was one of the personal highlights for him this season and says it's a "huge milestone" for the program.

Photo Credit: Anthony Hall

Being in the SEC conference gives Auburn the chance to go head to head with some of the top teams in the nation. While it's not an easy conference to be in, Coach Graba says his team uses it as motivation. "Our philosophy is that in order for us to be the best, we need to compete against the best in the country." Graba said. "Because of our schedule-- the toughest in the country this year, by the time we get to the post-season our team will be hardened and ready for whatever is thrown at us." Defeating Georgia with a program high in front of their first ever sold out crowd, coming the closest to beating LSU out of all the schools in the SEC, and posting a record away score (197.025) versus their in-state rival Alabama is no small task and Auburn has risen to the occasion. (It's worth noting that Auburn and Bama met twice this season, the first time being at Bama and the second on a podium at a neutral site, creating a Championship-like atmosphere.) This season Auburn has managed to break almost every record that there is to break (several records they have even broke twice) and they proved that they can hang with the best. Even when they lose, they manage to keep it close- which sends a strong message that they are right up there and can contend against the top teams.

Junior Caitlin Atkinson has been a large part of Auburn's success. Competing in the all-around in almost every meet since her freshman year, Caitlin has set career highs of 9.950 on vault and beam, and 9.975 on bars and floor. She has broke the programs all-around record twice this season with a high of 39.750 and currently sits 5th in the national rankings. (She's been ranked as high as 4th this season.) Her strong, steady, and consistent performances make her one of the leaders of the team.

Photo Credit: Anthony Hall

Auburn's consistent and top notch performances all season long have landed them as high as 7th in the nation with the highest RQS score in program history, Their 197.020 RQS is good enough to secure their place in the evening session of the SEC Championships alongside Florida, LSU, and Alabama. And if you didn't see it coming, yes- this is another "first" in program history. When asked if he was surprised by his teams success this year, Coach Graba says he is not--but he certainly is happy. "I knew all along that we were capable of this type of season, but being capable is just part of the puzzle. I am happy that the team has bought into our philosophy and have embraced the challenges in a positive way." Graba also noted that his team has not done anything differently from years in the past. "I think this year is a culmination of all our preparation from the previous years."

For the rest of the season, the goal remains quite simple. "We need to continue to get better. I think this team is improving each week and my goal for them is to take it one day at a time." Graba said. "I think it's hard for others to understand that this team is in a position that is unheard of for a gymnastics team at Auburn. They are breaking a lot of records here and I believe it is important for them to ignore some of the buzz as much as possible or we risk losing our momentum. My goal is to make each day better than the last. Keep the goals attainable and close at hand so to speak."

Photo Credit: Anthony Hall

As we head into the post-season, all eyes will be on Auburn. They've already broken numerous records and are hungry to break more in the post-season. But most importantly, it's all about having fun while doing what they love. "Auburn gymnastics is about having fun, working hard, and letting the results of this show up on the competition floor." said Graba.

And that is exactly what the Tigers do.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

10 Things You Don't Know About...Margzetta Frazier

1. My middle name is Byrantina. (My parents names are Bryan and Tina)
2. I have 3 siblings and their names are √©Mjae, Tytan and Billie. I am the oldest! 
3. My favorite color is red and my favorite number is 3. 
4. I was born in Pennsylvania, but I have been living in New Jersey my whole life.  
5. I am slightly obsessed with Michael Jackson! My first optional floor routine was to Smooth Criminal and I did the moonwalk! 
6. I love to sing, dance and write poetry and stories. 
7. My favorite subject in school is science. 
8. My favorite animals are dogs and okapi's. 
9. I currently have 6+ pets. (1 dog, 2 lizards, 3 turtles and many fish.) 
10. My role models are my parents and Elizabeth Price. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Catching up with Anna Glenn

Anna Glenn is a level 10 gymnast from Southeastern Gymnastics in Weddington, North Carolina. Born in Nanchang China, Anna and her twin sister Grace were adopted in 1999 and both started gymnastics shortly after. Ever since, the pair have been unstoppable. Often times they go head to head in competitions, battling it out for first place and they have even committed to the same college-UCLA! Anna is the 2012 JO National uneven bars champion (she also placed 2nd on beam) and a two time Nastia Liukin Cup qualifier! Last year she finished sixth all around and second on beam at the 2014 JO National Championships. So far this season, Anna has won the balance beam title as well as the all around at every competition she's competed in! Talk about impressive!

