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

Brianna Brown

By Lauren Ely

Brianna Brown will attend her first school dance this spring when she goes to her junior prom.

Once a member of the National Team, Brown, 16, decided Level 10 was a better path for her.

"I just really wasn't enjoying [gymnastics] anymore, and I just wanted to take a break from it for a little while," Brown said. "I just wanted to focus on getting back into school because I had been homeschooled since the sixth grade."

Now that the West Chester, Ohio, native has had more time this season, she says she's gotten back to enjoying all the reasons she started gymnastics in the first place: being a part of a team, working hard to achieve a goal and just competing.

Brown competed at the elite level for 2010, 2011 and 2012, and although she isn't sure if she'll ever go back to elite, her most memorable moment was at U.S. nationals in 2011.

"I remember being so nervous," Brown said. "I had trained so well. I had just kind of been on autopilot, and I made my beam routine. That was when I made the national team."

Brown will graduate from high school in 2014. She has a full scholarship to the University of Georgia where she plans to compete all-around and study nursing or physical therapy.

But for now, she just wants take life day-by-day and enjoy life as it come – including her junior prom.

"I just feel like my life is so different now, and I'm getting used to it," Brown said. "There are a lot of things I didn't even realize I was missing that I'm enjoying now."

Kiera Brown

By Lauren Ely

For 18-year-old Kiera Brown, an injury had her wondering if she would ever come back to gymnastics.

The Newport News, Va., World Class Gymnastics gymnast started the sport when she was 5. She used to flip all the time in her living room, so her dad signed her up. "I just really liked it and kept going with it," Brown said.

However, Brown faced a setback in 2010 when she tore her Achilles. She says bars quickly became her favorite event because it was the only one she could do.

"After I did it [injury], I didn't really think I would be able to come back to gymnastics," Brown said. "I really love the sport, so I just kept pushing it and got back to where I wanted to be."

Overcoming her injury took focus and determination, two things Brown says the sport is all about. Now, she will be attending the University of Georgia next fall on scholarship.

Brown plans on studying sports medicine at UGA. She enjoys studying science and the body and looks forward to learning how physical therapy and sports medicine tie into it.

In her spare time, Brown enjoys watching movies and having sleepovers with her friends. Brown says she will attend her senior prom this spring and has already started searching for the perfect dress.

Kyana George

By Lauren Ely

At just 22 months old, Kyana George began gymnastics. Now George, 14, can see college gymnastics or the Olympics in her future.

This year is George's first trip to the Nastia Liukin Cup. Liukin is one of George's favorite gymnasts because of her strong will and how she doesn't back down. Like Liukin, George is committed and hardworking.

Bars were once her weakest event, but after hours of practice, George says it's her favorite.

"I really just know how to swing on it," George said. "I like when everybody gets to see what I've been training and what I can do."

In 2009, George began to question if gymnastics was something she wanted to continue pursuing. When Jaycie Phelps and Dave Marus became her coaches, she quickly changed her mind.

"I felt like I progressed a lot, and I fell in love with the sport all over again," George said.

In 2011, Phelps and Marus left to open their own gym, but the McKinney, Texas, gymnast stayed at Metroplex Gymnastics to train under Marnie Futch. George says Futch has focused on getting her in good condition and focused on the details of her skills.

George can see herself moving up to elite in the future, and she aspires to join the national team and compete at the Olympics. College gymnastics is also one of her goals, and her top choices are Oklahoma, Alabama, UCLA and Michigan.

Outside of gymnastics George enjoys "just relaxing" and hanging out with friends at the mall or jumping on the trampoline. Her favorite subject is science because she enjoys doing labs and being hands-on.

Amanda Wellick

By Lauren Ely

Amanda Wellick plans to follow in her sister's footsteps and compete at a Division I university.

Wellick, 18, is going the University of Arkansas next year. Her sister, Jessica, is a swimmer at Michigan State University.

"My dream school was Oklahoma," Wellick said. "I'm extremely happy that it didn't work out because I'm looking forward so much to going to Arkansas."

Wellick began gymnastics when she was 4-years-old after her parents decided to put her in a class so she wouldn't be bored. The part-time hobby quickly became a full-time passion, and Wellick moved to six different gyms before landing at Legacy Elite Gymnastics with coach Jiani Wu.

Although Wellick practices four hours each day, she still attends public school. Her high school allows her to leave early to make her training schedule possible. Her days consist of going to school, practicing and coming home to eat and do homework.

Wellick says she has missed out on some things that normal teenagers get to experience. She isn't sure if she'll go to her senior prom, but she doesn't mind.

"If I wanted the true high school experience, I would regret it," Wellick said. "Looking back on it, I don't regret it at all because I've had so many more experiences from gymnastics."

Wellick isn't sure what she wants to study in college, perhaps something in the medical or business field. However, she would like to stay involved in gymnastics.

"It's a really great sport," Wellick said. "I think it would be really cool to be a college coach."

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