Future Bruins Battle for Elite Canada Title

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Ana Padurariu and Brooklyn Moors

A lot went down at this year’s Elite Canada competition, where Ana Padurariu took the title with a combined score of 106.865, though her future UCLA teammate Brooklyn Moors chased her with an incredible day-two performance, finishing second with a 106.414.

Padurariu isn’t at a hundred percent right now on pretty much any event but beam, but with time still before the Olympics, I think she has room for improvement, especially on bars.

She looked mostly good on both, just taking a fall on bars when she couldn’t muscle her stalder to handstand and had to hop off. The rest of her skills could use some tightening up, and her floor was perhaps a little bit labored, but for this time of the year, she was solid overall, and she really brought her performance home with an incredible beam set in the final rotation, hitting a great acro series, lovely front aerial to split jump to back handspring, and a solid double pike for a 14.600.

Padurariu got a 53.483 for her performance on that first day of competition, and it was nice to see her come back with a confidently hit bars set, though with a still downgraded routine. Her beam was also mostly excellent, though she took a hit in her score for pausing in the middle of her front aerial to switch leap to sheep jump series (an upgrade from her day one routine), giving her a 13.900 total to finish her day with a 53.382.

On the first day of competition, Moors looked incredibly strong, with her only real mistake coming with a fall on her front handspring to front tuck series, but she was otherwise gorgeous on that event, with a solid punch front mount, floaty split leap to front aerial to split jump, and a great Rudi dismount.

I continue to be impressed by the work Moors is doing to look clean and consistent on bars, and her routine here earned a 13.533 for a clean shaposh to Pak, toe full to van Leeuwen, piked Markelov, and a Moors dismount, and of course, she was magnificent on floor, hitting a glorious Podkopayeva, front double full, a double front, and a 1½ to finish, bringing her back to a total of four passes, which can really boost her chances of making the Olympic floor final this summer. I think she was a little wiped out for most of her routine, because the Podkopayeva seemed to take everything out of her and then she was just a bit low and weak on the rest, but once she gets this to full strength, it’s going to be so huge.

Moors came into the second day of competition at a nearly one-point disadvantage behind Padurariu, with a 52.532, but she managed to improve on almost every event to finish her day with a 53.882, the highest single-day all-around score of the competition. Her bars were once again excellent (I thought even better than her day one routine, though she scored about a tenth lower), she hit an absolutely gorgeous beam routine for a 13.666, and she was a lot stronger on floor, where she was able to upgrade two of her passes, adding a front full out of her front double full, and then competing a 2½ to punch front at the end to earn a 13.466.

These two were pretty much unbeatable here, though the battle for bronze was a good one between Isabela Onyshko, Emma Spence, and Victoria-Kayen Woo. All three had their ups and downs, but Onyshko ended up pulling off the podium spot thanks to two incredibly solid days.

Onyshko did have a fall on beam on the first day of competition, on her layout series, though the rest was good enough to pull off a 12.533, and she hit bars and floor very well, with a few form issues, but she made it through her skills well, and debuted a sassy new routine on floor to end her day with a 52.082. She performed similarly on the second day, but hit beam this time around, and was able to pull off the bronze medal with a 103.981 combined total.

This was a really strong meet for Spence, who hit eight-for-eight with no major mistakes to get a 103.131. There were a few things that added up, like some low floor passes on the first day, but overall I was impressed with where she’s at for this time of year, and found her beam to look particularly strong for her.

Woo ended up in fifth with a 102.333, making up for a rough day one with some improvements in the final. Her vaults were lovely as usual both days, but she struggled a bit on bars, rushing through her day one routine with a lot of noticeable mistakes before hopping off and finishing strong, and she seemed to be having a hard time with the rotation of her double saltos on floor, coming up short a few times throughout the weekend, which was surprising as this is usually a standout event for her.

Audrey Rousseau, Sophie Marois, and Quinn Skrupa rounded out the top eight, with Marois taking the silver on vault behind Mia St-Pierre, who was 12th all-around. In addition to the all-around competition, Ellie Black and Shallon Olsen were also on hand to compete a couple of events apiece, with Black only recently returning from injury, while Olsen only competed on day two, as she was multitasking her weekend with an NCAA performance on Friday before flying out to Calgary for Sunday’s Elite Canada finals.

