City of Jesolo Trophy Champions

Action photos by John Cheng

The USA seniors and juniors won the team title and swept the all-around at the 2011 City of Jesolo Trophy on March 19 in Jesolo, Italy. McKayla Maroney of Laguna Niguel, Calif./All Olympia won the senior all-around crown, with Kyla Ross of Aliso Viejo, Calif./Gym Max earning the junior all-around title. The USA also won 20 individual event medals for the juniors and seniors combined.

The seven members of the senior U.S. Team include: Bridgette Caquatto of Naperville, Ill./Legacy Elite Gymnastics; Gabriella Douglas of Virginia Beach, Va./Chow's Gymnastics; Amanda Jetter of Milford, Ohio/Cincinnati Gymnastics; Maroney; Alexandra Raisman of Needham, Mass./Brestyan's American Gymnastics; Sabrina Vega of Manhattan, N.Y./Dynamic Gymnastics; and Jordyn Wieber of DeWitt, Mich./Twistars USA.

The seven members of the junior squad include: Ericha Fassbender of Katy, Texas/Stars Gymnastics; Sarah Finnegan of Lake Latawanna, Mo./GAGE; Madison Kocian of Dallas/WOGA; Katelyn Ohashi of Newcastle, Wash./WOGA; Elizabeth Price of Coopersburg, Pa./Parkettes; Lexie Priessman of Cincinnati, Ohio/Cincinnati Gymnastics; and Ross.

USA Gymnastics has talked to all 14 gymnasts about their trip to Italy and future goals. The junior interviews follow. To view the senior stories, click the link below.

SENIORS | JUNIORS


Kyla Ross

What was it like competing for Team USA and winning the gold medal?
Ross: It was a great experience competing for Team USA and winning the gold medal. We had a large team and everyone did their best in contributing to the team gold. It is exciting to be up on the podium receiving the gold medal because we are being rewarded for our hard work.

How did you do individually?
Ross: Individually I got first in the all-around with a 58.750 and first place on beam with a 14.850.

Were you competing anything new at this event?
Ross: On bars my new skills were an inside toe blind change and an inside toe full. On floor I did a round off 1 ½ step out to a round off back handspring double tuck as one of my passes and a round off back handspring double pike as another.

What was it like traveling to Italy?
Ross: It was exciting being able to travel to Italy. The plane ride was long but I had fun being with such a large group of girls the whole trip. I didn't have much jetlag but the time difference from Italy to where I live is 8 hours ahead.

What was the best part of the trip?
Ross: The best part of the trip was getting to shop and ride the gondola in Venice, and of course winning the team gold.

What did you learn from this experience?
Ross: From this experience I learned that confidence comes with experience. Last year I competed at this competition and I fell off beam. This year I came into this competition more experienced and I hit all my routines.

Who did you room with? What was it like hanging out with all of the girls?
Ross: I roomed with Sabrina Vega and it was fun getting to hang out with all of my friends. It was my first time traveling on a trip with some of the girls and I enjoyed getting to know them better.

How long were you gone and how did you handle school work during that time?
Ross: We were gone 5 days to Houston and 6 days in Italy, so a total of 11 days. My teachers gave me all the school work that I was going to miss before I left and I did the school work on the trip.

What were you most looking forward to when you got home?
Ross: I was most looking forward to seeing my family and getting to sleep in my own bed when I got home.

What is next for you in gymnastics?
Ross: Next I need to prepare for the Covergirl Classic and Visa Championships where I need to add all my new skills into my routines.

What are your goals for 2011?
Ross: My goals for 2011 are to do my new routines at Visa Championships and make the Sr. Pan American Games team.


Ericha Fassbender

What was it like competing for Team USA and winning the gold medal?
Fassbender: It was an honor to simply compete and represent team USA. Winning the gold medal made that honor more memorable.

How did you do individually?
Fassbender: It definitely wasn't my best meet, I was a little shaky in my beam routine and on vault I took a couple of steps forward and put my hand down. But overall, I am really proud of what I did that day.

Were you competing anything new at this event?
Fassbender: I did compete a couple of new skills at this meet. I competed my Arabian and switch ring for the first time at this meet.

