Leanne Wong Leads Juniors In Day 1 Of 2018 U.S. Gymnastics Championships


Leanne Wong emerged as the leader on Day 1 of the 2018 U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Boston, with a total all-around score of 56.400. She was followed by Sunisa Lee with a 55.900, and Kayla DiCello in third place with a 55.250. Gymnasts will compete again on Sunday, when the final rankings will be established. 

Rotation 1: Two Big DTYs Result In An Early Lead for Wong & Finnegan

GAGE gymnasts Wong and Aleah Finnegan led things off with a bang with two strong Yurchenko doubles, both of which hand great height and distance and small hops on the landings to score 14.600. The high scores on this power event tied both for first place at the end of the rotation. Lee of Midwest Gymnastics also competed a strong Yurchenko double with a small hop, scoring a 14.25 to put her in third place.

Konnor McClain of Revolution showed off her strong beam skills in the first rotation and put up the highest score on beam of the group - a 14.000, despite a large balance check on her layout series. Her score placed her in third after the first rotation.

In fourth place after the first was WOGA’s Skye Blakely, who put up a crisp bar routine, with an impressive Tkatchev to Pak connection and stalder full to full-in dismount. Her bar routine was the highest scoring of the rotation, garnering a 13.95 and placing her just behind McClain.

DiCello of Hill’s finished up the first rotation as the last to go on floor and showed off some powerful tumbling, including a double layout to start followed by a front double full. Her routine scored a 12.850. 

Rotation 2: Halfway Through, Lee Emerges as the Leader

Wong headed to bars for the second rotation and put up a spectacular routine--hitting all her major releases and connections, including her inbar to stalder shaposh to Pak to stalder shaposh half. She stuck her double layout dismount and scored a 14.350. Her score was the second highest on bars so far, behind the new leader, Lee.

Lee’s high difficulty routine, which includes a Nabieva to Pak to Maloney to Gienger, resulted in the highest score of the competition on any event - a 14.800. 

DiCello improved her ranking thanks to a nice Yurchenko double, which scored 14.750 - also the highest of the competition on that event, beating the scores earned by Wong and Finnegan in Rotation 1. 

On beam, Ciena Alipio of West Valley matched McClain’s earlier high score of 14.000. She was solid on all of her skills, including a lovely layout and an aerial cartwheel to layout step-out connection. 

The MG Elite gymnasts both put up fantastic floor routines, with Olivia Greaves being particularly strong. All of her tumbling was spot on, with great landings. She scored a 13.000 to take the lead on that event.  

By the end of the second rotation, scores were tight at the top of the heap, with Lee leading Wong by 0.10.

Rotation 3: Lee Hits Highest Score on Beam to Maintain Lead

Lee went into the third rotation as the leader and was also first up on balance beam. She nailed all of her major skills, including her back handspring back handspring to layout, and side aerial to two layouts, to score a 14.050 and take the highest score on beam. The score was enough to keep her in first place with a 43.100. Although Wong also hit her routine, she likely did not receive credit for all of her intended connections and hit a 5.3 D-score (the same she achieved at Classics) to score a 13.600. She maintained her position in second place with a 42.550.

Over on bars, DiCello hit her routine with a toe-on full to Maloney to Pak, as well as a Van Leeuwen, and a high piked Jaeger. She stuck her full-in dismount to score a 14.200, the third highest bar score of the day. 

Blakely was the highlight on floor during this rotation, hitting a clean routine and scoring the highest of the day with a 13.200. She maintained her fourth place spot following the third rotation, 1.4 behind DiCello. 

Rotation 4: Wong Nails Floor Routine To Capture the Lead

Going into the fourth rotation, the gymnast who would emerge as the leader was still very much up in the air, with Lee holding only a 0.55 lead over Wong, and both gymnasts headed to floor. Wong nailed her floor routine, hitting her double Arabian to stag jump and following it with a gorgeous, stuck triple twist. She scored a 13.85 on her routine, the highest score on floor for the day by a mile, and finished with a 56.400 in the all-around. 

Lee was last to go on floor, and needed a 13.3 on the event to tie Wong’s all-around score. She opened with a lovely double layout, followed by a strong full-in but scored a bit shy of what she needed with a 12.8, hitting a 5.3 D-score.

DiCello finished third, putting up a strong routine on balance beam in the final rotation. She hit her two wolf turns and back handspring to two layout step-outs, scoring a 13.45. 

Blakely finished just outside the top three, ending her competition with an incredible bar routine. Her execution stood out the most, with hit handstands, even after her pirouettes. She’ll be looking to up her ranking in the second day of competition. 

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