2016 Nastia Liukin Cup Field is Set

INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 16, 2016 – The 2016 Nastia Liukin Cup Series concluded this past weekend with the final nine athletes advancing to the 2016 Nastia Liukin Cup, scheduled for March 4 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. The field of junior and senior level Junior Olympic gymnasts was selected through the Nastia Liukin Cup Series, which featured 25 of the country’s top gymnastics invitationals held throughout the United States.

The nine gymnasts determined last weekend are listed below, by the invitational where they qualified.

  • Greensboro Gymnastics Invitational, Greensboro, N.C. Rachael Lukacs of North Stars Gymnastics Academy posted a 38.575 to capture the top senior spot earning a trip to the Nastia Liukin Cup.
  • Chicago Style Meet, Chicago. Helen Hu of IK Gymnastics and Abigail Brenner of Twin City Twisters will compete in the junior and senior competition, respectively. Hu took top honors in the junior division by tallying 37.900 points. Brenner won the senior division by posting a 38.700.
  • Excalibur Cup, Virginia Beach, Va. Elexis Edwards of Virginia International Gymnastics qualified to her first Nastia Liukin Cup by earning the highest junior-age score (38.625).
  • Magical Classic Gymnastics Meet, Orlando, Fla. Orlando Metro’s Abbie Thompson was the event’s highest scoring junior and clinched the junior spot with her score of 37.925.
  • Presidential Classic, Orlando, Fla. Matilyn Waligora of Olympia Gymnastics Academy and Alexandra Ruiz of ACE Gymnastics captured the junior and senior berths, respectively. Waligora posted a 38.050 for second, making her the highest placing junior who had not already qualified. Ruiz won the senior division with her 38.450.
  • WOGA Classic, Frisco, Texas. WOGA Gymnastics’ Brooklynn Bloxom and Rachael Baumann nabbed the junior and senior spots, respectively. Bluxom earned her trip to the Nastia Liukin Cup with a 37.550 total, which made her the highest scoring junior who had not already advanced to the Cup. Baumann posted the top senior all-around score with a 38.300.

Newark’s Prudential Center is hosting both the Nastia Liukin Cup and, on the following day, the 2016 AT&T American Cup, an International Gymnastics Federation World Cup event that features some of the world’s biggest names in gymnastics.

Gymnasts who compete in the Nastia Liukin Cup will receive a Nastia Liukin-designed leotard and a warm-up from GK Elite; two tickets to the AT&T American Cup and recognition during the event; and the opportunity to meet Liukin and participate in a team photo.

Tickets for the Nastia Liukin Cup are currently available through gymnastics clubs participating in the AT&T American Cup discount ticket program, and will go on sale to the general public in the near future. For more information on the event, please go nastialiukincup.com.

A portion of the proceeds from the Nastia Liukin Cup benefits the Nastia Liukin Fund, a charitable fund in partnership with the National Gymnastics Foundation (www.usagym.org/foundation).

Past sites for the Nastia Liukin Cup are: 2015, Arlington, Texas; 2014, Greensboro, N.C.; 2013 and 2010, Worcester, Mass.; 2012, New York City; and 2011, Jacksonville, Fla.

Background information

  • Nastia Liukin. At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Liukin’s total of five medals tied the U.S. gymnastics record for most medals in one Olympic Games, held by Mary Lou Retton (1984) and Shannon Miller (1992). Liukin’s Olympic medals are: gold – all-around; silver – team, balance beam and uneven bars; and bronze – floor exercise. Liukin was the third of four U.S. women to win the Olympic all-around crown. She also won nine World medals in her career. Liukin has graced many magazine covers and appeared on various shows, including "Gossip Girl," "Make It or Break It," and the feature film, "Stick It." Liukin is now attending New York University in New York City, studying sports management. She also has founded the Shine Agency and is traveling the country as part of the Shine Tour, where she shares her experiences – the highs and disappointments – with young women to encourage girls to shine in their own lives by setting goals, dreaming big and having confidence in themselves. Liukin was a contestant in the 2015 spring edition of “Dancing with the Stars” and was the grand marshal for the 2015 Indianapolis 500. Liukin currently serves as a gymnastics analyst for NBC Sports and was a special contributor during NBC’s coverage of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. In 2012, she was a member of the creative team and a cast member for the Kellogg’s Tour of Olympic Champions, a national, 40-city tour that followed the 2012 Olympic Games. Liukin was coached by her father, Valeri, who has four Olympic medals from 1988 including two gold.

  • AT&T American Cup. The 2016 AT&T American Cup, a FIG World Cup event, is one of the most prestigious international invitational events and features an all-around format. The list of former champions comprises some of the sport’s best-known names, including Jordyn Wieber, Nastia Liukin, Jonathan Horton, Bart Conner, Paul Hamm, Shawn Johnson, Shannon Miller, Carly Patterson, Mary Lou Retton and Peter Vidmar. For more information, go to attamericancup.com.

  • Prudential Center. Prudential Center is a world-class sports and entertainment venue located in downtown Newark, New Jersey. Opened in October 2007, the state-of-the-art arena is the home of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) three-time Stanley Cup Champion New Jersey Devils, Seton Hall University’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball program, and more than 200 concerts, family shows and special events each year. Ranked in the Top 10 nationally by Pollstar, Billboard and Venue’s Today, Prudential Center is recognized as one of the premier venues in the United States, and welcomes more than two million guests annually. For more information about Prudential Center, visit PruCenter.com and Facebook, and follow @PruCenter on Twitter.