Selection Camp – Live Blog

This is some new territory. A live stream of selection. Nowhere to hide now. If you make a BS, insane selection for the worlds team, we’re going to know about it, selection committee.

To review, nine gymnasts will compete today:

Simone Biles
Morgan Hurd
Riley McCusker
Grace McCallum
Kara Eaker
Jordan Chiles
Shilese Jones
Ragan Smith
Alyona Shchennikova

The first five comprise the nominative team, and the remaining four have to do something today to change minds.

BILES 16.000 14.750 13.850 15.100 59.700
HURD 14.500 14.300 13.550 12.900 55.250
MCCUSKER 14.350 14.950 14.100 13.850 57.250
MCCALLUM 14.500 12.950 13.650 14.300 55.400
EAKER 13.950 12.350 15.150 13.550 55.000
CHILES 14.700 13.600 13.200 13.200 54.700
JONES 14.750 13.850 12.650 12.800 54.050
SMITH 14.600 12.850 13.950 13.650 55.050
SHCHENNIKOVA 13.900 14.600 12.900 11.950 53.350


We’ve already seen Aimee Boorman on the side of the stream, so it’s all going to be OK.


We’re beginning the floor-circles-running portion.

Yes, we’re just watching Riley McCusker leading a game of follow-the-leader on floor for MINUTES AND MINUTES. #NoRegrets

The current drama is why we’re only seeing five people warm up on the floor instead of everyone. If we’re only going to see these five do routines, there will be…angers.

Someone has an iPhone timer going off and I’m pretty sure it’s time to…switch your laundry? That’s what it would be for me…

Our warmup five have moved on to Morgan Hurd holding a handstand on beam for a casual 80 hours. The other lazies are still just sitting there.

Simone just shouted to us that they’re marching in. So I guess they’re marching in.

I really want Simone to just shout what’s happening throughout the competition to keep us apprised of the format and whatnot.

Uncontrollable laughter during national anthem – my usual.


We’re starting to warmup on bars! (Where the US will start in qualification at worlds)

The first flight is Biles, Hurd, McCusker, Jones, and Shchennikova.

We’ve seen McCusker miss a few tkatchevs in a row in warmup.


Simone just did a fantastic full routine which made me think we had started for a second, but it was just casual Simone warmup things.

Looks like Shchennikova is back to the DLO dismount for bars. It has seemed like a terrifying situation either way.

For real now!

McCusker – UB – stalder full to toe Shap, nice and high, connected to tkatchev – Ricna, hit, connected to Pak to SHap 1/2 – toe on – nearly holds the stick on dismount with a small hop. Nice hit after the misses in warmup. Looked a little tight in places, especially some handstands at the beginning, probably some nerves – but a good routine.  Just did catch that Ricna that was giving her trouble. 14.950

Jones – UB – stalder full, small arch pulls it back – Shap to Pak, good – SHap 1/2 is good – toe 1/2, nice vertical, connected to big piked jaeger – FTDT, small step back. This has become her second-best event lately, and she got through her routine well. No serious issues after that small arch at the beginning. 13.800.

Biles – UB – Weiler 1/2 to Shap to tkatchev, hit – toe full to piked tkatchev to pak, good, rushed the toe full but worked it out – hit Shap 1/2, a litlte ragged – short final cast handstand – basically sticks her double double dismount. Good routine again. Her warmup set was a little crisper, but they were both strong. 14.750.

Shchennikova – UB – inbar full to inbar Shap to tkatchev, strong – Ricna to Pak to Stalder Shap 1/2, excellent – DLO, pulled it around with the usual pike down, medium hop forward. Great on the bars themselves. Everyone is bringing it so far. 14.600

Hurd – UB – inbar SHap to stalder full to tkatchev, hit – Ricna to Pak, clean – stalder shoot – a short hs in here – inbar 1/2 – inbar full a little late, FTDT, stuck. Everyone is nailing it so far. Some verticals for Hurd that will probably take the E down a little, but nice overall. 14,300.

