The US Classic is a critical meet for newly qualified elites, especially those still needing a score to advance to nationals. The junior meet is always full of new faces, with 24 of the 43 juniors competing being new elites. Despite the lack of experience, this year’s new elites made their mark and will continue to shine at the national championships.

Two of the stars were Texas natives Skye Blakley of WOGA and Karis German of World Champions Centre, placing sixth and seventh all around, respectively. Blakely scored the highest in the all around for the new elites, totalling a 53.200. She started off with a powerful full-in and triple twist on floor, scoring a 12.75 despite some rough landings at the end of her routine. She followed this with a clean Yurchenko double full that placed third with a 14.5. Blakely had a small mishap on bars after coming too close on her pak, but her lines and swing are gorgeous regardless. She ended her day on beam with a fun, unique beam mount and a huge double tuck dismount, earning a 13.2. German showcased pristine form on bars and beam, but the highlight of her day was her second place floor routine featuring a double layout and full-in, earning a 13.100. German concluded the meet with a 52.800 all around score.

Skye Blakely on floor at the GK U.S. Classic Photo: John Cheng

The two newest GAGE elites fulfilled all expectations with Aleah Finnegan tying for seventh place with German and Alexis Jeffrey achieving her qualifying score with a 52.150, ending in 11th place. Finnegan excels on execution, earning at least an 8.00 E-score on vault, beam, and floor. Finnegan displays a Yurchenko double full on vault and a double arabian on floor. Her most memorable piece remains her beam highlighted by a floaty layout layout triple series. She finished with the second highest execution of the day for the event. Jeffrey exceeded the qualifying score by over a point after missing out at the American Classic. Jeffrey is a solid all-arounder, but shined on bars last weekend scoring a 13.450.

The MG Elite junior duo of Olivia Greaves and Zoe Gravier also had success this weekend. Greaves earned third on floor for her clean tumbling accompanied by expressive dance. Greaves did fall on her bars dismount at the classic, but be prepared for a big score at championships if she hits as she does have a 5.7 difficulty score. Gravier is well balanced across all four and shows immaculate form in her gymnastics. She does not yet have the difficulty to place at the top, but as she upgrades she will continue to rise in the standings.

Olivia Greaves on floor at the GK U.S. Classic Photo: John Cheng

The final six first year elites who will be seen at championships all competed at the Hopes Championships last year. They have officially moved up in the ranks and have some impressive skills. Sophia Butler of Discover Gymnastics has great all-around potential with big skills on each event. Her floor routine that starts with a piked full-in tied for third place. Her beam is packed with advanced skills such as a two foot layout, Onodi, and double pike dismount. She has also competed a layout full on beam as a hopes gymnast. She is definitely one to watch in the future.

Sydney Morris moved to First State Gymnastics last fall and has taken off in her gymnastics. She is powerful and sharp everywhere but is shining on bars. Morris’s routine showcases a piked jaeger, inbars, and a big full twisting double tuck dismount. She tied for fifth place with a 13.650 at last weekend. Kailin Chio of Gymcats is coming off of second place all around finish at JO Nationals and had a successful day in Columbus as well. She has great bar basics, a gorgeous triple series on beam, and quick tight twisting passes on floor that look effortless. She finished with a 51.450 all around total.

Sydney Morris on floor at the GK U.S. Classic Photo: John Cheng

Levi Jung-Ruivivar of Paramount Elite has some of the most beautiful lines and toe point that make her stand out from the rest of the field. She fell on both bars and beam and still managed a 51.300, so a hit meet from her has the potential to place very high. Besides bars and beam, her two usual standouts, her floor is worth watching for her leaps and turns that showcase her incredible flexibility.

Head Over Heals’ Claire Dean and Katelyn Rosen of Mavericks both hit the exact score of 51.000 they needed to advance to nationals. Dean’s best event on Saturday was her bar routine that include two big releases in addition to a Van Leeuwen, scoring a 13.200. Rosen is the reigning JO National floor exercise champion and did not disappoint here, opening her routine with a big full-in. Rosen earned one of her highest scores, a 12.900, on beam, where she had barely any wobbles and showed great composure for a new elite.

Katelyn Rosen on floor at the GK U.S. Classic Photo: John Cheng

Be sure to look out for these first year elites in a few weeks at the National Championships.

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