Nastia Liukin Cup Series Feature Stories

Mackenzie Brannan
Reagan Campbell
Rachel Daum
Sydney Doggette
Samantha Partyka
Drew Watson

Emily Gaskins
Ashleigh Gnat
Charity Jones
Alex McMurtry
Mariah Peterson
Lexy Ramler

Miranda Cabada
Bridget Dean
Sydney Johnson-Scharpf
Lindsey Lemke
Ashton Locklear
Jenna Swartzentruber

Alicia Boren
Felicia Hano
Alexis Mattern
Hannah Miller
Kendal Moss
Emily Schild

Bailey Ferrer
Alma Kuc
Kari Lee
Kaytianna McMillan
Lauren Ramirez
Aja Sims

Brianna Brown
Kiera Brown
Kyana George
Amanda Wellick

Click on the athlete's name for her bio

Alicia Boren

By Lauren Ely

"Alicia is the coach's dream," North Stars Gymnastics Academy coach Tony Gehman said. "If you need someone to go in last up on the beam in the last meet of the year to try and win the national championship - the ultimate pressure situation - she's the one I want on the team to do it."

Alicia Boren, 15, of Franklin Lakes, N.J., possesses the strength, power and determination it takes to be a successful gymnast. She began gymnastics when she was 5-years-old after going to a birthday party at North Stars.

Boren placed first in the all-around in the 2012 Women's Junior Olympic Level 10 National Championships. She said the competition gave her a chance to redeem herself from her first nationals in Level 10.

"I fell on floor in my last pass," Boren said. "It really motivated me, and I was determined to be better the next year. I had to do it for myself."

Boren, a power gymnast, most enjoys competing on floor. She says her floor routine at the 2012 J.O. Nationals is her most memorable moment competing. In her spare time, Boren does ballet and African dance, and she likes the tumbling and dance aspect that floor allows her to mix in to her routines.

A fierce, focused competitor, Boren knows that gym time isn't a time to play with friends. She enjoys spending time with her friends outside of practice going to the mall and the movies.

After she graduates high school in 2015, Boren plans to attend the University of Florida to join its gymnastics team.

"She's a leader by example," Gehman said. "She's upbeat and encouraging. She's headed towards being a fantastic collegiate competitor."

Felicia Hano

By Lauren Ely

When Felicia Hano was just 3-years-old, she saw a gymnastics competition on TV, and she's been at the gym ever since.

She trains for seven-and-a-half hours a day, aspiring to make the jump to elite and join the U.S. National Team one day. Like the U.S. National Team, Hano likes to listen to Dr. Alison Arnold, known as a fear liberator, before she competes. She says it helps her focus and have more control of herself.

The 2012 Olympics served as a major influence for Hano, and she aspires to be like gold medalist Aly Raisman because of her power and gracefulness.

"It was really motivating to go back in the gym and just realize what my goals are," Hano said.

Hano, 14, is a native of San Gabriel, Calif. Her most unforgettable performance was at the 2012 Women's Junior Olympic Level 10 National Championships where she placed first in the all-around for West Coast Elite Gymnastics.

"That was honestly one of the best days of my life," Hano said. "I was a bit surprised because I knew there was going to be a lot of great girls there. It felt really good to come on top."

Hano qualified for the Nastia Liukin Cup last year, and she is excited for another chance to perform better. Now that she has the experience of competing on podium and in front of cameras under her belt, she says her nerves won't get in the way this year.

Outside of gymnastics, she likes to read and hang out with friends. Currently, Hano and her friends are "obsessed" with Pitch Perfect. She also enjoys studying U.S. History.

Alexis Mattern

By Erica Rath

Alexis Mattern, from Harrisburg, Pa., trains at Artistic Sports Academy Plus under Barry Mattern and Ashley Miller.

As a junior in high school and 17 years old, Alexis, or Lexy, is looking ahead to college where she hopes to earn a scholarship to compete in gymnastics. One day, she hopes to manage a professional sports team.

Lexy got started with gymnastics because her parents were both involved in the sport. Her mom was a gymnast, and her dad was involved throughout high school. She is the middle of three children, with an older sister and a younger brother.

