The two juniors from Gemini Gymnastics in Ontario were the stars of the show at this year’s Elite Canada. 14-year-old Jade Chrobok and her 13-year-old teammate Ana Padurariu finished first and second to top the podium in Halifax.
Padurariu took an early lead on vault, earning a 13.9 for her FTY while Chrobok in the same rotation put up a 13.1 on bars after hitting her new inbar piked Tkachev (both she and Padurariu now have this skill!), nice inbar work into her Ray transition, and a double front with a hop.
In the second rotation, Chrobok opened the door after falling on her switch half on beam, unfortunate in an otherwise great routine, including a side aerial to loso with a check, a beautiful double spin, and a double tuck dismount for a 12.95. Padurariu increased her lead to about two points with a 14.125 on her newly-upgraded routine, which now includes in inbar half to Jaeger before her inbar piked Tkachev.
Chrobok brought the situation back under control with a 13.9 for her hit floor routine, nailing her whip whip through to double tuck, 2.5 to front tuck to stag, double full, and perfectly stuck double pike, while Padurariu unfortunately fell on her incredible side aerial to loso to loso series on beam, which she fought for but couldn’t hold onto. Still, she boasts a 6.0 start value there and the rest of her work was gorgeous, so her 13.65 with the fall was still the best junior beam score in the country.
Going into the final rotation, Padurariu still had nearly two points over her teammate, but Chrobok brought a big Yurchenko 1.5 to the table, taking just a step forward for a 14.2 while Padurariu unfortunately came up short on her 2.5, sitting the front tuck she attempted to punch into. Not as strong on floor as she is elsewhere, the fall combined with the low start value meant just a 12.425 there, putting her all-around score at 54.1, just five-hundredths behind Chrobok’s 54.15.
Padurariu tweaked her ankle a bit on her floor fall, so her coaches decided to scratch her from event finals, but this was a preventative measure and she seemed fine and was in great spirits following the competition. This is her first year competing at the junior international elite level, as she was a novice last season, and with a little more consistency she’s looking at an all-around performance that would make her competitive at the senior level right now. Chrobok has also made some big strides in the past year and I can’t wait to see these two rule the program in the next quad.
The third place finisher was Victoria Jurca, the 13-year-old from GYM-FLY who had a very consistent day to finish with a 53.225. She had a few little bumps along the way, like a step out-of-bounds on her 1.5 through to double tuck and some checks on beam, but overall she was very solid and shows a ton of promise on floor, where she already has a solid piked full-in.
Rounding out the top eight were Éloise Monat of Equilibrix in fourth with a 51.275, Sayge Urban of Dynamo in fifth with a 50.65, Sophie Marois of Viagym in sixth with a 49.725, Montana Fairbairn of Stampede City in seventh with a 49.375, and Emily Walker of Marian Gymnastics in eight with a 49.35. Of these, I loved Urban’s strength on vault and Fairbairn’s big routines on beam and floor, even if they didn’t exactly go quite as she would’ve liked. Walker also had a really fun floor routine, which the crowd seemed to love.
Haley de Jong of Flicka looked great on floor, and probably would’ve been in the medal hunt had she not seen multiple falls on beam, where her total score with a 5.4 start value was 9.4. De Jong also had a fall on bars, so it was an unfortunate performance for her; it just looked like the upgrades she’s made in the past year didn’t quite work out in competition, though she should still be on your radar for the future.
Other highlights included Kelly Johnston of Manjak’s on vault, Annie-Pier Thériault of Viagym on floor (in a somewhat nervous group of juniors, her performance ability was incredible…just a truly gifted sense of how to play to the crowd), Brooklyn Moors on beam and floor (she unfortunately sat her double front on floor and only got a 7.1 on bars but was beautiful to watch on beam), Alexis Didomizio on floor (she had some stumbles and put her hands down, but her choreography was really unique and she started her routine with a Memmel turn to illusion turn), and Charlotte McDevitt on floor (four words – Rite of Spring routine, and she did it with some ballsy original recipe choreo, very reminiscent of Olga Strazheva).
Unfortunately, the meet was not without incident, as Megan Phillips of Gymnix bounced off of the uneven bars during warmups and knocked her head on the floor. She was unable to continue, so we hope she’s okay and send good thoughts for a speedy recovery.
Article by Lauren Hopkins