I finally got around to watching last years Junior Nationals and while I wasn’t a big fan of the leader board I did find some hidden gems with a lot of potential.
This code is very much in favor of the power gymnasts and I am very much a fan of the artistic so my favorites will probably all end up in college gymnastics competing for UCLA but here’s what impressed me.
( I have no clue who turns senior this year of this group)
Sunisa Lee : Floor
For a tiny little ballerina she has deceptive power. A 5.4 start value and she starts with a double layout. She finished tenth at Junior Nationals so she didn’t make the National team but she has some decent junior start values on Beam ( 5.8) and Floor. Though her beam has a bit of Nastia posing the potential is there Here she is competing in 2016…
Emma Malabuyo: Floor
I remember being impressed with her in 2015 but I can’t for the life of me remember why so I watched some 2016 routines from Classics. She isn’t a great dancer but you can tell she has a lot of potential . She also tumbles quite well for her size. She’s one of those gymnasts with flashes of good form in between bad form who you can totally see improving over night and succeeding in that area. Her beam is the same. Flashes of potential. She has a 5.8 start value on floor
Riley McCusker: Floor
Of the top tier juniors the one I was most impressed with was Riley. She has nice toe point and decent form but with start values in the 5.6 – 5.8 range she is going to need major upgrades to compete as a senior.
Morgan Hurd: Bars
I prefer her bars to Gabby Parea who is mentioned below. She hit her handstands much better. She’s a pretty dancer but her start values on beam and floor are between 5.3 and 5.5
Who decided, Remember the name was appropriate floor music for a junior gymnast at Nationals ? (Sloane Blakely )
Gabby Parea has a start value on bars between 6.0 and 6.2 depending on which you believe the official score sheet or the you tube video but she had too many missed handstands and form issues for my taste but she seems to have the most potential of the group on bars ( next to Hurd)The US might need some help from Liukin in this area when it comes to the juniors as a whole.
Jordan Chiles didn’t compete at Nationals due to injury but of all the gymnasts mentioned above she is the most likely to make a world team in the near future. The Amanar has been devalued but she is the only junior I know of who can compete it. She has potential on floor though she’s quite bouncy. If she ever reigns in her power the world might need to watch out. Her start values are between 5.6 and 5.9 ( plus the Amanar) but of all the gymnasts above she is the closest to a true AA gymnast the juniors have.
I feel like I need to mention Mailie O’Keefe (pronounced Miley) since she is the reigning Junior National Champion. She’s not the greatest dancer artistic wise but she has the neatest jumps and leaps on floor. There is something calming about her floor. I don’t know how to explain it but her double turn was beautiful. She also had some pretty landings on her leaps and jumps. Everyone else pretty much falls out of them but Mailie doesn’t. Her floor music was easily my favorite of the competition.
Her best event is beam with a 6.3 start value Her leaps and jumps need work on beam.