Friday, March 30, 2012

Fresh Face Friday - Jasmine Vallejo

Property of Jasmine Vallejo
Quick Facts - 
Name: Jasmine Vallejo
D.O.B.: December 1, 2000 (Senior in 2016)
Gym: Precision Gymnastics
Coaches: Jill & Trent Spaulding

When I attended last year's US Challenge I was struck by one of my biggest pet peeves: cutesy floor routines. In my opinion, if your music sounds like it should be in a parade or carnival, it shouldn't be floor music. But anyway, one of the girls had a floor routine with the perfect amount of maturity and difficulty for a HOPES 11 year old: Jasmine Vallejo.

As the youngest girl in the entire meet, Jasmine's elegance on both floor and beam really stood out to me.

(Beam starts about a minute in)

Although she struggled a bit at this meet, her elegance and lines wowed me and I really anticipate this girl going far. Her long term goal, like many gymnasts, is to go to the Olympics. But for this season, she's looking "to mature as a competitor and have a strong performance at the US Classic in May." 
At only 10, Jasmine has been invited to "Developmental Camps" at the Ranch where she trained along with many other Elite hopefuls. 

Here are a few questions to help us learn a little bit more about Jasmine: 
What do you see as your biggest strengths and weaknesses? 
"I love to learn new skills and never give up no matter how difficult it may be at first. I would say that my biggest weakness is sometimes I want to move on too quickly and neglect the simpler elements in my routines."

What's your favorite competition you've competed in? 
"I don't think I've met my favorite yet. I love them all because I love to compete." 

Can you tell a funny/embarrassing story you've had in gymnastics? 
"Last year on the flight home from development camp, I was exhausted and I was dreaming. I woke up standing in front of my seat with my coach and some other passengers standing around me. My coach asked me what I was doing and I told him that I was dreaming and that in my dream he had asked me to do a stretch jump. He was laughing at me because as I dreamt it, I did it and scared him and everyone else on the plane." 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A bunch of random thoughts I need to get out of my system. Don't judge.

I was trying to write a blog for next week, and too many random thoughts kept flowing through my head, so I decided to get all of them out of my system. Here we go...
(If you're going to bitch about anything that I'm saying, just don't waste your time. Thanks...)

I'm really legitimately shocked that Randi Lau isn't 12.

Anyone who wants to write their gym/college team's name in giant letters across their leos deserves to have their toenails pulled out with pliers.

Property of LSU
I want Jordyn Wieber on my McDonalds cup.

Kathy Johnson shouldn't be allowed on HD.

I keep forgetting Rebecca Bross is a contender... Wait... Is she?

Is it time for the Olympics yet?

Mackenzie Brannan is too skinny to go to Alabama

It's going to really suck if everybody gets injured before July.

I think Diandra Milliner looks like a lot like Jordan Moore. Is that racist?

I want to know what the deal is with Asi Peko and why she hasn't signed with UCLA.

Also, why does the girl on MIOBI have a bunny?

Property of Gym Examiner
Where is Sabrina Vega? I really hope that she's not injured. She's gonna be a kick ass alternate.

You know when Mohini Bhardwaj did a Double Layout into Punch Front? That was crazy. More people should do that.

Jesus Christ I need to stop drinking so much caffeine to get through 12 hour days.

Woah. I lost a lot of respect for the Excalibur Coaches based on this article. (via IGF)

Mmmk. That's all.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Do you have a story to share?

Property of the Hall Family
Lindenwood head coach, Gretchen Goerlitz bases her training with the philosophy that her athletes are young women first and gymnasts second. In an effort to convey that attitude more on my blog, I wanted to start a new feature involving human interest stories.

If you're a gymnast, coach, parent or even a fan, and have a story to tell that in anyway involves gymnastics, I'd love to hear it, and possibly post it with or without your name attached.

The good, the bad; the ugly, the inspiring; all of it, goes along gymnastics. It's relevant to the gymnastics world.

The closest thing that I can give you to an example blog is a post by Pua Hall that I facilitated posting on IGF a few years ago after she and her family expressed the desire to tell her story with health challenges. You can read a copy of the post on her official website.

It can be anything: nothing's too big or too small. If you have a story to tell, please, share it.

