The Deutscher Turner-Bund has made their final selections for the 2015 World Championships team following a final trial held in Stuttgart this weekend.
After the trial, the program’s consistent top three women – Elisabeth Seitz, Pauline Schäfer, and Sophie Scheder – were given notice as to their inclusion on the team. The remaining three gymnasts were added this morning, and include Leah Griesser, Lisa Katharina Hill, and Pauline Tratz. In addition, Sarah Voss was named the alternate, and she will travel with the team to Glasgow.
“We have a good and balanced team in this lineup,” head coach Ulla Koch noted. “But we have to work even harder in the coming weeks to improve our consistency on each event. Only then can we achieve our goal, to qualify a full team to the Olympic Games on our first attempt.”
The women will compete in a friendly match against Switzerland and Brazil this coming weekend in their final preparation for Worlds. Making the top eight teams won’t be easy, as there are about six teams competing at an equal level, all of whom could contend for one of the last spots in the team final. This is a solid team, with bars a huge strength and vault looking strong, though beam and floor tend to be quite inconsistent.
Like Romania last year, I actually think this team would be more successful in a three-up situation than they will be in the five-up four-count format of qualifications (just take a look at how well the women did in Baku earlier this summer, even with falls). With two world-class bar routines and one world-class beam performance, they can manage to contend at the top of the pack and could do a fantastic job in finals…but it’s making it there that could be an issue.
Because the teams are so tight this year, a single fall or even a more minor mistake could very well keep them out of team finals in Glasgow. They would have no problem qualifying a team at the test event, but as Koch said, their goal is to make it happen now in order to alleviate some of the already immense pressure going into the Olympic year.
In addition to the incredible performances from Seitz, Scheder, and Schäfer, I’ve been impressed with Leah Griesser’s growing consistency this year. Just the alternate in 2014, she all but made herself a lock this year with her strong work on beam and floor, the latter of which is the team’s weakest event. Tratz also adds some good work on floor and is a very powerful vaulter, while Hill – despite being a bit limited due to her recent comeback – is a seasoned pro at this point, and if she hits bars can add a big score there as well.
Missing from the picture is new senior Antonia Alicke, who has some very elegant work but lacks the difficulty and consistency to fit into the team picture. While she was probably hoping for at least the alternate spot, a messy performance this weekend left her far behind, leaving the spot open for fellow new senior Voss.
Article by Lauren Hopkins