Who Qualified To Nationals?

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Riley McCusker, who qualified to U.S. Championships this weekend

After the U.S. Classic this weekend, I was bombarded with questions about who’s going to nationals and how they got there. Rather than making you wade through my long recap of the meet, coming later this week, I’m just going to tell you straight up what you want to know.

As a note, just because they qualified doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to go. This is especially true in the senior field, where several gymnasts qualified earlier in the season but then went to college or are now injured. These gymnasts can compete at nationals, but it doesn’t mean they’re going to…USA Gymnastics will give us confirmation there as we get closer to the meet.

The Seniors

Who Gym How
Shania Adams Buckeye American Classic
Simone Biles World Champions U.S. Classic
Sloane Blakely WOGA U.S. Classic
Luisa Blanco WOGA U.S. Classic
Jade Carey Arizona Sunrays World Championships
Jordan Chiles Naydenov Stuttgart World Cup
Audrey Davis WOGA U.S. Classic
Olivia Dunne ENA Paramus Petition (due to injury)
Kara Eaker GAGE American Classic
Margzetta Frazier Parkettes Birmingham World Cup
Jaylene Gilstrap Metroplex U.S. Classic (VT, BB, FX)
Morgan Hurd First State World Championships
Madeleine Johnston Hill’s American Classic
Shilese Jones Future American Classic
Adeline Kenlin Iowa Gym-Nest Verification Camp
Emma Malabuyo Texas Dreams Junior Japan
Grace McCallum Twin City Twisters Verification Camp
Riley McCusker MG Elite U.S. Classic
Maile O’Keefe Salcianu Elite American Cup
Gabby Perea Legacy Elite Verification Camp
Alyona Shchennikova 5280 Gymnastics Verification Camp
Ragan Smith Texas Dreams World Championships
Trinity Thomas Prestige Tokyo World Cup
Madelyn Williams San Mateo American Classic (VT, UB, BB)

The Juniors

Who Gym How
Ciena Alipio West Valley American Classic
Sydney Barros Texas Dreams Verification Camp
Skye Blakely WOGA American Classic
Jordan Bowers Solid Rock Verification Camp
Sophia Butler Discover U.S. Classic
Kailin Chio Gymcats U.S. Classic
Claire Dean Head Over Heels U.S. Classic
Kayla DiCello Hill’s Verification Camp
Aleah Finnegan GAGE American Classic
Karis German World Champions American Classic
Zoe Gravier MG Elite American Classic
Olivia Greaves MG Elite American Classic
Selena Harris Gymcats U.S. Classic
Alexis Jeffrey GAGE U.S. Classic
Levi Jung-Ruivivar Paramount Elite American Classic
Sunisa Lee Midwest Verification Camp
Lilly Lippeatt Cincinnati Verification Camp
Konnor McClain Revolution American Classic
Sydney Morris First State American Classic
Brenna Neault Precision U.S. Classic
Katelyn Rosen Mavericks U.S. Classic
JaFree Scott GAGE Verification Camp
Ui Soma San Mateo American Classic
Tori Tatum Twin City Twisters Junior Pan Ams
Leanne Wong GAGE Verification Camp

32 thoughts on “Who Qualified To Nationals?

  1. Is it common for gymnasts who qualified in prior years to miss the score this year? People who come to mind who were at Nationals this last year but didn’t make it this time are Love Hurt, Deanne Soza and Hannah Hagle. There may be more especially on the junior side.


