9 More U.S. Classic Juniors Who Will Win Your Heart

In part three of our Secret U.S. Classic introduction piece, get ready to meet nine more super talented juniors who will looking to make a name for themselves this Saturday in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

As in part two, many of these names may sound familiar because they’ve been on the scene for a year or two and come from big gyms you probably recognize. In no particular order, here are the young ladies you should definitely get to know before the meet!

1. Abby Paulson, Twin City Twisters

Age: 14

Why You Should Watch: Abby is excellent on beam, where she shows off her tremendous flexibility and strength. Her bars are also great, including her sky-high Jaeger. Abby’s execution has been consistently improving over the past few years, and if she can keep it up, she has a great chance at making this year’s national team.

2. Shilese Jones, Buckeye Gymnastics

Age: 12

Why You Should Watch: Shilese is best known for her signature skill, the double tuck with one and a half twists in the first flip. The rest of her floor routine was also amazing last year, with a full-in, a 1.5 to double tuck, and a punch front to 2.5 rounding it out. It’ll be interesting to see what upgrades her move to Buckeye will help her achieve.

3. Elena Arenas, Georgia Elite

Age: 13

Why You Should Watch: Elena won this year’s WOGA Classic with a 55.95, showing great improvement after her elite debut last summer. She’s solid on all four events, but stands out especially on beam where she has a series with a layout to two feet, a punch front to sheep jump, and a double pike dismount.

4. Olivia Dunne, Eastern National Academy

Age: 12

Why You Should Watch: You may remember Olivia as the youngest competitor at last year’s Classics, where she placed in the top 20 on floor. She’s upgraded her skills on several events, including adding a piked full-in on floor, where she also has a lovely Memmel turn. On bars, look for her Tkatchev to pak, and on beam we love her switch to tour jete half!

5. Grace Quinn, Texas Dreams

Age: 15

Why You Should Watch: As the new leader of the Texas Dreams junior squad, Grace is continuing to improve her routines and looks forward to making a name for herself after scaling back due to injury last summer. Look out for her front double full to stag leap on floor and her artistic performance on beam.

6. Aria Brusch, Cincinnati Gymnastics

Age: 14

Why You Should Watch: While Aria only placed 28th at last year’s Classics, she managed to finish 3.5 points higher at the WOGA Classic this February, earning the bronze medal. Her execution has improved significantly, most notably on uneven bars where she competes a Jaeger and a full-twisting double layout. She’s also upgraded on floor, and now opens with a piked full-in.

7. Gabby Perea, Legacy Elite

Age: 13

Why You Should Watch: Gabby won the elite qualifier at the ranch this May with a fantastic 55.2 all-around score. She only competed on bars at last year’s U.S. Classic, but all four of her routines look very competitive this year. Look out for her triple twist dismount on beam and her Komova on bars.

8. Margzetta Frazier, Parkettes

Age: 15

Why You Should Watch: Margzetta had consistency issues last season, but has been working on some huge skills in preparation for 2015. Her bar routine is set to be jam-packed, featuring a Jaeger, a Church, and a double layout dismount. She’s also training a whip through to triple full on floor.

9. Christina Desiderio, Parkettes

Age: 14

Why You Should Watch: Between her DTY, her double double, her Ebee-esque double layout, and her sassy floor choreography, it’s hard NOT to watch Christina. She has a major shot at the junior team this year after narrowly missing in 2014 due to a heartbreaking bars routine on day two. Her super clean beam earned a 15.2 at the American Classic in May, though once again bars proved to be a struggle there. If she can stay on, she could absolutely be a Classics podium contender.

Article by Bekah Harbison

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