© Ricardo Bufolin

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (July 8, 2022) – The U.S. rhythmic team of Erica Foster (Chanhassen, Minn./NorthWest Rhythmic), Evita Griskenas (Orland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center) and Alexandria Kautzman (Simi Valley, Calif./California Rhythms) captured Pan American Championships gold Friday night in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, behind a standout all-around performance from Griskenas that saw her summit the podium twice in one evening. With the victory, the U.S. has qualified a full-sized team for the individual competition at this year’s World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, in September. The U.S. Senior National Group also picked up hardware Friday at Parque Olimpico-Arena Carioca 01, claiming bronze in the group all-around.

Griskenas’ 115.800 outpaced runner up Geovanna Santos da Silva from Brazil (113.750) by more than two points. Kautzman posted the third-highest all-around score of 113.600 but finished fourth after Canada’s Carmel Kallemaa, who also finished with a 113.600, came out ahead in the tie break. Foster was ninth with a 108.450.

The U.S. team finished with a cumulative 285.850 to claim gold. Brazil was second with a 280.400 followed by Canada (279.950) in third.

Despite qualifying in the top spot for the hoop (31.550) and ribbon (28.450) finals and advancing to the clubs (28.300) final in sixth, Griskenas, a 2020 Olympian, will forego Saturday’s apparatus finals and head straight to The World Games, which are ongoing in Birmingham, Ala. Her departure aside, the U.S. will be well represented in the event finals. Kautzman’s 29.850 on hoop, 28.250 on ball, 28.250 on clubs and 27.350 on ribbon have qualified her for the full finals slate, and Foster will also compete tomorrow on ball (29.500) and ribbon (26.950).

The U.S. Senior National Group is also moving on to both group event finals after securing the bronze medal in the all-around. They finished with a combined 47.850, a mark surpassed only by groups from Brazil (62.200) and Mexico (60.550). The U.S. group advanced in third on three ribbons and two balls with a 23.500 and fourth on five hoops with a 24.350. The group, which trains at North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, is comprised of Maria Bolkhovitinova (Northfield, Ill.), Gergana Petkova (Barrington, Ill.), Katrine Sakhnov (Sammamish, Wash.), Karolina Saverino (Elk Grove Village, Ill.), Hana Starkman (Plantation, Fla.) and Emily Wilson (Brooklyn, N.Y.).

The junior competition got under way Friday with hoop and ball for individuals and five ropes for groups. Rin Keys (Porter Ranch, Calif./Burlo Gymnastics) is comfortably in the top spot at the midway point of the all-around. Her 58.150 after two apparatus has positioned her more than five points ahead of Brazil’s Isadora Oliveira who is second with a 53.100. Reigning U.S. junior all-around champion Jaelyn Chin (Aventura, Fla./Bessonova’s School) is fifth with a 49.950.

Keys’ 28.750 on hoop and 29.400 on ball have qualified her in the top spot for both apparatus finals. She’ll be joined in the hoop final by Megan Chu (San Diego, Calif./Ingenious RG) and in the ball final by Chin, who qualified second with a 28.800. Ksenia Pototski (Brooklyn, N.Y./Isadora by Matchpoint) posted the day’s third-highest score on ball (27.700) but will not compete in the event final due to the two-gymnast-per-country limit.

The U.S. junior group consisting of Goda Balsys (Northbrook, Ill.), Annabella Hantov (Chicago, Ill.), Kristina Lee (Woodridge, Ill.), Isabelle Novoseletsky (Highland Park, Ill.) and Kalina Trayanov (Deerfield, Ill.), all of North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, is third after Friday’s five ropes performance. Their 20.400 has advanced them to the apparatus final.

The junior all-around will conclude Saturday with individuals showing clubs and ribbon, beginning at 8 a.m. ET. Junior groups will follow on five balls at 12:20 p.m. ET, while senior individual and group event finals will wrap up a full day of competition, beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET.