The 2019 U.S. Championships Junior Guide

The U.S. Championships are this weekend and there are a total of 29 juniors on the list. We know you’re probably wondering who at least half of them are, so we’re back with our definitive guide to every single junior you’ll see compete in Kansas City.

Listed in alphabetical order, get to know all of the young ladies from the veterans at 15 all the way down to the 12-year-olds competing elite for the first time.

CIENA ALIPIO
448416. Age 15
Hometown San Jose, CA
Gym West Valley Gymnastics
Experience Ciena went from a decent junior last year to one of the best this year, earning a spot at Jesolo in March, where she won bronze on vault and silver on beam. She also finished 5th all-around at junior worlds trials in June, where she won the beam title, and then she came back to win the American Classic all-around and bars titles a couple weeks later. At last month’s U.S. Classic, she stunned on beam to take the silver in addition to finishing 5th all-around.
2019 Scores 54.050 (Worlds Trials)
53.900 (U.S. Classic)
53.800 (American Classic)
53.550 (Gliders Qualifier)
52.833 (Jesolo)
What to Watch Beam! Ciena is a goddess on this event, with two fantastic triple flight series, lovely and fluid connections, and beautiful leaps. She also has super deep inbars on bars, and has been improving on that event this year, and she’s gorgeous on floor.
SYDNEY BARROS
Screen Shot 2019-07-17 at 10.06.35 PM Age 14
Hometown Lewisville, TX
Gym Texas Dreams Gymnastics
Experience An injury last year kept Sydney from being fully prepared for nationals, but she quickly bounced back into the swing of things this year, finishing a shocking 3rd all-around at junior worlds trials to make the team. In Györ, Sydney competed very well to make the vault final in addition to finishing 6th all-around, and she looked incredible at the U.S. Classic, kicking butt on every event to place top three on all but bars in addition to winning all-around silver.
2019 Scores 55.300 (U.S. Classic)
54.550 (Worlds Trials)
53.974 (Junior Worlds)
52.200 (Parkettes Qualifier)
What to Watch Sydney has tons of power on vault and floor. Her DTY on vault is huge and solid, and while her floor difficulty isn’t huge, it’s pretty strong for this level, especially in the U.S. where junior floor difficulty tends to be a bit behind.
LOVE BIRT
Screen Shot 2019-08-07 at 11.56.01 AM. Age 13
Hometown Camden, DE
Gym First State
Experience Love competed one year of Hopes back in 2016, and then she gained some major attention a year later when she qualified to U.S. nationals at just 11 years old, making her the youngest competitor that year. Though she missed out on nationals in 2018, her work in 2019 has shown a steady improvement across all events. She’s still one of the youngest gymnasts on the roster, so we’re looking forward to seeing how she continues to grow in the sport.
2019 Scores 52.600 (WOGA Classic)
51.700 (KPAC Qualifier)
51.100 (Worlds Trials)
47.300 (Buckeye Qualifier)
What to Watch I would say Love is pretty equal in her potential on each event, but floor is where she’s able to make herself stand out just a bit more. She’s pretty consistent there, she has great choreography and expression for her age, and she’s just lovely to watch…but her beam is pretty nice as well.

 

SKYE BLAKELY
496577 Age 14
Hometown Frisco, TX
Gym WOGA
Experience Skye made a huge impression in her elite debut last year, winning vault and floor medals at nationals, where she also finished 4th all-around to make the junior team on her very first try. This year, she won the vault and bars titles at Gymnix, where she also finished 3rd all-around, and then she won the junior worlds trials to earn a spot on the team in Györ, where she finished 7th all-around after falling on beam, but then bounced back for strong performances in the bars and floor finals. She had some issues on bars and beam at last month’s U.S. Classic, but she still pulled off 4th-place all-around thanks to a silver medal on vault and the title on floor.
2019 Scores 56.500 (Worlds Trials)
53.950 (U.S. Classic)
53.407 (Junior Worlds)
53.332 (Gymnix)
What to Watch Skye has the kind of bars you’d expect from a WOGA baby and some big skills and awesome opening choreo on beam, and at the American Classic, she unveiled a great DTY on vault.
