Team Members from left to right: Matthew Wagoner, Erik Gralian, Robbie Tambunting, Will Ryan, and Chris Radford.

Five members of Northern California United traveled to Torrance, Ca Saturday, January 27th to compete against Southern California United and Arizona State in their first meet of the season.  The team this year is made up of six gymnasts who are all rookies to collegiate gymnastics as this was the first meet for our program.

Nor Cal United started the meet on Pommel Horse where Erik Gralian had the honor of being the first gymnast to compete for Nor Cal United.  He got things started by hitting his pommel set. Will Ryan brought in the highest score on Pommel Horse earning a 12.05 for his routine.


After Pommel Horse the team moved over to Rings. Will Ryan got things started on rings with a hit set ending with a nearly stuck full twisting double tuck.  Erik Gralian earned the teams highest rings score of 11.8.

Team member Chris Radford got momentum building on the Floor Exercise with a hit routine for the team.  Robbie Tambunting posted the highest floor score earing a 12.4 for his routine.

Matthew Wagoner was the lead of gymnast on Parallel Bars ending his routine with Nor Cal United’s first stuck dismount!  The high Score on Parallel Bars was an 11.35 posted by Robbie Tambunting.img_1280-e1517251071388.pngIMG_1275

Will Ryan was the only team member to compete high bar at this meet.   He started his routine with a big release move and ended with a huge dismount and stuck landing that got the team fired up as they headed to their last event, vault.

Chris Radford got Vault off to a good start and Will Ryan brought or competition to a close with a very good stretched kasamatsu that earned a score of 13.15.

Will Ryan hit six out of six routines for his collegiate All-Around debut and posted a 71.8 which was good enough to earn third place.  He earned the honor of Nor Cal United Gymnast of the meet with his great performance.

Nor Cal United is very excited for their home meet coming up on February 10th – 7:00 pm at Jackson Sports Academy 5209 Luce Ave, McClellan Park, CA 95652

The team will be working hard to improve their execution and routine consistency.  We had a 67% hit percentage this meet and expect that to increase as the season progresses.

From this starting point we look forward to building a strong team that can compete with the funded NCAA programs.  The team members are all working hard to accomplish that goal, and we have high expectations for the remainder of our season.

IMG_0066.JPGphoto jan 27, 9 46 07 pm

Let’s Go Nor Cal United!

-Coach John Lucas

Nor Cal United High Performance Director John Lucas and Sacramento area Head Coach Seth Nix traveled to Kissimmee Florida earlier this week to recruit more gymnasts for the Nor Cal United Team.

Other College coaches are also here nor Cal United is honored to be here with them scouting recruits.  There are way more talented gymnasts in this sport at the high School level than the current college programs have spots for.  We are very hopeful that we can develop a strong team to compete against the NCAA programs next year and in the years to come.

Because there are so many great gymnasts competing at this event (and there are many that just missed this event) it can be very difficult to be noticed by a school.  I would like to give a little advice to gymnasts that want to compete in college about things they can do to help get on college coaches radar.

At Nor Cal United we look for gymnasts with solid basics and clean gymnastics.  Our Coaches are most concerned with recruiting gymnasts that are capable of putting up a high execution score.  We know that we can teach the big skills to a gymnast with good basics.  It is much more challenging to fix bad habits on a gymnast’s big skills and basics than to teach them new skills.  Obviously we would be most excited to get a gymnast with both big skills and good basics. It is probably safe to assume that most schools feel the same way.

We also look for gymnasts that are coachable, hardworking, consistent, and driven.  We look for leadership, gymnasts that pursue excellence over glory, and gymnasts that are team players. It is not easy to ascertain these qualities at just one meet.  That is why it is essential that gymnasts fill out our Recruiting Questionnaire so we can learn more information about what makes you a good recruit.

