US Classic – Junior Notes

We have a couple hours to wait in between the junior and senior sessions, so I’m compiling some notes on the juniors for those who don’t want to read back through the whole live blog. This is in progress, so join me and catch back as I think of more things.

Konnor McClain is the champion. No major surprise there. Almost like it might have been a good idea to put her on the junior worlds team or something. Why no, I will not let it go. Her exceptional beam routine was the highlight, hitting both the Arabian and the back full too comfortably than should be legal. McClain’s one issue came on bars, where an accidental tucked Maloney and an extra swing/cast lowered her score. And she still won.

Barros was excellent to place 2nd, delivering on the floor routine she has already become known for, but what most impressed me was the solidity of her beam work with the meet on the line. Her routine doesn’t have the difficulty of someone like McClain’s, but it was smooth and comfortable.

Barros finished 1.400 stronger than she scored at junior worlds, almost entirely because of beam.

Bronze went to Greaves, and like McClain, this was a useful comeback meet after she did not have the competition she would have wanted at the junior worlds trials to miss out on that team. She was certainly in contention for it, especially with her bars that is a level above the rest of the juniors in this field and delivered a predictable gold medal for her there with a 14.200. Greaves was super smooth on her other best event, beam, which allowed her to keep 3rd despite some landing issues on vault and floor—although, her open full in to begin her floor routine was a starring moment.

The surprisingly low finish of the day belonged to Kayla Di Cello, would would have been a co-favorite for the title coming in but had what turned out to be two falls to start her beam routine, both on wolf turns. Just goes to show. There was no coming back from that, but a hand down on a triple wolf attempt on floor just added to the trouble and kept Di Cello down to 11th. She finished well on bars, and expect her to come back and challenge for the podium at nationals.

It was an acceptable 4th place for Skye Blakely, with some highs and some…other highs because even the lows were also highs. This wolf turn situation on beam will be going down in history.

That situation and an extra swing/recast on bars meant that both those scores stayed in the 12s, which shouldn’t be the case for her, especially on beam. Floor was exceptional in terms of landing control, however, earning her the top score with a 13.750.

American Classic champion Ciena Alipio delivered a very high beam score, second only to McClain’s, though a bit of a late-routine handstand terror to that event, what should be her other strength, lower than she would have hoped.

eMjae Frazier had the best all-around competition I’ve seen from her, not just hitting bit tumbling passes and a DTY, which we saw last time out, but looking oodles more comfortable on bars and beam to finish 7th and easily advance to nationals.

A last-minute score raise got Ariel Posen exactly the number she needed to advance to nationals. Cool cool.

Sigh. Levi Jung-Ruivivar did not get her nationals qualifying score after a fall on floor and a disaster on bars. And it started so well on beam too. We shall overcome this. With therapy.

Jamison Sears. Easy power on floor. Watch that space.

Speaking of which, here are the opening passes from the Karis German floor routine that we missed. Double double and full-in. Kind of good. Her DTY is also too easy.

By my count, our nationals qualifiers are Alipio, Barros, Blakely, Butler, Chio, Di Cello, Fatta, Frazier, German, Greaves, Little Lippeatt, Matthews, McClain, Miller, Morgan, Morris, Parenti, Pilgrim, Posen, Robinson, Rosen, Saltness, Sears, Siegfeldt, Zirbes. 26. That’s about the expected size as tougher requirements for this quad have been dwindling the junior fields at nationals from the 35 or so gymnasts we used to get. The necessary qualifying score went down just 1.500 from last quad, despite the 2.000 total reduction in CR that would be expected to bring scores down by that margin.

But there may be someone else who got a score at a mysterious camp or something.

Lilly Lippeatt‘s back full to immediate double tuck is worth a watch if you didn’t see it.

The Onodi is back. I counted six Onodis, just among the beam routines that we saw. There was a time last quad into this quad where we would only see one or two Onodis across juniors and seniors in a meet, and only then from the gymnasts with WOGA-compulsory beam.

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