Pan American Games Suvdivision I

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The United States women have a hefty lead after the first subdivision at the 2015 Pan American Games, finishing with a 173.800 to Mexico’s 158.500 after especially strong work on vault and bars.

Amelia Hundley leads the all-around qualification with a 57.65 after a fantastic performance, and though we didn’t get to see her floor routine, she got off to a good start with a 14.3. Her DTY was the best for the U.S. women, earning a 15.1 for her beautiful and clean twisting and a near-perfect landing.

On bars, Hundley began with a Weiler half to Maloney, an awesome new combination executed very well. She hit her Ricna to pak with no problems, nailed the van Leeuwen, had a few little form issues on her toe-on to toe full and then finished with a near-stuck full-in for a 14.5. She continued the momentum as the leadoff on beam, earning a 13.75 for a routine that included a front aerial to sissone, bhs loso loso, punch front, side somi, and solid double pike dismount.

It was a great day for the gymnast who had a somewhat rough start to her senior career last year as she struggled to return from injuries, but she seems back on track

Maddie Desch had an incredible day even though she ended with a fall on a huge risk – a layout full in her beam series. With the fall, she posted a 57.3 to currently sit in second place just three tenths behind Hundley, a major accomplishment.

She began her day with a 14.65 for her work on floor, where she hit her whip to double front with a small step, a 1.5 to double full with a small hop, a great triple full, and a nailed double tuck as the exclamation point to the team’s strongest routine. Her DTY was big and lovely, landing slightly off-center but still bringing in a 14.95.

On bars, Desch looked clean and solid, showing a gorgeous stalder half to Jaeger, a piked Tkatchev, a super clean Ricna to pak, a Chow half, stalder full, and full-in with a step for a 14.45. She looked so clean and confident there, setting her up for a big finish on beam, though unfortunately after hitting the bhs bhs layout full all week in podium training, she just missed it and had to take the fall. That aside, it was a lovely routine, including a switch to switch half, front aerial, side somi, and stuck double pike, earning a 13.25.

First-year senior Megan Skaggs came into the competition a favorite for the all-around, but she looked nervous from the start and made some uncharacteristic mistakes that put her a little behind her teammates, though she still managed a 56.1. On floor, she had a step on her double arabian and underrotated her double pike, though she fought hard to not put her hands down, earning a 13.4 there before moving on to vault, where her DTY earned a 14.9. She has a lot of power on vault, but needs to clean up her twisting a bit…once she does that, she’ll be in the 15s easily.

Moving to bars, Skaggs had a Jaeger, a giant full to Tkatchev to pak (with some leg separation on the latter), a toe-on to Maloney, and a double front with a step. It wasn’t bad, and she’s not known for any sort of prowess on this event, so her 13.75 was a decent score for her. She finished up well on beam with a wolf turn, front aerial to sissone, bhs loso, side aerial with a check, and then a slightly short double pike dismount for a 14.05, a good end to her day.

The specialists for the U.S. team were Emily Schild and Rachel Gowey. Schild was the leadoff on floor, earning a 13.75 for her routine that included a double front (a bit cowboyed), a 1.5 through to 2.5 (with a step forward though she fought hard to stay in bounds), a double pike, and a double tuck. On vault, she had a super clean DTY with a tiny hop back, showing great power and excellent twisting form for a 15.05.

Finally, Gowey impressed me immensely with her newfound ability on bars. This was never an event I saw as one of her strong suits but now both the routine construction and her ability to hit make me excited for her potential in the future. With a hop to Weiler half to inbar full to start, Gowey moved on to hit her Komova II to giant full, Ricna, pak (I’m sure she’s aiming to connect the two eventually), van Leeuwen, and super clean double layout for an excellent 14.75 to start her day. On beam, the event she’s known for, she looked confident and solid throughout, including on her bhs loso loso, punch front to wolf jump, punch front pike, front aerial to sheep jump, and 2.5 dismount, earning a 14.5.

