© Tom Theobald

PESARO, Italy, Aug. 30, 2017 – The USA’s Laura Zeng of Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, and Evita Griskenas of Orland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics, finished sixth and eighth in the ball and hoop finals, respectively, today at the 35th World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships. It was the first time two U.S. rhythmic athletes competed in the apparatus finals at the same World Championships. Held at the Adriatic Arena in Pesaro, Italy, qualifications clubs and ribbon begin tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. local time.

Fans can watch the qualification rounds with the Griskenas and Zeng live on USA Gymnastics’ YouTube channel. Griskenas is in Group A, which begins at 9 a.m. local time, and starts on clubs in the last spot of the rotation. Zeng is in Group C, which begins at 11:50 a.m. local time, and also starts on clubs, but goes fourth in the rotation. The finals will also be shown live at 3 p.m. ET.

Griskenas started cleanly but a drop of her hoop midway through the routine cost her. She scored a 15.750 for eighth place. Russia’s Dina Averina took the gold medal with a 19.100, followed by teammate and sister Irina Averina (19.000) and Japan’s Kaho Minagawa (17.700).

Performing to Natasha Marsh’s Si Un Jour, Zeng earned a 17.050 for her ball routine, which ranked her sixth. The Averina sisters once again went one-two with Arina (18.950) taking the gold, followed by Dina (18.700). Bulgaria’s Neviana Vladinova was the bronze medalist at 17.950.

Individual rhythmic competition’s remaining schedule is (times are local to Pesaro): Aug. 31 – clubs and ribbon qualifications (9 a.m.-6:30 p.m.) and finals (9 p.m.); and Sept. 1, all-around final (3:15 p.m.).

Group competition begins Saturday with the all-around competition and event finals qualifications. 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.