Zeng wins U.S. hoop, ball titles at 2016 USA Gymnastics Championships
posted on 06/10/2016

© Team Photo

PROVIDENCE, R.I., June 10, 2016 – Laura Zeng of Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, won both the U.S. hoop and ball titles on the first night of senior competition at the USA Gymnastics Championships at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. Competition continues tomorrow with the two event finals for senior rhythmic gymnastics and the preliminary rounds for men’s and women’s trampoline at 6 p.m. The 2016 USA Gymnastics Championships is the Olympic selection event for rhythmic gymnastics and men’s and women’s trampoline for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The evening session served as the preliminary round for both men’s and women’s tumbling and double mini-trampoline. The gymnasts who topped the preliminary rankings are: men’s tumbling – Brandon Krzynefski of Centreville, Va./Capital Gymnastics National Training Center; women’s tumbling – Natalie Ory of Pocatello, Idaho/Team Revolution; men’s double-mini – Matthew Hawkins of Phoenix, Ariz./Aspire Kids Sports Center; and women’s double-mini – Paige Howard of Mission Viejo, Calif/World Elite Gymnastics.

In acrobatic gymnastics, pairs and groups performed either their dynamic or balance routines. Sitting atop those scores are: women’s group, balance – Emma Bentov-Lagman, Cristin Connerney and Lilianna Dyer of Annapolis, Md./1st Class Gymnastics Inc.; women’s pair, dynamic – Maren Merwarth and Jessica Renteria of San Antonio, Texas/Acrobatic Gymnastics of San Antonio; mixed pair, dynamic – Aisley Boynton and Maxim Sedochenkoff of Moreno Valley, Calif./Realis Gymnastics Academy; and men’s group, balance – Carson Breen, Cole Francis, Sinjin Nelson and Luke Schlabach of Groveland, Fla./Defy Gravity.

In hoop, Zeng won her second straight senior title with an 18.400. Serena Lu of Staten Island, N.Y./Isadora, was the silver medalist with a 17.650. Evita Griskenas of Orland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, and Camilla Feeley of Highland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, tied for the bronze at 17.500.

Zeng won her first senior ball crown by posting an 18.550. Feeley claimed her second silver of the night by virtue of her 17.600. Nastasya Generalova of Los Angeles/California Rhythms, earned the bronze at 17.500.

At the mid-point of the all-around qualification round, Zeng leads the all-round rankings at 36.950. Feeley is next at 35.100, followed by Lu with 34.900.

