Simone Biles (Bannon's) won the senior title at the P&G Championships in Hartford, Conn., but she almost gave it away on her last routine of the competition. Holding a 1.25 lead over 2012 Olympic gold medalist Kyla Ross (Gym-Max) heading into rotation four, Biles was cruising through her uneven bars routine until her feet slipped off the bar on a sole circle. The mistake left her hanging -- and the crowd wondering who would win -- before she repeated the element and finished her routine. The mistake opened the door for Ross, who still had to perform on balance beam.
Like Biles, Ross was having a great competition until one element in her final routine. She landed a side somi a bit crooked, forcing her to windmill her arms three times to stay on.
In the end, Biles scored 120.45 across two days and eight routines to defeat Ross by just 0.20 in what figured to be a close battle.
Asked how she felt to be national champion, Biles was at a loss for words.
"I don't know," she said with her usual grin. "I'm happy. I don't really know how to feel."
Ross said she knew Biles had made a mistake on bars because she heard the crowd groan, but she didn't know how bad it was. She was somewhat disappointed with her runner-up finish.
"It's a little hard to come so close," she said.
U.S. National Team Coordinator Marta Karolyi was pleased with Biles' turnaround from her poor performance at the U.S. Classic last month. She even had invited her to the national training center on her ranch for a workout and to give her some confidence.
"I think she had a good competition consistency-wise," Karolyi said. "She proved she was a good competitor."
Brenna Dowell (GAGE) placed a distant third with 116.55, and Peyton Ernst (Texas Dreams) was fourth with 115.30.
Biles ranked second on all four events, while Ross won the uneven bars and balance beam. 2012 Olympian McKayla Maroney competed only on vault and floor exercise, and she placed first on both.
Ten gymnasts completed the all-around, with ranks 5-10 going to Maggie Nichols (114.70), Mykayla Skinner (113.15), Kennedy Baker (112.90), Abigail Milliet (110.90), Madison Desch (109.90) and Erin Macadaeg (109.70). (Madison Kocian withdrew from day two with a sprained left ankle. Ariana Guerra did not to floor or vault on day two, and Elizabeth Price did only vault and uneven bars.)
National team: Baker, Biles, Dowell, Ernst, Kocian, Maroney, Nichols, Price, Priessman, Ross, Skinner.
The four-member women's team for the 2013 Antwerp World Championships will be named after a training camp next month.
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Peyton Ernst (Texas Dreams) on UB: Jaeger, nice Pak to Stalder-full, Maloney, but bent knees on two giants before her tucked half-half.
Mykayla Skinner (Desert Lights) on BB: ff, tucked full; side aerial; standing layout to two feet; RO double tuck.
Maggie Nichols (Twin City Twisters) on FX: double layout; piked full-in; 1.5 thru to 2.5; double tuck.
Kennedy Baker (Texas Dreams) on UB: Stalder Tkatchev, needed an extra swing after second release (toe-on Tkatchev).
Brenna Dowell (GAGE) on BB: front on to sissone; front aerial wobble; Kochetkova; front kick over side somi; 2 power ffs to double pike (bent knees on ffs).
Erin Macadaeg (San Mateo) on FX: Arabian double tuck, stumble; 1.5 to front layout; double pike; double tuck.
Elizabeth Price (Parkettes) on UB: She couldn't get through this routine on Thursday. Weiler kip pirouette Maloney; toe-on piked Tkatchev to overshoot half; full-twisting double layout. Nice set. 14.80/6.3
Simone Biles (Bannon's) on BB: Full turn in lunge; front aerial to sissone; ff, layout; leap series to back tuck; front somi; ff, ff, tucked full-in, hop forward. Great set under the circumstances. 15.00/5.9
Kyla Ross (Gym-Max) on FX: She struggled here on Thursday. Arabian double to stag jump, clean; tucked full-in, hop back; double pike, solid; double tuck, low landing. 14.50/5.9
Ariana Guerra (Texas Dreams) on UB: Jaeger; Pak; Maloney; full-twisting double layout. Solid.
Madison Desch (GAGE) on BB: fall on ff, ff, layout to two feet; RO, ff, double tuck.
