© Ricardo Bufolin

MAIA, Portugal, May 13, 2022 – U.S. acrobats impressed on Day 1 of the FIG Acro World Cup in Maia, Portugal. World champions Angel Felix (Moreno Valley, Calif.) and Braiden McDougall (Riverside, Calif.) of Realis Gymnastics Academy sit first in men’s pair at the midway point of qualifications, while the men’s group of Ethan Chang (Columbia, Md.), Sam Lacy (Columbia, Md.), Cade Shields (Columbia, Md.) and Dorian White (Castro Valley, Calif.) from Emilia’s Acro Gymnastics and Cheer and the women’s pair from Realis Gymnastics Academy comprised of Katie Borcherding (Pacific, Mo.) and Cierra McKown (Riverside, Calif.) both delivered top-five showings.

Felix and McDougall, who earned two golds and a bronze at the 2022 World Championships, posted a 28.200 in the balance exercise on the opening day of World Cup action at the Maia Municipal Gymnastics Complex, placing them more than a quarter of a point ahead of second-place pair Bohdan Pohranychnyi and Danylo Stetsiuk of Ukraine. The U.S. men’s group (28.040) was outpaced in the dynamic exercise only by World gold medalists Bradley Gold, Archie Goonesekera, Finlay Gray and Andrew Morris-Hunt who led the way with a 28.340. Borcherding and McKown are fourth after scoring a 26.750 in the balance exercise. Portugal’s Rita Ferreira and Rita Teixeira topped the scoresheet with a 28.800. The women’s trio of Isabel Chang (Columbia, Md.), Sydney Martin (Glenwood, Md.) and Maria Wooden (Derwood, Md.) from Emilia’s Acro Gymnastics and Cheer (26.540) sits seventh following the dynamic exercise. Belgium’s Kim Bergmans, Lise de Meyst and Bo Hollebosch delivered the day’s high score of 28.880.

While the 2022 Maia World Cup got underway Friday, the accompanying Maia International Acro Cup slid into its second day with pairs and groups in the 12-18-year-old division showing their first exercises and competitors in the 13-19-year-old division concluding qualifications.

The U.S. pairs of Willow Rose Noble and Sydney Padios (both of Moreno Valley, Calif./Realis Gymnastics Academy) and Jaylen Ivey (San Jose, Calif.) and Amaya Rogers (Campbell, Cailf.) from WestCoast Training Center each secured spots in their respective finals. Noble and Padios captured a 27.100 in dynamic – the day’s high score – after earning a 26.350 in balance Thursday to advance to the women’s pair final in the second position with a combined 53.450. The duo was nosed by Portugal’s Lara Fernandes and Catarina Goncalves, who topped the qualification standings with a 53.700. Ivey and Rogers also qualified second with a cumulative 52.850 – 26.150 in balance and 26.640 in dynamic. Portugal’s Luis Ferreira and Beatriz Mota set the bar in mixed pair with a 56.350.

The women’s trio of Gia Calo (Annapolis, Md.), Sarah Wilson (Annapolis, Md.) and Grace Wright (Harwood, Md.) was also in action in the 13-19 division. They finished 11th with a 50.970 behind scores of 24.330 in balance and 26.640 in dynamic. The Portuguese group of Iris Fernandes, Sofia Lopes and Leonor Malho qualified in the top spot with a 55.250.

At the halfway mark of qualifications in the 12-18-year-old division, the U.S. women’s pairs of Mia Alvarez (Riverside, Calif.) and Ava Cabana (Grand Terrace, Calif.) from Realis Gymnastics Academy and Sydney Dorais and Molly Fox (both of San Diego, Calif./SoCal TTC) sit 10th and 23rd, respectively. The women’s trio of Catherine Lacey (Columbia, Md.), Abigail Novoseletskiy (Baltimore, Md.) and Cecelia Shadrick (Ellicott City, Md.) from Emilia’s Acro Gymnastics and Cheer is fourth, and the mixed pair of Andrew Castro (Riverside, Calif.) and Savannah Stagno (Yucaipa, Calif.) from Realis Gymnastics Academy is third.

Alvarez and Cabana garnered a 25.500 in the balance exercise, while Dorais and Fox earned a 24.000. Portugal’s Mariana Simplicio and Leonor Tomas notched the day’s high score with a 26.800. The U.S. trio’s 25.900 in the dynamic exercise has them positioned in the top-five of a field that is nearly 60 groups deep. Portugal’s Leonor Carreira, Ema Fernandes and Marta Oliveira earned top marks with a 27.000. Castro and Stagno notched a 26.660 in balance and will look to gain ground on Portugal’s Joao Carreira and Matilde Cruz who sit atop the mixed pair scoresheet with a 27.110 headed into tomorrow’s dynamic exercise.

Qualifications for the Maia World Cup and Maia International Acro Cup will conclude Saturday. Semifinals for the MIAC 12-18 women’s group and women’s pair divisions will also be held. Champions will be crowned across both events Sunday.