© Ricardo Bufolin

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (February 23, 2023) – Reigning U.S. all-around champion and 2020 Olympian Evita Griskenas (Orland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center) topped the senior all-around division at the 2023 Rhythmic Challenge this past weekend in Lake Placid, N.Y. Rin Keys (Porter Ranch, Calif./Burlo Gymnastics), who collected four gold medals and one silver at the 2022 Junior Pan American Championships, edged out all other gymnasts in junior all-around competition.

Griskenas posted a combined 132.600 to clinch the top spot among seniors, finishing just ahead of fellow Olympian Lili Mizuno (Northbrook, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, 131.500), who also took first prize in clubs (32.050) and ribbon (32.300), and Jaelyn Chin (Aventura, Fla./Bessonova’s School), who landed third with a 128.600 in her senior debut. Griskenas added hoop (35.250) and ball (34.000) titles.

In the junior division, Keys notched top scores on clubs (30.550) and ribbon (31.000) in addition to all-around gold (120.800). She shared the podium with runner up Megan Chu (San Diego, Calif./Pacific Stars Rhythmic Academy), who earned a 118.000 and led the way on ball with a 30.850, and Ksenia Potoski (Brooklyn, N.Y./Isadora by Matchpoint), who slotted in third with a 117.150. Erika Rusak (Auburn, Wash./Evergreen Rhythmics) came away with gold on hoop (30.550).

Junior and senior groups were also in action at the Lake Placid Olympic and Paralympic Training Center. The Senior National Group Challenge presented two factions, USA Blue and USA Red. Both teams are comprised of various Senior National Group members and invited gymnasts, all trainees at North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center. USA Blue, featuring Maria Bolkhovitinova (Northfield, Ill.), Izzy Connor (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.), Daria Merkulova (Vernon Hills, Ill.), Katrine Sakhnov (Glencoe, Ill.) and Hana Starkman (Deerfield, Ill.), came out on top, overall, with a combined 52.250 and garnered top marks on five hoops (32.250). USA Red won in three ribbons and two balls (20.700) and finished second in the all-around with a 49.500. The Red squad was comprised of Sasha Ilyina (Lake Zurich, Ill.), Isabella Ivanova (Kirkland, Wash.), Nicole Khoma (Northbrook, Ill.), Gergana Petkova (Barrington, Ill.), Karolina Saverino (Elk Grove Village, Ill.) and Emily Wilson (Brooklyn, N.Y.).

North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center’s Junior Group 1, which featured Goda Balsys (Northbrook, Ill.), Annabella Hantov (Northfield, Ill.), Kristina Lee (Woodridge, Ill.), Greta Pavilonyte (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) and Alaini Spata (Glen Ellyn, Ill.), secured the junior group all-around and five ropes titles with scores of 47.950 and 22.250, respectively. Liberty Academy of Rhythmic Gymnastics in East Hanover, N.J., took silver in the all-around (45.450) and went home with gold in five balls (26.150). North Shore’s Group 2 rounded out the all-around top three with a 43.800.

Results from the Rhythmic Challenge will help determine international selection for winter and spring international events. More information regarding international assignments will be available in the coming days.

Junior National Team members Megan Chu (San Diego, Calif./Pacific Stars Rhythmic Academy) and Olivia Fischer (Denver, Colo./Zara Rhythmic Gymnastics Academy) along with both Senior National Groups are slated to represent the U.S. this weekend at the 2023 Miss Valentine International FIG RGG and RGI Junior Team Competition in Tartu, Estonia. Senior National Team members Lauren Kramer (San Diego, Calif./Pacific Stars Rhythmic Academy), Sarah Marriotti (San Diego, Calif./Pacific Stars Rhythmic Academy), Deanna Georgieva (Centennial, Colo./Zara Rhythmic Gymnastics Academy) and Yana Golovan (Las Vegas, Nev./Nevada Rhythmic Academy) will participate in the accompanying Miss Valentine International RGI and RGG tournament. Also competing in the tournament are 33 club athletes representing Pacific Stars Rhythmic Academy, Zara Rhythmic Gymnastics Academy, Nevada Rhythmic Academy, Liberty Academy of Rhythmic Gymnastics, IK School of Gymnastics, Emerald City Rhythmics, and California Rhythms. Both events are part of the annual Miss Valentine International Gymnastics Competition held in Estonia on or around Valentine’s Day since its inception in 1995.