MG Elite Battles it Out for Junior Gold at the the 2015 P&G National Championships


Laurie Hernandez of MG Elite finally took her own junior national title, defeating defending national champion and teammate Jazmyn Foberg by one tenth. She scored a two day-total of 117.50 for the gold. Foberg put up an incredible fight, with her strongest all-around showing yet, scoring a 117.40. Ragan Smith of Texas Dreams wowed the crowd on floor and beam, taking bronze with a 116.45.

The juniors entered into day two with Jazmyn Foberg of MG Elite the surprise leader in a bid to defend her national title with a 58.35. She held the lead over teammate Laurie Hernandez who trailed by six tenths. Ragan Smith of Texas Dreams followed by five tenths in third.

In the first rotation, Foberg led off on vault with her strongest vault yet, a double twisting yurchenko that rivals any of the seniors, scoring a 15.2.  Hernandez followed up with a strong vault of her own, scoring just below her with a 15.1. Smith started on beam, where she delivered a rock solid beam routine worthy of a senior world team finals, scoring a 15.2. Aloyna Shchennikova scored a 14.35 on bars. The three leaders continued to distance themselves from the rest of the field in this rotation, but the order remained the same.

Smith was the highlight of rotation two, bringing down the house with her floor routine that is so full of personality, charm and sky high tumbling to earn a 14.65. Hernandez did her best bar routine yet, stuck landing and all for a huge score of 15.2. Foberg answered with a huge bar routine of her own, scoring a 14.65. However, it was not enough to stay in the lead, as Hernandez pulled into the lead by half a tenth!

Rotation three began with Jordan Chiles on floor, who put together a strong routine after a rough go on beam in rotation two. Christina Desiderio did a beautiful beam routine. While neither was able to break their way into the top three, they solidly held their places in fourth and fifth. Foberg was up first of the top three. She had a super solid go on beam, earning a sky high 9.0 escore and a 14.7. Smith put up a tight, clean vault for a 14.9. Hernandez answered with a 9.0 escore of her own and a 14.7, staying in the lead.

The last rotation in an eight rotation battle for gold begins with Foberg on floor. She tumbled more cleanly than ever before, but went out of bounds twice. Still, she improved her score from night one by three tenths for a 14.5. Smith did an excellent bar routine with a stuck landing to cap off her amazing competition and a 14.3. Hernandez needed to improve her night one score by one tenth to tie. She answered the challenge with a 14.55 to take the National Title. Chiles ended the night with a solid vault and in fourth.

The individual events had a few others make their way into the top three. Jordan Chiles won vault and Emily Gaskins took the bronze. Alyona Shchennikova took the bronze on bars and Christina Desiderio took the bronze on floor. The top three all-arounders took all the other medals. Results below with full results on pgchamps.com.

Laurie Hernandez, Jazmyn Foberg, Ragan Smith, Jordan Chiles, Christina Desiderio, and Sydney Johnson-Scharpf are the new Junior National Team as the top six finishers. Others may be added in the future.

What an epic way to end these three epic junior careers. They are all three eligible for the Rio Olympics next year and definitely made their mark today.

Watch the entire competition, it’s totally worth it!

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Photo by John Cheng

Secret US Classics Junior Results and Recap


The arena was ablaze with sparkling leotards as the juniors took the stage at the Secret US Classics. After an exciting competition, Lauren Hernandez of MG Elite topped the podium with a 58.45. Ragan Smith of Texas Dreams won the silver with a 57.70, while reigning national junior champion Jazzy Foberg of MG Elite followed behind her for the bronze with a 57.40. Hernandez led the entire meet, while Smith built up her scores with consistency and topped it off with a fantastic floor routine to take the silver. Foberg was also strong throughout the meet, however stumbles on her floor landings kept her just out of reach of the silver.

Rotation One

Jordan Chiles went for her new amanar vault, the only junior attempting this difficult skill, but touched her hand down to prevent herself from falling backward. She ended the rotation in third with a 14.6. Ragan Smith also started on vault, scoring a 14.7 with a clean double twisting yurchenko. Grace Quinn tied her for second in the first rotation with a beautiful double twisting yurchenko of her own.

