12 New U.S. Elites to Keep Your Eye On

With the Secret U.S. Classic now officially less than two weeks away, we at The Gymternet want to introduce you to a few of the young U.S. elites before they make their big debuts in Hoffman Estates, Ill., on August 2.

1. Delanie Harkness

Greg DeRuiter

Born. December 30, 2001
Gym. Geddert’s Twistars
Why You Should Watch. At this year’s J.O. Nationals, Delanie won the Junior A all-around title while also taking home gold on bars and floor. Her Gienger on bars is particularly impressive, as is her full-in on floor.

2. Aria Brusch


Born. July 12, 2001
Gym. Cincinnati Gymnastics
Why You Should Watch. According to Mary Lee Tracy, Aria “used to be a crier” but has grown to become mentally tough. Aria’s sure to make an impact on bars, where she performs a full-twisting double layout dismount, as well as on floor, where she has a great piked full-in.

3. McKenna Appleton


Born. October 31, 2000
Gym. Hill’s Gymnastics
Why You Should Watch. After nearly sweeping Level 9 Easterns this year, McKenna quickly made the jump to the elite scene. She’ll need a few upgrades if she hopes to keep up with the veterans, but she’s worth watching for her elegant and stunning performances on beam and floor.

4. Alyona Shchennikova

John Cheng

Born. May 12, 2001
Why You Should Watch. Like her sister Polina, Alyona has great lines and beautifully-extended leaps. You also need to check out her Onodi on beam! It seems as though Alyona’s still getting the hang of competing in major venues, but hopefully she can come through in her elite podium debut at Classics.

5. Margzetta Frazier

Margzetta Frazier

Born. February 25, 2000
Gym. Parkettes
Why You Should Watch. Margzetta recently became well-known across the gymternet after she attended the national team training camp in June. Margzetta has strong basics, particularly on bars, and some great skills, though her success may largely depend on her ability to hit, something she’s struggled with this season.

6. Marissa Oakley

Region 5 Insider

Born. April 15, 1999
Gym. Phenom
Why You Should Watch. Marissa’s a solid all-arounder who can hold her own on all four events. Her bars are particularly impressive – she performs a piked Jaeger, a Gienger, and a pak salto, all with phenomenal form.

7. Shilese Jones

Auburn Gymnastics Center

Born. July 26, 2002
Gym. Auburn Gymnastics Center
Why You Should Watch. At the risk of sounding like Tim Daggett, it’s like she has springs in her legs! Earlier this season, Shelise debuted her own skill, now recognized in the Junior Olympic COP as the “Jones,” consisting of a double flip with 1.5 twists (full-in, half-out).

8. Bailey Ferrer

Orlando Metro Booster Club

Born. March 16, 2001
Gym. Orlando Metro
Why You Should Watch. Between her huge tumbling, exquisite performance quality, and long athletic body type, Bailey reminds me of a young Amelia Hundley. Watch out for her strong vaults (she got her Amanar when she was only 12!) and her fantastic floor exercise, which you’ll recognize by its upbeat choreography and tribal vocals. The two-time Nastia Liukin Cup competitor was supposed to make her elite debut last summer, but pulled out due to injury.

9. Adeline Kenlin

Adeline Kenlin Official Site

Born. August 3, 2002
Gym. Iowa Gym-Nest
Why You Should Watch. While taking the title at last year’s U.S. Challenge, Adeline caught the eyes of many fans with her layout-to-two-feet on beam. This year, she’s also added a side aerial to back tuck beam combo as well as a double layout off bars. Although she’ll need more upgrades to be a major contender, you’ll be amazed at her impeccable form on all four events.

10. Morgan Hurd

John Cheng

Born. July 18, 2001
Gym. First State
Why You Should Watch. Many fans probably remember Morgan from this year’s Nastia Liukin Cup where her cuteness, tenacity, and jaw-droppingly good toe point earned her widespread attention. She’ll need a bit more time before she’s ready to hold her own amongst the “big dogs” but her basics are fantastic and she’s a solid all-arounder. Bonus? Morgan is the first elite to compete in glasses since Kami Moore!

11. Maggie Musselman

Maggie Musselman

Born. April 21, 2000
Gym. Hill’s
Why You Should Watch. With her gorgeous long lines and captivating twists, Maggie certainly has international potential. Look out for her phenomenal layout stepout series on beam and her 2.5 to punch front on floor.

12. Rachel Baumann


Born. September 18, 2000
Why You Should Watch. Following in older sister Alyssa’s footsteps will be no easy task, but Rachel’s incredible form and expression set her apart from the competition. With excellent technique and artistry, it’s no surprise that Rachel won vault, beam, floor, and the all-around at the elite qualifier earlier this month.

Don’t miss a word of our coverage! Bookmark the 2014 Secret U.S. Classic coverage page for all of our coverage leading up to, during, and after the event.

Article by Bekah Harbison

12 thoughts on “12 New U.S. Elites to Keep Your Eye On

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