Leanne Wong Avoids Errors to Take US Classic Junior Title In Convincing Fashion

Top 8 finishers in 2018 GK US Classic Junior competition
The top eight all-around juniors in the 2018 GK US Classic; Leanne Wong 1st, Kayla Di Cello 2nd & Jordan Bowers 3rd

Kayla Di Cello on balance beam
Kayla Di Cello of Hill’s had a good day, winning UB, with only a poor BB routine keeping her from challenging Wong for gold.
(all photos are mine) Leanne Wong’s 55.35 all-around total was 1.35 points ahead of second place Kayla Di Cello of Hill’s at the 2018 GK US Classic, held Saturday July 28th at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio. Wong, of GAGE took first on vault (14.65) and floor exercise (13.4) and third on balance beam, with seventh on bars her lowest placement in taking AA gold. Di Cello would have given Wong a run for her money, winning UB (14.3, with a pretty tucked dismount–Lauren at thegymter.net said it was a full in, and she would know, but I thought I saw 1.5), taking second on vault (14.6) and tying for third on FX, but a disastrous 12.05 on BB in the second rotation took her out of contention for AA, and she finished with a total of 54.0 for the silver. Jordan Bowers of Solid Rock was third AA, with second on UB and BB, and seventh on VT, but her 11.95 on FX tied for 29th, and she had to settle for AA bronze, just .05 behind Di Cello.
Jordan Bowers on floor exercise
Jordan Bowers of Solid Rock was third AA, with second on UB and BB, and seventh on VT, but a tie for 29th on FX relegated her to bronze.

Tori Tatum of Twin City Twisters was more consistent, with fourth on VT her best placement but good scores on all events gave her a total of 53.8, good enough for fourth. Sunisa Lee took fifth AA with a 53.25, including winning balance beam with a 14.0.

First State’s Love Birt did not have a good day, but it must be said she suffered more from a lack of difficulty than poor execution, with 7.25 her lowest E score, but 4.9 her highest D score. At the end of the day, she wound up with a total of 50.5, which was only good enough for 23rd AA, her only highlight being a seventh place tie on BB with a 13.3 (4.9D/8.4E). She struggled on bars, having to arch a couple times to get over, and wandering across the bar, so even though there were no big mistakes her UB E score was 7.9, a terrible result considering her D score was only 4.5, low difficulty that should be executed flawlessly. Birt’s FSG teammate Sidney Morris had a somewhat better day, accumulating a 51.65 on the day, good enough for 12th AA, tying for fifth place on UB being the highlight of her day.

Tori Tatum on floor exercise
Tori Tatum of Twin City Twisters put in a very consistent performance to place fourth AA.
A few other highlights I noticed:

Karis German of World Champions did a pretty double layout on FX (which may have been the only one I saw on floor for the juniors), in a nice routine that was good enough for second on that event. But floor was her only placement in the top ten, and she finished in a seventh place tie AA.

Tiny little Kaliya Lincoln of Airborne also threw an impressive routine on FX for a score of 12.95, good enough for sixth place on the event; but a 14th on vault was her only other good result, placing 34th & 35th on UB & BB, to put her at 25th AA.

Love Birt split leap on floor exercise
Love Birt of First State did not have a good day, with good execution hampered by low difficulty.

Katelyn Rosen of Mavericks also stood out on floor, with flawless form and every landing solidly stuck, but a 4.8 D score kept her combined score to just 12.7, good enough for a tenth place tie, but nevertheless it was a very pretty routine to watch.

MG Elite’s Olivia Greaves had a pretty solid day except for UB, with a third place tie on FX and a sixth on BB. I didn’t catch the beginning of her beam routine, but what I did see was was quite solid, and what struck me most was that she was the only one of the juniors I saw successfully do a wolf turn with even halfway decent form; Greaves completed two full turns with perfect form. When it’s done

Kayla Di Cello & Kelli Hill talk between events.
Kelli Hill gives some advice to her latest star gymnast, Kayla Di Cello, who placed second all around.
well, it’s a pretty move to watch, but it is so rarely done well, I have come to cringe when I see anyone attempt it.

The start lists and complete final results for Hopes and the GK US Classic can be found here: http://www.usagymclassic.com/results/