Arizona State has had a stronghold on the USAG Men's Collegiate Nationals for many years now. Though if you've been paying attention you may have noticed the Washington Huskies inching closer in recent years. "We have been closing the gap at the Collegiate National Championships," said head coach Giancarlo Mora. "I really want to continue that path that former coach Mark Russo did. That is a good goal for us is to try and close that gap and see how we do this season."
The good news for Washington is that they will return their top all-around competitor in Nathan Tsuji. Mora explained that the one thing that has plagued Tsuji in the past has been lack of difficulty, and that's something he's worked hard on correcting this offseason.
It won't be easy to catch a seemingly upgraded Sun Devils squad, but Washington will continue to try.
19. Temple Owls
- Losses: Jakob Welsh, Misha Kustin, Casey Polizzotto, Pat Henley, Antone Wright, Wayne Conley and Jordan Motter
- Newcomers: Nicolino DiBattista and Toby Warren
- Jesse Kitzen-Abelson's routine to watch out for: Matt Beck (FX)
The departed senior class for Temple is a special one, and a tough group to lose. They were the last bunch to come in and compete for the division one program. Now head coach Jesse Kitzen-Abelson is looking forward to the task of bringing Temple back to national prominence.
"We want to get Temple back on the map in the gymnastics community, start making a presence and letting people know we're committed to building this team and operating self-sufficiently at a high level. Many people didn't even know Temple had a program last year when I kind of committed to this campaign. They thought there was no more program, people weren't applying here. My point is we want to get back on the map again and make our presence." - Kitzen-Abelson
Kitzen-Abelson's expectation is that every gymnast on the team trains as many events as possible. He said this has created some interesting situations with guys doing events they haven't done since high school, but it's all in an effort to boost the program.
"Gymnastics-wise, we want to have at least two event finalists at the West Point Open and the USAG Collegiate Nationals," said Kitzen-Abelson on goals for the season.
Two guys who could help achieve those are Evan Salters and Jackson Heiland. "These are the classic guys you want on the team, the last guys in the gym," Kitzen-Abelson explained. "They're doing what's asked of them, shining examples of our team and they're going to be the guys that provide solid leadership in the future when we build this program up."
20. SC United
(via @southerncaliforniaunited on Instagram)
- Losses: Douglass Johnson and Kevin Kidshek
- Newcomers: Alec Fisher, Calvin Valrie, Constantine Clovis, Diego Neumaier, Ely Khatib, Gabriel Friet, Ivan Alpizar, Maxx McCabe, Sam Ekanayake and William Pearce
- Heinz Schulmeister's routines to watch out for: Micah Cliffe (FX) & Ivan Alpizar (FX)
Heinz Schulmeister and his S.C. United team have some pretty straight-forward goals: compete at the highest level they can and provide opportunities. "Our main goal for all of these guys is keep them in the sport and open up opportunities that they otherwise would not have," explained Schulmeister.
It's an extremely noble goal within a sport with so few opportunities. The team is made up of 18 student-athletes, all attending schools within the Southern California area.
One competitor to keep an eye on will be Diego Neumaier who's in his first season. Neumaier is a member of the Mexican National Team and should be highly-competitive as an all-arounder.