After a long season full of hard work and competitions for the next up-and-coming stars of American gymnastics, the Hopes gymnasts shined with their impressive, talented routines on display at the GK Hopes Championships Friday in Columbus. After qualifying Hopes at an elite qualifier earlier this season and then booking their tickets to Columbus and the Schottenstein Center a few weeks ago at the Hopes Classic, it was Lundyn VanderToolen and Alicia Zhou coming out on top as Hopes Championships all-around gold medalist

In the very tight Hopes 12-13 division, it was VanderToolen of Olympus Gymnastics winning first in the all-around with a mightily impressive 51.350 to take the GK Hopes Championships title in her third season as a Hopes gymnast and second consecutive trip to the Hopes Championships. VanderToolen also shined winning first on the uneven bars with a brilliant 13.250 and took third on floor exercise and fourth and balance beam as well.

Lundyn VanderToolen on floor at the GK Hopes Championships Photo: GK Elite

Skylar Draser, Amber Lowe, and Lily Pederson finished just behind VanderToolen in a very close race in the Hopes 12-13 group, with Draser’s 50.850 and Lowe’s 50.400 securing them second and third all-around finishes. Draser also won the floor gold with a 12.700 to tie with Ella Zirbes while the vault title went to CJ Keuneke of TIGAR with a massive 13.650. Mya Witte and Sydney Jelen tied for gold on the balance beam each with scores of 13.200.

Topping the incredibly talented Hopes 10-11 division was a brilliant all-around podium of Love Gymnastics’ Alicia Zhou, Baylie Belman of WOGA, and Myli Lew of San Mateo. While Belman and Lew each impressed with several eye-catching routines, it was Zhou’s consistency that blew the field away, winning the Hopes Championships all-around gold by almost two full points, scoring a big 50.400. Zhou stacked up the medals on Friday afternoon in the Schottenstein Center, with a balance beam gold courtesy of a 13.200 on the apparatus and two silvers from the vault and uneven bars.

Alicia Zhou on floor at the GK Hopes Championships Photo: USA Gymnastics

Taking home the uneven bars title from Columbus was Lew, who scored a very solid 12.800 on her beautiful routine. Lew also finished second on the floor exercise, and Ava San Jose of Paramount Elite, edged her out for the title with a 12.600. Belman had a second place finish on the balance beam to go with her all-around silver while Metroplex’s Zoey Molomo soared to the vault title with a big 12.900 to take the Hopes Championships crown.

The GK Hopes Championships saw the best young, up-and-coming Hopes gymnasts and the elite scene will be sure to see many of these incredible athletes in the coming years. The star-studded gymnastics action this weekend in Columbus continues Saturday with the junior and senior sessions of the GK US Classic, featuring the return of reigning Rio 2016 Olympic all-around gold medalist Simone Biles.

The top 6 gymnasts in each age group at the 2018 GK Hopes Championships Photo: John Cheng

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