That 14.300 for Hurd could be significant. Shchennikova beat her 0.3

Warming up the second flight now. I’ve added a scores table to the top of the post for quick glance results.

Chiles – UB – toe full to Toe Shap to bail to shoot, bail was fairly short of handstand – nice piked jaeger – tkatchev to gienger, got it, fingertips on that tkatchev – FTDT, deep with a little hop back to hold the landing. A hit. 13.600.

Eaker – UB – Toe Shap to clear hip to Ray, falls on Ray. The first miss of the competition. Won’t be too significant for Eaker’s chances as she doesn’t make teams for bars. Resumes with Pak, toe Shap 1/2 with a little legs – clear hip 1/1 – toe 1/2 – nice tight shape on piked jaeger, pretty – DLO, whippy with a small hop back. The rest was good. 12.350.

McCallum – UB – Weiler 1/2 with some legs to Stalder Shap to tkatchev, hit – Pak to Stalder SHap 1/2, huge leg break on the Pak and was off on that series from the start, couldn’t catch the Shap 1/2 and falls, flying forward horrifyingly – toe on – toe full, a little late – FTDT with step forward. 12.950.

That’s interesting. She doesn’t necessarily make teams for bars either, but she has been filling that “consistent all-arounder, reliable hit, good score anywhere!” character.

Smith – UB – inbar – inbar full, a little late – inbar 1/2 to jaeger, hit – Piked Ricna, takes it one thousand miles away from the bar and falls. Very reminiscent of nationals. Ricna to Pak, hit – stalder shoot – FTDT, easy and high, small hop. Didn’t change the nationals narrative with that one. 12.850.

The first flight of the bars rotation was excellent. The second half was…not.

On to the beam warmup!

Now Aimee has to move the judges table over to beam so that we can compete there…


Jones – BB – split to straddle jump – L turn – huge Arabian with a large break, saves it well but a major wobble – bhs loso series, small slide correction – hits side aerial – Side jump 1/2, OK – front tuck, small step – side straddle jump 1/2, hit, small lean – switch 1/2, not quite there leap wise – double tuck dismoumt, solid, step. A hit. One major, major wobble, small checks on most things. 12.650.

Biles – BB – wolf triple, hit – sissone to wolf, solid – barani, secure – bhs loso loso, no trouble – switch to switch 1/2 to back pike, all good skills, borderline connection credit – front pike, small adjustment – aerial to split to straddle, connected – oooooof, hand down on her full in dismount. Not significant for her, but very unexpected. She was as high as she usually is it appeared, just misjudged. We definitely don’t expect Simone to struggle on that dismount. Everything else was nailed. 13.850

Shchennikova – BB – jusssst pulls around a wolf double. Does wolf triple afterward that is very smooth – bhs loso loso, good – aerial, hit, breaks combo into split sissone – Onodi, pretty, secure – side aerial, smooth – switch – side somi with a lean correction but holds it – double tuck, a bit of a struggle with two lunges backward, stayed on her feet. 12.900.

Hurd – BB – check on back full but hit it – side aerial, major lean correction – bhs loso, lovely – aerial, pause before split to straddle, good elements but broke connection – switch – side jump 1/2, small lean – full turn – switch ring, very nice – double pike, small hop forward. Worked it out well after the early moments but did have some balance corrections she didn’t want in there. 13.550.

OMG we’re moving the judges tables again??

McCusker – BB – wolf triple, solid – wolf double, also secure, some arms at the end – aerial to split, check, nice split position – bhs loso loso, large leg-up break. switch to switch 1/2, small check, a little tentative on swithc 1/2 – side aerial, hit – bhs bhs double tuck with lunge back. They’re pretty much all making significant errors in these beam routines. 14.100

Warming up the second flight now. Not the best beam work we’ve seen so far. Some critical routines in this second group with an opportunity to make cases because of some weak showings from the main people in the first group.

Smith struggling on this warmup routine. A couple falls.

