U.S. Classic Senior Live Blog

Here it is! The one before the one before the one before the one that matters. Or something like that. Anyway, it’s CLASSIC! It has been a long wait, but now the new crop is ready to show its wares.

Our rotation 1 start list (full start list to show rotation positions, including those who will skip those events):

P.S. negative 2 people are doing the all-around, so this thing is wide open for Abby Paulson to win.

Smith is just UB/BB, McCusker is on the list for everything but VT. Hurd is not doing UB. Thomas is UB/BB.

Locklear is just BB. Presumably she’s waiting to unveil her real difficulty for nationals, but she needs to do that.

Aly Raisman is so disappointed in everyone for not doing the AA. If she were here she would clean up.

Stream has started. We’re checking out warmy-uppies now. As they’re called.

I think we just got a glimpse of the Jade Carey Amanar in warmups if you were watching. I’d put it at Shawn Johnson on the Amanar scale.

And now we wait.

Introductifications now.
Interests: Opera with a Wisconsin accent.

Rotation 1 warmups are beginning. Random shot of Tim Daggett on mute. We’re all familiar with that.

They’ve really brought out the who’s-who for these judging panels.

Rotation 1:
Looks like we’re going to be starting with Abi Walker on vault. Texas Dreamers in rainbow sherbet and now I really want a popsicle.

Walker – VT – a fine full – gets some distance, not too much height and then a hop.

Kenlin on bars hits her shap 1/2, toe 1/2 to double front half out witha  bit of a stumble forward.

Paulson on floor, also in rainbow sherbet – secure piked full in, chest down but won’t give away too much – not really around on 3/1 but closer than most of the juniors – doing what she has done this year so far – 1.5 to full – secure and solid hit, as we expect.

Okeefe – UB – shap to pak, toe on to shap to Ricna all secure and then struggles on her cast handstand and has to recast – piked jaeger – double arabian dismount with a step. The recast will destroy the score, but overall the strong pieces are there and she’s so far ahead of the game that it may not hurt her too too much.

Our first look at Laney Madsen, going on floor – whip to strong double arabian – stumbles on her full in second pass, hands down – 1.5 through to an underrotated 3/1 that will get 2.5 credit – nice scorpion turn – solid double tuck.

Second half of Lee’s bars – we saw the piked jaeger – and the tucked full dismount with a hop.

Jade Carey first vault is her Kas 1/1 – hop on landing, a little chest down, gets rather piked in the second salto, but since the piked version isn’t a vault, she’ll get layout credit and then deducted for shape.

Carey’s second vault, going for the Amanar – stumble to the side but got it around and kept it to her feet.

Interesting because she hit both vaults, but they’re not the cleanest and there are deductions to be taken that might not make them worth as much as it might immediately seem. Still, it’s a Kas 1/1 and an Amanar, and that goes a long way.

Shania Adams is TALL now by the way. Struggles to get some of those passes around.

Also, Olivia Dunne is 915 feet tall now also – shaposh is clean – hits jaeger and tkatchev, a little floppy in tuck full – not a huge difficulty set, but she hit it well and she can do 54s or a 55 if she does that through four pieces.

Blanco on floor – solid double pike, reasonable – 2.5 with a large lunge forward – switch half and split jump that was a struggle –

McCusker – UB – stalder full, a little late – toe shap to tkatchev, hit – tucked stalder tkatchev – well that’s new – got through it – catches Shap 1/2 – solid dismount – got through with a hit – only the one significant error inventing the tucked tkatchev, but for how few routines she has had, I’ll take it.

Gaskins – BB – candle mount – good loso series – switch ring attempt is a no – check on punch front with a major lean – the leaps just aren’t there right now – large break on side aerial, just stays on – switch leap is fine – secure, chest down double tuck.