At school, Lexy likes to study English because she enjoys writing. She attends a private Catholic school and each day after school, she heads to the gym, training about 17 hours per week.

Last year, Lexy placed fourth at the Junior Olympic National Championships, which along with qualifying for the Nastia Liukin Cup, she names these as her biggest accomplishments.

Lexy took a much different road than many of her colleagues. In the seventh grade, she stopped training in gymnastics. When she started up again, she had to focus to realize what she really loved about the sport. Today, she enjoys the sport again, and credits her teammates with being encouraging and supportive. In fact, she refers to them as family since she has grown up with many of them.

Lexy enjoys her floor exercise routine and says she loves to show off her dancing skills.

Gymnastics, Lexy says, is a sport that will not just shape you as an athlete, but as a person. After returning to the sport, she says every minute in the gym is one well spent.

Hannah Miller

By Lauren Eli

Fourteen-year-old Farmington, Utah, native Hannah Miller is proud of where she's from.

This is Miller's first year qualifying for the Nastia Liukin Cup, and she says she is most excited to meet Liukin and represent Utah. And like fellow Olympus School of Gymnastics gymnast Mary Beth Lofgren, Miller would like to earn a college scholarship and compete at the University of Utah.

At the age of four, Miller switched from dance classes to gymnastics, but her passion for dance can still be found in her floor routines. While gymnastics is known to be a physically and mentally demanding sport, that's what Miller enjoys most about it.

"I like gymnastics more because of the mental process that goes into it and how focused you have to be," Miller said.

Miller spends about 27 hours a week training and working out at the gym, but never gets tired of it.

"I've always loved going to gymnastics every day and working my hardest there," Miller said.

When she's not in the gym, she enjoys shopping at Nordstrom and Vans with her friends and spending time with her family. Her favorite subject is geography, and one day, she would like to visit India to see its famous architecture and the different culture.

Kendal Moss

By Erica Rath

Kendal Moss is 14 years old and from Cornelius, N.C. She competes for Everest Gymnastics and trains under husband and wife coaches, Qi Han and Yiwen Chen.

Kendal started training about 10 years ago when her mother thought it would be good for her since she was so full of energy. She comes from an athletic family – while she competes in gymnastics, her brother plays soccer.

Every day, Kendal attends a public school and leaves early to train in the gym. Kendal likes to study math, and her teachers and classmates are very supportive of her schedule. She doesn't see the training as work, but rather that she is just young and having fun.

Kendal has achieved a lot in her career, but most notably, she is proudest of qualifying for the Nastia Liukin Cup for two years in a row. Last year was her first time competing on podium. She found the experience motivating and thinks back to the Cup in order to continue pushing herself. She is excited to return this year with more experience and harder skills. She knows what she is capable of and looks forward to performing with confidence.

The uneven bars are Kendal's favorite event because she finds it challenging, and she enjoys pushing harder everyday.

When she is not in the gym or at school, Kendal likes to read and watch movies. Looking into the future, Kendal hopes to earn a scholarship to a Division 1 gymnastics program. While competing, she also hopes to study business or sports medicine.

Emily Schild

By Erica Rath

Emily Schild belongs to Everest Gymnastics and lives in Huntersville, N.C. She trains under Qi Han and Yiwen Chen

Ten years ago, Emily's mom decided to sign her up for recreational gymnastics classes, and now, at the age of 14, she continues to compete in the sport. Right now, she is focused on becoming the best athlete she can be so she can become an elite gymnast. She looks up to the Olympic gymnasts and hopes to be on the international stage one day.

Last year, Emily placed in the top 10 at the Junior Olympic Nationals. She considers this her biggest accomplishment so far in her career. Emily wanted to reach that goal terribly and was overwhelmed when she reached it.

The challenge of vault is fun to Emily because she likes to run fast to the vaulting table and hit it with confidence.

Emily is an only child, and she attends private school three days a week. When she isn't training or at school, she likes to go shopping or spend time with friends. She enjoys gymnastics because of her positive teammates and the every day challenge.

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