© Ricardo Bufolin

BAKU, Azerbaijan, March 4, 2022 – After two days of qualifications, U.S. acrobats have advanced to the men’s pair, women’s pair and women’s group finals in the 12-18-year-old division at the 2022 Acrobatic Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions in Baku, Azerbaijan. In all, seven U.S. gymnasts are onto the finals, set to begin tomorrow at 5:20 a.m. ET. Qualifications for the 13-19-year-old division will also continue Saturday at the Milli Gimnastika Arenasi with finals to follow on Sunday.

The U.S. women’s pair of Allyson Stone and Ayla Vargas (San Antonio, Texas/Acrobatic Gymnastics of San Antonio) qualified in the second position with a 53.950, posting balance and dynamic scores of 27.400 and 26.550, respectively. They finished just behind Israeli gymnasts Harel Aharoni and Yuval Bar Tal whose combined 54.220 led the field. Americans Mia Alvarez of Riverside, Calif., and Ava Cabana of Grand Terrace, Calif., (Realis Gymnastics Academy) finished 22nd with a 49.120.

Both U.S. women’s groups delivered top-ten showings, but due to the one-group-per-country limit, only the group of Olivia Green of Silver Spring, Md., Evie Plummer of San Antonio, Texas, and Aranel Prevost of Garrett Park, Md., (Xtreme Acro) will compete Saturday. Their 55.000 (27.750 balance and 27.250 dynamic) qualified them in second, just behind the Russian Olympic Committee’s Valeriya Kuznetsova, Daniela Rubanova and Valeriia Zarovnaia, who finished with a 55.450. The Maryland-based U.S. group of Catherine Lacy, Abigail Novoseletskiy and Cecelia Shadrick (Emilia’s Acro Gymnastics and Cheer) was sixth with a 54.100.

The men’s pair of Davis Leavitt of Las Vegas, Nev., and Vlad Studwell of Henderson, Nev., (AGC Las Vegas) has also advanced to Saturday’s finals after securing the 10th-highest score of the qualification round. Leavitt and Studwell notched a 25.550 in balance and a 25.600 in dynamic for a combined 51.150. Men’s pairs from Great Britain (54.890), the Russian Olympic Committee (54.850) and Israel (53.430) qualified in the top-three spots.

The California-based team of Andrew Castro and Savannah Stagno (Realis Gymnastics Academy) claimed the second-reserve position for Saturday’s mixed pair final behind a combined score of 51.310. Trent Stoker of Spring Branch, Texas, and Bethany Strawn of Laguna Hills, Calif., (Acrobatic Gymnastics of San Antonio) were 16th with a 50.330. Leading the way were pairs from Israel (54.500), the Russian Olympic Committee (54.400) and host-country Azerbaijan (54.100).

Qualifications for the 13-19-year-old mixed pair competition got underway Friday. Reigning World Age Group silver medalists Jaylen Ivey of San Jose, Calif., and Amaya Rogers of Campbell, Calif., (WestCoast Training Center) sit eighth after their dynamic performance. The duo posted a 26.250. The Israeli pair of Yonatan Fridman and Amy Refaeli topped the standings on day one with a 27.800.

The U.S. women’s pairs of Mo Arthur of Rolla, Mo., and Ariana Katsov of Owensville, Mo., (Mid America Acro Tumbling) and Willow Rose Noble and Sydney Padios (Moreno Valley, Calif./Realis Gymnastics Academy) will begin qualifications in the 13-19-year-old division Saturday, as will the Maryland-based women’s group of Gia Calo, Sarah Wilson and Grace Wright (International Elite).