Over the past two weeks, every single country was like “let’s do nationals NOW!” and thus we were treated to a flurry of competitions, most of which flew under the radar. Here’s a little recap of each of these competitions so you can feel a bit more up-to-date!
Ellie Black kept her winning streak alive to take her third gold in a row after nearly being dethroned by Ana Padurariu in her first senior national all-around appearance. Black brought back her Rudi on the first day of competition, and otherwise looked incredible aside from a fall on beam, a mistake she fixed in the final to finish with a massive 56.608, the fifth-highest score in the world so far this year.
Padurariu came in with a solid lead after the first day of competition in Ottawa, where she showed exceptional work on all four events. She looked a bit tired in the final, rushing through her bars set and then falling on her flight series on beam, but she was exceptional on floor here, and easily captured all-around silver.
Meanwhile, Brooklyn Moors returned to competition in her first meet since worlds, debuting some upgrades – like a piked Markelov on bars! – and hitting well to win the bronze. Her only real issue came with a fall on floor in finals, but I was most impressed with some excellent improvement from her on beam, and since both Black and Padurariu had falls on this event, Moors’ consistent and beautiful performances got her the gold.
Rounding out the top eight were Isabela Onyshko in fourth, Victoria-Kayen Woo in fifth, Haley de Jong in sixth, Quinn Skrupa in seventh, and Rose-Kaying Woo in eighth. Onyshko’s day two performance was excellent, de Jong brought so much energy and confidence in both days of competition and looks ready to lead the team at Georgia, first-year senior Skrupa showed major potential in all of her events (with her Onodi to front aerial almost right into a split jump a highlight on beam), and the Woo sisters were gorgeous, with Victoria looking to be in the best shape of her career while Rose struggles a bit more with her consistency post-injury but is still absolutely lovely to watch.
This was also the return to competition for Shallon Olsen, who just finished her freshman year at Alabama after winning the silver medal on vault at world championships last year. Olsen easily won vault here with a DTY and Lopez combo, and she also hit super-strong routines on both beam and floor in both days of competition.
Unfortunately, the meet wasn’t without injuries. First-year senior and Youth Olympic Games star Emma Spence was forced to sit out most of the second day of competition, competing only bars due to a minor injury, while top junior Zoé Allaire-Bourgie injured her ACL in training, forcing her to withdraw here and meaning she’ll no longer be part of the conversation for junior world championships.
Clara Raposo is now the only junior who looks like a lock for the assignment, winning silver in the all-around as well as on vault and floor with her sassy performances and big skills making her a standout. Rébéka Groulx, who won the all-around title and nearly swept the event titles as well with golds on everything but vault, is unfortunately too young for junior worlds, but both Okeri Katjivari and Cassie Lee – who placed third and fourth, respectively, and were also both in the top six at Elite Canada – seem most likely to join Raposo in Györ.
In the novice category, Paramount Elite’s Alicia Wendland took the title with a massive lead, also winning gold on bars as well as bronze medals on vault, beam, and floor, while Amy Jorgensen won the silver and Victoriane Charron took the bronze. [Results]
Georgia Godwin is back, y’all! The Queensland gymnast won her second straight all-around title in Melbourne with two excellent performances under her belt, returning to competition for the first time since last year’s nationals after dealing with injuries.
Just behind her – and really fighting to get the upset – was Georgia-Rose Brown, whose work on bars and elegance throughout the rest of her routines helped her reach the silver, while Emma Nedov won the bronze, stumbling a bit in her first day of competition, but showing absolutely beautiful work on day two, especially on beam and floor.
These three also captured all of the event titles, with Godwin winning vault and floor, Brown winning bars, and Nedov winning beam. Just behind them in the all-around were Emily Whitehead in fourth, Kate McDonald in fifth, Talia Folino in sixth, first-year senior Elena Chipizubov in seventh, and Erin Modaro in eighth.
In the junior competition, Tiana Odessa won the all-around, vault, and beam titles as well as picking up the silver on floor, and though bars is a bit of a struggle for her, her scores elsewhere were more than good enough to secure her standing as the best junior in the country, coming in more than three points ahead of the rest of the field with her two-day total. Lucy Stewart won the silver and Alice Zhu won the bronze, with Zhu also winning the floor title, while Samantha Olivier – who finished eighth all-around – won bars. [Results]
The senior women didn’t compete here, and the federation will use next weekend’s team challenge in Ghent to determine the all-around and event championships at this level.