McCusker’s bars score is taking a while because they’re like, what was that skill? 13.450

Chiles – UB – hits a shap 1/2, really struggles on the next hs – piked jaeger – tkatchev to bail to shoot like it’s 2012 – hits gienger – good tuck full, small step. Gets through her weakness with a hit.

This is the only event still going, so we’re waiting on the Chiles score before Frazier can go, the last of the group.

13.600 for Chiles.

Frazier – UB – stalder full – toe shap 1/2, catches – stalder 1/2 to piked jaeger is comfortable and quick – church to pak with legs but hit – shap to tkatchev is hit – DLO stuck – very good set.

So…the vaulters Shchennikova and Carey have the highest scores with 14.350 so far. Carey isn’t doing AA, which means Shchennikova leads the AA for now. Soza is 13.9. Frazier is next with 13.750 on bars, though she’s also not AA. So actually next is 13.600 from Chiles and Kalyany Steele.

Rotation 2:

Madsen – VT – round off 1/2 on back pike! Fun!

Clapper – FX – piked full in to start – Scott is going to get in a little trouble for going to Clapper on floor instead of O’Keefe on beam – deep double arabian, still tries to connect it into a stag just cuz – short double tuck –

SJS with a high clean full on vault. She can do a DTY. She’ll have to petition to nationals.

Soza hits her Yezhova on bars – short on some handstands but so good in the toes – DLO 1/1 dismount with a step but does a pretty good job staying laid out.

Malabuyo – UB – inbar 1/2 to forward stalder 1/2 – stalder shap to pak (lovely) – stalder shap 1/2 with just a bit of legs – full to tkatchev – deep tuck full but secure. She has stepped up this routine to something more competitive.

Sunisa Lee – BB – works through the double wolf pretty well -aerial to split to straddle is pretty good – layout series is a little whippy but secure – she’s one of the VERY few allowed to do a switch 1/2 on beam – side aerial loso loso is great – this is in a different world from Gymnix – not wild about these split ring elements – low double tuck with a step.

Thomas – UB – weiler 1/2 to toe shap to clear hip 1/1 to HUGE tkatchev, just catches and connects into pak – on the verge of being out of control but nice – shap 1/2 – strong DLO. Good routine.

Senior elites get penalized two tenths for doing FTYs because ADDRESS YOUR LIFE, which is why you see those all starting from 4.4.

Dunne – BB – exccelent extension in loso series just a check

Steele – FX – crunches down to land her DLO but solid height – stumble on 2.5 dismount.

Shchennikova UB – inbar 1/1, nice connected to shap to tkatchev – good hs – Ricna to pak to stalder shap 1/2, very strong – stalder 1/2 – very deep DLO landing, shades of Polina, but she pulled it out. Should be a strong score.


Mccusker – BB – pulls around her wolf triple, same with the wolf double but MY GOD MY EYES – check on aerial, no connection into switch and straddle – check on loso series – switch to switch 1/2 to back tuck, fine until another check on the back tuck – check on side aerial – they’re all small errors, but they’re errors on everything – great form on switch ring, one of the best – deep crunch down on double tuck dismount and sits it.

It’s a 14.500 for Shchennikova with a 6.2 D.

Smith UB – inabr to innbr 1/2 to toe 1/2 to jaeger – good – Downie is strong – Ricna to pak is hit, some legs – 1/2 turn on low to shoot – high tuck full with a step to the side. Correct. Good.

Chiles – BB – oh dear that wolf turn – well, she stayed on, that’s something – but it was one of those wolf to standing position – and falls on her loso series. Oh Jordan. We already know this tale well. solid side aerial – switch to pause to split leap full attempt with a large check – side somi check – secure front tuck, a little deep – double pike step back. 11.650. Yikers.

Morgan Hurd waiting for her turn on beam now –

Hurd – BB – her toes are majestic – large break on tuck full, just avoids grabbing the beam – loso series, secure – aerial to split to straddle – high front tuck with a hop forward – check on full turn – switch ring is actually quite nice – good double pike with a small hop. Rather nice after the early error.