Hernandez started on bars as did reigning national champion Foberg.  Foberg was up first, and floated through her 6.0 bar routine for a 14.1. But Hernandez stole the show with her high flying releases and stuck landing for a 15.0, leading after the first rotation.

Rotation Two

Laurie Hernandez on beam during podium training at the Secret US Classics. Photo by Christy Linder Sharp

Jordan Chiles did a beautiful bar routine, but did not match Hernandez’s difficulty on bars and ended up with a 14.1. Foberg got through beam with just a few small wobbles, hitting her skills nicely for a huge 14.65, the highest score on beam to this point. Hernandez got up next, performing with her usual style and attack but had a large step back on her landing, leaving her with a 14.2. The rotation ended with Hernandez in the lead with a 29.2, Foberg in second 28.75 followed closely by Chiles with a 28.7.

Rotation Three

Ragan Smith in podium training. Photo by Christy Linder Sharp.

Chiles performed a beautiful beam routine, but fell on her back tuck. She finished the routine strong, but a 13.6 was low enough to just knock her off the podium at the end of the rotation. Foberg competed some impressive tumbling in her floor routine, opening with a full twisting double layout and a tuck double double for her second pass. She has some rough landings, and earned a 13.85, which was not quite enough to keep her in the top three. Christine Desiderio steped into the top three with the highest floor score of the meet at this point, earning a 14.85. Smith competed three solid routines in a row, and her consistency plus her incredible beam routine including a standing piked full earned her a 14.1 on beam moved her up in the standings. Hernandez wowed the crowd with her incredible floor performance, and was nearly flawless until her last pass when she stumbled back a bit and went out of bounds. However, a 14.35 kept her well in the lead. At the end of rotation three, Hernandez led with a 43.55. Ragan Smith moved into second with a 42.70. Desiderio was followed with a 42.65. Foberg and Chiles fell to fourth and fifth.

Rotation Four

Foberg and Hernandez side by side through it all. Photo by Christy Linder Sharp.

Only four tenths separated second through fifth places heading into the last rotation, and the competition was tight. Foberg and Hernandez were on vault, usually highest scoring event. Smith and Chiles were on floor and Desiderio was on bars. Foberg led off with a high double twisting yurchenko for a 14.8. Hernandez did a clean double twisting yurchenko with a small hop, earning a a 14.9,the highest vault score in the meet and enough to keep her solidly in the lead. Ragan Smith took the floor with her charming and charismatic routine, opening with a sky high double layout, a one and a half stepout through to a triple twist, a double arabian and a stuck double pike. She scored the highest floor score of the meet, a whopping 15.0, which kept her in second place. Desiderio fell on bars, knocking her off the podium. Chiles finished up the meet on floor where she fell on her opening pass. She finished up well, but three falls in one meet kept her from the podium.

Full Results at SecretClassic.com. Top scores in the all-around and each event are below.

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USA Sweeps 2015 Jesolo Event Final Golds


Continuing a weekend of winning, Team USA swept the gold medals in the individual event finals, and took 13 out of 14 possible medals in total. Two-time World all-around champion Simone Biles of World Champions Centre, won three gold medals, one in every final she entered. Lauren Hernandez of MG Elite also won two junior event gold medals, both adding to the all-around and team golds they each won yesterday.

In the senior division, Biles won the gold in vault, balance beam and floor exercise. Kyla Ross of Gym-Max Gymnastics won the gold on her signature event, uneven bars. Biles was the only senior US gymnast eligible for the vault finals, but the US went one-two on bars and beam and took the gold and bronze on floor.

Marta Karolyi congratulating Simone Biles. Photo by by Filippo Tomasi via USA Gymnastics.

Biles took the vault title with a 15.525 (15.9 vault 1; 15.15 vault 2). Arianna Rocca of Italy took second with a 14.500, followed and Elsabeth Black of Canada was third with a 14.2.

Simone Biles on vault. Photo by by Filippo Tomasi via USA Gymnastics.

Biles withdrew from the bars final, allowing Bailie Key of Texas Dreams to compete. (Since the USA primarily uses Jesolo as a training competition, this is the only meet where they will have a gymnast withdraw from event finals to allow another gymnast to compete.) Ross won the gold with her newly upgraded routine, scoring a 15.25. Key took silver with a 15.100. Sabrina Gill of Canada rounded out the podium with a 14.300.

