Dreams Will Come True for 6 of these US Women

10:33 PM

FRONT ROW: Alicia Sacramone, Alaina Johnson, Olivia Courtney,Mackenzie Caquatto, Randy Stageberg, Corrie Lothrop
BACK ROW: Mattie Larson, Jana Bieger, Ivana Hong, Sam Peszek, Chellsie Memmel, Nastia Liukin, Shawn Johnson

US Nationals are over and I'm still plugging away finding videos to watch. Thanks to all those fantastic people who took their time and effort to film and upload what they have... all of us are much appreciated. It's my goal that once I have finished my uni degree in a little over two years that I will become a backpacker who works to sustain my gymnastics addiction whilst I travel the world attending ALL the major and some "minor" competitions. Yep a girl can dream!

So I guess we'll start with the 19 young ladies who have been named to compete at the US Olympic Trials:
The 13 Members of the 2008/2009 US NATIONAL SQUAD (pictured above):

Jana Bieger (Coconut Creek, Fla/Bieger International):
Finishing 6th AA (Combined 120.00 - 59.95o/60.150), 4th on bars (15.450/14.550), 8th on beam (14.950,15.000) and equal 6th on floor (15.050, 15.250). Jana really went out and impressed at this competition and I do hope she does it again at trials. A lot of people are counting her out from the team, but I really think that her experience and consistency may show through. Loved her blue leo - stunning.

Mackenzie Caquatto (Naperville, Ill./Aerials):
This girl has come from absolutely nowhere and really shone at her 2nd Nationals. She finished 10th AA with 114.850 (58.100/56.750), was 10th on bars (14.400/14.550 for a total of 28.950), was 15th on beam with a total of 28.200 (14.800/13.400) and 19th on floor (14.100 and 14.400 for a combined 25.500). I believe that the experience of the trials will be good for her, however with the depth that the US team has, I am not sure of her chances to make the squad when other girls can post higher scores.

Olivia Courtney (Orlando, Fla/Orlando Metro):
Her leotard looked fantastic and really suited her, although I am not sure how it would have looked on fellow Orlando Metro gymnast Shayla. Olivia finished 11th AA (57.750/56.350) with a total of 114.100, 17th on bars with a combined score of 26.750 (14.050/12.700), Olivia was 12th on beam with a combined total of 29.200 (a consistent 14.600 both days) and was 15th on floor with 28.950 (14.450, 14.500). She was 9th AA at the Jesolo meet earlier and I think that she may not make the Olympic team (although who knows, anything can happen) but hopefully she'll do well throughout the year and beyond.

Ivana Hong (Blue Springs, Mo./GAGE):
I think this girl may be in with a chance for the Olympics. Ivana finished 5th AA with a combined total of 120.750 (59.850/60.900), she was 7th on bars with 30.050 (14.950, 15.100), 6th on beam (31.050 scoring 15.250 on night one/15.800 on night two) and was equal 6th on floor with Jana Bieger with a combined score of 30.300 (15.150 consistently on both nights). She looked really good on on the second night and is renowned for her consistency and I must say that I am a great fan of her floor routine.

Alaina Johnson (Tyler, Texas/Texas East):
I am really quite unfamiliar with Alaina, but what an improvement from this young lady who finished last at the 2007 Visa Champs. She finished 12th AA narrowly edging out WOGA's Christa Tanella with a combined total of 113.000 (56.700/56.300), and finished 12th on bars with 28.300 (14.050/14.250), 16th on beam with 28.150 (14.300/13.850) and was 14th on floor with 29.350 (14.700/14.650). I think any experience that Alaina gains will be fantastic for her and may she just keep on improving.

Shawn Johnson (West Des Moines, Iowa/Chow's):
The 2008 Champion - need I say more? Her quest for the Olympic AA title is one step closer. She scored a combined total of 127.500 with a 63.450 on night one and 64.050 on night two. She threw a couple of very successful amanars and was 5th on bars (although I must say she has improved on this apparatus) scoring 30.950 with night scores of 15.400 and 15.550. Shawn was 2nd on beam with a 32.300 (16.000 and 16.300) and with her new floor routine to music from "August Rush" she was 1st scoring 16.050 and 16.200 f0r a total of 32.250.

Mattie Larson (Los Angeles/All Olympia):
Mattie was 7th AA with a combined total of 118.850 (58.650/60.200) and could be a factor on the US team for Beijing. She was 8th on bars with 29.450 (14.200/15.250), 13th on beam with 28.900 (14.100/14.800) and won the bronze on floor with a combined score of 31.050 (15.450/15.600). Her floor routine, although lacking the sassiness seen from Dasha is to an arrangement of the same piece of music - "Assassin's Tango".

Nastia Liukin (Parker, Texas/WOGA):
This girl is going to be a factor at the Olympics. She was second in the AA, but lets not discount her combined score of 126.500 (1.0 lower than Shawn) with a score of 62.300 on night one and if they had of started with a clean slate for night two, we would be talking about the US Champ as she scored a 64.200. She is the US Bars Champ with a combined total of 34.150 (17.050/17.100), and is also the US Balance Beam Champ, having scored a 32.450 (16.100/16.350) and was 8th on floor (30.100), after she had a disappointing night one on the floor scoring 14.250 although she came back strong the second night, performing what I believe to be her best ever routine on that apparatus scoring 15.850.

