Top 10 New Senior Elites to Watch for in 2017

The year after an Olympics is always an interesting one in the world of elite gymnastics. Oftentimes, the recently crowned Olympians take some well-deserved time off from the gym, such as what Simone Biles and Aly Raisman are doing, while others, like Madison Kocian, opt to start competing in college gymnastics. With some top elites taking time off, and others retiring from elite to pursue NCAA, fans are left wondering who will fill the void.

Fortunately, the new year also means junior elites are joining the senior ranks in the hopes of making the senior national team and perhaps receiving international assignments in the years to come. In 2017, there is a large group of gymnasts who will turn 16 and become senior elites, and it's possible a future Olympian is in this group. Below, we've broken down our top 10 new senior elites to watch for next year.


1. Jordan Chiles


Jordan Chiles has already made quite a splash on the elite scene as a member of the junior national team since 2013. She has competed several times on the international stage, including at the 2016 City of Jesolo Trophy where she placed first in the all-around, first on vault, and tied for second on uneven bars. Chiles is most known for her powerful Amanar vault. The video above is from Jesolo where she competed in the vault final, scoring a 15.75 on her first attempt and a 15.45 on her second.



2. Riley McCusker


Riley McCusker is an MG Elite protege coached by Maggie Haney​, and she was added to the junior national team this year. She had a superb showing at P&Gs, placing second in the all-around, bars, beam, and floor. One of her best events is bars, and she competed with a 5.9 D-score at P&Gs. Check out a clip from the first day of competition below:

Video via USA Gymnastics


​3. Morgan Hurd​


​Morgan Hurd is another gymnast who was added to the junior national team this year. At this year's Secret Classic, she placed first on floor and second on uneven bars. She made it on to the podium at P&Gs later that year when she placed third on uneven bars, competing with a 6.0 D-score on the second day of competition. Check out her bar routine from the Secret Classic below, where she debuted her new double-double dismount.

Video via USA Gymnastics


4. Trinity Thomas


Trinity Thomas is an up-and-coming star who trains at Prestige Gymnastics in Pennsylvania. Thomas was added to the junior national team in March and competed at the City of Jesolo Trophy, placing first on floor exercise, one of her best events. Thomas floats in the air with sky-high tumbling -- she has one of the most beautiful double layouts being performed today. She's currently training the Biles on floor among other incredible upgrades:



Also, check out our newest Beyond the Routine with Trinity Thomas!
Episode 1
Episode 2
Trailer


5. Shania Adams


Shania Adams trains at Buckeye Gymnastics and had a good showing at P&Gs this year, when she placed fourth in the all-around and third on balance beam and was added to the junior national team. Check out her beam routine that got her on the podium below:

Video via USA Gymnastics


6. Deanne Soza


Deanne Soza has fought hard to be one of the top gymnasts in the junior field. In 2014, she suffered a serious eye infection that kept her out of the gym for months; however, she came back and has since had a lot of success at both domestic and international meets. A member of the 2015-16 junior national team, Soza made her international debut earlier this year at the Gymnix International competition in Montreal, where she helped the team to finish first. She also enjoyed some personal success, finishing second in the all-around and on vault and third on bars. Later in the year, Soza transferred gyms to Texas Dreams. Her bar routine is full of unique moves and difficulty -- check out her routine from Gymnix below:



7. Alyona Shchennikova


Alyona Shchennikova trains under her parents at 5280 Gymnastics in Colorado. Uneven bars is one of her best events, and most recently she placed third on the event at the Secret Classic with a 6.4 D-score. Check out her routine from this competition below:

Video via USA Gymnastics


8. Elena Arenas


Elena Arenas has impressive difficulty across the board. She competes a beautiful double twisting Yurchenko (earning her a second-place finish at the 2016 Secret Classic) and also has fairly high difficulty on bars with a 5.8 D-score. Check out her routine from the Secret Classic below:

Video via USA Gymnastics


9. Aria Brusch


Aria Brusch trains with Mary Lee Tracy at Cincinnati Gymnastics. She had a good showing at the 2016 Secret Classic, where she placed third on floor exercise. Check out her powerful tumbling in the routine below.

Video via USA Gymnastics


10. Victoria Nguyen


Victoria Nguyen trains with Liang Chow in Iowa and had a lot of early success as a junior in 2014 and 2015, when she was a member of the junior national team. In 2014, she placed third on vault at both the Secret Classic and P&Gs, and she placed second on balance beam at Jesolo in 2015. She then suffered a few injuries and was out of competition for a while, but she was at camp at the ranch this fall and has been seen training some impressive skills, such as this laid-out Jaeger:




Related:
Trinity Thomas: Beyond the Routine (Ep 1)
Trinity Thomas: Beyond the Routine (Ep 2)
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