SOPHIA BUTLER
Screen Shot 2019-07-17 at 10.09.17 PM Age 15
Hometown Houston, TX
Gym Discover Gymnastics
Experience Sophia qualified elite last year and quickly rose to the top of the rankings, placing 8th all-around at nationals. This year, she was added to the national team for Jesolo, where she finished 6th all-around and also made the bars and floor finals. She also competed at junior worlds trials, where she placed 12th, and she had an excellent U.S. Classic performance, winning bronze medals on vault and floor.
2019 Scores 54.150 (Houston Invite)
53.750 (WCC Qualifier)
53.500 (U.S. Classic)
53.166 (Jesolo)
51.500 (Worlds Trials)
50.450 (WOGA Classic)
What to Watch My favorite event of Sophia’s is beam, where she’s a bit of a trickster with lots of exciting skills and connections. I also love that she adapts her routine to her needs, however. Last year at nationals, she ended up downgrading to play it safe after struggling with her layout full, and it resulted in really strong scores. Sophia is also known for showcasing tons of energy and sass on floor, with her signature ending choreography always a crowd favorite.
KAILIN CHIO
561262 Age 13
Hometown Henderson, NV
Gym Gymcats
Experience The Hopes national all-around silver medalist in 2017, Kailin first qualified to nationals last year, where she finished an impressive 11th place after two solid days of competition.  This year, Kailin has competed at both the American Classic, where she placed 10th after a fall on bars, and the U.S. Classic, where she had a few struggles throughout her meet to finish 29th all-around.
2019 Scores 51.150 (American Classic)
49.000 (U.S. Classic)
What to Watch I love Kailin’s beautiful and clean bar work, where she has a fantastic stalder full + toe-on + Maloney + clear hip + bail + toe shoot series, a piked Jaeger, and a lovely double layout dismount. She also has a perfect Yurchenko 1½, and beautiful acro on beam and floor. A true all-arounder in every sense!
KAYLA DiCELLO
Screen Shot 2019-07-17 at 10.10.21 PM Age 15
Hometown Boyds, MD
Gym Hill’s Gymnastics
Experience The silver all-around medalist at nationals last year, Kayla has been a member of multiple top U.S. international teams, including Pac Rims in 2018 and then both Jesolo and Junior Worlds this year. Kayla had the top junior worlds all-around finish among the U.S. gymnasts in Györ, placing 4th, and she was also the only U.S. gymnast to take home individual medals, winning the vault title as well as the bronze on beam. Things didn’t really go Kayla’s way on beam or floor at last month’s U.S. Classic, but she came back with great work on vault and bars to win the barse bronze and finish 11th all-around, a big climb up from a much lower ranking after her first two events.
2019 Scores 55.750 (Worlds Trials)
55.700 (WOGA Classic)
54.765 (Junior Worlds)
52.100 (U.S. Classic)
What to Watch I said this last year, but I don’t think Kayla is actually a standout on any event, and I mean that in a good way. She is the kind of all-arounder who does every single event incredibly well without relying on any one apparatus to carry her through. With a strong DTY, the confidence of a true team leader, and polished elements on all four events, Kayla is going to be tough to beat.
ADDISON FATTA
Screen Shot 2019-07-17 at 10.11.39 PM Age 14
Hometown Wrightsville, PA
Gym Prestige Gymnastics
Experience Addison has been at the elite level since 2017, making nationals in her first year. Though she narrowly missed nationals last year due to falls on floor, she nonetheless showed improvements compared to her first elite season, and this year she won the junior all-around title at the KPAC qualifier to easily get her classics score. She was also solid at the U.S. Classic, finishing 17th all-around after a good day to qualify to nationals.
2019 Scores 51.850 (KPAC Qualifier)
51.300 (U.S. Classic)
What to Watch Addison is insane on floor. Her twisting is phenomenal, and she’s previously competed a triple full followed up with a 2½ through to double full. And she’s super tight while doing it, making for an overall fabulous set. Unfortunately, she struggled a bit with her consistency here last year, so we’re likely to see some changes, but I love her on this event and am excited to see how she looks now.
EMJAE FRAZIER
Screen Shot 2018-07-24 at 12.49.05 AM Age 15
Hometown Erial, NJ
Gym Parkettes
Experience The younger sister of UCLA and former elite standout Margzetta, éMjae missed out on qualifying to nationals last year, but she’s looked super strong so far in 2019. She won the Parkettes qualifier by almost three points in June, receiving an invite to the national team camp a few weeks later, and though she struggled a bit at the American Classic, she came back at the U.S. Classic in Louisville with a stellar performance to finish 7th all-around.
