Biles Wins Sixth Title While Skinner and Thomas Named to National Team

The 2019 U.S. National Championships took place this weekend in Kansas City, Missouri, and offered plenty of excitement.

As predicted, the junior competition was a tight race. Future Gator Kayla DiCello (Florida ‘23) edged out Konnor McClain (uncommitted ‘24) by just a tenth to claim all around gold. DiCello’s future classmate Olivia Greaves finished third. All three were named to the junior national team along with the rest of the top 10 finishers: Skye Blakely (uncommitted ‘24), Sydney Barros (UCLA ‘24), Ciena Alipio (uncommitted ‘23), Anya Pilgrim (uncommitted ‘24), Lilly Lippeatt (LSU ‘23), eMjae Frazier (uncommitted ‘23) and Sophia Butler (Florida ‘23). 

The first night of the senior competition was notably uneven, with all but a handful of gymnasts incurring major deductions on at least one event (night two went more smoothly for the majority of the field). To no one’s surprise, Biles won a record sixth senior all around title despite her struggles on night one. In addition to her all around victory, she also placed first on vault, beam and floor and third on bars. However, the talk of the competition was the two new skills she debuted: a double twisting double tuck dismount on beam and a triple twisting double tuck on floor. First year senior Sunisa Lee (Auburn ‘22) placed second all around after impressive performances both nights, while Grace McCallum (Utah ‘22) earned third place on the strength of a fantastic second day of competition. At the meet’s conclusion, USAG named 11bu gymnasts to the senior national team: Biles, Lee, McCallum, Morgan Hurd (Florida ‘21), Leanne Wong (uncommitted ‘23), Jordan Chiles (UCLA ‘21), Jade Carey (OSU ‘21), MyKayla Skinner (Utah ‘17), Trinity Thomas (Florida ‘19), Kara Eaker (Utah ‘22) and Riley McCusker (Florida ‘21).  

Alabama

Name Freshman Season VT UB BB FX AA
Karis German 2023

14.300

14.150 (9) 

12.750

10.450 (24) 

12.750

12.700 (16T)

12.900

11.750 (25T)

52.700

49.050 (18)

Lauren Little 2023

12.900

12.750 (28)

13.250

13.150 (7)

12.150

12.950 (22)

12.750

12.500 (16)

51.050

51.350 (15)

German finished a respectable 11th on night one but unfortunately couldn’t repeat that performance on night two. She finished 18th over all after mistakes on bars and floor but continues to show solid difficulty and beautiful technique. 

Little similarly struggled, though she managed an impressive seventh place on bars thanks to strong routines both days.  

Auburn

Name Freshman Season VT UB BB FX AA
Sunisa Lee 2022

13.850

13.750

14.750

15.050 (1)

14.350

13.850 (4)

13.950

14.00 (3)

56.900

56.650 (2)

Lyden Saltness 2024

13.000

13.650 (18)

12.850

9.900 (28)

12.350

12.950 (19T)

12.000

12.700 (24)

50.200

49.200 (26T)

Saltness had a difficult weekend, finishing 26th overall after struggles on all the events. She continues to show tremendous difficulty rivaling that of the top group and a willingness to be aggressive in her execution; this grit and determination will serve her well at Auburn. 

Lee not only won the “non-Simone division,” but also won bars and a surprise bronze on floor. Lee, who has not competed all around since winning the 2019 City of Jesolo Trophy due to a leg injury, unequivocally proved that she is among the best in the world. 

California

Name Freshman Season VT UB BB FX AA
Gabby Perea 2021

13.150

13.150

13.000

13.000 (10)

12.800

13.150 (16)

13.450

12.600 (12)

52.400

51.900 (15)

Unfortunately, things never came together for Perea during this competition, and she finished 15th all around. However, she showed flashes of the difficult skills and beautiful execution that have made her a fan favorite over the years, including a gorgeous stuck double layout off of bars on night two. 

