With world and defending champion Bridget Sloan not entered in the all-around, first-day leader Rebecca Bross (WOGA) faced little challenge in claiming her first senior national title. And winning in Hartford should be a fitting test-run for Bross with regard to a bigger meet in October, the world championships in Rotterdam. She'll have a little unfinished business there, as well.
But here, Bross never showed any sign of collapse as she ran the table on the rest of the field, going eight-for-eight to score 120.300. She opened the night with an impeccable balance beam routine and closed with a stuck landing on her bars dismount of tucked full-out. In between she nailed her floor routine, which now includes a more difficult dismount than the one that cost her the world title last year. Instead of a 2.5 twist, punch front-half, she now punches to a layout front-full. She also vaulted a high Yurchenko-double. Only after her bars dismount did she allow some emotion after coach Valeri Liukin embraced her for a job well done. She waved to the crowd and high-fived a few fans who were leaning over the wall.
Though runner-up Mattie Larson (All Olympia) finished well behind in second (117.300), her mistake-free two days were surely what National Team Coordinator Marta Karolyi was hoping for. Larson is a star in the making, and while she lacks the sheer difficulty of Bross, her presentation is second to none.
Alexandra Raisman (Brestyan's) earned third (115.650) with solid routines and strong difficulty, while Kytra Hunter (Hill's), whose layout full-in mount on floor was a meet highlight, grabbed fourth (114.350).
Tied for fifth at 113.350 were Mackenzie Caquatto (Legacy Elite) and Chelsea Davis (Texas Dreams), the former recovering well on beam after falling on her bars mount in the second-to-last rotation.
Larson's teammate Samantha Shapiro placed seventh (112.00), giving up valuable tenths on vault with a simple Yurchenko-full, and Vanessa Zamarripa (UCLA) was eighth, having fallen to one knee on her Cheng vault (roundoff half-on to handpsring-rudi).
Defending champion Bridget Sloan (Sharp's) competed on balance beam again and stayed on, although it wasn't up to her usual standard. Her Beijing teammate Alicia Sacramone hit beam well and nailed a great handspring-rudi before stumbling back a bit on her high Yurchenko-double twist. Still, it was plenty to win the event. Bross won bars and beam, and Larson's dramatic floor won the gold there.
Though the U.S. men's world team was named today, the women's team will be decided after two training camps.
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• Members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic gymnastics team, which was forced to miss the Moscow games because of a boycott, were honored at the XL crowd tonight. In attendance: Head coach Francis Allen, (Asst. Bill Meade is deceased), Bart Conner, Peter Vidmar, Jim Hartung, Ron Galimore, Mike Wilson, Larry Gerard (Phil Cahoy was not present); (Head coach Ernestine Weaver not present), Asst. coach Paul Ziert, Kathy Johnson Clarke, Marcia Frederick Blanchette, Amy Koopman Enxing, Luci Collins Cummings, Beth Kline Rybacki (Julianne McNamara Zeile and Tracee Talavera Kent were not present).
• Also present as a spectator was Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir.
External Link: Full Results at USA Gymnastics