Event summary

  • Rhythmic gymnastics (senior)
    • Top three senior rhythmic gymnasts, hoop final: 1, Laura Zeng, Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center,18.400; 2, Serena Lu, Staten Island, N.Y./Isadora, 17.650; 3(t), Evita Griskenas, Orland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, and Camilla Feeley, Highland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, 17.500
    • Top three senior rhythmic gymnasts, ball final: 1, Laura Zeng, Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, 18.550; 2, Camilla Feeley, Highland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, 17.600; 3, Nastasya Generalova, Los Angeles, Calif./California Rhythms, 17.500.
    • Top three senior rhythmic gymnastics, all-round preliminary rankings after two events: Laura Zeng, Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, 36.950; Camilla Feeley, Highland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, 35.100; 3. Serena Lu, Staten Island, N.Y./Isadora, 34.900
  • Tumbling
    • Top three men’s qualification scores: 1, Brandon Krzynefski, Centreville, Va./Capital Gymnastics National Training Center, 72.100; 2, Jackson Tyson, Greensboro, N.C./Flip Force Gymnastics LLC, 66.900; 3, Drew Collins, Allen, Texas/Eagles Wings Athletics, 66.800.
    • Top three women’s qualification scores: 1, Natalie Ory, Pocatello, Idaho/Team Revolution, 63.600; 2. Eliza Floisand, Salt Lake City, Utah/Wasatch Trampoline & Tumbling, 62.500; 3. Kaylah Whaley, Knoxville, Tenn./Premier Athletics Knoxville North, 61.800.
    • Qualifiers for finals (in placement order)
      • Men: Brandon Krzynefski, Centreville, Va./Capital Gymnastics National Training Center; Jackson Tyson, Greensboro, N.C./Flip Force Gymnastics LLC; Drew Collins, Allen, Texas/Eagles Wings Athletics; Emilio Lehmer, San Francisco, Calif/Aspire Kids Sports Center; Matthew Hawkins, Phoenix, Ariz./Aspire Kids Sports Center.
      • Women: Natalie Ory, Pocatello, Idaho/Team Revolution; Eliza Floisand, Salt Lake City, Utah/Wasatch Trampoline & Tumbling; Kaylah Whaley, Knoxville, Tenn./Premier Athletics Knoxville North; Breanne Millard, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif/World Elite Gymnastics; Harley Merritt, Auburndale, Fla./Elite World Gymnastics.
  • Double mini-trampoline (senior)
    • Top three men’s qualification scores: 1, Matthew Hawkins, Phoenix, Ariz./Aspire Kids Sports Center, 72.900; 2, Casey Chandler, Reno, Nev./Legacy Trampoline and Tumbling, 72.500; 3, Joshua Cooper, Irvine, Calif/National Gymnastics Training Center, 69.100
    • Top three women’s qualification scores: 1, Paige Howard, Mission Viejo, Calif/World Elite Gymnastics, 70.200; 2. Lacey Jenkins, Mattoon, Ill./Phoenix Elite, 67.800; 3, Kristle Lowell, Orland Park, Ill./One World Gymnastics, 67.100.
    • Qualifiers for finals (in placement order)
      • Men: Matthew Hawkins, Phoenix, Ariz./Aspire Kids Sports Center; Casey Chandler, Reno, Nev./Legacy Trampoline and Tumbling; Joshua Cooper, Irvine, Calif/National Gymnastics Training Center; Jeremy Cooper, Irvine, Calif/National Gymnastics Training Center; Jonah Bonner, Irvine, Calif/So Cal TTC; Malik DePasquale, Dayton, Nev./Legacy Trampoline and Tumbling; CJ Rhoades, Webb City, Mo./Amplify Gymnastics; Stewart Pritchard, Greensboro, N.C./Tumblebees Ultimate Gymnastics
      • Women: Paige Howard, Mission Viejo, Calif/World Elite Gymnastics; Lacey Jenkins, Mattoon, Ill./Phoenix Elite; Kristle Lowell, Orland Park, Ill./One World Gymnastics; Kellyn Euhus, Byron, Ill./Wight Tumble Academy; Shaye Hayden, Phoenix, Ariz./North Valley Gymnastics; Jessica Woynilko, Prior Lake, Minn./Gleasons Gymnastic School; Kelly Keitel, Effingham, Ill./Top Star Training Center; Harley Merritt, Auburndale, Fla./Elite World Gymnastics.
  • Top senior acrobatic gymnastics scores
    • Women’s group, balance: 1, Emma Bentov-Lagman, Cristin Connerney, Lilianna Dyer, Annapolis, Md./1st Class Gymnastics Inc., 27.620; 2, Savannah Bentley, Hannah Silverman, Elise Stickley, Columbia, Md./Emilias Acro Gymnastics and Cheer, 23.040; 3, DeShay Eisenmenger, Calista Perkins, Natasha Villarreal, Boerne, Texas/Boerne Gymnastics Center, 20.927
    • Women’s pair, dynamic: 1, Maren Merwarth, Jessica Renteria, San Antonio, Texas/Acrobatic Gymnastics of San Antonio, 28.300
    • Mixed pair, dynamic: 1, Aisley Boynton, Maxim Sedochenkoff, Moreno Valley, Calif./Realis Gymnastics Academy, 27.677; 2, Axel Osborne, Tiffani Williams, Moreno Valley, Calif./Realis Gymnastics Academy, 27.093
    • Men’s group, balance: 1. Carson Breen, Cole Francis, Sinjin Nelson, Luke Schlabach, Kearney, Mo./Defy Gravity, 21.910
  • Olympic qualification information: At the conclusion of the senior competition on June 12, USA Gymnastics will name the U.S. rhythmic group and the first three individual members of gymnastics’ 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, pending approval by the United States Olympic Committee: one for individual rhythmic gymnastics and two for trampoline (one male and one female). The U.S. group, which qualified to the Games outright, will identify its five-person roster.

