Current and Future College Stars Shine at GK U.S. Classic

The 2019 GK U.S. Classic offered the country’s top junior and senior elites a final opportunity to compete before August’s national championships. It also served as a final chance to qualify for those athletes who had not already done so in previous opportunities. Over 30 current and future NCAA gymnasts representing 11 programs were among the 58 competitors in one of the cleanest and most competitive meets in recent memory. Even taking into account the so-called domestic scoring bump, gymnasts across the field demonstrated an impressive combination of difficulty and execution with noticeably fewer falls than in previous years. Konnor McClain (uncommitted ‘24) edged out Sydney Barros (UCLA ‘24) by three tenths for the junior all around title, as well as winning vault and beam. Simone Biles dominated the senior competition as expected, earning a whopping 60.000 in the all around despite not competing her full difficulty. Biles also won vault and floor and placed third on beam and fifth on bars. 

Junior Sienna Robinson (uncommitted ‘24) scratched after a fall on beam during podium training but is expected to compete at nationals. Seniors Shania Adams (Alabama ‘21) and Victoria Nguyen (uncommitted ‘20) also withdrew from the competition while Emma Malabuyo (UCLA ‘22) is out indefinitely with a tibia fracture.  


Name Freshman Season VT UB BB FX AA
Karis German 2023 14.200 (5) 13.000 (13) 10.700 (36) 13.200 (5T) 51.100 (20)
Lauren Little 2023 12.800 (31T) 13.600 (5) 12.450 (25T) 13.150 (8) 52.000 (13)

Future Alabama classmates German and Little both gave respectable performances to finish in the top twenty all around. German showed off her signature power and precision on vault and floor, as well as an impressive effort on bars. Despite struggling throughout beam, she finished strong with an impressive full-twisting double tuck. Little is known for her clean technique, which was particularly evident on bars (her stalder work and double layout dismount were highlights). Both athletes previously qualified to nationals.


Name Freshman Season VT UB BB FX AA
Olivia Hollingsworth 2021 12.700 (17) 11.550 (21) 13.200 (12) 13.200 (12)  50.700 (15)
Sunisa Lee 2022   14.650 (2) 13.900 (8T)   28.550 (20)
Lyden Saltness 2024 13.700 (14T) 12.300 (23) 9.700 (37) 12.900 (11T) 48.600 (30 T)

Junior Saltness, who had already qualified to nationals, unveiled numerous upgrades at the meet, including a Yurchenko double and back handspring + tucked full on beam. She bounced back after a tough start on beam, and finished strong with an excellent double layout dismount on bars.  

As expected, Lee’s bars and beam were among the most difficult in the senior division (her Nabieva + Pak + Maloney + Bhardwaj combination is unrivaled). Despite a few miscues on beam, she delivered a lovely, confident routine. Although Lee’s future teammate Hollingsworth missed the 52.000 qualifying score, she held her own in a deep senior field. She was most impressive on floor with a double double, one and a half through to double tuck, punch front through to double full and a fabulous double pike to finish. 


Name Freshman Season VT UB BB FX AA
Gabby Perea 2021 13.150  14.050 (7) 12.200 (20) 12.650 (15) 52.050 (13)

Even with issues on beam and floor, Perea demonstrated why she is one of the most highly-anticipated recruits in the 2021 class. She performed a textbook Yurchenko full, crisp splits and a beautiful double twist dismount on beam and intricate bars work.


Name Freshman Season VT UB BB FX AA
Sloane Blakely 2022 13.900   13.450 (14T) 12.550 (16T) 39.900 (17)
Sophia Butler 2023 14.300 (3T) 12.750 (16T) 13.100 (9T) 13.350 (3) 53.500 (6)
Kayla DiCello 2023 14.100 (7) 13.750 (3T) 11.750 (34) 12.500 (21T) 52.100 (11)
Olivia Greaves 2023 13.950 (10T) 14.200 (1) 13.550 (4T) 13.050 (9) 54.750 (3)
Morgan Hurd 2021 (deferred from 2020) 14.500 14.700 (1) 13.900 (8T) 13.400 (11) 56.500 (6)
Shilese Jones 2021 14.650 13.500 (11) 13.450 (14T) 13.450 (10) 55.050 (9)
Riley McCusker 2021 (deferred from 2020) 14.350 14.550 (3T) 15.100 (2) 13.900 (5T) 57.900
Trinity Thomas 2019   14.200 (6) 14.000 (7)   28.200

Junior Greaves finished third all around thanks in part to a phenomenal bars routine that included a piked Jaeger, Downie and a nearly stuck full-twisting double tuck dismount. Butler also had a great day, hitting all four routines including a fabulous effort on floor that combined difficult tumbling with intricate dance elements. DiCello, who won bronze all around at last month’s junior world championships, struggled on beam and floor but finished strong on her two best events, vault and bars. 