You can use the Contact Me page, or try to initiate contact on Twitter.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Terrible Tuesdays : 5 reasons to hate the age limits

Yup. A topic that's Totally overdone and redundant. But I mean come on? 16? Ugh.

Here's 5 reasons to want to scream at Bruno Grandi.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Roe-d to JO Nationals : Texas States

As you may have seen on Twitter, Haylee Roe of Metroplex has earned the Jr. D State Championship, meaning that she performed the best out of all girls in her age division!

Here's her performance:

Likely, Haylee competed so well at this meet because she felt so relaxed. "We didn't really put any emphasis on winning this meet so that wasn't really what we were focused on," Haylee said. "We were focused on going in there and doing the routines we do in the gym to the best of our ability. It turned out great for me!"

"I couldn't a favorite moment of this meet because honestly, I loved it all!"

Next stop: Regionals!

Lindenwood Lions : Fast Facts with Alicia Floyd

Property of Alicia Floyd
Gym: Airborne Gymnastics in Santa Clara, CA

Coaches: Liz Crandell & Mik Nelke 

Intended Major: Undecided, but she's interested in Exercise Science and Sports Management. 

Event She'll Contribute Most on: "It's hard to say, I hope to contribute in the All Around but my favorite event is floor and it's the one I'm the most confident in." 

Most Difficult Skills she's Competing:  Full Twisting Yurchenko and Tkachev. 

3 words her coaches would use to describe her: Leader, Dedicated, Good Teammate. 

Proudest Moment in Gymnastics: "One of my proudest moments in gymnastics is now, knowing that all the hard work and sacrifices have resulted in the opportunity to compete for Lindenwood Gymnastics. I'm proud that I have stuck with it this long and am excited for the journey ahead!" 

Why Lindenwood?: "The excitement of starting a new gymnastics program and I felt a great connection from Coach Gretchen at the very start. I also thought the campus was very beautiful."  

What she hopes to accomplish while at Lindenwood: "I hope to start a great name for Lindenwood Gymnastics and have a memorable 4 years. I also hope to inspire other schools to add gymnastics to their programs because I think it is a great sport that everyone enjoys. I also hope to meet some of my best friends along this journey and have a successfull fun gymnastics career during my time at LU. As the very first class I hope that my teamates and I can become a family and start amazing traditions that the classes to follow will carry on forever. I hope that we can get the community excited about the new gymnastics program and set the standards for the following classes very high. I want to show Lindenwood and many other schools how fun and exciting Gymnastics is."

Fun Fact: "I LOVE Chocolate... Shhh... Don't tell Gretchen!"   

Here she is at last weekend's North California Championships-

My Ideal Olympic Team

Recently, I asked the twittervese to give me a few blog ideas. One of those ideas was my hopes for the Olympic team. This isn't a prediction list, but rather, if I were choosing the team today, who I would choose.

Jordyn Wieber - This one's a given. The All Around World Champion should make the Olympic Team barring a major injury. Jordyn would be the only gymnast to compete all four events in both qualifications and team finals.  With the thought in mind that John Geddert's been pacing her since she was 12 for this event, I'd imagine that she has even more gymnastics to show that what she's already presented.
Property of USAG

Gabrielle Douglas - Obviously, I'm in love with the Gabrielle's gymnastics and she's certainly one of the best, if not the best bar worker in the US. Not only could Gabrielle contribute on bars, but her all around picture is getting stronger by the day. I'd have Gabby compete All Around in prelims (fighting with Ross for the 2nd All Around spot) and then competing Bars and Floor in finals.

Kyla Ross - Kyla really impressed me at Pacific Rims with how much she's grown up since we first saw her with her little green hair bow in 2009. I think that Kyla could compete All Around in prelims and then everything but floor in finals. I hope that Marta appreciates her talents, although she hasn't been to Worlds.

Property of USA Today
McKayla Maroney - Part of this is because I'm bitter about Hollie Vise not making the Olympic Team, but I think it's only fair for a reigning World Champ to be able to defend her title. I'd have her compete Vault in both Prelims and Finals (obviously) and possibly bars in prelims, depending on what her set looked like. 

