The French junior squad hosted the Romanians in a junior match-up in Haguenau over the weekend as the two teams continue their preparation for European Championships coming up in two weeks.
Both programs met earlier in the year at Gymnix, where Romania placed fifth and France finished about a point behind in sixth. The Romanians had the stronger meet again this time around, posting a 164.4 to France’s 163.9, but what was most evident was that both teams have come a long way and have made heaps of progress in the past several months, and neither was exactly at their best.
Romania actually suffered a pretty bad injury with a fall from Olivia Cimpian on bars. Cimpian had a nervous routine overall, beginning with an arched handstand that caused her to kip cast repeatedly to get back on track. She then fell on her Jaeger, and with only the dismount left, her hands slipped on one of her giants, and she dropped hard to her knees. It’s unclear if the injury will keep her out of Euros, but she did have to miss the remainder of the competition and only received a 9.3 on bars, adding insult to injury.
Ioana Crisan was Romania’s strongest, earning a 54.4 for silver in the all-around in addition to performing beautifully on beam and floor. Crisan’s beam had a 14.05, including a gorgeous opening where she moves from a sitting position into a back walkover straight into her bhs loso series. There were a few wobbles and she missed the front aerial to side aerial connection, but she did a great job with her bhs bhs layout and hit her double pike dismount with a few steps. Mostly I noticed that even with her problems, she had a tremendous fight to stay on.
On floor, Crisan had a great performance, hitting a piked full-in, a tucked full-in, a double pike, and a double tuck with a hop for a 13.9, the best score on this event all day. Crisan also competed an FTY on vault and had a 12.65 on bars after hitting a stalder to stalder full, Tkachev, pak, toe on to toe shoot, and a stuck full-in with a few form issues throughout, but she seemed to have a ton of confidence on the event, easily coming back from mistakes that would’ve caused others to hop off.
Carmen Ghiciuc had Romania’s best bars score of 13.2, and also hit strong performances on beam with a 13.7 and floor with a 13.8. Her beam included a great side aerial to split jump, bhs layout (though it was a bit piked), full turn to sissone, and a double full dismount, while on floor she competed a triple full only slightly under-rotated, a double tuck with a small step, a 2.5 with a step, and a clean double full.
Alisia Botnaru contributed to the team competition everywhere but floor, where she had a couple of stumbles and short landings. On bars, she posted a 12.85, competing a Jaeger, toe full, bail to toe on to toe shoot, giant full, and a double pike dismount with a step, an easy but mostly solid set. Her beam was a standout routine, including a wolf turn, switch to back tuck, a super clean bhs layout, a switch ring, a front aerial with a wobble causing a missed connection into her jump series, a strong side aerial, and a double tuck to finish for a 14.0.
The powerful little Denisa Golgota, the only 2002 baby in the mix, contributed scores on vault and floor. Her DTY was pretty great, just going a bit off-center at the end causing her to take a step back, but she had an awesome pop off the table and considering how tiny she is, she managed to get a good amount of power for a 14.65. On floor, she hit a piked full-in, tucked full-in, double pike, and double tuck for a 13.85, second-highest of the day. Golgota also went up on bars and beam, though she wasn’t used in the team total here, as she had a few mistakes on bars and a fall on her flight series in what was otherwise a wobbly beam routine.
Lorette Charpy led the French team with an all-around win of her own, earning a 54.9 after a strong day on all four events. Her FTY was quite piked and had a couple of steps, but her bars set was gorgeous, with a toe full to Maloney to pak, a van Leeuwen to toe on to toe half to piked Jaeger, and a big double layout for a 14.15 to win the title there. On beam, she earned a 13.7, showing a solid bhs loso, an Onodi, and a stuck double back, and on floor, she hit her 2.5 with a big step, a double tuck with a hop, a front full, and a double pike for a 13.4.
Her teammate Morgane Osyssek was the bronze all-around medalist with a 51.5. Her FTY was stupendous, looking big and tight and clean for a 14.2, the second-best on vault for the day. She also went for a Yurchenko 1.5, likely because she’s attempting to make the vault final at Euros, but unfortunately sat it. On bars, her form was pretty clean aside from a leg break on her bail, though the routine was overall a bit easy, earning only a 12.7. She had a fall on her side somi on beam and then stumbled back and sat her double back for an 11.15, but then fought back on floor with a beautifully choreographed routine, hitting her double pike, 2.5 to front tuck with a step out of bounds, lovely triple spin, double tuck, and double full for a 13.45.
Melissa Poitreau had a fall on her Jaeger on bars, but contributed a 13.95 with her solid FTY on vault and a 13.5 on beam, where she hit a bhs layout, a front aerial with a wobble breaking the connection into her sissone to side aerial, and a double full dismount. Janna Mouffok had the third-best score of the day on bars with a 13.05, hitting a toe-on to Maloney to bail to Ray, straddle Jaeger, an arched over giant full that she brought back into control, and a full-in with a hop. She also hit a solid FTY for a 13.95 and earned a 12.9 on floor.
Also competing for France was Alisson Lapp, who is fabulous on beam and floor. She had the best beam score of the day with a 14.25, showing excellent work on her bhs bhs loso, full turn, switch to split jump, side somi, side aerial to split jump, front aerial to sheep jump, and 2.5 dismount. What I like best about her beam is how exact and precise she is in all of her movements, and she also shows a bit of flair in her arm movements and gestures. On floor, she hit her double pike, 2.5 to front tuck, front layout to front full, and double full, all clean and featuring excellent choreography for a 13.6, the highest score for France on this event.
Laura Iacob of Romania and Assia Khnifass also performed routines, but as the two are expected to be alternates in Bern, neither contributed scores to the final. Iacob had a great performance on floor, but had a hard fall on her pak on bars and another one on her flight series on beam. If she hits, she could be a good option to potentially replace the injured Cimpian if Cimpian needs to miss Euros, though her consistency could definitely be an issue. Khnifass, meanwhile, had a hit FTY, a good bars routine, a fall on her switch half on beam, and strong work on floor.
While there is no team final in Bern, the junior qualification session will act as the team competition. Both of these teams are on par with the other top European programs, and while they still have some clean-up work to do over the next couple of weeks, they should definitely finish in the top eight.
Full results from the friendly are available here.
Article by Lauren Hopkins