Olympians, World medalists, defending champions are expected to compete at 2018 USA Gymnastics Championships
posted on 07/03/2018

INDIANAPOLIS, July 3, 2018 – Three Olympians -- Nicole Ahsinger of Lafayette, La./Trampoline and Tumbling Express, trampoline, 2016; Savannah (Vinsant) Thompson of Scott, La./Trampoline and Tumbling Express, 2012 trampoline; and 2014 Youth Olympic bronze-medalist Laura Zeng of Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, 2016 (rhythmic gymnastics) – are among the more than 1,000 gymnasts headed to Greensboro, N.C., to compete in the 2018 USA Gymnastics Championships, the national championships for acrobatic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, and trampoline and tumbling. Acrobatic gymnasts Emily Davis and Aubrey Rosilier, both of San Antonio, Texas/Acrobatic Gymnastics of San Antonio, competed in the 2017 World Games, the “Olympics” for non-Olympic disciplines, and are also competing.

Scheduled for July 3-7 at the Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum Complex, the competition includes both Junior Olympic and elite levels and is one of the national championships held annually by USA Gymnastics. The rhythmic gymnast and female trampolinist who will represent the United States at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, scheduled for October in Buenos Aires, Argentina, will also be determined in Greensboro. The senior elite athletes compete in the evening sessions. The sessions at the Coliseum will be webcast live at usagymchamps.com.

For the junior and senior elite levels for each discipline, the athletes will vie for national titles. Performances in Greensboro also will determine berths on the junior and senior U.S. National Teams for acrobatic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline and tumbling. For rhythmic gymnastics and women’s trampoline, the competition will be part of the selection process for the 2018 World Championships and Youth Olympic Games. The Junior Olympic division has several different levels, and national titles will be awarded for each level and age group for each discipline.

Here’s a quick overview, by discipline, of some of the names to watch for this coming week.

Acrobatic gymnastics
Davis and Rosilier are hoping to defend their 2017 U.S. women’s pair title. Since winning the 2017 U.S. title, Davis and Rosilier have won the Pan American Championships gold medal, finished fourth at the 2017 World Games, and placed fifth at the 2018 World Championships.

Other members of the 2018 U.S. World Championships Team who are expected to compete in Greensboro are: mixed pair - Aisley Boynton of Riverside, Calif., and Sean Obley of Mesa, Ariz., Realis Gymnastics Academy; and women's group - Elanor Chang of Columbia, Md., Calista Davis of Ijamsville, Md., and Madison Freed of Mt. Airy, Md., Emilia’s Acro Gymnastics and Cheer.

2018 World Age Group Competition 12-18 men’s group bronze medalists Sean Butehorn of Mt. Airy, Md., Daniel Disman of Clarksville, Md., Grant Shields of Columbia, Md. and Sean Shields of Columbia, all of Emilia’s Acro Gymnastics and Cheer, also are expected to compete at the USA Gymnastics Championships in the senior level.

Click here for the entire acrobatic gymnastics field.

Rhythmic gymnastics
Zeng is seeking her fourth straight senior all-around title at this week’s championships. Elizabeth Kapitonova of Staten Island, N.Y./Isadora, looks to defend her junior all-around title.

Performances at the USA Gymnastics Championships are part of the selection process for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. Shannon Xiao of Fairfax, Va./Gymnastics World, clinched a berth to the Youth Olympic Games for the USA when she won the all-around gold medal at the Junior Pan American Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Medellin, Colombia. In group competition, the U.S. finished third in the all-around and won the silver medals for 10 clubs and five ropes. The U.S. junior group consists of Anastasiya Ivanova, June Kim, Alexandra Militeeva, Valerie Militeeva, Vianna Ngo, and Ellen Peng, all of San Diego, Calif./Emerald City Academy of Rhythmic Gymnastics.

Here are a few of the national team gymnasts’ achievements on the international stage earlier this year.

