The U.S. Team for the 2014 Jesolo Trophy

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By Anna Rose Johnson

On March 16th, 2014, USA Gymnastics announced the 14-member U.S. women’s team that will compete at the City of Jesolo Trophy. The competition will be held March 22nd-23rd. Here’s some info on each member of this highly competitive team!

SENIORS

Alyssa Baumann is a first-year senior from WOGA who made the junior national team last year after a strong showing at the P&G Championships (7th AA, 5th FX, 7th BB). She has gorgeous lines on balance beam. This assignment will be her first international competition, and I’m looking forward to watching her progress.

 Madison Desch of GAGE is the 2012 Visa Championships runner-up in the AA and gold medal winner on balance beam. Madison dealt with injuries throughout 2013, and finished 9th AA at P&Gs before withdrawing from the World selection camp. She has good scoring potential on every apparatus, especially beam and floor.

The Jesolo Trophy will be Peyton Ernst’s fifth international competition. The elegant gymnast from Texas Dreams was part of Team USA’s European Tour last spring, where she helped bring home two team gold medals. She was 2nd AA at the 2013 U.S. Classic and finished 4th at P&Gs. Peyton is known throughout the gymnastics world for her beautifully unique routines.

Rachel Gowey was injured right before the 2013 U.S. Classic and has not competed since, so it’s great to see her on this team. She has some really spectacular skills in the works, such as a triple twist off beam. She is coached by Liang Chow and Liwen Zhuang at Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance Institute.

Madison Kocian is another top gymnast from WOGA. She was on her way to a great finish at the 2013 P&G Championships until she was injured during her floor routine on day one. After withdrawing from the remainder of the competition, she didn’t compete until the WOGA Classic in February. She scored very well on the two events she competed (bars and beam). Madison’s strength in the all-around will make her a great asset for the team in Italy.

Maggie Nichols of Twin City Twisters went to the Jesolo Trophy last year and did very well, finishing 1st with the U.S. team, 2nd on floor, and 6th AA. She repeated her strong showing at P&Gs, improving to 5th in both the AA and the balance beam. Maggie has been training a second vault in hopes of making vault finals in the future.

          It’s great to have Kyla Ross competing, since she withdrew from the American Cup earlier this month due to a back injury. The Olympic gold medalist from Gym-Max is an irreplaceable team member due to her experience and overall consistency. This will be her first competition since the 2013 World Championships, where she won three silver medals (AA, UB, and BB), and I’m excited to see what she has to offer for the 2014 season. It will also be Kyla’s fourth outing to Jesolo.

Rounding out the senior squad is MyKayla Skinner, who trains at Desert Lights and finished 3rd on both vault and floor at 2013 P&Gs. MyKayla has been training some very cool skills, such as a Yurchenko half-on to layout front with 2 ½ twists. She usually competes the Cheng vault, and this new vault has another full twist in it! The 2 ½ would probably have a start value of 7.2 if she competed it (no woman ever has before). Additionally, she’s been training an Arabian double front dismount off beam and a triple-twisting double tuck on floor! At the January training camp, she performed a great Amanar, which is great to have in her repertoire.

 JUNIORS

 Jordan Chiles and Ragan Smith are new additions to the national team (along with Rachel Gowey in the seniors). Both gymnasts have been attracting a lot of attention due to their huge talent and great performances in 2013. Ragan (Texas Dreams) will be a senior in 2016, right in time for the Olympic Games. Jordan (Naydenov Gymnastics) will be 16 in 2017. The Jesolo Trophy will be a great opportunity for them to gain international experience.

Nia Dennis of Buckeye Gymnastics finished fourth AA at the 2014 P&G Championships. She resembles Gabby Douglas when she flies on her uneven bars releases! Nia has one of the best Arabians on balance beam, and is a very powerful vault and floor worker. I can’t wait to watch Nia compete in her second international competition!

Two gymnasts that have been gaining a lot of recognition in the past year are Norah Flatley (Chow’s) and Emily Gaskins (Cincinnati Gymnastics). Norah was 5th AA at 2013 P&Gs and 2nd on balance beam with world-class routines. Emily was 10th AA and has beautiful dance skills on floor and a terrific beam mount.

 Last but not least is Bailie Key of Texas Dreams, who I recently interviewed for Full Twist – read that interview here -  She is the reigning U.S. junior national champion in the AA, beam, and floor. This will be Bailie’s first competition of 2014, and I’m looking forward to watching her perform in her last year as a junior!

 U.S. gymnasts absent from Jesolo:

You probably noticed that Simone Biles (World Champions Centre) and McKayla Maroney (All Olympia) are absent from this roster; both are dealing with injuries right now. Simone hurt her shoulder in February and McKayla had knee surgery last week. Laurie Hernandez of MG Elite broke her wrist earlier this year, and Cincinnati Gymnastics teammates Amelia Hundley and Lexie Priessman are also coming back from injuries. (Amelia was injured in November and Lexie had some issues during the summer.) We wish all of these gymnasts the best of luck in their recoveries!

          Elizabeth Price (Parkettes) and Brenna Dowell (GAGE), who finished 1-2 at the American Cup, are reportedly being rested for the upcoming Pacific Rim Championships in April.

          I hope all of the gymnasts do well in Jesolo and have a great time! 

 I hope all of the gymnasts do well in Jesolo and have a great time!

Image via Gymnastike.

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