Saturday, May 24, 2008

U.S. Classic Update

Despite this being a low-key, unpublicized event, the senior women at the U.S. Classic yesterday evening drew a pretty good crowd at the Reliant Arena in Houston, Texas. This was actually the first gymnastics meet I've seen in person and I definitely had a lot of fun watching the girls. Many of these girls are more the NCAA types, not really having much budding potential to be successful as elites or having a realistic opportunity of going to Beijing. However, I am providing commentary with some of the gymnasts that competed last night from my point of view:

Ashley Stott- Sporting a neat green/yellow leotard, Ashley scored a 58.25 to win the AA title. She was sluggish on bars (14.2), but was the first up on beam and the most solid with a 14.95 there. She stepped out of bounds on a combination twisting pass but showed an excellent double arabian front (tucked) on floor. She closed the show with a solid Yurchenko double (slightly underscored 14.55). The only girl who looked like she was having any fun on floor, and a good competitor who just might be a great asset for the next quadrennium in either NCAA or elite. However, she has a long way to go to catch the big girls; Shawn Johnson posted a 61.875 to win her first World AA title.

Corrie Lothrop- Steady bars performance (14.7), but Corrie but took a scary fall off beam (13.7) on a side aerial/ff/layout step-out series. She closed the competition with great routines on floor (14.75) and vault (14.9). She seems to enjoy herself competing and also seems to have a good relationship with Kelli Hill, former coach of Dominique Dawes and Courtney Kupets.

Randi Stageberg-Very solid Yurchenko double (14.8), but severely lacks difficulty on bars (14.15-5.4 A-score) and fell off the beam twice (13.45). Delivered a superb floor effort (15.3), complete with a very nice piked double arabian. Martha Karolyi mentioned Randi in an Inside Gymnastics magazine interview, for her "good floor routine." Her lack of experience on the international scene is unlikely to put her on the team, but Randi is still on the Beijing radar.

Mackenzie Caquatto- Good but over scored DTY (14.95) and decent UB work (14.5). Took a scary fall on her beam dismount (13.8) and somewhat weak on floor (14.15). Given somewhat generous scores throughout the entire event. Jade Barbosa must be her favorite gymnast because of Mackenzie's ability to look like she has about to burst into tears before and after a good routine and then all of a sudden smile during the floor exercise.

Christa Tanella- Despite a post on the blog Why I Don't Like Elfi Schlegel stating how much Christa Tanella sucks despite being coached by WOGA's finest, she's actually not that bad. In fact, she had some of the best form and artistry in the entire event. Tied for first on bars and placed 3rd on beam despite several wobbles. In contrast, her WOGA compatriot Catherine Nguyen who greeted Nastia Liukin after her near beam fall at 'o6 Nats when Valeri was no where to be found, did indeed suck last night. (two falls on beam, scratched bars, expression on floor looked like she wanted to set the arena on fire).

Amber Trani-WTF? Obviously injured, she only did a layout Yurchenko! So much for my hopes of an Amanar. The Mrs. (Donna Strauss) had a stern talk with Amber after beam warm-ups and she opted to scratch beam in addition to bars. Amber looked good on floor until a fall on a double pike, where simultaneously the Mrs. grimaced to the ceiling in an almost "What has god done to me?" kind of gesture. However, the Mrs. did look somewhat happy throughout the entire event, but it was more of "I've given up/I should enjoy the ride while it lasts" happy. My question is: Why did they send Trani if they knew how out of shape she was? Jen Sey said in Chalked Up about how the Parkettes were "relieved" when Sey backed out of the 1987 World team camp due to an injury (she was actually severely out of shape) because of what would be much political embarrassment from a top club. When the announcement for who would go to Nationals came, I thought I heard Trani's name called but didn't see her with the other 11 girls who had competed and advanced to Nationals. If someone went to the event, please leave a comment to clarify this for me.

Other Notes
  • Valeri Liukin looked happy throughout the entire event, even when gymnasts made mistakes. Nastia is obviously the only gymnast he cares about, and thus he is much more stern with her.
  • Alaina Johnson sported a very similar leo to that of Alicia Sacramone on day one of the 2006 Nationals.
  • Sarah Persinger had the exact same floor music that Alyssa Brown's used in her Scam cup routine which included the last pass fall of terror.

I will be providing commentary for the men's event tomorrow and I will include my predictions for the men's Olympic team.

That is all.


Bleh said...

Actually, it was Catherine's older sister, Christine that was with Nastia after the fall

I LOVE Christa Tanella

MRR said...

Ok, thank you for telling me that.

Bleh said...

oh, and I wouldn't say Nastia's the only gymnast he cares about

there's also Rebecca, and...