2017 International Gymnast Magazine Gymnast of the Year Top 25 Nominees

After much consideration and deliberation, we have finally announced our Top 25 gymnasts for the 2017 International Gymnast Magazine Gymnast of the Year Award. In consideration for this prestigious award, all of our top 45 nominees were closely looked at and everything was a factor from your votes to videos and from the feedback we heard from the coaches and gymnasts themselves while also seeing the athletes’ incredible performances throughout the 2017 season. We will be announcing the top 10 gymnasts and our Gymnast of the Year at the event in Oklahoma City and we congratulate all gymnasts nominated on their hard work and incredible accomplishments. See you all in OKC!

 

Aleah Finnegan

My Biography

The sister of London 2012 alternate Sarah Finnegan and committed to LSU just like her elder sibling, Aleah Finnegan out of GAGE in Missouri is a beautiful gymnast, with her elegant lines on balance beam her signature. Finnegan posted her season-high all-around score at her final meet of the 2017 season, winning first all-around at JO Nationals with an impressive 38.300 overall and a second place finish on the vault and balance beam as well. Finnegan is 14 years old and from St. Louis, Missouri.

 

Amoree Lockhart (2020)

- Beatrice Mihaila, April Pyle and Chris Brashier

My Biography

Amoree fell in love with gymnastics at an early age. While her mom worked in the front office of a local gymnastics club, Amoree would be in the gym flipping on and off the equipment, and learned a back handspring when she was just three years old. By age 4, she was on the competitive team. Since then Amoree continued to reach or surpass her gymnastics goals, winning the All Around at JO Nationals in 2016 and most recently verbally committing to the University of Oklahoma on a gymnastics scholarship.

 

Ashlee Sullivan (2025 )
Level Junior Elite 

WOGA - Nataliya Marakova, Josh Jefferis

My Biography

Ashlee started gymnastics in a mom and tot class when she was 18 months old. Full of energy and never afraid to try something new, she quickly advanced and started competing Level 3 at age 6. Ashlee also enjoyed dance and took 5 years of ballet. However, once she started HOPES training, a decision had to be made and chose to continue in gymnastics.

In 2019, Ashlee had just turned 12 and was starting her first year of Level 10 and plans to qualify HOPES 12/13. She was thrilled to be attending developmental camps and meeting amazing girls. Ashlee's first Level 10 meet was Texas Prime where she won 1st AA, 1st Vault, 2nd Bars and 3rd on Beam, but most important she qualified for Legendz! A fun exhibition meet. Level 10's second meet for her did not go as well. After the second rotation, Ashlee was injured on beam and unable to complete the competition. The injury turned out to be a severe bone bruise that sidelined her for 4 weeks.

 

Bailey Ferrer aka. Lil' Ninja (2019)
Level 10 

Gymnastics USA - Ray Gnat & Mikara Steinburg

My Biography

Now at the age of sixteen, she is one of the youngest gymnasts to garner such an extensive list of accomplishments. Bailey won the Florida Level 10 Optional State Meet at 10 years old. In the same year she qualified as a Junior Elite and spent the next five years of her career attending the Olympic Training Center in Texas during camp weeks. In 2014, Bailey qualified for the American Classics, the Secret Classics and then went on to give a great showing at that year's P&G Championships. Following P&G's Bailey verballed to LSU, accepting a full gymnastics scholarship to begin in 2019. In early 2016 she received a bronze medal on Bars from Marta Karolyi at the elite qualifier at the Olympic Training Center. Following some career changes, Bailey decided to drop back to Level 10 in order to concentrate on her LSU career. Her 2017 season started out with her becoming International Level 10 All-Around Champion at the Gymnix International in Montreal. At the Level 10 Florida State Meet she took the gold in both Floor and Vault, tying for first on Beam. Her season ended with Level 10 National Championships where Bailey took third All-Around in her age division nationwide. Closing out the 2017 season she ranks number 6th All-Around in the nation's top 100 and 4th on Floor.

