2022 US Classic Preview – The Balance Beam Situation


Ah, American classic. The encounter that feels deeply meaningful until you forget it ever happened 2 weeks later. Remember last year when DiCello beat McCallum by one point and Aleah Finnegan finished 5th? Neither do I.

One of the main pre-competition stories this year is how paltry the senior women’s field is with just 13 athletes. This is the smallest senior women’s roster to compete since 2008, which was 1951. Part of that is due to the schedule, with a number of athletes coming from the Pan American Championships and even more from the selection camp. and who really needs to compete three different times in the month leading up to Nationals? What are you, a coal miner?

We are also living in the first year of thequad-tri syndrome, when the seniors of the last cycle are in their break/retirement era and the seniors of this cycle are not yet seniors, leaving a small group of hangers. And then, of course, there’s the “it’s just classic” part of it all. No team is named here. No basement dungeon is open because you fell.

But just because a list is small doesn’t mean Leanne Wong and Shilese Jones aren’t on it. So let’s move on to what’s most interesting this weekend.

Leanne Wong

While other college elites made much clearer proclamations about their intention to remain elite, Leanne Wong quietly ended up being the only one of the entire gang to enter the US Classic. As such, the keenest eyes in the arena will be on Wong to see just how well the routine composition of his silver medal performance at the 2021 World Championships is back. Or never left. More than half of his elite bars and balance beam skills have been part of his varsity routines at various times, so it’s not a stretch to think that this whole composition has been simmering the whole time.

Looking at the current setup of America’s top flight, it’s probably not crucial for Wong to improve his 2021 routines in order to build a team this year, but at some point this summer we’ll have to see the status of an event. like jumping. The Podkopayeva she was competing in Florida was great fun but also a 4.2 D (the same as the full Yurchenko) so it’s not a practical scoring option in elite, where the actual practical scoring options are DTY , Cheng and end of list.

We may not see all of Wong’s events, but I guess if she’s competing (totally optional, since she’s already qualified for Nationals), that means she’s kind of ready. She doesn’t seem one to show up just to wave her hand.

Shilese Jones

Especially with the last-minute withdrawals of Konnor McClain and Kayla DiCello, Shilese Jones will be very fond of her chances of winning an all-around title if she chooses to compete in all four. Among registered athletes, she holds the best totals of 2022 by far, with the No. 1 bars and floor score, the No. 2 vault score and the No. 3 beam score in the field.

Jones showed a video of a Stalder Tkatchev layout that may or may not make an appearance here, but more than upgrades (which could be essential this year if she ends up needing to claim the worlds best bar option). ), I’m looking to see its consistency to Classic. Despite having more than enough talent, composition and execution, we haven’t always seen Jones stay on beam. Or ground. She will need to show more than the occasional flash of excellence to become a major player this year. Right now, Jones is easily part of the top-scoring USA team for 2022 (she has the second-highest scores behind McClain), but it’s very early days and we haven’t seen the peaks in all. world. Or even everyone’s faces.

Katelyn Jong

Jong has retired since the last roster update.

Addison Fatta and Ciena Alipio

I’m perhaps more interested in seeing the performances of Addison Fatta and Ciena Alipio after they were cut from the Pan Am team. Despite finishing 3rd AA at the Pan Am camp, Fatta was burned by being the prototypical alternative – good at every event, absolutely needed nowhere – while Alipio was burned by not having a useful second event for complete its strong beam scores.

Alipio is going to have to show something competitive besides the beam (although for me the beam itself is currently enough of an argument for a September challenge cup assignment), while Fatta has reason to target the bars as a place where she can rank higher. Fatta is currently tied for the third-best number of bars in the recurve field, but also has the potential to raise that D floor score to a place where she can score in the mid-13s.

What to watch from the field

Katelyn Rosen holds the third-highest cumulative scores on the Classic list this year, behind only Jones and Jong, making her a strong contender for the all-around podium. She is expected to produce one of the highest-rated floor routines at the event.

Nola Matthews made Team DTB Pokal this year for his bars score and won bronze at the event, the only non-Konnor-McClain individual medal for Team USA. Matthews is one of only three Americans to beat 14 on bars this year, along with Jones and Zoe Miller.

Joscelyne Roberson has the routine composition to be a 3-event competitor, and placing 2nd or 3rd in the VT-BB-FX totals at Classic wouldn’t be out of the question for her on a successful day. At Pan Am camp, Roberson’s D scores on VT-BB-FX were 3rd highest, behind only Blakely and Jong. I’ll be watching to see if the DTY is back for a competitive score, as well as a beam hit.

Lévi Jung-Ruivivar impressed as a junior with all the artistry and tiptoe. We haven’t seen that come to fruition so far with the results of her senior career, but her bars routine is a showcase of what she’s meant to look like.

Amelie Disidore was kind of tinkling around the maybe elite qualifying area for most of the year, but she did really well on vault, beam and floor at the American Classic, hitting a DTY and breaking 13 on both beam and floor. She went 51.800 with a missed bar, which could speak to competitive scoring potential (for Classic) with a hit.

Brooke Pierson and Charlotte Booth will be looking to move up the bar rankings. Booth showed off a Tweddle + Yezhova combination on bars at the Winter Cup, so watch to see if that makes another appearance here, and Pierson is among the most capable of completing a full pirouette in a true vertical.

Qualification to Nationals

Only two members of the senior group are still looking for scores here, at least as far as we know (scores from the June camp have never been released). Lauren Small would still need the qualifying score of 50.500 to make the Nationals, while Marissa Neal is already qualified for the national championships on bars and beam thanks to her performance in the American Classic, but would still need that total of 50.500 to be able to compete in all events. Neal’s 13.600 on beam at the American Classic ranks second in the field behind Alipio.


Friday, July 29 – 7:00 p.m. MT – Junior Women Session 1
Saturday July 30 – 12:30 p.m. MT – Junior Women Session 2
Saturday, July 30 – 5:00 p.m. MT – Senior Women
Sunday July 31 – 12:30 MT – Junior and Senior Men Session 1
Sunday July 31 – 6:30 p.m. MT – Senior Men Session 2


The senior women’s session will be televised on CNBC. With only 13 people on the roster (and knowing that not everyone will be in the all-around), there’s no real reason this can’t be run as a college meet with two events at once, alternating between routines and showing all of them. But it’s NBC, so…

Saturday’s junior women’s session and the first men’s session (which will include the national team men as well as the juniors) will also air on CNBC, while the junior women’s first session and senior men’s second session ( which will include some of the wildcards like Donnell Whittenburg and Colin Van Wicklen) will be on FlipNow.


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