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Maryland’s Kayla DiCello wins U.S. junior women’s gymnastics championship

Maryland’s Kayla DiCello wins U.S. junior women’s gymnastics championship
Kayla DiCello competes on the balance beam during the women's junior competition of the 2019 U.S. Gymnastics Championships at the Sprint Center on Aug., 11, 2019, in Kansas City, Missouri. (Jamie Squire/Getty)

Kayla DiCello, a 15-year-old from Boyds who trains at Hill’s Gymnastics in Gaithersburg, won the junior all-around women’s gymnastics title Sunday at the United States championships in Kansas City, Missouri.

DiCello, who won silver in 2018, earned top marks in the vault (29.500) and floor exercise (27.800) to secure the title. She finished with an overall score of 112.700, narrowly defeating Konnor McClain of West Virginia.

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Anya Pilgrim, 14, of Germantown and Hill’s Gymnastics, finished seventh. Sydney Morris, 15, of Bowie and First State Gymnastics in Delaware placed 11th. Hill’s Gymnastics, owned by coach and Silver Spring native Kelli Hill, has trained Olympic medalists Elise Ray, a Wilde Lake alumna, Courtney Kupets and Dominique Dawes.

With their performances this weekend, DiCello and Pilgrim both earned spots on the 2019-20 U.S. Junior National Team.

DiCello also won a gold medal in vault at the International Gymnastics Federation’s inaugural Junior World Championships in June.

On Saturday night, Baltimore native Donnell Whittenburg, who has been dogged by injuries for much of the last four years, finished third on still rings — his signature event — and seventh in the all-around despite being at what he described at “80%.”

Sam Mikulak claimed his modern era-record sixth national title by topping runner-up Yul Moldauer by a staggering 5.550 points. He captured gold in high bar, parallel bars, pommel horse and floor exercise and completed 12 routines over the course of two days without a fall. His overall total of 174.150 also created the largest winning margin of his six national championships.

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