The first of several Serie A meets in Italy this year took place in Florence over the weekend, and though the ladies of Brixia dominated the team competition, it was Desiree Carofiglio of Fanfulla 1874 who was the true standout here.
While the Brixia ladies eased their way into the season, mostly competing just two or three events apiece, Carofiglio helped her team by going up on all four events, finishing in the top three on each in addition to posting the top all-around score of the meet by over two points.
Looking at her scores without the couple tenths of bonus for each apparatus, Carofiglio went 13.300 or higher on all four events to score a 55.150, a hugely impressive achievement here that she will hopefully continue to build on as the season continues.
Best known for her powerful tumbling floor, and putting up the top score on this event in Florence, this was actually the lowest-scoring event for Carofiglio at this meet, which is a huge deal. While this would be where Carofiglio would be most useful on the Tokyo team, given that floor is relatively weak among the top seniors right now, the team also needs a fairly balanced all-arounder, which is exactly what Carofiglio is starting to show. She went 14+ on both vault and bars, and most exciting was her 13.550 on beam, another weak spot for Italy, especially in terms of their consistency.
Martina Maggio, the alternate for last year’s bronze medal-winning world championships team, was the only Brixia gymnast to compete all four events, and she did a pretty solid job, earning a 53.200 to finish second all-around, though none of her scores were in the top three overall.
As for her teammates, Giorgia Villa and Elisa Iorio competed on bars and beam, with Villa posting the top scores on both while Iorio had the second-best score on bars, though she seemed to struggle with her beam set. The D’Amato twins also competed here, each going up for three events, with Asia reaching the top score on vault and the second-best on beam, while Alice was second-best on vault and third-best on bars.
These four, plus Maggio and junior Veronica Mandriota, earned a team total of 167.350, which was more than 13 points ahead of second-place Centro Sport Bollate, led by Giada Grisetti, who was third all-around with a 52.950 and also posted the third-best score on floor. In third was Ginnica Giglio with a 153.100, headed by Lara Mori, who was fourth all-around with a 52.550 and had the second-best score on floor.
Also of note in Florence was Maria Vittoria Cocciolo, who had an absolutely gorgeous beam routine that earned a 13.400, and she also finished fifth all-around, while first-year senior Micol Minotti finished sixth all-around with a 51.600, also showing an exemplary performance on beam. Rounding out the top individual competitors were Francesca Linari in seventh and 2018 world championships team member Sara Ricciardi in eighth, with Ricciardi putting up the third-best vault score with a 14.200.
Angelina Melnikova of Russia made her season debut here, competing alongside fellow 2016 Olympian Elisa Meneghini on the GAL Lissone team, returning to competition for the first time since nationals in 2018. Melnikova went 14+ on both vault and bars, and though she was a little soft on both, it’s nice to see her get to stretch her legs a bit this early on in a meet that is pretty much no pressure.
In the Serie A2 competition, 2018 world championships team member Irene Lanza had the best all-around performance with a 51.650 thanks to especially good work on vault and bars, and she helped her team, Torino, end up in first place with a 145.500.
Biancoverde finished second with a 142.600 and Ghislanzoni was third with a 142.050, while led by Carolina James and Laura Todeschini, respectively, who tied for second in the all-around with scores of 48.950. We also saw Sofia Busato return to competition for the first time since getting injured in 2018, getting a 13.900 on vault, and the A2 division saw Cintia Rodriguez and Violeta Sanchez of Spain competing as guests, with Rodriguez posting the second-highest beam score, while Sanchez had the third-best score on bars.
The men also had Serie A1 and A2 competitions over the weekend, with Ares topping the A1 podium with a 238.700 followed by Ginnastica Salerno in second with a 236.650 and Spes Mestre in third with a 236.450, while Palestra Ginnastica Ferrara topped A2 with a 154.600, followed by Gymnastics Romagna with a 154.050 and Ginnastica Meda with a 153.250 (the A1 division counts three routines per apparatus, but A2 only counts two routines per event in the men’s league).
Notable scores here came from Nicolo Mozzato on floor with a 14.450, Edoardo de Rosa on pommels with a 14.150, and Ludovico Edalli on floor with a 14.000 and on p-bars with a 14.100.
We also saw some guest competitors from around Europe in the A1 competition, with Nicolau Mir of Spain posting strong results on p-bars and high bar, Joel Plata and Nestor Abad of Spain and Vladyslav Hryko of Ukraine showing clean work on pretty much all of the events they competed, and Alexey Rostov of Russia notably putting up a 13.900 on high bar. In the A2 division, Petro Pakhniuk of Ukraine put up a 14.600 on p-bars, and several teams got help on pommels, with Robert Tvorogal of Lithuania contributing a 13.250 and Waldemar Eichorn of Germany getting a 13.450. Unfortunately Albania’s Matvei Petrov struggled on pommels, normally his best event, but he recovered with a solid p-bars set for a 13.400.
Article by Lauren Hopkins