2019 Scores 54.750 (Parkettes Qualifier)
53.350 (U.S. Classic)
49.450 (American Classic)
What to Watch I love éMjae’s power and attack on all of her events – whether it’s bars or floor, she’s going 100% into her big skills. Sometimes her difficult skills – a DTY on vault, a Church, Maloney to Tkachev, and double layout on bars, and a double pike beam dismount, to name a few – can trip her up a bit, but on a good day, it can also make her one of the top gymnasts in the country.
KARIS GERMAN
Screen Shot 2019-07-17 at 10.13.35 PM Age 15
Hometown Spring, TX
Gym World Champions Centre
Experience Karis had an incredibly impressive debut elite season last year, finishing 12th at nationals. We didn’t see her again until the American Classic in June, where she looked fantastic and seemed to have spent the last year making tons of improvements and upgrades to come away with a silver medal in the all-around in addition to the titles on vault and floor. Though she had a rough beam performance at the U.S. Classic a month later, the rest of her events were excellent, and she pulled off 20th all-around.
2019 Scores 53.350 (American Classic)
51.100 (U.S. Classic)
What to Watch Karis has tons of power, which helped her add a Yurchenko double on vault this season, and she also has a fantastic double double on floor as well as one of the better double tucks I’ve seen off beam, though her form on this event and on bars tends to be a bit weak in comparison, so hopefully continuing to work with Laurent Landi will help her here over time.
OLIVIA GREAVES
Screen Shot 2019-07-17 at 10.16.11 PM Age 15
Hometown Staten Island, NY
Gym MG Elite
Experience Olivia had a fantastic debut season at the elite level last year, finishing 6th all-around at nationals to make the team. In her first international assignment at Gymnix this year, Olivia won silver medals in the all-around as well as on vault and floor, and she was a top choice for the junior worlds team, finishing 6th at trials. At the U.S. Classic, Olivia won the bars title with a stunning routine in addition to hitting her other three events to win all-around bronze.
2019 Scores 54.750 (U.S. Classic)
53.666 (Gymnix)
53.600 (Worlds Trials)
What to Watch Olivia is known for a killer bars set, competing skills and combinations that put her close to a senior ability, including three big releases – a piked Jaeger, Church, and Downie – as well as a gorgeous stalder full to full-in dismount. Her other events aren’t super difficult, but are often very clean, and she recently added a DTY on vault to make her an even bigger all-around contender than she was previously.
LEVI JUNG-RUIVIVAR
Dhj1vbRUcAAQj46 Age 13
Hometown Woodland Hills, CA
Gym Paramount Elite
Experience Levi made her elite debut last summer, finishing 18th all-around at nationals where her textbook bars made her one to watch for the future. At the end of 2018, she traveled to France with her club to compete at the Tournoi International, where she won the espoir all-around title in addition to picking up medals on vault and bars, and at the American Classic in June, she won the silver medal on bars.
2019 Scores 49.550 (American Classic)
48.600 (U.S. Classic)
What to Watch When I first discovered Levi, I instantly fell in love with her beam and floor, because everything she did from expression to her beyond gorgeous toe point was absolutely elegant and exquisite. Over the past year, her bars – which keep growing in their level of difficulty – have been improving tremendously, and she has the potential to be one of the top U.S. juniors on that event, with her execution almost impossible to beat.
LILLIAN ‘LILLY’ LIPPEATT
Age 14
Hometown Mason, OH
Gym Cincinnati Gymnastics
Experience This is Lilly’s third season as an elite, and so far, it’s been her best one yet. After finishing 21st at nationals last year, Lilly came back this season to earn a national team spot as well as a trip to compete at Gymnix, where she finished 5th all-around and won the bronze on beam. She also had a strong performance at the junior worlds trials in June, finishing 7th all-around and showing especially solid work on bars and floor, and she she was solid at the U.S. Classic as well, finishing 9th all-around.
2019 Scores 53.150 (U.S. Classic)
52.900 (Worlds Trials)
51.932 (Gymnix)
What to Watch Lilly has always been known for being tidy, precise, energetic, and charismatic, and so even when she wasn’t doing huge routines or bringing in huge scores, she was still noted for her ability to perform. This year, however, Lilly has been impressing on an even bigger scale, but her floor is still the most exciting for me, especially when she added a whip full into an immediate double tuck into her set. Adding more power there and on vault, where she still has an FTY but is much more controlled and dynamic, could be key for her as she gets ready to become a senior next year (HOW?!).
