by Anna Rose Johnson
USA Gymnastics has just announced the women’s 2017 World Championships team, and Jade Carey, Morgan Hurd, Ashton Locklear, and Ragan Smith will travel to Montreal for the biggest competition of the year. Our thoughts on the team selection:
Jade Carey of Oasis Gymnastics will bring tremendous talent to Worlds as the only U.S. gymnast with two vaults for the individual apparatus final. She vaults an Amanar and Kasamatsu double, and she’s an incredibly powerful tumbler with a polished presentation. She could potentially fill a beam slot in qualifications for the U.S., if Ashton Locklear skips beam.
Morgan Hurd burst onto the senior international scene early in 2017 with beautifully balletic routines and a fresh style. Suffering from an injury throughout the summer season, Hurd finished sixth in the P&Gs all-around with beam and vault as her strongest events. Hurd could certainly medal in the Montreal all-around, and could have a very successful World Championships if she can remain consistent throughout the weeklong competition.
Ashton Locklear, a 2016 Olympic alternate and 2014 World bars finalist, will look to make the bars final in Montreal. She won the bars silver medal at P&Gs behind Riley McCusker, whose recent injury forced her to withdraw from the World selection camp. Locklear’s D-score in Anaheim—a 5.5—would need some upgrades to be truly competitive among the current top bars workers across the world, such as Russia’s Elena Eremina and China’s Fan Yilin.
Rounding out the four-member team is Ragan Smith, the 2017 U.S. National Champion and 2016 Olympic alternate. Smith brings strong difficulty and polished execution to this young team, and she’s found a way to stay much more consistent this year than in 2016 as a first-year senior. Many fans are predicting that Smith will win the World all-around, but she also has a tremendous chance to win beam, and medal on floor exercise.
We can’t wait for Montreal! What are your thoughts on this team?