Senior McCusker was one of the standouts of the competition, finishing second all around behind Biles. In addition to stunning performances on bars and beam that showed off her near-flawless technique and execution, McCusker impressed on vault and floor, looking stronger and more powerful than in previous years. Fellow world champion Hurd also had a strong competition, finishing sixth all around even with watered down routines on beam and floor. Hurd won bars with a gritty routine capped off by a beautiful full pirouette to stuck full-twisting double tuck. Future classmate Jones had a respectable showing, fighting through difficulties on beam and floor to finish ninth overall. Her new double front dismount on bars looked excellent. Sloane Blakely rounded out the crop of presumptive Gators in the senior division. Despite errors on beam and floor, Blakely’s impeccable form and difficulty were noteworthy. Her standing Arabian and front handspring + front tuck combination on beam were especially fantastic. Additionally, McCusker and Hurd were named to the Pan American Games team with Jones as the alternate. 

Rising sophomore Thomas qualified to nationals at June’s verification camp and only competed bars and beam. After struggling during podium training, Thomas was poised throughout both routines, making her new elements—including a Weiler half on bars and split leap + front aerial + split jump + Korbut series on beam—look effortless and elegant.


Name Freshman Season VT UB BB FX AA
Elizabeth Gantner 2024 13.200 (23T) 12.250 (24 T) 12.900 (14 T) 12.100 (30) 50.450 (23)

Junior Gantner had a solid day with hits on all four events, finishing just shy of the necessary 51.000 qualifying score. The highlights of Gantner’s competition include a beautiful double layout dismount on bars and two back handsprings to two and a half dismount on beam. 


Name Freshman Season VT UB BB FX AA
Aleah Finnegan 2022 14.450 13.150 (13) 14.050 (6) 13.600 (8) 55.500 (7)
Lilly Lippeatt 2023 13.100 (27T) 13.550 (6T) 13.300 (7T) 13.200 (5T) 53.150 (9)

Junior Lippeatt had an excellent competition, finishing ninth all around and top 10 in every event except vault. Her floor routine was a fan favorite, blending dynamic tumbling with energetic choreography set to music from “Batman.”

First year senior Finnegan is coming into her own, demonstrating the same exceptional form as sister Sarah, as well as explosive power on vault and floor. Her beam dismount—a side aerial to back handspring one and a half—was one of the most unique combinations of the meet. Already qualified to nationals, Finnegan’s seventh place finish in the all around secured her position on the U.S. team competing at the upcoming Pan American Games. 


Name Freshman Season VT UB BB FX AA
Kaylen Morgan 2023 13.400 (17) 11.700 (30) 13.350 (6) 12.900 (11T) 51.350 (16)

Morgan turned in solid performances on vault and floor, but beam was her standout event. From notably pretty wolf turns, to a split to front aerial combination, to a high and tight double tuck dismount, Morgan remained calm, collected and thoroughly in control.   


Name Freshman Season VT UB BB FX AA
Ava Siegfeldt 2023   13.450 (8) 13.050 (12T)   26.500 (37)
Faith Torrez 2023 14.450 13.150 (13) 14.050 (6) 13.600 (8) 55.250 (8)

Junior Siegfeldt already qualified to nationals and therefore opted to compete only bars and beam here. She showed steady confidence and precision on both events, culminating in a huge double tuck beam dismount. 

Senior Torrez proved that her recent American Classic win was no fluke. She competed an upgraded floor routine that included a full-twisting double layout in addition to her massive double layout and a jam-packed beam routine (her standing tucked full was one of the best of the day). Torrez proved she’s more than capable of challenging the best elites in the country.  