Kyla Ross on uneven bars. Photo by by Filippo Tomasi via USA Gymnastics.

Biles scored a 15.25 to win the beam final. Alyssa Baumann of WOGA Gymnastics took second with a 14.55. Carlotta Ferlito took third, scoring a 14.3.

Simone Biles takes beam gold. Photo by by Filippo Tomasi via USA Gymnastics.

Biles scored a whopping 16.05 -an astronomical score on floor- to take the floor gold. Erika Fasana of Italy squeaked into second with a 14.9, edging out Aly Raisman of Brestyan’s American Gymnastics, who scored a 14.85 for third.

Simone Biles bounds her way to floor gold. Photo by by Filippo Tomasi via USA Gymnastics.

In the junior division, Hernandez won the bars and floor golds. Jazmyn Foberg of MG Elite, won the vault, and Norah Flatley of Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance Institute, took beam.  The USA juniors also took silver in three finals and bronze in the fourth.

Lauren Hernandez. Photo by by Filippo Tomasi via USA Gymnastics.

Foberg scored a 14.600 (14.9, 1st vault; 14.3, 2nd vault) to win the vault title, with Shallon Olsen of Canada just behind her with a 14.55 for second. Ragan Smith of Texas Dreams Gymnastics took third with a 14.35.

Jazmyn Foberg on vault. Photo by by Filippo Tomasi via USA Gymnastics.

The rest of the events saw the USA go one-two. On bars, Hernandez won gold with a 14.5 and Flatley took silver with a 14.25. Rose-Kayling Woo of Canada rounded out the podium with a 4.050.

Lauren Hernandez rises to the occasion with her new bar routine. Photo by by Filippo Tomasi via USA Gymnastics.

Flatley took top honors on her signature event, scoring a 14.9 on beam. Victoria Nguyen of Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance Institute took the silver with a 14.4. Woo took her second bronze, scoring a 13.75.

Norah Flatley impresses on beam. Photo by by Filippo Tomasi via USA Gymnastics.

Hernandez brought out a new crowd pleasing floor routine to win the floor gold with a 14.650. Smith scored a 14.250 for silver, and Megane Roberts of Canada took the bronze with a 13.900.

Lauren Hernandez performs her heart out for gold on floor. Photo by Filippo Tomasi via USA Gymnastics.

Team USA Dominates at the City of Jesolo


Team USA continues their streak of team and all-around dominance on the international stage at this year’s City of Jesolo Trophy meet in Italy. They won the junior and senior team gold medals and swept the all-around podiums.  Two-time World all-around champion Simone Biles of World Champions Centre won the senior division, and Lauren Hernandez of MG Elite won the junior all-around title.

The first day of competition determined both the team and individual all-around standings and served as qualifications for event finals to be held tomorrow. Team USA totaled 241.3 in the senior team competition, followed by Italy (224.35) and Canada (221.75). The junior competition was held earlier in the day, where the junior team took the gold with a 229.1, followed by Canada for silver (222.45) and Italy rounding out the podium with the bronze (208.15).

Senior Team Medalists. Photo by Filippo Tomasi via USA Gymnastics

The USA junior team. Photo by Filippo Tomasi via USA Gymnastics

For the all-around competition, Biles led the seniors with an incredible score of 62.1. Bailie Key of Texas Dreams took the silver in her senior debut with a 59.5, and Aly Raisman of Brestyan’s American Gymnastics totaled a 59.1 for the bronze in her fist competition since the 2012 Olympics. In addition to sweeping the podium, the USA posted the top 5 all-around scores, and with no two per country rule in place, took nine of the top ten spots.

Bailie Key, Simone Biles and Aly Raisman. Photo by Filippo Tomasi via USA Gymnastics

Gabrielle Douglas of Buckeye Gymnastics came in fourth in her first competition since the Olympics with a 58.9, and Alyssa Baumann of WOGA Gymnastics took fifth, posting a 58.7. Erika Fasana of Italy took sixth (57.55), and seventh through tenth went back to the USA.  The order was Maggie Nichols of Twin City Twisters (57.5), Megan Skaggs of Gymnastics Academy of Atlanta, (57.15), Madison Desch of Great American Gymnastics Express, (56.9), and Kyla Ross of Gym-Max Gymnastics (56.75). Emily Schild of Everest Gymnastics made her international debut and scored a 54.95.