In second place at the moment is the Mexican team, missing Alexa Moreno who was injured shortly before this meet began and was replaced by Amaranta Torres, who actually really stepped up. She doesn’t offer the vaults Moreno can, but she did an excellent job especially in the anchor position on beam, a routine she needed to nail after Elsa Garcia fell. With her punch front, bhs loso, switch half, side somi, switch to side aerial, and double pike (the dismount was a bit short and she bounced forward), Torres managed a 12.95, the team’s highest on this event. She did sit her punch double front on floor and got just a 12 there, but her super clean FTY on vault earned a 14.15, a score they desperately needed with only three athletes going up there.

Garcia, as mentioned, fell on beam to start her day. She had a beautiful switch to switch half, but then looked nervous and messy throughout the rest of her performance, hitting her bhs layout with a leg up, falling on her side somi, fighting like hell after her leg came up on her front aerial, and then cowboying her double tuck dismount and taking a step back for an 11.7. She didn’t compete on floor or vault, but then on bars she had a hit routine though didn’t look quite as good as what we’re used to, earning a 13.6 when her potential is in the mid-14s.

We didn’t get to see Ahtziri Sandoval‘s bar routine, though she brought in a 13.8 to help the team a good deal there; that combined with Garcia’s score and a 13.2 from Karla Retiz, who had an awesome combo where she basically jumped a half turn around after her bail and went right into her van Leeuwen before hitting her toe-on to Tkatchev and double pike dismount, really gave them a nice boost on bars. Retiz also earned a 12.9 on floor where she showcased a 1.5 to front full to stag (which looked a little wild at the end), a double full, and a double pike with a controlled lunge.

Finally, we saw almost nothing from Ana Lago, though she is currently 4th in the all-around with a 53.35 after her relatively clean day. We did get to see her super clean FTY, which earned a 14.3, but that aside she hit bars for a 13.15, beam for a 12.75, and posted the team’s high of 13.15 on floor.

Individuals that competed in the first subdivision included excellent vaulters Franchesca Santi and Makarena Pinto of Chile. The world challenge cup medalists are currently second and third going into the vault final, Santi averaging a 14.025 for her DTY (which had mistakes) and a second vault we didn’t see while Pinto is averaging a 13.925 for her half-on layout half-off and handspring tuck full. Pinto finished 6th in the all-around with a 49.0 after an 11.25 on bars, an 11.65 on beam, and a 12.25 on floor.

It’s not a vault final without Yamilet Peña, who has reportedly been training at Excalibur over the past few months and so far sits in first place. She went for her Produnova and while I screamed, as usual, as she came in super close to the ground on her landing (her butt may have just grazed it), she did manage to stand it up, earning a 15.1 with an 8.1 e-score. She went for a Yurchenko 1.5 for vault two, which was landed wildly and out-of-bounds, earning a 13.9 to help her to a 14.5 average. We also saw glimpses of Peña on bars and beam; her bars were bare bones (just a bail to toe shoot and then a double layout dismount) but she looked happy to hit (though seemed to grumble a bit at her score of 10.9), and on beam she fell twice, on her switch side and then side somi, earning a 10.15 there to finish with a 48.45 in the all-around.

Ariana Orrego of Peru had a solid day in the all-around, currently sitting 5th with a 51.1 after an exceptional outing on vault. Orrego hit her very clean FTY for a 13.85 in addition to a 12.7 on bars, 12.15 on beam, and 12.4 on floor. For Uruguay, Debora Reis currently is in 8th with a 44.25 – we saw a sat Yurchenko pike from her but nothing else. Finally, Texas Dreams level 10 gymnast Kaylee Cole competing under the Bolivian flag put up good efforts on bars and beam, showing a great clear hip to Gienger, bail to toe-on to toe shoot, and double arabian dismount on bars for a 12.4.

The second subdivision features competitors from Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela and begins at 2:45 pm. At the conclusion of the third subdivision this afternoon, the team champions will be named in addition to the individual qualifiers named to their respective finals happening later this week.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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