Top 5 Gymnasts To Watch At The 2017 Nastia Liukin Cup

Dinah Jean Whistler Rachael Flam

The Nastia Liukin Cup is returning to the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, to showcase some of the U.S.'s top level 10 talent on the national stage on March 3 at 7 PM EST.

Launched in 2010, the eighth annual competition takes place every March just before the American Cup and is hosted by Nastia Liukin and USA Gymnastics.

This year's event is highlighted by a field of 36 gymnasts -- composed of 18 juniors and 18 seniors -- from 18 states. Qualifying gymnasts were selected over the past two months through the Nastia Liukin Cup Series, which featured 26 of the country's top invitationals.

Here's a look at the top five gymnasts who achieved the highest qualifying all-around scores -- check out the full rankings HERE.


1. Rachael Flam, Star Gymnastics


Rachael Flam qualified in the top spot with a 39.275, a score she achieved at the recent WOGA Classic. Flam is not a stranger to the Nastia Liukin Cup, having competed also in 2016 (where she placed third in the all-around) and being named co-champion in 2014. At last year's J.O. Nationals, the Stanford signee tied for fifth overall in the all-around and first in her group with a 38.575, including a 9.75 on vault and a 9.7 on beam. Check out her Omelianchik vault below:

Video via USA Gymnastics


2. Shaylah Scott, Metroplex


Shaylah Scott had the second-highest qualifying score with a 39.125 after competing at the Metroplex Challenge. Like Flam, Scott also tied for fifth overall and first in her group at the 2016 J.O. Nationals, and she scored a huge 9.9 on vault at the recent Metroplex Challenge. The Illinois commitment also scored a 9.8 on floor and a 9.825 on beam. Check out her super solid beam routine from last year's J.O. Nationals:

Video via USA Gymnastics

UPDATE:
Scott has withdrawn from the competition due to injury and has been replaced by teammate Abigail Brenner.

3. Kai Rivers, Twistars


In the No. 3 spot is Kai Rivers, who qualified to the Cup at the Twistars Invitational with a 38.9 all-around score. In addition to winning the all-around in this meet, Rivers also finished first on floor and bars and second on vault. An LSU commit, Rivers competes a huge double-twisting Yurchenko, and she scored a 9.9 at her most recent competition, the Jaycee Phelps Midwest Showdown. Check out that vault below:

Video via Region 5 Gymnastics Insider


4. Carly Bauman, Chow's 


Junior Carly Bauman achieved the fourth-highest qualifying score with a 38.9 after competing at the Chow's Challenge. Bauman, a Michigan pledge, finished 11th overall in the all-around at the 2016 J.O. Nationals and first for her group. One of her best events is balance beam, on which she consistently scores in the 9.7-9.8 range. Check out her beautiful routine from last year's J.O. Nationals, where she scored a 9.7:

Video via USA Gymnastics


5. Rylie Mundell, Colorado Gymnastics Institute

 
Rounding out our top five is Rylie Mundell, who qualified with a 38.8 at the Pikes Peak Cup. A Denver commit, Mundell has competed several times this year, including at the Denver Winterfest Classic, Pikes Peak Cup, Metroplex Challenge, AGA Snowball Express and CGI Season Opener. Her high scores include a 9.9 on vault and a 9.7 on beam and bars. See the compilation below of her solid performance at the Pikes Peak Cup:

Video via Robin Mundell


Watch the Nastia Cup live on NBC Live Extra online at nbcsports.com/live-extra or for international viewing - the USA Gymnastics YouTube Channel. NBSN will provide tape-delayed coverage starting at 11:30 p.m. ET.


Related:
Three Former Nastia Liukin Cup Champions Headed To Newark
2017 Nastia Liukin Cup Roster Complete

Six Gymnasts Added To Field For 2018 Nastia Liukin Cup

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Press release below via USA Gymnastics.

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