US Classic Rosters

We are now 11 days away from the US Classic, the…second most interesting domestic American competition of the summer?…not counting selection camp…? Anyway, get excited. Classic is the meet where we get to see the upgrades for the 2019 season, and that’s very important. Classic podium training day should basically be a national holiday.

The rosters are out for the junior and senior events, and while they’re short on surprises, they’re worth breaking down.

Juniors

Olivia Ahern
Ciena Alipio*
Sydney Barros*
Skye Blakely*
Charlotte Booth
Sophia Butler*
Kailin Chio*
Kayla Di Cello*
Addison Fatta
eMjae Frazier
Elizabeth Gantner
Karis German*
Olivia Greaves*
Mia Heather
Julianne Huff
Levi Jung-Ruivivar
Lauren Little*
Lilly Lippeatt*
Amber Lowe
Nola Matthews*
Konnor McClain*
Zoe Miller*
Kaylen Morgan*
Sydney Morris*
Annalise Newman-Achee
Sophie Parenti
Anya Pilgrim*
Ariel Posen
Joscelyn Roberson
Sienna Robinson*
Katelyn Rosen
Lyden Saltness*
Jamison Sears
Chavala Shepard
Ava Siegfeldt*
Eva Volpe
Jamie Wright
Ella Zirbes

This junior field of 38 is the smallest field for US Classic so far this quad but is typical of junior fields in the second-to-last year of a quadrennium—at which point those who will turn senior by 2020 either know they’re in the mix or have realized they’re not and are just going to live their life and do the L10-to-NCAA path. Meanwhile, many of those who won’t be seniors until the middle of next quad aren’t really sweating it yet, so you have this momentary quadrennial dip.

The nine members of the junior national team will all be in attendance, and it is worth watching how the four members of the junior worlds traveling squad compare to the group that competed at American Classic, where Ciena Alipio came out on top.

There’s a basic six right now in terms of the best US juniors—that six being Di Cello, Blakely, McClain, Barros, Alipio, and Greaves—but they’re juniors, which means any kind of tier classification is especially amorphous and can be broken up at any time.

Those denoted with an asterisk have already achieved the score of 51.000 (the number necessary to advance to nationals) at either camp, an international meet, or American Classic (as have Mya Witte and Love Birt, who are not on the roster here). Everyone else is looking for a 51.000 at this meet in order to qualify to the national championship.

Seniors

Shania Adams
Simone Biles*
Sloane Blakely*
Jade Carey*
Jordan Chiles
Kara Eaker*
Aleah Finnegan*
Jaylene Gilstrap
Olivia Hollingsworth
Morgan Hurd*
Alexis Jeffrey
Shilese Jones*
Emily Lee*
Sunisa Lee*
Emma Malabuyo*
Grace McCallum*
Riley McCusker*
Victoria Nguyen
Gabby Perea*
MyKayla Skinner
Trinity Thomas
Faith Torrez*
Abigael Vides
Leanne Wong*

After the false start of a senior field that was American Classic, this is a serious group. We have all members of the senior national team present and accounted for except for Ragan Smith, who has officially confirmed that she’s ready to be done with this and is going to Oklahoma in the fall, and Alyona Shchennikova, who tore her Achilles at the most recent national team camp and is out for the year.

The training squad for Pan Am Games is all here (Blakely, Eaker, Finnegan, Hurd, Jones, Lee, McCusker, and Wong), and the official team of five will be decided following this competition. It’s not going to be an easy team to make.  I’d like to see Lee and Wong on that team, both because they’re probably part of the best-scoring team of five and because they’re the new seniors in contention for worlds. It’s worth giving them another opportunity to show their competitiveness. Put them with Hurd, McCusker, and Eaker from worlds last year and you haven’t got a bad group at all, though there’s something to be said for what Shilese Jones could add to that team on vault and floor depending on how she looks on those pieces at classic.

The status of MyKayla Skinner’s elite routines will of course be a serious point of focus, especially how she compares to Jade Carey on her strong events. Trinity Thomas is on the list, continuing her simultaneous elite/NCAA quest. We haven’t seen full-strength Gabby Perea in a loooonnng time, and…maybe? I want to see how Faith Torrez compares to the big girls after her breakout performance at American Classic. OK, yes, I’m excited.

