Jahzara Swaby-Ranger waves

Nastia Liukin Cup Series Recap: Week 4

This year’s Nastia Liukin Cup Series will comprise 22 meets, each of which will qualify one senior gymnast (aged 17 and older) and one junior (16 and younger) to the 16th Nastia Liukin Cup in Louisville, Kentucky, on February 25.

This week saw 6 qualifiers across three invitationals: Atlanta Centennial Classic, UGA Invitational and the Vegas Cup

Atlanta Centennial Classic

Winner (senior division): Jahzara Swaby-Ranger

Winner (junior division): Caylee Cain ‘28

Jahzara Swaby-Ranger had an outstanding competition this weekend, achieving personal best scores of 9.950 on floor and 39.125 in the all around. This ties for the second-highest score among NLC qualifiers thus far, with only Avery Neff’s 39.500 surpassing her performance. Swaby-Ranger opens her floor routine with a powerful double layout and found all her landings this meet. Michigan will be carefully following their four-star recruit as her personal best of 9.950 on vault in the meet previous to this should reassure Bev Plocki that she has options to replace some of the big routines the Wolverines will lose at the end of the season.

Caylee Cain, a first-time NLC qualifier, secured her spot with a commendable all-around score of 38.550. The standout moment of her performance this weekend was her impeccable toe point during her bar routine. She also opens on floor with a beautiful double pike.

Jahzara Swaby-Ranger

Scores: VT: 9.875  | UB: 9.675 | BB: 9.625 | FX: 9.950 | AA: 39.125

  • Club: American Twisters (FL)
  • College: Michigan
  • High School Graduation Year: 2024
  • CGN Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Notable Results: Silver medal on beam and floor at 2023 DP Nationals and 4th All Around
  • Previous NLC Appearances: 2023

Caylee Cain

VT: 9.825  | UB: 9.650 | BB: 9.500 | FX: 9.575 | AA: 38.550

  • Club: Southeastern Gymnastics Center (NC)
  • High School Graduation Year: 2028
  • Notable Results: DP Nationals qualifier
  • Previous NLC Appearances: N/A

UGA Invitational

Winner (senior division): Madison Gustitus

Winner (junior division): Ella Kate Parker

San Jose State recruit, and first-time NLC qualifier, Madison Gustitus stamped her ticket with the top score on floor as well as the second-highest scores on both vault and beam. Gustitus has been steadily rising in the L10 ranks throughout her time competing at the senior level. Her best all-around score of 38.650, gained at last weekend’s Ozone invitational, puts her right up there with the best scores in the country.

Ella Kate Parker’s qualification to the NLC was an unexpected surprise to many gymnastics fans. After the news of her qualification was released, she made the public announcement that she has stepped back from competing elite and will continue her career as a level 10. Qualifying to the NLC in her first meet as a level 10 will certainly be a sign that she’s made a good decision, should she need one.

Madison Gustitus

Scores: VT: 9.600  | UB: 9.575 | BB: 9.625 | FX: 9.700 | AA: 38.500

  • Club: Legacy Elite (IL)
  • College: San Jose State
  • High School Graduation Year: 2024
  • CGN Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Notable Results: Silver medalist on beam at 2023 DP nationals 
  • Previous NLC Appearances: NA

Ella Kate Parker

VT: 9.423  | UB: 9.550 | BB: 9.675 | FX: 9.525 | AA: 38.175

    • Club: Cincinnati Gymnastics (OH)
    • High School Graduation Year: 2026
    • Notable Results: 2x Junior US National Team member, Gold medalist on beam, floor, and all around at 2022 Winter Cup, gold medal with team USA at DTB Pokal, Stuttgart 2022.
    • Previous NLC Appearances: N/A

Vegas Cup

The Vegas Cup organizers have determined that athletes competing for a junior spot in the NLC may have an unfair advantage over senior competitors. As a result, and with the approval of Nastia Liukin and VP of Women’s Programming Annie Heffernon, they have adjusted the age brackets in the following way: 

PRIOR TO 2024:

  • Junior (age 15 and under) and Senior (age 16 and older) as of December 31, 2024

NEW FOR 2024:

  • Junior (age 16 and under) and Senior (age 17 and older) as of December 31, 2024

The full note can be read here.

Winner (senior division): Lily Pederson 

Winner (junior division): Olivia Choi

As the number-two recruit in her class–and an Oklahoma commit to boot–it’s no surprise to see Lily Pederson’s name among the list of qualifiers to the NLC. Her all-around score in this meet was almost a point below her best of 39.775, which came at the Tim Rand Invite in March 2023, but with her beautiful basics and near flawless execution on bars, expect Pederson to be a top contender for the title this year.

Choi is another first time qualifier to the NLC and secured her spot with an all-around best of 38.450. While her strongest event historically has been beam, she has made significant progress in the off season, setting a personal best on floor as well as debuting a new vault for this year–a tucked Yurchenko full–garnering a 9.450, another top score for her.

Lily Pederson

Scores: VT: 9.750  | UB: 9.850 | BB: 9.725 | FX: 9.550 | AA: 38.875

  • Club: Flips (MN)
  • College: Oklahoma
  • High School Graduation Year: 2024
  • CGN Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Notable Results: 2023 state and regional all around champion, 2023 national champion on bars and silver all around. 2022 national all around and beam champion, silver medalist on bars and bronze on vault and floor.
  • Previous NLC Appearances: 2022

Olivia Choi

VT: 9.450  | UB: 9.650 | BB: 9.750 | FX: 9.600 | AA: 38.450

  • Club: Pacific Reign (WA)
  • High School Graduation Year: 2026
  • Notable Results: DP Nationals qualifier 2023, 2023 regional all around champion
  • Previous NLC Appearances: N/A

READ THIS NEXT: Nastia Liukin Cup Series Recap: Week 3

Article by Katie Couldrey


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