The USA Senior Team. Photo by Filippo Tomasi via USA Gymnastics

All of USA’s juniors finished in the top ten in the all-around in addition to sweeping the podium. Hernandez posted a 57.65 for gold followed by Norah Flatley of Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance Institute with a 57.45 for silver and reigning National junior champion Jazmyn Foberg of MG Elite with a 56.55 for bronze. Ragan Smith of Texas Dreams Gymnastics was fifth (56.1) and Olivia Trautman of Twin City Twisters took sixth (55.2). Victoria Nguyen of Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance Institute finished ninth (54.5).

Norah Flatley, Lauren Hernandez and Jazmyn Foberg. Photo by Filippo Tomasi via USA Gymnastics

USA Juniors with Marta Karolyi. Photo by Filippo Tomasi via USA Gymnastics

Both junior and senior event finals will be held tomorrow. In the senior ranks, Biles qualified to all four event finals in first, and Ross will join her in the bars final, Baumann in the beam final and Raisman in the floor. In the junior division, the qualifiers were Smith and Foberg on vault, Hernandez and Flatley on bars, Flatley and Nguyen on beam, and Hernandez and Flatley on floor.

City of Jesolo Trophy 2015 Roster and Details


This weekend boasts one of the most exciting meets of the spring, as it gives us a first look at many of the US gymnasts. The City of Jesolo Trophy will be held March 2529, with team, all-around and event finals taking place on the 28-29. USA Gymnastics takes quite a large team to this meet, giving many gymnasts a chance to debut for the year as well as gain international experience. The senior squad includes 2013-14 World all-around champion Simone Biles, and 2012 Olympic team gold-medalists Gabrielle Douglas, Alexandra Raisman, and Kyla Ross. Junior 2013 Junior National Champion Bailie Key will make her senior debut.

The competition highlights competitions in both the junior and senior levels, in the team, all-around and individual event categories. As the defending Jesolo champions, the United States automatically qualify to the team and all-around finals, as does the host country, Italy on March 28. The other countries will participate in qualifying rounds March 25-27.

The March 28 competition will determine the team and all-around results in both the junior and senior divisions, and the top eight athletes, with a maximum of two per team, will advance to the event finals on March 29.  The competition schedule is:  March 25, junior team qualification; March 26, senior team qualification; March 28, junior and senior team and all-around finals; and March 29, individual event finals.

The Italian Gymnastics Federation will broadcast a livestream of the competition on its YouTube Channel,www.youtube.com/user/FGIfederginnastica.

The complete U.S. Team roster is included below.

Seniors

Alyssa Baumann, Plano, Texas/WOGA Gymnastics

Simone Biles, Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre

Madison Desch, Lenexa, Kansas/Great American Gymnastics Express

Gabrielle Douglas, Virginia Beach, Va./Buckeye Gymnastics

Bailie Key, Montgomery, Texas/Texas Dreams Gymnastics

Maggie Nichols, Little Canada, Minn./Twin City Twisters

Aly Raisman, Needham, Mass./Brestyan’s American Gymnastics

Kyla Ross, Aliso Viejo, Calif./Gym-Max Gymnastics

Emily Schild, Huntersville, N.C./Everest Gymnastics

Megan Skaggs, Marietta, Ga./Gymnastics Academy of Georgia

Juniors

Norah Flatley, Cumming, Iowa/Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance Institute

Jazmyn Foberg, Bayville, N.J./MG Elite

Lauren Hernandez, Old Bridge, N.J./MG Elite

Victoria Nguyen, West Des Moines, Iowa/Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance Institute

Ragan Smith, Lewisville, Texas/Texas Dreams Gymnastics

Olivia Trautman, Champlin, Minn./Twin City Twisters

*Schild and Skaggs have been added to the senior national squad, with Trautman named to the junior team.

Picture by Kim Zmeskal-Burdette Instagram

Laurie Hernandez Out with an Injury


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Maggie and Laurie work on flexibility. Photo from Maggie’s Girls Facebook Page

One of our favorite smiling faces was missing from the recent National Team Training Camp pictures. According to Maggie’s Girls Facebook page, Laurie injured her wrist and will be out of the spring competition season.

