A total of 12 gymnasts earned elite qualifying scores at this weekend’s KPAC National Qualifier held in Greensboro, North Carolina. The meet served as one of several qualifiers to the American and U.S. Classic meets to be held this summer, and it also qualified an additional 11 gymnasts to the Hopes Classic at the ranch.
Leah Clapper of Gym America, the sole senior gymnast to compete at KPAC, earned a 52.250 in the all-around after hitting all four events to easily surpass the senior score requirement of 51.000. This was a particularly strong meet for Clapper, who at 16 is now in her third year of attempting to qualify to nationals, which she could finally make happen if she replicates this performance at the ranch or in Hoffman Estates in July.
12-year-old Konnor McClain led the junior field here in her first year at the elite level after competing Hopes last summer. McClain, who trains at Revolution Gymnastics in West Virginia, scored a 52.500 and posted the top scores on vault and bars to become one of 11 girls to meet or surpass the elite optional qualification score of 50.000. She had a fall on beam here, but otherwise seemed strong and steady, ready to compete alongside juniors much further along in their careers despite her young age.
First-in-Flight’s Maeve Hahn won the all-around silver with a 52.100 while Florida Elite’s Lilly Hudson won the bronze with a 51.400. Other gymnasts who got their elite scores include Tienna Nguyen of Zenith Elite with a 50.950, Gabbie Gallentine of Everest with a 50.550, Olivia Hollingsworth of Stars Houston with a 50.450, Lilly Lippeatt of Cincinnati with a 50.300, Nikki Beckwith of Buckeye with a 50.250, Brenna Neault of Precision with a 50.200, Brooke Siter of North Stars with a 50.000, and Sydney Kho of Winners with a 50.000.
Of these, Hollingsworth had a standout floor performance, earning a 13.7 for her lovely routine, and while Lippeatt had a few mistakes, she was super clean and put-together with a great showmanship on beam and floor. Also notable was Margzetta Frazier’s little sister eMjae Frazier finishing 16th with a 48.200, not quite ready at this meet but showing tons of promise for potentially qualifying in the future, and I also loved many of Victoria Smirnov’s routines; with just a 45.350, she was nowhere near the required score after several mistakes throughout her competition, but she has so much potential and could eventually be one to watch once she gets a bit older.
In the Hopes competition, eight gymnasts in the 12-13 age group and an additional three from the 10-11 age group qualified to the Hopes Classic, to be held at the ranch in July. For the older age group, the cutoff for Hopes is a 48.000, while for the younger division, it’s just a 45.000.
Alyssa Arana of Universal won the 12-13 title with a 50.200, with Olivia Kennedy of Georgia Elite in second with a 49.550 and Bryn Bartman of Everest in third with a 49.250. Others who reached scores in this age division included Jole Yow of SOKOL with a 48.800, the super tidy and adorable Love Birt of First State with a 48.750, Jamison Sears of World Class with a 48.750, Gabriela Ladanyi of Stars Houston with a 48.600, and Ava Siegfeldt of World Class with a 48.550.
In the lower age group, ten-year-old Levi Jung-Ruivivar of Paramount Elite nearly swept the competition, earning a 49.850 all-around and posting the top score on every event but vault to easily meet the qualification requirements. Behind her was ten-year-old Lundyn Vandertoolen of Olympus with a 48.650; Vandertoolen has the top score of the meet on vault, and also posted the second-best scores on bars and floor.
Also qualifying was third-place Joscelyn Roberson of North East Texas, who turned 11 last month. Roberson, who reached internet fame when her dad posted videos of her throwing big skills including a standing full and a triple flight series on beam. Roberson just made the cut with her score of 45.700 after some mistakes throughout her competition, but she showed so much talent and potential here and will certainly be a huge deal in the future.
Full results from the competition are available here. KPAC was the third national qualifier so far in 2017, with the Parkette’s qualifier in May and the ranch qualifier in July the only two left for those still hoping to earn classics scores.
Article by Lauren Hopkins