Hurd, Moldauer win American Cup titles
posted on 03/03/2018

© John Cheng

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., March 3, 2018 – 2017 World all-around champion Morgan Hurd of Middletown, Del./First State Gymnastics, and defending champion Yul Moldauer of Arvada, Colo./University of Oklahoma, won the all-around titles at the 2018 American Cup at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. The American Cup is the USA’s most prestigious international invitational and part of the International Gymnastics Federation’s World Cup all-around series.

Hurd posted a 56.599 to win the title, while Japan’s Mai Murakami, 55.633, and the USA’s Maile O’Keefe of Las Vegas/Salcianu Elite, 54.365, finished second and third, respectively. In the men’s competition, Moldauer scored 85.964 to win the Cup, Great Britain’s James Hall finished second (83.297) and Ukraine’s Petro Pakhniuk was third (83.064). Team USA's Allan Bower of Chandler, Ariz./University of Oklahoma, placed fifth in the all-around with a 81.864 total.

In the first rotation, Hurd earned 14.566 points for her double twisting Yurchenko vault. On uneven bars, she swung a routine featuring an in-bar Shaposhnikova, stalder Tkatchev to Pak salto, and in-bar full connected to a full-twisting double back dismount (14.200). Hurd posted a 13.800 on balance beam for her routine highlighted by a standing full and a full-twisting double pike dismount. She solidified her all-around victory on floor with a routine that included a tucked double-twisting double back for her first pass and a double pike dismount (14.033).

Japan’s Mai Murakami placed second at 55.633. Murakami’s double-twisting Yurchenko garnered a 14.600 to tie with O’Keefe for the lead after one rotation. She went to the uneven bars, where she performed a toe on Shaposhnikova to an in-bar Gienger and dismounted with a full-twisting double back (13.400). In the third rotation, Murakami’s performed a front pike, back handspring layout step out series and a double pike dismount on the balance beam, scoring a 13.600. She concluded her competition on the floor exercise where she secured her second-place finish with a 14.033.

In her senior debut, O’Keefe, a two-time U.S. junior all-around champion, finished third in the American Cup with a 54.365 total. She tied for lead after the first rotation, earning a 14.600 for her Yurchenko double. O’Keefe had an uncharacteristic mistake on the uneven bars when she clipped her foot on a piked Jaeger. She finished the routine strong with an Arabian double front dismount for a 13.233. On balance beam, O’Keefe posted a 13.066 after falling on her double wolf turn. She closed out her competition with 13.466 on the floor, tumbling an Arabian double front to a stag jump to open her routine and dismounting with a double pike.

Moldauer, who is the reigning World floor bronze medalist, performed a solid routine highlighted by an Arabian double front half-out mount and clean triple-twist dismount to earn a 14.666, the second highest floor score. He jumped to the top of standings after earning a 14.066 for his pommel horse routine that included a flair sequence, scissors to handstand and clean one pommel work. On rings, he executed a Maltese, Azarian cross, kip to Maltese, tuck and pike Yamawakis, and a double-twisting double back dismount for a 14.333. Moldauer moved to vault where he garnered a 14.733 for his Kasamatsu one-and-a-half. He capped off a solid performance on parallel bars with a double front half out dismount (14.500). On high bar, Moldauer clinched the title with a 13.666, complete with his stuck full-twisting double layout dismount.

Great Britain’s James Hall opened his competition with a 13.766 on floor exercise after tumbling a tucked double double and dismounting with a triple full. He posted the event’s top pommel horse score at 14.166. Hall capped off his still rings routine with a tucked double-twisting double back dismount, scoring a 14.033. He vaulted a one-and-a-half Kasamatsu to earn 14.333, followed by a 13.133 on parallel bars with a tucked double back dismount. Hall’s 13.866 on the horizontal bar secured his second place finish.

Petro Pakhniuk of Ukraine began his competition with a 13.066 on floor exercise. He tallied a 13.066 on the pommel horse, 13.800 on the still rings, and a 14.766 for stuck one-and-a-half Kasamatsu on vault. Pakhniuk posted a 14.933 on parallel bars and capped off the competition with a clean high bar routine to earn a 13.433. He totaled a 83.064 for third place.

USA’s Allan Bower placed fifth. He started his meet with a clean floor routine that included piked double front and tucked double-twisting double back for a 13.333. He moved to pommel horse, showing one pommel spindles, Magyar, Sivado to score a 13.966. Bower tallied a 13.400 on still rings for his routine with a Maltese, Azarian cross, kip to Maltese and tucked double-twisting double back dismount. He earned a 14.533 for his Kasamatsu one-and a-half on vault. In the fourth rotation, Bower took to the parallel bars where he dismounted with a double pike for a 13.766. Bower ended his day on the high bar where his routine included a Kovacs and half-in half-out dismount for a 12.866

Invitations to compete in the 2018 American Cup, which became a FIG all-around World Cup event in 2011, were based on team results from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The other World Cup events in the all-around series are in Stuttgart, Germany, March 17-18; Birmingham, Great Britain, March 21-22; and Tokyo, April 14.

USA’s Ragan Smith and Moldauer won the titles at the 2017 American Cup. The impressive list of former American Cup champions also includes Simone Biles, Bart Conner, Tim Daggett, Gabby Douglas, Paul Hamm, Jonathan Horton, Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, Carly Patterson, Danell Leyva, Shannon Miller, 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); Arlington, Texas (2015); and Newark (2016-17).

Background information

  • 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).
  • Nastia Liukin Cup. The 36 participants in the Nastia Liukin Cup are selected through the Nastia Liukin Cup Series, which features many of the country’s top gymnastics invitationals held throughout the United States. A total of 18 junior and 18 senior gymnasts advance to the Nastia Liukin Cup. Senior athletes must be 16 years of age or older, and junior athletes must be 15 or younger. Gymnasts who compete in the Nastia Liukin Cup 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. The Nastia Liukin Cup is named after Nastia Liukin, the 2008 Olympic all-around champion who has five Olympic and nine World medals to her credit. The annual event is held the night before the American Cup and made its debut in 2010. Past sites include 2016 and 2017, Newark, N.J.; 2015, Arlington, Texas; 2014, Greensboro, N.C.; 2013 and 2010, Worcester, Mass.; 2012, New York City; and 2011, Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Elite Team Cup. In its third year, the Elite Team Cup features nine men’s Regional Teams. The country’s best junior elite male gymnasts compete, representing their respective regions. The junior elite gymnasts must be between 13-18 years of age as of Sept. 1, 2017, and will be selected from the Regional Elite Team Program. The junior elite gymnasts will follow the USA Gymnastics/International Gymnastics Federation competition rules. The event was first held in 2016 in Newark, which also hosted the 2017 edition.
  • International Gymnastics Federation. The International Gymnastics Federation is the governing body for Gymnastics worldwide. It is the oldest established international federation of an Olympic sport and has participated in the Olympic Games since their revival in 1896. The FIG governs eight sports: gymnastics for all, men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline – including double mini-trampoline and tumbling -, aerobics, acrobatics, and parkour. It counts 148 national member federations and has its headquarters in the Olympic capital of Lausanne, Switzerland.
  • 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, visit www.usagym.org.