New Talent Shines at Top Gym

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The annual Top Gym competition took place last weekend in Charleroi, Belgium. It's a junior competition that proves to caattract some future stars. Past attendees include Jordyn Wieber, Amy Tinkler, Jonna Adlerteg, Larisa Iordache, Diana Bulimar, and Axelle Klinckaert to name a few.

The star of the meet was CĂ©lia Serber of France who will turn senior in 2019. She won the all around with a 51.833. I couldn't find video of her vault but early in the year, she had a full twisting Yurchenko. On bars, she shows a strong Jaeger but has some form issues on her Pak. She dismounts with a lovely full twisting double layout! There wasn't much difficulty yet in her floor routine (she opens with a double pike) but it was a great performance. Beam was where she really caught my eye. She has an air of confidence on beam and has some actual moments of choreography that remind me of Claire Martin meets UCLA. She scored a 13.450 (5.7D) for the routine below.

Naomi Visser of the Netherlands finished in 2nd with a 51.699. She will join the senior ranks in 2017. Her best scores were on vault and floor exercise where she showed that the Dutch philosophy of lower difficulty with clean execution and excellent performance value is alive and well.

Olivia Cimpian of Romania, senior in 2017, has been making a name for herself recently and is one of the hopes for Romania next quadrennium. She had multiple falls on balance beam which cost her the gold medal but earned her a bronze. In event finals, she won vault and floor gold with silvers on bars and beam. I realized that she seems to be the gymnastics love child of Ana Porgras and Larisa Iordache making her floor enjoyable to watch with the highest difficulty of the competition. She shows both a piked and tucked full in during this routine. 13.550/5.4D for the routine below

Other notable mentions goes to Adela and Vendula Merkova. Vendula finished the all around in 4th place and earned the bronze medal on uneven bars. Her sister, Adela, earned an individual medal on floor where she finished in 3rd place. The Czech team shows a lot of potential for the coming quadrennium. On floor, they seem to be a bit like the Netherlands with lower difficulty but eye catching, sometimes tear jerking, choreography. They also turn senior in 2017.

Honorable mention for the meet goes to France's Alisson Lapp who has a lovely floor exercise. Between the French performance here and at Massilia, it is a reminder that French creativity and flair is alive and well. Lapp will be a senior in 2018. She earned the bronze medal on floor for this exercise with a 12.850/5.1D.

Additional video can be found at Belgian Gymnastics
Follow @belgiangym for news on Team Belgium


LSU Ready to Attack

10:35 PM Arabian Punch Front 1 Comments

LSU finished the 2016 season with a historic second place finish. They have slowly but surely been creeping up in the ranking and for the past year or two, have had a "this will be the year" vibe. Unfortunately, it hasn't been the year. Not yet. But, the Tigers are proving they'll be in the running. The key for the team this year is depth. The athletes have said that they have more athletes than in the past ready to go on each event. This is pre-season anything can change, but as of right now, these girls are looking fiece.

Returning athletes: Julianna Cannamela, Sydney Ewing, Sarah Finnegan, Ashleigh Gnat, Myia Hambrick
Watch for: Freshman Ruby Harrold is going to be an asset on every event and threaten for an all around spot as a freshman. In training videos, she shows a very solid 1.5TY vault valued at a 10.0. Kennedi Edney is also shown in the videos doing a 1.5TY. Sophomore Lexie Preissman spent the bulk of last season injured but this may be the year for her to make the lineup with either her FTY or DTY. McKenna Kelley also debuted a front handspring front pike half off vault. It's a new vault for her but I expect her to make the lineup (she may exhibition at first then make the lineup).
Cannamela's spot is likely the one most in danger. Ewing has a 10.0 vault. Finnegan's spot is precarious as well but she would need the spot for the all around. The other 2, Gnat and Hambrick, are most definitely safe. Hambrick has shown an upgraded 1.5TY and Gnat continues to show her strong DTY.

Uneven bars
Returning athletes: Sarah Finnegan, Ashleigh Gnat, Myia Hambrick, Lexie Priessman, Shae Zamardi
Watch for: Ruby Harrold will slay us all with her phenomenal routine complete with her unique van Leeuwen to Zuchold. Kennedi Edney shows a lovely Hindorff. There are also clips of Erin Macadaeg on uneven bars.
The 5 returning athletes are pretty stable barring injury. Gnat is potentially the weakest link in the lineup but needs this for the all around. Harrold will most likely sneak right into this band of 5. Edney would most likely be next in line should any of the girls get injured or need to rest.

Balance Beam
Returning athletes:
Julianna Cannamela, Sydney Ewing, Sarah Finnegan, Ashleigh Gnat, Myia Hambrick, Erin Macadaeg
Watch for: Beam has been LSU's nemesis for the last 2 years causing them a spot in the Super Six and causing them an SEC Championship. So this may be one of the places with lineup changes. They're returning their entire lineup. Again Harrold may be able to make the lineup. There are also clips of Priessman and Lauren Li training on beam. Li reportedly had a 9.9 at the intrasquad with a very impressive routine with split layout stepout and gainer layout full dismount. McKenna Kelley did beam at the most recent intrasquad as well.

Floor Exercise
Returning athletes: Sydney Ewing, Ashleigh Gnat, Myia Hambrick, McKenna Kelley
Watch for: Yes, yes, Ruby Harrold. She has an interesting potential for passes with a double arabian and front double full. Edney showed a lovely floor routine at the most recent intrasquad with a high and well landed double arabian. There are clips of Priessman and Finnegan doing double layouts. In earlier videos, Lauren Li was training a piked full in. The landing was a little low but it was also earlier in preseason. Zamardi has done floor a few times last year and is shown again working her double arabian. Given the strength of tumbling of her teammates, she'll have to work hard to make the lineup. Sophomore Katelyn Szafranski exhibitioned last year on vault and there are videos of her on floor in the intrasquad with a score of 9.9.
In the most recent intrasquad, it actually looks like Kelley is working on a full in dismount which would be all amounts of insane.

All Around
Returning: Myia Hambrick, Ashleigh Gnat
These 2 will most definitely continue with the all around. Gnat may be taken out if for some reason her UB scores are really, truly, significantly hurting the team.
Watch for: Finnegan is probably next in line for me. She did the all around last year but given her past injuries and unsteady balance beam, where she's a crucial member, she went back down to 3 events. She's shown on floor a lot so I think they're grooming her for the all around either for next year or if Gnat for some reason is no longer doing all around. Macadaeg mentioned that she's training all 4 events but despite her excellent floor exercise score last year, she didn't make it into the lineup again. A full twisting Yurchenko will also be tough to break in this current 10.0 vault lineup. Harrold may exhibition on floor and beam and may be able to work into those lineups for injuries or for resting other athletes. She'll definitely need to be groomed for the all around for next year when they lose contributing routines from Ewing, Gnat, and Zamardi.

LSU will have their Gymnastics 101 Showcase on December 12 and their first meet will be January 6 against Georgia.