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U.S. Classic weekend is always an eventful one, and this year’s competition was no exception. From podium training to the Hopes competition on Friday and juniors and seniors on Saturday, there was excitement all around.
Podium training came with more noise than usual, which makes sense as this U.S. Classic was used to select a team for the Pan American Games, so gymnasts were pulling out all the stops. Simone Biles got most of the attention, which was well-deserved after she showed a triple double on floor AND a new routine. When Biles competes the triple double, she will become the first female gymnast to ever perform the skill in a competition. She also showed a punch front layout out of her Biles on floor, a move no gymnast has ever done before.
Other notable showings from podium training were MyKayla Skinner’s blind full + Fabrichnova. The U.S. Classic was Skinner’s first elite meet since 2016. Jordan Chiles competed her first meet with World Champions Centre, and her podium training got significant attention from looking much cleaner on execution of skills.
The senior competition was a positive one, as all competitors did well and the performances were incredible all around. There is a lot of talent in U.S. gymnastics right now, and a lot of future potential. As other competitions approach this summer, the U.S. Classic is a great stepping stone for the Pan American Games and other upcoming meets.
No surprise to anyone, Biles took first all-around in the senior competition, scoring a 60.000. Riley McCusker came in second with a 57.900, followed by Grace McCallum with a 57.700. Not far behind was Kara Eaker in fourth place with a 56.800 and Leanna Wong in fifth with a 56.650. Morgan Hurd hit a 56.500 to put her in sixth place, followed by Aleah Finnegan with a 55.500, Faith Torrez with a 55.250, and Shilese Jones with a 55.050. Jade Carey wrapped up the top 10 with a 54.950, and Chiles showed up in 11th place AA with a 54.650.
The Pan American Games team was named after the competition and included Eaker, Finnegan, Hurd, McCusker, and Wong with Jones as an alternate. These six women will head to Lima, Peru, to compete next week.
super honored and grateful to be named to the pan ams team! can’t wait to go and represent the u.s. pic.twitter.com/6j1ixhdQ9O— morgan hurd (@morgihurd) July 21, 2019
Biles had a great day, placing in the top three on every event with the exception of bars. She won floor and vault, vaulting a Cheng and showing a full twisting double layout to split jump, Biles to front layout, front full to a tucked full in, and a double double on floor. Besides a small step out of bounds on floor, her routine was nearly flawless.
Behind Biles on floor were McCallum and Carey tied for second with a 14.250 as well as Eaker in fourth with a 14.050. McCallum began with a double double, which needed more height and rotation, as she landed low. She also showed a front layout to front double full to front tuck, a tucked full in, and double back. Carey competed a Moors, full twisting double layout, double double, and a front tuck to double back. Hurd showed her new floor routine and pulled out her easier tumbling for the day, likely saving her body for the Pan American Games and other upcoming competitions.
Following Biles in first place, the rest of the senior vault podium included Skinner and Carey tied for second with a 14.900 and McCallum in fourth with a 14.800. Skinner vaulted a Amanar, Carey showed a nearly stuck Cheng, and McCallum vaulted a double-twisting Yurchenko.
Beam was an exciting event, with Eaker taking first with a 15.400. Eaker’s beam highlights included a front aerial to split ring jump connected to a back handspring, switch ring to back handspring to Korbut, a 2 ½ dismount, and more. McCusker took second with a new series, a back handspring stepout, back handspring two foot, to layout two foot. McCusker scored a 15.100 for that routine, and Biles followed behind her with a 14.900.
Hurd showed outstanding bars and scored a 14.700, snagging the event title. Her routine included many difficult connected elements and a full-in dismount. Sunisa Lee followed with a 14.650, and McCusker and McCallum tied for third with a 14.550.
Fans missed Trinity Thomas’ beloved floor routine, but Thomas competed well on the two events she did compete, beam and bars. She showed up with her coach Owen Field and took sixth on bars with a 14.20 and seventh on beam with a 14.00. Thomas is the fifth gymnast to ever compete at the U.S. Classic after completing an NCAA season, alongside Skinner this year.
Emma Malabuyo announced on Twitter right before the U.S. Classic that she would not be competing due to an injury. She is scheduled to have surgery on her tibia this week, keeping her out of competition until further notice.