The US won the senior team title at the City of Jesolo Trophy, scoring a 166.798 on Saturday in Jesolo, Italy. China came in second with a 165.201, showing greatly improved floor routines and cleaner vaults while Italy came in third with a 161.333, competing without their first-year senior star Giorgia Villa, who withdrew from the meet due to a finger injury sustained in training.

Sunisa Lee had a stellar senior debut, scoring a 56.466 to win the meet even with a fall on beam. Reigning World beam gold-medalist Liu Tingting of China placed second with a 55.901, showing beautiful work on beam and bars. Emma Malabuyo was unable to defend her all-around title from 2018, but came in third with a 55.899 and looking great after struggling with injuries last fall.

Starting on vault, Shilese Jones competed a powerful double twisting Yurchenko for a 14.700 for the US. Malabuyo and Lee competed the same vault, looking solid even at the beginning of the season. Gabby Perea competed just a Yurchenko full on her senior debut, but had nice amplitude and controlled the landing well after an injury-plagued last year. Unfortunately, Perea had a fall on bars, as did Jones. Lee scored a 14.700 for a fantastic routine with a difficult release combination including a Nabieva.

Sunisa Lee performs on the uneven bars for the US at the City of Jesolo Trophy in Jesolo, Italy/FloGymnastics- Filippo Tomasi

The US team was a bit shaky on beam, with falls from Lee and Perea, but showed off big tumbling skills. Lee performed a triple series, while Perea had a standing full and Malabuyo had a solid standing Arabian. These girls can be some of the top beam workers in the world, and they will certainly improve throughout the season.

As always, the US had powerful tumbling passes on floor, including two double layouts, two double arabians, and a double-twisting double tuck. With her performance on floor, Lee showed that she not only excels on bars and beam, but is also a powerful gymnast on floor and vault. Perea performed in the all-around for the first time since 2017. Despite having two falls, she looks to be fully recovered and working on upping her start values.

Since Liang Chow began coaching the Chinese team, they have made huge strides on floor and vault, helping them to second place in Italy. Liu Tingting competed in the all-around for the first time since 2017, while Qi Qi and Tang Xijing made their senior debuts. Starting on floor, China didn’t have huge difficulty, but looked much stronger than they did in 2018. On vault, Zhang Jin competed a Tsuk double full while Xijing, Tingting, and Liu Jingxing competed clean Yurchenko fulls. Qi Qi competed a powerful Yurchenko double full, making her case for being one of China’s top all-arounders this year.

As always, China had beautiful bar work with intricate pirouettes, release combinations, and clean double layouts. Tingting’s routine scored a 14.500, helping China secure the silver medal. She also performed beautifully on beam, hitting all of her combinations and sticking her dismount. Qi Qi and Zhang Jin both hit their routines, though they had some weak positions in their ring leaps. Overall, China looked solid for such an early point in the season and they will only improve as the season goes on.

Alice D’Amato was Italy’s top all-arounder of the day, scoring a 53.733 for fifth place. Her sister Asia D’Amato wasn’t far behind, scoring a 53.500 to place seventh. Italy performed well in front of a home crowd, and they should be a team in contention to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Worlds this year. Martina Maggio competed for the first time since Italian Championships in 2018, hitting a clean vault and floor routine to help the Italian team to a third-place finish in Jesolo.

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