We caught up with Anna to talk about her goals for this season, UCLA, competing with her twin sister and more!

Photo belongs to

How did you get started in gymnastics?
I got started with gymnastics by going to a friends Olympiad. Instead of watching, I was jumping on the equipment and could not stay still. To control some of my energy, my parents decided to put me in gymnastics. Also, being born in China, my growth motor skills were delayed so I was put in gymnastics to help with that.

Have you been back to China to visit? 
My family and I went back in August of 2008, right before the Olympics.

What is like training and competing with your twin sister? 
Training and competing with my sister makes my life a lot easier. We are really close as we do everything together. We both are each others toughest competition and generally finish one and two at every meet, but we are both very supportive of each other.

You and your sister are both committed to UCLA for the 2016-2017 school year. Did you always plan to go to the same college? 
My sister and I knew we wanted to go to the same college from the start. We couldn't imagine being separated during such a big part of our lives. We were looking for the same opportunities and had the same expectations while looking at colleges.

What are you looking forward to most about competing in college gymnastics?
I am looking forward to the team aspect and making life long friendships. I'm also excited about competing on the west coast and enjoying sunny California!

Why did you choose UCLA?
I chose UCLA because I was really drawn to the campus, location, coaches and academic program. Both my sister and I were looking for a school that had both a great academic program as well as gymnastics program. We felt that UCLA was the best option for these criteria.

Many high profile athletes such as Simone Biles, Kyla Ross, and Madison Kocian are committed to UCLA. How exciting is that? 
I am super excited to compete with such high level athletes such as Simone, Kyla and Madison. I think that we all will become very close quickly,

What has been the proudest moment in your career so far? 
The proudest moment in my career was when I qualified to the Nastia Cup at the Greensboro Invitational. We competed on a podium and it was a super fun meet. I nailed my beam routine, which was my last event, and knew that I had won.

What is it like competing in the Nastia Cup and are you nervous to compete in such a big arena for this years cup?
Competing at the Nastia Cup is good competition for me. I like being in a competition where I really have to fight to win. I like competitions- the large stadium just pumps up my adrenaline.

Was there ever a point in your career where you considered trying for elite? 
After my first year of level 10, my coach, sister, and family discussed elite, but we never really wanted to do it in the first place. My sister and I thought it would be best to enjoy our high school career as a level 10 and save our bodies for collegiate gymnastics.

What are some of your goals- for this season and in the future? 
Some goals I have for the rest of the season are to do well at the Nastia Cup, stay consistent, qualify to regionals and nationals again, and do well at nationals. Some of my future goals are to stay healthy, win an NCAA title, and excel at UCLA.

Are you currently working on any upgrades? 
As far as upgrades, I'm not working on anything new currently. I usually start working on new skills after season. I'm just trying to stay safe with the skills I'm currently competing.

This routine won Anna the balance beam title at the 2014 Nastia Liukin Cup!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dear Gymternet - Journals from Elena Arenas (Entry #9 February 2015)

Dear Gymternet, 

This month has been the best! I competed some new skills at a local meet and I won the WOGA Classic International session! 

At the local meet I competed a Maloney on bars and a piked full-in on floor for the first time. It wasn't an elite meet, but it was good for me to get more experience competing new skills and feeling pressure. I hit 4 for 4 and stuck my vault and dismount off bars. It was actually my first time getting a 38 with JO scoring. I also got to compete with about 25 of my teammates because it was a level 9/10/open session. I had so much fun being with all them! 

The WOGA Classic was a great meet for me! My goal was to hit all four events and I was so happy when I did! Then I was really excited when I found out that I won! It was kind of funny because I found a penny on heads in our rental car when I first got in and I said it was going to be my lucky penny. I felt very confident heading into this meet because I had been really consistent in training. I was looking forward to competing against the other countries which were China, Japan, Wales, Mexico, Russia, Netherlands, and Canada. Wales and Mexico were grouped with me along with Morgan Hurd and Aria Brusch. I started on beam, which is my favorite rotation order. I was 6th up on beam, so I did a lot of skills on the floor to keep warm. By the time it was my turn- I was the only one going! I hit a great beam routine and got a 14.150! I was so excited because it was my first 14! Next was floor and warm up went great. I saluted and got on the floor. The music started playing but it wasn't my music. That had never happened to me before! I didn't really know what to do, so I stepped off the floor and saluted again. The right music played the second time and I did a pretty good floor routine. I got a 13.600, but I think I could have done better because my piked full-in landed a little low. Vault was next and it felt really strong, I got a 14.300. Bars was my last event and my warm up was a little shaky. I was last up in the whole meet and it felt like I had to wait forever. I was the only one going and I knew that I could win if I hit an awesome routine. I did the best routine that I have ever done and got a 13.900! I was so thrilled! Nastia Liukin, Simone Biles, Madison Kocian, and Rebecca Bross were handing out awards, which was awesome! I placed in the top 3 on everything except floor and I got a really cool trophy for winning the all-around. 