LAUREN LITTLE
Screen Shot 2019-07-17 at 10.17.29 PM Age 15
Hometown Mooresville, NC
Gym Everest Gymnastics
Experience Lauren is gearing up for her third national championships as an elite, though she’s long been an under-the-radar kind of gymnast. Some struggles at both classics last year held her back a bit, but she’s been super consistent so far in 2019, finishing 10th at the American Classic to get her nationals score, and then finishing 13th at the U.S. Classic, improving on her previous scores this year by almost a point.
2019 Scores 52.000 (U.S. Classic)
51.250 (Parkettes Qualifier)
51.150 (American Classic)
What to Watch Lauren has always wowed me for her ability to stand out both on vault and bars, a rare combination of talents and yet she did it so effortlessly. She used to have a DTY, but has been a bit downgraded this year, instead competing a tsuk layout, so I can only imagine she’s preparing to learn bigger tsuk-style vaults to make more of an impression as a senior next year. Her bars, meanwhile, continue to look very nice, and she’s also solid on beam and floor, though she’s not coming in with as much difficulty there.
NOLA MATTHEWS
Screen Shot 2019-07-17 at 6.22.21 PM. Age 12
Hometown Gilroy, CA
Gym Airborne Gymnastics
Experience Nola was a Hopes gymnast in 2017 and 2018, and she competed at the Hopes Classic both years before making her international debut with her club at the Tournoi International last fall, where she won silver in the all-around as well as the gold on bars and beam in the espoir division. She’s improved a ton this year, getting her nationals scores at the American Classic, where she finished 9th all-around and won the bronze on beam, and then she finished 22nd all-around at the U.S. Classic, with her beam again a highlight.
2019 Scores 51.200 (American Classic)
51.200 (KPAC Qualifier)
50.850 (U.S. Classic)
49.300 (Auburn Qualifier)
What to Watch Nola is fairly even in terms of difficulty (she has between a 4.6-4.7 start value on all four!), but skill level aside, I absolutely love her beam. She has some great choreography out of her mount to open things up, and she’s overall fantastic in her acro and dance.
KONNOR McCLAIN
Screen Shot 2019-07-17 at 10.18.32 PM Age 14
Hometown Cross Lanes, WV
Gym Revolution Gymnastics
Experience The Hopes champion in 2016, Konnor missed out on nationals in 2017 only to bounce back in a tremendous way last summer, finishing 5th all-around and winning the beam title to make the national team. She made her U.S. team international debut at Jesolo in March of this year, winning gold all-around on top of three event medals, and she finished 4th all-around at junior worlds trials to become the alternate for the team that traveled to Györ. At last month’s U.S. Classic, Konnor showed confidence and poise on all four events, winning the all-around, vault, and beam titles and proving to be a huge threat for the national title this summer.
2019 Scores 56.167 (Jesolo)
55.600 (U.S. Classic)
54.150 (Worlds Trials)
What to Watch What NOT to watch? Beam is what Konnor became known for as a younger junior, and her talents there are still beyond most wildest dreams. But this year, she added a DTY on vault and has made improvements on bars and floor to make her more of a balanced all-arounder…though beam is where she’s still the queen.
ZOE MILLER
Screen-Shot-2019-01-19-at-9.20.52-PM-1. Age 13
Hometown Spring, TX
Gym World Champions Centre
Experience Zoe began competing Hopes when she was just ten years old, but then took an elite break before eventually moving to WCC. As a level 10, Zoe has competed at two J.O. national championships, winning the bars title as well as finishing in the top five on vault and in the all-around, and she also qualified to this year’s Nastia Liukin Cup, winning vault and finishing 6th all-around. She got the exact score needed to qualify elite at the Parkettes national qualifier in June, and then a few weeks later, she finished an impressive 5th all-around at the American Classic before going on to win the bronze on bars and finish 12th all-around at the U.S. Classic.
2019 Scores 52.350 (American Classic)
52.050 (U.S. Classic)
50.500 (Parkettes Qualifier)
What to Watch Zoe’s bars are excellent! She has so much potential on this event, and she’s super solid with a pretty high level of difficulty for her age. She also has a really strong beam set, and though she doesn’t really have any flashy skills here, she’s super clean and fluid as well.
