U.S. Classic Junior Live Blog


This year, the national team juniors (O’Keefe, Perea, Malabuyo, Lee, Kenlin, Dunne) will be competing with the seniors, which opens up the junior session and allows us to pay more attention to those who might otherwise be lost in the shuffle.

Watch for 54s here. That would be a strong score for the gymnasts in this session to set the mark for the national teamers to (inevitably) beat this evening. A few capable of that 54 mark will be Ellie Lazzari, Leanne Wong, and Shilese Jones. Some of the new babies like Eaker, McClain, Pilgrim, and DiCello have also shown the potential to creep up on 54 with an amazing day.

Here’s the rotation order:

In this first half of the first rotation, keep an eye on Little on vault, Lazzari on bars, Lippeatt, DiCello, and Jones on beam, and Scott on floor.

The second half of the first rotation is about Marshall on bars, the Hillseses on beam, and the GAGEs and McClain on floor.

Really glad the PA announcer told us that we’re in the USA right now. I WAS SO CONFUSED.

Shilese Jones really is 15 years older than anyone else in this meet. Lippeatt and Birt are each one inch big.

I’ll take a lullaby national anthem over an American Idol audition national anthem any day. Oh wait. No. Never mind. Gawd. Lord.

The official announcement of the conflicts of interest. I mean judges.

Rotation 1:

We start with Dr. Seuss character Lilly Lippeatt on beam. Solid on her three series to layout stepout. Efficient work and good difficulty for a junior. Some of these straddle elements will get deducted – chest well down on double pike dismount but she pulled it around. She’s a day of age, but she’s among those on track to be a thing in a couple years.

Just got a DTY on vault from Carina Jordan, slightly messy legs but look at you DTY!

Brooke Butler JUST caught a ray on bars, but her legs have been all over the place like a whirlygig and finally caught up with her on a full turn. Fall.

Cael Bixler on floor. She’s an OU commit already I believe. All That Jazz floor routine – Sits a double arabian. They’re either having audio troubles or these are some horrible cuts of music for these floor routines. I’m going with horrible cuts.

Pretty Stalder work from Smirnov on bars, huge stumble forward on a double front but a ton of potential in the basics there.

Sydney Kho is on beam – acro is more comfortable than the dance elements – nearly comes off on a loso series after a long pause – saving some significant wobbles, fighting for it – but big air on a double pike dismount. Pieces.

Very good presence for a junior on floor from Madelyn Williams. Stumble on a 2.5.

Brooke Siter on beam now – very common for these juniors to have nice switch leaps and then really struggle with the switch 1/2. And by these juniors, I mean literally every gymnast except Sarah Finnegan and Erin Macadaeg. Very pretty simpler leaps, great toes on a split jump.

JaFree Scott on floor from GAGE – big full in, secure landing – strong position on her Memmel turn as well – THIS ONE – a little short on double arabian but pulls it around – music like she’s going to a club during world war II – THE WAR IS OVER – short final pass with a lunge but watch this one in the future.

DiCello of Hills in on beam and just barely wolf turned her way through a wolf turn – sticks a 2/1 dismount. A little ragged in places this time, but I like her potential.

Katlyn Johnson on floor – good height and body position on double arabian but a large stumble forward and OOB – she didn’t cowboy it much, though, which makes me forgive the landing.

Well, we didn’t see Lazzari on bars and she got like a 2. Shows me for hyping that.

Halfway through rotation one. Our leaders are the DTY gymnasts, Carina Jordan and Lauren Little, who are a thousand points ahead of everyone else because DTY. The top non-vault score so far is Lippeatt’s 13.150 on beam, a point behind the DTYs.

Leanne Wong time on floor now – hop forward on her first double arabian – good basic straddle position – nice twisting shape on that 3/1 as well – she has some ups in that tumbling – falls out of a double L turn – very little choreo here, mostly posing in the corner – finishes 2/1 but should score quite well, very clean.

Marshall on bars – good swing through a pak, breaking legs and short on a handstand, close on the shoot to high – solid jaeger, extended – amplitude on a tkatchev but over on a handstand, lots of extra swings. Just the tuck full dismount, not the Fabrichnova this year.

