This year’s English Championships were a bit weak in terms of a lack of top all-arounders in the senior field, but many of the Euros hopefuls made appearances on their best events as they continue to prepare.
While Ellie Downie sat this competition out after winning the British all-around, vault, and bars titles a few weeks ago, her 2016 Olympic teammates Becky Downie and Claudia Fragapane were in attendance, with Downie capturing the gold on bars with a 14.6 for an excellent routine while Fragapane won the titles on beam and floor, hitting both very well with scores of 13.75 and 14.0.
Both Downie and Fragapane are looking to make the European — and possibly later world — finals on these events, and based on how they looked in Loughborough this weekend, they’re both entirely capable of making it happen. Downie has the potential to win yet another Euro bars gold, while Fragapane is coming in as one of the top floor workers on the continent, so a hit routine from her in Cluj could lead to a second Euros medal for her on that event.
With the Downies and Fragapane pretty set as three of Great Britain’s four Euros competitors, I’m thinking Georgia-Mae Fenton, who didn’t compete this weekend because she was expected to do the London World Cup though had to withdraw at the last moment, is likely to be the fourth and final member with her potential on bars. No other seniors at the moment have the capability to contend either as all-arounders or on any particular event, so I’m pretty confident this will be the team unless something drastic happens to any of the competitors.
Sophie Scott, a first-year senior, ended up surprising to take the English all-around title with a 51.700, getting in nearly a point ahead of the always-injured Tyesha Mattis who won the silver with a 50.800 and first-year senior Alice Kinsella, who won the bronze with a 50.550.
With solid performances on all events but beam, Scott — who was ninth at British Championships — looked her best on vault and floor, winning the silver medals on both in addition to the bronze on bars. Mattis won the bars silver with a promising routine that earned a 13.5 while also picking up the bronze on beam, and Kinsella’s 12.8 on floor was third-best of the day.
Several other young gymnasts from England also performed well, with Lucy Stanhope placing fourth with a 50.300 and winning the silver on beam with a 12.7, Phoebe Turner finishing fifth with a 49.850 while also grabbing the bronze medals on vault and beam, and Laura Cooke finishing seventh with a 48.800.
Charlie Fellows, a former worlds alternate and member of the 2013 Euros team, finished eighth with a 48.550, showing her best performances on vault and beam but failing to medal on any event, while Megan Bridge, who was 14th all-around, won the vault gold for her single vault score of 13.9.
The senior guest division included several of Wales’ best gymnasts, with Maisie Methuen winning the gold with a 51.700, Emily Thomas taking the silver with a 50.500, and Latalia Bevan taking the bronze with a 50.150. Scottish gymnast Isabella Tolometti was fourth with a 47.350, Irish gymnast Tara Donnelly was fifth with a 46.950, and Lavinia Raymund-Jayadev, who trains in England but competes for Malaysia, was sixth with a 46.800.
Of these, Methuen and Bevan have typically been the most likely to challenge for spots on British teams, and I could see Methuen serving as the alternate for Euros this year. In addition to her all-around win, the first-year senior won the silver on bars with a 12.75 and the golds on vault and floor with scores of 13.65 and 13.3, respectively. She wouldn’t challenge for any individual finals should she make it to Cluj, but she’d be a great second option for the all-around.
Thomas won the bronze on every event but vault, where she won the silver, with mostly good performances, and Bevan showed promise, winning the gold on bars with a 13.15 and the silver medals on beam and floor, but a fall on vault held her back from a stronger finish. A second silver medal on vault went to Donnelly, while Scottish gymnast Cara Kennedy won the gold on beam with a 12.5.
In the junior division, standout Taeja James — who won the British junior all-around title in March — easily took the all-around gold with a 51.600 while also winning the titles on vault with a 13.35, bars with a 12.6, and floor with a 13.6, where her performance was fantastic. She did have a fall on beam, but overall proved she could be competitive at the senior level based on the current level of competition in the country.
Phoebe Jakubczyk placed second in the all-around with a 49.150 while also winning the silver medals on bars with an 11.65 and on floor with a 12.8, Hallie Copperwheat was the bronze medalist with a 48.75 while also winning the silver on beam, Megan Splain was fourth with a 48.300 and took the bronze on beam, Erika Magpantay was fifth with a 48.100, Laura Beasley was sixth with a 47.900 and won the bronze on vault, Roshelle Spencer-Smith was seventh with a 47.550 and won the silver medals on vault and bars, Jessica Daykin was eighth with a 47.500, Martha Franks was ninth with a 47.350 and won the beam gold with a 12.5, and Maya Grant was tenth with a 47.150.
In addition to these, Jessica Castles — who is beginning to represent Sweden in international competition this year — won the silver on floor with a 12.8, and Emily Gibson, who competed only on beam and floor, won the beam bronze with a 12.35.
Welsh gymnast Zoe Simmons won the junior guest all-around title with a 48.750, while Elisa Bronzini won the silver with a 44.350 and Ellie Patrick won the bronze with a 43.150. Simmons also won the titles on vault and beam, while Megan Morrison took the bars gold and Naomi Wright took the gold on floor.
Shanna-Kae Grant won the espoir gold with a 49.250, a remarkable improvement compared to how she performed at last year’s espoir championships. She didn’t quite have the difficulty on bars or beam, but showed an impressive Yurchenko full to win vault with a 13.7 while also getting the floor bronze with a 12.4.
After Grant, Rosie Bayliss won the silver medal with a 48.650 and Madeleine Roberts won the bronze with a 48.250. Annie Young, fourth all-around with a 47.500, won the floor gold with a 12.8, and 2016 espoir national champion Halle Hilton competed only on bars and beam, winning the gold medals on both events with scores of 12.35 and 13.25, respectively.
The espoir guests included Lucy Worthington in first with a 43.600, Isabella Willocks in second with a 42.750, Elisha Stott in third with a 42.300, and Bryony Ludlow in fourth with a 41.700. Worthington also took the gold on beam, while Stott won bars and Ludlow won vault and floor.
Full results from this year’s English Championships are available here.
Article by Lauren Hopkins