KAYLEN MORGAN
466543. Age 15
Hometown Huntersville, NC
Gym Everest Gymnastics
Experience Kaylen has been on the elite path for several years, competing at the Hopes level in 2016 and 2017 before making the transition to elite in 2018. Last year, she competed at Gymnix with her club, making her international debut before she officially qualified elite, and though she missed the rest of the 2018 season due to injury, she got invited to the 2019 camps by sheer talent alone, qualified elite and made the national team at a single camp in February, and then made her U.S. team international debut at this year’s Gymnix a few weeks later. In June, Kaylen placed 11th at the junior worlds trials, but despite all of her experience in the elite world, the U.S. Classic last month (finally!) marked her debut in a major domestic elite competition, and it was a solid one, as she finished 16th all-around to earn her nationals score.
2019 Scores 51.650 (Worlds Trials)
51.350 (U.S. Classic)
50.798 (Gymnix)
50.000 (Buckeye Qualifier)
What to Watch Kaylen is a pretty solid and reliable vaulter and her bars skills have tons of amplitude, but I love watching her on beam the most. She has some great aerial skills thanks to her lovely extension, which also shines in her dance elements, and she also has a big double tuck dismount.
SYDNEY MORRIS
Screen Shot 2019-07-17 at 10.21.34 PM Age 15
Hometown Bowie, MD
Gym First State Gymnastics
Experience Originally known for being a YouTube star with a huge Instagram following before she reached elite, a move to First State in 2017 took Sydney to new levels. Sydney finished 13th all-around at nationals last year, and she bumped that up to 8th at both the junior worlds trials and the American Classic before winning the silver on bars and finishing 10th all-around at the U.S. Classic last month.
2019 Scores 53.100 (U.S. Classic)
52.050 (Worlds Trials)
51.400 (American Classic)
51.300 (WOGA Classic)
What to Watch I’ve always been most wowed by Sydney on floor, because she has this innate ability to tie all elements of a good floor routine – tumbling, dance, choreo, expression – together. But Sydney has become quite the bar worker since moving to First State, and she always puts together super clean and solid routines there, while her difficulty on beam is growing as well, with a standing full, triple flight series, and double pike.
SOPHIE PARENTI
p1267265772-4. Age 13
Hometown Menlo Park, CA
Gym San Mateo Gymnastics
Experience Sophie started out her elite career with a Hopes appearance in 2016 when she was just ten years old. Since then, she’s mostly focused on J.O. competition, qualifying to nationals last year where she won the bronze on bars in addition to finishing 4th all-around, and then this year she continued with elite, competing at a couple of qualifiers before placing 18th at the American Classic and then improving to 15th at the U.S. Classic.
2019 Scores 51.650 (U.S. Classic)
51.350 (Auburn Qualifier)
49.950 (Parkettes Qualifier)
49.750 (American Classic)
What to Watch Like many juniors, Sophie is pretty balanced across all four events. I find her floor to be where she looks most comfortable and consistent, though her beam is also really strong.
ANYA PILGRIM
00jrwpod-Pilgrim_PG170335-400x284. Age 14
Hometown Germantown, MD
Gym Hill’s Gymnastics
Experience Anya initially qualified elite in 2017 after a year of Hopes experience. She finished 12th all-around at nationals in her first elite season, but then an injury kept her out for most of the 2018 season, and she didn’t return to competition until last month. Despite her time away, she looked really solid at the American Classic, winning all-around bronze in addition to posting the second-best score on vault, and then at the U.S. Classic, she finished 7th all-around just behind the absolute top group of juniors.
2019 Scores 53.350 (U.S. Classic)
52.900 (American Classic)
51.350 (Parkettes Qualifier)
What to Watch Anya has some insane floor skills, including a huge arabian double front and a 1½ through to double tuck. In fact, she has so much power, she takes basically two steps into her double full, making it look as easy as a MAG side pass than a full tumbling line. This is where I love her most, but she’s super well-rounded with true talent on every event, vaulting a DTY, showing beautiful front stalder work on bars, and throwing a punch front in her beam routine. She was also the first gymnast in the world to compete a front inbar half on bars, and while it’s been missing from her current routine, I hope it eventually makes its way back!
