After nailing her Amanar vault for a meet-high 16.000, overwhelming favorite Jordyn Wieber (Geddert's) dropped off on a Tkatchev on bars and never recovered.
"I tried not to let it affect me," she said.
Wieber fell off beam twice, on a layout and side aerial, and then crashed her double tuck dismount when her feet, both heavily taped, appeared to slightly miss the end of the beam. She scratched floor.
"It was a little disappointing," she said of not being able to finish the meet.
Turns out, Wieber had slightly injured her ankles during warm-ups when she landed short on a beam dismount. She said she might try to compete on Saturday if her ankles recover.
Defending champion Kyla Ross (Gym-Max) hit all four routines in the first of two junior subdivisions to take the lead (57.900). Her best effort was a double-twisting Yurchenko on vault, which she said was her meet highlight. Ross also said that her victory last year in Dallas improved her confidence level. In Hartford, she thinks she can win again.
"Maybe," she said of her chances. "I hope."
After day one, her closest pursuer will be WOGA's Katelyn Ohashi, who won the second subdivision (56.850) despite falls from bars (piked Jaeger) and beam (layout-full).
"I really don't know [what happened]," Ohashi said, adding that she still thinks she can win. "If I just keep going and don't give up."
Gabrielle Douglas (Excalibur) sits in third with 56.450. She showed difficult skills (standing Arabian on beam) and plenty of power in her tumbling (tucked full-in, Arabian double front).
• With 41 gymnasts in the field, the competition was split into two subdivisions: 22 competitors in the 1 p.m. session followed by 21 at 2:30 p.m. Qualification to the junior national team will be determined after Saturday's competition. The top six automatically qualify to the national team, with additional members to be determined.
• Chow Liang, who coaches Shawn Johnson, had one gymnast in the junior division: Keely McNeer (53.850).
• Peyton Ernst (Texas Dreams) performed her floor routine to a dramatic arrangement of Led Zeppelin classic "Stairway to Heaven."
• Common Weakness: The sole circle-shoot-to-high bar transition was on display in great quantity but not quality. Too many gymnasts released too soon and ended up kipping from a dead hang. McKayla Maroney (All Olympia) was the exception.
• At least three juniors competed an Amanar: Lexie Priessman (Cincinnati), Jordyn Wieber (Geddert's) and McKayla Maroney (All Olympia). Maroney's was the cleanest.
• Gabrielle Douglas (Excalibur) showed outstanding potential and amplitude in her acrobatics.