P&G Championships Preview – The Seniors

The seniors understand the importance of maintaining a little mystery. After Classic, we still have a number of routines we’re waiting to see and a couple questions that must be answered so that we can put together a presumptive worlds team heading into the selection camp portion of the season. Let’s get to it.

Note: I’ll be at nationals in the stands with the rest of the peasants (which means I won’t be live blogging).

The title

There were moments this year when it seemed the race for best female gymnast in the US might actually be up for grabs for the first time in a quad, but the upgrades and level of preparation Ragan Smith showed on bars and beam at Classic reflect a gymnast who is rising toward world-beating level. While her closest competitors are attempting to return from injury and simply maintain their previous levels, Smith is performing at a rung above.

We haven’t seen vault or floor from Smith since American Cup, but as long as she shows up with the same routines (or upgrades) and hits six or seven of her eight sets at nationals, she should be the national champion and should record the highest AA score in the world so far this year, a mark which currently sits at 57.225. Very doable.

The second AAer

Beyond Smith’s own ability, the other reason she’s currently a clear favorite to become national champion is the injury status of her closest competitors. They’re not at full strength right now, but that also means they should have an exciting race among themselves to see who gets the (potentially temporary) seat as the other member of the all-around oligarchy. Continue reading P&G Championships Preview – The Seniors