Johnston from Hills on beam – double turn! Holds it pretty well – secure front tuck – disastrous split jump 1/2 from side position and a fall – GET RID OF THAT SKILL – and now was completely off on a bhs on her series and did the smart thing by not attempting to land that on the beam. Just hop off rather than land on your head. Not a good set here.

12.900 from Wong is highest floor score so far.

McClain – the youtube child – on floor, pretty solid DLO for someone who is smaller than a breadbox – the rest is simpler, which is probably smart, wolf turn full – but then a 1.5 to front full, nice leaps and twisting shape – shame about the double pike at the end, hands down, but still. Give it a couple years.

Scanlon on beam saves a double wolf turn mostly. I’m going to have to do another wolf turn post about all the wolf turns in US routines this summer, aren’t I?

Nguyen on floor now – opens with a 3/1 that is NCAA-around – she certainly waits until she’s very close to the corner to punch – hands down on a double pike –

Selena Harris on beam – she’s a GymCat – pretty solid aerial to split – secure loso series – they’ve worked on back leg, it’s better than a lot of juniors we’ve seen so far – wobble on side somi but stays on – 2/1 dismount –

Fatta on floor finishes the FIRST ROTATION (oh god, we’ll be here forever) – pulls through a full in first pass – good amplitude – she came in with a very low qualifying score but this is a competitive set for juniors – efficient 2/5 dismount, legs together, small hop.

After 1: The three DTYs from the first rotation all went in the low 14s and lead by a ton. (Jordan, Little, Davis.) Bowers’ 13.300 on bars and then a few low 13s on beam from Lippeatt, Scanlon, Jones, and Birt are next in line.

Interested to see Smirnov and Lazzari on beam to start the second rotation, as well as the DiCello/Jones/Pilgrim trio on floor.

Rotation 2:

Smirnov on beam – pretty good knee extension on the loso series but off line and falls – falls again on back pike – dear – YOU’RE A TRUE RUSSIAN AFTER ALL – continuing the trend of a lovely switch split and then a nowhere close switch 1/2. Pretty onodi to switch jump!

Some good handstands from Hahn on bars – goes crazy on the swingback on a Shap – dismounts just double pike.

Leanne Wong is destroying this competition by the way. Very clean on vault.

Shame we missed Brooke Siter’s hilarious opening floor pose, but she’s selling this vampire-bride, ghost-of-a-Victorian-child routine. Shame about the hands down on the final pass, but I’m living for that insanely dramatic haunted-house music.

Little on bars – saves a stalder full with a little arch – solid shap to pak – and a shap to bail with legs on the bail – she has been more of a vaulter, but they’re giving her the composition to get through bars – fairly hollow DLO dismount with a step. Some form here and there  but a competitive routine and a good hit.

Hollingsworth falls on beam twice. Floor is her most competitive. Sometimes the leaps get her on beam but this time it was the acro.

Clean and solid from DiCello on floor. Nothing major in the difficulty but didn’t give away too too much. Secure and comfortable.

Big jaeger from littel Sienna Robinson on bars that I assumed would be a fall since it went so far and she’s an inch big  but she caught it well. Hop forward on a tuck full.

Jones on floor – she got through beam with a 13, so this is where she’s really supposed to shine – giant tuck full opening pass, comfortably chest up on landing – a little short on double arabian but saves it with a step back – secure double pike – solid double L turn, finished it – leaps look short from this angle – comfortable double tuck as well, should get another strong score to keep her up in the AA quest.

Davis from WOGA on bars – opens with an inbar that was a real inbar – high on a shoot to the high bar but also very close – forward giant 1/1 and piked jaeger – hgop back on double front – this is a very “we’re going to make you into a bars gymnast in time if it’s the last thing we do” routine.

Anya Pilgrim did not wear a pilgrim costume – disqualified – 1.5 through to double arabian, cowboy but very secure landing – double pike hop back – not pushing the difficulty too much yet (she’s one of them who’s a day old) – but the tumbling she is doing looks very comfortable for her. Clean, should get a solid score.