What was it like traveling to Italy?
Fassbender: Since I have never been to Italy before, I thought the entire experience was exciting.

What was the best part of the trip?
Fassbender: The experience I gained from the competition and the opportunity to spend time with the rest of the girls. The last day we were there, we took a boat to Venice and spent the day sightseeing and shopping.

Was this your first international trip?
Fassbender: This was my first international trip with the team but last November me and my teammate traveled with our coaches to Belgium for the Top Gym competition.

What did you learn from this experience?
Fassbender: I got a little more familiar with competing at an international venue. It is just not the same as competing at a regular elite meet.

Who did you room with? What was it like hanging out with all of the girls?
Fassbender: I roomed with Elizabeth Price. It was a blast to hang out and get to know everyone better.

How long were you gone and how did you handle school work during that time?
Fassbender: All together, I was away from home for 11 days. We traveled to the ranch before we left for Italy. I brought some school stuff with me, but luckily during the time we were in Italy, I was on spring break.

What were you most looking forward to when you got home?
Fassbender: I could not wait to get home to see my family and friends. This was the longest I had been away from home and I was just couldn't wait to see everyone again.

What is next for you in gymnastics?
Fassbender: Next for me is to get improve my start value on all events and be ready for upcoming competitions.

What are your goals for 2011?
Fassbender: My goals for 2011 is to make the national team again and get more international assignments.


Sarah Finnegan

What was it like competing for Team USA and winning the gold medal?
Finnegan: Unfortunately I hurt my back during practice on Wednesday and was unable to compete but my teammates did a great job and although it was disappointing and I couldn't show what I could do, I learned a lot on the trip.

Were you competing anything new at this event?
Finnegan: I was planning to.

What was it like traveling to Italy?
Finnegan: It was a long trip and I was really tired from jetlag when we got there, but I think I got use to the time change pretty fast.

What was the best part of the trip?
Finnegan: The best part of the trip was on Sunday. We got to go to Venice, Italy, to sight-see and go shopping. I got some presents for my family.

Was this your first international trip?
Finnegan: No, it was my second international competition. I was on the Pan American Championships team last September 2010.

What did you learn from this experience?
Finnegan: Since I wasn't able to compete I was able to watch and learn what everyone else was throwing in their routines -- skills that i would like to try someday.

Who did you room with? What was it like hanging out with all of the girls?
Finnegan: I roomed with Lexie Priessman. All of the girls were so nice and we all got along really well. I think we all grew closer in our friendships.

How long were you gone and how did you handle school work during that time?
Finnegan: We were in Texas for four days then Italy for seven days. I brought my DVD homeschool materials with me to the trip.

What were you most looking forward to when you got home?
Finnegan: Seeing my family and friends, and giving them my gifts I got for them.

What is next for you in gymnastics?
Finnegan: I'm going to heal my back and then start upgrading my routines.

What are your goals for 2011?
Finnegan: I would like to go to the Pan American Games in October and do well there.


Madison Kocian

What was it like competing Team USA and winning the team gold medal?
Kocian: It was very fun and exciting. I loved the opportunity to get to travel as a team.

How did you do individually?
Kocian: I finished second in the all-around.

Were you competing anything new at this event?
Kocian: Yes, I did a few new skills on bars and beam.

What was it like traveling to Italy?
Kocian: Exciting and a great experience.

What was the best part of the trip?
Kocian: Winning the gold medal as a team.

Was this your first international trip?
Kocian: No.

What did you learn from this experience?
Kocian: I learned more about competing with a team and how to keep the team spirit.

Who did you room with? What was it like hanging out with all of the girls?
Kocian: Katelyn (Ohashi). It was really fun and everyone was really nice to one another.

How long were you gone and how did you handle school work during that time?
Kocian: About 12 days including camp. I did a little on the trip. I also had spring break during the last week.

What were you most looking forward to when you got home?
Kocian: To see all of my friends and family. To see my other coaches and to work harder on other skills

What is next for you in gymnastics?
Kocian: Visa Championships in August, then hopefully some more international assignments in the fall.

What are your goals for 2011?
Kocian: To be in the top three at Visa Championships.


Katelyn Ohashi

How did you do individually?
Ohashi: I finished third in the all-around.