It’s 14.550 for Smith on bars, ahead of Shchennikova. If Smith keeps barsing like that, it changes the whole UB scenario for worlds, potentially.

Kenlin finishing up on beam in this rotation – that switch to switch 1/2 to back tuck combo all the juniors are doing – hers is not too troubling – split half from side – aerial to split to sissone – layout series, secure – good L turn, strong – double pike, solid, chest down.

O’Keefe is having a TIME in this meet, so the juniors are all about Malabuyo right now. Shchennikova holds onto a huge lead int he senior competition. But she has done her good scores now, so there will be time for, like, Bea Arthur to come pass her or something.

Rotation 3:

Esparz just through out a DTY, chest down.

Dunne is on FX with a DLO and a piked full in, OOB on the DLO – front tuck through to double tuck – double pike, a little crunchy, normal routine.

Big full from Gaskins on vault.

Thomas had a nice one-armed bhs to loso on beam.

McCusker – FX – full in, good – front double full to the most hilarious side punch front tuck, well, she executed a skill? Good save. That’s also going on the highlight reel, awesome – double pike lunge forward – sticks double tuck.

Was that Blanco who just dismounted bars with a Nastia?

Shchennikova – BB – also negative one million points for the triple wolf to double wolf combo – aerial to split to sissone, good – larger check on her two loso series – that switch ring attempt was nothing – check on onodi – side aerial, good – side somi, small lean – cannonballs a double tuck dismount and sits it down.

Chiles – FX – DLO with a bounce back, good power – squatty Dos Santos, JUST saves it from going OOB, tries to wrench around some complicated split leaps – 1.5 through to double tuck, a little low. Pulls around final double pike.

Paulson – UB – (looked like Carey was hitting a bit of BB in the background – Chow to pak to stadler – toe shap 1/2 – toe on to piked jaeger, good – double front with a lunge forward, but another hit for her.

12.900 for Chiles on FX. Now what she needed.

Hurd – FX – good high double double, small hop back – really enjoy how she lands the piked full in in time with the lightning crack – a little short on double pike, lunge forward.

Smith – BB – hits her wolf turn – good and solid on the layout series – secure on back tuck full – front pike is comfortable – lean on the first side jump, second is better – double pike dismount, stuck. Girl was on today. Scores 78,000.

O’Keefe started rough today but mostly pulls it together for floor, starts with adouble arabian, a little short but saves with a step back – double tuck is fine – very strong leap shapes, which can undo some of tumbling trouble – double pike, good.

Walker – BB – nearly channeling Kristie Phillips on mount – double wolf, just a little hesitation – large break on loso series but saves it – switch to switch 1/2, switch 1/2 like all the juniors – side aeiral – straddle 1/2 from side, lean forward – 2/1 dismount, lunge forward.

Deanne Soza is randomly almost winning this meet? So her beam routine is starting to become important. (Not really but maybe second?) Great front tuck to straddle jump =- high layout stepout series, lovely and extended – check on aerial, saves it – hits side aerial – L turn to illusion turn with a large leg-up wobble – her leaps are exceptional – crunched down double pike but hit.

So, uh, hey? After three rotations, Shchennikova is still kind of destroying everyone, even with a fall on beam. She’s a full point ahead of Soza in second. Gaskins is third. Steele is 4th and somewhat surprisingly Paulson is 5th. I thought Paulson was going to rake it in in this one by being consistent, but she didn’t get the floor she needed.

We’ll get to see Chiles on vault and Perea on bars in this rotation, in addition to the fight to the finish on floor.

Rotation 4:

Chiles – VT – lands her Amanar! Crossover step, but she got it around and hit.

Shchennikova – FX – solid piked full in, small shuffle – 1.5 to front full, fine, another little hop – switch ring and switch side look nice – double pike – hits double pike – a fairly simple routine by elite standards, but that will do.