Corrie Lothrop (Gaithersburg, Md/Hill's):
First year Senior Corrie finished 8th in the AA with a combined score of 117.650 (57.950 and 59.700) and was 9th on bars (total of 29.100 with scores of 14.000 and 15.100). Corrie was also tied for 10th on beam with a total of 29.400 (14.600/14.800) and was 11th on floor with 29.650 (14.650/15.000).

Chellsie Memmel (West Allis, Wisconsin/ M&M Gymnastics):
There is no doubt in my mind that she's back! The 2005 World Champion who has been battling with injury in recent times was a remarkable 3rd in the AA putting her critics to rest. She scored 61.050 on night one and 62.100 on night two leading to a combined total of 123.150. Chellsie was 2nd on bars behind Nastia after scoring a combined total of 32.300 with scores of 16.000 and a 16.300. She was 4th on beam with 31.500 (16.050/15.450) and was also 4th on floor with a 30.700 (15.100/15.600). She looked really good on floor having gone back to her old music, although she needs to work on her signature Memmel turn.

Samantha Peszek (Indianapolis, Ind./DeVeau's):
I have way too many favourites from the USA. Sam who finished 4th in the All-Around is one of them. She scored a combined 2-day total of 122.000 (60.750/61.250), was 6th on bars with a total of 30.700 (15.150/15.550), 5th on beam with 31.400 (15.400/16.000) and Sam finished 10th on floor with 29.950 (15.200 / 14.750).

Alicia Sacramone (Winchester, Mass./Brestyan's):
I love this girl and the fierceness and determination that she brings with her. She's the 2008 Vault Champion (15.650 and 15.050 for a combined 30.700), and seeing her disappointment on her face as a result of the step she took on her first vault on day two was really sad. Alicia also came 3rd on beam with a total of 31.650 (15.700/15.950) and won silver on floor with 31.400 (15.550/15.850).

Randy Stageberg (Chesapeake, Va/Excalibur):
Randy finished with a combined 2 day score of 116.000 to finish in 9th place in the All Around. She also finished 15th on uneven bars scoring a 13.250 on night one and then 13.800 on night two for a total of 27.050. She was equal 10th on beam with 29.400 (14.500/14.900) and was 9th on floor with 30.050 (14.600/15.450).

PLUS ALSO INVITED TO THE TRIALS:

Chelsea Davis (Lakeway, Texas/Texas Dreams): Recovering from injury this up and coming senior is trained by Kim Zmeskal-Burdette. Marta Karolyi has said that we can expect good things from this girl. At the 2008 Gymnix Davis was the AA Champion (58.975), was 2nd on beam, 4th on floor and tied for 5th on bars. At the meet in Jesolo also earlier this year, Davis was 6th in the AA. The picture and related article can be found here.


Darling Hill (Mt Laurel, N.J./Will Moor):
Only competing 3 events at these Nationals, Darlene scored a combined total on vault of 28.750 (14.300/14.450), and was 20th on beam, having scored 26.500 in total with 12.750 on night one and 13.750 on night two. Her floor routine has been a highlight for me ever since Nationals last year, this year she finished 5th with the returning earning a total of 30.350, having scored 15.100 on the first night and followed up with a 15.250 on the final night. She competed at the Pacific Rim Championships earlier this year where she deservingly won the floor event final.


Britney Ranzy (Gaithersburg, Md/Hills): Finishing 14th in the All Around with a combined total of 112.750 (55.550/57.200). Ranzy was 2nd on vault (14.675 for vault 1; 14.725 for the second for a combined 29.400), behind Alicia Sacramone - the only two who completed 2 vaults and is rumoured to have an amanar in the works. She tied with Katelyn Mohr for 13th on Uneven Bars with a combined 27.200 (13.300/13.900), and was 21st on Beam with a total of 25.900 (12.600/13.300). Her floor routine to music that I do quite love earned Ranzy 13th with 29.500 (14.600/14.900). She would be an asset to the team on vault.

Amber Trani (Richlandtown, Pa./Parkettes):
Finishing 19th AA (3 events) for a total of 86.950 (43.050 /43.900), Amber is attempting to make the team under the watchful eyes of Donna Strauss, who no doubt would love another girl to go to the Olympics. I don't think Amber was as prepared as the other girls, having come back so quickly after having surgery, and I think these next couple of weeks will make a huge difference. Although I know a lot of people are hoping that Trani will choose to do what Ashley Priess has done and quit to focus on her upcoming NCAA career at the University of Georgia. However I do so wish her luck.

Bridget Sloan (Pittsboro, Ind/Sharp's): Bridget only competed on bars and beam at these Championships, in order to allow her knee to mend completely and will hopefully be ready to compete all around at the Olympic Trials. She was 3rd on bars having scored a total combined of 31.700 - 15.750 on night one and 15.950 on night two. She was 7th on beam scoring 30.600 (15.200/15.400). Bridget only really started to catch my eye at the Beijing Test Event in December, I know I'm shocking, although I do remember her from the 2007 Nationals, but not as clearly as I do know.



Shayla Worley (Orlando, Fla/Orlando Metro): Withdrawing from the competition after podium training due to back complaints, I am hoping that she is 100% or close to as a result for the Olympic Trials. She was 4th in the AA at the 2008 Tyson American Cup.








2008/2009 JUNIOR WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM:
Back Row: Jordyn Wieber, Samantha Shapiro, Cassie Whitcomb, Asi Peko, Amanda Jetter, Rebecca Clark.
Front Row: Kamerin Moore, Randi Lau, Hallie Mossett, Annette Miele, Sabrina Vega, Briley Casanova




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