2018 Nastia Liukin Cup field continues to take shape
Note: Alyssa Al-Ashari has withdrawn from competition. She will be replaced by Daniela Castillo.
INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 23, 2018 – Four athletes qualified for the 2018 Nastia Liukin Cup, scheduled for March 2 at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill., based on performances this past weekend at Kim Zmeskal’s Texas Prime Meet in Irving, Texas, and the Sand Dollar Whitlow Invitational in Kissimmee, Fla. Competition in the Nastia Liukin Cup Series continues this weekend with three invitationals: the Atlanta Centennial Classic, Metroplex Challenge and Classic Spectacular.
Texas Dreams’ Bella Salcedo of Grand Prairie, Texas (junior), and Kiya Johnson of Desoto, Texas, (senior), qualified to the Cup at Kim Zmeskal’s Texas Prime Meet. Johnson, the 2015 Nastia Liukin Cup junior champion, posted a 38.900 to win the senior all-around crown, earning her fourth trip to the Cup. Salcedo topped the junior standings with her 38.050.
Baleigh Garcia of Boynton Beach, Fla./American Twisters, and Alyssa Al-Ashari of Lansing, Mich./Twistars, advanced to the Nastia Liukin Cup at the Sand Dollar Invitational. Garcia’s 38.175 claimed the junior title, while Al-Ashari clinched the senior crown at 38.575.
The Sears Centre Arena will host both the Nastia Liukin Cup and, on the following day, the American Cup, the USA’s most prestigious international invitational and part of the International Gymnastics Federation’s all-around World Cup series. 2017 World all-around champion Morgan Hurd of Middletown, Del./First State Gymnastics, and 2017 American Cup champion and World bronze-medalist Yul Moldauer of Arvada, Colo./University of Oklahoma, will represent the United States at the 2018 American Cup. The international field will be announced in the near future, along with a second U.S. male and female athlete. The Elite Team Cup, a team event with many of the USA’s top junior men, wraps up the weekend’s events on Saturday evening.
The 36 participants in the Nastia Liukin Cup are selected through the Nastia Liukin Cup Series, which features 18 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 with one junior and one senior gymnast qualifying at each invitational. Senior athletes must be 16 years of age or older, and junior athletes must be 15 or younger. The age determination date is Dec. 31, 2018. The last Nastia Liukin Cup qualifiers will be determined at two invitationals held just two weeks before the Nastia Liukin Cup. The remaining invitationals participating in the Cup Series are listed below.
- Atlanta Centennial Classic, Atlanta, Ga., Jan. 26-28
- Metroplex Challenge, Fort Worth, Texas, Jan. 26-28
- Classic Spectacular, Minneapolis, Minn., Jan. 27-28
- Chris Waller’s Heart of a Champion, Pasadena, Calif., Feb. 2-4
- Pikes Peak Cup, Colorado Springs, Colo., Feb. 2-4
- Salcianu and Brestyan’s Invitational, Las Vegas, Nev., Feb. 8-11
- Arizona Sunrays Classic Rock Invitational, Phoenix, Ariz., Feb. 9-11
- Denver Winterfest Classic, Denver, Colo., Feb. 9-11
- Greensboro Gymnastics Invitational, Greensboro, N.C., Feb. 9-11
- Magical Classic, Orlando, Fla., Feb. 16-17
- WOGA Classic, Frisco, Texas, Feb. 16-19
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.
Single-session tickets range in price from $29 to $79, plus applicable fees, and can be purchased by clicking here. All-session ticket packages range in price from $89-$149, plus applicable fees, and include tickets to all three of the weekend’s events (American Cup, Nastia Liukin Cup and Elite Team Cup). Ticket prices vary according to competition session and seat location. To purchase tickets, visit www.SearsCentre.com, call 1-888-SEARS-TIX, or visit the Wintrust Box Office at the Sears Centre Arena. For more information on tickets, please go nastialiukincup.com.
Past sites for the Nastia Liukin Cup are: 2016-17, Newark, N.J.; 2015, Arlington, Texas; 2014, Greensboro, N.C.; 2013 and 2010, Worcester, Mass.; 2012, New York City; and 2011, Jacksonville, Fla.
- 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. 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.
- American Cup. 2017 U.S. all-around champion Ragan Smith of Lewisville, Texas/Texas Dreams, and Moldauer won the women’s and men’s titles at the 2017 American Cup at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. The impressive list of former American Cup champions includes: Simone Biles, Bart Conner, Tim Daggett, Gabby Douglas, Paul Hamm, Jonathan Horton, Shawn Johnson, Danell Leyva, Nastia Liukin, Sam Mikulak, Shannon Miller, Carly Patterson, Mary Lou Retton, Kurt Thomas, Peter Vidmar, Jordyn Wieber and Kim Zmeskal-Burdette. Past sites for the American Cup include: New York, N.Y. (1976-80, 1982-84, 2004, 2008, 2012); Ft. Worth, Texas (1981, 1996-98); Indianapolis, Ind. (1985); Fairfax, Va. (1986-90, 2003); Orlando, Fla. (1991-94, 2000-02); Seattle, Wash. (1995); St. Petersburg, Fla. (1999); Uniondale, N.Y. (2005); Philadelphia, Pa. (2006); Jacksonville, Fla. (2007, 2011); Hoffman Estates, Ill. (2009); Worcester, Mass. (2010, 2013); Greensboro, N.C. (2014); Arlington, Texas (2015); and Newark, N.J. (2016-17).
- Sears Centre Arena. Sears Centre Arena is an 11,000-seat multipurpose family entertainment, cultural, and sports arena located in Hoffman Estates’ Prairie Stone Business Park. The Sears Centre Arena, which opened in 2006, is designed to accommodate a variety of events including concerts, family shows and sporting events. For more information regarding the Sears Centre Arena and upcoming events, please visit the arena’s website at www.searscentre.com.
- 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.