Senior Sydney Morris and junior Sienna Robinson were the only two gymnasts who earned their elite scores at this weekend’s Excalibur National Qualifier in Virginia Beach, one of several elite qualifiers across the United States this year.
Morris, 15, has previously competed elite as a junior. After unsuccessfully attempting to qualify to the senior level at the Metroplex meet in January, she was able to increase her scores on nearly every event, getting a 53.000 to sweep the two-person senior field.
She looked especially strong on beam, getting a 14.050 – the highest score of her career – for a routine that included a phenomenal switch leap to switch half to back tuck full series, which she missed at Excalibur, but she absolutely crushed it here. She also hit a triple flight series and a double pike dismount, and was otherwise clean on her additional acro skills and jumps.
Maribelle Albert was the only other senior attempting to qualify here, but she was a bit behind in her difficulty in addition to showing some mistakes, scoring just a 39.600 in the all-around competition to miss qualifying.
In the junior competition, 14-year-old Robinson earned a 51.450 to top the podium, also posting the highest scores on beam and floor with a 13.450 and 13.250, respectively. This was Robinson’s first attempt at qualifying for the season, and her scores were an improvement on her nationals outing last summer, where she finished 24th overall.
A total of 14 juniors competed here, but all but Robinson came up short at earning the required score of a 50.500. Annalise Newman-Achee was second with a 50.150, and though she missed out on qualifying here due to a mistake on floor, she previously qualified so should be all set for this season, while Elizabeth Cairns was third with a 49.700.
Rounding out the top eight in the junior competition were Olivia Kelly in fourth with a 49.550, Alana Walker in fifth with a 48.700, Azaraya Ra-Akbar in sixth with a 47.550, Clara Wallace in seventh with a 47.300, and Adriana Consoli in eighth with a 47.250. Wallace had the highest vault score here, with a 13.700, while Eva Volpe, who was ninth all-around with a 46.900, had the top bars score with a 12.400.
In the Hopes division, a total of 31 gymnasts competed, with two qualifying in the 12-13 age division and one qualifying in the 10-11 group.
Audrey Snyder led the rankings for the 12-to-13-year-olds, earning a 49.200 after a solid day with bars her only low-scoring event. She also had the top score on floor, with a 12.450, and the second-best scores on vault and beam. Giovannina Beltra, second with a 48.900, also qualified at this level, and she led the field on beam with a 12.900.
Rounding out the top eight were Sevana Kasparian in third with a 47.750, Kate Walendzak in fourth with a 47.350, Brynn Torry in fifth with a 47.000, Keira Grontkosky in sixth with a 47.000, Mylee Grant in seventh with a 46.000, and Emma Becker in eighth with a 45.150. Torry and 13th-place Avery Moss tied for the top bars score (11.850), while Isabella Perri, who competed every event but bars, led vault with a 13.650.
Sadie Goldberg won the 10-11 division with a 46.450, putting up the top scores of 12.750 on vault and 12.650 on beam to reach her qualifying score. Though Victoria Kitzmiller posted the best scores on bars (11.650) and floor (11.400), she struggled a bit on beam and was unable to reach the required score to qualify, coming in at a 44.400 total.
Also competing all-around in this age group were Quinn Harris in third with a 42.450, Makenna Araiza in fourth with a 37.800, and Gabriela Ursu in fifth with a 36.600, while Joelie Berelc competed every event but vault.
Full results from the competition are available here.
The next opportunity for gymnasts to qualify to the elite or Hopes levels is this coming weekend’s Everest National Qualifier in North Carolina, and then there are a final two opportunities after that.
Article by Lauren Hopkins