ARIEL POSEN
tumblr_pshwc18DT71v8qeyt_540. Age 14
Hometown Manalapan, NJ
Gym MG Elite
Experience Like many of the MG Elite stars, Ariel seemingly came out of nowhere this season. A level 10 since 2016, Ariel won floor at J.O. nationals last year and she was the New Jersey state champion on the same event this year before qualifying elite at the Parkettes meet in June. A few weeks later, she finished 17th at the American Classic, and though a couple of falls held her back from getting her nationals score, she had a solid day at the U.S. Classic, finishing 21st and getting the exact score needed to reach nationals.
2019 Scores 51.000 (U.S. Classic)
50.800 (Parkettes Qualifier)
49.900 (American Classic)
What to Watch Ariel is absolutely fabulous on floor, where she displays everything you’d expect from an MG Elite athlete on this event, from the expression and ability to work well with elegant choreo right down to the perfect extension and flexibility needed to pull off some beautiful poses. I also love her leap series into a Korbut on beam.
SIENNA ROBINSON
Screen Shot 2019-07-17 at 8.59.19 PM. Age 13
Hometown Las Vegas, NV
Gym Browns Gymnastics
Experience Sienna made her Hopes debut at age ten, winning the floor title and finishing 6th all-around to make a big impression, and then a year later she got her elite and her nationals scores at just 11. Sienna missed all of 2018 due to injury, but she easily got her elite score again on her first try at a qualifier in February before going on to compete at Gymnix with her club in March, finishing 10th all-around and 7th on bars in addition to taking the floor bronze in a field that included both juniors and seniors. Sienna was 13th at the junior worlds trials and then 5th at the American Classic last month, earning her nationals score, and though a last-minute injury while training at the U.S. Classic took her out of competition in Louisville, it was thankfully a quick and easy recovery and I’m looking forward to seeing her back here.
2019 Scores 52.350 (American Classic)
51.950 (Gliders Qualifier)
51.200 (Worlds Trials)
48.533 (Gymnix)
What to Watch Sienna is absolutely fantastic on floor, full of sass and energy, and her tumbling is great as well. On bars, she has a fantastic double layout as well as both piked and straddled Jaegers, and she has a super cool front aerial to back tuck as well as an incredible double pike dismount on beam.
KATELYN ROSEN
maxresdefault Age 13
Hometown Boerne, TX
Gym Mavericks Gymnastics
Experience Katelyn was one of the top Hopes gymnasts in both 2016 and 2017, so it was no surprise to see her qualify elite in 2018. She finished 20th at nationals last year, and earlier this year, she had a solid 7th-place all-around finish in the Challenge session at Gymnix. Katelyn also competed at the junior worlds trials, placing 16th, at the American Classic, where she was 13th in addition to taking the bronze medal on beam, and at the U.S. Classic, where she finished 19th.
2019 Scores 51.850 (WCC Qualifier)
51.150 (U.S. Classic)
50.700 (American Classic)
49.766 (Gymnix)
49.050 (Worlds Trials)
What to Watch Katelyn is a super powerful gymnast, and she recently upgraded to a Yurchenko 1½ on vault, which could give her an edge among the FTY-ers. She also has a double layout on floor, and her difficulty level on beam is excellent, with her routine including a switch half to Korbut, front aerial into a jump series, Onodi, and a big double pike.
LYDEN SALTNESS
.Dcn0htNU8AAD00- Age 14
Hometown Forest Lake, MN
Gym Midwest Gymnastics
Experience Lyden qualified to elite in 2018, finishing her season with a 24th-place all-around performance at the U.S. Classic. This year, she returned with bigger and better skills across the board, getting her elite score in February before getting a national team camp invite, finishing 15th at the junior worlds trials, and then placing a huge 4th all-around at the American Classic, where she also won floor. She had a bit of a rough day at the U.S. Classic, placing 30th after several falls on beam, but a hit weekend for her could mean a top 10 finish here.
2019 Scores 52.600 (American Classic)
51.850 (Buckeye Qualifier)
50.350 (Worlds Trials)
48.600 (U.S. Classic)
What to Watch With a Yurchenko 1½ on vault and a solid 5.4-ish start value on every other event, Lyden is both well-rounded and at a great level of difficulty for a junior, though for her it’s all about getting a little more tidy and consistent. I personally love her floor, and I was also really excited to see her compete a Weiler half straight into a piked Jaeger as well as a toe-on to Maloney to Gienger on bars in June. Like her senior teammate Sunisa Lee, she’s always one to keep things exciting!
