Add Spain to the list of programs that have defeated the fledgling Romanians during their downfall in the latter half of this quad.
A team featuring most of Spain’s strongest seniors – including the two up for the country’s Olympic spot, Ana Perez and Claudia Colom – managed a solid defeat of a young Romanian squad where Silvia Zarzu was the most seasoned of the bunch. With a 166.65 to Romania’s 164.05, the Spanish team proved to look solid on their path to Euros next month, with each member contributing at least one score to the total.
Perez and Colom paved the way for victory, with both showing excellent work and hit routines to reach the top two spots on the podium. Perez totaled a 56.55 including the day’s best scores on bars and floor with a 14.15 each; she earned a third 14.15 for the second-best score on beam and then notched a 14.1 for the second-best on vault as well. Colom, who finished right behind Perez at the Olympic Test Event as well, was second with a 55.75, tying Perez with a 14.15 on bars and with a 14.1 on vault in addition to posting the third-best score on floor with a 13.9 there.
Rounding out the team was Cintia Rodriguez in fourth with a 54.05 and new senior Helena Bonilla and Nora Fernandez tied in fifth with matching scores of 53.5. Cintia stood out with a 13.8 for her hit bars while both Bonilla and Fernandez were strongest on vault and bars, with Fernandez’s vault reaching a 14.2 for the best of the day there. Interestingly, Rodriguez – who is not on Spain’s nominative roster for Euros – was not included in the final tally for the team total. Had she been used, she would’ve contributed on bars and beam to boost their overall score by nearly a point.
Romania opted to rest top Euros team members Catalina Ponor, Diana Bulimar, Ana Maria Ocolisan, and Dora Vulcan. Without them, 15-year-old Maria Holbura, who had the strongest overall performance for the Romanians in Rio last month, was the star of the show, finishing third all-around with a 54.6 in addition to posting the best score of the day with her 14.4 on beam. I think she’s remarkably undervalued by the Romanian federation, and shows so much promise, with a little fine-tuning going into her senior year, she could’ve been such a strong performer.
Aside from Holbura, the team saw decent all-around performances from fellow new seniors Denisa Stanciu (seventh with a 53.3, third on floor with a 13.9) and Andreea Ciurusniuc (eighth with a 52.2) as well as decent work from Zarzu, who hit both beam and floor, posting a 14.0 on the latter for the second-best mark there. New senior Anda Butuc competed everywhere but floor, and actually had the top score on bars for the Romanians with her 13.45 in addition to a 13.9 for her steady beam.
The tables turned in the junior field, where a B team of Romanians beat Spain’s best, 159.95 to 156.25. None of the nominative girls from Romania’s strong junior team competed in Madrid, but the group that went did a mostly fantastic job given their overall low difficulty.
Carmen Glavan won the all-around with a 54.4 while posting the top score of 13.75 on floor, with Laura Iacob in second with a 53.05 and earning the best of 14.1 on vault. Beatrice Butunoi was fourth with a 51.3 and the top score of 14.1 on beam, Ariadna Stanciu was eighth with a 50.8, and Roberta Plesa was ninth with a 50.75.
For the Spanish team, Amelia Sanchez had the strongest finish, earning a 51.95 to finish third all-around in addition to getting the highest bars score with a 13.3. Marta Sanchez was fifth with a 51.05, Andrea Carmona was sixth with a 51.1, Violeta Sanchez was seventh with a 50.95 and tied Iacob for the best score on vault, and Emma Fernandez was tenth with a 48.45. Most of these juniors are expected to compete in Bern next month, with Elena Serrano the only one missing out.
It’s impossible to judge a program by its B teams, but I was actually pleasantly surprised to see the Romanians perform fairly well here, even if they did finish second to a program they ordinarily beat. With the pressure from the test event gone, they were able to sit back and enjoy the ride, and while the results weren’t stellar, they were consistent and controlled and confident in their performances, despite being mostly inexperienced. Hopefully this overall feeling carries over to Bern, because the seniors traveling there actually have a pretty good chance of doing well in the team final. All they have to do is hit.
Full results from the friendly meet are available here.
Article by Lauren Hopkins