Inside Gymnastics will be on-site for all of the Winter Cup events including the Nastia Liukin Cup bringing you all of the action from Frisco!

7 Names To Watch | 2022 Nastia Cup 

You could say the Nastia Liukin Cup has become the premier event for level 10 gymnasts and aspiring elites around the country. When looking through the athletes’ bio pages, many cite qualifying to the Nastia Cup as one of their career goals, along with someday earning a college scholarship. Others want to use this meet as a stepping stone to get to the next stage, which just might be the World Championships or Olympic Games. Year after year the Nastia Cup proves to be a fantastic opportunity to spot the stars of the future, both at the elite and college level. Gabby Douglas, MyKayla Skinner, Maggie Nichols, Nia Dennis, and Morgan Hurd are just a few of the names who kick started their careers at the Nastia Cup. Who will be next? With last year’s champion Leah Smith now in her freshmen season competing for Arkansas, the door is wide open .

Here are 7 gymnasts we can’t wait to see competing in Frisco at the 2022 Nastia Liukin Cup! 

1. Nikki Smith

College: Signed with Michigan State for 2023 season 

Nastia Cup Appearances: 

  • 2021 (5th All-Around; 3rd VT; 2nd FX) 
  • 2020 (10th All-Around) 

Other accolades: 

  • 2021 Development Program National Championships: 1st All-Around; 4th VT & BB
  • Career high on vault of a perfect 10 

Where she stands out: Nikki Smith is a well balanced gymnast across the board, but really shines on the events where she can unleash her power. She vaults a Yurchenko 1.5 which can bring in a huge score when she sticks it (she does have a career high of a 10.0 if that gives you any indication of what she’s capable of) and opens floor with a sky high tucked full in that will have you looking up to the rafters. 

2. Selena Harris

College: Signed with UCLA for 2023 season 

Nastia Cup Appearances: 

  • 2020 (8th All-Around) 

Other accolades: 

  • 2021 Development Program National Championships: 1st All-Around, VT & BB; 2nd VT
  • 2019 J.O. National Championships: 2nd VT & UB; 9th All-Around 
  • 2018 U.S. Championships: 7th VT; 10th All-Around 
  • 2018 American Classic: 2nd VT 
  • 2017 J.O. National Championships: 1st VT; 3rd All-Around 
  • Career high on vault of a perfect 10 

Where she stands out: The last time Selena Harris was at the Nastia Cup, vault was easily the highlight of her day. She stuck her Yurchenko 1.5 cold for a 9.95, making it look effortless. Although vault is one of her standout events, Harris is nothing short of fantastic on the other three. With her strong technique and impressive difficulty across all four events, she will certainly make a big push for the All-Around title in Frisco.

3. Avery Neff

College: Uncommitted, Class of 2024 

Nastia Cup Appearances: 

  • 2021 (1st FX; 2nd All-Around, UB; 3rd BB) 

Other accolades: 

  • 2021 Development Program National Championships: 1st All-Around, VT, UB, FX; 2nd BB; 3rd VT 
  • 2019 J.O. National Championships: 4th FX; 5th UB
  • Career high on vault of a perfect 10 

Where she stands out: Keep your eyes on Avery Neff, because her name is one you’ll likely be hearing a lot more of in the future. Neff is strong on all four events but is particularly fun to watch on floor where the choreography is entertaining and the tumbling is clean (we love a good Rudi punch layout stepout)! Neff is equally as impressive on the vault! Last season she upgraded to a Yurchenko 1.5 and scored a perfect 10 on her very first competitive attempt! Yup. You read that right!

4. Morgan Price

College: Signed with Arkansas for 2023 season  

Nastia Cup Appearances: 

  • 2021 (3rd UB) 

Other accolades: 

  • 2021 Development Program National Championships (2nd VT; 3rd All-Around; 4th UB; 5th FX

Where she stands out: Morgan Price may not have the most difficulty you’ll see being done in the competition, but her clean form and execution absolutely bodes well for her scores. What she does, she does very well, and sometimes that’s a winning philosophy! Keep your eyes on the tight body position and major amplitude on Price’s Yurchenko full–it’s sure to be one of the best vaults of the competition!