"Bailey Ferrer is a force to be reckoned with. I first met Bay when she moved to Florida. She was 10 years old and competing at Level 10 while training Elite. I have watched her grow and develop as a gymnast and have mentored her through her career from a level 10 AA State Champion, through her Elite career, and most recently her Level 10 National Team member. She gets the nickname "Lil Ninja" because there is no skill she is unable to throw. Not only is she a great gymnast but she is also a leader and mentor within the gym. I am so honored to be coaching her for the last 2 years of her JO career and thrilled to be handing her off to LSU where she will become a LSU Tiger! " Coach Mikara Steinberg -Gymnastics USA

 

Baylie Belman (2025)
Level HP 

WOGA - Megan Haught, Josh Jefferis, Nataliya Marakova

My Biography

As a third-generation competitive gymnast, Baylie began competing at the age of five. Following in her grandmother’s and aunt’s footsteps, she has won state and regional titles, but began so at an earlier age. Baylie’s first state title came at the age of six and her first regional title at the age of nine. Baylie was selected to the TOPs Diamond Team at the age of seven and the TOPs National A Team at the age of eight.

As a nine-year-old she finished the 2017 season as the ninth ranked Level 8 gymnast in the country, scoring above 38.000 in every meet despite suffering an elbow injury only two weeks prior to the beginning of her season. As a ten-year-old in 2018, Baylie competed Level 9 where she finished the season ranked 13th, from all age groups, in the US.

Her first meet as an elite was in The Netherlands where Baylie led her USA team to the team championship, while taking the gold in the all-around. She returned and competed the Hopes season under coaches Megan Haught, Josh Jeffries, and Nataliya Marakova. Baylie took bronze on the beam and floor exercise at the American Classic in Utah. Later in Ohio, Baylie took the National Hopes Championship AA and Beam Silver Medal and was selected to the Hopes 10-11 National Team. She is currently training at WOGA and attending National Developmental Camps and preparing for the 2019 season with a goal to qualify Junior Elite and reach the USA National Championships in August.

 

Chloe Widner (2019)

- Kim Zmeskal-Burdette and Chris Burdette

My Biography

2017 was Chloe's 3rd season as a level 10 gymnast. She trains at Texas Dreams Gymnastics under coaches Kim Zmeskal-Burdette and Chris Burdette. In 2017, Chloe was the Texas State AA champion, Region 3 AA champion, JO National floor champion, and was named to the JO National team for the 2nd year in a row. Chloe was also honored with the 2017 Texas USAG Optional Athlete of the Year award at the state banquet in July. Chloe is a junior in high school and is verbally committed to the University of Arizona. She lives in Frisco, Texas with her parents, brother and sister. In her free time, she volunteers at her church and for Frisco Love Pacs, an organization providing food for Frisco ISD students who need meal assistance when school is not in session. She also enjoys hand lettering and calligraphy, reading, and spending time with her family and friends.

 

Courtney McCann (2023)
Level 9 

- Yevgeny Marchenko, Sonia Haiou and Adam Duncan

My Biography

Hello, my name is Courtney McCann, nickname Court Short. I recently turned 12 years old, and I am training level 9 at WOGA Gymnastics under the direction of Yevgeny Marchenko, Sonia Haiou and Adam Duncan in Frisco, TX. I spend 7-8 hours/day training not only level 9 skills but also Olympic style skills. My favorite thing about gymnastics is learning new skills, and being with my teammates and coaches every day. Teamwork at WOGA is the key for all of us to reach our goals. I will be in the 7th grade 2017-2018, and taking advanced High School classes in Math through my school in my gym. I am a Junior National Honor Society Member. In my spare time I volunteer around the community to fulfill my JNHS hours.

 

Cristal Isa (2018)

- Cassie Rice and Jill Preston

My Biography

Cristal started at Gymcats when she was 6, and has worked with Cassie Rice and Jill Preston through her whole career. She has had a great gymnastics career in every event, and in 2017, won the AA at all her regular meets. She also was the highest Level 10 score at the Lady Luck meet in Las Vegas and qualified to the Nastia Cup. At the 2017 Nevada State meet, she won all events and the AA with a 38.375, and continued to do a great job at the Region 1 Championships with 2nd place AA, and is the regional bar champion. At the 2017 JO Nationals, she won the bars title, 2nd on beam and placed 3rd AA, and made the JO National Team! She's looking forward to her last Level 10 season this year and her goal is to graduate with an Advanced Honors Diploma from Green Valley High in Henderson, NV. She is committed to the University of Utah on a full ride scholarship, and will be starting there during the 2018-19 year. Thank you to MSO for considering her for Gymnast of the Year and placing her in the Top 45!!

