Old Bridge’s Lauren Hernandez hit all four routines during her first day of competition in the junior women’s division at the 2013 P&G US Gymnastics Championships Thursday.
Her consistency ruled a day filled with the expected bobbles of young gymnasts learning to handle their nerves on a big stage. She scored highest on vault, earning a 14.8 for a double twisting Yurchenko, which was good for sixth place on the event.
Her floor routine earned a huge amount of applause and a replay on the big screen thanks to her performance ability. However, she struggled on a few of the landings on her tumbling passes, which she chalked up to her excitement level.
“I had so much adrenaline, I had to calm myself down,” she admitted.
Hernandez was the last competitor of the afternoon, closing the session on uneven bars, where she hit her change of grip and her transition from low to high bar. She landed her double back dismount with a small hop and to a huge cheer from the large New Jersey contingent in the XL Center crowd.
“I was so happy,” said Hernandez about hitting her bars routine. “I’ve hit 4-for-4 before, but never in a championships.”
She recognized that despite her day one success, the judges sent her a message that she needs to clean up her routines. She intends on starting on those immediately during her training for Saturday’s finals.
“I need to clean up my full in on floor, because I almost went out of bounds,” said Hernandez. “I want to get more handstands on bars.”
Towaco’s Ashley Foss of North Stars Gymnastics finished Thursday afternoon in 15th place with a 53.750. Christina Desidero of Hackettestown, who trains at Pennsylvania’s famed Parkettes gym, finished in a tie for 16th with a 53.550. Hernandez’s MG Elite teammate Ariana Agrapides of Bayville finished 23rd all-around, including finishing first on vault (15.350) thanks to the airiest double twisting Yurchenko of the afternoon. Melissa Reinstadtler of Brick, NJ and Rebound Gymnastics, finished in a tie for 24th with a 52.450.
The junior women’s title will be determined Saturday afternoon.