Were you competing anything new at this event?
Ohashi: I did a double twisting double back off of bars.

What was it like traveling to Italy?
Ohashi: A lot of fun.

What was the best part of the trip?
Ohashi: Getting to hang out with everyone.

Was this your first international trip?
Ohashi: No.

What did you learn from this experience?
Ohashi: How to change equipment.

Who did you room with? What was it like hanging out with all of the girls?
Ohashi: Madison (Kocian). Everyone was so nice.

How long were you gone and how did you handle school work during that time?
Ohashi: About a week and I brought some work with me to do

What were you most looking forward to when you got home?
Ohashi: Family time.

What is next for you in gymnastics?
Ohashi: Covergirl Classic.

What are your goals for 2011?
Ohashi: Win the Visa Championships.


Elizabeth Price

What was it like competing for Team USA and winning the gold medal?
Price: It was a great experience competing for team USA in Italy, and an even better experience to win the gold medal. We worked very hard as a team and competing together was like competing as one person, we helped each other get through every obstacle, and couldn't have won without the support of every one of our teammates. I had a great time competing for Team USA and winning the gold medal at the City of Jesolo Trophy Meet in Italy.

How did you do individually?
Price: Overall, I did a pretty good job as an individual. I hit all of my routines with very few mistakes, and I'm satisfied with my performance, especially considering it was my first international meet competing for the team.

Were you competing anything new at this event?
Price: I was not competing anything new.

What was it like traveling to Italy?
Price: It was a very different experience traveling to Italy. I wasn't used to having to go through all the International security flying internationally, and it was very interesting being in a country so far from the U.S.

What was the best part of the trip?
Price: I think the best part of the trip was being able to interact with all of the other girls on the team. We were a family on this trip and we had so much fun together, we never wanted to leave. And when we went to Venice after the meet, it was like we were on vacation. We hung out looking at all the cool shops on the streets and were having so much fun.

What did you learn from this experience?
Price: I learned that it's a lot of fun competing as a team, and I also learned that I have a lot in common with my teammates.

Who did you room with? What was it like hanging out with all of the girls?
Price: I roomed with Ericha Fassbender. It was really fun hanging out with all of the girls. We all got along very well, and never had any problems.

How long were you gone and how did you handle school work during that time?
Price: I was gone 12 days including the time I was gone for training camp. I handled my schoolwork well. I had quite a bit of free time and was able to get stuff done then.

What were you most looking forward to when you got home?
Price: I was most looking forward to seeing my family and friends. I've never been away from home for so long; therefore I was really excited to see them again.

What is next for you in gymnastics?
Price: I'm going to be spending time in the gym increasing the difficulty scores of my routines until the next training camp. My next competition will be the Covergirl Classic.

What are your goals for 2011?
Price: My goals for this year are to make the Jr. National team again at Championships and get chosen for a spot on the Pan American team.


Lexie Priessman

What was it like competing for Team USA and winning the gold medal?
Priessman: It was a great experience for my first assignment. Our team bonded and we were all so happy for each other.

How did you do individually?
Priessman: I felt like I did pretty well. I got first on vault and fourth in the all-around. I was happy with my performance

Were you competing anything new at this event?
Priessman: I did my standing full on beam and torjete ½.

What was it like traveling to Italy?
Priessman: It was a long flight but we made it fun and had a great time.

What was the best part of the trip?
Priessman: I loved when we won and they played the national anthem. Also I enjoyed going to Venice on the last day.

What did you learn from this experience?
Priessman: I learned that everyone works together as one and to just have fun when you compete, don't get all uptight.

Who did you room with? What was it like hanging out with all of the girls?
Priessman: I roomed with Sarah from GAGE and we had a great time together. She was so much fun to room with and we all hung out a lot mostly in our room. We watched lots of movies and played games, it was a blast.

How long were you gone and how did you handle school work during that time?
Priessman: I was gone for 12 days and I did a lot of school work before I left and a little when I was gone.

What were you most looking forward to when you got home?
Priessman: I was mostly looking forward to seeing my family and gym friends!

What is next for you in gymnastics?
Priessman: The next step for me is Classics and Visa Championships.

What are your goals for 2011?
Priessman: My goals for 2011 are making the national team and placing in the top three.