Eaker – BB – lovely switch split mount – the first ring is the position she struggles with the most, and she did here – Y spin, excellent – aerial to split ring jump to bhs, works immediately out of it – side aerial loso loso, absolutely nailed – split leap to side somi, hit – switch ring to bhs – switch 1/2 to Korbut – this is really excellent work – switch to switch 1/2, very high – 2.5 dismount, bounce forward. Applause.

Long wait on her score. Probably deciding whether to try to be like worlds or just CRACK IT.

15.150 for Eaker. The score is domestic crack, but it was also soooooo good.

McCallum – BB – back dive handstand mount, hit – very smooth wolf triple and wolf double, she has some of the best ones – side jump 1/2, secure – side aerial, loso, hit, some feet – deep landing on punch front but pulled it out – switch to aerial to split jump, hit – sissone to full turn – double tuck, nearly Simone-ed it with a large lunge forward but didn’t put her hand down. 13.650

Smith – BB – wolf triple, a little whirly but hit – layout series, check and lean to the side – back full, hit – aerial to split to straddle, nice – punch front, hit – straddle side 1/2, big lean – side straigth jump 1/1, hit – double pike, a little short with a step forward. 13.950.

Chiles – BB – L turn, questionable at the beginning – full turn – bhs loso loso, nice lift into that first loso – aerial to split to straddle, a little tight on those jumps – side aerial to switch to switch 1/2, short of position on switch 1/2 – side somi, high – punch front, deep with a little hop forward – double pike, lunge back. She got through both bars and beam. A big deal for her. 13.200

Looks like Smith has gone top 3 on beam. Not a great start for Hurd. Not top 3 on either bars or beam.


Biles – FX – Double double layout, just a small hop, great shape – Biles to stag, nailed – switch – Gogean, good, Laurent likes  – full in combo, bounce back, possible OOB but unclear whether anyone is even watching for that? No hand from the judges or anything. There are no rules in this house – double double, a little bounce back. We may have had yet another OOB issue but otherwise excellent. 15.100. That’s…her highest floor score of the year. Highest floor score of the quad.

Shchennikova – FX – front lay to double front and sits it – front double full to front tuck with lunge – switch 1/2 – 1.5 to front full, hop – jussssst scoots around a wolf triple hilariously, in slow motion at the end – wolf double was more like a 1.5 – double pike, OOB. A struggle. 11.950

Hurd – FX – double double tuck, short with a large lunge – DLO, bounce OOB with both feet – switch ring lovely – split leap 1.5, a little bouncy – front lay to front 1/1 – split ring leap 1/1 – split jump 1/1 – double pike, a little crunched with a small hop to the side. Another hit but still not her best day happening. 12.900. OOOFFF.

We just had three routines and now warmups. Looks like McCusker is warming up with the other group now?

McCusker – FX – piked full in, a little stagger legs apart but solid – split leap 1/1 – front 2/1 to front tuck to leap, crazy legs on that front 2/1 – wolf triple – double pike, bounce back, looks like she just stayed in – nice position on leaps, a little hoppy on landing – double tuck, short with a lunge forward. Fine set. For McCusker, she shouldn’t be called upon to do vault and floor in a TF, so these routines are about making sure they’re good enough that she gets a spot in qualification and can get herself into an AA final. 13.850.

Well, maybe they’ll need to use that floor routine after all…

To me, the big development so far is that Morgan Hurd’s scores haven’t really been there. Does she have enough built up excellence so that it doesn’t matter so much for her? That was my position coming in…

Jones – FX – competing after all, must have just been hiding – huge double double tuch, bouncy back out of it – double arabian, solid, hop forward – L turn double, mostly nearly around – split leap full is short – L hop full – switch full attempt that probably shouldn’t get credit – full in, floats down into it, steps OOB – now they have Terin on Arm, so we know who actually went OOB – double tuck, small hop forward. She makes these elements look so easy but did have some landing problems. 12.800.

