2015 Secret Classic: The new faces

Alyssa Al-Ashari, Twistars, born in 2002

After a very succesful level 10 season, 13-years-old Alyssa Al-Ashari will be competing at her first Secret Classic. She is a lovely athlete, with beautiful flexibility, who has good potential on all four events. Back in February, when she was asked what are her goals for her first elite season she just wiggled and said she really doesn’t know. The world of elite gymnastics is completely new to her and she will be taking things day by day.

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picture from John Geddert’s twitter

This is what her coach, John Geddert, who of course coached Olympic champion Jordyn Wieber, has to say about her: “Alyssa Al-Ashari more than likely would have been at championships this year (2014) had it not been for a hamstring setback. Alyssa attends the elite developmental camps with Delanie and is doing very well. She is a beautiful gymnast with 190 degree flexibility and great lines. She is fearless and a phenomenal competitor. We are looking forward to seeing her progress in the elite program.” x

Her best event is probably beam. She performs a front aerial, a free cartwheel, a switch leap + switch half combination and a double full dismount. The highlight of this routine for me is her gorgeous scale that shows off her fantastic flexibility. She is a fantastic performer and her floor routine is a joy to watch. She is capable of a double pike, an 1.5 step out + double full combination and 2.5 twists. Her bars routine includes a high jaeger, a bail to handstand and a double layout dismount. She has beautiful swing and excellent stalder work and she is one to watch on this event. She vaults a solid full twisting yurchenko.

Chae Campbell, Metroplex Gymnastics, born in 2001

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picture from USAG facebook

Chae Campbell is one of three lovely young gymnasts who will be representing Metroplex Gymnastics during Classic. She said that becoming a junior elite athlete was her number one goal this year, so I’m sure she’d delighted to have the opportunity to compete against the country’s best gymnasts. According to this interview, her aunt showed her how to do cartwheels when she was 5 and her mom put her into gymnastics classes because she was afraid she was going to hurt herself by doing them in the house. I am really happy she made that decision because Chae, really is a gorgeous athlete who has the whole package. She is very powerful and she’s capable of big skills but she never sacrifices her execution in favor of her difficulty, she is very flexible and she has fantastic artistry. At this year’s Nastia Liukin Cup, she posted the highest score on floor, which is one of her best events. Her routine includes powerful full in, a clean double front twist, a wolf turn and difficult and well executed leaps. She is also one of the very few new elites who already have a double twisting yurchenko. This vault, for which she has scored above 15, gives her a significant advantage in the AA. Her beam routine, which includes a back handspring + lay out step out, and a high double tuck dismount, is confident and polished, but she will need to add more difficulty now that she is competing in the highest level. The same can be said for her bars. She clearly has plenty of potential and her tkatcev and double front dismount are very nice, but she’ll need quite a few upgrades in order to be competitive.

Kaitlin DeGuzman, Metroplex Gymnastics, born in 2000

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picture from USAG’s facebook

The second athlete from Metroplex is the lovely Kaitlin DeGuzmal, who is the only first year elite who is eligible for the Rio Olympic Games. She is an other elegant gymnast, with fantastic artistry and flexibility. Some trivia about her is that she loves animals , she is a volunteer for Oakhill Animal Shelter and she wants to be veterinarian when she grows up. She also eats chicken or steak, bread and ice cream before any competition and she has a lucky charm, a bracelet given to her by her grandmother. The proudest moment of her career so far is becoming the Level 10 Region 3 Jr. B All Around Champion. Kaitlin is an absolutely gorgeous beam worker. She starts her routine with a lovely handstand mount, and she shows impressive fluidity and beautiful choreography. She is equally artistic on vault, where she opens with a double pike. Her weakest event is definitely the uneven bars. Her difficulty isn’t very impressive on uneven bars. She performs a bail to handstand and a high jaeger but her dismount is only a double tuck. However, she seems to have good basics and a fluid swing so I’m sure she won’t have a problem upgrading her routine to fulfill the elite requirements. I don’t know if she has enough time to get competitive start values until her senior debut next year, but I would love to see her continuing competing as an elite athlete during the next quad or doing NCAA. After all, she said that college gymnastics is one of her biggest goals.

Jaylene Gilstrap, Metroplex Gymnastics, born in 2002

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picture from meetscoresonline.com

Jaylene is an other young graceful young gymnast from Metroplex gymnastics. She skipped level 9 and 10 and decided to try to become an elite gymnast right after she finished a succesful level 8 season. Her progress was slowed down when she broke 3 bones on her leg and was out of training for 8 weeks. As expected, she had a hard time getting her old difficulty back after her injury, but she managed to do it in time to qualify elite. Just like most of her teammates, she has fantastic artistry on both beam and floor. She starts her beam routine with Lin Li’s gorgeous signature pose and she shows elegance and flexibility through the entire exercise. Some of her most impressive skills are her sheep jump, her front tuck and her side aerial. On floor, she has beautiful choreography and she is capable of a double pike and a double tuck. She has an inbar stalder and a double layout dismount on bars and a yurchenko layout on vault. Jaylene obviously doesn’t have the most difficult routines out there, but if you take into account she was only a level 8 last year and that she’s coming from an injury, the level of her gymnastics is very impressive and I’m excited to see what she can do in the future.

