With the annual Secret U.S. Classic taking place in Hoffman Estates, Ill., this weekend, you have to get to know all of the fabulous gymnasts set to compete! In our second athlete introduction piece, meet some of the juniors who you may have caught a glimpse of last year but are now coming back looking to impress once again in 2015.
With no further ado, meet nine of these fabulous young ladies below!
1. Sydney Johnson-Scharpf, Brandy Johnson’s
Why You Should Watch: Sydney is notorious for her artistic and sassy floor routines. Born in 2000, will join the senior ranks next year. While she’s working with a decent skillset, she will need significant improvements to contend for a national team placement. Hopefully we will see her routines rise in difficulty between now and then!
2. Megan Freed, Parkettes
Why You Should Watch: Megan’s got huge tumbling, opening with full-in on floor which she follows up with a 1.5 through to 2.5. She’s also got a fairly strong double twisting Yurchenko. Expect to see Megan earn at least one stick bonus this weekend – when she tumbles well, she sticks it cold.
3. Caitlin Smith, Paramount Elite
Why You Should Watch: She’s got a nice 2.5 dismount on beam, fantastic leaps, and unique choreography on floor. She also earned a 14 on beam to win the title at the WOGA Classic this year, quite an improvement from just one year ago!
4. Madison Rau, World Champions Centre
Why You Should Watch: Madison’s skills have significantly improved since her move to World Champions from Cypress. She’s competing a double front dismount on bars, as well as an arabian double front and a full-in on floor. Her tumbling is certainly up there with the strongest juniors her age in the nation thanks to some top-notch coaching from Terry and Tamara Walker.
5. Shania Adams, Buckeye
Why You Should Watch: Although she doesn’t compete the most difficult routines, Shania is incredibly clean on all four events. Her double wolf turn on beam and leaps on floor are both stellar. Even if she doesn’t place amongst the leaders this weekend, she’s certainly an athlete to keep your eye on for the future!
6. Adriana Popp, Girls Co-Op
Why You Should Watch: Adriana’s flight series on beam, which ends with a layout to two feet, is beyond impressive. Her skills are great on all four events, but she tends to get a little nervous and needs to work on consistency. If she can hit her routines, Adriana has great potential to make the national team.
7. Hannah Joyner, World Champions Centre
Why You Should Watch: Hannah moved from First in Flight to Aimee Boorman’s new gym after last year’s elite season. She struggled last year, particularly on bars, but with a new set of coaches (like Rau and other junior elites at WCC, she primarily works with the Walkers), we may see a very different Hannah this season. Her beam is already much improved!
8. Maggie Musselman, Hill’s Gymnastics
Why You Should Watch: Maggie’s got nice long lines that stand out on all four events, but particularly on floor. Her twisting form is excellent, as is her switch ring leap. We also love her bars! She’ll need to compete harder routines than she did last year to contend for a spot on the national team, but her form is just so satisfying to watch, make sure you keep an eye on her!
9. Adeline Kenlin, Iowa Gym-Nest
Why You Should Watch: Adeline’s skills on beam are perhaps some of the prettiest being performed in the U.S. at the moment. Her bhs layout is phenomenal and her switch ring leap is textbook. With a little bit of experience and polish, she will be truly great! Did we mention she’s training a front triple full on floor?!
Article by Bekah Harbison