McCallum – FX – double double tuck, a little deep but not a large hop to the side – front lay front 2/1 front tuck, good – wolf…of indeterminate amount – switch ring – switch 1/2, good – 3/1, a little short with hop – split leap 1/1 – double tuck, comfortable. 14.300

Smith – FX – DLO, step back, couldn’t tell OOB from our angle – 1.5 through to 3/1, short of rotation and inches it around – split leap 1.5, gets the turn around with a staggered landing position – double arabian, lunge forward out of bounds – wolf 2.5 – double pike, stuck. Well, her ankle remained intact, but I’m not sure she did enough there to change the outlook. 13.650.

The thing is, though, she beat Hurd on both beam and floor…

Also, some of these floor scores…

Chiles – FX – 1.5 through to double arabian, step back, nice position on the skill – piekd double arabian, lunge forward, kept it in bounds – switch ring and split leap 1.5 are improved – DLO, stuck but landed entirely OOB – insane switch 1/1 that wasn’t very close to split – Popa is good – double pike, stuck. Shame about that DLO because the landing was awesome, just…in the wrong place. 13.200

If I hear the beginning of Eaker’s floor music one more time, I’m going to scream.

Eaker – FX – 2.5 to front full, lovely twisting, steps OOB – front lay to front 2/1 to stag, perfect – double Y to full turn – 3/1, a little under – nice leaps of course – really late initiation of turn on split leap 1/1, and I like it – double pike, pretty deep. Worked it out.

On to vault warmups.

OH. HEY. Simone just warmed up a round off 1/2 on, front 2/1. In case you wanted to wake up.


Shchennikova – VT – DTY is well short with a large lunge forward. She did her job on bars today but had issues on the other three pieces. 13.900

Hurd – VT – DTY, pretty good, step back, no real issues there. 14.500

McCusker – VT – DTY – struggles a little to control the landing on these mats with some hops to the side, some legs in the air, overall solid as well. 14.350

Jones – VT – insanely gigantic DTY, super far, a couple steps back. 14.750

Biles – VT – ro 1/2 on, front 2/1 – a new vault – oh come on. She pretty much just stuck that thing. That was basically perfect. You’re not real.

6.4 D, 9.600 E – 16.000.

Smith – VT – very secure landing on DTY, good control, usual Paseka legs on the block.

The best argument for Smith right now is that she finished just 0.200 behind Hurd, with a fall on bars, and outscored her on the other three pieces.

Chiles – VT – DTY, Drag. I mean, it’s a good one, just a small step back. But she would have needed an Amanar.

Eaker – VT – Y 1.5, small hop forward, tucks those knees a little at the end.

McCallum – VT – very secure DTY, basically stuck. She doesn’t have the distance, but the vault is very comfortable for her.

So that’s that. Do we think anything happened today to disrupt the nominative team? I’m not sold that it did. Shchennikova got her good bars score. Smith made some progress and made a pretty good case for alternate by placing 5th AA here, but…

But…everyone placed in the top 3 on at least one event except Morgan Hurd…

I don’t think this changes Hurd’s status, but the highest-scoring team of five in a TF scenario based only on today wouldn’t include Hurd. It would include Shchennikova in place of her to provide a bars score. So that’s something. I guess. I’m not counting on that happening, but it is interesting.

Chiles needed the Amanar to make her case, and Jones was kind of similar, with a similar score on vault. Both nice alternate possibilities, but I don’t see where they’d add to the team in a TF. Shchennikova keeps herself in the mix with bars, but in real life I don’t think her bars routine is consistent enough (or consistently better than Hurd’s) to actually take her. Smith…closer but…just get fully healthy. McCusker beating her on floor doesn’t help her case too much.

So, that’s why I’m back at our nominative roster based on what we saw today.

The questions that still linger: We’re all in love with Eaker’s beam, but 15+? That doesn’t seem realistic at worlds, so there’s still the concern over making decisions based on unrealistic scores. Floor? McCusker was top three, but also her fragile bird limbs. You really want a Hurd score there. Vault? Simone’s upgrade is the equivalent of a second Amanar, so they’ll be fine with her and two acceptable DTYs, of which there are many choices, but the non-Simone vault taken to worlds are going to be just OK.