The seniors are looking for a score of 52.000 to advance to nationals, and those denoted with an asterisk are the ones who have already done so…that we know of. We did not get scores from the June national team camp, for instance, which did have a full verification option, so more athletes may have broken 52.000 AA (or achieved a two- or three-event score) and we just don’t know about it. Like a fun little mystery. Except not fun.

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34 thoughts on “US Classic Rosters”

      1. “Your tea is stale…”
        Are you a drag queen? I’m going to guess that you’re either a teenage girl or a middle-aged woman. So, hunty, let me spill the tea….you’re basic.

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    1. word is she needed more bar work. I wish her the best though I’ll miss her at Utah. With the amazing freshmen and Skinner the Utes would be a force this year. Still wish her the best in her quest.

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    2. is her bars currently that terrible? i mean if she has her hard vaults and fx back, she doesn’t need that high of a score in bars and beam for elite qualification score? or is there something else we don’t know?

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  1. This is way more exciting than this point last quad. The three non-Simone team spots and one individual spot all look wide open to me. There’s front-runners, but no one looks unquestionably dominant after the spring meets, and there’s so many exciting gymnasts on the cusp who, if they show up with upgrades or newfound consistency, could completely change things.

    I think Perea has an outside shot at getting herself into the specialist conversation if she can stay healthy. I just love her gymnastics. I’m also rooting for Nguyen – I’d be pretty shocked if she managed to get in the mix for assignments again, but I still hope for the best for her.

    Really looking forward to seeing everyone’s routines.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. After seeing the bars upgrades Grace McCallum posted on Instagram, I’m very curious to see (a) how/if they translate into competition (b) if she has anything else up her sleeve on the other events. If those upgrades do come to fruition, she could have a D score on bars higher than Simone, Riley, etc. She could be the sleeper world team member again this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh a potential High D? Oh… DID SHE FIX HER BUM FOOT she always flexes on her skills while her other foot remains pointed? She can have a higher D then everyone, her E sucks!

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      1. Her E score at Worlds was 8.5, which was higher than Morgan Hurd (and Riley in prelims) so I think she does just fine with her E score.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I am curious about two names that I have not heard of before.. Alexis Jeffrey and Abigael Vides. Anyone know anything about these two? Alexis is with the GAGE girls. Abigael seems to have come out of nowhere. I am very curious as to MyKayla Skinner’s readiness on her two special events – vault and floor. I am rooting for her as I think she should have made the 2016 Olympics but was ousted due to politics. Do we know if Simone is going to be doing All Around or just a few events? Very excited. Is this going to be televised on the OIympic Channel?

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    1. Skinner was left off the team not because of politics, but because she didn’t meet the needs of the team. I am overly tired of this false narrative that Skinner sympathizers continue to create. VT/BB/FX were more than adequately covered. What the team needed was another UB routine, which was Skinner’s weakest event (ranked 12th at Olympic Trials) so she was never in contention for that final spot. It was always going to be Douglas vs Locklear for the final UB spot and Douglas was named to the team because she could do AA and Locklear only offered a sub par BB set. It is ridiculous that you people continue to create conspiracy theories about why Skinner didn’t make the Rio team. No other gymnasts or their fans have done that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sheila said, “I think…” meaning that in her opinion Skinner was left off of the team due to politics. Doesn’t mean she’s asserting a fact.
        That was an unnecessary rant, and unless you were in the room during the selection process, then it’s just your opinion too.

        Like the above comment said, “this is old news, move on.”

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      2. Sheila can say she thinks that Skinner should have been on the Olympic team as is her opinion, but to say she was left off due to politics is completely false.

        Again, politics had nothing to do with it. Her strengths didn’t match up to what the team needed based on who the locks were.

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      3. @Shamrockstar81

        I disagree – the fact that there are backroom meetings to select a team does indicate that politics are involved. If politics weren’t involved, they’d just take the top qualifying athletes based on nationals….you know, like other sports.

        And honestly, I don’t have a horse in this race and quite frankly I’m tired of seeing this conversation play out on gym boards.

