© John Cheng

PESARO, Italy, Sept. 2, 2017 – The U.S. rhythmic group finished 12th in the all-around today at the 35th World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships at Adriatic Arena in Pesaro, Italy. Previously, the highest finish by a U.S. group at the World Championships was 13th, which has been achieved twice (2015, 2002).

Group competition concludes tomorrow with the event finals, scheduled for 2 p.m. local time/8 a.m. Eastern time. Fans in the U.S. will be able to watch the competition live on the USA Gymnastics YouTube channel.

Russia captured the gold medal, earning an all-around total of 37.700. Bulgaria (36.950) and Japan (36.650) took the silver and bronze medals, respectively.

The U.S. group, which trains at North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, consists of Dasha Baltovick of Highland Park, Ill.; Natalie Bourand of Burr Ridge, Ill.; Connie Du of Deerfield, Ill.; Yelyzaveta Merenzon of Buffalo Grove, Ill.; Nicole Sladkov of Vernon Hills, Ill.; and Kristina Sobolevskaya of Deerfield, Ill.

In their first performance of the day, the U.S. group earned a 16.200 for their three balls/two ropes. The upbeat routine, which was performed to Listen to the Beat by Brenda Boykin, drew the crowd in as they went clearly through the exercise. The group scored an 16.050 for their five hoops routine, set to Breath of Time by Klangstrahler Projekt. Toward the opening of their routine, one hoop was tossed and rolled along the backs of all five members before the final athlete caught the hoop. Their all-around score is 32.250. In the individual event standings, the U.S. ranked 10th in three balls/two ropes and 14th for five hoops.

The group competition comes on the heels of historic individual competition for Team USA, qualifying at least one athlete to all four event finals and two athletes to the top group of the all-around final for the first time. Laura Zeng of Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, is now the first U.S. rhythmic gymnast to compete in three World event finals at the same Championships and, together with Evita Griskenas of Orland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, is part of the first U.S. duo to compete in the same Rhythmic World’s event final. In the all-around final, Zeng set an American record with her sixth place finish. Griskenas’ 11th place all-around finish is the fourth-best all-time finish for the United States in rhythmic gymnastics at the Worlds.

Based in Indianapolis, USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States. Its mission is to encourage participation and the pursuit of excellence in the sport. Its 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.