Steele hit a shap to ricna on bars – toe shap 1/2 – piked jaeger – she’s having quite the solid little meet – rough DLO with a pike down and a lunge forward.

Dunne hits a DTY with a hop back.

Gaskins – UB – pauses in a toe full but keeps it going – shap work – Ricna – not a lot of CV here but hitting what she needs to – DLO with hop back.

Carey – FX – awesome double double tuck, chest way up, very strong – DLO 1/1 – DAYUM – double L turn – switch full, good split positions as well – front 2/1, small step – just struggles a little with that final tuck full with a lunge forward, but GIRL CAN TUMBLE.

So yeah. That happened. Kind of a lot.

Shchennikova will win with a 54.950, though Malabuyo should beat everyone with a hit floor.

Nice DLO from Walker on floor.

Perea – UB – inbar 1/1 to toe shap to ricna, good but breaks connection here – pak to toe shap is very clean – inbar 1/2 to jaeger piked, comfortable – doesn’t dismount, just a Nastia.

Locklear – BB – oh yeah she’s here – triple and double wolf – clean legs through loso series – split leap full, almost gets it around – front tuck to straddle, nice – side somi – side aerial to switch to switch 1/2 – was a very good routine until hands down on double tuck dismount.

Soza FX – just tumbles a layout as her first pass. May have been intended? Front full to front tuck second pass – switch ring – lovely split positions – L turn to illusion turn – probably just throwing in floor so she can try to get her AA score for nats – short on double tuck but landed it – have I mentioned that her leaps are a dream? – Hits doubel pike as well.

Oakley finishes beam with a medium stumble back on a double tuck.

Malabuyo FX – good DLO – front double full to front tuck, a little sloppy in the 2/1 but comfortably completed – big full in – mostly strong leaps – a little short on double tuck with a pace forward – living for the hand-walking at the end of the routine –

Second half of Paulson’s beam – she’s going smoothly – rough switch ring , pulls out of it – 2.5 dismount with step to the side.

Paulson’s 13.500 on beam is enough to put her into second.

Madsen – BB – bhs tuck full with a fall – well, she went for it – barani, and another fall – split and sissone may not get combo credit – scorpion turns are her jam – now goes for a piked barani – fall again – neither have been close – side aerial is good – 4th fall on switch 1/2 – 2.5 dismount crossover step.

So, uh, yes. This meet. That happened.

  1. Shchennikova 54.950
  2. Paulson 53.100
  3. Steele, Blanco 52.900

Chiles in 5th with 52.850. She could have won this thing.

Classic means nothing, but it sure is ridiculous fun. Oh, falling on beam dismounts.

Malabuyo won juniors with 56.750. So basically, she owned everybody.

Also, how did Gabby Perea still win bars for juniors? And almost seniors? Well, she had to count an A, but she doesn’t lose CR anymore, so her routine is still pretty difficult.

59 thoughts on “U.S. Classic Senior Live Blog”

      1. She was in a cast (wrist) and on crutches like 3.5 weeks ago. There is reason to be concerned.

      2. Anon, did you see or hear about her podium training? Did you hear her say she is not prepared? NOT SAFE.

  1. I’m side-eyeing Maggie Haney so hard right now…there are zero reasons why Riley needs to be at this meet. ZERO. She really has nothing to prove before Championships…..

    1. Wasn’t that AMAZING?!?! I hope it’s for real, i.e. It wasn’t just NBC thinking they don’t need him for this smaller meet & that he will be back for Nationals. We don’t need or want him NBC!!! Plus it doesn’t seem like he wants the gig either, besides for the money & getting some of his bitchiness out! Haha 😂 😜

  2. On the Olympic channel online steam it didn’t go to commercial for a while and they were takin about their competition notes and it was awesome

    1. would you be willing to share your username and password to oliviastar16@gmail.com? I’ll only use it to watch this and never use it again, and I won’t change the password. Even if I wanted to change the password you would get an email notification giving you the option to change it back or to another password. Much appreciated.

