Who’s Who in the 2013 Secret Classics – The Juniors


JUNIORS! 

The junior ranks are full of talented, exciting gymnasts. They also seem to be full of great floor performers. So if you like floor, this is a competition you don’t want to miss.

Junior National Team Members

The following girls are members of the Junior National Team. They are definitely ones to watch.

Bailie Key

Part of the Texas Dream Team, at 12 years old, Bailie is already a seasoned international competitor and well known in the world of gymnastics. She is a great performer, a strong all-arounder, and shows a level-headedness that belies her young age.  Her performance abilities brings to mind the gymnasts of the 80’s and 90’s, bringing back an artistic AND athletic style much missed in the gymnastics community. She is definitely a favorite for 2016 and one we will continue to watch over the next few years.

2013 USA, Germany, Romania Tri-Meet, Chemnitz, Germany – 1st-Team; 1st-AA (Jr. Div.)
2013 City of Jesolo Trophy, Jesolo, Italy – 1st-AA, VT, BB, FX; 3rd-UB (Jr. Div.)
2012 City of Jesolo Trophy, Jesolo, Italy – 1st-Team; 2nd-VT, FX; 3rd-AA(T); 6th-UB (Jr. Div.)
2012 Visa Championships, St. Louis, Mo. – 3rd-VT, BB, FX(T); 4th-AA; 7th-UB (Jr. Div.)

Amelia Hundley 

Amelia has had a distinguished junior career, and there are high expectations of her continued leadership in the junior field. She has been competing internationally since 2011 and this will be her third U.S. Classics. She has an incredibly entertaining floor routine, Everyone will be watching her performances carefully.

2013 USA, Germany, Romania Tri-Meet, Chemnitz, Germany – (Jr. Div.)
2013 City of Jesolo Trophy, Jesolo, Italy – 3rd-AA, BB; 6th-UB, FX (Jr. Div.)
2012 Visa Championships, St. Louis, Mo. – 3rd-UB; 4th-BB; 5th-VT, FX; 6th-AA (Jr. Div.)
2012 Secret U.S. Classic, Chicago, Ill. – 2nd-BB; 3rd-AA, VT, UB(T); 4th-FX (Jr. Div.)

Polina Shchennikova 

Polina brings such a strong reminiscent of Nastia, many look forward to her beam and bars contribution in the future. Polina is without a doubt a talented, hard-working, beautiful gymnast who has a lot of potential for the future. This will be her 4th Classics as a junior.

2012 Visa Championships, St. Louis, Mo. – 4th-UB; 10th-AA (Jr. Div.)
2012 Secret U.S. Classic, Chicago, Ill. – 2nd-UB; 9th-AA (Jr. Div.)

Lauren Hernandez 

Laurie is most definitely one of the most charismatic gymnasts since Shawn Johnson or Mary Lou Retton. In addition, the girl can perform and dance like very few US gymnasts. Laurie has a great deal of potential as an all-arounder – a strong vaulter, a decent bar swinger, and shows incredible poise and skills on beam and floor. In addition, she is irresistible once you start talking to her. She is rare in the gymnastics world- personality, poise, power. Everyone looks forward to her senior career with much anticipation. She is exactly who many would want to represent the USA in 2016. (Check out the Junior Watch I did on her for The Couch Gymnast)

2012 Visa Championships, St. Louis, Mo. – (Jr. Div.)
2012 Secret U.S. Classic, Chicago, Ill. – 6th-FX; 7th-BB (Jr. Div.)

Nia Dennis

Nia is really fun to watch on floor with her unique style and powerful tumbling. She is also very strong on the beam. This will also be Nia’s fourth US Classics.

2012 Visa Championships, St. Louis, Mo. – 5th-BB; 7th-AA(T); 8th-FX (Jr. Div.)

Other Exciting Juniors

There are so many juniors, it is hard to pick which ones to highlight! But these girls definitely stand out in a crowd. Some of them have been youtube sensations and we have awaited their elite debut with much anticipation. Others are bright shining new stars.

Norah Flatley

Norah has been widely followed on the internet, especially for her phenomenal beam routines. She shows incredible flexibility combined with poise and athleticism. Norah trains under Chow, and shows an incredible amount of promise. She is one of the already incredibly promising seniors of 2016- the next summer Olympics. She will continue to be watched with a careful eye and much anticipation in the coming years.

2012 Women’s Junior Olympic Level 10 National Championships, Hampton, Va. – 1st-BB; 3rd-AA(T) (Jr. A)

Emily Schild 

 Emily caught my eye – and the eye of many others- at the Nastia Liukin Cup this year. Though she didn’t place well or catch much TV time, she was obviously full of talent and potential. Emily is a new elite and has the potential of being one we should watch.

