Alipio, McClain Win Hopes Classic

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Ciena Alipio of West Valley Gymnastics and Konnor McClain of Revolution won the all-around titles at this weekend’s Hopes Classic at the national team training center in Huntsville, Texas.

Alipio earned a 54.4 to top the age 12-13 division, excelling on all four events to handily take the title. With the day’s top performances on bars and floor, a clean FTY on vault, and a steady beam set, Alipio had no problem coming out on top, earning a score that would’ve been strong even at the junior international elite level.

In second was Genevieve Sabado-Baez of Gliders Charter Oak, who earned a 53.9 after killing it on beam, winning the title there with a massive 14.55 for a near-perfect set. She came into the competition with a weak vault and floor set, but her work on beam as well as on bars more than made up for her deficits, putting her far ahead of the majority of the field. Anya Pilgrim of Hills was third, showing her best work with a clean FTY on vault and a rock-solid beam for a 14.0.

Morgan Trevor of WOGA, who placed fifth all-around, and Jacquelyn Moran, who was sixth, both excelled on beam, an event that overall showed a ton of promise for this young group. I also enjoyed the work on floor from Hanna Castillo of American Twisters and Kayla Di Cello of Hills, and while the bars difficulty was a little low overall, we saw some beautiful execution from Sophia Groth of Chow’s and Baleigh Garcia of American Twisters.

In the age 10-11 division, the young McClain showed why she might be the one to start watching now even though she won’t be Olympic-eligible until 2024 (yes, we already have a gymnast to watch before the Olympic city for that quad is even named!). McClain, who has been on TV shows like Steve Harvey for her big skills, is especially impressive on beam, where she already has a 5.9 difficulty. She won this event title by over a point in addition to also showing the strongest work on vault and floor, and her bars, while not the best of the day, were also clean and solid. She’s incredible, and could definitely do well at the junior level, though I’m glad her coaches are holding her back a little bit.

Emma Boyd of Orlando was the silver medalist with a 52.1 and very promising work on bars, while Zoe Miller of Aim Texans and Katelyn Rosen of Aerial Athletics tied for the bronze with scores of 51.5. Miller showed lovely work on bars and beam, while Rosen looked to have beam and floor as her strong points.

Other standouts in this division included Levi Ruivivar of Paramount Elite on bars and Mya Witte of Genie’s on beam and floor. Witte actually looked like she could get on the all-around podium in the silver or bronze medal position, but a fall on a low-difficulty uneven bars routine held her back.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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