  3. how do i find the gymnastics olympic channel stream online? the live tv on the olympic channel website is a track meet :/

  4. Yah any info on the olympic channel online stream would be much appreciated omg

  5. olympic channel is only available to certain cable tv providers which kinda sucks.


  7. If you have Hulu you can switch your subscription to include live tv (there’s a one week free trial) and then when you go to the Olympic channel you can sign in with your Hulu subscription 😊

  8. Woah did you see how Marz’s right hand fully slipped on that pak! Can’t believe she was able to keep swinging.

  9. I feel so bad for Riley – feels likes she’s unprepared and setting herself up for disappointment and frustration. I get wanting experience – but not if it’s just bad experience and missing routines.

  10. damn riley got pounded hard with that UB score. I don’t know why, but I kind of liked her tucked “tkatchev”.

    1. Hahahaha ditto! Took me by surprise for sure, & I’m also really wondering what caused her to do that…

  11. The wolf turns need too stop! Too many of them. I mean, is it a required skill now?

    1. Right?!? It’s not the only high valued turn.
      The worst was Shennikova’s triple – double on floor. I just can’t.

  12. Maybe Riley should submit her “tucked stalder tkatchev” as a new skill if she ended up going to Worlds, kind of like how Simone used to do with Weiller Kip 1/1. At least she’d get counted for a D skill and have it named after her…

  13. Did they skip showing Locklear’s bars? Based on rotations she should have been on bars during rotation 3…

  14. I swear everytime Cheryl Hamilton is on the judging panel there are so many judging delays.

    1. She is sick (pneumonia) so I think she is planning to petition to nationals. She needed to do at least one routine though, and a FTY was probably the easiest to get through.

  15. I swear Abi Walker’s floor music cut actually has some of Kim Zmeskal’s 1989 music mixed in.

  16. I must say I really enjoyed the “tucked stalder tkatchev”, she should name it after her at worlds and then everyone can go on and call it the “tuckchev”, and I’ll be happy 🙂

    I guess it’s about the tucked shape that is so pleasing to see, because there are so little skills in tucked position on UB except dismounts 😀

    1. There’s a tucked Jaeger skill so I see no reason to not have the tuckchev.

  17. What I learned from the olympic channel broadcast: Tim is obsessed with the fact that Morgan Hurd is adopted from China, so much so that he apparently brings this up with her?! (why??). And when asked what he is most proud of, Valeri was essentially like – “Do you see my juniors? They are crushing this field.” So Valeri is basically licking his chops for Perea/O’Keefe/Malabuyo and friends to come of age. Can’t really blame him. Also, broadcasts are so so so so much better without Al.

    1. What I learned from the broadcast is that apparently neither John nor Tim can pronounce Alyona. I kept screaming at the TV that her name is not Alonya, you dumbasses and was waiting for Nastia to pronounce it correctly. Also, if you ask me, the only two spots that are locked up for the world team are Smith and Carey – the other two are up for grabs at Nationals. (Now that said, I’ll freely admit that I would have been saying Simone’s spot on the world team wasn’t guaranteed after classics 2013 so take this with a grain of salt.)

  18. I thought Riley did a pretty good job considering she is just putting together full routines this week. I feel like she knew she wasn’t going to be great and just wanted to “get back on the horse” . Other girls have put up far worse performances at Classics over the years and didn’t have injury for excuse.

    Jordan….I don’t know. Maybe this won’t happen.

    I thought Thomas looked good. If she comes to Nats with a DTY (or another acceptable vault) and her normal floor(maybe upgrades), watch out.

    I feel like we aren’t talking enough about Jade Carey. This is epic. Girl came out of nowhere with DTT, Amanar, and HUGE tumbling. It is completely possible she medals on both at Worlds. Crazy.

