The eighth annual Nastia Liukin Cup took place on Friday, March 3rd at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. The Nastia Cup features the top level 10s throughout the country, ranging from youngsters on the elite path, to high school seniors who are headed off to compete for some of the best universities in the fall. Although the top scores at this competition generally come from the senior level 10s (age 16 and up), some of the most difficult skills were performed by the young junior athletes. These gymnasts caught our eye, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see these girls on the elite scene in the coming years.
2016 Hopes Championships Champion, Sophia Groth of Chow’s Gymnastics displayed power and gorgeous lines throughout her competition at the Nastia Liukin Cup. Sophia finished 6th in the all around including a 3rd place finish on floor. Although she may be young, this is Sophia’s third year of level 10 and her previous two seasons have been excellent. After placing 3rd in the all around at the 2016 JO National Championships, Sophia competed her first all around meet of the 2017 season at the Texas Prime Meet where she qualified to the 2017 Nastia Liukin Cup. Her clean lines and consistency is what makes Sophia stand out. Who knows, she could be one of Chow’s next stars!
It is no surprise that one of the young and up and coming stars that emerged from the Nastia Liukin Cup trains at Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy. At just 12 years old, training under renowned coach Mary Lee Tracy, Lillian or “Lilly” Lippeatt has already competed at a Hopes Championships and attends Developmental Camp. Lilly qualified to the Nastia Cup at the CGA Coaches Spectacular where she had a fantastic meet including a 9.7 for 1st place on beam. Lilly had another great meet at the Nastia Cup, placing first on beam and floor scoring a 9.75 and 9.675, respectively. With her huge skills, we wouldn’t be surprised if Lilly is CGA’s next star!
She may be small, but she throws big skills! 12 year old Elizabeth Gantner wowed us with her clean gymnastics and her tough skills. Less than a year ago, Elizabeth was competing at the Level 8 Regional Championships where she took home gold medals on all four events and the all around. She started off the 2017 season competing level 9 taking home gold medals on vault and bars, and moving on to level 10. A week after competing at the Brestyan’s Las Vegas Invitational where she qualified Hopes and to the 2017 Hopes Classics, Elizabeth went to the other side of the country and competed level 10 at the Presidential Classic. She walked away with a 38.175 all around (including a 9.7 on beam) and a ticket to the Nastia Liukin Cup. Watch Elizabeth’s beam routine from the Nastia Cup below.