Minneapolis Regional Championship


I was at the Minneapolis Regional Championship this past weekend.  The teams participating were: Minnesota, Florida, BYU, Ohio State, Denver, Missouri. I was prepared for Florida to wow the crowd with huge scores. What we got were less than grand scores from any of the teams.  Any one of the top four teams could have come out on top. Each of these teams gave away points through bobbles on beam and extra steps on floor and very few sticks.  It was fun watching the Missouri fans cheering as their team came up with scores that put them in 3rd place.


Florida  196.725

Minnesota  196.175

Missouri  195.850

Denver  195.700

Ohio  194.775

BYU  194.075

Going into this meet, had  Florida was the only team that qualified for the 2015 NCAA Championships.   The team’s rankings prior to this meet were: Florida in 2nd, Denver was 11th, and Minnesota was 16th.  I was waiting for a “coming down to the last routine” finish between Minnesota and Denver.  However, both teams had to count falls, and deal with low scores.

Now, the scoring at this meet was lack-luster at best.  The highest all around was a 39.375, only one gymnast scored a 9.90 on floor, and not one gymnast scored above a 9.875 on bars.  Do I think the teams could have been better…yes.  However, the judges were coming up with different start values, and the range of scores among the four judges were at times more than four tenths apart.  I ask myself, if this was low scoring, normal scoring that was not inflated, or judging that was just too harsh or inconsistent?  You can decide for yourself by watching a few of the videos from the meet.

Feel free to leave your opinion in the comment section below.

Nastia Liukin Recap



The Nastia Cup was a fight to the finish for the senior athletes tonight.  There was lots of excitement where the first place was not decided until the final event.

Stand out performers

5th place Kimberly Tessen from All American Gymnastics received a 9.7 for a high flying Yuerchenko 1 ½.  Just a small step forward kept her from 2nd place on vault.  On bars she had a 9.45 with a Mahoney to the high bar to cast handstand hop to straddle Jaeger.  She had nice tight legs on her bail to handstand and added a blind full before her giant into full twisting double back.  She struggled on beam with a 9.375, but made up for it with a 9.55 floor routine.  Her first pass was a double layout, landing a little short, but her second pass was a round off 1 ½ into a 2/1. (same pass that Bridget Sloan actually starts with for the Florida Gators).  Her final pass was a Rudi which she completed with her chest upright.

Here is her 9.7 vault

Natalie Wojcik, from Berks Gymnastics academy, was actually in first place at the beginning of the final rotation.  She scored a 9.6 that was called out by John Rothlesberger for being too low of a score.  She stuck it cold!  On bars she started her routine on the low bar to hop up to kip to handstand, toe on handstand ½ pirouette to a Jaeger in the pike position.  Nice bail to handstand with a slight leg separation and she ended with a double layout taking a step forward.  The highlight of this meet was her gorgeous beam routine.  She smiled through the whole routine, starting with the stunning front aerial to beat jump.  Her back handspring into a back layout was flawless.  She performed a side aerial, had a minor check after her jumps, but finished with a stuck 1 ½ dismount.  She finished with a 9.6.  On floor she scored a 9.775 with her first pass being a high double pike.  She showed a unique full turn in the attitude position, always nice to see some variety.  Her second pass was a front handspring front full to punch layout and ended with Rudi into a straddle jump.

Here is her first place beam routine…

Finishing in 3rd place was Rachel Flam from Stars Gymnastics Training Center in Houston. She placed first at Nastia Cup in 2014 as well as winning the uneven bars title.  She had a 9.7 on vault competing a Yurchenko ½ on front pike off.  On the uneven bars she wowed the crowd with full twisting double layout dismount.  This elite level routine earned her a 9.4.  On beam she showed a solid back handspring into a back layout landing on two feet.  A stuck front tuck into a high switch side finishing with a double pike.  This earned her a 9.55 for second place.  On floor she scored a 9.725 for fifth place.

Here is her unique vault…

Second and first place finishers were only .075 away from each other and were competing together from the same gym.  Both come from North Stars Gymnastics Academy.  In second place was Missy Reinstadtler.  On vault she competed the Yurchenko layout 1 ½ which she  had trouble on, locking out her knee, scoring only a 9.575.  She scored a 9.5 on bars.  On beam she received a 9.55 with a stuck routine.  She performed a beautiful side Somi and ended with a high double full dismount.  On floor she started with a rare double Arabian. Her second pass was front pike through to a back double pike.  With high energy she ended with a double pike which helped her receive a 2nd place finish with a 9.825.

Missy Reinstadtler Floor:

The final competitor of the night was Rachel Lukacs on her best event.  2 time Junior Olympic champion stuck the only double Yurchenko of the night earning her the vault title with a 9.9 and all around title with a 38.40!  On bars she did a kip to handstand , toe on handstand to Tkachev, with a pak salto down to low bar.  She finished with a double layout and a score of 9.3.  On the balance beam she was a little shaky.  She had a nice front toss and stuck her back handspring layout stepout.  She had a slight wobble on her side aerial and landed short on her double pike.  On floor she showed what power house she can be by placing first with a 9.85.  Her first pass a double layout, her second pass was a whip to 1 1/2 to front layout. She finished with huge double pike.