As for the juniors, Keziah Langendock upset Noémie Louon with a 49.632 to Louon’s 49.599. Louon unfortunately fell on her FTY, and though she came back with nice work elsewhere – especially on beam – she finished just 0.033 short of the title. Langendock had an outstanding day in comparison, and though she lacks difficulty on bars and beam, she was super clean on both.
Lisa Vaelen won the bronze here with a 49.399, Jutta Verkest was a close fourth with a 49.198, and Stacy Bertrandt unfortunately had a rough day on bars to finish fifth with a 46.266. Event titles went to Bertrandt on vault, Louon on bars and beam, and Langendock on floor.
First-year senior Anapaula Gutierrez, who trains at TIGAR in Colorado and recently won the vault title at J.O. nationals, became the Mexican senior national all-around champion with a score of 51.365 (she also won the floor title, and had the third-best scores on vault and beam).
Paulina Campos also had a good day, just struggling on beam to win the silver medal with a 50.733, putting up the second-best score on bars, while Victoria Mata was weak on bars but otherwise showed some solid work to win the bronze with a 49.065.
This was a comeback meet for 2012 Olympian Elsa Garcia and Ana Lago. Garcia wasn’t at her best and had a tough time on beam, but for her first meet in four years, it went beyond what most would have expected, and she finished fourth with a 49.032. Lago, whose last meet was in 2016, still has some work to do, and she seemed to really struggle with her confidence, ending up 13th with a 46.132. Still, she had an excellent FTY on vault, and posted the fifth-highest score there with a 13.766.
Rounding out the top eight were Paulina Guerra in fifth with a 48.899, first-year senior Daniela Briceño in sixth with a 48.532, 2018 world vault medalist Alexa Moreno in seventh with a 48.332, and Nicolle Castro in eighth with a 47.999. Guerra had one of the better beam performances of the meet, while Briceño was fabulous on floor, though both Moreno and Castro had some struggles, with Moreno hitting her Rudi to win vault but then taking a bad fall on her head on beam (she has since withdrawn from the Pan Am selection meet), while Castro struggled through bars, her best event.
Also of note here was Jimena Gutierrez, twin sister of champion Anapaula, who had the second-best vault score with a 14.1 for her DTY, and finished 10th all-around. Ahtziri Sandoval struggled on beam and floor, but put up the top bars score of 13.733, and Cassandra Loustalot won beam with a 12.766 for her clean and confident performance.
Notably missing was Frida Esparza, last year’s champion who trains at Head Over Heels in California. Esparza is dealing with injury, and is focusing on healing so she can be in a good place to return to world championships again this year, where she’ll have a great shot at challenging for an Olympic spot.
In the junior competition, Greys Briceño won the all-around with a 50.365, and she won both the vault and bars titles in addition to finishing second on beam and third on floor. Daniela Doddoli picked up the silver with a 48.566 and won the beam gold, while Karla Rivera was the bronze medalist and won the title on floor.
The incredible Aneta Holasova swept this year’s nationals in the Czech Republic, winning the all-around competition on Saturday with a score of 51.575, and she followed this up with four gold medals in Sunday’s event finals, hitting all four events very well and debuting a double layout on floor. The European Games-bound 18-year-old looks even stronger than she did at Euros this year, and I think she could be a surprise for a couple of the finals in Minsk if she keeps doing as well as she’s doing.
The all-around podium here also included Dominika Ponizilova and Lucie Jirikova, both of whom competed at worlds last year and Euros this April. Ponizilova earned a 50.300, and she also won the silver medals on vault and bars in finals, while Jirikova posted a 49.425, and took home the silvers on beam and floor.
With the senior depth in the Czech Republic pretty weak overall, I was happy to see them welcome a new gymnast to the program. Sandra Jessen (a Danish surname the Czech federation has slavicized to Jessenova) is the daughter of 1988 Olympian Hana Ricna and the sister of 2016 Olympian David Jessen (who won the senior men’s all-around title here).
