Alex McMurtry Wins Nastia Liukin Cup
Alexandra McMurtry of Richmond Olympiad won the 2013 Nastia Liukin Cup on her third try, scoring 38.45. She had to absorb a very low 8.925 on bars in the first rotation, but came back to win event titles on beam, floor and vault on her way to winning the all around. The highlights of her performance for me included her first DTY and her sky-high first two passes (full-in and 2 1/2 to barani) with stuck, chest up landings. She is going to be fantastic at Florida.
Finishing in second place was Aja-Monet Sims of Brandy Johnson’s. She performed a solid beam routine for 3rd place on the event. I was particularly impressed with her floor choreography, which she seemed to enjoy. She also has a very nice Comaneci on bars, which was not shown in the broadcast but could be seen in the background.
Samantha Partyka, who some readers may remember from VISAs in 2010 and 2011, performed steadily all around and was the only gymnast to place top-10 on every event, finishing third overall. She looks much more mature than in years past and I am looking forward to seeing what she can bring to the level 10 scene and then the college scene in the next few years.
One pleasant surprise and the leader heading into the final rotation was Kari Lee, who eventually finished fourth. She performed clean, beautiful gymnastics, especially on beam where she earned the fifth-highest score of the night. She has an original mount and a layout stepout layout stepout series, which I love.
The top junior finisher was Reagan Campbell of Texas Dreams. She was especially impressive on floor, where she performed a nice full in, paired with beautiful choreography. She really does some beautiful gymnastics, and will do great regardless of whether she decides to stay level 10 or try elite again after this year.
Defending champion Charity Jones finished in a tie for 8th place. She had a decent meet, but had some small mistakes and didn’t quite look as sharp as she did last year, but I’m sure we’ll see her looking fantastic at Oklahoma a year from now!
Brianna Brown, who qualified with the highest score, earned the top score on bars but scratched beam and floor due to an injury. Hopefully we will see her come back strong for JO nationals!
Despite her not-so-impressive 23rd place finish, little Sydney Johnson-Scharpf was one of the stars of the show and is certainly one to look out for in the future. I think her bas and vault still need some work, but she is spectacular on beam and floor. NBC did not completely ignore the rightful winner and show her in their American Cup broadcast for no reason.
I was very impressed by all of the competitors this year, and imagine that we will see most of them doing great things over the next few years!
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