 

Farah Lipetz (2022)

- Tammy Marshall, Kelly Roughan, Stephanie Miceli

My Biography

At the ripe old age of 13, Farah Lipetz was the first commit to the University of Michigan for 2022...the third in the country to commit for her age. Farah's reputation precedes her. She is widely known for her precise form, consistency, maturity and mental toughness...put her last on any event and she will get results! But, this prowess came with blood, sweat and tears. Starting her elite career in HOPES, Farah made a name for herself with her clean lines and fierce determination. She decided to go to a professional school for her middle school years in order to train extra hours at the gym. This proved successful because that year she won her all-around elite qualifier, the Macabbi World trials and Regionals. She then went on to be an All-Around top 10 JO National champion three years in a row, placing 2nd and 3rd nationally on beam, another Regional AA champion medal, 2nd at states several times and a member of the 38 club all by 14 years old. But, these achievements came with perseverance. Stress fractures in both feet sidelined her for a couple of months, but that didn't stop her.....she just got on those bars and perfected her skills. Coming back wasn't easy, but she made 7th at Nationals even with a few trips, which eventually secured her place at Michigan. Farah was a top 10 finalist for GOTY two years ago and was also nominated last year. She is a member of the National Honor Society at Northport High School and is said to be the most renowned gymnast in NY state. Farah is fiercely loyal to her coach, Tammy Marshall, who has been by her side supporting her career for 8 years. She feels blessed to have this incredible sport in her life and can't imagine ever doing anything else. She said, " I was made for this sport, I am a gymnast mind, body and soul."

 

Hailey Clark (2022)
Level 10 

Orlando Metro Gymnastics - Jeff Wood and Christi Mitchell

My Biography

I am currently training level 10 at Orlando Metro Gymnastics. I was always jumping around at a young age and was introduced to the sport of gymnastics in my parents’ quest to expose me to different activities. Once I got started with gymnastics, I knew it was what I was meant to do. I started my competitive gymnastics career at Orlando Metro Gymnastics at the age of eight in 2012 and have been there ever since.

After only one year of training, I started competing level 3 in 2013 where I won the all-around State Championship title with a 38.350 and first on balance beam and floor exercise. I moved up to level 4 in 2014 where I placed first in the all-around at the State Championship with a 38.075 and first on vault.

I tested out of 5 and skipped level 6 before moving up to level 7 for the 2016 season. At the State Championships, I finished seventh in the all-around with a 37.025, first on uneven bars and second on vault. I qualified to the Region 8 Championships, finishing fourth in the all-around with a 37.475, first on uneven bars, second on vault and third on floor exercise. I was in America's Top 100 on uneven bars in level 7.

As a level 8 gymnast in 2017, I was listed in America's Top 100 for vault (5x), uneven bars (2x), floor exercise, and all-around (3x). My all-around score of 38.525 at the Gasparilla Competition was the highest score for the entire meet. At the State Championships, I finished third in the all-around with a 37.500, first on uneven bars and second on vault and floor exercise. I qualified to the Region 8 Championships where I won the all-around title with a 38.600. I also earned gold medals on vault, uneven bars and balance beam and a bronze medal on floor exercise.

I moved up to level 9 for the 2018 season. At the State Championships, I finished sixth in the all-around and fourth on floor exercise. I qualified to the Region 8 Championships where I finished in the top ten in the all-around and seventh on uneven bars with a 9.450.

At the Level 9 Region 8 Championship in 2019, I won the all-around title with a 37.925 and first on the floor exercise. This placement qualified me for Eastern Nationals.

I maintain honor roll status in my advance placement (AP) and honor roll classes. I enjoy playing the piano, swimming, and art. I would like to become an elite gymnast as well as obtain a Division 1 college gymnastics scholarship.

 

Hailey John (2022)
Level 10 

Orlando Metro Gymnastics - Jeff Wood & Christi Mitchell

My Biography

Hailey John is training Level 10 at Orlando Metro Gymnastics in Orlando FL. She trains under Head Coach Jeff Wood and Christi Mitchell.

