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O'Keefe Takes First-Day Lead at Junior P&G Championships
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

ST. LOUIS—Maile O'Keefe of Salcianu Elite went four-for-four, including the top beam score (14.85), to take the first-day lead in the women's junior competition at the P&G Championships Friday afternoon. Her 57.05 leads second-place Riley McCusker (MG Elite, 56.45), who finished her day with an amazing bars routine that earned the top score of the event (14.60). Gabby Perea (Legacy Elite) sits in third with 55.50, and Morgan Hurd (First State) overcame a fall from bars to finish fourth (55.40). Shilese Jones (Buckeye) and Kalyany Steele (Colorado Aerials) posted scores of 55.00 and 54.70, respectively, to place fifth and sixth.

The finals of the junior competition will be held on Sunday.

Notes

Rotation 1

High, stuck double-twisting Yurchenko from Chae Campbell of Metroplex.

Entertaining floor routine from Emma Malabuyo of Texas Dreams. Stuck tucked full-in mount and double pike dismount (with a couple of arm windmills!).

Solid beam set by Riley McCusker of MG Elite. She has some big shoes to fill, with teammates Jazmyn Foberg and Lauren Hernandez winning the last two U.S. junior titles, respectively.

Simone Biles' World Champions Centre clubmate Hannah Joyner is in this session, but she struggled on floor.

Morgan Hurd of First State was first rate on bars until she peeled off on a Tkatchev. She did catch her toe-on Tkatchev and ended with a tucked double-double.

Jordan Chiles (Naydenov) landed stiff legged on an Amanar in podium training and pulled out of the meet. No ligament damage; just a bruised bone.

Trivia Question: What is a Billiken, the mascot of St. Louis University (where the meet is being held)? (Answer below)

Rotation 2

Campbell, who was in first place after one rotation, took a nasty fall from bars on her double front dismount. Barely made it past her head on the second somersault. Big round of applause as she walked away with the assistance of trainers.

McCusker channeled teammate Lauren Hernandez on floor with exquisite expression. Coach Maggie Haney really knows how to get her gymnasts to emote. Her routine got a huge reception from the crowd.

Gorgeous form on bars by Kinsey Davis (KPAC), who did a high Hindorff.

Deanne Soza (Arete) ran into trouble on beam with three falls.

Trinity Thomas (Presitge) did an incredibly high double layout mount on floor, followed by an immediate split jump the seemed even higher! It even made the crowd gasp.

Shilese Jones (Buckeye) mounted floor with a 1.5 twist through to tucked full-in and made it look easy! That was the pass Dianne Durham did in the early 1980s.

On bars, Alyona Shchennikova (5280) did an inside-Stalder to Shaposhnikova, immediate inside-Stalder on the high bar.

Trivia Question: What does KPAC stand for?

Rotation 3

Trinity Thomas did one of the most perfect Yurchenko-fulls ever. Definitely capable of a double.

Aria Brusch (Cincinnati) performed a dynamic bar routine, but on her her giant before the dismount, her rear clipped the low bar and her double layout was under rotated. She bounced forward onto her hands.

Morgan Hurd showed clean tumbling on floor and expressive choreography. She certainly captivated the crowd.

Strong Yurchenko-double twist from Shilese Jones.

Leader after the first two events, Maile O'Keefe (Salcianu Elite) nailed bars in rotation three.

Emma Malabuyo landed her vault poorly in rotation two and scratched bars and beam.

Chae Campbell scratched beam and floor after her fall from bars.

Rotation 4

Trinity Thomas missed her Tkatchev on bars, but she did catch a piked Maloney-half.

Morgan Hurd spun a quick Yurchenko-double twist.

Lauren Letzsch (TIGAR) stuck a clean Yurchenko-full.

Jordan Bowers (Solid Rock) exemplified the name of her gym on her Yurchenko-full.

Leader Maile O'Keefe competed on beam at the same time runner-up Gabby Perea (Legacy Elite) was on floor. Both hit, but O'Keefe saved her best for last. She earned the top score on beam (14.85) for a 57.05 all-around.

Incredible bar set from Riley McCusker (Ricna, beautiful Stalders, inverted giants to barani-in back-out, stuck). Her 14.60 was the top bars score and lifted her to second place.

Trivia Question: What does TIGAR stand for? (Answer below)

A Billiken, which looks like a tiny Buddha with a pointy head, is a mythical good-luck figure who represents "things as they ought to be."

KPAC: Kristie Phillips Athletic Center

TIGAR: The International Gymnastics Academy of the Rockies

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