June 21st

Zeng, Kapitonova seek to defend rhythmic all-around titles at 2018 USA Gymnastics Championships

2016 Olympian Laura Zeng of Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, is seeking her fourth straight senior all-around title at the 2018 USA Gymnastics Championships, the national championships for acrobatic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, and trampoline and tumbling. Elizabeth Kapitonova of Staten Island, N.Y./Isadora, looks to defend her junior all-around title. Scheduled for July 3-7 at the Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum Complex, the competition includes both Junior Olympic and elite levels and is one of the national championships held annually by USA Gymnastics. The junior competition also includes qualifying for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, scheduled for October in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Performances at the USA Gymnastics Championships are part of the selection process for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.  Shannon Xiao of Fairfax, Va./Gymnastics World, clinched a berth to the Youth Olympic Games for the USA when she won the all-around gold medal at the Junior Pan American Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Medellin, Colombia. In group competition, the U.S. finished third in the all-around and won the silver medals for 10 clubs and five ropes. The U.S. junior group consists of Anastasiya Ivanova, June Kim, Alexandra Militeeva, Valerie Militeeva, Vianna Ngo, and Ellen Peng, all of San Diego, Calif./Emerald City Academy of Rhythmic Gymnastics.

Here are a few of the national team gymnasts’ achievements on the international stage earlier this year.  More information on the athletes and competitions is available at usagym.org.

  • Zeng won the hoop bronze medal and placed fifth in the all-around at the World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan. Lili Mizuno of Northbrook, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics, finished seventh in the ball final.  The U.S. senior rhythmic group, which trains at North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, finished 11th and 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.; Nicole Sladkov of Vernon Hills, Ill.; and Kristina Sobolevskaya of Deerfield, Ill. 

  • Brigita Budginas of Agoura Hills, Calif./Burlo Gymnastics, won gold in the clubs final and claimed two individual event bronze medals at the Portimao (Portugal) International Tournament. Annaliese Dragan of Aliso Viejo, Calif./Irene School of Rhythmic Gymnastics, was the junior clubs bronze medalist.

  • Evita Griskenas of Orland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, earned four top-10 finishes at the 2018 Guadalajara World Challenge Cup: sixth, ribbon; seventh, hoop; eighth, clubs; and 10th, all-around. The U.S. senior rhythmic group placed sixth in the five hoops final and seventh in the all-around.

  • At the 2018 Pacific Rim Championships in Medellin Colombia, and Kapitonova won the senior and junior rhythmic all-around gold medals, respectively. Feeley and Kapitonova also captured all four senior and junior event titles, respectively. Heather Chan of South Pasadena, Calif./Emerald City Academy of Rhythmic Gymnastics, won three senior silver medals (ball, clubs, ribbon). Xiao claimed the junior ball and ribbon silver medals. The U.S. junior group won the all-around, five ropes, and 10 clubs gold medals.

  • Nastasya Generalova of Los Angeles/California Rhythms, took fifth in the ball final at the Tashkent (‎Uzbekistan) World Cup.

For the junior and senior elite levels for each discipline, the athletes will vie for national titles. Performances in Greensboro also will determine berths on the junior and senior U.S. National Teams for acrobatic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline and tumbling. For rhythmic gymnastics, and trampoline pending qualification at the Junior Pan American Championships, the competition will be part of the selection process for the 2018 World Championships and Youth Olympic Games. The Junior Olympic division has several different levels, and national titles will be awarded for each level and age group for each discipline.

Event information

Evening session tickets at the Greensboro Coliseum are: July 5 and 6, $35; and July 7, $40.  The all-session pass, which grants access to all sessions, is $95.  A $35, single-day pass will be available onsite on competition days. Advance tickets may be purchased at the Greensboro Coliseum Box Office, ticketmaster.com or charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000.