It’s that time of year again where all the elites go to the P&G National championships to allegedly compete to be national champion, but really go there and try and impress the selection committee to make a world’s team.
But, what’s really going to make this competition exciting is all the new possibilities. With Simone on hiatus, for the first time in four years, the field of competition is wide open it’s anyone’s game and it’s going to be a bloodbath for the top.
Here’s a few notables I’m looking out for-
· Ragan Smith – Ragan looked great only doing bars and beam at Classics, and you know, just winning and putting up 15’s on both events, NO BIG DEAL! She’s probably the one I’m looking forward to seeing the most. She looked super confident out there and as a second year senior, she’s a little more familiar(ish) with the P&G’s/Worlds selection rodeo. She carries herself with much more confidence, which comes through in the interviews I’ve seen her do. Perhaps it’s because she’s the veteran on the scene and the baby seniors are looking to her for guidance. Dare I say it, Ragan for all-world champion this year? Maybe?
· Riley McCusker – really, I think the goal for Riley is for her to have gained her sea legs back or whatever it is they say and is comfortable enough to compete. At Classics, she really had a terrible meet. She literally had just gotten out of a cast just weeks prior to that meet and she really was not ready to compete. But, as we all remember, Simone had the worst Classic in 2013 and then went on to just win everything from there on out. The talk about the Gymternet is mostly concerns of how consistent Riley is or is not. I don’t know. She’s a beautiful gymnast and I think she’s just a little green, which could account for her perceived consistency issues. At this point, sbe’s probably putting more pressure on herself than anyone.
· Alyona Shchennikova – I’m excited for this one. Her bars are ridiculous with lots of in bar stalder work, high releases. Plus, she’s got legs that are a million miles long, making her look like the reincarnation of Svetlana Khorkina. She blew everyone out of the water when she rose up to win the all-around title at Classics, scoring over 54, even with a fall. I was a fan of her sister’s and I’m definitely on team Alyona now.
· Jade Carey – In a sea of never ending Yurchenkos, Jade’s casually busting out a Kas full. She’s already being buzzed about for a spot on the world’s team, specifically for vault.
· Deanne Soza – This one is on my list because of her beautiful form. She was a much buzzed about junior, mostly because of her picture perfect form.
· Trinity Thomas – this one is known for her powerful floor, or specifically doing a split jump out of a double layout that reached the stratosphere. But, like Deanne Soza, Trinity’s form is beautiful. Pay attention to her leap positions.
· Morgan Hurd – It seems like the gymternet has been waiting for her to become senior for a thousand years. It was practically yesterday, she was a baby J.O., clad in hot pink at the Nastia Cup. Now, she’s a senior and I’m saying, “wait, she’s a senior now? She’s still a baby!” She’s not a baby J.O. anymore. She’s already medaled internationally as a senior, at the Stuttgart World Cup and with the team at Jesolo. This adorable girl with her rec-specs has the beautiful lines and toe point to die for, plus the power. She’s already got a tucked double double on floor and she’s been seen training a Moors that rival’s both MyKayla Skinner’s and the skill’s originator, Victoria Moors.
· Kalyany Steele – tied for 3rd with WOGA’s Luisa Blanco at Classics, after not having competed for six months due to an injury. Mad props there, girl. She’s got a Nia Dennis/Rheagan Courville level standing Arabian on beam. Plus, she’s just adorable.
This has been a pretty brief overview of the women’s competition so far. I’ve been putting off writing this for days. I’ll have to expand on this later, but for now, I need to just get this out there. ( I didn't even have time to do a juniors post!)
Tonight is the senior men’s competition and tomorrow is the women’s competition. Juniors are in the afternoon at 1:00 pm Pacific, seniors are at 7:30 pm Pacific. I will be live blogging the senior session for sure. The juniors are a different story since they will be competing while I am at work. I might try to do some quick hits, but that’s not for sure.
Here are the start lists if you're curious: