Recruit Files: Clara Hong, Towson

Name: Clara Hong
Club: Iron Cross Gymnastics
High School Graduation Year: 2021

NCAA Team: Towson
Commitment Announcement: Instagram
Social Handles: Twitter | Instagram

Personal Bests

Vault Uneven Bars Balance Beam Floor Exercise
9.500 9.800 9.400 9.550

Videos

Vault Uneven Bars Balance Beam Floor Exercise
2020 Yellow Rose Invitational 2020 Yellow Rose Invitational 2020 Yellow Rose Invitational 2020 Yellow Rose Invitational

About Clara

Hong is a 2019 J.O. national qualifier and the 2019 Texas state champion in the all around and on bars. She was also third in the all around at the 2019 Region 3 regionals. She will solidly contribute to the growing Towson program, from which big things are expected in the years to come.

What She Brings to Towson

Vault

  • Skill: handspring front tuck
  • Results: sixth place at the 2019 Region 3 regionals
  • Margin of Improvement: Hong’s vault is beautiful in the air and is solid on landing. It starts from a 9.8, though, which places her at a disadvantage.
  • Impact on the Team: Vault was Townson’s weakest apparatus in 2020, but its lineup was solid. Its lowest start value vault was a handspring front pike, which starts from a 9.9. Hence, head coach Jay Ramirez will hope not to have to use Hong’s current vault. Given its height, however, Hong may think of upgrading.

Uneven Bars

  • Skills: piked Jaeger, bail to handstand, double front dismount
  • Results: first place at the 2019 Texas state meet
  • Margin of Improvement: Hong has beautiful lines on bars. Her piked Jaeger is sky-high, and she performs her difficult dismount with pointed toes. She could work on her handstands a little bit more.
  • Impact on the Team: Hong is expected to be a game changer for Towson here. 2020 was a good season for the team on bars, but it was just short of scoring 9.9s. Given that the Tigers’ best gymnast in 2020, Amy Stewart, was only a freshman, expect big things from them on this apparatus in the years to come.

Balance Beam

  • Skills: side aerial to side aerial, split jump + straddle jump ¾, split jump + 360° split jump, 1.5 twist dismount
  • Results: third place at the 2019 Region 3 regionals
  • Margin of Improvement: Hong’s routine includes a lot of splits positions, which are her strength. Her acrobatic series is a bit of a question mark, though. As the connection between the two side aerials is a tentative one, she will want to improve it to be awarded full difficulty.
  • Impact on the Team: Beam was Towson’s best apparatus in 2020 and will likely continue to be strong for the next few years. Its top two gymnasts, Jenna Weitz and Emerson Hurst, were a freshman and a sophomore, respectively. Hong could contribute to the lineup if she can consolidate her acrobatic series.

Floor Exercise

  • Skills: Rudi, back half twist to front full twist, front full twist to front layout
  • Results: second place at the 2019 Texas state meet
  • Margin of Improvement: Hong’s floor routine is not the most difficult, yet she can put up solid scores. She is also training a front double twist.
  • Impact on the Team: Towson did OK on floor in 2020, but Ramirez will want to break into the 9.9s in the years to come. Hong’s routine may not achieve that goal, but the team will be able to count on her solid scores.

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Article by Talitha Ilacqua

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