2020 Rhythmic Challenge begins Feb. 8
posted on 02/07/2020

LAKE PLACID, N.Y., Feb. 7, 2020 – Competition begins Saturday in the 2020 Rhythmic Challenge, which runs Feb. 8-9 at the Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y. The two-day competition features the USA’s top elite rhythmic gymnasts. The Rhythmic Challenge is the first national event of the season, which will determine the Pan American Championships Team, Pacific Rim Team, and other international assignments. The Rhythmic Challenge is being held in conjunction with the Rhythmic Invitational, with nearly 100 other gymnasts from around the country included.

The event will be headlined by five-time U.S. all-around champion (2015-19) Laura Zeng of Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center and 2019 Pan American Games all-around, hoop, ball & ribbon champion and clubs bronze medalist Evita Griskenas of Orland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center. The U.S. Senior National Group is expected to compete in the group competition.

The event will be open to the general public.

The competition schedule, which is subject to change, is as follows.

Saturday, Feb. 8
  • 10:30am-11:10am: 2004 Senior Invitational (8 gymnasts) 2 events
  • 11:10am-11:55am: 2003 Senior Invitational (10 gymnasts) 2 events
  • 12:05pm-12:45pm: 2002 and older Senior Invitational (9 gymnasts) 2 events
  • 1:30pm-2:05pm: 2008 Hopes Invitational (7 gymnasts) 2 events
  • 2:05pm-3:00pm: 2007 Junior Invitational (12 gymnasts) 2 events
  • 3:00pm-3:50pm: 2006 Junior Invitational Group A (11 gymnasts) 2 events
  • 4:00pm-4:45pm: 2006 Junior Invitational Group B (10 gymnasts) 2 events
  • 4:15pm-5:45pm: Stretching/warm-up for Junior Challenge
  • 4:55pm-5:35pm: 2005 Junior Invitational (9 gymnasts) 2 events
  • 5:45pm-6:20pm: Junior Challenge (2 events)
  • 7:15pm-7:45pm: Group Challenge (1 event)
  • 7:55pm-9:10pm: Senior Challenge (2 events)
Sunday, Feb. 9
  • 10:30am-11:10am: 2002 and older Senior Invitational (9 gymnasts) 2 events
  • 11:10am-11:55am: 2003 Senior Invitational (10 gymnasts) 2 events
  • 12:05pm-12:45pm: 2004 Senior Invitational (8 gymnasts) 2 events
  • 1:30pm-2:10pm: 2005 Junior Invitational (9 gymnasts) 2 events
  • 2:10pm-2:55pm: 2006 Junior Invitational Group B (10 gymnasts) 2 events
  • 3:05pm-3:55pm: 2006 Junior Invitational Group A (11 gymnasts) 2 events
  • 4:05pm-5:00pm: 2007 Junior Invitational (12 gymnasts) 2 events
  • 5:00pm-5:30pm: 2008 Hopes Invitational (7 gymnasts) 2 events
  • 5:45pm-6:20pm: Junior Challenge (2 events)
  • 7:15pm-7:45pm: Group Challenge (1 event)
  • 7:55pm-9:10pm: Senior Challenge (2 events)
The full list of athletes participating is below.

Juniors
  • Stella-Luciana Ceo, LA Ritmica
  • Kathrine Cheng, California Rhythms
  • Erica Foster, Northwest Rhythmic
  • Gemma Gow, Rhythmic Dreams
  • Alexandria Kautzman, California Rhythms
  • Veronica Portnov, Iliana Rhythmic
  • Mya Tam, Rhythmic Dreams
Senior
  • Nerea Francis, Miami Gymnastics
  • Evita Griskenas, North Shore Rhythmic
  • Lannox Hopkins-Wilkins, Evergreen Rhythmics
  • Victoria Kobelev, Rhythmic Art
  • Esther Kiseleva, Liberty Academy
  • Daria Merkulova, North Shore Rhythmic
  • Lili Mizuno, North Shore Rhythmic
  • Isabelle Richardson, North Shore Rhythmic
  • Elena Shinohara, Rhythmic Brains
  • Naomi Skotnikov, Vitrychenko
  • Shannon Xiao, Gymnastics World
  • Laura Zeng, North Shore Rhythmic
  • Jenna Zhao, Vitrychenko
Groups
    Junior
    • IK School of Gymnastics
    • Vitrychenko
    Senior
    • National Prep Group
    • North Shore
    • Rhythmic Art
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.