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Who Will Replace Riley McCusker On The Upcoming US Worlds Team?

Photo by Ginnastica Artistica Italiana With the September 13th withdrawal of Riley McCusker from the United States (US) World Championsh...

Photo by Ginnastica Artistica Italiana
With the September 13th withdrawal of Riley McCusker from the United States (US) World Championships Selection Camp to be held September 18-22, the US’ nominative roster has a gaping hole. With so many permutations to fill this final slot, it might be easiest to invent a three-sided coin and flip it.  

Before McCusker’s withdrawal, the nominative worlds list was Ragan Smith, McCusker, Jade Carey, and Ashton Locklear.  Although USAG coaching staff has made no formal announcements about which events gymnasts will compete, it seems likely Smith and the gymnast in the open vacancy will compete in the all-around, and Carey and Locklear will compete as specialists. 

Here’s valiantly hoping that all Locklear difficulty is back, particularly her inbars.  

From her strong showing at Classics and P&G’s, prior McCusker was the team’ssenior women’s second-best all-arounder. There are three key contenders for her vacancy: Jordan Chiles, Trinity Thomas, and Morgan Hurd. At first glance, Chiles may seem like the clearest choice: she’s coming just off her second-place finish to Smith at P&G’s with huge tumbling and the potential to vault quite well, despite an uncharacteristic fall on night 2 of competition.  

Thomas, in contrast, has the potential to outscores Chiles on the beam: Thomas is a consistent, beautiful beam worker who outscored Chiles both nights on beam. However, her overall start value across all four apparatuses must include a DTY for her to be a truly formidable force in the all-around.

Finally, although she finished sixth overall at championships, I cannot discount Morgan Hurd from grabbing that second all-around spot.  

With its remarkably difficult tumbling, gorgeous choreography, and her flexibility, grace, poise, and stunning musicality, Hurd gives a clinic on power and artistry in her floor routine.  

She moves with purpose and confidence on beam, and her bars, while not enormously strongly, are certainly passable.  It is not inconceivable, that, given the opportunity, in the upcoming competition at camp, she could outshine Chiles and Thomas.  

I’m interested in your thoughts and comments.  Think I’ve missed a dark horse? Leave a comments below!

Written by Suzanne Duke

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