5. Jamison Sears

College: Committed to Alabama for 2024 

Nastia Cup Appearances: 

  • 2019 (4th All-Around)

Other accolades:

  • 2021 American Classic: 8th FX; 9th All-Around 
  • 2019 U.S. Championships Qualifier 
  • 2019 J.O. National Championship: 1st BB, FX; 2nd All-Around 

Where she stands out: Jamison Sears has so much star potential, it’s difficult to pick just one event she stands out on! She is incredible on floor and has several different tumbling options to choose from including a tucked full-in and a floaty double layout in which she keeps her legs glued together.  (Few do it this way, but it’s so lovely to see!) On beam she does a back handspring–layout two feet, which is a refreshing change from the back handspring layout step out series we’ve grown accustomed to seeing. 

6. Faith Torrez

College: Signed to Oklahoma for 2023 season 

Nastia Cup Appearances: 

  • 2019 (7th All-Around) 
  • 2018 (3rd All-Around) 

Other accolades: 

  • 2021 American Classic: 6th VT, BB, FX; 7th All-Around
  • 2020 Gymnix: 1st team, beam; 3rd UB; 4th All-Around 
  • 2019 World Team Selection Camp: 7th All-Around
  • 2019 American Classic 1st-AA, VT; 2nd-UB, FX; 3rd-BB
  • 2019 J.O. National Championships: 1st All-Around, BB; 3rd FX
  • 2018 J.O. National Championships: 1st All-Around, UB, BB; 2nd FX 
  • 2017 J.O. National Championships: 1st FX; 5th All-Around; 6th VT 

Where she stands out: With her pin straight double layout on floor, tucked standing full on beam, and powerful Yurchenko 1.5, Faith Torrez is an easy favorite for the title in Frisco. She has the big skills, she has the experience, and she’s ready to go out with a bang before heading off to Oklahoma! 

7. Nina Ballou

College: Uncommitted, Class of 2025 

Nastia Cup Appearances: 

  • 2021 (3rd UB, FX; 4th All-Around, 5th BB) 

Other accolades:

  • 2021 Development Program National Championships: 2nd All-Around; 3rd FX; 8th VT, UB

Where she stands out: When Nina Ballou is on the floor, she commands your attention and makes it hard to look away. Ballou exudes confidence and isn’t afraid to sell her choreography with fun facial expressions and a little bit of sass, which truly makes her stand out from the rest. Look for some potential upgrades for Ballou this season on vault (Yurchenko 1.5) and floor (tucked full in) as she returns to the Nastia Cup for the second year in a row, but this time in the senior ranks!

How to Watch!

Live coverage on the NBC family of networks begins Friday, February 25 on Peacock with the Nastia Liukin Cup from 2:30-5 p.m. ET and the men’s Day 1 competition from 7:30-10 p.m. ET. NBC will broadcast the women’s senior competition on Saturday, February 26 from 1-3 p.m., and CNBC will re-air the men’s Day 1 session from 4-6 p.m. ET on Saturday. Streaming details for the Elite Team Cup Saturday, February 26 from 6:30-10 p.m. ET and Sunday’s Winter Cup junior women’s competition (1-3 p.m. ET) and men’s Day 2 session (6:30-9 p.m. ET) will be shared closer to the competition.

Notable: Podium training for each Winter Cup division, as well as the Nastia Liukin Cup and Elite Team Cup, will be livestreamed free on USA Gymnastics’YouTube channel. The podium training schedule is available below. All times are eastern.

  • Nastia Liukin Cup – Thursday, February 24, 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.: WATCH
  • Winter Cup senior men – Thursday, February 24, 2:30-5 p.m.: WATCH
  • Elite Team Cup – Thursday, February 24, 5-8 p.m.: WATCH
  • Winter Cup senior women – Friday, February 25, 10 a.m. – noon: WATCH
  • Winter Cup junior women – Saturday, February 26, 8:30-11 a.m.: WATCH

For the complete roster, click here!

Photos by Lloyd Smith for Inside Gymnastics

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