Secret Classic Preview: Seniors
The 2013 Secret US Classic is set to take place on Saturday, July 27th at 6:00 PM CDT and will be streamed live online here. The senior field includes an interesting mix of olympians, trials competitors, and new seniors. Expect to see new skills and routines and perhaps some mistakes. That’s what classics are all about.
The big headline for this competition could be the return of the beloved McKayla Maroney. Maroney looked great in videos from camp a few months ago- her signature Amanar is as high as ever, and she seems to have recovered most of her skills on the other events as well as learned some new ones. It will be interesting to see how many routines she competes- I don’t necessarily expect to see her in the all around. She should expect some pressure for the vault title, though- Mykayla Skinner, in my opinion, does not have much all around potential, but with a good Cheng and an Amanar or DTY, she could compete for any vault title in the world. The same goes for Simone Biles, who is currently competing a superb Amanar and a layout Podkopayeva, but is training a Cheng.
Biles will also be one of the frontrunners in the all around race- in fact, I would almost say that if she hits, she’s guaranteed a win. But I don’t know what to expect from her on anything but vault- bars, beam and floor can be shaky, with missed handstands, falls and bouncy landings. Also expect Kyla Ross, the second returning olympian, to be in contention for the all around title. Her floor difficulty is low as always, but she has new choreography and her bars have become world class. Somewhat unexpectedly, Brenna Dowell has been wining the all around at camps, so we should watch out for her as well. She has power and decent bars, which can be a good equation to make it to the top. Second-year senior Abigail Milliet missed out on trials last year, but has been showing some gorgeous gymnastics this year, and trains Amanars. Meanwhile, Kennedy Baker, a trials competitor, remains a bit of a question mark.
In addition to these gymnasts, there are many new seniors who are getting their feet wet at classics. This includes last year’s JR
national champ Lexie Priessman, although she has been at least partially overshadowed so far this year by newly added national team members Maggie Nichols and Peyton Ernst, who both did well internationally in the spring. Another question mark is 2012 silver medalist, Maddie Desch, who has not yet competed this year but is strong on beam. I expect them all to have a hard time making worlds this year, but improvements could help them make next year’s six-member squad. The same goes for Madison Kocian, who has been dealing with injuries for the past few years but was once a mainstay on the JR national team, and perhaps Rachel Gowey, a brand new elite from chows who has a lot of all around potential but looks like she needs more time to develop.
Other gymnasts competing are Lacy Dagen, Ariana Guerra, Erin Macadaeg and Grace McLaughlin. Notably missing are Elizabeth Price, Katelyn Ohashi, Sabrina Vega and Sarah Finnegan, as well as three Olympians.
I’m looking forward to seeing all of these girls compete. The top two all-around should be carefully followed both here and at nationals, as they will likely make the worlds team. I’m also interested to see who scores well on bars, as they could potentially take a bars specialist spot at worlds next year à la Mackenzie Caquatto.