It doesn’t REALLY matter, since the US is the heavy team favorite regardless of any of these questions, but…


117 thoughts on “Selection Camp – Live Blog”

  1. Is anyone else dreaming of the (admittedly unlikely) scenario of Simone doing both this new vault AND a TTY at Worlds, getting them both named simultaneously, and the arena just imploding as a result?

    1. simone is just milking it…lol.. i am sure she already got a TTY but gotta save it as next season upgrade

  2. Out of curiosity which of the nine gymnasts in contention at the Worlds camp will be eligible for NCAA signing period in November:

    Smith (OU)
    Hurd (UF)
    Chiles (UCLA)
    McCuster (UF)

    I believe all four are graduating high school in 2019 and could potentially begin their NCAA careers in Sept. 2019 (not that they wouldn’t decide to defer until after Olympic Trials).

    Anyone else eligible to graduate and sign in November?

  3. Honestly, the more I think about it the more I like Shilese Jones to retain her spot as an alternate over Ragan. Ragan scores higher in the AA, but where does she really contribute in TF? You don’t need her BB or FX when you have Simone, Kara, Grace and Riley, and any one of those four could pick up the slack for the other on those two events (i.e. if Riley couldn’t do FX Kara could put up a decent score, or if Riley couldn’t do beam then Grace could fill in). All four are also strong AAers; Kara was only 0.05 pts behind Ragan today, so you don’t need another one of those. So what you really want is another option on bars in case one of Riley, Simone or Morgan is injured, and it would be nice to have a stronger vault score in the mix there too. Shilese fills both of those roles. I’d take Shilese over Ragan as the traveling alternate to Doha.

  4. I’d really love to see a beam queen showdown between Kara Eaker and Sanne Wevers and ! Especially if they all hit to the best of their ability.

    And I’m a huge fan of Morgiboo, so I hope she has done enough to solid her spot…the “defending AA champ” card should add a special bonus, right??

    1. I think Morgan’s done enough. The team needs her, if only for bars. The US really doesn’t want to rely on Grace/Kara/Ragan for a usable bars score, and on Alyona for anything else. So Morgan is really your only option there. And she provide good backup scores on other events. I’m more worried about whether they’ll let her compete AA in quals over Grace.

    2. One could argue that Ragan would be the defending AA champ if her ankle wasn’t injured last year, so why not take her as well? Problem is you can’t rely on past achievements and you need who ie ready now

      1. I think Ragan did enough to be added to the 2018-19 USAG National team (I think she was the only competitor at the competition not currently on the team).

        As long as her ankle is good Ragan could be the traveling alternate for Worlds, a good fill-in on three events if someone gets hurt.

        Perhaps also tell Ragan she’ll compete at the American Cup and whatever other events she wants to go to in the Spring of 2019 (she’s earned the respect).

        The interesting question is Morgan or Grace for a third AAer… Can either of them score high enough to beat out Riley for the second AAer spot in the individual competition?

        I might be in the minority but I like Riley’s floor and she better not ever change her music because I always know when she’s up on floor just be hearing the first musical notes.

  5. whoops, that should have read “Kara and Sanne and [insert name of healthy Chinese gymnast]”

    1. Yes! Kara, Simone, and Chen Yile would be your favorites on beam I think. Sanne will be a medal threat no matter what but I think she will need to step up her D score if she wants gold – she had a 5.6 at Euros, while Simone and Kara are competing in the 6.6/6.7 range, and Chen Yile was at 6.3 at Asian Games. Not sure what Flavia Saraiva’s D score was in TF at PanAms but she also looked strong.

      Isn’t it crazy that the US could/will bring a team where Riley McCusker WOULDN’T be favored to make BB final?

  6. US team named: biles, mccusker, hurd, mccallum, eaker, smith. As predicted.

    5th person is still too close to call..

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