GAGE’s Leanne Wong entered the the TD Garden in Boston, MA for day 2 of the U.S. Championships as the junior women’s leader. However, not far behind were junior elite veteran, Sunisa Lee and second year elite Kayla DiCello. Once the National Anthem concluded and the 30 second touch for the first rotation had begun, the race was on.

Wong began day two of the competition on balance beam where she hit a great routine for a 13.450; a solid score to keep her in the hunt for the national title. Prior to Wong on beam was Sunisa Lee of Midwest. Although Lee scored three tenths lower than Wong in execution, her high level of difficulty helped Lee put up a fantastic beam score of a 13.850. On the other side of the arena, Kayla DiCello of Hill’s put up a huge bar routine, scoring a 14.000. After the first rotation, Wong lead the all around standings by just one tenth, and DiCello sat four tenths behind Lee.

Leanne Wong on day 2 of the U.S. Championships Photo: John Cheng

Going into the second rotation, it seemed like the race for the top spot would continue to be between Wong and Lee. However, after Lee could have had a better floor performance. and DiCello putting up a great beam set, the race opened up. WOGA’s Skye Blakely also began to climb the ranks after a beautiful double twisting Yurchenko for a 14.500. Going into the third rotation, Wong continued to hold on to the lead, but DiCello was able to slip in front of Lee to stand in second place. Blakely was only two tenths behind Lee.

The third rotation is where the competition became truly exciting. On vault, Lee did not put up the Yurchenko double full that she needed, landing low and going out of bounds. Wong, however, performed a gorgeous double Yurchenko with a 9.25 execution score for a huge 14.750. Over on bars, Blakely had a hit bar routine for a 13.700. DiCello was on the floor exercise where she also had a solid routine for a 13.150. Also in the third rotation, Revolution’s Konnor McClain hit her 5.8 D score beam routine for a 14.150. The exciting part happened when the scores following the third rotation flashed: it was clear that the AA title would be Wong’s to lose, but Lee, DiCello, and Blakely all sat tied for second place. However, Lee was going into arguably her best event – the uneven bars, and Blakely had to finish up on beam. DiCello, on the other hand, had the luxury of ending on vault which has always been a solid event for her.

Konnor McClain flies high on her layout on beam during day 2 of the U.S. Championships Photo: John Cheng

Sunisa Lee lead the fourth rotation off with a gorgeous bar routine, hitting all of her releases and connections for a huge 14.750. Wong needed a 13.050 to secure the win – and she did just that performing a beautiful routine for a 14.250. It seemed like it would be Wong with the gold, and Lee with the silver, but over on the vault, DiCello nailed a Yurchenko double full for a massive 14.900. DiCello’s huge score moved her into second with Lee in third. Skye Blakely was last up on beam, and although she had a few balance checks, was able to hit her routine for a 13.000. However, over on the floor exercise, Konnor McClain had a great routine and was able to sneak ahead Blakely for fourth place.

Sunisa Lee on bars during day 2 of the U.S. Championships Photo: John Cheng

Rounding up the top six, was Olivia Greaves of MG Elite. Although Greaves had struggles on both bars and beam on day two, her overall execution helped her remain in the top six and earn her the final spot on the U.S. Junior National Team.

In the event results, Kayla DiCello was crowned the vault champion with a combined two day score of 29.650. Sunisa Lee took home the bars title with a combined score of 29.550. McClain’s high difficulty and execution aided her in taking home the junior beam title with a 28.150, and Leanne Wong won the floor title with a 27.250.

2018-2019 Junior National Team Photo: John Cheng

Tonight, the senior women will finish up their U.S. Championships competition. Fans can watch on NBC at 8 PM EST, and follow along with us on twitter.

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