  • Zeng won the hoop bronze medal and placed fifth in the all-around at the World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan. Lili Mizuno of Northbrook, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics, finished seventh in the ball final. The U.S. senior rhythmic group, which trains at North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, finished 11th and includes Dasha Baltovick of Highland Park, Ill.; Isabelle Connor of Manhattan Beach, Calif.; Ugne Dragunas of Darien, Ill.; Connie Du of Deerfield, Ill.; Elizaveta Pletneva of Caldwell, N.J.; Nicole Sladkov of Vernon Hills, Ill.; and Kristina Sobolevskaya of Deerfield, Ill.
  • Brigita Budginas of Agoura Hills, Calif./Burlo Gymnastics, won gold in the clubs final and claimed two individual event bronze medals at the Portimao (Portugal) International Tournament. Annaliese Dragan of Aliso Viejo, Calif./Irene School of Rhythmic Gymnastics, was the junior clubs bronze medalist.
  • Evita Griskenas of Orland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, earned four top-10 finishes at the 2018 Guadalajara World Challenge Cup: sixth, ribbon; seventh, hoop; eighth, clubs; and 10th, all-around. The U.S. senior rhythmic group placed sixth in the five hoops final and seventh in the all-around.
  • At the 2018 Pacific Rim Championships in Medellin Colombia, Camilla Feeley of Highland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, and Kapitonova won the senior and junior rhythmic all-around gold medals, respectively. Feeley and Kapitonova also captured all four senior and junior event titles, respectively. Heather Chan of South Pasadena, Calif./Emerald City Academy of Rhythmic Gymnastics, won three senior silver medals (ball, clubs, ribbon). Xiao claimed the junior ball and ribbon silver medals. The U.S. junior group won the all-around, five ropes, and 10 clubs gold medals.
  • Nastasya Generalova of Los Angeles/California Rhythms, took fifth in the ball final at the Tashkent (Uzbekistan) World Cup.

For the complete roster of rhythmic gymnasts, please click here.

Trampoline and tumbling
Ahsinger and Thompson headline the trampoline and tumbling field that includes seven World medalists and five defending senior champions Alyssa Oh of Rocklin, Calif./World Elite Gymnastics, who won the women’s individual trampoline gold medal at the 2018 Junior Pan American Trampoline Championships, earned a berth to the Youth Olympic Games for the USA with her first-place ranking in the qualification round.

The World medalists, listed alphabetically, expected to compete in Greensboro are below.

  • Matthew Hawkins of Phoenix, Ariz./North Valley Gymnastics: 2017 double-mini trampoline team silver.
  • Paige Howard of San Juan Capistrano, Calif./World Elite Gymnastics: 2015 double-mini team bronze.
  • Brandon Krzynefski of Centerville, Va./Capital Gymnastics National Training Center: 2015 tumbling team bronze.
  • Kristle Lowell of Orland Park, Ill./Morgan Park Sports Center: 2015 double-mini team bronze; 2013 double-mini individual and team gold; and 2011 double-mini team bronze.
  • Alex Renkert of Columbus, Ohio/Integrity Athletics: 2017 double-mini team silver; 2015 double-mini team silver and tumbling team bronze; and 2013 double-mini team gold and individual silver.
  • CJ Rhoades of Joplin, Mo./Amplify Gymnastics: 2017 double-mini team silver.
  • Tristan Van Natta of Hilliard, Ohio/Integrity Athletics: 2015 double-mini team bronze; and 2013 double-mini team gold.

Five senior and seven junior champions from last year are hoping to defend their titles, with three junior champions who are now competing on the senior level.

Senior

    Trampoline
    • Men: Jeffrey Gluckstein, Atlantic Highlands, N.J./Elite Trampoline Academy
    • Women: Ahsinger
    Synchronized trampoline
    • Men: Aliaksei Shostak, Youngsville, La./Trampoline and Tumbling Express, and Gluckstein
    • Women: Ahsinger (Partner from last year is not competing this year.)
    Double mini-trampoline
    • Men: Renkert
    • Women: Howard

Junior

    Trampoline
    • Men: Ruben Padilla, Oakley, Calif./Tornado Sport Club; now competing as a senior
    • Women: Lexi Vigil, Levelland, Texas/Acrospirits; now competing as a senior
    Tumbling
    • Women: Eve Doudican, Bixby, Okla./Oklahoma Extreme Tumbling
    • Men: Kaden Brown, Herriman, Utah/Wasatch Trampoline & Tumbling; now competing as a senior
    Double mini-trampolne
    • Men: Aidan Casey, Bellevue, Wash./Seattle Gymnastics-Ballard
    • Women: Kayttie Nakamura, Honolulu, Hawaii/Hawaii Academy
    Synchronized trampoline
    • Men: Vincent Pedulla, Monroe Township, N.J./Garden State Trampoline Academy, and Padilla
    • Women: Nakamura (Partner from last year is not competing this year.)

Click here for the entire trampoline and tumbling field.

Event information
Evening session tickets at the Greensboro Coliseum are: July 5 and 6, $35; and July 7, $40. The all-session pass, which grants access to all sessions, is $95. A $35, single-day pass will be available onsite on competition days. Advance tickets may be purchased at the Greensboro Coliseum Box Office, ticketmaster.com or charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000.

The elite competition schedule, held in the Greensboro Coliseum, is as follows. The schedule for the Special Events Center is available at usagymchamps.com. All times are Eastern.

