After finishing second all-around to 2012 Olympic team gold medalist Kyla Ross at the Secret U.S. Classic in Illinois on Saturday, first-year senior gymnast Peyton Ernst told IG she is eager to prove herself again at next month's U.S. championships.
Peyton Ernst (U.S.) at the 2013 Tokyo World Cup
"On floor, I am working on upgrading my tumbling passes to include my double layout as well as improving all the details," said Ernst, who also finished first on balance beam and second on floor exercise at the Classic, a qualifying meet for the P&G (U.S.) Championships. "On bars, I have one potential upgrade but, most importantly, I want to have my highest execution scores."
Born Jan. 27, 1997, in Covington, La., Ernst is coached by 1991 world all-around champion Kim Zmeskal-Burdette and Chris Burdette at Texas Dreams Gymnastics in Coppell, Texas.
She finished sixth all-around in the junior division at the 2012 Secret U.S. Classic, and tied for seventh all-around in the junior division at the 2012 Visa (U.S.) Championships.
Ernst's ascent to the senior level this year has been quick and successful. In late March she placed fourth all-around at the City of Jesolo Trophy meet in Italy, and tied for second place all-around at the U.S.-Romania-Germany tri-meet in Chemnitz, Germany. In early April she placed second all-around at the Tokyo World Cup.
Ernst credits her ability to compete well against more experienced gymnasts such as Ross to her coaches, her recent international assignments and Ross herself.
"Kim and Chris have always told me that I can do it, and they never stop believing in me," Ernst said. "Traveling internationally has made me more confident, and competing with top gymnasts like Kyla Ross has taught me so much. Kyla has been such a great role model, and I really look up to her."
Looking ahead to other international competitions, Ernst said she thinks she can best help the U.S. team on uneven bars and balance beam.
"I feel strong and confident on those two events, and I have good difficulty," said Ernst, a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. teams in Jesolo and Chemnitz.
First, though, Ernst wants to put in another solid performance at the P&G (U.S.) Championships that will take place Aug. 15-18 in Hartford, Conn.
"My goal is to stay consistent and to get out there and show what I can do," she told IG. "My goal in the all-around is to place in the top three and represent well."