 

Hunter Dula (2018)

All American Gymnastics - Dawn Johnson and Jimmy Pratt

My Biography

Hunter Dula is a level 10 gymnast competing for All American Gymnastics. She moved to Utah from North Carolina in October 2016. Two weeks after arriving, she broke her foot and was in a boot until the first week of January 2017. Hunter competed bars her first few meets of the season and then went on to place first All Around at the Utah State Championships (38.275) and 6th at Region 1 Regionals (38.0). She finished the season with a 10th place finish AA at Nationals (37.775) and 11th on bars and beam. Hunter will be joining the University of Utah Gymnastics team in 2018 on a full ride athletic scholarship. Hunter's father is military, and she has previously competed for Southeastern Gymnastics (NC), Rock Solid Athletics (TX), and Naperville Gymnastics (IL). Hunter has had several injuries including a broken elbow that she sustained just prior to the Nastia Liukin Cup in 2016. The injury wasn't identified until almost a month later and required surgery to properly heal. Hunter is a fighter and adversity has taught her that a warrior never gives up! You will always find Hunter at the gym working hard even when she is injured. She is a straight A student and loves math and science, and eventually she'd like to become a physical therapist and help athletes struggling with injuries. In her spare time, Hunter likes to do crafts, ride horses, and hangout with her family. Hunter loves being at All American and appreciates all of her coaches and teammates that have supported her throughout her gymnastics career.

 

Kaliya 'Liya' Lincoln (2024)
Level 10 

Airborne Gymnastics, Ca - Cleo Washington

My Biography

Kaliya Lincoln, also known as 'Liya', is a Junior Elite gymnast @ Airborne Gymnastics in Santa Clara, California.

 

Kylee Burton (2022)
Level 10 

Metroplex Gymnastics - Kambri Hoffman, Justin Lea

My Biography

Hi, I'm Kylee Burton from Metroplex Gymnastics in Allen, TX. I am currently a level 10 and I am in 8th grade attending PCAplus online. I love spending time with my family, friends, and dog! I train 31 hours a week with my teammates/best friends! Last season as a level 9, I finished first in the all around at the Texas State Championships with a 38.775. I also placed first on beam with a 9.725. I went to compete regionals, winning floor with a 9.575. After qualifying to J.O. Western Nationals, I competed in the JR 5 category, placing 2nd on vault with a 9.6 and 5th on bars with a 9.55. I finished my season winning floor with a 9.65, beam with a 9.625, and AA with a 38.425! My dream is to attend a major university on a full-ride gymnastics scholarship and to have the opportunity to compete for a National Championship! It would be a great honor and motivation to win the award of Gymnast of the Year!

 

Leanne Wong (2021)
Level JR Elite 

- Al Fong and Armine Barutyan

My Biography

Another talented GAGE gymnast, Leanne Wong enjoyed an impressive 2017, saving her best gymnastics for the end of the season. Wong scored a season-best 38.075 all-around score to take second at regionals, including second place finishes on vault and uneven bars, first on balance beam, and third on floor exercise, an impressive competition no doubt. Wong followed it up with an amazing performance at JO Nationals, winning first all-around there before later qualifying elite at the Parkette’s Elite Qualifier.

 

Madison Raesly-Patton aka MiRP (2022)
Level 10/elite 

Texas Dreams - Marcus Harlin, Alicia Goodwin, Kim Zmeskal-Burdette

My Biography

Madison Raesly-Patton was born on July 17, 2004 to Amanda and Shea Patton. Madison began gymnastics at the age of 9 when she took an introductory class at WOGA Frisco. On the second day of practice, Madison was moved up to the intermediate level, and by the third day she was moved up to the advanced level. By January 2014 at age 9, Madison competed one meet of level 3 in the TAAF program with Iarov Elite Gymnastics. After one meet of level 3, Madison moved up to level 4. In the Fall 2014 season, Madison competed level 5 and in the Spring of 2015, she competed one level 6 meet. In 2016, Madison competed one meet of level 7 at the Texas Prime Meet where she placed second on vault and third on floor. After the Texas Prime Meet, Madison moved up to level 8 and at her first level 8 meet, the Metroplex Challenge, Madison won the beam title with a 9.625 and placed third all around. At the 2016 Texas Level 8 State Championships, Madison finished 10th all around and qualified to regionals. Madison had her best meet of the season at the Region 3 Championships scoring a 9.700 on beam to take the beam title and taking home the bronze medal in the all around with a 38.050. Following the 2016 level 8 season, Madison began training with Texas Dreams. Madison began instantly improving, and at her first meet as a level 9, Madison won the beam title with a 9.725 and won the all around with a 37.775. Madison continued to have a solid season and at the Texas State Championships, Madison won the bars, beam, floor, and all around titles. Following her success, Madison competed at the Region 3 Championships and made the Region 3 Junior 3 Western National Championships Team. Madison had the meet of her life at Westerns; she won all four events and took home the all around gold with a 38.600. Madison became the first gymnast in history to win all five gold medals at Westerns and had the highest all around score out of all gymnasts at both Easterns and Westerns. Currently, Madison trains 32 hours per week at Texas Dreams Gymnastics under coaches Alicia Goodwin, Marcus Harlin, Kim Zmeskal-Burdette, and Chris Burdette. Madison is preparing for the 2018 season where she hopes to qualify elite. In the future, Madison hopes to earn a spot on the US National Team.

