The Road To NCAAs: AJ Jackson, Sooners Aim To Stay Within Themselves

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
AJ Jackson and the Oklahoma Sooners enter this year's Super Six with a little more pressure than previous seasons. The Sooners are the defending national champions and Jackson looks to help her team secure its second consecutive title.

The junior is dynamic on floor exercise and vault where she brings power and can bring in the big scores that Oklahoma will need. She has not posted a score below a 9.875 on vault in 14 meets this season. Ten times she has scored a 9.900 or better for her Yurchenko one and a half.

Jackson's floor routine is a crowd favorite. While she can only mime the chalk blowing in her routine now, she typically has all of her teammates and even some of the Oklahoma fans in the stands doing the chalk blowing at the start of her routine.

Oklahoma aims to defend its national title at Saturday's Super Six against LSU, Florida, Alabama, UCLA and Utah. Last year, the Sooners came out on top by 0.225.

FloGymnastics: What is your favorite event to perform on and why?
AJ Jackson: I love floor because you get to show your personality and because KJ [Kindler] does such a good job with choreography and it's just really fun to show it off.

What is your favorite skill to perform on any event?
My favorite skill is my full-out on floor. It just feels like I'm flying through the air.

What is the most challenging skill that you've learned and what made it challenging for you?
Actually, my full-in on floor is probably one of the most challenging skills I had to learn because it just takes a lot of patience and a lot of time to understand the basics of the skill to perform it well.

What was the biggest thing that you took away from regionals that you'll apply to nationals?
My biggest thing is that we worked really well as a team and we need to continue pushing like that and just keep growing as a team in general.

Going in as the defending champions this year, is there a little bit of added pressure and how are you all handling that?
There is a little bit of pressure but we just try to stay within ourselves and focus on what we need to do to perform at our absolute best.

How does the adversity that your team faces in the regular season help you prepare for the postseason?
It helps us realize what we need to work on, what little minor details that have to be fixed and just overall as a team how we support each other and how we go about doing that.

How do you bounce back from a fall?
We just all have each other's back. We know that if we fall, our team will have our back and support us no matter what. Everybody makes mistakes and you're not always going to be perfect so you have to keep that mindset?

Is there any added pressure to hit your routine if there is a fall in front of you and if so, how do you handle that?
Usually I don't really know what happens to the people in front of me. I try to stay within myself and do what I know how to do. Even if I do there's a fall ahead of me, I know that I can trust my training and go out there and do what I know how to do.

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Kind of goofy, a little shy and very protective of those I care about.

What are you most looking forward to about competing next week at nationals?
I'm really looking forward to being able to compete in front of my family and my friends and just being able to compete for my team on this big of a stage.

Event Finals Qualifiers - 2018 Junior Pan American Championships

Christy Ann Linder

Below are the gymnasts who qualified for the individual event finals at the 2018 Junior Pan American Championships, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The finals will be held Friday, June 15. The top eight gymnasts on each event, with a maximum of two gymnasts per country, qualify for event finals. 

USA, Bowers Strike Gold At 2018 Junior Pan Am Championships

USA Gymnastics

Press release below via USA Gymnastics:

2019 Nastia Liukin Cup Series Qualifying Meets Announced

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Press release below via USA Gymnastics:

Wong, Bowers Lead Top USA Junior Women In The 2018 Pan American Champs

Christy Ann Linder

The 2018 Junior Pan American Championships takes place this week, with competition starting on June 13 and concluding on June 15 in Buenos Aires. The event includes a team final, all-around final, and event finals for both the men and women. Team USA is sending top juniors Jordan Bowers, JaFree Scott, Tori Tatum, and Leanne Wong. 

Team USA Set For Junior Pan American Championships

Team USA is set to compete at the Junior Pan American Championships this week in Buenos Aires. The men's and women's competition will be held June 13-15 and consists of a team competition as well as individual all-around and event competitions.

A New Mentality For Kyla Ross In UCLA's Title-Winning Season

Kyla Ross has competed on some of the biggest stages in elite gymnastics—the Olympic Games in London, the World Championships in Belgium and China. She was a two-time world all-around medalist and was the silver medalist at back-to-back national championships.

Opinion: The Engaged, Strategic Leadership That USA Gymnastics Needs

© Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

For over a year now, USA Gymnastics has been operating in a state of turmoil from the backlash of Larry Nassar’s horrific crimes. What started as the largest sex abuse scandal in sports history has evolved to show major flaws in the way that the national governing body for gymnastics is run. They have been through a wave of resignations at the highest levels: the president of USAG, the national team coordinator, and the senior vice president of the Women’s Program, to name a few. 

Utah To Host 2018 American Classic And Hopes Classic

Press release below via USA Gymnastics.

More Difficulty Leads To Consistency For Nebraska's Sienna Crouse

Nebraska Athletics

Sienna Crouse’s favorite event is vault.

Most Difficulty In The 2018 NCAA Super Six: Vault Edition

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

In our fourth and final installment on the most difficulty in the 2018 NCAA Super Six, we are taking a look at vault. Specifically, we're analyzing which teams had the most 10.0 start value vaults. In 2016, the Yurchenko full was devalued to a 9.95 start value, and many teams since then have reacted by upping the difficulty of the vaults their gymnasts compete. We have seen more Yurchenko 1.5s and even Yurchenko doubles.