The 2019 U.S. Classic junior competition came down to the last few routines, which made for an exciting fourth-rotation finish. At the end of every event, a different gymnast had the lead. Konnor McClain came away with the all-around win, followed by Sydney Barros and Olivia Greaves in third. There were some mistakes throughout the night, but there were plenty of highlights gymnastics fans should be excited about.
Here are four standout routines from each rotation and which gymnast rose to the occasion for each.
Sydney Barros - Floor
It’s almost impossible to watch this routine and not smile! Barros showed great landings throughout the routine and sold the choreography like most Texas Dream gymnasts do. She opened with a big double layout and beautiful double Arabian second pass.
Barros got the silver medal on floor with a 13.7, which was only half a tenth shy of first place.
Karis German - Bars
German hasn’t been a huge name in the gymnastics world but this bar set in the first rotation was impressive for a few different reasons. First of all, she is a Simone Biles look-alike. Her swing and her form is extremely similar, I almost had to do a double take while watching. Bars is not an easy event to start on at a big meet, and German handled this routine with total ease, scoring a 13.0.
eMjae Frazier - Vault
Just a few years ago, a double twisting Yurchenko in any junior elite meet was a rarity. But the times have changed, and this vault from Frazier gave her the lead after rotation one.
She scored a 14.2 and finished fifth on the event at the end of the night.
Skye Blakely - Beam
Blakely had a big wobble at the beginning on her wolf turn, but the rest of the routine was solid. This routine made my top four for rotation one simply because it showed how mentally strong this young gymnast is. Many juniors wouldn’t be able to stay so composed. I don’t think anyone could ever say enough about her standing full.
Skye scored a 12.9, but more importantly, her difficulty score is a 5.5, which means when she hits, this routine will be huge for her.
Konnor McClain - Vault
As I said earlier, this group of juniors has huge potential on vault. McClain has a textbook double twisting Yurchenko.
Even with her step on the landing, she still scored a huge 14.8 and took home the gold on this event.
Nola Matthews - Floor
This routine had the cutest and sassiest floor choreography. Matthews doesn’t have the huge skills yet, but she does show off what she has well. Watching young gymnasts enjoy themselves while competing is huge and Matthews seems to be doing just that.
Matthews scored a 12.35 with this routine.
Ava Siegfeldt - Bars
Siegfeldt has a 5.9 difficulty score, and boy, did she live up to it. She had a few rushed handstands and skills but had great lines throughout the routine. The Maloney direct to Geinger shows her power and she is definitely one to keep an eye out for on bars.
Siegfeldt scored a 13.45 on this routine.
Sophia Butler - Beam
Butler is the connection queen. She starts off with a unique front aerial at the end of the beam connected to a ring Sissone. Her handspring step in handspring two foot, layout two foot series is picture-perfect and her Onodi to stagged ring jump is the cherry on top.
This very confident routine for Butler scored her a 13.100.
Sydney Barros - Bars
Barros’ opening transitions are beautiful, especially the Shaposh half up to the high bar. She lost the rhythm a little towards the end but basically sticks her huge full twisting double layout dismount cold.
Barros got a 13.55 for this routine, missing fifth place by just half a tenth.
*The floor routines in rotation three were on fire. I had a hard time picking my favorites but these next three had a good variety of dance, power, and technique.*
Sophia Butler - Floor
Butler did a great job showing off the classic cell block tango music. Her form is so easy to watch, and the fact she ends her routine with the not-so-usual whip to double pike is a big reason this routine was a highlight in rotation three.
Butler came away with a bronze medal on this event, scoring a 13.35.
Olivia Greaves - Floor
This was such an MG Elite-styled floor routine. Greaves’ ability to perform her choreography and still make the entire routine flow from one skill to another is great to watch. Both her double layout and tucked full in had very controlled landings, which can be challenging at a podium meet.
Greaves got a 13.050 for this routine.
Karis German - Floor
German opened up with a huge double twisting double back, further proving her Simone Biles vibe of gymnastics. She did have some extra power out of some passes, but that shows how much better she could get on this event.
