© John Cheng

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia, March 31, 2019 – Evita Griskenas of Orland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, won the senior hoop gold and ball silver medals at the MTM Ljubljana (Slovenia) Tournament. Other event medalists were: Ciel Arzandyan of Van Nuys, Calif./Rhythmic Academy of Los Angeles, junior clubs gold; Esther Kiseleva of Wayne, N.J./Liberty Academy, junior rope bronze; Daria Merkulova of Grayslake, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Center, non-FIG senior all-around, ball and clubs gold; and Gemma Gow of Newton, Mass./Rhythmic Dreams, pre-junior clubs silver.

Griskenas handily won the senior hoop title with her 19.200. Slovenia’s Aleksandra Podgorsek was second at 18.050, and Italy’s Alexandra Agiurgiuculese landed in third with a 16.950. Griskenas mined silver in the ball final (18.550). Agiurgiuculese took the title (19.450), and Podgorsek rounded out the top three (17.900). Lennox Hopkins-Wilkins of Puyallup, Wash./Evergreen Rhythmics, just missed the medal podium, placing fourth in the clubs final at 16.500. Agiurgiuculese and Podgorsek went one-two with 17.600 and 17.450, respectively. Russia’s Ekaterina Tsuran posted a 17.200 for third. In the ribbon final, Tsuran edged out Griskenas for the bronze, 13.550 to 13.400. Podgorsek earned the title with her 16.950, comfortably ahead of Agiurgiuculese’s 14.600. Only one gymnast per country qualified to the event finals.

Arzandyan easily won the junior clubs title at 16.350. Russia’s Mariia Cherkasova took second at 14.950, with the Ukraine’s Snizhana Oshchipko in third with a 14.800. In the rope final, Kiseleva won the bronze medal at 12.500. Hungary’s Eszter Akoshegyi beat out Cherkasova for the gold, 13.500 to 13.450. Kiseleva placed fifth in the ribbon final (12.900). Kazakhstan’s Aidana Mamzhan earned the crown at 15.450. Oshchipko and Hungary’s Luca Flora Louasz tied for second (13.800). Gergana Petkova of Barrington, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, finished in eighth place in the ball final. The medalists were Mamzhan in first (16.400), followed by Louasz (15.100) and Oshchipko (14.750). Only one gymnast per country advanced to the event finals.

In the non-FIG senior division, Merkulova won the all-around title with 29.200, as well as the ball (13.500) and clubs (15.700) gold medals. Czech Republic’s Nela Pochyla was second in the all-around at 28.650, followed by Germany’s Pauline Zientek at 20.150. Pochyla also won the hoop title (15.300) and the clubs silver. Zientek was second in both the hoop (11.150) and ball (9.000). Slovenia’s Lara Pikovnik won the ribbon gold (8.250), with Austria’s Marie-Luise Ranner earning the ribbon silver (6.650) and clubs bronze (7.400). Austria’s Franziska Herzog was third in hoop (11.100).

Gow claimed the silver medal in the pre-junior’s clubs final, the only event final for the pre-junior division. Italy’s Tara Dragas was first at 14.200, and Russia’s Milana Kuznetsova was third (12.850).

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