With the talent and depth in the US team, picking teams to go to the Olympics or World Championships is often difficult and complicated. But after the 2013 National Championships, I think this team is pretty straight forward. Let’s start with who has been selected to come to the World Championship selection camp.
The World Team Selection Camp will be held from Sept. 12-16. The 2013 World Championships Team will be announced at the conclusion of the Selection Camp. The group of girls invited to the camp is almost exactly the same as the group who competed at Nationals. Only one girl did not move on from Nationals to the selection camp. Marta always likes to keep her options open and to give as many as possible the opportunity to be selected. A release from USA Gymnastics identifies the girls invited as:
Simone Biles of Spring, Texas/Bannon’s Gymnastix, Kennedy Baker, Flower Mound, Texas/Texas Dreams; Brenna Dowell, Odessa, Mo./GAGE; Peyton Ernst, Coppell, Texas/Texas Dreams; McKayla Maroney, Long Beach, Calif./All-Olympia; Maggie Nichols, Little Canada, Minn./Twin City Twisters; Elizabeth Price, Coopersburg, Pa./Parkettes; Kyla Ross, Aliso Viejo, Calif./Gym-Max; MyKayla Skinner, Gilbert, Ariz./Desert Lights; Abigail Milliet of Denton, Texas/Denton Gymnastics Academy, and Madison Desch of Lenexa, Kan./GAGE.
This year’s World Championships are all about the individual. Four girls can be sent to the championships. Three girls can go up on each event. Two girls per country can qualify to the All-Around finals and each Event Final. So we start picking our US Worlds team with the all-arounders.
This year, those two girls are very clear. With Lexie Priessman and Katelyn Ohashi out with injuries, Simone Biles and Kyla Ross are really the only two in the running. The two of them are a lock unless they get injured.
After the all arounders, you can add one other person to each event. The next obvious person is McKayla Maroney. McKayla won floor and vault at the national championships, and most definitely has the ability to qualify for the Event Finals in each of these events.
That only leaves a spot for a bars/beam specialist to be added to the team. And there really aren’t a lot of girls that could qualify for the spot. Madison Kocian made a case for herself hands down as a bars/beam specialist in the first day of Nationals. She had the second highest score of the competition on bars (15.0) and the third highest beam score (14.9). But her ankle sprain has led to her declining her invitation to the World Championship selection team camp.
There are only two other girls who can make a case for this spot. The first is Peyton Ernst. Peyton scored a 14.6 and a 13.85 on bars and a 13.7 and 14.9 on beam. The next is Brenna Dowell. Brenna scored a 14.5 and a 14.35 on bars and 13.75 and a 13.85. Peyton had a fall on beam at nationals, but is definitely one of our top beam workers. She also has a style that is more popular in international competitions. If Brenna is able to make her upgrades on bars consistently, that would put her in a better place. Both girls are also strong all arounders, and would be able to compete all around if another girl was injured. Currently my prediction is that Marta will take Peyton for beam and bars, and Brenna as the alternate.