DES MOINES, Iowa, March 15, 2022 – Lili Mizuno (Northbrook, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center), who competed at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as part of the U.S. group and represented the U.S. as an individual at the most recent World Championships, topped the Rhythmic Challenge senior division podium at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa, over the weekend. Megan Chu (San Diego, Calif./Emerald City Academy of Rhythmic Gymnastics), the reigning Junior Pan American Championships all-around gold medalist, claimed the top spot in the junior division.

The event was held in conjunction with the 2022 Rhythmic Invitational, which featured some of the top up-and-coming rhythmic gymnasts in the country. Individual titles were up for grabs across six developmental divisions on the invitational side, while individual and group junior and senior elite crowns were awarded in the Rhythmic Challenge.

Mizuno’s 124.200 outpaced runner up Alexandria Kautzman (Simi Valley, Calif./California Rhythms) who finished with a 113.534 and Lily Avila (Highland Park, Ill./Vitrychenko Academy) who was third with a 111.599. Mizuno also posted high scores on hoop (32.933) and clubs (31.933). Fellow 2020 Olympian Evita Griskenas (Orland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center), who did not compete in the all-around, notched the top score on ball with a 31.283. Kautzman led the way on ribbon with a 29.617.

Chu (109.017) edged Rin Keys (Porter Ranch, Calif./Burlo Gymnastics, 108.984) for the junior title. Erika Rusak (Auburn, Wash./Evergreen Rhythmics, 108.234), who posted the high score on ribbon with a 27.933, rounded out the all-around podium. Keys topped the junior field on hoop (29.167) and clubs (28.967), while Chu set the bar on ball with a 28.733.

Brand new routines were debuted in the group competition, reflecting the International Gymnastics Federation’s recently adopted 2022-24 Code of Points. Seniors competed on five hoops and on three ribbons and two balls, while juniors showed five ropes and five balls.

The U.S. Senior National Prep Group B (Deerfield, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center) claimed the senior group championship with a 39.100. The National Prep Group A (Deerfield, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center) was second with a 31.066, and the Vitrychenko Academy Senior Group (Niles, Ill.) finished third with a 26.417. The National Prep Group B led the way on both apparatus combinations, delivering a 24.183 on five hoops and a 14.917 on three ribbons and two balls.

The Liberty Academy Junior Group (East Hanover, N.J.), comprised of Ruby Freshwater, Sophie Freshwater, Sarah Novofastovsky, Alisa Sadykov, Anastasia Slipets and Ivanka Tarasyuk, took the top spot in the junior group competition with a 39.983. They also posted the top score on five ropes (20.650). IK Junior Group 2 (North Miami Beach, Fla./IK School of Gymnastics), featuring Anna Borzenkova, Angelina Mirer, Natalia Ortigosa, Alexandra Rykova and Alyssa White, finished second in the all-around with a 37.267 and set the standard on five balls with a 20.850. Their IK School of Gymnastics teammates Karina Georgieva, Alexis Kalashyan, Stefania Mishtal, Violetta Plokhotnichenko and Elizaveta Samardak rounded out the top three with a 37.200.

Rhythmic Invitational athletes were separated by age groups. Yana Golovan (Las Vegas, Nev./Nevada Rhythmic Academy) claimed the 2007 January-June title with a 104.417, while Sophia Volkov (Glenview, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center) topped the field of athletes born during the second half of the year with a 105.401. Gymnasts born between January and June of 2008 were led by Olivia Fischer (Denver, Colo./Zara Rhythmic Gymnastics Academy) who finished with a 105.166. Valentina Moya (San Diego, Calif./Emerald City Academy of Rhythmic Gymnastics) earned the high score in the 2008 July-December division with a 101.034. Isabella Chong (Mission Veijo, Calif./Burlo Gymnastics) was the 2009 all-around champion with a 105.583, while her Burlo Gymnastics teammate Natalie de la Rosa (Woodland Hills, Calif.) took top honors in the 2010-11 competition with a 100.150.

Following this weekend’s competition, assignments will be made for upcoming international events. Those details and updated National Team rosters are forthcoming.