Post Olympic year national championships are always interesting. Will a new star emerge? Will someone who was in the shadows of previous stars claim the spotlight? Or will the whole event be, well, uneventful? When it comes to the 2009 Visa National Championships and the state of USA gymnastics, one would have to say all three apply!
In the Junior division there certainly are some new stars emerging, even with the likes of Jordyn Wieber out injured. Kyla Ross of California emerged as the National Champion in the Junior division. Bridgette Caquatto and Alexandra Raisman finished 2nd and 3rd respectively while my personal favorite up and comer, Sabrina Vega moved up dramatically from day 1 finishing 4th overall.
Kyla Ross performing her floor routine on Day 1:
The 2009 National Team (Junior International Elite) includes:
Bridgette Caquatto, Naperville, Ill., Naperville Gymnastics Club
Briley Casanova, Dallas, Texas, WOGA Gymnastics
Sophina DeJesus, Temecula, Calif., SCEGA Gymnastics
Amanda Jetter, Milford, Ohio, Cincinnati Gymnastics
Madison Kocian, Dallas, Texas, WOGA Gymnastics
Katelyn Ohashi, Independence, Mo., Great American Gymn. Express
Alexandra Raisman, Needham, Mass., Brestyan’s American Gymnastics
Kyla Ross, Aliso Viejo, Calif., Gym-Max Gymnastics
Morgan Smith, Clearmont, Fla., Brandy Johnson’s Global GYM
Sabrina Vega, Carmel, N.Y., Dynamic Gymnastics
Jordyn Wieber, DeWitt, Mich., Gedderts Twistars USA
In the Senior competition, things were different. Superstar Nastia Liukin only competed on beam, Olympic teammate Samantha Peszek wasn’t full strength either (although what she did do looked awesome), and Chellsie Memmel was testing the waters but also just did beam. That left veterans Bridget Sloan, Ivana Hong and Jana Bieger left to duke it out with up and comers like Rebecca Bross, Kytra Hunter (oh my that girl can tumble high – whoa), MacKenzie Caquatto and Kayla Williams.
When all was said and done, Bridget Sloan and Ivana Hong ended up splitting the event titles – with Ivana taking the Vault and Beam titles while Bridget emerged from the shadows to win Bars, Floor and the All Around title.
The 2009 National Team (Senior International Women)
Jana Bieger, Coconut Creek, Fla., Bieger International Gymnastics
Rebecca Bross, Plano, Texas, WOGA Gymnastics
Mackenzie Caquatto, Naperville, Ill., Naperville Gymnastics Club
Kaitlyn Clark, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Precision Gymnastics
Olivia Courtney, Orlando, Fla., Orlando Metro Gymnastics
Ivana Hong, Lovejoy, Texas, WOGA Gymnastics
Kytra Hunter, Frederick, Md., Hill’s Gymnastics
Alaina Johnson, Tyler, Texas, Texas East Gymnastics
Mattie Larson, Los Angeles, All-Olympia
Anastasia Liukin, Parker, Texas, WOGA Gymnastics
Chellsie Memmel, West Allis, Wis., M&M Gymnastics
Samantha Peszek, Indianapolis, Ind., Sharp’s Gymnastics
Samantha Shapiro, Los Angeles, All-Olympia
Bridget Sloan, Pittsboro, Ind., Sharp’s Gymnastics
Cassandra Whitcomb, Cincinnati, Ohio, Cincinnati Gymnastics
Kayla Williams, Nitro, W.V., Gym Nest Inc.
The next big event will be the World Championships this fall and the US team will be comprised of 4 athletes. The athletes who will make up the World Championship team will be selected at training camp in the next few weeks. My prediction – the World Championship team will be comprised of Nastia Liukin, Samantha Peszek, Bridget Sloan and Ivana Hong.