Americans Abigail Milliet and Meredith Sylvia won the all-around titles at the 2013 WOGA Classic in Plano, Texas, Saturday night, trouncing a small if intriguing international field.
Milliet, 16 and best known for winning the 2011 American Classic, bested Ukraine's Mariya Livchikova in what turned out to be a two-person all-around race. Six gymnasts were left in the senior women's field when the large Texas Dreams crew collectively withdrew; and of the six, only Millet and Livchikova actually competed all four events.
The competition also included 2011 Junior U.S. champion Katelyn Ohashi, a new senior this year and one of the most anticipated "freshman" seniors on the U.S. team. Ohashi lived up to her billing Saturday night, scoring a monstrous 15.8 for her brilliant balance beam (standing Arabian to scissone, two back handspings to layout full, Onodi to two front aerials to sheep, double pike dismount).
She struggled on some of her inbar elements on uneven bars, but still hit a decent routine (15.0). She vaulted a clean and solid Yurchenko full (14.3). Ohashi had the top bars and beam score of any competitor by almost two points. Milliet was the best on vault (15.0 for a good double twisting Yurchenko) and floor (13.45).
WOGA inserted its rising stars Sabrina Schwab and Irina Alexeeva into the lineup essentially to give the crowd something to watch, one feels. And they did: Schwab, sidelined by injury for more than two years, was lovely on floor (13.4) and uneven bars (13.65), while the tiny Alexeeva, just 10, delivered big, tallying the highest scores on beam and floor in the junior division in spite of having performed in the all-around in an earlier session of the WOGA Classic that afternoon.
The wonderfully artistic and inconsistent Livchikova (what a shame she wasn't in London!) had a meltdown on bars (11.5) and a fall on beam (13.85) but was dazzlingly elegant on floor in spite of her 12.85 score. WOGA gymnast Madison Kocian, one of the top juniors in the U.S. in 2010 and 2011, also made her senior international debut, scoring 13.95 on vault and 14.7 on bars.
Ukraine's Krystyna Sankova, another first year senior, withdrew from the competition after apparently injuring her elbow on uneven bars in the first rotation. She scored 13.65.
In the junior division, Sylvia, who like Elizabeth Price trains at the Parkettes in Pennsylvania, impressed with her lovely form, toepoint and consistency. Sylvia had the top score on bars (13.4) and second best scores on vault (13.8) and beam (13.6) to win the all-around over fan favorite Laurie Hernandez of the U.S. and rising British star Rhyannon Jones.
The U.S.'s Polina Shchennikova, a Nastia Liukin-lookalike, finished with the highest score on vault (13.9) and fourth in the all-around. Liukin herself emceed the meet. Interviewed as the competition concluded, she said that she is taking a full load of classes this semester at New York University and enjoying college life.