Day 1 of the 2018 JO National Championships started a little slow, but really picked up in the end of the day with 2 National Team Champions and 3 National All-Around Champions plus many individual awards. Region 5 is well on its way to reclaiming the Super Team Title that has alluded us for the past 3 years!!! Lets recap the first day and stay tuned for day 2!
It is always fun to watch the Junior As, especially those who are at JO Nationals for the very first time, compete in the first session of the competition. They are so wide-eyed and curious, looking around and checking things out. It is very fun to watch them experience all of this craziness for the first time. This tiny, but mighty Junior A Team is a mixture of veterans (Elizabeth Gantner, Sydney Jelen, Katie Harper) & New Comers (Kaia Tanskanen, Rhyley Pitts, Taylor Devries & Kendall Abney) all had a great showing, placing 4th as a team, however it at the beginning of the competition it seemed as if they too might be making a replacement due to the fact that Taylor Devries (Legacy Elite) peeled off the bars resulting in a majorly blooding nose as a result of kneeing herself in the face upon impact. Some kids in their first JO Nationals might of cried or taken a few mins to collect themselves, but not this athlete. Her Coach Jiani said that she did not cry she just got cleaned up, but tissue in her nose, gripped back up and rejoined the warmup. Taylor spent the rest of the meet competing with tissue paper stuffed in one side of her nose. She did not let a possibly broken/bleeding nose keep her out of the competition.
Sydney Jelen (Legacy Elite) claimed the top spot on the podium becoming the 2018 Junior A National Bar Champion with a 9.600, as well as finishing 6th (9.525) on the Balance Beam. Rhyley Pitts of World Class brought big skills with her to her first JO Nationals finishing 3rd on the Balance Beam (9.575). Despite a bloody tissue filled nose Taylor DeVries (Legacy Elite) finished 5th on Floor (9.50). Our next 4 Juniors As all picked up 9th place finished on Floor (Kaia Tanskanen, MEGA 9.450) and Bars (Katie Harper-Universal 9.50, Kendall Abney-Twistars 9.50 & Elizabeth Gantner-JPAC 9.50). The Junior A’s are definitely a talented, promising young group of athletes who I am sure we will see again in the years to come.
The Senior A’s burst into the gym this morning ready and raring to go, they were full of energy and excited despite it being 8am. This team was lead by veteran JO competitions Delanie Harkness (Twistars USA), Emma Pritchard (Gym X-Treme), Dani Petrousek (GAR) & Anna Grace “AG” McCullough (Branch).
The girls were full of energy and ready to get out there, have a good time and enjoy the moment. However, the Senior A team faced a bit of adversity very early, when Brooklyn Conley (Gym Nasti) was forced to pull out of the competition due to an injury sustained during the training day. This last minute change forced Alyssa Parlich (Aerial) into the 7th competitive spot. Alyssa, who had to warm up her floor between the other routines, was confident and prepared having been practicing with her Aerial Teammate Payton Richards for the last few weeks in preparation for this moment to be able to step in if needed. Alyssa made the most of her chance by hitting her events and ending up placing 8th place on the Balance Beam (9.50).
The Senior As finished 6th place overall as a team, which was not really exactly how we wanted to begin our day, but they banded together and did the best they could. Its hard to compete in the first session at 8am at JO Nationals. Emma Pritchard, had solid performances, placing 9th All-Around (38.050), 6th in the Balance Beam (9.55) & 7th on Vault (9.675) Delanie Harkness, who is a former JO National Champion, placed 9th on the Uneven Bars (9.625).
Due to the pulling out of Regional All-Around Champion Alayna Karl (Naperville), Reese Samuelson (GAR) was left to lead this fresh crop of first timers. Nikki Smith (Oakland), who was the Michigan State All-Around Champion [in her age group], stepped into fill Alayna’s spot. The Junior B’s finished 5th as a team with Sarah Moraw (Champion USA) finishing 4th in the Vault (9.600), Nikki Smith made the most other chance and earn medals in the Vault & Floor place 4th (9.60) & 6th (9.50) Respectively and rounding out the group on the medal stand was veteran Reese Samuelson who finished 7th on the Uneven Bars (9.525). There is lots of promising talent in this age group and we will definitely see them again.
The Senior B’s completely dominated the competition, putting up huge scores all over the gym, ultimately being crown the 2018 JO National Senior B Team Champions. The powerhouse team that is Senior B also cleaned up some individual awards with Andrea Li (Legacy Elite) securing what she had let slip away last year. Andrea, who in 2017 fell from the bars in the last rotation, held on tight this time and caputred the All-Around Title (38.850), Uneven Bars (9.80) & Floor Exercise (9.725) she also added a 2nd place finish on the Balance Beam (9.650). Following Andi onto the podium were teammates Sierra Brooks (Aspire) who finished 2nd on the Vault (9.825), 4th on the Bars (9.675) and 3rd All-Around (38.425), Gym Corner’s JerQuavia “Q” Henderson finished 4th on the Vault (9.750) & 5th on the Floor (9.60), CGA’s Aria Brusch took home two 8th place finished on the Vault (9.675) & the Bars (9.650). Hannah DeMers, who started out strong then had a scary peel on her bars dismount, took home a 5th place medal on the Floor (9.600).
The Jr C squad tallied a 6th place team finish, with a 3rd place team finish on Uneven Bars. Individually, Faith Torrez (Legacy Elite) was crowned Uneven Bars champion with a 9.6. Torrez also won Beam with a 9.725, finished 2nd on Floor with a 9.625, and 5th on Vault with a 9.575, which was drastically underscored. Torrez was ultimately crowned the AA national champion with a 38.525. Additionally notable, Avery Agema (Naperville) finished 5th on Vault with a 9.575, along with Savannah Miller (Oakland) who picked up medals on the Floor (9.525) & 9th on the Bars with a 9.475.
This year the Senior C age group was the ones to watch! The talent that comprised this age group is unbelievable. These ladies went 1,2,3 in the All-Around, claimed numerous individual titles and of course took the top spot as a team!
Olympia’s Gabryel Wilson tallied a 9.85 on Vault to finish 2nd, a 2nd place finish on Uneven Bars with a 9.7, 4th on Beam with a 9.625, the floor title with a 9.725, and was crowned AA champion with a 38.9! Helen Hu (IK) was named Uneven Bars champion with a 9.75, Beam champion with a 9.775, and finished 2nd on Floor with a 9.675, and finished 2nd in the AA to Wilson with a 38.875. Matilyn Waligora (Olympia) finished 4th on Vault with a 9.725, 3rd on Floor (9.65), 8th on both the Bars (9.600) & the Beam (9.525) and 3rd in the All-Around with a 38.5. Payton Murphy (Palmer’s) took home an 8th place medal on the Floor (9.525) and Olivia Amodei (Hunts) finished just behind her with a 9.500. Linda Zivat (Phenom), who competed for Region 2, took home two top 10 finishes on the Floor (9.500) & the Vault (9.525).
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