An All Star Cast Takes the Stage at the Secret US Classics


Tomorrow starts the final run up to the national championships with the Secret US Classics. Nine World and Olympic champions will take the stage as they fine tune their performances in preparation for the national championships and make the case for why they should be on the 2015 World Championship team. Headlining the competition is two-time World all-around champion Simone Biles of World Champions Centre and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Kyla Ross of Gym-Max. 2012 Olympic gold medalists Gabrielle Douglas of Buckeye Gymnastics and Aly Raisman of Brestyan’s American Gymnastics will be making their first appearance in competition on US soil since 2012.

This year’s field boasts gold medal gymnasts spanning from World Championship team in 2011 through the 2012 Olympics to the 2014 World Championships. The USA has won gold in all of those years, and those gold medalists are making their bid to prove why they should each be on the national and world teams. More than 100 of the country’s top female gymnasts will be competing in the junior and senior divisions. The action will start with podium training on July 24, which will stream live at 9:00 a.m. ET (juniors) and 11:00 a.m. ET (seniors) and then will continue with competition on the 25th.

The juniors will take the stage at 1 p.m. on July 25 at the Sears Centre in Chicago. The seniors start at 6:30 p.m. Universal Sports television will broadcast live from 7:30-9:30 p.m. ET.  The competition will be simultaneously webcast on UniversalSports.com and on the official Secret Classic website.  If you miss it live, the broadcast will be available for on-demand streaming.

The official athlete list from USA Gymnastics:

Alyssa Baumann, WOGA/Plano, Texas
Simone Biles, World Champions Centre/Spring, Texas
Nia Dennis, Legacy Elite/Westerville, Ohio
Kylie Dickson, All Olympia/Los Angeles, Calif.
Gabrielle Douglas, Buckeye Gymnastics/Tarzana, Calif.
Brenna Dowell, Great American Gymnastics Express/Odessa, Mo.
Felicia Hano, Gym-Max/San Gabriel, Calif.
Bailie Key, Texas Dreams/Montgomery, Texas
Madison Kocian, WOGA/Dallas, Texas
Alaina Kwan, All Olympia/Cypress, Calif.
Taylor Lawson, Parkettes/Macungie, Pa.
Ashton Locklear, Everest Gymnastics/Hamlet, N.C.
Lauren Navarro, Gliders-Charter Oak/La Verne, Calif.
Maggie Nichols, Twin City Twisters/Little Canada, Minn.
Marissa Oakley, Phenom Gymnastics/Oswego, Ill.
Aly Raisman, Brestyan’s/Needham, Mass.
Lexy Ramler, KidSport/St. Michael, Minn.
Kyla Ross, Gym-Max/Aliso Viejo, Calif.
Polina Shchennikova, TIGAR/Evergreen, Colo.
MyKayla Skinner, Desert Lights Gymnastics/Gilbert, Ariz.
Sabrina Vega, GAGE/Carmel, N.Y.