JAMISON SEARS
496883. Age 14
Hometown Yorktown, VA
Gym World Class Gymnastics
Experience Jamison spent three years gaining experience in the Hopes program in addition to competing level 10 before qualifying elite this season. Earlier this year, Jamison qualified to the Nastia Liukin Cup, where she finished 4th all-around, and she then won the state and regional all-around titles before finishing with the silver medal at nationals, where she also took the beam and floor titles. At the American Classic, Jamison had a scary fall on her beam dismount and was unable to continue the meet, but she’s tremendously talented with huge potential, and she came back with an excellent day at the U.S. Classic, where she finished 14th all-around.
2019 Scores 51.900 (U.S. Classic)
49.750 (KPAC Qualifier)
47.050 (Buckeye Qualifier)
What to Watch With a DTY on vault, Jamison is definitely one to watch there, though she has struggled a bit with her consistency. Outside of vault, I think she’s fantastic on beam, where she has a beautiful flight series, a great punch front into a jump series, and a double tuck dismount.
AVA SIEGFELDT
Screen Shot 2018-07-24 at 1.26.31 AM Age 14
Hometown Newport News, VA
Gym World Class Gymnastics
Experience Ava made her Hopes debut in 2017, and then qualified to the elite level in 2018, ending her season with a 21st-place finish at the U.S. Classic. This year, Ava has shown some really great improvement, and she’s been pretty consistent as well, finishing 10th at junior worlds trials and then 7th at the American Classic in June, where she also won silver on bars and bronze on floor. Ava only competed on bars and beam at the U.S. Classic, but she was excellent on both.
2019 Scores 51.700 (Worlds Trials)
51.550 (American Classic)
51.550 (Parkettes Qualifier)
51.050 (KPAC Qualifier)
50.350 (Buckeye Qualifier)
49.350 (WOGA Classic)
What to Watch I’m obsessed with Ava’s bars. With a toe full to Chow to Pak, toe-on to Maloney to Gienger, and double front dismount, she has one of the most exciting bars sets among the juniors, but she’s good everywhere, with an impressive double layout on floor in addition to an NCAA-ready Yurchenko 1½ on vault.
MYA WITTE
Screen Shot 2019-08-07 at 11.46.39 AM. Age 14
Hometown Greenacres, FL
Gym Genie’s Gymnastics
Experience After a standout Hopes career, which she began in 2016 and ended with a gold medal on beam at championships last summer, Mya quickly began excelling at the elite level, winning the all-around at the Buckeye qualifier and then getting a 15.0 on beam to take a second all-around title at the WCC qualifier. She finished 9th at junior worlds trials in June before competing at the American Classic a week later, where she took the gold on beam.
2019 Scores 54.100 (WCC Qualifier)
52.900 (Buckeye Qualifier)
51.900 (Worlds Trials)
50.100 (American Classic)
What to Watch Beam. Mya is a beam queen. She has the skills, poise, and confidence that make her standout not only as a top U.S. junior on this event, but as one of the most talented beam kids in the world.
ELLA ZIRBES
Screen-Shot-2018-06-27-at-10.10.50-PM-300x300 (1). Age 14
Hometown Stillwater, MN
Gym Flips Gymnastics
Experience As a level 10 gymnast, Ella made a great impression when she first qualified in 2018, and this year, she put up an incredible performance to win the Junior B all-around title in addition to gold on bars and silver on both vault and floor. Her level 10 debut last year coincided with her Hopes debut also in 2018, and this year, Ella got the exact score needed to become an elite. In June, Ella finished 19th at the junior worlds trials, improved on her score to finish 24th at the American Classic, and then saw an even bigger jump at the U.S. Classic, where she finished 18th.
2019 Scores 51.250 (U.S. Classic)
50.500 (Buckeye Qualifier)
48.650 (American Classic)
46.450 (Auburn Qualifier)
45.500 (Worlds Trials)
What to Watch Ella is so much fun to watch on floor. She’s energetic and entertaining, she doesn’t have the cookie cutter music we can expect from most juniors, and her tumbling is super clean and controlled throughout. Ella recently upgraded to a Yurchenko 1½ on vault, and it looked solid at the American Classic, and she has some promise on beam as well, though there are a few areas there that can be improved to bring her scores up.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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3 thoughts on “The 2019 U.S. Championships Junior Guide

  1. Pingback: The 2019 U.S. Championships Senior Guide | The Gymternet

  2. Pingback: 2019 U.S. Championships Live Blog | Junior Women Day 1 | The Gymternet

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