Florida

Name Freshman Season VT UB BB FX AA
Sloane Blakely 2022

13.900

13.700

0.000 

13.400

13.950 (9)

12.650

12.550 (16)

39.950

40.200 

Sophia Butler 2023

14.650

14.500 (3) 

13.100

12.600 (12T)

12.100

13.050 (21)

13.300

12.050 (13)

53.150

52.200 (10)

Kayla DiCello 2023

14.700

14.800 (1) 

13.700

14.000 (3T)

13.900

13.800 (4)

13.70014.100 (1)

56.000

56.700 (1)

Olivia Greaves 2023

14.400

14.400 (5)

14.450

14.500 (1)

13.200

12.950 (10T)

13.650

13.300 (4)

55.700

55.150 (3)

Morgan Hurd 2021 (deferred from 2020)

14.450

14.350 

14.400

14.600 (2)

14.150

13.950 (5)

12.050

13.750 (13)

55.050

56.650 (4)

Shilese Jones 2021

14.650

13.850  

12.850

12.00 (14)

13.450

13.550 (11)

12.850

13.650 (9)

53.800

53.900 (12)

Riley McCusker 2021 (deferred from 2020)

14.450

14.650

13.500

13.900 (7T)

14.500

0.000 (17)

13.250

0.000 (17)

55.700

28.550 (16)

Trinity Thomas 2019

14.050

13.900

14.200

14.250 (4)

13.400

13.650 (10)

13.750

11.550 (15)

55.400

53.350 (9)

Florida came away as a big winner this weekend, with six of its eight athletes being named to the national team and earning a collective eight medals. In addition to winning the junior championship, DiCello earned titles on both vault and floor while all around bronze medalist Greaves won bars. Their future teammate Butler finished third on vault and 10th all around. 

The Gators in the senior group all struggled at some point over the grueling two day competition but still impressed over all. First year senior Blakely continued to shine on beam, finishing a respectable ninth in a field that includes multiple international medal contenders. Jones showed huge potential on all events, particularly vault (finishing fifth); the power and talent are there. McCusker finished fourth on night one despite a fall on bars and struggles on floor (her Yurchenko double full was excellent both nights, though). She ultimately scratched from the competition on night two due to illness but still earned a spot on the national team. Hurd had a mostly fantastic first day of competition, trailing Biles by only seven tenths going into the final rotation. She had an uncharacteristically off floor routine, balking on her front layout to double twist and falling on an improvised double layout. She had no problems on night two, rising from ninth place to fourth over all and winning second on bars. 

Rising sophomore Thomas was impressive throughout championships, particularly on bars where she finished fourth. Her only major issue came on floor night two, where she fell on both her first and last passes. She still managed to finish ninth all around. 

LSU

Name Freshman Season VT UB BB FX AA
Aleah Finnegan 2022

14.500

14.025 (4) 

12.000

12.900 (13) 

13.200

13.200 (15)

13.550

13.650 (6)

53.150

54.350 (13)

Lilly Lippeatt 2023

13.050

13.250 (21T) 

13.550

13.600 (5)

12.850

13.300 (10T)

13.450

13.200 (5)

52.900

53.350 (8)

Lippeatt continues to impress, showing unique combinations—including a whip full to double tuck on floor—and consistent execution. She finished fifth on both uneven bars and floor and eighth all around. 

Finnegan, recovering from a mild concussion sustained at the Pan American Games, displayed her trademark power and clean execution to earn fourth on vault and sixth on floor. Though she missed being named to the national team, she finished her competition on a high note with a fantastic showing on floor. She will be automatically invited to the worlds selection camp due to her place on the Pan Ams team.

Michigan

Name Freshman Season VT UB BB FX AA
Kaylen Morgan 2023

13.100

13.350 (19)

12.800

12.900 (12T)

11.650

10.700 (29)

13.300

13.00 (7)

50.850

49.950 (23)

Issues on beam both nights kept Morgan from replicating her success from earlier in the season, but she turned in strong performances on the other events. The quality of her floor performance is already comparable many current NCAA gymnasts, and her huge Yurchenko full has plenty of room to upgrade. 

Oklahoma

Name Freshman Season VT UB BB FX AA
Ava Siegfeldt 2023

13.800

13.850 (12)

11.900

12.150 (22)

13.300

13.100 (8)

12.700

11.300 (29)

51.700

50.400 (16)

Faith Torrez 2023

14.600

14.500 

11.500

12.750 (16)

14.050

13.900 (7)

13.000

13.100 (11)

53.150

54.250 (14)

Over all, Siegfeldt had a strong showing, particularly on vault and beam.  Her Yurchenko one and a half is especially dynamic and looks ready for an upgrade. 

First year senior Torrez, coming off of back-to-back strong performances at the American and U.S. Classics, struggled both nights on bars, which kept her out of a top 10 finish. However, her vault and beam both days were excellent, and her floor work is reminiscent of future teammate Olivia Trautman. She remains one to watch.  

