© Team Photo

PORTIMAO, Portugal, Sept. 6, 2019 – Laura Zeng of Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics, qualified for the hoop and ball finals at the Portimao (Portugal) World Cup at the Portimao Arena. The U.S. group advanced to the 5 balls final. Competition continues tomorrow with the second day of event qualifications and the conclusion of the all-around. The World Cup is the final tune-up to next week’s World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Zeng qualified for the ball and hoop finals via sixth and seventh place, respectively, in the qualification round. Camilla Feeley of Deerfield, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, is the first reserve athlete for the hoop final and third reserve athlete for ball. In the mid-point all-around standings, Zeng is in seventh place at 40.550 and Feeley is ninth at 38.400. Italy’s Alexandra Agiurgiulese sits atop the all-around rankings after two events with a 43.500. Russia’s Aleksandra Soldatova and Italy’s Milena Baldassari are battling for the next spots with scores of 42.900 and 42.550, respectively. The USA also finished seventh (24.600) in the 5 balls qualification round to advance to the final. Italy had the top 5 balls score at 29.350.

In the qualification round, Zeng posted a 20.300 for hoop and a 20.250 for ball. Feeley’s marks were 19.150 for hoop and 19.250 for ball. Agiurgiulese claimed the best score for hoop and the entire day at 22.200. Soldatova and Baldassari both earned the highest score for ball at 21.600, but Soldatova was ranked first due to a tie-breaker.

The members of the U.S. group, which is based at North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, are: Isabelle Connor, Manhattan Beach, Calif.; Connie Du, Deerfield, Ill.; Yelyzaveta Merenzon, Buffalo Grove, Ill.; Elizaveta Pletneva, Deerfield, Ill.; Nicole Sladkov, Vernon Hills, Ill.; and Kristina Sobolevskaya, Chicago.

The remaining competition schedule is as follows. All times are local to Portimao, which is five hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time.

Sept. 7
Individual clubs and ribbon qualifications and conclusion of the all-around – 3:15 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 5:45 p.m.
Group – 3 hoops/2 pairs of clubs and conclusion of all-around – 9 p.m.

Sept. 8
Individual and group event finals, 3 p.m.