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Moldauer, Hurd Win American Cup Titles
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HOFFMAN ESTATES, ILL.—In her first competition of 2018, world champion Morgan Hurd of the United States proved that winning the all-around in Montreal was no fluke. With a new found confidence and upgrades on three of her four events, Hurd defeated reigning world floor champion Mai Murakami of Japan and two-time U.S. Junior Champion Maile O'Keefe to take her first American Cup title.

2018 American Cup champions Yul Moldauer and Morgan Hurd (United States)

In a crowd of almost 4,000 in the Sears Centre, Hurd placed first on bars, beam and floor on her way to the all-around crown and an impressive 56.599 four event total. "I feel ecstatic!" Hurd said after the meet. "Following worlds, I went home and I didn't stop working hard. And now, my hard work is paying off."

Murakami, 2016 Olympian and fourth all-around at the last worlds, also turned in four solid routines to finish second. Murakami showed the same routine and tumbling she used last fall to win the world title on that event. She shared the floor title this weekend with Hurd (14.033). She also tied for first on vault with O'Keefe with scores of 14.600 for beautifully executed Yurchenko-double fulls.

Despite several errors in her senior debut, O'Keefe won the bronze thanks in part to strong vault and floor routines and costly errors from the rest of the field. She did show tremendous difficulty and potential on all four events and will definitely be one to watch in the months ahead to the U.S. nationals and this fall's World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Rounding out the women's field were Lorette Chirpy (France), Kelly Simm (Great Britain), veteran and fan-favorite Elisabeth Seitz (Germany), who tied Hurd's top bar score of a 14.20, and the always entertaining and elegant Brooklyn Moors (Canada). Fabiane Valentin (Brazil) and Mao Yi (China) both withdrew after vault, with Mao being carried out on a stretcher.

The University of Oklahoma's Yul Moldauer easily defended his American Cup title from last year to become the first man to win back-to-back titles since fellow Sooner Jonathan Horton did so in 2006 and 2007.

Though he led the field on only one event, still rings (14.333), Moldauer competed aggressive, consistent routines with clean execution to easily top the field by almost three points. He scored an impressive 85.964 and placed in the top three on every event.

Finishing second all-around was 2017 European Championships bronze medalist James Hall of Great Britain (83.297). Hall showed consistency on all six apparatus as well, and added the event titles on pommel horse (14.166) and high bar (13.866).

Ukraine's Petro Pakhniuk finished just over two tenths behind Hall with an 83.064. Like his countryman and American Cup favorite, Oleg Vernyayev, Pakhniuk excelled on the parallel bars earning an event high 14.933.

Pre-meet favorite to challenge Moldauer for the all-around, Olympic and world champion Kenzo Shirai of Japan recorded the two highest scores of the entire competition on floor and vault (14.966 and 15.066 respectively). However, falls from pommel horse and high bar left him in sixth place finish.

The rest of the men's roster included Phillipp Herder (Germany), Allan Bower (USA), Sun Wei (China), Francisco Barretto Junior (Brazil) and Nestor Abad (Spain).

The 2018 American Cup served as the first of four in a series of FIG World Cup all-around competitions to be held throught the year. This was also the first major competition to be held in the United States since the Larry Nassar hearing and the restructuring of USA Gymnastics.


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