It is important that college coaches have a chance to see your gymnastics, and if you made nationals they likely will.  If you made nationals or not make sure that you give several college coaches opportunities to notice you and become familiar with your gymnastics.  You can do this through social media and YouTube videos (avoid videos over 5 min).

Coaches also want to learn what you are like in the gym.  Most schools hold camps over the summer that are great ways for you to get the feel for the coaching staff and for them to get the feel for how you are at practice.  If they really are considering you they may ask you on an unofficial or official visit to their school/program.

Remember that persistence on your part is important.  Keep posting new video and checking in from time to time on your school(s) of choice by sending an E-mail with links to updated training posts to coaches.  Also remember that college coaches are fairly limited on being able to communicate with you until your junior year.  If you are younger than that still post video and attend camps, but do not be discouraged if the coaches are not contacting you, they could not if they wanted to.

Keep training hard and good luck in finals to all the level 10’s at JO Nationals!

John Lucas
Nor Cal United
High Performance Director

Building Momentum

We are pleased to announce that Nor Cal United is off to a great start!  We officially announced this new college opportunity at the 2017 Northern California State Championships March 18th.  We were able to hand out flyers and information about not only our program but some of the other great college opportunities available for gymnasts that do not get on to an NCAA team.

We have had a great response from the gymnastics community.  Several gyms have stepped forward to be training centers for our team.  We are now able to have gymnasts from 18 different schools, and that number keeps growing!

We are currently working on recruiting the graduating classes of 2017 and 2018. We have had a great response so far from gymnasts that want to continue their sport.  There are so many great gymnasts that are forced to stop training after high school.  Those gymnasts now have many opportunities available through the great “NCAA Style” clubs around the country. (To be considered for the team Click Here and fill out or prospective athlete form).

Of the many clubs that compete with the NCAA schools none has a more successful history than Arizona State.  Under head coach Scott Barclay they compete every year at the USA Gymnastics Collegiate Championships.  They were National Champions for the first time in 1994. Since then they have been the National Champion 20 times with 15 individual event or all-around National champions since 1987.

Washington has been the only club to come close to Arizona State as a team.  They were national champions in 1993 and again in 2006.  They have had 20 individual event or all-around National champions since 1987.

Southern California United has been a club team for only 3 years.  During that time they have had an All-Around National Champion from 2015.

Northern California United is proud to join these other great clubs that compete all year against the NCAA schools and other highly competitive club teams across the country.

A big thanks to NCBGA for allowing clinicians Syque Caesar, Eric Van der Meer, and Steve Ross to donate their clinician pay from the All-star clinic. With support like this we can help to keep gymnasts dreams alive after high school.


John Lucas

President and High Performance Director

All stats were taken from Cliff Gauthier and the following document click here

By: John Lucas

Head Coach, Nor Cal United

In Association with: Scott Barclay

Head Coach, ASU College Club Team


It takes a special kind of athlete to be a gymnast.  It takes an equally dedicated and understanding family to have one of their own in this sport.  Chances are you got into this sport because you were too “high energy” and your parents needed to give you an outlet for it.  Now here you are coming to a big fork in the road where you will need to decide IF you do gymnastics in college. This is most likely one of the biggest decisions you have faced at this point in your life.  The following information is written to help you make the right decision for your future.

I have been involved with gymnastics for the past 12 years and it has been a great experience.   I started gymnastics at age 14 and competed level 5 my freshman year of high school.  By my senior year I was a level 10.  I decided to try to walk on to the University of Nebraska’s Gymnastics team and was told by the coaches that there was no room for walk on gymnasts that year.  After being turned away by the school I wanted to attend, I spent the next 2 years training with the hope that I could make a college team.  I finally received my chance with Arizona State.  Being a part of a college team was the highlight of my gymnastics career. That experience inspired me to start a competitive club program out of Nor Cal, Nor Cal United.