 

Margie Navarro (2021 )
Level 9, Training 10 

Sokol Elite Gymnastics Chino, CA - Vladimir Ivanov and Tatiana Lonskaya

My Biography

Hi my name is Margie and I started gymnastics when I was 8 years old. Strength doesn't come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn't. This year has been the hardest year mentally and physically. I love to challenge myself and brave my fears. Not sure that I have a favorite event, and vault has never been my friend; however I am working hard to see some improvement on beam and bars. After ripping two tendons in my wrist just before Regionals, I am proud of earing 2nd All Around at Regionals. This journey is only possible because of great coaches and a gym that believes in me.

 

Myli Lew (2025)
Level 9 

San Mateo Gymnastics - Armen Astoian and Oksana Bystrova

My Biography

At the age of 4.5 year's old, Myli Lew was put into the Hot Shot's group and was doing 3 hours of gymnastics a week. She was slowly learning TOPs skills. At the age of 6, Myli began competing level 3 where she made the NorCal South State Team 2nd place all around. Myli made TOP's Diamond Team in 2014 and was also on the NorCal South State Champion for Level 4 placing 1st all around. After competing level 4, Myli competed one level 5 meet off season. She was the only level 5 off season gymnast to compete from her gym and won 1st place all around. Myli also made TOPs National A Team in 2015 and attended her first Developmental Invite camp in Feb '16. Myli was the NorCal South State Champion for level 7 in 2016 and represented level 7 NorCal South State Team at Regionals where she was 1st place all around. Myli has attended Developmental Camp twice so far in the later part of 2016. Myli can't wait to learn more skills. She has met a lot of great gymnasts from other gyms on my journey and loves being able to connect with them on social media since they live far away.

 

November Lenz ( 2023)
Level 9/10 

Dynamo - Tulsa, OK - Jon Lee, Mary Greene, & Rachel York-Hodgkins

My Biography

November Lenz is a Level 10 gymnast for Dynamo in Tulsa, OK. The past year, during the 2017 Season, November competed Level 9. During her 2017 campaign, she was the 2017 Oklahoma State Level 9 Jr 2 Champion, finished 1st AA at the 2017 Region III Championships in the Level 9 Jr 2 division, and concluded her season with 2nd AA at the 2017 Westerns Level 9 Jr 2 competition. The highest score she recorded during the season was a 38.650AA at the Metroplex Challenge in Texas, which was the highest Level 9 score at the event. Inclusive of the aforementioned events, during the 2017 season, November never finished a competition lower than second AA; 6 First Place AA Finishes and 3 Second Place AA Finishes. Previous to 2017, she was the 2016 Level 8 Jr A2 Region III AA Champion, 2015 Optional Oklahoma State Champion Level 6, and the 2015 Nadia Comaneci International Invitational Champion Level 6 9A and Nadia Comaneci Award recipient.

 

Olivia Fosbenner (2023)
Level 9 

Edmond Gymnastics Academy - Deana Martinez Lee

My Biography

Hi! I am Olivia and I am a Level 9 gymnast at Edmond Gymnastics Academy (EGA) in Edmond, OK. In 2017, I was the Level 8, Region 3 floor champion and finished second on beam and third all-around as well as being the Oklahoma state all-around, beam and floor champion and third place finisher on bars. I was also a member of the Oklahoma Level 7 Judges Cup Team that won the National Judges Cup Team Invitational in 2017. I attend Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School where I am a member of National Junior Honor Society. I have one brother, Isiah, who is my biggest cheerleader at my gymnastics meets.

