World Medalists and Olympians to Headline the 2023 U.S. Classic
USA Gymnastics has announced the roster of gymnasts slated to compete at the 2023 U.S. Classic in August. The men's field is headlined by World Medalists, Yul Moldauer, Donnell Whittenburg, and Stephen Nedoroscik, as well as 2020 Olympian, Shane Wiskus, all of whom are prequalified for the National Gymnastics Championships in San Jose.
The U.S. Classic will also serve as a comeback meet for three NCAA standouts – Paul Juda, Brandon Briones, and Colt Walker.
Walker, a member of the World Championships Team that placed fifth in Liverpool last year, sat out most of the season due to injury. At the NCAA Championships in April, he only competed on pommel horse. It is unclear what he will be able to compete just outside of Chicago; However, as he is already prequalified for the National Championships, he has more time, if needed, to bring back his full all-around program,
Like Walker, Juda is also prequalified for the National Championships. With a stellar 2022 season, Juda looked poised to win a spot on the 2022 World Championship Team but an injury at the 2022 U.S. Classic prevented him from performing his best at the selection camp. A second injury sustained at the beginning of 2023 meant Juda would not compete at all during the 2022-2023 NCAA season. In his announcement on social media, he wrote "Since I've been injured, I've been working extremely hard on my historically weak events in modified ways." His anticipated performance at the U.S. Classic will be the first time fans have seen him compete in ten months.
After serving as an alternate for the 2020 Olympic Games, Briones sat out his junior year at Stanford University due to injury. The extent of his injury is not known, however, Briones only competed on still rings and vault at the NCAA Championships. Briones is the only one of the trio not pre-qualified for nationals and will likely need more than performances on still rings and vault to qualify via the 10-point program.
Notably absent from the roster is 2022 World Champion, Brody Malone, who suffered an injury at the DTB Cup in Stuttgart, Germany. He has confirmed that he will not compete for the rest of the season but hopes to compete on four events next year.
Qualifying for the 2023 National Gymnastics Championships in San Jose, California
The U.S. Classic, first held forty years ago, included men for the first time last year in Salt Lake City. The competition on podium was a big upgrade from their previous qualifying meets at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center.
Aside from the thirty pre-qualified athletes, the U.S. Classic will serve as the final qualifying event for the majority of the field. According to USA Gymnastics documentation, approximately 12 spots remain to compete at the National Championships and all remaining gymnasts will qualify through the 10-point Program.
The full list of prequalified athletes includes Jeremy Bischoff, Landen Blixt, Garrett Braunton, Taylor Burkhart, Taylor Christopulos, Matthew Cormier, Alex Diab, Isaiah Drake, Michael Fletcher, Vitaliy Guimaraes, Asher Hong, Paul Juda, Josh Karnes, Ian Lasic-Ellis, Riley Loos, Brody Malone, Yul Moldauer, Stephen Nedoroscik, Kameron Nelson, Vahe Petrosyan, Curran Phillips, Fred Richard, Tyler Shimizu, Ian Skirkey, Blake Sun, Colt Walker, Donnell Whittenburg, Shane Wiskus, Khoi Young, and Oliver Zavel.
Information on tickets and coverage can be found on the USA Gymnastics Website.
Article by: Kensley Behel