Here is her vault…

Another jam packed Nastia Cup in the books. I can’t wait to see who stars in it next year!


A Little Nostalgia


On the above date I wrote one of my first articles on TCT gymnastics. I thought I would bring back a little nostalgia as we prepare to watch Maggie Nichols compete at the AT&T Cup this weekend.


The Midwest’s Best Kept Secret…

Region 4 gymnastics is made up of the midwestern states Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.  Region 4 currently has the infamous Shawn Johnson on the Senior National Team. They also have 1 on the Junior national team, Keely McNeer (from Chows Gymnastics).

Last year Region 4 made a splash in the Junior Olympic scene and since then they have been proving they are just as good, if not better than the other regions in the country.  One  team specifically is slowly creeping up the ranks and starting to make spectators take a second glance.

Twin City Twisters Gymnastics is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota and currently has the unstoppable coaching duo of Mike Hunger and Sami Wozney. The two have been creating great gymnasts for years and were awarded the “JO coaches of the year” last year for their achievements. Their gym helped region 4 win the level 10 Junior A, Junior D, and Senior C team awards in 2010. Individually TCT gymnasts took home awards in every session they competed in, including a National Champion title in Jessie Deziel. Here is her first place bar routine in the Senior A competition.

This year has started out no different. They have placed first at each of the 3 meets they have competed in so far. At the Minnesota Gopher Invite they scored a 114, managing not to count a score under a 9.35.  They competed in the Sand Dollar Meet hosted by Orlando Metro where they scored a 115.35 beating out IGI by 2 full points.

Their best meet so far has been at the “Worlds Largest Gymnastics Meet” the Chicago Style. During the Level 10/Elite session they scored a 114.25 finishing ahead of Cinncinati Gymnastics Club (home of World Champion vaulter Kayla Williams). They also won the 10 meet with a 111.325 beating out Tampa Bay Turners and UCLA assistant coach, Chris Wallers GymJam team.  During the Chicago Style Meet, upcoming star Maggie Nichols earned the covenant achievement of qualifying for the Nastia Luikin Cup. (http://usagym.org/pages/events/nlc/) Maggie placed 1st beam and floor and 3rd in the all around.

Maggie Nichols just competed at the WOGA Elite Qualifier where she tied for 1st in the all around and placed 1st on the uneven bars. Here is her beam routine from that qualifier.

Not only are they producing national competitors they are also a huge contributor to the NCAA gymnastics programs, both the men’s and women’s. Brie Olson is representing Oklahoma, Lucy Ennis, Amber Hammerschmidt, Michael Paulus, and Nicoli Bettin at University of Minnesota, Lucy Meyers at Stanford, Bailee Zumwalde at Arkansas, and Kassandra Nathe at Nebraska.

Here are just a few of the Twin City Twisters gymnasts past and present.

This year alone they have made three verbal commitments in Hannah Nordquist (U of M), Breanna Hughes (Utah), and Hollie Blankse (Nebraska). Jessie DeZiel has already committed to a full Scholarship at Nebraska.

Twin City Twisters has an Elite gymnast, multiple National team members, and a level 10 team that seems to be unstoppable so what next?

They will be hosting the Northern Lights Classic Gymnastics meet March 4th, 5th , and 6th. Where over 1000 gymnasts are expecting to compete, including 2 level 10 sessions, and individual event finals. The level 10 Twisters will be competing against gyms from Iowa, Missouri, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Texas trying to stay undefeated before the Minnesota State Meet. For information visit http://team-twincitytwisters.flowebsite.com/

I wish them all the luck during the rest of the season!

If you would like to get more information on Twin City Twisters Gymnastics Club visit them at http://www.twincitytwisters.com/

Marketing your Gymnast

Marketing your Gymnast

A gymnast’s website is one of the most critical steps in the recruiting process. The website is commonly known as the gymnast’s resume.  It will be seen by college coaches, recruiters, and other visitors.  Coaches can receive hundreds of websites a week, so it’s important to make yours stand out and grab their attention.

There are three common choices for creating your gymnast’s website. Look into all three and base your decision on how much time and commitment you are willing to put into the site.

The first is creating your own website. There are many free templates available online that are easy to use and can take you step by step through the process.  For instance, http://wordpress.com  comes with many template designs and fun options including slide shows, media inserts, and it will let you track your viewer statistics.  http://www.simplesite.com  lets you add pictures, movies, accomplishments, and a biography to the side bar.  This website shows how many views you receive on the main static page.  I have also used google webpages to create a profile.  https://sites.google.com  This site lets you choose from multiple templates that are already existing websites, all you need to do is plug-in your gymnasts information.