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      4. Taking the best AAers doesn’t produce the best results because not everyone competes every event. That’s why you need a committee. Just look at Japan to see why going by AA results doesn’t work. And I don’t just meant this year’s stupid issue with Mai. Last year’s world champs had them with a team member who couldn’t contribute in team finals. Using a committee is smart strategy not politics.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Dear Whatever,
        Teams have not been selected this way since 1996. With the team format change in 2001, it required a new way of picking teams due to not everyone competing AA in the team finals.
        Furthermore, the top qualifying athletes do make the team and are then supplemented by supporting athletes.
        Looking at data and figuring out the best scoring team based on the numbers is not political.
        The same situation occurred to Skinner in 2015, she was alternate, and what do you know??? Oh look! An UB specialist was selected to the team over Skinner. Even though Dowell bombed, she was added to the team to beef up UB. USA has dominated VT/FX for years now so it is really no shock that Skinner found it challenging to make the team previously and it is the exact same reason that Skinner will find it challenging to make the team now.
        The Skinner vs Douglas thing is old now. It was never about them. Douglas vs Locklear was the last spot when it became clear that Kocian was going to be taken over Locklear.
        IN MY OPINION: Skinner’s spot on the team was essentially taken up once Raisman made her comeback. Raisman was better on BB also.

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    2. Alexis Jeffrey made her elite debut last year in her final junior year; she’s at her best on bars, but she has clean tumbling and GAGE beam. She is committed to go to UCLA in the same class as Emma Malabuyo and Emily Lee. Abigael Vides had a couple really good JO years and then switched to elite this year; she originally moved to World Champions Centre from her home state Florida back in 2015, moved back to Florida to EVO Gymnastics for about a year, and then came back to WCC and has been there since. She won the AA, vault, and floor in the level 10 session of this years WOGA Classic, and finished fifth AA at JO nationals. She’s not doing bars in elite this year, but she has really clean, high tumbling with a double double, a barani on beam, and nice power and form on her vaults. As far as I can tell, she has yet to commit to any schools.
      I have no idea about how much Simone will compete, but I know the Olympic Channel will be broadcasting the seniors live on TV and their website/app, but the juniors and the HOPES championships will be streamed live on gkusclassic.com

      Liked by 1 person

    1. From what I understand, Pan Ams was a choice that the gymnasts got to make.

      Skinner is not ready for elite competition yet-per her Instagram- as she doesn’t have a full UB routine ready.

      McCallum probably should have tried out for Pan Am Games like Hurd, Eaker, and McCusker. However, she has been working upgrades and maybe felt like she wasn’t ready to compete them yet?

      I do think that McCallum, Wong, McCusker, and Lee are fighting for two of the spots on the World team. If Biles, Hurd, and Carey are locks (which that is fairly close to happening at this point).

      Biles Carey, and Hurd have FX covered for the most part. VT is pretty solid with those three with Hurd the one likely to come out. Hurd and Biles are good for UB. BB is really the event that could use some back up. McCusker makes the best argument for UB/BB if she goes that route but Lee can outscore her there. I also think Lee could factor in for the AA. McCallum might be interesting if her UB upgrades work as her VT is reliable also.
      3 AA: Hurd, Biles, _________
      VT/FX: Carey
      UB/BB: ___________

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If Wong’s Amanar is happening in competition, I think she is the leading contender for spot number four. I actually would have her ahead of Hurd on my list except for Hurd’s reputation for rising to the occasion for big events. I guess we will see how things transpire over the next few weeks but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was only one spot up for grabs.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The only lock is Simone. I like Morgan and certainly wouldnt be surprised if she is on the world team, but she is absolutely not a lock this early in the season, especially given that Wong, Lee, McCusker, McCallum, and Malabuyo have all put up comparable or better AA scores so far this year and there are at least two major competitions and a selection camp standing between these gymnasts and the remaining open AA spots on the team.

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  4. What’s going on with Jordan Bowers and Zoe Gravier? I know Jordan was making a gym change, but has it happened. And if it has, which gym? And Zoe seems to have been swallowed up by a black hole. You never see anything about her on MG elite Instagram. Is she injured or has she left MG Elite?

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    1. Jordan had a whole bunch of nasty drama happen because of her coaches when she left Solid Rock; from what I’ve heard right now she’s training at another local gym that doesn’t even have an elite program so she’s kind of stuck.
      As for Zoe, I’m not sure, I cant find recent training videos, but she’s still listed as committed to UCLA.

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