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P&G Championships Full Recap - Simone Wins Again, Kyla Claws to Second

After two full days of competition at the P&G Championships, Simone Biles successfully defended her national title and Maggie Nichols proved that she is one of the top gymnasts in the US.

On the Juniors side, Jazmyn Foberg took her first national all-around title after taking an early lead on night one, stealthily hitting 8 for 8 routines while her competitors had mistakes. A huge feat, especially considering this was her first nationals ever.

The seniors

After night one Simone Biles was leading after day one with a surprise dark horse, Maggie Nichols in second and WOGA's Alyssa Baumann in third. Kyla Ross made some uncharacteristic mistakes and Brenna Dowell showed everyone she's not going anywhere.

In steel town, the theme was steel colored leotards from Texas Dreams, Gage and MyKayla Skinner. I'm liking this trend of that strong colors, somehow, it made the athletes women of steel. Plus, no disgusting Pepto Bismol hot pink.

Simone Biles just keeps getting better and better. She goes out on that floor with so much confidence, it's easy to see why she's leading. She started on beam with a solid set, scoring a 15.700 and leading pretty much off the bat. She leads the field on vault and floor as well. Her all-around total for night one was 61.800. Really, I'm pretty sure the rest of the competition is just a formality. She hit nearly every routine, except for her night two beam routine where she messed up her double wolf turn and then fell on her series. I guess two full days of competition even wears Simone out.

Maggie Nichols went from placing fifth in the all-around at last year's P&G Championships to placing second on night one behind Simone Biles. After night one, she was in second place, ahead of Kyla, who was in fifth. Maggie looked fierce and confident all over the place. She had a slip up on bars when she caught her Pak salto too close, but she didn't let it phase her and she kept on plugging away. She looked better than she looked at Classics.  This is really the best I've seen her look... like...ever? She was always a good, talented gymnast before, but this year, something has lit that fire in her belly and she looks fierce and determined as ever. Floor is where she really brought it. She opened with a huge double layout (some leg separation, but still) and she slinked around the floor like she was the star of a broadway musical. Her next pass she did a piked-full in. And her turns, are just to die for, she completes them beautifully and doesn't fall out of them! She placed third behind Kyla and was named to the Pan American Games team which boarded a bus to Canada and left today.

Kyla Ross unfortunately had a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes. She fell on her whip to double arabian pass on floor and narrowly avoided a fall on her dismount on uneven bars. Night two went a little better for her, she wound up second overall. How's that for consistency - placing the exact same as you did the year before. Her second place finish took a herculean effort on night two. Obviously, she needed to hit every single routine on night two, which she did. She removed the whip before her double arabian on night two and put back the stag jump after it. That did the trick, apparently, since she was her usual clean, perfect self.

Brenna Dowell again only competed bars, but night one, she hit her routine with very little mistakes. Her Tweddle/ Ezhova connection was as best as I've seen her do it. Night two - different story. Night one,  she scored a 15.4 and was second behind Ashton Locklear. Night two she only scored a 13.650. What went wrong? She had a similar issue on her Pak salto, where she tucked her knees in to avoid hitting the floor that she did at Classics. After that, there were short handstands and leg separations from her Maloney half. Needless to say, it killed her score.

Ashton Lockler - the newest queen of the bars in the United States. She scored 0.15 higher on her bar routine on night one than she did at Classics a couple of weeks earlier. What makes her great is every element is connected. She scored a little lower on night two, but it I think her start value was about 0.2 lower than usual.

Texas Dreams' Macy Toronjo, a UCLA commit, was a pleasant athlete to watch. She didn't make the national team (grr). She had a floor routine with Sandra Izbasa's music from last year, which was interesting. She knows how to slink about the floor maybe a little more than Sandra (maybe Kim Zmeskal taught her how). What may have held her back is she didn't have the difficultly that some of the other competitors had (even Kyla, who never upgrades ever). She's consistent and solid, but she does lack a lot of experience. Honestly? I'm looking forward to seeing her in NCAA at UCLA. I think she'll flourish in that environment.

MyKayla Skinner - she still struggles on the same things she's been struggling with. Making 180 degree splits on her leaps on floor and beam, form issues on the uneven bars, mainly with handstands and the struggle to vault with both hands on her Cheng. Tim Daggett even mentioned her one handed vaulting during the broadcast. She's so talented and she could get a lot better power on that vault if she used both hands. It's not fair to give her too much crap. She has really improved her form quite a bit. She still struggles, but it's obvious she is making a conscious effort to have decent form. She was named to the Pan Ams team, which will be good practice for her. Hopefully, she comes back and realizes how her form holds her back in major international competitions. Aside from bad blocking on vaulting, MyKayla's form on her double double layout is very nice, much better than it was last year.

Madison Kocian was only competing two events after tweaking her ankle at Classics. Madison some how is coming up in a time where there is a flock of  world class uneven bar workers in a world where it used to be harder to find a good USA uneven bars girl than it was to find a needle in a haystack. Madison's bars are as ridiculously intricate. She starts off by connecting a Komova to a Pak to a Komova 1/2 into a pike half to jaeger.  She get's 0.40 in connection bonus from that series alone. She hit all her bar routines. On beam, she showed a lot of pretty lines and flexibility that is reminiscent of a 2003 Hollie Vise (who also trained at WOGA).

Alyssa Baumann, another WOGA-ite, very similar to Madison. Pretty bar worker, pretty beam worker, pretty lines. She competed all around unlike Madison and she is a strong enough all-around she can be a good addition to a World team. On the uneven bars on night two, she hyper extended her elbow and had to withdraw from the Pan Ams team, allowing Felicia Hano to make the team. She's really fun on floor exercise, with a double layout opening pass and some sassy dance moves. If she heals in time for the world championships, she could be a good addition to the team.

Felicia Hano, Kyla Ross's gym mate who replaced Alyssa Baumann is a former JO All- Around Champion in 2012. She's very much like Kyla, very clean and consistent.

The Pan Ams Team:
Amelia Hundley
Madison Kocian
MyKayla Skinner
Maddie Desch
Felicia Hano
Ashton Locklear
Maggie Nichols

Final Senior results are available here:

The Juniors -

Jazzy Foberg for the win! Quite an amazing feat. Last year, Jazzy didn't even qualify to nationals. This year, she wins the whole thing. She lead after night one and just hit her routines while all her competitors faltered. She does the same things she did at Classics and on night one. Consistency is the name of the game and Jazzy's got it.

Nia Dennis - Nia's got a lot of big skills, including her huge standing Arabian on beam and a huge Arabian on floor (she should be called the Arabian Queen). She fell on both nights of competition.

Poor Norah Flately, she and the beam were having some pretty tough relationship bumps. She fell off beam both nights and on floor, night two, she went out of bounds. She was fed up with that shit. It sucks, but she is still a junior and she's still very consistent otherwise. Norah and the floor and beam might be on a break for a little while though. Maybe a Ross and Rachel type break.

An amazing junior to watch - Deanne Soza. This girl is beautiful. On beam, she has a gorgeous switch leap to Onodi connection that just makes me swoon. She had trouble on that connection on night one, but she hit it on night two.

Lexy Ramler could be a girl who is fighting for an uneven bars spot in the future. She's tall like Kyla Ross, or Aliya Mustafina or Khorkina and has exquisite toe point. She does a Comaneci salto, which is very rare and awesome! She still needs to  clean up her form, she has leg separations on her Maloney half and she has that horrible Russian tap swing that I can't stand. She hit the Comaneci on night one, but fell off on night two


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