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Junior Preview 2011 Visa Championships

August 18, 2011

The junior competition at the Visa Championships starts in less than an hour. The favorites are two time defending champion Kyla Ross and Katelyn Ohashi. In terms of who makes the national team, I expect at least 6 juniors who are not eligible for the Olympics to make it, to field a team in Jesolo next year. The top 6 all arounders will automatically make the team. There are 8 additional funded spots for the juniors and seniors combined, and I expect most of those spots to go to the seniors. Still, being an unfunded national team member is better than nothing.

I expect Ross, Ohashi and Priessman to make up the top three unless they make major mistakes, with either Ross or Ohashi winning the title. I did this quickly, so it may be slightly incorrect, but the difficulty totals for the three are as follows: Ohashi 25.4, Priessman 24.6 and Ross 24.5. I hadn’t realized that Ohashi had such a huge advantage difficulty wise even though she is the only one without an Amanar, but that 7.3 beam set really helps her out (when it goes well). She is only .1 below Wieber! I also hadn’t expected Ross to be below Priessman, but I still think that Ross has a much better chance at winning. She is cleaner, has hardly any built in deductions and is the most consistent of the top three. While Ohashi is a beautiful gymnast and I would be very happy to see her win this title, she has not hit 4/4 in the past year, and I am not sure what to expect from her.
Kyla Ross traning videos: Vault, Bars Beam, Floor
Katelyn Ohashi training videos: VaultBarsBeamFloor
Lexie Priessman training videos: VaultBeam

The gymnasts from GAGE, Brenna Dowell, Sarah Finnegan and Maddie Desch, looked fantastic at classics. Finnegan can do very well all around, possibly challenging the top three if they make mistakes. She has a good chance at defending her floor title. Although some gymnasts have surpassed her difficulty wise, she usually hits and is very clean. Beam is another place where she can look for a good finish (14.2 at classics with a fall). Bars and vault have lower difficulty, but are both well executed. Dowell and Desch both have good double twisting yurchenkos on vault.
Sarah Finnegan training videos: Bars, BeamFloor
Brenna Dowell training videos: Bars
Maddie Desch training videos: Bars

Texas Dreams has the largest group of juniors, which includes, Kennedy Baker, Kiana Winston, Macy Toronjo, Nica Hults, Dare Maxwell, Bailie Key and Peyton Ernst. Baker is a current national team member but has not competed internationally. To keep her spot on the national team, she’ll need to hit her routines, which are very difficult. Her form is not perfect, but she has a lot of potential on bars, beam and floor, where she competes (or at least was training) a ricna, patterson, standing Arabian, 1 ½ through to double arabian and a dos santos. Hults is a newcomer to the elite scene, and won the beam title with a solid routine at classics. Key, the youngest competitor in Saint Paul, qualified to championships last year but did not compete because of an injury. She does not have the highest difficulty, but she still finished 7th all around at classics. I believe she said in an interview with gymnastike that she may add a double twisting yurchenko this week. Winston is the strongest vaulter in the group, with the only double twisting yurcheko as of July.
Kennedy Baker training videos: Bars, Beam
Kiana Winston training videos: Bars
Macy Toronjo training videos: Bars, Floor
Dare Maxwell training videos: Bars

Amelia Hundley has been improving a lot this year, and will want to continue that upward trend here by making her first national team. She is definitely in contention for a top 6 finish, after placing 6th at classics. Her best events are probably vault and floor. Her teammate, Brianna Brown, has an outside shot at making that national team.
Training videos: Beam

Ericha Fassbender and Ariana Guerra can make the national team again, but they’ll need to be more consistent. Fassbender is very strong on beam, but not a standout elsewhere. Guerra crashed and burned at classics, with at 48.35 all around and did not break 13 on any apparatus.
Ericha Fassbender training videos: Bars
Ariana Guerra training vidoes: Bars, Floor

Elizabeth Price has a clean, powerful double twisting yurchenko, which should score well. Her best hope for a national title probably will be on floor, where her routine includes a double layout, 1 ½ through to triple full and a full in. Bars and beam are probably not “her events,” but they are very good. In fact, she could be looking for a top 6 finish all around.
Training videos: Vault, Floor

Mykayla Skinner probably will not finish very high all around due to a low bars score, but look out for her on vault, where she will compete an amanar, and floor, where she competes a double double. Simone Biles is in the same position. She finished fifth on both vault and floor at classics, but only 34th on bars with a score of 8.75 (3.85 execution).
Mykayla Skinner training videos: Floor
Simone Biles training videos: Vault

Others with a chance at making their first national team are Mackenzie Brannan, Lauren Marinez and Abigail Milliet.
Mackenzie Brannan training videos: Floor
Lauren Marinez training videos: Beam

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