The second choice you have is going through a gymnastic website provider.  Two of the most common sites are http://www.gymdivas.us/site.htm and http://www.chalkbowl.com . Both of these sites are easy to navigate and updated daily.

The third choice for coaches and parents is to purchase your own domain name and create your own personal website from beginning to end.  http://www.godaddy.com/ or http://www.domain.com lets you choose your name (example Suzie.com) and gives you options on how to advertise the site.  If you choose to purchase your own domain name you will need to look into web site hosting also.  Domain names have to go to a certain web host, where the files on your website can be seen.  This can be complicated and you will need to take the time to do your research on finding a safe and reliable host.

Here are a list of examples of each of the choices discussed above.

Created by Sara at  Sg.Gym.Recruitment…



Created by Simplesite.com and TCT Gymnastics…
Created by TheChalk bowl…
Created by GymDivas.Us
Have fun with creating your website if you need help with starting your website contact me at Sg.Gym.Recruitment.com

The Beam Dilemma

“The Beam Dilemma”


The word “artistry” can be taken out of balance beam routines and replaced with the word “luck”.  After watching the World Championships this year is was clear to me that even the top gymnasts in the world are having trouble on beam with the code of points.  The gymnast has one minute and thirty seconds to perform a perfect routine with as many connections as possible without the slightest bobble to even be considered for medal contention.  Start values between 6.4 and 7.0 seem nearly impossible to accomplish.

Chinese gymnasts are usually known for their elegant leaps and jumps.  It appeared to me that they had too many wobbles before they could plant their feet on the beam.  When each skill is not connected to another, the start value goes down. Therefore, we have gymnasts performing extremely difficult tricks and instead of executing them to precision they bobble or fall.  And, the skill lacks the artistry and…. is not performed at the level it should be.

I think back to gymnasts like Shannon Miller, Svetlana Khorkina, Lilia Podkopayeva, and recently Nastia Liukin and Kyla Ross, and their gold winning performances.  They each had routines that show cased artistry, gorgeous lines, and fluency.  In ’96 , Shannon had a routine that each skill was completed well and executed to near perfection.  She showed elegance, precision in her handstand work, and high tumbling in her layout combination.  She was able to complete each element and have enough strength and endurance to end her routine with a full twisting double back.  This year the routines were jammed packed with combinations, but more gymnasts didn’t connect the combinations or fell, and the dismounts seemed a bit simpler.  In my opinion, maybe they don’t have the power, strength, or stamina to finish with a higher skilled dismount.   Many gymnasts fell off the beam this year.   Does this mean the gymnasts should not be attempting the skills, or does this mean the combinations are getting to be too difficult to complete and stay on?

I raise the question, what more needs to be added into these routines.  I am accepting the fact that the 17.0 will be gone and the 14.0 may well be the new 15.0. My thought, at this rate, gymnastics may actually go back to seeing the 10.  It would certainly not be a celebratory conclusion.  It would be more where it’s just not possible to score high because too much is being asked of them.

I did enjoy watching the Netherlands and want to commend them on the beauty and grace they displayed not only on the balance beam but also on the floor.  They showed you can gain connection points by using turns and leaps instead of “throwing” big tricks and hoping to add a split jump at the end of it.

When is too much, too much? By the looks of the falls and injuries, if the code of points does not let up we will be seeing three gymnasts represent each country not because of FIG rules, but because it will end up being the number of healthy gymnasts we are able to send to competitions.

Natalia Jacobson…Perseverance


Ankle injuries, a hyper-extended elbow, and multiple hip-flex, or pains is enough to give any gymnast a reason to say “enough” to gymnastics.  Training with elites in the summer and trying to find a club in a small city to train consistently can be frustrating.  Going from USAG gymnastics, to high school gymnastics, to working towards a college scholarship with the odds stacking up against the gymnast–may just be the reason to say “I quit.”   However, Natalia Jacobson has two important things going for her and that’s her perseverance for the sport and patience for herself..

Natalia is a level 10 gymnast who currently trains at Kids Sport Gymnastics in Winona MN with Rob Murray, who is a successful coach in High school gymnastics and is currently training an elite gymnast.  In the summer she trains at Idaho Elite and is coached by Yuliya Brown, who is a world champion tumbler.  Natalia is currently a senior who will be competing high school gymnastics and working towards making a second appearance in the Minnesota High school State meet.

Natalia is in the gym four days a week and frequently attends open gyms working on her skills.   More determined than ever, Natalia is bound to make her senior year her best year.  She is very aware of what that means in regards to time commitment and skill level.  She is injury free, motivated, and committed to working hard to achieve her goals.  Natalia is focusing on her senior year, but she is also thinking ahead to the future and preparing for college gymnastics.

I will be following Natalia this year at practice and through her competition season giving you current information about her journey.  Stay up-to-date with Natalia as she strives for a successful year.

Introducing Natalia Jacobson!