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Smith, Zhou take 2021 Nastia Liukin Cup senior and junior titles
posted on 02/26/2021

© John Cheng

INDIANAPOLIS, February 26, 2021 – Leah Smith of Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre, and Alicia Zhou of San Antonio, Texas/Love Gymnastics, took home the senior and junior titles, respectively, at this year’s Nastia Liukin Cup. Held at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, the Nastia Liukin Cup kicked off a packed 2021 Winter Cup weekend, that also includes the Elite Team Cup.

In the senior division, Smith, a University of Washington signee, delivered the highest scoring floor routine of the competition in a clutch fourth-rotation performance, finishing with a 38.800 to edge Alex Theodorou of Phoenix, Ariz./Desert Lights, who finished with a 38.550 and Lilly Hudson of Fleming Island, Fla./Florida Elite, who finished with a 38.500.

Zhou earned top marks on balance beam and uneven bars en route to the junior title, finishing with a 38.375 and besting Avery Neff of South Jordan, Utah/Olympus Gymnastics, who finished with a 38.175 and Gabby Van Frayen of Lewis Center, Ohio/Gym X-treme, who finished with a 38.075 to round out the top three.

The event scores for the senior medalists are below.

  • Smith: all-around, 38.800; vault, 9.700; uneven bars, 9.850 (top score); balance beam, 9.475; and floor exercise, 9.775 (top score).
  • Theodorou: all-around, 38.550; vault, 9.625; uneven bars, 9.625; balance beam, 9.625; and floor exercise, 9.675.
  • Hudson: all-around, 38.500; vault, 9.450; uneven bars, 9.675; balance beam, 9.675 (top score); and floor exercise, 9.700.

The top three juniors’ event scores are below.

  • Zhou: all-around, 38.375; vault, 9.350; uneven bars, 9.750 (top score); balance beam, 9.650 (top score); and floor exercise, 9.625.
  • Neff: all-around, 38.175, vault, 9.200; uneven bars, 9.700; balance beam, 9.525; and floor exercise, 9.750 (top score).
  • Van Frayen: all-around, 38.075; vault, 9.450; uneven bars, 9.575; balance beam, 9.425; and floor exercise, 9.625.

The Nastia Liukin Cup featured 18 junior and 18 senior USA Gymnastics Women’s Development Program Level 10 gymnasts. Each qualified to compete through performances at a series of 12 invitational meets across the country in January and February of 2021.

Participating gymnasts received a Nastia Liukin-designed leotard and warm-up from GK Elite and met with Liukin ahead of the competition during a socially distanced version of the event’s annual brunch with the 2008 Olympic all-around champion and 14-time Olympic and World medalist. The 2021 Cup marked the 12th anniversary of the annual competition begun in 2010 by Liukin.