Ariana Agrapides

Ariana skyrocketed from level 8 to level 10 in 2012. She qualified to junior elite this year and went on to win the American Classic – beating her teammate Lauren Hernandez. She is a little pixie and seems to have the potential of a strong all arounder. Considering that just last year she was a level 8, this girl is quite extraordinary!

2013 American Classic, Huntsville, TX. – 1st UB, 1st AA, 2nd VT, 2nd BB, 2nd FX
2013 Women’s Level 10 National Championships, Minneapolis, Minn. – 2nd-VT(T); 5th-UB(T); 9th-AA (Jr. A)

Jordan Chiles

Jordan is a little fireball. She shows unique choreography, powerful tumbling with catlike landings and an awesome vault. It will definitely be exciting to see her elite debut.

2013 The American Classic, Junior International Elite, Olympic Training Center – 1st-AA, 1st VT, 2nd BB, 3rd-UB, 8th FX

Sydney Johnson-Scharpf

Sydney not only catches your eye, she demands your attention when she performs on floor – and then captures your heart. This little girl can perform! Daughter of Brandy Johnson, Sydney seems to have the genes and the coaching, as well as her own special spark to be one we want to watch.

2013 Nastia Liukin Cup, Worcester, Mass. –
2012 Level 9 Easterns, Landover, MD – 1st-BM; 2nd-V, FX, AA
2012 Level 9 Regionals, Tampa, FL – 1st-VT, BM, AA; 2nd-B, FX

This will be an exciting meet!

Who’s Who going in the 2013 Secret Classics – The Seniors


The USA 2013 Season is underway, with the big meets approaching quickly. The 2013 US Secret Classic is this weekend and the National Championships are under a month away. Let’s take a look at the major players for Classics and over the next month we will take a look at at those going on to the National Championships in more depth.

The Seniors

Some Names That are Hard to Forget.

Though all five members of the Fierce Five are currently in training, only two have set their sights on competing in 2013 – Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney. Both look to have regained all their former skills and are working on new skills as well. The gymnastics community will welcome these stars back with open arms!

McKayla Maroney

One of the greatest vaulters of all time, without a doubt, McKayla Maroney is one of the most charismatic, savvy representatives of the gymnastics world. She has become a household name –  loved as much for her not impressed meme as her ever impressive vaulting ability. After multiple surgeries, an incredible amount of public appearances, red carpets, talk shows, tv series appearances and more, McKayla has somehow managed to return to training. Not only has she regained her former skills rapidly, she is already showing upgrades for the coming year. McKayla seems set to not only defend her ability as the best vaulter in the world, but to show that she can contribute on other events as well. 2013 will be an exciting year for her.

Kyla Ross

Kyla was the first of the Fierce Five to return to training. Determined to keep her NCAA eligibility in tact, she did not go professional, and therefore the draw of all the opportunities as an Olympic gold medalist did not hold the same allure for here. Kyla has been training hard for this season since shortly after she returned from the Olympics. She battled a small heel injury, but seems to be in top shape as she goes into these competitions. She has quickly gone from the baby role on the Olympic team to that of seasoned veteran and leader.

Some Names You Might Remember.

Then there are returning seniors who made a splash last year, but didn’t make the Olympic team. Each of these girls are hoping that this year is their year!

Kennedy Baker

Kennedy made a strong bid for the Olympic team last year, just falling short of her dream. She is expected to be a strong contender this year.

  • 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, San Jose, Calif. – 7th-UB; 8th-AA, FX
  • 2012 Visa Championships, St. Louis, Mo. – 7th-UB, 8th-AA, FX
  • 2012 Secret U.S. Classic, Chicago, Ill. – 3rd-AA; 5th-UB; 6th-FX; 7th-VT; 8th-BB

Brenna Dowell

Brenna competed in the Olympic Trials last year with a broken hand. Despite this, she had a strong showing. If her training videos are to be depended upon, she is most definitely a force to be reckoned with this year. In fact, in my opinion, she definitely looks like one of our strongest possible all arounders for 2013. She looks to be ready to debut her amanar, has difficult tumbling in the works and a strong bars set. She is definitely making a name for herself.

  • 2013 USA, Germany, Romania Tri-Meet, Chemnitz, Germany – 5th-AA
  • 2013 City of Jesolo Trophy, Jesolo, Italy – 1st-Team; 3rd-AA, UB
  • 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, San Jose, Calif. – 8th-UB(T); 9th-AA
  • 2012 Visa Championships, St. Louis, Mo. – 9th-AA

Some Names you Need to Know.

