For the second year in a row, Emelie Petz dominated Germany’s junior national championships, winning the gold medal in the all-around and in every event final to sweep the titles.
Now a four-time junior national all-around champion, 15-year-old Petz finished with a pretty significant lead in the all-around and across all four events to capture every title, putting up an especially great performance on vault and floor.
Petz, who qualified third all-around at EYOF last summer but struggled with falls to finish tenth in the final, still seems to deal with consistency issues on bars and beam, but the quality of her performance on floor is generally pretty excellent, with lovely, textbook skills. The floor final was the toughest one in this division, but Petz still managed to come out on top to snag her fifth win of the meet.
With the junior national championships separating the gymnasts into age groups for each of the four birth years, Petz didn’t have a ton of competition in the division for 15-year-olds, with a total of only seven gymnasts competing. In addition to some consistency issues on bars and beam, her difficulty overall isn’t very high, but up against others in her overall weak age group, she has no problem coming out on top.
Had the four age divisions been combined, Petz was still strong enough to have won the all-around, vault, and bars titles in addition to tying for gold on floor and placing second on beam. She’s by far the strongest junior in Germany at the moment across all ages, but it’s also important to note that the overall depth among the juniors is pretty weak at the moment. It was a good, if not great, meet to result in a back-to-back sweep for Petz, but the picture looking forward to junior Euros doesn’t look very strong for the Germans.
The all-around winners in the divisions for those aged 14 and 13 were Aiyu Zhu and Julia Birck, respectively. Zhu, who turned 14 during the competition, posted a 50.868 and also tied for the title on floor, though she struggled with falls in the vault, bars, and beam finals, finishing last in the latter two, while Birck matched Zhu’s 50.868 in the all-around and also won the titles on bars, beam, and floor while placing second on vault in the large field for those born in 2005.
Though she can be pretty hit-or-miss in competition, and unfortunately had a somewhat rough day in finals, Zhu does have great potential, which she showed in her all-around performance. I definitely enjoy her floor the most, and it’s generally where she’s most consistent in addition to boasting a promising performance quality, and I expect she’ll be in the mix for a spot on the team going to Glasgow in August.
Birck is too young to compete at the junior level internationally, so she won’t be part of the Euros team this summer and she also won’t be eligible for Tokyo, but she has a very exciting future ahead of her with very clean skills, and her beam is notable for being both difficult and solid, with an excellent side aerial to layout stepout series. She put up a D score of 5.6 in the final, helping her to a total of 13.634 to win the title by over a point, and she also had a fantastic floor set.
In the division for the 15-year-olds, Sidney Hayn won the silver behind Petz with a 48.935 while Lisa Zimmermann won the bronze with a 47.835. Both Hayn and Zimmermann also performed well in event finals, with Hayn taking the silver medals on beam and floor in addition to the bronze on vault and bars while Zimmermann was the silver medalist on vault and bars and the bronze medalist on floor, though she unfortunately had a couple of falls on beam to place last there, and Laeticia Gloger was able to step up to earn the bronze medal there after a weak all-around performance.
Zhu’s division saw Jasmin Haase place second all-around with a 49.334 in addition to winning the bars title as well as the silver medal on vault, though she had falls in the beam and floor finals. Emma Malewski was third all-around with a 48.868 and she shared the floor title with Zhu, earning a 12.867 for her beautifully-executed routine after also winning the bronze medals on bars and beam.
Other event medals went to Lara-Marie Hinsberger with the gold on vault, Michelle Kunz with the gold on beam and the bronze on floor, Noemi Griesser with the silver on bars and beam, and Nele Rüping with the bronze on vault.
Lona Häcker was the silver all-around medalist in the 13-year-old division, posting a 46.302 with beam her strongest event, helping her edge out Marielle Billet, who won the bronze with a 46.068. Häcker fell in the bars final, but walked away with the silver on floor and the bronze on beam, while Billet took home the vault title in addition to placing fifth on bars and floor with hit routines on both.
Several gymnasts in this 28-person division were able to slip in for event medals, including Klara Quach with the vault bronze, Seyna N’Doye and Alexandra Tcherniakhovski with a tie for the bars silver, Stella McLean with the beam silver, and Maike Halbisch and Maya Reichwald tying for the floor bronze.
We got to meet quite a few new faces in the 12-year-old division, which saw Paula Vega Tarrago win the gold with a 46.101, narrowly beating Lucia Meyer, who ended up with a 46.068 for the silver while Catalina Santos-Moran Diaz put up a 43.767 to take home the bronze.
Most of the girls in this division don’t have a great deal of difficulty or experience, with a few competing with their clubs at Bundesliga earlier this year, though that’s about all we’ve seen from any of them. There’s no one that really jumps out as being ahead of the pack yet, though Meyer showed incredible consistency throughout the meet, slipping a little on beam in the all-around competition, though the rest of her meet was excellent, resulting in the bars, beam, and floor titles.
Vega Tarrago also earned some hardware in event finals, including the silver on vault and the bronze medals on bars and floor, though she wasn’t quite as sharp on the second day as she was in prelims, and the same goes for Santos-Moran Diaz, who struggled in the beam final, though she put up solid work to earn the silver on floor.
Also earning event medals were Emma Osswald with the gold on vault, Pia Meier with the bronze on vault, Maike Knaak with the silver on bars, Bea Fichtner with the silver on beam, and Leonie Wenning with the bronze on beam.
Full results from the junior national championships are available here.
Article by Lauren Hopkins
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