 

Piper Slocum (2024)
Level Training 10 

AIM Athletics - Debbie Katischuck and Deana Parish

My Biography

I am a rising Level 10 gymnast at AIM Athletics in The Woodlands, Texas. My family and I moved to Texas from North Carolina in 2016. I was blessed to find an amazing gym and Coaches at AIM. My Level 9 year far exceeded my expectations. Winning Beam and AA, 38.425, I was excited to work hard towards regionals. After hard work and focus I headed to Regionals excited. Winning Floor, Vault and AA, 38.750, were such a great accomplishment. I ended my season in Utah at Western Nationals. Winning Vault and AA, 37.950. I have been working hard in the "off season" on my Level 10 skills and AIMing high to prepare for Developmental Camp in October 2018. I am the oldest of 3 girls in my family and I have 2 dogs. When I'm not in the gym I love to hang with my family and dogs.

 

Rachael Lukacs

My Biography

Rachael Lukacs is a level 10 gymnast from North Stars Gymnastics in New Jersey.

 

Reese Borrell (2024)

- Julia and Barry Coss

My Biography

I began my gymnastics career at the age of 4. I am being trained under the guidance of Julia and Barry Coss at Rochester Gymnastics Academy in Rochester, NY. I went on to qualify for TOPS 3 times, and made it to Developmental in 2015. Unfortunately, I broke my arm in 2015, had 3 surgeries and did not compete for the 2015-2016 season. I came back strong in the 2016-2017 season. Winning New York State Championships All Around with an overall score of 38.675, first place on vault, beam, and floor also winning Region 6 level 8 Regional Championships All Around with a score of 38.555, first place vault and floor. I am currently training level 9.

 

Sophia Esposito- Phoenix Gymnastics, NY (2023)
Level 15 

- Zvonimir Bosnjak and Tatiana Abramova

My Biography

Sophia began her gymnastics career at a mommy and me class at the age of 2 .She was always climbing and jumping like a little gymnast. She starting competing at the age of 5 and has been competing ever since. With a few injuries along the way, she was always determined, strong willed, and focused to keep persevering through the difficult times. Gymnastics has been such a key part of her life and has taught her life skills, confidence, and knowing what it is like to find a love and passion for something. She continues to set her goals and find her way as a gymnast and a person. She has been training hard as a level 10 gymnast for the last 3 years. Sophia would love to receive a scholarship to her college of choice one day. She has been traveling in the summer and attending a few summer college camps in hopes of some recognition and experience at collegiate level. Her favorite event is beam because she gets to preform and show her artistic talent. Sophia continues to train at Phoenix Gymnastics in Old Bethpage, NY five days a week 4 hours a day, with her teammates. Besides Gymnastics, her passions are art, traveling, music, biking, and using whatever spare time she has to hang out with her friends. She ended her year with great success. She came in 1st place AA at Regional with a 37.90. States with a 37.775 (3rd place) and 37.525 at Nationals. She continues working towards her goals and becoming the best she can be.

 

Zia Willett (2025)
Level 9 

Carolina Gymnastics - Anna Sexton

My Biography

Zia is a 10-year-old level 9 gymnast training for HOPES Elite. At age 6 she competed as a level 3 gymnast in Louisiana winning the state competition. The following season, Zia competed as a level 7 gymnast winning the Louisiana state competition and 13 at her first regional meet. During the 2016-2017 season, she won the level 8 Fruge award as the all-around winner at the Louisiana state competition and 4th place at Regionals. Zia attended 3 developmental invite camps during her career. Zia transition to Columbia, SC June 2017 due to her mother's military duty and now trains at Carolina Gymnastics under Coach Anna Sexton. Although she loves and misses her Louisiana gymnastics family, she is excited to compete with her new gymnastic's family, to grow, and achieve new skills. Her ultimate goal is to compete at the 2024 Olympics.

Hi, my name is Zia Jael Willett. I am a 9 year old level 8 gymnast.I am training for my third developmental camp. My goal is to become an elite gymnast and compete in the 2024 Olympics.