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

The Latest on Laurie Hernandez


Laurie Hernandez Twitter selfie

The July National Team Training Camp roster and the 2014 US Secret Classic roster both had something very disturbing in common. The were missing crowd favorite junior elite Laurie Hernandez of MG Elite. In fact, we will be missing her for some time.

Hernandez participated in her second national team camp of 2014 in June after missing the spring due to a wrist injury. During training, she dislocated her kneecap and tore her patella tendon. Coach MaggieHaney shared, “She was doing her first yurchenko double full of the camp, and she landed short. Her knees were beginning to grow in a weird shape and this was the result. Laurie had surgery about 1 month ago and will need about 6 months to be back to 100%.”

MG Elite girls getting a well deserved pedicure. Notice the wrap on Laurie Hernanez’s (middle) knee. Picture from MG Elite Facebook Page

Hernandez rose dramatically in the junior elite ranks from 2012 to 2013, placing 21st in the all-around in 2012 at the national championships to second in 2013. She followed this up with some great international showings as well. With another year under her belt, many have wondered if she would be able to give Bailie Key, current 2013 Junior National Champion, a run for the all-around gold this year. But that will have to wait.

Fortunately, time is on her side. Hernandez does not become a senior until 2016. Though two years is an eternity in the sport of gymnastics, she is currently on track to make a very competitive bid for a place on the 2016 Olympic team. Hernandez’s contagious smile, uplifting personality and crowd favorite floor performances will be missed in 2014.  “She has been in the gym conditioning & I’m sure she will come back strong,” assures Haney. We can’t wait!

Here is a look at her May National Team Training camp video

And because it is impossible to talk about Laurie Hernandez without wanting to watch her floor routine…

 

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…