February 12-14, 2021 Fort Worth will host the Metroplex Challenge featuring some of the best college teams and more than 200 Level 10 gymnasts in the country.
While these Level 10s are some of the best around the U.S., we’ve previewed six high caliber competitors to keep an eye on during the meet.
During her second meet as a Level 10, Baylie Belman placed 3rd in last year’s Metroplex. And while 3rd in all-around is impressive, she has improved a lot in the year since she reached Level 10.
Belman headed to the Galveston Island Winter Beach Blast Invitational in mid-January and placed first in the beam with a 9.35. A week later, she competed at the 2021 Kim Zmeskal's Texas Prime Meet, placing first in the all-around with a 37.350 along with a first-place finish on the floor. Belman’s best event is the floor, which she’s won or placed 2nd or 3rd since last year’s Metroplex Challenge.
Following close to her outstanding floor tumbling are her beam skills. Here she is practicing her beam leaps last fall, which are beautifully extended.
A 2019 J.O. National Qualifier, Arielle Ward is a strong all-arounder. She won last year’s Metroplex with a huge 38.275 in her age division.
Ward entered the Galveston Island Winter Beach Blast Invitational this season, only competing in the bars and the floor, two events where she stands out. While she placed first on floor with a 9.550, her bars score of 9.600 put her in America’s Top 100 this year. Watching her routine, it’s clear Ward has a strong straddle cast handstand, a high release, and pointed toes throughout the performance. It’s a bar routine that will only become more refined over time.
The 2021 season has been a big breakout year for Avery Neff. The level 10 has had an outstanding season to date, winning the all-around and placing first in the all-around at Chow's 18th Annual Winter Classic Invitational earlier this month. With an all-around score of 37.950, Neff qualified for the Nastia Liukin Cup.
A week later, she competed at the Fiesta Bowl Invitational. While she finished 2nd in the all-around with a 37.450, her beam was an even bigger highlight with a score of 9.650.
Notice Neff’s beautiful beam form, especially on her acro series. She begins with lovely hand flourishes and, after completing a turn, does an aerial cartwheel into the back handspring step out.
With stellar scores these past few weeks, Neff has the momentum going into the meet and should be a top challenger.
Marguerite McCrea is one of the youngest of the group, and despite only having four Level 10 meets behind her, she is showing great potential and promise. At the 2021 Kim Zmeskal's Texas Prime Meet last week, she didn’t compete for the all-around but received a 9.375 on beam. Being a member of the 2025 class, she’s young and shows great promise, and has years to improve with her Level 10.
She updates her skills regularly on social media, and she’s currently working on a Shaposh.
Channeling her Nastia Liukin, she’s also practicing a front aerial to scale.
A level 10 gymnast since 2018, Nirel Bart-Williams is a very consistent gymnast who puts up high numbers on all four events. Her highest scores come on vault and bars. Bart-Williams finished the Texas Prime 2021 meet, placing first in the all-around, with a 37.075.
The recent Illinois State commit is capable of doing a Yurchenko 1 1/2 vault!
She’s placed in America’s Top 100 twice this year alone—with a vault score of 9.675 and a bars score of 9.650. She’s had an outstanding Level 10 career and is sure to shine at the Metroplex Challenge.
Coached by Cecile and Laurent Landi, Caitlin Smith is the 2019 JO AA Champion and 2019 JO National Team Member. She is an exceptionally strong all-arounder, receiving the highest score at last year’s Metroplex Challenge with a 38.775. Not only did the high school sophomore win the all-around, but she also took home all four individual event titles!
Smith’s personal best is a 9.925 on the uneven bars from the 2020 Biles International Invitational, an incredibly high score, especially at Level 10.
An American Top 100 gymnast, Smith should be the main contender at the Metroplex Challenge. Despite her past success, she’s not taking it easy but continuously training and posting new skills on social media. She’s working on a Ray, footage she posted late last summer.
Her beam routine from a mock meet last month features an Onodi.