USA Claims Team Title At Pan Am Games

The Pan American Games will feature gymnastics from July 27 to 31. The first day of competition was the women’s team finals, which also serves as individual event and all-around qualifications. Each federation can only send two gymnasts to compete in the all-around and event finals, if they qualify. 

Riley McCusker and Kara Eaker will compete AA for the U.S., and Morgan Hurd will not due to the two-per-country rule, even though she placed fourth overall. Aleah Finnegan is competing in vault finals, McCusker and Wong are going to bars finals, and Eaker and McCusker are competing in both beam and floor finals. 

The U.S. won the team competition by a wide margin of more than 10 points, scoring a 171.000 over Canada’s 160.600. Brazil finished in third place with a 158.550. Argentina scored a 153.425, Peru had a 150.525, Cuba had a 150.300, Mexico scored a 147.025, Chile had a 145.500, Puerto Rico scored a 145.150, and Jamaica took 10th with a 118.725. This is the U.S.’s fifth straight Pan American Games team title. 

Ellie Black (Canada) placed first on vault with a 14.425, leading over Yesenia Ferrera (Cuba) with a 14.175. Martina Dominici (Argentina) took third with a 14.150, Aleah Finnegan fourth with her 14.125, and Shallon Olsen (Canada) fifth with a 13.950. 

The U.S. dominated bars and beam with McCusker in first with a 14.900, Wong in second with a 14.250, and Hurd in third scoring a 14.250. Black took fourth with a 14.050 and Lorrane Oliveira (Brazil) took fifth with a 14.000. On beam Eaker placed first with a 14.850, McCusker second with a 14.250, Wong third with her 13.650, and Hurd fourth with a 13.100. Danusia Francis (Jamaica) took fifth, scoring a 12.950. 

McCusker also took first on floor with a 14.050, narrowly beating Eaker’s 13.850. Flavia Saraiva (Brazil) took third with a 13.800, Finnegan took fourth with a 13.750, and Ellie Black followed in fifth place with her 13.550. 

At the end of the first day of the Pan American Games, McCusker finished in first place with a well-deserved 57.050. Eaker came in second with a 56.700, Black in third with a 55.100, and Hurd in fourth with a 54.950. Saraiva took fifth with a 54.000 and Dominici took sixth with a 52.850. All but Hurd will compete in AA finals, due to the two-per-country rule. 

The U.S. competed in the second session of the day and sent a strong lineup to compete on all four events. Hurd, McCusker, and Eaker each competed all-around. Wong was the fourth addition to their beam and bars lineups, while Finnegan joined the three all-arounders for the floor and vault lineups.

Beam went well for the U.S., starting with a 13.100 from Hurd and only going up from there. Wong scored a 13.650, then McCusker took home a 14.250. McCusker’s routine was a bit wobbly, but had no major problems. Eaker closed beam for the U.S. looking quite impressive, boasting a front aerial to split ring jump to back handspring, split leap to side somi, and a 2 ½ dismount that scored a 14.850. The U.S. took home the highest team beam score of the night by far, totaling a 42.750. In second was Canada with a 38.100. 

The U.S. then rotated to floor, where Finnegan scored a 13.750 for a clean routine with slight issues on the landings for her double double, Arabian double front into a stag jump, and front handspring front to double full. Hurd was up next, competing a huge double layout for her first pass, then a solid routine besides her double tuck, where she landed short, giving her just a 13.300. Eaker was awarded a 13.850 for her gorgeous routine which included a front double full, triple full, 2 ½ to front tuck, and double pike. McCusker brought up the rear, scoring the highest floor score of the day with a 14.050. The U.S. also scored the highest floor team score of the day, taking home a 41.650 over Canada’s 40.150. 

On vault Eaker led the team with a 1 ½, sticking the landing to receive a 14.200. McCusker showed a double twisting Yurchenko that scored a 13.850 due to landing a bit low and struggling with her block. Hurd competed a double twisting Yurchenko as well but scored a 14.300, and Finnegan averaged a 14.125 after her first vault scored 14.700 and second got a 13.550. The final team vault score was a 43.200, the highest of the day, though the U.S. only qualified Finnegan to event finals for vault.

On their final event the U.S. started off with Eaker on bars, who led with a 13.800. Wong was next, scoring a 14.250 for a good routine. Her main problem was struggling during her toe full, but she pulled through and finished the routine. McCusker snagged the highest bars score of the day with a 14.900 for a beautiful routine with clean lines and a stuck dismount. Hurd finished up the competition lineup with a 14.250, sticking her full-in dismount. Once again the U.S.’s score was the highest of the day on bars as well, totaling a 43.400. 

The first day of the Pan American Games gymnastics competitions was an exciting one, and there is only more to come!

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