This weekend, fans got to see some of the top U.S. gymnasts that are in the hunt for a Worlds spot compete in Lima, Peru at the prestigious Senior Pan American Championships, the final qualifying competition to the Pan American Games next summer. Jade Carey, Kara Eaker, Shilese Jones, Grace McCallum, and Trinity Thomas put up a great showing, winning gold as a team and in every individual event, including the all-around title.
After Saturday’s team qualifications, which doubled as the all-around and individual event finals, the US led second-favorites Brazil by a staggering eight points. Two-time Worlds silver medalist Jade Carey contributed a powerful floor set scoring a 14.400, also competing two vaults, a Yurchenko double full and a Lopez, averaging a 14.550 and taking home the gold medal on both events.
Grace McCallum however emerged as the most decorated American gymnast this weekend, winning the all-around and uneven bars titles, as well as placing third on vault. Current Florida freshman Trinity Thomas finished second in the all-around and on uneven bars, while GAGE’s Kara Eaker hit her incredibly difficult balance beam set and won the event with a 14.300. Eaker, who’s beam prowess puts her in the running for a spot on the Worlds team this year, showed that she can consistently get all her connections credited and hit her beautiful routine, strengthening her case as a possible beam specialist.
During Sunday’s team final, the US showed strong routines on all four events again, finishing with a 169.467 to take the gold medal. Brazil won the silver with a 163.966, and Mexico finished third, scoring a 155.299. Although Carey didn’t perform her hardest vaults, her scores were more than sufficient for the team, where she contributed a 14.633 on vault. She also performed a clean floor set for a 14.600, which included a Moors as well as a full-twisting double layout. Based on this weekend’s performances, Carey is inching closer to a spot on the worlds team, where she can contribute on floor and potentially win a medal in the vault final, something she did on both apparatuses in Montreal in 2017.
Kara Eaker is also in the hunt for a worlds team spot, due to her super smooth and difficult beam routine. Even with a few missed connections in the team final, she still scored a very respectable 14.600, among the highest scores in the world this year.
Shilese Jones posted the highest vault score of the team final, a 14.833, with a powerful but well-controlled Yurchenko double full. Jones has proven to be a consistent competitor this year and is working her way up the senior ranks. Meanwhile, balancing college and elite gymnastics hasn’t slowed down Trinity Thomas. Strong performances on bars and beam this weekend put her in the conversation for being an alternate on the Worlds team despite training as a Florida Gator.
Grace McCallum continued building her case for that hotly-contested fifth Worlds team spot. She competed all four events in the team final, the only US gymnast to do so this weekend. McCallum has been performing consistently all year, showing good difficulty on all four events and this could make her a stronger option for the team than potentially Ragan Smith or Emma Malabuyo, both of whom have been injured and are still in the recovery process, as well as first-year seniors Maile O’Keefe and Gabby Perea.
The US National Team will next gather for the Worlds Selection Camp in October, and fans will next see the US on the competition floor at the 2018 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Doha, taking place from October 25th to November 3rd.Tags: Grace McCallum, Jade Carey, Kara Eaker, Pan American Championships, Shilese Jones, Trinity Thomas, United States