Zeng wins junior ball, hoop titles at 2014 USA Gymnastics Championships
posted on 07/17/2014

© John Cheng

LOUISVILLE, Ky., July 17, 2014 — Laura Zeng of Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, won both the U.S. ball and hoop junior titles in rhythmic gymnastics at the 2014 USA Gymnastics Championships at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky., where competition continues today in trampoline, rhythmic gymnastics and acrobatic gymnastics. With competition held at both the KFC Yum! Center and Kentucky International Convention Center, the USA Gymnastics Championships is the national championships for trampoline and tumbling, rhythmic gymnastics and acrobatic gymnastics.

Zeng, who will compete in the Youth Olympic Games in August, also has the lead in the junior all-around preliminary standings at the halfway point at 32.200. She earned the hoop title with her 16.250 and her 15.950 secured the ball crown.

Camilla Feeley of Lincolnshire, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, was the silver medalist for both hoop and ball, as well as ranking second in the all-around preliminary rankings. For hoop, Feeley garnered a 15.150 and a 15.400 for ball. Her all-around prelim score after two events is 30.550.

Nicole Kaloyanov of Woodbridge, Va./Gymnastics World, was the bronze medalist for hoop at 15.100, and Brigita Budginas of Agoura Hills, Calif./Burlo Gymnastics, was third in ball with 14.950. Kaloyanov also is third in the junior rhythmic preliminary rankings at 29.900.

Junior rhythmic gymnastics continues tomorrow morning with the event finals for clubs and ribbon and the conclusion of the all-around preliminaries.

The senior elite sessions for acrobatic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline are scheduled for 6 p.m. July 17-19, with the finals slated for Saturday night, at the KFC Yum! Center. The junior elite sessions for those three events, also at the KFC Yum! Center, begin at 9 a.m. all three days. The Junior Olympic sessions for all three disciplines are being held at the Kentucky International Convention Center, and the sessions begin at 9 a.m. The elite competition for tumbling and double mini-trampoline will also be held at the Kentucky International Convention Center at 9 a.m., with the preliminary round on July 18 and the finals on July 19. For a more detailed schedule and other information, please go to USAGymChamps.com.

Evening session tickets at the KFC Yum! Center are: July 17, $20; July 18, $20; and July 19, $25. The all-session pass, which grants access to all sessions at both venues, is $75. A $25, single-day pass is available for the events at the Kentucky International Convention Center onsite on competition days. Tickets may be purchased at the KFC Yum! Center or Kentucky International Convention Center box offices, ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, or by phone at 1-800-745-3000.

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 is characterized by grace, beauty and elegance combined with dance and acrobatic elements, while working with ribbons, balls, hoops, ropes and clubs in a choreographed routine to music. The choreography must cover the entire floor and contain a balance of jumps, leaps, pivots and balances. Only four of the apparatus are competed each quad, and the four for 2016 are hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon. 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 events involve athletes using trampolines that can propel them up to 30 feet in the air, during which they can perform double and triple 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.