Junior Athletes

Shania Adams, Buckeye Gymnastics/Plain City, Ohio
Alyssa Al-Ashari, Twistars USA/Lansing, Mich.
Elena Arenas, Georgia Elite/Bishop, Ga.
Aria Brusch, Cincinnati Gymnastics/Forest Park, Ohio
Chae Campbell, Metroplex Gymnastics/Carrollton, Texas
Jordan Chiles, Naydenov Gymnastics/Vancouver, Wash.
Kaitlin DeGuzman, Metroplex Gymnastics/Rowlett, Texas
Christina Desiderio, Parkettes/Hackettstown, N.J.
Olivia Dunne, ENA Paramus/ Hillsdale, N.J.
Colbi Flory, Texas Dreams/Rockwall, Texas
Jazmyn Foberg, MG Elite/Bayville, N.J.
Margzetta Frazier, Parkettes/Erial, N.J.
Megan Freed, Parkettes/Bethlehem, Pa.
Emily Gaskins, North Port Gymnastics/Coral Springs, Fla.
Jaylene Gilstrap, Metroplex Gymnastics/McKinney, Texas
Lauren Hernandez, MG Elite/Old Bridge, N.J.
Anna Huber, Rochester Gymnastics/Rochester, N.Y.
Morgan Hurd, First State Gymnastics/Middletown, Del.
Sydney Johnson-Scharpf, Brandy Johnson’s/Groveland, Fla.
Shilese Jones, Buckeye Gymnastics/Covington, Wash.
Hannah Joyner, World Champion Centre/Spring, Texas
Adeline Kenlin, Iowa Gym-Nest/Iowa City, Iowa
Emma Malabuyo, Texas Dreams/San Jose, Calif.
Maggie Musselman, Hill’s Gymnastics/Crownsville, Md.
Tienna Nguyen, Zenith Elite/Allen, Texas
Maile O’Keefe, Salcianu Gymnastics/Las Vegas, Nev.
Abby Paulson, Twin City Twisters/Coon Rapids, Minn.
Gabby Perea, Legacy Elite/Geneva, Ill.
Adriana Popp, Girls Co-op Gymnastics/Easton, Pa.
Grace Quinn, Texas Dreams/Arlington, Texas
Madison Rau, World Champions Centre/Cypress, Texas
Alyona Shchennikova, TIGAR/Evergreen, Colo.
Caitlin Smith, Paramount Elite/Valley Village, Calif.
Ragan Smith, Texas Dreams/Lewisville, Texas
Deanne Soza, Arete Gymnastics/Orem, Utah
Tori Tatum, Twin City Twisters/Chanhassen, Minn.
Trinity Thomas,Prestige Gymnastics/York, Pa.
Abigail Walker,Texas Dreams/Carrollton, Texas

Watch the 2013 Secret U.S. Classic Beam Champions


By John Cheng

By John Cheng

The balance beam tooks its fair share of victims, especially in the junior ranks. Many impressive beam routines fell victim to, well a fall. However, all the beam routines you see below are well worth your time watching they are beautiful! Most especially Norah Flatley, who has been a you tube sensation on beam for many years. Her elite beam debut did not disappoint!

Seniors

Balance Beam Champion – Peyton Ernst (14.7)

Balance Beam Silver – Kyla Ross (14.65)

Balance Beam Bronze – Kennedy Baker (14.3)

Juniors

Balance Beam Champion – Norah Flatley (15.2)

Balance Beam Silver – Bailie Key (15.0)

Balance Beam Bronze – Veronica Hults (14.9)

Watch the 2013 Secret US Classic Bars Champions


By John Cheng

By John Cheng

There were lots of attempts at some high flying skills on bars, but in the end, clean and consistent won the day.

Seniors

Uneven Bars Champion – Kyla Ross (15.4)

Uneven Bars Silver – Madison Kocian (14.45)

Uneven Bars Bronze – Abigail Milliet (14.4)

Juniors

Uneven Bars Champion – Veronica Hults (14.55)

Uneven Bars Silver – Amelia Hundley (14.400)

Uneven Bars Bronze – Polina Shchennikova (14.35)

All videos are from USA Gymnastics.

Watch 2013 U.S. Secret Classic Vault Champions


Seniors

As far as I can tell, only two seniors performed two different vaults, the necessary qualification for vault event finals in any major international competition.

Vault Champion – McKayla Maroney  (15.6)

Coming back as strong as ever, McKayla competed her gravity defying Amanar and the Mustafina.  She won with a 15.6

Vault Silver – MyKayla Skinner (15.25)

Making her senior debut, MyKayla competed two strong vaults. A Cheng – now worth more than an amanar- and a DTY. She definitely has the potential to be  a strong vault contender.

Juniors

No juniors perform two vaults, so the vaulting scores are just made up of their primary vault.

Vault Champion – Nia Dennis (15.25)

Nia showed power and amplitude everywhere she went, and vault was no different!

Vault Silver – Ariana Agrapides (15.1)

This little girl has a big vault! As a brand new elite who just started competing this vault, it will be fun to see what she can do.