Black looked excellent on bars, winning the gold despite just a layout dismount because the rest of her routine was so strong. Her Maloney to Hindroff, Shang, piked Jaeger to Pak, and toe-on to van Leeuwen were all mostly tight, with just the usual slight leg separation on the van Leeuwen, and she was able to get a 13.833 in prelims, which she upped to a 14.200 in the final.

Her beam had mistakes in both days of competition, with her hands down on her flight series in prelims, and then a large stumble on a leap series in finals. Though it took her out of contention for a medal on this apparatus, it was still one of the strongest combinations of sets in this competition, and there’s no doubt she’ll be back to a hundred percent on this event in no time.

Olsen was a badass for merely finding the time in her schedule to make an appearance here, but it’s not surprising that she looked so strong given that she’s already been competing weekly for a month. She competed a really strong DTY here, and also showed a strong but low-difficulty set on bars, with a piked Jaeger, bail to toe full, toe shoot, and full-in, earning a 12.566.

The junior competition ended up being a bit of a bummer, as Clara Raposo – who led the field with a 51.616 after prelims, debuting an excellent DTY as well as a double layout on floor – ended up injuring her knee on her vault in the final. She landed the DTY with a little stumble, but looked like she stung her knee on the landing, and ended up dropping to the mat before being carried off and ending her competition for the day.

With Raposo out of the competition, the meet came down to 2019 junior world championships competitor Cassie Lee and relative newcomer Maya Zonneveld, who has had a major glow-up since last year. It ended up being a really close battle, especially when Lee put up an absolutely stunning beam set in finals, but Lee struggled a bit too much on bars, giving Zonneveld the edge with a 99.831 to Lee’s 99.231.

Zonneveld truly looks fabulous right now, especially on beam and floor, which also happen to be Lee’s strongest events. Both girls have a ton of promise, but I’m super impressed with how much progress Zonneveld has made, and think she’s absolutely one to watch for the future, especially if she can get to a solid place on bars.

The same goes for Lee, honestly, but her beam routine in finals gets a special mention. She nailed a beautiful side aerial into two layout stepouts right off the bat, and also hit a brilliant roundoff layout in addition to putting up a great switch leap-split jump-straddle jump series. It was absolutely gorgeous, and she got a well-deserved 13.866 to help her snag the beam title more than a point ahead of any other competitor.

Newcomer Ava Stewart, who trains at Gemini with Padurariu and fellow junior Bailey Inglis, surprised with huge skills to take the bronze medal with a 98.598 combined score, despite a few hiccups throughout her performances. I loved watching her because when something did go wrong, she brushed it off and laughed, which is so refreshing at a big competition like this where the young gymnasts tend to get really upset. But Stewart – who has a back tuck full series and a double pike on beam – wasn’t bothered, and I’m excited to watch her continue to grow in the sport.

Her teammate Inglis, who placed eighth here after multiple falls on beam across both days of competition, was similarly unfazed, and moved past her mistakes with a great attitude. She also has some pretty huge skills for her age, with a jam-packed beam routine as well as a big Tkachev (with fabulous toe point!) and a beautiful double layout on bars, so if she can get her consistency up there, she’ll definitely be one to watch for the future.

Also finishing in the top eight were Alicia Wendland in fourth with a 97.632, Sydney Turner in fifth with a 97.281, Rylee Miller in sixth with a 97.097, and Charlie-Ann Barbeau in seventh with a 96.215. Alexa Tucker, a kid who typically has top-eight potential, was down in 16th after multiple falls on bars and beam, though her floor was excellent as usual, and she ended up taking the gold with a 26.233.

In addition to Raposo missing out on a chance at titles here, Rébéka Groulx also wasn’t able to finish the competition, competing only bars in the final after a mostly strong prelims meet.

Victoriane Charron easily took the espoir title by more than five points with a 104.200 two-day total. Note that the espoir gymnasts have bonuses here, so most of her scores were inflated, though that doesn’t remotely take away from how excellent her performances were! Tegan Shaver ended up with a 99.140 for silver, while Orlia Ngomsi, a super powerful tumbler, won the bronze with a 98.620.

Full results are available here.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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