Marshall to beam – comfortable enough on an onodi – layout series that’s fairly high as well – ack! Tentative on a side aerial and falls. She had just been through the harder parts. The rest is fairly secure, including a front tuck “connected to” a split ring jump – high double tuck to finish.

Johnston on beam – she has the difficulty – hit a double arabian – HUGE double layout but short on the landing – was going for whip whip 2.5 but sat it down – not a good day so far for her.

Davis, Little, and Wong are way out in front of those who have done two events so far. No surprise that all of them have gone on vault. Wong’s 14.400 on vault is the highest vault score so far. Very controlled landing with chest up.

McClain starts this part of rotation 2 on vault  – clean enough full, doesn’t have the power for any distance yet, but not a struggle.

Texas Dreams is going very “NOW IN TROPICAL FLAVORS” with its leo today. Barros is their newest elite and looks as comfortable on beam as she is supposed to. 2.5 dismpount with a large hop but solid.

Addison Fatta is one who wasn’t on my radar before this meet who is impressing. DTY.

“New Ragan” Annie Beard on beam – hits her wolfing pretty well – check on front tuck – secure loso series – aerial connected into leaps comfortably – step on 2.5 dismount. Good one. 13.900. Highest beam score so far by many tenths.

Jordan Bowers struggled through a wolf turn. Add that one to the list.

Neault has just a double tuck dismount on bars but very good handstands and lines.

Very quick twisting from Harris on floor – she’s a twister but also has the amplitude to get it around comfortably – just tried a Y spin and it did not go great with a stumble out – short double tuck with a step.

Lippeatt is up next on floor. Can’t hear her name without thinking about Lippy D from 30 Rock. Piked full in to start, pretty good, has time to get it around because she is so small – very junior routine, becasue she’s a junior – double pike to finish.

Oooooh dear. We just had a wolf turn to straddle-the-beam from Butler. Another one bits the dust. That could be a hall of fame wolf turn. Solid double tuck dismount.

Love Birt, the only gymnast in the competition whose name is also the end of a letter, finishes with a double pike.

We’re done with two rotations now, and I’ve only gone slightly off the deep end on Twitter, so that’s cool.

After 2: Davis 27.700, Little 27.550, Wong 27.300, Moody 26.850, Fatta 26.800.

Fatta a pleasant surprise so far. Davis is doing quite well and going to beam, which is supposed to be her main event. Good day for WOGA so far. Also watch out for Shilese Jones, who is in 7th but hasn’t done vault yet and should be performing a DTY. McCallum also has done a DTY before and is not far behind Jones.

Big break from Lauren Little on our new best friend, the random side leap for an extra tenth, stays on the beam though. Solid loso series – another large break on aerial – side aerial – switch leap that may have been a switch ring but wasn’t – 2.5 dismount with a lunge – a struggle but she has scores from the first two pieces.

Big power from Jones on her DTY. A large lunge back but should still move her up in the standings because of the height and difficulty.

Wong om bars – good shap to pak, lovely legs – keeps rythm well through the shoot – clean jaeger – giant 1/2 – late giant full – floaty DLO. I love that she’s basically just doing her JO routine and is still like, “I’m going to beat all y’all.”

Robinson on beam – goes for a layout to two feet, pikes it down but stays on – was doing well saving her acro but falls on a front tuck.

Eaker follows Wong on bars – nice shap and pak and shap 1/2 – she’s basically the “one year later” version on Wong’s bars routine – not quite as clean, particularly in the DLO dismount, but should still get a good number. Upping the D from a number of the juniors we’ve seen so far.

Audrey Davis, the leader, on beam – 1.5 wolf turn and fairly precise with it – not going in the fall of fame – switch ring is iffy for credit, loso series – comfortable side aerial – onodi to split jump, oh how very WOGA of you. Because you’re from WOGA – some of these leaps have some serious knee issues but a very secure routine that will score well. Shouldn’t have to give up the lead with that.

