The Moscow team of Aliya Mustafina, Maria Paseka, Alla Sosnitskaya, and Daria Spiridonova dominated the team final at the 2014 Russian Cup, held earlier today in Penza, Russia, earning a 168.633 for a five point lead over second place Saint Petersburg.
The competition, which featured the “three up three count” format we’ll see at World Championships in October, saw some strong performances from both Moscow and Saint Petersburg as well as the Central Federal District, which counted scores from Viktoria Komova and Maria Kharenkova (the latter of whom also contributed scores to the Southern district).
All-around champion Mustafina competed everywhere but vault, and though scoring was not as lenient as it was during the all-around, she still put up some of the highest numbers across the board, including a 15.033 for her bars and a 14.9 for beam.
Her uneven bars looked very clean, including excellent handstand work. I loved her Komova, super high piked Jaeger, clean pak salto, and toe full to stuck full-out dismount.
On beam, her double turn was lovely, and her standing arabian was a bit low though she hit the connections into her jumps with ease. She missed the connection from her switch half into the Onodi, but did the Onodi into a slowly connected but nicely done side aerial into a split jump. Her next series was also changed, to a front aerial front handspring back handspring, which looked nicely done. She took just a step out of her double tuck dismount. While it wasn’t as difficult as the routine she competed in the all-around final, it was VERY clean. I like that she can go with the flow and make these day to day changes without freaking out.
Paseka competed on vault and floor for the team final, hitting her Amanar better than she hit in qualifications but taking a large step out on the dismount for a 15.3.
On floor, she hit the two whips in her first pass, but didn’t continue it well into the triple full, which landed almost on her knees, though her 2.5 to front full looked solid. She took a step out of bounds on her double tuck to finish, earning a 13.567.
On the uneven bars, Komova hit but not with as much attention to form as she did on the first day, as her handstands were all a bit short. She also hopped forward on her dismount, and her piked Jaeger looked a bit odd in the air, but her inbar skills all looked lovely, as usual.
With a 14.4, I don’t know if she will be able to contend for an uneven bar spot, especially after having earned a 14.7 on the first day. Interestingly, Ekaterina Kramarenko actually looks like she could contend for a spot over Komova, as she has hit two solid bar routines but also has a full all-around set including a decent beam, which earned the third best beam score today. Even if she’s not chosen for the team, she has impressed me a ton in her appearance and it’s great seeing another older athlete back in top shape. If Russia doesn’t want her back, Azerbaijan needs to act fast!
In terms of the young ones, Sosnitskaya and Spiridonova, aside from Spiridonova’s bars, we didn’t see a ton of spectacular work. Both look strong overall but don’t seem to have super strong heads for competition just yet…even if they hit, they’re not fully confident in their routines. Same with Kharenkova, who wasn’t as solid on beam as she was in the all-around, showing balance checks on several skills and landing her double pike dismount low. She was okay elsewhere, but beam really is her only true standout until she becomes more consistent on floor.
The competition continues with event finals on Saturday and Sunday.
Moscow – 168.633
Saint Petersburg – 163.467
Central Federal District – 160.101
Volga Federal District – 149.766
Southern Federal District – 147.801
Article by Lauren Hopkins