Aly Raisman - Did I surprise you? Yup, it's true. I'm now a Raisman fan. Raisman would be the only one to sit out Vault (her Amanar still scares me) but would compete both Beam and Floor in finals. Prelim bars would depend on who looks stronger between she and McKayla. With Aly's proven leadership skills, she'd also make a fantastic captain.

Here's how the scores came out:

Highest possible team total based on 2011-12 Scores: 185.24 (1st at 2011 Worlds by 6 points)
Lowest possible team total based on 2011-12 Scores (if LITERALLY everyone falls): 168.61(6th at 2011 Worlds)
Average team total based on 2011-12 Scores (Including falls): 179.15 (Only outscored by USA at 2011 Worlds)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Six Year Old Commentary Sunday: McKayla Maroney at Worlds

Sofia: Hey! She has the same outfit as the girl from Boston. 
Me: She sure does.
Sofia: What's her name?
Me: McKayla Maroney.
Sofia: Why does she have food in her name?
Me: What?
Sofia: Maroney sounds like Pepperoni.
Me: Oh?
Sofia: That was a good vault!
Me: Why do you think she was so good?
Sofia: She didn't bend her legs. And cause she can run really fast.
*McKayla does her second Vault*
Me: Which do you think was better?
Sofia: The first one. She twisted more times.
Me: You see whose flag is number one?
Sofia: America! Let's watch her again.
Me: On what event?
Sofia: Umm... floor.

Me: What?
Sofia: (referring to the floor) White, Blue, White, Blue.
*McKayla's Third Pass*
Sofia: WOAH! That was so good.
Me: Yeah?
Sofia: She did so many flips and then she didn't go out of the white.

Sofia to replace Elfi for the 2024 Olympics. :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

10 Weekly Tidbits - 3/17-3/23

Pac Rim Event Finals
Property of Jennifer Buchanan
Pac Rims concluded last Saturday with the American Women earning every gold with the exception of Senior Vault, which no one attempted to earn. (Do any of those girls even have a second Vault?) Arguably, the biggest disappointment of the meet was Victoria Moors of Canada, who many expected to contend for floor gold, who struggled on her final two passes. You can check out USAG Coverage of both Junior and Senior Event Finals on Youtube. 

Spanny tells us "How (she) Learned to Dougie"
Spanny Tampson posted a remarkable tribute this week to Gabrielle Douglas. If you haven't read it yet, you should certainly check it out.

Property of Ryan Schulz
Kamerin Moore to Nebraska, Kiana Winston to Alabama 
The Recruiting Class of 2014 lost two high profile recruits after both Kamerin Moore of Twistars and Kiana Winston of Texas Dreams committed to Division I schools. McKenzie Wofford of 2014 also previously committed to Oklahoma, and Chanen Raygoza to Georgia, but many 2014 recruits remain uncommitted.

Casey Jo Magee Continues to Upgrade
Casey Jo Magee, who Marta seemed to count out for quite a while has been making major upgrades and has the Facebook Videos to prove it. Most impressively, she's got a roundoff-full-beat jump combo on beam. CJM, who looks as fit as ever, could legitimately factor in to this Olympic Picture.

Aliya Mustafina takes Russian Championship
Not shockingly, with Komova out due to an ankle injury and the reigning champion Dementyeva home sick with tonsillitis, Mustafina took the All Around Gold Medal at the Russian Championships. Long time veteran Afansnasyeva and first year senior Grishina earned silver and bronze respectively. Kristina Goryunova, who is unable to compete in London due to testing positive for illegal substances earlier this quad, topped the beam rankings with a 14.933.

Dare Maxwell Returns to Dynamo
Property of Gym Examiner
After Sara Maxwell posted videos of her daughter Dare at Level 10 Oklahoma States, I asked around and discovered that Dare returned home about two weeks ago to train at Dynamo. I've been reassured that although she'll compete Level 10 this season, she will compete both Level 10 and Elite Bars and Beam next year. She's already been working on upgrades on those two events. No word on the reason for Dare's move.

Double Front brings fundraiser to a close
Kristal Bolden of Double Front gained a press pass to this years European Championship and is still looking to raise a little bit of money to get there. If you can help at all and enjoy top notch blog coverage, please help support her!