Marshall on floor – DLO full! no big deal. Not bad either. GIANT DOS SANTOS, open like Kennedy Baker and stuck. So of course she has to put her hands down on her DLO. But still, she’s not shy about the difficulty and she can almost do most of it. Short on a triple 3/1 combination pass. But I’m ready to see this routine in like two years, and it will be brilliant.

Galentine’s Day is on beam now – does a side position straddle jump but it’s actually good. Well, the first time it was. The second one was not with a check.

Beard on floor now – strong full in and basically stuck landing, quite nice – Oh Kim, this is such a Geza Pozsar routine, have pity on the poor girl! – 2.5 with small stumble but otherwise good.

After 2.5 rotations, Audrey Davis is keeping her lead. Jones moved ahead of Wong on the strength of being on vault. Watch out for McCallum as well, moving up the standings with just vault left.

Fatta on bars now – efficient little worker, piked jaeger and a DLO dismount.

Bowers finishes floor with a fine 2.5.

Little Lilly Lippeatt who lives in a shoe under the vault got around a FTY.

Morgan Trevor on beam – probably not getting credit for that layout – Onodi (we’ve seen a little uptick in the number of Onodis, which had been going out of style for US gymnasts – WOGA would never allow that to happen) – two-phase switch ring – pulls around a double pike.

Butler on floor – opens with a double tuck – good “running away from the assassins through the scenic streets of an iconic Italian city” theme – very little difficulty, just going for a hit. LOVVVEEE her pretending that she didn’t land her last pass to her knees. MY CHOREOGRAPHY IS A KNEE WALK.

Power potential from Jordan on beam but a fall and a couple other major wobbles.

Smirnov – FX – double pike start – just pulls around some of her twisting elements, good shape but no height so she has to wrench them around – nice leap potential in this one, she gets that back leg up – 2.5.

Moody on beam – was ranking pretty high, struggling with these leaps, very strong front tuck – better on the simpler leaps, solid side aerial – 2/1 dismount with a hop back. I feel like WOGA still isn’t over the fact that not everyone is Alyssa Baumann so they keep giving everyone Alyssa Baumann routines.

JaFree Scott has good amplitude on a shap to pak combo but struggles in places on bars with rhythm, very close shoot to high – good jaeger and DLO though. Some pieces that should score well.

Hahn on beam – side aerial – nice basics, good split position on simpler split elements and extension on her loso series – tentative on skills as the routine goes, turns a full turn into a full turn to scale well to work out of a pause – lands a double tuck dismount in a literal ball but doesn’t fall.

After 3: Davis 41.800, Jones 40.700, Williams 40.400, Wong 40.200, Scanlon 39.550, Fatta 39.500, McCallum 39.500

DTY for Marshall.

We’re up with McClain on beam in the 4th rotation now. GIANT layout. Now that’s a two fotted layout on beam. Stumble but stays on. Side aerial siwth a check – typical junior switch 1/2 that they all have that’s a switch hop 1/2 but otherwise excellent – throws a tuck full as well, stays on! I’m most impressed by the amplitude, even in these leaps. She gets up there. OOOOOOH. Sits double pike dismount. Shame.

You know that thing where you falls and your coach turns away and hides behind the curtain in anger?

Anya Pilgrim went for her big 5.8 D on bars but peeled off on a shap for a fall. Huge Tkatchev, potential – just a double pike dismount and still got 5.8 D.

Fatta on beam – hits loso series – clean aerial to leaps – saves a side aerial that was a little short, covers well – stop doing switch 1/2s. Lands her double tuck dismount in triangle shape but lands it nonetheless.

Is that Gabby Gallentine with the chanting war cry floor music?

Sacanlon – UB – toe full (late) to a tkatchev – coached by a grizzled sea captain – fine bail, close on shoot – bars it not her high score, was pretty close to the top coming to this rotation – double pike dismount.

I’m dying of laughter at the turn in Brenna Neault’s floor music.

So looks like McClain didn’t get her qualifying score to nationals here with that fall on floor. Shame. My previous note about qualifying scores was inaccurate because I forgot you can’t get your qualifying score to nats at an elite qualifier. Only American/US Classic.