I know firsthand how competitive this sport is and how hard getting onto a college team can be.  I also know how great the opportunities are to compete with a college club team.  I believe that if you make it to your senior year in high school and want to pursue gymnastics in college, there is a team out there waiting for YOU!  It may be with one of the highly competitive NCAA schools, and if you can get a scholarship… TAKE IT!! Competing in the NCAA is the best opportunity around. But…. As you can imagine, there are only a few spots open each year and many great gymnasts get overlooked. SO…. If you are not offered a scholarship or even a walk-on position, what are your options?

This is where Collegiate Club Gymnastics comes in.  There are over 2 million college students engaged in a variety of club sports across the country each year, and that number continues to grow. As does the number of college club gymnasts.

Right now there are a handful of college gymnastics clubs that are dedicated to excellence in training.  If asked what the main difference is between a club team and an NCAA team my answer would be “They are basically the same except for two things…. 1) we are not funded by the school and 2) we cannot compete at the NCAA Championships.”  Now admittedly, not being supported by the school has many other ramifications such as: no (or very limited) scholarships, limited access to medical facilities and supplies, and academic support is also very limited from the school.  So why even consider being a part of a college club team?

THERE ARE SOME GREAT, and GROWING number of OPPORTUNITIES within the Club Sports system to enable you to reach your academic goals and to pursue your passion for continuing to grow as a gymnast.  Club Gymnastics helps to keep dreams alive and is continuing to provide opportunities for male gymnasts.  Remember, male gymnasts reach their full potential between 18 and 24 years old.  So if you didn’t win the JO Nationals as a senior in high school, you still have a ton of growth ahead of you!

As your time in the JO Program comes to a close, look ahead to the opportunities both NCAA and Club programs offer. Here is a list of 7 benefits you can expect to get out of being a part of a college team:

  1. College Education – This is what opens doors for you in the future.
  2. Continuing in gymnastics – The College years for male gymnasts are when men mature and really benefit from all the basic training they invested to this point. (i.e. strength, skills, and experience all come together). Develop your potential!
  3. Friendships – lifelong relationships are forged.
  4. Regular Season Competitions – between other Collegiate and NCAA Teams.
  5. National individual and team championship competition.
  6. Individual growth.
  7. Being a part of a team of guys all pursuing the same common goals – this is probably the greatest benefit you can realize as a collegiate gymnast. Scholarship or not, get into the right program for your ability and this is yours!

Choose the right team for you:

 NCAA Teams: Generally funded by the university. Most offer scholarships as well as medical and academic support.  Needless to say, with a maximum of only 6.3 scholarships that can be offered per school the odds are not good in getting a scholarship unless you are one of the top juniors in the country.  There are currently 16 NCAA Teams.

 Tier 1 Club Teams: this includes club teams that have demonstrated a desire to compete on a level that can “hang” with other NCAA teams.  Generally non-funded by the school, they have to raise all their own operating expenses (training, competition, coaching, ect.) through fund-raising and booster clubs.  Most of these teams have a dedicated coaching staff.   The year-end championship for this tier is the USAG Collegiate Nationals won by Arizona State the past 9 years.  This meet highlights both club teams and NCAA teams that offer 2 Scholarships or less.  There is no limit as to the number of participants, and each school sets their own participation criteria.  Some even travel internationally to compete in places such as Central America, S. Africa and Japan.  There are currently 6-7 teams competing at this level.

 Tier 2 Club Teams: Similar to Tier 1 Club teams but mostly student-led and coached.  The main Championships for these teams are the NAIGC Men’s and Women’s Nationals – a rapidly growing and exciting yearly championship meet.  Approximately 60+ teams.

The NAIGC Competition uses modified FIG rules allowing the JO accepted skills and requiring a C Dismount for full element group credit. Complete rules can be found on their website located bellow.

Whatever your level and whatever your dreams, there is a college program out there that is right for you.  Check out different Teams’ websites and call around until you find it!


For more information on the opportunities out there:

National Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastics Clubs


If you would like more information about the Northern California United Tier 1 Club  E-mail Head Coach John Lucas at