The Utah gymnastics program announced three fantastic signings on National Signing Day, with USA National Team member Abby Paulson and Junior Olympic national champions Jillian Hoffman and Jaedyn Rucker officially committing to be Red Rocks.
Co-head coach Tom Farden praised the talented gymnasts in this class for the Red Rocks:
“Abby, Jillian and Jaedyn will bring a championship pedigree and elite level skills to our team,” said Utah co-head coach Tom Farden. “This is one of the top recruiting classes in the country this year.”
The three signees will join the team for the freshman seasons next year in 2020. Paulson was on the 2016-17 USA National Team current Utah gymnast MyKayla Skinner. There are connections between Hoffman and Rucker other current Red Rocks as well. Hoffman and freshman Cristal Isa were on the 2017 Junior Olympic National Team, while Rucker, Isa and freshman Adrienne Randall were all on the 2018 J.O. National Team.
On Paulson, Farden praised her ability to perform difficult skills and her experience competing at the highest level. The U.S. Senior National Team is where U.S. Olympic athletes are drawn from.
“Abby [Paulson] has competed side by side with the best in the world as a former U.S. Senior National Team member,” said Farden. “She will bring big meet experience that will surely help our team on the competitive floor. Abby’s ability to perform intricate skills at the highest level is stunning and we believe she is a balance beam champion in the making.”
Paulson, a five-year international elite from Anoka, Minn., qualified for the P&G National Championships and the U.S. Classic from 2013-17. In 2017, as a member of the USA Senior National Team, Paulson placed sixth on beam at the P&G Championships. Also in 2017, she placed second in the all-around and tied for fifth on floor at the U.S. Classic. She was a member of the USA team that won the gold at the City of Jesolo Trophy in Italy, where she tied for first on floor and took third in the all-around.
Other top national results for Paulson included placing third in the all-around at the 2016 American Classic. In 2015, while competing in the junior division, she finished sixth on bars, eighth on floor and 10th in the all-around at the 2015 P&G Championships and was fifth on bars at the U.S. Classic. In 2013, she placed third on floor and fifth on beam at the American Classic, and tied for fifth on floor at the J.O. Level 10 national championships.
The daughter of Brandon and Shelly Paulson. At Twin City Twisters, the U.S. National Team member is coached by Sarah Jantzi, Mike Hunger, Sami Wozney and Steve Hafeman. She is a senior at Anoka High School, where she is on track to graduate with highest honors. She is the second member of her family to compete internationally. Her father Brandon was a 1996 Olympic silver medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling at the Atlanta Games.
Farden praised Hoffman’s intensity and skill level and alluded to the possibility of her competing in the all-around as a freshman.
“Jillian [Hoffman] is a fierce competitor who has excelled with elite level skills and her work ethic will inspire everyone around her. She is a real sparkplug and a dynamic performer. It is within Jillian’s capabilities to compete as an all-arounder for us next season,” said Farden.
Hoffman is from Murrieta, Calif. and is a three-time J.O. national champion, with gold medals in the all-around, bars and floor at the 2017 J.O. Championships in the junior E division. At the 2018 J.O. nationals, she placed second on floor and was fifth in the all-around. Hoffman is also a four-time regional and 11-time SoCal state champion. At the 2013 National Elite Qualifier, she won titles in the all-around, bars and floor.
Hoffman’s parents are Michael and Jennifer Hoffman. Her coaches at SCEGA Gymnastics are Kathy Strate, Terry Grey and Ryan Covo. She is a senior at Vista Murrieta High School, where she is on the Silver Honor Roll.
Rucker has great athleticism and power according to Farden, and that really shows up on vault.
“Jaedyn has incredible athleticism and power. While she is strong on all four events, her power really shows up on the leg events and she has a massive Yurchenko one and a half vault. Jaedyn really came into her own this past year with a breakout season that included a perfect 10.0 vault in competition, which is extremely rare at the club level,” said Farden.
Rucker, a Mesa, Ariz. native, won the 2018 J.O. national vault championship in the senior B division and placed second in the all-around, second on floor, fourth on bars and seventh on beam. She has won three Region 1 championships and is a 12-time state champion—including victories on every event and the all-around at the 2018 Arizona state championship. At the 2018 Pikes Peak Cup in Colorado, Rucker scored a perfect 10.0 on vault. At the event, she also won the all-around and floor titles.
A senior at Desert Ridge High School, her parents are Robert and Amy Rucker. She trains at Desert Devils with coaches Wes Jones and Ashley Schwalb.