Are you happy with the order of the junior podium?
Ideally I'd like Deanne Soza on it. She is everything....except competitive fire but she has time for that hopefully. I was sort of rooting for Jazmyn as the underdog as she really surprised me even though she already has last year's title. But she gave it away on floor...although they only took 0.2 for her out of bounds when it should have been 0.4 but that was enough. Not that I don't love Laurie. Ragan has improved a ton, really enjoying her beam and floor in particular. A pity her bars are letting her down and her vault block is still dodgy but the vaults themselves are secure. So yes, I'm happy with the podium.
Shouldn't Gabby Perea and Morgan Hurd have made the national team?
Although Gabby would have had she not fallen, I doubt either of their coaches expected it at this point of the season so it's unlikely the girls fully expected it if they hit. Gabby is so young and although Morgan is 2001, she hasn't been elite that long and her routines are still getting there, her difficulty is quite low. The spots will be saved for seniors but next year when only Jordan Chiles will be on the NT, they'll be added. Probably at January camp.
|Cute incoming! Copyright USAG/John Cheng|
What's wrong with Kyla Ross?
Seems to be endurance. Whether it is her typical reduced endurance compared to others or is directly related to a niggling injury is impossible to know. Worlds is still 2 and a bit months away which is a lot of time. There's no point in writing her off at this point. If she is consistent at September and selection camp she could make the team. She may be better off taking a break and focusing on Rio though.
Who should be the second all-arounder at worlds based on Classics and Nationals?
Gabby I think. I am torn between her and Aly for it. Aly's bars duhhh are a weak point but they are better than before and they score decent internationally so they mightn't be a hindrance. Her amanar though...needs to improve or be dumped as it's currently not worth doing. If anyone can though I think she can. Not that it will be beautiful but I expect it to be secure. On the other hand, Gabby showed consistency and is strong everywhere. She wasn't perfect but there was nothing worrying. It's possible she could bring her amanar back. But Aly is soooo reliable and has a monster floor to balance out bars. Hmm.
Why was Nia's d-score on floor so low on Day 2 when she hit her passes?
She didn't do the front full before the double tuck, so she lost 0.5. Not too sure if that was intentional or if she realised she was slightly off and it would have killed the pass. Nor did she do it Day 1 but the judges closed their eyes and awarded it 5.7. Sigh.
Favourite junior Texas Dreams army member?
Emma Malabuyo I think. She is just lovely. Abigail Walker is too cute, so tiny!
Biggest surprise this junior season?
Jazmyn. I really thought she would fall back, seeing as she won last year in the absence of Bailie and Laurie. Although she's lacking a standout event - at least until she gets more comfortable with her tumbling - she is super strong, and so consistent. A mini Aly in the making. Would love to see her clean up her foot form on bars though. Sydney Johnson-Scharpf was a nice surprise too. After creating a buzz a few years back, she seemed to be fading and was plagued with inconsistency and dreadful bars. Major improvement even though she still fell. While her bars will never be pretty, they're noticeably better. And her floor complete with Dos Santos is amazing! Delighted she is back in the game.
Best improvement between Classics and Nationals, junior and senior?
Brenna Dowell. WOW. Fluke falls on both events at Classics...to killer AA sets both days. Hands down on bars day 2 but doesn't really take away from her achievement. To go from training only 20 hours a week during college with just a few elite skills retained to this is incredible. I'm beyond impressed. Delighted she's been invited to the selection camp but unfortunately, US depth is more than likely going to squeeze her out, again.
|Brenna is perfection. Copyright USAG/John Cheng|
What about Laurie's floor?
I....don't like it. It has grown on me slightly but I can't like it. I've defended her style a billion times but this one crosses the line for me, I think it's her facial expressions. So unnecessary. She also has far too many static exaggerated poses that interrupt the flow. I'd like her to draw back a bit.
|Just say no. Copyright- USAG/John Cheng|
Feelings on Jordan Chiles?
Jordan is enormously talented with killer potential. She unfortunately remains extremely inconsistent. I thought she would have progressed more as a competitor and I think the amanar was a bad decision. I'm unsure if she will be made as much as she could be at her current gym.
Most shocking fall?
It's a toss up between Simone on floor or Aly on beam. The solidest of the solidest on super-strong events for them. Just plain weird.
A good few contenders but I'm going to go with Gabby Perea on beam. She was doing so well! And she's so young with gymnastics beyond her years in terms of precision and polish.
How about that shamrock leo?
I for one am THRILLED it wasn't mentioned in the broadcast. Either the trio did their geography lessons or didn't need to, which would be better again. I don't expect people outside of the British Isles to understand the complicated make-up of the UK and how Republic of Ireland is NOT in it but part of Ireland is blah blah...but if you're pandering to Glasgow as the host city with your music and plan on incorporating colours etc....then you need to get these right. Pandering is fine with me, once some very basic research is done. Although I'm sort of hoping she makes the team and wears a leo with a big Welsh dragon on it because that would be hilarious LOL.
How about the senior podium?
