The 2014 US Secret Classic is just around the corner. At this point in the Olympic cycle, the senior ranks are still fairly thin. With two years to go to the Olympics and the incredible strength of juniors that abounds in the USA, few seniors choose to stay the course. The former Olympians who want to make a run on Rio have not all returned to competition status. And with the relatively low impact this year has on the run up to the Olympics, this is the time to really heal up and take care of injuries instead of pushing through them.
And so, only 19 seniors are entered in the 2014 US Secret Classics. World all-around champion Simone Biles, and Olympian Kyla Ross headline the roster, joined by 2014 American Cup silver medalist Brenna Dowell. Notable gymnasts missing are Fierce Five members McKayla Maroney, who is still coming back after knee surgery; and Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman who are still too early in their comeback training process to compete.
There is undeniably a bit of mystery at this point in the season as to where the gymnasts are and who is at the top of their game. A handful of gymnasts have been given competition assignments in the early spring, but for the most part we have not seen the top elite gymnasts since March or April. For some of the gymnasts, it has been since last year.
Junior standouts Lexie Priessman and Amelia Hundley have been out with injuries and surgeries over the past year. Brenna Dowell had a solid competition at the American Cup in March, but we has not competed since. Maggie Nichols, MyKayla Skinner, Rachel Gowey, Alyssa Baumann and Madison Kocian all had great showings at the City of Jesolo back in March, but we have not seen them since. Current World Champion Simone Biles was slated to perform at the Pacific Rims Championships in April, but had to pull out due to injury, and so we have not seen her compete since the World Championships. Kyla Ross did compete at both the City of Jesolo and the Pacific Rims, but was definitely still tuning up and coming back from minor injuries. Peyton Ernst was last seen at the Pacific Rims, filling in at the last moment and doing a tremendous job of it, but did not compete in the all-around.
The 2014 US Secret Classics are another important step towards the filling of the World Championship Team. But they are often considered a warm up meet for the National Championships. It is not uncommon for the top gymnasts to only do a few events. That being said, it is hard to imagine any seniors catching Biles or Ross in the all-around unless Priessman or Hundley shows shades of their junior prowess. The real competition for Biles and Ross in the future is the possible return of Fierce Five teammates and the upcoming juniors. The rest of the seniors in the field will be working to show why they should be considered as event specialists in this years world championship team.
Here are the contenders:
Alyssa Baumann, Plano, Texas/ WOGA Gymnastics, senior
Amelia Hundley, Hamilton, Ohio/Cincinnati Gymnastics, senior
Ashton Locklear, Hamlet, N.C./Everest Gymnastics, senior
Brenna Dowell, Odessa, Mo./Great American Gymnastics Express, senior
Emily Schild, Huntersville, N.C./Everest Gymnastics, senior
Felicia Hano, San Gabriel, Calif./Gym-Max Gymnastics, senior
Kyla Ross, Aliso Viejo, Calif./Gym-Max Gymnastics, senior
Lexie Priessman, Fairfield, Ohio/Perfection Gymnastics, senior
Macy Toronjo, Huntsville, Texas/ Texas Dreams Gymnastics, senior
Madison Desch, Lenexa, Kan./ Great American Gymn. Express, senior
Madison Kocian, Dallas, Texas/WOGA Gymnastics, senior
Maggie Nichols, Little Canada, Minn./ Twin City Twisters, senior
Melissa Reinstadtler, Brick, N.J./ Rebound Gymnastics Inc., senior
MyKayla Skinner, Gilbert, Ariz./Desert Lights Gymnastics, senior
Peyton Ernst, Coppell, Texas/ Texas Dreams Gymnastics, senior
Rachel Gowey, Urbandale, Iowa/ Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance Institute, senior
Samantha Ogden, Allen, Texas/WOGA Gymnastics, senior
Simone Biles, Spring, Texas/ World Champions Centre, senior
Veronica Hults, Coppell, Texas/ Texas Dreams Gymnastics, senior