It was a great day for Ana Perez at the Spanish Cup this past Saturday. The 18-year-old who will represent the country at the Olympic Games this summer had the best competition of her career, earning a 57.267 with excellent work on all four events to come out on top by nearly three points.
From start to finish, Perez was looking strong, her confidence growing with each performance since she qualified a spot in Rio. In addition to her all-around win, she won the apparatus titles on every event, with beam her standout of the day. Her routine featured rock solid work everywhere, including her switch to switch half, full L turn, flight series, punch front to split jump, and double tuck dismount with just a small step back to earn a 14.467. It’s been exciting to watch her grow so much over the past couple of years she’s spent as a senior, and if she can compete like this in August, she could definitely find herself in the Olympic all-around final.
Claudia Colom, who also competed at the test event and finished right behind Perez, won the silver medal with a 54.533. She struggled a little on beam here, but was otherwise strong, especially on bars where her Bhardwaj is always a favorite. She had a 14.2 for that routine, and also posted the second-best score of the day on floor with a 13.3, typically a weaker event for her though she had one of her better performances there at this meet.
In third was Nora Fernandez with a 54.4. Fernandez, a 16-year-old who was part of last year’s Euros and worlds teams, had one of her best meets of all time as well, even with her relatively weak floor. She earned the silver medals on vault and beam with clean work on both, but I was most impressed by her bars, where she showed a clean Moloney to Gienger combination in addition to a stuck double layout for a 14.033, the fourth-best of the day in a talented field.
The new senior Helena Bonilla placed fourth with a 53.733. The U.S.-born 15-year-old had a lengthy wait for citizenship, and though she spent several years competing at the national level, was never able to be rewarded. She finally became a citizen last year, but then an elbow injury took her out of competition for several months, making this her first “official” meet. Bonilla had lovely work on bars and a strong performance on beam, earning a 13.833 to win the bronze medal there.
Cintia Rodriguez, 21, was fifth with a 53.234 in addition to winning the bronze medals on bars and floor with scores of 14.167 and 12.867, respectively. I was looking forward to hopefully seeing her full-twisting Ray in competition, but without it, her bars looked strong and clean, yet another fantastic routine in what is a pretty excellent bars field.
Rounding out the top eight were Andrea Matillas in sixth with a 51.667, Paula Raya in seventh with a 51.466, and Marina Plomer in eighth with a 50.6; Plomer also took home the vault bronze with a 14.267.
The top four from this competition – Perez, Colom, Fernandez, and Bonilla – are on Spain’s nominative list for European Championships next month along with first-year senior Laura Bechdeju, who didn’t compete this weekend. Overall, this seems to be Spain’s strongest combined team all quad, even without Roxana Popa, whose knee injury earlier this season took her out of Olympic contention. The team has needed to step things up in her absence, and they’re beginning to prove themselves now.
Article by Lauren Hopkins