The season kicked off in a major way for 14-year-old Morgan Hurd of First State Gymnastics, who won this year’s American Classic junior title with a huge 57.05 even with a fall on beam.
Hurd, who has been dealing with elbow injuries since last summer, debuted a DTY vault in addition to 6.0+ d-scores on bars and beam, making her a huge threat this summer. Her DTY earned a 14.6, and she showed impeccable form on bars, performing especially great inbar work, including an inbar full to Tkachev for a 14.65, second-best on the event.
On beam, Hurd showed an excellent side aerial to layout stepout and nailed a huge full-in dismount. While a fall on her switch half was unfortunate, the rest was so steady, she still managed a 14.15 for fifth there. Her floor’s not as difficult as the rest of her work and she had a bounce out-of-bounds on one pass, but it was still clean and solid enough for a fourth place finish with a 13.65.
In second was Jaymes Marshall of TIGAR, the famous 12-year-old with an Amanar, which looked awesome at this meet for a 15.5. In a way, Marshall reminds me of Simone Biles four years ago, a junior doing well in the all-around because of her fantastic Amanar even though the rest of her events are a bit week. Her remaining events were each around two points lower than the Amanar, with bars at 13.1, beam at 13.8, and floor at 13.9 (she got second for this effort), but her all-around total of 56.3 is incredibly competitive in a junior field thanks to the weapon that is her vault. Her floor also had some big skills, including a great whip to triple, but I have no doubt her remaining events will catch up as she reaches her later years as a junior.
Irina Alexeeva of WOGA won the bronze all-around medal with a 56.1. The opposite of Marshall, she’s actually a bit more well-rounded and balanced as an all-arounder, with big difficulty on bars and beam especially, but then only an FTY on vault, where she earned a 13.7. Alexeeva, who is from Russia and was expected to possibly compete for the Russian team until she decided to go the U.S. route this year, had her best performance on beam, where her difficult set earned a huge 14.8 thanks to her impressive execution.
On bars, Alexeeva had a 14.0, a bit lower than she would’ve liked after a fall on her toe shoot, but the rest of her routine showed a ton of promise, including a toe full to Maloney to Gienger and a big layout Jaeger, and she tied for third place even with the fall. Her difficulty on floor is a little behind and she had some mistakes, but she still managed a 13.6 to tie for fifth place there.
Alyona Shchennikova of 5280 Gymnastics was fourth with a 55.75 and won the bars title with a 14.75 for her gutsy routine. With an inbar full to Komova II to inbar to piked Tkachev to pak as her opening sequence, Shchennikova looked much cleaner than she did a year ago. Her Komova had some leg separation issues and she hit her double layout dismount with a hop, but overall I was incredibly impressed with her, and this routine had the highest difficulty of the day. She did struggle elsewhere, including with her DTY and then on beam and floor, but hopefully she’ll be able to fix some of this before the U.S. Classic next weekend.
Kalyany Steele of Colorado Aerials and Riley McCusker of MG Elite tied for fifth, with Steele placing third on bars with a 14.0 and McCusker getting third on beam with a 14.45. Shania Adams of Buckeye was seventh with a 54.45, Maile O’Keefe of Salcianu and Jordan Bowers of Solid Rock tied for eighth with scores of 54.1 (and O’Keefe won the floor title with a 14.4), and Adeline Kenlin of Iowa Gym-Nest was tenth with a 54.0.
Eight gymnasts competed in the senior field, with the title shared by Lexy Ramler of KidSport and Lauren Navarro of Gliders Charter Oak. Both earned scores of 55.95, with Ramler hitting her Yurchenko 1.5 in addition to a solid performance on beam, while Navarro won the bars title and also looked strong on beam, though she had issues with her DTY on vault.
Abby Paulson of Twin City Twisters was the bronze medalist with a 55.9 and won the beam title with a 14.85 for her super clean set in addition to winning floor with a 13.75. Christina Desiderio of Parkettes was fourth with a 55.25, winning on vault thanks to her great DTY, but struggling a bit on bars, her Achilles heel.
In fifth was Maggie Musselman of Hill’s with a 54.55, who also tied for the bars title with a 14.05. Olivia Trautman of Twin City Twisters was sixth with a 54.1, Kaitlin DeGuzman of Metroplex was seventh with a 54.05, and Leah Clapper of Gym America was eighth with a 51.05.
The American Classic was a qualifying meet to nationals, with the seniors required to earn scores of 54.0 and juniors required to reach 52.5. The top seven seniors earned the scores to secure nationals spots as did the top 18 juniors, but all who competed here are on the roster for next weekend’s U.S. Classic, so they’ll have one more chance to make it to St. Louis.
For full results from the American Classic, click here.
Article by Lauren Hopkins