2018 US Nationals: Senior Day 1

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The 2018 US Nationals are currently taking place in Boston. Friday (Aug 17th) marked a great start to the senior women’s competition with some fantastic performances:

Simone Biles won the first day all around, surprising no one. Business as usual for Simone equals breaking the all around record for the current code of points, once again. Her total of 60.100 is 1.4 higher than her previous all around total from US Classic. Simone also had the highest score on every event. She started on floor with a good performance of an insanely difficult routine: Moors,  front 1/1 to full in, Biles to stag, Silivas. The two hops OOB with both feet on the last two tumbling passes seemed intentional, as if she wanted to give the mortals a chance, by incurring a .6 deduction. This may be almost cute at US Nationals but it will get old fast so she will be looking to correct the OOB tendencies by Worlds. She still had the highest score on floor (14.45), thanks to the clean execution and out of this world D ( (6.7). On vault she was simply flawless with 9.6 execution for both the Cheng (6.0) and the Amanar (5.8). Unlike 3 weeks ago at Classic, Simone had a fantastic bars routine (although she seems to be making it by the skin of her fingertips on the Van Leeuwen); but it was a great performance very clean, very difficult (6.2) for a 14.85. She started beam with a wobble on the triple wolf turn (these really need to go away, they could even get Simone in trouble). The rest of the routine was completely secure despite some very small issues, like chest low or small adjustments  (15.2/6.5).

And what an impressive night for Morgan Hurd. How fortunate we are to be able to watch her develop the execution of her skills and her mental game with every competition. She stared on beam with a superb standing full and a very clean routine (14.100/5.6). Lauren wrote that Morgan decided to remove the skill that gave her troubles at the US Classic, the punch front, after struggling with it in training; a very good call. On floor she returned to the double-double on the first pass and had a beautiful performance (although she will want to improve some landings in the next weeks) for a 13.85/5.6. She did a clean Yurchenko double full on vault (14.4/5.4) and then finished off with a secure bars routine (14.65/6.1). Hurd’s total was 57.0.

Riley McCusker had another all around performance where she hit 4/4 but it seemed somewhat less inspired compared to what we saw three weeks ago at Classic. She continues to look great with long lines and polished execution on bars and beam and balletic style on floor. But a few mistakes like lack of amplitude on bars and low landing, a chest low and steps on the balance beam dismount and an OOB on floor cost her a few good tenths totaling a 56.05 (1.45 points down compared to Classic).

Grace McCallum placed 4th with 55.900. She was the quiet achiever of the evening with very consistent execution (in the low 8s) and good difficulty (5.4 to 5.6 on all events). If any of the big names will start to struggle on Sunday, she will be right there, ready to step up for a place on the podium.

** Trinity Thomas** placed 5th with a total of 55.500. Given how little we have seen of her this year, it was difficult to predict where she would place. She was delightful to watch, especially on beam and bars (8.65 E and 8.7 E respectively, which is Simone territory). By event, she had the 4th score on bars.

Another gymnast that will likely stay in the mix for a top 5 finish, is Shilese Jones who scored 55.3.  She had the best Yurchenko double full of the evening, rewarded with an execution of 9.3. She had a great bars routine for 13.95 and was consistent on beam and floor with scores in the low 13s.

Jade Carey place 7th all around continuing to prove that she is a great asset for team USA (54.95 total). Her floor upgrades looked great with her current tumbling passes –  Moors, layout full, Silivas and punch front to full in (6.3D). On vault she “only” did a DTY and a Lopez (which did not look that great) for an average of 14.25. Her bars looked fine although she only scored in the mid 12s due to many small deductions on pirouettes and such, although her transitions looked fantastic. This seems the kind of routine that will be pulled apart domestically but would be considered just fine on the international scene. Her beam routine was also “serviceable” rewarded with 13.75/5.7.

But I would not pack my bags for Worlds just yet if I were Jade Carey. The biggest “threat” for her will be Jordan Chiles who seems to be having an affinity for big routines at Nationals (remember her 2nd place finish last year). She only scored 12th all around here due to a fall on bars and OOB deductions on floor. But the big news for her is that her Amanar looked great (15.0) and that she beat Jade Carey for the 2nd total on vault (14.4, her other vault was a Tsuk full).

A shout-out to Ragan Smith who placed 9th despite competing with torn ligaments in her ankle and three broken toes. She achieved the maximum she could have under the circumstances. She had two big breaks in her bars routine but managed to not come off. On beam and floor there were no major issues, just tentative performances due to her injury. She’s a bad-ass for making it through four events and proved how tough she is. Let’s hope this will not make her injury worse.

Here are the complete Results:


Article: Bea Gheorghisor

Photo Cover: USA Gymnastics

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