Zeng, Griskenas win rhythmic event titles at 2018 USA Gymnastics Championships

GREENSBORO, N.C., July 5, 2018 – 2016 Olympian Laura Zeng of Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, and Evita Griskenas of Orland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, won the senior U.S. hoop and ball titles, respectively, at the 2018 USA Gymnastics Championships at the Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum Complex, where elite competition continues tomorrow with the final two event finals for senior rhythmic gymnastics and the preliminary rounds for acrobatic gymnastics, women’s trampoline and tumbling and men’s double mini-trampoline.

For rhythmic gymnastics, Zeng easily won the U.S. hoop crown with her 19.050. Griskenas placed second at 18.784, and Nastasya Generalova of Los Angeles/California Rhythms, was third at 17.317. For the ball, Griskenas took top honors with a 17.767. Camilla Feeley, Highland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, was second at 17.134, and Generalova rounded out the top three at 17.067.

The U.S. junior group of Anastasiya Ivanova, June Kim, Alexandra Militeeva, Valerie Militeeva, Vianna Ngo, and Ellen Peng, all of San Diego, Calif./Emerald City Academy of Rhythmic Gymnastics, earned a 9.400 for its five ropes routine. For three balls and two ropes routine, the senior group of Dasha Baltovick of Highland Park, Ill.; Isabelle Connor of Manhattan Beach, Calif.; Ugne Dragunas of Darien, Ill.; Connie Du of Deerfield, Ill.; Elizaveta Pletneva of Caldwell, N.J.; Nicole Sladkov of Vernon Hills, Ill.; and Kristina Sobolevskaya of Deerfield, Ill., who train at North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, scored a 14.100.

The evening session served as the preliminary round for men’s trampoline and tumbling and women’s double mini-trampoline. The gymnasts leading the senior rankings for the prelims are: women’s double-mini – Tristan Van Natta of Hilliard, Ohio/Integrity Athletics, (70.800); men’s trampoline – Jeffrey Gluckstein of Atlantic Highlands, N.J./Elite Trampoline Academy (109.403); and men’s tumbling – Kaden Brown, Herriman, Utah/Wasatch Trampoline & Tumbling (74.400).

In acrobatic gymnastics, Emily Davis and Aubrey Rosilier, both of San Antonio, Texas/Acrobatic Gymnastics of San Antonio, earned a women’s pair dynamic routine score of 27.730, and Angel Felix, Moreno Valley, Calif., and Braiden McDougall, Riverside, Calif./Realis Gymnastics Academy, posted a 26.420 for senior men’s pair. Aisley Boynton of Riverside, Calif., and Sean Obley of Mesa, Ariz., Realis Gymnastics Academy, tallied the top dynamic mixed pair score of 26.640. In women’s group, Elanor Chang of Columbia, Md., Calista Davis of Ijamsville, Md., and Madison Freed of Mt. Airy, Md./Emilia’s Acro Gymnastics and Cheer, garnered a 27.940 for the top balance routine. The men’s group of Sean Butehorn of Mt. Airy, Md., Daniel Disman, Clarksville, Md., Grant Shields of Columbia, Md. and Sean Shields, Columbia/Emilia’s Acro Gymnastics and Cheer, took a 26.620 for the balance routine.

The junior 13-19 acrobatic squads who had the top scores for their event were: mixed pair – Carina Newlin and Dorian White, both of Castro Valley, Calif./WestCoast Training Center, dynamic, 26.810; and women’s group – Marisa Gatson, Severn, Md., Olivia Struble, Laurel, Md., and Micah Whiteman, Columbia, Md./Emilia’s Acro Gymnastics and Cheer, balance, 25.020.

Event summary

    Rhythmic gymnastics (senior)

