INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 23, 2017 – The ninth-annual Nastia Liukin Cup will take place Friday, March 2, at 7 p.m. CT at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. Featuring 18 junior and 18 senior Level 10 Junior Olympic gymnasts, the Nastia Liukin Cup will showcase gymnasts from 18 states. Sixteen athletes are making return trips to the Nastia Liukin Cup, which is held the night before the American Cup (March 3 at 10:30 a.m. CT).
Three former Nastia Liukin Cup champions are set to compete in Chicago. 2016 senior champion Rachael Lukacs of Hillsborough, N.J./North Stars Gymnastics Academy, is making her fifth-straight appearance at the Cup. Last year, Lukacs placed second in the senior division. Kiya Johnson of Desoto, Texas/Texas Dreams, who claimed the junior title in 2015, returns for her fourth Nastia Liukin Cup, and 2016 junior champion Andrea Li of Aurora of Illinois/Legacy Elite, who finished third as a senior in 2017, is making her third trip.
Makarri Doggette of Pickerington, Ohio/Buckeye Gymnastics, senior, is back for her fifth appearance at the Cup. Lali Dekanoidze of Charlotte, N.C./Southeastern, junior, is making her third trip to the Nastia Liukin Cup along with five seniors: Alexa Al-Hameed of Ames, Iowa/Triad Gymnastics; Li; Rylie Mundell of Parker, Colo./Colorado Gymnastics Institute; Gabryel Wilson of Ypsilanti, Mich./Olympia Gymnastics Academy; and Natalie Wojcik of Douglasville, Pa./Stallone Gymnastics.
Two-time Nastia Liukin Cup qualifiers Rose Casali of Weddington, N.C./Southeastern, and Jacey Vore of Fishers, Ind./JPAC, will compete in the junior age division. Five gymnasts in the senior age group are also competing in their second Cup: Haleigh Bryant of Huntersville, N.C./Everest; Chae Campbell of Carrollton, Texas/Metroplex; Kennedy Quay of San Diego, Calif./SCEGA; Jaedyn Rucker of Mesa, Ariz./Desert Devils; and Chloe Widner of Frisco, Texas/Texas Dreams
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 (AT&T 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.
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.
Named for 2008 Olympic all-around gold-medalist Nastia Liukin, the Nastia Liukin Cup was first held in 2010 in Worcester, Mass.
Past sites for the Nastia Liukin Cup: 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.
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. 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.
- 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.
2018 Nastia Liukin Cup field
Alphabetical by state, last name
Jaedyn Rucker, Mesa, Ariz./Desert Devils, senior
Amari Celestine, Wildomar, Calif./SCEGA, junior
Baleigh Garcia, Boynton Beach, Calif./American Twisters, junior
Kennedy Quay, San Diego, Calif./SCEGA, senior
Raegan Walker, Temecula, Calif./SCEGA, senior
Anapaula Gutierrez, Highlands Ranch, Colo./TIGAR, junior
Jimena Gutierrez, Highlands Ranch, Colo./TIGAR Gymnastics, junior
Rylie Mundell, Parker, Colo./Colorado Gymnastics Institute, senior
Daniela Castillo, Coconut Creek, Fla./American Twisters, senior
Derrian Gobourne, Sarasota, Fla./Lakewood Ranch Gymnastics, senior
Andrea Li, Aurora, Ill./Legacy Elite Gymnastics, senior
Jacey Vore, Fishers, Ind./JPAC, junior
Alexa Al-Hameed, Ames, Iowa/Triad Gymnastics, senior
Ava Piedrahita, Gaithersburg, Md./Hill’s Gymnastics, junior
Gabryel Wilson, Ypsilanti, Mich./Olympia Gymnastics Academy, senior
Kailin Cho, Henderson, Nev./Gymcats, junior
Rachael Lukacs, Hillsborough, N.J./North Stars, senior
Olivia Greaves, Staten Island, N.Y./MG Elite, junior
Haleigh Bryant, Huntersville, N.C./Everest, senior
Rose Casali, Weddington, N.C./Southeastern, junior
Lali Dekanoidze, Matthews, N.C./Southeastern, junior
Gabrielle Gladieux, Greensboro, N.C./High Point Gymnastics, junior
Kate Greene, Durham, N.C./Bull City Gymnastics, junior
Kaylen Morgan, Huntersville, N.C./Everest, junior
Makarri Doggette, Pickerington, Ohio/Buckeye, senior
Tory Vetter, Columbus, Ohio/Universal Gymnastics, junior
Natalie Wojcik, Douglasville, Pa./Stallone Gymnastics, senior
Maya Bordas, Austin, Texas/Capital Texas, senior
Velandra Brochi, Round Rock, Texas/Platinum Gymnastics Academy, junior
Chae Campbell, Carrollton, Texas/Metroplex, senior
Kiya Johnson, Desoto, Texas/Texas Dreams, senior
Ashley Lane, Carrollton, Texas/Metroplex, senior
Bella Salcedo, Grand Prairie, Texas/Texas Dreams, junior
Chloe Widner, Frisco, Texas/Texas Dreams, senior
Anna Roberts, Seattle, Wash./Metropolitan Gymnastics, junior
Faith Torrez-Foster, Kenosha, Wis./Legacy Elite Gymnastics, junior