The Gymternet is excited to share this four part series to introduce you the seniors set to compete in this year’s Secret U.S. Classic on August 2 in Hoffman Estates, Ill. Nineteen senior gymnasts have qualified to the meet and are expected to compete.
Part one looks at the seniors with whom you’re probably not entirely familiar. Though no one on this list is brand new to elite, they generally have a bit less experience at the elite level, haven’t made national teams, and aren’t known on the international scene. We hope you enjoy getting to know them before they compete next week!
1. Ashton Locklear (Everest Gymnastics)
Ashton became a junior elite a couple of years ago and has been a fixture at the national team camps, but while she’s qualified to Classics and Nationals in the past, injuries have kept her away. The 16-year-old is in her first year as a senior elite and has already received a full-ride scholarship to the University of Florida. Her goal is to make the national team.
Fun Fact: Ashton trained with Kristie Phillips before moving to her current gym. She also competed as a L9 tumbling and trampoline gymnast, winning the J.O. national title for tumbling in 2008.
2. Samantha Ogden (WOGA)
Samantha, who goes by Sam, is also a first year senior, having turned sixteen in March. She trained at Kurt Thomas Gymnastics and at Metroplex (under Jaycie Phelps) before moving to WOGA in 2011. She finished her 2012 season at J.O. nationals and in 2013, qualified to international elite. Sam earned a full scholarship to the University of Denver.
Fun Fact: Though she wasn’t on the U.S. national team last year, Sam got the opportunity to compete with her team from WOGA at Elite Gym Massilia in France, placing fourth in the Open all-around in a field that included 68 gymnasts.
3. Felicia Hano (Gym-Max)
Felicia is a two-time Nastia Liukin Cup qualifier and a two-time J.O. national all-around champion, accomplishing both in 2012 and then in 2013. She qualified to elite and to the P&G Championships at the American Classic in early July, but unfortunately couldn’t finish the meet after suffering a concussion during her bars routine. Originally a West Coast Elite gymnast, Felicia moved to Gym-Max in January 2014. She has verbally committed to UCLA and will turn 16 a few days after Classics.
Fun Fact: Like Ashton, Felicia also competed in trampoline and tumbling! She competed L10 double mini and tumbling in 2009, making the U.S. team for the World Age Group Game Championships in Russia, where she earned silver medals on both events before making artistic gymnastics her focus.
4. Macy Toronjo (Texas Dreams)
Macy, a seventeen-year-old who has trained at Texas Dreams for four years, first qualified to the elite level in 2011. This is technically her second year as a senior, though she was unable to compete most of 2012 and all of last year – her first year as a senior – due to injury. She recently won the senior title at the American Classic with a 54.2, her best elite score to date, and will attend UCLA after graduating high school in 2015.
Fun Fact: Macy has four siblings, considers Courtney Kupets her favorite gymnast, loves competing her full-in on floor, and enjoys studying science in school.
5. Melissa Reinstadtler (Rebound Gymnastics)
Melissa, known as Missy, began training L10 in 2012, but really began to see big success a year later, winning the vault title at 2013 J.O. nationals and earning her elite qualifying score. Missy turned sixteen at the end of June and recently placed third in the all-around at the American Classic. She has accepted a full scholarship to the University of Utah.
Fun Fact: This New Jersey native has great taste, in our opinion! She considers The Fault in Our Stars her favorite book, Pitch Perfect and Bridesmaids her favorite movies, and Imagine Dragons her favorite band.
6. Emily Schild (Everest Gymnastics)
Emily, who trains with fellow new senior Ashton Locklear, burst onto the junior elite scene last year with her impressive vaulting and tumbling – she took home the bronze medal on vault with her big DTY at the 2013 Secret U.S. Classic and showed off a huge handspring double front on floor. She will turn sixteen in August and has committed to the University of Georgia.
Fun Fact: Emily hit her head during vault warmups in the second day of competition at the 2013 P&G Championships, and approached her competition vault somewhat tentatively, earning just a 13.9 for a vault that typically scored a full point higher. But even with the mishap, she still managed to place 8th on the event!
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 Lauren Hopkins