McKayla Maroney (All Olympia) on FX: Huge cheers when her name is announced. Sticks double layout mount; 2.5 to front-full; double Arabian; double pike, tiny steps back. Strong routine. Audience is impressed. 15.25/6.1
Abigail Milliet (Denton) on FX: tucked full-in, high; 1.5 thru to double tuck, stiff-legged landing; front layout to double full; double pike. Nice dance but landing errors will hurt.
Biles increased her .75 lead over Ross to 75.50-74.25.
Baker on BB: two separate lunge turns to begin; nice Arabian double front to end.
Dowell on FX: OB on layout full-out; piked double front second pass; tucked double front third; stumble on her double pike dismount. Tough routine!
Ross on VT: Yurchenko-double twist, tiny hop. Very clean. 15.30
Biles on FX: tucked double-double bounced OB; double layout, easy; 2.5 twist front layout; tucked full-in, bounce back. 14.95/6.2
Maroney on VT: Amanar, very high, near stick. 16.00; Crowd goes nuts.; second vault is half-on to front-full, one big step, slightly bent knees in post flight. 15.40; 15.70 average
Ernst on BB: press hand; switch ring, wobble; ff, ff, layout; front aerial, sheep, not connected; switch leap, back tuck; ff, ff, double pike.
Desch did nice whip immediate Arabian double mount on FX; 1.5 punch rudi; clean triple full to end.
Skinner on FX: sticks layout double-double; tucked Arabian double, stag jump; tucked double-double, clean landing; 1.5 thur to 2.5. Four excellent passes.
Nichols on VT: strong Yurchenko-double twist.
Biles leading Ross, 90.45-89.55, with Dowell distant third at 86.70. Ernst fourth with 86.20.
Biles on VT: Amanar, hop back as she was slightly under rotated, but still a strong vault. 15.80; layout Podkopayeva, well landed. 15.15. 15.475 average.
Ross on UB: Inside Stalder to Shaposhnikova, toe-on Maloney half; overshoot half to dead handstand; clean double layout, near stick. Strong routine. 15.45; 6.4
Ernst on FX: Double layout; double Arabian stag jump; way OB on third pass of 1.5 to rudi; double tuck.
Desch on VT: low Yurchenko-double full.
Milliet on UB: got out of rhythm and missed a giant and jumped off.
Baker on FX: 1.5 thru to Arabian double, stag jump; sticks open piked double Arabian; handspring double-twisting front.
Skinner on VT: Cheng Fei; hop back but complete. Not much lift off the table. 14.90; It's worth 6.4, .10 more than an Amanar; Yurchenko-double full second vault. 14.60.
Nichols on UB: Maloney; toe-on Tkatchev; Pak with legs apart; double layout.
Dowell on VT: High Amanar, big hop to side.
Macadaeg on UB: Jaeger, Tkatchev; Pak; full-in.
Biles in first, 106.25; Ross, 105.00; Dowell 102.20; Ernst 100.25; Nichols 100.20; Skinner, 99.60.
Ernst on VT: clean Yurchenko-double full, tiny hop.
Desch on UB: piked Jaeger, Pak to peel off (way over rotated); she struggled further on the low bar after remounting.
Milliet on BB: front; sheep, wobble; switch-half, wobble; front aerial; ff, layout; fall on tour jete half that only turned a quarter at the end; double pike
Baker on VT: Yurchenko-full, hops.
Skinner in UB: Maloney-half; Tkatchev; toe-on Tkatchev; full-in.
Nichols on BB: front; leap series; ff, ff, layout; switch ring; front aerial; side somi; RO, double pike.
Price on VT: Yurchenko-double full, one step
Dowell on UB: Maloney; toe-on piked Tkatchev, toe-on Tkatchev to cross grip; full-twisting double layout. Great meet for her.
Biles on UB: Weiler kip, pirouette, Maloney; Tkatchev, piked Tkatchev; toes slipped off on a sole circle; first error of the weekend. 14.20. Can Ross pass her with a solid beam set?
Ross on BB: switch ring; ff, layout; front aerial, sheep; side somi with three arm windmills to stay on; side aerial; front somi; RO, double tuck.