There are a number of very talented new seniors. These girls have made a strong showing as Juniors, and many in the gymnastics community have looked forward to their Senior debut. However, the first year in the quad is a hard year to become a senior as it can be very difficult to hold a top level through the next Olympics.

Simone Biles

Simone has been a rising star since last year with an incredibly strong showing in her final year as a Junior. She has continued to come on strong in her debut Senior year. She is incredible on vault and floor, and has a strong enough bars and beam to be a strong all around competitor. In the absence of Kaitlyn Ohashi and the Fierce Five all arounders, she is definitely in contention to be one of the strongest American All-Arounders of 2013.

  • 2012 Visa Championships, St. Louis, Mo. – 1st-VT; 3rd-AA; 6th-UB, BB(T), FX (Jr. Div.)
  • 2012 Secret U.S. Classic, Chicago, Ill. – 1st-AA, VT; 2nd-FX(T); 6th-BB (Jr. Div.)
  • 2012 American Classic, Huntsville, Texas – 1st-AA, VT; 2ND-FX(T); 3rd-BB; 4th-UB (Jr. 2)
  • 2013 USA, Germany, Romania Tri-Meet, Chemnitz, Germany – 1st-Team; 2nd-AA(T)
  • 2013 City of Jesolo Trophy, Jesolo, Italy – 1st-Team, AA, VT, BB, FX
  • 2013 AT&T American Cup, Worcester, Mass. – 2nd-AA

Lexie Priessman

Lexie has had an incredibly strong Junior career, and is in fact the current US National Junior Elite Champion. It has been assumed that she would be one of the strongest debuting seniors in the US arsenal. However, her early 2013 has not been as strong as expected. That to be said, Lexie is a talented all-arounder and a strong competitor. She is definitely not one to count out.

  • 2013 USA, Germany, Romania Tri-Meet, Chemnitz, Germany – 1st-Team; 6th-AA
  • 2013 City of Jesolo Trophy, Jesolo, Italy – 1st-Team, 3rd-VT; 5th-AA
  • 2012 Visa Championships, St. Louis, Mo. – 1st-AA, FX; 2nd-VT, UB (Jr. Div.)
  • 2012 Secret U.S. Classic, Chicago, Ill. – 1st-FX; 3rd-BB(T); 4th-AA; 5th-UB; 6th-VT (Jr. Div.)

The following girls have made some name for themselves as Juniors and definitely have a lot to offer as seniors.

Madison Desch

Madison shows a daring beam routine and is a strong all arounder to boot. She comes in as the reserve Junior National Champion, and definitely has

areas of contribution for the US National Team.

  • 2012 Visa Championships, St. Louis, Mo. – 1st-BB; 2nd-AA; 3rd-FX(T); 4th-VT; 5th-UB (Jr. Div.)
  • 2012 Secret U.S. Classic, Chicago, Ill. – 1st-BB; 2nd-AA, VT, FX(T) (Jr. Div.)
  • 2012 City of Jesolo Trophy, Jesolo, Italy – 1st-Team; 4th-VT, UB(T); 5th-AA; 7th-BB(T) (Jr. Div.)

Peyton Ernst

By John Cheng

Peyton was strong as a Junior, but not one of the top names. However, she has been given a number of international assignments this year and has done very well. She is incredibly elegant on floor and has lots of potential as a strong all arounder.

  • 2013 Tokyo World Cup, Tokyo, Japan – 2nd-AA
  • 2013 USA, Germany, Romania Tri-Meet, Chemnitz, Germany – 1st-Team; 2nd-AA(T)
  • 2013 City of Jesolo Trophy, Jesolo, Italy – 1st-Team; 4th-AA
  • 2012 Visa Championships, St. Louis, Mo. – 7th-AA(T); 8th-VT, BB (Jr. Div.)
  • 2012 Secret U.S. Classic, Chicago, Ill. – 5th-VT; 6th-AA; 7th-UB (Jr. Div.)

Maggie Nichols

Maggie also has been given a number of international assignments this year. She has a fun floor routine opening with a beautiful double layout!

  • 2013 USA, Germany, Romania Tri-Meet, Chemnitz, Germany – 1st-Team; 4th-AA
  • 2013 City of Jesolo Trophy, Jesolo, Italy – 1st-Team; 2nd-FX; 6th-AA
  • 2012 Visa Championships, St. Louis, Mo. – (Jr. Div.)
  • 2012 Secret U.S. Classic, Chicago, Ill. – 7th-VT (Jr. Div.)