Cottubus Qualifiers
The Cottubus Cup is underway and qualifications have concluded. Big names on the women's side include Brittany Rogers and Dominique Pegg of Canada who are both returning from injury, He Kexin and Elisabeth Seitz on Bars and Diana Chelaru who qualified to three event finals. 

Ellie Black of Canada is a BAMF
I got a link on Twitter showing "Canadian Olympic Hopeful" Ellie Black's superb combo on beam. She's fairly good on Vault, Beam and Floor and could possibly factor into that picture. But with at least 12 Canadian girls with a legitimate shot, anything could happen.

NCAA Regionals
Property of UGA Gymnastics
Women's NCAA Conference Meets begin this weekend. Keep you eyes peeled on Twitter to see all of the fun  unfold and check out College Gym Fans for links to results and live coverage.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Fresh Face Friday : Shallon Olsen

Property of GymCan
Quick Facts: 
Name: Shallon Olsen 
DOB: July 10, 2000 (Senior in 2016) 
Gym: Omega Gymnastics Academy 
Coaches: Svetlana Lashina & Vladimir Lashin

With a Double Twisting Yurchenko, a Full In floor mount and a beautiful piked Jaeger, one would expect Shallon Olsen to be a seasoned veteran rather than a mere 11 year old from Canada. 

After starting at a YMCA at age 3, Shallon was a natural at the sport, reaching "novice elite" status by 8.  When she made her international debut in Belgium last fall, Shallon quietly seized the attention of fans all over the world for her fantastic Double Twisting Yurchenko

To my knowledge, the youngest girl in the USA to perform a Double Twisting Yurchenko on an Elite stage was Lexie Priessman in 2009 who had turned 12 the previous January. Shallon first competed the vault at age 10, in a field where she was one of the youngest. 

If her vault (for some bizarre reason) doesn't impress you, check out this floor routine that looks like GAGE choreography met CGA tumbling & music. 

Here are a few questions to help us get to know Shallon a little bit better...

What do you see as your biggest strengths and weaknesses? 
"My greatest strength is my ability to focus and be mentally tough. My greatest weakness is that I get very frustrated when I can't do something."

Who's a gymnast who you look up to?
"My favorite gymnasts are Jordyn Wieber and Aliya Mustafina and I admire both of them." 

Can you tell us about a funny/embarrassing moment you've had in gymnastics? 
"I pulled a wedgie in my beam routine [and got a] deduction. When I got off, my coach was imitating me in an exaggerated fashion. ... It got captured on film!" 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Terrible Tuesdays: "Leaps" out of tumbling passes

In 2010, Lauren Mitchell captivated fans across the globe with her giant tumbling and became the first Australian to win a Gold Medal in Gymnastics. Although her dance was lacking, I had respect for her big skills and turn in the tuck position. And I was thrilled when just a few days before 2011 worlds when International Gymnast announced that she had earned a 6.4 SV on Floor, higher than any other woman in the world at that time. That is, until I saw the routine. 

Before we move on, let me define a gymnastics term for you:

Code-whore - /kōd'hôr/  (n.)
1.  An individual who, for the sake of start values, sacrifices her artistic integrity.

Ex: Because she was scared of the competition's talent, Lauren Mitchell code-whored her entire floor routine by jumping horrifyingly out of each pass. 


Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of jumping out of a tumbling pass. Svetlana Khorkina did it incredibly for years. It's when you sacrifice your artistic integrity and the quality of your gymnastics that I hate. 

Let's look at a screen shot out of each of Lauren's 4 passes at last weekend's Pacific Rim Championships. I took screen shots 3 times, and picked the best picture for each pass. 

Frankly, with the exception of the last picture, I don't think any of those pictures display acceptable gymnastics, much less artistry. 

I'm not trying to pick on Lauren here, but her leaps are the most apparent examples of code-whoring. They don't work with the choreography and are blatant attempts to eliminate hops on the landings. If you can't control your tumbling passes, don't use "dance" to attempt to hide that. Everyone can see exactly what you're doing. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lindenwood Lions - Meet Head Coach Gretchen Goerlitz

With a soft Rhonda Faehn-esque look, a fun attitude and an unrivaled passion for gymnastics, Lindenwood head coach Gretchen Goerlitz is exactly who you'd picture when imagining a college coach. Despite her youth, Gretchen's take on coaching seems very much like what you see with some of the nation's top college coaches.

