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Kyla Ross Wins the Secret Classic, Baillie Key Wins Junior Title With the Flu

Kyla Ross, the baby of the Fierce Five showed everyone that she's not going anywhere with her win yesterday at the Secret Classic, the qualifier for the P&G Championships next month.

Kyla took home the gold with a total of 58.650, just .4 ahead of Texas Dreams' Peyton Ernst, a first year senior. Kyla also had the highest score on the uneven bars with a 15.400, well deserved, it was a gorgeous routine and spectacular execution. 

Kyla has definitely grown since the Olympics in London and she looks like she's a lot more confident. Of course, last year at this time, it's not that she wasn't confident, she just looks like she is coming into her own a little more. She debuted her new floor routine, which is beautiful. She's not doing the Phantom of the Opera routine, but she has new music and she's upgraded some of her skills. Her first pass is a double arabian to stag leap, then she goes right into her dance sequence, it's really beautiful.

The second place podium spot went to Peyton Ernst, who trains with Kim Zmeskal at Texas Dreams. This girl is amazing, especially on beam. Her first flight series is a back-handspring step out to a series of back handsprings to a layout. It takes the entire length of the beam. Plus, I love her choreography on beam, and I don't really say that too often because, beam choreography just sucks, I'm sorry. It's not necessarily the content of the choregraphy of Peyton's routine, it's just that she walks on that beam and owns it. I mean really owns it.  That beam belongs to her and of course, she had the highest score on beam with a 14.7.

Third place went to GAGE's Brenna Dowell, who was training Beth Tweddle's eponymous release debuted in competition. I think I had a mini geek out moment when she did that. Brenna seemed to have little freak out moment in the middle of that move, because she was supposed to shoot over the low bar and land in handstand and continue. Instead, she performs the release, but looses her momentum and has to do an extra swing before she shoots to the lowbar. She finished and she received a huge reaction from the crowd. 

Here's a routine that was pretty frickin cool, Lexie Priessman on floor exercise. This routine was amazing. The music, the choreography, everything. She opens up, the music starts very Madonna-esq (think "Vogue"). But Lexie doesn't need Madonna to provide the soundtrack to her routines (although, it would be pretty awesome if that happened), but she sells it like she was Madonna. Her choreography is definitely reminiscent of a Madonna music video. Of course, the crowd loved it and so she was smiling the whole time, especially when she stuck that double back tuck dismount. This is a great thing to see. I'm really hoping that this becomes a trend. No more of this half assing routines on floor to get the max score, no more waving your arms in front of your body while walking dramatically to the corner. 

Elsewhere, McKayla Maroney is back and strong as ever, perhaps even stronger. She's grown a little bit, like Kyla and she looks like she's been gaining more strength. Her Amanar vault is awesome as always and she kills it on her Mustafina vault. Her new floor routine is pretty awesome. She's got to rein in all that power though. She went out of bounds on her first tumbling pass, a double layout.

Notables: MyKayla Skinner doing that double double layout as her first tumbling pass. GAGE's Madison Desch qualifying to Nationals with her beam routine  and Erin Macadaeg qualifying to nationals.

Notes on the junior session: Bailie Key, another athlete who trains with former world champion, Kim Zmeskal, won the all-around title. Not only did she win, she won it with a case of the stomach flu. That is one fierce kid. Bailie did not show any indication that she wasn't feeling well. She was dynamic, consistent and she dominated. Lexie Priessman's former junior teammate, Amelia Hundley came home with the silver medal. She's looking really consistent and strong too, especially on the uneven bars, but she was pretty awesome everywhere.

Laurie Hernandez, so adorable. She had an issue on the balance beam when she fell on her acro series. But she got back up and kept right on going as if nothing had happened. Laurie has a lot of sass in her and her beam choreo is like the Michael Jackson equivalent of gymnastics, it's the same with her floor. 

Polina Shchennikova (gotta show some love for the Colorado girls), had the same issue on beam. In her defense, everyone on the beam for that rotation fell off the beam. Her leaps are so beautiful, and she does do her amazing beam mount that USA Gymnastics debuted from the training camp. On the plus side, Polina's bars were beautiful and her  lines are absolutely gorgeous. She's already qualified to nationals prior to this event, so she has time to peak. Plus, this is the year after the Olympics, and she will become senior next year in enough time for the World Championships. Plus, we are still three years out till the Rio Olympics, no one really knows what will happen in three years.

Notables: Norah Flately, from Chow's gym, so adorable. 

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