Two seniors and four juniors earned their elite qualifying scores at the Brestyan’s Invitational, the third of four U.S. national elite qualifiers, held this week in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Lexi Zeiss, a 15-year-old first-year senior who trains at Omaha Gymnastics and who qualified elite for the first time as a junior in 2020, previously got her two-event score at the Biles Invitational and then improved on her all-around score at last week’s Buckeye Qualifier to get within tenths of the 51.000 requirement.
This week, she put up an incredible performance that included a 13.5 on beam and a 12.9 on floor, leading the senior field across all sessions and zooming past the score requirement by more than a point to get her elite all-around score with a 52.250. We loved seeing the fight from Zeiss throughout this process, and having it all pay off in the end with such a dominant outing on this final attempt must have made the victory that much sweeter.
The other senior to qualify was Hailey Klein of Flips North Shore, who missed out at Buckeye last week, but improved on her score here by more than three points to qualify with a 51.550. Klein, who gained a bit of notoriety in the past for training a clear hip to layout Tkachev, is also a first-year senior, and this is her first year attempting elite at any level. Her strongest score here came on vault, where she hit for a 13.8.
Four other seniors attempted to qualify here, including Skylar Draser of Parkettes, who was third with a 50.000, Sophie Parenti of West Valley, who was fourth with a 49.800, Tirzah Wise of Salcianu Elite, who was fifth with a 48.450, and Hadley Bretschneider of Solid Rock, who was sixth with a 47.600.
The juniors to qualify included Madray Johnson of WOGA, who was first across all sessions with a 50.950, Ella Kate Parker of Cincinnati in second with a 50.900, Joscelyn Roberson of Northeast Texas Elite in third with a 50.750, and Paloma Spiridonova of WOGA in fourth with a 50.650. Roberson last qualified to junior elite in 2019, while the other three are all first-year juniors after competing in Hopes last season. These four are the first juniors to qualify elite this year, with no junior competitors earning scores at either of the first meets, and they join just 14 who have previously qualified via meets and camps in 2019 and 2020.
Rounding out the top eight were Adriana Consoli of Pearland Elite in fifth with a 49.850, Brooke Pierson of WOGA in sixth with a 49.850, Ella Murphy of WOGA in seventh with a 49.600, and Jessica Reith of Parkettes in eighth with a 48.800.
In addition to the elites, a total of nine gymnasts met the Hopes 13-14 qualifying score, while another two qualified in Hopes 11-12.
Sage Bradford of WOGA led the overall Hopes 13-14 field with a 50.450 all-around score, followed by Jocelyn Sasson of Ascend with a 49.700 and Adele Ossi of Parkettes with a 49.300. We were glad to see that Carly Weinberg, who fell short of her qualification attempts at both the Biles and Buckeye qualifiers this year, finally got her score here, finishing fourth with a 49.100, and the other qualifiers in this age group included Gabby Pierson of WOGA in fifth with a 49.000, Brooke Reingold of GO USA in sixth with a 48.850, Emma Becker of Flips North Shore in seventh with a 48.650, Isabelle Futch of Ascend in eighth with a 48.550, and Julia Nehmer of WOGA in ninth with a 48.500.
Another WOGA gymnast, Claire Pease, had the top all-around score in the Hopes 11-12 competition with a 48.250, though she had previously qualified when she swept the Biles Invitational in January, so this was just a good practice for her. The two who were new qualifiers are Allyn Damelio of San Mateo, who was second with a 47.100, and Lila Richardson of Hopes & Dreams, who was third with a 46.150.
Full results from the Brestyan’s qualifier are here. This is the last qualifier until April, when Parkettes will host the final chance for gymnasts to attempt to earn their scores, but all of the newly-qualified senior and junior elites will be able to compete at the Winter Cup in just two weeks, and we’re really looking forward to seeing how they all stack up next to one another on the national stage!
Article by Lauren Hopkins