ROSEMONT, Ill. – Three-time defending Big Ten women’s gymnastics champion Michigan was named the favorite in the Big Ten Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the conference office announced Thursday. The Wolverines were followed by No. 2 Nebraska, No. 3 Minnesota and No. 4 Illinois, while Iowa and Penn State tied for fifth in the poll. Ohio State and Michigan State earned the seventh and eighth spots, respectively, with No. 9 Maryland and No. 10 Rutgers rounding out the poll.
The Big Ten also announced the Gymnasts to Watch List, with eight returning First or Second Team All-Big Ten standouts headlining the list. First-team returners include Iowa’s Mollie Drenth, Michigan’s Talia Chiarelli, and Penn State’s Kiera Brown and Briannah Tsang. Returning second-team honorees include Iowa’s Angel Metcalf, Minnesota's Ciara Gardner, Nebraska’s Jennie Laeng and Ohio State’s Kaitlyn Hofland.
Illinois’ Lizzy LeDuc, Maryland’s Sarah Faller, Michigan’s Emma McLean, Michigan State’s Kira Frederick and Anna Gamelo, Minnesota’s Abby DeMuse, Nebraska’s Sienna Crouse, and Rutgers’ Libby Groden were also named to the Gymnasts to Watch List, along with a quartet of freshmen in Illinois’ Karen Howell, Maryland’s Alecia Farina, Ohio State’s Olivia Aepli and Rutgers’ Chloe DeVries.
Last season, Minnesota won the Regular-Season Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Championship after finishing with a 9-0 conference record.
The complete 2017 Big Ten Women’s Gymnastics Preseason Coaches’ Poll and Gymnasts to Watch List can be found below.
BIG TEN WOMEN’S GYMNASTICS PRESEASON COACHES’ POLL
5t. Penn State
7. Ohio State
8. Michigan State
BIG TEN WOMEN’S GYMNASTS TO WATCH LIST
Lizzy LeDuc, So., Illinois
Karen Howell, Fr., Illinois
Mollie Drenth, Sr., Iowa
Angel Metcalf, Sr., Iowa
Sarah Faller, Sr., Maryland*
Alecia Farina, Fr., Maryland
Talia Chiarelli, Sr., Michigan*
Emma McLean, So., Michigan
Kira Frederick, Sr., Michigan State*
Anna Gamelo, So., Michigan State*
Ciara Gardner, Jr., Minnesota
Abby DeMuse, Jr., Minnesota
Jennie Laeng, Sr., Nebraska*
Sienna Crouse, So., Nebraska
Kaitlyn Hofland, Jr., Ohio State*
Olivia Aepli, Fr., Ohio State
Briannah Tsang, Jr., Penn State*
Kiera Brown, Sr., Penn State
Libby Groden, Jr., Rutgers*
Chloe DeVries, Fr., Rutgers
* denotes 2015-16 Academic All-Big Ten Honoree