Gretchen Goerlitz competed on the club scene as a level 10 gymnast for 7 years with Oshkosh gymnastics and while she considered going elite, her parents wanted to "keep her a well rounded person" and so she stayed a JO gymnast. After graduating high school, Gretchen competed for Utah State for a year before transferring to the University of Denver, most famously the home of Olympian Jessica Lopez. She earned her degree in Cognitive Neuroscience.

"Coming from club, no way would I have wanted to coach," Goerlitz said. "It really was my experience at Denver that lead me into wanting to see if maybe this was something I wanted to do."

Inspired by her University of Denver coaches she went on to work as a graduate assistant and co-choreographer at Texas Women's and earned her Masters in Exercise Physiology before becoming the head coach at Centenary College.

In her first year at Centenary, the administration informed Gretchen that the gymnastics program would be cut the following year. Shocked, she developed a portfolio fighting to maintain the program and eventually won the hearts and minds of the athletic directors. After a turbulent two years, she made the move to develop Lindenwood's new program.

As I spoke with Gretchen about her aspirations for Lindenwood, her demeanor changed. You could see the passion in her eyes about these girls, about the program.
"I want to see what they're out doing in the world after this ... I want to watch them soar."
She went on to tell me about her coaching philosophy.
"What my philosophy is as a coach is to care about them as people before athletes," she told me. She didn't seem to refer to her athletes as "gymnasts" but as people and "girls". She spoke about their futures, their health and their goals.

She also, of course, seemed passionate about about the program's future as well.
"In the first 3 years I want to win USAG Collegiate Nationals and in the First 5 Years I want to be the first Division II team to qualify to NCAA Regionals."

"There's no ceiling. Anything that we do is going to be the first here."

The 2012 Pacific Rim Mini Wrap Up

So the Pacific Rim Championships ended tonight with the US women winning all of the golds they set out for (they won everything but Senior Vault, which no one tried to get). I was thrilled with the results, as unsurprising as they may have been, and look forward to seeing more from all 6 of these girls in the future.

John Cheng
The Team/All Around final was fairly unshocking, seeing as how the US had never lost this competition as far back as I can find record. Some of that is because Russia and China typically choose to send "B" or even "C" teams while the USA always sends at least a few major players. This year, while world champion Jordyn Wieber and 5 other top girls from the US came, China's only major name was Tan Sixin and Russia sent 5 international newcomers. As John Geddert mentioned in his blog earlier this week, this meet would be so much cooler if China, Russia and even Australia sent their A teams.  

Let's talk about Gabby Doulgas for a minute and her "tweaked ankle." Some people say she balked on her vault. This doesn't look like a baulk to me; it's more like she just missed the vault!

Property of Grace Chui, via Inside Gymnastics

And here was the aftermath...

Property of Gabrielle Douglas 

That doesn't look very "tweaked"; it looks legitimately injured! I hope it won't last.

All in all, the women did fantastically though. Although there were a few falls in event finals, the ladies did nicely in the end. ... And I got to see Ohashi's beam in HD

Other than the US, who was I impressed with? 

Peng Peng of course, who rocked the hell out of this meet earning multiple medals and a fantastic all around score.

12 year old Charlotte Sullivan of New Zealand who had an adorable floor and qualified to Balance Beam Finals, even if she struggled there. I'm excited to see this team blossom. 

Victoria Moors whose floor is mesmerizing. I'm so excited to see her in London. She should make floor finals there.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Six Year Old Commentary Sundays: Nastia's 2008 Bars

After watching the Nastia Liukin Cup with me, my 6 year old sister, Sofia has decided she loves gymnastics. Since she's taken an interest we've been watching videos together and she's been giving quite the commentary. Here are her thoughts on Nastia Liukin's 2008 AA Bar Routine.

