In the junior competition in Jesolo, Italy, a young team from Russia upset a strong but inexperienced team from the US, scoring a 165.234 to the United States’ 163.899 to win the City of Jesolo Trophy junior team title. Kayla DiCello of the US was expected to be a top all-arounder in Jesolo, but competed only bars due to a minor calf injury. Teammate Konnor McClain won the all-around with a huge 56.167 on her international debut, followed by last year’s winner Vladislava Urazova of Russia with a 55.200. Elena Gerasimova of Russia placed third with a 55.000.

As always, the Russian team had lovely work on bars, including difficult release combinations and clean handstands and pirouettes. Urazova scored a 14.600 for a routine including difficult inbar stalder combinations. Urazova and Viktoriia Listunova both competed Yurchenko double fulls, needing to clean up some form issues but showing huge potential on vault.

Russia again hit cleanly on floor, where good execution offset lower start values to help them win the team title. Urazova proved to be a well-balanced all-arounder who can put up strong performances on all four events. Unfortunately, Urazova and Olga Astafyeva fell on their difficult roundoff to layout stepout mounts. Despite falling on the first skill of their routines, both gymnasts recovered and hit the rest of their routines. Gerasimova scored a big 14.100 on beam with a unique front handspring-front tuck series.

Konnor McClain performs on the balance beam for the US at the City of Jesolo Trophy in Jesolo, Italy/FloGymnastics- Filippo Tomasi

Starting off on beam, Sophia Butler of the United States hit a triple series with a layout full, making a big first impression in her international competition debut. Despite a fall on her Onodi, the rest of the routine looked steady. McClain posted a big 14.133 for her beam routine, competing a beautiful layout series and a standing full. She also impressed on floor with a nice double layout, scoring a 13.267.

McClain scored a 14.800 for a clean Yurchenko double full on vault, while her teammates Ciena Alipio and Butler competed a clean Yurchenko one-and-a-half and Yurchenko full, respectively. However, their start values were just a bit too low to close the gap between them and the Russian juniors. Ending on the uneven bars, DiCello, who won the WOGA Classic junior all-around title last month, hit a clean bar routine including difficult combinations and precise handstands in her only performance of the day. Butler, Alipio, and McClain also hit their routines, showing off big releases and difficult dismounts.

Belgium came in third with a 152.734, just lacking the difficulty of the top two teams but showing the depth in Belgium’s current national program. Home team Italy placed fourth with a 152.034, followed by Japan with a 151.567. A second team of Italian juniors placed sixth with a 150.701, and Germany came seventh with a 144.866.

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