With the 2024 men’s college gymnastics season a little less than a month away, the GymACT Coaches are releasing this year’s Pre-Season Coaches Poll.
Arizona Men’s Gymnastics retained its Number 1 ranking as the team to beat at the 2024 GymACT Nationals to be contested on May 11, 2024 in conjunction with USA Gymnastics’ JD National Championships to be held in Daytona Beach, Florida. They captured nine first place votes and 132 points in this year’s poll. Coach Scott Barclay and his crew will be tough to beat this year after breaking the 320-point barrier at the 2023 GymACT Nationals. They defeated 2nd place Washington by almost 15 points as they dominated the field with an impressive championship performance.
Washington Men’s Gymnastics and Minnesota Men’s Gymnastics finished in a tie for second place in the pre-season rankings, each garnering 1 first place vote and 122 points. The Huskies finished in a commanding 2nd place at the 2023 GymACT Nationals. First year Coach Eli Richardson will be counting on a seasoned group of veterans to keep Washington at the top of the leaderboard in 2024. GymACT welcomes Coach Eli to the group of head coaches of GymACT teams after longtime head coach Jeff Crockett took a coaching position in Australia after the 2023 season.
The Minnesota program boasts a large crop of newcomers to their campus and will be pushing hard to move out of the 4th place spot at Nationals they occupied the first two years of their GymACT existence. Veteran Coach Mike Burns was fortunate to attract a slew of new talent and feels confident a move up the rankings is in the cards for 2024.
The Temple Owls moved into the 4th place spot in the pre-season rankings, up one spot from their 5th place pre-season ranking a year ago. Seventh year Head Coach Jesse Kitzen-Abelsen continues to put a quality product on the floor, and he did a tremendous job on the recruiting trails last year, bringing in a solid class of 10 new freshmen to bolster his veteran group on Broad Street in Philadelphia.
Last year’s surprise 3rd place team, the Texas Armadillos, under the guidance of Head Coach Wayne Thompson, came in at Number 5 in the GymACT Pre-Season Coaches Poll. The Armadillos also boasted the 2023 GymACT All Around champion Dallas Hale who went on to qualify for US Nationals where earned a spot on the US Senior National Team. The Armadillos look to put up a team of extremely experienced competitors who will be focused on improving on their 3rd place podium finish in 2023.
That’s a look at the top 5 teams in this year’s pre-season GymACT Coaches Poll. The other 10 GymACT Programs will continue to push these top 5 teams and who knows who might be the Cinderella story this year at the GymACT Nationals in Daytona Beach.
The rankings continue with the Iowa GymACT program occupying the 6th spot in the pre-season poll. Iowa dropped to 6th place at Nationals last year after a banner season in their first year of GymACT where they captured the National Team Title in 2022. Former Iowa Hawkeye Head Coach Tom Dunn has regained the top leadership spot again after retiring back in 2010. Look for the savviness of Coach Dunn to move his team into the top 5 rankings when the dust settles.
Coming in at number 7, the Northern Illinois University Huskies are poised to make a big leap from their final ranking at the 2023 Nationals where they dropped to a disappointing 10th place. Head Coach Josh Levin and his energetic Assistant Coach Zach Cipra did an amazing job of recruiting during the offseason where they brought in an army of 10 new talented freshman to help bolster their depth in the lineup. In very recent breaking news. Coach Josh Levin has stepped down as head coach and Zach Cipra will be assuming the responsibilities of leading this team into the 2024 season. Best of luck to both coaches.
The Number 8 pre-season ranking spot belongs to The Rocky Mountain Mavericks based out of Lafayette, CO. Head Coach Tabor Cowden boasts an expanded roster this year with six new freshmen on the team. Like many other GymACT teams, the Mavericks have been able to attract more talent to be part of their program. Rocky Mountain finished the 2023 season in 8th place at GymACT Nationals and that only fueled them to strive for an even higher finish in 2024.
The New York Alliance program comes in at Number 9 in the pre-season coach’s poll. Head Coach Karl Jaanimagi and his crew of coaches throughout upstate New York continue to bring in local and regional talent to grow their roster and provide quality opportunities to high school graduates that are both meaningful and memorable. New York Alliance finished the 2023 season in 9th place at Nationals and they’ll be starting this season in a similar spot.
SC United, under the guidance of Head Coach Heinz Schulmeister, rounds out the Top 10 GymACT programs in the 2024 Pre-Season Coaches Poll. Based in Southern California, Coach Schulmeister spearheaded the creation of the United GymACT concept where team members attend a variety of different institutions in a regional area. SC United finished in 7th place at Nationals last year so they’ll be raring to go this season to improve upon both their pre-season ranking and final ranking from 2023.
The Final Five GymACT programs round out the GymACT Pre-Season Rankings, bringing the total number of viable programs to a record high of 15.
Coming in at Number 11 is Georgia United, led by Head Coach Nikita Zhukov. Georgia finished the 2023 season in the 11th spot and like other teams, they have expanded their roster this season and will be looking to make a move up the leaderboard.
KC United comes in at #12 which is a nice statement about the direction of the program. Head Coach Rich Quick has taken over the reins from former Head Coach Mike Thomas who retired from coaching over the summer after a successful multi-decade coaching career. KCU has another of the expanded rosters this year that will allow them to be competitive in the hunt for improved national rankings.
The Bay Area Bandits received enough votes to place them in the 13th spot in the pre-season poll. Under the new leadership of William Pearce, there is new life being breathed into this program. William Pearce will wear several hats with this program as he is not only the Head Coach but also one of the competing athletes. A former athlete on the SC United Team, Will is the first GymACT athlete ever to transition into a head coaching role with a GymACT Program. A very unique situation is unfolding in Northern California and this will be a team to keep your eyes on.
GymACT’s newest team, The Florida Storm, under the guidance of Head Coach Phillip Pruett and Founding Father Josh Bittner, enters their inaugural year as a full-fledged GymACT program ranked 14th in the 2024 GymACT Pre-Season Coaches Poll. Best of luck to this program as it prepares to take on the rigors of a full GymACT schedule.
UIC under the guidance of Head Coach Charlie Nelson rounds out the final spot at #15. UIC is undergoing some restructuring and will be seeing limited action in the 2024 Season.