Sofia: I like her outfit. What's her name?
Me: Nastia Liukin
Sofia: Where's she from?
Me: She was born in Russia but she lives in Texas.
Sofia: I've never been to Texas, but there's a lot of sand there, and people play the banjo... does she play the banjo?
Me: No. I don't think so. Do you think she's good?
Sofia: Mmmm... Yeah. She's good because she lets go and then catches it and doesn't fall.
Me: Yeah?
Sofia: And she keeps her legs straight. Except at the end where she jumps off.

I'm telling you, she's better than Al.

In Defense of Gabrielle Douglas

Olympic years have the potential to make people exceptionally passionate, perhaps too passionate about the sport of Gymnastics. Personally, I'm more effected by the team selection than I am about the Olympics themselves.

For instance, 2004, the first Olympic year in which I really followed the sport, I was all about Hollie Vise. I mean come on, how can you not love that Piked Jaeger and back bendy beam mount thing? She is, and was phenomenal and when she didn't make the Olympic team, I cried. It was harsh that the reigning world champion on bars didn't make the team and even harsher when they shoved cameras in her (and the other girls) faces as the whole thing unfolded.

Inside Gymnastics
Then came 2008, where I was mesmerized by the "headcase" that was Ivana Hong. Oh, how I loved that floor routine and her beautiful lines on beam. I remember watching trials and saying to my cousin, "Bridget Sloan won't make the team; she can't point her toes on her releases," and "Jana won't make it, she's been a mess since 2006," and even "Shayla's too beat up to make this team, they're running out of options." I was convinced, literally 100% convinced, that Ivana Hong was going to be the 6th member on that team. Looking back, I should have realized that there's no way she would have fit, with or without her foot ordeal, as the US did not need a bars/beam specialist. But, I loved the idea of Ivana on the team and I didn't want to give that up.

Kathy Willens 
And now we come to 2012. Who am I rooting for? Miss Gabrielle Douglas. Now, part of me wants to walk away and say "Hey gymnastic gods! I don't like her, okay?!" just so I don't curse this girl who really deserves this Olympic spot. But obviously, Ivie & Hollie not making the team have nothing to do with me so I'm just going to throw it all out there. Gabby Douglas is amazing. She's phenomenal and could easily win a medal on bars this year. But I can't help but wonder, how long will she be "on the bubble" for? She's got an Amanar that she hit at the American Cup. She was one of the top 8 in the world on bars in 2011 , has 15+ on beam, and a phenomenally choreographed floor. Why, seriously, why shouldn't Gabby make the team? If you can come up with a reason, just stop and look at this girl.

Associate Press

Sure, she might have had a "rough" Pacific Rim Championships, but she missed her hand on vault and "tweaked her ankle". That could have happened to anyone. Although she fell on beam, there wasn't anything "headcasey" about that routine. She had a bad day which followed one of the most phenomenal all around performances I've ever seen at the American Cup. How could you not want this girl on the Olympic team? It will be different this time.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Catching up down the "Roe-d" to JO Nationals

So Miss Haylee Roe has been up to quite a lot since we last talked to her. Let's take a look meet by meet and see how things went!

Alamo Classic - January 27 & 28th - San Antonio, TX
Successes: Qualifying to Event Finals & Winning both Beam & Floor!

Challenges: Falling on her first vault in All Around Finals, although she did land her second one well.

Interesting Moment: "I was a little cold when I competed (beam in event finals) so I was more tight. I had a wobble on my series and a step on the dismount but other than that it was a good routine. I scored a 9.7. In the middle of my routine the crowd went wild because Mack Brannan scored a 10.0 on her bar routine before I went. They actually went crazy when I was on my switch leap and I was like 'why are they cheering, it's just a switch leap?' But then I realized she went before me and did a great routine."

Event Final Results: (Out of 51 Total Jr. Level 10 Gymnasts)
BB: 9.7 (1st Tie)
FX: 9.75 (1st)

All Around Results: 
VT: 9.525 (2nd)
UB: 9.425 (1st)
BB: 9.75 (1st)
FX: 9.7 (1st)
AA: 38.4 (1st)

Watch more videos on Gymnastike

Manhattan Classic - February 4th & 5th - New York, NY

Property of Kelsey Aucoin
Successes: "Beam was great. I love to compete beam. I get a little nervous but I definitely love it. I had a great routine."

