Eight qualify for 2017 Nastia Liukin Cup

INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 6, 2017 – Eight athletes punched their tickets to the 2017 Nastia Liukin Cup, scheduled for March 3 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., based on performances over the weekend at five invitationals: Buckeye Classic, Columbus, Ohio; Chow’s Challenge, Galveston, Texas; Classic Spectacular, Minneapolis, Minn.; Classic Rock Invitational, Phoenix, Ariz.; and the Pikes Peak Cup, Colorado Springs, Colo. Competition in the Nastia Liukin Cup Series continues this weekend at three invitationals scheduled for Feb. 10-12: Gliders Invitational, Ontario, Calif; IGI Chicago Style Meet, Chicago; and the Greensboro Invitational, Greensboro, N.C.

This week’s qualifiers are listed below, by the invitational where they qualified.

  • Arizona Sunrays Classic Rock Invitational, Phoenix, Ariz. Emma Pritchard of Ashville, Ohio/Gym X-Treme, posted a 37.950 to clinch the junior berth. Jaedyn Rucker of Mesa, Ariz./Desert Devils, topped the senior rankings with her 38.775, which secured her trip to the Nastia Liukin Cup.
  • Buckeye Classic, Columbus, Ohio. Jacey Vore of Fishers, Ind./ Jaycie Phelps Athletic Center, and Abby Heiskell of Waxhaw, N.C./Southeastern, earned junior and senior spots, respectively. Vore earned a 37.575, making her the highest scoring junior in the meet who had not already qualified for the Nastia Liukin Cup. Heiskell took top honors for seniors with her 38.350.
  • Chow’s Challenge, Galveston, Texas. Carly Bauman of West Des Moines, Iowa/Chow’s Gymnastics, notched a 38.900 for the highest junior Level 10 score in the all-around to snag the invitational’s junior Nastia Liukin Cup berth.
  • Classic Spectacular, Minneapolis, Minn. Nevaeh DeSouza of Fairfield, Calif./Dream Xtreme Gymnastics, senior, posted a 37.975 to earn her trip to the Nastia Liukin Cup.
  • Pikes Peak Cup, Colorado Springs, Colo. Gillian Rutz of South Lebanon, Ohio/Perfection Gymnastics School, posted a 38.250 to win the junior competition and Rylie Mundell of Parker, Colo./Colorado Gymnastics Institute, earned the senior slot to the Nastia Cup with a 38.800.

2017 marks the second straight year Newark’s Prudential Center is hosting both the Nastia Liukin Cup and on the following day, the 2017 AT&T American Cup, an International Gymnastics Federation World Cup event that features some of the world’s biggest names in gymnastics.

The 36 participants in the Nastia Liukin Cup are selected through the Nastia Liukin Cup Series, which features 26 of the country’s top gymnastics invitationals held throughout the United States. A total of 18 junior and 18 senior gymnasts will advance to the Nastia Liukin Cup. Senior athletes must be 16 years of age or older, and junior athletes must be 15 or younger. The last Nastia Liukin Cup qualifiers will be determined at five invitationals held just two weeks before the Nastia Liukin Cup.

The remaining invitationals participating in the Cup Series are listed below with the number of qualifiers in parentheses.

  • Gliders Invitational, Ontario, Calif., Feb. 10-12(1 Jr.)
  • Chicago Style, Chicago, Ill., Feb. 10-12 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
  • Greensboro Gymnastics Invitational, Greensboro, N.C., Feb. 10-12 (1 Sr.)
  • Charity Choice Invitational, Tacoma, Wash., Feb. 17-19 (1 Sr.)
  • Magical Classic, Orlando, Fla., Feb. 17-19 (1 Jr.)
  • Excalibur Cup, Virginia Beach, Va., Feb. 17-19 (1 Jr.)
  • Presidential Classic, Orlando, Fla., Feb. 17-20 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)
  • WOGA Classic, Frisco, Texas, Feb. 17-19 (1 Jr., 1 Sr.)

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 Nastia Liukin Cup; and the opportunity to meet Liukin and participate in a team photo.

Tickets for the Nastia Liukin Cup may be purchased through ticketmaster.com, by phone at 800-745-3000, at all Ticketmaster outlets and at Prudential Center’s box office. For more information, go to 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: 2016, Newark, N.J.; 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 five 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 was a contestant in the 2015 spring edition of “Dancing with the Stars” and was the grand marshal for the 2015 Indianapolis 500. She currently serves as a gymnastics analyst for NBC Sports. Liukin was coached by her father, Valeri, who has four Olympic medals from 1988 including two gold.
  • AT&T American Cup. The 2017 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 Simone Biles, Jordyn Wieber, Nastia Liukin, Jonathan Horton, Bart Conner, Paul Hamm, Shawn Johnson, Shannon Miller, Carly Patterson, Mary Lou Retton and Peter Vidmar.
  • 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.
  • USA Gymnastics. Based in Indianapolis, USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States. Its mission is to encourage participation and the pursuit of excellence in the sport. Its disciplines include men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, acrobatic gymnastics and Gymnastics for All (formerly known as group gymnastics). For more complete information, log on to www.usagym.org.