Colbi Flory, Texas Dreams, born in 2002

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picture by Cristy Ann Linder

Texas Dreams seems to be rebuilding their army of elite gymnasts and Colbi is one of their brightest stars. So far this year, she was second at WOGA classic’s junior qualifier and she won the American Classic, where she had an excellent competition and posted execution scores close to 9 on all events. Some times, she still struggles with consistency but she has plenty of time to work on that. Just like most of her teammates, she is excellent on balance beam. She starts her routine with a gorgeous double stag handstand and she performs impressive skills, like a wolf turn, a front tuck, a side somi and 2.5 twists. She shows control, precision and confidence and she has everything it takes to become a great beam worker in the future. She is also very promising on bars, where she performs a jaeger, a bail to handstand, a toe on full and a lovely double lay out dismount. Her tumbling passes are a double pike, a double tuck and 2.5 twists while her vault is a full twisting yurchenko. I am sure that if she stays healthy and motivated, Colbi will be a fantastic All Arounder by the time she turns senior in 2018, She has already qualified to nationals, so Classicsis just an opportunity for her to test her skills.

Abigail Walker, Texas Dreams, born in 2001

Abi Walker
photo from Kim Zmeskal

An other rising star from Texas Dreams is Abi Walker, whose style and skills really remind me of a mini Bailie Key. Abi, who has already qualified to nationals, is an incredibly flexible gymnast who shows great promise on beam and floor. She is capable of difficult tumbling passes, like a double arabian, a double pike and a double tuck and her leaps are absolutely fantastic. Her skill level of beam is also impressive, since she performs a side aerial, a front aerial, a sheep jump and a double full dismount done in combination. However, what really sets her apart on this event is her gorgeous mount. She performs a stunning handstand that shows of her back flexibility and then she does a beautiful chest stand. She has a tkatcev, a pak and a full in dismount on bars and a full twisting yurchenko on vault but she needs to clean up her execution on those two events.

Emma Malabuyo, Texas Dreams, born in 2002

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picture by Airborne gymnastics

My favorite athlete representing this gym is Emma Malabuyo. She was chosen to perform in the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions at 2012. The following year she moved to Texas Dreams and she has made great progress under Kim Zmeskal’s coaching. She is a graceful gymnast with beautiful lines and impressive flexibility. Twisting is definitely one of her strengths, and she performs an 1.5 + 2.5 combination and a double front twist on floor while she dismounts beam with 2.5 twists. She’s also capable of a double tuck and her choreography is lovely to watch. Balance beam is definitely her best event. Her routine includes a lovely sheep jump, a front tuck, and a switch ring. Her full twisting yurchenko on vault is very clean but could be a bit more powerful. Hopefully, she will improve on that as she grows older and gets stronger. Bars is her weakest event, she doesn’t have much difficulty and she struggles with execution too but overall, she’s a very talented young athlete and I can’t wait to see more of her in the future. Emma was third at the American Classic and she is already qualified to nationals.

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picture by rochesterga.com

Anna Huber, Rochester Gymnastics, born in 2013

12-years-old Anna Huber, will be one of the youngest athletes competing at Classics. Her coach, Youlia Coss, describes her as fearless, driven, and strong mentally and physically. Anna, who considers Shawn Johnson and Gabby Douglas as her role models, has some very impressive skills for someone so young. She is already capable of a double twisting yurchenko on vault and a double arabian and an 1.5 step out into 2.5. She has trained a front aerial, a johnson and a bhs + loso + bhs combination on beam

Tienna Nguyen Zenith Elite, born in 2002

Screenshot_28Tienna may be young, but she already knows how it feels to participate in international competitions and to perform in front of a bit crowd. She represented her gym at 2014 Massilia cup and she was the Featured Kid for the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions in Dallas. Her best event is probably floor, where she performs a double pike, a slightly messy triple full and 2.5 twists. She has a gorgeous mount on beam and some of her most notable elements are her 1.5 wolf turn and her side and front aerial. On bars, she’s capable of an endo 1/2 + stalder full combination, a gienger and a double tuck dismount while her vault is a layout yurchenko. She is young so she has plenty of time to upgrade her difficulty and improve her execution. It seems like she didn’t have a great competition at the elite qualifier, where she received low scores on bars and beam but hopefully, she will manage to put that behind her and have a good competition.

Trinity Thomas, Prestige, born in 2001

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from gymnastike

Trinity Thomas, will finally get her chance to compete as an elite athlete after an elbow injury kept her out last year. Her best event is balance beam. During her routine she shows her beautiful lines and flexibility and she performs difficult elements like a side aerial, a front aerial, a sheep jump and a switch half. Her full twisting yurchenko on vault is very nice and she’s a charismatic performer on floor. She never stops smiling during her routine and there are some very exciting parts during her choreography. Her tumbling passes are a double tuck, a double pike and 2.5 twists. In this channel you can see her training some very exciting elements and combinations, like a side aerial + loso, a double layout, triple full, a 2.5 + double tuck combination, a Biles, , tkatcev + pak, a maloney, and even an amanar. She seems to be serious about some of those elements, that are performed in hard surface and to just be playing around with the rest.

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