A little more emotion in her choreography could take this routine up a notch, but a 13.2 score and fifth-place finish was great for German.
Top 5 after third rotation:
1. Sydney Barros 41.550
2. Konnor McClain 41.250
3. Skye Blakely 41.150
4. Ciena Alipio 41.000
5. Olivia Greaves 40.800
With only a few tenths separating each gymnast at the end of rotation three, it really could’ve been anyone’s game in the end.
Konnor McClain - Beam
A standing Arabian, triple series, and standing full, oh my! McClain showed that she is a focused and consistent athlete. She moves nicely from skill to skill and reminds me of the way Shawn Johnson competed. Here is the routine that pushed McClain to take home the all-around.
McClain ended her day with a big 14.35 score and the gold medal on beam.
Olivia Greaves - Vault
This wasn’t the best double-twisting Yurchenko of the day but still a big improvement for Greaves. She competed a Yurchenko full last season and at the Gymnix competition earlier this year.
Greaves probably would not have been able to finish in the top three without throwing her double. She scored a 13.95.
Kayla DiCello - Bars
DiCello had some mistakes on her first few events but ended her 2019 Classics on a high note. Her straight legs and pointed toes never change throughout this jam-packed routine and her handstand work is beautiful. She finished with a stuck cold full-twisting double back dismount.
DiCello tied for the bronze medal on bars with a 13.75.
Sydney Barros - Beam
This was a rock-solid routine for Barros to finish her meet on. In Texas Dreams fashion, every toe point, arm choreography, and skill has a place in this routine. Her back handspring, back handspring, double pike dismount has huge lift off the beam and that is something you don’t always see at the end of a beam routine.
Barros scored a 13.75 on this routine and also came away with a bronze medal on this event.
The future is looking extremely bright for these U.S. juniors, and seeing how the rest of the season plays out should be exciting. In just a few short weeks, juniors who have qualified for the U.S. Championships will head to Kansas City for two full days of competition.
1. Konnor McClain, Revolution, 55.600
2. Sydney Barros, Texas Dreams, 55.300
3. Olivia Greaves, MG Elite, 54.750
4. Skye Blakely, WOGA, 53.950
5. Ciena Alipio, West Valley, 53.900
6. Sophia Butler, Discover, 53.500
7. eMjae Frazier, Parkettes, 53.350
— Anya Pilgrim, Hill’s, 53.350
9. Lilly Lippeatt, Cincinnati, 53.150
10. Sydney Morris, First State, 53.100
11. Kayla DiCello, Hill’s, 52.100
12. Zoe Miller, World Champions, 52.050
13. Lauren Little, Everest, 52.000
14. Jamison Sears, World Class, 51.900
15. Sophie Parenti, San Mateo, 51.650
16. Kaylen Morgan, 51.350
17. Addison Fatta, Prestige, 51.300
18. Ella Zirbes, Flips, 51.250
19. Katelyn Rosen, Mavericks, 51.150
20. Karis German, World Champions, 51.100
21. Ariel Posen, MG Elite, 51.000
22. Nola Matthews, Airborne, 50.850
23. Elizabeth Gantner, JPAC, 50.450
24. Olivia Ahern, River City, 50.100
25. Chavala Shepard, Hopes and Dreams, 49.950
26. Annalise Newman-Achee, Chelsea Piers, 49.950
27. Amber Lowe, Everest, 49.700
28. Charlotte Booth, Brandy Johnson’s, 49.300
29. Kailin Chio, Gymcats, 49.000
30. Lyden Saltness, Midwest, 48.600
— Joscelyn Roberson, North East Texas Elite, 48.600
— Levi Jung-Ruivivar, Paramount Elite, 48.600
33. Eva Volpe, Pearland Elite, 48.400
34. Jamie Wright, World Class, 48.250
35. Julianne Huff, JamJev, 46.150
36. Mia Heather, San Mateo, 44.750
37. Ava Siegfeldt, World Class, 26.500