Event information

  • Scheduled for June 8-13, the six-day championships includes both Junior Olympic and elite levels and is one of the national championships held annually by USA Gymnastics. In addition to the junior and senior elite competition at 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively, June 10-12 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Junior Olympic sessions run all six days at the Rhode Island Convention Center.
  • U.S. titles. For the junior and senior elite levels for each discipline, the athletes are vying for national titles. Performances will determine berths on the junior and senior U.S. National Teams for rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline and tumbling. The Junior Olympic division has several different levels, and national titles will be awarded for each level and age group for each discipline. The Junior Olympic levels for each of the disciplines are: acrobatic gymnastics – Levels 6-10; rhythmic gymnastics – Levels 7-8; and trampoline and tumbling – Levels 8-10.
  • Elite schedule. The Dunkin’ Donuts Center competition schedule, which is outlined below and subject to change, has the junior and senior elites competing June 10-12. For a complete schedule, please visit USAGymChamps.com/schedule.
      Saturday, June 11
      • 1:30 p.m. - Rhythmic gymnastics, junior event/all-around finals and senior elite preliminaries/event finals
      • 6 p.m. - Acrobatic gymnastics, junior and senior elite preliminaries; Rhythmic gymnastics, senior elite all-around preliminaries/event finals; Trampoline, senior elite preliminaries
      Sunday, June 12
      • 1:30 p.m. - Rhythmic gymnastics, senior elite all-around finals (two events)
      • 6 p.m. - Acrobatic gymnastics, junior and senior elite finals; Rhythmic gymnastics, senior elite all-around finals; Trampoline, tumbling and double mini-trampoline, senior elite finals
  • Tickets. On sale now, evening session tickets at 6 p.m. at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center are: $25, June 11; and $30, June 12. The all-session pass, which grants access to all sessions at both venues, is $80. Tickets may be purchased at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center Box Office, ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, or by phone at 1-800-745-3000. For the events at the Rhode Island Convention Center, a $30, single-day pass will be available onsite on competition days, and on June 10-12, the all-day pass also includes access to the junior elite sessions at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
  • Webcast. USA Gymnastics will provide live webcast coverage of the three evening sessions with expert analysis from acrobatic gymnastics World gold medalist Arthur Davis, six-time U.S. rhythmic gymnastics all-around champion Rebecca Sereda, and former trampoline and tumbling U.S. National Team member Peter Dodd. The webcasts of the senior elite competition will be available on the USA Gymnastics YouTube channel or USAGymChamps.com/live Friday and Saturday from 6-9 p.m. ET. Former NCAA and Big Ten gymnastics champion Evan Heiter will join Davis, Sereda and Dodd as the host. The webcasts will be available worldwide free of charge on USAGymChamps.com/live.
  • Local partners. The local partners for the event are the Rhode Island Sports Commission and the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority.

About the disciplines

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, balances and flexibility movements. Only four of the apparatus are competed each quad, and the four for 2016 are hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon for seniors and hoop, ball, clubs and rope for juniors. 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.

Background information

 

  • Rhode Island Sports Commission. The Rhode Island Sports Commission is a division of the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau whose mission is to enrich the Rhode Island economy and community through the attraction, promotion and development of sporting events and associated meetings. For more information, visit GoSportsRI.com.

  • Rhode Island Convention Center Authority. Located in the heart of downtown Providence, the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority operates the Rhode Island Convention & Entertainment Complex, which includes the Rhode Island Convention Center (RICC), two parking garages, Dunkin’ Donuts Center (DDC), and Veterans Memorial Auditorium (The Vets). The Authority, governed by an eleven-member board of commissioners, works with several marketing partners to book its facilities, including SMG, which manages the DDC and RICC, Professional Facilities Management (PFM), which manages The Vets, and the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau (PWCVB).