Junior National Title Wide Open – Bailie Key Out


The Junior National All-Around Title seemed to be as locked up as the senior title in this year’s upcoming P&G US National Championships. Since the start of 2013, Bailie Key has won every junior all-around competition she has competed in. Eight all-around titles, seven on international soil. Her current scores put her right in the mix with the senior all-around podium. And no junior competing this year looked to have a chance to catch her.

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Bailie Key training at 2014 Pacific Rims. Photo by Ruth Judson

While training in July, Key noticed some elbow pain. She was immediately checked out, according to a post on the Texas Dreams website. The problem was severe enough to warrant surgery, however the procedure was a simple one and the recovery time was expected to be short. But as all gymnastics fans know, days out of the gym always take a toll. And for Key, another junior national title is not the goal. Her dreams are on the Road to Rio. The post goes on to explain:

Throughout the past couple weeks, it has been challenging to settle on our decision.  But in the end, with the 100% undeviating advice and support of those we trust and respect the most, together with Bailie, we decided it best that she forego this year’s Championships.  Letting her safety along with “big picture” goals guide us, it became an obvious decision, although not an easy one.

While sitting out of a competition is always hard for a gymnast, this is just a small bump in the road. Next year, the celebrated junior becomes a senior where her real challenges begin. Texas Dreams, we join with you in celebrating Key’s incredible junior career and looking forward to her senior debut. Let’s take a moment to watch her beautiful, mature new floor routine for 2014.

In the meantime, the junior national title is still up for grabs in this all important year for these juniors. All but one of the Fierce Five were still juniors in 2010, the same point in the Olympic cycle that we are at now. Aly Raisman was a first year senior, and took third in the senior division that year.  Jordyn Wieber, like Key, had to sit out due to injury. The other three Fierce Five members were in the top four of that competition.

Kyla Ross won her second consecutive junior national title, McKayla Maroney finished third and Gabby Douglas came in fourth. Not that a finish on the junior podium this year would guarantee a spot on the 2016 Olympic Team, but it is an incredibly important step for many of these juniors that are seeking to position themselves well. With the top three from 2013 out of this year;s junior competition (Laurie Hernandez, silver medalist is also out with injury and Amelia Hundley, bronze medalist, is now a senior), the door truly is wide open.

 

 

Aside

I dare you to find an unpointed toe or a bent leg amongst these sparkling juniors. In this group, great form and beautiful performances are the rule and not the exception. Watching this meet felt like watching a senior meet, except with floor routine after floor routine that were delightfully performed. Below are the results and a video of the top scoring routine from the two nights. And at the bottom are our new Junior National Team members! All photos and videos are from USA Gymnastics (Photos by John Cheng and Geoff Bolte).

Vault
1. Ariana Agrapides 30.750
2. Nia Dennis 30.200
2. Vanasia Bradley 30.200
The top scoring vault was a delightful vault by Ariana on day 2. She scored a 9.6 execution score (15.4) with a vault that was most definitely one of the highlights of the entire competition.
Bars
1. Amelia Hundley 28.55
2. Lauren Hernandez 28.45
3. Polina Shchennikova 28.3
The top scoring bar routine of either night was Veronica Hults, who scored a 14.65 on day 2.
Beam
1. Bailie Key 30.9
2. Norah Flatley 29.96
3. Laurie Hernandez, Alexis Vasquez 29.4
The top scoring beam routine was Bailie Key’s routine on day 2, scoring a whopping 15.5.
Floor
1. Bailie Key 29.75
2. Laurie Hernandez 29.1
3. Amelia Hundley 29.0
Bailie Key scored a 14.8 on day 1 and Laurie Hernandez scored the same on day 2. So here are both delightful routines.
All Around
1. Bailie Key 118.55
2. Laurie Hernandez 116.65
3. Amelia Hundley 113.75

Your New Junior National Team

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The top eight all-arounders were named to the Junior National team. It is not uncommon for Marta to add more.

Bailie Key

Lauren Hernandez

Amelia Hundley

Nia Dennis

Norah Flatley

Veronica Hults

Alyssa Baumann

Polina Shchennikova

Junior National Champions