© Tom Theobald

LIMA, Peru, Sept. 28, 2018 –Led by 2016 Olympian and four-time U.S. champion Laura Zeng of Libertyville, Ill., the USA is atop the all-around and team rankings for individual rhythmic gymnastics after two of four events at the 2018 Senior Pan American Championships in Lima, Peru. The U.S. senior rhythmic group is third after one of two events. Competition continues tomorrow with the last events in the all-around for both individual (10 a.m. CT) and group (2:30 p.m. CT) rhythmic gymnastics. The Peruvian Gymnastics Federation is carrying a livestream of the competition on its Facebook page.

The United States hopes to secure rhythmic gymnastics berths to the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima. Each country ranked in the top six in the qualification round qualify for a maximum of two gymnasts and the next four countries in the qualification round will qualify one gymnast for the 2019 Pan Am Games for a total of 16 gymnasts. The top six-ranked countries in the group all-around qualification round also will earn berths to the Pan Am Games next year.

In the team competition at the midpoint, the team of Nastasya Generalova of Los Angeles/California Rhythms, Lili Mizuno of Northbrook, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics, and Zeng combined for a team total of 101.950, easily ahead of Mexico and Canada, who are second and third with a 95.100 and 92.500, respectively.

In the individual all-around, Zeng is first after two events, with a total of 37.400. Mizuno is in fourth at 32.900, and Generalova is sixth with a 31.650. Canada’s Katherine Uchida is second (33.400), followed by Mexico’s Marina Malpica (33.250).

Zeng and Mizuno both qualified for the hoop final. Zeng had the best qualifying score of 18.550, Malpica in second (17.250) and Uchida third (16.750). Mizuno was sixth with her 16.200. Generalova’s 14.000 put her 16th. Zeng and Generalova finished first (18.850) and second (17.650) in the ball qualification, respectively. Brazil’s Natalia Gaudio was third with a 16.950, with Mizuno in fourth at 16.700. The top eight, with a maximum of two per country, advance to the finals.

The U.S. Group, after the first of two events, earned a 19.000 for its five hoops routine and third place. Mexico and Brazil both earned a 19.800 for their five hoop routines. Tomorrow, the groups will perform their three balls/two ropes routines to complete the all-around.

The U.S. senior rhythmic group, which trains at North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, includes Dasha Baltovick of Highland Park, Ill.; Isabelle Connor of Manhattan Beach, Calif.; Ugne Dragunas of Darien, Ill.; Connie Du of Deerfield, Ill.; Elizaveta Pletneva of Caldwell, N.J.; and Nicole Sladkov of Vernon Hills, Ill. Kristina Sobolevskaya of Deerfield, Ill., is the alternate.

On Saturday, the individual all-around and team and group all-around champions will be determined. The final day on Sunday features the event finals for both individual and group rhythmic gymnastics. The competition schedule is as follows; all times listed are local to Lima, which is the same as the central time zone.

Sept. 29

  • 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. – Clubs and ribbon qualifications, Group 2 (includes USA) at 10 a.m., with Group 1 at 12:30 p.m.
  • 2:30 p.m. – Group, two ropes and three balls
  • 3:40 p.m. – Awards for individual all-around and team, group all-around

Sept. 30

  • 11 a.m. – Group, five hoops final
  • 11:30 a.m. – Hoop final
  • 12 p.m. – Ball final, followed by awards for the first three events
  • 1 p.m. – Group, two ropes/three balls final
  • 1:30 p.m. – Clubs final
  • 2 p.m. – Ribbon final, followed by awards for these three events

Based in Indianapolis, USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States. The organization is committed to creating a culture that empowers and supports its athletes and focuses on its highest priority, the safety and well-being of the athletes. USA Gymnastics has already taken specific, concrete steps to strengthen its safe sport policies and procedures. The organization’s 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.