Well gold was a given. Interesting that Simone has increased the lead she had in 2014 with a fall, and with fantastic competitors who weren't around then. Silver and bronze were very much up for grabs and I thoroughly enjoyed that fight. I was delighted for Maggie who was the model of consistency and of course, continuing to show her crazy improvement on 2013-2014. And it was great to see Aly up there too looking like she never left.
Most baffling composition/skill?
Bailie Key's beam! The layout caused major issues day 1 and she was still short day 2 even with the obvious extra effort that went into it. Clearly, they've worked out that this is her best option. I think if she could hit bhs-loso-loso then she'd have it, it's the obvious choice and is valuable this code. The layout needs to become a pike so she can land it seeing as it will never get layout credit anywat and she can work up d-score on turns and leaps, or they could try out bhs-arabian if she has the lift for that. Or arabian-walkover. Something.different.please. Her dismount needs to be dumped too, she gets no set on it and the deep landing is a killer. If she can't get the triple full around, I wonder could she do a 2.5? Or even a double tuck, for a better landing.
Skill-wise, the wolf turn. Although it was everywhere in varying levels of competence, the worst was Texas Dreams. Not one of them can do it, and yet they all do. I get the thinking behind it, I know it's valuable. But it's also a crime.
Favourite junior beam?
Ragan Smith. A joy to watch. So confident and solid, and difficult too. Except the wolf because of course that was hideous.
Pick a worlds team based on Nationals?
A lot can happen in the next 2 months. Simone duhhhh. Aly, Gabby and Bailie. That's really all that is needed to decimate the field. As I said before, I'm hesitant to include Mykayla for a vault medal when that's not really guaranteed. Pretty deep field there. I'm taking Maggie as a guaranteed solid team player usable anywhere, and has an amanar for TF. Number 6 is one of Mykayla, Madison or Kyla. Impossible to call.
Who has shown the best comeback thus far between Aly and Gabby?
In competition, Gabby. Not without flaws, but not with falls or dodgy errors either. Shows room for upgrades nearly everywhere except floor, I think that's maxed. But she has looked extremely dodgy in PT, whereas Aly has looked amazing all of the time in training, and was great in Jesolo. She has actually increased the height on her tumbles and has worked hard to improve problem areas. Aly edges it, barely.
What are Nia's chances this year and next?
Slim. Not making Pan Ams was damning. I'm glad she had good performances at Nationals and am hoping she can add back some of her difficulty and get her form back on track, it's definitely deteriorated. She still shows crazy potential but I'm not sure with the depth that she'll get the chance to shine this quad especially with so much to work on still. She is also seriously injury prone.
Favourite senior bars?
Ashton Locklear. I prefer her line on bars to Madison.
Thoughts on Emily Gaskins?
She's not standing out, and has deteriorated unfortunately. I don't see a whole lot happening for her and I don't think all of the gym changing has helped at all, rather the opposite.
Favourite under-the-radar senior?
Lauren Navarro. Not a good competition for her but I really love her beam.
Emma Malabuyo. She has stunning work. Also Trinity Thomas, she's quite powerful without being wild.
Best redemption from last year?
Cristina Desiderio. She fought bars and won, so pleased for her and a well deserved 5th place.
Simone's Day 2 beam needs to be mentioned. The determination and almost anger was brilliant to watch. Taking absolutely no nonsense from the beam with a much smoother barani landing after awful trouble all week, and cements it all with a stick. Amazing.
Most impressive on floor - Simone or Aly?
They are both ridiculous. I can't pick.
|180! Copyright USAG/John Cheng|
Jazmyn receiving only half of the OOB deduction that she should have done. It was way too obvious for that to be excusable, ridiculous. Or Simone's vault which was not as good as Day 1 and wasn't stuck....scoring higher, receiving the stick bonus. I almost forgot, just like the judges, Nia received CR for a requirement she did not fulfill on floor Day 1.
Major future talent that underwhelmed?
Morgan Hurd. Not that she wasn't noticed, just related really to the low difficulty she has. But she has got it all. Also I am majorly hoping Deanne Soza gets it together. Have you SEEN how perfect she is? These two are the queens of form and technique AND they are both from unknown gyms.
Most bad-ass moment?
Aly landing an amanar with her leg completely locked in a stance that would break so many....and no big deal, not affected. Surreal almost.
So what's Simone's next step?
Further world domination. The 2015 AA and FX titles, and VT (upgrade dependent maybe for gold again?) and BB medallist. Record breaking 4-time National champion next year, and another haul in Rio. Un-freaking-believable gymnast. We should never 'call' anything or any medals but once she's there, that's it.
Gymnastics-wise, I'm sure they'll be firming up that barani. Possibly a bit late for the Mustafina bars dismount, so I doubt we'll see that or the potential Khorkina this year. I think the Cheng is quite possible, since it was planned for this year.
Most important thing to take away from this meet?
The seniors are aiming to peak in October. The juniors are getting podium experience, trying out typically a lot of upgrades and tweaked routines and it does not matter if they splat all over the place, unless they never do anything but.
There were just so many great leotards going on. They're going to get their own post. As I mentioned at the top, if you want to ask me any questions directly I'll edit them into the post. Hard to think of all aspects of what I watched.
Who made your week? Or broke your heart? Favourite routines? Biggest surprise? Favourite lack of geographical knowledge embarrassment?