A young US team dominated the senior competition at the 2019 International Gymnix Senior Cup, scoring a 165.261, over ten points higher than team Canada in second place who scored a 155.196. Australia was close behind with a 154.963, just two tenths from second place. Strong performances from Kara Eaker, Alyona Shchennikova, and Sloane Blakely earned them first, second, and third place respectively, sweeping the all-around medals. Fien Enghels of Belgium had fantastic performances on all four events to place fourth with a 52.898, showing great potential for Belgium’s senior team this year.
Though this team is not the vault powerhouse many have come to expect from the US team, they performed clean vaults, with first-year senior Aleah Finnegan debuting two different vaults in an attempt to qualify for the vault final. Shchennikova vaulted a clean Yurchenko double full, looking more powerful and solid. As always, she was lovely on bars with just a few form issues to clean up. Eaker and Finnegan hit clean bar routines, showing great handstands and big releases.
On the balance beam, Eaker showed just how steady she can be. With a massive 15 skills in one routine, she performed fluidly and hit all her combinations. Finnegan also hit her routine with a side aerial to back handspring series into her dismount. She finished her day on floor with a beautiful routine, combining big tumbling passes with nice leaps and engaging choreography. Shchennikova put together a great all-around performance, landing all her tumbling passes and just needing to clean up the landings a bit. Though Blakely doesn’t have the highest difficulty, her tumbling is sky-high and performed well.
Starting on beam, Canada dealt with last-minute roster changes to hit all four routines, though everyone had some wobbles. Haley de Jong had just a tiny balance check in an otherwise solid routine including a stuck front full dismount. Isabela Onyshko and Emma Spence also fought through wobbles but looked good considering that the season is just getting started. The Canadians stepped up their game on floor, where Laurie Denommée hit a huge double layout and the other three team members hit their routines. They showed nice control on their landings, though some form issues will need to be cleaned up on their leaps.
On vault, Canada’s lower start values held them back, but the Yurchenko fulls from Spence, de Jong, and Onyshko looked clean. Denommée competed a handspring front pike half, adding some variety to the lineup. Unfortunately, Onyshko fell on her Tkachev on bars, but recovered well for the rest of her routine. De Jong capped off a fantastic all-around performance with a hit bar routine, sticking her double layout dismount.
Overall, Australia competed cleanly and were just held back due to their lower difficulty across all four events. Emma Nedov was their top performer of the day, placing seventh with a 52.099. On a team of three relatively inexperienced seniors, finishing just two tenths behind Canada bodes well for Australia’s international performances this year and they could be in the hunt to qualify a full team to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.Tags: 2019 International Gymnix, Aleah Finnegan, Alyona Shchennikova, Australia, Belgium, Canada, elite, elite gymnastics, Emma Nedov, Emma Spence, Fien Enghels, Haley de Jong, International Gymnix, Isabela Onyshko, Kara Eaker, Laurie Dénommée, Sloane Blakely, US, women's gymnastics