Villa Dominates 1st Italian Serie A Meet

Without last year’s veterans to carry Brixia Brescia, a group of 2003-born juniors stepped up to keep the team at the top, with 13-year-old Giorgia Villa leading the way.

Villa earned a 56.45 (including 1.2 points of difficulty bonus, so really a 55.25 which is still a fabulous score) to finish nearly four tenths ahead of the rest of the gymnasts in Turin, posting the top scores on vault for her powerful DTY, bars for her super clean work, and floor for an expressive performance in addition to the second-best score on beam, where she has some great skills but lower difficulty overall.

Since age 12, people have been calling Villa “the future of Italian gymnastics,” and it’s no wonder, as at such a young age she’s already at a level that surpassed everyone on last summer’s Olympic team in Rio. It’s still early yet, and Villa has another two full seasons at the junior level before turning senior in 2019, but there hasn’t been such a huge talent in Italy since Villa’s Brescia teammate Vanessa Ferrari herself, so it’s so easy to get excited about this one.

Helping out Villa were the D’Amato twins, Asia and Alice, both of whom also have DTYs. Asia’s DTY looked great, though she struggled on bars and beam in the all-around, earning just a 51.1 (without bonus: 50.7) despite her potential to do more. Alice struggled with her DTY, which is a new skill for her, but she posted an excellent 13.9 on bars (without bonus: 13.7), which was the third-highest of the meet on that event. Both twins have dealt with injuries in the past couple of years, but like Villa, have tons of potential going forward in the sport, and will be ones to watch for 2020.

Rounding out the Brixia Brescia team was new senior Martina Maggio, who competed only on beam, earning a 13.0, a solid score only slightly behind the top competitors there. Maggio is slowly easing her way into her senior season with the hope of competing at both Euros in April and then worlds in October, so this was a nice and steady start for her.

The team in second was Artistica 81 Trieste, featuring another 2003-born gymnast Elisa Iorio, who has a hell of a bars set. Iorio was third all-around with a 52.35 (without bonus: 51.95) after a rough outing on beam and floor, and she still hasn’t mastered her DTY yet, earning just a 14.0 (without bonus: 13.8) there. But like the other 2003 babies, Iorio has potential on top of potential, especially on bars where her front giant work is insane, reminding me of Vanessa Ferrari circa 2006.

Also competing on this team were Federica Macri, Tea Ugrin, Jodie Padovan, and Giulia Plozzer. Macri was strong on vault and floor, as always, but Ugrin struggled on bars and beam, and isn’t at the level she was a year ago when still making a push for the Olympic team.

Forza e Virtu was third, led by Desiree Carofiglio, who was fourth all-around with a 52.25 (without bonus: 51.55). Floor was a standout for Carofiglio, who did big front tumbling exceptionally well, and she also went for a Yurchenko 1.5, though it was a bit weaker than what she’s normally capable of. From the rest of her teammates, we also saw a great vault and solid beam work from Arianna Rocca, and Marta Novello earned a 13.8 for her lovely FTY.

For those not on top teams, the best performance overall came from Giada Grisetti, who had a 52.75 all-around (without bonus: 52.45) after a clean FTY and excellent work on bars. Junior Sydney Saturnino was seventh with a 50.65 (without bonus: 50.35) and her best work on vault and floor, and Olympic alternate Lara Mori struggled on bars and wasn’t at full strength on any event, placing eighth with a 50.25 (without bonus: 50.15).

The only Olympic comeback came from Elisa Meneghini, who competed only on vault where she earned a 13.8 for her clean FTY.

In the Serie A2 division, Ghislanzoni topped the meet led by Mara Rigamonti and Chiara Castelnuovo, Juventus Nova Melzo was second led by Chiara Vergani and Alessia Canali, and Corpo Libero was third led by all-around winner Sara Ricciardi (50.15). Ricciardi also had the high score on vault, Irene Lanza of Di Torino posted the high on bars, and Alessia Federici, who placed second all-around, had the top scores on beam and floor.

Full results are available here. This meet will help determine the juniors who will compete at Gymnix in a couple of weeks (likely the 2003 group of Villa, Iorio, and the D’Amato twins) and based on performances here, we’ll also get a sense of who we can expect to see on Italy’s several teams preparing for Jesolo in April.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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