Audrey Davis struggled on floor for 11.950, while McCallum hit her DTY, which means McCallum has broken that 54 barrier with 54.150. Jones, Williams, and Wong still to come in second half of the rotation.

Front double tuck fron Carina Jordan on floor. And it was good! Hugely boundy out of some passes, though, but she has impressed with amplitude and power today. YIKERS. No punch on her layout out of her third pass, just gets her body around enough to back-flop it. And…final 3/1 to her hands and knees. That took a real turn toward the end.

Kho just showed a DLO full dismount on bars. Look at you!

Back day for Ellie Lazzari but she was fab on her fab DTY, high and nearly stuck it again.

Madelyn Williams on beam – wolf turn single is the way to wolf turn – pretty strong extension on her leaps – side position leap but not bad – clean aerial – side aerial as well, another who has really impressed today – loso series – switch to a NOTHING (switch 1/2 but come on) it’s a shame because the rest of her leaps are lovely, but that has no business in the routine.

Moody finishes floor with a 2/1, good.

Scott on beam – Arabian! Hits with a check – secure loso series – fakes a y spin – switch side, not bad extension there – check on side aerial – near stick on double tuck. She had a strong day.

Efficient twisting from Hahn on floor – 3/1 and a front tuck through to 2.5. Gets them around, which others haven’t so much today.

Jones on bars. Needs a 13.5 to take the lead. Nice high piked jaeger – OOOF way close on her pak and has to recast – caught it inside her abs – great height on shoot to high – sticks double tuck dismount.

Little – FX – strong double Arabian – not around on 3/1 – good split full, showed that 180 – 2.5 with a lunge – finishes double tuck

Leanne Wong has started beam at the same time – two loso series, small check, lovely extension – L turn with a balance check – aerial – more checks popping in – large break on side somi, looks like she just avoided grabbing the beam – 2/1 dismount hop back. Would have wanted a more secure routine but she impressed with her loveliness today.

That won’t get the score she needs, so that means in quite the upset it looks like it will be Grace McCallum leading after the non-national teamers go.

Sienna Robinson finishes up with floor – a full in to start, chest down but completed – nice switch leaps – very quick twisting in a Memmel turn – double tuck – 2.5 to front tuck with a surprise-bounce! out of her front tuck – 1.5 through to 2/1. Good. She’s one day old and one foot tall, but that routine is impressive.

1 – McCallum 54.150
2 – Davis – 53.750
3 – Eaker 53.600
4 – Jones – 53.450
5 – Williams – 53.300
6 – Wong – 53.200
7 – Marshall – 52.250
7 – Fatta – 52.250
7 – Lippeatt – 52.250
10 – Scott – 52.050

McCallum with the highest DTY score of the day, and was just clean and steady through beam and floor to take the current lead when most people had a mistake-event or low D somewhere. Another not really on the radar before who made an impression were Williams from San Mateo, who won bars and has the makings of being quite lovely on beam. In addition to Fatta as mentioned above.

Most of the later-competing juniors will view 54.150 as a child’s-play score, so we’ll see them jump into the lead, but I like the upended expectations that we saw from the juniors. That’s always fun.

Konnor McClain did not get her nationals score here or at American Classic. But she has also been to a couple camps and participated in ranch verification, from which you can also get a qualifying score. So perhaps…?

Sadness that Lazzari also had a really rough competition and did not get her score. The curse of the header picture.

Until a few hours from now!


10 thoughts on “U.S. Classic Junior Live Blog”

      1. I think someone said it’s because the owners last name is Nasti or something. But I agree, it’s such an unfortunate gym name lol

  1. Yeah Scott was impressive on floor but I feel like more dramatic/mature music will suit her much better.

    I’m also really enjoying this GAGE leotard fashion show and the fact that whoever is controlling the feed knows about the four way camera setup but won’t give it to us. 🙄

  2. Also…we’ve had old floor music from Iordache and Izbasa Now. Is this the “Romania in Memoriam” tribute session? Lol

  3. LEANNNEEEE WONNGGG MY QUEEN!!!!! Screw the judges for only giving her an 8.1 E score.

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