A level 10 at Parkettes, Jessen(ova) competed at J.O. nationals before making her elite debut this weekend, and she ended up finishing fourth with a 47.100. Her biggest asset to the team will be her FTY, but she also has some great foundations on beam and floor, and if she can get a bit more difficulty in her routines, she could be a big help to the program.
In the junior competition, 2005-born Daniela Halova won gold with a 48.800, Nela Kaplanova won silver with a 48.550, and Lucie Marikova won the bronze with a 47.850, with both Kaplanova and Marikova born in 2006, showing great promise from the future generation.
First-year senior and Youth Olympic Games standout Ada Hautala won the all-around title in Turku, reaching a 50.450 and showing some pretty solid consistency throughout the weekend to also win gold on floor, silver on bars and beam, and bronze on vault.
The Finnish team showed some excellent depth, with veteran Maija Leinonen taking the silver with a 49.350 while first-year senior Nitta Nieminen won bronze with a 48.700. We also saw the return of Helmi Murto, who missed worlds last year due to injury but looked mostly good here to finish fourth with a 48.600.
Rounding out the top eight were Olympian Annika Urvikko in fifth with a 47.800, Lilian Langenskiöld in sixth with a 47.600, Rosanna Ojala back in the all-around for the first time since her injury in 2017 in seventh with a 46.800, and Lea Bernards in eighth with a 46.300.
In addition to Hautala taking the floor title, Urvikko won vault (where she looked pretty excellent), Ojala won bars with a super clean routine, and Bernards won beam with solid execution. Leinonen skipped event finals due to a prior personal commitment, Enni Kettunen is currently out with an injury, and Sani Mäkelä was limited to just bars and beam here after suffering an injury earlier in the year.
The Nordic Junior standout Maisa Kuusikko won the junior all-around here with a 49.200 before going on to win gold on vault and bars in the finals, while Malla Montell won all-around silver with a 47.300 and Kaia Tanskanen finished just behind her with a 47.000 for bronze. [Results]
Meg Ryan had a great competition here to win the senior all-around title with a 47.966, coming in more than a point ahead of silver medalist Jane Heffernan with a 46.550, while Rachael Murdock earned a 44.380 for bronze.
Ryan, who missed the majority of her debut senior year in 2018 due to injury, had the top scores on all events but beam. She continued to show improvements after returning to major competition at Euros last month, and should be one of the girls headed to worlds for Ireland this year alongside Meaghan Smith and Emma Slevin, both of whom sat out this competition.
In the junior field, Poppy Whelehan won gold with a 43.283, Eve McGibbon won silver with a 43.000, and Rachael McMaster won bronze with a 42.583.
German Junior Championships
With this national competition separating the divisions by age, we saw four gymnasts win the national all-around titles here, including Emma Malewski with a 50.534 to top the 2004-born gymnasts, Julia Birck with a 50.168 to lead the 2005 group, Paula Vega Tarrago with a 50.035 to lead 2006, and Meolie Jauch with a 47.634 to lead 2007.
The 2004 and 2005 divisions are the two that will be in the mix for junior worlds later this month, and other standouts in these groups with the potential to make the team were Jasmin Haase, who won silver in the 2004 division, and Lea Marie Quaas, the silver medalist in the 2005 group.
A healthy Lara Hinsberger, who competed only three events in the 2004 group, could also be one to watch, but she unfortunately had a fall on vault here, didn’t compete floor, and then had a meltdown in the bars final, though she came back to win silver with a great performance on beam, so it’s possible they’ll still consider her for the team.
As for the espoir groups, the 2006 division has a ton of talent, with Lucia Meyer and Catalina Santos-Moran Diaz both excellent to watch alongside Vega Tarrago for the future. [Results]
Norwegian Junior Championships
Julie Madsø’s excellent work on vault and floor helped her to the all-around title in Norway this weekend, with her score of 47.350 nearly a point better than the rest of the field. Madsø, who was Norway’s top competitor at Nordic Junior Championships this year, also won the vault and bars titles here, and she finished a solid third on floor in the final.
Behind Madsø in the all-around were Marie Rønbeck with a 46.450 for silver, and Selma Karlsen and Hedda Folden with matching scores of 46.400 for bronze. Folden also won the beam title, and Rønbeck topped the podium in the floor final.
Article by Lauren Hopkins