    Worlds team as of now feels the same to me. as it did before the meet. Ragan and McCusker AA, Scchennikova/Ashton-dependent on Ashton (bars and I guess beam) and Carey vt/fx. Though if another strong AAer came through (paging Hurd, THomas, Chiles, anyone). A team of Ragan, another AAer, McCusker(beam,bars) and Carey(vt, fx) would bring home a lot of hardware too.

    1. Yeah, Jordan, Hurd and Soza are breaking my heart. I so badly want to see all of them perform to their potential.

  19. Thoughts:

    Tim, at the end of the meet, basically saying Shennikova solidified her spot on the US B team with her win here. lol

    Did they not televise a single routine of Emma Malabuyo’s? She only had the highest score of any junior or senior. Sheesh. I don’t even think they mentioned her name.

    How many Kim Zmeskal tributes can they come up with? In this meet alone – Abi Walker’s beam mount and someone’s floor music (Malabuyo’s, I think). I’ve had enough of it. I love KZB, but I feel like it’s time for her to allow her gymnasts to be unique unto themselves, and not constant throwbacks to her glory days.
    That said, I actually really like Deanne Soza’s floor.
    And while I”m on the TD topic, it’s time to give Regan Smith more mature choreography. She has totally outgrown the cutsie in my eyes. Especially as people are calling her a veteran, maybe she shouldn’t be presenting as an eight year old?

    I agree about Jade Carey. The next Kayla Williams. Vault medal and off to Bama for you!!

    Jeff Graba is Sunisa Lee’s coach?? Cool to see the Auburn head coach with such a phenomenal elite athlete. Not that Tim, John, or Nastia thought to mention it.

    Watching this meet, I notice how many athletes are in the mix but just won’t make it on that A team. I hope to see many of them transition to NCAA while they are healthy rather than staying around for the whole quad. This crop of upcoming juniors are amazing and are going to make the current seniors obsolete, whereas they can shine in NCAA and make a huge difference for their teams.

    1. Wait, Jeff Graba is really coaching Sunisa Lee?! How would that work?

      1. “It’s his twin brother Jess.”

        Thanks for clarifying. From what I saw of him, it could have been Jeff. What parents name their twins Jeff and Jess?

    2. Ragan has new music, from Puss N Boots. Not sure which specific song. She said it was less cutesy and more sassy

  20. Oh, and I’m mad at whoever decided Riley should compete in this one. They kept saying it was good experience to get out in front of the judges, but I can’t see how putting an unprepared athlete on the podium to attempt full difficulty, setting her up for falls and big mistakes, can help her confidence. Maybe if they watered down her routines to what is appropriate for her at this point in her recovery from injury, but her performance was unsafe and I can’t imagine how it was anything other than detrimental to her confidence. I feel bad for her, her coaches are not doing right by her.

  21. How many “conflict of interest” judges were there at the meet (judges judging gymnasts they coach at their home gyms or will coach one day in NCAA)?

    I for sure know of two, but I’m pretty sure there were more that I’m forgetting or didn’t even put the connection together…
    1. Anna Li (coaches & judged Gabby Perea)
    2. Jenny Rowland (NCAA Gators coach who will presumably be the coach of several in the near future: Riley & Sydney, just two off the top of my head)

    When will something be done about this? There are most certainly enough judges in this country to not have this happen… & if I’m wrong about that then USAG needs to be proactive in recruiting more judges & helping them move up the judging ranks!

    1. Just an FYI almost all the judges are coaches and many at high level (judging isn’t a full time job so this isn’t something that’s gonna change) Since you have to be invited by USAG to attend a brevet judge course many of them are notable people in the gym world. It’s not just Jenny Rowland and Anna Li. Several other college coaches and others from elite teams. ( like at trials slvyia breystan was a judge).

      PS since Anna Li isn’t listed as one of Gabby’s official coaches (her parents are, though I know Anna straight helps coach her bars) so on paper it isn’t a conflict of interest, which helps for you know, appearances.

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