College Fantasy Gymnastics: Arabian Punch Front

4:58 PM Arabian Punch Front 2 Comments

Ashley Sledge of Alabama

A new series on College Fantasy Gymnastics! This analysis is brought to you by me!

Why did you sign up for fantasy gymnastics?
I wanted to learn more about NCAA. So many of the favorites from elite have gone on to have successful NCAA careers and I wanted to learn more about the different schools. You always hear about UCLA and Georgia, for example, but I didn't know much about anywhere else.

What was your thought process in picking your gymnasts? And what did you learn about the gymnasts you may not have chosen. (Please screencap your lineup from the dashboard)
Like most, I think I wanted Sam Peszek and Bridget Sloan but didn't get either. At the time, I decided not to put Peng Peng Lee because the earliest she would compete, at the time, would be the end of the season. I wanted Bridgey Caquatto. I think I put like 50% of the UCLA roster. Then I had a few of the "their name sounds familiar" in Mary Beth Lofgren and Kassandra Lopez. I chose Emily Vidmar because I recognized her last name. I decided I had to put an Alabama gymnast down, I mean, they were the defending National Champions. So I chose Ashley Sledge because we have the same first name - nice logic.

Tell us a little bit about your lineups
For the most part, my lineup was a mess. I had 2 weeks where I didn't count 5 scores on every event - 1 was my fault, and the other week, I really didn't have options for a full lineup on beam. If you followed me on twitter, you know I had a lot of "emotional" picks. Most of them centered around Bridgey Caquatto and Brittany Rogers. Bridgey would do an exhibition routine one week and then I'd have to decide if I wanted to take one of my gymnasts out to put her in the lineup when she there was a very real chance that she wouldn't even compete! Rogers kept making appearances in the all around on floor but it wasn't every week and it wasn't until the end of the regular season so I always wanted to put her on floor but ran the risk of losing a score I actually would need. My vault lineup had 8-9 girls so I never really had trouble with that. Beam and bars were hard considering how heavily I needed my 3 UCLA girls to hit - Lichelle Wong, Mattie Larson, and Sophina Dejesus!

MVP - most valuable player
Ashley Sledge - she was my rock! I watched as many of the free Bama meets as I could and I really think she is Bama's rock as well. Sledge often led off on bars and had a double layout dismount that was so incredibly high! They tried to move her later in the lineup once but it didn't work out. The Bama bar workers needed their fierce leader! She seemed like one who could score greater than 9.9 but the team needed her in that leadoff spot. Sledge also competed on vault and floor and other than week's she was injured, I was never concerned about her score.

Check out the height on her double layout dismount! 9.95 on UB

MIP - most improved player
Katy Dodds - when I first looked her up, she had these spectacular vaults. What I didn't realize was how great she was on floor too. Dodds has scored multiple 9.9+ on floor and was ranked in the top 10 for the entire season on vault. It actually frustrated me that no one spoke about her vaults when she was up there with athletes like Tory Wilson and Vanessa Zamarippa. Prior to Nationals, she was ranked 8th nationally and was tied with athletes like Olivia Courtney, Ashanee Dickerson, and eventual NCAA Vault Champion Diandra Milliner. I can't wait to see what she does next year.

Here's a compilation of her routines - 9.925 VT, 9.750 UB, 9.925 FX. So, Dodds' floor music is a Britney Spears mash up so deep breaths you elite Tchaikovsky loving gym fan. At the very least, watch her full in mount.

Gymnasts or schools that surprised you
UCLA! I think a lot of us had trouble with UCLA's constantly changing lineups. My oh my was I having difficulties! I had Sophina DeJesus, Mattie Larson, and Lichelle Wong. I can tell you it was very rare for all 3 of them to hit on both uneven bars and balance beam - which is where I needed them. One would get a 9.9 one week, then a 9.2 or below the next week. I couldn't really go by averages because they all averaged to about the same score.

I was also shocked with Bridgey Caquatto. I thought she would be introduced to the lineup much earlier and when she wasn't, I thought she would red shirt the season! Granted I don't know the intricacies of Florida's lineup, I thought it more likely she'd be in on bars rather than floor. In the end, I'm glad she competed and earned her best score on FX during the Super Six, helping Florida to win their first National Championship.

Brittany Rogers. I'm calling her the Canadian Courtney Kupets. She didn't add floor to the lineup until later but I think it had to do with the fact that she joined the team in January. I think she has great potential in the all around and hope to see her make some finals in the coming years.

9.9 on VT

9.950 on BB

What was the most difficult part of College Fantasy Gymnastics for you?
I think it was just the "emotional choices." Do I put Mattie in when she got a 9.2 last week? She got a 9.9 the week before! Will Miss Val put Lichelle in the AA again? If I put Lichelle up on floor, who do I take out knowing that Lichelle might not even compete?! Injuries make things so unpredictable. I had so many athletes injured at different points and never knowing if they'll come back and on what events - Sophina had a concussion, Sledge tweaked her shoulder, Mattie injured her knee, Kassandra Lopez had a calf strain, etc.

Do you think you'll do it again next year?
Definitely! I'm really glad I got into NCAA this year. It's hard not to nit pick every little thing but it was also nice to stop evaluating every handstand and every split and just enjoy good, clean team gymnastics.

Check out what Gina thought here

If you're interested in talking about College Fantasy Gymnastics or just writing a post for APF, email me at arabianpunchfront[at]gmail[.]com. You can view the CGF website here and can sign up for a reminder when the next season starts!


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