What’s At Stake
The first year in an Olympic quad can feel anticlimactic in the gymnastics world. The eyes of the nation and of the world are not on you. The next Olympics is so far away, that the national champion in the first year of the Quad will be highly unlikely to even make the Olympic team. But the prestige of being a National Champion is always something to fight for. Whether won in an Olympic year or not, the title of National Champion is an incredible accomplishment.
And then there are the World Championships. They are a few months away, and anything can happen between now and then. But being the National Champion goes a long way in showing the selection committee that you should be on that team. And since only four people go to this World Championships, it is an even harder team to make than ever.
Who’s in the Running
Many times, this first year in the Quad is less competitive than others. But not this year. The American team continues to be very deep, even without the Fierce Five all-arounders competing this year. First year senior and American Cup champion Katelyn Ohashi still seems to be out with an injury. As someone we expected to be a strong contender for the National title, her absence makes this competition even more wide open. Here are girls expected to be top contenders.
Simone Biles (1st Jesolo 60.4, 2nd GRU T 58.0; 2nd ATT 57.666; SC N/A )
Simone without a doubt is the winner on paper. She has a ton of difficulty, and if she hits, she will be incredibly difficult to beat. She has put up the highest all-around score this year in the world. However, she has had few meets where she is able to put up four strong events with no falls. She unravelled at the Secret Classics just a few weeks ago. Putting up two solid days in a row will be difficult difficult for her. But if she can manage, it will take her a long way towards winning this years World Championships. Here is an awesome montage by kiwigymnast16.
Kyla Ross (1st GRU 59.3; 1st SC 58.65; 2nd CoJ 58.65)
Kyla recently won the Secret US Classics, and in a two day competition, her consistency and excellent execution will be hard for anyone to overcome. She also plans to come into Nationals with upgrades on beam, making her even more competitive. Here is a powerful montage from LOVxxe.
Elizabeth Price (1st Glasgow 59.165, 1st Stuttgart 58.898)
Ebee, as she is affectionately known in the gymnastics community, put up two incredlibly solid performances at the end of last year. She has been out with a hip injury ever since. If she competes in the all-around, she is definitely a strong contender! Check out this fun montage from GYMNAStGiRL892
Peyton Ernst (2nd Sc 58.25, 2nd T GRU 58.0, 4th CoJ 56.1)
Just a few weeks ago, Peyton took silver at the Secret US Classics. Her beautiful lines and gorgeous flexibility, and precise Texas Dreams performance training make sheer a fun one to watch. She is also planning on coming in with some upgrades. She doesn’t have the difficulty to out and out challenge for a top spot, but if some of the other girls falter, she will be right there to take their place. Check her out in this montage from UltraGymnastics.
Brenna Dowell (3rd SC 57.2; 3rd CoJ 56.65; GRU 56.4)
Brenna has made an incredible amount of upgrades this year. She has gorgeous lines and great presentation. If she is able to pull of he difficulty with great execution, she will be one of the toughest contenders. However, so far she hasn’t quite put the two together.
Lexie Priessman (5th CoJ 56.05; GRU – 55.75; SC N/A)
Lexie is the reigning US Junior National champion,and without a doubt has had expectations of greatness around her for a number of years. However, her meets earlier in the year seemed to lack the spunk and sparkle of her former years. She did not compete in the all around at the US Secret Classics, but came back with all the old fight and brilliance in the events she did compete in. Her scores so far this year do not reflect the definite potential she has of winning two National Titles in a row. See her in this montage by the awesome Ashlee Buhler.
The other wildcard is McKayla Maroney. McKayla has put in some upgrades on bars and floor and her vault continues to be spectacular. It will be interesting to see if she can begin to challenge as an all-around gymnast.
Four days left until podium training begins!