Laurie slipped off the beam somewhere mid January and fractured her wrist. She will be in a cast for six weeks, so this will effectively keep her from being ready for any of the March international assignments. In the meantime, she is in the gym training hard to keep up her conditioning and flexibility. On the upside, they are using this time for beam upgrades!

We will look forward to seeing those upgrades, and wish Laurie a speedy recovery!

And since it is impossible for me to think about Laurie without wanting to see her floor routine…

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

Watch the 2013 Secret U.S. Classic Floor Champions


Floor was quite a treat! I think the next few years we are going to see quite a change in the US floor offerings. We are seeing quite a few girls who can tumble AND dance in the mix! Not to be missed is my favorite routine of the meet – Laurie Hernandez and McKayla Maroney’s new floor routine.

Seniors

Floor Champion –  Lexie Priessman (14.8)

Floor Silver – Peyton Ernst (14.5)

Floor Bronze – McKayla Maroney (14.35)

Juniors

Floor Champion – Lauren Hernandez (14.65)

Floor Silver – Nia Dennis (14.6)

Floor Bronze – Amelia Hundley (14.45)

Sparkles Galore – Junior Women’s Prelims 2012 Visa National Championships


The first thing I noticed when I walked in was all the sparkles. Really, it is hard to miss! But the second thing was how much more businesslike the women are. Even these little juniors. There were definitely some stand outs and the future of USA gymnastics is looking great. For a full effect, read through Gym Examiners quick hits and check out all the routines on USAGymnastics youtube.

Overall Impressions

I think that US gymnastics has heard the complaints of no artistry. There were so many beautiful, well danced, polished floor routines out there today! It was a delight for this floor lover’s heart. Also, Texas Dreams is a force to be reckoned with. Kim Zemeskal’s girls look awesome on every event. Polished, with great attention to detail. She is also delightful to watch with her girls.

Standout Gymnasts

Of course, you can’t ignore Lexie Priessman with her almost 2 point lead after night one. Her floor routine was on fire- she REALLY danced it up and did some incredible tumbling to boot. Her 15.25 outclassed the rest of the field by over half a point!   Priessman, Amelia Hundley and Katelyn Ohashi all look like seniors out there. They just have a different quality to their competition and will be ready for next year without missing a hitch. And then there is Bailie Key. It is hard to believe she is only 13. She competes with the finish and professionalism of a senior, and has the difficulty to match her poise. It is hard to imagine how incredible she will be by the time she finally becomes a senior if she continues on this pace.

Three other gymnasts must be mentioned. First up, Simone Biles.  She is just a little bundle of dynamite! What power! Even when she is just walking across the floor she looks like she could combust. She is a delight to watch on every event. Second is Nia Dennis. This little girl is a young Awesome Dawsome.  She has beautiful dance and tumbles and does release moves on bars up in the rafters. Last but not least is Lauren Hernandez. I must say, she is my new favorite junior. The girl can dance! And every movement is finished with precision and grace. I love watching this one! She didn’t have the best day, but I can’t wait to see her again.

Standout Routines

Current Standings

All-around:
1. Lexie Priessman, Cincinnati, Ohio, 59.200
2. Bailie Key, Coppell, Texas, 57.550
3. Simone Biles, Spring, Texas, 57.400
4. Madison Desch, Lenexa, Kan., 57.200
5. Amelia Hundley, Hamilton, Ohio, 56.750
6. Katelyn Ohashi, Plano, Texas, 56.650

Women’s Vault:
1. Simone Biles, Spring, Texas, 15.800
2. Lexie Priessman, Cincinnati, Ohio, 15.700
3. Bailie Key, Coppell, Texas, 15.000

Women’s Bars:

1. Polina Shchennikova, Arvada, Colo., 14.650
2. Katelyn Ohashi, Plano, Texas, 14.350
3. Lexie Priessman, Cincinnati, Ohio, 14.150

Women’s Beam:
1. Amelia Hundley, Hamilton, Ohio, 14.300
1. Madison Desch, Lenexa, Kan., 14.300
3. Bailie Key, Coppell, Texas, 14.250

Women’s Floor:
1. Lexie Priessman, Cincinnati, Ohio, 15.250
2. Bailie Key, Coppell, Texas, 14.700
3. Katelyn Ohashi, Plano, Texas, 14.400