Vault Bronze – Emily Schild (15.0)

Definitely a strong vaulter, Emily led the competition with this vault for the first round.

Vault Bronze – Bailie Key (15.0)

For such a slight, small girl, Bailie has a great vault! No doubt as she grows it will just get better.

2013 Secret U.S. Classic Senior All-Around Champions


The Queen of Clean Reigns at Classics – Kyla Ross

Kyla just gets better with age. As you would expect, her time at the Olympics has given her maturity and depth that shows in her gymnastics. Especially in her floor routine. She used to just go from pose to pose. At Classics, she seemed to FEEL the music and danced beautifully. With a watered down beam routine and an uncharacteristic fall on floor, she still took the title.

Beauty and Elegance Win the Day – Peyton Ernst

Peyton was a bit of a surprise, but she came through with four solid routines all done with beauty and elegance. She is a joy to watch perform and will be one to watch for sure at Nationals.

Taking Risks has Rewards – Brenna Dowell

Brenna has upgraded everywhere, and it was really fun to see her compete everything. She has some cleaning up to do to make her execution match her difficulty, but she did great for her first debut of so many difficult skills.

2013 U.S. Secret Classic Junior All-Around Champions


The Junior Competition was exciting as many different people were showing strong performances. The balance beam took many of the possible champions down, but overall it was a really great competition. Thanks to USA Gymnastics, we have videos of every routine!

Third Time’s a Charm for Bailie Key – All-Around Champion.

Bailie has been on the elite scene since 2010 – qualifying Junior Elite at just 11 years old. A member of the Junior US National Team since 2011, she already has a significant amount of international experience.  At 14, She carries herself like a veteran, with two years to go until her senior debut!  She won with an all-around score of 58.250 in her third US Classics.  She had a beautiful meet, and what is more amazing is that rumor has it that she did it with the stomach flu.

Going it Alone and Still Going Strong. Amelia Hundley – Silver Medalist

Amelia and Lexie Priessman are two names that always go together. We haven’t seen one without the other in training videos much less competition in their elite careers. One year older, Lexie moved on to the senior ranks. But Amelia did just fine and took the silver medal with a 57.950.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race for Nica Hultz – Bronze Medalist

Nica has been slowly, but surely climbing her way through the ranks over the past few years. She took the bronze medal with a 56.800 her final year as a Junior.

All videos from USA Gymnastics.

What I am “Secretly” Looking Forward To


I wonder how many play on words we can use around the Secret U.S. Classics? Corny puns aside, I cannot wait for the competition to begin. Here are some stories to watch and what I am looking forward to.

Debuts

Anna Li will be debuting two new events and competing in the all around. Nastia Liukin will be competing for the first time in three years and will be debuting her beam. Jordyn Wieber will be debuting another upgrade, this time on bars. We will see many gymnasts compete for the first time this year, including Sabrina Vega, Chellsie Memmel and McKenzie Wofford.

Proving Consistency

Gabby Douglas is out to show that she is a serious all around contender for London. She is out to show that her performance at the American Cup was not a fluke and that she can be consistent and hit all four events. Rebecca Bross is out to prove that she can be counted on for bars and beam despite a shaky start at Jesolo. Sarah Finnegan will be out to show that she can seriously contribute on floor and beam. And McKayla Maroney wants to make her contribution on vault hard to ignore with her practically Olympic gold medal lock vaulting.

My Highlights

I very much want Gabby to go out and prove herself! I can’t wait to see Sarah Finnegan’s floor and beam and am hoping that she will have all of her upgrades. I desperately want Rebecca Bross to show who she is on beam and bars and am looking forward to the fierceness of Chellsie Memmel.Regardless of where it takes her, I can’t wait to see Nastia on beam again. And I am really hoping for a good all around battle between Douglas, Raisman, Ross, Li, Memmel, Finnegan and Maroney.

Don’t miss it on Universal Sports or livestreamed on universalsports.com at 5:00 pm!