    • I think Lauren has mentioned before that there were many more opportunities to qualify for nationals last year (e.g., more verification camps and international assignments like Jesolo). And, I believe someone has mentioned that the American Classic–traditionally held at the ranch–used to have more generous scoring than the version of the event that was public this year. So, gymnasts on the lower ends of qualifying scores may have received their scores last year due to some leniency in the scoring at the American Classic. But that’s all speculative!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Probably also worth noting that you never know when people are dealing with injuries or are recently recovered from injury that make it difficult for them to compete at their full potential.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Correct, with more camps last year, and a greater number of gymnasts attending (because it was at USAG’s expense and they didn’t have to pay their own way) it was much easier to get scores a year ago…and yes, the American Cup at the ranch was always GROSSLY overscored…like individual routines would sometimes be as much as two points higher than they’d get internationally which is high key insane. I definitely agree with that assessment, and think a far greater number of juniors would’ve qualified had the American Classic scoring been as it had been in previous years. Also, some of the girls who qualified last year did it by the skin of their teeth…they had low difficulty and didn’t look likely to get their scores but by the skin of their teeth with perfect days, they were able to get squeezed into the mix. Hannah Hagle probably would’ve qualified this year but she had falls, and same with Deanne Soza — had she not fallen on beam, she would’ve qualified. When you have low difficulty, it’s hard to get a 51 or a 52…if you’re averaging a 4.5 across the board, as many of these girls are, even if you get an 8.0 E score on all four events, you’re still just at a 50 AA…and if you average a 5.0, you’re looking at a 52 on a good day, which is the minimum needed to qualify as a senior. You need to have a truly exceptional day to qualify in that case, but girls who could’ve done it with hit routines ended up having falls. For someone like Deanne I was surprised to not see her doing AA at the American Classic because that meant she only had one chance to qualify and so her fall really hurt her which is a shame…she definitely deserved to be in the nationals field but she just didn’t have enough opportunities to get there. At least no one who is a big threat for the future was left out, like with Konnor McClain last year…there are a few who didn’t make it this year who will probably be big in the future but are still only like 12-13 so that’s not a huge deal, and those 14+ who didn’t make it likely aren’t ever going to become national team members or get international assignments so while it’s a bummer to see them miss out, especially for those who got so close, it still works out for the goals of nationals, which is to identify the top elites in the country and get them on the national team with funding.


  2. It is great to see that the field for the seniors is so much bigger this year than last year. Should be a great competition. I hope that Mailie O’Keefe can show what she is capable of, also Emma Malabuyo but I think Shilese Jones is the real dark horse this year. I am also impressed with Sloane Blakley. I had never heard of her before this year. I don’t know too many of the juniors, seems like a lot of new ones. I hope that TV shows more routines than just the top 3 or 4 All arounders. I was disappointed in the coverage of the US Classic where they kept on showing Simone’s routines over and over and ignoring most of the gymnasts there butt was happy to see Riley doing so well. I love her!

    Liked by 1 person

        • So unfortunate. 😦 I remember her withdrawing from Am Classics but I didn’t realize her injury was that serious. I hope she continues with elite next year- I really want to see her beam routine!


    • Based on Abi Walker’s Instagram, it looks like she had surgery back in March/April… I’m guessing hip surgery, based on her brace. She attended the camp at Woodward back in June that was specifically for elites from her gym, so it sounds like she intends to continue with elite.


      • She’s still in the ‘elite group’ even if she is in level 10 but I heard she was going to do L10 before going to college so I guess we’ll see what she decides for next season!


  3. Annie is also injured. There is a misconception that Texas Dreams produces awesome elites. On the contrary, most gymnasts who train on the “dream team” at Texas Dreams were already qualified elite (or were very close) prior to moving to TD. A lot of girls move to TD in hopes of making it to the national team, but the truth is – most girls came to TD already elite qualified. Bailey Key and Ragan Smith are the most noteworthy of this phenomenon. Also, a number of already accomplished girls from previous gyms moved to Texas Dreams in search of making it to the national team and/or better. Unfortunately, Texas Dreams has become more of a “puppy mill” of L10 and higher aspiring gymnasts. Annie Beard has been caught up in this puppy mill effect, unfortunately. She has been training with the Dream Team, but due to her reoccurring injuries, she will not see competition this season again. Abi Walker is also another previously qualified elite (prior to TD) who has now dropped down to L10 this season to get ready for UGeorgia in the future.


    • I’m so bummed to hear about Annie’s injury. Also, the NBC broadcast for Classics mentioned that Emma Malabuyo has been dealing with back issues, which makes me very concerned. We know how Bailie’s back issues negatively impacted her sr elite career. 😦 Hopefully Emma has better luck.


    • Bailie Key made her first national team a couple years after she moved to Texas Dreams. She was only about 10 or 11 years old when she and her family moved to TD. Peyton Ernst also became an elite a couple years after she moved to Texas Dreams. Ragan Smith also made her first national team after she moved to Texas Dreams. Injuries in many ways is part of the sport.


  4. USAG released the list of gymnasts competing in nationals today. Deanne Soza is on the roster- very interesting since she didn’t get the qualifying score. I’m guessing she petitioned. (Although I am in no way complaining about the chance to see her lovely gymnastics live in Boston. 🙂 )


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