WORCESTER, Mass. — Katelyn Ohashi remembers watching the American Cup on television when Jordyn Wieber won last year.
The 15-year-old Texan was planning to take in some TV again before finding out on Tuesday that, instead, she would be making her senior debut in the event that has sent Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton, Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin to Olympic titles.
“It was amazing just to be here,” she said on Saturday after a strong performance on the balance beam propelled her to victory in the most prestigious international gymnastics competition on U.S. soil. “It was my first senior event, so that’s a big confidence-builder for me.”
Olympian Jake Dalton won the men’s competition in a field that also included the Olympic silver and bronze medalists. Dalton, the 2012 NCAA champion who was fifth in the floor exercise in London, had four scores of 15 or higher, including a 15.7 on the floor.
That and an illness that hindered Olympic bronze medalist Danell Leyva helped Dalton to victory.
“He had, obviously, a little rough day,” Dalton said of Leyva, who needed intravenous fluids on Friday and nearly withdrew. “He fought through it. That’s something positive not only to me but to the whole Team USA.”
The first event of the World Cup season, the American Cup was supposed to be Kyla Ross’ return to competition after the London Olympics. But the youngest member of the gold medal-winning Fierce Five dropped out with a bruised heel.
Instead, it turned into a coming out party for Ohashi and runner-up Simone Biles, who are among the top contenders in the next generation of American women trying to follow up London gold with a repeat in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
“I’m taking it year-by-year,” Biles said. “But it is still in the back of my mind and I do think about it.”