© Tom Theobald

SOFIA, Bulgaria, Sept. 14, 2018 – Laura Zeng of Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, finished in eighth place in the all-around finals at the 2018 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships, which concludes on Sept. 16 at the Arena Armeec in Sofia, Bulgaria. Group rhythmic gymnastics begins on Sept. 15 with its all-around finals. All finals will be streamed live on the Olympic Channel app and olympicchannel.com.

Zeng scored a 73.250 total for eighth place. She earned her highest event score at Worlds in the finals on hoop with a 19.450. Her other event scores were: 18.050, ball; 18.300, clubs; and 17.450, ribbon. This is the third-straight World Championships where Zeng has finished in the top 10. Dina Averina of Russia won the all-around (81.450), followed by Israel’s Linoy Ashram (79.700) and Russia’s Aleksandra Soldatova (79.175) in second and third, respectively.

Evita Griskenas of Orland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, posted a 66.950 all-around score for 17th place. Competing in the first session, she earned a 16.300, hoop; 16.800, ball; 17.300, clubs; and 16.550, ribbon.

Earlier, the USA finished in seventh place in the team competition, its highest team finish. Camilla Feeley of Highland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, Griskenas and Zeng competed in the team competition.

Rhythmic gymnastics group competition begins on Sept. 15 with the all-around (five hoops and three balls/two ropes) beginning at 1 p.m., and the USA is in Group B. The five hoops and three balls/two ropes event titles will be determined on Sept. 16, beginning at 3 p.m. All times are local to Sofia; when it is midnight in New York City, it is 7 a.m. in in Sofia.

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.

The 2018 World Championships awards medals for the team, all-around and four individual events, and the group all-around and both events. The World Championships is the first opportunity for the countries of the top three groups to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in group rhythmic gymnastics.

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.