TAMPA, Fla. – Adorned in a leo with the Roman numerals XII. XX. MMXXI., Shilese Jones (Ascend) rose to the top of the Day 1 senior all-around standings in dominating fashion on Friday evening at the 2022 OOFOS U.S. Gymnastics Championships at Amalie Arena.
Jones rotated in Olympic order with the two Olympians in the field, Jade Carey (Oregon State) and Jordan Chiles (World Champions), and ended the night nearly a point ahead of second with a 57.200 all-around score, despite a nagging toe injury that impacted her training earlier in the week.
“Just to be here and have the opportunity to do that, especially for my dad and my sister and my mom in the audience, it just feels amazing,” Jones said after the meet. “I’ve been wanting to showcase and hit it four-for-four, and so far, day one is going great. So I’m just super proud.”
The 20-year-old Florida commit started the night on vault, opening with an airy double-twisting Yurchenko (14.550) that earned the highest execution score of the night on any event: a 9.550.
Her show-stopping bars set (14.850 – 6.3/8.55) garnered a roarous applause when she stuck her double front dismount after connecting a stalder piked Tkatchev to a Pak salto, a sequence she was struggling with during podium training.
“I’ve been working hard really on landings and details, so I just knew if I hit it, it was going to be a big score,” Jones said of the routine.
Jones reworked her beam set to accommodate her minor injury, opting for a straddle mount instead of her typical layout step-out. Known for her confident Arabians, she attacked that skill and the rest of her set, dismounting with a powerful double pike to earn a 13.700.
Ending the night on floor and in a battle with Konnor McClain (WOGA) for first, Jones pulled out all the stops with her engaging floor set (14.100), including a big opening double-double, double layout, and a clean punch front through to double back.
Jones will enter Day 2 leading the all-around, bars, and floor, as she eyes her first U.S. all-around title.
After missing the U.S. Classic last month due to a concussion, McClain rode a 14.800 on beam, her signature event, to second place with a 56.400. That set included a standing full, back handspring to layout step-out to two-footed layout, and a double pike dismount.
Rounding out the top 3 was Chiles, who was competing in her first elite meet since the Olympics and finishing her freshman season at UCLA.
The Olympic silver medalist looked better than ever, earning the second-highest mark on bars (14.250) and the third-best on floor (13.950).
Rounding out the top 6 heading into Sunday are Kayla DiCello (Hill’s) with a 55.950, Carey with a 55.650, and Skye Blakely (WOGA) with a 54.700.
Also making her elite return, Carey led the field on vault, performing a Cheng (14.800) and a double-twisting Yurchenko. The reigning Olympic gold medalist on floor was second on that event with a 14.050.
“I’m not gonna lie, floor has been a little bit hard to put together, going back to four passes and more difficult passes, and I feel like I put the pressure on myself to do well, especially on floor,” the Oregon State star said. “I was just happy to make all four passes and be in front of the crowd with my new floor routine and for the first time since the Olympics.”
See the full scores from Day 1 of senior women’s competition at the 2022 OOFOS U.S. Gymnastics Championships here.
Senior women’s competition concludes Sunday evening at 7 p.m. ET with Day 2. Follow our live blog here.