After the meet we celebrated my little sister's birthday. Last year she spent it in Ohio for the Buckeye Qualifier. My parents decorated our hotel room Frozen-themed and she loved it! She said for her birthday all she wanted was to throw a quarter in the fountain at our hotel haha! Luckily we have family in Texas (only 10 minutes from our hotel) so we were able to spend a lot of time with them during the whole weekend and they were there to celebrate her birthday and make it really special! 

Elena with her cousins

Throughout the trip, I read the Maze Runner. My parents started getting annoyed because I would not stop reading! It was such a good book though! I finished it before we left and my mom said we could rent the movie when we got home. I was really excited, but then it wouldn't load. I stayed up for like 2 1/2 hours waiting for it to load! I got about 1/4 of the way through and the screen said it would be ready to play in 14 hours! I waited a little bit and it kept dropping an hour every minute. When it got to 4 hours, it went back up to 14. Ugh! I finally gave up and went to bed, but we watched it the next day! 

The only thing that I have coming up next month is developmental camp which is March 13th. I've learned a lot of new skills and I can't wait to show them off! 


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Quick Chat with Maile O'Keefe

Maile O'Keefe is a junior international elite from Las Vegas, Nevada who is entering her third year at the elite level. She trains for 30-40 hours a week under Sorin and Tammy Salcianu  at Salcianu Elite- The Academy of Gymnastics & Dance. Last year Maile finished sixth all around and second on floor at the Secret Classic and thirteenth all around at the P&G Championships. Her strong performance during the competition season and throughout the monthly developmental camps earned her one of two spots to represent the United States at the Pan American Gymnastics Union Camp last November. Most recently, at the WOGA Classic, Maile finished fourth all around in the junior division. While Maile won't become a senior until 2018, she shows a lot of promise for the future. We caught up with Maile to talk about upgrades/goals for this season and more!

Photo Credit: USA Gymnastics

How did you get started in gymnastics? 
Well, when I was little, my cousin was a gymnast and he was teaching me cartwheels and that kind of stuff in my backyard. So my Aunt got me a one month free trial for Christmas!

Who is your gymnastics idol? 
Alicia Sacramone because when she falls, she gets back up and tries again.

What has been your proudest moment thus far in your career? 
Winning sixth place all-around at the 2014 Secret Classic.

You're currently the only elite gymnast in Nevada, how does that feel?
It's pretty cool knowing that you're a "one of a kind" in your state.

What has been the coolest thing you've got to experience since becoming an elite? 
Probably meeting Simone Biles! I met her at the 2014 Secret Classic and I was thinking 'dang, this girl is really short and funny!'

What do you like to do when you're not in the gym?
When I'm not in the gym I like to hang out with my friends and do my nails.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be a physical therapist because I think the body is really interesting.

Are you working on any upgrades for this season? 
A double pike off beam. (Maile is also working a double layout off bars.)

What are your goals for this season?
My goal for this season is to do my best and hopefully place top six at P&G's.

What is your long term goal? 
My long term goal is to make it to the 2020 Olympics!

What is the best piece of advice you've been given? 
That it doesn't matter how hard you get knocked down,  it's how hard you get knocked down and still keep going.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Look Inside: University of Michigan Gymnastics

On Wednesday, January 28th, we visited the University of Michigan and got an inside look at how one of the top teams in the country trains in preparation for defending their conference title and making a Super Six appearance.

Michigan is currently ranked fifth in the nation and in the top ten on every event. They are also the only team in the nation to have three gymnasts ranked in the top thirteen in the all around.

We would like to thank Brad Rudner, Bev Plocki and the Michigan Women's Gymnastics team for welcoming us into their gym. Good luck with the rest of the season and go blue!