USA Sends Strong Contingent To Pan American Games

Now that U.S. Classic is over, the Pan American Games are next up on the radar for the 2019 elite season. 

Prior to Classics this past weekend, there were eight gymnasts in consideration for the five-woman Pan Am squad: Kara Eaker, Morgan Hurd, Riley McCusker, Sloane Blakely, Shilese Jones, Sunisa Lee, and Leanne Wong. (Simone Biles and Grace McCallum opted to not aim for this selection and focus instead on the rest of the season leading up to U.S. Championships and World Championships.)

All but two of the athletes on the short list for Pan Ams finished in the top 10 at Classics, and the five gymnasts selected for the Pan Am team are: Morgan Hurd, Riley McCusker, Kara Eaker, Leanne Wong, and Aleah Finnegan. Shilese Jones has been named the team alternate. 

These five athletes will represent Team USA in Lima, Peru, for this year’s Pan American Games. 


Competition Breakdown

Competition in Peru for the women’s team will go from July 27 to 31. 

July 27: Team finals - USA will be in session two. This competition will also serve as the individual event and all-around qualifications. 

July 29: Individual all-around competition

July 30: Vault and uneven bars finals

July 31: Beam and floor exercise finals. 

Only two gymnasts from each federation can qualify and compete in the all-around and event finals. 

What to Look for from the Women

All five gymnasts have international competition experience, but all five have different strengths. It will likely be a close call for the two all-around finals spots. 

Before Classics, most people would probably have said McCusker and Hurd would have the best chance. But if you look at the results, Hurd, Wong, and Eaker were all within three placements of each other. Every competition is different which makes the sport of gymnastics and qualifying meets that more exciting. 

In the individual events, here is what to look out for in each gymnast. 

Riley McCusker

At Classics, McCusker upgraded her beam series and her score reflected it well. She placed second on the event with a 15.1 and also came away with a bronze medal on bars, scoring a 14.55. 



A four-for-four meet at Classics also gave McCusker a silver medal in the all-around behind Biles. When McCusker puts together a good meet on all four events, it could be hard for the other four girls to beat.

Morgan Hurd

Hurd looked just the slightest bit off at Classics this past weekend. She finished sixth all-around, but don’t count her out for the all-around finals at Pan Ams. Bars is where Hurd thrives and by just half a tenth, she took home the gold medal at Classics on the event. 


Kara Eaker

Eaker is the definition of a beam queen. At last year’s Pan American Championships, she won the event, and it would be no surprise if she won it at this year’s Games as well. Eaker scored a huge 15.4 to win the event at Classics with this flawless routine. 


With McCusker’s new upgrade, these two could go head-to-head in the balance beam finals. 

Leanne Wong

Wong is a consistent all-around competitor, but she has a great international style in her floor routine. Her technique shines on this event and you won’t want to miss her piked double Arabian and three-and-a-half twist. Wong finished tied for fifth on the event at Classics. 


Aleah Finnegan 

The Pan American Games will be Finnegan’s biggest international meet so far in her career. Her first international assignment came earlier this year at the Gymnix International meet. At Classics, she finished seventh overall, and her highest scoring event was vault. Finnegan is the only member of this year’s Pan Am Games team with a shot at medaling in vault finals. In order to medal, gymnasts must compete two different styled vaults, and Finnegan showed she can at Classics.



The team has already left for Peru and the girls seem to be enjoying the trip so far. Stay tuned for more coverage of the Games in the following days. 


Legacy, Leadership & A Perfect 10 All On Taylor Houchin's Mind

Taylor Houchin pauses, taking a breath.

MetroPlex Challenge The Next Big Test For No. 1 Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s 2020 campaign can almost be seen as a farewell tour of sorts. It will be the final go-around for senior Maggie Nichols as she completes what has already been an amazing career.

Aly Raisman Announces Retirement in Heartfelt Letter

Although this will not come as a shock for many gymnastics fans, Aly Raisman has officially announced that she will not be vying for a spot on the 2020 U.S. Olympic team.

5 Level 9s To Watch At The 2020 Tampa Bay Turner's Invitational

The 2020 Tampa Bay Turners Invitational is coming up this weekend, and FloGymnastics has you covered with a live stream. This competition will take place Jan. 17-19, and with many exciting gymnasts on the floor, it’s one you won’t want to miss. 

Lexy Ramler Ready For Another B1G Year At Minnesota

In just two seasons, Minnesota junior Lexy Ramler has already made incredible strides for her program. She is the first Gopher to be an All-American on all four events, she achieved the highest individual finish for the program since 1990, and she became highest-scoring all-around gymnast in program history. She’s also achieved a lot individually winning the co-runner up spot at 2019 nationals for both all-around and bars, as well as being a Sports Minneapolis Women’s Collegiate Athlete of the Year Finalist at the 2019 Minnesota Sports Awards. 

20 Standout Big Ten Gymnasts Competing in 2020

A new year means a new season. Gym season that is! As we’ve rung in the new year, teams all across the country have geared up for the 2020 competitive season. From the SEC to the Pac 12, you can expect to see each team bring their A-game—but today, we’re talking Big Ten. 

Big Ten Weekly Notebook: Illinois Starts Strong

Let’s talk Big Ten Week 1. 

The Biggest Stories From The 2020 California Grand Collegiate Challenge

Eight elite NCAA gymnastics teams opened their seasons at the California Grand Invitational Collegiate Challenge. These are the top headlines from the exciting event.

2019 Retrospective: The Gymnasts That Defined The Decade

Looking back on the greatest all-around gymnasts from the past decade, and what to expect from 2020.

5 Level 10 Gymnasts To Watch At The 2020 California Grand Invitational

The 2020 California Grand Invitational is exploding with talent, from NCAA superstars to breakout level 9 and 10’s looking for the spotlight. With so many accomplished gymnasts taking to the mat in just a few days, we’re highlighting just a few of the many skilled level 10 gymnasts to watch at the California Grand Invitational.