Oregon State

Name Freshman Season VT UB BB FX AA
Jade Carey 2021 (deferred from 2019) 14.900 13.050 (15T) 12.750 (17T) 14.250 (2T) 54.950 (10)

Carey is rightly known for her powerful vaults and tumbling but showed impressive upgrades on both bars and beam this weekend. An unfortunate fall on her beam dismount overshadowed an otherwise lovely routine (her back handspring + layout step-out + layout was outstanding). Tokyo prospects aside, Carey showed that she has the necessary tools to be a standout NCAA all arounder as well.



Freshman Season






Sydney Barros


14.300 (3T)

13.550 (6T)

13.750 (3)

13.700 (2)

55.300 (2)

Jordan Chiles

2021 (deferred from 2020)


13.750 (8T)

13.650 (12)

12.550 (16T)

54.650 (11)

Alexis Jeffrey



13.100 (14)

12.750 (17T)

12.150 (18) 

51.150 (14)

Emily Lee



13.050 (15T)

13.550 (13)

13.550 (9)

54.400 (12)

Ariel Posen


13.200 (23T)

12.800 (14T)

12.500 (23T)

12.500 (21T)

51.000 (21T)

Katelyn Rosen


13.700 (14T)

11.850 (28)

12.800 (16T)

12.800 (15T)

51.150 (19)

In the senior division, Chiles showed that her recent switch to World Champions Centre is already paying off, easily qualifying for nationals with a 54.650. She looked poised and confident on all four events and gave one of the cleanest and best beam performances of her senior career. Lee, who had previously qualified to nationals, finished just behind Chiles. Her floor routine was excellent, starting with a floaty double layout and finishing with a high double pike. 



Freshman Season






Kara Eaker



13.650 (10)

15.400 (1)

14.050 (4)


Jaylene Gilstrap




12.950 (16)

13.100 (13)

39.250 (18)

Grace McCallum



14.550 (3T)

14.100 (5)

14.250 (2T)


MyKayla Skinner




13.750 (11)

12.900 (14)

41.550 (16)

Ella Zirbes


13.300 (20)

12.600 (19)

12.750 (18)

12.600 (20)

51.250 (18)

Junior Zirbes comfortably qualified to nationals after an impressively gritty showing that included saving an under-rotated Yurchenko one and a half and a strong finish on floor. 

Senior national teammates and 2018 team world champions McCallum and Eaker, who placed third and fourth all around, respectively, both had excellent competitions. The always-steady McCallum tied for second on floor and third on bars while Eaker’s near-flawless beam was the second highest-scoring routine of the meet. Though known primarily as a beam specialist, Eaker performed well on the remaining three events and established herself as a viable all arounder. She was also chosen to represent the U.S. at the 2019 Pan American Games. 

McCallum and Eaker’s future classmate Jeffrey struggled on beam and floor but offered a big, flared Yurchenko full and beautiful bars work (her straddled Jaeger was wonderful). Gilstrap once again showed her signature poise and stellar technique, notching some of the highest execution scores of the competition. Her huge Yurchenko full and oversplits on both beam and floor will set her apart in NCAA competition. 

Red Rocks superstar Skinner made a respectable showing in her first elite meet since 2016. Her Amanar was significantly better than any of her attempts during podium training and her beam routine—featuring a rock solid back handspring to tucked full and stuck double tuck dismount—was arguably the best of her elite career. Though she only competed on three events, Skinner previously earned a spot at nationals during June’s verification camp. 


Skye Blakely finished fourth all around despite uncharacteristic issues on beam, thanks to strong performances on floor and vault, while American Classic junior all around champion Ciena Alipio continued to impress, finishing fifth all around and second on beam. eMjae Frazier hit four solid routines for a 53.350 in the all around that earned her seventh overall and a berth to nationals.  Jamison Sears, Sophie Parenti and Addison Fatta also secured their required 51.000 nationals qualifying scores.

Junior all around champion Konnor McClain was impressive from start to finish, with a near-perfect double-twisting Yurchenko, a jam-packed beam routine and an exciting floor routine that ended with a unique double twist to back handspring stepout. First year senior Leanne Wong had a strong showing overall, utilizing her signature twisting ability to finish in the top five on vault, beam and floor and fifth in the all around. 

Full results are available here.

Article by Claire Billman 

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