Challenges: "My competition vaults weren't very good. I fell on my full, so I did a layout for my second vault and took a
 couple steps back.'

Interesting Moment: "After the meet I hung out with most of my team and had a blast. We went to a pizza place and after we went to Serendipity for frozen hot chocolate. It was one of the best things I ever had. On Sunday we were up early to go to Carlos Bakery. It was quite the experience. We took the subway to get there and stood in line for about an hour. The desserts were so yummy. Afterwards we took the subway back to New York and stopped at the World Trade Center. It was an awesome experience."

All Around Results:
VT: 9.0 (6th)
UB: 9.1 (3rd)
BB: 9.575 (2nd)
FX: 9.6 (1st)
AA: 37.275 (2nd)

Metroplex Challenge - February 18th & 19th - Fort Worth, TX
"Metroplex Challenge didn't go quite like how I planned. I rolled my ankle the Thursday before the meet. I ended up having a sprain and a old fracture I never knew about. I was disappointed I couldn't compete but loved supporting my team. The whole weekend was a blast though I hung out with my team and old teammates. It was awesome."

Zenith Spring Invitational - March 10th & 11th - McKinney, TX

Successes: Although she didn't compete her hardest routines, Hayley hit AA!

Challenges: "This was my first meet back since I injured my ankle, so I was a little nervous."

Interesting Moment: "The level 8s, 9s & 10s were all in the were all in the session so there was so much excitement & fun."

All Around Results: 
VT: 9.525 (2nd)
UB: 9.6 (1st)
BB: 9.65 (1st)
FX: 9.5 (1st)
AA: 38.275 (1st)

So that brings us to today, where Haylee is currently preparing for the State meet and hopefully beyond! Things are looking good for her so far. She's won the Beam, Floor & All Around Titles in all of her meets but one a piece.

Here she is talking with Gymnastike about goals, upgrades, college & more at the Alamo Classic

Watch more videos on Gymnastike

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pac Rim & Jesolo Team Selection

So in the past 24 hours, the Pac Rim & Jesolo lists were posted. While some fans were surprised by who made the list, I was more surprised by who didn't.

A few who didn't make the team make perfect sense: Mackenzie Caquatto & Jessie DeZiel are away at school, while Alicia Sacramone is recovering from that awful achilles injury. Hallie Mossett is injured and Bridget Sloan & Bridgette Caquatto (now at Texas Dreams) are rumored to be.Then there are also the girls who seem to get passed over time and time again. (Amanda Jetter being the prime example here.)

Property of Greg Long
  I'm confused about a few of the "major players" who we mysteriously haven't heard from this year.

Sabrina Vega is missing in action. She may or may not have been at camp, but she isn't headed to a meet this year after performing satisfactorily at Worlds in October.

Where is Shawn Johnson? She was definitely at camp this time around yet didn't make either team. With all due respect, how am I to believe that this girl has a shot at the team, if last year's 12th Place Junior Brianna Brown was chosen before her?

If Marta is indeed "testing the waters" with the less experienced girls, then why send Raisman & Maroney to Jesolo instead of Baker & Winston. Or Wofford for that matter. (She had a 6.3 Beam SV at Classics last year and is training MAJOR upgrades on bars).

In any case, I hope that the USA does well at these two meets.

Property of Jessica Frankl
I'm thrilled for all of the girls headed out, but particularly little Bailie Key who's headed out for her first international assignment. I am also VERY excited to see that Rebecca Bross is headed back, although I worry that it could be too soon. I sincerely hope that she stays healthy.

Maybe Marta will have Jordyn just compete Vault and Beam so that Gabby Douglas can take the Pac Rim Title. (Please?!) The six girls on the team are all powerhouses and have enormous scoring potential. While bars is their collectively weakest event, I don't really see any holes on the team at all.

Any guesses on the US Jesolo Amanar Count? There are five girls on the team who have competed an Amanar before, but it's possible that there may be even more now that we're into an Olympic Year. On a team of 14 (9 seniors & 5 Juniors), I'm not really sure what the format will be, but I do know the scores will be phenomenal.

Ahhhhh... I'm starting to get giddy about how deep the USA is right now.

... ... ... Yup, I'm back.