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Juniors Chu, Keys advance to hoop, ball finals on Day 1 of International Tournament Sofia Cup
posted on 04/01/2022

SOFIA, Bulgaria, April 1, 2022 - Rin Keys (Porter Ranch, Calif./Burlo Gymnastics) and Megan Chu (San Diego, Calif./Emerald City Academy of Rhythmic Gymnastics) sit fourth and fifth, respectively, in the junior all-around after the first day of competition at the 2022 International Tournament Sofia Cup in Bulgaria. Each has also secured a spot in an apparatus final, which are limited to one athlete per country at the junior level. Jenna Zhao (Hinsdale, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center) is the highest-placing American in the senior division at the midway point in 16th.

In the junior division, Keys' 57.350 after two apparatus was outpaced only by Bulgaria's Elvira Krasnobaeva (59.950) and Nikol Todorova (58.000) and Poland's Lilana Lewinska (57.550). She also posted the third-highest ball score with a 29.100 behind Krasnobaeva's 31.350 and Lewinska's 29.700 to secure a spot in the apparatus final. Chu, who finished the day with a 56.250, advanced to the hoop final in the second spot. Her 28.800 was just edged for the top mark by Todorova's 29.000. Jaelyn Chin (Aventura, Fla./Bessonova's School) and Erika Rusak (Auburn, Wash./Evergreen Rhythmics) were also in action. Chin sits 11th with a 52.050, while Rusak is 16th with a 48.700.

Zhao led the way for U.S. seniors with a 50.850. Lily Avila (Highland Park, Ill./Vitrychenko Academy) is 20th with a 49.500, and Daria Merkulova (Grayslake, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center) is 23rd with a 48.650. Avila notched the first reserve spot for Sunday's hoop final with a 26.400. Zhao's 24.950 was the highest U.S. score on ball. The Bulgarian trio of Boryana Kaleyn (68.000), Stiliana Nikolova (66.000) and Eva Brezalieva (64.250) rounded out the top-three senior all-arounders after Day 1, though only the two highest-scoring individuals from each country will be counted in the final standings. Zhao jumps from 16th to ninth when this limit is applied. Kaleyn led all scorers on hoop with a 34.050. Brezalieva topped the field on ball with a 34.000.

The all-around competition will conclude Saturday at the Sofia Sports Hall with clubs and ribbon. U.S. juniors are set to take the floor with Group C at 2:30 a.m. ET, while U.S. seniors will compete with Group A at 11:15 a.m. ET.