By Anna Rose Johnson
Tomorrow night marks a crucial night for the U.S. women in the lead-up to Worlds—it’s the 2017 U.S. Classic, the last qualifying meet for the P&G Championships in August. Here’s a quick rundown of five major storylines transpiring this weekend in Chicago:
The Specialist Spot: 17-year-old Jade Carey (Oasis Gymnastics) has a definite opportunity for success this Saturday. With an eponymous Kasamatsu vault (named after her in the J.O. Code of Points) and an Amanar vault in addition to her steady floor routine, Jade could end up being selected to the 2017 Worlds team. If she brings a big performance to the U.S. Classic, it will be an important step on the road to Montreal.
Back to Elite: A string of injures kept Marissa Oakley from realizing her full potential in the elite world, where she was known for her daring bars dismount. But this year, Marissa is back and excited to return for another season of elite before heading to Georgia to compete in NCAA. We can’t wait to see her new routines!
Readying for Montreal: First-year senior Riley McCusker, who dominated the 2017 Jesolo Trophy, has been injured for several months and may not be at peak performance in Chicago. Fans are wondering if Riley will have enough time to rebound and have a shot at the U.S. Worlds team, and we’ll be able to tell a lot more about her routines tomorrow night.
Plenty of Promise: The U.S. Classic will be a key competition for Gym-Max’s Laney Madsen, a former cheerleader looking to make the 2020 Olympic team. Laney is powerful, flexible, and could make a huge splash this weekend! She’s also a first-year senior, so she’s eligible for Worlds as well.
The Return of Emily: A longtime elite star, Emily Gaskins recently returned to her former gym, Cincinnati, to train with legendary coach Mary Lee Tracy. Having targeted the U.S. Classic as her comeback meet for several months, Emily should be in great form in Chicago, as evidenced by this new video of her amazing bars routine. While Emily has always been noted for her impeccable artistry, her difficulty isn’t the highest, so it will be interesting to see what happens with her scores this weekend.
Anna Rose Johnson writes about women’s artistic and rhythmic gymnastics. She loves Whippets, brownies, and full-twisting double layouts. Her writing portfolio can be viewed at: https://annarosejohnson.contently.com