Texas Dreams gymnast Ragan Smith of Lewisville won the U.S. national all-around gold in Anaheim this weekend, while teammate Emma Malabuyo of Flower Mound won the silver medal in the junior division.
ANAHEIM, CALIF. — Ragan Smith of Lewisville, Texas won the national all-around, balance beam, and floor exercise titles at the P&G Championships in Anaheim last weekend.
Smith, 17, had a near-perfect competition this weekend, leading the field of 22 gymnasts by over a point after the first day of competition on Friday and then securing the gold medal with a combined score of 115.250 on Sunday, finishing over three points ahead of the silver medalist.
Smith, who trains at Texas Dreams Gymnastics in Coppell and was an alternate for the 2016 Olympic team, is the first gymnast to earn the senior national all-around title in her gym’s 16-year history. She follows in the footsteps of coach Kim Zmeskal-Burdette, the 1992 Olympic medalist who was a three-time U.S. national champion. Smith’s win comes 25 years after Zmeskal-Burdette’s last win, and the pair also won the American Cup 25 years apart, with Zmeskal-Burdette taking the crown in 1992 and Smith earning the prestigious title in March of this year.
Her individual scores in Anaheim are now the two highest all-around scores among thousands of elite-level gymnasts who have competed all over the world so far in 2017, setting the record on Friday with a 57.400 and then instantly breaking it on Sunday with a 57.850. She also posted some of the world’s top scores on her best events, beam and floor, winning the gold medals on both in addition to tying for the bronze medal on bars.
In addition to her medal haul, Smith also once again earned a spot on the eight-person senior national team, from which four gymnasts will be selected to represent the United States at world championships in Montreal this October. Though she’ll face tough competition at the selection camp in Huntsville next month, her performance in Anaheim made Smith the number one contender for the U.S. team, and she should be a frontrunner for at least three medals in Montreal.
In the junior division, Emma Malabuyo of Flower Mound won the silver all-around medal in an incredibly tight race against reigning national champion Maile O’Keefe of Las Vegas, Nevada. The two finished the first day of competition only about a tenth apart, and while a fall from Malabuyo on beam held her back from being able to challenge on day two, she still finished over a point ahead of the bronze medalist to win her first national all-around medal in addition to retaining her spot on the U.S. national team.
Malabuyo, 14, also won the gold medal on floor, the silver medal on bars, and the bronze medal on vault to finish her competition as one of the most-decorated juniors in the U.S. with a total of four, and despite her young age, her all-around and floor scores are among the top five in the world this year, on par with gymnasts at the senior level.
Earlier this year, Malabuyo represented the U.S. at the International Gymnix meet in Canada and at the City of Jesolo Trophy meet in Italy, helping the team to gold medals at both events in addition to winning four individual medals between the two. Going forward, she will likely head to Yokohama to compete at the Junior Japan International next month, where she’ll be a favorite for medals on every event at what will be her final competition at the junior level before becoming a senior in 2018.
Also representing Texas Dreams at P&G Championships were Deanne Soza and Abi Walker at the senior level and Annie Beard and Sydney Barros at the junior level. Soza, 15, finished 10th in the all-around while Walker, also 15, competed every event but floor, with 16th place on bars her top finish. Beard, 13, had a very strong competition to finish 10th all-around in her first national competition, also placing fifth on beam and sixth on vault and floor, while Barros, 12, finished 23rd all-around with beam her strongest event.
In addition to all of her gymnasts’ successes in Anaheim, Texas Dreams co-owner and head coach Kim Zmeskal-Burdette was also recognized at the P&G Championships, winning the Elite Coach of the Year award for her contributions to the U.S. elite program in 2017. With both Smith and Malabuyo competing as some of the best in the world as well as Texas Dreams boasting the greatest number of national-level elites among any gym in the country, Zmeskal-Burdette — who also earned the United States Olympic Committee’s Developmental Coach of the Year award in 2016 — was a no-brainer for the honor, which she received alongside Smith as Athlete of the Year.
About Texas Dreams Gymnastics
Texas Dreams Gymnastics has a long history of training the nation’s most talented gymnasts. Owners Kim Zmeskal-Burdette and Chris Burdette and their staff operate from an enormous 36,000 square-foot arena. Zmeskal-Burdette is the USA’s first world champion gymnast, and is also an Olympic medalist and International Hall of Fame member.
Texas Dreams is renowned for innovative and inspired coaching and training in all gymnastics trends and techniques. The gym has a reputation for developing talented athletes at every level, and has a history of placing elite gymnasts on the U.S. national team every year. For more information about Texas Dreams, please visit www.texasdreams.com or call 972.471.2345.