    • Top three senior rhythmic gymnasts, hoop final: 1. Zeng, 19.050; 2. Griskenas, 18.784; 3. Generalova, 17.317
    • Top three senior rhythmic gymnasts, ball final: 1. Griskenas, 17.767; 2. Feeley, 17.134; 3. Generalova, 17.067.
    • Top three senior rhythmic gymnastics, all-round preliminary rankings after two events: 1. Griskenas, 36.551; 2. Zeng, 35.667; 3. Generalova, 34.384.
    • Top three junior rhythmic gymnasts, hoop final: 1. Elizabeth Kapitonova, Staten Island, N.Y./Isadora Rhythmic Gymnastics, 15.917; 2. Lennox Hopkins-Wilkins, Puyallup, Wash./Evergreen Rhythmics,14.867; 3. Matylda Marszalek, Highland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, 14.817.
    • Top three junior rhythmic gymnasts, ball final: 1. Kapitonova, 15.850; 2. Hopkins-Wilkins, 15.300; 3. Jenna Zhao of Burr Ridge, Ill./Vitrychenko Academy Corp., 14.400.
    • Top three junior rhythmic gymnasts, all-around ranking after two of four events: 1. Kapitonova, 31.767; 2. Hopkins-Wilkins, 30.167; 3. Zhao, 29.100.
    • Top Hopes rhythmic gymnast, all-around ranking after two events: Vernonica Portnov, Feasterville, Pa./Iliana Rhythmic, 22.734.

    Trampoline and tumbling (senior)

    • Trampoline
      Top three men’s qualification scores: 1. Gluckstein, 109.430; 2. Aliaksei Shostak, Youngsville, La./Trampoline and Tumbling Express, 107.275; 3. Isaac Rowley, Allen, Texas/Eagle Gymnastics Academy, 105.215
    • Tumbling
      Top three men’s qualification scores: 1. Brown, 74.400; 2. Brandon Krzynefski, Centerville, Va./Capital Gymnastics National Training Center, 69.900; 3. Alex Renkert, Columbus, Ohio/Integrity Athletics, 68.300;
    • Double mini-trampoline
      Top three women’s qualification scores: 1. Van Natta, 70.800; 2. Paige Howard, San Juan Capistrano, Calif./World Elite Gymnastics, 70.700; 3. Kiley Lockett, Oceanside, Calif./World Elite Gymnastics, 69.600

    Acrobatic Gymnastics (top senior scores)

    • Men’s pair, dynamic: Felix and McDougall, 26.420
    • Men’s group, balance: Butehorn, Disman, Shields and Shields, 26.620
    • Women’s pair, dynamic: Davis and Rosilier, 27.730
    • Women’s group, balance: 1. Chang, Davis and Freed, 27.940; 2. Kaitlyn Koegel, Annapolis, Md., Paige Murphy, Easton, Md., Morgan Sweeney, Danville, Calif./West Coast Training Center, 27.440.
    • Mixed pair, dynamic: 1. Boynton and Obley, 26.640; 2. Emma Fitzgerald, Placerville, Calif., and Nathaniel Davies, Rocklin, Calif./Capital Acrobatics, 25.180.

Event information
For the junior and senior elite levels for each discipline, the athletes will vie for national titles. Performances in Greensboro also will determine berths on the junior and senior U.S. National Teams for acrobatic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline and tumbling. For rhythmic gymnastics and women’s trampoline, the competition will be part of the selection process for the Youth Olympic Games. The Junior Olympic division has several different levels, and national titles will be awarded for each level and age group for each discipline.

Evening session tickets at the Greensboro Coliseum are: July 5 and 6, $35; and July 7, $40. The all-session pass, which grants access to all sessions, is $95. A $35, single-day pass will be available onsite on competition days. Advance tickets may be purchased at the Greensboro Coliseum Box Office, ticketmaster.com or charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000.

The elite competition schedule, held in the Greensboro Coliseum, is as follows. The schedule for the Special Events Center is available at usagymchamps.com. All times are Eastern.

Friday, July 6

  • 1:30 p.m. – Rhythmic gymnastics: junior group, 10 clubs; junior clubs, ribbon and all-around finals; senior, clubs and ribbon finals/all-around prelims
  • 6 p.m. – Acrobatic gymnastics: balance and dynamic
    Rhythmic gymnastics: senior group, three ropes/two balls prelims; senior clubs and ribbon finals/all-around prelims
    Trampoline and tumbling: senior double mini-trampoline, tumbling and trampoline prelims

Saturday, July 7

  • 1:30 p.m. – Rhythmic gymnastics: senior group, five hoops finals; and senior all-around finals (hoop and ball)
  • 3 p.m. – Youth Olympic Games qualification: rhythmic gymnastics; women’s trampoline
  • 6 p.m. – Finals
      Acrobatic gymnastics: combined
      Rhythmic gymnastics: senior group, three ropes/two balls; senior all-around (clubs and ribbon)
      Trampoline and tumbling: senior trampoline, tumbling and double mini-trampoline

The local hosts for the event are the Greensboro Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, Tournament Hosts of Greensboro, and Sports & Properties, Inc. This will be the third time gymnastics events have come to Greensboro, following the 2015 USA Gymnastics Championships and the 2014 American Cup and Nastia Liukin Cup.