Oregon State

Name Freshman Season VT UB BB FX AA
Jade Carey 2021 (deferred from 2019)

15.000

14.875 (2) 

13.300

11.650 (12)

13.500

13.100 (13)

14.300

14.100 (2)

56.100

53.850 (7)

Carey continues to establish herself as a viable all arounder. She finished third overall night one (even without mistakes from top all arounders, her 56.100 score could have challenged for a podium spot). Though a fall on bars during night two pushed her back to seventh, she earned second on both vault and floor. Though she will most likely continue to be used as a specialist due to the U.S. team’s depth, Carey keeps demonstrating that she has the skills to be a standout collegiate all arounder. 

UCLA

Name Freshman Season VT UB BB FX AA
Sydney Barros 2024

14.500

14.150 (6T) 

13.850

13.850 (3T)

13.400

12.850 (9)

13.500

13.700 (2)

55.250

54.550 (5)

Jordan Chiles 2021 (deferred from 2020)

14.750

14.750 

13.550

13.850 (7T)

13.300

13.600 (12)

13.750

13.300 (7)

55.350

55.500 (6)

Emily Lee 2022

14.150

14.400

12.650

12.150 (15)

14.150

13.900 (6)

13.550

13.000 (8)

54.500

53.450 (11)

Ariel Posen 2023

13.150

13.250 (20)

10.450

12.500 (26T)

13.250

13.200 (7)

12.600

12.500 (18T)

49.450

51.450 (22)

Katelyn Rosen
2024

13.400

13.600 (16) 

11.800

11.850 (23)

13.300

12.550 (13)

12.600

12.500 (18T)

51.100

50.500 (19)

Junior Barros placed fifth all around and top 10 on all events—including a silver on floor and bronze on bars—cementing her reputation as one of the top U.S. juniors. Unfortunately, Rosen and Posen both struggled on bars (a common theme for the weekend), which held them back in the rankings, though Posen did secure a seventh place finish on beam. 

Despite difficulties on bars, senior Lee had a great weekend, finishing eleventh overall and with top 10 finishes on beam and floor. Her Yurchenko double is also very solid and will be a welcome addition to the Bruins’ weakest event. 

Chiles continued to demonstrate her newfound confidence and consistency, hitting four-for-four on both nights of competition, claiming the highest average execution score (8.531) for the seniors. Her impressive performance earned her a spot on the national team. Though she will need to increase her difficulty to have a shot at making the Olympic team, her performance this weekend certainly keeps her in the conversation.  

Utah

Name Freshman Season VT UB BB FX AA
Kara Eaker 2022

13.650

13.850 

13.600

11.900 (11)

13.750

14.900 (2)

13.650

12.800 (10)

54.650

53.450 (10)

Grace McCallum 2022

14.700

14.550

13.500

13.950 (6)

13.050

14.450 (8)

13.650

14.000 (4)

54.900

56.950 (3)

MyKayla Skinner 2017

14.650

14.800 (3)

13.000

13.350 (9)

13.550

12.900 (14)

13.700

13.850 (5)

54.900

54.700 (8)

Ella Zirbes 2024

13.700

13.700 (15)

11.850

12.850 (19)

11.900

11.050 (28) 

12.100

12.400 (27)

49.550

50.000 (25)

Junior Zirbes had a tough weekend overall, but finished the competition strong with an excellent Yurchenko one and a half. 

McCallum had a disappointing night one, with falls on bars and beam and several low landings on floor leaving her ninth place overall. She rebounded on night two, improving her all around total by nearly two points to claim the bronze. McCallum’s future classmate Eaker, coming off the 2019 Pan American Games earlier this month, struggled on both nights but still managed to win second on beam even with a fall on night one. 

Erstwhile, Red Rock Skinner impressed at her first elite championships since 2016 and only her second competition since resuming elite training this spring. She earned third place on vault, fifth on floor and eighth over all. Despite difficulties on bars and beam, Skinner showed high difficulty on those events (including a fantastic full pirouette into Fabrichnova dismount on bars). 

Uncommitted

Leanne Wong, the only uncommitted gymnast in the senior group, continues to prove her mettle. She finished fifth all around at her first senior championships and snagged the bronze medal on beam. Her Yurchenko double full is one of the best in the field with room for a potential upgrade. Any college would be thrilled to add Wong to its roster; it will be interesting to see what she chooses to do in the future.   

Full results are available here.


Article by Claire BIllman

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