Thursday, July 5

  • 1:30 p.m. - Rhythmic gymnastics: junior hoop, ball and all-around; senior hoop and ball finals/all-around prelims; junior group five ropes
  • 6 p.m. - Acrobatic gymnastics: balance and dynamic
    Rhythmic gymnastics: senior group, five hoops prelims; senior hoop and ball finals/all-around prelims
    Trampoline and tumbling: senior double mini-trampoline, tumbling and trampoline prelims

Friday, July 6

  • 1:30 p.m. - Rhythmic gymnastics: junior group, 10 clubs; junior clubs, ribbon and all-around finals; senior, clubs and ribbon finals/all-around prelims
  • 6 p.m. - Acrobatic gymnastics: balance and dynamic
    Rhythmic gymnastics: senior group, three ropes/two balls prelims; senior clubs and ribbon finals/all-around prelims
    Trampoline and tumbling: senior double mini-trampoline, tumbling and trampoline prelims

Saturday, July 7

  • 1:30 p.m. - Rhythmic gymnastics: senior group, five hoops finals; and senior all-around finals (hoop and ball)
  • 3 p.m. - Youth Olympic Games qualification: rhythmic gymnastics; women’s trampoline
  • 6 p.m. - Finals
      Acrobatic gymnastics: combined
      Rhythmic gymnastics: senior group, three ropes/two balls; senior all-around (clubs and ribbon)
      Trampoline and tumbling: senior trampoline, tumbling and double mini-trampoline

The local hosts for the event are the Greensboro Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, Tournament Hosts of Greensboro, and Sports & Properties, Inc. This will be the third time gymnastics events have come to Greensboro, following the 2015 USA Gymnastics Championships and the 2014 American Cup and Nastia Liukin Cup.

The USA Gymnastics Championships was first held in 2014 at the KFC Yum! Center and the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, Ky. In addition to Greensboro, past sites are Rhode Island Convention Center and Dunkin’ Donuts Center (2016), and Milwaukee’s BMO Harris Bradley Center and Wisconsin Center (2017). For more information on the USA Gymnastics Championships, please go to usagymchamps.com.

Background information

  • Acrobatic gymnastics. 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. Rhythmic gymnastics is characterized by grace, beauty and elegance combined with dance and acrobatic elements, while working with the apparatus in a choreographed routine to music. The five apparatus used in rhythmic gymnastics are rope, hoop, ball, clubs, and ribbon. Rhythmic gymnasts may compete individually or as a group. The choreography must cover the entire floor with intricate apparatus handling, dance combinations, jumps, leaps, rotations, and balance difficulties. 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 and tumbling. Trampoline events involve athletes using trampolines that can propel them up to 30 feet in the air, during which they can perform double, triple and quadruple 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.
  • Greensboro Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. The Greensboro Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is an independent, non-profit governmental authority whose mission is to aggressively market Greensboro’s assets, maximizing economic impact while providing excellent visitor service. Guilford County ranks third in the state in travel and tourism expenditures, with over $1.2 billion generated in 2015 and more than 13,000 people employed in travel-related jobs. For more information: www.visitgreensboronc.com.
  • Greensboro Coliseum Complex. The Greensboro Coliseum Complex is a multi-building facility designed to serve the citizens of Greensboro and the surrounding area through a broad range of activities, including athletic events, cultural arts, concerts, theater, educational activities, fairs, exhibits, and public and private events of all kinds including conventions, convocations and trade and consumer shows. The Greensboro Coliseum Complex is one of the most actively booked facilities in the country hosting more than 1,100 events on an annual basis. With its incredible versatility, the Complex has gained worldwide acclaim from promoters, producers, event planners and patrons. For more information; www.greensborocoliseum.com.
  • Sports & Properties, Inc. SPI is a sports marketing and sports development firm concentrating in three primary areas of business: major sponsorships, including naming rights; sports tourism; and major events. SPI recent projects include the Raleigh-Durham market’s Major League Soccer Application, the USA Masters Games, greater Asheville sports tourism, and the Seminole County Sports Complex. Event projects include the Africa Youth Games, US Figure Skating Championships, and the American Cup Gymnastics. SPI clients include Capitol Broadcasting Company, the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission, the North Carolina Football Club, and the Greensboro Coliseum Complex, among others. For more information on SPI, visit sportsproperties.com.
  • USA Gymnastics. Based in Indianapolis, USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States. The organization is committed to creating a culture that empowers and supports its athletes and focuses on its highest priority, the safety and well-being of the athletes. USA Gymnastics has already taken specific, concrete steps to strengthen its safe sport policies and procedures. The organization’s disciplines include men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, acrobatic gymnastics and gymnastics for all (formerly known as group gymnastics). For more complete information, log on to usagym.org.