The Nastia Liukin Cup (NLC) will kick off on Feb. 26, 2021, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. In its eighth year, the NLC continues to draw the top 18 Senior and Junior Level 10 gymnasts around the country.
Most of the top competitors are the class of 2021 who have signed National Letters of Intent (NLI), joining their college teams in the fall. The chosen colleges are from all over the country, including Florida, Alabama (at least 2 contenders), Arizona State, California, Washington, and West Virginia. Also included is a “Tornado Alley” segment, with two gymnasts committing to Missouri and at least one to Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Iowa State.
A marquee gymnast from WOGA, Sloane Blakely hit a huge 39.275 all-around at the Metroplex Challenge. She placed first on vault, bars, and beam, scoring a 9.900 on both vault and bars and a 9.750 on beam.
Blakely, a former elite gymnast, advanced to the U.S. Championships and GK U.S. Classic in 2018 and 2019. The 2021 Florida commit is an outstanding all-arounder, and we’re bound to see more of her.
A top gymnast at WCC, Leah Smith stood out at the Metroplex Challenge, earning a 39.125 in the all-around. The Washington commit’s score of 9.950 on bars was her highest-scoring event of the weekend, earning first in her age group. Check out her double layout dismount with the lovely stuck landing.
Chloe LaCoursiere | Coastal
Chloe LaCoursiere posted a 38.800 in the all-around competition at the Brestyan’s LV Invitational. But it was LaCoursiere’s perfect 10 on bars that managed to get everybody’s attention, all the more impressive as she is one of the group's younger seniors.
Amari Celestine, SCEGA (CA)
Amari Celestine qualified after competing at the Brestyan’s LV Invitational, earning a 38.825. This won’t be the Missouri signee’s first trip to the NLC, as she competed in 2018, placing 9th as a junior.
She excels at all events, especially on vault and floor. Watch her stellar floor routine, where you will not only see her impressive tumbling but also hear her mom’s enthusiastic commentary. Celestine is a must-see at the Liukin Cup. Let’s hope she brings her mom!
Lilly Hudson | Florida Elite
Lilly Hudson is a former junior international elite competitor. The Alabama signee had an all-around score of 39.100 at the Sand Dollar/Whitlow Invitational. All of her events scores were very high, significantly her vault score of 9.900.
Known for her impeccable lines on all four events, look for Hudson to light up the arena with her floor routine. Check out her double L turn from her floor exercise at 0:19 seconds.
Kylie Coen | Empire
At the WOGA Classic, Kylie Coen not only qualified with an all-around score of 38.825 but seriously impressed everybody with her bar routine. Check out her lovely Pak Salto, just one skill in a performance packed with intricate moves.
Alexandra Theodorou | Desert Lights
At the Fiesta Bowl Invitational, Alexandra Theodorou scored an extraordinarily high 39.300. Amazingly, there aren’t a lot of her routines online of the Arizona State commit. If there were more videos, she’d have a big audience. Watch her fluid balance beam routine from 2019 Nationals, especially her lovely illusion into a crisp full turn.
Moorea Linker, La Fleur's (FL)
Moorea Linker Earned her qualification from the Presidential Classic with a 39.200. The Oklahoma commit is the 2019 JO national vault champion. See why she scored a high 9.900 with an impressive Yurchenko 1.5 on vault.
Nina Ballou | American Twisters
At the Sand Dollar/Whitlow Invitational, Nina Ballou posted a 38.800, upstaging some senior qualifiers at the same meet. The eighth-grader is also 2020 Elevate the Stage champion. The skills she’s working on include a Front Double, Double Layout, including a Yurchenko 1.5. Here she is displaying a lovely bar exercise.
Kamila Pawlak qualified to the NLC at the WOGA classic with a 37.775. However, this past weekend she posted a 38.700 at the Metroplex Challenge. Based on two impressive weekends, Pawlak is sure to make a big statement at the NLC. Here is her very fluid beam from that event.
Alicia Zhou | Love Gymnastics
Alicia Zhou is a junior who qualified for the NLC at the Metroplex Challenge. Zhou, who also qualified elite last year, tallied a 38.600 in the all-around. Check out her quiet confidence and lovely form on the beam.