The USA Gymnastics Championships was first held in 2014 at the KFC Yum! Center and the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, Ky. In addition to Greensboro, past sites are Rhode Island Convention Center and Dunkin’ Donuts Center (2016), and Milwaukee’s BMO Harris Bradley Center and Wisconsin Center (2017). For more information on the USA Gymnastics Championships, please go to usagymchamps.com.

Background information

  • Acrobatic gymnastics. Acrobatic gymnastics combines the beauty of dance with the strength and agility of acrobatics. Routines are choreographed to music and consist of dance, tumbling, and partner skills. At the elite level, each pair or group performs a balance, dynamic and combined routine. Pyramids and partner holds characterize the balance routine, while synchronized tumbling and intricate flight elements define the dynamic exercise. An acrobatic gymnastics pair consists of a base and a top. A women’s group is comprised of three athletes – a base, middle and top partner – while a men’s group has four athletes, a base, two middle partners and one top partner.
  • Rhythmic gymnastics. Rhythmic gymnastics is characterized by grace, beauty and elegance combined with dance and acrobatic elements, while working with the apparatus in a choreographed routine to music. The five apparatus used in rhythmic gymnastics are rope, hoop, ball, clubs, and ribbon. Rhythmic gymnasts may compete individually or as a group. The choreography must cover the entire floor with intricate apparatus handling, dance combinations, jumps, leaps, rotations, and balance difficulties. Each movement involves a high degree of athletic skill. Physical abilities needed by a rhythmic gymnast include strength, power, flexibility, agility, dexterity, endurance and hand-eye coordination.
  • Trampoline and tumbling. Trampoline events involve athletes using trampolines that can propel them up to 30 feet in the air, during which they can perform double, triple and quadruple twisting somersaults. Tumbling utilizes elevated rod-floor runways that enable athletes to jump at heights more than 10 feet and execute a variety of acrobatic maneuvers. For the double-mini competition, the athlete makes a short run, leaps onto a small two-level trampoline, performs an aerial maneuver and dismounts onto a landing mat. Trampoline was added to the Olympic Games in 2000, and at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the USA had its first athlete in history advance to the finals.
  • Greensboro Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. The Greensboro Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is an independent, non-profit governmental authority whose mission is to aggressively market Greensboro’s assets, maximizing economic impact while providing excellent visitor service. Guilford County ranks third in the state in travel and tourism expenditures, with over $1.2 billion generated in 2015 and more than 13,000 people employed in travel-related jobs. For more information: www.visitgreensboronc.com.
  • Greensboro Coliseum Complex. The Greensboro Coliseum Complex is a multi-building facility designed to serve the citizens of Greensboro and the surrounding area through a broad range of activities, including athletic events, cultural arts, concerts, theater, educational activities, fairs, exhibits, and public and private events of all kinds including conventions, convocations and trade and consumer shows. The Greensboro Coliseum Complex is one of the most actively booked facilities in the country hosting more than 1,100 events on an annual basis. With its incredible versatility, the Complex has gained worldwide acclaim from promoters, producers, event planners and patrons. For more information; www.greensborocoliseum.com.
  • Sports & Properties, Inc. SPI is a sports marketing and sports development firm concentrating in three primary areas of business: major sponsorships, including naming rights; sports tourism; and major events. SPI recent projects include the Raleigh-Durham market’s Major League Soccer Application, the USA Masters Games, greater Asheville sports tourism, and the Seminole County Sports Complex. Event projects include the Africa Youth Games, US Figure Skating Championships, and the American Cup Gymnastics. SPI clients include Capitol Broadcasting Company, the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission, the North Carolina Football Club, and the Greensboro Coliseum Complex, among others. For more information on SPI, visit sportsproperties.com.
  • USA Gymnastics. Based in Indianapolis, USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States. The organization is committed to creating a culture that empowers and supports its athletes and focuses on its highest priority, the safety and well-being of the athletes. USA Gymnastics has already taken specific, concrete steps to strengthen its safe sport policies and procedures. The organization’s disciplines include men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, acrobatic gymnastics and gymnastics for all (formerly known as group gymnastics). For more complete information, log on to usagym.org.